The Grooming Process of Discrediting Children and the Cycle of Abuse


carla's hawaii 117Dear Mom;

If you read my blog as the daughter YOU were, instead of as the mother you ARE, can you honestly tell me that you would not completely relate to what I am saying? If I wasn’t YOUR daughter, (if I was your next door neighbor), I know you would be a fan. 

My mother always said a lot of things that indicated that I was the problem ~ her problem. Those types of things that she said were a big part of the grooming process in the cycle of abuse. Grooming a child to believe that the child is the problem and communicating that publically serves several purposes one of which is that it discredits the child to other family members and friends of the family way before the child ever tries to stand up to abusive treatment which serves to insure that the abuser will never be questioned by other people. It is important for the controlling or abusive person to discredit the child in case the child ever tells or exposes the truth about the dysfunction in the family. Another purpose for grooming the child to believe he or she is the problem is that it also causes the child to spend more time questioning themselves than they ever would spend questioning the treatment that they have been groomed to accept as ‘normal’ treatment. In other words this type of grooming insures that all eyes are always on the child and never on the parent or adult involved.

The truth is that my mother comes from a dysfunctional family herself and she comes from an abusive family as well so she herself went through this same grooming process. She learned to discount me from the same grooming process that she learned her own value from. I don’t mention that to excuse her, but to show the cycle of abuse. The only way to stop the cycle is to expose it and to stand up to it. I stood up to it and I have been successful in stopping it in my own life and within my own family.  

And some would say there is a price I have paid. I have no family. I have nieces and nephews that I will never meet. I will always be referred to as the crazy one in the family and I suppose that if I didn’t have this website, if I didn’t get hundreds of thank you notes every month, if my writing wasn’t shared by hundreds of thousands of people and studied by universities all over the world, I might still question that old belief that I was the crazy one… but I don’t believe that lie anymore because I understand that it was part of the grooming process all along. The ‘price’ for my freedom from the abusive cycle, however expensive, was well worth it.

I understand that in order for my mother to give herself credit, she had to discredit me and she still ‘has’ to discredit me. But that doesn’t make her right. I understand that in order to deny the truth about the cycle of abuse that she comes from she had to say that it wasn’t actually abuse so that when she repeated the same abusive treatment that beat her down in childhood, she could justify it. But that doesn’t make it acceptable. It is important to recognize that this message communicated in this dysfunctional family system ~ that children are worth less than adults or worth less than their parents ~ is achieved by discounting and dismissing children in order to ‘teach’ children to learn their ‘place’.

But here is what I learned about ‘my place’;

“My Place” was nowhere. “My place” was in first knowing and then accepting that I was not actually as valid as a human being as ‘they’ were. Respect, according to this false system, is worshiping parents no matter what the sick desire or motive of those parents is. The false definition of respect is to accept anything they dish out and be happy about it. Respect in the dysfunctional family world is acceptance of any type of treatment, without question. Respect in abusive relationships means NEVER asking to be respected in return. ‘My place’ was no place.

The confusion happens because of the mixed messages children get in a dysfunctional family system; it is very confusing when we experience that we don’t get that same ‘privilege’ as they get; we are taught how to prove our love for them, but we are not loved in the definition of love that they have taught us proves our love for them. It is puzzling when we are ‘taught’ how to love but we are not loved back in the way we are taught to love. It is baffling to a child when we don’t get this respect (that proves love) back!  And in order to adjust and to cope with it, we discount ourselves even more and consequently we are stuck in the spin of proving our worth in the dysfunctional ways that we are taught to prove it!

 And that is the cycle of abuse and dysfunctional family.

Coming out of the fog and Emerging from Broken is a process of seeing the lies that were set so deeply in place that these lies are believed to be true and overturning them. It is a process of seeing the lies for the lies that they are and changing them back to the truth.

Perhaps I didn’t see this consciously when I was in the fog, but it is evident that I believed that I didn’t deserve the other side of respect and that respect wasn’t ‘mutual’. I believed that the way I was taught to prove my love for them was not the way that they should prove their love for me. In order to believe and accept that lie, I had to believe that I was ‘less valuable’ than they were ~ which is exactly what their actions taught me in the first place. I had to believe in the dysfunctional pecking order system where I was less and they were more and I would never be as valuable as they were in order to survive in it. My parents and other adults communicated to me by their actions that I was ‘worth less’ than they were. As a child, I had no choice but to accept that I was worthless and try to survive by compliance and obedience to their actions and messages about me.

This ‘grooming process’ is the same for all abuse and all abuse has its foundation in psychological abuse. The grooming process is the same for domestic violence as it is for sexual abuse only the details are different. The “worth less” message is communicated in the work place by bully bosses or bullying coworkers, the same as it is communicated in dysfunctional family systems. If someone can get you to believe you are worth less than they are, they can make you look at yourself instead of at them. As long as I was looking at what was wrong with me, (which is survival and there isn’t a better way to try to cope when we are children) I was trying harder to make them like and accept me.

Everything changed when I finally took a look at the truth. Everything changed when I realized that I was being controlled by the fear of the consequences of standing up to them. Everything changed when I realized that I was no longer that child and that I had become an adult with real choices. Everything changed when I realized that my biggest fear was that they would reject me and that truth was that they already had. It had already happened when they didn’t see me as having equal worth as an individual and when they invalidated and disregarded me by their actions or inactions.

When I stood up to that dysfunctional family system and declared my own value, I got dumped. When I insisted that I deserved the same respect that was demanded of me, everyone was shocked. I was rejected because I asked for something unheard of in a dysfunctional and abusive family system; I asked to be regarded as having equal value. When I asked for respect and simply asked to be treated the way I was expected to treat her, I was rejected.  My mother never experienced that with her mother because she never stood up to her mother but I am certain if my mother read this blog as the daughter she was instead of the mother she is, she would totally relate to it.

Please share your thoughts about this angle of dysfunctional family relationships, the grooming process in the cycle of abuse or about the pain of being rejected for requesting equal value.

P.S. My mother doesn’t speak to me. (She would likely tell you that it is ME who doesn’t speak to her, but that would not be exactly the truth.)

There is freedom on the other side of broken;

Darlene Ouimet

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

Related Posts ~ See highlighted sentence fragments in bold

Also see – Why People discount the Child and Defend the Abuser 

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Categories : Mother Daughter



THANK YOU for posting such an insightful article. I can relate to this as a daughter and (unfortnately) as a mother. I did not see the cycle of abuse for what it was until I was a much older mother. As a matter of fact, I did not realize a very normal seeming social activity (complaining about the chaos your children can put you through)is actually a very sick grooming method. Thank you for bringing this out of the shadows and sharing it here!


Hi Elise
Welcome to EFB~ Thanks for your comments.
It is always wonderful and amazing when a mother posts admitting that she realized the cycle after she had her own kids! So validating for the kids. I was a mother to 3 pre teens when I came out of the fog and I had a lot of repair work to do in my own family too ~ but with the truth and the real definition of love, all things are possible! (my kids are now 22, 20 and one a teenager still)
hugs, Darlene



Your ability to put the “unspoken” rules of the dysfunctional home environment is truly astounding. When I read this today, I thought that maybe I could send this to my mom and she’d finally “get it”. Then I remembered the many, many other emails I’d sent previously that stated that same truth in different forms – and I figured my effort would be better spent telling you THANK YOU for consistently and courageously pointing out the TRUTH. So GRATEFUL for the impact you’ve had on my life.


I have been what I call “healed” or “free” for over a year and a half now, and the things I can now recognize when I read this and other blog posts is amazing and make me want to repeatedly say…YES THAT IS SO TRUE! The grooming process is sickenly familiar and disgusting. I was told repeatedly growing up that I was “worthless” by my father, and didnt realize the impact it had on my life. Even when I realized that it wasnt the truth that I was worthless and unworthy, I still continued to behave and live in ways that put myself last and others first. Even today I am still finding various ways of re-learning how to put myself equally into a situation. I also lost all of my relatives…some by choice and others chose to leave me…and I dont know any of my three brother’s children or their wives/partners..and never will. The price has been steep, but well worth it for me. It is a neverending joy to grow now and finally feel like I fit in to my OWN family, and to really soak in the love that they have for me. There were years in my marriage/family that I didnt know what to believe…and I think that was part of that confusion that comes with parents causing their kids to deny their own feelings and thoughts and to doubt themselves. There wasnt anyone to mirror back to me who I was or what I was like or what I really looked or behaved like. I have been taking the last year or so to discover all of that on my own…WITHOUT anyone else’s influence from my past..and it has been the happiest times of my life. My daughter tells me how much she loves me and appreciates all I am in her world, and I can receive it. My husband tells me how he values me and loves me for ME…and I can receive that too. We are also now on an equal footing in our relationships and the peace and happiness that comes from that have made the years that were hellish worth sticking around for. It is always work to a certain extent, but well worth it…because for the first time in my life I do feel I am worthy. I used to think I believed that…but never FELT it deep down. I think I actually feel compassion on my parents now. I can see how they were very young, very abused and neglected and easily got locked into that pattern. They have chosen not to break that pattern in their own lives and now they are getting the “respect” that they always wanted from me…I leave them all alone. They didnt want me and couldnt see my value, so now they are free to be by themselves and I respect their space. I also feel compassion on them, but that doesnt mean that I am willing to throw away my life every again to try to do what they want me to do…which is unhealthy and unstable and demeaning. That is all they know and are willing to know…to them it is “safe”…so I leave them to it and hope that they will be okay. I just wish I had done and known all of this at 19 when I first moved out from their house. At least I know it now!


You just described my life with my mother,right down to the part where she doesn’t speak to me and yes,she tells everyone I don’t speak to her and I’m sick,crazy and I need help. Growing up I was never allowed to have an opinion much less a voice. If I tried I was told….”this is our house,our rules…if you don’t like it,there’s the door.” When I was 9 years old,my mother’s brother molested me. He molested her when she was a child yet she thought it was fine to allow him to babysit me when she worked at nights. When I told her what he was doing to me,she protected him instead of me.Later when I was in my 30’s she told me I was to blame for the abuse,that I was asking for it.That comment devastated me yet I still tried to please her and buried my feelings. Last year at 53 yrs old I finally told her how that statement made me feel.She denied ever saying it,called me a liar and has given me the silent treatment since then.Except last Thanksgiving,she invited me down to discuss things,I asked her to apologize for calling me a liar.She refused,stating I will always be a liar to her and I ruined Thanksgiving and Christmas for our family.
I struggle everyday because I have isolated myself completely now.Not only do I have to deal with mother issues,I am trying to divorce a narcissist who has turned my older son against me.Four years ago when he abandoned me and my younger son,I was diagnosed with PTSD. My mother refuses to believe that is a real disease and tells all her friends I’m crazy. It’s so much easier to stay away from any kind of r/s now.


Hi Eva
Welcome to EFB ~ I totally relate to wanting to send it to your mom and then realizing that there is NO point!
Thanks for your comments and acknowledgement!
hugs, Darlene


Hi FinallyFree!
Yay! Thanks for sharing the truth and celebrating freedom here!
hugs, Darlene

Hi Diane
Thank you for sharing that story here. That kind of stuff is painful; it is horrific when the abusers are protected.
I too was constantly told about ‘the door’. But wow if only I had known the joy and freedom on the other side of that door! 🙂 Just remember that just because someone calls you ‘crazy’ doesn’t mean that you are!
Hugs, Darlene


I am still trying to make sense of this all. Things have come to a head with my mother and I have no tools to work with as I was never taught how to communicate. Hopefully I will find help here to at least recognise things that I had not been aware of. I never knew there were dysfunctional families, I had no idea it existed. Until I realised that the only way to describe the situation is “Toxic” and the cycle must be broken x


When I reached the age of 28 & had a child of my own the grotesqueness of my parents behavior & attitudes FINALLY became glaringly obvious to me. My earliest memory is my mother was of her using a baby-brush on my hair after I had a bath. As she faced me at eye-level brushing my whispy hair I watched her hazel eyes well up with tears. “Why are you crying, Mommy?” Without looking at me she said two things that burned into my mind. One was that she missed her “Mama” who passed away 5 years earlier. I remember thinking ‘I understand, Mommy’ but what she went on to say left me stunned at 3 yrs old. She described how she wished she had crawled inside her dead mother’s casket & died herself….. “Bury me alive with Mama.” As her mind snapped back into the moment. She focused on me & told me, “You should have a different mother. One of those young mothers wearing SHORT SKIRTS.” Daily she complained of having me at 41 years old.
For me having a baby or toddler of my own was magical. He was loads of exhausting hard work but he was my little guy to have fun with & hug to pieces. I’ll never understand my parents poisoned thinking. Children are to be guided with firm but loving, patient adults.


Hi Darlene,
I can relate to all you mention in this post. It’s been NC for me and my mother since Jan this year (almost an entire year). I still feel very sad but I am also finally starting to comprehend that I really do not matter to her at all. That fact hurts; but not as much as it used to.

I am 51 yrs old and was groomed to be abused by various people over the years (sexual, emotional and physical)but the worst of it I now realise is that I genuinely assumed I deserved such negative experiences / relationships. It’s impacted every area of my adult life in that I have not taen good care of me; validating the grooming message of (Dianne does not matter, Dianne is not a strong girl, etc)

Reality is Dianne is a very strong woman with a very empathic nature. I am learning to take better care of myself nowadays and I have four awesome kids of my own (29, 26, 18 & 16. I am a great mother that respects each of my children and the choices they make respectively (sure I don’t always agree with what they choose but I trust something higher than myself; that is guiding each and everyone’s life).

Sure; I am very tired and the effects of never feeling loved or appreciated by my own mother are not productive but finally knowing I am not broken or crazy is healing the damage bit by bit.

I still cannot tell my kids the truth about the extent of the dysfunction that took place in my FOO. The grooming is that deep; to TELL them the complete truth for me feels like betrayal. That’s clearly the effects of brainwashing and grooming by abusers.


Thank you for this post. I was certainly groomed by my mother to believe that I was the problem. Two years when I finally decided to get help for my eating disorder of 22+ years (I am 38), and started trying to get at the roots of the extreme emotional pain I was reeling from but did not know the source of, the only thing I could identify was crippling guilt and regret that I was not a good enough daughter to my mother, that I was ungrateful, and extreme pain over all of the times I had not been kind enough or generous enough to her. My whole life, continuing to the present, she has told me repeatedly and regularly that I am difficult, I am stubborn, I am too much like my father, that I am lucky she loves me, that I am lucky that mothers have to love their children, that I should be grateful that she loves me even though I am so difficult, stubborn, unloveable, selfish, etc. etc. You get the idea. This did not end when I became an adult, and I did not realize it was happening, because it was just the way it was and I thought it was true. I didn’t know any other option. I took all of the responsibility for why my mother treated me poorly and why she so preferred my sister over me onto myself, because she told me that’s where it belonged. I guess that she did a very good job with what she was doing. Thank goodness that I have had some good counseling and read some good books and websites (like yours) and see things differently now. It’s a slow process though. That kind of grooming is hard to undo. Thanks again for the post.


Hey Darlene! If I was your mother I would be incredibly proud of all the work you are doing for yourself and others. The way you break things down into clarity is truly amazing.

This is so powerful and once again timely for where I am in my own process. I’ll admit I’m getting to those really ugly deep layers that make me wonder why I am doing this work and then you write something like this that pulls me up again. Bless your loving heart.

I’ve never felt so validated as I do on this web site. For once someone actually “gets it”. Someone finally see’s “me” and what I felt and experienced growing up. I didn’t want pity for my situation, I wanted “out” of my family dysfunction and for someone to understand the damage that was going on. I’m struggling with all the losses I felt growing up…the most important one was a loving bond with my own mom. I think I’m beginning to understand why people have children and yet I felt so damaged that I chose not too.

I thought people had children to make slaves out of them and to take their frustrations out on them. I wanted no part of that. At age 50 I feel sad that I didn’t believe I could overcome all this mess and create a loving family I truly desired.

I did however find a spiritual mentorship where I do feel part of a loving family who is supporting my journey into wholeness. I like the me that is emerging and I’m also accepting that I have quite a few scars that I will need to learn to integrate into my being. It’s very disheartening the layers that are involved in all this and sometimes it feels like it will never end. I feel like a child who has to learn everything right from the beginning. The poison (lies) that I’ve been fed all my life take time to filter out.

The more I heal the more respect I have for you because I know you have gone through this too. The fact that you have children of your own just makes me respect you even more. I am truly sorry that your mom failed to see what a beautiful gift you are. I hope all of us loving and supporting you will remind you how special you are. Namaste!


I am 50 years old this year and two years ago I invited my mother to move onto my property. Once again, for no apparent reason she quite communicating with me other than she does not like me and never has. You see, that is how she would punish me as a little girl by not speaking to me.
This whole issue with my mother has dictated my life, only now I am aware of it and am still entangled with her through my emotions which affects progress in my life and the relationships I have with other women as well as men.
I know now that through out my life that I was not the one who was damaged goods and was just wrong as a person. Intellectually that is… Internally she has screwed me up. I am not playing a victim, just calling a spade a spade.
Because I wanted a relationship with her I did not have her sign a lease agreement to live on my property. I tried to evict her but it is not recognized in eviction court due to no lease was signed.
Every I see her and it is another remind of how she must hate me and I do everything I can not to think about it and be productive and positive.
It is just too much…
Where to start and what to do????????????


Praying for your continued Healing and Empowerment.


I have seen this type of “grooming” in the workplace too. I have both observed it done to others and once experienced it myself. I was made to feel that I was the problem even though the boss did not give me the same training or resources that she willingly provided for others. I was discredited by her to co- workers, subordinates and superiors (superior as in higher up position). I ended up doubting myself and my professional abilities even though all my work reviews were excellent prior to working for this woman. When I finally did complain, with documentation to her bosses boss, I think I was so deeply discredited that I wasn’t believed. I left that job and in my new job I was well-regarded and my work reviews had nothing at all in common with those from that woman, but were curiously very similar to the reviews I got before working for this woman.


Wow!!! You hit the nail on the head. I also found that the name smearing with the relatives is to discredit so that you can’t find help as a child (I even turned myself into social services begging for them to take me out of the home-but they knew my parents so that back fired). My relatives thought that I was mentally retarded because of how my mom spoke of me (until they visited with me and realized the lie. But, rather than hold her responsible, they enable her further abuse). It seems that it too shameful for anyone to recognize or acknowledge abuse in the family so it is hushed over, denied,and ignored. As an adult, I was shunned. However, they want my children so they can turn my children against me, and I saw that game in the beginning and broke away. I have been away for eight years, and it was the best decision of my life. I only wish it was sooner to lessen the trauma that I had to heal from. There is no way to have relationships with the family because the price is too high. They insist on their way and the highway, and I must protect my children to stop the cycle of abuse. But, if you asked them, they would fault me (just as you said in this article). The abuse stops here with my family-no more. After two years of intense counseling and much prayer, I am free in so many ways. I never want to go back to that horrible abuse. My children have learned that they are all valued, loved, and I work hard, hard on that message. I listen to them and value what they say. They will not be under the I am adult god and you are not. Again, that abuse is not going to continue-no thanks. Like you said, it comes with a high price. My husband, children, and I are very much alone (no support system), but happy and free.


I am mom having a very hard time relating to my daughter because I’m dealing with the reality of the abuse I grew up with and validating myself, but my daughter is still minimizing and denying the impact of abuse she suffered. I recognized pretty quickly when she was molested at a young age and later was raped and I tried to respond with compassion and validation, but it didn’t seem to matter to her. Most recently her husband nearly killed her, and while they are divorcing, she is allowing him joint custody of their daughter.

In my eyes, she is leaving herself, and her daughter smack in the middle of harm’s way and I don’t know how to deal with the emotions it stirs up in me. I’ve stopped communicating with her because I can barely think about her without falling apart.

I’ve been hoping that time would help, but it’s been months now, and I am just as unsettled as I was when I first realized how abusive this man is. He fits a narcissist’s profile to a tee and is supported by a family that protects him.

Is there any way I can calm myself? Or should I just continue to avoid contact with my daughter since she doesn’t think my concerns are valid anyway?


This is such a wonderful, but very sad, post. I was thinking about this exact issue this morning/afternoon.

I was thinking about how, though I can acknowledge now that my parents are abusive without really getting overly emotional, what is really getting to me is how much hatred my siblings have. Perhaps this is because we were very close when younger, and I see them more as victims than perpetrators. Now that they are both legal adults, their actions seem closer to my parents (abusers) than their child (victim) selves.

This post is very helpful and illuminating. I have been tempted recently to reconnect, but I realize, it’s not just my parents who are hateful towards me, but my once very very loving brother and sister. I never understood how we could have these wonderful conversations, and then I would hear from them or my parents something really cold and blame-shifting/scapegoating.

One of my father’s tactics is to ‘inform’ everyone in my hometown about how ‘horrible’ it was that I was ‘raped’ and what a good person he is by doing his volunteer work. What he is really doing is covering up his own evil, at my expense, humiliation, and privacy. He never asked if I wanted that information shared. So he is not just doing it in the family but in the entire community, I have been discredited and humiliated. I’m basically a joke, or something to pity, but never someone with any equality or respect.

I have no family either (TBD about my aunt who plays switzerland, but is not talking to me now). I think it is the loss of the nonabusers who see me as ‘bad’ and ‘mean’ for not putting up with the treatment that hurts me most. It is shocking. Because they are so nice to my face, as compared with my parents. It’s like a Dr. Jeckyll/Mr. Hyde kind of thing. I can’t tell if their true feelings or motives towards me.

Has anyone else experienced this oscillating of attitudes/moods with those who side with the abuser?
Did you ever find out what they really thought of you? I’m not sure I want to know.

Recently, my little brother, who, when he asked me to help him basically escape his homelife in high school I was a large part of facilitating, and as a result he got to go to a better school, live with my sister, not get harassed by my mother, told me that he didn’t answer my recent phone call (following up a really wonderful phone call we had- we were so connected) because he thought that ‘everything was pretty much my fault’ but ‘now he’s starting to see the situation’ (what? probably ‘the situation’ is that I’m crazy, NOT that my father is abusive because he is still dependent on my parents, and they are still granting privledges to sibs that they are having fun denying me). It just hurts so much.

My father has in the past uttered the phrase ‘it’s ALL your fault’ but my brother said ‘it’ was ‘all my fault’ after we hadn’t even communicated in many months, and I was in another state, and the only times we communicated was 1) me asking what he wanted for his birthday, no call back 2) a phone call where we talked about an issue we can both really relate to and I sensed a lot of kindness 3) me helping him and 4) a long time of just not talking!

Often the family ‘unanimously’ agrees that ‘no one wants you around’ for visits, vacations, etc but I wonder if this is just my father’s influence. Even my little cousins, who spend a lot of time with my aunt and one used to say I was her best friend and the other adored me too, are cold and distant and have that, “Oh, gosh Gillian….how disappointing you are, poor you” attitude as they get older. Somehow, my father is the hero.

I hope someday I understand all of this.


Thanks for this post, my family did groom me in so many ways to live in little cages and traps. My place as defined by my family was also to be eternally beneath them all, the scapegoat they used to make themselves feel comfortable and the eternally inappropriate, unwanted youngest child; resented, excluded, labelled. The very idea of treating me as their equal, with respect for my boundaries and person hood was unthinkable to them. Then maybe they would have to admit I was just a child when they began to hate me, and they were the ones at fault. Finding freedom from those old traps (of always thinking there is, was, always will be something wrong with me) is so incredible.


By the way: Way to go Darlene! Thank you! 🙂


Bingo! Another share that hits me and leaves me breathless. THIS! This! You say it so well. I will share in my group. I love that you write, so I can share. Together, along with many others like us, we provide ways for people to heal, and pass on what others have freely give to us.

Awhile back I was in a low spot, and wondered to you if I would ever heal. I wanted to be completely cured. You said some things that made me understand that I have healed. And yet I am healing more in the process, as we do when we pass it on to others. You are such a gift to the DoNM world.


Darlene, I’ve been reading your articles and posts. EXCELLENT insight. However this post hit the nail on the head for me. If my mother read this article she would definitely identify as the daughter, and then act clueless about her role as the mother…and blame me for my “fabricated” issues with her! We have not talked for 1.5 years. Her choice and as I got healthier with distance, my choice too.

I’ve spent my whole life an overachiever…on the outside well put together, respected, and loved by others and adored by my friends parents growing up, but on the inside not believing I was worthy of any of it. I’ve had lifelong anxiety, depression, guilt, and feelings of being overly responsible and obligated to appease and please others. When in reality, I’ve just been going through the motions without knowing how I really FEEL about anything. I always thought this was normal. I’m 46 and finally coming out of the fog, and I REFUSE to let this legacy of dysfunction pass on through me to my children. I have a loving patient husband and two amazing teenage daughters. I have not fully appreciated them until the past year when I finally stood up to my mother and demanded equal respect and have taken responsibility for my own health and choices.

My mother has always been a chronic complainer, hypochondriac, eternal victim, critical, judgmental, selfish, and emotionally unstable person. She had no friends and alienated my brother and me from our larger extended family. When I was in the first grade, she was so mad (when I accidentally shut a door on my younger brother’s fingers) that she kicked me in the stomach and screamed, “I hate you!” I knew at a young age that I couldn’t always count on her and had to take care of myself.

As an adult, I have sent my mother so many ignored emails and begging her to go with me to counseling to help us communicate better. Looking back, I really just wanted an emotional connection and unconditional love and respect…however, I never had this from her before and was continually setting myself up for disappointment trying to fix us. After my mother had three decades of counseling (same therapist that finally retired) to deal with issues from her own “abusive” mother and husband (both now passed away), my mother now feels that she is “cured” and any residual issues between the two of us are solely my fault. She takes no responsibility for her side of this relationship…looking back on it, she never did with my father and grandmother either. She always saw herself as the victim from these “domineering and oppressive” people in her life. When my father passed away, she told me that it was now her turn to be selfish. It’s been 9 years plus a lifetime of being selfish, and I don’t see it ever ending. With time, perspective, and awareness I now see so many of her narcissistic behaviors and how I became the scapegoat and blamed for her perceived slights and offenses now that my father and grandmother are not longer around to be blamed.

Thank you again for your insightful and heartfelt articles and reader posts. You really have made a difference. Having a NC relationship with my mother is more socially taboo than a divorce or abandoning your own child. However knowing there is a community of people who have experienced similar and are finding peace in their lives gives me hope that I can do the same.


This couldn’t have come at a better time. I am just falling to pieces inside as I read this because I am dealing with a neighbor that is trying so hard to knock me down. It is absolutely parallel to a workplace scenario.

You wrote: “If someone can get you to believe you are worth less than they are, they can make you look at yourself instead of at them.” This is what I have been struggling with for the last couple of years with my neighbor. She even pointed out to me that she admires the way I am so confident about what I want and expect in life and that she wished to be more like me (red flag).

This is what my neighbor boils down to in a nutshell as you have perfectly said: “Everything changed when I realized that my biggest fear was that they would reject me and that truth was that they already had. It had already happened when they didn’t see me as having equal worth as an individual and when they invalidated and disregarded me by their actions or inactions.”

So, in turn I am left out of everything. The sociopath neighbor has already lit the fire, dragging my name down amongst the other neighbors. It has been one of the most miserable experiences in my life after losing my Mother at the age of 7 and then being raised alone by my narcissistic father — who I have no contact with anymore. I severed everything with him…but luckily, it didn’t mean losing other family members. I even moved across the country.

With the neighbor it is a tough situation. I just want this HELL to end. I am tired of thinking about it day after day…I cannot escape even seeing my neighbor for more than a couple of days….and she always gives me this wave and smile that with evil behind it. YES, I want to move but the husband and kids are not on board. But, they are on board in agreement that the sociopath neighbor is up to no good.


Hi Darlene,

Thank you for your continued sharing of your journey with us that follow you. Many of us do so in the shadows, reading and absorbing, learning how to take further steps out into the light with new truths that we discover about ourselves.

I knew very early on that my father didn’t like me, let alone love me. Being the youngest of all boys, he wanted me to be a girl, so I disappointed him from day 1. And to this day my parents wonder why I am now “the way” I am and no longer pay homage to them like the serf I should be.

When I was seeing a therapist, in one of the sessions he said “You’ve broken the cycle of violence and abuse that your father carried on from his parents. You’re not the kind of father that your father was. That’s no small thing, you know.” I thought on it a moment and broke down crying there in his office. That was a few years ago, but since then I have often thought back on that day and remembered his words and affirmed them to myself – Yes, that’s no small thing.


Eddie, I love your post. You’re right. It no small thing. Congratulations on your progress! My father was similar. In his own way he loved us but he was so broken from his FOO that he kept us at arms length so we couldn’t hurt him?! It was all about maintaining power and control and “keeping us in our place.” Any perceived slight or disrespect brought out the belt up until I was 15. I was continually told that I was ungrateful and selfish. He was always angry, brooding, critical, name calling, and full of put downs. I don’t ever remember having a simple conversation with him that didn’t end up making fun of me or telling me I needed to just shut up. No mutual respect whatsoever….ever. My mother took the victim role and never protected us…she would side with us behind his back. She would also complain that we never took family vacations…a picnic lunch at the park would have made such a difference! …but no, she would rather complain about it and solicit sympathy. My mother told me and held true to her assertion the first week my daughter was born (we lived 8 hours away) that “I should never expect them to be the kind of grandparents that we could ‘dump’ our children off to babysit.” WTF?! I was a Straight A kid with a part-time job and NEVER borrowed a dime from them. There were too many strings attached and had to give up too much of my own personal power in my own life to ask for help.

When my first daughter was born, I was so humbled at the gift of life and the responsibility I could now embrace to break this cycle. Both my children are not an extension of me…they are their own unique individuals with gifts and potential. Our job is to love, nurture, and cultivate those gifts and then let them go to make a difference in the world. They will come back…because they will want to…not out of fear, obligation, or guilt. Thank GOD I had the insight to make different choices, but the journey has been so hard…but it’s worth it.


Thank you so much for posting your story. I can so relate a foster child, one of 9 other children. I was sexually, physically and emotionally abused by this family. I have spent years in therapy uncovering the lies told to me as a child. I too do not have a family, at least a family of origin. I choose to disregard my foster mothers rejection of me and to stop rejecting the inner child that resides inside of me. Today, I have a new family of family and friends who respect me, care for me and I value them with all my heart. I choose to stop hating the person I was. I now understand why I hated me. I thought I was unlovable. I no longer feel that way. I thank God for all the therapy I have received because it changed who I believed I was, nothing, of no value to anyone. I love my son dearly at 42 years old, and I know I broke the chains of abuse. He will not go into therapy saying he was abused by his parents. There is hope but first you must go thru the pain, allow that pain to now have a voice.


Hi Everyone~
Welcome to all the new people. Due to a family medical emergency, I have been at the hospital and I have not been able to be online. I will try to catch up with the comments here tomorrow.
hugs, Darlene


Hi: l relate. My sisters and l don’t talk, we were raised not to. l guess it made it easier to hide all the secrets. l always competed and fought for my mothers love and recognition. l was told l was stupid and she wished me dead. l was in grade one.

l left out most of this due to it leading into dehumanization etc. My mother was on stepfathers side. She heard nothing, rest of time l was to scared to say anything…..


Darlene, my thoughts are with you tonight. I hope all will be well with your family member. Big hugs to you!


Thanks for writing about the grooming process in abusive relationships. I’m dealing with an emotionally & psychologically abusive husband.A divorce has been in process since April and my daughter has started supervised visits with a Psychologist, which has been court ordered. My 15 year old son has refused any contact with his dad and I support that. He has choices & a voice. I’ve had to be the voice box & advocate for both my children with my attorney & now the Psychologist. I’m having a hard time with my dtr’s recent visit with her dad. He bought her lots of gifts for her birthday months ago, since he has had no contact, per a restraining order in place. God it’s complicated & I will not go there in this comment. Just wanted to say the whole gift giving to me, is about the grooming process. Te message that if you visit with me, I’ll buy you things. Now, my daughter feels loved. Things are not Love. The Psychologist decided to hold my son’s gift, since he did not visit with his father. I’m not really sure if my husband was behind that or if it was the psychologist’s decision. She told me to tell my son it is on her. Of course, my son feels badly that he was left out and he now, wants no contact with his father. This is all so complicated. When I continue expressing my concerns to the Psychologist about my kids’ best interest, I feel as if she is looking more at my husband’s rights as the father. I keep having to reiterate the truth about him & running into run blocks/obstacles. If it’s not the court system then it’s the Psychologist. God I’m frustrated and having feelings of dread and anxiety, regarding my kids. I respect my kids’ feelings and I’m tired of others thinking that parent’s have more Rights, esp an abusive parent!!! :'(


Thank you for this very valuable post und the equally interesting comments.

I too suffered from a dysfunctional FoO. Only when the abuse reached hights never before thought possible (being cut out of the will and openly berated and insulted) I finally saw what was going on. I finally understood that badmouthing was going on, which destroyed the before working relationships with my siblings. Who apply a whole range of passiv-aggressive behaviours one learns in a dysfunctional family, obviously recently trying to get me back into track.

The grooming process took place like many here describe it: Again and again being openly told that I had no rights, that nothing belonged to me, that I was “lazy, demanding, insolent, arrogant”, and in all, THE (only, haha) problem of the family. Long did I believe in that. Until the day that he overdid it. (The cutting out of the will thing)

As a result I stopped relations to the abusing parent and feel quite ok about it. I also suffer from severed relations with siblings and their children whom I probably will never meet. That hurts. It hurts a lot.

One unexpected outcome of my coming out of the FOG is that I finally saw that I obviously married someone from a very similar family. And the recent problems with my inlaws are what currently is most disturbing to me.

This statement describes my mother in law to a t: “…the whole gift giving to me, is about the grooming process. Te message that if you visit with me, I’ll buy you things. Now, my daughter feels loved. Things are not Love.”

She keeps doing it to my inlaws and their kids – maybe they are not yet clearly seeing what is going on – everyone still complying with her wishes.

She did it to me as well, and I’ve been complying for decades too. But as a byproduct of my coming out of the FOG of my FoO I saw what was going on. When I tried to free from compliance, I was accused of being crazy, of being the problem, of being sick. I finally realized that my feelings were of no interest or importance to my mother in law, only my compliance to the show that she calls “happy familiy”, “happy” when everone dances to her tunes.

It was very relieving to be finally able to see that, but now my problem is my husband, who still is in the FOG. He uses emotional blackmail (only now recognized) to get me “to behave”, I’m praying he will eventually learn to see what is going on.



I could hardly breath after reading this post. I’m still struggling with coming and going in and out of the fog. Right about now I feel “crazier” than normal. I don’t know if its because I just had a birthday or what, but I usually feel this way around this time of year around my birthday. I’ve been at war with my family over the abuse of my nephew for the last 12 years (I’ve been at war all my life, I just took a stand within the last 12 years). My nephew just turned 15 on October 6th. I keep getting treated like the nut job because I blew the whistle on the fact that my sister was allowing the man she started dating when her son was three years old to orally sodomize him and burn him with cigarettes and do God knows what else! I went to the authorities to no avail. When ACS contacted my mother to verify my story she told them she didn’t know what I was referring to! From that point onward I was not allowed to see this little boy whom I adore. There were some times I did get to see him, but I had to keep my mouth shut and pretend. I keep being told that this is the past and that I should just let it go? This man who abused my nephew since he was three years old beat him up last year — finally giving me to opportunity to get the authorities involved and you know the rest right? It’s all my fault because I got the story wrong and caused unnecessary problems by interfering. My nephew’s mother was planning to Marry this perverted freak! My nephew is now in foster care but is still clinging to his mother. The goal of foster care is to reunite the family? I did what I could to maintain a connection, but no one would report my nephew’s mother. I can’t believe so many people including my mother and other family members saw me as the trouble maker.

I finally stopped trying to enlist their aid when I realized that I was telling most of these folks their own stories. My Nephew’s mother is still involved with this creep! I’ve sucked up a lot of crap to stay near my nephew and it breaks my heart that I’m seen as the enemy. This little boy was three years old when these things started happening to him. He’s now 15 and living with a foster parent who I have met, who has told me some of the stories my nephew has told about his being abused at the hands of his mother and her perverted boyfriend. Knowing all of this, this foster parent and everyone else seems to defer to my nephew’s mother’s authority. How is it this sick, demented. . . is allowed to have parental rights?

I’m told Tracie that’s the past. Things would be fine if you’d let stuff go? Am I the only one that sees something wrong with the fact that my nephew has been ordered into counseling since he was three. His mother always found away to get around counseling — be it changing schools, etc. The thing that blew my mind most of all was the fact my nephew was seen as the PROBLEM!! This little three year old boy was reacting to the insanity in his life and I couldn’t protect him!! I know things won’t be fine it took me 20 years to crawl out of a bottle. I’m just emerging from a fog that I feel like is going to suck the life out of me before I get to the other side.

How do I make the pain stop?


TO me, this is one of the most cruel and inhumane things a parent can do to a child. Almost instantly I think of Stockholm syndrome: It has been found that four situations or conditions are present that serve as a foundation for the development of Stockholm Syndrome. These four situations can be found in hostage, severe abuse, and abusive relationships:
•The presence of a perceived threat to one’s physical or psychological survival and the belief that the abuser would carry out the threat
•The presence of a perceived small kindness from the abuser to the victim
•Isolation from perspectives other than those of the abuser
•The perceived inability to escape the situation

What’s even more horrifying, is, with children, we have no sense of emotional maturity. This is learned and dependent on our mothers and fathers. So, it’s as if children are lambs being sent to the slaughter. I have spent my life trying to really hear my own voice. Some days it’s so difficult and confusing. I pretty much have lived my life in the role that was redefined for me. I am the bag holder, the door mat, the one who fixes things and takes the blame for all this is wrong in the world. My adult brain understands this dysfunction, but my heart is still so far behind. I seem to spend a lot of time talking out loud, somehow if my thoughts are out of my head and spoken literally and make sound, it helps me. Does this sound crazy or what?


OOPs, I meant predefined for me. sorry


Oh my gosh Darlene, when you wrote: “And some would say there is a price I have paid. I have no family. I have nieces and nephews that I will never meet.”
My husband and I have 2 kids, who have no grandparents, no aunts and uncles, no cousins that are interested much less give a crap about them. I grew up, knowing that there were family members that felt I was nothing. I saw family members get together over the holidays, spend birthdays and such together. I was left out. I feel that the cycle has been repeated with my own children. It kills me that these family members know of my children’s existence but do nothing. I have always been an outcast partly because I would speak up. Early on, I chose not to tell my daughter of the abuse and dysfunction of my family, but, over time, she came to see for herself. I couldn’t lie to her. She feels abandoned by my family and my husbands’ family. I feel just awful. I can be the best mum and my husband can be the best father, but we cannot be aunts and uncles, grandparents and cousins to her or my son. It’s hauntingly lonely.


Tracie (comment 32), you should be commended, not villainized, for trying to help your nephew. How terrible that no one else will intervene. And awful that a three year old can be seen as The Problem when it is the ones abusing him and the ones that won’t help him. It’s good that he has you in his corner.



As much as I’m sure that it hurts to have family that have no interest in you, there may be some freedom in not having the mixed messages that some of us are subject to. I have felt locked out of the house, but tied to the porch in relation to my family for many years.

It is tempting to say that you’re lucky that you don’t have to decipher the code, but the more I think about it, the more I recognize that it’s not true. It does make your journey different from mine in ways that are hard for me to imagine.

I hope you find comfort & friendship from people who are truly able to love you as you are.


I have had the mixed messages. I don’t understand what you are saying.(decipher what code?) the code of narcissistic families and the unspoken rule of do as I say, not what I do. And, children should be seen and not heard. and god forbid anyone ever know about our family secrets?
I come from a home where I was adopted and my step father abused me. My mother did nothing. I was molested at age 4, I have 2 half-siblings that have always been regarded as more important than I. I had a horrific car accident and had to beg for reconstructive surgeries. And still got abused, kicked out because I cost too much. Besides, I’m not my stepdad’s real kid. It kills me to not count as much as others. The worthlessness I feel, and now my children are denounced and rejected because they understand and see the lies. They hold others accountable. They too feel the exclusion. The reality is, as Darlene says, our fears will rule us, if we allow them. But, the truth is, what we fear has already happened, especially concerning abusive, alcoholic, narcissistic families. People in these families have 2 options. 1, don’t rock the boat, because you are upsetting the finely orchestrated dysfunction. Or 2, go against the flow and stand up for yourself or others and be cast out. Scapegoated. All I am saying is being cast out, although ultimately, it saved me, still feels incredibly hollow and painful at times. I don’t know if it will ever subside.



I’m sorry – I misunderstood what I read. Your journey really isn’t different. I didn’t recognize that you had come to a point where the relationships broke – if that’s a fair way to say it.

You are right about the families we come from. I made an unfair assumption.


It’s ok. I’ve used to post here a while ago, and then Darlene went on vacation and there were no more posts. I thought I’d hop back in and see if or what she was writing about. I find her to be so honest and she speaks so much of the pain and crazy making concepts that narcissistic/dysfunctional/abusive parents pass onto their children. Darlene has become a lighthouse in the fog of all of this.
My stepfather has pretty much disowned me from the beginning. My mother, it has been a ride through hell. She passed April of 2011 and Darlene and her blog/posts were helpful and supportive. Thank goodness for this website. Dealing with NC and FOO has been a struggle. On again, off again. Just before my mother died, she had said to me, “are you gonna punish me again?” As if my therapist suggested NC was a punishment to her?? Again, that was typical about my mother. It was always about her.
It was the first time in my life I actually got to HEAR the real me. I think we all are on a horrendously difficult journey. It’s unlearning the broken messages/beliefs about ourselves and creating the new healthy ones. I have always found that concerning adult children of (for me, Narc’s and alcoholics) dysfunctional abusive parents, although the characters names are different, our experiences are surprisingly similar. And, that’s both sad and comforting. I appreciate your sentiment. Thanks for your comments. 🙂


Aside from my own therapist, Darlene and her ability to share her insight is probably the most valuable resource I have in my journey.

She acknowledges the reality of the struggle and the time and energy it takes to recognize the lies we grew up with, assess the damage they’ve done, grieve the loss, discover the truth, and live from a firm belief in that truth.

Others seem to be able to identify the steps in the process, but underestimate the work involved. Their “hurry up and get on with it” attitude usually comes through and gets in the way of some of the wisest advice.

Thanks for understanding my mistake.


Wow! I can SO relate to this. Thank you for writing it


I was not physically ab used growing up but I was mentally and emotionally ruined by my mother and I always felt like I was worth less than her and my younger brother. My Dad was also a victim of her self centred personality and he ended up drinking because of it. Everything was about her. Every single thing. Sometimes I wished that she would just hit me because I believed that it would hurt less than her words and her manipulation. Things got worse after I met me husband ….she could not stand to see me happy, so I wasn’t. She had a hold on me ….here I was with the most wonderful man and a wonderful life ahead of me and she ruined it…thirty years of it. I still question if I have a right to be so angry and upset and wonder what people think every time I cut ties with her???this time is going to be different…it has to be. I am fifty and my hubby is 55…we have 3 kids and we have had to deal with her nonsense for 30 years….my brother thinks I’m crazy too…if I give it again, it will be the end of me and my marriage for sure…I can’t go back…I don’t want to go back. Mydad has dementia now and I see it as a blessing…she is so mean to him…she thinks of no one but herself. Being Italian doesn’t help…I am being a very disrespectful daughter to the rest of the family, even though they know how cold and rude she is. I’m sorry…I can’t do it anymore…today is not a good day for me…feeling sad. Darlene, you are a godsend! Hugs to you. (( ))


The process of healing is like this vicious cycle. I think I take two steps forward and then find myself hurled back to a place that I thought that I’d long since left! The few family members, if I can call them that, don’t want to hear about my problems. The feel that I need to put this behind me and move on??? It’s almost like they’re saying so what those things happened to you — you’re just trying to use them as an excuse for not getting on with your life? Then I think, maybe they’re right, everyone seems to be okay with this insanity, maybe I’m the one with the problem. Maybe the horrible depressions, the crippling anxiety and other emotional disorders are all in my head — part of me knows better but there’s another part of me that would like to turn off the pain. The problem is that none of my former coping mechanisms are working. Drinking or drugging are out of the question, pretending I don’t feel what I feel doesn’t work and outside distractions only work momentarily.

Where do I go from here?


It took me 10 years and 9 months to get to a point where I could even share what happened to me, other than my therapist. I questioned myself my whole life. I was filled with so much hate, and disgust towards myself,others and life. And all these feelings started when I was a child and only grew more intense the older I became. I sat in front of my therapist and out loud asked what did she do to me that would cause all this pain and grief that I went through. I thought I was just a backward child that’s what she said, I thought I was shy, that’s what she said, I thought I was dumb, that’s what she said, I thought I was ugly, that’s what she said, I thought I was fat, that’s what she said, I lied a lot, that’s what she taught me, I thought of my body as if it were a sexual object and that’s all it was good for, that’s what she taught me. I was locked in a dark closet for hours on end, that’s what she did to me, I was beaten and cussed at, that’s what she did to me. I was cleaned up and fed before anyone she felt threatened by would probably show up, that’s what she did. And I questioned my behavior and beat myself up, and wanted to kill myself many times because of what she said, because of she taught and because of what she did to me. She was never my mother! I have to reteach myself everything starting with the truth of what exactly happened to me.


Thank you Jane.

If I didn’t know better, I’d swear you took a peep at my diary. Hearing you validate my experiences doesn’t change the fact that I still feel like I’m blaming my mother because my life is a little off-Kilter at nearly the age 50 (I just turned 48). Intellectually I know better, I just can’t get the rest of me to follow suit. I wasn’t sexually abused by my mother, but she sure as hell looked the other way when it came to some of my “male” babysitters. They did things that I never told another soul. The main reason I never told because I was afraid I would not be believed or taken seriously.


‘The Grooming Process’ … it sounds so deliberate and, aside from sexual abuse, I think that label is a smidge off the mark. To me its more like a ‘strength in numbers’ or ‘if you can’t beat em, then join em’ process because from my experiences, and I’ve been dealing with this sort of thing from my mom’s side and my dad’s side of the family, they all truly believe they are right and that they are trying to save me from myself. Its so much easier to follow the masses than it is to rewrite your own history and these families are all just trying to save us from a whole lot of useless hard work and heartache … its for our own good! When I hear the word ‘grooming’ in a non sexual context, it tends to make those people seems smarter than they actually are. I can’t help but think how important it is that victims understand that our abusers are not ‘plotting against us’ and that they honestly think they are helping us and THAT is what makes their behaviour so sick and dysfunctional and ultimately unchangeable and unacceptable. The abusers surround themselves with each other and have created their own ecosystem and to themselves, they are all normal and the blacksheep really is the cancer. In order to survive we must accept that this is their reality and make our own ecosystem. Its very sad and very lonely a lot of the time but very necessary too.


Dawna-Llyn, message 47, I see things differently. I was groomed to believe I was inferior because I’m a female. I was groomed to believe I was ugly. I was groomed to believe I am unworthy and silly. I was groomed to believe that my needs were unimportant. I don’t see how this could possibly because anyone was trying to save me from heartache or possibly believe they were helping me in any way. Instead I believe that my mother was selfish and didn’t want to be bothered with me. She didn’t want me to feel pretty or have nice clothes because she wanted to be top dog with no competition. She didn’t care if my needs were met or if I was happy. She used the belt to exert control and instilled a lot of fear in me. I can’t attach any good intentions whatsoever to these things.


Dawna-Llyn Marshall, I understand what you are trying to say in your #47 post, but I think that for many many victims, their abusers actually ARE plotting against them and that they DO NOT believe they are helping or trying to save us for our own good. That may be your experience or understanding, but it was not mine. I dont feel that you were trying to “teach” me or others here that we are incorrect in our assessment of the abuse and neglect that we endured…and the damage that it caused. I do believe that in my family, I was “groomed”. There might be different words to describe it, but this word is actually a great one to use. I know my abusers were intelligent enough to want to hide the neglect/abuse…to set me up to be seen as worthless and over emotional, and therefore not to be listened to or treated with respect by others. They did indeed groom me to be silent, to not challange them on anything for terror of being “punished” or rejected. I was sexually abused by different persons than they, so I do understand now that I have healed to the point I have, that I was groomed in a very similar way. As a survivor of a lot of very painful things in my personal upbringing and life, I dont feel I have to understand ANYTHING about my parents or any of the abusers. What they did was sick and twisted and wrong…and they did know and understand that they were wrong. I am not trying to make you feel bad for what you wrote because I do know you are coming from your own personal experiences and perceptions, and I feel badly that you had your own nightmare to walk through…and you did not deserve any of it! I hope and pray for your continued healing and happiness. I simply wanted to express how I felt after reading what you wrote and comment on my own perceptions about it. Peace and hugs.


First, Darlene, I hope things with you are ok.

Second, my mouth dropped open upon reading this post and then I fell silent. To begin with I couldn’t feel anything. Then I am reminded of all the times I sought help from others when it came to my family and how many of them seemed like they were really listening, that they believed me, only to turn and somehow side with my parents. Whether at the time, or very much later in their explanations that my parents were “doing their best”.

And in doing so they made it clear to me that I was the “troubled” one or that I had the problem. Not one person seemed to ask themselves whether something else was going on, or whether there could be truth to what I was saying. It seems even more desperate to finally find someone to tell and who you believe will help and then have them turn on you than it is to know you have no-one to turn to except yourself.


TH What terrible things your nephew has had to go through. And you too for being in his defense. I commend you for your courage.

GDW, I have found that when I have spoken up about mistreatment as an adult (for example, stuff like sexual harrassment) it has also sometimes led to my being ostracized. I get it, it makes other people upset to know the people they like and/or respect do stuff like this so it becomes a way out, to blame the person who spoke up. Or maybe they think “victimhood” is catching, like cooties, haha. No, rather I think it’s their own fear of punishment or the pain they will feel if they do speak up about what happened to them that is at the bottom of it.


WOW! I grew up in a very loving, functional family. I married someone who didn’t. My ex husband and his mother are alienating my son from literally every person related to or somehow connected to me. Your article really puts it into perspective and goes a long way to explain why this repeats in the generations. Thank you so much for your courage. It is greatly appreciated.


My mother did this to me as well. I am the trouble causing adult child of our dysfunctional famiy. I would talk to staff at school. My mother would find out and she went out of her way to ensure they knew all about me and my bad behaviour, cause she would tell me.
You never quite get over it. This can be seen by my low sef esteem, depression, hopelessness/worthlessness and countless self harming that led to hospitalisation.
This article sums up my upbringing. I know many of us are still coming to terms with it, and still beat themselves up over it.
Thanks Darlene for bringing up this topic.


Welcome to all the new people who have just shared for the first time. Normally I welcome each person individually but my daughter just got out of surgery on Saturday and she isn’t doing well. I am not able to be here for a few days. If you don’t see your comment appear right away it’s because they are manually approved by me and I am unable to check online more than a few times a day right now.

Thank you for your understanding. Please keep sharing and talking to each other.
hugs, Darlene


Wow – this is the agony of my childhood and the core issue of my adult struggle for healing.

My abusers made certain ‘I’ knew I was the problem and that I was worth-less, value-less, undeserving and an imposition. They were the only powerful and important people in the dysfunctional hell-hole they called ‘family’.


I’m so sorry to hear that, Darlene. Best wishes to you and to your daughter for a speedy recovery!


Darlene, I hope your daughter quickly gets better!


I am so thankful I found this website. I am currently 32 and have been dealing with depression since having my own children and realizing how strange and toxic my mother and father have been and still are to me. I am still in the early processes of understanding and although I see it, I am having a hard time breaking away even though I feel so strongly I need to.
I am hoping to start counseling soon as this past weekend I had a breakdown. I was starting to feel so angry about the fact that I feel like I am constantly told, in subtle ways, that I am not allowed to be angry. I got more and more mad and then burst out in what seemed like an irrational text to all my family. It was angry and had to do with not feeling like I get equal treatment in our family, that I am pressured and forced to be understanding and gracious to all the rest of my family members while no one has time for me or my mistakes. My family completely rejected and shunned my behavior. Although I am not sure that was the best way to deal with things, they all act like I have left for the crazy farm and are now dealing with my like I can’t be trusted, from one emotional text.
My siblings have done all kinds of crazy things and there is always understanding and grace, but for me in losing my cool in my depressed and stressed state with a 3 yr old and a 7 week old, there is none for me. I have ran back to them, apologized, and again look for all the ways I need to take responsibility. I think in some ways, after reading your post, this is what I have been groomed to do. To keep them happy, to satisfy the need I have to get everyone’s approval. The trinagulation that happens in our family is rediculous, all perpetuated by my mother, which I think makes her feel important and special.
As someone just starting to deal with this head on, what advice do you have for me? What can I do to help myself become healthy and also not repeat this cycle with my boys.
Thank you!


I have read some of the comments and they have inspired me so. I look back on my childhood as one of torture and grief. All the verbal, psychological and abuse of the hands that are to hold us dear were not there. I’ve been to therapists and Dr.’s who have tried to help me put my life back in order. My husband was not raised in that type of environment, so he really had no clue as to what a broken person I really was. We raised our daughter and kids we took in much differently than I was raised. Breaking The Taboos, I call it. Sure there were problems along the way raising kids, we all have those, but we did the best we could and kept the people that were a threat to me as a child at bay. Raising my brothers, keeping a house up, cooking I was always the one person everyone could rely on if medical attention needed to be done even as a child, so going into the medical field did not surprise many family members. I do find myself starting to say things my mother and step-father said and stop myself before the words hit my lips. It’s as if I critic each word so they will have a sense of belonging and not suffer. Now as a grandmother, I am now going through this again. Encouraging my grandsons, trying to give them morals, empathy, manners and LOVE to live by for which they will become stronger adults in their own lives. The only person in my life that truly LOVED me has passed on. She was in her 60’s when I was born, so my time with her for 25 years were priceless. My Great Grandmother was my shining star and yes I took care of her medical needs as well. I helped to take care of her as the end was near. She needed it much more than anyone else. I believe she instilled in me the wisdom to continue through this life even as hard as it is. GOD has gotten me through all these battles and now I am seeing to my mom in a facility. Why do I take care of her, because she’s my mom and deserves the respect that she neglected to give me? I’ve already grieved over my mom’s illnesses and when she’s gone still a portion of me will die as well. All I ever wanted to hear her say is I love you. God’s speed everyone.


Where to begin? I have been sitting here reading this website for days! A light just went off in my head after the first paragraph! The fog lifted and my vision focused sharply! THANK you…ALL of you! (I still can’t get over how many of us there are with the SAME exact mom;)

A question for you all… But first a quick bit o history. I have the same self absorbed, crazy mom. Had me when she was 16 so someone would love and validate her. Came from a horrific abusive childhood. Remarried and had my sister when I was 8. GREAT step dad, but his motto was, “Happy wife, happy life”…to the detriment of anyone who may have any interest in a normal life in the fam…namely me.

I was a second or third class citizen. Nothing about me could be interesting or funny or worthy. But I was good for keeping the house clean and watching the baby while careers were built. And later, to be given the highly honorable position of getting to be employed by the folks in their biz. Which, miraculously, I have been doing for 20 some odd years.

The road has been bumpy- filled with angry outbursts, by me, at a perfect and innocent hero (that’d be my mom). After all, she has paid for vacations for the family, housed us at one time or another, given me a job when I was too stupid to get one on my own. Oh. And she decided I would be a horrible mother at 18 and took my son from me and raised him as her and dad’s own. Shhhh! Don’t tell anyone he’s really mine! We’ll call him your brother! And my baby sister can do no wrong. Had the finest colleges money could buy and a huge wedding. I got zip- wouldn’t want to enable you!

I used to look around for a hidden camera! Surely this was all some huge practical joke?? Real life doesn’t happen like this…does it? I was stymied by the way mom would forget the latest events in my life that were important to me. Why she couldn’t remember the names of my best friends. Why she’d get mad at ME for her car running out of gas when I lived in another state. Why she’d make a joke out my dreams and wishes. And why I was always so naughty and mean to her and just plain bad. This last episode of me being Horrible No Good Selfish Daughter just took place yesterday.

The Mr and I decided that since the kids were grown and out, lets live our dream and get a lil cottage in the country. Near the folks. Where I work. Sounds great! My mom acted like I told her I was gonna strap myself to a submarine and see how deep I could make it! And then I told her I wanted to retire. NO WAY. You can’t…all of a sudden we need you, we love you, we value your work. OK, fine…give me a month off to get the cottage put together and then I’ll return 2 days a week.

And then it hit me… I don’t WANT to go back! I dont LIKE these people! They aren’t very nice and we don’t have normal conversations or any fun. In fact, I think somethings really wrong with us all. And then I found this website and it all hit me like a nuke…it aint me!! It’s HER! And they all go along with her! What did I ever do to be the one they all gang up on and treat so badly?? DING. DONE.

SO I told mom again that I would like to just retire and enjoy my lil cottage and critters…just BE. (I did NOT tell her she’s the reason and that I’m cutting her out of my life) She freaked out because they just heard from the Dr that my dad has lung cancer. He is the main cog in the machine. I was his right hand stooge. How can she make money if he dies? OOPS! I mean- what will she do with out him?? I must come back NOW- full time!

So back to my question: WHAT the heck am I supposed to do? I mean, how do you cut off a relationship with your mom, but you kinda like your dad and he’s sick? And you kinda like your sister and you REALLY like your lil nephews, but they LIVE at the same house as her and you would lose all of your family if you chose this particular time to make your stand?! But you can NOT go back to things the way they were before? My dad is already wondering why I have not come around more than the once when I first heard. What if this is his last Holiday season? How do I extract myself from my mom being my boss when it’s my dad’s wish that I come back to work?? What if it’s his DYING wish??

Cheese and crackers! What a conundrum. A warning to all you youngsters out there; don’t EVER work for your MOM!! Specially if she’s nuttier than a bag of hammers!!


i just have to say thank you sooo much for all your posts they have taught me so much and have gotten alot of answers to why things were they way they were growing up you are an amazeing woman and know that you have helped millions thank you sooooo much


Hi No No Bad Girl,

I’m really sorry about your situation. I’m not sure what I would do either. I took note of what you wrote in your second paragraph about your step dad. He is part of “the system” that you are trying to break away from.

Many things that you wrote about were things that happened to me in my family. I was shown many times that I was not important. Even when my mother, “the head honcho” passed away “the system” was still in place. No matter how much I did for “family”, I was not accepted, appreciated, or even cared about.

Of course you don’t LIKE these people. No one likes being used. No one likes putting their all towards people and getting the slam down. It is hard thinking about your health and mental safety when your step dad has cancer.

I wish you the best. It is good you found EFB. You will figure out why they ganged up on you. I figured out why my family ganged up on me. I am NC with my FOO. It is a hard thing to do, and I have questioned it many times. In the end, it was the best thing for me.




My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. I hope your daughter is doing better today. You are an excellent conveyer of knowledge on the subject of dysfunctional families. Good blessings to you and yours.



I would love to hear the truth from the siblings and spouses of these parents that do these things to us.

WHY do they go along with them?

HOW are they having a seemingly normal relationship with her?

WHY does Mom talk to them like they are normal, respectable people and seem to care how they treat them when she can not or will not do that with me?

I watch the dynamics between mom and sister woman and it is a whole other alien language! The words, the body language, the caring…they share that special mom/daughter bond. Yet I do not.

And WHY do they not see what is so clearly happening right in front of them?? I ask, but I get; “You and mom are just cut from the same cloth and are like sandpaper to each other…it’s no big deal”. “Just learn to give in to mom and realize she sees things the way she sees things and you cant change that.” Why am I always the one to have to get that talk? Why not her?

Since taking this time away from my fam…I realize I am NOT an angry person full of bitterness and a jaded attitude towards the world! I only feel like that when I am in the presence of my mother! It’s a relief to find out I dont hate the world and I enjoy talking with others in a normal convo…not feeling like I wanna put an ax in the back of their heads! WHEW!!


Angie (comment 52),
Same here, I come from a fairly normal background and one time my best friend’s mother in law came to visit them when I was there. We had never spoken before, and to make small talk she gave me a backhanded compliment that just confused me, saying that some computer nerds have been very successful these days and being one isn’t all bad. The implied assumptions that I chose my direction for money rather than interest and that I needed to be comforted for being a nerd just left me speechless because I had no idea why she would say such a thing. Darlene’s writing has made sense of that and so much more.


Thank you for all the well wishes for my daughter! She turned a corner yesterday and slept through the night. She is doing much better!
hugs, Darlene


So happy to hear that Darlene ! Best wishes for her continuing recovery!


Good news Darlene. Wishing a good recovery to your daughter.


I found you tonight by googling “Everyone treats me like I’m stupid.” Don’t know if I can say I’m comforted to find there are so many who share the same potentially crippling family system, but it IS wonderful to know I’m not alone.

Lots of worthy talking points here, Darlene; your entry for October 18 (“Grooming”) really “hits home.” (LOL. My home hit back).

You could have been talking about my mother and our family system. I was the target of a mother who employed the very same diabolical tactics of isolating, invalidating, branding me with her very own scarlet letter and then revictimizing me – all to relieve her feelings, validate her self worth and keep me and everyone else under her emotional thumb.

I was that unwanted and resented female child – a rival who was going to be denied a place in HER family, HER world. I can still recall the intense shame I felt as a child, knowing aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, neighbors and clergy were certain to hear her warped version of my “latest transgression.” Decades later, many of those people still accept her account. How did she do it? And how COULD she?

I learned distrust, despair and self-condemnation at her hands. There was much worse besides, things you tell your therapist, things no one else would believe anyway.

Growing up in a family system that complex, that tricky, that dishonest and that chaotic has left me – at my most vulnerable – an emotional wreck, unable to relax around others, unable to participate fully in life, unable to trust. It has impacted my relationship with others, hobbled my self-esteem, darkened my worldview and influenced everything from the way I think to the ways in which I relate to food, to God, to money and to self.

I’ll bet more than one person will understand how good it is to disclose these things and see them in print (even as our inner parent is scolding us for broadcasting awful, hurtful things about our family – and denying any of it ever happened in the first place).

Thank you, Darlene, for providing a forum for discussion – AND disclosure.


Oh Marie you hit it spot on for me! Everyone here is so good at wordsmithing; putting into words what I have a hard time doing!

I see MY issues in print and I feel like Yes!; THAT’S what I’ve been trying to figure out!!

Everything from the words our moms said to the feelings we feel…the guilt at even feeling them…summed up perfectly!

It gives me a measure of comfort to know my jumbled up thoughts are NOT wrong and to see them straightened out, as it were, in a logical, simple way. Validated.

Thanks to all that take the time to do that on here!


Hi Marie! You picked a wonderful website! Darlene has so much insight and everyone is so understanding and supportive here. There are so many great articles with good insight and guidance for starting the healing process.

I too had a mother who resented females. I am the only girl child with two brothers and she let me know that I was inferior. I was often made to feel guilty and to take the blame for things that I was not at fault for. I was criticized a lot and grew up with very low self esteem. So you are not alone Marie. The details of our stories may vary but there are similar results in the ways we view ourselves. I think you will be glad you came to this website.


Hi all,
I have been trying to catch up here, welcome to the new people that have come since my last check in. Again I am sorry that I can’t answer all the comments. (this blog gets between 800 and over 1000 comments per month. I can’t keep up with it anymore!)

Marie ~
You are certainly not alone here!

No no bad girl..
I was just reading your story; here is some food for thought: When is it going to be ‘your turn’? When do you get to decide what you want to do or what is best for you?

What Andria said about the family system is so very true. The system will be in place no matter who dies.
Hugs and thanks for sharing, I am glad you are here,


The thing in this article that gets to me the most is (and it might be paraphrasing but it’s in quotes anyway) “Our biggest fear if we stick up for ourselves is rejection, but the reality is that we have already been rejected.”

Those words really create a shift in my mind. It doesn’t make it hurt less. In fact it creates more pain since it just hammers it to the core that with rejection there really isn’t love and if the rejection happened a long time ago there never was. For me I think I insisted on believing that if I could just argue my point enough surely they’d see…most especially my mother.

And when she and I would talk one on one, there were times she’d validate but then she’d slip in something that was blameful (like it started with me she told me once.) And then down the line she’d get triangulated with my sister betraying…say an agreement that had been made.

Anyway…I guess my point is yeah…how silly it is to be afraid of something happening that’s already happened. That’s quite a perspective.


Hi All,

I’m been off for awhile…glad to come back.

For Darlene: Hoping your daughter has a fast recovery and return home!

For GDW #18:

I can feel your pain. To this day, I will never understand how my father chose his wife, my bio mother, over his only child, me, to this day! I wonder if my own father was ever considered “normal” before he married her? How much brainwashing went on during their first few years together before I was born? It’s like the posts where someone mentioned the Stockholm syndrome. I do have some abuse issues with my father but not as severe as with my mother.

I also have the situation of having NO extended family to speak of and my reputation has been slandered by my own father talking to the distant cousins and other family. I remember once when my father took me on a trip to visit his family in a small town in North Dakota when I was younger. We had just arrived and I was briefly unpacking my things and I was just standing in the hallway and overheard part of their conversation. My father actually said to them directly, “I don’t understand why she can’t get along with her mother?” These cousin’s faces sort of dropped almost like they believed his side of the story that I was some kind of evil teen! But the strange part was that as much as my parents wanted to blame me by saying that I was some kind of an incorrigible daughter, it never added up. Here I was as a very good girl, good student (honors student in a private high school), no drug/alcohol addiction, no criminal background, no teen pregnancy, well you get the point that they had absolutely ZERO on me since I was such a good girl type! LOL! They say that success is the best revenge!

My father never respected my privacy wishes either. Once in junior high school, I went through an incident of bullying for a few months on the school bus with a co-ed gang. There were guys and girls who were into heavy drinking and beginning drug use. I don’t know what the attraction was to me, but they thought that I was one of them. I think that one of the guys thought that I was cute and liked me, but I showed him no interest. So, they were verbally and physically threatening me on the bus. It got worse and worse. Finally, there was a meeting with these bus parents and it stopped. I told my parents to drop this subject and I didn’t want to talk about it ever again. But of course my mean, stubborn father didn’t respect me. Christmas came along with that horrible ritual where people write their Christmas letters talking about their kids with the family photo. Note how most people like to show off and brag about their kids slightly. Not mine! My father had to relate the entire humiliating bus incident in their annual letter to everyone! It’s like being abused twice! This shows just how insensitive he was and not a good, kind, caring parent. I could not hurt a girlfriend like that, but of course being “family” gave him a license to hurt me.

There was another incident again with my father’s family when I was like twenty years old and I had an invitation to a cousin’s wedding in N.Dakota. I was living at home and I asked my parents if they could help me to go there and buy a formal dress, wedding gift, ticket, and so on. They said “no” of course and my mom’s excuse was that I was too “fat” to be seen in public. I am not a morbidly obese woman, but I have been overweight wearing plus women’s sizes and this disturbed her. Of course it’s all about power and control and my mom did NOT WANT me to connect at all with my father’s family. It was always about helping her trashy side of the family all the time, including having one after another of her relatives stay in our house basement for months at a time. Mind you that our house was a big, luxury house in an upper-class neighborhood in Seattle. I felt so self conscious over these problem people that I lost friends. My father didn’t care that I was embarrassed by this situation and I did not want to bring any girlfriends over to visit me in the house.

I’m getting a bit older, 45 years old now, and I really have NO family to speak of. I never thought it would be so bad at my age when I was growing up. Both my abuser parents are in their eighties and don’t have a lot of time left. I have fantasies that after they die maybe then I can reconnect with a certain cousin, father’s family, and tell him the whole nothing but the truth abuse victim story of my life. But then I don’t know if he would even care. It’s just so hard to be the victim and never have others hear your side of the story!

My real happiness comes from creating good relationships in my adult life. My circle of girlfriends are very tight and that’s good. I dream of having a male relationship (living together/married) that lasts and maybe I could have a “family” by marriage with a few good, functional in-laws. I hope and pray that he could have at least a brother or sister who is close and niece/nephews by marriage. But I’m not worried since my life is not over yet. Also, I read statistically that the majority in the USA are single adults living alone. That’s correct, not couples, nor the idealized family of four, but single adults aged eighteen and over, living alone, and sometimes as a single parent mom or dad with no help. About half of all marriages end in divorce, and more people end up living alone and single for many years, but maybe not their entire life! There is so much craziness out there that I enjoy being alone and NOT living with the first man that comes into my life. It’s funny but I have a good coworker friend, Wendy, who is much older than me and she is concerned for both her daughters who are around thirty years old. Wendy does not like one of her daughter’s boyfriend, and he is a bit physically rough with her, while her other daughter lives alone in her own house. She told me that she has a few single male friends but that she wouldn’t introduce her daughter or me with them, since this generation of men seem so self-centered like they can’t grow up….but I’m drifting off.

I enjoy reading all the posts. I am far from being a saint but I wonder why I am “it” in my family? Why am I the only one who can see, feel, and think clearly? My father always defends his wife and I am viewed as flawed and that it’s my fault for not getting along with her. Sometimes I wonder how far he could go if he were really pushed? Would he rob a bank if she told him to for the money? Would he publicly lie and insult me even more at a holiday party (it’s happened before) because she told him to? I do keep both of them at a distance and with their age I know that it’s almost over. I wonder how much longer do I have to put up with them before they’re gone? It feels so good to let it all out here….I have tried to confide my stuff with girlfriends but they will never really quite get it. You have to have been abused with NARC parents to really empathize…

Thanks so much! Blessed Be!




Oh boy! Just as the fog was clearing and I was feeling stronger, I get a text from my dad that he needs me to come back in to the office not at the end of my vacay (a month), but NOW! His surgery is very soon and he wants to tie up lose ends (I did that before I left). I left my sister, the perfect daughter, in charge…what happened? Well, she has other commitments, so I need to come back. NO ONE ASKED ABOUT MY COMMITMENTS!!

Quick background: I am trying to free myself from the fam and our biz that I have worked with them at for over 20 years. I gave notice, only to be reeled back in by my dad finding he has lung cancer; I can take a month off, then come back a few days a week. My mom is the boss of this biz. But now the surgeons have OK’d the procedure for ASAP and he wants me back.

I’m FREAKING OUT!!! I thought I’d have another 3 weeks!! I feel too raw and weak to go back NOW!! I don’t want to EVER go back and work for her! I was gonna tell them that and just come to visit my dad and sister, who lives at the house (biz is also at the house) and NOT be under her rule! I had a PLAN!

So now, if I say NO (I’ve never done that before-HOW do I do that??) I will be the greedy, self centered, sinful daughter that denied my father comfort in his time of need.

I’m not even sure it was really him texting me! My mom prolly grabbed his phone and did it! Even if I ask him point blank, he’ll say yes…because that’s what queen bee wants.

I can imagine her thoughts right now…”Here I am in MY time of need and that worthless brat that I’ve given so much to just sits over there and ignores ME! She should be here, surrounding ME with comfort and support! Probably just sitting in front of the TV eating bon bons! She needs to come share this mess!”

And I keep feeling like WHY is my sister more important than me? Cuz there’s alphabet soup behind her name?? They have NO clue what I’m doing with my days; just assume nothing and that I can drop whatever piddly thing I’m up to and come back at the drop of a hat.

What do I do? How do I say NO to my dad, which is so hard when he’s got cancer and surgery here????


No No Bad Girl

Wow – my heart goes out to you. All the feelings you describe sound so familiar. I bet you don’t want to be heartless any more than you want to appear heartless. Learning to say “No” is so hard in this kind of situation. I don’t have advice. I can only commiserate.


@No No Bad Girl
I hope you don’t mind me responding. I really felt for you when I read your above comment because I know what it’s like to be manipulated the way you describe.

My situation was a bit different but the dynamics are so similar. There was an incident after I’d made a certain agreement with family while my father was dying, (just as you have.) My sister and then my mother, who my sister triangulated, tried to reel me in to do something against the agreement. Ie. go be with my dad for ‘just an hour’ on a day I was not supposed to be there AT ALL.

It’s kind of a long story but even when I said I couldn’t do it…even though my mom had said she’d be there when none of us kids or the home health aid could be, she still resisted and got annoyed with ME. Telling me she’d check with my brother. As if my say meant nothing and she couldn’t just be satisfied with my say. I already knew my brother couldn’t be there. But my mom apparently wouldn’t take my word for that.

Apparently with scapegoats of families (and this was my experience) don’t matter, pretty much in any way. In the other family members eyes’ she (the scapegoat) can be manipulated. And that’s because they know you go through all this emotional stuff. Not only are they calling you selfish and uncaring but you believe it yourself. It became confusing for me because I still question myself if I would have been there for him if I hadn’t been pressured and manipulated.

They know that what they think matters to you more than your own well being. And no, they don’t deem you or your commitments as meaningful.

I stuck to my guns in that situation I refer to above. I was afraid of repercussions. However I did it for me.

My sister got angry (although my mom used the word frustrated) because she claimed to not understand why I couldn’t do it. My mom did not stick up for me and say, “Because there was an agreement.”

(And notice how the little coward went to my mother, not to me who she had the so called problem with.)

I know this because I called my mom to make sure things were taken care of. No one had the courtesy to let me know. And when I asked my mom about my sister’s reaction she told me. And when I asked my mom why she didn’t mention the agreement, my mom said, “Oh I didn’t want to go there.”

That I believe was a betrayal.

The thing is if you say no, yes they most likely will talk about how selfish you are. But if you say no, they will also HAVE to find another solution.

You could just keep it as a text so you don’t break down and say, “No…I have commitments too. The agreement was a month. If you want me to come back THEN to help out, fine. If that’s not good enough, too bad. My commitments are just as important as your other daughter’s despite what you might believe.”

It’s difficult…believe me I know. But you’ll need to call the shots when you text back. Stand firm and tell them the agreement was made. And you are going to stick to it because you’ve made commitments within the lines of that agreement and so are not available. End of story.

Then you could just ignore any further contact from them.

I know it’s difficult. The pattern is set.But it’s up to the person being manipulated to change it. If they cared about you they wouldn’t have asked you VIA TEXT for starters. And second they would be honoring the agreement.

The situation that I refer to above…the agreement that my sis and mom were trying to manipulate me out of also happened when my father was dying so I know where you’re coming from.

It sounds to me like they’re manipulating you despite the urgency of the situation. They will find another way. They know you put them before you’re own well being. And if you’re not ready to go into the mix there’s a good chance you’ll be more traumatized.

So all that being said I do want to tell you that I am only speaking from experience. I’m no mental health professional. But what you wrote was such a reminder of my family.

It’s a good idea to do what is safe also. So you will have to make your own decision obviously. I’m not telling you all this to tell you what to do. But wanted you to know that you’re not alone in such manipulative and sick circumstances.

Take care of you girl.


No No BG….it is so difficult finding the strength to say “no”. In my situation, once I stepped away from all of the toxic dynamics, it amazed me at how quickly everyone seemed to adjust and find another way other than using me in their games. I personally wished I had cut them all off when I was 20 yrs old instead of wasting so many years trying to please them and win the love that they were never going to give me anyway. I may sound cynical, but I cant help but believe that my family had some fun at my expense playing their emotional games with me….being able to say whatever they liked disrespectfully…and ignoring who I was as a person. It always was all about them. Now they get to feed off of each other and I am completely left out of it. I feel relief that I dont ever have to embroil myself in anything with any of them ever again. The amount of stress and anxiety I used to feel is gone now and that feels great! I know everyone has a different journey to take, and I wish you the best with whatever you choose about your own situation! I dont believe this is wrong to say to you to take care of yourself!!! 🙂


If they’re calling you selfish and uncaring and you even believe it, doesn’t that basically give you license to be it too? I could imagine myself sassing back and flaunting my alleged bad qualities in their faces, explaining that I found out that I really am all that. I could also imagine making up a bunch of ridiculous excuses that are obvious total lies but that they couldn’t disprove, as a sort of reverse manipulation, a way of letting them know that I’m on to their games.


I personally would put it into different connotations.
License to be selfish…Remember we’re talking about ‘sick’ dynamics here so when I used the word ‘believe’ it was more about having been brain washed into thinking it’s a bad thing.

Being selfish isn’t necessarily bad and when family is manipulating and toxic I at first questioned my right to be thinking about myself over the others. This is a dynamic that is formed over a lifetime starting in childhood.

My co-dependence, (caring what they thought and felt) played a huge part in my decisions when it came to what THEY needed. And I would throw my needs aside.

Yes, I had the ‘right’ to take care of myself. But was also confused because of the many years of being groomed… to use Darlene’s word. So it really becomes a wrestling match within as to what’s really the right thing to do.

When my father was sick and dying, it threw even more confusion into the mix, with “This isn’t about me” kinda stuff.

And in a healthy environment, I most likely would not have hesitated in the care of my father.

But the history was emotional abuse peppered with some displays of love and caring…which made things even more confusing.

So yeah, you have the right to stick up for yourself but in this dynamic it can be very difficult to see whether they’re right about your actions and even feelings. Because you’ve had it hammered into your head that you care about no one but yourself.

And the dynamic had evolved to the point that my siblings were believing that about me too.

When someone who cares so much about what others think and how they feel to the point of it being unhealthy, it doesn’t become a question of whether she has a right to be selfish. It’s more like I need to do something to show that they’re wrong. And then step forward…even if it’s back into the abuse.

But as I emerge from the fog it becomes more and more apparent that it’s simply a right to make my own decisions for my own health no matter what they think.

In the fog of toxicity you don’t really see that right for yourself.

At least that’s how it was for me.

My father is gone now and I don’t really have contact with any of my family members now. But at the time my father was dying, although it might have been my right to also take care of myself, I didn’t feel like I had that right at the time.

I was too wrapped up in what they would think plus I was also worried about being physically injured as per some other history.

There was not only the emotional aspect of the perception of safety for me but also physical.

I bided my time until my father died and put up with the abuse and knew that when he was gone, I’d be out.

It took some time because I was still giving into my co-dependence. There were some events and loose ends I could’ve bowed out of, but I allowed my sister to manipulate me into being involved.

The shaming can be so strong and what amounts to bullying can be so intimidating, for me I just wanted to keep the peace to stop the finger pointing.

So I let them be right and kept my tail between my legs ’til it was over.

In retro there’s a lot I wished I’d said and done instead. But I also see now that I was minimizing much of the abuse as well. In a fog you don’t want to believe that the people that are supposed to love you are repeatedly hurting you.

When you’re pummeled with comparisons and how selfish you are in certain situations and you’re codependent you don’t tend to stick up for yourself.

What I did was feel ashamed and in believing yet also feeling confused at the same time, I thought they could be right, I wanted to admit to my “wrong doing” and do the right thing.

In my mind that actually became very muddled and confusing.
And it looks to me like that’s what NNBG is going through as well.

I’m not sure it’s a matter of having the right to be selfish but more about what’s healthy. And in these toxic dynamics pretty much nothing is healthy however it’s hard to see through that when in the middle and mix of it.

I was in survival mode only.

The person that is assigned scapegoat (as I was and looks to be NNBG’s role as well)ends up fighting within to figure that out. There’s a history of brain washing that leaves a family scapegoat to believe that they really are the problem while still in the fog.

And that doesn’t usually create someone who will defend themselves. Being the family scapegoat there’s this tendency to feel shame and do what is wanted and expected of them.

I hope that answers your question as to my thought process. Again, I’m only coming from a stand point of experience, reading and research. I have no string of letters behind my name.

We all have a right to take care of ourselves.


When my father first fell sick, there was an expectation from several family members (not from himself I should add) that I should go back “home” to take some part in caring for him to relieve those other family members of the burden. The message was that it was my place as eldest daughter (there were no others) to do this rather than them.

One of the reasons I refused to go – even to visit in the first stages of what turned out to be a very long, almost 12 year illness- was because I feared above all getting stuck there or damaged again by the shitty dynamic I had moved so far away to escape in the first place.

Both they (the family) and I were in (and it seemed had ALWAYS been in) this “either or” situation in which I was accused in so many and not so many words of being uncaring and selfish and I WAS WILLING TO ACCEPT THE EPITHET TO SAVE MYSELF.

And I also believed it, believed I was selfish, for a very long time. I no longer believe it (as much) but today I do regret not being able even to visit due to my fear (not unfounded) of being sucked back in and damaged.

My mother said, like she had said so many times before whenever I did or showed signs of doing something she didn’t want, “You have your own life Alice, just you go ahead and live it.” (This was not a kindly offer) So often setting it up as an “either or” situation. Either have your life or not. How cruel!

So this is sort of an “aha” for me: that my mother and some others in my family so often portrayed my decisions as “me or them”.

In the case of my father’s illness, there didn’t seem to be any opportunity in there for a different way of approaching the situation that may have allowed for all of us to “have our own lives” while also caring for my father. I know many families struggle with this.

There have also been studies done on which child is the most likely to end up caring for a family member – and it has nothing to do with how they were treated, or even how close they live. It has to do with whether she is a daughter.

From then on out every phonecall and conversation from my mother (they tend to be one-sided) was about the misery of caring for my father. And now he’s dead, every call is about the misery of his passing.

Before he got sick, the conversations with my mother were about his professional and financial difficulties, before that, his terrible childhood and mistreatment by his father.


Hi Darlene, I think all abusers try to hide their ‘skeletons’ in their victim’s closet. If the victim refuses to let them, they may even murder them in an attempt to keep their wrong-doing a secret. Victims who become perpatrators of abuse, risk exposing the skeletons they’ve attempted to hide in their victims if they expose the skeletons wrongfully, hidden in their own closet by those who abused them. I’m thankful that my family didn’t resort to murder when I decided to do a deep house cleaning and drug out all of the skeletons hidden in my closets and place them outside in the sunshine. I do know though, that is the reason they stay away. Also, it wasn’t enough for me to just get rid of the skeletons wrongfully, placed in my closet. I had to come clean with my own children and own the things I had done to hurt them. There are no skeletons left in my closets and I’ve retrieved those that I tried to stash away in the closets of others. It wasn’t easy. It was very painful but the only way to be free. I’m happily enjoying my own freedom but still feel frustrated in helping those who are scared to death of all those skeletons and refuse to dig them out and allow the sunshine to disinfect them. Until they get that courage, they remain trapped in their painful childhoods and doomed to repeat it in the present. So many people in my family remain trapped and there seems to be nothing I can do to get them to embrace the truth and be free but I also, know the best thing I have ever done for them was to clean out those closets and keep the family skeletons outside in the sun. What is brought to light becomes light and I hope and pray that someday, they will embrace the light.



Yeah I got that BS too, from my brother. He excused my father’s behavior because of how HE was abused by an older brother and his father.

So it was a double standard because I ‘should just get over it and move forward and not hold onto the past.”

Yet it was fine for my father to be a d-bag since he was abused.?

Just more BS crazy making to breed more shame into the the mind of the brain washed scapegoat.

And of course my brother is brain washed to to stick up for my father.

My father and my brother were fairly close. I will say that my brother stepped up for my father. He was there the majority of the time to care for my father when he was dying and wanted to be.

I don’t begrudge him needing help. What I did have an issue with is that he was disrespectful and intimidating in his treatment of me.

My sister is a narcissist so she got none of the abuse because of the egg shells he walks on around her. (Not that he should be abusing anyone, that’s not my point.)

My father could also be manipulating with all of us. He talked behind my siblings’ backs about how unreasonable they could be.

But he had also cried on my brother’s shoulder one day about how he screwed up with me because of a letter I had written to the family.

My brother took his side, saying that I was now responsible as an adult and my father should not blame himself.

I think my father should have taken that up with me and my brother’s response to me when told him that was “why would he? He thinks that anything he says would be used against him later.”

More BS to blame me.

I am so glad to be out but I am still angry with the treatment.

In fact my sister still in manipulation mode apparently, left a voice mail about sending a check…money inherited. That was back in August. In September about a month later, I texted her telling her that I hadn’t received it to basically cya in case it got lost in the mail. And I also wanted to bring it to her attention I hadn’t forgot her empty promise.

But I knew the chances of it being lost was pretty nil. She was dangling something in front of me that she knows is needed.

A week later she texted me saying “I thought I’d called you. The accountant had more questions and I also didn’t want to send that much in the mail. I’ll call you next week.”

A call I would not have answered anyway. But that was mid-September.

It’s just about the end of October and I have received no call and no check.

I have received inheritance before from a grandmother and my uncle was executor. A few months after my grandmother passed he sent what was left to me in the mail with absolutely no contact beforehand.

All sis needs to do is send it.

He died beginning of April. I have a copy of the will because I went and got it. There is no lawyer listed nor an accountants name. She obviously took care to hide this info from me.

There is a part of me that just wants to let it go and forget it. But there is another part that is so sick of putting my tail between my legs. It’s not about the money so much, which isn’t an amount that would set me for life or anything. It’s more about sticking up for me…taking care of me.

It’s just another catalyst my sis is using to jerk me around and keep me hooked.


Hi Pam
I liked your insight. And I agree it’s the only way to heal both wrong-doing received as well as the wrong doing dished out by me.

I did not have kids because I feared being too much like my father. But I did as a child bully my 3 years younger brother, throughout our childhood into my earlier teen years.

I own up to that and have even brought it up to talk about as an apology with my brother, just us one on one…years ago. I remember we spoke on the phone and I cried. He said he never held that stuff against me. But I know that kind of thing effects him, just as much as my parents BS.

One day while he, my sister and I were sitting in the room of my father at hospice, my brother brought up something specific I used to call him in the past, but did it in a joking manner as if it was a memory to laugh about.

I didn’t find it funny and I said that. I even put my head down and said, “That wasn’t right for me to do and I shouldn’t have done it.

(it was a name calling thing)

And my sister said in a tone that said I was ridiculous for being sorry for that, “That’s what kids do.”

So twisted.

Actually that wasn’t my main point. You say that being afraid of the skeletons is what keeps people from facing them. OK I can accept that as a partial issue.

For me I will say they are scary. They get my adrenaline going and it isn’t a pleasant feeling. And I can admit that there could also be subconscious fears of seeing those I am not aware of yet consciously.

However, my conscious fear lies in (right now) my physical safety as well as emotional from the others not myself.

You can talk til your blue in the face to others and I have. But if the people you want to drag the skeletons out with and they get hostile…pushing you, punching you, screaming down your throat while you sit in a chair and he stands over you in an intimidating posture…I think it’s more important to keep the body and mind safe and get away.

In cases such as that, if these family members aren’t accepting of nor willing to listen to you about skeletons, that duty lies with you to do it on your own…without them. My sister told me one day straight up she will no longer talk to me about the past, has no time for resolutions and it’s my choice to be miserable or happy.

And she didn’t waste the opportunity to tell me how messed up I am with examples of how sensitive I am, how I internalize and how I can’t let go of the past.

I get sad for myself now. Because I had a similar conversation with my brother and my mother too when my father got sick. And all 3 of them toward the end of the convo gave me the choice to walk away.

Thing is it was presented like an ultimatum. Either step up and help with your dying father in the way WE need you to, or just completely walk away.

I wish I’d called them on it and simply said, Sorry I am not going to be at your beck and call. I’ll visit MY FATHER when I can and you have no right to tell me it’s either or. Of course I’ll help if it’s needed when I HAPPEN to be there. But you are not going to assign me a schedule for your own needs just because you see me as a pushover I no longer am.

That being said, I would’ve been up for a fair discussion of a schedule if we could actually have a civil one. If the power had been balanced. If the whole thing was presented in love, not abusively.

But I would’ve been better off as it was to take them up on the walk away option at least in the beginning.

I was truly pathetic in the way I kissed their asses. As if I needed permission to go see my father. It’s ridiculous how I can see how fogged up I was.

I am hoping that I am building emotional strength so that if the time ever presents itself again I can stand up for myself in a coherent way.


Laura, I agree completely that it is more important to keep ourselves safe than sacrifice ourselves trying to help the rest of our family when they want no help. When they are lost in that system, we have to use all of our strength to maintain our boundaries and that is what makes it really impossible for me to have a relationship with most(if any) of my family of origin. They respect none of my boundaries and they don’t respect me. I spent decades of my life trying to earn their respect and hiding their skeletons, along with some of my own, in my closet but I could never earn their respect because our family system demanded that I remain the scape-goat if I remained in that system.

I’ve been getting phone calls from various family members lately (after not hearing from anyone for two years) and it is different having contact with them now that I am emotionally healthy. It’s a struggle but in the end I know these relationships aren’t likely to be re-instated because I’ve changed and that fact means our relationship has to change, if there is to be a relationship, or I have to go back to my old role. I’m not going back. I still love them but I hate the way they treated me all of my life. I’m not going to allow them to treat me that way anymore. I guess, I will always maintain some hope for them to find healing but that is their choice not mine. Like Darlene said, if my mom could look at her life in the same way I have looked at mine, she could be free from an abusive/abusing way of life too but she has to look for herself. No one can do that for her. For a long time I was stuck thinking I needed her to do that so I could heal but I didn’t. I found the validation I needed here in the things Darlene writes and in the stories of other survivors. Now I validate myself. What I don’t do is help my family of origin validate the denial they live in. When people have been in the dark for a long time, the light hurts their eyes, makes them scream in pain and agony. I still hope though that my choice to live in the light will make a difference and in time their ‘eyes’ will adjust and they will also, truthfully examine their own lives. Love always hopes but it doesn’t delight in evil and though I love them and have hope for them, I can no longer participate in the evil (that is their system of denial) with them. It is so amazing not to be locked within that system any longer!



Laura, money has been an instrument in my family – whether to get me to do or not do something (they thought if they didn’t provide financial support for the ways I wanted to go I wouldn’t go a certain way – they really didn’t know me at all:))

Or as a “reward” for me conforming to their wishes, as a way of making me understand I am not in someone’s “good graces” (removing it or saying they will), an instrument of accusation in situations where money was not on my mind at all (“You took care of your grandmother because you were after her money” – well, no I didn’t. I did it because I enjoyed her company FFS) and as a difficulty of my own when confronted with a sort of an ultimate “if you do/don’t do this then you’ll get/not get “your” inheritance.

I long ago decided I would make my own financial security (I thank God women can have bank accounts since 19-whatever it was!) so I would be free of all this crap but that’s not to say I haven’t and still don’t struggle with the idea of doing or not doing things that could ensure I get more, or at least “what’s rightfully mine” and I struggle with that too. I think, “Well I haven’t done anything for them so I don’t deserve anything.”

I still don’t know how things will go on the financial front when my mother passes. A few years back I decided I wouldn’t bother to fight any decision that was made about it, I’d let them all decide and take whatever the result was. They could have it all and do as they saw fit.

Then when my father died, the question of “rights” came up and I was asked by legal council whether I wished to accept what was legally given to me and I almost didn’t. I felt as if I was stealing from my mother. Aside the fact that they had set things up well enough to ensure her security and care. I racked my brains over it. It was another “me or them” thing, I felt.

Somewhere else on the blog, I recount when my mother told me that she could have set things up so I didn’t get anything at all. Well, no, it was a legal provision but she figured she’d BS me anyway.

There is love somewhere in all of this.


Thank you Pam and Alice for sharing your stories. I feel really validated within my own family issues from reading your comments here.

I have been feeling validated in reading Darlene’s posts too and was reading voraciously here during the time of my father’s care.

I am relieved to have very little contact at this point. I got a happy birthday message and text from brother as well as a card from my mother and my sister included the happy birthday with the text back on saying she’d thought she’d called me about the check she was supposed to send and didn’t.

I responded to none of it. And have decided not to do so anymore.

I expect this Monday will be a bit of an anxious day for me as it is my bro’s birthday and I have no intention of texting or calling. I definitely can feel that I am still concerned with their reactions and what they think. And I project being verbally assaulted by my sis for being so selfish as to not even text the bro a happy birthday.

Ugh. I am so sick of being pathetic little person feeling scared of being attacked. It’s ridiculous.


Thank you for this article, Darlene. I say prayers for you and your family every day. Your website has been such a salvation for me.

I do wish my mother at least had some excuse for being the way she is. I have never spoken to anyone who knows of any abuse by her parents or her brothers. My father’s father and brother were another story. I can believe that the sexual abuse I suffered at his hands came from something wrong in his family.

But I was able to stop it from becoming a cycle of abuse in spite of it all starting when I was four years old.

But as far as having an extended family, you would think I was an orphan from a foreign country. My mother is still alive, but she has woven her web so tightly that my reputation is nil. I have told of her talents since my father died in May so I won’t go into detail again. But I have to write down her latest forays into trying to destroy me now.

Thank God for caller ID. I don’t think I am going to take any more phone calls from people unless I am well sedated and ready for the lies. My sister-in-law called me with the latest accusations from my mother.

My husband is a retired Navy captain after 36 years. We take WWII vets to the Memorial Day ceremony at Veteran’s Memorial every year and help some vets with problems with VA and other things. We have taken in young adults who need help or have problems at home, etc. Both of our sons have always been able to count on us to help their friends over the years. This is not bragging, just leading up to my mother’s latest accusations.

My husband bought me three Hermes scarves when he was overseas about ten years ago. They are normally about $500.00 apiece. At the exchange with NATO he found three for me for about $100.00 apiece for our 32nd anniversary. We took my sister-in-law to the base when we went to visit a couple of months ago to see if they had them. Unfortunately they didn’t. She told my mother that she was thrilled that we had gone to the trouble to take her (it wasn’t a problem at all). In my mother’s infinite wisdom, she said that I had always been so selfish…that if I wasn’t selfish now I would just give one to my sister-in-law.

I was speechless. We have gone almost broke over the years doing for others and I am selfish because I didn’t give away an anniversary gift! I didn’t know how to respond. On top of everything else my mother has been saying about me, she is telling everyone this? Because she doesn'[t leave it at one person. I can see and hear her telling everyone I have ever known.

To end the conversation, I was then told the most shocking thing that my husband and I have ever heard. I had not seen my parents since 1997. But my mother has told everyone that my husband had wanted to have me committed because of the lies about the incest. My father has told my brothers, sister and especially my sister-in-law that he was ashamed of the incest. For those who have not read my story, it started when I was four and continued daily until I was sixteen (he tried for years after that). My mother knew all along, but now says I am crazy and lied.

My husband of 42 years is so furious that I don’t ever want them in a room together. I have commented on the string about anger. I get angry and he is usually very calm and able to calm me, but right now he is beyond angry.

I have talked here about not being able to say, much less write down the things that have happened to me in my life, but writing here seems to make it better somehow.

I don’t understand this need my mother has to destroy me. My much younger sister is a rabid drug addict and goes through women like most people go through kleenex. She has poisoned her son (my nephew) against me. She stole drugs and my niece’s jewelry from my brother’s house after my father’s funeral. But my mother keeps saying it is all my fault.

I was asked by my sister-in-law to intervene to see if we could at least get the jewelry back. After that, I have been called a liar and every other name in the book.

I was told that since my father is now dead, I should get on with my life…”I should have closure”. This is from people who I think want to get on with their lives. I know it is not from anyone caring what happens to me. I have one brother who is on three different antidepressants, a pregnant unmarried niece, a bipolar manic depressive niece and a nephew who cuts himself.

My mother gave that brother an M1 Carbine. Who in their right mind gives a gun to a family like that?

The sister who is a drug addict doesn’t have a job. Her son is doing great because he stayed with his father and his new wife. But I am the one who is crazy.

The brother who is the most stable is the husband of my sister-in-law. Their only daughter is wonderful and loves her much older aunt and uncle in spite of all of my mother’s efforts to turn her against us.

I don’t know if any of this is making sense. I will soon be 65 and keep thinking of the child that never was. As I said I am grateful for caller ID. My mother is badgering my sister-in-law constantly now that my father is dead. My sister-in-law has cancer. I have heart problems that my cardiologist said in 1997 was caused mostly by stress from my family. I know my sister-in-law can’t handle the stress.

I am willing to listen but it makes me sick for days on end after we talk on the telephone. I don’t know what to do anymore. Some days I think that if I would just quietly die, everyone on that side of my family would be grateful. I’m sorry for the whining. I’m just tired right now.
My best to everyone,


Darlene, THANK YOU for writing and posting this. Reading this was like reading my own life story with all the questions and doubts answered. Bless you for being so brave, and shedding so much light on this issue between dysfunctional mother/daughter relationships.


[…] The Grooming Process of Discrediting Children and the Cycle of Abuse […]


Wow, Darlene has another post! Oh boy, I can relate to this. All my life my mom has pounded into my head, “Think of how OTHER PEOPLE FEEL BEFORE YOU SAY THINGS.” (Translation” “other people” = HER!)

One time I confronted her on this, and I said, “Do you ever think of how *I* feel?” That’s when she blurted out, “I DON’T CARE ONE IOTA ABOUT YOUR FEELINGS.” Surprisingly, I wasn’t shocked when I heard it.

I had two interesting moments today. One, I call a “lightbulb” moment, and the other I call a “trust my gut” moment.

The “lightbulb” moment. For most of my life I have this obsession about “matching” towels. When I take a shower, I must have a complete set of “matching” towels: washcloth, hand towel, bath towel, they must be the same color, same dye lot, same manufacturer. It’s ok if different sets are different manufacturers or colors, but when I bathe, I must have ONE COMPLETE MATCHING SET. I figured out where this obsession came from. When I was a child, I was playing with my Barbie doll and I lost one shoe. I got punished (spanked and the doll and all clothing taken away from me) for losing ONE SHOE! I thought this was a bit overkill. I begged and pleaded with her to let me hunt and hunt for the shoe. She refused. That’s about when my obsession with the towels (and to some extent, socks) started. Even as an adult, if I lose, say, the washcloth, then the remaining parts of the set are given to charity and I purchase an entire new set of towels. When ever I would visit my family, I brought my own towels to ensure I had a matching set.

Now the “trust gut” moment, amazingly, had to do with laundry. I had washed some clothes (including towels) at the laundromat. I came home, started to put the clothes away, OOPS, I’M MISSING A HAND TOWEL! THIS IS NOT GOOD! (see previous paragraph)I went back to the laundromat, the towel was not there. But, I had this “gut” feeling that the towel was in my house, I had merely dropped it somewhere. I got back to my home, and it was on my bed, just got entangled in my bedspread. So now I know to TRUST MY GUT!


P.S. My mother doesn’t speak to me. (She would likely tell you that it is ME who doesn’t speak to her, but that would not be exactly the truth.)


I am not sure my mom did or didn’t come from a dysfunctional family. She doesn’t talk about her childhood much. I have gotten her to admit that something “bad” happened to her, but she won’t share details. Wasn’t a family member, was an outsider.

As for me, I don’t think my place was “no place” as Darlene mentioned, although my Mom did quote the “children should be seen and not heard” stuff a lot. For me, I was a precocious kid (knew stuff beyond my years) and she couldn’t deal with “precocious” so she tried to sweep it under the rug and squash it. One time my mom said to me, “I tried to make you be a kid and you refused to be one.” That was a light bulb moment for me. That statement made me aware of why I was so frustrated with her treatment of me. Mom didn’t want to nurture “precocious.” But the confusing thing is… I knew stuff beyond my years, but there was some immediate stuff most kids know that I didn’t; like, what my feelings were. I don’t have “connection” to my feelings. It’s weird. Took me years to figure this out. I have wondered if I’m borderline Aspberger’s…..


When I reached the age of 28 & had a child of my own the grotesqueness of my parents behavior & attitudes FINALLY became glaringly obvious to me

OOPS, messed up the blockquote on previous post!

Anyway, I didn’t have kids (didn’t want to), but both of my siblings did not follow Mom’s kid raising techniques, thank goodness. I believe both of my siblings have issues with Mom, but all of our issues are different.


So I’ve been dealing with a bout of depression over the past few days and although I have been under a bit of work stress (usual cause of it) I couldn’t work out what it was this time. There are a few things that I found weighing on my mind but none of them things I can do much about at this time (and they are in fact things that will either resolve themselves in time or that other people are responsible for) and then today it hit me that even though some of these were things I couldn’t do anything about other than wait, or things that were other people’s doing, I was having this whole “what did I do wrong?” reaction to them all.

Like it was the underlying thoughtfeeling (because it has both components) And that was why I felt terrible. And that was why I was basically sitting around depressed. Not doing anything is also a way of passing the time. As is sleeping (I would do that when I lived with or visited my parents – go to sleep to avoid them).

So anyway I had automatically taken the blame for both the things I couldn’t do anything about except wait as well as the things that were other people’s doing and felt like I must be at fault.

I thought “wow, where did that come from?” and then it occurred to me that I had either been taught to take on the blame when things went wrong or people were mistreating/behaving badly towards me (or maybe “and”) that I had not been taught NOT to blame myself when things I had no part in went wrong or when it was someone else.

I have also read that young children will automatically blame themselves for things they have no part in as a way of trying to deal with their fears. Did my mother know about this and neglect to take it into account? Did she know all too well and take advantage of it?

DXS what an excellent insight into the towel thing! And what excessive punishment for f*ck all (pardon my language)

My mother used to make me share her used bath towels and I couldn’t stand it so I would always go get fresh ones but then she’d use my new one so I’d have to get another fresh one. I took to trampling it after the tub to make sure no-one would want to use it after me. It drove her nuts (and yes it was wasteful of me) and then for ages I still couldn’t use the same one twice. It’s been a few years since I’ve been able to but when I visited their house I would take my bath towel out of the bathroom to make sure it didn’t get used by the family but would end up with a damp bath towel because the rooms were cold. In other places, everyone had their bath towel and you could tell they respected that so I didn’t mind leaving mine out:)


Alice, I think my default position is to blame myself when something goes wrong or if someone else is upset about something. And I know this is a throwback to my childhood. My mother could never be wrong. She was a master at placing the guilt , shame and blame on someone else. And since I was the only girl! that someone was usually me. Yes, I was the scapegoat and it was easier to just take the blame than fight back and make things worse. The problem is, this continued into adulthood and still continues. Someone gets mad then I automatically try yo figure out what I did wrong. I did this at work and in personal relationships. I realize now that this was an old coping method of mine used so that the situation would not escalate further. It was just easier yo take the blame. I know I shouldn’t be using this anymore, but old habits die hard. I just automatically default to this position.


Alice, this archived article might be helpful to you. I just retread it myself. How Blame, Guilt and Shame Get Misapplied to Self, Feb 26, 2011. It explains why it’s hard to tell the difference between deserved and undeserved blame.


Hi Amber!

Thanks for your message and the link. Yes, I can relate to that. I’m also a goat. And I’ve made things worse by fighting all of them. My mother was also “never wrong” and not once has apologized (I don’t count the couple of “Sorry if I may haves” she’s been able to muster over the decades as apologies).

Also another thing I do now which I think is related (or rather don’t do) is avoid doing anything that I might be blamed for. Or that might hurt or offend another person. It sounds like it might be a nice thing to do but it does not come from a place of concern or appreciation for them but more as a way of making myself blameless.

I can get to the point I will start to avoid them for a while if they do stuff that I don’t appreciate because I fear what I will do if I have to call them on it. Because I basically can’t do it (call someone on something) like a normal person.
Also to the point I won’t dare put my needs or interests on the table.

The last time I saw my mother, she wanted to speak to me alone (I had managed to avoid being alone with her the whole time I was there) and I was literally shaking before I went to see her. I was afraid I would hit her or something. Some days I think it’s a very good thing that I am not responsible for her care. Of course if I admitted it to the family it would make them “right” about me being the one with the problem. As it turned out, my mother lashed out at me. I had posed my hand over hers as I told her calmly what I thought about her as a mother and she freaked out and hit my hand away. I think both of us are better off as far apart as possible.

The other related thing is to make sure I am “right” at all times (not an easy thing to do). I mean there’s a kind of upside to that because it becomes very demanding to have to back up your position with facts and good arguments and I think it’s good to learn how to do that, but again, it didn’t start out from a positive place. The downside of that is I feel off even having an opinion – however trivial- unless I can make some inspired argument or run over to some source material on the internet to back it up. Sigh.


even though some of these were things I couldn’t do anything about other than wait, or things that were other people’s doing, I was having this whole “what did I do wrong?” reaction to them all.

Alice, been there. It’s because they flip the problem around and make you the problem. Worked for employers who did that.


Alice and Amber, I can relate to both of you. When I worked full time, if something goes wrong on a team I was working on, I always assumed it was my fault.

I’m now just working a part time job just for something to do, and when something goes wrong, I still assume it’s my fault. I am trying to get over that.


DXS, me too! The other thing that reminds me of that problem-flipping thing is the whole “self-help” industry that keeps on churning out that “what’s your part?” stuff. The “take responsibility” stuff and the “don’t blame others” stuff. As if everything happens in a vacuum.

So, what if blaming the person who WAS actually responsible for your welfare and screwed with it is the right thing to do?? That rarely gets mentioned. Sometimes I feel like there’s a wider drive to make people in unfortunate circumstances feel to blame, that way they won’t look at the actual causes. And if it is a “natural” proclivity from childhood to self-attribute blame and responsibility it’s that much easier to do, especially if you wave the carrot of “healing” (in other words, feeling better) at someone.


Alice and DXSMac, I learned as a child to become invisible. I must have figured that if I was invisible I wouldn’t do anything that upset anyone else and I wouldn’t get blamed for anything. But somehow, I still got blamed! I was an easy scapegoat because people knew I wouldn’t defend myself. Therefore, they could push the blame on to me and get away with their atrocious behavior.

As far as work or social situations go, if I do something wrong or make a mistake I will own up to it. What I need to work on is when I am not to blame for something, I need to speak up more. I shouldn’t be accepting blame for something someone else did to : make them look better, avoid having them get angry, or, worst reason of all- to try to get them to like me better. The only time I should ever accept blame is when I do something blameworthy.

Alice, good point about passing the blame to the victim so they won’t look for the actual causes. Instead they focus on “what’s wrong with themselves”. I’ve been in that position many times.


I agree. Just walk away! I would, but I can’ t get my husband to go along with it.


Walking away is only part of the solution. It isn’t best for everyone and should always be up to the individual. There can be more damage done if a person is advised to walk away when he or she isn’t ready.
In my own situation~ I told my husband that he could see his parents but I had decided not to. He did his own ‘work’ around his own issues, and he drew his boundaries with them which they didn’t respect. He doesn’t see them anymore however, if you think about it, who actually walked away?? In both my case with my family and in my husbands case with his family, they are the ones that walked away. We were perfectly willing at the time to form new relationships based on mutual respect. 🙂
hugs, Darlene


I was just catching up on the comments and something that helped me a lot when I realized that I had this crazy “addiction to proving myself to these people” is that I don’t have to anymore. I was never right, so why would they agree with me now? When I realized how much my jumping through their proof hoops was part of the way they jerked me around and kept me in the spin, I decided not to do it anymore. It took awhile, but eventually I was happy just knowing that I was right and that I don’t have to back anything up to them.
hugs, Darlene


Hi Darlene!
Hope all is well!
I suppose I could call it a bad habit yes. Addiction is a bit strong:) I think that word is overused these days too.

I’ve given up trying to prove things to the people who mistreated me -trying to MAKE them see what they had done, that it was wrong. I don’t know if they think or know it was wrong by themselves. However, I think they must know by now what my position on their behavior towards me is. Silence speaks volumes, as does absence. Despite my mother still leaving voicemail, I haven’t spoken to her except on somewhat “official” matters. This by itself has helped immensely.

My father used to say “Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?” And I wanted both! I never understood why yet again these things were drawn as either/or. So there are sayings like that that make my hackles rise. Like “Like it or lump it”, “If you don’t like it you know where you can go” and they’re all (it seems) about making things an either/or “choice” when there really isn’t a choice to be had. I can barely understand these ideas as an adult.


To Darlene and Alice,

I don’t know if I would call it an addiction, but I always felt that maybe I had OCD in the way I related to my mother.

When I almost died in 1997, my husband said that we would never see my parents again. I had told him about the incest in 1986 after we had been married for 15 years. He wanted to stop going to see them then, but I was unable to pull away. Not because I loved them. But because the minute I heard my mother’s voice on the telephone, I knew I had to comply.

I cann’t be hyptonized but my relationship with my parents was like a type of Stockholm Syndrome. I had to do whatever they demanded. I was called selfish, greedy, mean, heartless and every other name in the book.

In 1997, my husband talked to my doctor and was told that a continued relationship with my parents would kill me in short order. We never saw them after that. When my mother heard that I had almost died, the only thing she wanted to know was why we weren’t coming for Christmas (I had just gotten out of the hospital on December 1).

I continued to take telephone calls from my mother and listened to the abuse from long distance. Then in 2000, I fell apart and tried to kill myself. After that, no more phone calls.

We never saw my parents again until my father’s funeral in May this year. My father had called over the years and said how sorry he was for the incest. I don’t know how sincere he was, but he did admit that it had happened to my brothers, sister and my brothers’ wives.

For some reason, his voice never bothered me. I have very vivid nightmares, but they always involve my mother. When she started her tidal waves of lies these last several months, it is always her voice I hear, not his. I have had PTSD with severe vomiting and panic attacks since I was very young. With her latest barrage I have lost 30 pounds since the funeral.

But stopping the phone calls has helped. If I hear her voice, or someone tells me something she has said, I can hear her saying it and I become sick for days on end afterwards. Since I have stopped most of it, it has quietened down to a dull roar.

The only way to break an “addiction” or stop the compulsion is to stop using the “drug” causing it. Stop the contact. Stop talking to them. Stop talking to people who want to tell you the latest accusation. I can’t change what my mother thinks. I can’t stop what she is saying to the rest of my family.

I was the buffer when I lived at home that prevented some of the abuse of my mother, brothers and sister. They would like for me to do it again. If I would fall in line and comply and admit that I am lying, I am sure they would be happy? to be my “family” again. They do not see that anything they are doing or saying is wrong. EVERYTHING I do and say is wrong.

I do know that my mother would not hesitate to place me in the position I was in when I lived with her. Keeping house for her, paying her bills with my money, etc. I think doing all of this and taking the burden of sex off of her was why she never wanted me to get married. She did everything in her power to stop it and to break us up. Even until today, she will write my husband and try to convince him that she is so sweet and so right and I am crazy and lying about everything.

She had always slapped me and yanked my hair…sometime yanking it out (I have thin spots today). The last time she did that I was 30 years old. My husband was at the base that day and I never told him. I was too ashamed of the fact that I was so “bad” that someone had to do that to me.

Everything becomes so mixed up. The only way (at least for me) is to break off contact altogether. I changed my phone number (my sister-in-law is the only one who has it). I blocked my email and I don’t do computer social networking. I simply watch for caller ID and decide whether to take my sister-in-law’s calls or not. Sometimes I don’t know whether it helps to know whether it is better to know what is being said about me or live in ignorance. That is where the compulsions come into play. After living with it all for 65 years, you are changing your entire personality.

My love to everyone here…hugs and prayers,


Sorry…I didn’t mean for it to say that the incest had happened to anyone else, but that is how it reads…


Linda, I know we’ve messaged back and forth on several articles here, but every time I hear the details of your experience, I want to send you big big hugs. That was ALOT to go through. As always, I am glad you have the loving support of your husband and sons. And we all have this wonderful forum to tell our stories and vent and hear others’ experiences and ideas. Stay strong and take care of yourself Linda! YOU ARE WORTH IT!!!


Brilliant words! Thankyou for sharing! Am on my phone and words are miniscule! Will read comments and make a more thoughtful comment later. I just read your article and wanted to confirm it is my story too! Have been teasing it apart for so long, and making headway lately! Mantra is now ~ no, it’s not me, it’s you! Have you read M Scott Peck’s ~ People of the Lie ~ you must have! Regards to all. X


What do you do when a sibling is both nice to you AND mean to you? She told me she wants to cut back on our relationship, but then calls me, greets me warmly, talks with me, but then doesn’t want to hug at a family gathering during the goodbyes and does other rejecting things. It is so erratic. I feel harassed by this behavior. If I were to pull back she would then be highly offended and spread it around the family that I am not being nice to her.


Linda, I can SO relate. My mom….. “No” is not an option. If you say “no” she whines and whines and whines until you “comply.” When I was a kid, she would phrase things as “optional” (“Would you LIKE to do sweep the floor?”) but I would get punished for saying “no.” She saw nothing wrong with this! I asked her why she did this, her answer, “People work harder when they think they have a choice.” Um…… BUT IT’S NOT A CHOICE! I asked her why she didn’t phrase it as an “order.” She said she wasn’t able to do that. Um, she’s a mother, that’s what moms are supposed to do…. Am I supposed to compensate for her lack of ability to give orders?

I think “manipulation” is what my mom learned as a child, and she doesn’t know any other way. Trouble is….. I don’t like being manipulated!


DSX, wow, once again I recognize my mother in yours. This use of “would you like to ABC (=some chore or something I want that I think you probably don’t want to do)” and then the conflict if I said no. So not only was I supposed to accept to be of service, but I had to express willingness to do it AND look like I was enjoying it while doing so.

Failing any of those parts got me punished. Despite the “choice” of “lumping it” (which I never understood anyway) being offered. I’m very wary of people who say they’ve learned psychological techniques to get people to do things.

I remember reading 1984 and it reminding me of this very thing (the part at the end when the protagonist loves Big Brother).

Linda, I read your story yesterday and couldn’t stand reading it. What awful treatment you went through. Every time I read people’s stories I want some kind of punishment for these “parents” (and very often “mothers”). Instead they are given respect and the children are enjoined to take care of them as they age:(


Sue in MN, oh how I can relate to you and how you felt when you had your son. I felt the same way when I had mine. Loving him, TELLING him I loved him, kissing, dancing with him were moments no one can take away from me. Then two years later I had another son, and the magic continued. HOW could someone be so cruel to such a vulnerable, sensitive little beings. I took my first son across the ocean to visit with my family when he was just 3 months old. My mother’s reaction to how I was so loving and caring for him just shocked me. “You’re spoiling him, you’re gonna have huge problems with this kid”. Now mind you, her definition of spoil is playing, talking, interacting with a baby. To her, I had to leave him alone in his little baby seat so he could “learn” to be independent. The looks she gave me were filled with jealousy, rage, hatred. I remembered those looks. The ones that let me know I wasn’t good enough, the ones that dictated how I should act, react, think, obey…or else.
But I was still craving my parents love back then. I wanted them to be proud of me. Instead, I got all kinds of rejections. I couldn’t wait to go back home.


Celine, your post about your mother’s comments about “spoiling” your child resonated with me. I grew up in a family of all boys and my mother never hugged us. Ever. My mother made the comment to my wife a few years ago that she never hugged us growing up because she “didn’t think boys needed that.” I was floored when my wife relayed that conversation to me. Really? You didn’t think boys needed to know they were loved and wanted and that they didn’t need to feel any sort of affection from their parents while growing up? Really?

I do remember my mother hugging me (well, sort of hugging me) once when I was about 7 or 8. She was sick in bed and I made her some toast and took it into her bedroom to her. As I gave it to her, she pulled me over close to her for a moment. I remember it so vividly because it seemed so strange to me that she was hugging me.

It just amazes me this mentality that some of our parents had in thinking that any child, especially their own, didn’t need to be shown affirmation and love. It just blows me away.



Thank you so much. You have been so sweet. Everyone on here is so kind in every way.

Alice and DXS,

I told my husband one time that I think that in the medical field I chose Labor and Delivery, ICU/CCU and ER because of the “do it STAT” atmosphere that surrounds these parts of hospitals because that was the kind of relationship I had with my mother.

There was no option or choice to whatever I did. I cleaned house “yesterday” or I was beaten. I took care of my little brothers and sister or I was beaten. Everything I did, I had to drop whatever I was doing and comply with my mother’s wishes or she slapped me, yanked my hair or turned me over to my father. With whatever wrong I had committed I was beaten with a leather strap (buckle end) or dowl rod (a long piece of wood like a broom). He made sure the marks showed below my skirts…this was before girls could wear long pants to school.

I never saw my brothers or sister hit. Nor was there any sexual abuse any where else that I could tell. When I had my babies, I would never leave them alone with my parents. However, one of the lies my mother tells is how great a mother and grandmother she was.

I also never saw my parents hug any of us. I said in earlier post how screwed up one of my brothers and my sister is. I only have the one niece and nephew who are halfway normal, but it only because my mother and sister had nothing to do with them.

My sister tells me she loves me until I confronted her (at my sister-in-law’s request) about the theft of the drugs and jewelry at their house after the funeral. My mother says that the fact my sister is a drug addict is my fault. The brother with the pregnant unmarried daughter, bipolar daughter and son that cuts himself has nothing to say to me. He “loves” everyone…which in my mind makes him a moral coward. He is so noncommital that he doesn’t even influence his own children. That is my fault too.

The reason I am blamed for everything wrong is the fact that I got married and have left everyone. They are eight, fourteen and sixteen years younger than I am. I left them in the hands of my psychopathic mother. But she “loves” them and thinks I am evil incarnate.

I am writing this down because I can’t say most of it out loud. It took me years and years to figure out that I am not bad. I do not need to be ashamed of anything that happened to me. I am not to blame for how the rest of my family turned out.

Yes, I do cry that I never had a mother who really loved me. My saving grace was my grandmother (my mother’s mother). We lived with them until I was four. She and my grandfather showed my love during my most formative years. That is why I think I could show love to others.

My husband proposed the third day after we met and we married six weeks later. He saved me from my parents and myself. He is why I live today. My sons have good relationships and are healthy grown men.

For all of that I am grateful. Thanks to all of you,


Eddie, I’m so sorry you had to endure this. That’s awful. My mother told us that when my brother was a baby, my father got jealous because my mom was spending too much time with him. So he gave her an ultimatum. Either she stopped giving the baby so much attention, or he’d leave her. Needless to say, she chose to cease giving her baby the attention he needed. My father is a paranoid narcissist, my mother is a little girl who never grew up into an adult, emotionally unable to function on her own. I cannot even begin to tell my story, as dysfunctional is to me a very light word.


Hi Ashley
Welcome to EFB ~ thank you or sharing. I love the book People of the lie by M. Scott Peck! I read it early in my healing process and I am sure it has influenced my work here!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Light
Most abusive people are both nice and mean. I had to realize that I have a choice about how I am treated. The good stuff doesn’t cancel the bad stuff. It took me a long time to learn that!
hugs, Darlene


Dearest Darlene,

The last comment you wrote was very enlightening to me. I have felt very guilty for complaining about the things that happened to me because I am so blessed with a loving husband and sons.

But you are quite right when you say that the good stuff doesn’t cancel out the bad stuff. I think that perhaps it is the contrast of what we have now compared to what happened to us before and unfortunately is still going on in some respects.

I know I have been told to just forget the past. Be glad of what you have now. But when that is your childhood, it becomes a part of you and is not easily forgotten. I pray I never have Alzheimer’s Syndrome. Those poor souls live in the past. I would rather die than repeat my past.

My mother was never nice to me, but she shows to be a sweet loving lady to the outside. She has my cousins and others thinking I am the bad seed who mistreated her and my brothers and sister. I don’t even try to argue the point any more. If no one else sees her, then it will have to be God himself who judges her for the evil she has done.

With many hugs,


So true that these people are both mean and nice. My mother could go either way. She was a charmer with the outsiders. She could get set off very easily and go from sweet and warm to ice cold like a thermometer dropping 50 degrees in a matter of seconds.

Linda, I’ve been told too to forget the past. I get the idea that when people say that it is more about them being tired of hearing about it rather than it being for our own good. Rather than forgetting the past, I say resolve the past. Understand the past, fix the distorted beliefs from the past, and then maybe it’s possible to make peace with the past.


Linda, I’ve been told too to forget the past. I get the idea that when people say that it is more about them being tired of hearing about it rather than it being for our own good. Rather than forgetting the past, I say resolve the past. Understand the past, fix the distorted beliefs from the past, and then maybe it’s possible to make peace with the past.

I get this crap from my Mom all the time. It’s more about her not wanting to admit responsibility. All I want is for her to admit responsibility and apologize SINCERELY (not just say jibber jabber).


Yes, that too, DXS! Those who have something to hide also say forget the past. If it stays buried, they don’t have to be accountable.


Hi Darlene. Thank you for your comment. I find it so hard to come to a decision. We just had a family gathering, and a few people were nice to me and most just generally overlooked me (which hurts, esp. when I see them laughing and bonding with each other). My brother, whom I wrote the heartfelt letter to (a couple of months ago – he never responded) acted like nothing had happened.

Some people asked about things that happened in my life 1-7 years ago (in other words, they know so little about me even though we get together several times a year). The healthier I get, the more I realize how “beaten up” I feel after these get-togethers. Yet, I don’t want to give up the positive interactions with those few people…..they count for a lot.

I’m glad your daughter is feeling better.

Everyone: If you have figured out what works for you at these family occasions I am very interested to hear about it. I know some of you go NC. I have gone “lower contact” this past year.


“Oh just get over it Alice!” I never thought fast enough to ask, as Darlene has suggested “Get over what, mom?”
Light, before I went NC, I would take a hotel and a hire car so I was free to come and go as I wished. I avoided the people I didn’t feel comfortable talking with – although I would have to bear their glares. If I was forced to be in closer contact (my mom would orchestrate dinner seating to ensure I’d be face to face with certain people) I would make sure talk was small and steer it away from topics to do with the issues. If I felt myself rising to any bait I’d bite my tongue. In the end, it became about the person I wanted to consider myself as, someone who would not let herself be goaded into behavior I didn’t like on myself, not for anyone else. And certainly not for them. But it also became too much to stand so I decided on NC.


Thank you to all for sharing, Darlene your posts give life!!! I’ve been readi g the last few weeks of posts about grooming and verbally/ abusive moms. My dad sexually abused me from 5 to 14 and my mom found out about it when I was 6 by finding my dads shoes under my bed. She took him to Counseling and , he went for residential treatment for 6 weeks and returned home and continued to abuse me. At 14 I get the nerve up to tell my mom- with”help/therapy” she finally makes him leave the home when I was 16. I promptly became dysfunctionally depressed, was never sent to counseling and instead went to the mental hospital for the first time at 16.
After my dad left, my mom cont to be with him but just not when I was home. Bdays,
Xmas, fathers day- ..we all had to be with dad since he was alone now.
That is only the tip of the iceberg but just to provide some context. My mother was raised in very religiously legalistic home. I was the youngest child and only girl. Statements like, “you are so special, I love you so much, I am so lucky God gave me a girl”” along with a lot of love and affection came from my mom as a child. So I am loved but I’ll let my pervert husband come back home even though he abuses you. She’ll say, I didn’t know he continued to abuse you- meanwhile she was home and sleeping across the hall ( sexual abuse was 3-5x a wk).
My therapists over the years say she knew…. Main point is I am not allowed to be angry at my mom cause she has always been wonderful to me and admits she “failed to protect me.” my grooming was to always be kind, be forgiving, and never reject her. Also horrible to be sent the message you are loved but I happen to need your dad to stay in the home because I am ashamed of divorce”.
I don’t know if this makes sense- for me it’s waking up at 39 and realizing that the positive messages, which I still get, are true and sincere, I guess just not sincere enuf to protect me???? Anybody understand any of this?


Everyone: If you have figured out what works for you at these family occasions I am very interested to hear about it. I know some of you go NC. I have gone “lower contact” this past year.

For me, I don’t even bother attending the family reunions. I never liked them as a child (thought they were phony), don’t want to go now. One of my siblings has decided to not go any more, either, after attending a few.

My mom kept telling me, “everyone wants you there.” But when I attend, the “everyone” doesn’t even say two words to me. Yeah, right, everyone wants me there all right….. I think it’s more about…… Mom wants “everyone” to see her with her family to keep her facade up…… Close knit family….. right….. my siblings and I don’t even talk to each other. No shame in it, we just all have very different lives…..


I would take a hotel and a hire car so I was free to come and go as I wished

Alice, the first time I did this when I visited (note I use the word “visited” not “went home”) for Christmas, my Mom had a holy fit! She made it about “why would I spend the money for a rental car (it was 45 miles to the airport), when SHE could pick me up….. Right….. the real issue was….. if she picked me up, I was a captive prisoner.


this will be my first year I’ve been NC with family and it’s going to be the first holiday. I was feeling beat up in another situation that involved family and my way of handling it is to cease my involvement and that has included gatherings of any sort with family.

I just don’t think (for me) there is any reason including holidays simply for the reason of tradition or obligation to put myself in a position where I know I will feel like this.

Stuff like that is supposed to be enjoyable and if it’s not going to be, attending is pointless for me. If it weren’t family, I’d never even entertain the idea of going simply to ‘please’ someone else.


I grew up with a narcissist mother, so naturally I gravitated towards other narcs, and even dated one guy, (I call him Bastard F*ck,) who was an outright psychopath, who raped me repeatedly, manipulated me cruelly, and even pushed me out of a moving car once. I came home all scraped up that night and told my mother the whole story, said I didn’t want to see him anymore and if he calls or comes over tell him I’m not home. (It never occurred to me that he ought to have police charges filed and my mother of course never thought hurting me was any sort of crime.) The next night he comes over and my mother LETS HIM RIGHT IN! I hid in my room upstairs but could hear them talking, could hear him sobbing his fake tears, telling my mother all these lies about me, and my own mother commiserating with him! After a couple of hours of this she came upstairs, and said to me “It’s obvious he only does these things because he really loves you. Why are you so mean to him? I’m not going to tell him to leave until you at least go talk to him.”

I was 15 years old. Bastard F*ck was 19. We were on again for a little while, but I finally really broke it off with him, but he could not stand the rejection and stalked me throughout high school and college. He dropped out of college and told me it was because he couldn’t stand to be so far away from me. (I found out later he was failing most of his classes anyway.) He hid up in the trees while my friends and I were at the park and would later call and repeat snippets of our conversation he’d heard while eavesdropping. He had a friend who delivered pizza pretend to have the wrong address and snoop on my friends’ houses to find out where I was and who I was with. He called up my friends and bribed them for info about me, bought them alcohol and drugs if they would sell me out, and sadly they always did. Later in college he would drive around my college campus and park outside my classroom buildings, driving that big creepy old car of his really slowly behind me. He left hate notes and poetry on my dorm room door and some of my friends’ doors too. Campus police refused to do anything about it. Eventually he skipped town on the lam from the law for breaking into a church. He sent me letters along the way, long drawn out threats and once an envelope full of broken glass with something about “this is what you did to my heart so this is what I’ll do to your head!”

When I moved off campus and didn’t list my phone number or address he finally got lost.

I lived in fear for years that one day he might just show up at my work with a gun and pull one of those “if I can’t have you, no one can” and blow me away, but I got a call one day from my mother. She found his obituary in the paper. Word was he’d killed himself. My mother’s take on it was “you know he never got over you.” Yeah, it was apparently all my fault in her mind.

He did the world a favor by removing himself from it. Too bad dear old mum didn’t do the same. She’s nearly 80 now, and still unrepentantly cruel, petty and narcissistic as you an imagine, with a side of senility now. I have had Zero Contact with her in over a year. She will die alone and unloved, just like Bastard F*ck. Meanwhile my life has had its highs and lows, its joys and its horrors, but I am in a happy place now. I can spots narcissists and psychopaths pretty quickly now, and generally manage to stay far enough way to keep myself from getting burned, and I have come to pity the narcs and psychos I have known as much as I am disgusted by them. They have a bottomless pit where their self should be. They will never know real love. They act completely and desperately out of ego and their need for other people is off the charts. I am so glad I am not that needy. It really must be torment inside their minds and hearts.


Thank you so much for this article. I have just started to realise that how much my Mother abused me when I was growing up. I feel bad even saying that, as if I am the bad one. She totally rejected me. She constantly put me down. The worst thing she did to me for years was question my sanity. She was abused as a Child and I don’t think she meant to harm me. I think she was trying to hold onto her sanity even if it meant destroying her own child, me. Well, here I am now. 34 years of age. I left the family home at 19. I can’t believe what she has gotten away with. Now, I am trying to get over my fear of her. I have been told by friends and teachers and by my sisters that I am full of common sense and highly intelligent. Yet, I have been doubting my sanity for years. The bitch caused me to question my sanity. It has been devastating. Yes, I am angry. She caused me so much harm. She put her fantasies of reality before her own children. She was totally self-centred and narcissistic. My Psychotherapist told me, that he thought that she was highly intimidated by me. So, she had to destroy me because I didn’t believe in her version of reality which was really fantasy. I think she suffered Post Traumatic Stress and a bad case of Catholicism and suspected alcoholism. Anyhow, I am trying to get on with my Life now. I have been living like a Hermit for years. I have been afraid of love, because she was my first experience of love. I keep telling myself, my Mother isn’t love. She was a Monster. That wasn’t love, that was abuse. My Psychotherapist told me that not all people will be like my Mother, they won’t abuse me. And anyway, I am an Adult now, I can tell them to “Fuck off” or “Go take a run and jump” if they try to harm me with their words. I can stand up for myself now. I am an adult. It is time for me to let love in. It is time for me to let people love me. I know I am a good person. My Mother told me terrible things about myself. She taught me that my Body was bad, that my sexuality was bad, that my mind wasn’t sane, that my clothes were bad, that what I ate and drank wasn’t normal. That my career was bad. It’s like she set out to destroy me. Imagine, being so unwell that you would try to destroy your own child, your own daughter. That is serious Mental Illness. Well, I know my Mother is very unwell. I love her and I forgive her. I know she must be seriously seriously unwell. But I will not let her do me any harm any more. Her behaviour has been absoulutely horrendous and detrimental to my life. She has caused so much distress to me and to my Brother and Sisters and no one has stood up to her. It is time for me to move on, to be the successful Adult Woman that I have always wanted to be. My Mother as far as I am concerned can go and fuck herself. It is time that I moved on. There is part of me that is afraid of being successful because then everyone will know that she abused me and that she was the one who was insane. Well, it is time I got over that. Hiding away is not the answer. By hiding away, I just enable her abuse to continue and that isn’t right for me or for her. I know that deep down she doesn’t want to harm me. Nobody does. She is just unwell. I know I am ranting but I really need to do this, I hope you understand. I am not bad for being successful, I am not bad for being sane. I know my Mother is terrified that her abuse will be uncovered. By being successful, my intention is to be the Human Being, the fully mature successful Woman that I am meant to be. My intention isn’t to destroy her. I love her. Yes, it would be great if it destroyed her horrendous behaviour. It is no longer right for me to be protecting her abusive behaviour. I am not a child anymore. I must do the right thing. I was already abandoned years ago, so what really do I have to fear? I don’t want to hurt her or cause her harm. No, I love her deep down. I know she is very weak and scared. But I can no longer shoulder the abuse. It isn’t right. It’s just not right. It’s time that I stood up and did the right thing. It’s time that I was loyal to love. I am good. My Mother is good. That is the truth. I forgive her and I will be brave. The truth will set you free and that’s what I must do. The truth. Christmas is coming. They want me to come for Christmas, but that is just a charade. How could I really go their for Christmas. That would be hypocritical. No, I won’t go. It is wrong. I stand for the truth. I stand for love and I will no longer any more enable abuse. NO. It is time for me to be truthful and to be myself. I think I will look for a support group too now that I think of it. Thank you for reading. I hope my rant helps you in some way.


Hi All,

So many comments to read and it’s all so good…

For Amber 101,

You totally got it when you called yourself “invisible” when you were younger. I think we all did this to a certain extent. I played the role of the invisible good daughter at home. I erroneously believed that if I could be “perfect”, meaning doing nearly ALL of the house chores, always making my bed in the morning, and being teacher’s pet then my parents would “love” me. How sad! I really believed that if I was so good, then my mom would leave me alone. I remember bringing home school papers to show her that I was the best in the class and her not being impressed. Instead, if I did one slight error such as not hanging up my coat or forgetting to put away one toy in the toy box then the monster would explode. Secretly, I was very mad and not frightened of her since my logic did not work.

Also, I was labeled rather shy by authority figures. I did have a circle of childhood friends, but I was not outspoken in class, nor the most popular. Mainly, it was because I was so self conscious of my dysfunctional family that I would feel humiliated if anyone knew the real truth about my family issues behind closed doors. I learned how to be an actress and hide my true feelings by building a wall around me and not letting on too much, and pretending that we had no major issues at home. So many kids grow up like this. Then when they turn eighteen and move out, an entirely different personality emerges. I am not really shy or invisible but some people seem to believe that. It’s more like I am rather quiet, and extremely choosy about friends and not everyone makes it into the friend category with me. Truly, I’m happy this way. People have been very surprised that I do have a temper and can verbally defend myself. I have defended myself against rude and arrogant people in public places, like stores and have called the supervisor to file a formal complaint. It’s nice being an adult now and not a helpless child where you just have to take it! Sometimes people are surprised at how articulate and witty I am in a conversation with people that I like. I read books and can converse on politics and also a wide range of topics. I get labeled “shy” and invisible to this day, but I like it and it’s a form of protection around me. I am NOT lonely but I like my down time and I keep busy with many hobbies.

For Alice 100,

I try to respect all positive Faiths and many times I have posted where I give my real religion, Celtic Paganism (Druid/Wicca). I come from a nominal Christian background like most people but I did not stick with it. I felt growing up that there must be a better way to live than mainstream religion. When I was younger, I got involved with New Age/New Thought and briefly attended the Unity Church. My issues with much of this movement is that they don’t give the victims enough time to really heal and clear their abusive past. (Much of the self-help movement is based on the New Thought teachings of changing your reaction to the abuser). The problem being is that you have to validate real abuse and claim that it actually happened to heal yourself. Then you have to scream and cry and let it all out to heal and that can take even years! They believe that you simply just paste on affirmations, visualize, make treasure maps, and say “forgiveness” affirmations. They believe that only when you can totally forgive your past abusers then you can attract wealth and happiness. Once, I even had a therapist who agreed with me in the conversation that these New Thought types really do not allow you to heal. They tend to shame the victim since you can’t let it all go fast enough! I left the Unity Church and NO, I have not totally cleared and that word, “forgiven” my abusers completely. Guess what? My financial abundance and general prosperity in life has blossomed and I do not do the tithing, either. Life is complicated and even if you radiate the most confident and loving exterior, the world is still full of a**holes! The bottom line is that you can change your reaction to others and really work hard on yourself and your own healing, but there will always be nasty people. Even in that silly “The Secret Movie”, if you are an attractive woman and radiate confidence in the workplace, you could still be the victim of other jealous women. You get the point.

For Eddie 114,

Sorry that you were not hugged nor given affection since you were a boy. I just wanted to say that I was a girl who was treated the same as you. Since I was an only child and considered intelligent and such a good student, this somehow placed me into a special box that I was so mature for my age and not like a regular child. I was embarrassed as a young child at school and public places when I did not get hugs or affection like other children my age. I assume that adults thought that my mom was just a babysitter or a family friend? It made me feel more unwanted and unloved like there was something really wrong with me. I felt like I was some kind of space alien from another planet and more like a social obligation than a wanted daughter. In my adult life I have had a rough time dealing with casual friendships. I do not like public touching and it bothers me to be playfully slapped or touched by friends. I think that the hardest situations for me have been at my spiritual groups. There is always a sort of hugging that goes on after these meetings, friendly and innocent—nothing sexual, but it bothers me and I pull away. I purposely run to the restroom or the other room with the refreshments to have a cup of coffee before anyone else does. My excuse is always that I couldn’t wait and had to get there first. I am slowly learning how to be more open with casual acquaintances.

For Linda 119,

Linda, I think you’re one of the bravest women on this site! I enjoy reading your story and I’m glad that you made a good life with your husband and sons. You have come so far and I know you can finally be free from your FOO!

I wish that my extended family could see the real me. I have often wished that my FOO was some kind of joke or reality TV show. There would be a hidden camera and then you could watch the scene over again. People could see my mother for who and what she really is and how evil she is. Because I was an only child, there were no other witnesses at home. It always amazed me watching her two-faced Dr.Jeckyl/Mr.Hyde act. She would be so charming with house guests and dinner parties and what she called entertaining. Then as soon as they left, her anger would increase tenfold due to having to pretend to be so nice as to show off her luxury house to the “right” people. I wish that they could have seen me as “Cinderella”, the live-in maid who was also used as her emotional and physical punching bag. I was afraid of adults finding out about my parental abuse, so I tried to act my part, too, that we don’t have a single issue.

Thanks Darlene for your great articles!

Blessed Be,

Yvonne 🙂


Yvonne, I so agree with you on the New Thought/New Age stuff. It’s also part of a pernicious economic position that enjoins people to feel responsible for their own sliding standards of living.
But back to the more “emotional” side of things, I think I’ve rarely seen such a refuge for psychopaths and manipulators as the “New Age”. Oh, that and therapists.

DXS, I remember you telling the story of your mom’s reaction to your independence on a visit. Isn’t it interesting? Mine was offended too that I wouldn’t stay with them and I that I would dare attempt to manage my own time and activities while there. It reminded me of that whole “we own you” thing.

One time she came to visit me where I lived and wouldn’t leave me alone for even the two hours I needed to work on something. When I told her she had to give me space to work she flipped out on me and brought out the “threat” of leaving. So I asked her, “Ok, where would you like to go now? I’ll help arrange it” And then she became hysterical.


Alice: I guess we didn’t get the memo.

Rule 1: If you are visiting your FOO, you owe 100% of your attention to FOO.

Rule 2: If FOO is visiting you, you owe 100% of your attention to FOO, never mind what you had already planned, nothing you do is more important.


Hi Lynn
Welcome to EFB
Wow! So many kinds of abuse and re-abuse in your story. You have every right to be angry at your mother. You have every right to be angry at what was taken from you and at the abuse that you suffered at the hands of both your parents. The damage done in a situation like yours in horrific! I am glad you are here, thank you for sharing. There is so much validating information here that will hopefully aid in the healing process.
hugs, Darlene


Hi Rachel,
Welcome to EFB ~ Sometimes ranting is very healing!
hugs, Darlene


DXS and Alice
There is no memo. One of the tactics is making sure the ‘victim’ in the situation doesn’t ever know exactly what is expected. As soon as the grown child comes out of the spin of trying to figure out how to do everything right, the abuser changes the rules because when the adult child comes out of the spin, the controller knows that they will suddenly see the truth. (which is that the whole relationship is one sided and that the abuser is in fact quite pathetic ~ this is always about them in the end)
hugs, Darlene


I have often wondered if Alzheimer’s has to do with unresolved trauma.
Something that really helped me was to look at things as a whole picture. On of my methods of coping was to separate each incident ie: one beating isn’t a big deal, or one gossip or humiliation from my mother wasn’t a big deal etc. I could understand my mother or whoever having “one bad day”. But it wasn’t once. It was ongoing. And I found that it was very hard to “just be grateful or to just let it go” when it had never been validated in the first place. I had to look at the message that I got from the way I was treated. That was the core of the problems now. The thing about trauma is how it devalues and defines. Recovery is about overcoming the damage but facing the truth about it. In my coaching program I help people to define the damage and the resulting belief system, quite quickly and emotional abuse is always a huge part of the puzzle!
hugs, Darlene


The fog finally lifted for me in my 30’s, so it’s very recent and still a long way to go. Until then I tried everything to make her happy, which just made things worse as she became more demanding. During this process my husband became an alcoholic (now in recovery). It was while he hit rock bottom that I really only had two options myself: quit or carry on the best way I could. That implied taking care of myself and keep putting a brave face to go to work and start driving (I hate driving).
This is when I finally saw the monster in all her true colours. Instead of being supportive she became a reclusive in her bedroom. I’d get home and find someone who wanted support!!!! (Yes, she moved in with us when my dad died… no one is surprised that my husband turned to the bottle. Who wouldn’t? I have to live with the guilt of this).
Instead of being happy that I was driving around and feeling more confident the disappointment in her was too obvious.
I had great support from friends, so a friend asked me to go away with her and I agreed to go for a couple of nights. It did wonders for me to get away from the drama. I didn’t want to go because of lack of resources but my mother said she’d pay. I know the drill so I told my friend that if I accepted my mother’s help I’d hear about it pretty soon, even though she sounded so sincere about offering me this trip.
I went and, sure enough, soon I heard “well, your husband is in rehab off you went for 3 nights leaving me all alone” (we’re talking about a perfectly healthy woman).
If that wasn’t enough when my husband returned sober and everyone (including her friends) said she ought to give us some space, she stopped talking to my husband, created havoc and then refused to leave our house.
I woke up then to who she really was. But unfortunately, I am still trapped with her. She doesn’t call me names. She doesn’t hit me. I wish she did. It’d be easier to prove the abuse. The way she does things are far more subtle – pushing my buttons and expect me to snap or say something that will justify her anger.
I’m in bits. She’s not with us full-time now (that’s how far I managed to go) but when she is I’m a shadow of myself.


Hi Darlene-
Re: Alzheimer’s connected to trauma.
It would make sense. By having to live with abuse…whether physical, emotional, sexual or all the above, our bodies and minds are put under intense stress. Not just the stress of the abuse itself but the constant hyper-vigilance and fear of it happening again. And not if, but when.

Just writing that out it’s so easy to read ‘stress’ between the limes.
And stress effects the chemicals in our brain as well as other parts of the body. Our brain chemistry does change as a result of any sort of stress, but especially from being continually abused because we have to be on hyper-alert.

I think the adrenals are also connected to depression and anxiety because the adrenals release chemicals during times of stress and then in turn our brains are effected too…depression, anxiety, PTSD, etc…the list really does go on. The label will depend on which part of the brain is effected chemically.

So if our brain chemistry changes, why not dementia or Alzheimer’s. It probably manifests in all sorts of ways depending on the brain/person it is effecting.


To all who replied about what you do over the holidays re: contact with FOO…..Thank you so much for taking the time to share your experiences. It gives me more confidence to pull away even more, and I like reading about how it works for each of you. I noticed that most of you who responded talked about No Contact. I might not be ready for NC yet, but the first step is awareness. I’ve accomplished that and this whole past year I have reduced my contact, which hasn’t been easy because my nature is to be very family-oriented. A friend has invited me for T-giving and I accepted. Christmas is the next hurdle. Too bad that I consider it a “hurdle” to get through rather than a time to cherish!


Lynn Post 125. I can very much relate to your experience. After my father’s sexual abuse of others came to light (I was in my mid-20s when he admitted it toward others – not me) and he apologized, my mother stayed married to him. He continued with some of his covert sexualized behaviors. (And when I was in my early 40’s he stuck his hand deep down his pants while talking with me in the living room…it WASN’T some kind of quick “readjustment”.). He was there for every birthday, holiday and gathering and the rest of my family all rallied around him.

I was also dealing with a childhood history of emotional and medical neglect as well. This was no small thing – Neglect is brutal.

I was so angry that he was always around, and that my mother stood by him. She refused to acknowledge that he sexually abused me (it was covert and not as frequent or as severe as what you describe, but any sexual abuse is boundary-busting and leaves scars). I was livid with her. Of course this broke the family rules of forgive and forget, and don’t be mad at mom. My brothers distanced from me, hassled me, and rejected me. My sister understood somewhat, but seems (to this day) to have complicated reasons for why she can’t be a strong supporter. Then the nieces and nephews and sisters-in-law pulled away to follow suit with their father/mother/husband.

Meanwhile, all through the years my mother is sending cards signed “Love” and saying she is very hurt that I am not being warm towards her and that we’re not in touch enough. She is telling my siblings how sad she is, and she is talking about my outbursts and I am portrayed as the problem. And yes, I was irritable toward her…OFTEN. She would call and try to maintain a connection with me, would make small talk, etc. and I’d do the best I could but the one thing she wouldn’t do is acknowledge my experience of abuse. I was devastated.

I once asked my mother why she didn’t leave him, and she said she “didn’t want to go through the trauma”. So, Lynn, yes, I got a similar message. “You are loved but my needs come first, and I need to not acknowledge my choice in a husband, what you went through, or go through the trauma and the stigma of divorce. So I’m going to keep this pretend bubble going”.

I was full of turmoil. I loved my siblings and adored my nieces and nephews, but holidays were so stressful and painful (and still are).

Finally, in my early 50s, years after my father passed, she finally admitted it. She wrote a letter to all of my siblings. I would say the letter had little effect, and not one sibling brought it up to me!!! Not one! Thanks, family, for all of the caring and support!

Finally, I will never stopped being amazed at how powerful denial is. My brother’s wife was warned about my father and it was suggested that she (they) might want to make sure not to leave their kids alone with him. She responded challengingly “What’s he gonna do???”. This is an ivy-educated woman, who worked with children in education, and who later was involved in a fundraiser with a placard “No Child Deserves to Be Abused”! Umm, it happened in your own family! And she was one of my biggest criticizers and told me she “couldn’t relate” to why I might not want to come for Christmas.


Hi Suzy,
Welcome to EFB ~
Just some food for thought. ~ Why do you have to prove the abuse? Why isn’t knowing it for yourself not enough?
Thanks for sharing ~ you have certainly found a website where millions can relate to what you are writing about!
hugs, Darlene


Hi Darlene,
Thank you for your reply. I am considering trying psychotherapy again and I’d like to be able to find the right therapist. First time I went and told her my experience she immediately said my mum was histrionic and asked me if she could speak to her. Somehow I managed to get her to go – she went on a huff, of course, with her speech ready. But she was her charming self (after all, that’s part of being histrionic i.e. a mental case at home but charming with strangers).
The next time I went to therapy the psychologist said she found my mother charming and started to clearly side with my mother, saying things like “you have to understand you’re her only daughter and she invested her life in you” and things like “you used to spend so much time in the bedroom as a teenager and that was very hard on her?”
Really? Up until the age of 15 she was working and left me in the care of my NGM and then she came home and listening to gossip from neighbours and house cleaning were priority.
I want to record her because I want the therapist to see what I am talking about. I really need help so I can move on. Apart from my mother’s tantrums growing up my father was always ill. He had heart problems (among others) so it was easy to keep me quiet and not create arguments in the house – upset dad and he might die, kind of thing.
I may never be able to go NC if I don’t get outside help.
Thanks Darlene


Wow, that is so invalidating. Sick how a therapist would fall for this behavior when they are the ones who are SUPPOSED to know about dynamics and behaviors of narcissists, histrionics, and most any other PD or mental illness.

I have begun to question how they are actually trained. And also, my thoughts are that many therapists become therapists because they have so many of their own issues they are working out, so they study psychology to understand their own stuff. Then they think, “Hey, I gotta degree in this, why not do it professionally.” And in reality, they are stuck in an outdated paradigm and their minds are pretty closed for the most part…and this is my own experience. But I find myself asking, “Where are the quality therapists?”

I really hope you can find someone who knows what they are doing. It can make the emotional impact of the abuse so much worse when the person who is supposed to be on YOUR side, changes teams to the abuser. It’s betrayal and simply put, more trauma. It’s ridiculous that the therapist you write about above said that. And from what you say it even looks like she set you up, which betrays trust and I wonder if she doesn’t have some narc traits of her own.

I’m sure there are good ones out there, but I haven’t found one that is covered by my insurance and I don’t have the means to pay out of pocket…especially not to play therapy roulette.

I don’t know how well books help you, but I have found The Betrayal Bond helpful. Only thing is it could bring up some deep stuff and be really painful and intolerable, so using it in conjunction and with help from a therapist might be necessary for some. But of course one that wants to be on YOUR side and be a true advocate for you.

Hugs. As I said above, I hope you can find a therapist who knows how to be a therapist.


Suzy, it sounds like that therapist hasn’t worked through her own “stuff” relative to her upbringing. And that probably makes her not the best choice for this situation. Darlene, is there an article on choosing a therapist on your blog?

That aside, it also makes me angry that this therapist would put their patient in a similar position to the one they were seeking help for and not even see it. I mean Freudian “counter-transference” and all but come on!


Alice, Laura and Suzy ~ I don’t have a specific post about picking a therapist but I know it is extremely important to find out if any kind of support professional is going to be on your side or not. First of all, a good therapist will answer your questions before you agree to work with them. find out how they feel about people who need to go no contact with parents. One red flag for me is when a therapist diagnosis a parent ~ there is NO solution in that and it is often used to discredit the actual client, in this case, you. It didn’t help me heal from the damage that my family caused to me by understanding them. The damage is the damage and I didn’t start healing until someone finally helped me to validate that damage.
Hugs, Darlene

p.s. to all the readers here; I am accepting 2 new clients in January. Please see the info page for info about my coaching and consulting practice. I am not a therapist and I do not use traditional therapy practices but I get results. My program is intense and is not suitable for everyone but if you feel you are a good candidate, please contact me through the contact form after you have read the info page.
hugs, Darlene


Hi Darlene, thanks for addressing the therapy dilemma. I’m contemplating taking a hiatus from therapy. Maybe at a later time I can see someone but I feel pretty exhausted in my continuous attempts to be validated and even understood.

I don’t know but I must be at a some “vibrational match” or something to unhealthy therapists and I’ve had all I can deal with right now. I’m feeling traumatized all over again and angry enough to feel that my own validation is what is needed at this time.

My present therapist (finishing up a psych eval that is actually its own mess) has indeed come up with dx’s for my father and sister and you’re right, it doesn’t really help. I’m not there to get them help. I’m there for me.

I also had an experience with this same therapist who brought up some stuff about her own dysfunctional family…don’t know if she all of a sudden thought we were exchanging therapy or she was trying to turn me into a friend but I got a really repulsed feeling when she did that. I addressed it and it hasn’t happened since but there have been other issues.

I just feel like I’ve been digging and even clawing at times for answers, empathy, understanding and validation in all the wrong places. Kinda like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz…the answers have been with me all along. I just have to begin looking there.

It would be nice to have a therapist that knows how to do that. But quite frankly I don’t have much hope for that at this time.

Oh…another issue with using insurance to see a therapist is that those questions need to be asked on the phone before you get into their office. However, I have found it extremely difficult to get a feel for the therapist that way. Sometimes I wonder if they tell you what you want to hear.

Thing is once in their office, they whip out the forms they want filled out because even if you’re considering it an interview to see if it will be a good fit, time gets taken up with certain questions they ask for info because Dr. Therapy wants to be paid. And form submission is necessary for that.

I understand they want to be paid. But it should not be the first thing on their minds and often it seems to be.

I’ve just had enough…at least for now. But that’s me and I’m by no means saying that everyone or anyone should make that decision.


The last so-called therapist I went to was a psychiatrist who, in his infinite wisdom said about my parents that “to err is human, to forgive divine”.

I went to one therapist that told me there were people who were much worse off than me. Another wrote some notes about my sanity when I told her I had read the book “Mercy” by David Lindsey. It is about a female serial killer who had been molested by her father and she was killing women because her mother didn’t do anything about it. I guess she thought I was saying I was going to turn into a serial killer.

I write poetry about my feelings and I showed some of it to another therapist who said that I needed to forgive my mother and stop causing her pain?

Needless to say, I never really got past the word “incest” with any of them before they began making judgment calls and stereotyping me. I have said and especially written down more on this website in the last several months than I ever did in the first 64 years of my life. I felt like I had gone through the abuse with each of them all over again. And I never was able to get into the issues I have with my mother. They all seemed to think she was innocent in all of this.

I have said before that I have severe PTSD, panic attacks, etc. Since my father’s funeral I have lost almost 30 pounds because of the vomiting and the nightmares are worse. They are never about my father…always about my mother. I have begun to have hallucinations at night. I see my mother standing by our bed. My husband has to wake me up because I start screaming and break out into a cold sweat.

He has been so patient and kind. I have heard from other family members that my mother is telling them that my husband has wanted to have me committed. He is so furious with her. She has tried for years to break up our marriage and with this she has gone beyond the pale. I am so embarrassed about it all and I can see her standing beside our bed and saying all of the things she is accusing me of. She wants so much for my husband to agree with her and say I am lying.

How can I be lying when my father admitted to his part in all of this? But now that he is dead she can say anything she wants and he isn’t there to stop her.

It all becomes so confusing but I don’t trust therapists enough to be able to talk to them about all of it.

Hugs to all,


Comments on therapy very insightful… or should I say, scary?!

I’m not in the United States and what people don’t realise (i.e. when I post in forums) is that many countries, like mine, are not as developed in terms of therapy. And as Southern European countries still put a great emphasis on the importance of close family ties, of course it’s going to be hard to find the right therapist. But reading the above I am very unlikely to continue encountering trouble and I can’t afford this search for the right therapist. I have to think long and hard about this one now…

Also, support groups were a joke for me. Again, people are starting to bring the same that exists in the USA over here but if the group mentality is still stuck in cultural ways the likelihood of encountering support are slim.

I agree with the comment that says that many psychologists are people with big unresolved issues and that’s why they chose this profession. And guess what?! I wanted to be a psychologist! But I’ve never been good at Maths and Statistics and I figured I’d never finish the degree because of those two courses, so I did something else.


Hi Linda
Your comments showcase some horrifically common examples of what actually happens with these so called professionals!
To be told “to err is human, to forgive divine” is two whammys in one sentence! To err is human?? So to make the mistake of sexually abusing your daughter is HUMAN??????? and then to forgive is divine; WHAT?? That is so dismissive! The abuse has not even been validated yet and a professional is telling you to forgive it???? that it was just a “human err”? this makes me sick. This is the kind of stuff that causes all the secondary problems (on top of the original damage the abuse itself caused) and cements spin that causes the victim to question herself over and over again.
Thank you for sharing Linda. My heart is with yours.
hugs, Darlene


Hi Suzy-
Good point about coming from different parts of the world in terms of looking for mental health help. You’re right…at least from my standpoint when I write about this I am thinking about what I deal with in my COUNTY not even in the whole country. Mental health like all other health stuff is state run so it differs from state to state and in my state certain services differ from county to county.

It made me laugh a little when I read your words about US being more developed in terms of mentalhealth…I certainly question that and think there is so much work to be done here. Unfortunately I’m beginning to come to the conclusion that either I have to do this recovery business on my own or find a specialized coach. However, I don’t have the money to pay for specialized coaching, otherwise I probably would be looking into working with Darlene.

All that being said, I know what you meant though. It does seem to be that severing ties with family is simple to do here, going, for one, by your comment.

I hadn’t really thought about family culture and cutting ties. I guess because I figured that the dynamic would be different/healthier simply because of the culture. Obviously that’s not true and can probably keep the abused in a tighter toxic bond. I have not seen much past my own ‘bubble.’

There are families I can see how it would be difficult to break from because they seem to be up each others’ butts (so to speak) but my family hasn’t been like that and it was rather easy to break my ties in terms of NC or really in my case at this point No Response. And that’s because we never really called each other on a regular basis. They get together on special occasions and that’s pretty much it.

I have heard from all three fam members to wish me a happy birthday in the beginning of the month. But I didn’t respond. (Just to give you an example of what I meant by ‘No Response.’

So yeah, depending on the family will depend on how easy it is to get away and then to set boundaries will require more strength if they are around all the time.

As for group therapy, given what you say about the collective consciousness of your culture, I’m sure validation is in short order. I can’t stand it when someone says, “Yeah, well you have to understand…blah blah blah.”

No I don’t HAVE to do anything and I don’t need to understand that right now. Anyway, my point is in group settings, it’s a bit sticky and can end up dysfunctional and toxic too. It takes a lot of trust to talk about your stuff and in groups that’s a lot of people to trust. Plus the therapist running the group has to be healthy too. haha, and we’ve already discussed much of that issue. 🙂

Being traumatized with betrayal so much, trust is tough to muster up…for me, and I’m guessing it can be for a lot of people who lived in abuse.

Going by your words and what I can get from your tone in your last comment, you sound stronger. I hope that’s the case and take care of you.



I have worked with clients in the Europe, Asia, Canada and the USA (and a couple of other countries) and there is not much difference in the way any of this is viewed anywhere in the world. (and the damage caused is the same too, only the details are different) All over the world people think that the family unit is more important than the individual and that children of all ages should go along with whatever their parents want or do. There is this sick belief that parents have some sort of entitlement that is above the law. Therapists all over the world (not all therapists, some are actually good) will re-victimize the mistreated adult child by validating the parents ‘rights’ instead of hearing and seeing the pain and validating the damage. I suspect that these so called professionals are terrified to validate the individual because if they validate you or hear you, they have to validate themselves. And the preferred coping method in the dysfunctional family system is making excuses and overlooking and saying that ‘my parents did the best they could’ and all kinds of stuff like that that never helps and doesn’t have any solution in it at all. Alice Miller writes about these types of therapists/psychologists and her work is really validating and highlights why there are so many unhelpful people in the helping profession.
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


The only reason I assumed there were big differences from country to country is because I live in a very international community (Americans, English and Irish, mainly) and when they get here they tend to agree that we take “family enmeshment to a whole new level.

I’m only 36 and I’m from a time when parents came to live with their children – that was just how it was (pensions did not come into place until mid 70’s so elderly had no means to survive). Now it’s not so usual anymore. Dysfunction was the norm… I often hear on TV (could have been Oprah recently or an article) about how “cute” it is in Asian societies where three generations live under the same roof in harmony? Really? How do they know? I’ve never seen that harmony. Just lots of tears and/or screaming matches.

I think a “Everybody Loves Raymond” kind of family was the norm until recently (anyone watched that?).

When it comes to training we get to universities and, regardless of course we choose, the textbooks and studies are from the USA and occasionally from the UK. We then tend to believe that in the USA it’s all more advanced because… well… most books on Personality disorders come from over there. Information in my country regarding parental abuse at this level, at least, is non-existent. Yes, there is info on personality disorders but not addressing parents specifically. Unfortunately.


I’ve been reading all the comments and it’s getting more and more complicated for me to explain my situation. I have to think back, but it’s like my memory halted when I left my country 25 years ago. My mother loved me, I know that. It was just a very confusing kind of love. It was a love/hate relationship on her part. I wanted to protect her because I knew how fragile she was. I couldn’t count on her for anything. She wasn’t strong enough. Any little thing would break her so I made sure to be very careful around her. I made sure to give her a lot of affection. She suffered from depression among other MI. She was unavailable to us emotionally and my dad was never home since he travelled all week for his job. I hated him. There was no place for us when he came back on Friday evenings. I was always scared to make a wrong noise or talk too loud or whatever. He never hugged me or kissed me or held me. This was reserved for my mom. Even to this day it’s very difficult for me to speak up. My mom used to tell me that my voice annoyed her. It made her crazy, it made her nervous. Then I was told by my peers in school that I was too aggressive, too opinionated, that acting this way would never get me friends. I was shy, awkward, extremely insecure. I couldn’t learn, nothing made sense, I repeated grades which caused me to be with kids much younger than me. I was bullied at school but couldn’t tell anyone. Who would’ve believed me? I deserved it, I was stupid. There were times when I’d just lose it and start screaming and crying in the house, anger dominated my soul. That’s when my mother used to yell back at me that I was crazy and that she was going to institutionalize me. Once again my pain was ignored. She didn’t believe me when I finally told her that her brother raped me when I was 7. She accused me of wanting to trash her family. She didn’t love herself so she projected all of her crap on us. Growing up this way you have no other way of knowing differently. Surviving becomes the norm.


A friend has invited me for T-giving and I accepted. Christmas is the next hurdle.

Brace yourself. You will get backlash for not spending T-giving with FOO.

The argument I used was that my married siblings don’t have to spend both holidays, why do I have to? Using that argument, I finally got Thanksgiving to myself, even though I’m single. Then, it got to the point where I don’t spend either holiday with FOO. How it got to that point was interesting. Thanksgiving would be MY holiday. I lived on the other end of the state. Well, when Christmas rolled around, OOPS, it snowed, we have 3 feet of snow, nobody is going anywhere. The next year there was no snow where I lived, but MAJOR snowstorm on the main interstate that goes across the state. Darn, can’t go. The next year it was a rockslide on that same interstate. FATE was helping me out.


God does not give you more that you can’t handle
what a bullshit this line is


LAst night I had a nightmare.
My ex bf drives me to my mother’s house. I see my mother and my sister in a window, pointing at me and laughing (the way teenage bullies would). I ask my ex bf to come in with me, he goes: “oh come on it is not that bad”.
So I walk in by myself and they both jump on me with their fists, start calling me names and punching me (there has never been any physical violence in my house, “only” severe verbal and emotional, just for the record though). I leave crying and than I see I am barefoot. I look at my feet and I see my toes covered with pins and needles….
anyone willing to do an interpretation of this dream? 🙂 Other than unresolved issues and fear, of course


I have not been to EFB for a while as I feared it would become my addiction 🙂
I am trying to make it up and read at least some of the new comments…
there are so many ….

All I can say is you are amazing. The therapists you described…. it amazes me that we still come across such incompetent “professionals”….unbelievable.


Happy delayed Halloween everyone…I hope you had a blast….
Just a thought: We should have all dressed as our mothers….:)
The best costume ever


Dearest Darlene,

I just read your article. I like it very much you put the nail on the head. But with one thing, I do not agree:

I never humilated my children in front of others or abused them like my mother and my father did with me. Actually, I never abuse or humilate anyone. Why should I do this? I do not like to let people suffer.

I think it is pure sadism they do it. They love to see their own children suffer. They are perverts.




Hello Sandra!

Happy delayed Halloween to you:) Actually, Halloween was a great example of my momster’s general attitude. It went like:

– I have been given these handmedown costumes that I want you to wear so I can prove my gratitude to the handmedowner
– You are so ungrateful! If you won’t wear them then I will not help you make a different Halloween costume
– I hate your Halloween costume that you made yourself because it makes me look bad when all the other mothers have beautifully-dressed children like fairies and princesses and you chose to go as a chimney sweep, you just look dirty and neglected


Suzy, my momster used the “Asian way” as an example of what she thought was the best way of caring for older people. Given her own mother lived with us, I wonder if she wasn’t just trying to insist that she was doing the right thing.

I know it wasn’t easy for her and that was also the excuse/reason she gave me for not being a mother to me. And then she somehow expected me to want to (or feel obliged to) take care of her and my father as they aged.

But I had ALREADY taken care of her mother when I was young so I knew I didn’t want to lose my life to it later on. And so for the whole thing to work for mom she had to then say “But you did nothing, it was normal, look at the Asian families…”


hey alice
how’s it going? 🙂

oh…..I’m thinking it is difficult for all of us here got nothing from our parents. We had to learn everything on our own, we had to learn the universal truths, etc. Naturally, how were we supposed to learn anything from our parents if they were parents just by name, in reality they have always been our real life enemies, a threat.

Guess what, I do not think I ever shared this story with you guys, it is relatively new.
I am n/c w/ my whole “family”.
I met with my father for the first time in 8 years last year, the contact with my mother has been on and off but I do nto want to repeat myself here.
Guess what happens, my father who now knows my number calls me up out of the blue and says: Listen your mother is very worried about you, she even decided to meet with me. I go: well I applaud you, did she stab you with a knife again? Ha laughs and goes on: “Well I survived somehow. Well I just thought it would be honest (sic!) of me to call you and let you know she spoke with me (they have not talked in 10+years), she asked me not to tell you but she is very worried about you. She offered me only tap water (sic!) as she said she has no money (Sic!), keeps giving you all she has (!!!!! this is such a terrible lie I did not know if I should laugh or cry, I have been self- sufficient since the age of 18), also I wanted to ask you about your personal hygiene…
I go WHAT???
“well you mother said that when you reconnected last year and you stayed at her place for several weeks you did not shower. And she has been catering to you your favorite foods and all. She wants to get me involved in straightening your life, (I don’t need any help thank you very much. He is saying things as if I were a drug addict).
My question is: were were you and your money when I was 18+?
I am 26 today and I am doing just fine. Fxxx you and your help.
When I heard all the lies my told him…my stomack turned upside down.
Why does she want to ruin my reputation so badly?
How could I possibly get fooled last year? I thought she really did change….


OMG! You have so eloquently synopsized my entire life! But I got it from BOTH parents, individually AND united!! I, too am “Emerging from Broken” at almost sixty years old. It is amazing how well you have put into words that which I have suffered from and might continue to suffer from had I not, let my family go. The results have been the same but it is wonderful to be acknowledged which is how I feel after reading “The Grooming Process …”. Thank you!


To Eva Souder:

I still send copies to my family but it’s true, there really is no point. In fact, I truly don’t understand why I do it. My father told me point blank that he doesn’t even read “those emails” and simply deletes them. Yet I have continued. I guess I still have much to work on.


@ everyone

DO you sometimes…it is weird…but do you sometimes miss your family?..just to make yourself realize a few minutes later that you do not miss THEM, you miss the illusion, an image of a family you would wish to have, or maybe you miss a few good moments you had with your sibling when you were kids which does not erase all the other moments…
IT is hard to go through life with no family, but living in a lie, getting frustrated after every meeting, finding out more and more lies, being constantly critized, I cannot do that. Or are we so USED to being mistreated that it makes no difference to us?
Please tell me: would you be willing to “get over it” and be in touch on a regular basis with your sister (though I guess it is me again wanting it not her, I have not heard from her in 2 months, let alone any apologies) who you have discovered has been lying to you pretty much all your life, purposely isolating you from your father so that she could gain all the financial benefits, and the worst refused any financial help to you whatsoever when you had a hard time in your life and hit hard bottom. Just to be clear: I have it together, I am not an addict, I work pay my taxes etc.
My mother telling my father I was not his child and than telling me behing his back how he is suspecting out loud that I might not be his daughter…what is this? why?

NOt only that imagine being groomed so much that you do not find it odd that you had to manage everything on your own since you were 18 and you 6 years older sister (getting lots of fin support on the other hand never ever asked you how you were doing, whether you needed help etc


Sandra, I do understand missing your family. My parents are both deceased. I do have some good memories of each of them. My mother had a fun side of her that I really enjoyed. My father had some very good traits too. I miss those parts of them. At the same time I realize that those good traits do not erase or compensate for the damaging things that were done. There is a reason why I’ve lacked confidence all these years. There is a reason why I don’t feel the self worth that I should. There is a reason why I still have difficulty speaking up to people who talk down to me. There is a reason why I have a false belief system that I need to break through and change. The reason s come from those same people who happened to gave some good traits, but have also left a path of destruction behind. So yes, I do miss some good things. I wish there had been much more of them, but the reality is that I carry around a lot of negative stuff from having grown up with these people, and the good does not erase that.


Amber articulates the way it is for me as well.
It’s pretty normal to not see things in black or white. But yeah, I have felt confusion when I think about the good stuff and begin to waver on getting in touch. Then I remember why I’m NC.

For the most part though, one sib I don’t miss at all. And the other, well that’s where it gets confusing at times. He was also manipulated. He has empathy. He knows how to apologize…at times.

But at the same time he also showed a bully side. He is also of the thought process that it wasn’t that bad, compares others’ misfortunes and abuse and doesn’t see the true level of dysfunction.

No. If I can’t be ME around others that pretty much decides it for me. And I have to hide to much of myself to be safe around them. That just isn’t acceptable.


Laura – you make a great point. “If I can’t be ME around others that pretty much decides it…”

I miss some of the things that really were good about my family AND I miss an illusion of family that doesn’t exist. I miss those things whether or not I’m in contact with them.

I guess there is a process of grief that we go through, but as long as someone is alive, it lacks finality. It’s really hard to let go of the hope that if they are still breathing, maybe they’ll FINALLY see me and love me for who I am. It’s a huge hole in my heart and part of the damage that they’ve inflicted that needs to be acknowledged and dealt with…I think..


but do you sometimes miss your family?



Hi Karen
Welcome to Emerging from Broken! I am so glad you are here!
Thanks for your comments,
hugs, Darlene


Sandra and everyone,

Yes I do miss the good times. I do miss the (rare) feeling of warmth that I could have with them. I do miss being told how much I was appreciated (only to have the same people turn on me as I asserted who I was or told them what I didn’t want or what hurt or what I did want).

I also miss the ideal of family. I have also been confused by “but wait, if there was good then it couldn’t have been as bad as that” but it was ALSO as bad as that. In fact my momster has used this as an argument for there being no bad, no harm or if harm there was it was the “regular” or “usual” kind that “other grown children manage to deal with” and “get over like everyone else”. She has already suggested to me that the ideal vision is of a group of adult daughters, still very much in close touch with their mothers, joking together about the slaps and whatnot. I boggled at that one. And I thought as she said it “fuck you, not going to happen.”

I’ve already found myself wishing it was “something worse”, visible scars or clear sexual abuse because then (I figured, although I now feel bad about that having read the other posters’ stories where they were beaten and/or physically`sexually abused – I would never wish that on anyone.) it would be clearly “bad”, clearly “abuse” and people would recognize it as such. But I’ve also since learned from reading the accounts here that that doesn’t (or rarely) happen either! And in fact it more often happens that the physically/sexually abused are told nothing happened or it was long time ago or some other such bullshit.


I’ve been reading what you guys have been saying and I do identify with so much. Even the search for the “good times” that might perhaps prove it wasn’t so bad, after all.
Then things happen, like they have just now that leave me doubled over in pain and tears.
I just opened a newspaper where they have an image of a stray dog that chases cars – maybe he’s looking for his owner in every single car. And this is the one thing I cannot forgive – how my father treated dogs. It’s beyond me. I could forgive the pain inflicted on me, the drunkness, the lack of support… but this, no. Worse, I cannot forgive myself.
There was this dog he brought home when she was a puppy. The idea was always to take her to the farm and I knew that. But of course, I always hoped one would be allowed to stay. Then one day she’d not be there. I’d cry myself to sleep, never making a fuss, just silently sob all night thinking of my pet in the dark, tied to a chair, rain or shine, feeling lost.
Because my dad had such a fragile health, my mother couldn’t cope with other people’s emotions and my grandmother did not like me or animals, the fight I put up was basically make sure she was OK (if my father was in bed due to overdrinking I’d go feed the dogs once I reached 18 and could drive). Luckily, my mother supported me on this one and came with me. I’d also visit the dogs and go for a walk with the one that I raised.
When I returned to my country because my dad was ill (big food…talk about being in the fog!) I brought my dog (my very own first dog). I had to leave him with my parents until we found jobs and a new home so I had to make it clear that he was not to see any physical punishment and he had to sleep in the house in the village, which they agreed to in the end (if you ask me today I’d not leave him with my parents – I’d like to believe nothing ever happened, but, who knows?).
To cut a long story short, one day, the other farm dog I helped bringing up vanished. My mother told me one day that he got rid of her but I was not to cry as not to upset my dad! Apparently he justified doing that because I now had my own dog.
Again, at the age of 24, I cried myself to sleep for days, holding on to my husband to camouflage the sobs as to not upset my dad. How sick is this?!
To this day I cry my eyes out (as I just have) not knowing what happened to my friend. I know she was a mean dog with issues (she had to be) but I loved her. I still do. The not knowing is awful. The fact that I didn’t pack up my bags and my dog and went back to the country I loved, it’s awful. How could I have been so blind despite how much it hurt? I don’t get it.


Maybe some comments should be labeled…”Warning: trigger…and then what it’s about.” (?) Stuff about pets are severe triggers for me and Suzy I couldn’t finish reading your comment. Too scared to know.


I’m sorry Laura. Darlene, could you please remove it? I wrote it when I was feeling very emotional and afterwards it hit me that I may be triggering other people. Now that I read your comment and see that’s the case, it really wasn’t wise of me to post it. So sorry. 🙁


Thanks.It’s OK though. I was just putting it out there that maybe certain things could be labeled triggers to warn others. I don’t want to ‘gag’ you. I think most of us have had more than enough of that.

It’s no secret lots of cruelty happened in most of our lives here and reliving the chaos can be so difficult, despite the reality.

Thanks for your apology. I had the choice to not read so that’s what I did.

Peace and hugs.


Oh yeah Suzy-
Also, I am really sorry that stuff happened with you. (I read about halfway before I stopped.) There’s not much that is more heart wrenching than animal cruelty, especially when we were so powerless to do anything about it.

And I get the regret and kicking self about it too, even though we made the choice that seemed workable at the time.

We do differently when the fog lifts as opposed to when we’re in it.


Hi Laura and Suzy
About trigger warnings ~ in this website EVERYTHING would have to have one. 🙂 Everything I write and most comments with personal sharing in them would ALL need to have a trigger warning. Here is how I look at ‘triggers’
I personally don’t believe in trigger warnings because triggers are like ‘clues’ that lead down the recovery path. When I feel triggered, I ask myself where that feeling comes from and what it reminds me of. If I feel scared, I ask myself why. I look for the roots of the belief about whatever is triggering me. Triggers are my friend. One of the reasons that this blog is so popular is because we can talk about anything here. I intentionally wanted to create that permission and so I can’t advocate for ‘trigger warning’ warnings.
I hope that you will understand Laura. I sincerely want what is ‘best’ for all and I believe trigger warnings are not in any way “best”.
Hugs, Darlene



I appreciate the point that you’re making about triggers. You explain it in a way that makes sense.

I guess the more we avoid our triggers, the touchier we are likely to be.


Hi Darlene-
I thought about that after I wrote my feelings about Suzy’s original post.

I do understand and I also do want to apologize to Suzy since as you said, Darlene, this is a place to talk about anything. And I get how everything is a possible trigger…different topics will trigger different people.

I felt wrong really for telling Suzy my reaction after the fact. Suzy, you have a right to write your pain as much as anyone…my triggers are not your fault or your responsibility, so I’m sorry Suzy. I hope you are OK.

I think about those sort of things too from my own life, pertaining to pets I mean, so I know why I’m triggered, but I guess I wanted to avoid that pain. Thank you Darlene for including in your comment about how to deal with triggers. I will use it. 🙂


I feel like such a loser….
I overanalyzed my repeated past mistakes (it looks like I am not learning at all, sadly) and i cannot blame my parents for them. Rather my ex bf if I want to blame anyoone. Or actually myself for being a people pleaser addicted emotionally to a toxic guy.
YEs I can blame only myself for the past mistakes
but than again I knwo they are rooted somewhere
There are days liek today when I do miss my mother a bit
but than I remind myself why I am nc with her and I realize I miss having a MOTHER but not precisely her. I feel like there is this emptiness in my life, i have always felt that way, I think this is the way most of orphanes feel I guess. I have been trying to mute these feelings for so long, excessive spending, overworking, focusing on perfecting my body, losing myself in a relationship, I feel I am totally backwards


Sandra, so sorry to hear you feeling down on yourself. But I relate to having felt this, I don’t feel it to the same extent at the moment. I think there may be something worth looking into if the blame becomes overwhelming. I also think I’ve done most of the things you’ve listed. And one of the reasons I did them was because I believed some of them would lead to me finally being loved in the way I never had. Although the excessive spending was compensatory for the overwork, have to admit:)

To me it’s a fine line between “responsibility” and “blame”. I think I was never taught how to take the former, only the latter.


Laura, with regards to triggers I totally understand the effect it had on you because animals are the ONE thing that will make me lose it emotionally (and unfortunately my post was a result of that, after seeing something in the newspaper that triggered it).

I don’t know what past mistakes you blame yourself for, but I’d bet they are the result of poor parenting. My mistakes in my 20’s (straight after leaving my parents home) were in terms of “choosing” to go to university, getting married too young and financial mistakes. God knows I beat myself up over them (and still do, but things are clear as daylight now).

1) I went to university because I was told I was an embarrassment if I didn’t, and because such-and-such person had been, and so I had to go (because my parents could afford it). I chose a degree randomly and just went.
2) I married my husband at the age of 22 because my parents would be embarrassed (again) if I moved in with a man without being married.
3) I’d never known anything about finances. Never had a budget. Just asked my parents when I needed money (that’s how it was for me and my friends; no one was rich but all parents wanted to pretend they were, I suppose, so they didn’t even encourage us to work… that, too, would be embarrassing).

And guess what. Despite doing everything to please them it was never enough. Not only that, my mother managed to rub everything in (my mistakes) over and over. Until recently I told her this:

“Why haven’t you… AS A MOTHER… gave me any guidance if you knew the course I chose was a mistake, if you knew getting married early was a mistake and if you knew I was making financial mistakes and everything else?”

Her reply?

“Well, your dad and I were still quite young then and we didn’t know…”

I couldn’t believe my ears.

“So, mum, what you’re saying is that I should have all the answers in my early 20’s that you didn’t have in your 60’s??”.

I relate when you speak about feeling like an orphan. It’s a horrid feeling. I don’t feel I have a mum (or maybe it was worse when I thought I had one). I have this person who I don’t relate to in any way, shape or form, who sucks the life out of me when she’s around or when I speak to her. Everything goes back to money, as if money is a legitimate way to prove or purchase love. I have fantasies of winning the lottery and showering her with money gifts. “Oh but you didn’t give me a hug”. “Well, mum, I just gave you a check”.


From 2nd paragraph I was meant to have addressed Sandra.


Hi Laura
Thanks for your reply and for your understanding about trigger warnings. I appreciate that you came back and posted a response too.
hugs, Darlene

Yes, I have found triggers happen for a reason; usually in my life they mean that I am ready to face something that I haven’t faced the truth about yet. I welcome them today!
hugs, Darlene


I smiled when I read about your fantasy of winning the lottery ~ I have had similar fantasies because my mother worshiped money too. I realize now that deep down I had this ‘feeling’ that if I had millions of dollars, my mother would suck up to me, (which is what I thought love actually was because I was expected to ‘suck up’ and comply) and it wasn’t even about giving her gifts. It was just about her ‘liking’ something about me. Thanks for sharing that ~ I enjoyed relating to it this morning!
hugs, Darlene


Just wanted to rant. Some of you may know that I am basically “no contact” although it has become much more like: momster contacts me for some random something every few weeks and I mostly ignore it (thanks IOS7 feature that goes straight to voicemail!) but sometimes I get worked up that it just won’t stop and so I call her back to tell me to leave me alone and remind her that that is all I want from her.

She then makes one of her dismissing comments so I understand that she has no respect whatsoever for my request for no contact. No respect for me, for that matter (and as I type this there is a little voice saying “ha, but you don’t deserve respect as a daughter” and it is almost her voice saying “you should respect ME” – interesting isn’t it? I believe this is what psychologists call “the inner critic” or an “introject”. Mine is most definitely her.

When I told her THIS TIME all I was requesting was that she respect my wishes to not contact she actually went “Pff, here we go again.” And I suddenly realized just how much there’s NOTHING I can do to get this awful woman to leave me alone. I feel so angry and helpless.

And then I went surfing about on some websites about estrangement and it became very clear that these mothers believe they have rights over their kids and that their kids desire for contact or not is of little consequence. It doesn’t matter what the kids want. I can’t see in what other situation someone would force themselves on others and believe they had that as a right.


Hi Alice-
In a case like that I’d just go No Response. My mom has sent me emails…only a couple and a birthday card last month. She knows I don’t want contact but she did this anyway.

Whether trying to manipulate us back into our roles or genuinely missing us, it’s disrespectful and to them we are apparently not worthy of respect.

The thing is, they are NOT correct in that assumption. But if you continue to call them even to tell them to stop contacting you, they don’t take you seriously. And when you worry about them continuing, you feed them.

I know it’s hard not to worry about what they will do if you don’t respond. But you might have to feel the fear in this one and ignore the calls, messages or whatever other things she attempts.

I don’t know your situation, and in actuality, I’m talking to myself more than you since I can relate to this to an extent.

Unfortunately you can’t make them respect your wishes by responding to the message and telling them to respect your wishes and stop calling. It all has to be in your actions…or in this case your non-actions.


I have talked about the PTSD, nightmares, panic attacks, etc. over the few months I have posted on here.

I recently heard that my mother has stepped up her accusations of the evils I have committed. Now I supposedly swindled an old pickup from my grandfather. He had a 1950 pickup that he was going to sell in 1983. My younger brother wanted it but did not have the money at that time. So we bought it from my grandfather and my mother gave us a check so that my brother could have it and restore it.

She has since the funeral saying that we owe her some money and that she has proof. That was the only time in 42 years that we ever accepted money from her and my father. Until the day I got married, I had to turn over all of my paychecks to my mother and she in turn gave me an “allowance”. I was a registered nurse but had never had the nerve to get away from that insane asylum they called home.

I know she resented losing my income when I married and tried for years to break us up. My brother said that he paid my mother back, but now she says we swindled my grandfather. Of course, she is saying all of this after my grandparents and my father passed away. There is no one but my brother to refute the accusation.

On top of all of this, she is now telling everyone that not only did my husband stay in the Navy to “get away from me and my lies about the incest”, but that he wanted to have me committed. He is furious, needless to say. He has always worried about me and my nightmares, etc. but has never trusted therapists enough to leave me alone with them much less have me committed somewhere.

I had a kitten that my little brother fell on when I was about 16. It broke the kitten’s back but instead of doing anything for it, they let it drag its hind legs for two weeks until it died. Another cat that I dearly loved, I took with me when I married. I was told that my six year old sister was crying constantly because I took the cat with me. I made the mistake of giving it back. It developed kidney failure and died in its cat pan trying to urinate.

My now drug addict sister jokes about it saying that she got the best of me by convincing me to bring it back. She says that she never cared, that she doesn’t like animals anyway. I am so heartbroken. I have always taken care of our pets, even to paying thousands for cancer treatment of a little barn cat that we still have.

My mother doesn’t care about anyone’s health except her own. I almost died in 1997 and she only wanted to know why we weren’t coming for Christmas. My sister-in-law has cancer. Once she was in ICU and my mother called her on her cell phone. She was told where my sister-in-law was. She said that “well, when she gets home, I have a list of things I need for her to do”.

I have gone from nightmares to hallucinations at night. I see my mother standing by my bed. I see those poor animals again struggling. I keep hearing the lies my mother is telling everyone about me. I start screaming and my husband wakes me up, hugging me. I don’t know what else to do any more. I don’t call my mother or sister or talk to them. I have no contact with anyone on that side of the family except that one brother who has turned out pretty decently and his wife and daughter. The rest don’t know how to contact me any more and will never know.

Everyone here please be patient with me. This is the only venue that I can allow myself to be heard. My little family is extremely supportive, but there is only so much that they can stand to hear. They don’t say that but I cannot imagine how hard it is for them to hear. There is so much pain. I thought over the years that by now, I would be better, but my mother has stepped up her lies and her pleas for everyone to believe that I am lying to just about everyone I know. Luckily we have lived in another city for the 42 years we have been married. My mother has never set foot in my house and has not seen our sons since 1996. She has never met my son’s wife or our grandchildren. My daughter-in-law hugs me and thanks me for keeping that side of my family away from them.

Why does my mother hate me so much? I have never asked for anything from her but she seems to think we owe her the world. But I am selfish, greedy, lying, etc. etc. ad nauseum (literally). It seems to be coming down to a race as to who dies first, her or me.

I only ask for patience from everyone here. I am trying to not whine or complain, but being able to write it down helps.

Darlene, you are a saint for providing a place where we can bear our souls. There are so many who are quick to judge and stereotype us.

Thank you and to all of you who are patient enough to hear my words, especially when I find myself repeating them. We are all in so much pain that we need this place to be able to talk it out.

Hugs to all,


Linda, I am so sorry to hear about these things you have gone through.
I would suggest that this is one of few places online or off where folks can say very exactly what went on. I don’t see it as whining or complaining although those are terms people who don’t wish me talking use. I couldn’t give a crap about blessings but I’d use that word to describe what Darlene has brought to people who have suffered so much. I feel terribly sorry about the little cat. It reminded me of things I cared about or being little myself. I feel bad about what your mom put you through. And the rest. I wonder “How could they??” But I haven’t found that finding the answer is very helpful. There are so many possible answers.


Hi Laura,

Well-said. Sometimes I let the anger at her get the better of me and feel I should “make things clear” Oh and part of me just wants the satisfaction of telling her off. Or telling her to f*ck off. I think I didn’t get the chance to do that when I was living there because there would have been hell to pay.

I’ve sometimes also felt that NC and my silence is just a message that I will sit and take it and that she could successfully put the blame for our lack of relationship on me because she’s “making the effort to communicate”. I can see her complaining to her friends that she’s “doing her best”.

I know that NC is about my actions and not hers but in practice it’s hard.



To Alice and everyone hear who has listened to me, thank you very much.

I have read Marilyn Van Der Bur’s book, “Miss America by Day” and her experiences with incest and her problems with her mother and father.

It started when she was five (I believe) and ended when she was eighteen. She had blocked most of it until her daughter turned five and the memories started coming back.

My father fondled me starting at age three, fellatio at age four and full blown sex almost daily when I turned eight. It continued until I turned sixteen, when I found the courage to force him to stop. He continued to pursue me until I was in my thirties when we stopped going to visit them altogether.

My mother knew all along what was going on. She even sent me off to be alone with him so that it could happen. Of course, now, she denies it all, saying there was nothing she could have done, anyway. She even yanked my hair and slapped me when I did not comply and had him beat me with a belt buckle and wooden rods so that the marks would show under my skirts at school. This was in the fifties and sixties before girls were allowed to wear long pants to school.

She continued to slap me until I was in my thirties when she was angry which was often. I had not told my husband about the incest until 1986 so I was too ashamed to tell him that she was slapping me. I was so ashamed of the incest that I did not tell him until we had been married for fifteen years. My brother’s wife was going to have twin girls and I could not take the risk that my father would do something to them.

My mother says I am lying in spite of my father admitting to what he had done to me to my brothers and my sister-in-law. He called us several times over the last few years to say how sorry he was. She has always treated me like “the other woman” but never wanted me to get married. She got my paychecks and I had always cleaned house and cooked for her from that age of eight. She always resented the fact that I got married and has tried for 42 years to break us up.

I don’t understand where the hatred is coming from. I even mentioned in an earlier post that I graduated in the top ten of a class of 600 in high school and was supposed to have gotten a full scholarship to MIT. I found out years later that my mother told the counselor that it would have been too much of a hardship for me to leave home. All she had to do was let me go away to school and she would have been rid of me. If she hated me that much, why did she try so hard to keep me in that house of insanity?

I did manage to go to the local college’s nursing school to get one of the first Associate Degrees in Registered Nursing. This was in the sixties when such a thing became available.

I took some classes with medical students, such as anatomy and physiology. Doctors have often asked me over the years why I did not go to medical school. I knew that I had tested to have an IQ of 180 and became a member of MENSA. When I found out about the lost scholarship, I was just speechless. The saving grace about all of this is that I would not have met my husband.

We met at the hospital where I worked and married six weeks later. My parents were so shocked about us becoming serious that at age 21 I had a curfew of eight o’clock. One night they would not let me out of the house. My soon to be husband called the police. Of course no one would say what was going on, but the police officer said that since I was over eighteen my parents could not keep me locked up.

That began to open my eyes. Therapists have since said I had had a form of Stockholm Syndrome and knew of no other way to live. I am often amazed that my husband has put up with me and my problems for 42 years. We love each other so much. My parents had always told me that if I ever told of the incest, no one would believe me and no man would ever want me. My darling husband has proved that everything they said was a lie.

Unlike Miss Van Der Bur, I have always had a very clear memory of everything that happened to me. But when my granddaughter turned three and four, my panic attacks got worse. Since the funeral and my mother’s accusations about me, I am having hallucinations.

I really believe that I can understand why Van Der Bur started having memories when her daughter turned the same age as she was when the violations started. When my oldest son was about two years old, I lost a baby girl. Then I had our second son. I often wonder if I would have reacted differently with a girl. My husband and I feel extremely protective of our granddaughter when we take her out with us (our grandson too). The world is a dangerous place. Our son and daughter-in-law are wonderful parents. My daughter-in-law says that my experiences awakened things that she was not that aware of. She often hugs me and says thank you for not letting my parents near our grandchildren. She has never met my parents and thanks us for keeping them away from them.

I am rambling tonight. Thank you all for being so patient. I turn 65 soon and find it amazing that I have survived for so long. I think my mother would be grateful if I just quietly died and went away. Then the evil queen would have won.

She has focused her attentions on my sister-in-law who is thirty younger than me. I have had heart problems for years from the PTSD and frequent vomiting. But she has cancer and absolutely cannot handle any more stress. My mother and drug addict sister don’t care. They have stepped up their abuses since my father died. My sister stole drugs and jewelry from my sister-in-law during the funeral. My mother says that she just has “problems” and her older sister refuses to help her.

We have not seen my sister since 1998 because she is an alcoholic, drug addict and thief. She is not welcome in our home. But for some reason all of this is my fault. My mother has focused all of her venom onto me. She has always been this way, but it is just getting worse. I don’t understand. But it is getting more and more that I just don’t care any more, about either her or my sister. This may be evil. I don’t know any more. But I cannot hear it any more or I will commit suicide.

I know there is always someone who will say, “honor your father and mother”. I am have come to the conclusion that this does not apply to us. They have not treated us as a true father and mother should, so why should we honor them? I told someone that if I learned anything from my parents, it was now NOT to treat your children…or anyone else for that matter.

Hugs and prayers to all,


Hi Linda, you and I have communicated on here several times and I really feel a lot of compassion for you. You have been through so much!
One thing that struck me when I read your post today is when you say your mother is increasing her venom towards you. I’m wondering if this and some of the other things she is doing is because she is angry that you’ve gone no contact with her. She may think that if she ramps up her abusive behavior that she may get a reaction from you.

Please don’t look at your posts as “rambling”. And don’t worry if you think you are repeating something you have posted before. Talking about all this on here is a good way to vent and get it out. And to be heard by people that are going to understand, and people that give validation in additional to our own validation. As far as revisiting certain things over and over, I find that I do this. Going I’ve something just once isn’t enough to fully process it for me. Sometimes I process a long ago event but cycle back to it at a future date and dig even deeper into it and my feelings. I suspect I may have to revisit some things many times. And if you come on here and want to write a long post to get your feelings out, I’ll be glad to read it and support you.

You asked how you survived to 65. I suspect you have much more strength than you can imagine Linda. And, you’ve got your incredible husband and sons, daughter in law and grand kids. May they help you continue to heal, and may you get additional comfort and support from your friends on here. Hang in there Linda. You are so worth it my friend!


Hi Alice
One day, quite a ways into the process of healing and coming out of the fog, I just suddenly realized that ‘they’ would think and say whatever they want to, truth or lies. It never mattered before and they are not the one’s that ‘changed’ and stood up to the system. I know exactly what my family says about me. (a couple of their so called friends have called me and told me this past year!) It is the same old lies ~ nothing is new. (although I did hear a few things that were actually funny; my mothers husband is making things up about what I am saying in this website; I have heard from 2 different people the same lie. And it is funny to me because it proves that they lie since what he is saying is something that I never wrote and that proves that he HAS to lie to make them look more innocent.)
But as you say, that is about them and I too have to remind myself sometimes.

It still stings sometimes ~ because at the end of the day the fact that my mother was not willing to even HEAR me or try to have a relationship with me based on equal value and mutual respect means that I am not worth it to her. But I have to keep reminding myself that based on the relationship prior to my standing up for myself she had already made that statement through her actions.
It isn’t easy but its light years away from how hard it used to be!
hugs, Darlene


Hi Linda
When people say to me “honor your mother and father” I ask them what they think that means.
Is it honorable to let people treat me like crap? Is that love? How can it be? and we are talking about a directive from GOD himself here. When I looked at the actual teaching of Jesus Christ he said ‘follow me’ and if anyone gets in your way of that, leave them behind. Well I had a pretty tough time as long as I was under the rule of man. When I was bowing down to the false system of love and honor, I could NEVER follow the real teachings of Christ. He taught equal value. He taught love. But not the love that I learned in an abusive system that believed in parental rights and entitlement. (which is NOT about LOVE)
When I looked at the truth about love for my mother, drawing a boundary and saying no more to her, was and IS love and honor.
There is no evil in the actual truth. I just had to find out what the actual truth was!
Thank you for sharing, I love your comments and posts.
hugs, Darlene


Hi Darlene!

Thanks for your comments. I think that’s important to understand. What I find harder at the moment (although it’s all hard FFS) is the willingness of other people who do not know my mother (but (I guess) know me) to “change” in their evaluation of me if I so much as mention my bad relationship with mom. I know that I often talked about it as a way to get validation from others. So that now seems to be a really bad idea.

It really didn’t work – or worked really badly with the majority of people I have met. I really wanted them to care about it. About me. And for the most part they either couldn’t give a damn or found it too much to listen to or, worse, they found a way in to my vulnerability because of it. That they were all too willing to exploit.

I know you have a post about that somewhere. So what I’m working with right now are the exploiters of the way I am, due to her mistreatment and my subsequent worldview and actions.

Hope you are well:)



To Amber,

Thank you for hearing me. You always seem to give me something else to think about. Yes, my mother is getting worse and more abusive. I had not seen her or talked to her from 1997 until May this year and only saw her at the funeral.

Others there told me how excited she was that she was going to see me. I don’t know what she expected. I said hello and kept on going across the room with my husband.

I mentioned in another post that we were dressed up with my husband in his Navy dress blues with all of his medals and ribbons. My sister was in torn blue jeans and an old T-shirt. My mother had on an old dress that I recognized from 20 years before. My father’s sister was dressed up.

It was a military funeral and the soldier handed the flag to me. My aunt smiled and pointed to the other end of the pew to my mother. That evidently ticked my mother off. She started telling everyone that my husband and I were just trying to show everyone up.

My husband is very proud of his service and always dresses up for funerals, the Navy Ball, Memorial Day Services at Veteran’s Memorial and many other reasons. That is just something we do.

I have heard so much of what others have been told since the last time I saw my mother about how my husband and I are greedy, selfish…I have posted most of it here before. I now wonder, from what Amber said about “ramping up” that perhaps my mother is jealous?

I wonder if she expected me to have fallen completely to pieces in the almost twenty years since I last saw her. One of the things she is saying is that she spoke to my husband’s mother once and was told that when his father sold his business for several million dollars, my husband, his sister and brother were mad because they didn’t get any of the money.

That is crazy. The money is not ours. We told my mother-in-law what my mother had been saying and she said that she had only spoken to her once in the 42 years we had been married. They happened to run into one another at a physical therapy place and had a maybe fifteen minute conversation. My mother-in-law said that they never talked about anything like that. She happened to mention that my father-in-law had retired after selling his business. My mother took that and ran with it.

What she does not realize is that we are comfortably well off and so are our sons. We don’t need the money from either side of the family. My parents and one brother and sister never had any money anyway…why would I ask for money from someone who brags about having nothing?

I think that she suddenly realized that everything she has tried to do my whole life to bring me down has resulted in just the opposite reaction. She has never stepped foot in my home, so she just assumed that we must be in dire straits like my one brother and sister and now herself. My parents did not have the money for the funeral over and above what is provided for WWII veterans. My one good brother paid the difference and we reimbursed him for half of that. As far as we know, my mother does not know this. I am not going to tell her. Perhaps if I called her and cried and complained and took her in, it would make her happy. Perhaps she IS trying to make me react.

As I said, I don’t care anymore, either about her or my sister. They burned their bridges many years ago. I am so sorry my mother has turned her vengeance and wrath onto my sister-in-law, but she and my brother know that I cannot go back. I cannot hear it anymore.

If this is an evil or unChristian attitude to some, I can’t help it. Even our minister at that time said that I owed nothing to them. I have heard every accusation and been called every name in the book, but I also know people who do know my husband and me. We work hard to help others. We always have. I think that a lot of the reason we do the things we do is because we ARE able to help others and because we are unwilling to help someone who won’t lift a finger to help themselves, i.e. my mother and my sister.

They both blame me for everything that is wrong with them. I don’t accept this any more. I will not take my mother in. We made a one time offer to my sister to pay her to give back the drugs and jewelry she stole from my sister-in-law and niece. Her excuse is that she was so high she didn’t know what she was doing. I told her that since she knows now, perhaps I could buy it back from her. She and her newest girlfriend told me to f..k off and that was the end of it.

I am happy with that. I had felt guilty because no one had helped her and she has been an alcoholic and drug addict for over twenty years. Now, no more guilt! If my mother would just stop with her accusations, that would also make me happy. But my sister-in-law said that she just adds to the old stories. There is nothing new and I am finding that the people that count don’t believe her anyway. So perhaps she is digging her own grave. I do know that my brothers said that the wrong parent died first. I haven’t told her that either. Maybe she IS saying more and more until I react, but it is just making my skin thicker and thicker.

Yes, the PTSD, panic attacks and hallucinations are still there. I cannot convince my body to listen to my brain. Perhaps there are still some deep seated things I need to work out. Only saying all of this once does not make it go away. But maybe, if I keep on keeping on, as they say, the day will come when I don’t think about it all anymore.

Thank you, Amber, Darlene and everyone else for your patience and kindness,



To my darling Darlene,

I wanted to say how much I appreciate your comments validating the things our old minister told us. When I told my husband about the incest in 1986, we had been married for fifteen years and I had never said a word to anyone. I was terrified that the things my parents had told me were true, that my husband would leave me if I told. He not only didn’t leave me, he hugged me and said he finally understood that nightmares, etc. that had gone on for so long.

He immediately told our son who was eleven at the time and told our younger son later. My oldest went and got a brochure they had received in school with a hotline for abused children and said that “mommy, maybe they can help”. Of course, that brought on the tears. Then we went to our hometown where our old minister was. It turned out that he was in charge of a program for teenagers in crisis at the time. He was the one who said that honoring parents like mine was not the thing that God or Christ were referring to.

My mother has been saying she had to change congregations because of this. Which is funny because we had gone to church with her until 1997 when we saw them for the last time.

Our minister said that he had always suspected something wrong in our family. No family is as perfect as my “dear sweet mother” always claimed. But like everyone else, unless something is said nothing can be done.

Hugs and my prayers always,


Linda, when I read about your son bringing you that brochure, I got tears in my eyes too! How sweet and loving to do something like that to help his Mom!.
Regarding your message 197, yes, I have noticed that if I stay away from someone because of their bad behavior, they sometimes increase their bad behavior. I think it’s a desperate attempt on their part to get you to react to them when they are being ignored. Ignored for good reason!
Also, I’ve found that people who are trying to find fault with you will come up with something, even if they have to stretch the truth or completely make something up. Your mother saying that you dress up to show off is a perfect example. I’ve experienced having people attribute a vicious motive to some innocent thing I did because they were so desperate to find something wrong with me. It was about them, not me, and it isn’t about you either Linda.
Take care, Amber



Yes, my sons are very special. They have always cared about others with problems, not just me. They have often brought home young people with problems at home. We have let some of them stay here and have helped a lot get set up in a new apartment or even with help in finding the appropriate organization.

I am a retired nurse and my husband is retired military, federal agent, teacher and is a reserve deputy sheriff. Between us, we have a wealth of knowledge in finding resources. He is also the “fish buddy” of our present state governor and lived for a while in D.C. where we got to know some of the senators and representatives in our nation’s capitol.

My husband is very intelligent and very experienced. We often help a lot of WWII veterans and disabled veterans who need help with the VA, etc. My mother knows absolutely nothing about us. My dad did because he chose to keep up with us the last few years. If she chose to take anything from that knowledge, she has decided to tell the story her way.

But the people that count know who we are and to us that is what is important. As you can tell, I am having a better day today. If I can keep her out of my head, things are so much better.

And then, I have made some friends here that I can really talk to. It is so appreciated.

Thank you…all my prayers,


Oh, in speaking about our sons, our oldest just bought their new home. I cried when he and our daughter-in-law told us that they got it so that if something happened to my husband, I could move in with them. I thought that was so sweet. Now I have to be careful. I don’t want to be a burden on anyone. I have seen some marriages broken up with a parent living at home. I don’t know. But, please God, I pray it’s not for at least another 42 years! lol



you sound like the kind of a mother I have always longed for
GENTLE and caring
My mother is pure evil, will not let you speak, will put you down, scream, she is so despotic. she hated whenever I brought any friends home.
At some point when I was a teenage my than best friend from school just said it up front: your mom is weid, we can always hang out at our place 🙂
It was a relief her mom was so much different


Linda, I too feel so much compassion for your story. I can relate so much to what your experiences have been. The lost dreams, the wondering what I would have achieved if I had had support for my dreams and been encouraged academically. I hope you can get to a place in your body and heart and soul where you know – just know – that this was never about you. It’s hard to guess why your mother does what she does….perhaps she hates herself and she transfers that hate onto you so she doesn’t have to face hating herself. Whatever it is, it’s not you.

Everyone, regarding my post #141. If anyone feels like commenting about it, it would be very much appreciated. It’s hard to ask for this. Just feeling sad today. My brother never responded to my heartfelt letter. He maintains his stand of blaming me and siding with my mom (he thinks I should “forgive and forget” my mother for not standing with me in the face of my father’s sexual abuse. Oh, and he also said “That’s what I would do…that’s just the kind of person I am” (as if I’m not forgiving enough), and “You’re on your own”. This was all before she ever publicly acknowledged her role and my pain. He refuses to say anything conciliatory even though I have. Now he wants to pretend I never wrote that letter to him.

I think this is too important of an issue between us, and too damaging, for me to have an interactive relationship with him. I feel like such a black sheep in my family. It’s not just him, it’s A LOT of family members. They blame me, and pull away. This rippled to my sisters-in-law and my nieces and nephews too. My mother, and even my father when he was alive, got most of the support and attention. I was left to fend for myself emotionally. I’m trying to figure out how to survive in this world as a single woman without much family connection. I wish I could get lucky like Linda and meet a great guy who really loved me, and I really loved him. That would help me get through. It’s probably not politically correct to feel this way, but a big part of me really does want to be saved. I know I’m supposed to “save myself” and many days I am strong, but sometimes I just want someone to hold me. I do have a wonderful cat who is a comfort and joy.

Thank you for reading.


Hi Light
This is very hard to accept that these people refuse to offer you understanding and comfort through validating what you went through BEFORE they ask you to understand and comfort your mother! That is what I realized was so hard about this family stuff. I was asked to ‘forgive’ and move on before I was ever heard or validated in any way. I was told that it was no big deal and even that certain things never happened. For me moving forward ~ I HAD to validate the damage done to me. I had to grieve for my childhood, I had to comfort myself in order to restore that broken self-esteem. None of this was my fault or my defect of character and it was huge when I accepted that ‘they’ were not going to change. They were not going to hear me or validate me. But I did it for me and that changed everything.

hugs and love,


Thanks Darlene for your kind words. So many mixed messages from my family. Here’s an example. Just got a phone message from this brother, telling me he was traveling down to visit my mother (10 min away) and inviting me to dinner. (Of course he never actually visits ME. Plans are arranged between others, then I hear about the time/date). Yet he won’t address the letter I sent him weeks ago. He won’t budge on not being understanding towards me in the face of my mother’s non-support re: sexual abuse. What the hell am I supposed to do. If I don’t go, I miss seeing my nephew and girlfriend. I’m sure my nephew will notice and it could potentially create distance. I love my nephew very much. If I go, it says that I’m willing to just pretend I never wrote that letter and his non-response (and therefore he stands by his negative opinion of me).


Hi Light
Going doesn’t necessarily mean that you support his ignoring your letter- it can simply mean that you want to see your nephew! I know all of this is really hard because we learned the rules of the dysfunctional family so young but if you think about it through the grid of simply what you want sometimes it’s easier. You could remind him of the letter – that might be interesting. You could do it before the meeting but the thing do have found is that these ppl want to live in that world of denial more often then not so trying to get them to hear you is usually fruitless. So I had to look at each situation from a new view. But if you go it doesn’t mean he wins.
Hugs Darlene


Thank you SO MUCH Darlene for your support today. I really appreciate you being here and hearing your thoughts. I am literally having heart palpitations today and last night. I don’t know if this is common, to have physical symptoms from the stress of the emotional pain…it is something that I am experiencing.



It is amazing that we don’t ALL have physical problems related to our emotional ones. My cardiologist in 1997 when I almost died in the ER said that my heart problems were directly a result of the stress surrounding my family. I had always had a rapid heartbeat but one day it hit 240 and I passed out, My sons called the ER *my husband was overseas). It was found that I had an arrythmia.

My husband came home the day after I got out of the hospital. The next day was when my mother’s only concern was why we weren’t coming home for Christmas (to make everyone see that we were just one big happy family. We never saw my parents after that but I am still struggling. The frequent vomiting is still a problem.

As far how my family treats me, there is so much ambiguity that it makes me dizzy. The brother with the twin girls was so grateful that I told about the incest and thanked me for years. Now, he is the one who questions my motives and does not understand why I can’t just “forgive and forget”. We havent’ talked since the funeral because of the “trouble that I was causing my sister and mother”.

How do you understand someone one minute and blame them the next? I was told, by him, that his daughters and son don’t want to speak to me. Today I received an email that his son is in the hospital. This is the one who “cuts” himself.

My nieces and his son spoke to me before the funeral. Now they want nothing to do with me. My other brother’s daughter tells all of her friends how great me and my husband are. But that is the brother who (with his wife) have been imminently understanding.

My sister’s son lives with her ex-husband and was raised by him. We had no problems with either him or his father (my ex brother-in-law) until my sister stole the drugs and jewelry from my other brother and his wife. When we offered to buy everything back from her, it is us who are to blame. How dare we expose her for what she is? The lies from my sister and mother are just growing and growing.

Confused yet? I know I am. It is very hard to tell a story and have it make sense to total strangers, especially when it is your own family who confuses the issue.

None of them want to see who and what my parents are, much less dealing with anything. They just want me to quietly go away and stop causing problems. IT WAS AND IS MY MOTHER WHO IS CAUSING THE PROBLEMS, NOT ME!

Sorry for the yelling. I nearly hit my husband this morning. I was having a nightmare and I was screaming at my mother. He touched me and it became her hitting me. He woke me up and hugged me. I have never met someone who is so patient.

I hope some of this makes sense. I wish I could wake up and forget the nightmares, but I still remember them.

Blessing to Darlene, Amber, Sandra, Light and everyone else for being patient and letting me rant.

Hugs to all,

I am getting more and more confused. We should never have gone to the funeral, because the PTSD, panic attacks and vomiting have increased to the point that my doctor has said that if my heart rate doesn’t get better, he will burn the AV Node that regulates rate and put in a pacemaker. I don’t want that. I have lost over thirty pounds since the funeral. So far a new medication (a Beta Blocker) has helped with the arrythmia. But I have to find a way to eliminate or at least lessen the stress.

They love me, they don’t love me. I am not as flexible as I once was and don’t have the capacity to handle stress.


Sorry for the odd post. It put two paragraphs after my name. It is a full moon after all.




You said something about it not being politically correct to want to have someone to lean on. I KNOW I am blessed with my little family. I don’t know how I got so lucky.

And I will never accept the old “women’s liberation” idea that we have to stand on our own to be worthy. I love my husband more than my own life and I have been told that he feels that way about me. I wish so much I could live up to my own and put into practice that which I know is true. I wish I didn’t have so many problems. I wish, I wish..

Hug your cat for me. Since the boys have left home, we call our two cats our “replacement children”. lol They are great to be around. I can tell my deepest darkest secrets to them and know that they will not turn it into something against me.

Darlene has been great to provide this venue so that we can tell some our deepest darkest secrets.

Love to all,


Hi Linda,

I adore reading your posts…you’re so brave and such a fighter even at your age. Sorry about your nightmares. I had a bad dream recently, not good, and I know that it’s me needing to clear out more gunk dealing with elderly parents. I know it will all pass. My elderly parents are selling their big house and they are both in their eighties and do not have a lot of time left. I have to be so very careful in what I say with my circle of friends or they might think that I’m a sociopath…well, NOT! I try to keep my mind occupied with my computer, reading, crafts, friends, and managing my house. I’m sorry that you have issues, but I am sort of introvert myself and I like it that way! Sometimes, I just enjoy reading a book alone at a café where I’m surrounded by people and then I don’t have to interact. It’s also good just to browse around the shopping mall, too.

Hi Light,

I understand you since I’m in the same boat. I’m single and I live alone in my house. I don’t hate or fear men. I have had a few men relationships. I’m an only child and when both of my abusive parents die, that’s it! I have ZERO extended family to speak of. I create my own family through a circle of GREAT friends and my spiritual groups. I am NOT giving up on meeting a good man for a lasting relationship, living together/married, plus I have no kids, a college degree, own my house, and I feel I have a lot to offer. The only failure in life is to quit or give up completely. I do have high standards, but not impossible standards, and I know that if I had married the first man that came into my life when I was younger, then we would have been divorced, leaving me with more problems and trauma to heal. I did the right thing and I don’t feel sorry for myself. The only real problems I’ve had are people insulting me with, “if I’m not so bad looking then how come I never got married? or calling me gay!” Again, they are just jealous of my independence and money.

Once again these posts are all so great! I know now that I’m just a bit too honest and naïve with people, but I’m getting better. You learn from your mistakes. This site is the only support in my life now. Recently, I met a new coworker girlfriend and she seemed open minded enough. It’s hard when you’re my age, 45 years, and you are surrounded by older friends who talk about their aging parents. Once again, my parents get all the sympathy and understanding and I get nothing. I really don’t believe that I “dump” on people but it’s more like a confession of some of my childhood stuff. I have learned the hard way over and over again that people just don’t understand me. The mainstream believes in the worship of the “Mother Cult” where parents are ALWAYS RIGHT and can never be abusive or wrong. I don’t understand why whenever I speak the truth that I am still not validated. Anyway, this particular girlfriend has some issues with being estranged from her own brother and sister. I don’t know the extent of all the details, but her own mother sounded like a bit of a Narc. However, she defended her mother and she was the one of the three kids in her family who ended up caring for her mother at the end of life. I think now that maybe she is in some form of denial regarding how truly mean and nasty her own mother was. She ended up with most of the inheritance. When I tried to talk about my own elderly parent’s situation that they might not last too much longer, not in a mean or angry way, more like a matter of fact tone, I don’t think that this friend got it. It’s a blessing to be free of terrible people who abused you and there was never any real love. This new friend even suggested that maybe my elderly parents,in the near future,need to move into an assisted living apartment. She thinks that I’m afraid to lose them or something….

I feel for the other women on this site. I am just so tired of it all! I am truly not a “bad” person just a victim and misunderstood all the time. It hurts so much to NEVER be validated by other friends. I don’t expect them to understand everything and I could write an entire autobiography about my past, but don’t they ever get the smallest point? I think that the “non-abused people” do not understand abuse, nor do they even care. I am sorry, but I don’t know about the other women here but there are days when I just want to scream my head off. I am sometimes ashamed to admit this, but I get just a bit envious when I see support for all those other problems like everything from breast cancer to autism to name a disease. I’m sorry for their problems but I feel as if I don’t matter, nor even exist. It’s almost like saying that child abuse is an invisible problem and since we were so young and now I’m like a middle-aged woman that I should be over it by now! Surprise, well I guess I’m not! I don’t know maybe I’m missing something but for just once I would like to go to any supermarket, convenience store, etc. and be able to buy one of those plastic bracelets for our issue just to show the world that I am a survivor. Think about it! Note how others can say that they’re a breast cancer survivor or what have you but the adults like us have no voice—at least none that I know of!

I feel sometimes like I have abuse layers upon layers like an onion. I think that I am a nice person and basically polite, but I have issues with store clerks sometimes. It’s weird but I have been labeled that I’m too anxious or nervous and why can’t I just change my personality? I almost got into a minor fight with a woman clerk at a local New Age store the other day just checking out of the store. This woman actually had the nerve to tell me to “calm down” and that I talked too fast or was breathing too heavy or whatever and that I “made” her nervous. So, I responded back by saying something to the effect of “why are you so nasty?” Do these kinds of people think that I’m retarded with NO feelings at all? I have had a few incidents like this one and I’m sorry that I have been labeled that I’m a bit “high strung” at times. I honestly don’t know where this comes from but maybe my past dealings with my mom. I know that it’s quite common for us to have issues with authority figures or a hard time talking in front of a group….Be that as it may, still what gives others the right to be so rude? I actually had someone say to me once that I should be on some kind of medication to make me calm down. Then, I replied back to her with, “have you been taking your nasty pills?” I think that they’re surprised that I can snap right back at them and that I’m not retarded and I actually have feelings. Do these people think that they have absolutely NO faults at all?

I remember having a conversation with a good friend of mine once and she said that it seems like this society is so afraid to show ANY real human emotion at all in public like real sadness. I think that American culture wants people to be happy and artificially friendly all the time and NEVER have a low day. I said to this friend that it makes me think of an old song by Ricky Nelson called “Garden Party”. Basically, the song was written because the times and the style of music had changed. He went to the party and found out this his style was out. However, the theme is to be true to yourself and NOT care too much about other’s opinions of what you should be like. It’s out of date and before my time, but I still like the song. There is a famous line in the song, “Can’t please everyone, but you’ve gotta please yourself!” I try to hold that thought that you can’t please everyone, only yourself.

I guess that what I’m sort of trying to say here is that I am not respected at all for being me. I can’t even be “OUT” with my real religion, Celtic Paganism (Druids/Wicca) because the Christian religious right can attack me! (Yes, there are some people who get support from their different religion and not everybody sticks to their childhood Christian background!) My child abuse issues are not considered “IN” or popular or accepted in polite conversation. I can’t be the real “ME” with girlfriends and I feel so very lost. I’m wondering if anyone here has felt like me or had these experiences?
Thanks for sharing everyone…

Blessed Be,




It is so sad when someone puts another person down just because they don’t believe or worship “the right way”. I believe we will all arrive at our appropriate destination based on how we have lived our lives. It is not for someone else to sit in judgment.

I have great respect for you and admire you because you are able to live your own life. I have agoraphobia to such an extent that I have never been able to go out alone. Even when I worked fulltime, it was on the night shift with a straight shot to the hospital and home when my shift was over.

We do go out to the movies, cruises, shopping, whatever but always the two of us. Our sons lived with us when my husband was overseas and I was always with them or they ran errands for me. This is one reason they are so concerned about me being alone if something happened to their dad.

It is very strange how so many today still do not understand what happened to us and why we still have problems. You would think that with all the news about child abuse and how much has been written about it people would be able to empathize. Interestingly enough, my biggest supporters outside of the little corner of my world are some women in their eighties and nineties.

But all of that aside, I admire you being able to have great friends. I am at such a loss in groups. We do go to social events but then again it is always the two of us. One good thing about getting older is that fewer people question why. It is just accepted that with one you get the other.

In the Navy, my husband had more social obligations the further he got up in rank and because of the politics involved, there was no question about whether we would participate or not. So I took my Xanax, got dressed up and went with my husband. I did not want his career to suffer because of my little quirks.

My husband hates the political side of the military, but it is something you just have to do. Through him I have met some really interesting people overseas and in D.C. As I told my husband, it has been a great ride. People would not know that I exist other than my husband’s wife. I know a lot of doctors who respect me. But once you retire that part of your life is over. Now it is just Mrs. so and so or Captain…so and so’s wife. And that is fine. I have always been invisible anyway.

I am smart. I read a book every couple of days. But for the rest of it, no one knows me. And I am happy in my own little world.



hi everyone
bad day today, one of those day I call “bread & butter & a blanket” 🙂
and seriously…..it has been a year+ since my break down.
I have been unemployed for a year
I have not been able to pull myself together for a year
I do not know how much longer I can go like that.
As I mnetioned many times I have been doing great and all by myself since the age of 18. And all of a sudden 2 months before my 25th b-day boom!
I did not become depreesed all of a sudden. The depression is a consequence of the sheer craziness I went through once I started having panic attacks. Than lots of bad decisions caused by inability to think clearly (trust me when you are shaing and changing your mind every 2 sec tnothing good is coming out of it) a complete lack of support, people I could rely on….and all that cause the state I am in today. more or less 6 motnhs ago everything that I have been through so far and all my childhood started coming back to me in flashes. I did not realize it was so deeply rooted…I used to think I had it all together, locked inside, a key thrown away, forget& move on. It never crossed my mind a time will come when everyhtign will ust explode. I did not realize how many of my previous actions were directly influence by my childhood, by my fears, behavior pattern etc
You don’t know until it hits you. Nothing left after that young sexy funny confident young woman I still was at the beginning of 2012.


Had a nightmare tonight that my husband had left me and I had to go home and live with my parents. I have been crying off and on since I got up. It must be the weather. I have never dreamed that before.

I always dream that I am lost, in a hospital, in a mall, somewhere. I can’t find my way and I can’t find my keys. I want so badly to go home and can’t seem to find my way. In the background there is always my mother saying that I got what I deserved.

It is so odd that I remember those dreams so clearly. Most of the time I read that a person can’t remember their dreams. Probably I am having some that I don’t remember, but the bad ones I remember quite clearly.


My heart goes out to you. Depression is so painful. Even physically painful. I wish I could hold you and hug you. I have no mind blowing suggestions. Just don’t do anything self-destructive. All of us here have been through so much, it is a wonder that more of us don’t self-destruct.

I am not going to tritely say to “just hang in there and things will get better”. That does not give you the credit you deserve and would make me condescending. But I will say that you are worthy of respect and you are a very kind person.

My heart goes out to you and the others of us in pain. It is cloudy with a chance of rain. Perhaps tomorrow will be better.

All my love,


Hi Linda
I had weird dreams especially when I started to do healing work. With my new awareness some of my fears showed up in the form of dreams. Dreams have been a big part of my healing journey!
Having said that, I can see why that would be a huge fear! For me, dreams like that were an indicator that deep down I feared they (parents) were right or that I actually did deserve the mistreatment and those kinds of dreams stopped when I knew for sure in my heart that they were NOT right.
hugs, Darlene


Yvonne, you might find this blog interesting http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.ca/

The opportunity to practice an alternative religion I think throws our own “hidden” religions (whether they be of theological or the political or economic type) into stark light. And not all of them are the better for it.

On the “men” topic. I think the main issue for me is that looking for someone to ease the pain caused by unmet needs at the time they really were necessary is what’s at stake here.

At least for me. I know that nobody is going to replace the mother or father or family I never had and to put that burden on anyone else would be not only delusional but unfair, probably to us both. That’s not to say that people don’t do that with each other anyway. I see it happen all the time.

I’m in a weird place right now where I both want and don’t want a serious relationship. I looked into something called “attachment theory” and it looks like I fit the “fearful avoidant” category (always with the categories of people these psychologists!) because as long as I can keep someone at arm’s length I’m fine, even wanting more of them when they become distant but as soon as I am “assured” of their affections then I become the one running in the other direction. I’m learning to live with it.

No it doesn’t fit the “ideal” of what our society expects from a woman but then nothing else in my life (including my family) has either so why beat myself up even more??

Yvonne, there’s one person left in my life who continues to treat me as a lesser person all because I opened up about my difficulties with my mother and because the Mother Cult is still going strong. And that’s very much her problem. However I definitely agree it’s worth going slow with new people on things. I don’t know that I’d want to discuss it anymore outwith a confidential forum. Been punished enough.

Linda, I’ve also had my share of mother nightmares.

Sandra, sorry to hear you’re depressed right now. Would more writing helpful?


@Alice & @Linda

Thanks so much for your support and all the kind words, I appreciate that, really. Alice, yes writing does help a bit. I’m feeling better now, it’s 1 Am here, I’m drinking green tea and listening to my beloved jazz. I actually just realized that all the stress I have been through lately altered my personality so much! I really want to feel like I used to again. I just recently went back to listening my favorite artists. It is so weird, when you are stressed you should be doing everything to calm yourself down right? E.g. listen to your favorite musicians etc. And I can’t explain it but there was a time last year, it lasted abour 4 months when I went straight without a day of music which is totally not me. It is like I forgot how to be me, I had just racing thoughts, my cortizol level skyrocketed (I did not know anything about that back than, I was not thinking clearly, but now I do realize why my hair was falling out like crazy).

I started having nightmares “starring” my family this past year.
My mother has never been physically violent with me ,”just” emotionally and verbally abusive but in my dreams she would try to choke me with her hands. Also, last year I dreamt on several occasions that my ex bf was suffocating me with a pillow. He was never physically violent with me so that dream actually came as a surprise. I guess it was a symbol of some unresolved issues. I remember I woke up covered with sweat, like in a movie I had no idea something like that was even possible.


Sometimes I feel that that’s the way this world is, you are either born gentle, fragile, with a side of submissiveness and naiveness, you either avoid trouble and run or you are screwed…. or you get to be the predator, prone to abusive behavior, dominance, narcisstic traits….. or you are one of those rare, lucky, healthy individuals who are neither of the above and on top of that you are able to create healthy boundaries.
If you fall in the first group and you are lucky enough to only come across individuals from the 3rd group, you can actually live a happy life.
Jeeeez life is a challenge but no one said it would be easy right? 🙂


Sometimes I feel that that’s the way this world is, you are either born gentle, fragile, with a side of submissiveness and naiveness, you either avoid trouble and run or you are screwed…. or you get to be the predator, prone to abusive behavior, dominance, narcisstic traits….. or you are one of those rare, lucky, healthy individuals who are neither of the above and on top of that you are able to create healthy boundaries.
If you fall in the first group and you are lucky enough to only come across individuals from the 3rd group, you can actually live a happy life despite you “Social impairment” so to speak 🙂
Jeeeez life is full of challenges but no one said it would be easy right? 🙂


sorry did not mean to post twice


Sandra, good to hear you are feeling better!

I think more and more it’s not an either or. It’s both plus you (or me or whoever). No-one said it would be easy but then they didn’t have to impress upon anyone else just how much it wasn’t for them either:)


Anyone here familiar with the website called “heartless bitches”? 🙂
Anyways, I like to read it sometime, I laugh my butt off, I am not doing any advertising for them, I am just sharing. I wish I could be more like that but I realize I will never be, not with my personality not with my family background. But i guess we should all be just the best we can, why change? As long as we are not hurting anyone it is fine.

Speaking of hurting, what did you mean by “self- destructive” behavior?
Because as I came to realize there is a wide range. I guess once you fall flat on your face it will be difficult to avoid not harming yourself. Not eating the right foods/ over eating or forgetting to eat- check, beating yourself up for past mistakes and letting “them” treat you like shit- check, wallowing in sorrow- double check, over sleeping- check, not being able to pull yourself together and go to the gym- check. After all you do not need to cut your wrists to treat yourself in a destrutive manner.


Hi Sandra,

By self-destructive I mean eating disorders, I mean anything from what we are usually accused of in therapy, i.e. substance abuse. Also, many of us have eating disorders, etc. From there you can go all the way up to suicide attempts. I have never had a problem with substance abuse, but I do have an eating disorder and one suicide attempt.


Sorry, that first sentence should not be there.


Haven’t read in awhile. I noticed today the “holiday depression” is starting. When I lived 3,000 miles away, I never got holiday depression, or never knew about it. But my modus operandi was to fly over on Christmas Eve (six hour flight) and fly back on December 26. “Sorry, this is the only way I could get cheap fares…..” (It wasn’t, but the story was believable….) But when I moved to within 200 miles of my FOO (where I could drive by car), I started getting holiday depression. I had never had it before. I still went to the FOO on December 24, then I had to come up with some AMAZING excuse as to why I HAD to drive back on December 26. The holiday depression started around Thanksgiving with anxiety over how I was going to do my “Christmas dance” (come up with the amazing excuse). I stopped having the depression when I quit spending either Thanksgiving or Christmas with FOO, so I haven’t had it for awhile. But this year, it’s hitting me. It’s hitting me because I haven’t spoken to my Mom since March. She sent me two “thinking of you” cards. I ignored the first. After the second, I sent her a scathing letter telling he her “thinking of you” cards were nothing more than wanting to sweep stuff under the rug and I did not want to hear from her until she was ready to tell me the truth about her childhood and to take responsibility for how she treated me. Granted, I wasn’t neglected, but I wasn’t loved, either. Everything she did for me was perfunctory. All for show.


Ok Xmas story 2012 🙂
Some of you who might remember what I have been complaining about here, know that after many years of n/c I got fooled into thinking that Mommy Dearest might have changed (I have a vivid imagination and I figured once my sister had her first born, my mom’s attitude must soften and will also be different towards me. It was based on absolutely nothing but I made myself believe my tale for about 6 months. Same amount of abuse, this time I was actually listening).
Anywho….. Xmas is coming and I call her up (firs Xmast together in like forever) and I ask: so what do you want me to bring etc(it was supposed to be just the 2 of us, my sister was not coming, she lives abroad, it is a great excuse). She goes in an icely voice: “what are you talking about?”
Me:??? MD: “who says I want you to come?”
MD:okay….. MD: I’d rather watch TV, I’d really prefer some peace and quite, why don’t you all just fuck off.
This very moment my fairy tale gets shattered.
Ok, I rearrange my plans, I’m supposed to spend this day with my girlfriend who is also n/c with her family and has a full custody of her younger brother. Guess what, my mother calls me up exactly a day before Xmas and says in a sweet voice: “So what time are you coming?”
Me:????but you said….I rearranged my plans…
MD: (in a teary voice)are you serious? you are not going to see your own mother for Xmas?… I bought so much food…I spent so much money…”
Go figure
Anyways I did NOT change my plans but I did come the day after Xmas to see her. It was a disaster. It was a month after I got sacked and she made sure I knew what a loser I was and that “now I finally will now what it is like to be living!” and that “I have been lucky all these years and finally I got what I deserved” and that “maybe this experience will FINALLY CHANGE me” (don’t ask why. and don’t ask me why after what I have been through with my family and later on she think I am lucky), “maybe finally you will start living and behaving like OTHER people”, “good, God punished you for a reason” (she is not a church lady so I do not know what is this all religious stuff about but what the hell).
End of the story
I do not know what I am doing this Xmas. Hopefully by the time I will have a job and will be in a different country. In any case, I can spend it all by myself, I really do not care.


btw: according to my sister our mom is “the way she is” and it is a normal behavior. I belie my sister lives in denial. I had a fight w/ her a few days ago and confronted several incidents from our childhood (our mother sttabbing our father in his palm and pushing our of the door) and she could not recall it. She did not say I was lying, it looked as if I made her recover some memories that she pushed back in her head. Seriously how do you forget such incident and she was a grown up pretty much at a time ( I was 14 and she was 20 and in college, visiting on weekend) I remember until this day, she was watching TV, I was crying, our parents were f**** killing each other, I was begging them to stop and my sister just said calmly: give it a break, come on let’s watch some TV”.
What do you guys think? I guess I feel sorry for her, living in denial must suck. She is 32 now, as I said, she was 20 when this particular incident occurred and claims she has pretty much no memory of it….


Sandra, wow. I see the game. Her “who ways I want you to come” was just “vague” enough that she could deny that she ever said she DIDN’T want you to come. Then when you change your plans because you think she didn’t want you to come, she can hold it over your head because she never actually said she didn’t want you to come.

I feel for you.


yes. if you did not know her you could say I was oversensitive and she was just oking. But we have a history. She is a cold mean bitch and we did not spend too many Xmases together since I turned 18….ehm ehm 🙂
Besides she presisely said to fuck off and leave her alone 🙂
She said quote: she would rather sit in her robe and watch TV and she cannot understand why would i “desire” her company so much.


yes exactly. If someone did not know her and our relationship, one could think it was a joke and I was an oversensitive idiot.
But truly…we do have a history, a very vivid colorful one (mainly in dark shades though haha), and trust me, since I turned 18 there were not too many Xmases I spent with her (cough cough…none)…. 🙂


double post damn it, what’s wrong with my computer??



don’t assume it’s YOUR computer. It could be a lot of things between your computer & this website.

The funny thing is that I related you saying “what’s wrong with MY computer?” to all the times I’ve said “what’s wrong with ME?”.

I always assumed it was me, felt guilty to think it was anything or anyone but me.

So along with “it may not be your computer”, you seem to recognize that the problem with your relationship with your mom is not “you”. 🙂


as for “desiring” my family’s company.
My sister is becoming our mother.
This past summer, she came over for A MONTH to visit with her kid and stayed at our mother’s place, which is a town an hour by train from my city. Her kid is 2 now, not an infant anymore.
Anyhow, she was supposed to come to visit me to go shopping (the 2nd was the main reason as you might imagine, let’s be honest, I would be just there to hold hangers in front of the fitting room). Ok, for the entire month she cannot decide when she is coming. The kid is not an excuse anymore, he can stay for a few hours with his grandma. I get pissed and promise myself that this time I do not give a shit, this time I am going to respect myself. I am not buying anything for the kid, no occasion, and she needs to make a move. Anyways a few days before her departure she calls me up and says: are you coming to see me and B. (her son. see how specifically she is using her kid to her advantage, to soften my heart, classic! ). I go: you know I will not come because you are staying at mom’s. Besides what happened to our plans? You were supposed to come here shopping? (in the background I hear my mother’s voice: “I am INVITING HER for dinner. tell her I am inviting her for a dinner. I really do not understand what got into her….” (lies lies lies, as always, in front of my sister she puts on a show to prove that whatever I tell my sister about our relationship is not true, she is such a good mother, she denies all the things I say). Anyways coming back to the point: my sister goes: well I got so many things from mom that I cannot fit in any more in my suitcases (naturally), I do not want pay extra at the airport…and I’m short on cash anyways, shopping is out.” (my mother claims she covers her entire stay whenever she is here so someone is lying). Besides I am packing now so I am busy (please note: shopping is out so there is no other point to come. PAcking is more important than seeing your sister…all that while you live abroad and see her once in a while).
watch further: “BUT if you REALLY WANT to see me SO MUCH you can come for a few hours” I go: ‘but you just said you will be busy packing so what’s the point. Besides if I am coming, we are meeting in a public place, I am not going to that woman’s house ever again”. She goes: “but if you came you could hold and play with B. so that I can pack my stuff”……….
Can you imagine???? I was furious. How rude! I guess I do not need to translate that last sentence, you all here get the picture.
SO..she came here and stayed for a month and all she did was just talked to me on a phone. (yeah where she lives there are no f****phones and no Skype, you have to actually come to my country to make a freaking call)
IS it me or was that whole conversation disrespectful as hell???



dang someone is reading my posts! 😀 yay! 😀
kidding, you made me laugh though 🙂
I am not that smart unfortunatelly. after all those years of being smart I actually got brainwashed this past year which led to disasters in my personal and professional life. I actually started feeling guilty for not being in a relationship with her etc etc For being too harsh and not understanding (yada yada yada). but all that due to the fact I was extremely vulnerable and fragile….quarterlife crisis I guess. I was having panic attacks, split with my bf, got 3 job opportunities and did not know which one to choose, felt I was about to lose all my savings and felt that at the age of 25 I had to make the very last decision in my life (I know ridiculous) in regards to my personal life, the country of my residence my job etc etc. She made sure I got even more freaked out after I got in touch with her after the split (yeah I know what a stupid move). Also I wanted to get back to my bf because I needed him at a time and it would have been the best move (listen to your gut) but I allowed her to get involved and she made sure I was ISOLATED from anyone sane, all by myself in her house, (think “Misery” Stephen King), forcing me to take hydroxyzine I did not need which knocked me out like totally… not ALLOWING me to call my sister (the lesser evil) so that I did not upset her as she was diabetic (my sister kept asking me why in the world I did not call her). I was not myself … I was telling her everything and doing exactly what she wanted me to do. dunno…maybe she did some voodoo sh*** on me 🙂


I have solved the seasonal where to go problem. I am going on vacation nowhere near FOO. Or anyone else that wants to pretend I’m a lost cause and invite me then hold it over my head when it suits them later. Sadly, this has already happened a couple of times. Only Christmas brings them out, no other dinner – except maybe Thaksgiving has the power of “after all we’ve done for you” imbued in its very fiber.

Hugs to all:)


Hello All. I was away; it took a bit of time to respond to your posts because I wanted to give each of you a thoughtful reply. Thank you so much for being there when I needed you!!!

To Linda post 208: I can really relate to what you are saying about being less flexible physically than when you were younger. I feel less resilient and that I need to be more careful in all ways with my health.
Your description about mixed messages in your family helped me to feel not so alone – which I appreciate SO much.

Yvonne post 211: I loved your description of how those with invisible emotional injuries just do not get the same kind of validation and support as other physical, visible illnesses. Yes, I want a plastic bracelet too! Loved that image – very powerful. About friends….in my experience I have a few long time friends. I don’t think there is one that hasn’t said something off-putting about my family situation. One back-tracked after I told her how I felt, one I never said anything to, and one friend and I parted ways after an exchange that didn’t go well. I’ve found that without much family support, my friends and what they say hold even more importance to me. As the years go by I have learned a couple of things: 1) if I speak up if something feels off, it often can be turned around, and 2) they understand as best they can, but short of someone living with, they won’t know the ins and outs of what happens with my family. It can get lonely to have to experience the FOO essentially alone. Loved your nasty pills reply!

Alice: post 216. I’m not sure if you were responding to my post 203 when you were talking about men and how it would be delusional or unfair to expect a partner to replace a mother or father. I wasn’t referring to a replacement, but still there is a yearning for consistent understanding and comfort and protection. So I felt a bit defensive. But you were referring to you and of course you are entitled to your views. For me it is not delusional or unfair. I am feeling lonely for a family situation similar to what Linda has. I know that feeling of solid support exists – I once had a boyfriend in college who understood me deeply and was very supportive. Few and far between though. I may never experience that again. I would want to give that deep understanding as well.

DXS: When you said you weren’t neglected but you weren’t loved either, it sounded a lot like emotional neglect to me. Not being loved is a form of neglect isn’t it? I was emotionally neglected by a mom who was too busy and also rarely talked about her own (or my) feelings. Detached. Neither parent was a leader, and we were basically left to fend for ourselves emotionally to deal with whatever school/friend/sibling conflict issues came up. There was also medical neglect, some physical neglect, alcohol, and sexual abuse.

Darlene – multiple thanks for your recent comments. You are a gem.

Sandra post 233: Yes, your conversation with your sister blows. It reminded me a lot of interactions and making plans with my sibling where I end up feeling disrespected and discounted. Then I’d try to bring it up to talk about it, and she would get mad at me for criticizing her! After many, many interactions like you describe I ended up reaching my limit. That was the beginning of the end with my niece (her daughter) unfortunately. I loved my niece so much, but my guess is she felt she had to be loyal to her mom, so she distanced from me. Very painful. This is what I mean about the lingering ripple effects over the years and how the family dysfunction spreads. I decided that I couldn’t take the disrespect and discounting anymore, that it left me disrespecting me….but it was probably at the expense of a relationship with my niece. I once responded to my sibling in the same way she was interacting with me, and it did seem to help …. my relationship with my niece ended however.


Sandra: A little more re: your post 233. To this day I struggle with feeling not very important to my siblings. I see them make time for each other, and my mother, but not with me. I am marginalized, left out of primary plan-making, not included in some gatherings, on the edges of conversation….generally on the outside. After trying for so many years (letters, conversations, upbeat invitations that don’t get responded to, etc., etc. ) I have stopped trying. It has been the most painful thing to come to terms with this. Now what I generally do is “matching”…I match their behaviors and make them as important to me as I am to them. It reminds me of the saying that I say to myself “Never make someone else more important than they make you”. I also am focused on activities and goals that will expand my social circle. It’s a day-by-day effort to try to let go….I am a very family-oriented person.


Thanks for your comment. Yep as if we were not equal.
Funny thing I discovered last year; I used to think the more I succeed the bigger my chances of finally getting noticed. NOPE! 🙂
They actually do not want me to succeed, I am perceived as a threat, an enemy. One would think: how come, they do not value you at all why would they care? Becuase it does not match their way of living: we were meant not to matter, so how come this idiot is actually not an idiot, how come she dresses better, has a better ob even though she did not get a dime from our parents. Could that be….that she is not a nobody after all?/ No no no.
Oh by the way: whenever I succeeded in anything my sister would say “you were always lucky”/ NO congratulaions no nothing …it could not be my brains, it could not be my wit intelligence patience commitment,,,, no no I was ust lucky, I got promoted, passed a test, speak 2 languages, got a cool job, I was LUCKY. It all just came to me, somene knocked on my door and said: hey wanna work at XYZ?



When I was talking about being not as flexible as I used to be, I was referring to being emotionally flexible. But as far as physical flexibility, I have never been very flexible. I think a lot of it comes from tightening up my body against the daily sex at such a young age and against the almost daily beatings. My mother would hit me when my husband was not around until I was in my thirties. I had not told him about any of it and he was furious when I finally did, not with me, but with my parents.

Until we stopped seeing them altogether, he would never again leave me alone in the same room with them.

Thank you for your kind words. Everyone here has been great and very patient with me.



my heart goes to you
one could wonder: how come our parents are still a threat to us if we are adult, right? I can totally relate. You at some point as Darlne has pointed out, become who they want you to be. Especially during the times of tension and anxiety, tha’s when you are vulnerable the most.
I thought I was strong and I look back and I totally understand what you are saying Linda. I escaped at the age 18, was n/c with my mother for 2,5 years+, which time did WONDERS to me! Than because of my sister pressuring me I got back intouch with her but it was via phone only, I would rarely visit her. Talking to her would always make me upset BUT she could nto hurt me, I had a boyfriend, I was living away from them, I was a different person. Than last year my mother and sister tricked me into breaking up with my bf when I felt very vulnerable and untrusting towards him. You know the rest of the story. Isolation first and than they take you for a ride. I allowed my sick mother to speak to me at the age of 25, to yell at me rather words such as “shut the fuck up you have no one but me, you be nice to me or you will fucking die on the street”, also she was a step away from taking over my bank account “for my safety” to manage my money.


Linda, my heart goes out to you too. I feel profound sadness when I hear your story (and the stories of others here too). You are to be admired for making it this far in life.


Hi Light!

Not my intent to make anyone defensive. Yes I was stating my own current views on the subject. I think it’s great if someone can have a warm and supporting relationship. But what if that eludes them? Or if not entirely then that part of their life is unstable? I’d say mine was.

I think what I’m trying to say is that I can’t count on that potential warm and supporting relationship as a solution to any of this. I have also been judged (both by family and others) for not being in one (a relationship) and the conclusions that some people have come to about my worth or character because of it have been just hurtful. As if I were incapable of being in one. I’ve also severely judged myself for it too.

And in addition to that, as I said above, the psychological literature also has it in for people whose early foundations were not optimal (to put it lightly). But how much of that “psychology” is really about social expectations is what I’m wondering.


Through several posts here, there is the recurring theme and mention of nightmares, and I’ve been thinking on that ever since I read the first mention of it way back up there ^. It’s a bit of a trigger for me, but as Darlene has mentioned, when we’re triggered we need to examine why that is and begin to understand how to handle it.

I came out and told my wife 9 years ago about the sexual and physical abuse that I had gone through as a child. We had been married 16 years at that point, and she had long suspected that something “wasn’t right” in our family in the past, but had never pressed me for details. After all that came to a head 9 years ago, I began having nightmares of the sexual abuse happening again, although I was now my current age and no longer a child. Having thought on that some, it seems like a fear of still not being able to be in control of my body in the most intimate way possible. That even now, he would still have that power over me. And much like the physical and emotional abuse of my father, even now it feels like he still has that power over me, even though I’m now half a century old and he is but a feeble old man now. To me, that is the most frightening thing of all in this, the feeling of a loss of control of my self.

During one of those nightmares, I woke up screaming and sat bolt upright in bed. Of course it nearly scared my wife to death. But I can still remember that same powerless, empty, shaking fear from that nightmare and it mirrored the feeling of when I was 12 and being r*ped on a regular basis.

I guess the takeaway that I have from this thread so far is realizing that I still have a fear of being powerless from those abusers of the past, even though it doesn’t make logical sense. And circling back to Darlene’s original post, I do understand that I was groomed to think that way.



As you have probably read, I didn’t tell my husband until we had been married for fifteen years. He also said that he suspected something wrong. I had had nightmares for years but they were rather obscure until I told him. Then they began to take form and have centered around my mother ever since. The.more I told him the clearer my nightmares.

I don’t know if I ever mentioned it here but meeting my husband was also the first date I had ever had. I was 21 years old and had never even spent the night away from home. I will never know what possessed me to take that first step, or as I call it, a leap of faith.

But the nightmares continue. The screaming and the waking up in a cold sweat continues. I so wish I knew how to stop them. I can only hope that when my mother is finally dead, they will stop or at least become less of a problem.

My heart goes out to you. It is miserable. But as Darlene says here, I hope that the more we all talk about our lives, the more peace we will finally have.

Hugs and prayers,


ok they won. My mother won. I guess it is official.
I have been doing so well and she managed to ruin my life in my 20s. Hod di that happen? I am trying to understand, I am looking for answers.
I have never felt that way. She took the best out of me. I am an empty shell. Even when I was depressed in high school, i never felt the way I do now. It is embarrassing, I sleep 12 hrs a day, I have to FORCE myself to take a shower, to eat, even to drink water.
It has been a year and I ust can’t deal with the aftermath of what happened. It is too dificult. I will never be the way I used to be.


They didn’t win. You can take your life back from them. Instead of thinking about trying to be the way you used to be, why not think about the way you want to be now? Why not look forward. The purpose of looking behind is for seeing HOW the broken began and what the trauma communicated to you about you. Once we see what the trauma has caused us to believe about ourselves, we can decide if that is the real truth or not… (and it is usually NOT) and that is when we can overcome the false beliefs and it is those false beliefs that determine how I feel about myself today.
Hang in there! hugs, Darlene


I too sometimes realize that I still have a fear of being powerless over the abuse even though it doesn’t make logical sense yes ~ and over the false belief system. Living in my new belief system is often a matter of reminding myself however often is necessary, that I AM not that powerless child anymore. For the first couple of YEARS ~I would even have to remind myself of what I would/could do ‘about it’ if it happened today. For me this is part of the whole process of healing. Being powerless for all those years, (even as an adult when we didn’t know we had a choice) the powerless and fear etc. becomes the ‘default’ and I still find myself back there sometimes.
Love your comments,
hugs, Darlene


Excellently put! (you said “I think what I’m trying to say is that I can’t count on that potential warm and supporting relationship as a solution to any of this.”) A successful warm loving relationship with another person is never going to be the solution ~ only a warm and loving relationship with the self is where deep solution has its foundation. Easier said than done I know!
hugs, Darlene


I know you are right, I knwo I am whining but I ust do not know how to start. SOmeone could say that because of my thinking it is MY fault I lost a year of my life. But I ust could not stop it. The craziness lasted 6 months, I was on autopilot, than in December 2012 I suddenly owke up, I looked around I saw the truth what hasp happened, I remember that day very well, I was sitting on a couch and felt it, falling into a deep black hole. I remember being terrified and thinking “oh no, not that again, i do not want to feel like I did in high school, I will not survive it again”. And from there it ws slippery slope, than in the summer this year, all of a sudden childhood memories started coming back to me, it was weird. And now I just do not know what to do with myself. I ran out of ideas.


I do not want to take any anti depressants. I never have. Just several times anti anxiety drugs which are depressants and i did not take them well. I have a very sensitive body and I respond well to holistic methods. I am afraid that drugs will mess up my natural system. I believe that anxiety or sorrow are a normal way of our body telling us that something is wrong. And in our modern world we are always trying to mask our feelings, we look for an easy and quick fix for a happy pill. We do not look for cause or we do not prevent, we cure later on when it is too late. HOWEVER this time around I fear i will not be able to recover without some “happy pills”. I just cannot do anything except for sleep, I do not want to end up like a crazy person in a cluttered apartment, dirty and stinky herself. I feel like I am losing my mind. There is no way to find a job when one feels that way. Any of you familiar with some less invasive anti depressants? thanks


Thank you for your post Darlene, I greatly appreciate what you say. Two years ago I began looking really hard at my life and I have come so far. I have found great success in my academic program, and even more so since going very, very, very limited contact with my mother. I decided to take the stress of her and her questions out, and it hurts so bad that it has come to this, but I feel, I know that it is good for me. In September when last I saw her, I had some news that I didn’t tell her about specifically, but rather just big things were going to be happening in November, but I skipped specifics. She immediately assumed I was pregnant (And was unhappy about it…), which I’m not pregnant, the good news was that I’m going to be house sitting for my boyfriend’s parents, rent free, starting in January, and when I wouldn’t tell her specifics she started sounding even more like a broken record, baiting me. I knew it was bad for me, so I haven’t spoken with her since. Even though she did not say anything to me for Thanksgiving in October and I said nothing to her, out of the clear blue skies she texted me a week ago asking me how my life is, that it’s been so long since I’ve spoken with her (she has equally not spoken to me), and some other stuff. And when I texted that I was good, how are you? She told me all about all the stuff she’s bought in the months we haven’t spoken, and some other crap. Funny thing is, I didn’t tell her it was January the stuff was happening, she still thought it was November, and it is mighty convenient that she texted me trying to manipulate details out of me come November. And my father…well, I had been trying to set up lunch with him for months, but I gave up and his continued disinterest is pretty normal at this point. He only talks to me through my sister. But our relationship has been cold for years and years, even before I left home we’d rarely say more than a sentence a day to each other.

The first time I heard on this website that being afraid of rejection while being rejected anyways was so eye opening for me, and in these moments I remind myself that it is so true. What I do know, is enough for me to see that they are just bad for me. But their method with me has always been so underhanded, so I can’t even imagine what my mother has said to everyone over the years about me. I wonder if my Dad is really just an asshole, or if he really believes what she says about me, or what part my sisters play in this. What I do know, is that my mother in the absence of sure knowledge, will make stuff up that fits what she thinks about me (big news in November? She must be pregnant!), or compare me to others. She doesn’t know me, but she likes to act like her does, and her acting puts no good characteristic on me. I don’t really need to know all the details to know that she is just bad for me.

So, in response to her texts, I have said nothing because I’m not sure how to proceed. She didn’t ask me anything about myself, just that she wants to see me…But I don’t think I will see her. They treat me like an orbiting piece of garbage to their world, used only when needed, and as much as it hurts to see that THIS is it, this IS it…and I am living, and trying to be better, and get healthier, and do something good, and that they don’t want me to do that, then they are just not good for me and it is better for me to go on ahead alone and sure in the knowledge that I have always been rejected, and that eases my anxiety about it all.



Antidepressants are such tricky things. Everyone’s chemistry is so different. I have tried a couple over the years and they only made me more depressed. Alcohol has no effect on me and when I have needed narcotics for surgery, etc. it takes about twice the usual amount to have any effect. So I have never been predisposed to substance abuse.

I also cannot be hypnotized. I wonder if hyper-vigilance from childhood anticipation of abuse plays a part in how we react in later life. We have such a low level of trust that we become subconsciously unwilling to lower our defenses with chemicals.

Medicine today seems to have forgotten that we are all individuals. I have been a nurse since 1967. I went to school with medical students and a lot of my mentors have been doctors. We have watched the medical profession become more of a business and less about patient care.

Holistic medicine is promising. We just need to do our research. I don’t ever take a medication without researching it first. My husband and sons always ask me first before taking medications or having procedures.

I have found that talking things out, sunshine and vitamins help with depression. As far as medications, do your research and just remember that you need to be the one in charge of your health. Doctors are here to help us, not to be in charge of our lives. We are the ones who know our bodies the best.



I agree!

@ everyone
how do you manage intrusive thoughts/ memories?
do you ever replay them in your head but with an alternate ending?
I have been doing this for a while and cannot stop. IT drrives me nuts!
Thinking more about certain events will not bring me back in time but my mind is acting as if that was posssible…oh maybe this time something changes. LEt’s play it once more….I should have done and said this and that, why didn’t I,,,,oh those bastards, why didn’t I do this, was I blind? etc


ha! and here’s something I cannot understand. You said that most of us, due to our experiences,have a hard time trusting.
Exactly! How do you explain the fact that I tend ot be so naive…..
No let me get it straight, there was a time when I was like a clam 18-21 but than after I guess I hooked up with my bf….it was as if he found the right key.
But see…that kind of screwed me up. I was much more mature and independet before I met him. With him I became this childish, dependent, gullible almost little girl.



That I cannot answer. I have never been independent. What I saw in my husband that made me trust him implicitly I do not know. I can only call it faith. There is a sum total of four people in this world that I trust, my husband, my two sons and my daughter-in-law. That’s it.

I write things down here because I know there is zero possibility that I will ever meet anyone here. That is not to be negative about anyone here, but that is the way I am. We have taken in kids and young adults to care for and help the elderly, old veterans and disabled veterans. I dearly loved my grandparents and do love my ninety year old next door neighbor. But it is never me alone.

I have never been a child, but I have never been an independent adult either. That is my life.



Sandra, if anyone else finds out the answer to the naïve thing I’m all ears. I have it too. It’s as if there’s a blindspot in my behavior that abusive types can see a mile off but that I can’t.

Trying to figure out what it was I was doing wrong used to drive me batty. And I thought if I could figure out what it was exactly and act differently then they wouldn’t treat me that way. But I have realized, for some of them, they really did just believe I was a lesser person. NOT equal to them in any way. In some cultures it’s pretty clear where the daughter comes in the hierarchy. After my father died, my aunt told my brother he was now “head of the family” and I thought “screw that! I’m not playing this forever!”

Now, if someone wants to play assholes with me that’s THEIR responsibility and the social pecking order be damned. Of course if I offer myself up on a gold plate it doesn’t help and I’m still practicing standing up for myself and not letting myself be blamed for someone else’s bad behavior – they still try it on though. It’s more about their personal interest as well as what is socially acceptable or normal. Sexism doesn’t cut it for me either. It’s the same BS as the family. Sometimes I wonder if momster was just “monkey see, monkey do”. But again that might just be a way to avoid realizing how bad she actually was. Ergo, if she’s just a stupid cow repeating after example then I can forgive her. But what if she was smart enough to do it all on purpose?


I so agree with Alice about the being a visible victim to other people. I must have “willing to be abused” on my forehead. So many women I have worked with seem to think I am ready to be walked over and we have met a couple of women married to my husbands friends who seem to think I should not even exist.

I trust men so much more. Why that is because of my father I don’t understand. But I relate to men better. I hunt, fish, read books, love politics, etc., mostly male endeavors. Men seem to come at you directly instead of stabbing you in the back like most women do.

Again, this is not to be descriminatory against anyone here. That is just the way things are. I exist and deal with the public as long as I am accompanied by my husband. But I seldom open up to anyone.

Instead of fighting against it like I used to do, I have come to be more accepting of who I am. It has been easier since I have retired, but I have also become more agoraphobic. I don’t drive any more and I never go out alone.

Life is very strange. I see the world passing me by. But I am grateful that I have a place where I can open up and talk about who I really am.



Linda, I’ve avoided relationships with women as groups pretty successfully most of my life. I mean to the point where I questioned my own femininity. I just can’t seem to enjoy “typical” female activities and conversation, although I’m getting better at the activities:) I like doing my nails:) I also like fishing and outdoorsy stuff.

It’s hard to say but I agree, some women can be real bitches to each other. Here is one of the few places I’ve felt safe with other women:)

And to make sure that women don’t get ideas that I’m a threat when it comes to their husbands and boyfriends when I’m in mixed company (I’ve already been accused when I was just being friendly) I make sure I make extra effort to give my attention measurably more to the women. It used to annoy me to have to do this but now I don’t mind as much. I can also kind of out myself in their shoes.


I’ve been reading all your posts and I typed replies twice and then I didn’t post them because something got in the way, it got too painful, too long…you know the drill.

There is so much I wanted to say but just so it doesn’t become too long and I delete before I post, I just wanted to comment on (in)dependence.

I’m not independent. At least financially and this is a big worry for me because no one knows what future brings. I was also dependent emotionally and everyone is to a point, I suppose. My mother suffers from severe dependency and her abuse stems from there, I think. The more fear she instilled in me and the more she made me feel inadequate, the more she could ascertain that I’d not go too far.

My husband became an alcoholic (no kidding, with my mother living with us what did I expect?). Long story short he’s now been sober for 3 1/2 years. When I was down my mother was worse claiming attention; when he was at his worst she tried to please him. When he went for rehab I was forced to face my life and my dependency. For example, I was forced to drive (I hate it), do shopping on my own, etc. BUT I was also forced to face the possibility of losing two people I thought I could not live without: my mother and my husband. And by week 3 of my husband’s rehabilitation I was a new person (still a work in process but it was a form of re-birth). I felt so free.

I was able to see my mother as she was. When I started to drive (and enjoy it, to a point) she seemed disappointed, when I went on a long weekend in Europe with a friend she was…of course, disappointed (and she later said it, after all my husband was in rehab and I’d gone away to have FUN). And, worst of all, when he came back sober she stopped talking to him (wtf?) and her tantrums and nastiness escalated. Out of that resulted that she is no longer allowed to stay here for periods longer than one month after having lived with us for 10 years.

I had amazing friends throughout the hell I went through because they did not let me cling to them (exactly). But they were there when things were serious – I did not have to ask. My best friend (who is old enough to be my mother) kept saying “you can get through this and if you can’t, I’m there for you but only if you REALLY can’t do it”. They stopped enabling me.

Nowadays, for example, if I go on a weekend break with my husband I try to find my way around places and he takes the back seat (unlike before). It’s a commitment to myself. I don’t want to have to depend on anybody to do what I love the most: exploring new places (especially big cities).

I don’t trust people. People change. We all change. I’m nothing like the person I was 10 years ago. But that’s also because of the awareness that I don’t want to be like my mother. And because through my old job I met people who inspired me and showed me other ways to live without ever preaching or lecturing me.

My mind is far sharper when my mother is away. When she’s here I tend to go back to old ways because I’m always on heightened state of alert. There is still a lot to do but I feel that growing ourselves and learning self-love is really the only cure. Easier said that done and I know when we have major lows, it’s hard to see the light.

And this was meant to be a short post… I can’t do short…sorry for ramble.


Hi All,

Reading these comments helps me tremendously! Just wanted to share:

Light 236:

You talked about neglect. I think if I had to sum up my entire childhood issues with one word it would have to be “neglect”. I feel that the neglect issues were far worse than the direct physical and verbal abuse and general mental cruelty. I can remember many times having had incidents growing up of being humiliated in situations due to parental neglect. I thought it was just me. I was so angry since I was always the odd kid left out. Everything from basic needs with extra school supplies and hygiene needs and permission slips. One year, I desperately tried to make my very own Halloween costume, since of course no one would help me. I was ridiculed at the local ice skating rink Halloween party since I unfortunately wore the ugliest costume! My mom was a housewife and I was an only child and you would logically assume that I should have had more time and attention from a parent. Well not! I had less than the average kid in my neighborhood who came from a family of a few kids. Then I would try to explain things to my parents about what was going on with me in school and activities and they would never get it. It’s like they just wanted to tune me out.

Later when I got out on my own with my first apartment, I felt very scared and clueless dealing with all the life skills. I know that this is quite common with abused adult children. No one taught me basic cooking schools, nor how to balance a checkbook, nor small household issues that most “normal” people are taught. Back then (over twenty years ago) there was no internet or youtube videos or websites or ehow articles on how to do the simplest skills. I had kind of learned some of these skills by carefully observing adults in my friend’s homes while growing up. When I became an older college student, I actually met someone about my age from the non-traditional students group, and she had had the same abusive family past like me. We got to talking and she told me about how she had learned cooking skills by watching those old cooking TV shows on the PBS station! She also told me that she had a good, older friend to confide in, and that her friend showed her how to do things. I know that I was not a “retard” but only disadvantaged. But the point being is that there are so many nasty people out there who would think that ones like us are so hysterically funny! They really don’t understand being abused, neglected, and disadvantaged and just how crippling and embarrassing it really is!

Linda 239:

I just wanted to add that I do believe there is a connection between the mind and body. For those of us with long term child abuse issues I think that there can be some physical health issues down the road. With my health, I must see a chiropractor twice a month for my back. I was physically beaten by my mother since I was a small child and I was very afraid of her. I am VERY metaphysical being involved with Celtic Paganism, Spiritualist Church, and all positive metaphysical subjects like Mediumship, divination, folk magic, and a little alternative healing. Once, I went to a great psychic reader (I have had many psychics/astrology readings through the years and another couple of readers even confirmed her messages)and she basically told me that since my mom had physically abused me as a child that I could never really relax in that home. Thus, I learned how to tighten my muscles up, almost as if I was wearing an invisible suit of armor, for protection. According to her, and yes I believe her messages, it was my physical beatings that led to my adult back issues! I wonder how many of us in our adult lives have health issues due to past child abuse issues?

For Sandra 250:

I personally shun most allopathic medicine, except for an annual physical exam/female pap smear, and take only birth control, aspirin, and vitamins. I believe that the USA is an overmedicated and overdrugged society. I can recall from my childhood when kids were not targeted for psych.drugs, but now there seems to be some kind of ongoing “witchhunt” personality discrimination. It’s having someone determine according to their personal opinion that this kid is too loud and this kid is too quiet and that’s not good, since everyone has to conform to fit into their box! Mainly, it’s all about money and power!

I know that when I was at my lowest form of depression (like twenty years ago) that the best thing that I could do was to stay busy, VERY busy! Pretend that you’re a college student and every hour of the day is blocked off in your schedule. This means possibly getting out and doing volunteer work of some kind, spending more time in a religious group, doing odd jobs that you can handle like dog walking, gardening, or babysitting….you get the point. Also, take long walks and listen to a headset and/or go to a gym. I don’t convert people to ANY religion, but if you were a Christian, Jew, or Pagan, etc., then spending more time in your faith reading spiritual books helps a lot!

Also, have you considered going to a professional Naturopathic doctor? They can take credit cards and are well worth it! If you can’t afford that, then go to a local health food store and make an herbal tea before you go to bed: Skullcap and Valerian tea—it’s natural, safe, and non-addicting and will put you right to sleep! Take a warm bubble bath, read a good book, and have your herbal tea. You might want to look into taking St.John’s wort for depression—a local health food store could help you out. Don’t give up!

Blessed Be,


My mother was and is terribly dependent. I learned to cook, keep house and watch children as soon as Ip could reach the kitchen cabinet. My brothers and sister are eight, fourteen and sixteen years younger than I am. I was changing diapers from the time they came home from the hospital. People often thought the youngest two were mine.

I never spent the night away from home until I married. I never went to a friend’s house, learned to ride a bike or any of the things young people do. I went to school and home, end of story. When I worked, my paychecks went to my mother. She gave me an allowance. Everything else I have talked about.

When I was twelve I made it to state for the spelling bee. I wasn’t allowed to continue because that would entail me leaving home. I did receive a beautiful Mont Blanc fountain pen with my name engraved on it. My mother threw it away, saying that I shouldn’t things like that go to my head.

The good that came of all of this is that I am a great cook, I knew how to care for my babies and I learned what not to do as a parent. My husband has filled in any gaps.

Since my father died and I am not there to take care of her, my mother has focused her needy behavior onto my sister-in-law. Never her two sons and never my sister. To her, the sons are of value and must be given everything. My sister basically told my parents to go to H…. She is a drug addict, an alcoholic and a thief. But mother makes every excuse for her behavior. She was only six when I left home and it is my fault because I abandoned her.




I’ve just been skimming all these comments but @ Alice #81 and epithets (good word), I recently had a discussion with my mother. It was awful but necessary. At a certain point, she argued, “Well, don’t you think that’s because you had mental illness?”. It has taken me 24 years to realize that I am not a big blob of ‘mental illness’, that I don’t even HAVE a mental illness. Anyway.

And I responded, “Recalling historical events from my childhood makes me mentally ill?”
And she said no.
It was a long conversation, but she couldn’t really refute the fact that I was giving her facts (child abuse, etc) and she was labeling me incorrectly. She’s never said, “Well, no” after insulting me. Insane, ridiculous, strange…..surreal. I thank this website and all the support I’ve gotten here, and of course the wonderful writing from Darlene, as well as getting an education (which my parents tried to stop, but her sister, my aunt, insisted on), and reading other works on my own — Malcolm X has been very influencial for me.

And I stood up for myself! I really did! Because I understand, I understand how this works, and they can’t fool me anymore (oh, they try and delight in every bit of suffering they CAN cause).

Always love your comments, sooo helpful.



Alice, Yvonne, Linda: thank you for your posts.

it is interesting how our abusers usually want to make us look crazy,not even that, make us at some point question our sanity.
Naturally, if we did not have the past we do, we would rather think the other way around: “wait I am FINE, there is something wrong with her/him/them”. We usually realize that after a while which is why we are here.
IT is scary how we were trained to take the whole blame on us, sometimes I know in my case just for the sake of peace.
My mother brainwashed my sister into believing I am impulsive, irresponsible, crazy etc.


Did I mention the fact that it came out this year when I met with my father after 8 years that my mother has been implying to him all my childhood that I might not be his biological child? Funny how I have been hearing from my mother whenever I met with her how my father claimed I was not his kid. (she would always bring that up. she cannot talk about a subject other than their divorce even thought it has been 12+years)
When I confronted my mother about it she said it was him who has been suspecting her and “thinking out loud”. She also mentioned all the horrible things he has supposedly ever said about me. My father is no saint, he never cared about anything. But I know my mother is a liar.
It has been a year since I contacted my father: a few turbulent meetings, some emails, phone conversations and me not being able to decide whether I wanted him in my life or not. I decided he was causing my additional stress. Also, I could feel that the whole situation was not convenient to him. He had his onw life, he moved on and there was no place for me in there. (did I mention that for our first meeting he brought his laptop to show me photos from all the trips he has been taking all those years when I was getting no child support from him??)

It was like meeting with a stranger, even worse, I hate to boast but I felt as if I had to, he was putting me down, questioning everything even though he wanted me to tell him about my life, after all he missed out on a big chunk of it. He could not believe my professional succeesess which was driving me nuts. MAybe he was doing it on purpose. I felt like: ok what else do I need to tell you? YOu have no fucking idea who I know, where I have worked, what my life looks like. YOu are a Fxxxx pathetic clown from a little town who thinks he owns the place because he is a well known doctor there. Or really? Why don’t you tell them the truth? Why we are really not in touch! No it is not me being crazy and insensitive. My mother was furious when she found out I got in touch with him. She has not seen him in years!! Guess what she did? I think I mentioned that…She called him up and arranged a meeting. He came over (how brave of him! I told him that! He should be glad she did not stab him again) and she goes: here, I only can offer you tap water as I cannot afford to buy mineral… I give away all my money to.. (me). (LIAR!!!!!!). Also I wanted to meet up with you as I am so very worried about her. She is a mess, she spent 3 weeks at my house last year (she is talkign about the time when I thought she changed and was so happy to be there), she does not shower…. (sic!)”

I do not knwo who is more insane ..my mother or my father?
Anyways now they both keep brining up the topic of me not being his bio kid. Naturally they do not care even a bit about my feelings. Even if that was true, why would you say such thing to your kid??

Anyways a week ago I emailed him officially ending whatever it was between the two of us that I started last year. It was to the point and polite. I said I confronted Mom about their meeting and that she denied everything and that I am tired of listenign to such thing and that from my side I can offer him DNA testing if that can offer him some more peace. I said I was tired of being the only person trying in this family. I wished him good luck with everything and that’s it.
Guess what? no reply, nada. Maybe I should not care but it did hurt. He ingored me completely. Silence speaks volumes.
No it is not like I was counting on him begging me to try again or wahtever. No. But i was hoping on some kind of a response. It only confirmed what my gut was telling me: it was an inconvenience for him. His life was in order, and I ruined it for him. But he had no choice, I reached out, I was his daughter, he could not say no.


I told my sister all about it, I had a huge fight, and emailed her a long letter recently telling her to never ever pressure me into being in contact with Momster etc
First she was yelling and defending Momster (how do you defend such behavior???) than she wrote: “OK, I will not pressure you. I am not saying you are lying. But think about me! YOu just ruined MY day. Do you think I do not care about you? Now I will not be able to focus on anything, thanks a lot”
I told her how insensitive it was to say such things in response. (since she got diagnosed with diabetes 2 years ago, she is a saint. Momster protects her like crazy and you cannot say anything to her because you cannot stress her out. besides she now has a baby!…I feel for her, no one wants to get diabetes but let’s be honest, we know this is just an excuse to say “fxxx off”. MEanwhile…isn’t Momster stressing her out saying all those bad things abotu me and my father to her all the time?”

Anywho…bottom line…you know what she texted to me? “Ok, but what do you want me to do with this knowledge? What do you expect me to do?”
And to that I do not have an answer. I cannot make her choose between me and Momster…(though the choice would be obvious).
How would you answer that?
(I wrote her all the things that Momster said to me over the course of this past year and I mentioned all the stories my sister already does know. Plus something she did not: when I was 12 and undressing in the living room, my father came in not knowing I was there. He backed off immediately, he was embarrassed and he knew he embarrassed me as well so on his way out he just said “you have a really nicely tanned back”.
I think it was a good way of handling the situation.
The moment he said that, Momster was right on the spot, she came running from the kitchedn and hollered at him: “I SEE HOW YOU ARE LOOKING AT HER!!!”

Ok…you can say everything abot my father….passive, abscent minded, neglecful to me, left me with a psycho when I was 14 but he was NOT a pedophile!!! This is how far my mother could go. Luckily she never offically accused him of anything but this is what she is capable of doing.


sorry for such long posts….i had to vent…


What a lot of stuff to deal with Sandra! But I mean, this is the reality of these/our families. I sometimes find myself questioning where on earth we get these incredible ideals about family from in the first place when the reality just doesn’t fit? It sounds very depressing, but admitting what really went on has been one of the most freeing things I’ve done with this.

You know, when people want to argue to me that ” your mom is “really doing her best” and “really loves you” or “loves you in her own way” I have to say that it’s their insistence on the patently false and their persistent invalidation that does more harm than anything else. It’s like a kick in the teeth, especially since for the majority of them they neither know her nor were personally present during my life with her. But I am there, right in front of them, they “know” me. That seems to make it worse. So they base their evaluation on what? Wishful thinking? An ideal? Their own parent? Themselves as parents today? The child they once were who defends their parents or who was told they were the problem?


I have not been able to read all of these comments because there are so many but I do want to tell everyone that your courage has helped me so much already. I only discovered this site about a week ago, but I believe that it has already changed my life in a positive way to feel so completely validated around these issues of abuse at the hands of my own family. I am still facing up to the fact that my Mom is a big part of the problems in our family and in my life. One aspect of the grooming that Darlene mentions is the fact that her “place was nowhere” I have often felt like I don’t even exist when it comes to my family. I am sure this resonates with all of you. Earlier this week my younger son had a stomach virus and my Mom phoned each day to see how he was feeling. She then said she sure hoped my older son wouldn’t come down with the same thing and how terrible that would be. Making a catastrophe out of simple stomach flu or any other minor ailment is pretty common with her. Two nights ago when she phoned, I thought I’d have a little fun. I said, “You know, Mom, he is fine, and guess what? I am too! I haven’t felt sick at all.” She concluded the conversation within seconds. Last night, she phoned again to see how my son was feeling and ask if my older son had gotten sick yet. I responded “No, he’s great, and I’m feeling great too!” Once again she ended the conversation immediately!! It was nuts. It was like if she couldn’t get me to feed into the whole thing, she just had no idea how to respond. It was really disturbing and also kind of entertaining and freeing at the same time. I am so grateful to have found this site.

We are not doing Thanksgiving with my family this year but I made an excuse about work schedules to get out of it. Haven’t been brave enough to say exactly why I’m not coming. I agree with earlier posts that trying to get them to own their abuse is a useless endeavor, so I’m not hoping for that. I have had a lot of stress in my life lately involving my job and my family and I feel kind of emotionally distant at this point which seems somewhat protective. A friend says it’s kind of a “mini PTSD” that I’m going through and that it’s OK right now. I’m anticipating tons of push back over the next week. I’m sure they are going to try to force me back in line. I hope I can maintain this “outside looking in” perspective for a little bit longer. It beats the agonizing pain any day!!

Take care everyone, prayers and good thoughts to all. Stay brave!!


Oh, I have heard from cousins about how great my mother and father are/were and how horrible I am to them. They have said that since my husband beats me? I could leave him and move back in with my parents.

My mother has told so many lies about me over the years that I am so glad that when we married we moved all the way across the country. It was because my husband went into the Navy, but it was the best move we could have made. All of my family lives in the same area and I saw none of my parents’ friends again when we left.

My parents know no one that we know and I am glad of that. Strangely, because I was the perfect child before I married everyone thought my parents were the perfect parents. Everything was on the inside. No one saw anything wrong. They saw marks from beatings, but closed their eyes. They saw places where hair was missing on my head, but they closed their eyes. They saw a black eye where my mother hit me, but closed their eyes. And I was the perfect patsy. I never told. Their secret was perfect.

Now when she tells everyone I am crazy, I am selfish, I am greedy, I abandoned my sister, I am a liar, I steal, I stole drugs from my grandfather, I swindled from my grandfather, she raised my sons, my husband stayed in the navy to get away from me, my husband beats me, my husband wanted to have me committed, I don’t understand how they can believe her and not believe me. I don’t understand.

She is perfect, sweet and needs someone to take care of her and I am the worst person in the world because I don’t go back and take her in. I am the worst person in the world. I am the antiChrist. I am hateful. She has no where else to go and why wouldn’t I take her in?

They don’t know me. They don’t know my husband. They don’t know my sons. Why are they now the ultimate judges and know all there is to know?

There are no answers or at least I don’t have any. I can only move forward. If I look back, I will disappear. I will dissolve into nothingness. I feel guilty but I cannot go back. I can only try to not hear them. I love my husband, my sons, my little family. They are all I have. When the guilt goes away, then I will be at peace. I keep holding onto the thought that my mother is wrong about me. Everything she has accused me of is a lie. I lived with them for almost 22 years, and heard it for much longer. But I don’t have to hear it any longer.

If I can shut out her voice, I will have peace. This is my world and she is not a part of it any longer. I don’t know how others can listen and believe what she says, but it doesn’t matter. If they want to side with her, that is their problem. I don’t have to call them my family any longer. They closed their eyes to who my parents were and if they are that blind then I don’t need them.

Sorry, bad weather today…

Hugs to everyone,



oh yes doing “her best”…:D that cracks me up!

Oh and do nto forget one thing “but you got over it so well”, “I would have never guessed if you did not tell me”, “one cannot tell by looking at you”, “but you dealt with it, it did not have that much impact on you did it? “, or “you could have been beaten you know”, “but you knwo that all things your mom was telling you are not true, right? SO you should not be even thinking about it”…okay sure now I am an adult and I do not live with her but what about the time when I was a kid? what about the fact that it took me a while, actually I realized I was pretty at the age of 24… which is what 2 years ago? I swear. I thought I was ok, but I never really cared, I liked my personality.

This is what I got from my ex bf when I confined finally every single thing. Yes he did show support but he was also joking a lot and that made me feel a bit like an adult childish loser playing that same o’ fiddle….
What do people expect? If you dress well, take care of yourself, throw jokes every now and than, you could not possibly be a victim of abuse. Not you. YOu come across as so confident.


I know nothing about celebrities I do not read all that.
But I do not Jennifer Aniston and Halle Berry are cut themselves off from their families (J.A> from her mother and H.B. her father and siblings). They have been critizised tremedously… I know one thing for certain…there is always a reason for that. Adult kids don’t ust disappear if they had a good relationship with their parents. It is in 99% parents’ fault. Sure there are exceptions…there are some wonderful folks out there, caring, loving, excellent parents who just happen to have troubled teenagers doing drugs, talking back etc. But I am talking about our cases.



I think this is what woul dhave happened to me if I stayed in touch with my mother. IF I did not get away at the age of 18. She would not let me live. She would control everything.
It is great that you were lucky after all and someone up there gave you a wonderful partner. Which naturally does not justify all that you have been trough.
I have been following your posts but since I joined EFB about 4-5 months ago I am sure I missed many of them. I do not want to come across as nosy or insensitive but I have been meaning to ask you this just out of curiosity: why are you still in contact with your mother? Why don’t you change your number just stop talking to her and anyone who is on her side in your family? YOu have your own family, you do not need them.


Hi Alice (post 242). I wanted to be sure to comment before too much more time goes by! So many posts since then….

Anyway, I too have been judged for being single. Society is still skewed toward favoring those who are married in subtle and not-so-subtle ways. There is a stigma, the unspoken (or spoken) question “why aren’t you married?”. Yet 44% of the U.S.A. population over 18 years old is single!! So we are definitely not alone.

The older I get, the more accepting I become of my singleness. Like you, that part of my life has been unstable as well. I’d like to have a partner and a healthy relationship. I have both single and married friends. I’ve seen people I know go through marriages and then get divorced. Some other marriages I thought were rock-solid ended in divorce.

I don’t judge you, me, or anyone for being single. There’s a lot to be said for being single – I am finally at the place where I can enjoy the freedom.

I still have that feeling of wanting to be held, comforted, understood…I don’t expect it, just want it, especially on my low days. But I do agree with Darlene too that our most primary relationship is with ourselves…to love and protect ourselves.


I had not seen my mother since 1997 when I almost died and the doctors said that it was directly related to stress. I had not spoken to my mother since 2000 when I wanted to die after hearing her voice on the phone.

I saw her at the funeral this year and she has stepped up her accusations. I have not spoken to her since, but heard incessantly from others until we changed our phone number. My sister stole drugs and jewelry from my brother’s house and we were asked to try to get her to at least give back the jewelry. I have not spoken to my sister since 1998. She is as bad as my mother.

But so many years of abuse does not go away in the blink of an eye. I have had the nightmares for as long as I can remember. I am almost 65. My memories start at the age of three. I don’t ever remember any good times.

But I do have one brother, his wife and daughter that have indicated they want to be close. I am playing it close to the vest, but I do hear what my mother is doing to them.

I only found this website about six or so months ago. It has helped but it will take a while. As you say, I have my family, but it will never negate not having a loving mother and surely will never negate sex from age four by your father.



The last post was to answer (or not) Sandra’s question.

To Alice and Light,

I admire you for staying single and living your own lives. I got lucky. I know that. I would have never married otherwise. The divorce rate in this country is inordinately high.

Of course, I don’t know what would have happened if I hadn’t met my husband. The desire to escape in other ways is strong.

But as Darlene says, the only person you need to please is yourself. If you can be happy with yourself, you are doing well.




Thanks you for the clarification…I had no idea!
I am so sorry….you have been so strong! I did not know about the sexual abuse from the hands of your father.

I know what the right “training ” does to a person.
Also I know that for some reasons our abusers are excellent at braninwashing other people! I am seriously considering outing my sister from my life. I have loved her unconditionally yet getting nothing in return. The older she is the more she resembles our mother. Also, she is so brainwashed! she does not even question my mother who made her believe that I am difficult, stubborn, ungrateful and crazy.
I confronted my sister about certain events this year, also I learned things I wish I did not know. My sister, who I thought ws the last person I had from my entire family, is no better than my parents. She has been lying to me as well, she is an excellent manipulator who made sure I would not get a dime from my father as a child support.
I cannot imagine after all that to just meet up with her for a cup of coffee and pretend that did not happen. Please go ahead why don’t you just piss all over me once more and I will pretend it is summer rain and I’m lovin’ it!


I want to apologize to everyone here. This website has become a kind of journal for me. It is the first time I have ever told my story and especially to write it down. It has become a way to have a freedom of thought.

If I have offended anyone, I am very sorry.

Love to all,


Thank you to those that helped me through my recent family visit. I did go to visit my nephew. I was courteous to my brother, but that’s it. It was great to see my nephew and his girlfriend. Thank you so much for your ideas on what to do. I’m glad I went.



Not offended! Just the opposite. You are adding so much to the conversation. Please keep going. Hugs, Light


To Sandra,

Perhaps Post 192 might clarify some things I have talked about.



You remind me a bit about a certain very important person in my life. She is 60 years old, she used to be my tutor. I met her when I was 14. My parents never knew about our secret friendship. I remember when I was a teenager and clinically depressed, one time I just burst into tears during the lesson. I could not calm myself down. I told her about my situation, not everything but a lot.
Kudos to her for believing me. I was so afraid she would not believe me, call me oversensitive, etc. My parents are very well known where I was raised and I was certain NO ONE would believe me. Anyways she told me to stay strong and was very proud of me when I broke away at the age of 18. She never said: it is your mother, she loves you in her own way yadayada yada.
Why? Autopsy. She has been abused all her life long by both of her parents especially her narc mother. Her marriage lasted about 1,5 years. Her ex husband would not let her out of the house, one night she ran away just as she stood in her night gown. She married early to get away from her family, the times were different also…now women marry later in life. Anyways after she got away..she came back to live with her mother. Than due to chronic stress, her health started to fail: anorexia, kidneys, eye sight, you name it. Than someone up there gave her another chance at the age of 27 to run away from it all: to go to another country. A one time shot. While there she got a letter from her mother…saying how much she missed her and loved her. Guess what she did? She came back. NOTE: it was in a communist country, coming back meant no return. Sure some time later the entire communist block fell apart and you could go wherever but you could not work. Anyways by the time she was already severely sick so it was too late to rearrange her life one more time.
So she managed to organize her life somehow: started working as a tutor from home etc. Unfortunatelly and this is something I will never understand she let her abuser- her mother live with her. She has 2 sisters who both have huge houses. She has always been the scapegoat, yet she is the one allowing her mother to live with her. Her 80+ mother is in excellent condition, both physically and mentally. She is a mean b*** and a manipulator. People do NOT change with age. Later on they just start playing poor me more often. Anyways she is literally sucking the life out of my friend. It is a miracle she is still alive. She has been living for many years just with a half of her kidney, only one of her eyes is functioning, and 8 years ago she had a breast cancer. I am CERTAIN all of her diseases come from deep, chronic, long- lasting stress coming from living with her mother.
Coming back to the point…why am I telling you this? 🙂
Oh I do not know ….I think because you are both the same age, you are both very STRONG, amazing women with big hearts,(I spent one Xmas Eve with her…:) I was 19 than, we took a trip to the sea side…she covered all the expenses. Also she was the only one who really cared when I got fired and got myself in an abusive relationship. She basically saved my life. She got me out, let me stay with her for a few days and gave me money to start over), caring, loving, special, again strong but vulnerable at the same time, who are unfortunatelly a proof that Alice Miller was right in all of her books, that the abuse stays with us forever. I am 26 and I now question myself: when will I be at peace with myself? If ever?
I thought the moment I ran away I was free. How silly… I did not know back than that I escaped only physically, that I was surpressing all my emotions, and that they will come to the surface one day (last year for instance haha…). I knew nothing about PTSD when I was 18, I thought that was something soldiers from Iraq were suffering from. I did not know that erasing memories, running desperately to another country with 100$ in my pocket and no plans, refusing to use my mother tounge for 6 months, not only that refusing to make friends with anyone I met from my country while abroad, that was a sign of PTSD.
that’s not it. I finally did not know that one day just like the friend that I mentioned, I would also get fooled into thinking my mother changed, just to later discover it was just a mean joke.


@Linda #192

I am speechless. You are amazing. I do not know what else to say.

And please do keep posting! This is what EFB is for.

this is what we are here for


@Sandra Post 281

Your friend sounds a bit like me. I went to England (I did not run away unfortunately) and ended up returning after 3 years out of sheer guilt (for being far away from my parents). I suffered horrors with PTSD while there. I can’t even say I missed my parents. I didn’t. But the guilt of having left my “perfect” parents was too much (you see, I was the problem as they kept implying). Back then I hadn’t even admitted to myself the truth. I found excuses. It was easier. I faced the truth about my grandmother but did not look further.

By the time I got back I had fantasies they had changed, or perhaps that because I was married, they’d be more behaved. Not so.

My dad died and my husband and I asked my mother to move in with us, not because we were thrilled about the idea but we pretended to be. By then my husband wanted to believe my parents were the real deal and was happy he’d escaped his own parents (as it turned out, he jumped out the frying pan and into the fire).

My mother’s health, at 76, is far better than mine. No comparison. And I am 36. She knows it’s from stress but in her head it’s my fault I cannot relax. I should “take something” for stress.

I understand the brainwashing. So many times in my head it’s clear as daylight that I need to escape again and indeed, that’s our plan as soon as our dog leaves us (he’s 14 years of age and has heart issues). However, I have moments when I doubt I will be able to leave and stand the drama and guilt inducing behaviour she will adopt (and has already done).

It’s hard to escape these momsters because they follow you everywhere as ghosts. They’re always living in our heads (if you don’t hear from them physically they’re still there).



Interesting story, thanks for sharing. what interests me the most is how different our responses are. Both my friend and I confirm that (in our cases) whenever we lived abroad we were different people! High on freedom!


@ Sandra

Yes, I felt more free and independent abroad. But because I couldn’t see things for what they were, at night time my night terrors would make me wake up screaming several times. I interpret as guilt about having left, but perhaps it was my subconscious screaming wanting me to see the facts. Who knows.

I really cared for my dad and he was very ill and I was scared I’d not see him again. My mother would ring me everyday to complain about her mother and about my dad’s drinking. It was easy to blame my grandmother only (even though I was upset at my dad’s behaviour).

I just think it’s so ironic that they imposed and expected such high morals from me, when they set them so low for themselves. It’s mind blowing looking back now, really. There was this absolute obsession with how they might across to others (of course when my dad was on a drinking heavily period an attempt to do this was a joke); and yet they never cared about who they WERE. It was all about how it looked like to others and my family was extremely well regarded over there.

In a way, I think in itself bought me a “passport to freedom”, so to speak. After leading a very sheltered life without being able to follow my friends to cafés or discos (lucky for them I wasn’t into that as I had no confidence) it went from suiting them that I had a good reputation to becoming an embarrassment. And they started to figure that I could end up stuck at home for the rest of my life and it’d reflect so bad on them as parents (as they wanted me to go to university, etc).

I actually don’t doubt their good intentions, it’s just that they didn’t even analyse their motivations. I’m not sure if this is fog or not. They were pretty messed up people and when you’re the one who’s different it’s easy (it was for me) to think for a long time that you’re the one in the wrong.



—–“There was this absolute obsession with how they might across to others”

same here!
they woul be great PR people by the way


Re: Post 281

I am so sorry about your friend. I too believe that many of us develop health problems related to our abuse. I have health problems since I was a small child.

My parents smoked six packs of cigarettes per day between them, not the filtered kind. I had whooping cough pneumonia at age three. Between that and the second hand smoke, i have had pulmonary problems all my life. The pulmonologist says I only have 60% pulmonary function left. I get pneumonia at least twice a year.

My parents never thought spending money on medical care for me was worth it. When I caught encephalitis from mosquitoes in 1970, I had a temperature of 107 degrees. I never saw a doctor until it was almost over. My doctor was furious saying that there would probably be problems later.

I developed migraine headaches and a cardiac arrhythmia as a result. With the incessant vomiting over the years, things just got worse, with me almost dying in 1997 from that, the stress, etc. Last year, my kidneys began to show the stress of years of vomiting and an eating disorder. They are borderline functional now.

Because of tightening my body against unwanted sex from my father and hitting from my mother, I have had problems with stiffness and all over body pains for years. I never learned to swim, ride a bicycle or anything young people do. In school, my instructors could never understand why I couldn’t compete in sports. They were less than caring.

I don’t know if it had something to do with the sexual abuse, but I developed very early. My menstrual periods started at age nine. Birth control pills came on the market in 1960. I was having some problems with heavy bleeding and my father, never a stupid man, did his research. He convinced my mother to ask my doctor to put me on the pill to control my periods. How convenient! My mother never questioned the wisdom of this.

All of this changes your life completely. Things are never the same. And you always wonder, what if? Between the things they did and perhaps some psychosomatic reactions, my life has been forever changed. I don’t know if it has been shortened, but there is always pain. I try to not complain.

But, yes, your friend has health problems probably related to abuse. I would be surprised if more of did not. But there is no sense in me crying about mine now. I just try to live from day to day. That is all any of us can do.




the “What ifs ” are the worst
but than again I do not but the whole “it was meant to be” philosophy, it makes me angry


very bad day today 🙁



I can’t even begin to imagine the horror of what you had to endure. I’m really sorry you went through that hell.
My best friend was also sexually abused and she gave me hints many times but could never finish. I never encouraged her to speak until she was ready. One day she blurted it out when we were walking down the street. She locked her arm on mine for support and said it. She could not go any further than that.

She is a very spiritual person who likes New Age philosophies and says many times “it was meant to be” but I never heard her applying it to that aspect of her life. She started what she called “her healing journey” in her 30’s after severe depression because of the abuse.

My school years best friend (who I keep in touch with) has her mother dying of cancer and she’s suffering horrors and she could not have done more for her mother, who is an alcoholic and has also exposed (again, my friend never gave too many details) her daughter to sexual abuse when she was a child by one of her (many) boyfriends. My friend was telling today how our favourite rock band keeps her going.

When I read it, it sounded strange but I met recently two young girls who live in very abusive households who say the same.

Big ramble… I think what I want to say is that:

1) it’s shocking that so many go through horrific experiences with parents and society looks the other way to the point that the child grows up as if they are indebted to their parents (I am not saying my friend should not help her mother – they were actually NC for a while – but it hurts me to see how much she is hurting)

2) Is there ever true healing or do we have to hold on to a rock band (I know how strange this may sound but I have to acknowledge it because if it wasn’t for them I’d have killed myself at one point when I was a teen); or hold on to new age philosophies; or to family. Is this to numb? To heal?

Personally I’m scattered at present (kind of not knowing what to grab for support, having tried all the above). Like Linda, I suffer from severe stiffness and today I woke up in a lot of pain.


@ Linda and Suzy

you got me thinking….At the age of 21 I started ogging and doing yoga. I have always had very flexible joints BUT as a child and a teenager doing any kind of sports was a disaster for me. I finally begged my fathe rto get me a fake note from his doctor friend so that I did not have to attend (they wrote I had a heart condition). I have never been bullied at school, I had friends but I was terrible with sports. Running- that I was always good at. But that’s it. Terribly stiff and wimpy when it comes to any team sports: volleyball, basketball, football….terrible terrible. I would freeze, my moves were awkward, I was afraid of the ball, I could not possibly catch a ball. I now wonder if that comes from somewhere….


I couldn’t do any sports because, apparently, I had scoliosis. Now, miraculously, no doctor says I have it. So, I had notes from doctors saying I couldn’t do sports at school, which it was God sent. Then the doctor (just when I was about to finish high school) decided to change her mind about sports and I had to beg her not to do it.

I was bullied from a very young age for being fat and no one wanted me on their team, so I couldn’t cope.


I never had any problems with weigh just the opposite I have always been skinny but doing sports is about general health and not the weight really.
I just wanted to add that so that you guys did not think I was maybe lazy and looking for an excuse 🙂


omg the scoliosis thing!!! Guess what my mother was telling me all my childhood, that I was going to end up like Quasimodo (these are her words literally) and no one would want me. She was telling me the doctors said I had terrible scoliosis ad a hunch back (not true, amazing what you can make a child believe) and one of my legs was shorter.

So get this: at the age of 23 I had to Xray my entire body for work and it turned out I had no scoliosis.

Don’t get me wrong: I knew I did not have a hunch back but I firmly belived I must have had some kind of mild scoliosis.
Momster was forcing me to exercise so that I did not “end up like Quasimodo” which turned out for the good as today I am realy flexible haha.

She was not very encouraging as you may imagine.
Anywho it was just another reason to poke fun at me and torture me.
She used to say “what a kid, why am I being punished so much…. for what sins? Maybe from my previous incarnation…. A hunch back, crooked teeth, blind ( I wear contact lenses no big deal), bandy legs (totally not true but I discovered that when I was about 22-23), looks like a scelleton etc etc
Yes Mommmy Dearest you worked hard to ruin my self esteem, thank God you did not succeed I am not blind after all. Though for a long time I was not wearing short shirts or dresses in general as I belived my legs were horrible.



Strange what our mothers can make us believe about ourselves. My mother force fed me, even to the point of vomiting and forcing me to eat again. I was overweight as a child…not that much as I look back on pictures of myself. I was only six pounds at birth.

But she would stand me on a chair from an early age in front of company and tell everyone how fat I was. She would cut my hair, much to my grandmother’s horror and put an ugly permanent called a Tonette in it, making it frizzy. The uglier the better.

She says I have big feet…size six. I am big busted but I took after my German grandmother…who my mother hated. They lived on a farm and I was born on the back porch of their farmhouse. My mother thought my grandmother was fat and ugly and she was determined that I should look like her.

I have had an eating disorder most of my life and still cannot stand to see myself in pictures or look in the mirror. My hair is thin and has bare spots where she yanked it. But my husband thinks I am beautiful and when I look back at pictures of myself, I was not that ugly or fat. It is all in the perspective of what our mothers taught us to believe.



I just had a trigger moment.

@ Sandra

Actually, my “scoliosis” was spotted by a doctor on a village trip that told my mother off for not having noticed that I had a hunch back (I had and do, others had noticed too). So then I was taken to that doctor who in front of my parents pulled my bra down and touched my breasts. I felt sick and dirty. My parents said nothing (but never took me back to him, I think, not sure). I went to specialists from then, etc. And had physiotherapy at hospital for years (yes, also a leg shorter than the other, which I actually do have and I suspect it’s causing a lot of my lower back problems. Need to make an appointment to find out). I have very high Protein C-Reactive (off the charts) and the doctors have been scratching their heads for a while but I think it’s from my pelvis area now. I screamed in agony when I bent forward to catch something from the floor (my dad suffered from same so hereditary, perhaps).

Also contact lenses here (very short sighted at -10).

I don’t even think my mother tried to ruin my self-esteem. I think there was a general uninterest. But if I said I wanted something i.e. contact lenses, brand jeans, they’d cooperate. Everything was smooth safe for not being able to question their actions; my dad’s over drinking; my mother’s tantrums and my grandmother jealousy of me (if my dad, say, wanted to buy me an ice-cream, he’d have to get my grandmother one too).

So, it’s quite puzzling this two sides of them playing all the time. Hence why I tend to go back to think am the problem.

But even my friends, whose parents abused them by beating them up, their parents wanted them to be dressed impeccably, with latest brand clothes and fashion.

How do you dig abuse out of this?

Oh yes, my dad driving drunk with me in the car and speeding, my grandmother threatening to beat my cats if I did not do her bidding, dog abuse, drunkness, using me in the middle of rows to say “look what you’ve done to her” when I froze in horror at their arguments, my grandmother threatening suicide if I did not do her bidding again, my mother speaking on behalf of God (saying I was not “pure” in God’s eyes because she found out I had a crush on a guy and apparently, according to friend, threatening to kill herself over it)… could carry on. That’s just teen years. Haven’t covered the last 16 years.


PS: Doctors now say that hunch back does not mean scoliosis. Scoliosis is much more accentuated than what I have..


I have poor posture…kyphosis (is that what you are calling hunchback?). I am trying to improve it but it is really late in the game. I think this was from poor self-esteem, and wanting to shrink from a world where I did not feel strong and confident.

FWIW severe early morning stiffness can be a symptom of fibromyalgia. I have that. There was a time when the stiffness was so severe I was limping, especially in the morning.


I understand the mother not wanting the daughter to look attractive thing. I know I’ve posted this before. My mother would not only tell me I was ugly, but she also dressed me that way. Not as a very young girl, but maybe around age 10 or 11. She didn’t care if I was bathed or my hair was clean or combed. (When she did comb it she made sure to yank it especially the knotted parts). She bought me really ugly looking clothes that would maybe have been appropriate for my grandmother, but not a preteen. And, when my aunt cleaned out her closet and got rid of some 20 plus year old clothing my mother thought those clothes would be wonderful for me to wear. She made me wear them and I got a lot of bullying from other kids over it.
My mother must have thought that if I looked good it would detract attention from her. She had a big thing about aging, so it’s no coincidence that her “ugly” comments and the lack of nice clothing for me came just as I was entering puberty.


Hi Amber,

You and I talked about this on another string. About everything our mothers did to make sure we would be unattractive to the world. Clothes from Goodwill, not because of lack of money. My mother was always dressed to the nines. Which I found strange at my father’s funeral. She wore an old dress I recognized from twenty years ago and said we were trying to show her up because we were dressed up.

My husband has always bought me jewelry, good clothes and shoes. I worked too, not because I needed to, but so that our sons could have the best. We have always been thrifty and our boys learned from example. My mother always said that I shouldn’t have to work. An odd thing to say from a woman who took every paycheck I had and cleaned her house too. This was after working my nightshift and sleeping for three hours. I had slept enough. It was time to do my work at home.

Was my husband an escape? Probably. It doesn’t matter. “I love him more today than I did yesterday.” This is something he said to me years ago and something we both feel strongly. This does not cancel out the pain caused by my mother and father, but it makes life worth living.

But it is so hard to get her out of my head. Words said during your formative years tend to stick. And her parents were wonderful. Her two brothers are nothing like her. Where does it come from?



I don’t know if some abusers like to be different but in my mother’s case she’s always been thrifty and she did not dress properly (most days she still doesn’t) and people commented on that on occasion. So, even though my parents had more resources than my friend’s parents, I was by far the worst dressed. People where I am from dress as if they’re going to a party everyday (it’s pretty bizarre for a small village of 2,000 so inhabitants in the middle of nowhere).

I’m not vain to this day (I don’t even know how to apply make-up), whereas my friends who had parents who beat them up are still quite vain and daughters spend what they don’t have in clothes. I prefer books myself and to travel. I do make an effort not to be as unkempt as my mother though. I like casual but matching and not worn out clothes (even though I buy cheap and don’t do brands anymore – I did in my teens to try to fit in).



“(When she did comb it she made sure to yank it especially the knotted parts)” WOW same here. She would pull out way more hair than necessary. It could have been easily done without that much pain.And I KNOW exactly what you mean. and I KNOW it hurt and I KNOW it was on PURPOSE. I am highlighting this because when I finally started telling my friend about my childhood, I also mentioned that, and that was one thing he laughed off. He did not get it but that’s ok. Also this is how she would comb my hair: she would make me stand between her tights, squeezing me tightly and just do whatever she was doing to hurt me. I know it was on purpose. If I said it hurt, she would yell: “what a fucking brat!!! I have no patience with you. You should be greatful I am even doing that”. Several time she almost poked my eye out with the comb. I started being very independent early on, all the teachers were marvelling at me during school trips. The real reason was I did not want my mother to hurt me anymore. So I started washing and combing my hair when I was 9 I guess, clipping my nails (she would always cut them too short, squeeze my fingers and toes, almost looking for a reason to hurt me physically).

Also my mom was actually nice to me until the age of 6. This is when I refused to look like a boy anymore. I wanted to grow my hair. Until than she would cut my hair short and make me wear boys’ clothes. Everyone was always saying “waht a cute little boy”. At 6-7, I asked my grandma to ask mom to let me grow my hair, I was angry everyone thought I was a boy.
So she let me have long hair but kept dressing me in ugly boys’ clothes or too big old second hand clothes, stuff my sister was not wearing anymore which is fine but she was 6 years older than me so all the clothes were always way too big for me. TO be honest though at that time I could not care less about my clothes. The trouble started when I was a teen, naturally.
Than of course it was my fault, I was such a diffucult child after all and on top of that I just hit puberty making it double hard for her, didn’t I?….Oh those teenagers…
So ok She was buying me nice clothes but they were all for boys, no dresses for me, I had awful legs didn’t I?
When I was 16-18 I was already wearing whatever I wanted and fighting with her so her reaction was just limiting the money. I was wearing what I wanted but I had 1 pair of shoes, 2 pairs of jeans and some blouses.
My dad was still with us until I was 14 so he would take me shopping every now and than and let me pick one item of my liking which would drive her nuts 🙂 I remember even today when I was 12 I made him buy me a pair of wicked orange stockings and plastic orange sandals made for girls but styled almost lady- like, with wedges… She was so furious! 😀 She was outraged, they were really nothing special but she made my father feel like he was trying to make a prostitute out of me! 🙂

Also she rufed to walk together with me and my sister anywhere really even to do groceries saying that everyone will be commenting on how old she was and that she used to be young and pretty too and “look at these girls, they are going to end up just like her one day too”. She has always been paranoid about what other people are saying and thinking.
Sad really and kind of pathetic.
I am thinking a vast majority of women are INSANE!!!!



I do not really know what I mean by saying a hunch back 🙂 This word is not in my vocabulary this is what my mother used to call me. She meant rather someone who was severely disabled which makes the whole name calling game even more awful. But what do you exepect: my mother never had any empathy towards anyone.
I googled your condition and what you might have is something a lot of girls with big breasts have, trying to hide them during her teenage years, am I right? It is never too late, get some excersice! YOga does wonders and a nice massage!

I think we all need to get those idiots out of our heads- it is like a poison.
The thing is I have a very good posture, I remember one time someone at work asked me if I did any ballet when I was a kid. It was a nice compliment. Also in my early 20s I was discovering piece by piece that I actually had a nice body and a pretty face! I do have good legs and to my mother’s horror I show the often! I wear only skirts and dresses! I know everything she says is a lie. I have a mirror at home. I remember one time some guy said to me, it was when I was 20: “you are different than other pretty girls” (I am think WTF?) He goes: ” you are actually nice. you act as if you did not know you were pretty”. One of the nicest compliments one could get.
But it is true, we look at ourselves through the eyes of our abusers.
When I was a teenager all the way until I was 19-20, I would wear jeans in the summer. 100 degrees out, I am sweating & hating summer but covering my legs. Also I have a slightly crooked jaw, but only slightly. Only 2 years ago I stopped wearing bangs. I used to be obsessed with them, I figured bangs would make my face look more symmetrical by covering a half of it 🙂



I do understand slumping over and making yourself as small as possible. I have worn brassieres since age nine. We tend to want to make ourselves invisible, whatever our reason. This can cause problems later in life with slumped shoulders and back pain.

Fibromyalgia is no simple thing to deal with either, with the overall body pain and early morning stiffness. There is no pat answer. What works for one person may not work for another. Usually the more gentle treatment the better.

We are different here, different ages, different genders, different problems, different experiences. This is why Darlene says to be careful making judgments and handing out advice. What will work for me may not work for you. It is better to say what we do that works and take note. I do not want to make you feel badly. I can only speak for myself.




I can understand not being vain. My husband has always taken me shopping and helped pick out my clothes. He knew that I came from a past of hand me downs, Goodwill clothes and cotton feed sack clothes…remember them?

I picked vegetables and cotton on my grandfather’s farm. I had one pair of sandals and cotton feed sack clothes. Since girls were not allowed to wear long pants to school, most of my dresses were outdated and ill fitting, a terrible thing for a young girl. My mother bought the clunkiest shoes at Goodwill and died them black.

I’ve never been into the latest fashion or hairstyle and makeup is not my greatest forte, but I am grateful to my husband. I have been to some events in D.C. and I always wanted to make my husband proud. He changed my life.



Listening to everyone’s stories here I find it very interesting that some mothers did everything they could to make sure their daughters looked unattractive and couldn’t outshine them. It’s especially obvious with the ones that made sure that THEY were dressed to the nines but their daughters were in hand me downs. My mother was one of those. Closets full of clothes and she went to the beauty parlor every week. But there I was, not even bathed and dressed in horribly unattractive clothing. There are also the mothers that do dress their kids well. Meanwhile, behind closed doors, all sorts of awful things are going on. What gets me is that the daughter is not well dressed because the mother cares about her. She is well dressed to give the outside world the appearance that things are good at home and everyone is thriving. Sneaky?? Yes, of course!

Linda and Light, I too tried to be invisible. That was my way of staying out of trouble at home. Hiding, staying in my room as much as possible, being the good, compliant girl. But as Darlene often says, it was never good enough.

Sandra,, that was awful with the hair combing experiences and dressing you like a boy. Why?? Was she afraid that you would outshine her? I got a kick out of your orange sandals and stockings story!

Suzy, I too love books and traveling. I wonder if it is because both are a way to get away from it all. Even as a kid I liked to get out of the house and wander. It was a feeling a freedom.
I was never vain either. Today., I wear decent but moderately priced clothes. I may go for something special if I am going to a wedding or other event. I do enjoy the feeling of getting something new. A reaction to those hand me downs, I’m sure.



I was away and n/c from the age of 18 and 21. I was thriving! I became a completely different person. Than My sister pushed me to be in contact with her. and it lasted until the last year. First I was ignoring her calls, than I visited her hoping that maybe she changed, maybe knowing that she could lose me would change her, maybe my accomplishments would make her proud and she would change (yeah right). SO I visited her, she was actually polite and politically correct, gave me a set of jewelery as a gift etc.
Than everything back to normal. I mean not completely but I was in control so I would not listen to her insults on the phone I would hang up. Than You have to remember I am a 21-22 year old juggling everything on her own, having no prior experience with anything, doing taxes etc, working, supporting myself, having a live-in bf, but than again because I Started thriving all of a sudden this is not enough for me. I have dreams.I do not just want a job to support myself, I want to do something I like, I do not just want a bf to get away, I am craving freedom so I start going through some trouble with him. I want to go abroad or still dat ehim but live separately. IT is too early for me to play a house with him. He is 23 and crying and acting like a girl. I used to think my mother was the worst evil in the world and if I can just stay away from her, I will be safe. I forgot I still had to be on hightened alert with other people. I was too soft, too trusting. Which is weird. After such upbringing I should have been made from steel. That I do not understand. I forgot that some people yes will be super nice to you but they might have a hidden agenda that does not work in your favor. I heard it somewhere “in life walk in silence and wave a stick” or something like that. If I messed up, apologies. anyways the point of the saying was: shut the hell up, stay calm and trust no one 🙂
My bf with whom I am friends now and who is like my family was too immatue. He was only 2 years older than me. I was more experienced and mature than he was but than there was his ego so he always had to be right even if it turned out afterwards I knew better. SO he “makes” me leave my job, figuring out the budget and making me believe I would make so much more money being an ESL tutor. He claims he did it because he did not want me to stress out etc. Every job will stress you out eventually. I was protesting but eventually I gave up. I do think but he will never admit it that another reason was because I was doing financially and professionally better than he was at such young age, I was going to events and maybe he was afraid I was getting attention from older wealthy men, I do not know.I could get promoted etc, I worked in a corporation, as a PA in a publishing house of a major national newspaper. I now know how jelous my sister must have been. I was doing better than she was with no former education and at a younger age. anyways my ex bf will never admit it. But he did it “for my own good” twice. Once when I was 21 and than when I was 24. I have mixed feeling about it.Same situation I do not know how I allowed that. I have a problem with being assertive. This is year 2008.Anyways, once he takes my stability, my healthy routine (being a tutor is freelancing, I need routine it gives me a sense of security), the fact that I get a set amount of money every month, have a medical care and some other perks, a 9-5 job, I get anorexia for the second time in my life. Not as serious as when I was living with my mother but it is automatic. Houston we have a problem, things are getting out of control, let’s control NOT eating than. Of course than it turns out my bf is having financial problems but he does not say a word until it is his turn to pay the rent and I get a call from the owner saying he is still yet to get his money and what’s going on. Than he sells my camera on ebay behind my back. (I know you probably wonder how come I am still friends with him, he is still a good person, I blame stress in his case). When I discover the truth he goes:”DO you know how that makes ME feel? How humiliating it is?” 😀 takes a lot of nerve doesn’t it? (I believe this dude is actually a good friend but a shitty bf)

So I ask my mother for money (you are probably cringing). It was 2010. And that’s how she slowly and slowly started coming back to my life. Not a lot, it is not my be or not to be but it is some xtra. Plus she knows she should be giving me some money as I am 23 and getting no child support from my father (the law in my country says that a parent is supposed to give child support to the child until the age of 26 but ONLY if the child is in college. I have no money for college so he refuses to pay. I do work but I cannot take a loan plus if I work full time in a na office environment I cannot go to college full time. It is a vicious circle.). Anyways she has every penny documented as keeps saying. Of course the memory of childhood abuse is not that vivid, I have my new problems and I am an adult now so she cannot hurt me, I can always hung up. I know she hated the fact I had a bf as she was not getting any attention and could not isolate me. Anyways 2011 I put my life back together, I am back with my old bf (now my friend) he does it to me again. This is when I get my first panic attack.
Than I decide to sell a property that is in my name, bought for the money given to me by my grandmother the only loving person in this family. My mother is furious as she never wanted me to sell it (she had no money for my college as she claims but she refused to sell my property or any of the other 3 that she herself owns. MEanwhile there was naturally no problesm with putting my sister through college, let”s not forget a private expensive one, she did not have to work at all. Room and board tutition clothing parties all covered.). She pushes me out of the house yelling that my bf is going to leave me anyways. I promise to her this is IT> COming back to status quo. I will never speak to her again. As for the property by the way, I did not know at a time it was bought for the money from my grandma. That news slipped out of her mounth this year during a fight. She made me feel guilty before, that I was such a horrible daughter, that I am not speaking with her and acting out but I did accept the gift and sold the property yadayadayada.
SO it turned out that 2 years before my granda died (I loved her dearly, I cannot believe how such person could possibly give birth to such monster. She was kind, gentle, peaceful, loving, she tought me how to read, write and do basic math at the age of 4-5, I spent so much time with her. I did not go to day care so my grandma was taking care of me until the age of 6 when I went to school and than even after school I would go back to her and than my mom would pick me up in the evening. It was like that until I was like 10-11. RIP Grandma. I remember her trying to be the mediator, telling my father to be patient with my mom: “you know how she is, she is so impulsive, she gets angry easily”)
Anywho to the point: so Grandma gave her an X amount of money to give me when I grow up, probably for college or whatever.
What a sane mother would do? She would open an account for the kid and stick the money there and do something with it when the kid is 18 or 20 I do not know. Most parents would use it for education. It was not that much but it would help.
So waht did Momster do? She bough a piece of shit land in the middle of nowhere with an old, tiny, wrecked, rotten summer cottage.
Do you have any idea what a miracle it was that I even managed to sell it?
Anyways once I have the money my relationship with my bf deteriorates magically. We both go abroad where we split. I cannot recognize him. I start having panic attacks on a daily basis for a month. Ifeel like I am going crazy, like I am 5 again. I am unrecognizible. This is year 2012. Where did that strong confident girl go? She disappeared. I need help! I have no one. At that time I did not know that I was having panic attacks.I did not knwo what it was.i know i should have just gone to the hospital. Anyways I come back to my own country and I seek help from my sister (huge mistake!). she is at our mom’s house visiting (she lives abroad). I tell her I do not speak with Momster and cannot come. She goes “oh come one you will come to visit me and not her” Ok so I go there and everything just slips (huge mistake) I tell her everything!!
She MAKES me break up with my bf for good. And she was probably right about many things listening to my story. My ex must have come across as elous possesive, preventing me from succeeding manipulating, isolating, elous about my newly gained mini wealth etc. BUT my ex was safer and better to at his worst that they were at their best. So Momster joins teh conversation (naturally) and she is like a different person (because I am so stressed I forget that she always puts on a show around my sister and other people), I actually believe that the fact she became a grandma changed her! She says how beautiful and smart I am and how come I am with such a loser. I cannot believe. I am overjoyed! I stay over night. Unfortunatelly the panic attacks do not stop, my body knows the truth, my sister and my mother are not someone I could rely on, my ex is not around that means I am ON MY FREAKIN’ ON.
I freak out. I cannot make any decisions by myself. My mother and my sister now have a weapon- I am stresses and having a melt down. There was always something wrong with you! TOLD YA! See that would not have happened if you were in touch with YOUR FAMILY.
Ok so this is when I lose my personality for 6 motnhs. I move in to my mother’s place for 3 weeks. My ex bf is emailing me worried, offering his friendship, saying he does not expect me to be with him but he is so worried as he knows I have no one. No response from me even though we promised each other that even if we do break up for good one day we will always stay in touch. SO my sister and my mother “forbid me” to be in contact with them. I comply. So I am for 3 weeks at Momster’s house and she also forbids me to call my sister (sic!) I am not to upset her as she is diabetic (mys ister was like :”why didn’t you call me??”). Anyways I do not know how it happened but at the age of 25 the 60 year old abuser managed to brain washed me. I do not knwo how it happened. She forced me quit (yes quit not resign) my dream job, go aborad and take the shittiest job possible over there, while there I was on auto pilot. It was not me. I was just calling her and crying I wanted back and what a mistake it was I left the other job. A normal mother would say: ok pack up your stuff and come back home we will figure something out. That is what I wanted her to say. But NO, she wanted me to be as miserable as possible. I do not know how I got addicted to calling her and telling her everything and listening to her orders. It was not me and she had so much fun. Than they finally fire me so God frees me from my misery. I come back with very little money, I get myself into some weird relationship with an abusive HFA (5 motnhs) becase my mother approves me. Than there is Xmas and for the firs time in years I go to spend it with the Momster. And the truth is revealed. It was revenge for selling the property. I sti there unable to leave and listen to all the insults…what a loser I am, a drop out, and now fired and I should be lucky that guy even wants to be with me etc etc. I am now “smart and beautiful” anymore. She yells:’ be fucking nice to me or you will end up on the street you have no one but me” and I a unable to react. It was not me!
I go back to my apartment the next day and get the sinking feeling. It was the day I realized her game, it was the day I looked at myself and saw how crazy I have been acting for almost 6months plus, tha I put my own health at risk, my own well being my reputation even to for the first time in life desperately proved. I felt disgusting. I could not stand looking at myself- what happened to the rebel? what happened to that confident girl?? and why now? why when I got my dream job my break through?? SO now I am dealing with the aftermath, I have been unemployed for a year, my career is over (who quit a ob like that? I got to like one of the top places in the world in a certain industry, shemust have hated it). My ex bf is helping me financially tremendously.
My sister refused to help when I finally ran out of money. She said” maybe you had to hit hard bottom. you thought life was easy huh”! how dare you? my life has been nothing but easy but I loved it until now.
My mother also refused to help (so much for her methamorphosis. Nope, everybody shocking news: becoming a granmother does not change a narc.) she said “you thought tou would be lucky like that forever??I had it hard why did you want to have it easy?”
Oh sorry guys I cannot stop myself…I just get up even though it is like 2pm here and what am I doing? GOing to EFM.
Another thing is that a few months back I have been going through a nightmare: all mychildhood memories started coming to me like a wave, I could nto stop it. All the emotions I have been surpressing….
I feel pathetic, no guy would ever do that..no guy wold ever think a monster like that could change. Thanks to the latest events though I discovere who my sister realy was, what a vicious back stabbing manipulative person she was….elous….a younger copy of my mother.
I wanted to believe she was the last one I had ledt out of the whole circus. I had unconditional love for her despite ehr behavior. I felt bad she had to be in between Momster and me. I am n/c with her now as well. She does nt even try. this is going to be like the longest post eve sorry i had to vent don’t even feel like proof reading


ooops AMBER sorry just the first part is to you. The rest is just me b*****g about my situation 🙂 you do not need to read it 🙂


my sister is now using her kid as her greatest weapon. I discovered all that time when I was getting no child support my sister was getting money from my parents. I will never find out how mch money it was but i do not care. and it continues. she is 32 married an employed. now she has a kid and the money just keeps coming her way cause she has a kid and the poor thing she is not making much money. Well whose fault is it that she is not making much money? WTF?
when I told my sister how disappointed I was than she refused any help whatsoever whe s**t hit the fan she was outraged, she hollered: “So it is about money??? it is all about money to you”.
How illogical is that? I can’t do that anymore.


I remeber when my grandma died (the one I mentioned in my posts)when I was 13 I did not want to go to the funeral because I knew there would be an open casket. I wanted to remember my grandma the way she was when alive, not like that. My mother could not understand it. She was yelling: ” you have no respect for the person who raised you! That is how you are paying her back? YOu don’t even wan tto go to her funeral!!”
Guess what? …a day before the funeral I got such severe tonsillitis and fever, I had to stay 🙂 Thank you grandma! 🙂

ps: my mother was taking photos at the funeral and than forced to look at the “to see who came” and the dreaded open casket!!! why would you do that???


Also the dad part is the money from my grand came just in time…I sold the property jsu tin time, it was God sent. I needed it to go survive the first year at that top notch place I mentioned earlier. It is very hard to get in. I got accepted nto as an intern but as a full time employee but still the money was terrible for the first year. SO that was an enourmous support. I got in with no former education, I applied for a ob as a PA there but they “saw my potential” and offered a differen job. I was overjoyed! But than wornd timing… I was too focused on “fixing” my relationship with momster by doing whatever she wanted me to do…
I am so bitter and sad about it.
And angry with myself for acting liek a 5 year old. Why than???? It was a crucial time for. I can’t take the “everythign happens for a reason” way of thinking, I am sick of “it was meant to be”, I am sick of “maybe you have to go thru shit first to appreciate the blessing s later on”
God damn it Grandma! IF you made me sick so that I did not have to go to the funeral, why didn’t you do soemthing last year? If you made some poor soul but that piece of shit land off of me than why could you do something so keep me at that company, prevent me from quitting? 🙂 Ok I am officially going nuts..


sorry for all the typos… i am just so angry and say
i was acting liek a crazy person. why didn’t it occur to me that if my mother actually did change she would want to listen to me for once, she would want to support my dreams etc. it was all backwards. all my mother did was agreed for me to stay with her for a few weeks (God damn it, my father bought that house, every thing there was bought for his money! I used to live there, I had a right to stay there whenever) and for the first time she bought things I actually liked to eat. and a lot of it. and she was pretending how she was concerned about my break up with my my bg. she blew everything out of propotion, she was acting as if he did God knows what to me.
LEt’s not forget to mention that the moment I moved out at the age of 18, my room got rearranged into a living room number 2. There is no sign of me ever living in that house whereas my sister’s room is like a sanctuary, it has not been touched in years, she just cleans there and whenever my sister comes over she stays there. Everything in her room is as if time got stopped duirng her high school years. Also the whole place is plastered with her photos and now her kid’s photos naturally. There are no photos of me. none. It speaks volumes doesn’t it?
When I had this huse fight with my sister this year, I told her everyhting I felt, I said: how can you be a good mother to your own child if you thing her behavior towards me in acceptable.
She as furious, yelling: “how dare you call me a bad mother?” (I never said that. I said exactly what I wrote bove)


I remember once I told my mother than she got rid of my room and she kept my sister’s and about the photos.
YOu knwo what her response was: “well what would you do if you had such rebel daughter who RAN AWAY from home and refused to speak to you for 3 years? It was you choice. YOu said you did not want to have anything to do with me”>
The truth is if my daughter did that I would do everything to fix my relationship with her. If my daughter was a rebel and I was a good nurtuting parent (that happens too doesn’t it?) I would never get rid of her room, it would be waiting for her, anytime she changes her mind, anytime she needs it anytime she needs liek coming home to charge her batteries and than go out and challenge the world.
I only said “do you really want to brng up the past? because if you do we can. YOu know damn well why I ran and why I did not wan tto speak with ”
“Leave me alone! I can’t take it anymore. I do not know what you taking about:” that was her response and she went to her bedroom. classic!
I am so so sick of them
and i see my sister was a missing puzzle. If not for her i would never get back intouch with momster and i cannot explain why i was listening to her. i remember when i was 18 and everything fresh in my memory my plan was to cut myself off not just from my parents but also from my sister. i could sense i could nto trust her and also i was angry she never ever protected me just like my father and she never cared and she was 6 years older than me. but than i borrowed money from her to start, so i felt obligated. than my plan was to give her the money back and say good bye but i felt guilty so we we in touch via emails and cards for 3 years. and than i came back to our home country and the bond sort of tightened up..meaning we would actually see each other from time to time. But it was never too pleasant, iw as always tense, critized for everything, i could not be myself.i see how my sister must have been angry that I was not a loser. i did not fit the profile. I was managing well. Funny thing is I was so high on freedom and thriving in never occured to me that she did not give a damn about me. You know I cannot imagine being the age I am now and having an 18 year old sister who is depressed, has wicked problems with her mother, is doing everything on her own and not ever ask her about anything, and not be concern about her well being, money , plans about the future etc. Can you?
She is only making fun of me for being crazy for having so many jobs in my life?How ridiculous! well obviously I have been working since the age of 18 so it is obvious and mini jobs are not a career that does not even count.


sorry for all the typos but you guys get the picture. Darlen please do not ban me for posting so much 🙂
I gotta go and do some groceries I have not eaten yet..when will it end? and did I get to this place where I am now? This is craziness.. everything could have been us tperfect last year


Men mature at different ages. My husband is two years younger than me. I was 22 and he was 20 when we got married in 1971. A match made in Heaven? I like to think so. He has always been grownup.



Linda, I agree that guys mature at different ages. I got married at 22. We were both 22 but we were both ready at that age and have been happy together. It was a pleasure to live in a calm environment, finally, and feel loved in my home.

Sandra, I understand how people can make it look like they have your best interests at heart when they suggest (or demand) that you do something. And then have it turn out yo be a selfish motive. I had a friend that would put down guys I dated and try to talk me out of going out with them. Some of them were really nice guys. It turned out that she did not have my best interest at heart. She wasn’t dating anyone at the time so she didn’t want me to have anyone. I learned to think in terms of what is best for me and not be influenced by her. My mother talked me out of changing my major in college. I ended up going back to school after I was married and had kids to get a degree in the area I had wanted to but got talked out of. I think you are onto something Sandra when you say your bf was jealous of your job. I guess we really have to be tuned in to when people don’t have our best interests in mind. It’s sometimes hard to figure that out, especially when they act like they really care about what happens to us. It could be all about them and not us
Interesting with your Mom how she shut herself in her room when you wanted yo talk about things. They run as soon as the truth about them is going to come out.


Wow, I realise now that momster was quite consistently commenting on the way I looked and what I wore and if I was wearing something she didn’t want I’d have to go change or be banned from going wherever it was. Or spend the rest of the time being critcised or talked about in front of other people just for what I was wearing. We had huge fights over my appearance all the time. She also had my hair cut short to look like hers. I neither wanted to look like her nor did her “me” haircut work on me, it just stuck straight up, short and ugly. She herself had no style at all but she thought she “looked smart”. I was never complimented on my looks, except by a creepy friend of my father’s. It never occurred to me that she might be trying to make sure I didn’t outshine her in the looks dept. I was however allowed to be intellectually smarter. I have also heard from other people about their mother basically mistreating them but insisting they were always dressed well in the latest stuff.

Sandra, I don’t know if this will help, but I also went through hell as I realized the extent of all of this. Things are settling now but I have also had to make serious external changes as much of my life choices had stemmed from my injured self.



where do those wome come from?? this is disgusting
how disturbing….
what goes through their mind?
how shallow and pathetic must they be if that is the only way that matters to them
i came to realize that most women cannot be trusted and are far worse than any men, back stabbing, revengful, jelous, obssesive, you never know what to expect, cruel


why did they become mothers in the first place?
competing with your own child that is a sign of immaturity
if you treat your 12 year old daughter like your competitor and you obviously have an advantage over her since you are older, more clever and senaky, more experience and you are her MOTHER


@Linda and Amber
I guess you are right. My ex is 28 now and still acting the same way.
He even said once as if it was his excuse: “I do first and than I think”
Okay….so how about try to grow up?


maybe I am not well adusted to living in this world I do not know.
I know that this past year has kicked my ass so hard…maybe God or whoever/ whatever is up there wanted me to wake up and thicken my skin?
He was probbaly like: dang girl! you went through some serious sh*** as a kid and you still learned nothing!” 😀

and seriously…living in this world is like swimming in a pool with sharks!!
Linda you are lucky you have your husband! It is so hard to find someone you can REALLY trust.


That is what is so strange about my mother. I WAS the “other woman”, sexually and every other way. But she put it all into motion. Then, when she had the chance to be rid of me by letting me go 1500 miles away to MIT, she sabotaged my chances so that I would stay home and continue to take care of her, my father, my brothers and sister.

She hired a girl to call me and say that she had a date with my husband when we had been married only a month. She continued to badger me with lies to try to break us up. She is even lying today to try to convince my husband to leave me. Sick? I think so. She has been this way all of her life. My sister is just a younger version.



Oh my GOd Linda she did what??!!!


Linda, why didn’t you and your husband get a restraining order on her?


well she managed to ruin my relationship with my ex bf/ now friend that I mentioned earlier?
She has been trying by telling me all the nasty things about him than another way around: how he could possibly be with someone like me.
I did not know at a time that my sister who I still did trust 2 years ago was one big leak of information. They were furious when they found out I got a gorgous pearl brancelet from him. MY mother kep saying how it definitely is fake and than pearls are not tha expensive anyways and that he was playing a joke on me because everybody knows how naive and childish I wam and that I would be happy even if got an old pencil. These are her exact words. Than when I had a crisis with my bf I confined in my sister and it was the very first time and the made sure I never got back with him. I can’t explain why I believed them. It was in 2012 I really think I was having a quarter life crisis from all the chronic pressure in my life and than i got disappointed wiht my bf and felt I really had no one. And than all of a sudden my mother who just became a grandma is so nice to me (I forgot it was in my sister presence so the show as on) and she goes: “Why would such a pretty and smart girl cry over some loser like him?” I kept saying he was my best friend, my brother, that we promised each other we would always stay in touch even after a break up , besides we already made up and so on.
I really cannot explain to you what go into me. That very moment I became like a robot in their hand and tragedies ust started happening. I stopped replying to my bf’s emails (he was worried as he knew I had no one), he emailed my sister and she told him basically to leave me alone and that he caused me so much stress. I really needed him at a time and I know that things would have turned out differently if he was by my side. Maybe it sounds naive to you but I know that. I would not have quit my job that’s for sure. Maybe my bf did make me leave 2 jobs in the past but that was because at one of them I was being bullied by a group of female employees over there. The job I had last year it was my dream ob he knew that, he cannot believe I left. I emailed him a year later even though there were so many situations in which I needed him so badly. I cannot explain how that happened, they mademe believe that all of a sudden he was the greates evil and they will “take care of me”. They knew that it is the kind of a guy you call to bail you out of jail and he says nothing. They did not want me to have someone like that. Instead I ended up living for 6 months with an alcoholic, an abuser just like my mother. I called my mom for help and said: “well you need him, you got fired you have no money he is ALLOWING you to live with him you should be greatful, I cannot give you any money” and than “if you move out you will never help him with his addiction. YOu have always been so selfish, you only think of yourself”
This is when that friend I was telling you about who used to be a tutor helped me out, gave me some money for rent etc. After that I shut off my cell phone for a few days, and all I could hear was silence, finally, simple as that. Than I realized the whole craziness and email my ex bf. He is now helping me financially tremendously and is NOT forcing me to live with him.


Sandra and everyone,

I’m really not sure why a mother would consider her daughter to be a rival. Really makes no sense to me. I know it annoyed my aunt that I was skinny. Was she also “in competition”??
I think it’s crazy – if indeed that was a factor in the way they treated me. I think I’d rather not think about it. That’s the side of women I don’t like seeing. And to avoid it, I know I’ve intentionally presented myself as “less than”. But that’s not a way to go either.
Sometimes this stuff is just so wearing, I can’t be bothered with it.


To Linda

I have a major “what if” as you know from my posts. A major should-have would have. Just like your MIT case.
My friend says “you never know” just to mak eme feel better.
He says he would not risk taking the time back because you do not know what would have happened. Maybe a car would run me over etc.
SO I do not know if it makes you feel any better but would you exchange MIT for your husband and your family? What if someone said: here, this is a special device and it will take you back in time but I cannot guarantee you the outcome. Would you take that risk?


the other thing is people do UNDERESTIMATE the power of environment in the moment of decision making. It pisses me off. SO many people say “you can only blame yourself. YOu are an adult. YOu did it to youself. YOu knew this and that why did you do this? You should not have allowed this and that. YOu have your very own agenda etc”
Easier said than done

but am I active today 🙂


the other thing is people do UNDERESTIMATE the power of environment in the moment of decision making. It pisses me off. SO many people say “you can only blame yourself. YOu are an adult. YOu did it to youself. YOu knew this and that why did you do this? You should not have allowed this and that. YOu have your very own agenda etc”
Easier said than done

but am I active today 🙂


Alice, comment #326, in answer to your question of why would a mother consider a daughter a rival,I think in my mothers case she had a fear of getting older. She would lie about her age and even went as far as having it changed on her license. She would stretch the lines out on her face and put tape on them, hi king it would eliminate the wrinkles. She even wanted to lie about her kids ages but it’s difficult to shave too many years from our ages and still be believable. I think that having a daughter who looked good and youthful would be too much of a reminder that her youth was passing her by. So she did the best she could to keep herself dressed nicely and her hair done at the beauty parlor while keeping me unbathed and in hand me downs and feeling ugly becaus she called me ugly. In her desperate attempt to preserve her youth, she destroyed my self esteem. Meanwhile, most of m friends parents seemed to take getting older graciously and did not take it out on their daughters. It’s no wonder that these girls did not have similar self esteem issues.


I have been reliving what happened during the period of summer 2012 for a year now… it will a year plus. When will it end?


I think I said before that my mother never cared about her appearance. For someone with an office job it wasn’t natural. She actually seems to take pride in wearing worn out stuff, having her hair all over the place (not kidding, look at usual Einstein photo; they could be twins).

She criticised my weight with sarcastic remarks – never directly. One time I burst out crying (I was already in my 20’s), because I knew I was out of control weight wise. As soon as I started crying she started wailing, hitting herself and saying how dare I cry and making her look like the bad guy, after all she’d done for me. My dad took her side (as he usually did because it was a way of being friends while I was down).

Even here in my house she said I did not have legs but LOGS.

Then (jealousy) now that I started to cook a lot (and am good at it) she seems to be uncomfortable. I noticed but then dismissed, until on two occasions she failed to tell me something basic that I was doing it wrong. I saw it on TV and I said “oh, that’s how you do it?”. To what she replied “Ha. Of course it is.” I asked her why did she not tell me when I did it in front of her. She said she didn’t think. Sure.

Just this month I dropped a tray coming out of the oven because I got burnt and she giggled. She did not ask if I was OK.

Growing up I did not have a toothbrush to wash my teeth until I saw my friends had one and I asked for one. I did not know when to wash (we bathed once a week in the old days and in between, well, we had bidets). I was about 9 or 10 when she asked me if I’d washed and I shrugged, saying I’d done it, I don’t know… a couple of days before. She got really abusive and went on and on and on and on and on.

She also would not pass the chance to make me feel stupid at Maths and would put me down with sarcasm to the point I became terrified of Maths class. I never calculate anything in front of other people. If I have to I just say am too stupid with numbers.

I have the worst acne among my peers and, unlike other parents, they never took me to the dermatologist. Others would just say “won’t your parents take you to the doctor”. She said once she’d not allow me to be on the pill, as some of my friends were to improve skin.

Also, when I started to have panic attacks she just passed me her sleeping tablets. I got to a point I was taking them at will, 3 or more a day and became addicted to them. I made a decision to stop after going to a rock concert by my favourite band. It gave me hope, somehow (as silly as it may sound).


Re: Post 327

No, I would not exchange him for anything. I would love to have gone. I had graduated in the top ten out of a class of 600. I was only one point behind valedictorian and salutatorian. It would have been wonderful to go to MIT. I tutored students in biochemistry and the math courses I had to take in college.

It is more about finding out that your mother sabotaged your future by telling the counselor that it would have been too big a hardship for you to leave home. I had been offered a full scholarship.

But I would not exchange having met him for anything. I don’t look at things that way. I am blessed that he found me and saved me. I love him more today than ever before. It was a fair exchange.

When he went back to the university to finish his baccalaureate and master’s degrees, I tutored some of the other university students in some of the math, science and English courses. So I got a lot of experience, just no credits. It was a lot of fun.

But there is always a little feeling at the back of my neck that wonders what would have happened if I had been able to follow that path. You can’t help that.




I perfectly understand…. 🙁
I should not have even said that…
I know how it feels…
I was offered a place in a school for teens gifted artistically.Iknow it is NOTHING comparing to MIT but still..it about ruining your child’s dreams and potential… It used to be hard to get in over there, my Art teacher assumed it was obvious I would want to be there and offered his hand getting in as he knew some people over there. He even talked to my mother to change her mind. I do not know what she told him but he stopped trying. Not that I would not get in without his help but it was nice of him. When I was like 12 I got a 3rd place in a very difficult competition nation- wide. My work got picked out of so many and than I got to travel and participate in the finals and paint in front of the jury along with only a few other kids. Also I think I was the youngest. MY dad was as always super absent minded so he did not even take a camera with him. All those kids there with their parents so proud and cheerful, takinf pictures etc. Anyways after I came back my sister an dmy mother were making fun of me instead of congratulate. My sister hissed “now you are a great artists aren’t you? Now you are really going to be full of yourself aren’t you?”
I know it is nothing comparing to MIT but the path was simple to me, that particular high school, than studying graphic design or Art.
That did not even happen. I went to study English lit. and dropped out and left after 3 months.I had enough money for to pay for my room only and for like 2 weeks of food. My parents were not poor ok? I called my mother and said I needed to but books she told me to copy them all from other people. My sister had all her expenses covered I don’t even want to get into that. Sure I could get a mini job and wait tables which is what I did and told my mother about it. She was furious!! Can you imagine? I told her I had no money. She said: YOu are supposed to sit home and study! She did not want me to have clothes, college life, party etc. I knew it was either her or me so I left. When I look back ….gosh desperate times, desperate deeds really. She must have been so upset when I came back with victory after 2,5 years abroad. Knwoing people she would have never met (it is a bit liek a Cindarella story) with a ob in a great prestigous company.
Sure if not for that I would have never left and maybe would not have experienced all the things I have. But what if I would anyways? What if got to go college study what I wanted to AND got to go abroad??
sure there were some cool moments but the majority has been a struggle.

I am laughing because God must have a lame sense of humor.
I was 14 and than 18 when she attempted to ruin my future for the first time. I broke away, went through so many hardships. Than someone listens, I am 24 and have a breakthrough: I will never get to create for a living but I will get to work in a super top notch creative place and be a part of the process on a different position. At the same time I have a melt down from all the previous hardships and end up on at my mother’s place, thinking that she has changed. She got me distracted, kept me busy, focused instead of on my well being and future on “fixing ” our relationship, making me feel guilty (look how I am HELPING you now by ALLOWING you to stay in MY house, and you did not speak to me for 2 years. see and you would not even answer my phone. SEE).
YOu know I was so weak emotionally
and I recall through the fog her yelling after she found out where I got accepted: “no I DO NOT like it. NO I WILL NOT ALLOW THAT (as if she could or could not. I was 24! she sensed it was her chance that I have never been that weak). Artists are all junkies and you will end up just like them”. FOr all I know if I did not end up as a drug addict after 24 years of living my life, I most likely will not … UNLESS of course she ruines my last chance haha which she succeeded…yay for Momster!


I stopped painting when I was 16….completely…that’s when I got depressed. later on I was too busy surviving and working too pick up a penicil again…I sort of felt that she killed it in me.
I used to be really good actually, especially at drawing peoples’ faces…
She used to say: “you have no chance of getting in. DO you have any idea how good other people are??? YOu will make a fool out of yourself”
than she told me: if you really wanted to do it, you would have.
Maybe she was right…
I just know it is very hard to do anything when your father leaves you alone with a psycho mtoher who hates you and you jsut dream of getting out.

You have a child who is giften artistically.
SO what do you do? YOu send her to a high school where all the future engineers end up because of its very high level of teaching math and science. (you probably wonder how did I get in there than? my father knew the dean and just made a call. that was enough. it was a disaster waiting to happen but Momster knew she would be able to say what an embarrassement I was to our family. Of course after 6 motnhs I had to be taken out as I was about to fail math and science…no kidding. So what did she do? She put me in a school with the worst rep in town, lowest level possible, for kids who are junkies, who were thrown out of other schools etc. That’s when my depression started. I had to deal with her at home and with thugs at school. Luckily I wasn’t bullied that much because most of the kids there were boys so they liked me but it was traumatic. I was so embarrassed to be there).


I stopped painting when I was 16….completely…that’s when I got depressed. later on I was too busy surviving and working too pick up a penicil again…I sort of felt that she killed it in me.
I used to be really good actually, especially at drawing peoples’ faces…
She used to say: “you have no chance of getting in. DO you have any idea how good other people are??? YOu will make a fool out of yourself”
than she told me: if you really wanted to do it, you would have.
Maybe she was right…
I just know it is very hard to do anything when your father leaves you alone with a psycho mtoher who hates you and you jsut dream of getting out.

You have a child who is giften artistically.
SO what do you do? YOu send her to a high school where all the future engineers end up because of its very high level of teaching math and science. (you probably wonder how did I get in there than? my father knew the dean and just made a call. that was enough. it was a disaster waiting to happen but Momster knew she would be able to say what an embarrassement I was to our family. Of course after 6 motnhs I had to be taken out as I was about to fail math and science…no kidding. So what did she do? She put me in a school with the worst rep in town, lowest level possible, for kids who are junkies, who were thrown out of other schools etc. That’s when my depression started. I had to deal with her at home and with thugs at school. Luckily I wasn’t bullied that much because most of the kids there were boys but it was traumatic. I was so embarrassed to be there).


Some reading from a website called Therapy Soup that I found interesting.

Dear Therapy Soup Reader,

A woman in recovery from PTSD found that learning about her mother’s belated diagnosis of Narcissistic and Histrionic Personality Disorders freed her from much of her life-long guilt and shame. We’re sharing some of her thoughts she wrote down for you (with a bit of our editing).

Have you had a bizarre history of an on-again, off-again relationship with your mother who makes it truly impossible for you to maintain any self-respect because she uses and maybe abuses you? Even if you’re the kind of person who believes that both people in relationships need to take responsibility, it really may not be your fault. See if any of my questions resonate with you.

Does your mother ask how you are (and barely listens to you) just to get your stuff out of the way so she can talk about herself?

Do you feel a strange disconnect from her/with her?

If you have a cold, does she have the flu? If you dented the car was she in a six car pileup? If you got promoted did she get an Emmy? If you’re having a baby, did she invent a cure for botulism?

Does your mother seem phony or overly dramatic?

Do people who’ve never seen the two of you together find her charming?

Does you mother try to get your friends, spouse, associates to collude with her against you? Do the people in your life now “get it” and don’t find her charming any more?

Does your mother give your friends, her friends, doctors, even strangers, inappropriately expensive gifts and give you her hand-me-downs?

If you reject something she does she have hysterics, crying about how cruel and thoughtless you are and how she tried do hard to do good?

Did your mother ignore you as a child to the point where she would “forget” to buy you clothes, pick you up from activities, or feed you?

Does she say really hurtful things to you that land just under the radar—viciously cruel (perhaps even evil), but virtually no one else but you understands that it these are intentional put-downs? Does she generally do this when there are no witnesses or when there are witnesses that are “on her side”? Does she sometimes do it in front of your friends or spouse in order to gauge their reaction and see if they’ll align with her?

Does your mother deny your memories of events, even denying physical abuse? Does she employ several tactics to invalidate your memories, including dismissal of the importance of the memory, denial that the event occurred, breaking into hysterics and histrionics that effectively shut down all rational discussion, etc?

Does she “set you up”, promising you the moon (her love, a vacation together, a gift, a joint therapy session, a new car), reel you in with the bait, and then say that you misinterpreted what she meant and that none of that was going to really happen?

Did your mother leave you in dangerous situations—outside in storms, at home alone with known abusers, locked in basements, etc., when you were a child?

Did your mother ever take you shopping as a child and ask you to pick out your favorite stuffed animal or toy, then buy it, wrap it up with bows, and give it to the neighbor’s kid, watching closely to see (and enjoy) your pained surprise?

Does your mother almost always lie, even when it would be in her best interests or simply easier to tell the truth?

Does your mother usually forget your birthday or send you a wildly inappropriate and unwanted gift?

Did your mother ever move and not tell you her address for a while, a week, a month, years?

Did your mother indulge her every whim and fantasy, having the house feng shuied, getting in-home massages, buying expensive antiques, jetting to Europe to get her hair cut, but felt it it unnecessary to buy you clothes, shoes, books, toys or other basic things a child usually gets?

Is everything always about her?

Does she blame everyone else for anything and everything and never, ever takes responsibility for the emotional (and sometimes physical) wreckage she leaves in her tracks?

Did your mother ever try to get you kicked out of college, a job, a group? Did your mother ever get you fired from a job?

Did your mother ever come to your elementary/middle/high school/college/performance and laugh at you or pretend she didn’t know you? Did she tell other performers (and their parents) how wonderful their performance was, but say nothing about your performance or talk about you dismissively?

Did you ever run into your mother’s arms as a toddler, only to be pushed away in disgust?

Do therapists not believe you, until you show them letters and emails from from your mother or they get the chance to meet her?

Did your mother triangulate the family, demanding that her parents, your aunt, your cousins not have contact with you because it “upset” her? Did she do the same with your siblings? Does she create a web of lies and manipulate circumstances to keep people separate so they don’t figure out what’s going on?

Did your mother shower “love” and overwhelming attention on one sibling and turn the others into the scapegoat?

If your answers are “yes, repeatedly” to more than a couple of these questions, your mother might have narcissistic personality disorder and/or histrionic personality disorder ( she also may be struggling with some painful traits of borderline personality disorder or have traits of sadistic personality disorder* or maybe even anti-social personality disorder or a combination of these).

You may feel blind with rage and at other times that life just isn’t worth living. In some cases fathers can be enablers or were abusers, too. It can be hard because sometimes people who hear a story like this, even therapists, and they either don’t believe it or think you are exaggerating.

When you have a mother (or father or other caregiver) like this, your sense of reality is never really sure. That’s why I call it a game. And it is a game to someone with Narcissistic or Histrionic PD. The game is “Me Against the World”. The goal is to get everyone to watch me, need me, focus on me, be kept off-balance by me, be controlled by me, be destroyed by me.

In a way, mother is like a black-hole, empty as eternity. She is also a vacuum (yes, nature abhors a vacuum and mother’s constantly trying to be filled). But I also pity her—more than that, actually. I feel such sorrow for her suffering, because I believe she must be suffering. And I see glimmers of hope. Sometimes, I sense a pause in her emptiness as if her soul is trying to infiltrate the emptiness. Sometimes I sense genuineness. These moments are precious to me and I try to encourage them now that I am strong enough to not feel the arrows she slings at me.

What really helped the daughter, above, on her healing journey was information and meeting others who’d been through what she had been through:

About NPD here at PsychCentral

About HPD here at PsychCentral

About Personality Disorders here at PsychCentral

A brief video about how parents with NPD often divorce, and how their children can be victims of abuse, parental alienation syndrome, and suffer from mental illness and/or addiction, co-dependency and personality disorders including NPD, HPD, BPD, and other problems.


Another article that I just read. This could have described my mother.

Narcissistic Mothers
By Cyndi Lopez

I do not love; I do not love anybody except myself. That is a rather shocking thing to admit. I have none of the selfless love of my mother. I have none of the plodding, practical love. . . . . I am, to be blunt and concise, in love only with myself, my puny being with its small inadequate breasts and meager, thin talents. I am capable of affection for those who reflect my own world. – Sylvia Plath

There is a special place in hell for narcissistic mothers. Ms. Plath herself indulged in the ultimate narcissistic act when she committed suicide by sticking her head in the oven while her two young children were asleep in the same apartment. How thoughtful of her to have sealed off their rooms with towels so that the fumes wouldn’t consume them too. She needed someone to live on to remember her and care that she was gone.

Narcissistic mothers do not have children for the same reasons the rest of us do. They do not look forward to the birth of their child because they can’t wait to see what they look like or what type of personality they will have or who they will become. No, they have children for one reason only: More mirrors. They have children so that the children will love them unconditionally, not the other way around. They have children to do things for them. They have children to reflect their false images. They have children to use, abuse and control them.

They don’t see their role as a mother as life’s biggest gift. It’s a burden they didn’t expect. They thought they were creating little “mini-me’s.” They didn’t take into account the fact that somewhere around age 2, these spiteful, ungrateful (in their minds) little creatures start to develop their own individual personalities and wills of their own. For the rest of us, that’s the best part of being a mom — watching our children grow into increasingly independent, confident, free-thinking individuals. For the narcissistic mother, each step away from her is an absolute act of betrayal.

Children have emotions that they express quite freely. This annoying practice is squashed as early as possible since narcissists cannot handle emotions. “What is wrong with you?” and “You’re so oversensitive” and “You’re overreacting” are common phrases uttered to children of narcissists.

These mothers end up resenting all the work that goes into raising a child, having no use for them unless they are achieving, doing something or otherwise reflecting their false image onto them. Children are a nuisance to them, taking precious time away from their own agendas. They don’t like to have to shop for clothes for their children, prepare meals for them, do their laundry, pay for daycare, enroll them in activities, drive them to friends’ houses, throw birthday parties, pay for their college educations or protect them from abuse.
They will smother and overprotect their children under the guise that they are taking care of them. They will fail to provide age-appropriate information on such things as menstruation, personal grooming (make-up, hairstyles, shaving, etc.), budgeting money and dating. This all serves to keep her children under her control as long as possible. If they are ill-informed and overprotected, they will not feel confident to grow or move further away from her.

They will use their children as slaves. They will delegate all household chores to the children as early as possible. They will insist that they pay for their own personal items and clothing as early as possible. Older children will become responsible for younger children. No matter how many of her responsibilities her children take on, it will never be enough or be done well enough. They expect perfection and constantly remind their children that they fail to meet this expectation.
Of course, they train their children to believe that they are the ideal mother. Any evidence to the contrary is to be kept secret at all costs. They will behave much differently toward their children in public than they do at home. They will vehemently deny any wrongdoing on their part and most likely blame their children, completely rewriting history.

Narcissistic mothers don’t stop being narcissists when their children become adults. They will play siblings against each other. They will compare siblings. They will talk to siblings about each other. When they have a problem with one, they will talk to another about it.
They are jealous of their children’s successes, even though they brag to others about them (‘see how great MY kids turned out’). They will make snide comments if they think one of their adult children has a better marriage, house, job, etc. than they do. They are thrilled when they perceive that one of their adult children has failed in some way (although they never tell others about these “failures”; it reflects poorly on them). They are more than happy to assist when necessary because that makes them look good, plus, there is an added bonus of having favors to collect on. Asking a narcissistic mother for a favor feels like selling your soul to the devil. It’s emotional extortion.

These mothers steal their kids’ childhoods, identities and future healthy relationships. They will keep on taking and sucking the life out of their children for as long as they live, if their children allow it. It is incredibly difficult and painful to acknowledge that your mother never loved you without blaming yourself — she raised you to blame yourself for everything. But it is necessary to put the blame where it rightfully belongs in order to insure that this insidious disorder isn’t perpetuated generation after generation.


Thanks for those articles, Linda.

After reading accounts of sexual abuse, etc, that people posted here I was beginning to doubt my mother had enough narcissistic traits to be considered one. After reading the articles I “remembered” why she is. She definitely has Borderline Personality Disorder and she is histrionic.

It does run in her side of the family.

In fact, the above articles also show that my MIL is also downright narcissistic but we already knew that. It just confirms it again.

Luckily, my decision not to have children, means that it ENDS RIGHT HERE.


This is the most helpful article for me.


Yes to all of them, Linda.

I used to hink she was bi polar and felt guilty because sometimes she would do or say something nice. But no she has a NPD, she is absolutely aware of all the things she does. Bi polars often time love their kids very much and have episodes of being good parents (or even over the top)and it is a horrible struggle for the entire family. NPDs are evil people aware of everythind they do. It gives me chilld. I am done for good with my entire “family”. Funny how yes I did have an on and off relationship with her.Entire childhood was painful (except for the time when I was 0-6, as I said and she was dressing me as a boy), in high school I wanted to kill myself because of her. Than I left and she did not hear from me for 2,5 years. I became my real self and that’s why I guess I believed I was strong enough to handle her. It gives me goose bumps only think what she would have done to me if I never left. I would not be the person I am today for sure. I would preobably kill myself. She did not want me to be beautiful, successful etc.
So after I came back, I probably told you thins story so many times, my sister pushed me into her amrs. I thought maybe she changed a bit while I was away, maybe she missed me or I would make her proud with my accomplishments. Nah she never even congratulated me. She was ncie for one day though. After than I would not see her but I would be getting insulting calls from her. For isnatnce if i told her I got an X job at an X place she would say: “as who? as a janitor? I can’t imagine you getting anything better without a degree”
I only now see how pissed she must have been all those years. SO than I do not speak with her for 5 months and it is supposed to be for good but than I get fooled like crazy that she changed because she became a grandmother. I could not helpmyself. I started doing everything she wanted me to do. I quit !!!! my dream ob which ruined my reputation just because she told me to do so. She must be having so much fun.

Now when I think about the past I know the reason why she was getting me out of every school every few years. She was hoping for me to be bullied. Kids and teachers always liked me, I have a pretty easy going and likeable nature I must say. SO after first 6 months, no reason she is moving me to another school. My fater is of course super passive and has nothing to say. The first school was a small private elementary school for kids from so-called good families. I loved it, small groups, good kids, great teachers, perfect place for me. Ok the reason she gave my father was: the building is old and there is mold in one of the classrooms there and that could be a reason why I am caughing all the time (age 6-9 I had a nervous cough all the time, go figure where that came from). Ok so she puts me where? In the biggest school possible, kids ages 6-15 all in one gigantic building, not the best area in town, big classes, generally a mix, lots of future thugs. I feel lost because I am very petite, the shortest in class but I manage to make friends anyways. This time there 2 girls who bully me but still I do not have a loser status. Ok so 5 years later, I am on good terms with everyone but she takes me to yet another school. Reason: we ar emoving to a different house to a different part of the town. Yeah….but it is like 20 min away by bus. It is a small town. No she will not be taking a bus by herself! (I am like 13). Ok now here everyone is scratching their heads why she did it. She put me in the WORST school in town. Cameras, security, teenage pregnancy, thiefs, thugs. She claims that I need to get used to a whole variety of people from different backgrounds so that I do not get lost while I’m in college. Okay….the maority of those kids never made it to college, what was she talking about?
Okay I end up in a horrible class, I have a bf and it is great for the first few motnhs because he is “the boss” but than I break up with him and 30people all of a sudden stop talking to me. It is a nightmare. This time I want to move. So she moves me to a different class where I truly do find myself. Too bad only for 2 years. I have 3 great girlfriends but my mother hates when they come over to our house, nobody in general is allowed to ocme to our house. So I am never home 🙂 Anyways this is around the time when my dad moves out of the house. He dd not stay with us the new one for too long. I do not knwo what he was thinking? COuld not he see? The master bedroom was just for the Momster + 2 bedrooms for me and my sister. My dad was ordered to sleep on (get this!) wood and leather coach in the living room 🙂 And he would do this…I do not know how to describe this couch but there is no way to sleep on it!! 🙂
Ayways than we have high school….that story I told you yesterday, let me find the right post.


I feel like calling my mother and telling her: I KNOW WHO YOU ARE B****!!!”
I know what you have been trying to do


In one of the articles it is mentioned that no one believes you unless you show them e.g. letters as a proof.
Get this in 2010 she knew my address and she was bombarding me with sweet letters and cards for no reason out of the blue. I would not read them all and throw them out as I was furious. Because on the phone I would be getting all those insults, listening to really horrible things and than all of a sudden I am getting letters like that.
I was crying I was so furious. I was also 23 and very confused. At that time I thought she was bi polar and that shr really did love and care for me she ust could not help herself.
It is not true, she is a mean b**** with NPD aware of everything she does and says.
And the letters were meant to be “a proof” just like her bank statements that she is a good mother.


It makes me sick….literally…
I remember how my mother told me I should not have kids. And that se sees me as a single woman having friends only.
Okay great plan but I actually do want to have kids. i told her I wanted to adopt. First she told me about all the “Dangers” of adopting a child and than she said ‘okay…but you know if you adopt you should adopt an older child not an infant so they KNOW they were adopted and so that they were GRATEFUL to you”… WTF??? YOu do not adopt kids to make them feel grateful!! But see this shows precisely the my mother’s way of thinking.
I wish I connected the dots earlier.

Also whenever she critisized my looks (I really actually am good looking!), was mean etc she would say “I say this for your own good. YOu will understand when you are a mother yourself. YOu know when you have a child you want it to be PERFECT otherwishe it is so painful. Because you start balming yourself for its imperfections”



@ Sandra

My mum would justify her tantrums with how painful motherhood was (still does). “You don’t know! You’re not a mother.”

One day I commented on this with a friend and she said “well, I am a mother and I cannot understand your mother’s behaviour.”. I so welcomed this. This same friend one time shouted at my mother when she was ringing to find out if I was OK as she could not contact me (I was 10 minutes down the road but I had taken the car). My friend shouted YOUR DAUGHTER IS NOT A BABY. Funny thing was my mother never told me about this incident. (This happened when I was already on my way back home; my friend then rang me to ask if my mother was mad at her, as they know each other and was surprised when I said she never, to this day, mentioned it).

All my mother does she wants pay back. If you accept a favour it’s like doing a pact with the devil. She claims she LOVES children but she also advised me against adopting proving extensive “evidence” of what could go wrong.

My rationale is that, if or when, I adopt I want to do it to “serve” another human being and not for them to serve me. I don’t feel the need to be a biological mother in any way. My mother wanted a “mini-me” and she almost achieved it.



you are NOT her mini me.
she did not achieve anything.


She ALMOST did. And my dad knew she was working towards it because one time he said this “your mum will not rest until she makes you completely like herself.” It wasn’t a compliment but he never stood up to her…


suzy can you cut yourself off of them?
I am sorry I am asking but this is always the first thing I ask
YOu know this will destroy you
save yourself
it will never get better
do you want her to poison your life? get her our of your life and your head


In all honesty, I don’t feel that I can cope with the craziness that will follow if I did that. I managed to go as far as telling her our living arrangement was not working (of course, it wasn’t as easy as that – it was a horror movie for that to be achieved). Now she goes back and forward from her house and spends most of the time there.

Right now, I can’t even believe there is such thing as getting rid of these people because they live in our heads.

We’re preparing to move abroad again so I will see even less of her. I’m sticking to that. It’s a form of low contact. After living with her so many years even what I have now is bliss. Of course, when she’s here I’m a shadow of myself because she’s constantly acting crazy.


Perfect. now change your number and send a good bye letter 🙂


Where the heck is Darlene?? 🙂


I am here but I have been really busy. I have a job and a family and I can’t keep up with answering all the comments. Having said that, please do not give advice.
I am referring to what you said to Suzy were you said
“suzy can you cut yourself off of them?
I am sorry I am asking but this is always the first thing I ask
YOu know this will destroy you
save yourself
it will never get better
do you want her to poison your life? get her our of your life and your head”
THAT kind of advice doesn’t help anyone and it causes people to feel worse than they already do.
There are reasons that people don’t just go no contact, and it is up to the individual to see what those reasons are and make their own decisions.
Thanks everyone,


Hi Darlene
the “where are you Darlene” was meant to be a joke 🙂 SOrt of like “Darleeeeene help” 🙂

As for what I wrote to Suzy, Suzy and Darlene I do apologize.
I know this is difficult. ME myself I have not been that brave all along.
There are so many reasons: our siblings, finances, health etc etc

Once again I do apologize and that will not happen again


To Suzy,

I do understand when your mother is in your head. Even after I told my husband about the incest and my mother’s abuse when we had been married for fifteen years, I could not stop going to see them. Darlene talks about grooming. I had been “groomed” to do whatever they wanted me to do. We did stop staying at their house, but I could not stop going to see them.

When I almost died in 1997 and the doctor said I either stop seeing them or I would really die, I still was compelled to take phone calls. Then in 2000, I almost committed suicide…I had had enough. So my husband said no more phone calls. But I could still hear my mother’s voice in my head.

This year, after my father’s funeral (I saw my mother that day), she stepped up her lies to other family members and of course, it would get back to me. The nightmares came with hallucinations of her standing by my bed. I can still hear her saying the things she does. I will soon be 65. Even though I don’t write to her or talk to her, I think I will hear her voice until the day I die.

The PTSD, anxiety attacks and persistent vomiting have been there for so many years and I don’t know if they will ever stop. I can only keep trying and keep praying. It is so difficult to stop talking to people like that, but it also doesn’t stop (at least for me) the damage they do.

As far as narcissism being genetic, I don’t know. My grandparents were not like that, nor were my mother’s brothers. My sister is like that, but my brothers are not. I have two sons and they are definitely not narcissistic. Perhaps it runs in families. It doesn’t in mine. But I was so determined to NOT be like my mother, that, with my husband’s help, the cycle of abuse and narcissism stopped in that one generation.



@ Sandra
Apologies accepted.

@ Linda

Having lived with night terrors until my mid twenties my heart goes out to you Linda.

You were aware of what had gone on with you so you stopped it. My friend (who was sexually abused) was the same. She was determined to be the opposite kind of parent her parents were and she too has a fantastic husband and sons. It’s such a joy to witness functional families.

My dad’s parents weren’t mean that I remember but even though they lived nearby (walking distance) they were quite detached. My mother’s mother was the “real deal” and said nasty things to me all the time. I was left with her all day while my parents went to work, so I was brainwashed into believing I was a burden and therefore worthless. “Your mother is sick, it’s your fault”. After my birthday party “your friends ate all the good food, now your mum has only the bones to eat”. “You love being a burden”.

My mother’s dad would have been the one to save me, I believe, but he died when I was 3. Yet I seem to remember him whisking me away from my grandmother to go for walks. He bought me packs of crisps. I couldn’t even speak about him after that and until my 20’s. I didn’t even know him (as he died when I was so young) and yet something hurt so bad when he was mentioned I’d change subject. Until one day a counsellor in the UK asked me what my first memory ever was and I burst out crying (up until then I had never cried in front of strangers, let alone sob like I did). I sobbed for days (not kidding).

There was no warmth growing up. Anywhere. I never liked kisses or hugs, nor were they offered (my mother denies this). I can only take hugs from my husband and my best friend. Yet, my mother sometimes hugs me without my permission which I find sickening and just go stiff.

Apart from my grandmother, my uncle was also narcissistic. His daughter who looked after him in old age died ahead of him. She became isolated and her life revolved around doing the best for him (which, of course, was never enough). When she reached out for help and asked my mother to go visit my mother kept excusing myself saying I needed her to help with housework (something she repeated over and over to justify having moved in with us).

My mother’s cousin (her uncle’s daughter) died of MS even though to the day of her death all tests came back negative. Her body shut down. I think she quit.

My mother’s cousin also has a narcissistic temperament so in old age it’s “fun” to see how they are clashing. My mother is too dependent and the other is too independent. Both put themselves first.

Hugs back,


PS: Sorry I made a mess of cousins, etc. It’s be confusing. Note to self: re-read before posting.


Hi Everybody,

What great comments and I have been taking the time to read them all.

Sandra 328: I understand the comment about the environment. There was an incident over twenty years ago when I had just turned twenty years old. It’s a very long story and I know that we could all write an autobiography about our abuse issues. This is very hard for me, but essentially I almost died from a very serious suicide attempt. I think you all understand that I was so incredibly low and hopeless that I felt like I could not take another second of my life’s problems. I was still living at home with parents and very much a “good” girl who believed that college was the key to life and future career and every happiness. My father retired and my Narc. mother decided that she hated the Seattle rain and we were all moving to Arizona! I was seriously becoming more depressed daily about moving and could barely function. I lived at home and took a few college courses but dropped out. Believe it or not, I was working at two PT food service jobs in order to save my money and get away from them. I did not make enough money to live on, so I went along with them to move to Arizona. It was that summer, after the spring that we moved, when I seriously took a pill overdose and nearly didn’t make it in the hospital and came close to having a heart attack. So anyway, I survived and decided to stay and not move back home to Seattle due to cheaper costs of living. Soon, I was working at a hard, low-pay customer service job, and found a cheap roommate place, and bought a very used car. I gave up on college as a traditional student, and several years later became a mature student and graduated with a BA degree.

Anyway to continue, YES, I tried various forms of counseling, individual and family counseling, with insurance and without, including religious groups when I was younger. Back then, I was rather over sheltered and overprotected and not as tough and strong and vocal as the woman I am today. I desperately wanted to believe that if only I could find the right “key”, like the counselor who could talk to my parents for me and make everything all better then my parental abuse and control issues would be cured. NOT! All of these counselors were basically idiots in their own right who only cared about the money and not me!

There was one incident that I can never forget with a Catholic Church nun–yes, I know it was a dumb idea to deal with traditional religion–not my cup of tea! Since then, I am NO LONGER a Catholic nor Christian and became a Druid and a Metaphysician. I actually brought my mom with me (not too swift)and tried to talk about my feelings and the recent suicide attempt. I was expecting a bit of sympathy and encouragement from a religious person but what did I get instead? This nun actually had the nerve to say to me directly and I swear your very exact quotes:

“You can only blame yourself”, “You are an adult”, and “YOU DID IT TO YOURSELF”!!!!!!!

So I swear this actually came out of my mouth to a Catholic nun–maybe coming from suppressed issues from my Catholic high school dealing with the nuns—- “GO TO H***” —–well, you get the point. This nun was speechless and I started crying and ran out the door.

You hit it when you wrote that people, “underestimate the power of environment in the moment of decision making”! You’re exactly right!

There is a website called: http://www.facesofsuicide.com

where friends and family can post photos and words–very touching. There are a few sites like this one and I actually read that one of the posting rules was NEVER to shame the victim. There have been situations where “religious people” have tried to shame the victim with “God will punish them…and so on” as if their families have not suffered enough grief. How can anyone possibly shame these victims after they simply gave up on life completely?

I don’t know if Darlene has written articles regarding the link between child abuse and suicide. It’s a tough one to openly talk about.

All that I can say now is that I can’t believe how safe I am and how far that I have come. It’s like the metaphor of going on a journey and I have travelled through the deep, black forest, and now I’m on the other side. There are a few issues in my life—-I do want more college and a better career, and a lasting man relationship, and more money and social life–(but who doesn’t?) LOL! But when I wake up every morning I am safe and I know that I am no longer that teenage girl just praying to move out of the parent’s home.

On a happier note: for those of us who are celebrating a traditional American Thanksgiving this week maybe we need to share our thoughts on this holiday. I know some of us can’t get away from social obligations with our FOO…..but we all can share what we’re thankful for.

I am thankful for my freedom, my age (45) and having lived so long and survived through so much, my education, my health, my few very good friends, my computer, my car, and wonderful house—(first time homebuyer three years ago this week)–my hobbies and my wonderful Celtic Pagan religion!

Also to Darlene: Thank you for creating EFB and helping abused women on this great site!

Blessed Be,

Yvonne )0(



It was so good to read your post!
I know what you mean by that feeling of safety and freedom, you actually realize life is worth living. And with that you can keep on thriving, as you said you expectations keep rising, once you are safe, you want a better job etc etc.

I had a suicide attempt when I was 17. No body knows. I started hurting myself with a razor and there was one time when I seriously wanted to go deeper. Cutting myself was brining me some relief. IT was the same time when I had anorexia. It was a super destructive period for me, but I knew nothing about depression, trauma, self- preservance etc. I had not clue what was ging on with me. I would stare at a wall for 5 hours without realizing how much time has passed. My mother would nto speak to me and it was just me and her living together. I was avoiding her at all costs. I would sneak out from my room to go the bathroom or to the kitchen only if I knew she was either inher bedroom and not in the house. I did prefer her being quiet than her being outraged anyways. I know it sounds silly but at that time a psychic helped me 🙂 YOu might not believe it but I went to one woman who has a reputation of a very accurate psychic and the moment she saw me, she did not know anything about me she said: “you wanted to take your life away from yourself. Twice! YOu cannot do that! You are strong, you don’t even realize how strong you are. YOu are supposed to have a son, you NEED to live”. Than I showed her photos of my family and she said: (again not having any details from me)” your mother is unable to treat you as her daughter, she looks at you as if you were another woman”.. how accurate.
Than she told me some things about the nearest future which actually did happen during the next 2 years. And guess what: she refused to charge me!I might have been naive but guess what: that very thought of me having to live, of me almost obligated to bring some kid to this world, at that time it gave me so much strenght you cannot believe 🙂 I was 18 and I thought to myself: I am living for me and my future son 🙂 Sounds silly I know 🙂 I figured myabe he will be someone important for the humanity, maybe he will cure cancer etc. Hey I might not be able to have kids, but guess what if that saved a life of an 18 year old, that woman knew just thr right thing to say 🙂

Anyways, 6 months of n/c with my family I was a different kid. I loved my life. At 21 I could not believe things could be that good. At 24 I was ecstatic, at 25 overjoyed.
Today I am 26 and I can’t believe what I have done with my life, I can’t believe that a warrior i used to be and why I became so weak last year, that I let into my life my major enemy, the predator that my mother is and let her ruin everything I worked hard to achieve: my dream job, my self- esteem, my relationship, my savings. I will probably never understand how all of a sudden I got sucked in, how “fixing our relationship” (after being n/c we were low contact and than n/c again, never full blown) became my major happiness and concern, sabotaging my well being, my finances, my relationship, hirting my reputation and people who really cared about me, just to make her content, just to please her even though her demands were insane, wrong and made no sense. I know she was aware of all of that, I know it was on purpose I know she must have had so much fun. I do not know what happened to me. I know I am starting from 0 again as if I were 18 again. This time with a huge credit debit. I am still in a very dark place and I am desperately trying to get out. It is okay to start all over when you are 18, it is much harder after you fought for yourself, after you recovered and estabilished yourself a bit better.

Yvonne, it is interesting how many of us had to drop out of college because of our mothers (and NOT because of our family’s finances). We had to choose. It was a choice of freedom, a matter of living.

I am firmly grounded here and do not follow any religion but sometimes I can’t help but wonder: is there such thing as reincarnation? If there is I must have really kicked my mother’s ass in my previous life 🙂


I am trying to decide whether I should stay low contact or go n/c with my sister. After all the things I have found out this past year I cannot cheat myself I cannot just go and grab a coffee with her once she comes visit and pretend I do nto have the knowledge I do today. Than again revenge is tempting…. i am not a revengful person, I crave epace and quiet but for the things I had to go through….since I finally know she plays in the same league my mother does, the best revenge would be to be successful as hell, dress up and just watch the reaction 🙂


I now know that my characted was saving me. I was still allowing them to bully me whenever I met with them but I had a life I loved and they apparently envied and I could protect myself. LAst year was a moment they must have been dreaming of. I was WEAK and ALONE. I saw what could happened to me if I had a different character earlier. These 2 women will go as far as you let them, sky is the limit, they would kill me if they could.



one more thing regarding to the whole “you did it to yourself you are an adult” philosophy.
I could agree with that if the story was about you right now, age 45.
But you were 20!! I believe that until the age of 24-25 and def 20 we can still be very much lost and easily influenced especially by an abuser or an authority figure.


and most of us coming from such family backgrounds as we do….emotional, insecure, frightened…a tragedy waiting to happen.


Regarding the age of 20 or so and being responsible.

I’m originally from a tiny village. I only knew my way around my own village and the next one (where I went to school). I always loved England and had an early obsession with the country, so I kept asking to go there.

One summer my mother let me go. I asked her to come with me and she refused. She said she was too old to travel at 50 (funnily enough she travelled since; she wanted someone to take her and not having to take someone as she’s too scared to get lost).

Very long story short. She told me to GROW UP and go on my own. I did because I was so hurt. I was petrified. I had never been on a plane. I barely been anywhere. So I set up a date with my now husband (we were pen pals then, fans of same rock band). She enrolled me on a summer school for two weeks (I was the talk of the village in a positive way… went to London… the girl who lives in the bedroom!)

The transfer from airport got lost and I was around London for 8 hours (after a 3 hour flight, not even that) without this guy finding where to drop me. He started making moves towards me. What saved me, I think, was that I told him I had someone waiting for me (otherwise, God knows).

My husband was only there for 3 days though. There were no mobile phones back then (at least I did not have one), or back up plan if I got lost. It was pretty much taking me to high sea (after not letting me play on the beach),throw me overboard and say SWIM.

I married my husband at 22 (barely knowing him as we lived in different countries) to escape my parents and, at the same time, not to embarrass them. As I stayed back in England (to finish my degree) having photos of a wedding was important to them to show neighbours,etc.

My mother recently accused me of my mistake of marrying so early. Well, guess what, I agree too. My husband was my only boyfriend as I had led an extremely sheltered life.

I told her that if she knew it back then it was a mistake why didn’t she stop it? They never said a word. I had no money. I was in their hands. Instead, they were seemingly happy to pay for everything. If I had a daughter in the same situation I’d tell her “finish your degree. Find a job and then get married.” So, it was my fault I got married. Her excuse was that at 62 years of age she and my dad were too young to know better -HAHAHAHA!

I said “so at 22 I was supposed to know what you did not know at 62?”!!

She rubbed in my face (recently) the money she spent on (small) wedding, my university degree (that I never cared about but did it to please them). Then while married we made a lot of financial mistakes. My husband had never been allowed to manage his own money. His Narc mother made him hand it all and then would give him money as he needed (he was not allowed to go out until late even though he’s 6 years older than me).

When we decided to move back to my country (because I wasn’t coping with guilt of having left) we would pay all debt with the sale of our house, which we did. But in the meantime I mentioned our debt (because I told my parents EVERYTHING) and my dad rushed into selling a property to pay it off (I wasn’t consulted). And guess who’s fault it was that he sold it? MINE. It wasn’t even necessary that he sold.

Not only that I was accused of sending my dad to an early grave because of how hard it was for him to sell. (It wasn’t his excessive drinking, mixed with heart medication and other health issues…it was the evil daughter, of course).

Looking back (from my 36 years) I am appalled at the many decisions that have compromised my life and career in too many ways. Luckily for Narcs they have no sense of guilt, so they live happily pointing fingers.

I love my husband. We have had to grow together and it was a painful process for both. Right now we’re in a good place and he couldn’t be more loving and financially responsible. It was a long hard road to get here. I don’t take the future for granted though. Life and people has already let me down too much.


Hi Yvonne-That was a really nice post in that it gave hope. And I so agree with the aspect of never shaming the victim. I don’t understand that mind set either and the only thing I can think of is that it’s one of two things. Fear or serious righteousness, which comes down to fear anyway.

People seem to make these mean comments as if they know someone’s whole situation just by reading snippets of their lives. And the thing is there are also people out there that will believe the mean comments and turn around and judge themselves.

Anyway on your comments about Thanksgiving here in the US, I have been thinking a lot about what I’m grateful for lately. One being my roommate, who is also my bestest friend ever and a quite a bit more.

I am NC with my family so I won’t be seeing any of them for the holidays, unless of course someone shows up here (but I’m not talking about seeing them against my will.) My choice is to stay away at this time.


THANKSGIVING. I currently do not live in the US but I always considered it the nicest holiday ever because it was the only one celebrated by EVERYONE REGARDLESS OF of their religion and background.

So….what are you grateful for? Please share 🙂


Sandra, message 365; what I am greatful for? I am grateful that I have two wonderful kids and that my relationships with them and my husband are respectful, loving ones. I am grateful for good friends, a comfortable home and good health.
And I am greatful that about six months ago I discovered a website called Emerging From Broken. For the first time, I started looking at things in a completely different way. I started questioning long held beliefs of thinking I am less worthy than others. I started questioning how people, past and present, have treated me. I started realizing that the real truth may be different from what I was groomed for a lifetime to believe. I am thankful for Darlene and all of her great work, and for the ladies I have chatted with and learned from on here. Have a beautiful Thanksgiving!


Hi Amber,
thank you for sharing your gratitude here and for including EFB and ME in your gratitude! I appreciate it!

Sandra, thanks for thinking of posting that and also for your understanding of my request about giving directives.
p.s. I totally missed the voice infliction when you said “Where’s Darlene” but understood when you explained.

Hugs, Darlene


Hi Sandra 358,

I am NO longer a Catholic/Christian and I respect all positive Faiths. YES, I do believe in reincarnation and past lives as a part of my faith as a Druid/Wicca/Spiritualist Church and overall positive metaphysician. We are all entitled to our beliefs and I have been on my spiritual path for over twenty five years now.

About the best way to learn about your past lives, if you care to someday, is going to a hypnotherapist who works with past life regression. Yes, I have done this and I learned a lot about myself. Apparently, I am connected with both of my parents in past lives, and our relationships were never about any kind of love, but rather a business type of relationship, never good. I have never believed for once that I deserved abuse in this lifetime due to a past life transgression.

Most of the great psychics and mediums will repeatedly say that sometimes these really difficult issues were chosen by us in order to grow and understand. I know that I was never an “evil” person who directly abused my parents, but it’s more about me learning about negativity and evil people in this lifetime. The generally accepted belief by the Spiritualist Church and all great psychics and mediums is that the Earth can be likened to a school metaphor. It’s all temporary here and nothing lasts. We’re all learning and those of us who are born into these hard situations are really old souls, having had more past lives than the average person, and we are close to “graduating” from this school. However, before we can leave here, we must take a few really hard courses (like students at university putting off their “hard” courses until almost the end) and dealing with negativity and so on, and NO, this does not make us “bad” people from past lives. On the other hand, those glamorous celebrities with money and fame really do have pointless lives and learn almost nothing. They are not to be envied because basically they learn nothing and must come back for more lives—and some of it hard in the future! They are likened to the daydreaming students in a classroom and the troublemakers who are held back a grade level, due to their own selfishness!

If anything, this theory shows that the abusers have been building up their negative personalities over and over again in each successive life, kind of like a snowball effect! Thus, there is a bit more to simply the genetics versus environment views on personality! Further, whenever you see a family with kids like one “normal” kid and one so-called retarded kid and society thinks how terrible, it’s more about this disabled child coming into a family to teach them lessons about patience, compassion, humility, and so on. Only a VERY old soul chooses a disabled body and it’s NOT about punishment for some kind of past life transgression! These kind of “special” kids are VERY old souls and they’re the ones most likely on their last life on Earth.

I have been such a voracious reader on all metaphysical subjects through the years, and my favorite author who is such a gifted medium is George Anderson. (He was the only medium asked by the Anne Frank family to visit that house and give a psychic reading). You might enjoy reading books on past life hypnosis/regression by Bruce Goldberg, Brian Weiss, and Michael Newton. There are some great mediums who are authors such as James VanPraagh, Sylvia Browne, Concetta Bertoldi, and Patrick Mathews.

If I had to choose only a couple of books: (Buy from http://www.amazon.com used books or Kindle ebooks)

Lessons in the Light, by George Anderson

Walking in the Garden of Souls, by George Anderson

Again, I am NOT wanting to argue about religion here with anyone. I fully support your spiritual walk and to read and study and choose your own path. But please do NOT believe for one second anyone who tells you that you are paying for being an abuser in a past life and now it comes back to you! Just my two cents worth…..

Blessed Be,



It’s funny. I always have a negative reaction when “gratitude” is brought up. I was told repeatedly that I was ungrateful and that I should be grateful. And always by people who abused me and who trotted out “How can you be so ungrateful after all I/we have done for you?”

It never ocurred to me to say that I may very well be grateful for all they had done but that it didn’t give them a license to mistreat me either then or today and had I known that mistreatment was part and parcel of their “goodness” towards me then I would surely have refused all of it. Could I have known? I tend to think I *should* have known. I don’t know why I think I should have.

But oh my, try telling that momster the gift she wishes to give is not necessary or unwanted and all hell is loose again. It’s as if by refusing her gifts I’m refusing her “payback” further down the road. Which is exactly why I refuse them. I got a card from her this week (I’d told her not to send anything) and it looks like the kind of thing she’d grab without thinking at the corner store, except it proclaims in awful pink curly letters (actual friends of mine would only ever get this kind of thing as a joke) that it’s (one assumes the cardwriter) “always thinking of you”. And inside is a bog-standard “wishing you a happy birthday” phrase signed “love” and it beats me. It really does. This is a card from a person who has no idea who I am.

I’m definitely grateful that I did not “have it worse” but can that even be called real “gratitude”?? Relief more like.
So while I can’t stand this word “gratitude” and all that stuff that goes with it for me I can say that I thank Darlene for writing and running this website and the great work she’s done with me. And Happy US Thanksgiving to those celebrating this week.


@ Yvonne
All you said about spirituality is what resonates as being truth for me also (which means I don’t know what the truth is, but that’s what makes more sense to me). I would just disagree that celebrities have pointless lives. If I had all the money in the world, I’d still have the same issues to deal with. And, like many of us, a lot of them had less than perfect families also (which probably makes addiction even more tempting…I’d imagine being in the public eye is not much better than having a dysfunctional family). Plus the fact that many help charities and touch lives in ways they sometimes don’t even know. I certainly started to survive on dreams during my teens, that consisted of attending a show by my favourite band and getting to meet them. I understand this is weird to a lot of people, but as I look back and see girls the age I was back then, with same issues doing the same… it’s pretty valid. Whatever gets you through the day. God knows many days you needed something to get up the next morning because it was so tempting to just quit.

So, to me, celebrities can provide something to hold on to (when religious beliefs start falling apart and lyrics in the songs help you express feelings). I’d say their challenges become different once they hit the top.

@ Alice

I could have written that. You put it so well. My mother insists that I accept things and gets quite upset when I don’t. I usually get puzzled by this but, of course, it’s about the payback. Mind you, she already admitted that when she does things for others (an extremely rare occurrence) she DOES expect a payback. But not to worry, she doesn’t do much for others.


My mother was in chatty mode today. She chats, I listen and say “uh hu” as to not engage into negative talk where possible.

Then, of course, I feel like I’ve been robbed of energy. Yet, on the flip side, these moments seem necessary to cut the strings that attach me to her (it’s like each time I feel like this it reinforces a little more why I need to get away, and want to, for that matter).

The whole conversation just supported what I said above about how little she cared about people and how much she cares about money.

I mean, all the presents she gets me are money. She really doesn’t know me well enough to get me something I like.

Thing is, she still contributes towards houses expenses even though she’s not here full time. I make no excuses about this now as I am fully aware she does it for the payback. I already told her last year we did not want any more help. She made a scene that she did not need all her pension money anyway (even helping us she still has plenty).
She begged please that we take it but I do wonder if she remembers or if in her head it’s because we need it?

We do and we don’t. We have enough and her helping us, ironically, it’s what’s enabling us to put money aside to move back to the UK. Otherwise we’d be in trouble. Then again, we bought this apartment with an extra bedroom we’d not need if she had not moved in with us and we pay all the bills. Not to mention how much we lost of our lives by having her here (health and partnership).

This is not the motive I won’t go no contact. If my sole motivation was money I could wipe it her account and I don’t. I have a joint account with her (this is normal practice over here parents become widows)and I handle her savings and all that because she can’t be bothered. I just put most of her money on a 5 year savings account, so it’s not like I am planning on using it.

Yet… all this is not sitting well with me. I don’t like that she contributes because this string that’s attached, feels like a chain. My husband thinks she should carry on contributing.

Any ideas? I woke up feeling OK-ish and now I have this issue poisoning my mind.


On the topic of adult health consequences of childhood abuse http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1494926/

Suzy, it sounds very difficult. Especially around the cultural stuff. I would be wondering (and worried) whether those payments she is making allow her a claim on my home or any revenue I’d get from selling it later. I don’t know how that works where you live.
I don’t know what I’d do but I might look into any risks like the ones I just mentioned and if I found any I’d base my next steps on that. I might say, “Mom you have to stop making these payments as the tax confuses them with rent and we can’t afford to pay more tax”. I wouldn’t be able to deal with it on purely “emotional’ terms. Sorry, not very helpful. Did your husband say why he thought she should continue?


No there is no tax claims or anything. It has always been quite natural for parents always to help financially over here (whether children need it or not, and of course, based on parents being able to afford it; since the recession hit is more due to necessity than as an extra). Giving money for a house, car, etc, is quite natural over here.

Except that when I went to England and saw things were different I began to question the values of my own country. Plus the fact that my mother uses this later on even if when she gives it she seems quite honest and kind. But I’m not fooled by that anymore.

As for my husband wanting to accept the help it’s because it helps us saving some money to move (we’ve managed to save 6 months rent which is what most landlords now require in advance if you’re not financially sound, which we are not – not on the brink of poverty but would not survive for more than 3 months without jobs in the UK without being in trouble, after making the rent pay).

For example, my friends from my country would not even bat an eye lid at this situation. My 64 year old friend just tells me to stop being silly and just take it. She tells me how much she helps son, daughter and grandchildren and how much she gives them and unlike my mother all her monthly wages disappear with that.

My foreign friends find all this a little more strange. And as I live between different cultures, but more importantly, have the kind of mother who gives to get, it’s more complicated and it messes me up.



That is very interesting what you are saying! I am a bit familiar with the concept as Momster has always been into numerology and New Age. It is funny that she has such a broad knowledge on ths topic, she really does, she is almost an expert in numerology, she can say quite spiritual things and at the same time she is SO abusive! That is something I do not get. She said one time I remember that my father ( a super passive guy whom she was killing every day for years and who was living a double life to escape her) abandonded many women with kids in his previous life and that he has done it yet again which means he has not done his lesson and his next incarnation will be difficult 😀 I tell you what I do not know where she got that (maybe you can tell since you are more familiar with the topic), incarnation or no incarnation, she should look at herself. It is very interesting. Also, I have visited several times a very talented female medium as well. (she is pretty well known where I come from,she is not a con that is for sure. The things she says without you even opening your mouth…it gives you goosebumps. I think I even described this experience in my previous posts). This is something I normally do not talk about openly as I know what most people think about psychics etc.

Personally, I do not follow any religion. I never have. I was babtised but we did not have to go to church. I think none of us here is right 🙂
Because there is no way of knowing. I do believe in higher power though. It is not a dude with a grey beard sitting on a cloud for sure 🙂 hut it is not just life. This world is way too complicated, it cannot be that simple. You live 80 years and what that’s it?
I believe we are all connected somehow and that there is no such thing as coincidence and that we MUST ALWAYS listen to our gut. Think about it: whenever you try to silence your gut, you regret later on so very much, don’t you?
I do not know about destiny, I do not know if it is set in stone. Or maybe there is fate but it is up to us HOW we are going to get there. That would mean that there is both fate and free will. Some believe in predestination. I do not think it is true. Otherwise our lives would not have any sense, we would not get any chance to learn, to improve our lives etc. I think we might be pre destined to experience certain events, meet certain people. Some of them might teach us something even by hurting us. I started explaining myself that maybe I had to experience certain things to thicken my skin a bit I do not know. Or maybe all what I am saying here is BS 😀

They say we choose our own families and lesson we are supposed to learn? Is this the theory Yvonne? If you don’t mind, could you please tell me a bit more? I have always been interested in this topic.


@ everyone

Today is one of the days when I think I might have been too harsh on Momster…though I knwo it is not true. I know it is me wanting to believe that she does love me 🙁
Damn it, it is always liek that, I guess I have a very short memory.
I re read Divine Sisters of the YA- Ya Sisterhood….. 🙁 🙁

I am thinking a lot of things that happened to me were because of my ex bf and not her. When I was 21, 22 etc , she had nothing to do with that.
When I was 24 we had a few good moments and than again n/c. And that the memorable summer of 2012 when I srewed up so bad just to please her. I now recall how i was feeling. 24, tired, after a break up and just LONGING for a family (which I did not have, no father figure since the age of 14, crazy maniac and depressed mother while in high school, suicidal thoughts because of her, 1 run away, n/c contact age 18-21). I remember how she made me dinner, for the first time something I did liked! No complaing about me being picky etc…..steamed salmon and steamed veggies. She would buy me strawberries every day for 3 weeks. I sent her flowers for Mother’s day. I remember how I wanted to hug her and ….dang it is embarrassing climb in to bed with her. A bit weird for a 24 year old isn’t it? She never let me be affectionate with her and I did not even dare to ask, but for the first time she was listening, she was annoying still, but quite pleasant. And…….because of that I started doing everything she wanted me to do. Sometimes I think that maybe she did not mean to hurt me sometimes, that she is such a control freak….but than I remember why I ran away at 18 and what would possibly happen to me if I did not. Today is one of those days when I feel bad 🙁 Time heals all wounds is what they say, memories fade away, but that fact does not devalue them…or does it?


I meant “Devine Secrets…” naturally 🙂
Note to self: always proof read…



I am giggling because I actually wish I was getting cash as a gift instaed of for instance, ok get ready: a very useful set of foot pumice and a hair brush (perfect for a 23 year old), magnesium pills to help me relax and not get mad at her, band aid, etc or and an expensive but totally unattractive sweater (but it was so expensive).


@ Sandra

Such interesting post.

My mother was hyper religious. But she wasn’t (and isn’t) spiritual as such, nor does she have any faith, really. Religion to her is that I offer prays to God daily in exchange for God doing what she wants.

My mother used religion to control me and once I was strong enough to say “I’m sorry, I am not going back to Church”, all of a sudden she lost interest in religion and started opening her door to Jehovah Witnesses (they are lovely ladies; I can’t say a bad word about them though).

Then when I moved to England I started to get into New Age and I bought some books for my mother (prior to realising she was just as bad as her own mother,I was trying to help her dealing with her mother). That resulted in her telling me what I should do based on what she was reading. (Not how it could help her).

I am familiar with the concept that we choose our parents but this is a concept I struggle with. The only way I’d choose to reincarnate where I did is if I was on drugs on the other side, or had a bad debt to pay from a previous life. It’s like I have no roots because I never felt I belonged there. I usually also say they sent the parcel to the wrong address, surely, as I love England but have no affinity with my own country (never had – I’ve always been obsessed with England).

I had a reading with an Astrologer once and she asked for my husband’s date of birth, and while I was there she asked if anyone else lived with us. I said yes, that my mother did. She asked me her date of birth and it was a surreal experience. She had already described my husband to a T. And as for my mother she said this:

“If the devil came to earth, he’d choose this astrological combination”. (This is because they show light, but there is a lot of darkness there hiding well – her sign is Pisces and she has a moon sign and ascendant in Scorpio).

She said (without my even opening my mouth) that my mother was elderly but had a very strong health and could do more with her life than she does. I had to be careful because she was jealous and would not rest until she broke my marriage. She also predicted a big shift that would affect my mother and we did have a major row when she said we would, month of May (that’s what led me to tell her she could not stay here full time anymore).

My mother said I was such a bad daughter that I deserved all the suffering I’d gone through with my husband. Then she went on to say all that happened to a friend, thinking they’d take her side (after all she’d done for me) and they were shocked. They told her they did not know any young couples who’d take their mother in their home and what she’d told me was horrific.

During this period of my life I hit rock bottom. I couldn’t have gone any lower. And it was amazing that spirituality got me through it and I can say I had miracles happening. The stuff of New Age books is real, even if I still struggle to wrap my head around all the events that unfolded back then that could not possibly be coincidences.


Suzy, I had to giggle when I read “…God doing what she wants”.

I’d say if there is a God, She does exactly what She wants all the time 😀

The New Age is to me a hodgepodge from which people can take whatever they want and leave out the stuff that they don’t want. In that, it’s an abuser’s dream. Where else can you get justification for telling the person you mistreated that they brought it upon themselves? I think any religion is ripe for being misused by the people that want to but some have more leeway for misuse “built in”.



thank you.
It looks like all of us trying to understand our family dynamics, desperate to find answers and relief, turned at some point in their life to psychics 🙂
The woman I mentioned said my mother’s name, out of the blue and wrote it down on a piece of paper. She goes: who is this person to you? It is someone in your family isn’ it? She is sending EVIL (her exact thoughts) thoughts to you, unbelievable. she is angry.
I am like…wow…you nailed it, it is my mom. Why? (and just for the record my mom has a very old fashioned and quite unique name, I do not know anyone else with that name)
Than I showed her photos of my family and some other people in my life and when she looked at my mother she said: “she is a very unhappy person, truly miserable, very sad, but it is her own fault. She is unhappy because… I think she is mentally ill”
I go: well she def has NPD and that is a sort of a mental illness.. 🙂
She goes: perhaps…I do not know but in her life she needs to have control over everyone and everything…does you mother have a dog?
I go: no, never had one actually…why?
She goes: hmmm maybe it is your father or you…she needs to have a dog in her life or someone to treat like a dog, to give out orders.
I could not help but laugh 😀 Can you believe it? 🙂
Than she goes and that made me sad a bit….cause I said “I don’t think she ever loved me”…and she goes: “in her own way, she does love you…somehow…a bit yeah…” (I know that did not sound too convincing huh?), but see she thinks you do not know what is good for you, she wants to change you. She is worried one day you will end up at her house pregnant. Also she wants to compete with you about everything.

That is weird huh? SO many mixted messages? All of the true though
That’s the thing about my mother….things fade away…there were some little moments in my life when I thought she must love me “in her own very peculiar way”, my heart was aching because I suspected she might be bi polar which would mean she could not control her behavior.
Last month she sent me some money to my account, she knows I am in financial trouble.
I really do not get it. She is such a difficult person. And why oh why would she be telling my father that I was not his daughter? Obviously if she wanted to upset him and seed some doubt, didn’t she predict that would reflect negatively on me? Why did she want to make him hate me?

I know what you mean 🙂
Well to be honest I do not care what other people believe as long as they are not hurting others. It is all about balance, as always. The ideal solution, do what makes you happy as long as you are not hurting others, live and let live and do not think too much either as you will miss on the best 🙂 Life is meant to be lived after all and not contemplated 🙂
Please do not get me wrong, i do not want it to sound wrong, I respect everyone’s belief!

Today I have a GUILT day. I feel guilty for being nc with my mother. For some reasons I have never felt guilty about not being in contact with my mother. Apologies again to Darlene, Linda and Suzie for ever saying things like: “why are you still in touch with them etc etc”. Family matters are sensitive topic and there is not one fits all solution. And than there is guilt… 🙁


I was n/c with my mother for the last 5 months again and called her recently ust to remind myself why I am nc with her.
My sister said she had a reason to be angry after the fight I had with hr when I told her she ruined my career.
Damn it, why can’t it be normal?
Today I feel like I am a loser blaming other for my failures. i know I made some huge mistakes recently and it was a Dominos’ effect later on. Every decision afterwards was bad.
And waht if I am oversensitive? And what if I could have been more patient? 🙁
I am going nuts


I was n/c with my mother for the last 5 months again and called her recently ust to remind myself why I am nc with her.
My sister said she had a reason to be angry after the fight I had with hr when I told her she ruined my career.
Damn it, why can’t it be normal?
Today I feel like I am a loser blaming other for my failures. i know I made some huge mistakes recently and it was a Dominos’ effect later on. Every decision afterwards was bad.
And waht if I am oversensitive? And what if I could have been more patient? 🙁
I am going nuts


Sandra and everyone, I’ve consulted my share of “people who know” around these issues. How much of that was purely the search for validation, connection and understanding? Most of it, I think:)

I can relate to what you’re going through Sandra and in my case it surprised/surprises me still that this process is not linear. I mean it *shouldn’t* surprise me, given all the parts of my life this has touched but I was really hopeful there would be a start, middle and end to it. Seems not quite.


@ Alice
Yes, New Age can be misuse like any religion can. People like our mothers will find a way.

Just an example (and maybe this is your experience too?)my mother does not have the ability to feel guilty for long. She’ll admit to guilt one day and the next she’s already constructed a story in her mind so that she can move on. And move on she does.

A good indicator is that most of us struggle with the process of loving ourselves (an understatement). My mother says she loves herself. My cousin (who I love but could not live near as she also has issues with everybody and has anger outbursts but she is aware of her behaviour… but finds she cannot help it)… but anyway, she also does not get the “self-love” issue, because she loves herself.

Of course, it’s an unhealthy kind of love (the narcissistic kind). It’s an entitlement kind of love.

I still feel guilt ridden in so many areas and issues that it’s quite debilitating. Every time my mother leaves to go back to her home, for example, I descend into this pit of darkness because I feel sorry for her… it’s horrid.

I shouldn’t need more validation at this stage. People around me see it; people that are close to her already see it. What else do I need to feel free I don’t know.



when you said your mother naturally loves herself
it triggered sth …what do you think about this:
my mother has all the traits of NPD. HOWEVER she has always been complaing about her looks, her weight, her age (even when she was only 40 something)
She always say about other people that they are “narcisstic” because they look in a mirror with such pleasure.

One does not match the other
hmm…any thoughts?


Suzy, my mother has rarely expressed any kind of guilt (I’ve never seen it) or remorse (I think I saw her genuinely sorry for something once but it had nothing to do with me). She also seemed convinced she was the best, the prettiest and the brightest. Which I’m sorry to say doesn’t line up with reality. It’s true she was an attractive woman younger but by the time she had kids, she’d let it go. But she still saw herself as the best.
I didn’t feel her to be a very emotional person – except for her rages and we shared little affection. She told me later that it was my fault as I had pushed her away and rejected her. It’s true I didn’t want her anywhere near me. I’m guessing because of the mistreatment she meted out. She also seemed very unpredictable with her punishments.

She has no guilt or remorse about our relationship and says flatly that all the things she did to me which hurt me were “just what was done at the time”. I had hoped there’d be a “lightswitch” moment where she’d suddenly realize the extent of the harm and show remorse. That never happened and I think it is very unlikely it will ever happen. There’s just no emotion in her that could make it happen. I’ve often described my mother as an empty shell. It’s like there is no actual person “in there”. I’m guessing this is because she has no empathy at all and I have enough to feel she has none. Something like that. I’ve wondered if that “no empathy” trait makes her a psychopath or something. In the “medical” way at least. Like if we scanned her brain, the areas we take to be where empathy happens don’t ever light up.


@ Sandra

My mother is definitely the opposite of vain (she’s vain about WHO she think she is, but not about her appearance). If we take into consideration that people in my country are incredibly vain and dress up just to go down to the café, by doing something that’s the opposite she gets more attention (just a recent theory I have recently, which may or may not be accurate).

Basically her message has always been that she’s so amazing and lovely and worthy, that people will love her regardless.

I’m also quite casual in my dressing (I live in jeans) but not unkempt. I always looked like a clown growing up because she never matched my clothes, whereas all my friends were all tastefully dressed and combed. But this is the least of my worries or hurts.


@ Alice

My mother has empathy.

For example… a friend is ill. She says “poor you”,shakes her head for two seconds, as if she’s really upset, and then she’ll forget about it. Of course those two seconds is the moment when she thinks “wouldn’t it be awful it if happened to me?”, as opposed to “I’m really sorry. Can I help you with anything?”

That’s about as far as she goes in the field of empathy. Self-empathy, of course.



yeah…i used to think she was bi polar and I was trying to defend her. However I am not POSITIVE she has NPD.
I used to be very naive about NPD, I never actually considered it a disorder and never read much about it. I know it is embarrassing but I used to associate being a narcist with vanity etc.
Now I know that NPD is camuflaged often times and most of it is about self entitelment, egocentrism and naturally the sick need for POWER AND CONTROL.
I think that if my mother was born a man, she woul be definitely using pshysical violence with me. Or if my father was not a public person where I come from. TOo much of a risk.

@ Darlene
I have recently been reading about Joan Crawford’s daughter, the one who published Mommy Dearest and I would like to skare my thoughts but I am not sure if it is ok to post here about famous people? Darlene let me know.


sorry typo… I meant that I am NOW POSITIVE she has a NPD


Sandra, I think the idea that people have “disorders” or are “sick” rather than being just awful (or “evil”) people is a call to compassion towards them. I also think it implies a lack of attribuality (I don’t think it’s a real word:) but I used this instead of “responsibility” because that has a different meaning) for their actions.

Sometimes this call for compassion negates or invalidates the abusers’ victims’ experience. This is what I’ve seen and experienced the most and I don’t understand it very well.. Shouldn’t it be possible to have both compassion for the sick “personality disordered” abuser/parent and compassion for their victim/child without negating either? And what if the victim/child also ends up (as seems to have been quite well-documented) with a “disorder” or illness as a result of their upbringing? It’s like that snake eating it’s own tail!

Current prevailing social reaction is to defend the parents in all but the most evident physical and sexual abuse cases (and even then, not always!) and condemn and ostracize the child for speaking up. It should already be clear why this is a stupid “won’t fix anything” route to take. Darlene has written about “the buck stops here” I think. Some parents do end up realizing but so very many don’t.

If indeed my momster does have something like NPD, does that have its roots in her genetics/the way she was brought up? Current ideas say “both”. So anyway, if I can have compassion for her but not as a way of negating my own experience and hurt to defend her (against me, which is what a child does naturally I think, or they are so well-conditioned to do that it stays with them) then why not? I can also have compassion for her from no contact. It doesn’t mean we need to see each other again.


@ Sandra

Yes, I find it hard to decide, in my head, whether NPD is the right one. After looking in detail Borderline Personality Disorder and Dependency Personality Disorder. I think different situations would fall under different categories but looking at the whole I think it’d be the above.

My grandmother leaned more towards NPD, whereas my dad’s over drinking not sure where it falls under as the pain he inflicted on me could be indirect (mentioned on posts elsewhere and I don’t want to repeat as it is shocking).

To sum it all up with the people in my life that brought me up:

They fed me, clothed me and paid for stuff – this, they called proof of their love for me. In exchange “all I had to do” was not question their behaviour and be who they wanted me to be.


@ Alice

I can see how my grandmother affected my mother’s personality. After all, I was brought up by grandmother until I went to school as my mum and dad were working…so I KNOW.

Yet (I don’t know if this is the catch) my mother had a very loving dad. They were allies against my grandmother. I know a few other cases of friends of mine who had an ally in one of the parents. An extreme example was a friend who was beat so badly by her mother once (one of the many times) that the father ended up hitting the mother (and he wasn’t that kind of man).

All these people that had an ally seem to have a better sense of self-esteem than I do. And…they have a kid of self-esteem that goes over what should be healthy and have a sense of entitlement.

Did the other parent overcompensate?

I think this was the case for my mother. She probably got used to throw tantrums to get what she wanted.

I had no allies.

What saved me, I believe, were my neighbours. They actually saw me. I was a person. They played with me. They had a bookshop and let me help, never making me feel like I was in the way. They used to call me to have tea and toast (like the English); the lady used to make me say “thank you” (in English) when I asked for water, we watched films together and I loved writing and I used to write them little notes saying how much I loved them and they kept these. The fact that they gave me free access to books made me who I am. Until the age of 10, this is what shaped me positively (not my family).



Sometimes I can’t help but wonder….
There is a very good reason why I was n/c with her. Than it was low contact and when I finally told my than bf about my situation he started using it (she is all alone after all).
Than a half of 2010 and a half of 2011 the situation go tbetter but I guess mostly to my patience and some kind of NEED. I started dragging out old books and jewelerly and taking back to my apartment. I would visit my mother sometimes because I felt like it. Than in 2011 she started doing weird things. Why weird? SO on the phone and in person she would be awaful as always but she started sending me really sweet letters. Some of them would make me cry. I caanot get this. Than n/c again (I will spare you te details) and contact again full blown as ever which as I mentioend many times ruined my career. Now n/c.
I feel so guilty today.The other day I was cleaning out my place, I was so angry, I threw out averything from my ex bf and that I do not regret I took back all my things from a city storage where the were sitiing for a year+. I figured if I did nt need them for so long and cannot even remember what is in there I do not need it. HOw stupid. Ok so I went through some of the things and was very strict with myself: if I have not had a certain piece of clothing on me for more than 3 years, most likely I will never wear it again. NO sentiments. But than by accident I threw out some of MY books, one with an authograph of John Irving, some CDs. Also a few pieces of jewelery I got from her, 2 ring (I sold them), a necklace. I really regert being so impulsive but I was so angry. I realized the necklace belonged to my grandmother so that should not matter and I should have kept it. I feel like an idiot out of control this year 🙁


I lost direction in my last post.

I was meant to say that knowing she has a personality disorder actually helps me. I see it as a way to help me feeling less guilty and finally realising that I cannot help her.


@ Sandra

My heart goes out for you. I know it’s so hard when we get confused about who they are or who we are in the middle of this chaos.

Big hug 🙁


@Suzy, I credit my father for being the main reason I am still alive. He wasn’t an ally with me against my mother except for little joking things and he would never circumvent whatever her position was (and I don’t appreciate that, unless, as you say, it prevented me from being an entitled asshole:)) However, he did recognize me as a person, he did recognize I had my own thougts and feelings and never tried to tell me what they were (standard momster behavior) but always asked me to tell him what they were and I was never punished by him for having my own goddam feelings and thoughts. I remember him saying, “I might not agree with you but I’ll listen” and it was rarely, if ever dangerous to be in his confidence. He wouldn’t go blurting things to momster and he also told me only to tell her the things I wanted her to know. I wonder about that part of it.

I was also big into books (and still am:)) for they allowed me refuge. Momster respected reading and study so I would do that a lot to avoid her. I still use work as the best excuse for anything I don’t want to do:) 😉 🙁


@Sandra I have also done done this “I will rid myself of everything thing” several times. I guess I’m just not the best candidate for heirlooms:) In fact, I’ve gotten the side-eye for it.
But joking aside, I feel like we have similar trajectories. When I first left I was NC for a couple of years until my BF’s mom convinced me with many “but she’s your mother” discussions that I should get back in touch. When my BF was there with me, it was ok with my mother, although she wanted to stay in touch with him after we broke up and I thought WTF? She was very upset that her plans for grandmomsterhood had been thwarted.
Anyway for the time I was back in touch with momster every visit was hell (I’d be severely depressed for weeks afterwards) and phone-calls were hell and things got progressively worse and my father fell very ill (I’ve already written at length about it).

Anyway, so now I’m rambling:) What I wanted to convey was that I know (I think) what you’re going through.

Xox (the o is a hug)


Am I too demanding but are mothers supposed to be loving and caring and supportive? 🙂

It is notlike I am expectine women to turn into quiet and passive creatures once they become mothers. No! It is normal to flip out, get angry, yell etc when things get out of control and when you have kids, it tends to be crazy sure.
but I am talking about all those things that I mentioned her 5000 times…. or is it me really? sometimes I do question myself when life gets better or when I am nc with them for a long time. It is almost like I forget. Alice is right, work really is the best medicine.

My friend, I mentioned her here several times, the one who used to be my tutor, is 60 now and saved my butt last year. She has had to deal with the position of a scapegoat and her mother all her life long. I called her up yesterday and told her about my doubts. She said, see this is why I admired your strenght so much when you were 18-21. Maybe because you were fresh out of “jail” she started laughing. Well look at me, things do not and wil never get better as you found out for yourself last year. YOu will doubt yourself many times, you will feel guilty but ust remember to think of yourself. Is it really so easy to buy you? SOmeone is giving you some money and all of a sudden you will change you views?”
And she is right. I can’t be CHEAP


@ Sandra:

“I was also big into books (and still am:)) for they allowed me refuge. Momster respected reading and study so I would do that a lot to avoid her. I still use work as the best excuse for anything I don’t want to do.”

Haha! Same here!!!

I started to write and read in English as soon as I could, so she could not read what I wrote and read.

Your dad sounds very cool. It sounds like he gave you the space to voice your thoughts.


Whenever my mother says the words “love and care” she says them harshly, as if she’s spitting them. Love and care is what she wants because love and care is what she gives (she says).

My mum was someone who hovered and descended to earth to distribute punishment when needed.

Or when I needed support she was like “but I need it from you because I’m a mother and as a mother I’m suffering more because I’m seeing you suffer” (true story)

But don’t mothers have mother instincts as in saving their children from harm way?

My parents used to mock me and be downright embarrassed at my fear of fireworks. One time, during the village celebrations I said “That’s it, I am going”. Thing is, my mother was also afraid but in her head I was worse.

Anyway, the whole explosion begins and I look up and think how beautiful it is (I managed to alienate myself from noise for a few seconds). I look to my side I don’t see my mother. I look down the street and she was half way down the road running.

I ran after her terrified and bumped into my dad who had come to check I was there!!!

More recently we had a minor earthquake and she dashed for the door. I found myself saying WAIT FOR ME.

For someone who says she is one of the best mothers in the world…hmmm.


What do you do when your mother says something off-the-wall? I saw her recently and I was driving. We were in backed-up traffic on an interstate (we were crawling) and I wondered out loud why the left lane traffic was moving faster. It didn’t make sense since we were all crawling and people usually jockey around when they see a lane moving more quickly and try to get in. She informed me that in general the left lane traffic usually is going faster (Really?? I’ve only been driving for four decades). Today I told her that that comment annoyed me and she countered with “Well, I didn’t know if you knew that”. I was furious at being treated like a child.

It is so jarring when she says things like that. Does she think I am mentally challenged and incompetent?! (interesting side note: she used to work with special ed kids). It reminded me of the time a few years ago that she told me she didn’t think I could figure out how to use a simple popcorn popper.

I’ve been thinking about it and it’s most upsetting because don’t feel a bond with her when she says/thinks these things.


And it was a rhetorical question…I wasn’t really asking her for lane analysis…I was just talking out loud.


…found it on the web:
It is written by a mother whose children are l/c with her. I might be obsessed but please note and have a look at he last sentence 🙂 It is thanks to HER and it HER success that her adult child succeeded ..SO WHAT than that there is apparently sth off. SHE succeeded didn’t she?

“(…)My love for and admiration of my children has nothing to do with if they come home for Thanksgiving or how they cling to me. I’m in awe of the many other attachments they’ve formed and the contributions they’ve made to the world in general. The proof in the pudding is in how much they are loved and appreciated and cherished by other people. By that criteria, I succeeded brilliantly as a parent.”


thanks for your note and the hug 🙂

I think I have one thing in common with my mom. i believe that sometimes she might miss me but than when she sees or hears me it’s like “oh wtf, go away I forgot who you were” 😀

Maybe I should be writing letters to her? 🙂

I think I have deep inside of me so much unconditional love
for her. I remember last xmas she started dragging out old fights, and i’m like: really? do you really want to talk about it now? cause if you do, we can. there are many reasons why we were n/c and if you want to discuss it go ahead.

and than she goes: why don’t you fuck off (sic!)? Why can’ t you say to yourself: ok, they hurt me (wait is she actually admitting that?), but I am forgiving them (is she admitting that yet again?) and I am cutting myself off? (yes she actually said that, Merry f*****g Xmas 🙂 )


@Sandra, haha the very same with mine. When I don’t have to see her or talk to her I think she’s ok.
I don’t think I have any love for her though. It has just been too much for me. At the same time, I don’t wish her harm. I hope she enjoys her final years.


TIME heals all wounds as they say. Translation: Painful memories fade away with time.

ALZHEIMER: find out for yourself! The only efficient and proven non- invasive method of blocking out memories! Painful memories-be gone now! 😀


I hope I did not insult anyone with my joke. I really sometimes think that laugh is the best medicine. If you can’t cry, laugh about it

XOXO for everyone


oh man…. I am doing this to myself….all the crap that I am going through this year, dragging out old wounds, fighting with my ex, borrowing money from himn, believing in his pure friendship…….ok at some point in life being naive equals being a fool. I am afraid I am very close to this line and it is not funny anymore. i think I am addicted to my ex. I do not love him, i cannot stand him and he did so many wrong things to me. but I am unable to meet with him and chat without starting the whol einsane relationship again. It is like with alcohol I guess. You have withdrawal syptoms, than you are fine, than after a long time of not drinking yu have a sip very carefully and you are like….yuck, how could I possibly ever like this thing? But than you go oh what the heck, it will not hurt, just another one to relax, and there we go your whole work is ruined you are on your way down. No one will stop you even the people who know your problem and care about you because you will say no I am not seeing him but it will be a lie, ust like people drink in hiding telling the people hat they love that they are abstint.


sorry off the topic, i could not help it though


Something I thought as i’ve been reading all the comments
I’ve felted like most of my family has shunned me ,they treat me like I am the threat ,I was molested as a child .I was blamed my father was blameless,my mother told me if my father wanted me she wouldnt do any thing to help me.I was on my own .then when I was in my teen’s 14 years old I was attacked once again I was the one that was blamed and shamed for warring the wrong colored panties ,I brought this on. well getting back to me being shunned I broke the code of silence speaking out abuse the secret of the abuse in the family .something ive come to feel is I am the big threat to my family exposing the family’s dirt .Sometimes I really can’t understand family they are like toxic thorn trees ,enabling the abusers to keep the family tree growing strong. I dont speak to alot of my family I feel like I did as a child speaking out ,they dont care and didnt care i had no value .well I have my own value .I still feel like I did as a child alone to face all the healing .I am ok and I know I will be healthier.


I lost it recently I ust couldn’t take it. I talked with my sister after a 4 month silence (we had a major fight on a phone, she did not like my new approach and behavior, all of a sudden I am not a family clown anymore).
So I wrote to her everything I thought about our mother etc.
The answe i got back was that she felt bad I am so ANGRY and BITTER and she wishes me all the best. I feel like my sister went though some “how to be a diplomatic or rather two- faced I do not give a shit ass**** person” course.


Hi All,

My computer has been acting up again—-hope I don’t need a repair guy—but I will try to post something…

My latest: I am NOT going over to my parent’s big luxury house (Two and a half hour drive from my house) for Christmas. Actually, it was easy this year. My mom told me NOT to come over…yes, that’s right! Apparently, a classic Narcissist example—I’m not good enough! They have been invited to a Christmas dinner on the 25th with a rich neighbor. The neighbor owns a five acre horse property here in Arizona, and they own a major steakhouse restaurant in another town! So according to my Narc mom, then I am a “loser” and NOT worth their time! I do have some regard for my estranged father—(some physical and verbal abuse only from him but not as bad as my mom)——so I mailed a gift of an expensive homemade fruitcake, made by the Catholic Church monks—the best that money can buy! I should get a Christmas card from my father with maybe a gift card.

I am not upset. I plan my own yearly celebration in my house. I decorate my house inside and out. I cook good food that I can eat, and yes, I even buy a few gifts for myself. Of course, I celebrate my Celtic Pagan holiday of Yule—Winter Solstice, and not exactly Christmas—(although all of the major Christmas traditions like the tree came from European paganism—and not found in the Bible—LOL)! But I’m happy, although I can say that I was a bit shocked! It’s all for the best! Hoping to post more stories when I can—I have my worst holiday horror stories to post—but I guess we all do!

I truly wish for peace on Earth—including a world safe for children and teens from child abuse!

Blessed Be,

Yvonne )0(


@Yvonne, ah I’m also missing out on the terrible conversation and bad presents (from them, I made efforts to get them things they would like) and that yearly comparison with all her friends’ kids who are whatever I am not that makes me a loser in her eyes (a lawyer, married to a lawyer, pregnant, getting married, getting promoted – all the things I will never do, and whatever I am doing is passed over in silence, or when I talk about a bold move like quitting a job I hate, “Do you really think that’s a good idea?”) It doesn’t sound like much but it upset me a great deal. I’m not sure why. It really pains me to think I ever wanted her approval or compliments, I guess I did?

One year I asked momster to quit comparing because it really upset me and she said with a gleam in her eye “I just love winding you up.” So reading elsewhere, this is typical narc to enjoy upsetting people, even when they tell you stop (or *especially* when they tell you to stop because if you’re upset “that’s your choice Alice”.


“I understand that in order for my mother to give herself credit, she had to discredit me and she still ‘has’ to discredit me.”

This discrediting process is live and well in my FOO,and my sisters carry the torch.

I remember as a little girl, riding for hours on a train, with my FOO, to go south and visit my Aunt and her family. She had just graduated from college, as an adult learner, the first of her 10 siblings to do so.

So, I was in the guest room, unpacking my suitcase, and my mother came in. She told me “Did you know, my sister and your Uncle Tim don’t have a normal marriage. Uncle Tim was found in a room, with another man, with his pants down. They sleep in separate bedrooms. They don’t have a normal marriage, like me and your father”.
I was eight years old.
I remember thinking, what does this mean? What was he doing with this man? Is he not who I always thought he was? Was he a criminal?The rest of the visit, I felt confused.
So my mother could not stand my Aunt having a happy, well deserved celebration, and resorted to trying to twist and confuse a child’s mind, to make herself feel better about her life.
Looking back, I can see how mean and selfish that was, to me and my Aunt, and her husband!

Fast forward to 2013. I know I have spoken on here, about my older sister, neglecting her son’s learning disabilities, leaving him in the care of her actively alcoholic husband,not caring if he rode in the car with him (towards the end of his run, he got into an accident with my nephew in the car), and them possibly having a visit from the authorities before he went on house arrest for operating under the influence, x 4. (That didnt happen. He went to jail for 6 months)

So, it is Father’s day, and I am in my parents backyard at a cookout. I see my sister coming through the gate with my 8 year old nephew. I hear him say to her, “Mommy! I don’t want to sit next to Auntie Jane! I’m scared of her!”, and hear my sister magnanimously answer ” That’s ok, honey, I’ll be right here. She can’t hurt you if I’m right here!” (I had had no interaction with my nephew, for about 6 months)

Really? How sad. Because I was the ONLY one in the family to call that mess at her house for what it was, and suggest we advocate for my nephew. He could have very easily been removed from her dirty, nasty house, if the authorities had come for a home visit as discussed, before house arrest for her husband.
Instead, she had somehow convinced my nephew that I wanted to HURT him, probably to have him taken away. and she was his savior.

So, instead of getting him (my nephew)some help and support, cleaning up, and putting him before her alcoholic husband and her standing in the high school clique (as long as she could hold onto my BIL, he was her ticket to the “popular crowd” from HS, something she was ostracized from)…instead of taking care of business,she chose to discredit and villify ME.

She learned at the knee of the master manipulator and deceiver. She doesn’t even realize how unoriginal she is, just a cog in the system….


@ Karla, I am sorry you went through all of that pain and were abused as a child. Sounds like you were a small child, because it resumed at the age of 14? Wow! It had been going on even before then. And your mother knew,and she pretty much told you, that’s tough. How sick and evil is she?

Keep speaking out! No one in your FOO wants you to because they want to wallow in their lies and dysfunction. I think the more you shine the light of truth on it, the better you will feel.

Isn’t it a relief, to see the truth of it all as an adult, and have the ability to walk away?

These people always seem to pick the most sensitive and intune person, to smear and discredit. The one who would have the ability to see and call out the craziness and sickness. Sometimes I think I am lucky to be the scapegoat, because it allows me to separate, and see the wrongness of them. And to want better for myself and those in my life today…………..

I don’t come on here much, but I just wanted to stop and recognize what you had been through, and how you were feeling. Because to allow a child to be abused is evil. You are doing a good job, disconnecting from all of those thorns!


Janie, you are a good person and a caring aunt. It’s just a shame that your sister won’t address the problems , and that she is making you into the bad guy, probably to take the focus off herself so she doesn’t have to face these things.

I agree that the abusers do go after the sensitive ones. I am one of those sensitive people and have been a magnet for the users and for those who need to bully someone in order to feel superior. My mother was both a user and a bully towards me. If she made me feel ugly and inferior, which she did, then she felt better. I am just now finally questioning all those demeaning things that she and others have said to me over the years and how I was treated. I am no longer going to accept nasty comments from anyone and I am not going to back off. In a way, I am almost looking forward to the next time anyone tries to demean me. I am ready, so bring it on if your dare to! 🙂


Hi Amber, it sounds like you are getting healthy there, speaking up in honesty and truth. Doesn’t that feel good. I find it also to be very empowering. Especially when those we are speaking to have nothing new to say. They try to play that old recording on the worn out Victoria, and usually just end up looking silly, out of touch, or unreasonable. Boy, those in my FOO don’t like that……


Hi Amber, it sounds like you are getting healthy there, speaking up in honesty and truth. Doesn’t that feel good. I find it also to be very empowering. Especially when those we are speaking to have nothing new to say. They try to play that old recording on the worn out Victrola and usually just end up looking silly, out of touch, or unreasonable. Boy, those in my FOO don’t like that……


Janie, it’s the same old record because for years when playing that old record they got us to comply. But they can play it as much as they want, because I’ve turned the volume down and I’m not going to listen to or comply with things that are not healthy for me anymore.


I’m at peace with myself the last 3 days. I hope it will stay that way :
It feels good, somehow my “family” is out of my head, jazz is in the background again, feels good.
best wishes to everyone


I already started having nightmares, as I usually do, before my mother is due to arrive. She’s back one week today for Christmas.

I feel that things are clarified in my head with regards to her personality disorder (be it NPD or Borderline PD – or both, with pinch of Dependency PD). My goal now is to be able to let go of the mother I wanted, and accept the mother I have; and not care, or get hurt, by any hurtful comments. Whether this is possible, I don’t know.

So the rational/intellectual side seems sorted. I need to deal with the emotional side now. Should be easy, but really is not when the buttons get pushed.


Many, many thanks to you for verbalizing my elementary feelings. Your words fit perfectly.
I have been following you on FB and mostly all of your posts shed light on my experience. However, in all my years of therapy nothing seems to “stick” with me internally and Ive recently started mildly disassociating. I think it may be due to my NC with my abusive adoptive family as well as isolation from friends and no significant other.
I will continue reading your words and hope for the best.
Happiest of Holidays to you and your family,


testing my computer….


I hope 2014 will make up to me for all the things that happened rthis year.
Can someone please just do something about my panic attacks?
I am making notes to myself, it does not help
I blew 2 job interviews because of that


I have been no contact with my 80 year old mother for 3 months now. I am 55. There was no blowout, no fight, in fact I called her last. I had been calling her once a week like a nice dutiful daughter…but everything started adding up and I said no more. I can’t write down 55 years of madness here but I realize now she has been a self absorbed, emotionally absent, critical, controlling, verbally emotionally abusive mother to me my whole life. But we were trained to never question one’s parents…after all they gave you life, you owe them your life now. I always wondered what would happen if I stopped calling her…….well now I know……absolutely nothing, I have ceased to exist. If she has any problems with her “children” it’s because THEY have a mental health or other problem, she is perfect, is blameless and a martyr. She has no self effacing humor and cannot imagine having any responsibility for her relationship problems. She is a complete loner, but thinks she is worldy, wise, full of wisdom and was a great single mother. I am starting to be consumed with rage for all the years of her meanness, my older brother, the golden boy who lived with her until he was 35 is very angry at me for not continuing the status quo,,,of keeping up the flawness image of the hard working sacrificial single mother who could do no wrong. Well, I’m done. I had to live with her for 4 months following a divorce, and I was treated like a dumb teenager…things said to me….”you dress like a prostitute” “why color your gray hair, whose looking at you anyways?” “why bother dating, they’re only want sex from you” “when are you going to get your shit together!” Stomping her feet, screaming…”my whole life is fucked up”! “you better just get over your sadness, you don’t have time for that” Banging on my bedroom door (my only privacy) “what are you doing in there, it’s not normal to come out!” “I hear you talking on your phone laughing, why don’t you talk to me like that?” “you’re a narcissist” “you don’t need to wear that makeup!” Refusing the parfait desert I bought her for mother’s day,in front of me reading the ingredients and deciding she wasnt going to put that in her body! My sister died of a drug overdose…10 years ago….while cleaning out her apt. my mom called me an asshole because i told her to just slow down, i needed to just look around and take in my sister’s surroundings for a minute…….nope not allowed. She hates all men, and even tho she made my life miserable those months I lived with her, she complained to my brothers how “hurt” she was that I moved out. I couldnt afford to move out, but I had to flee to save my life, i truly was suicidal, depressed after divorce, living with a mother who refused to allow me to grieve, and emotionally abused me. Enough was enough.


correction……banging on bedroom door….It’s not normal to not come out…..another thing…….telling me I don’t know what normal is and somehow making that a personal fault or weakness of mine, and not attributing my dysfunctional childhood to it……..yes, mom, you’re damn right i don’t know what normal is!


Hi Hitch
Welcome to EFB ~ I smiled when you wrote “yes mom, you’re damn right I don’t know what normal is!”
How the hell would we know? We didn’t learn it from them. We didn’t learn love, respect or equal value from them. I learned it when I got away from them. 🙂
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


I’m angry. I got an Xmas card from someone I thought had understood the whole thing and while half of the card was a regular good wishes type of message, the other half talked about how “your mother” was and I thought WTF is this? This has no place on a card to me. So I will bin it tomorrow. So disappointed. I thought I’d found someone who understood and kind of had my back.


Hi Alice, yes, that would make me angry as well. Sorry you are going through that. I like when Darlene said, ” yes, that is my mother. And I am her daughter”. People need to be cognizant that it goes both ways. Your mother should have treated and regarded her daughter, as daughters should be treated and regarded!
I hope you still have a wonderful Christmas.
It can be painful, how many ties you need to cut, when people in your family are pumping poison about you. I just discovered a not too subtle one myself today. Oh well, to arms length you go, and if you keep it up I will cut yet another tie. It hurts, but it’s the only way to find peace, for me……


I think it is so tempting at the holidays to get sucked back into the dysfunction. Alice, you don’t say if your card was from a relative or a friend, but you do say you thought they understood. I was speaking with a dear friend of mine on the phone a couple of weeks ago. She lives in another state and we don’t speak weekly, but she has been aware of recent family conflict and has been even more so as her parents are in the same assisted living as my Mom. Her parents chose to go to this lovely place and made all the arrangements before they even told their kids. They were having none of my Mom’s sighing around when she first got there, that’s for sure. In any case, my friend, even though she is supportive of me, at some point also wants everything to go back to where she is comfortable. And that’s natural for people to want, to have things stay the same, to stay in their comfort zone. I was quizzing my son for his Biology final and there’s a question about homeostasis. Our very cells constantly seek equilibrium.

When speaking with my friend, I tried to equate this to something she would understand. She has never married and has been quite successful in the business world. So I reminded her that my siblings had let me take my Mom into my home, not telling me how weak she was, watched the situation with her being here completely fail, watched me be exhausted without offering to cooperate or lend a hand, placed my Mom into an intense rehab situation and then into assisted living without telling me or consulting me at all. I didn’t even know where my Mom was for about a week. My friend asked, “don’t you think it all turned out OK? don’t you think your Mom is in the best place?” and I agreed that it did turn out OK but I have refused to go on a schedule with my siblings as far as visiting my Mom since I’ve asked for that for over 3 years and they refused to cooperate with me. Even though this facility is totally fantastic, it is not geographically convenient to any of us. I said to my friend, “what if another department at work embarked on an initiative that is closely tied to what you do and they didn’t tell you about it. They didn’t ask you to the meetings or consult you, but then when they embarked on the initiative and encountered a problem, they came to you and wanted you to fix it?” She immediately said, “well I’d be irritated and I’d set limits on their behaviour” and I said “Exactly!!” I encouraged her to take all the family feeling and heartstrings out of the equation, because that’s how it is for me now. All of this navigation of taking care of my Mom in her final years has become a business transaction for me as relates to my siblings. I don’t really feel anything for them anymore, but it’s still hard not to get sucked in at the holidays.

I visualize it as having one of those police riot shields. whenever I know I have to interact with my siblings, or I see their name on my caller ID or in my inbox, I just mentally put my riot shield up. I try to go back to everything I’ve learned about non confrontational communication. I practice setting limits. It is not easy. Some sick part of me wants to go back to where I believed they were doing all these things because deep down, they really cared about me. The time where I still had hope that they would change. It is all so seductive. Especially at Christmas. But I’ve been working really hard lately to see reality and to engage with the people around me who really do value me and care about me. The last two mornings I have woken up with a tremendous sense of gratitude and well being. This is not a feeling I’m accustomed to. I am used to dreading the day. I have had to work hard on leaving the false beliefs behind, though, in order to get here.

Be Brave!!


Hi Janie and Jane,

The card is from someone who knows my mother quite well and who was the only person in that whole group (they have kind of a group from childhood/early adulthood) who seemed to see what I was going through at my father’s funeral and gave some validation to the difficulties I had with my mother as (I suspect) she had also had her own with her (my mom had been her boss for a short time, I can’t imagine anything more horrible, except of course having her as a mom).

I agree that the card was the wrong vehicle to make comments about my mother’s health in. And it was probably just not on to get into that topic at all. But I can’t stop this person from doing whatever. I’m still debating internally whether I should write back/call and say something to that effect. Doesn’t seem like Christmas is the right time for it (so why did they feel it was the ‘right time’ to say such things to me??)
I don’t communicate when I’m furious as I fear it will only make things worse for me. This is just another part of what I’d call a “double standard” because if I “lose it” then they will say (and likely believe) they are justified because I’m the one with the problem. No matter they “started it”. Sigh.

That’s a great idea to put things in other terms so people can ‘get it’. I don’t think I have the motivation to do it. I feel it should be “obvious” that if I’m estranged from my family then the cause should be looked for in their actions. Of course most people believe the reverse. But it is not my job to ‘educate’ them on this and it would just be another (fruitless?) search for validation on my part I think.

Sorry to hear you got burdened with the mother care. I’m afraid I have also done the same to my brother. I want nothing to do with her, aging or otherwise.

Thank you for your good wishes:)


@Sandra, I learned breathing exercises to deal with the panic attacks. It takes a lot of effort but I found it worthwhile.


To Alice,

I hear you about the “but it’s Christmas” excuse for getting back in touch with your family. My mother is 85 and has COPD. I really don’t care any more. She has done and said so much to me and about me that only seeing her once (at the funeral) in sixteen years was more than enough.

People keep trying to convince me that because it’s Christmas I should somehow be able to forgive and forget. My mother is old and sick. So? Does that negate the fact that she beat me, stole my life and abandoned me to being raped by my father from the age of four? I don’t think so. It doesn’t matter what time of year it is. Too much damage was done and although I believe in Christ and all of His teachings, there is nothing that says I have to take care of her or even talk to her.

Turning the other cheek only means that I do nothing to harm her. I haven’t. But there is nothing that says I am committed to taking her in. She has pulled the wool over enough people’s eyes that she can get attention from them. If I were a slave, I would not take in my master just because he got old and sick. I am not going to take her in either and her behavior toward me was no better than slavery.



Alice, I was reading up further in the posts here and I saw that someone made the comment that it’s so hard to grab onto the concept that they aren’t ever going to change. There is this fantasy family that we all wish we had and we don’t. And it really hurts every time you let them in. It is such a blessing to find a supportive community like this, though.

It’s funny about my Mom. I can see that she is pretty limited in many ways but I don’t feel the anger toward her that I do toward my siblings and I think the difference is that there is no way for me to believe that my sibling’s actions are unintentional. Maybe I am being naive about my Mom and I guess chances are good that I am. I didn’t feel like it was a burden to assist with her care when she lived alone, but I always felt like I was being manipulated into being at the mercy of someone else’s schedule and I was always the person left holding the bag. And the main reason I was willing to do that, besides wanting to ensure my Mom’s safety and fulfill the promise I made to my Dad on his deathbed, was because I am a terrible, terrible approval junkie. To begin to get out from under that is extremely liberating, for sure. I know for sure that no family is perfect, but my goal for my own kids is that we go forward as a healthy family with reasonable expectations of one another. That we deal with each other honestly.

Have a good rest of your day.


Linda, you’re absolutely right, time of year does not negate anything they did. Would people say the same in midsummer??? Of course not. That people come up with such bull astounds me – well, only half-astounds, I guess.

Jane, thank you for your kind words. My own version of “defending” my mom has been that she must have some kind of personality disorder (from reading, she seems to line up pretty well with NPD) or that she must have been mistreated herself by her mother. Now that’s funny because we “know” for a fact that my father was mistreated by his father and yet he was a very loving father (aside from not standing up for me of course but still). My mother’s own argument has been that she never did anything intentionally hurtful to me and that it was “just the done thing”. So much of that rings false to me but I find it easier to forgive an unconscious person than deal with the fact it might have been very intentional on her part. Who could deal with that? Certainly no child can and so other “reasons” are found including the ones she was so willing to deal out like I was “selfish” and “ungrateful” and “difficult” and “pushed her away” (the last one I have already mentioned is quite true because I didn’t want her near me. It felt like she was taking from me every time she hugged or grabbed me.



I so relate to the last part of your last post starting from “My mother’s own argument…”, etc.

My mother arrives Tuesday, for Christmas… I’m feeling a little numb right now. I don’t know what to expect. I know her hugging me unexpectedly makes me feel sick. I wonder how quickly she’ll start the baiting sessions.

I am determined to record her behaviour this time using my iphone, somehow. I don’t know why. Maybe to remind myself when I start thinking it’s me.


Suzy, I’ve found writing myself emails (because it records the date) helpful. As for hugs, that’s a whole other thing. I remember being shouted at by my father for refusing to hug my mother. I have also felt sick at her hugging or grabbing me. And making some time/space for yourself in the whole thing. Or a nice treat yourself afterwards. I used to do all those when I had to visit. I have told her I don’t want her visiting here because she would just invite herself! Who does that?? So I flat refused and of course got crap for it.


Thank you!


Hi Everyone!
I have published a new post!
“Christmas Feelings when Family Rejects You and The Truth about Love”
hope to join in the discussion there!
hugs, Darlene


I remember being taught to feel as though I was defective in some way. I look back and don’t get it because I was smart and never caused any trouble. I’m the one who always got the punishment if there was ever an argument. I had to be perfect all the time and deal with her treatment. Now that I’m older I thought all of this was pretty much over, until I got pregnant. My mother went from acting supportive to treating me horribly. I made the mistake of calling her up crying one day and she snapped, and told me that no one cares about me or wants me. I realized that she probably treats me the way she really feels about herself, and she was taking something out on me. She went from acting somewhat like a mother to acting like a childish bully. It hurt until I realized how sad and pathetic her behavior was. It always seems like when I most need my mother, that is when she behaves the worst. I finally stood up to her and told her that she was the one that failed me as a mother, I was never the failure. I think that the longer I keep from contacting her the better I feel, and the more my life starts to come together. It is just so hard though because everyone needs their mother, even when they get older. I feel like she should be like my best friend at this point, and it’s not like that, and sometimes it’s so hard to deal with.


Suzy, Alice…….there is no way I could hug my mother. The thought of physical contact with her repulses me. I wasnt hugged as a child by her, but it’s not that so much as her behavior, the way she looks at me, her body language…..no way am I going to hug her. My sister tried it shortly before she died and my mom pushed her away……unbelievable.


In regards to “but it’s christmas” so what? the next day it’s not christmas and all that holiday emotional family stuff that you are supposed to “feel” and respond to, just lays like a discarded heap in a dark corner…..women’s shelters traditionally are overflowing at this time of year, and this is the time of year the police get their most domestic violence calls…..society’s false message that everyone is together having a lovey dovey happy family time is pure propaganda and very emotionally damaging to those of us who don’t have that Norman Rockwell image we think everyone else is having. I’ve always been grateful to the movie industry that doesnt shut down on xmas, you can always go to the movies. I think this has saved many a wounded soul.


Hi Marie
Welcome to Emerging from Broken
When I stood up to my mother and told her that respect had to be mutual she stopped talking to me; the longer that I went without contact, the more clarity I had. It was really amazing! I began to see the way that our relationship hurt me. Through the healing process I learned to fill the needs that I wanted my mother to fill. I became my own mother in many ways. It IS hard, but it is doable too! In learning to love myself I realized that the way that she communicated that I was defective, wasn’t about me.
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


Well, my mother hugged me this morning again. It’s so hard. I just stood there like a stuffed lemon. Arms limp refusing to hug her.
She says she always hugged me as a young child, but I don’t recall that at all (not saying she did or didn’t do, but I honestly cannot recall). I never liked being hugged and kissed though. Yet my husband and I love to hug and we do that several times a day – it just happens naturally and is not forced. So, I wonder if I did not like affection or if I feared their affection.

She is only staying until after New Year so this is a plus. She’s behaving in that regard…


Hello, My Mom is very Narc and BPD. She was most awful to my middle sister, T. T and her husband our coming home from overseas next week and will stay with Mom for a few days. T knows she will be treated poorly, but feels guilt, since “Mom is all alone” (since Dad died 5 years ago). I have warned her that she will be miserable and that she can stay with us and be welcome. She will after the first few days, but she may cave to her guilt. Mom has been cruel to her over the years and makes up stories about her. I am sick of it. Mom was despicable to me while growing up, but I was determined to get away. Well, now I am stuck with trying to find her a place to go as she gets older. It will be difficult to sell her house as she lets her dog go to the bathroom anywhere in the house. The value will go down even if we replace carpeting and any scent can be picked up. Anyway, she DOES NOT CARE ONE IOTA what she does to people and NEVER HAS!!!! My father bent over backwards for her. She still bitched to him as he suffered with the most painful cancer.
She cleans almost nothing and since she won’t even change sheets, my husband says he will go over there to get the room ready for my sister and her husband!! He said that way people will be less stressed! I don’t want him to do that!!
OY! Anyhow, I have Crohn’s disease and the symptoms have been getting a lot worse the past week and I think it is from the anticipation of what is coming with my FOO.
I love sister T very much and only see her once or twice a year, but she has become so insecure, that even when I try to strengthen her up and give her a pep talk, somehow she will get offended (not sure how). Not sure if she is talking to me now. She did go to a therapist for awhile (covered by the national health plan) who was actually rather good and she told her to be the adult now and stand up to my mother. T is 44 years old. She said that after hearing about Mom, that T shouldn’t even go visit her! 🙂 I agree (but I want her to visit me :)). Well T has submitted to her guilt from childhood and will stay with her and has chosen suffering. It becomes suffering for me too since she will call me often crying about what will happen.
Also, I am guardian of my youngest disabled sister, and she has more problems than she should since my mother didn’t bother to teach her anything.


Was I too tough on her? This is my FB message to her:

OK, T, im laying here concerned about you. About your stating concerns of mom getting on facebook and writing false things about you; thats bullhickey. A.chances are she wont get on to write anything, B. If, by tiny chance she did, the vast majority of people know the truth and would never believe it. C. It is sad if you are this worried and self-conscious. You have got to remember all that the therapist said to you.

Please toughen up, be more rational, stand up for yourself and be the 44 year old woman that you are. I know our cousins had a better childhood then us, but we cannot dwell on the past and what cant be undone. What we have are just basic obligations, when it comes to mom, in the future. There will never be a real relationship and nothing we have ever hoped for. We have to go through functional steps at this point for her basic care and that is all there is. I do not care what mom thinks of me, Im going to do the best I can to live my life now with the years I have left (despite the fact that she continues to call and bug us with ridiculous problems “other women her age” seem to handle fine on their own).

*****Seriously, my mom is Horrible with technology, so I do not see her typing anything on facebook 🙂


one more tidbit, my mom is 71 but acts 91 ;(


Suzy, I related to much you talked about. Mom never hugged. Of course, Mom lies and makes things up. Also, I had a similar scoliosis experience (dreadful).

When my Mom finds out I’m having/had a surgery, she has zero concern and seems disappointed I won’t be there to drive her somewhere.


Hello Darlene,

Once again you have hit the nail on the head! I am so grateful for this website and you. Especially at Christmas time. This is my second holiday season of NC with my mother (and brother; who has a nine month old baby I haven’t met). The last time I saw my mother was by chance in an art shop in town (we live just 10 minutes away from each other…so confusing)I went up to her with open arms and hugged her. She went stiff in my arms and pulled away, completely ignored me and kept trying on earrings and looking in the mirror. I am still struggling to accept that this is the reality. That, as you said, if I insist on being treated with equal respect as opposed to “worshiping” her I am a piece of rejected garbage. So sad for all of us. BUT…what an amazing release of years of guilt, shame, and freedom of will! I am now able to join clubs and meet new people with full confidence that I have worth, I DO have something to contribute!!! Again, thank you.


Simona, I can relate! It was my way or the highway as far as my mother was concerned. I know the feeling of being ignored and rejected very well because all I had to do was disagree with her and she’d shun me and give me the silent treatment. We had three years of no contact because of this. But I was no longer willing to give in to this very manipulative behavior. It is hard to accept the reality, but things were never good to begin with, and my mother was not going to change. So by trying over and over again I was just going up against a brick wall which was very frustrating. Although it hurt, I was far better off once I accepted that she would never change, and also realized that her treatment of me was not my fault nor was it due to something wrong with me.


Hi Simona
What a brutal story about your mother ignoring you like that! The punishments never end until either they see what they are communicating and want to stop OR we draw a boundary like you have done. The reality eventually settled for me and with it came another major layer of freedom and wholeness as well as healing.
YES we all have something to contribute!
hugs, Darlene


DXS, from your older post above, you said your mom wants to pick you up from the airport to hold you hostage. My mom is the exact same way! To avoid some of this, when we pick up my sis ter, we are going to leave an extra car with her so she can get away! My mom has cleaning plans for her and she only comes home once a year. Mom goes into a rage if she wants to go visit an old friend.


I know 2 people, very succesful and older than me who as I found out just recently were scapegoats in their families. It is not the word that they used but just by hearing their stories I know what was going on there. They are both l/c with their families. One of them said with sarcasm: “I put my sister through college but I will always be the selfish one anyways”, and the other who actually is tremendously succesful showed me a video from a time when she was appointed (she worked for goverment) and said well nobody from my family showed up at the ceremony.

It hit me…. to be honest I see it clearly now and I will say it out loud: out of my family I am the one who is the most succesful and will be even more (heck yeah!) as I am only 26. Everything I accomplished I owe myself. Nobody paid for my college, nobody gave me any child support even though my parents were nto poor and did it for my sister. I finally saw my sister’s jelousy. I am sad I feel betrayed but I guess it is better to know your enemy isn’t it? I reallyw anted to believe that she was at least a bit on my side, but nope. Anyways I do not want to repeat myself here. Bottom line is: the people I menntioned, they families should be so proud of themselves and they treat them as losers. OF course in normal families, parents should love you unconditionally and be proud of you no matter how much money you make butyou get the picture. The concusion is simple: they are angry and jelous. Now I wonder is it because they hatethe fact that the scapegoat is succesful, is not who they want him/ her to be? Or they picked as a scapegoat the kid they knew from the start had the biggest potential and chances for a sucessful career? b/c from I have read that is what narcisstic mothers do. They pick the kid that is the biggest threat to them. I want to believe that the universe takes care of us anyways. That is why despite all the odds, the scapegoats get far in life anyways….


I know sb w/ Crohn. I am sorry about that pls put yourself first and be extra careful. I know that the syptomps always get worse from stress.
Also, I just wanted to say that you sound like a cool sister. I like dhow you said that you “warned her”. See my sister does not care. She is not the one who gets to be treated liek shit so it’s not her problem. NOt only that I am apprently a liar and naturally oversensitive. It is good that as a sibling you acknowledge certain things, you are not in denial just b/c you are “safe”.



well in my sister’s case it is impossible to act like you b/c she is becoming a copy of my mother. Agressive, looking for ways to start a fight, nothing is good enough, super pessimistic. She is the same way for her husband. They have been together for 8 years and married for 2. He broke up w/ her when she was 29 cause he just had enough (I think he lasted long, maybe he is into SM? :D). SO than she lured him back in and ooops stopped taking her birth control and ooops guess what honey you need to marry me. You guys can call me mean but I know my sister had this crazy deadline to get married before 30 (jeeez really? this is 21st century). SO she married pregnant and on her 30th bday 🙂 The way she was acting on her wedding day…horrible. the poor guy exlaimed: “do you want me to marry you or not? ” 😀 I was shocked. I tried to blame the hormoned but come on…..we both knew the truth this is the way she is and it is getting inly worse.


she was super mean to me when I was there. At one point I just started crying. I left angry. I now know she was pissed b/c I finally saw what her life really looked like (she lives abroad, never invited anyone, it iwas my first time over there, it is always her coming over). Guess what: the golden child did not even invite mommy and daddy to her wedding? She just sent a card INFORMING that she is getting married but no invitation.
Still I’m the bad one and now as she openly admitted to me, her kid is her best weapon. “they know that if they do sth I don’t like they will not see their grandson ever again”
Cute huh?I shoudl have recorded that and sent a copy to each of our parents.
You knwo what is the best? All those years I was talking only to my sister and on and off w/ my mother (most of the time no contact and for 2 years l/c). NOw my mother is not speaking with our father. I am not speaking with him either. My sister is the only one who is in touch with each one of us. It is like a circle of lies.



It’s like when they find one of the Nazis, now old and hiding in Argentina (and actually havinga a good life all those years, bastards..) do they say: oh this man is now old, let’s leave him alone and bring him a cup of tea? NO they arrest him and put him in jail.
Same thing to me?
Does the fact that someone now looks like a poor little old lady, oh I am sure so harmless…does that erase their sins???
It all comes back to the old “you know your parents will not be around forever”… (thank God)


Now I have been n/ for months again and I know it is forever. Just like when I was 18. I cannot explain to you how well I feel. BAck no normal.
I can’t believe how did I get sucked back in??? And for entire year!
I cannot describe to you how much I developed mentally and physically when I stopped taking to my mother when I was 18-21. In 3 years, a different girl! Than it was l/c and than last year extremely unusual H/c!! which led me to depression and cost me a lot. I do not know how that happened till now. Now it is back to n/c and it is like after a hurricane. Peace and quiet.
You know when they are not in my life, I am confident I feel atractive, my posture is even different, I accomplish great things, people wld not be able to tell what kind of family I come from. When they are back it is like I am on a clown/ loser mode again. And naturally I am all tense and my stomach aches and I have to explain every sinle thought and action. Why oh why are there ppl like that? Vicious, drama loving?
Igh I am too old for such chaos in my life! thank you very much. From now on I am planning on not even thinking of them b/c that works like poison. They simply do nto exist anymore. They are GONE


This so sick. I just cannot imagine being a mother and acting like this.


The behavior are family are serving us- this is sth normal parents TEACH you about, warn you etc.


It took me 54 years to get the place where family member’s approval or disapproval mean nothing to me. I no longer think or believe they somehow possess any special wisdom, or knowledge. I can’t believe now how much I let them affect me. Their opinions, thoughts, advice….I am indifferent to, blah….boring.


Sandra, thank you so much for your kind words :). You made my evening. I had been feeling so sad (related to my mom issues). Being that even my kids don’t really get it, makes me feel all the more alone. However, your support is uplifting and will help me get through the night.
I’m sorry about your family troubles as well. It is terribly exhausting! I often have tears welling in my eyes from frustration. Also, I have to go on much stronger medication for my Crohn’s disease since everything has gotten worse. But my mother will never care (and I hate to say it, but my sister minimally cares) and I need to keep serving everyone around me.
Love to all and peaceful holidays.


Hitch #462: I’m glad you are there. Please tell me how to be there. I still want my mom’s approval. She claims I have it, but I only get it “under duress.”

“Of COURSE I’m proud of you, why do you think I’m not?”

I’ve been N/C for quite a long time. I have never ever felt alone until I made this choice. But I don’t regret it. I just hate what I am feeling.


Kris, yes, you got the picture. Not only does Mom want to hold me hostage, she also tries to mandate “minimum required stays.” But she does this covertly. When I used to fly to visit, it was easy to get around the “minimum required stay” thing by saying, “Hey, had to schedule this short visit to get cheap fares.” (which wasn’t entirely true but was believable) When I moved to where I could drive, then it was coming up with the AMAZING excuse why I was still only going to stay two nights and no more.

I also tried to justify the rental car with, “I might want to visit some friends.” To which she would reply that I could borrow HER car. She knew she could get away with saying this and looking good because she also knew I had a policy of NEVER driving someone else’s car.

In my mom’s thinking, if I took two weeks off from work for Christmas, I SHOULD spend the entire two weeks with my family. Using any of my Christmas vacation time for ME was just totally wrong. I finally told her that I had a very stressful job (at the time) and I needed most of the two weeks I took off at Christmas to just stare at walls. Of course, she just couldn’t fathom this….

And this goes back to my Mom telling me as a child, “When you grow up, you can make your OWN decisions.” HA! I rented a car as a way of “making my own decision” only to get met with crap! I guess I mis understood. What she meant was….. “As long as you make the same decisions your Mom and Dad would make….”


For dxs comment 454

In regards to “how did i get there?” I had to live with my mom recently for 4 months following a divorce. I saw first hand hour by hour the way she lives, what her day to day life was really like. This is a lot different than talking to someone on the phone, or visiting them. When I really saw her sad, pathetic, lonely, paranoid, conspiracy filled isolated life…I couldnt believe the power I had given this person. I could not believe this was the person I would call up and ask for advice or take her opinions seriously. It was a real wake up call. Plus during my darkest hour trying to recover from divorce she was a cold, heartless bitch, under the guise of “just trying to help me”. The spell was broken. Just like in Alex Lickerman’s book, The Undefeated Mind…I turned poison into medicine. This 4 months of hell living under her roof as an adult, forced me to see the real person she is, which then changed the relationship for good. I stepped back and watched her with “the neutral eye of a camera” if you will and saw and understood the damaged person who had raised me. Now of course in a wrinkled, bent over frail body, but the same abusive personality was still there. So in a way it was the forced living conditions that freed me from her power spell, but of course I don’t recommend it..lol but in the end it was what set me free, but I had to go thru hell first. I still have a lot of anger, but I also pity her. Sidenote….I also witnessed the relationship my oldest brother the golden boy has with her, and it sickened me. They talk on the phone a couple times a week gossiping like two little old ladies in all their smug self-rightiousness. I used to be scared to say anything about my mom to my brother because he would become so angry if anybody dared say anything negative about his mommy….well, that spell was broken to…now he is scared of me. I confronted him with the reality of our mother and I wasnt the least bit afraid of his wrath, now he is not so tough. Those two bullied me and intimidated me my whole life, and now the tables have turned and I did not have to resort to bully like behavior like them. I just confronted them with the truth unafraid of their reactions, and they both silently went into hiding.


Went to the movies tonight. So comfortable. Everyone is still Xmas shopping and running around like crazy and I had this luxury of going to the movies.
Enough Said w/ late J. Gandolfini.
What a cute movie!
I highly recommend to everyone!
TOmorrow I am all alone, first time in years. Oh well it is just one day really. Last year it was me and I know everything better ex friend and the next day w/ my mom. It was horrible. 2 years ago it was me my than bf and his family and it sucked too- I was invisible even though I was the only one who cooked. Before that it was me, my sister and my mother- I cooked, no one ate, I was the clown, before that it was 2 times in a row my than bf and I- it was fun. And before that 2 times in a row all by myself- super fun, just waiting for these 2 days to pass, movies and wine.
I guess I Am back to normal 🙂 IF I had more cash this year, it would not have been an issue, I simply would have gone somewhere for these 2 days, oh well next year.
Happy Holidays!


Sandra, I have to admit I’m a bit jealous of you right now! I just had to set some limits on a friend regarding some plans that were made for Thursday evening. I had offered my home for a gathering and unbeknownst to me the time was changed to a later time. I just had to text everyone in an oh so friendly way to remind them of the correct time. It is exhausting when everyone is used to using you as a doormat (or a talking point, as someone so brilliantly stated recently) and you have to teach them the new way things are going to go. Seriously, I’m going to go all Clint Eastwood on somebody, probably before the weekend! Messing with me right now is not a recommended holiday activity:)

Seriously, I will be thinking of you and sending good thoughts your way over the next two days!!


Hitch, thanks. Now that my mom’s friends are dying off and leaving her alone, I see her true character more.


@Jane 🙂

Thanks…. 🙂 Hang in there, pal! 🙂
I’m a bit pissed cause I found out all the movie theaters are shut down on Xmas Eve so my next Holiday movie night will be tomorrow. Oh well :)I’m doing
Yes you got me right, I prefer Xmas w/ Mr di Caprio rather than my loving family 🙂 Oh btw: my sister sent me an e-card today right after she got my email with Xmas wishes 🙂 I was giggling to myself, I guess she went into panick mode, if I did not email her first, who knows maybe she would not have at all. Also she invited me for Xmas to her place…yeah….today…..a few hours ago……and she lives abroad… 😀 How ridiculous is that? 🙂 I said it was a bit too late fo rme to change my plans ON Xmas Eve 🙂
I just got another brilliant idea unfortunatelly a bit too late. If I could afford it I would go out of town all by myself but still I should have booked a hotel room just for myself for tonight. Even the very fine ones are quite inexpensieve, they lowered the prices (I do not live in a city attractive for tourists, no mountains, no sea shore).
Oh damn it, Ok for Easter I am doing a hotel/spa/massage just for myself 🙂
I feel so dumb. Why didn’t I discover this earlier? I am such a great company on Xmas 🙂 Instead of spending time either with my “family” who will make me feel miserable or w/ random people who will invite me just b/c they feel sorry for me, I coud pamper myself!! 🙂 Use the fact that so many people are busy, away etc. Too bad I’m kind of broke this year. Really one does not need that much cash though. It does not even have to be a trip out of town. One of the local hotels is enough.



has anyone here ever got invited by one of your friends to spend Xmas w/ their family but instead of having a good time you felt everyone inculding yourself felt awkward about you being there, as if you were a homeless crazy person or something? YOu could almost hear their thoughts: “poor girl”, “I wonder what happened to her family”, “should I ask about her family?”, “this is weird”, “who’s friend is she?” etc or you were so paranoid that you thought this is what they were thinking?
Please share 🙂
I realize it is either spening Xmas by myself or with a friend but not with a friend and his/her family. Way too awkward. I decided that if I am single and cannot find sb in my position to spend Xmas with than it’s better to be alone on that day.


It is weird because all of us here who are n/c miss our families. But the thing is, we actually do not miss our families, we miss having a family and that is a huge difference. SO this is just sth I guess I have to deal with it and get used to anew. I do not have any regrets just the opposite: I wonder what was I thunking ever getting back in touch.


@ Sandra:

I often wondered about those situations and I agree that I’d rather stay home because, yes, I’d think people were thinking all that. And God knows I’ve felt like the odd ball, always out of place long enough.


So, my debbie downer 80 year old soc mother, had the wonderful gift of her three beautiful grown granddaughters visiting her and “grandma” of course ruined it with “the holidays are so hard and sad for me”

this is because she lost my sister over 10 years ago to a drug overdose, yes, yes, yes, we all know how devastating a loss, etc. etc. but you had three alive granddaughters that came to see you in front of you in the “now” and you ruined it by being in the past and talking about your own sadness and focusing on the past….what a wasteful shame


Just got back from Christmas with my FOO. It was an extended seven day gathering with different people different days. I was one of the main cooks – exhausting. The first few days were fun, then my brother and his family arrived (the one who never responded to my heartfelt letter telling him that I don’t feel his understanding in the face of my sexual abuse). Then my other sibling did her ignoring thing when I spoke to her. When I was doing some prep work for the main dish for the Christmas meal everyone was in the next room (dining room) playing a game…not one person asked me if I wanted to join in. I was furious and hurt. Later I realized that I could have simply left, just turned the burners off and left, and let them cook. If I had thought of it I probably would have. Now I regret I didn’t walk into the room and tell them I would have appreciated being included. Not that it matters anyway.

A friend tonight told me it seems like I am “Cinderella” in the family…..

Furious and down and exhausted.


Hi Light,
I’ve experienced similar things. The people sitting in the other room, relaxing and enjoying “their” holiday seem to forget about the cook. I’ve sometimes wondered if they think that the meal just magically appears on the table. In the past I would just get upset and stew in the kitchen. Sometimes I became passive aggressive and made more noise with the pits and pans. But people have a remarkable tendency to tune out the fact that maybe the hardworking hostess could use a little help. So now, and I guess it is a sign of me becoming emotionally healthier, I will let people (including husband!) know that I would appreciate help with tasks like carrying food to the table, helping put leftovers away, setting the table for dessert etc. I am helpful when I am a guest at someone else’s home, and deserve some assistance when I am the hostess. It’s amazing how easily people forget the help you gave them at their home when they are guests at yours, but rather than getting upset in the kitchen, I will ask for what I need now.

I’ve been in situations like yours where everyone was playing a game in the dining room and didn’t ask you to join in. I know how that hurts. It makes me feel invisible when that happens. I’ve had that happen when I’ve been in a room with people who are making plans to go somewhere, and HELLO!! Don’t you see me in the room?? I remember this happened to me in the dorm in college. Five girls were making plans to go out and I was the sixth one in the room, and they didn’t ask me to go. I was very upset and called my best friend from home and told her about it. She asked me why I don’t just express interest in joining them and see what happens. I did that the next weekend and they said sure, come with us. After that they always invited me along. In that case I think they had been clueless rather than malicious about not including me in the beginning, because once I showed an interest in hanging out with them they started including me. But there’s also the malicious type of exclusion. In that case, asking to be included would most likely be met with rejection, or a forced, insincere invitation. If I detected that they were insincere, I would not have gone along.

With the game situation, I probably would have walked into the dining room and told them I would like to play. But I don’t know your family dynamics and what would work for me might not be how you want to handle things. And it’s still not too late if you wanted to call someone who was there and tell them how you felt about not having been asked to play. Again, you are the one who knows the dynamics so you have to choose a way of handling the situation that works for you.

I wish you a happy and healing 2014.


Thank you so much Amber for responding to my post. I’ve been checking back frequently on this website hoping for a response from those that feel up to it. I hang onto every word – it is helping me keep my sanity.

I did say to my sister “Am I included in the game?” to which she replied “Do you want to be?”…Me: “Yes” Her: “I thought you were busy preparing dinner” Me: “Being asked is important, whether a person seems busy or not”.

There is some history here. I’ve heard her say those very same words about how important it is to include someone, even if it seems like they’re busy so she’s quite aware of the concept. I think she excluded me on purpose (it was her game and leadership) because she was mad at ME because I had feelings from earlier in the day with her behavior. The day started with me thanking her for making a copy for me, to which she had NO RESPONSE. Then she misrepresented things I said when talking with my mother (of course to her advantage). Then she said “I know that you hate me”. I wasn’t mad until she ignored me, then misrepresented me, then took a problem-solving food conversation to the most negative emotional level, then stuck a knife in my back by not including me in the game. You see, for her, I’m the ogre and she’s the victim.

I would go for your idea to call someone who was there, but my choices are slim: my brother and his wife simply didn’t respond to a heartfelt letter I wrote a few months ago so I’m not inclined to tell them even more feelings; their daughter didn’t include me in a memorial service for someone a few months ago; my other niece is my sister’s daughter and my sister has her in her pocket – she’s turned her away from me; my nephew is in his 20s and it would seem wrong to involve him; and my mother I told today.

I am just beside myself with fury and have plans to physically smash something. I am taking care…eye protection, no glass shards, protected in a bag, etc. But I do plan on smashing something this weekend with a hammer. It is my property and I won’t be hurting myself or anyone.


Light, seven days would have been enough to send me over the edge! five hours almost did me in on Christmas Day. I did talk to my husband and kids before we went to my sister’s house and when we were walking in I jokingly said “Force fields up!” They were far more concerned that I had brought the wine than they were with seeing me. A couple of my cousins were there and they were all going on about things they have gone out and done recently that were clearly just a ball and we were not included. You know, though, I just don’t care anymore. And that is a pretty flat feeling and I think I am grieving the loss of my idea of the ideal family, but it really beats feeling the way you are feeling. Sticking it out for seven days is a pretty big deal, I think! I hope you are feeling better today. It took a really big betrayal, though, from the one sibling who I thought was on my side, for me to finally let the ship sink beneath the waves forever. I know that there is no going back from here. It’s sad, because we used to have lots of fun together but since my Dad passed away my oldest siblings have become more and more heinous in their behavior toward me until now I just can’t and won’t tolerate it any more. We have a couple more family events coming up this weekend and I will show up, but not for long. It is truly exhausting. We are listening and we care and we empathize with you. Hang in there!!


Thank you Jane. Thanks for saying you care and for listening and empathy. I think I endure way more than I should. My sister and I live locally, my mom is in her 90’s and until now it’s been assumed that my sister and I will do the hosting (at my mother’s home). There was a divorce in the family so that is why people showed up piecemeal…they didn’t want to run into each other. I wish I could be the guest, bring a dish, stay for a few hours, then leave. The only way I could do that now would be to move away. I could, but it would mean sacrificing these final years with my mother.

I must, absolutely must, not attend most gatherings from now on or keep it short. I don’t have my own supportive family to come and go with…I’m on my own and definitely feel it at these gatherings.

It is starting to affect my health. Last night I felt like I was going to pass out in waves.

Smashed something a little while ago. Sort of cathartic but I need to do more with a lot of privacy so I can let go and rage and cry.

I just keep sitting here, emotional blotto in front of the computer………….


Light, thanks for sharing the additional background. It sounds like your sister was percolating well before the game incident happened. And, from what you said in your second post, she is aware of the importance of including everyone in activities. From what you are saying, I interpreted it that you are feeling that your sister used the inclusion concept against you, meaning that she is aware that people feel good when included, and also aware that doing the opposite could be used as a psychological weapon ( excluding someone to make them feel bad). Please correct me if I interpreted this wrong. It is based purely on what you described. I obviously wasn’t there!!

I think many of us on here have had some extremely frustrating family encounters. I’m wondering if part of the frustration is that we hope that this time it will be different. This time when I explain my feelings they will listen. And this time the light bulb is going to finally light up and they’re gonna finally “get it”. But people act their usual dysfunctional way, and our hopes are once again crushed. Temporarily atleast until we decide to try again. And again. And the frustration and sadness goes on and on. I can understand why so many people decide to go no contact. Your idea of minimizing contact by not attending many of the gatherings or keeping the visits short sounds good. You can see how that works for you. Please take care of yourself. You deserve that!


Thanks Amber. Yes to shorter visits. Which makes my heart ache because I really loved my family when I was a child, and they loved me. It has all slowly ripped apart in slo-mo for various reasons of sexual abuse, denial, neglect, alcohol, and the all important absolute loyalty of my siblings to my mother (even though she didn’t stand with me in the face of my father’s sexual abuse) at my expense. I have felt alone for a very long time.

There is even more back story to being included/excluded by my sister. Last year at Christmas we had a house full of family and decided to go on an outing. I made the suggestion of going to the museum. Everyone was moving around quickly through the house, getting ready, and unfortunately I did not ask my sister if she would like to join us. Apparently no one else did either. It was entirely inadvertent on my part. She brought it up to me after we got home and said she was really, really upset. I felt bad about it and had an apologetic tone, and also told her that I didn’t realize that no one (including me) asked her in an “oh my gosh, I can’t believe that happened! – I’m sorry!” kind of way. Even after discussing this, a few weeks later, it was clear she was still holding onto it, and told me again how much it upset her. So my apology wasn’t accepted.

After that – for the rest of the year – it seemed that we were both making an effort to be very careful with making sure we included each other. That’s why this is so significant. She was mad at me (even though SHE was the one who did not respond to my “thank you”, and she misrepresented me to my mother aka lies and she went really dark negative when I was trying to problem solve some food prep issues) and then ever-so-conveniently “thought I was busy” when she brought the game out and everyone sat around the table. Of course there was no apology. I am convinced it was another passive-aggressive maneuver on her part. I don’t believe that it was innocent at all. I have heard her talk about others outside of the family that she wants to get back at “when they least expect it”.

I find her so hard to deal with because if I have an issue, (e.g. she ignores a greeting/goodbye/thank you said to her — this isn’t a once and a while normal communication glitch, this is often) and I ask her what that is about?, or tell her she misrepresented me to our mother….well then that means I “hate” her, that I am very critical of her, etc. It becomes all about her and what an ogre I am.

Umm, what about the issues that I brought up?


I don’t have a fantasy that she’ll finally “get it”, but I do feel abused and feel the need to counter her every attack by calling her out using the most even verbal tone I can muster. I’ve typically done this in private, but I’m starting to think it needs to be done in the moment, in public if it happens in public.

I wanted to go into that room and tell people that it was hurtful to not include me, but maybe that’s too dramatic? I grew up in a very constricted home so I’m not sure. Maybe I could have half-jokingly sarcastically said “Thanks a lot family, for including me!” while sitting down.


Amber she also said she was “very jealous” of how free our nieces were and was very upset about this (compared to her own childhood) the day before we had our blowout.


Light, the inclusion thing can be tricky, because it is possible, especially in a large group, or if things are hectic, to inadvertently overlook someone. If I ever did that, I would offer a sincere apology letting them know it was inadvertent and I’m sorry about any hurt feelings resulting from it. If the person continues to hold on to it after that, there is nothing else I can think of doing. I think some people hold on to it and use it as leverage later on.

When I had my first baby a relative wanted to visit at a time she had picked out and it happened to be on a day when the baby had been fussing and I was exhausted. Since this woman lived just a few miles away, I said I was very tired and could we do the visit another day. She got annoyed and drove by one day, dropped a baby gift on the doorstep without letting me know she was there.

Fast forward three years later, I had a second child. This woman said on the phone to my mother that she had a gift for the baby but she just wanted to drop it at the house. Bushes didn’t want yo see me because I was very rude 3 years before when I refused to let her visit my firstborn. Can you believe how she twisted the truth and then used the le three years later to pull the poor little me act? And to try to make me look bad? And right after I had a baby….both times….she pulled this garbage.

Light, Those types of people just don’t get it and probably never will. I can understand how you feel about wanting to call your sister out on her nonsense. I think, for me atleast, I would get frustrated calling someone out each time they did something offensive. I might opt for one big last hurrah where I let the person know that I know exactly what they’re up to and I am not going to feed into their garbage game playing nonsense anymore, and if this is how they choose to behave, I won’t be hanging around. I wish you good luck, however you choose yo handle this.


Light, sorry, spellcheck mangled my previous post. RE your message 481, your sister as you described her does sound passive- aggressive, and she has admitted it in a way. When she says she will get people when they least expect it, hmmmmmm, sounds passive-aggressive to me!

And when you want to address an issue with her, sounds like she avoids dealing with it by turning the focus on to her (poor little me, you hate me) and putting you in the bad guy role. This makes it nearly impossible for anything constructive to happen.


I will be pulling way back. She already told me this past year that she has given up on our relationship, and has no hope. She repeated that for the fourth time two days ago. I thought it was an awful thing to say the first time, and especially the second, third and fourth. She’s of course entitled to her feelings but I don’t think I would personally volunteer to a family member “I give up. I have no hope”.

She also has said that she wants a distant relationship with me. I think she likes setting things up so that I “need” her. Unfortunately I made a choice due to finances to live in one of her homes. So I do need to live here until I can move out ASAP. Creating more distance should go OK since it’s what she says she wants and I can increase ways to avoid her.

This past year I distanced from many family members. Clearly I need to increase that distance with some.

Thank you for your comments Amber and Jane.



Some people are just so defensive and easily offended and not at all understanding. I’m sorry this happened to you. Of course you need your rest and time with your babies! This should be respected and understood with warmth. And then she went and bad-mouthed you years later. What you are describing (while a different scenario) is the level of twistedness that I deal with too. Thank you for being there for me today.


I had dropped off my sister (and her husband) at my Mom’s on the 23rd. She made them run errands and do work for her the last four days and wouldn’t pay them for the groceries. Their turn to stay with us came this afternoon, for the next 4 days. Mom sat there and cried and said she is so lonely. I think she is just a big selfish act.


Light, I am glad I was able to offer you some comfort. I hope everything works out in a way that you are happy with.
Sometimes talking things out works. But some people are completely unreasonable, and sometimes distancing yourself from them is the best thing to do.

By the way, the Baby incidents happened years ago, but were a good example of someone not being understanding of my situation, and then twisting everything to make herself look like a victim. And then holding on to this distortion of reality and using it years later to start up trouble with me when I had just given birth to my next child. Needless to say, the only contact I have with this drama queen is a once a year exchange of Christmas cards.


Since she’s my sister, and is involved with practically every single family get-together, if I want to see other family members she will be there. I guess I will have to cut way back and if others in the family want a relationship with me we can always make our own plans. Somehow I don’t think that will happen. Most family members currently don’t make the effort. The silence from them is deafening.


Light, seems that everything is always so complicated. No easy answers. Maybe you can arrange small gatherings or activities with family members that you do want to spend time with. And in large get togethers when your sister is around, is there a way to minimize contact with her at he gathering?


LIght and Amber, this is an awesome discussion, I think. Light, I agree it would be much harder to face my family without my husband and kids at my side. That would make things much more difficult. I really feel like I have been on this healing journey for quite a while now– I’m talking about 7 years. Finding this site, for me, seems like the final piece of the puzzle. However, I have utilized a lot of resources and done a lot of reading and thinking about this topic. One of the most healing and empowering times that I have had, however, occurred when I was completely alone for a few days. My husband had taken the kids on a short trip and I wasn’t feeling well so stayed at home. I really just sat on my couch and grieved for the idea of the perfect family that was slipping away from me. I was angry and I yelled and I do think I broke something and it felt really good!! What I am trying to say is that the most powerful piece of my healing came from within me, not from any outside resource. And I’m thinking there is some Higher Power involved, and I call that God.

Amber, it really resonated with me when you talked about continuing to return to the idea that somehow they are going to change or that they are suddenly going to value you. I am doing so much better since I have given up on that idea. However, it took having my closest sibling phone me, at work, and say “None of this ever would have happened if you hadn’t…..” at which point I cut her off. I happen to sit next to a social worker at work, and as I was fighting back tears, she put her hand on mine and said “you know, nobody deserves to be treated like this. ” It was really like the scales fell from my eyes and I finally saw clearly that no matter how hard I tried to please them, it was never going to change.

Another thing that’s helpful to realize, once you begin to build up your network of “other family” is that not everyone is going to react the way that your family reacts. I had a minor disagreement with a friend a couple of weeks ago and we both said what we had to say, agreed to disagree, and moved on. No lasting damage to the friendship. It is hard to recognize what’s healthy when your only frame of reference is a toxic situation. Also, in my opinion, my family worked hard to keep me enmeshed and distance me from other people.

LIght, you are obviously a really smart and thoughtful person. I enjoy visiting with you here! You add so much to these discussions. I am wishing you well. Getting over the holidays is going to take some time for everyone here, I think. I know it will for me.


Jane, I lived with the idea that my mother might change and value me up until the day she passed away. In a way, she treated me a little better in her last years, but certain things never changed. I was still inferior because I was. Female. If I tried to explain something to her she wouldn’t accept it unless one of my brothers also thought it was true. If I didn’t do something that she wanted me to or if I disagreed with her, she became cold and used the silent treatment just as she did when I was younger. The old patterns were still there. She lived far away from me so I didn’t see her often. Minimizing contact was one of the things that enabled us to still have some sort of relationship, but I also became more assertive over the years and would let her know when she crossed over a line. One example was that she expected a lot more from the daughter, and treated me like my life was not as important as what my brothers were doing. She expected me to make myself available to her, even though I lived across vouch try from her. I remember the day I set a boundary on that. She got very angry and cold but I held my ground. I told her I could come out once in a while to help her with things like medical appointments but that she was also going to have to rely on my brothers too, and she will also have to use the transportation service at her assisted living place sometimes to get around and get things done. She tried to guilt trip me with the “it’s a daughters duty” thing, and “the boys have their lives to live” as an excuse to exempt my brothers, but I would not buy into it liike I did when I was younger.
I did not start reading Darlene’s website until my mother was gone almost a year. It brought more things to light, like my mother expected me to do a “daughters duty” but she had not been there for me doing her mothers duty. The inequality was astounding. And my brothers were given more than I was, but much less was expected of them. And I mean material things as well as the more important things like love and affection. I was ignored as a child and then expected to turn into the family workhorse. That’s all Iwas good for in her eyes.

I too am enjoying this discussion with you Jane and Light. What is different for me is that both my parents are gone so I am not dealing with current dysfunctional family gatherings. I am married, and my relationships in my family of marriage are good. But the damage did not go away after the death of my parents. My fathers oppressive rules and his perfectionist expectations still influence me and hold me back. My mothers legacy of treating me as inferior and unworthy, and did I forget to mention that she told me many times that I am ugly?? These beliefs, even though Intellctually I know are false, still haunt me emotionally. And I don’t believe that if I had had a discussion with my mother and if she had apologized for her treatment of me, that it would have erased the damage. It is too deeply ingrained and I think that Darlene’s methods are the key to dealing with this. I am uncovering the lies and damage little by little. I know what many of the lies are now. The hardest part is re wiring them to the truth. It’s some sort of cognitive dissonance that gets in my way. I have believed things to be a certain way for my whole life that thinking differently just doesn’t feel right just yet. I know I am not worthless intellectually. I know I am not ugly intellectually and that I have value and that I am not inferior for being female. But I don’t think I know it yet in my heart, and that is the biggest obstacle I face now.


One of the things that continues to strike me as I read these posts since finding this site a couple of months ago is how accomplished most of us are in our chosen vocations and avocations. And how reluctant we are all to admit it! I think that’s interesting. I believe that you have to be pretty resilient to fight your way to the surface, not once, but a thousand times, in the face of some of the abuse that I read about here.

I just have to share this. I probably shouldn’t find this funny but, sadly, I do. I will admit to my immaturity before writing this: Yesterday was the baptism of my great nephew. My husband and I arrived at the last moment as we’d been doing chores around the house but we really wanted my nephew to know that we do care, in spite of the nastiness that I’m sure his Mom is spreading about me. I thought we’d slip in right before the ceremony started, but everyone was just hanging out in the narthex of the church. The first person I saw was my cousin, who said, “They forgot your Mom.” I just started laughing. My two oldest siblings, one of whom’s grandchild was being baptized, had not coordinated for anyone to pick up Mom at the assisted living. They played it off like no big deal, but separately came to me to tell me how mad they were at each other Laughter continued. I knew if I stepped out of the middle they’d have no one to spew their venom on but each other. My Mom, when she arrived, was upset. I don’t blame her!!

Take care, everybody!


Jane – Thank you for your kind words and compliments. I am wishing you well too. It sounds like you are in a more detached place than I am. I hope that I can experience having a “chosen” family and my FOO will not impact me as much…developing one is one of my goals.


Great conversation ladies! I just picked up on this conversation as Light mentioned it took hold over here. Yes, I understand so many things that you all were discussing. People just don’t like to face and talk about truths a lot of times. Passive aggressive behavior always puts the “FUN” in dysfunctional behavior. I wish everyone the best. I went NC with my sister in 2010 and my father in 2012. I am LC with my sister-in-law. I am not “happy” about this but it is for my sanity and well being. I took myself off of Cymbalta in February and I have felt fine. Antidepressants are very helpful, but I am glad that I am off of the meds because I feel a range of emotions like I used to feel and not just a flat and even “emotion”.

Happy New Year!



I can relate Andria, Since I discovered Darlene’s blog/website I have not had to take my fast-acting anti-anxiety meds to go to events or meet new people through meetups! Once I read the truth of where my “low self-esteem” was coming from (trying to be somebody my mother and brother would like)I was free. I am free!!! Before reading Emerging From Broken posts I would have panic attacks just trying to clean the house or go to the grocery store. But all of that is gone…I keep thinking this is temporary but it seems to be for real.
Oh, besides going NC with my Mom and Brother I have also stopped trying to get a certain circle of “friends” to like me for who I am. My relationship with these women was a copy of my relationship whith my FOO.



Good for you for your freedom! I understand about trying to be somebody your FOO would like. It is freeing to realize that you can leave them and all their crap behind because they are not worth the time or effort. The damaged self-esteem can leak into relationships with friends. Once I “woke up” and realized what was going on with me I had to let go of a couple of people who were not treating me well. It hurt a bit not to be friends anymore, but it felt better not to be subjected to their unkind words and mental abuse.

Cheers to freedom!



Thanks Darlene.
Your post and the comments that these brave, generous people have shared fill me with hope for my own recovery…the struggle for wholeness and healthy self esteem never seems to end. Thank you all for your support.
Sending you wishes for a New Year filled with abundance and blessings .


Thank you. I often share your website here with all my friends because I know abuse happens in at least 50% of homes, and honestly I’ve not known many people in my life who were not like me as somewhat dysfunctional. I am grateful that tonite, someone who I care about reached out, and also that she knows she really and truly is not alone in this way and does not have to go on in dysfunction, and she is so WORTH speaking up for. Emmy


I am new to this site and a really good blog. Yep, that sums up about abuse nothing but a continuing cycle. I am still living in the hell hole with my parents. I was groomed to “never been an independent adult with a mind of her own,” “to be never happy,” and to “settle for less just like my mom.”

Women are my mom’s main problem as my siblings and I don’t know why. Maybe some woman screwed over my mom in the past and she has major issues with her mom but we don’t know anything about the elder’s past life nothing but lies and lies. My family has nothing but dysfunction and won’t change. I am groomed to stay at home forever, be even more miserable, etc because my parents said “everything here is paid for, why do you want a job so badly?” I find it very hard to even move out besides not having a job and looking for one.

My parents are just pure narcs and very evil, they have done more harm to us – forget the so called kindness didn’t exist! However, people think they are saints never mind what they did! It’s taking too long for me to have freedom….


gosh this is so my relationship with my mother. at least I know im not alone when you explain it so clearly


Thank you, Darlene. My family has squarely planted themselves next to my abuser. I was discredited as a child — I was “looking for attention,” and a “brat,” therefore not ever regarded highly. Now I’m a completely functional, educated adult. They can’t use those excuses anymore. So they all stammered and backed away. The truth and reality of the situation is something they can not admit to. To do so, would bring about the generations of lies and abuse, and implicate all of them in some way or another.

My own mother is amongst them. I have “worth,” as long as I keep my mouth shut and play nice. I am not allowed to speak the truth in that family, and that’s why I walked away.

Blessings to you!


As usual you make things so clear Darlene! Everything you wrote
I experienced. It took extreme courage at 16 to face my abusers who
Has constantly treated me less then. I don’t think I even knew it then
I just knew I couldn’t live like that anymore. My mother called me salut
And I had never barely even knew anything about sex n didn’t remember
Being sexually abused at the time. The beatings where regular for so many yrs.
she would beat till her arm was exhausted or she broke the item
She was using on me. She told the family how bad I was n told me I was the problem
. She always had a perfect look outward to impress everyone. After she called me slut (which I
Has never even had any involment with a guy ever) she slapped across
The face. I was shocked at this whole event that somewhere
Inside of me, something snapped! I slapped her back! Talk about shock on her face.
Within days I left home ! I tried to kill myself by going on highway for a transport
To run me down. At the last minute Ashe honked his horn it felt like a big wing swooped me
Off of highway. The nxt 4 yrs I wondered the country. So lost, just surviving. When I was around
43 my elder sister whowS not groomed like me, called me and asked me to
Forgive her as she had treated me “less than” ! I was shocked by her confession. I hD never seen it like that.
I told her I forgave her n she was shocked! But then again I didn’t even realize she had until I
Starting into deep counseling as my life began to unravel
And I had to quit work! My mother had groomed my sister that she was less but that I
Was lesser than less. She was favored by my mother.
Special treatment always as long as my sister covered my mothers lies.she was abused but never emotional
Or physically as others. My mother called her “Pet”. My mother called me nothing!
So all that shared, the grooming def. was there. Once my sister who had alwaysD
Blackmailed me with threats and when I finally realized she still wS at age43, I stopped associating
With her! If she had no control over me, she despised me
And went around to anyone who would listen to her sad stories and also acted as a victim and spread lies to our small
Community about me! Horrific stories I was told by strangers. They asked if I wanted to hear
Them. I just said, will the stories make me feel good about myself. Obviously the answer was no.
So I told them no thank you. It is so sad hoe people destroy
Other people. My sister to this day at the age of 53 is one of
Theist angry people I know m won’t speak to me. It has been 8 yrs.
the story goes on n on but I wAlk a diff path. Thanks to my many counselors, drs.and my Handful
My support system I feel sane most of the time.it cost me my family ties as well! Holidays is the hardest seeing other
Families together. Buy sanity has a price and for those of us
Groomed in this manner, it seems like a high price to py
Especially since era the victims. But we are the strong
Ones, doing everything we can to break the cycle.y 5 children are proof
Image the right decision. They are beautiful human beings and we are very close .

Thank u Darlene for rinsing us all that we are not alone and
We are good people n healing is there .


Hi All
I have just published a New post on the front page ~ Lonely Holidays and the Lie that “you reap what you sow”

Here is the link ~ http://emergingfrombroken.com/lonely-holidays-and-the-lie-that-you-reap-what-you-sow/

Looking forward to the conversation there!
Hugs, Darlene


This morning I thought more about what is going on with my sibling and I think I may have offended her during the holidays. It was about food. I suggested an entree that I wanted to make with seafood for Christmas, and she suggested that she could make another entree seafood dish the day before. She asked me what I thought and I said “It sounds competitive…how about if you make your dish for Christmas, and I’ll make mine for Christmas Eve…I don’t want mine to be the follow-up dish”. I did feel annoyed, which probably was in my voice, which may not have been fair to her.

I can see how this could irritate her. At the same time, there have been so many times when she has been competitive, when she has cut me down with no provocation, the Christmas when she yelled at me to get out of the room (she denies), when I apologize and say something conciliatory and she does not. I think my anger is more near the surface than ever and I blurted that out – not very tactful I can see that.

I am considering apologizing to her about it, but I feel 99% sure she will not apologize to me for not responding to my verbal thank you, for misrepresenting me to our mother, and for not including me in the family game. She’ll take in the apology, may or may not forgive me (there WILL be payback if she doesn’t), and say nothing in return.

Is it even worth it to apologize?


Wow, Light, that is really a personal decision. I can tell you that I am noticing recently that I feel like my siblings are eager to have me apologize for things and that they do not reciprocate. I even straight out asked my sibling who called me at work to say “none of this ever would have happened if you hadn’t….” and she denied saying it, and then she denied meaning it. (which was it, it can’t be both?) This ain’t my first rodeo with this behaviour as my MIL did this kind of thing to me for 20 years before I woke up. I was 45 minutes late to my sisters on Christmas Day (passive aggressive on my part? probably) The first thing she said to me was “you’re late!” I just nodded mildly and said “yes, I am.” I did not apologize. I am still pretty angry about all the events that transpired when our mother was ill recently and ended up going to assisted living and I predict I’m going to be angry for a little while yet.

I don’t know if this answers your question or not. I don’t think you have to be perfect. So you communicated in a way which showed you were annoyed when you were annoyed? Should you have to apologize for that? There is always the option of talking about the incident without apologizing. Something like, “I’ve been thinking about our discussion about the menu for Christmas and after thinking about it I think it was kind of a waste to get into a disagreement about this. I was annoyed at the time but I’m over it now.” Of course, you’d open the door to her saying her piece which may or may not be anything you want to hear. Be fair to yourself right now, I think.


You just told my story. I got dumped. My children got dumped. Total dysfunction…yet im the crazy one.


Hi Light-

Yes I agree with Jane that this is a personal decision. There are a lot of underlying things going on in the whole dynamic of the relationship. I recognize things that used to happen to me in both of your posts. But an apology always gives the person getting the apology the upper hand I believe.

I finally got tired of all the BS and realized that these people were not worth the time and abuse they dished out. I am not an angel, but I am kind and fair. To Jane- good luck with dealing with your sister vis a vis an ailing mother. This is what finally broke me and I left my FOO. They don’t care about me so I don’t care about them.

I wish everyone a good 2014!



When I was growing up, my parents fought like dogs &cats. It wasn’t long before I started getting spanked and also thrust into the responsible child role as well as the scapegoat. I was older than my brother by 6 years and my sister by 11 years. As I went away to college, Dad had started being violent toward Mom. I’d come “home” to being scared that something bad would happen. I was gone to school for 3 years before I came back & then almost immediately got married and of course,left.

Over time, I’d come “home” and by that time, my mother had left my father. My brother & sister started acting real different to me. From that time onward to the present time, I never hear from them. They are the golden children of a narcissistic mother (I fear). One time I heard my step-father say something to the effect(to my sister) that “Suzanne beat up the children”. I’m thinking I didn’t hear right but yet it stays in my mind. So that’s what she told my relatives as well as well as my brother & sister. Mother always kept it hush, hush – never told me what she was saying about me – behind my back. And it slips out by way of my stepfather (he didn’t mean for me to hear that).

I was always my mother’s little handservant – washing her dishes at 5. I’ve been a people-pleaser all my life and afraid of most people. It is very hard for me to ‘speak up’. I have been married to a wonderful kind man for 26 years. I worked for the DoD as a Human Resource Asst for a number of years as well as British Petro.

My family has scarred me plenty. They are rejecting me. They want to download all of their nasty hate onto me and my younger sister assaulted me one Christmas Eve and I never called the police. I have been in good psychotherapy for over 20 years now and it is helped me so much. Now, I’m beginning to see how unfair the ‘family’ was and I want to sue my mother for lying about me and making the entire family go against me. Is that ever done?


[…] I discovered Darlene Ouimet’s blog through my friend Laura, who also has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), a condition I was diagnosed with in 2009.  So much of what Darlene writes about touches me deeply and I feel almost as if she and I are kindred spirits–she GETS IT!  Darlene’s own mother sued her and there’s no doubt in my mind that if I were to publish a book about my life, my own mother would likely do the same thing.  She’s already threatened to sue me simply for telling her about all the creepy memories I have of what my father did to me, from as far back as I can remember.  I had only told my husband and it was my mother who made the decision to “out” the scandalous information to our extended families, a decision I’m sure she now highly regrets.  I’ll be sure to change the names to protect the not-so-innocent if I decide to publish while they’re still alive.  Regardless of what type of abuse anyone has survived, I thought this particular link was important to share:  http://emergingfrombroken.com/the-grooming-process-of-discrediting-children-and-the-cycle-of-abuse/ […]

Note from Darlene ~ I would like to note here that my mother did not sue me. she threatened to, but she didn’t. This is misinformation. Thank you. 🙂 ~ Darlene Ouimet


Growing up, siblings and I were always my parents little slaves because they are extremely lazy. My sister and I (she is 18 yrs older than me) realized at a very young age, how we were all born to “serve them as slaves.” OMG, lots of people especially parents got so irate with me by saying that telling me ‘how could I say such things about my parents?’ I told these people ‘children have been mistreated and used for years, where have you been?’ Why do people find it hard to believe or get irate when I tell them that?

Other relatives we don’t know, never bothered to come “rescue us” and they wonder why my sister wants nothing to do with them. My parents are just straight us narcissists and I’ve seen people believe every word they say and tell me I should be “grateful.” It’s extremely to show people how my parents never did anything for us, hell, my therapist tells me that they put a roof over my head and she heard the whole story front to back, agrees with me that they are abusive yet they did me a favor? How does abusers do anybody a favor? I told her we grew up in a prison and I am almost 28 still living at home because I didn’t grow up with the life skills that I needed to be self-sufficient and now I am relearning those skills trying to find a job and get out asap!

My parents are excellent at keeping up with appearances and people seem to believe anything an abuser tells them. Right now, I don’t feel like speaking out about my story anymore. I have done it enough in my life, it has caused more harm than good and ended up losing friends because of I didn’t “fit the white picket fence” fictional family life and I’ve had very few people who believed me. I was and still aren’t allowed to be an adult and nobody is helping me either to get out – spoken to enough nonprofit agencies but they help mostly families and I’d be damn to go to a shelter!

My therapist said this summer that if it is so bad, find resources to leave. I should have said ‘hunny, you heard everything are you telling me that is how a parent is suppose to be yet you’re a mom yourself? If it wasn’t so bad, why would I be in therapy? I kept asking her that yet never got a response!’ I still get blamed that it is my fault by my parents and by strangers that victims should “accept the abuse because family is all we have,” such crap that is just society talking not from people’s own experiences.

Honestly, people can’t seem to comprehend why we are not emotionally, physically, or spiritually close to our parents….I wonder why! Why does my brother feel that our mom did a lot for us when she did absolutely nothing, nothing to show for it, and just blames everybody? I grew up not being closed to them, it was like being raised in foster care by two strangers. They never said I love you sincerely to us, when they did it was only for the public – it was about making themselves look good that hasn’t change (parents are 66 and 67). I don’t want to be close to them and hate hearing ‘ohh they are still your parents,’ only connected to them by DNA and that’s it.


Marquis, I can understand the frustration trying to explain what is going on to people and then being invalidated by them. Your parents putting a roof over your head does not excuse poor treatment by them. People Telling you that “it wasn’t so bad” is discounting you. And no way should you ever have to accept abuse because they are your family.

You mention that your brother thinks your parents did a lot for the kids. Maybe he had a different experience growing up. I suspect this because in your first paragraph you say that you and your sister were expected to serve your parents, but you didn’t mention your brother. This particularly stood out for me because of my own experience of being the only daughter, with two brothers who were treated better just for being boys. I was supposed to wait until last to get my dinner because they were the boys. I had more work to do around the house. And many more restrictions. And constant reminders about my inferiority.

I don’t bother talking to or trying to convince unsupportive people of anything anymore. I’m glad I have a couple of understanding people in my life, and Darlene’s website is a great place to come and be listened to and understood. And to feel validated.


I definitely think that parents in dysfunctional families treat their children differently and in my experience, play them off one against the other, to create more conflict or discord or maybe to make themselves look like the loving and caring parent. Who knows what the motivation is and who cares, really?


I’m not saying that to offend, but just to point out that it’s not really our problem to figure out why they are so limited.


It sounds like your therapist is what they call a wounded healer. She isn’t validating nor supporting you. I would find someone else to go to. To go to someone who isn’t emotionally supporting you and validating your feelings and thoughts is a waste of your time.
Take good care,


I agree with Jane that parents in dysfunctional families treat their children in drastically different ways. Who knows what the motivation is and you truly have to stop caring because we never will be able to comprehend it. One will never get to the bottom of the problem for them because it is covered with falsehoods.

I have no problem explaining to others my true feelings. In my FOO, they tell themselves such tall tales they never will know why it fell apart. And most likely they really don’t care. It was hard for me to be related to these “surface dwellers”. They never wanted to take a look behind the curtain or scratch beneath the surface. Too uncomfortable I suppose, and the system was working for them. I was the only one with a “problem”. So I leave and work on my “problem” by myself. It made me feel more sane.

Happy New Year to all!


Andria, I agree about the “surface dwellers.” I figured out that my mom cannot “scratch below the surface” because she is afraid of what she might see. Thus, everything is “on the surface” and you don’t dare try to go below.

This explains why my mom always got upset when I questioned things. Ok for her to question me, but no, I’m not allowed to question her. I’m supposed to “accept” what she says and not question about it not making sense.


I had similar experience with a therapist, so I know how much it hurts to be thrown back into the dark, just when you thought you were beginning to see the light. It didn’t matter how much friends shouted that the therapist was wrong, and that they saw the reality of my situation, I went back to blaming myself.

Had my mother not come to live with my husband and I, maybe I’d have looked back on my childhood differently. It never really felt right (far from it) but I feel I’d have chosen not to “scratch below the surface” then. But having my mother with me in adult years, and having all the abuse returning ten fold did it for me. I just don’t get how it took me so long. Perhaps because she kept telling me the many ways I owed her.

She refuses to see things as they were. Not just my childhood years but also what she did in recent years. That pretty much says how willingly she is to take responsibility for all the bad things she believes people do to her (her life now is a result of her lifelong tantrums and beliefs).

For example, during a tantrum she said I deserved all I’d gone through with my husband’s alcoholism (I was curled up into a ball on my couch for two days after that, from shock). She knew what I had gone through with my dad and his alcohol abuse, saying I deserved what happened… was harsh, to say the least. Maybe I did deserve, in the sense if I’d been a good wife, I’d not have allowed her to live here. But by then my husband had also been sucked into my parents net of assuring loyalty to us through buying us things.

Then, days later, when she told someone about our big row the person was shocked at my mother’s behaviour and she came back and apologised to me on her knees (it was so theatrical and repulsive). But by then, she was already denying she said what she did!!!

It doesn’t surprise me that narcissists enjoy such good health. They don’t waste time blaming themselves, as we do. We’re always second guessing ourselves by asking “is it me?”. They believe they are incapable of any wrong doing, so can’t possibly take responsibility.



I am so sorry for the crap you have gone through having your mother in your home. To be curled up in a ball on your couch…that is brutal. You must be telling your mother some truths she does not want to hear because she is really going on the attack. She only “apologized” when she ran her story past a friend and was told her behavior was wrong! And then she had already gone into denying it….so typical.

Don’t blame yourself. You know how you feel. You are a good wife. I’m sure you and your husband together decided to let mother into your home. Like Darlene has said many times: your parent wants you to look at yourself to see what YOU did wrong. They don’t want the flashlight shined on their behavior.

It is a tough deal for most adult children to have their parents in their home. It is tougher still when the system is highly dysfunctional. I still cannot understand why parents choose to be so cruel to their children. Some parents don’t like independent children who don’t see things the way they do. I say get real folks. If you have independent kids be thankful.



My brother was suppose to be the golden child but he was treated like some slave too. The reason why he said my mom (hates his dad) did a good job is because she brainwashed him! In NY before I was born, my sister told me they were in family court because they wanted to take away sister, brother and 1st born half sister whom I don’t know (well, she was in foster care running away) and I found out from my sister that mom and dad wanted them to lie to the mediator or whoever they are that speak to the children about the abuse in the home.

I also found out months ago, that my brother said how he couldn’t stand being around mom and dad. I have told him before, then why do you insist on protecting mom? She lives her life through him, his accomplishments, and she never really gave him hope it was my 2nd oldest sister (the only bond I have with her not the 1st born) who should get the credit.

My sister told me how they were always mistreated, nothing but constant yelling/screaming/threats/arguing/etc. NY family court in the 70s, believed my parents over them and were made to stay with the idiot parents. My mom dumped her 1st born daughter (not my dad’s daughter) on my grandmother; she dumped her at 2 yrs old in NC and ran off to NY and grandma has been raising her since and has severe mental disorders which nobody in the family seems to know or care where she is and she is almost 50!

I agree that what my therapist and other people have told me is discounting. I told my therapist if an abusive husband put a roof over his wife’s head, does that make him a good husband? She is married herself and told her are you telling me this is how you counsel abused women? I never got an answer lol. I said I don’t care if my parents put a roof over our heads, isn’t that a parents’ job or did you find that to be rocket science and you have kids? Therapist didn’t like that and told her but it doesn’t excuse them for what they did. She said I am not excusing anything, I just want you to realize they are still your parents and I don’t want you to “disown them.”

Say what?!?!? I told her that isn’t your decision, were you abused? Oh, silenced said everything! My brother don’t even talk about his childhood to me, my sister has but I am sure there is a lot that I still don’t know. Sister and half sister hate my parents, they even called them by their first names. My 2nd oldest sister laughs at them, I tell her what they did and didn’t do, she just gets a laugh out of it calling them ignorant and shameful they are parents. I knew my mom had us to keep my dad around, my sister told me that mom told her in the 70s that is the reason why we are here and that the first 3 yrs of their marriage was going sour but they are still married and hate each other.

Dad does what he wants like he says and is married illegally to the another woman which he married her in Mexico in 1972 before my brother was born. My therapists’ education is in abuse/trauma not narcissism or sociopath, but I have read books and books on them and I know way more than her which I believe she is threaten by it and this summer she got the nerve to tell me how I don’t have a degree that she has and told her I don’t need to have a degree in order to know what my parents. You are getting your info through me, do not expect my parents to give you any truth since I can see you kissing their rear ends and telling me everything is okay but they got problems – then everything isn’t okay! lol


My therapy is ending soon and we are finishing up on assertiveness. I wanted to leave July 2013 because we had a huge argument which had my BP go up and didn’t sleep for 2.5 days that is how angry I was towards her! Honestly, I don’t see any reason to keep going to therapy as I am talked out and tired of being told me to “suck it up.” My social worker told me to take the workshops at the women’s center to supplement after the therapy. I am gonna be glad when the therapy is over. I believe my therapist lives in the “white picket fence, candyland type of mentality” yet agreeing with me on how “bad my parents are at parenting,” but to “remember they are still my parents.”

She was putting out there that I love my parents. I never said that and a couple of months ago; my boyfriend told me (which shocked me) I couldn’t see you saying ‘I love you’ to your parents honestly and sincerely. Nobody has ever said that to me before (he is right) and honestly, I really don’t love my parents never did as my sister and I say ‘they were just ATM machines. They used and abused us, why not do it back in return?’ My parents never said I love you to us honestly and sincerely, they said we were a burden and we were just born so my dad could get more money back in his taxes.

My therapist said ‘it isn’t old history because you still live there while siblings don’t and can say it’s old history.’ WTF?!? Well, I told her most of the stuff you are saying is discounting and she got huffy with that. Why did I stick that long with the therapist? Hence is why I need to learn assertiveness so I can use that and actually utilize it to walk away or walk out.


“Some parents don’t like independent children who don’t see things the way they do. I say get real folks. If you have independent kids be thankful.”

Agreed. My parents don’t like independent yet my mom claims she taught her daughters to be independent and that is a flat out lie. She has always been codependent all of her life, always depending on my dad, a gold digger money she never worked for and barely has a work history, says women need to be independent and complains why you (a daughter/woman) are doing it yourself, and then takes credit for “teaching you to be independent.” Which is why I am still living at home because of lack of independentness, but I told my therapist how this is embarrassing to relearn these skills that should’ve been taught at home.


” I was no longer that child and that I had become an adult with real choices. Everything changed when I realized that my biggest fear was that they would reject me and that truth was that they already had.”

This right here is exactly what did it for me. I find a lot of strength here at EFB and I thank you for sharing. I am 35 yrs old and finally had enough- I disclosed my abuse, and I’ve now been the target of a campaign of smearing from my family. My mother is on a mission to continue to discredit me, claiming that I’m “severely mentally ill” (which, of course, I am not)…and my pain comes from the realization that I’ve been hanging on to this illusion, this illusion that I needed or deserved their love and acceptance but the truth is, they don’t deserve me. I left that bad situation at 17 and was resented for it, I wish I had been strong enough earlier in life to accept that they’re sick and horrible people and I never really had them. Thank you so much for this blog- it is very helpful.


I apologize for the second post, but I also wanted to mention that it was becoming a mother of 2 girls that helped but my abuse and my mother’s role into perspective- seeing my children grow up without fear and with support and love, knowing exactly what is happening in their lives (especially under my own roof), these are the things that helped me see her role in how I was abused, she enabled it and became a jealous adversary. I cannot imagine in a million years having those types of feelings for my children.


Jane and Andria,

Thank you for taking the time to respond to my posts a while back. I read every word even though I didn’t respond right away. I really appreciate you being there.


My brother’s wife called. She apologized for not inviting me an important event…said it was “inadvertent”. Then she went on to say that my brother (her husband) doesn’t do well with directness (I had sent him a heartfelt letter months ago, not unkind just direct — he never responded). She said he “doesn’t do words…though he might make something or do something for you instead”. She said that someone explained to her that it wasn’t willful, that he has a brain freeze. Frankly I don’t buy it.

Well, he seemed to have words when he was judging me harshly about my response to my mother’s low-to-no support in the face of my father’s sexual abuse. Then he had words about how I should “forgive and forget…that’s what I would do but that’s the kind of person I am” (said condescendingly) and even more painful “You’re on your own”. Also, “I stand by what I said”.

I don’t think I can overlook this. It’s too big of a violation. He also didn’t address another issue I had with him (that he doesn’t seem to make an effort to visit me. For those who have been following the story there were a lot of years where I focused on the positive and asked him enthusiastically if he’d like to do such and such. He would say yes, but it never happened. Then I started telling him that I’d really like to see him. He’d say “let’s do that” but it wouldn’t happen). And then to not even respond to my letter adds yet ANOTHER issue. It’s humiliating to not get a response. And then he and his wife sent a thank you note for the gifts. I don’t want to send a thank you note.

As for my sister-in-law and how I am inadvertently forgotten: it happens too often with her and most of my family. A year or so ago I made a 2+ hour trip to see them and she forgot I was coming (and for some reason decided to tell me this). I seem to be left out of conversations, activities, etc. at the holidays. I don’t think they are being mean with this, I think I’m just not on their radar screen. Indifference.

You know that saying “Never make someone else more important than they make you”? I think that is what’s needed here. At the holidays (this year and other years) I felt very much like the outsider. Sure they like that I cook, and decorate, and put the meals together, and clean up…but did anyone really care about asking me about my life, or ask me to join in activities? Not especially. In the past I would have tried harder…to engage in conversation, to help plan activities, etc. but I didn’t this time. In fact, I left early, rushed out the door, chirped Goodbye, but no hugs. There was a little ripple effect of attention that I don’t usually get in the aftermath. Someone sent some photos, another offered to give something to me. But it’s so little, and sometimes it’s just too late.

Has anyone had the experience of being “done”, and then people start putting in a little more energy? But you’re done and trying to detach, and it’s too late. I’ve been hurt too many times and don’t think I can open my heart again. I’d like to develop an alternate family; it’s scary because I am already middle-aged. It is frightening to feel alone and wonder what older age will bring.


Hi Light –

I’m in my late 50’s and I have very similar issues with my family. I am developing an “alternate family” and I’m finding that some of the people who are becoming family have been a part of my life for a while already. I’m just letting my guard down and trusting them more. I’m also getting involved in support groups.

It helps just to find that there are people who are willing to care more than my family of origin does. There are people who are willing to acknowledge that we all need a little grace & encouragement from each other. It’s a bumpy road, but it feels like a productive journey.


Hi Everyone,
I’m new here, and desperately need this community right now. I’m 28, and have 2 very young children, and I am trying so very hard not to be the kind of mother I had. It was working until this year, when my mother moved countries to be closer, ostensibly to ‘help’ me with the children. But I don’t want help! I don’t need help from her (I ask for help from my husband’s family, or my wonderful friends when I need it). I find it incredibly uncomfortable leaving my girls with her if I have to because I don’t want them to pick up on the toxic effects of my mum.

Judging from where a lot of you are in the process, I think I’m in some ways definitely still in the fog. I’m not sure sometimes if my mother is really as bad as all that – and then I wonder if that’s because she’s brainwashed me. But I haven’t by any means reached a conclusion yet!

To be honest, I don’t know where to start. She was violently angry at times, flew into rages, and sometimes hit us, but I wouldn’t class her as physically abusive. The emotional abuse was so much worse anyway – she tore my brother and I down and destroyed my self esteem at times, but the worst of it is how she’d say one thing one day and the next would say, with complete conviction, the exact opposite. Especially when it came to my dad’s sexual abuse of me – one day she’d be telling me he has no right to even see my daughters and that they should never be alone with him (er, duh!) but the next she’s saying she doesn’t believe he’s a real paedophile and that he would never do it again.

Amazingly I have reconciled with my dad. We had an amazingly open and adult conversation about everything, he says he knows he destroyed everyone’s life, and that he is endlessly sorry but doesn’t expect forgiveness because it was unforgivable. He completely accepts that he can never stay in my house when he visits our town, or that he can ever be alone with my girls. I am more than happy for him to know them and be their grandfather, because he is more than just an abuser to me, he is also an intelligent and quite wise person. Some people may feel I’m playing a dangerous game but this is my choice and I’d just like to reassure everyone that my girls are in NO DANGER at all – my husband knows the entire situation, and there is a small core of friends and relatives who, in an emergency, would also know the situation and therefore my girls will never be alone with him, but can still have a normal relationship with him.

Following this amazing, unexpected breakthrough with my dad, I tried a similar thing with my mum…very different response. She asked me why I couldn’t see how much she’s changed, that she’s become a better person and I’ve become the bitch in the meantime, that I’m a hard, unfeeling woman now. She doesn’t know what she has to do ‘to be forgiven for being a terrible mother’. She says sorry, all the time, but it’s not what I want. It’s just a way of her pulling forgiveness out of me, and that’s not how it works. She does seem to want a positive relationship, and that’s the thing; we can laugh together, she’s pretty good with my little girls, and I don’t want to cut communication with her completely. I want my girls to grow up to make their own assessment of her. I just don’t know if I can survive in the meantime! She’s always asking for help, but not by actually saying the words ‘could you give me a hand with this?’ Instead she freaks out and rages about how completely useless she is about this or that, and waits for me to offer help – and she does this in front of my girls. My eldest is very easily influenced and sensitive, I don’t want her to copy what she sees! Mum also swears in front of them, calls herself fat and ugly, and badmouths her parents.

And while I really, REALLY want her to stop those things, I want my girls to know her because I know my grandparents so well. I know she feels emotionally abused by her parents – the whole cycle of abuse thing – but I adore them and named my youngest after my grandmother. If mum is to the girls what my grandmother has been to me, that will be a good thing. If she doesn’t manage to be a better granny to them than she was a mother to me, they’ll realise it for themselves and then won’t want to spend time with her, and that’ll be their choice. I will not tell them my history unless they need to know it – they will not be my counsellors (that’s your job, guys ;)) like I was for my mum.

She still tries to poison me against my entire family, it’s exhausting, because I don’t believe a tenth of what she says any more. I’m sure she tells me all these horrible things because she believes if I love someone else that’ll be a quantity of attention and love I’m not giving to her. Every time I tell her about a friend or even an actor or public figure that I love and respect, she’ll find something to tell me to try to tear them down in my mind. She even read the diary of one of my friends to tell me that they were badmouthing me! Like I give a crap?! We were 18, we argue, we trashtalk in our diaries, and WHAT were you doing reading someone else’s diary!?

SO! At the end of all this tangled snapshot into my fucked up head, please tell me what you think of my decision: I want a SUPERFICIAL relationship with my mum. I want to see her once a week at the very most, for an hour or so, so my girls can play with her. I do not want to talk about people I love. I do not want to talk about my beliefs and spirituality. I do not want to talk about our past. I do not want to hear about her parents or people who are soooo mean to her. I certainly don’t want to hear about my brother’s new fiancee (sure, I wouldn’t marry her, but I’m not going to, he is! He loves her, and therefore she IS good enough for him!) Do you guys think this kind of relationship is possible? Please will you be here for me to give me advice and a shoulder to cry on? I am going to take this path for the forseeable future, so please don’t try to tell me it won’t work, because I have to try it. But please will you help me stay on it until I decide something different needs to happen? And then will you help me with that?

Thank you xxx


And I’ll try to do the same for all of you xxx



We’re not supposed to give advice on this site so I’ll take care not to. Your mother sounds very similar to mine. Mine moved in to “help” us when my dad moved in. In our heads, we were taking her in to “help” her during the initial stages of grief.

She took over my house, was ungrateful, angry, and had tantrums you’d not believe (or maybe you would). It nearly destroyed my marriage and perhaps for that reason my husband resorted to drink.

I knew what she was like but after leaving away for a few years I thought “ah maybe she’s not so bad now”.

Now she’s only allowed to come every other month and I am planning a move to another country.

Nothing, no one, not any money, can give me back the years I lost trying to please her.

Wishing you all the best.


*sorry, meant to say when my dad died.