The Healing Power of Righteous Anger by Pam Witzemann


 I am grateful and excited to have another guest post from Pam Witzemann ! This time Pam is writing about Anger. Righteous anger. Justified anger. Pam is a frequent guest blogger here at Emerging from Broken and contributes her voice to the comments in almost every post. As always please add your thoughts and comments. Darlene Ouimet Founder of Emerging from Broken

Justified AngerThe Healing Power of Righteous Anger by Pam Witzemann

Righteous anger is the anger that Jesus used to clear the temple. It is the force behind the Civil Rights Movement and can be a powerful force for healing when employed by those who are victims of abuse.

As a child, I was emotionally and medically neglected. I was also emotionally and psychologically abused. This came by the hand of my parents. As a teenager, I was sexually abused and exploited by men. I spent most of my life thinking that I was the one at fault and my anger (which was enormous) was turned inward. I was angry with myself for all of the things that I suffered as a child and it led me into self-destructive habits and even, attempted suicide by age 18. I was angry enough to kill and I attempted to kill the one I viewed as my enemy, Me. At the time, I couldn’t even acknowledge what I felt as anger. I saw all anger as being wrong and I denied my own angry feelings. I, like many people, was taught that all anger was inappropriate and I hid my angry emotional responses by stuffing my anger and being mad at myself for being angry. By the age of 12, I was very depressed and I believe, my stuffed and misdirected anger (which was rage, a mindless and destructive anger) was the underlying cause of my childhood depression.

None of us can control what we feel. Feelings simply come and have a mind of their own. We can learn how to express our feelings in a healthy way and it is possible to not only express anger appropriately but also, to harness it as a force in emotional healing. Most of us are taught that anger is bad and uncontrolled human anger is destructive. Rage or wrath accomplishes no good. However, all of our emotions have a purpose and anger, also, has purpose. The basic purpose of anger is for self-defense. When a threat is perceived, anger rises and chemicals are released that empower us physically to meet that threat and also, make us less aware of pain. Anger is an important ally for survival and many people who have been abused have been disarmed of their normal anger response to impending threat. Thereby, they are made helpless to future abuse. The psychological and emotional abuse that I endured as a child not only disarmed me of my normal response to defend myself but caused me to view myself as the source of all that threatened me. My dad teased me mercilessly and didn’t allow me to be angry or cry as a result of that teasing. If I responded to his teasing with anger or if I cried, I was demeaned and punished. His favorite form of teasing was to hold me so tight that it hurt and if I cried or got mad, he would squeeze tighter and tighter until I gave up. I learned to submit when threatened rather than fight. When others wanted something from me, I often would give in out of fear. My emotional responses also became inappropriate. For example, I often laughed at things that should have made me cry or made me angry. By the time I was a teenager, I was completely out of touch with my feelings and often, I had no idea what my feelings were. Emotionally, I was a tangled mess and until I learned to acknowledge my anger, direct it toward the correct source, and understand its purpose, I remained in emotional turmoil.

I was victimized and terrorized by my dad’s uncontrolled anger. I wanted no part of it but I grew up also, not being able to control my anger. I and those who love me and I love, were the victims of my bottled up anger that found expression in drug and alcohol abuse and rages triggered by reminders of past abuse. I was lost in this behavior and had no insight as to why I abused myself and raged or where it came from. Insight began with my husband telling me, during an argument, that he didn’t know who did those things to me but it wasn’t him. That was the beginning of my re-attaching my anger to hurtful actions by my dad. The process of untangling my emotions and learning the proper function of each response and the appropriate expression of those responses was long and arduous. Most of my work was done on my own and it began with redirecting my anger away from myself and away from those who hadn’t harmed me to those who had hurt me. I didn’t connect my drug and alcohol abuse with misdirected anger; but the last time I thought about drinking, I instead, poured all of the beer down the drain. This was a pivotal moment for me as before, when my husband brought alcohol home, I felt the need to get rid of it by drinking it all. As a child, my parents blamed me for their drinking problem and it was empowering to pour that beer down the drain, getting rid of the substance that I hated with a passion, rather than using myself as the disposal. It was the moment that enabled me to quit all substance abuse. It was the moment when my anger began to flow outward. I began seeing myself for who I am and not as my enemy and source of my emotional pain and confusion.

It was also important for me to learn the differing aspects of anger. Irritation is a common and mild form of anger and the extreme at the other end of the anger spectrum is wrath or rage. Somewhere in the middle is righteous anger and it is the anger that abused persons must find and utilize in order to heal. Righteous anger is anger in response to a moral affront and there is nothing more morally offensive than child abuse, in all of its varying forms. I think of my body as a temple and my temple was desecrated by those who abused me as a child and as a teenager. I was helpless to further abuse because I was disabled, through psychological and other subsequent abuse, of my righteous anger, when it applied to myself. Just as Jesus employed righteous anger to clear the temple of the money-changers and their desecration of that temple, I had to find and become righteously angry at my abusers in order to clear my temple and find my way toward emotional healing. It wasn’t enough to only stop seeing myself as my enemy and the source of my emotional confusion. I also had to direct my anger to its true source. I had to examine each trauma that initially triggered an angry response that was immediately stuffed, and place my anger on the appropriate door step of the one who had caused me harm. I had to allow myself to feel that anger, remove any inappropriate blame from myself and give it back to those who rightfully owned blame. I began to set personal boundaries and stand up for myself. It led to my confrontation of my parents with the final outcome of their ending the relationship rather than taking responsibility for their mistreatment of me. They prefer to be without me rather than meet my requirement of treating me with respect. I am happier being divorced from my family of origin, with blame being placed where it belongs, than I was carrying blame that didn’t belong to me and being emotionally confused by it. My righteous anger is the force that freed me from inappropriate guilt and inappropriate emotional response. I no longer carry rage within me and I no longer hate myself. Any angry response that I feel now is only about a current threat and less likely to come out of that deep well of stuffed, misdirected anger that I carried within me for so long. My life is no longer governed by bottled up anger and inappropriate guilt. I am no longer my own enemy and I love myself as God loves me. I am also, better able to love others. My temple is clear and clean and my life is changed. I am no longer living as a person desecrated by others and I owe it all to righteous anger.

Pam Witzemann

Pam Witzemann was born in Santa Fe, NM and is now 54 years old. She has been married for 33 years, raised two boys and has two grandsons. Pam and her husband have had their own business for about twenty years. Pam is a painter and a writer and hopes to make these pursuits more than a hobby in her later years. Pam authors the blog Boomer Back Beat; a place where baby boomers find inspiration in the process of aging.

Related Posts by Pam ~ The black hole of Emotional Neglect

Forgive the Abusers ~ A bit of a Rant


Categories : Freedom & Wholeness



Hi Pam,

thanks for sharing! Plenty of food for thought in this one for me. I only recently came to believe I was trained to squash/internalize my anger. Been so damn full of anger/rage (and grief too) this year; I think the hardest part is being unable to express the anger & having to keep the smiling mask up (esp. around my parents).

The part about setting personal boundaries and standing up for myself is something I’ve been thinking about for some time. I’m kinda scared to start, because I can’t think of one relationship where I’ve ever done that. And I’m pretty alone as it is, so fairly scared of “pushing” things to find out whether any of the relationships are able to be salvaged, as I don’t feel ready to cope with total abandonment yet (or probably worse, active pressure/attacks etc).

I’m almost certain my family will be unresponsive at best. Actually, I’m expecting emotional/guilt/shame attacks to be unleashed full force if I do start actively standing up for myself, so I’ve pretty much decided not to do so until I’m out of the house and free of dependence on them. That could be seen as pessimistic, but based on the track record so far, I think it’s pretty realistic.

Actually, my head’s messing with me a bit, along the lines of “coward – you’re just gonna keep living a lie (like you always have) and not give them any warning until you’re out the door and then never talk to them again?” Hmmmm. Trying to think if I can balance that thought out myself.

Well, I guess that’s ingrained thinking from my upbringing. I was trained that my mother’s mood was my responsibility (both causing bad ones, and needing to try to somehow “make up” for what I’d done — though of course I was never told til LATER what f**king “misdeed” was responsible for her acting like a f**king child, it was always “I’m fine” or “no” if I asked if I’d done something, but the tone and body language always told very differently). And sometimes, she’d eventually tell me about something someone ELSE had done that had “caused” her bad mood, but the f**king result was always the same for me (silent, withdrawn, radiating anger etc etc). Bitch.

And of course I’ve spent my life defending her, because she got it from her mother, who got it from her mother. But she’s already passed it on down to me and my sibling, who’s well on the way to continuing the proud heritage. (Another fairly recent depressing realization). But yes, FINALLY that righteous anger has started burning deep inside me. It’s quite scary at times; but I guess I’m hoping I’ll be able to harness it for energy to start taking what baby steps I can towards supporting myself (for the first time ever).

And if I choose to get away and cut off completely without even giving them a chance to respect my boundaries (once I’ve figured them out), well f**k it. They’ve spent my whole life disregarding my wants and needs and f**king with my head until I’m a nervous wreck who’s been battling thoughts of suicide for most of this year (and been scared to varying degrees of losing my mind and dying/killing myself from that for at least 6 years). And they’ve proved time and time again that I may as well not exist (that’s in terms of how much attention they pay to ME and how much they’ve tried to crush the REAL ME to be a f**king self-righteous religious clone like they want me to be.

Phew. Think that could be a little bit of that anger coming out, hmmm? 🙂 Apologies for the negativity and language etc. When I think about it, it was a fairly recent realization too that for all intents and purposes, I DON’T exist — at least, not the REAL me… that person has just been kicked down and crushed into the mud until I barely realize that the “me” that walks around, and smiles at my abusers and tries to keep telling them what they want to hear (that nothing’s wrong, everything’s great) is nothing but a f**king zombie of their making.

I’ve had a few recent victories (comparitively small in many ways, but soooo massive for where I’m at) of brief glimpses of connection with people that made me feel good about myself, and one time when I forced myself out of the house and into the city and managed to talk to some strangers and have a few drinks and not completely freak out. So that’s good. I’m still stuck in feeling like it’s completely wrong to seek connections with people because of all the shit inside me (that I don’t feel able to hide at this stage), so I’ll have to try and change my thinking there somehow.

But first priority is getting to the stage where I feel I can support myself (HUGE mental blocks to overcome), not to mention actually DO it and find myself a safe place to live. I read somewhere (possibly here? but I think in my “If You Had Controlling Parents” book) an example of if you broke your leg, you couldn’t expect it to heal if you keep trying to walk normally on it. But with emotional wounds, we often get the double whammy of:
(1) not stopping to take time to heal (either from just not having the time, or the societal pressure of emotional wounds not being “real” etc) and
(2) still being stuck in the same situation, so not only does the original wound not heal, but it keeps getting made worse, and new wounds keep happening too, which also don’t heal, etc etc etc

Which is fully where I’m at (eg stuck living with my parents still). So NO WONDER I’m having such a shit year!!! The blinders are finally gone from my eyes, and I’m seeing more clearly than ever just how much shit has been heaped on me from birth, and it’s finally starting to make some sense of my seemingly endless list of physical and mental ailments (depression, anxiety, dissociating through porn/binge eating/fantasy [books/TV etc], brutal headaches, aches in most of my body, no energy, insomnia, no motivation, suicidal thoughts, self-harm, extreme weight gain, unable to make decisions, regular breakdowns crying like a baby, anger, rage, hopelessness, digestion problems). Blah!!! Stupid f**king parents. Poor little me! I feel so sorry for myself when I think of myself as a beautiful, innocent child with a sensitive, caring soul and no defences. Just need to get back to seeing myself that way NOW. (I think. But then I start thinking about my parents as being that way once, and I get stuck again).

Nope, can’t go there. They’re choosing to go on perpetuating the myth and the abuse. I can’t change that, but I’ve finally changed (at least most of the time) the inner belief about who’s at fault here. BIG F**KING WIN!!!!! 🙂

Oh boy. I feel so drained when I get to the end like this. Gonna have to just hit “submit” wihtout reading back or I very much doubt I’ll send this.

Ok here goes… bombs away!!!


Pam you nailed it for me. That is exactly what I felt and am feeling now. I am not feeling the good anger but the dysfunctional anger at what my brother and sister have recently done to me. It is how I am treated (the dysfunctional way) even at present. Im going to print this and send it to 2 of my brothers that are dealing with the same issue (not the one I’ve spoken about). Thank you, thank you!


J, You seem to know who you’re angry with and why. I didn’t know who for years and after I figured out who, it took decades to understand why. I thought it was fine for people to treat me the way they did because I knew no difference but my heart knew. I was a slow process for me but when my anger began to flow outward instead of inward, my thinking began to change. Of course, I had to express my anger in an appropriate manner. If I hadn’t, I’d only make more problems for myself and others. Setting healthy boundaries means respecting the boundaries of others, even if they’ve hurt you. It sounds like being out on your own is the most important piece in this right now. I hope you are able to do that soon. That’s a huge boundary in and of itself.



You’re welcome, sweetie. It helped me a lot to understand anger and how to express it in a way that was beneficial and not destructive. Or maybe I should say, only destructive to the dysfunctional way I felt about myself.



I had to share this one with my husband. That’s him almost to a T. I hope that he gets as much out of it as I did. How does one place the anger on the appropriate door step, and give it back? And how do you do that when they are no longer alive vs one that is living?


Hi Lisa, I’ll use my sexual abuse as an example since those who hurt me haven’t been a part of my life for decades. I spent my entire life thinking what happened to me was my fault. Putting it on their doorstep was realizing that they hurt me by manipulating me and using me. Even after that realization, it took some time for me to feel the anger they deserved and to mourn what happened to me. My parents allowed this to happen to me and also, reinforced my inaproptiate guilt. When I tried to talk to them about it, they refused to engage with me. My family told me that I was just trying to blame someone else for my sin. I tried for a long time to get through to them but finally, I set the boundary that they had to treat me with respect if we were to continue having a relationship and that had to start with acknowledging what had happened to me and their part in allowing it to happen. They wouldn’t do that and I walked away. If I didn’t stick with my boundary, I would have to pick up all that guilt I laid down and carry it once again. If I did that, I’d also take back the anger and misdirect it towards myself as I had for decades.

I hope that clarifies things for you. The men who hurt me might as well be dead as they aren’t available to receive my anger but it still belongs to them and not me.



Lately I have been very angry and Im crying all the time too. It’s not like me to be this outwardly angry and tearful. Not just feeling angry but verbally angry. Im in pain and that may contribute, having it out with brother and sister who have made me feel devalued, but man I can’t seem to stop the flow. I dont know what to do and I want it to end. I have been having a lot of test done and do you know what my greatest fear is? It’s not finding cancer it’s them not finding anything. I hurt and am swollen yet they can only find minimal things wrong. Nothing that will account for the 6-10 plus pain level 24-7.Im sorry im just frustrated, thanks though for letting me talk.


Renee, It was really hard for me when I understood that I’d been sexually abused. It was good to understand and horrible at the same time. When I confronted my family, I wrote letters and then shivered under a blanket for hours. I never heard anything from any of them. Nothing. I told myself that they were like me and just didn’t understand so I kept trying to get them to understand. I didn’t want to face the fact that they just don’t care and didn’t want to disrupt their lives with my problems. The same reason why my parents did nothing to stop what happened to me, it was a lot of bother and I’m not worth it to them. It was a terrible process and I went through a year of chemotherapy during that time also. It was like everything in my life came to a head at once. I know psychological problems can affect on physically and visa versa. It is hard to sort it all out but I think that your anger flowing outward is a good sign. I hope you don’t have cancer and if you don’t, that’s nothing to be ashamed of. Your emotional wounds are very deep, Renee and if you are expressing some of that pain through your body, that’s just the way it is. Pain whether it is emotional or physical takes its toll. Don’t appologize, that’s what this site is for. I understand exactly what you are going through.



Hi Pam…. and everyone!
I am so thankful to read this post. I too have had so much anger in my life. I would be punished for getting angry growing up. I always feel shame when I get angry, because the message as a child was that anger is wrong. I stuffed it down and topped it off with guilt. I still feel guilt for it, yet, I have no coping skills, nor the slightest idea how to change what I feel. I have always felt my emotions were inappropriate. I cry easily. I get angry when someone hurts me. I hold onto it. I’m in a particularly trying year of my life. In February, I discovered my husband was having an affair with a woman he works with. That really shattered my foundation because for the length of our marriage, I thought I’d at last found freedom from the grip of my mother. On the heals of that discovery, my two sisters and I started to unravel what my mother is all about. I was blindsided by it. Lies, manipulation, control, deceit, triangulation, envy…. the list goes on. Then on the heals of that, after I’d consciously decided my two sisters were the only people who “had my back”, one sister moved 12 hours away. She was my very very best friend. I went to visit and she “unintentionally” treated me like an outsider, along with my 18 yr old niece. I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed the whole way home. I was crushed. Now, I’m in this place where I feel a very thin layer of skin is all that is keeping my inner cells from exploding in every direction and covering whomever happens to be present. I’m irritable. I can’t find contentment. I can’t make decisions. I am sad. I want to tell people how stupid they are. I feel terribly alone, yet, I want to run from all these people and start a new life on the other side of the planet. I don’t think I’m a bad person. Why would people do these things?? They don’t have a shred of love in their hearts with my name on it. I am not generally a person who uses swear words, but I tell ya, I feel like the “F” word is on the tip of my tongue nearly all the time. My mind swirls like tornado…. with thoughts of every kind, about my family/husband. I am aimless and I have no idea what to do with any of them. I’m angry and feel a constant need to apologize for it. Thanks for listening. I love this site!!


Mimi, People do hurtful things because of something that is wrong in them. Being angry when hurt is normal. Learning to express it apropriately harnesses the energy of anger for good. Then there is no need to apologize. It takes practice but it is possible. I feel better when I stand up for myself and tell someone that I care about how they’ve hurt me. If the relationship is healthy, it is the beginning of making that relationship better. The loss of unhealthy relationships really isn’t a loss.



Your sister MUST know my sister! All kidding aside, I spent a few hours looking for a therapist. For my it is what I need to get back to my normal. My normal is not other peoples normal and I use to go into counseling every 3 yrs to get me centered. Kinda like tuning up your car. I have said those F words and I am getting more frustrated. I know people change even when you don’t notice it.You will find your answers.


Renee, I hope you find the support you need for that tune up. Don’t be too hard on yourself. You have a lot to be angry about.



Thanks for responding. I so much appreciate that. I need help to sort through all that’s swirling around in my head. I don’t know if I’m good or bad. I don’t know who I am I don’t think. Renee… with my family history, my sister actually COULD be your sister… :o)
(I hope a little light heartedness is acceptable here).

I am in counseling. When I found out about my husband’s four month affair, my mother called a mutual friend who is a christian therapist. She saw me right away. I’m not sure how much it’s helping. Sometimes I feel relief when I leave, sometimes I feel like I haven’t really shown her how deep my pain goes. This week she actually said I need to “s**t or get off the pot” with my husband. I have no idea what that means except we’re still together but things are uncertain for me internally. I don’t know what the future will bring in our marriage. So, I guess in my counselor’s eyes, there’s a time limit for these things. In my eyes, I can only get through a few days at a time. Sometimes a few hours at a time. Ooops…. I’m sorry if I got off topic. The fact remains, I’m angry and I don’t like it. People say choose not to be. I feel worse then because I don’t have the strength or mental fortitude to white knuckle it and be happy…. how does a person be happy in the midst of several back to back losses?? That’s a serious question. Could someone help me with that?? I’m a person who loves to be happy and enjoy life. I love to laugh. I’m just not there right now. 🙁


Mimi, I disagree with people who think the answer is to deny how you feel and act happy. I think it is better to feel what you feel and work thorugh it. Your husband cheating on you is a big deal. Being hurt by your sister is too. When I’m going through something hard, I try to keep moving through it and not get stuck. It is easy to freeze and not do anything to improve my situation. Anger is for self-defense and when I stand up for myself by either speaking against how I was treated or in making decisions to better things for myself, the anger disapates. Storing it up inside is never a good thing.

You can’t be in any other place than where you are. Sometimes, the only answer is to just keep putting one foot forward. Therapy takes time.



Thank you for your encouragement and wisdom Pam. I did speak out, to both my sister and my husband. I haven’t done so with my mother, but I’m pondering how to handle that, perhaps going completely no contact. She’s a real piece of work, and I didn’t realize that until this year as well. Anyhow, people have said my faith is not deep enough, I’m not relying on God enough, or I’m not focusing on my blessings. While I feel that’s true at times, I don’t think it’s the only answer. When you come to a place in life where you discover the people who should love you are really in it for themselves, it’s tough to swallow. I do pray. I still wake up each day with nagging in my mind, irritated at times. I am happy to hear someone say that’s okay. My question is, I did voice my pain to both my sister, and my husband. My sister has just vanished and that still hurts. So, why do I still have this underlying anger and irritability? I expressed it. I’m still really hurting about my sister. I can’t believe there’s been no contact in 6 weeks, and we spoke every day. Is that why I’m still angry?? I think she should step up and make some effort to prove I mean at least something to her?


Hi Pam, thanks for the great post. For me, the full healing didn’t come until I recognized more subtle forms of abuse and got angry about them in addition to the anger I already felt. That is, I was already righteously angry at my stepmother for her cruelty, but I had always thought of my father as the “nice” one. After reading a couple of books by Alice Miller I realized the truth: how good was he if he brought her into my life, watched her abuse us all without stopping it, praised her and always made excuses for her, told me that she acted that way because she “cared”, etc. So I finally allowed myself to feel angry at him, and that opened me to significant healing. The lie embedded in all of this was that I had believed he cared about me and my happiness, but SHE was the one who ruined it all. I used to believe that if we could just be a family without her again then everything would be ok, but the truth is that he was weak and sentimental to begin with. Sophia


It’s also taken me a long time to recognize that my abuse was “real.” That often keeps me internalizing my anger. And I’m still working on the anger I often feel in general because I see how badly people in general treat each other and the natural world.


Mimi, I hate it when people tell others that they don’t have enough faith. Faith is a gift from God, we can’t manufacture it ourselves. Faith also helps us work through problems but it doesn’t make them vanish or make us feel happy about unhappy things. My family dumped me too, Mimi. It hurt like hell but if I would have back away from the boundaries I set with them for the sake of keeping them in my life, I know I’d be a lot more miserable today because I would still be living a lie. Standing up for yourself doesn’t mean that people are going to do their part. We have no control over others. Life is painful and it sounds like you are getting a good dose of life’s pain right now.

I don’t think the way your sister is treating you is right either. I know that silent treatment well and in my family it was always a trick to see if I could be made to forget my rightful complaint and ignore their wrongdoing. I don’t know your sister but I’m sure you have some idea as to why she’s behaving this way. I didn’t understand my family for a long time because I thought that inside they were like me but they aren’t. Because of that they were able to manipulate me for a long time.

Be easy on yourself. There are enough people beating up on you right now.



Pam, it is my mistake in not mentioning that my sister offered a heartfelt apology and said she didn’t know why she allowed the scenario to happen. I accept her apology. I’m still hurt, but I accept that she made that effort and it does console. However, the lack of contact since then sort of negates her apology….. or something. She said I was her best friend and she would never do anything intentionally to hurt me. I have to admit, I laid it out to her pretty squarely in an email – that I couldn’t believe the way things happened when I drove 11 hours to be with her and her family. I’m sorry, there are so many events, words, dynamics, it’s hard to write it all here. I wish I could. I thank you so much for staying in touch today. I really need someone – anyone really, to say it’s okay, because I definitely wonder at times. Thank you so much for that!


You’re welcome, Mimi. Maybe your sister has a problem of her own. It’s never okay to hurt others because we are angry but it is always okay to be angry when we get hurt. Sometimes, the truth hurts but that can’t be avoided. I hope you get things sorted out and have better days soon. Losing my sister has been really hard on me. I never thought it could happen. I had a simular experience where I felt estranged and when I wrote to her about it, she just got angry. It is a good thing that your sister listened and even apologized. Hang on to that.



That was so interesting. So full of truth, I shared it all over the WWW! Thx for sharing your heart, Pam. I found this on my friends fb wall.


I’m sorry for your loss. It is so so hard when your sister is so dear to your heart. When my sisters (3 of us) started putting our heads together and realizing that our mother isn’t who we thought she was, and maybe even a little abusive (jury’s still out), both my sisters became even more dear to me, although I was closer to the oldest one. I am the youngest. She became a consoler to me. Soft spoken, gentle spirit, helped me through the beginnings of discovering my husband’s affair, etc. I miss her so much. I too have thought maybe this happened for a reason that’s yet to be discovered. I think she is a well intended person. I believe her priorities might be in the dumpster though. She became sort of fascinated by a pastor and his wife 5-6 years ago. They had been in overseas missions for 20 years, but settled near myself and my sister, and began a church of their own. Long story short, they spent two years here, their church had some undercover moral complication which I know nothing about, and they moved to Tulsa. Now the pastor does overseas missions/opens churches, bible schools, etc. Two years ago my sister said God had told her they would be moving there. I said, okay, and I supported. Inside, I questioned if she’d heard correctly, but would have never voiced it to her, and still haven’t. Incidentally, her oldest daughter was off to O.R.U. beginning in August this year. That said, when my niece prepared to go off to school, my sister and brother in law packed up and moved there too with their other two younger daughters. Now they are down the street from O.R.U. and from the missions couple. They took a huge leap of faith. No jobs there, their house hadn’t sold, and still hasn’t. They were met with obstacle after obstacle, to which my sister blamed the evil one. She says doing God’s work will bring a plethora of attacks from satan. I have to say I wonder if God was trying to discourage, rather than satan trying to attack. Not my place though, and I’m aware of that. All their children are miserable, and said so when I was there, even the one at ORU who cried and said she wanted to go back home. Unfortunately, they’ve been sort of coached on letting discontent or unsavory feelings/emotions out to others. They have led sheltered lives. She has said for many months she was praying that my husband and I would be led there too. I bet she isn’t praying that now. I’m still angry that our relationship has basically dissolved, and it’s okay with her. I have a scab that covers abandonment, inferiority, and shame. She and my niece scratched that scab off. The wound is again exposed and actively bleeding. She knows about the deep wounds in detail…. all three of us have them, but not necessarily the same ones. Since my mother and her brother stopped speaking 10 years ago, I have often said, nothing, but NOTHING will tear me apart from my sisters. I’ve said it to them as well. But, something did. I was so wrong. :o(

So, how do I handle my nieces now? They are very far away. I don’t know what’s right and wrong in terms of contact. I feel any action or inaction will be criticized. I miss them, and I’m ashamed to say not the oldest so much because she was in on singling me out when I went to visit, as a matter of fact, she orchestrated and carried the whole thing out. My sister stood by idly and allowed the tail to wag the dog, and contributed as well. My niece is aware of the problem. She has not apologized, and my sister has not encouraged it that I’m aware of. Her excuse at first was she didn’t want to expose my niece to my anger. She knows I am not angry (outwardly toward her anyway) because I sent her a text on her bday in september and said happy bday, love and miss you. She wrote back, thanks, love you too. The unspoken message there is….”but, I don’t miss you”. Oh well, I think I’ve spilled enough today. Again Pam, thanks for your correspondence. I so much appreciate it and you’ve blessed me beyond measure. <3


Dawn, I’m glad it was helpful to you and thank you for taking the time to tell me so.:0)



Mimi, There is so much going on with you…My sister used to see my parents for what they were then she went into this mode of having to honor them even at the expense of lying. I think she was having problems with her son and thought she was being punished for not honoring her parents. That’s surmising on my part and she doesn’t ever share anything with anyone. My self-respect came at a high price. I lost my nieces and nephews and I also haven’t heard from my brother in months. I know my neices are confused and I’ve done my best to keep the door open between us but I will never talk bad about their mother to them. I hope that as they mature, they will reconsider and reconnect with me. I’ve tried hard to do the right thing even though it hurt. The reward is that my children are proud of me and happy that I stood my ground because they have always felt secondary and knew it was because they were my children but didn’t know why. I was the scape-goat, the one everything was blamed on so that the family could continue. I really don’t know how long they will last without me unless, they choose a new scapegoat. No one in my family of origin can deal with their own shame, they have to caste it off on someone else. It makes it impossible to communicate with them. It makes me sad that they are so sick but they will never get help and all I do by remaining in a relationship with them is enable them to continue in their state of denial.

I love, Jesus but my family lives in an alternate world and the religion they practice changes with their current situation. They use it to manipulate me and others, for an escape from the reality they work so hard to deny, and as a means for garnering the admiration they mistake as love. When people become involved in a cult-like situation (and this can happen within a healthy church among unhealthy members)it is because of phsychological reasons, not spiritual. It took me a long time to see all of this but when I got enough courage to confront my family with what happened to me in childhood, they showed me themselves for what they really are. I have to accept that also.

Self-respect is worth a lot. It isn’t possible to be a fully autonomous person without healthy self-esteem. Coming from a highly dysfunctional family who used me as a scape-goat made it impossible for me to develop self-esteem. It has been a long process that was completed with confronting my past and taking all of the shame that I wrongfully carried and giving it back to who it belonged.

I don’t know how much of this applies to you. We each have our own journey but I know that truth is the only way to wholeness. I’m glad to listen and share, Mimi. Be good to yourself. You are your number one responsibility. We have to love ourselves before we can truly love any other. I hope things get better for you soon.



thank you for these important reminders. this message is being heard and shared by those deeply in need of this truth. blessings to you.


Sophia, I also had to uncover many things that I didn’t understand. There was so much that I should have been angry about but believed that it was normal. I always felt the anger deep inside but I blamed myself for my pain. I thought I was defective, “bad, nasty”. My mother’s disapproval became my own. My dad manipulated me and said he loved me so I saw nothing unusual in men telling me they loved me as they also manipulated and used me. I never had what I needed to develop as a person because of my emotional neglect and psychological abuse. I spent a lot of years with a deep longing that I now was for self. In short, it has been a long road but when I began to reattach my anger to the events that shaped me in childhood, it was the beginning of untangling my emotions and putting them in the right place. I thought all anger was the same but when I understood about righteous anger, it gave me the strength and courage to face my past and confront my family. By that, I won my self-respect and lost a family that never functioned as a family should. I’m sad for them and I pray for them but I can’t make them well or make them do the right thing. That is thei job.



Sophia, If there is anything that human beings are good at it is abusing one another. If we’ve been mistreated growing up, it is likely to happen over and over until we face what happened and learn to trust and protect ourselves.



rain, Thank you for blessing,me.:0)



Pam, I too was the scapegoat. More like the planet’s blackest sheep!! No self esteem and no idea where to begin to cultivate it.

Sophia, my situation was exactly opposite yours. For years I blamed my stepdad. Just this year, I’ve realized my mother’s equally guilty and probably more. It was a little devastating to uncover those realities. Don’t get me wrong though, my stepdad remains the trophy holder for the world’s biggest jerk! Now I just realize they deserve each other.


Mimi, If you realize how you were used, that is a good beginning. I think you are on the edge of a new beginning. A lot of things came to a head in my life right before I finally, figured it all out. Hang in there.



Pam, I sure do know what you mean about how the way your father treated you set you up to be treated that way by other men. Once I was able to finally recognize how my father had professed to love me but then still put me in a situation where my stepmother could hurt me, I then looked at other relationships with men that I knew and could see the same pattern. These were not necessarily love relationships, but still. One was with an artist and his wife that I studied with when I was young. I know I even told myself at the time that I saw them as surrogate parents. But the pattern was exactly the same, even though they seemed so outwardly different from my parents. The man seemed kindly but was weak, and his wife often insulted me, encouraged me to engage in really risky behaviors, and finally she turned her back on me when I got into real trouble as a result of following her advice. But I was so ignorant that when I met them again twenty years later, I greeted them like long lost friends. Btw, the second time around they messed with me too. So when I finally saw that all of this was an ongoing re-creation of my parents’ behavior, and that it was all wrong and that I was not to blame, I was finally able to feel my righteous anger at all of this (and others I haven’t mentioned too). My father and some of the others were dead by the time I got angry, but I expressed my feelings in my journal and even spoke out loud as if they were there, letting them and myself know that I was coming to know the truth and that I would not be treated this was anymore by anybody. Now I can feel how I am growing and healing. I’ve recently had some dreams where I was in a wheelchair, but found that I could stand up and start walking again and didn’t need the chair anymore. THAT’S a great subconscious message! Love, Sophia


Sophia, My parents are both very narcissistic and my dad even taught us that we were part of him. I grew up as an arm or a leg and a lot of my life was spent forming relationships in which I served the other person and carried the whole weight of responsibility for the relationship. The men who abused me, fed into my need for someone to love me and take care of me. I didn’t know the difference. My husband was a blessing from God and not like anyone that I picked for myself before. He taught me what real love is. Then when I realized that I had been abused and wasn’t whore like my family labeled me, everything turned right side up. The last five years have been years of personal growth unlike any I’ve experienced before.

You sound like you’ve come a long way. I think often, jus being able to feel that righteous anger and attach it appropriately is enough. I know I won’t be looking up my sexual abusers so that I can confront them…I don’t care about them, I’m just happy to be free of the shame of their wrong doing.



Sophia….I have had bad dreams about my mother for years. About, oh, I’d say 6-7 a year. The dreams are always about her whispering about me to my siblings or other family members, calling out a shortcoming of mine in a group of people, then laughing, etc. Always a deeply painful scenario in which I’m the brunt of ridicule. I’ve always known they were a manifestation of what was “real” in our relationship. I love that you had the dream you had. A dream of VICTORY!! I hope mine will be that someday. Sidebar: after this event happened with my sister, I had a dream like the ones involving my mother, except, this time, the offender was my sister. That has really made me say hmmmm!!

I wanted to add also, my dad has been gone from my life since I was 11. He’s a very bad alcoholic. The kind who wakes up and has a drink. I have some contact with him now, but he lives a few states away, and I just accept him like he is. No expectations. I feel sorry for him. He never caused me any harm that I remember, although my mother would have me think he did. She made a big dramatic scene about him being drunk and angry. Now, I don’t think he was that big of a monster. Just a man with a severe addiction. I know he’s my biological father, but really, I have just gone through life without a father. If you don’t know what you’re missing, you don’t miss it. My mother always made sure to solidify in our minds that he didn’t love us, never had, and never would. Then, in my teen years, she barked and yelled about how I was just like him. Flattering!! Right this minute, it makes me want to call her a bad name!!

It’s been such a blessing to find this site. To find people with the courage to bare their souls and hurts. I’ve been incredibly blessed today! :o)


Sophia, what a powerful dream!! Thanks so much for sharing!

I’ve only very recently started to turn around in my beliefs from childhood that “believing in” or “listening” to dreams was bad/sinful (pretty sure those beliefs were inherited from my parents and/or church).

The most powerful one I had involved me being back in high school and standing up to a teacher who was picking on a girl in front of the whole class (a real-life girl I knew in high school; I didn’t know the teacher in the dream though) who always seemed to me to be the happiest person, who I couldn’t imagine hurting a fly.

I didn’t think much of it at the time, but since then it feels like the brainwashing from my childhood has finally started to lift (about having a perfect childhood, and ME being the cause of all my problems rather than my parent’s emotional abuse etc), so when I recently found the note I’d written about the dream, it hit me like a ton of bricks, because the parent who was my main abuser is a teacher, and I suddenly saw the girl in the dream as representing myself as a child (happy, carefree, innocent but unable to defend himself), and the “me” in the dream being the me now who’s finally waking up to what happened, and needs to learn to stand up for myself as I couldn’t when I was little.

Also fully relate to seeing one parent as the “good” one, but finally realising he let it all happen and being angry about that.

Gotta go – parents are home, but to Mimi – so sorry to hear about all that’s going on, lots I want to write, I’ll try to get back on later!

Take care



Mimi and J (and anyone really), I think that catching dreams and decoding their meanings takes us into the deepest parts of ourselves and helps us to understand the struggle between our true selves and the forces that traumatized us. It’s great to hear that you both have gained some insights in this way, too. All those years when I was repressing my pain with heavy marijuana smoking, one of the side effects was that I couldn’t remember my dreams. Now that I am getting them again, I am learning so much, even though sometimes interpretation is difficult or the images are painful. But just the act of remembering and listening to our dreams is good, and I think it sends a message that we are at least ready and willing to start honoring and respecting our inner intelligence and truth. Love, Sophia


Very well put Sophia! There was never a chance I would forget those dreams of my mother and then my sister. They hang on throughout the day and some little thing gives me a glimpse back into the dream. And, thank you J for your compassion…. and everyone else too.


Thanks, Pam. I love the way you (and Darlene in past posts) talk about how you dealt with the anger. I find that most people, when you start expressing anger or outrage against injustices, immediately focus on forgiveness and tell you that you will resolve the anger when you forgive.

Just the other day, I realised that the outrage I felt in the early days when I started recovering from an abusive relationship is not there as much. I don’t feel like strangling every stranger who is abusive or rude to me. And I certainly don’t need to be outraged at my kids since they are also victims and now we are travelling much more intimately, although I would like very much to help them on this journey. My son, in particular, is being punished at school for his expressions of rage against his teachers, even though he is not a rebellious, mouthy kid by nature. But he is hypersensitive to blame, and it doesn’t take much, when a teacher starts sounding firm, for him to be triggered and think he is being abused.

I also grieve for my adult daughter, who has been badly affected by her childhood but not open to walking the journey of recovery together. I am so much more able to manage my boundaries with her, given her covert aggression to us, and had to call the police on her when she assaulted another family member. I feel her pain, but I also cannot tolerate disrespect in the household. I can only invite her to engage respectfully but if she chooses not to, I can only maintain the boundaries and grieve the loss of our relationship.

Darlene would know that I used to ask her many questions on how to deal with the anger of the family while still healing and angry yourself? It’s taken many mistakes, but I think we have turned the corner. The good thing is that my faith, on the brink of shipwreck, has not been destroyed but glows in my heart, ever guiding me toward the freedom God intended for us to enjoy. So glad that Jesus showed us that anger against injustice should and can be rightfully expressed.


Krissy, The key for me was to acknowledge the true injustice and reattach my anger to those traumas and their perpetrators. Before I di that, my anger was completely without reason and came when trigered. I had no control over it and it only served to further more destruction in my life. The verse,”be angry and sin not” has my teeth marks all through it as I chewed on that trying to understand how that could be accomplished. The answer is righteous anger and that has to start with acknowledging the moral outrage. Then forgiveness can come and those who caused the damage can receive that forgiveness when they take responsibility for what they’ve done.

Thanks for sharing. I know how tough it is when it has already been passed down to your kids before you figure out what is wrong. I’m in that place too but with each passing day, we are better than the day before. Anger no longer rules in my household.



Pam, I have a question. What if the person who caused emotional trauma throughout your life refuses to acknowledge any wrongdoing, or like in another blog here, says they did the best they could? No ownership serves to invalidate what I view as painful and destructive behavior. If my mother angrily refuses to take any responsibility whatsoever, where do you go from there?


Hi everyone,

I’m pretty freaked out right now & thought I’d try writing about it to see if it helps…

Basically it sounds like I might have an opportunity to get my own place to live, but I’m really scared. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been utterly convinced that I’d never be able to support myself and that I’d have to live with my parents forever (or until they kicked me out onto the street).

I’ve been feeling like it’s killing me (living with my parents) when I’ve only quite recently come to see my upbringing as emotionally abusive and as being brainwashed by my parents (about blaming myself, believing everything was my fault and parroting religious beliefs and the lie that I had a great childhood etc). But I just don’t feel ready, because I’ve connected “moving out” with cutting off from my parents completely, because I don’t think they’ll (my mother, particularly) ever respect me or treat me how I deserve to be treated, and they’ve already shown that if I try to stand up to them (only have a couple of times, and only about tiny things), they’ll just respond by actively attacking me for not going along with their lies. So if I somehow managed to say what I REALLY feel, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect all-out war from them, and quite possibly from extended family and their friends as well.

Also, this potential opportunity is through one of my parents’ work contacts, and I don’t want to feel like THEY made it happen, or that I owe them or anything. (I know I need help to be able to move out, but I’d rather try and find that help myself. But then, I have such little motivation and energy, I’d probably never do anything).

So, yeah. Also the place is in the city, and as a general rule I hate the city. I usually just wish for a place where I could have peace and quiet when I wanted it.

My head’s giving me s**t for being ungrateful, a coward, useless, hopeless etc etc etc. I’m worried people will think I should just stop complaining. But these beliefs have felt so real for so long, and also I’m just in such a bad place at the moment, and I keep feeling like people (professionals, phone counsellors etc) just aren’t getting that, so I’d really appreciate it if you guys could try to understand how confronting all this is. It’s actually an incredibly huge step (I think only in the last year or so) to even consider the possibility of someday moving out on my own.

Hope everyone’s doing well!


Mimi, My parents also refuse to take repsonsibility. They demand I forgive without confessing to any wrong doing. They want me to do as I have done in the past, let it slide. I can’t do that and keep my self-respect. I told them that in order to have a relationship with me, they had to treat me with respect and that would begin with their acknowledging that I was sexually abused and that they were criminally negligent when thed did nothing to stop it. I asked them not to contact me if they couldn’t do this. I haven’t heard from them since.

I can do nothing to make another person do the responsible thing. I can only take responsibility for myself. It does no good to set a boundary and back away from it. It is a hard thing to do but I believe, it is the right thing. Otherwise, I would have to continue in dysfunctional dychotomy of my family. In that dychotomy,I am the scapegoat, the one who bears all shame and carries all of the responsibility in maintaining relationship. I guess, it came down to me or them but I also believe that I am helping them by living within healthy personal boundaries.



J, I have no idea how old you are or if your unpreparedness is educational, experience, or youth. I left home too soon and made things worse for myself. I wouldn’t want anyone to do that. I found abusers worse than my parents and my age along with the acceptance of abuse as love made me a prime target. At that point in my life, I was just running scared. I couldn’t have given anyone a viable reason for why I felt the way I did. It sounds like you have a good idea of what you are so angry about.



These posts are helping me so much. Thanks again, Pam & Darlene. I just published one, too (click my name for my blog).


I read your post Leslea. I love your insight. I reall like Foo. I think I’ll borrow that. Well, actually, people of origin might be a better fit for me….. POO!! :o)


My husband just lost his mother to death. The seven adult children sat in a living room, my husband, the youngest, told the other six to quit calling him the “favorite”, that he didn’t choose to be the favorite, and that IF he was the fave, then that was the parents’ problem, not his, and take their anger to their parents, or where ever it belongs, but stop directing it to him. Just like your article! Can’t wait to show him this article! Thank you!


You’re welcom, Kate.:0)



Pam, just after commenting earlier that the general outrage seems to be a thing of the past, I found myself exploding at a stranger today. We were crossing the road, my young child and I. Just as we were nearly across, my active child pulled his hand away. I was confident that he would cross just behind me (on the pedestrian crossing, with a group of people). Just as we reached the other side, a blue-collared worker looked me in the face and said something like “You should hold his hand when you cross the road. That is pretty stupid…” and before he finished, I started being defensive, saying “But he pulled away, what could I do?” and he went on condemning me, so I interrupted him, as I found myself unable to tolerate any more, and shouted, “F*** you!!” as he walked another direction, still trying to lecture me. Even after I was out of his earshot, I yelled to no one in particular, “Blamer! You’re just a blamer!” to the surprised looks of people around me. I had just read the book “Splitting – divorcing from a spouse with borderline or narcissistic personality disorder” and the book refers to blamers in court.

What concerns me more than my outburst is how it affected me for the rest of the day. I still feel like I could yell all sorts of personal, abusive insults to him, like he was just an object. I am behaving like the types of abusers I am angry against.

I think what triggered me was his rude defining of me. Like he had a right to tell me I was stupid. I also thought of what he must be like at home, ordering his family around. All I wanted to do was give him a serve of the cruelest punishment I could think of – the worst insults you could hurl at a person. In my mind, I know that that is wrong, and does no good. But I can’t deny that the outrage is there.

The funny thing is that my abuser never called me stupid. I never even got angry at him like that, or ever swore at him. But it does remind me of childhood experiences of teachers or older people implying that I am stupid. Maybe I should explore that. Is that how you worked through it?


Krissy, I know you didn’t ask me, but I’d like to tell you what I think I’ve decided to say to people when they offer unwanted, unnecessary, and unwelcome advice, ESPECIALLY strangers. I’ve pondered it for a while because it’s something that’s bothersome to me. Although I haven’t had an occasion to use it, and I’m not even sure I would or could, I’d like to say, “thank you for your concern, but I have a mother.” I get really sick of people spouting off at their leisure. I’m in a place in life where I don’t welcome further jabs at my self esteem or worth, or my capability to make decisions. I get angry. Some days I feel like I’m right on the edge. It’s like I go back to being a little girl and I need someone to take my hand and tell me everything’s okay…… because no one ever did. I have no idea how to self console. 🙁


Broken Kittens
By Kevin Kram

I have met many women in my lifetime. I have 4 sisters; I had a wife of 30 years, daughter, Mom, cousins’, friends and acquaintances. I have seen firsthand reactions to things that seemed to be no big deal but it was a monumental deal to the one that was reacting. I am a very safe male figure to women as in my life I have seen the deep pain and damage that has been inflicted on these broken kittens. I do not understand why that was okay in someone’s mind to do these things to one of these. I have a granddaughter that is a jewel. She is 6 yrs old and I think that if she would make it to adulthood and retain her innocence and sparkle that would be a miracle.
As I remember kittens when I was growing up, I think back on how much fun they were. They wrestled under a playful hand; they purred under a gentle loving hand, they played with enthusiasm with interactive toys and a willing gentle hand. They also had their fight side. If you accidently or on purpose hurt them they would draw blood squarely based on survival. If you backed up and regrouped and went back to the kitten and showed her that you meant no harm and never showed that activity again then she will settle down to the playful kitten again. The more they have to go into survival mode the harder it is to bring them back.
I spent 5 years bringing my wife back from her broken kitten existence. She had been verbally, physically, sexually and emotionally abused from the time she was a toddler until she was 27 yrs old. She tried to run me off at every turn. She did not think that she deserved any one treating her as God intended her to be treated. I stayed and we had 30 years, one month and four days before she passed away. It angers me to know that almost every woman that I come in contact with has some form of broken kitten in her. Then to hear that there people that continue to treat them as such I do not get it. I wish I could push a button or wave a wand and have people, both the broken kittens and their abusers, to see the kittens as Our Lord sees them and a conviction falls on all. The abusers to stop and the kittens to see themselves as Our Lord sees them and allow someone trusted to help.
So what is the solution? We do not have a button or a wand or someone somewhere would have used it already. We need to be on our knees in intercession for these broken kittens and their abusers. We need to plead the blood of Jesus over these broken kittens that they have a hedge of protection around them. We as MEN need to see these broken kittens as the delicate flowers that God created them as, and not the mess that we have made of them or an object that we get something from. We need to treat them as a playful, purring kitten even when they are in survival mode. Is this an easy task, absolutely not. I have had the privilege of doing this once totally with my wife and partially with many other women that my wife has worked with. We must set our own agendas aside and decide if the broken kitten before you is worth the effort? If she is a friend, girl friend, someone you meet in passing or your lifelong partner is she worth the effort? If she is, pour your heart into her, if not, leave her alone as you will continue to break her and this she does not deserve.
For you broken kittens, at this point in the writing you know who you are, I ask that you go to our Lord in your brokenness and ask how he can fix you. I do not mean a pious “O God please help me amen” I mean an honest approach to the creator of the universe with your hurts and pains. There will have to be some repenting on your side as you have some responsibility in your healing. You must decide when fight mode is appropriate because there are times that you absolutely need to be there. On the other hand there times that you are in fight mode to keep a buffer zone around you heart. This may keep your healing at bay until you let it in.
I believe Our God wants to make us all whole. Will you be a part of it? Will you treat the broken kittens you know with respect and honor? Will you as broken kittens allow our Lord to minister to you how he does and try not to compromise your hearts, minds, bodies or souls? When you need to be in survival mode please do but when you do not have to, let’s see if we can get you back to the playful purring kitten that God intended you to be, Okay.
Dedicated to my friend NSH, and all broken kittens that read this. Please share this freely.


I probably did this wrong, I cut and pasted this in honor of my dearest sister. We had an unbreakable bond, no she was not a blood sister, she was so much more. She was abused from tottaler until she was 28 years old, then God blessed Kevin and brought her to him. Thirty some years later she died from liver failure. She recently past away her husband Kevin wrote this and a few other short stories. He is the only man I know that see women beyond the abuse and damage. I hope you all don’t mind, I wanted to share this because we are all “broken Kittens”. I would love to hear your feelings if you want to comment….thank you.


Abuers make us fearful and it is hard to say what they make us feel to their face because they might hurt us worse. I think you have to find a way to express all of that pent up anger and emotion. I worked through a lot of it by writing letters to my family. Even if you don’t mail them or don’t feel safe contacting the person who hurt you, I think it is good to analyze very deeply into why you feel the way you do and write it out and direct it to the rightful target.

I don’t blame you for being upset with the worker. I think he popped a hole in all the emotion you kept in check while being abused. I know what narcissists are like. Even as an adult, I couldn’t look my dad in the eye because I just didn’t trust him. Letting someone who is a malignant narcissist see how you feel, no matter what that feeling is, is dangerous because they will find a way to use it against you. If you are subject to their manipulation on a regular basis, it is natural to completely shut down emotionally out of self protection. Acknowledging those shut-down feelings is really important.

It took me years but just keep working.



That is beautiful and even though my husband isn’t as articulate, he loved me just that way and has been so patient with me, for decades, while I heal. When I met him, I weighed 70 lbs, was sick with hepatitis, and mad at the world. I still don’t know what he saw in me to love but he just loved me.

Jesus is important in my healing, also but if anyone is interested in that, you can read about it on my website or discuss it with me there.

Thanks for sharing this, renee. I think it fits perfectly.



Pam Thank you I will pass it onto Kevin. I haven’t been on because I keep having melt downs. Dannette and another friend passed on. My heart is broken. My daughter had to call the ambulance because I was in sever panic attack and couldn’t breath. I have a few others. You would never think that Kevin is a MAN. Like it’s actually a woman, not so, Kevin is every womans wish, a man God wants all of us to have. He has other stories. One is amazing, he really nailed it. i would like to post that one to. It is a wake up call to other men, and is very refreshing to know someone gets us.


Sorry you are having such a rotten time. I hope things calm down soon. I know it is really tough to lose people we love.



Thank you, Renee, for posting Kevin’s letter. I wish every man could read it. At the same time, I hope men can discern when women in their lives are not broken kittens but malicious psychopathic characters that are not acting out of brokenness from being abused, but an ingrained disorder that makes them callous and sadistic. I think that men have been crushed by such women too, and some men may regard every angry woman as a disordered one rather than a broken kitten. That’s the aftermath and consequence of evil – that everyone suffers because a minority have destroyed the trust for the rest of us. But otherwise, he has nailed it and I will keep it at the back of my mind when dealing with the broken people in my family.

Pam, I am trying hard to explore where that feeling of helplessness comes from. My long-term marriage was an abusive one, but the stranger yesterday didn’t remind me of my husband. I also rarely exploded in such anger at him, although I have felt angry whenever he continued to define me in a conversation that I was trying to be rational in. Of course, I have since learnt (from Patricia Evans’ verbal abuse books) that there is nothing rational about verbal abuse.

Could the source be a general collection of various people – the community and culture I grew up in was one where children were easily dismissed. Invalidating, dismissive language was just part of life. In that case, how do you write a letter?

The only other memory is one where I was 5, standing next to my younger brother and his girl friend after kindergarten was over. I was in the sun and she looked at me with contempt, as she commented on my stupidity of standing in the sun instead of the shade. I remember feeling paralyzed and embarrassed to be put down by my brother’s extroverted popular friend, whom I wanted to be accepted by. I later churned on the many things I could have said to give her a serve, and that’s the closest thing I could find to yesterday’s incident. It does sound terribly dumb to get so worked up over a 4 year old’s comment, over 40 years later, but I remember it being a powerful thing at that time and bugged me for a long time.


Krissy, The only thing that worked for me was to reattach my anger to the past events that created it. It does build over time and I takes a lot of work to sort through it all. Most of the letters that I wrote were to my family and it wasn’t just important as confrontation but also, in showing me that I was right about my feelings. My confrontation caused them to show their true face and their true feelings about me. The child I was found validation by my adult confrontation.

The only times I’ve had anger like you describe with the construction worker was when I was taking antidepressants. One of the side effects of those drugs for me is rage and agression. I don’t think they made me more angry but I couldn’t control it as well, it was near the surface.

It’s hard when you can’t remember things. I have some of that left to work on too but I’m not sure how to make myself remember either.

As far as the community thing goes, maybe you need to try to remember each incident and the person who invalidated you and explore those feelings. I’m a writer so writing helps me work through things. I think we all have to find our own way to do basically the same thing. Confront and attach or emotions to the appropriate target.



I have eliminated my abusers, my mother and father, by MY choice. But I am struggling with rage more than ever. I take it out on my family and I am just crippled w/ guilt about it. I just dont know what to do with this rage.


Hi B.Rain
The only way that I overcame my rage was by realizing where it came from and understanding the false things that I believed about myself as a result of trauma and being devalued. The guilt disapeared when I understood how powerless that I had in fact been. I write a lot about that in this site. Glad that you are here.
Hugs, Darlene
founder of Emerging from Broken


Rain, It took me a long time to figure out where all of my rage came from too and what would set me off and why. It took time to reattach my anger to the events that raised my anger that I then stuffed. It was more that separating from the people that abused me it was fully understanding what they did to me and allowing myself to be anger at each abuse. So much of what happened, I thought was normal but I still had the natural reaction of anger but I wasn’t allowed to act on it at the time or I was too afraid or I allowed the person who hurt me make think I was wrong to be angry. All I know is that all that anger was inside of me until I attached it to those events and people that deserved my anger. It’s awful to rage at people you love. I did the same thing.


Darlene, Glad you’re back!


The rage I had toward my ex was a defence mechinism. My T. said each time I raged I was giving my power away to him. So for one week I had to talk through the rage and each time I did that, without losing control I had to write how I felt. I hated raging because it scared my kids they felt they could never do any thing right. When I realized the damage I DID I knew I was going to do what it took to overcome it. I also did a lot of soul searching and had to seperate the anger, what was done to me (the abuses and anger arising from that) and what was done to protect myself from my ex. That week was an eye opener. He was pissed because I didn’t rage! Then I knew what I had to do.


Renee, That’s excellent! Thanks for sharing!




I was 31 when I finally moved out (last year). I had wanted to get away from my parents so badly, but it just seemed like I just couldn’t get away. I too, on some level, felt like I would blow it or just didn’t have the energy to find a way to make it work. Finally, things got so bad between my mother and me that I was willing to do *anything* to get away from her. I took the place I could afford and lived barebones for a while, but there was a measure of peace.

I know we’re not supposed to tell each other what to do here, but I don’t think that you should worry about the connection between the person who can help you and your parent. It doesn’t mean that you owe them anything. My dad helped me when I first moved and bought me some furniture, but then wanted to have a say so in how I ran my house. I realized that he was as controlling as my mom and I had to make up in my mind not to allow him a say so just because he helped me. I didn’t owe him anything. What he did was a gift which means free.

I think you should do what you want to do deep down. Go with your deepest instincts because that’s most likely the real you that’s been buried under fear and intimidation.


Ahhh Robin!! So familiar to me, that guilt or sense of knowing that you are indebted to your parents somehow because they did something for you. I’ve always thought that was normal. Now I know it isn’t. I think parents who love their kids WANT to give to their children, in a variety of ways. I now believe my mother enjoyed seeing me struggle, and not just financially. I am now married and much more financially stable than when I was single. Now, my mother is playing “keep up with the jones’s” with me…. her own daughter. I think that’s pretty disgusting!!


Thanks for the reply Robin.

I’ve got an appointment tomorrow to do the application for housing, and they’ve also got me an appointment with a welfare worker (and they’re going to help me do the forms, and can even come to the appointment with me for support).

So it’s pretty much everything I thought I’d need to be able to make anything happen, but I’m just so scared. Kinda numbing out I think. But then I’ve been numbing out in my home for so damn long it kinda feels like there’s not much left to lose, so gonna try and let people help me through the process and see what happens.

I think it’s still a feeling of powerlessness in a way because so much is being decided for me. But don’t really see any other options at this stage.

That’s really great to hear you found some peace. About going with my instincts, it’s quite difficult because I feel completely disconnected from myself. I’ve been feeling at times recently like I just don’t exist. Feels like anything that might have been the “real me” is was crushed so effectively so long ago that I really don’t have a clue what I actually want.

Well, actually I kind of do know, but can’t imagine how to get it — I want to find peace from my own head and the torment I put myself through. I want to have a place where I feel safe and where I can actually relax and take care of myself. (But that takes money). I want to learn to stand up for myself and stop feeling guilty any time I even try to do something for myself. I want to stop basing my worth on other people. And I want to let all the creativity I have inside come out, but I’m afraid to let the “real me” show… and also can’t imagine getting to a point where I can stand up for myself and not let other people’s disapproval f**k with me so much.

On a different note, I rang a helpline for adult survivors of child abuse today (I’d got the number from a counselling helpline I’ve been ringing a lot lately). I still have trouble identifying myself in that way (because it was emotional/mental rather than physical, my head’s good at trivializing it all).

But the lady was very nice and understanding and said a few interesting things — one was about CBT being more effective when the thoughts you’re trying to change are your own (rather than indoctrinated thoughts from parents etc), which helped make sense of why I don’t feel like I’ve been getting anywhere (or at least, very little and VERY slow) with psychology. I can’t remember the other thing I was going to say. But she gave me the number of a “trauma counsellor” (I haven’t heard that title before) so I might give them a try and see how it goes. But always get so nervous starting with new people. Such a vulnerable time and so damaging if they’re not helpful.

It’s late and I’ve had a splitting headache most of the night, so I’m going to finish with a big complain and try to get it out of my system. I’m so sick of how hard everything is. My sleep’s all f**ked up, I almost never have energy, I get headaches, have terrible digestion, body aches, can’t ever seem to get comfortable, I sweat profusely with even the slightest physical effort (sometimes even without doing anything), and I seem to spend my life desperately trying to distract myself from my own thoughts for even a small amount of time. It’s so hard to live like this, but I just can’t imagine ever being free of any of this stuff. I’ll just have to borrow some hope from those of you who are further along the path than I am for now I guess.

And to switch it to a positive, I’ll remind myself of how strong I am to have kept going for so long despite all this, and despite having very little hope for myself. Strength and courage are lurking somewhere deep inside me — just seems like they’ve been battered almost unrecognisable over the journey.

Ok rant over. Hope everyone’s doing well.



That was extremely powerful and triggered much in me. I was at home thankfully when I read this and I just started crying and didn’t stop for a while. Anger was taboo in my family. It was not accepted from the children but my mother could rage about anything she wanted to. She took everything out on us down to who drank the last Pepsi. My dad was just not around and didn’t ever care enough to be involved. So, we were left with my mother who I guess tried the best she could but failed miserably in some areas. She failed to protect us from evil molesting old men and failed to see the signs of the abuse that we so desperately wanted her to see. My anger lies here….wherein the adults around me did NOTHING to better themselves in order to help the little ones that were in their care….it’s like we were never valued enough for it to have crossed their minds….”Hey, these little people are going to be adults one day and they are going to be really fucked up if I do this or that” we were never taken into account…and my anger kicks in….thanks for listening


I have had the same symptoms for a long time. My freezer is full of Ice packs because when I start to sweat I can’t stop. It’s been a while but I felt the same. Every thing you wrote, I went through. I realized I was trying to tackle the elephant and it took me (what seemed forever) that if I did one or two things toward my goal I needed to except that, that was a big acomplishment. J, it does get better, I can’t count how many times I asked myself “when will this end and when will I feel better?” In time, in time IT truely does, I swear to you J, it does just keep your goal in focus. I had to write it down, repeat it to myself, ask people to remind me that it’s one step and one obsticale at a time. I beleive you have that strenght in you, just one step J thats all you need to do.


My heart goes out to you for the way you feel inside. Something that had a powerful impact on me recently was a little sentence I read in a book. It goes something like this….. whatever label people have placed on you in the past is their view; that does NOT make it true. How liberating that was for me. Just because my mother said I was lazy, a liar, going nowhere in life, just like my drunken father, etc, did NOT make it true. Those were just her words. There was no GOD of truth standing by sorting out truth from lies or opinions, then saying, yes, this is true, believe it. Because she was the adult/parent, and I was a trusting child, I naturally believed it. If I continue to believe it, it’s still a truth to me. At 43, the little statement above sank into my core. The real TRUTH is, her labels do not, and never have defined who I am. I don’t have to believe them, it’s my choice. I have made a conscious and frequent decision to remind myself that because she said it doesn’t make it true. Because she’s my mother and someone whom I should be able to trust, does not make it any more true than if a stranger said the same words. Her being my mother does not make it true, but I didn’t know I had a choice. I’ve gone about life for 43 years believing those labels. I know I have a choice now; we all do. Now I choose labels for myself that make me more worthy than she ever did. One truth is, we all deserve to be heard. Another for me personally, I do deserve love and I believe we all do. I tell myself I do have some positive attributes, and some things that are unique to me. I am an individual, not definded by my mother’s words or opinions, or anyone else’s. And, finally, it’s okay to be individual. We’re meant to be. Now, I try to embrace my individuality and seek to approve of myself, just the way I am. Peace sent your way!!!


Jenny, You should be angry and I hope that allowing yourself that normal, natural, God given response will help you recover as it has helped me. Anger was just one misplaced and wrongly defined emotion for me. My responses were crazy just like the ones I witnessed from birth from both of my parents. Part of it was the alcohol but it was deeper than that. I’m no psychiatrist but I’m still fairly certain that they are malignant narcissists and it seems like their brains are in backwards. They can’t respond normally and I’m not sure they could even learn how, at this point. It would be a miracle if they would acknowledge that there is something terribly wrong in them and seek to change. They expect everyone around them to adapt to their view, which is maladaptive. I also, had a lot of learned narcissistic behaviors to undo. The difference is that when I found out what I was doing was wrong, I wanted to change. I wanted to do what was right for the family my husband and I created.

I wish people would simply respect children. It would end so many of the problems we have in society.




Thanks for the response….you said “They expect everyone around them to adapt to their view, which is maladaptive”. This is my mother..she wants everyone to co-sign her bullshit and when they don’t they are so fucked up….she has two “adopted” daughters in the town she lives in and it just trips me out that she would tell me about them…like I really fucking care that she helps out other women in my age group but couldn’t really ever do much for her own fucking children…that’s some weird shit there….I guess she is trying to make up for all that she messed up…unfortunately, she is doing it with total strangers instead of her own children…again insult to injury…shouldn’t surprise me.


Jenny, It seems that abusive parents never stop abusing their children and will continue to do so far into adulthood. Mine used me for as long as I allowed them to. When I drew the line and told them they had to start treating me with respect to have a relationship with me, they were gone. They threw me away when I was a teenager and a pedophile talked me into leaving home to live with him and they threw me away again. Anything but taking responsibility for the harm they caused me. However, there are those who see them as they portray themselves and don’t believe a word I say. My parents didn’t leave cuts and bruises on my body but on my mind and soul.



Just this year, I have discovered what I believe is malignant narcissism in my mother. My dad was always just a total drunk, so he doesn’t even come to mind anymore. He left when I was 11. My mother then married a perfect match for her. Another narcissist. They feed off each other somehow. Anyway, my point is, since this discovery about my mother, I constantly wonder if I am spreading poison about, the way she always has. I cannot figure out if I’m like her. I have no children, so it’s hard to know if I do/act like she does. I am so emotional and I rage as well at times. I think…. is this my mother’s behavior?? Oh my….. I HOPE not!! My self view is such that I don’t even know.


Mimi, When I first started learning about malignant narcissism, I could only take it in small doses because it was just so right on when it came to how my family functioned. I was scared that I was that way too but the difference is that I could see certain behaviors and change them. My parents have no insight into their behavior and only see themselves as the perfect, false self that they project. They can’t admit to anything wrong in themselves and for me to confront anything that they do that hurts me is an affront that is assault in their minds because it threatens the destruction of that false self that they so rely upon. They live by smoke and mirrors and the most important deception they practice is the one they practice upon themselves. They are completely unable to deal with shame. They have to have a scape-goat and that was me.

A certain amount of narcissism is necessary and we all begin life as little narcissists and view the world as revolving around us. We cry and someone takes care of our needs. A true malignant narcissist never outgrows that self-centered infant view of the world. I on the other hand lacked a healthy amount of narcissism because I was trained to answer when my parents had a need to fill. They raised me to revolve around them and that is the way I related to others. There was no me without another to serve. I was emotional and raged also. Who wouldn’t when they couldn’t even be a complete person without someone to take care of? I still have to fight it and I still like to do things for others but hopefully, I’m now doing so from a point of strength and health rather than weakness and maladaption. I had to set boundaries the differentiated me from those that I love. It was hard and painful and I lost some people but I’m glad to no longer be inmeshed in the identities of others. I like being just me and being equal to all others. I hope that made sense. It is a lot to put in a paaragraph! If you are worried that you are, you probably aren’t but you can’t be raised by a malignant narcissist and come out unscathed.



My mom took my daughter and did everything with her. At some point my daughter started to call her mama. It bugged me until I thought about my daughters future. She asked me if she could call her grandma mommy. I said no because it would be to confusing for “me”. I told her I would be constantly go to her to see what she wanted. I told her that if she wanted she could make up a special name that only the two of them would know what it meant. I asked my mom what she was doing and by the way why is it that she couldn’t have been a mother like she was being to “L”. Her reply was that she took all the things she did “right” and wanted to try to do something right. That was the first time I told her that I loved her and meant it. Breaks my heart she had to learn so late in life. My daughter loved her grandma so much I thought I was pretty lucky because I saw first hand someone that had done so much wrong try really hard to do something right. When her step mom asked “L” if she wanted to call her mom she said she would have to ask me lol. She did and I told her she would have many mom’s in her life, she had such a big heart to hold many mama’s and it was ok with me. I told her that she was my first child and I would always be her first mama. I guess what Im getting at is moms can do horrible things and there are some moms that realize it and try to do better. I just wanted to share that with you, you sound very hurt and Im sorry for that pain. Your mom is missing out on a lot with the very person she should invest all the “right” things she did. I don’t beleive it counts in heaven because you have to mend the ones you hurt.


Thanks for the insight. What you wrote makes perfect sense. I have a question, and because I honestly can’t view myself realistically yet, I am unable to answer it from within. I remember my mother being so dramatic about everything. Each thing that happened between my alcoholic father and her was drawn out, embellished, spread like fire among distant and near relatives, etc. Lots of tears and drama what seemed like all the time. She feared my father, or she says she did. I was so young in the midst of it, I barely remember details of many events. Just the sensation that it was horrible, terrifying, dangerous, emotional, and we should be in fear of my father. That said, I can’t really differentiate between how I would assess the situation as an adult, and how I felt about it as a child. I now wonder, was it really that bad, or did my mother linger in a constant state of drama and lack of emotional control, to the point that she sort of dictated my perception. Anyhow, when I find myself deeply wounded and crying or going into a rage, am I replicating her ridiculous behavior?? I don’t like to be sad or angry. When I’m emotionally wounded, I do cry and get angry. I don’t do it in front of others though. I prefer privacy. In the past I have cried and raged in the presence of family but it’s been many years. I was recently deeply hurt by my sister who is also my best friend. I have cried and cried and cried. My emotions have been unpredictable. I have been angry, although I haven’t raged per se. I usually question why I am hurting so deeply, why can’t I respond like other people. Am I being dramatic like my mother?? Yet, how can that be when the hurt runs so so deep? I do NOT want to be like her…. so how do I get my responses to emotional pain under control?? I am just floundering this year since all of this came to the surface with my mother (among other emotional catastophes, ie, my husband having a 4 month affair). So, the question (sorry I got sidetracked) is, am I immitating what I learned, is the pain real, or am I a drama queen? I look at the emotional basket case I’ve been in the past several months and think…. OH MY GOODNESS….. I AM MY MOTHER!!! The flipside is I think the only way out of something is directly through it. Feel the emotions, deal with it, mark it off, continue. Confusion is my middle name these days.


Thankyou so much for your kind words Renee & Mimi. Brought tears to my eyes. It’s very comforting to know other people understand.

Mimi, I think I find it hard because I don’t seem to have any recollection of it being any other way (as in, it feels like this stuff has been coming from within for as far back as I can remember).

But I do have times more recently where little bits of positivity shine through. I know I’m a caring, loving person — just need to work on directing that towards myself first, and hopefully that will help me to make boundaries for myself and protect them so that I don’t just try and “make” other people like me by trying to be nice or do nice things for them.

Time got away from me – gotta run for my appointment! thanks agian so much for the support!


Hi everyone,

Just wanted to say that my housing appointment went well! They were very supportive and understanding, so that was really encouraging! Only broke down crying once – I’m counting that as a win! 🙂


That’s great news. Congratulations. I hope it all pans out for you.


Pam and Renee….Thank you so very much for the support and insight, this is why I always come back here….great women…


That is great news! Hugs, Darlene

Hi Mimi
I can relate to your concerns about being like your mother! I have had many of those fears too. It is also normal and expected for us to repeat the behaviour that we learned from our parents. So in my case, I try not to focus on what is like my mother, but rather on where the root of my own behaviour comes from and the beliefs that I am acting out of. When I figure out those roots, I have a much easier time of changing my behaviour because I change it from the belief system, instead of just by my will. (which leaves the root the same way) (I hope this makes sense)

My biggest fear was being like my mother and I made some big mistakes trying to avoid being like her. I just wrote a new blog post about it this week. You can read it here: I vowed I would never be like my Selfish Unloving Mother

Hugs, Darlene


I wish I could give you a quick easy answer but the only one I can give you is that it takes time. Was your mother overly emotional after this one point in life? My dad wasn’t just emotional. He staged huge dramas of having a heart attack (he still does this for attention)he would kick in walls, break my toys, shoot at stars because he said God was staring at him, on and on and on. It was all for the purpose of manipulating attention for himself. He really didn’t have anything to be that upset about.

All of my emotional responses were misplaced. I dead learn methods of control but it really didn’t get better until I contemplated my past deeply and attached my emotions to those events and allowed myself to feel angry, scared, sad, etc. My emotions were like a tangle ball of twine and this is the way that I untangled it. It is beyond self-control it is leaning appropriate emotional response. I hope that makes sense. Hang in there. I think you are asking the right questions and when you understand why you rage or are over emotional, things will start to get better.

When I raged it was usually because I was unconsiously triggered by a simular circumstance. When I raged or cried uncontrollably, I was crying about things in the past that I hadn’t responded to or delt with as much as I was angry or sad about what was currently taking place.



Mimi, Remember you aren’t your mother and you can’t be because you’re, Mimi.:0)



J, I’m happy that things are working out for you.


Pam and Darlene,

Such sound advice from you both. I have journaled so much this year. I am hoping that some of the deepest pain has been spilled out onto pages…. NEVER to return. I’m not confident that doing so will change my emotional responses spontaneously. I feel there must be some measure of control involved. I will take your sound advice and try to attach the overreactions to what’s really hurting deep inside. Perhaps someday, in the face of emotional pain, I can avoid those feelings that the earth has just shattered. To answer your question Pam, after my father left, my mother’s emotions turned to me. How dreadful I was. What a disappointment I was, an embarrassment, why couldn’t I make better choices like my brilliant and successful older sister, etc,etc,etc. I believe in my journal I will reserve a page for all the negative messages she sent and things she did/said. Perhaps that will help me distinguish which are the most hurtful and begin to address them. As I type, things come to mind that I had forgotten. That happens quite a bit really, and I think WOW….. I have blocked a lot of crap from her!!! Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom. I suppose you were in lost places too at one time. I’m so thankful to have co-pilots!! :o)


Mimi, I was exceedingly lost! What attaching feelings to the things that hurt deeply does, I think, is drain the pool of pent up emotion inside. Everyone has to have a certain amount of control but it is impossible to damn up all of that hurt and anger and not have it spill over when something new happens.

From what you say, your mom’s problems are more than situational.



Yahooooooooooooooo!!!!! One step for J and one giant leap for mankind! Ya know one day you are going to meet up with someone that will be lost and they will need someone that has your experiences to get through the day. Your awesome!


We all need each other, it makes this journey less scary. Thank you for your kind words.


I have a question….how do you vent your anger without damaging a relationship for good…I have some choice words for my mother….and Renee…yes, I read what you had to say about your own mother and I get it…maybe my mom is trying to make up for all of the fucked up shit she did to us through someone else…however, what a complete insult to the very same people you initially did the damage to…yes, I am pissed off but eventually that anger is only a hindrance to me….and no one else….what to do?


I understand Jenny I truely do. My mom did a lot of bad things to us also. I did not mean for you or anyone to think my mom was an angel. Far from it she was narrsasistic used us girls as pawns and gave us up to be sacrificed to the abusers in our family. Like I said it took a lot of years for her to finally realized the damage she did. I didn’t have this blog nor several years of counseling under my belt before I confronted her. Yet I did and each time it got easier and finally we had a workable relationship. A loving mother-daughter relationship was not possible because of the damage. We could have a workable one though. Sometimes thats all one can have.



I really appreciate your candid honesty….I guess it just breaks my heart because I think of my own daughter and how I hope she never feels the same way about me as I feel about my mom. The deepest hurt and hardest part for me to stomach in all of the abuse I have endured is the betrayal part of it…that is the part that gets me so heated….how an adult can hold so much power over a child and betray them in such horrific ways….this is why I always seek justice in every situation and I get crazy when I see people being done wrong….thanks for listening…and your input…it does help to know someone understands what I am going through….


Jenny, My husband and I practice fair fighting. We agree to listen to the each other and express our anger, hurt, concern, etc. without personal insult. We allow each other to be heard. We are certain that it isn’t just love that has held us together for so long but knowing how to fight is really important in working out our differences.

I don’t know if you’d be able to adapt this technique to your relationship with your mother or not. If you are confronting someone who cares more about saving face than trying to make up for wronging you, there is probably no way to do so. I had to face the fact with my parents that I could get well without them, all on my own. What I can’t do all alone is mend or maintain our relationship. I don’t think there is a one size fits all pattern for resolving all of this. I hope you find your way to feeling better, getting past the hurt and not feeling angry all of the time. I know some people write letters that they never mail as a way of confronting and getting it out without actually confronting their parents. That didn’t work for me because I had to see exactly how little they cared for me. If I hadn’t seen that, I’d still be at their becon-call and allowing them to disrespect me. After I confronted them, it was pretty clear that I’d have to eat sh– and take back everything I had said. So there was no alternative but to walk away. My family would laugh if I tried to talk to them about faith fighting.



Jenny, That’s fair fighting. Sorry. I’m online too much. By the end of the day, there’s no telling what will fly out of my fingers!lol!



Hi Jenny
It depends on many things. I didn’t vent any anger on my mother at all and she ended our relationship anyway just because I calmly told her “no more disrespect and devaluing me”. I gave my mother a choice; to have a good equality based relationship with me, or, if she insisted on treating me the ways that she did (and I gave her 3 examples) that we would have no relationship. She choose NO relationship. My anger came later, and I never vented it at her. Anger is healing and very necessary, although not always necessary to be directed at the person you are angry with. I did not let go of my hurt and anger until I aknowledged it and knew that I had a right to it. The biggest hinderence is in my case I denied anger. I never felt it until I felt safe to feel it. I was afraid of it and I thought I had no right to it either. (there are lots of other articles in this site about this subject) I think you have a right to be pissed off.
Hope this helps a bit!
Hugs, Darlene


Pam and Darlene,

What you have shared with me does really help. I have tears rolling down my cheeks now but it’s all for the good. Thank you for caring enough…hugs


Jenny, Darlene, I wasn’t angry in my confrontation either. It didn’t start out as a way to get rid of my angry feelings. I really though I’d be able to get through to them and make them understand. There were a couple of times with my mom when the exchange did get angry and I’m not proud of myself for losing my cool. My mom also likes to pick at me and make me angry because then it is easy to deflect and put all the blame back on me.

Anger is for defence and I think part of the reason I don’t feel angry now is that I’m not constantly on the defensive. I don’t have this huge cloud of disapproval hanging over my head constantly. My mom and my sister both used that cloud to control me for a long, long time.

I just wanted to be clear that I never went into a tirade or raged at my family when I tried to confront them about the way I was raised and the sexual abuse as a teen.



I too always seek justice, for nearly everyone. I am fiercely loyal to people I love; unfortunately, my family hasn’t been nearly as fiercely loyal to me as I have them. And, my mother…. I don’t think she’s heard the word. She spread her poison about me among my sisters and ALL other family members for many years. I even caught her bashing me to my sister once and to a group of family members once. Both times, she denied it. I heard it with my own ears…. that denial from her made me think I might be crazy, especially when it was accompanied by allllll out rage!! I am curious about the turn of events in my life right now. I have cut contact with almost everyone in an effort to work solely on my marriage. I was getting overwhelmed and starting to honestly shut down. Well, long story short, my mother has recently started texting me. Ask how my husband and I are doing, if I want to go to lunch, love you, miss you. OMG…. so many years she couldn’t bring herself to say those words. Now, I’m the only person left in the same city as her. She’s suddenly up my butt!! VERY suspicious. And, the sad thing is, I love her and I have to CONSCIOUSLY decide not to fall into the trap of giving her information or letting her have one foot in the door. So sad isn’t it? That our own mother’s can be so heinous!! I don’t really get it.


I hated my parents for so long and I had to have something different what ever that meant. For me If I never spoke to them again I had to do ONE thing and that was THEY had to hear what they did to ME. I wouldn’t let them speak until I was done. I made them sit and shut up until I was done. Then when they tried to make excuses or blame the other then I would tell them to shut up and repeated myself until THEY got it. Everyone is different and they have to do what is right and safe for them. For me I had nothing else to lose because they distroyed everything in me. Just know you are smart and strong. Your anger was not your choice it was made by those that took the innocence away from you.


thanks for the support everyone!

(Renee, your post made me laugh!) 🙂


I love your contributions here. I love everyone’s. What a place of refuge. I’m so grateful!


Mimi, Renee, Pam, Darlene…..

Thanks for the love ladies….I do have to find what is right for me and I guess this is all part of the process…I am almost ready to stand up to my mother and be heard…I have to kickbox the anger out first though because I tend to have a mouth…and I sometimes ramble and lose sight of what it is I came to do….I have alot of fuel for the fire and I don’t want to smash her to pieces…I can do that and I would feel badly for that….the main difference between her and I is that I am here trying to make a change for myself and my daughter so, Darlene in reference to your most recent writing I could never truly be like her since she has no desire to get to the root of the problem and work on herself….that is my life’s goal….to heal me so, I don’t cause anymore damage to myself or others….


Hi Everyone,
There have been two other very active posts besides this one this past 2 days and all of them are talking about this same subject of family difficulties and standing up for ourselves.
One of them is an old post that got resurected yesterday and went a little nuts! You can read it here: Adult children and the skewed definition of love and respect (in this one a woman tells me off and states that my father in law is right in his control over us. Starting with her comment #9 begins a huge discussion with the other readers.

The other one is “I vowed I would never be like my selfish unloving mother”
please click those titles to read these posts and the discussions that follow them.
Hugs, Darlene


That is the ultimate goal! That is the best goal that I ever set! (and I am living it now, which is the best part and the best proof that it can happen!)
Hugs! Darlene

I am so happy that you are here too! I love it when others feel like they found “something”here! That was my ultimate hope when I built this site.
Hugs, Darlene


Jenny, You aren’t like anyone else. Your Jenny and I think you are very brave and I know thing will be better for your daughter than they were for you. Mom’s who put their kids first may make mistakes but kids know when they are loved. When love is present all things can be worked out.



Pam thank you so very much for this wonderful article… im late in finding it but it makes so much sense…. If we dont have our anger and rightful hurt and use it to understand ourselves and our past my feeling is we have no self….. i turned my anger in and had accidents from very early on….only just understanding that at 50….to direct the anger out only began around age 45 when I dreamed of a loaded gun pointed against myself which I turned around… I was abused for feeling my feelings when they began to unthaw around 10 years into sobriety… in AA it was hard… one member said to me once that anger was one of the seven deadly sins…luckily i was smart enough to move away and learn how important it is.. but using the term you did.. righteous anger helps so much…

You were so strong to put up such a firm line with family……there is such insight courage and hard won wisdom in what you share consistently on this site….thanks so much….it helps me so much…


Hi Deborah, Thank you for your wonderful, encouraging comment. Sharing my life helps me too. When I write about my experiences it changes the pain in my life into a positive and I’m amazed that when I bring those things our of the darkness, they actually become light and help others find their way. We who’ve suffered abuse have the power, I believe, to end abuse or at least, make it rare. There are a lot of us, I’m learning, and together, our voices would make a deffening roar.

Anger turned inward was the root of my substance abuse too. The last substance to go was alcohol and your gun dream reminds me of the last time I faced my substance abuse demon. As a child, I was blamed for my parent’s drinking problem and it was a huge problem. After I was married, my husband would bring beer home to keep in the refrigerator and I would always drink all of it. The truth was that I hate alcohol and didn’t want it in my house but I couldn’t throw it out, I was responsible, I had to drink it to get rid of it. I was true to the role I’d been assigned as a child, the family sin’eater. The when I was able to pour the beer down the sink rather than drink it was a huge day for me and one that only a fellow sin-eater can understand. I never had any problems with substance abuse after that day.

One thing I like to remember is that God created us with all of our emotions for a reason and when we find that reason and learn to use our emotional power the way it was intended, emotional health follows.There are a lot of things that the church has developed traditional teachings for but many of them are shallow or just plain wrong. It is important for me to read and study the Bible for myself and set those traditional teachings aside so that I can see and hear what God is saying to me, personally.

The situation with my family still hurts but when I go back over the events, as the fell, I can see their was no other avenue. When I first confronted them and their was only response, I kept hearing Jesus,in my thoughts, saying, “Leave the dead to bury the dead.” It took a long time for me to heed that command but I finally, did and I believe, I’m better for it.



Hi Pam,
Although I’m not a drinker now, I certainly gave it a whirl in my younger years. I believe I would have been an alcoholic had anxiety not gripped me suddenly, and without ceasing. I began having stomach problems too as a result of all the drinking. I was drinking every day, worked at a liquor store in the evenings and I remember I would be hungover and feeling pretty bad until I went back to work in the evening and started drinking again. It was like that every day for a long time.

Alcohol isn’t my drug of choice now. I still feel the compulsion to smoke cigarettes, abuse coffee, and binge eat. These are things I struggle to get under control. Your statement that anger turned inward was at the root of your substance abuse, really intrigued me. I want to be free of all of the compulsions, but I have no idea where to start. I have white knuckled it before and just forced myself to change, however, I never addressed the cause, it was VERY unpleasant, and the changes never stuck for the long haul. I still smoke, abuse coffee, and binge eat. You also said you never had any substance abuse problems after “that day”. May I ask you to elaborate on this?? I have known that lasting change wouldn’t be possible without addressing some deeper issues, but I’ve had no idea which issue was at the root, or how to change it, etc. I am interested in gaining some insight about this so I can finally put these compulsions to rest for good. Thanks for sharing your story Pam.
ps – comments welcome by anyone who has insight for these types of root issues re: addiction. Looking forward to the exploration.


Many of my coping methods disappeared (addictions included) as a result of doing this work. I didn’t need them anymore. I did not do a formal integration like many who suffer with multiple personality disorder; I simply no longer needed to have all those (coping methods) personalities.
Hugs, Darlene


Mimi, I think I not only had anger turned inward but my assigned role in my family of origin was “sin-eater”. I took blame for the others so that they could remain perfect in their thinking but also, solve whatever issue was at hand. I was blamed for my parent’s drinking, for my siblings bad behavior, for remembering the “bad” things while those who did them were never blamed. In regard to my substance abuse, it began as a way to cope with my emotional pain but when I wanted to quit and I began to struggle to do so, the sin-eater in me emerged. I didn’t want alcohol in my house and I, unknowingly, returned to my assigned role as sin-eater and I would consume it all to get rid of it. I never went out and bought it but if it was there I had the compulsion to get rid of it by drinking it. When I poured it all down the sink instead, I was no longer acting as a sin-eater and I no longer had the compulsion.

All of that is very hard to put into words. I hope it makes sense. It’s really about beginning to see myself for who I really am and not who my abusers taught me I was.



Mimi, I wanted to add that I wasn’t an alcoholic either, I was a self-destructive drinker. When I drank, I always went overboard. My drug abuse was also, more and action of self-punishment than addiction. I did become physically dependent on some of the drugs I used but after I got past the physical withdrawls, I had no problems. I was able to quit with help from God but I never had any rehab. It was a long, hard pull to change my self-abusive behavior and healing came one layer at a time. I believe that all of us have our own answers but we have to face ourselves and then trust ourselves.



Thank you both for your comments. I’ve always thought I was just all out powerless over cigarettes, although I’ve quit a number of times. I long to quit for good. It has occurred to me over the past several months that when I get further into the healing work, I will love myself enough to stop self abuse. I completely understand that concept. I’ve always thought it comes from a place of self loathing…. the need to abuse my body. I didn’t know if my line of thinking was true. No one’s ever confirmed that self loathing is the root of it all. Am I correct in thinking that, with increased self love comes the desire to care for our/my bodies better than before? That’s what I’m hoping for. I have defeated myself in merely thinking about quitting smoking. History has shown that I’m unable to quit. I want to change that way of thinking; that I’m not hopeless, but strong. My hope is that more power and more positive thinking will emerge with continued healing.

I do understand your story. It describes me with binge eating. It’s self punishment and self soothing combined. Sometimes it’s easier than others. I should try to be aware of what’s going on emotionally so I can determine what causes the weakness or inability to stop the binge.

My HOPE is that strength and power will come automatically with more healing work….. enough strength and self love to walk away from these horrible habits.

Thanks again for sharing,


Mimi, When I poured the beer down the sink, I was finally listening to me. I wasn’t treating myself like a garbage disposal and I was also, saying that I wouldn’t have alcohol in my house. I still had a long way to go after that but it was the beginning. I had quit using drugs other than alcohol at that time but I quit on my own without dealing with why I used them in the first place. Listening to myself and standing up for myself was the key. I think you are at that place, also.



Thanks for your supportive statement. I’m not sure I’m quite ready, but I AM looking for that time to come with ongoing healing and more self love. I want to think that self love is the secret… I HOPE it’s the secret. I imagine in my daydreams that one day I’ll wake up and say, “I’m so done with gross cigarettes.” I really do think they’re gross, although I’m addicted!

Sometimes I think that anxiety plays a part in binge eating. When I get full instead of satisfied, it makes me tired. It’s hard to be anxious when you’re sluggish and tired. Something I need to explore a little more I guess.

Thanks for your post,


I was said by psychologist that showing anger to my abuser is the same what my abuser did to me and that I have no right to show my anger to my mother because it is the same what she did it to me. So i I felt always guilty and couldn’t even defend myself because I felt that I’m doing sth wrong and like she said: in that moment I’m the abuser. It was horrible experience and I felt fever in my head in my body and ..I could’t do anything for myself, no fight for myself, no defence, beceause I felt that I,m always worst than she\or he is. First I recognised him/her but than I couldn’t react because I was scared and thought that – it was my fault.
I think that many therapists like many people are really fucked!!up!!!


Once again, this blog has spoken to me at the time I needed some positive in-put re: anger.
It has been taking the longest time for me to get in touch with my anger. I knew it was there, knew that I was angry – but couldn’t FEEL it. That has been changing recently.
A change of therapist has put me slap bang, face-to-face with my anger. And I am FURIOUS!
I am angry with SO many men, I am angry in particular with my Dad. Actually, when I look back I have been angry with him for DECADEs, I can barely remember a time when I wasn’t angry with him/about him. His neglect of me, his emotional abuse of me, set me up for the abuse of me by other men in my childhood and as a young adult – and even recently.
My Dad was immature and narcissistic. He was jeaous of me when I was little and used to actively compete with me for my Mum’s attention….I experienced him as a threat to my well-being even as a 5yrs. He broke my toys, he broke promises – he broke my heart on more than one occasion. He was thoroughly unreliable and unpredictable. He teased me mercilessly and laughed when I would cry. I never said anything.
Yet eveyone thought he was a nice guy. I know he had affairs with other women – my Mum’s snide remarks and jibes were evidence of that. When I disclosed about my abuse at school it was my Mum who took action – not my Dad – as far as I can remember he didn’t do anything, took NO action, on my behalf, it was all my Mum. I never said a thing.
As a teen I was happier when they lived apart – he would come home only at weekends – but life was so much better without his presence…
Later, my parents did live together again – I found this inexplicable, but whatever… After Mum died, I found it hard to visit him – I kept my distance – I was mad with him… He took no responsibility for himself – his health. He was diabetic, yet refused to take it seriously – so of course he got sick – needed rescuing on a couple of occasions – and I obliged. Angrily. I never said a thing to him. When he got poor care, I went in and complained on his behalf.
Whe Dad got to infirm to live alone, my husband and me made huge sacrifices to move him in to live with us. All the old behaviour re-emerged – the attention seeking the competetiveness, the jealousy. When he got cancer and started chemo I knew it would be hard – it was. It was hell. For him and for me. I remember crying with sheer frustrationa and anger at the situation we were both in. I was SO angry with him for getting so sick and for being so helpless. I never said a thing.
When he died I was beyond grieving, I was just relieved. He was gone, that was all I cared about – and I felt good. I had been a far better daughter than he had been a father.
Last week in response to some other stimulus, I got angry – and really FELT it – and expressed it – talked a lot about how angry I was with about my new therapist and my Dad. I had so much pressure inside I felt I would explode. And tehn I realised I still had some of my Dad’s things in the house – even though I didn’t liek the stuff and felt no emotional connection to them/him. So I got a hammer – more of a mallet really – and smashed them up into tiny pieces. It felt good. My husband had found a piece of dad’s model train set soem while ago – trains were a major bone of contention for my Mum and me with Dad – and I took that model outside and pounded it to bits, followed by his favourite china mug and a favourite glass tankard. I have sold one of his paintings and the others are going to auction asap.
Next week I have a plan to do some more work on this with my individual therapist. I also have plans to re-negotiate with my new (couples) therapist and if he doesn’t respond appropriately then he is fired!
And you know what? I FEEL GOOD! (play music)


Welcome to Emerging from Broken!
Wow! What a horrible unhelpful thing to be told by a “professional”! I agree, there are many of them who are really messed up. I think that half the time they are unwilling to face the past about their own lives, so they can’t empower others to do that. Sad really! I am very careful to see people as people now and not respect or trust them simply because they have a degree.
Thank you for sharing.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Anetta,
I have recently determined that the counselor who I’ve been seeing isn’t doing me a lot of good anymore. She served a good purpose for a while ~ counseled me (and my husband at times) when my husband had an affair last year.

We’ve since moved into a different area of my life….. My mother!! She is around my mom’s age, has grown children, and her mother is still living. I remember she once told me it was painful for her when her adult daughter laid down some new boundaries. That should have been a HUGE red flag for me. She’s had trouble really believing what I’ve told her about my mom. She says she’s onto her now, but who really knows. My mom has perfected the art of attention seeking, sappiness, tears, etc.

I used to worry a little about what my counselor believed. I worried she didn’t believe ME. I think I even continued going to her to prove my points about my mom, so she could effectively help her, and so she would be wise to my mother’s tactics. She was being snowed!! Now, I simply don’t care. I don’t know if that’s good or bad. I know that for a long time I HOPED to be in a place where I didn’t care. Now that I’m there, I have designed something else to worry about. Is it “right” to not really care anymore? I don’t care what the counselor thinks of me, and I don’t care if she effectively helps my mother. Whew…. it’s even a little tough to admit. I don’t know why.

Anetta, I totally agree with Darlene. It’s always been my viewpoint, but has been buried deep within for most my life. I believe we all have equal value… no matter what the education, lifestyle, who we know, wealth, etc. Many people don’t seem to accept that view. Especially the doctors I’ve worked with… haha!! The majority (mostly male ones) feel they are volumes above other staff. PFT. If any one of the more arrogant people needed my life saving blood, nothing else would matter. Just my blood. I wouldn’t be looked down on then.

Finally, Anetta, despite all my time with my counselor, nothing has compared to the wisdom, insight, compassion, and understanding I’ve found here. The stories of other’s, Darlene’s wisdom and experience, my own typing and exploring, it’s brought me so much hope. I still feel like I’m in the beginning phases, but, I’m nowhere near where I was just 9 months ago. I have EFB to thank for that. I wish you the very best, despite what any therapist says. I agree with your last statement. Many of them are effed up. I believe what Darlene says too. They sometimes have their own issues that haven’t been worked through.
With Hope,


Aneta, For anger to be effective, we have to harness it and choose to use it in a constructive way. It’s good to stand up to an abuser and demand they stop abusing you, that is using anger constructively and for its correct purpose. Abusers use anger to destroy another person and that is the wrong use of anger, as it is destructive only. Righteous anger is anger used properly against evil actions. There may be times when an abused person might have to destroy the abuser, in order to save their life but that isn’t the usual case.

Your counselor was right in saying that you don’t want to be like your abuser and use anger the way your abuser uses anger. That counselor was wrong in coloring all anger as being wrong. There is a purpose for anger especially, in aiding an abused person to stand up to an abuser and set themselves free. We need our anger!



Libby, Your dad sounds so much like mine and when I read about how he treated you and made you feel, I hear a daughter that was used up by him. That’s the way I was after 11 years of my parents sponging off of me. Used up. I got angry too, finally and I used it to change my life. I believe you are on the same path!



Mimi, I feel exactly the same way about, EFB. Most of the time when I used mental health professionals, I did feel looked down on, labeled mentally ill and beyond hope. Then when I came here, I found people who knew what I was talking about and I no longer see myself as mentally ill and beyond hope. I see myself as someone who suffered some severe injuries but with every hope of full recovery. I think I’m just about there!

My parents fool a lot of people too. Narcissists are good actors and they know what a person with normal feelings looks like but they can’t really feel them. It takes a lot of time to begin to see that they only act human but are missing the compassion for others that makes us human.



Hi Anetta,

I can really relate to what you are saying about professionals. I had many things said to me over the years such as, my parents aren’t “that bad”, “your mom is trying”, “give her the benefit of the doubt”, “keep visiting your parents”. Sounds encouraging, however, it gave me mixed messages. I was confused & doubted my own feelings & thoughts.

Now, I know what my parents are doing IS wrong. They are abusive towards me and that’s the Truth, that I was scared to face. I interpret what professionals say now, with a grain of salt. They are human too and have their own blind spots. They can put their agenda on you, because They value family. But maybe their family wasn’t abusive towards them?!…My point is, I now look at what is being said and decide for myself, Is this helpful?, Is this true? Do I believe it?…I don’t take what they say as gospel, just because they have a degree. I used to think they had all the answers because they are the “professionals”.

Well, I’ve learned to trust my instincts and it’s paying off. Coming to this site, has helped me in more ways than any counselor could have. It’s inspiring to see the truth and the process many go through on the healing journey! Welcome
Sincerely, SMD


I like what you said about anger. “Righteous Anger is anger used properly against evil actions”….Abusers do use their anger to destroy. There is a big difference in how anger is used. As victims, we do have the right to feel angry and we can choose to stand up to our abusers in a controlled/assertive way. I notice abusers hate when you don’t believe them. I have actually said “I don’t believe that” in a light way and “That’s far from the truth”, when an abuser says something demeaning or insulting towards me. My parents shut up when I say this. Anyway, don’t mean to give any advice just sharing…
Peace Out,


Pam, wow it kind of seems like you and me are the exact same person! Our experiences seem extremely similar. I have a question – I really want to confront my parents about what they did. Currently, they are not really actively abusive. My mother was always neglecting and abandoning, by dad was manipulative, emotionally abusive and also abandoning. Before I had even become a legal adult, they had both (and my stepmom as well) already washed their hands of me… as though I was so horrible… shame on me for not doing the dishes fast enough or not getting straight A+’s (my dad and stepmom’s standards)… anyway, currently, they aren’t even around much. My dad used to try throwing in his 2 cents, which turned into attempts to massively take over my life again, so when I decided to take a job as an exotic dancer 10 years ago, I told him this is my choice and I don’t care what you have to say so leave me alone. Ever since then, he has very much left me alone. Its relieving, but confusing, because I still deal with this longing for his love and attention, and this longing is usually masked by some massive obsession with some other man in my life, be it a doctor or co-worker or friend. It is a horrifically desperate aching longing that I can cry oceans about. Fortunately I know it is just displacement… Sorry I keep getting off track 🙂 My point is, when it comes to confronting them, what always comes to mind is, “what they did is in the past, and what they do in the present is not so bad.” They are barely even there. I kind of like it that way. But I do still suffer from the pain they inflicted on me in the past, although they insist they did no such thing and I was always a pain in their ass. I’m sure they would get mad at me and tell me I’m crazy, and I am ok with that because I don’t really care about making them happy anymore. I guess what I care about is what other people would think if I told them I don’t talk to my parents anymore because of how they treated me in the past. What about when they get sick or die? What should I do then? I feel like telling them, I hope you make a game plan for yourselves. just because I am your oldest doesn’t mean I am taking care of you. I will take care of you just as much as you took care of me – I will put you in a home or make you sleep in your car, I am not helping you pay for anything no matter how much money I have, and if you ask me what you should do, I will tell you that you got yourself into this mess and its your responsibility to get yourself out. Have fun dying alone.

Is that righteous anger? 🙂 lol


SMD, You’re right that they can’t stand it when their preferred victim slips out from under their control for even a second. It is a big threat to them because they can’t afford to be exposed as who they really are. Threatening their pretense is a threat to their lives, in their way of viewing themselves and others.



Jennifer, I had to confront my family because I still needed to see the truth. I tried really hard to make excuses for the way they treated me all of my life.When I became an adult, they couldln’t treat me exactly as they treated me when I was a child but they still didn’t treat me as an equal and they continued to use me. In their mind, that’s what I was born for, to take care of them. They and the men that sexually abused me (my parents could have stopped this but didn’t, they blamed me for what happened to me)stole my personal dignity. When I stood up to them, demanded that they treat me with respect and begin by acknowledging that I was sexually abused and that they were guilty of child neglect when they did nothing to stop it, I took my dignity back. I don’t know if that’s how you feel but all of us have something stolen from us by those who abuse us and treat us as less than human. Righteous anger is a tool for getting back what was taken away.

I quit longing for my dad long ago. In my early twenties, I replaced him with God, a father who is always interested in me, has my best interests at heart, and who’s advice is always sound. My longing was for my mother and I believe I’m finally, at peace there too. I’ve learned to be my own mom and I love myself as God loves me. My faith is the main vehicle of my healing.



p.s. Jennefer, In reference to us being alike, that’s the amazing thing I’ve found here at EFB. When children are mistreated, they grow up having the same emotional difficulties as others who were also, mistreated. Abusers are pretty much all alike too. I’m not nearly as different as I believed I was and I now know for sure that I’m not defective.



The last paragraph you wrote in #118 is so amazingly TRUE!! I can see my mother’s face. The only “real” tears I’ve seen her cry were when she was directly hurt in some way. Never tears of compassion for someone else. Although she loves to say “when my kids hurt, I hurt.” Bahaha!!

Your last few sentences were like echoes in my ears. I heard the EXACT same words from my mother. There was never any mercy. Never any money either. Another favorite line was, “you made your bed, now lay in it.” Or, “well, I don’t know what you’re going to do!!” In other words, I could help you, or even offer advice, but, you’re on your own, because you really effed up!! She called it tough love. I call it tough. There was no love. I’ve longed for her love too. For a really long time. The more truth I uncover, the less I have that longing. And, for that, I’m grateful.



Hi Everyone,
What an excellent discussion you all have going on here!

I wanted to welcome Jennifer to emerging from broken! (Jennifer, I am the main author of this site)

I found myself catching up on everyones comments and trying to hit the like button! (there is no comment like button but I am liking the comments!)

Hugs, Darlene


As a Christian I have searched the Net for about 45 minutes looking for how to deal with righteous anger. I am Pam’s same age. I heard years ago that one cause for an eating disorder could be anger that has not been dealt with. I never considered that I could be harboring such emotions (stuffing them to keep them at bay).

Someone said something very positive to me a few days ago, and my reaction was to shut down my emotionally. I went into somewhat of a trance, kind of as a way to shield myself from such comments. It was like “does not compute.”

This was such a noticable response within myself that I could not forget it. I started asking myself, why can’t I believe a compliment? As I thought more about the reason I may have responded this way, I realized that I indeed am harboring much anger, if fact, rage, at my father for the abuse he inflicted on me as a child. He is no longer here, and hasn’t been for over 20 years, yet the damage remains.

I do understand, though, that I have a choice to be healed from this horribly dysfunctional way of reacting and behaving in my relationships with others and with myself. Thus my Internet search entailed. All the info I could find out there was of the Christian advise to be slow to anger and to forgive offenses, nothing about whether an abused individual has a right to feel anger and what to do with it. All I know (now) is that I have this explosive force inside me that needs to be released, healed.

When I came to this post, this article, I knew I found a God-send of a tool (this article) assuring me that what I am feeling is real, that others have felt and experienced the same treatment and the same feelings.

My story is the same as Pam’s (amazing) except my father would beat the sh** out of me and my siblings and then tell us we could not cry. I now realize this placed me in what I call a double-bind, being angry for the injustice inflicted upon me but not being able to express it, effectively keeping it locked inside. No wonder people drink excessively, binge eat, take drugs, etc., when treated like this.

Then, as a Christian, when all I heard at church for years is that we are to be slow to anger, forgive offenses, I never considered approaching the subject of how I might be harboring a lot of anger, no not me, I’ve forgiven everyone!

Thank you, Pam, for your wonderful insight and the words that have already started paving the way to my freedom. I love the example given of Jesus at the temple; it gives me a picture of the injustice that was done to my temple (my person) and shows me what God feels about such treatment. Because of this article, I am now on the road to conquering this hideous monster and erradicating him from my life.

LORD, bless this woman for sharing Your Truth.


Hi Pat, You don’t know how it blesses me to know that by sharing my pain it helps someone else who has suffered the same kind of pain. Like you, I found little in traditional teachings to help me. It was studying the Bible myself and relying on the Holy Spirit to help me apply it to me, that helped me understand what God had to say to me,about my situation. I don’t think Bible teachers mean any harm but traditional teachings usually, only apply to people who didn’t grow up in highly dysfunctional families but I firmly, believe that God has answers for all of us but everyone needs to go directly to Him for themselves. My viewpoint is helpful to those who’ve lived what I’ve lived and not fit at all for someone who hasn’t.

I so relate to your dad beating you and then demanding that you not cry. My dad would hold me too tight and when I’d struggle, he’d squeeze tighter. When I cried from the pain, he’d squeeze even tighter and would continue until I submitted. He would do this for no reason but now I believe it was a kind of grooming that taught me to surrender instead of fighting back. He also, teased me mercilessly and if I got mad or cried, I was punished. He insisted that I learn how to take teasing but I never really figured out what the response was that he wanted from me. I relate to your story in that you were taught to deny how you feel. I was taught to deny my anger and the natural ability to defend myself was taken away. God created all of us and He created us with anger. When I began to consider why God created us with anger and the good purpose for it is when I began to get that natural defense back and also, I began to express anger more appropriately. For years, I had problems with explosive anger that wasn’t porportional to the trigger. All of our emotions have a purpose for good and finding those good reasons helped me not only have more appropriate emotional response but use my emotions to help me heal. Righteous anger must be expressed appropriately, with purpose. Destructive, mindless, wrath only causes more damage.

Thank you for your comment. Writing these articles for Darlene’s blog have gone a long way toward my healing. I locked it all away for so long and Darlene giving me a voice has not only helped me heal but made me strong in my conviction about what happened to me in childhood. That brings with it a kind of self acceptance that I’ve never known. I think that when you get to that acceptance, you’ll find comments easier to accept. I had the same problem. I didn’t think I was worthy and it also, made me feel that the one giving me the compliment must be up to something.

I’m glad you’re on the path to wholeness.May God bless you and bring you to your destination soon.



Pat, As an after-thought, I’ve written a few articles on abuse on my blog and one that might be helpful to you is on how to Biblically, honor abusive parents. Just click my name by the lady in the red hat.



Hi pam,

I have a question : how do you succeed to acknowledge your anger ? with the a help of a therapy or alone ?

thanks a lot


I have also have to dealt with violent anger from my “father”, he yelled at me with all his forces…


Aurele, I have had some therapy but most of it was directed toward keeping me on medications that treated my symptoms only. My faith has been a huge part of my recovery. I began to confront my past when I sat through a sermon series on how to confront the past Biblically. I also, went through a study on self-confrontation with some women who were hurting as I was. I did a deep Bible study on anger by myself and as I’ve used the model of how God relates to human beings in the Bible as a model for personal boundaries, the two merged and anger became a tool in helping me set those boundaries and protect myself. In short, I used the Bible to rewire my thinking. Most of my study was done with a topical Bible and concordance. I also, spent a lot of time looking at traditional teachings to see if they were based on the Bible or only church tradition.

I found Darlene’s website just as I was nearing the conclusion of confronting my family of origin. She had traveled much the same path that I was on but was further along. She has been a great help to me. The story of her life and the stories of others, gave me the validation I needed at precisely the right moment. I’ve gained enormous confidence in my truth since spending time on this site. The articles I’ve writeen here and more recently on my own blog have solidified my resolve and given me clarity. It is wonderful that what I kept hiden in darkness for so long helps others now that I’ve brought it out into the light. It gives meaning to years that seemed only wasted on pain. There is a mighty force released here on EFB and it is released through the voices of so many victims. I am excited to see where it will all lead.



Aurele, I want to add a little on my personal struggle with anger. I had problems with inappropriate anger response. My parents were drunk a good deal of the time and they also, have emotional problems. My dad had huge temper tantrums that were violent and very dramatic. They seemed to come from nowhere and be unrelated to what was happening to him. I’m afraid that I spent some years behaving in much the same way. People would do things to me and I would have no angry response but inside, I did have an angry response that I buried and denied. It would build and come out explosively, our of porportion to what triggered it. Onece my husband said to me, “I don’t know who did that to you but I didn’t.” It made me see that I was mad at what my dad and other men had done to me that I swallowed. It was a long haul because I had endured so much abuse that I didn’t understand as abuse. I accepted it as my wrong-doing and my family of origin supported that view. I lived in fear of it being discovered. Facing the truth about my past, helped me understand how my anger responses had been twisted and how that crippled me and made me a target for further abuse. I had to relearn my emotional responses, as well as set personal boundaries. All of it had been stolen from me as a child. With God’s help, I rebuilt what was taken from me and I am still learning how to utilize it properly.

I hope that makes sense. By sharing, I hope others have a shorter process to recovery than I’ve had but all of it takes time. Wanting to get better is the key.



I haven’t had a chance to catch up much on the comments, but I love these statements. “I had to relearn my emotional responses, as well as set personal boundaries. All of it had been stolen from me as a child. With God’s help, I rebuilt what was taken from me and I am still learning how to utilize it properly.”
I always had a sense that something was “stolen” from me but couldn’t ever wrap my brain around it. It felt like pieces of my soul/spirit had been destroyed.
In effect, to be healed, we must be re-parented God’s way. It’s a long and arduaous process, but if we rely on God to reveal truth to us, it is well worth the journey because anything that God reveals or brings to us has the ultimate result of learning to love ourselves the way that He does.
Still working on my stuff…
Thanks, Pam
Thanks for this blog site.


Thank you, Pat. You summed it up perfectly.



[…] The Healing Power of Righteous Anger Categories : Depression […]


My brain was screaming “YES!” the entire time I read your post. Thank you!


Hi Andrea, You’re welcome!It’s amazing what can happen when we get our feeling sorted out and learn to put our emotional responses to work for us instead, of against us! Thank you for taking the time to encourage me with your comment.:0)



Pam, I cried reading your post. Anger is still very difficult for me to channel. I aim it towards myself and as a result had many suicide attempts. The last one was 2 weeks ago. It was bad. I had taken pills at work, then drove home and fell asleep on the couch. My kids came back from school and found me unconscious. I’m hurting so bad I can’t take it anymore. My husband if 20 years cheated on me in July and ended our marriage. We live in VA, he was making trips on weekends to be with her (he met her there during his HS reunion) then would come back home on Sunday. My anger grew so out of proportion it became larger than me. I’ve been in therapy for 3 years. My therapist gives me choices. Either I choose to continue to torture myself with the past or choose to focus on myself and what’s gonna happen next. Which one would be more helpful to you. To me, hearing this makes me feel like once again it’s my fault that I’m not moving forward. She also says that anger is my safe emotion to go to. Reframe your thinking. What does that mean? Forget about what’s been done to me as a child and move on? Stuff my anger somehow once again by thinking positive? What????? You bet I’m angry and you bet I have good reasons for feeling this way. I was pushed to the side by my mother at the age of 2. My father didn’t love us. I was bullied by teachers. Molested by doctors, assaulted by my uncle. My self esteem is non existant. All I need right now is VALIDATION. Why can’t people/therapist get that??? I don’t need to re-write the past now that I’m an adult. I want to understand.


Hi Celine
You will find plenty of validation here! All of the things you are sharing are horrific and one of the most popular subjcts in this site is overcoming those messages that it is somehow our fault and that we are defective because we are not “over it” ~ what a bunch of bull! It was when I got some help validating the damage and listened to myself that I began to heal! That was the beginning for me!
Hugs, Darlene


Darlene, how in the world do I do that? I don’t know if they’re right and I’m wrong. I don’t know if in fact I’m “comfortable” being a victim. I just DON’T KNOW. I wanna scream. I’ve been trying to communicate my pain since I was a child. I’m 43 and I’m STILL struggling. My communication style takes different forms. Suicide attempts, cutting, binging, withdrawing. Nothing is working and I still feel powerless. He cheated on me, yet the lawyer I saw the other day told me that I’M the one who has to move out because he’s gonna get costudy of our kids. No judge will give me custody after looking at my mental history. I lose everything when i’m not the one who ended the relationship. The lawyer looked at me and had the nerve to tell me that I need to be in the hospital for several weeks instead of a few days. I felt a panic attack brewing. Why do I feel like I’m never HEARD? My words never had any weight. It’s like being stuck in a telephone booth screaming and crying to get out with everybody around ignoring me. Will I always struggle in my life? Will I always lose?


I totally hear you and I felt exactly that way myself. (I like your telephone booth analogy) I had to hear me. I thought the answer was in getting validation from the same people who put me in that box and I had to realize that it was most important for ME to hear me! I hear that you are in a very terrible and crappy situation. I hear the fear in your voice. I encourage you to read more of the article that I have written in this site ~ you might be able to get a glimpse of hope at least. I could not get over being a victim until I KNEW that I had really been one. Everyone told me I was wrong but I wasn’t wrong. I felt like I was never heard because I was never heard! When I began to hear me, something changed.
I am leaving for the day and won’t be online (if you respond and I don’t answer it is because I am not online)
Hang in there.
Hugs, Darlene


Darlene you’re wonderful. Thank you so much for being there and listen. I can’t help but to feel bad when I start talking about stuff. I feel like a cry baby. There are so many people in the world in worst situations than mine. I don’t know anymore what the truth is. Are my perceptions so warped that reality is not what it is? When I feel on the edge of the cliff and nothing else matters but my desire to die, what shall i do to prevent my urge to overdose? When i hear my therapist tell me to think about my kids instead of taking the pills then tells me to change my behavior, is she trying to help me? If she is why do i feel angry at her for saying so? Am i missing something? I constantly fear shes going to leave me because after all people always end up leaving me. I’m awkward at receiving love or kindness. Growing up I learned that if someone was nice to me I owed them something back. Or they showed kindness but actually meant something else. I live day after day on high alert as if my life was constantly in danger. They tell me to be strong. What the HELL??? Haven’t I have been strong enough so far?


Hi Celine
One of the first things I had to do was stop thinking the rest of the world had more ‘right’ that I did to be hurt over the abuse/neglect etc. that happened to me. You have every right and kinds/amounts/frequency of abuse doesn’t change anything about the damage done to YOU. Tell your therapist your fears (all of them) and perhaps she can help you get to the roots of them. Having the thoughts you are having are really serious and need to be dealt with in person with a professional. I understand “high alert” and it takes time to overcome that. There is a valid reason you feel that way. No one has the right to discount that.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Celene, I’m sorry for not getting back to you sooner. I can relate to everything you’ve written because I’ve been there. What so many people don’t realize is that there are things in life that are so difficult to carry that death seems like a resonable alternative to our current suffering. When we grow up abused by others, we don’t only carry responsibility for our own wrong doing but we wrongly, carry responsibility for the things our abusers did to us. A lot of therapists reinforce that view. I don’t think they do it on purpose. I do think they are trying to help but they don’t know what they are doing and most don’t seem to hear us any more than anyone else. You aren’t a defect and you aren’t responsible for the things done to you. Righteous anger helped me to unload myself of the misappropriated guilt that I carried for decades. My right to defend myself was taken away from me when I was very young. Though I’m not responsible for the things that happened to me, I did take responsibility for my healing and I tapped into the same anger that God feels towards those who abuse a child. I found my right to self-defense, the very purpose of human anger. It helped me not only get rid of the guilt I carried but rid of the people who insisted I keep carrying their guilt. I’m not going to tell you that it was a painless process. It was very painful but not like the pain of new injury. It was the pain of healing from a deadly injury that was destroying my life and injuring my husband and children. The most astounding thing to me was the response of my children when I confronted my family and set a simple boundary that had to be respected if they were to continue in relationship with me. They cheered me on because my allowing my family to treat me as a secondary human being, their scape-goat, my children were enduring the same treatment. I was allowing my own children to be abused by putting up with treatment that no one would ask me to put up with if my abusers weren’t my parents or related to me by blood. The best thing I did for my kids was to allow myself to be angry at my abusers and speak out about what had happened to me as a child and stop the abuse from continuing in the present. Healing myself is bringing healing about in the family I created and none of us are scape-goats for anyone. We are a family of inherently, valubable individuals. We live according to our own purposes and not for the purposes of any other. It is so important to recognize the anger that we as abuse victims are taught to swallow and channel that anger through truth. Truth is the key that helped me to begin to trust myself enough to know that I had the right answers inside myself and that I needed to listen to myself in regard to the truth of my life and not to the interpretations of my life by others. My perception is my reality and it is the reality that I must deal with, no matter how someone else may preceive the facts that created my perception. No one else lived my childhood and no one else holds the truth of what happened to me to the same degree that I do.

EFB helped me connect to the facts of my childhood abuse, label them, understand better how they affected me psychologically, and lay the blame for those events on the appropriate door-steps and leave them there. I found the validation I needed in what Darlene shares about her life and in the stories of others who contribute and comment here. Now, I validate myself. It’s a powerful place and I hope you will avail yourself of it’s power. Welcome!:0)



I could have written this article, except for the last paragraph, because I’m not that far along in my recovery yet. I am from a large family and have 11 adult siblings who are riddled with rage issues. Our childhood was filled with Chaos, severe neglect and emotional abuse. Any other articles or reading materials you might have on rage? Thanks Pam.


Hi Connie, The Bible is where I gained my understanding of the purpose of anger and how it should be used and shouldn’t be used. I was taught that all human anger is bad but I now believe that all human emotions have a purpose, even those that we view as negative. I looked closely at how God expresses His emotions and used that as my pattern. Righteous anger is anger toward anything that makes God angry. When I discovered that, I also, discovered there were many things my parents and my family of origin did to me that are worthy of righteous anger. By using my anger that way instead of trying to stuff it down and then have it explode at inapropriate times, I was able to use my anger to stand up for myself, remain true to myself,set and maintain boundaries, and help myself heal emotionally. Having grown up in an alcoholic home with parents who also, have emotional problems, I had problems with all of my emotions being expressed in inapropriate ways. Finding their intended purposes, helped me sort things out. I hope that helps. Darlene may be able to help you out with other books to read on the subject.


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