The Motivation Behind Freedom ROCKS by Mimi

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Freedom ROCKS

Our survivor and EFB global community event “Freedom ROCKS” will this coming weekend on May 12th and 13th.  Today I am happy to have Mimi share her story about what Freedom ROCKS represents to her. I hope you will consider sharing this no cost virtual event with others. For information on how you can get involved see the Freedom ROCKS about page here. ~ Darlene

 The Motivation Behind Freedom ROCKS! By Mimi

Hello Everyone! My name is Mimi, and I am excited and honored to celebrate “Freedom ROCKS”.  For me this event will represent taking my life and power back, once and for all. I am 43 years old, and for the majority of my life, I’ve been in the shadow of my abuser; under her thumb. I have continually tried to fit into the perfect little box she designed. The box had very rigid walls and came with fine lines and stringent expectations. Nearly every decision or thought of my own has been run through my internal filter that separated out ideas or actions that would be viewed as impressive, acceptable, weak, wealthy, good enough, strong, mentally ill, poor, unacceptable, trashy, classy, lazy, smart, foolish, stupid, entitled, guilty, judged, loathed, an embarrassment, dependent. The list goes on.

There has been a black cloud over my head that enveloped all these implications and consequences for as far back as I can remember. The cloud has prevented me from living a life of independence, self love, self acceptance, self esteem, affection, freedom, equal value, and that list goes on as well. It meticulously dictated a life of anxiety, fear, depression, self hatred, self injury, rage, mental illness, addictions, withdrawal, social fears, phobias, uncontrollable emotions, and an overall sense of being caged up. I’ve carried this baggage along in life and it has affected every close relationship I’ve had, my professional life, my decisions, and my education.

I was not the same as my siblings. They somehow managed to stay within the lines most of the time. They were high achievers. I was a disappointment in every way I can imagine. I consistently made poor decisions according to my abuser. I was bullied, verbally, and emotionally abused, and neglected because I couldn’t measure up. There were a few times I was physically abused as well, but for me, that didn’t leave the marks on my soul quite like not being good enough, or loved and accepted for the person I am. I was the scapegoat. I was brainwashed to believe that my abuser came before me. Her emotions and her pain were more important than mine. I had no value. I was to put everything aside to attend to how things affected her, even when it came to my own illness. My thoughts and feelings meant nothing, and I was trained to believe that. Until last year, I did believe it.

The rigid rules were established to maintain appearances, at all costs. If we were well dressed and closed mouthed, all was well. It was called tough love by my abuser. The mixed message was, there was no “love” in it; only “tough”. My life has been absent of affection, words of love or encouragement, support, and acceptance by my abuser. If child rearing and/or tough love means providing a roof, food, and clothing, then my parents did a stellar job. (my father was a raging alcoholic who left when I was 11. His only representation in the family dynamic was one of alcohol and violence). Affection, human touch, acceptance, and loving words and hugs were replaced by insults, demeaning insinuations, lies, gossip, manipulation, triangulation, projection, brutal consequences, and confirmation that I was a big nothing on a direct flight to loserville. In the secret dialogue within the walls of our home, my abuser convinced me that she was all I had, that her opinion of me was accurate, and that all of my family, extended and immediate, agreed with her. I had no one to turn to who would believe MY story. I have finally learned that the only person who needs to believe my story is me.

The key attached to my freedom rock represents a locked door. Behind that door is a closet that holds all of the insults, manipulation, lies, gossip, abuse, powerlessness, false beliefs, pain, and every self abusive thought or action they represent. Attaching the key to a rock means it can never resurface. It will sit at the bottom of the lake drowning out all the whispers of disapproval, lack of acceptance and love, and it will drag the black cloud down with it.

Please join me and others in the event that will symbolize our freedom. Knowing we’re all doing it together forms a network of strength and support for each other. Together we can celebrate freedom, because FREEDOM ROCKS!!

With Hope,

Mimi

As always please feel free to share your comments with Mimi and I and the other readers here. Think about what Freedom ROCKS could mean to you.  For more information about Freedom ROCKS and how you can participate see the Freedom ROCKS “about page” here. Stay tuned for more posts and info. You may want to sign up for updates in the right side bar. (look for the confirmation email when you sign up)  There will also be updates on the Facebook Page for Emerging from Broken ~ Darlene Ouimet, founder of Emerging from Broken.

Related posts ~ Going forward; Looking back ~ the process of emotional healing

Not being Heard and finding my Voice

145 response to "The Motivation Behind Freedom ROCKS by Mimi"

  1. By: Mimi Posted: 21st July

    Hi everyone,
    I was going back over the comments just now, and I saw that on May 9th, I wrote that my passion seemed to have vanished. I felt no sparkle left in my life.

    I’m only writing an update to offer hope to others. Seems like it’s been a long time coming, but, I’m fascinated by the natural progression of things. My passion is returning. I thought I may never be passionate about anything ever again. The sparkle I mentioned is returning. I am feeling genuine happiness and freedom like I’ve not known before. I want to emphasize that it’s not my intention to boast ~ only to offer hope to the hurting.

    Throughout this process that began over a year ago, I wondered if I would survive. The pain was excruciating. The realizations about the lack of love and loyalty in my family really tore me apart inside. I think I’m finally approaching the place where the payoff is coming to fruition. Even if it’s only a little peek at the payoff some days, I still see it.

    My mother has chosen (thus far) to alienate me altogether since I asked her to explain what mistakes she’s willing to talk about, and to explain in detail how my correspondence with her was “angry and childish”. Those were things she projected onto me in an email. I am very capable of having a conversation without become angry. She has everyone around me thinking I have anger issues, and I bought into that just as they have. It’s true I’ve been very angry at times, years ago. I’m not that person anymore. And, it was righteous, justified anger at being attacked. She still tries to play that anger card with me. It soothes her.

    I recently learned that she has dragged even more people into her web of lies. Lies about me. I have learned such a tough lesson over the past year that, it doesn’t matter. If literally ANYone listens to her and believes her, that is their choice. The result of that however is, I lose respect for them, and their presence in my life matters even less than it did before. I struggle not to proudly think, “well, you poor suckers”!! I try instead, to focus on the truth, the grand prize. I try to embrace the truth, no matter how painful.

    So much confusion and pain settles in the soul in the midst of the process. I wondered if I would ever have empathy for people again. I wondered if I would turn out to be some hardened bitter being, without compassion for people. I was afraid of that. I was afraid that the “me” I knew, would be lost forever. I was afraid of being like HER!!

    The truth of all that is, I have returned by tiny bits. My empathy and compassion are still intact, albeit more healthy. I can empathize and hold people accountable simultaneously. I am not afraid anymore. That alone is very liberating.

    My hope is that as a result of the process, I will no longer attract people who sense vulnerability. I won’t attract abuse by random people. That billboard that screamed “weaK” will no longer be hanging over my head. In my heart of hearts, I believe more than ever that my mother taught me my worth. She taught me that I was useless. She paved a way for me that dictated how people would treat me. Out of familiarity, I subconsciously sought out people who treated me the same way ~ useless. Romantically and otherwise. I hope that as my own sense of self worth is strengthened, it will be apparent to others. On some subconscious level, my lack of self worth always has been like a neon light, yet invisible. It might still flash, but I hope to completely snuff it out with time.

    I have come to really embrace the idea that we’re all created equally. Money and power never meant a whole lot to me, but, it means even less now. People with specific educations do not know more about me than I know myself. My doctor, a counselor, a pastor….. no longer are their words the FINAL say. I am free to research and believe my own beliefs. There is an authority on all these things. My own mind, my own body, and the bible. No degree or amount of study gets to dictate how I think or behave. False prophets are EVERYwhere. Arrogant, all knowing doctors are everywhere. Screwed up psychiatry is everywhere. As a FREE individual, I get to draw my own conclusions. That is so very liberating. I don’t wish to be closed or narrow minded. I will listen, then draw my own conclusions. Giving the power of my mind over to someone else is not at all liberating, and it doesn’t define true freedom. Unfortunately, I was taught to do this by my mother. She defined everything about me, and I walked around like a robot for 43 years, believing all she instilled in me. The amount of projection almost seems infinite. And, now, it seems ridiculous and obvious.

    I am still learning about who I really am. It’s a scary, wide open space to be in. It’s also fun and free!! It’s like switching from a baseball game, to a football game. Literally, everything about it is different, including the rules.

    The years and years of shame is being peeled off of me layer by layer, as I sit back and watch my mother make horrible messes, extending further and further at every turn. Holding her accountable has pushed her to depths of desperation I never thought I would see. I am unaffected, except that I realize who should really be ashamed. She should be ashamed for being the one man wrecking ball she truly is. She should be ashamed for the dynamics she created with her three daughters. She should be ashamed that she doesn’t truly love any of us. Her actions scream out over her words. She is a snake. Yes, she should be very ashamed.

    All this to say, there is hope. In the depths of despair and realizations, I never could have imagined being here, yet, I’ve still so far to go. I don’t dread the process like I used to. I don’t wonder when the crying and pain will stop, anymore. I am at a different level now, and I can see light at the end of the tunnel. The fog is indeed lifting!!

    With hope,
    Mimi

  2. By: Mimi Posted: 2nd June

    SNL,
    Wow, that website is powerful. Great and valuable information there. I had done a lot of research on Narc’s last year, but I never came across this one. Really good stuff. The other one you posted, Light’s House, I have been there before. Good stuff there too. The internet is a VALUAble resource!

    On Dr. Martinez’s website I read some stuff about bad psychiatrists. I had that experience last year. The counselor I was seeing was also seeing my mother separately. I gave up it up finally. She doesn’t want to see my mom for who she is. I pointed out a lot of stuff, she downplayed it, said I hadn’t forgiven and I’d never find peace until I did, etc. I realized she was only perpetuating MY problems. And, simultaneously feeding into my mom’s craziness. I don’t know if my mom sees her still. She sure did have her buffaloed though. I look back at that and laugh a little inside because the one with the big “degree” didn’t have a clue!! And, she wasn’t at all teachable!! Haha!!

    Thanks for sharing the dynamics of your family. There is much wisdom in your words. It’s great that you have your cousins’ support! That means so much. I have found support in some family members who I never ever dreamed would be my allies. They see the truth of it all, and that’s been a great blessing to me. Sometimes, outsiders see things so much more clearly than the ones who are staring it in the face… like ME for 43 years. They have really blessed me, and I’m so thankful to have their presence in my life.

    Thank you as always for sharing your wisdom!!
    Much love and peace to you!
    Mimi

  3. By: Scapegoat No Longer Posted: 1st June

    Mimi,

    It sounds to me like the only thing you are “guilty” of is having a much bigger heart than your mother or siblings, and that is certainly nothing to be ashamed of! You just need to surround yourself with people who appreciate your big, kind heart and nurture you in return.

    The teacher you described was a nasty piece of work. It really hit me because I had an arrogant English composition professor who similarly ruined my GPA. He just relished tearing me apart in the classroom. This man could see that I was insecure about my writing ability. He was a bully, plain and simple, who thrived on picking on the woman whom he perceived to be the “weakest link” in the class. Don’t let such teachers pull you down. Mimi, just concentrate on all those wonderful teachers who recognized your talent and gave you that 4.0 GPA!

    And in regard to that non-welcome – “been there, done that” with my own nieces and nephews. We NEVER failed as aunts to our nieces and nephews. It’s like my cousin’s wife (who is now very much my cousin, too) says, “your nieces and nephews were taught by example to disrespect you. They saw how their parents treated you over the years, and think it is perfectly normal to treat you the same nasty way.” In my sickly competitive mother’s case, she did not even want her young grandchildren to like me (the pathetic old-maid aunt) more than they liked her, so she always did her best to trash me in front of them behind my back and NEVER stood up for me later on in life when my siblings and their grown kids would denigrate and humiliate me in her presence. After all, they learned to do that from HER in the first place. And I “turned the other cheek” for decades because this was the only family I knew AND this was the regular style of family communication that I had known ever since I was a toddler!

    The very moment my mother died, I stopped living in denial about all this scapegoating and quit repressing it. I went into a deep depression and got horrible anxiety. I got terrible insomnia. Plus I could barely eat for months and lost too much weight. It nearly destroyed my health and totally sapped my energy to the point where I could barely walk up flights of stairs. I am still trying to get my health back on track today and feel like I aged a decade overnight. (But the good news is that I overcame the depression and anxiety. Yes, I have my low moments, but I get stronger each day.) And all of this caused by my OWN “flesh and blood!” Without going into all the details of why I sank so low, I can just tell you that my cousins saved my life and expected nothing in return except for me to heal and thrive.

    I cry as I write this, but the pain subsides a lot more quickly now. It’s as if one builds an emotional callus or scar tissue. It still hurts, but WHY do I allow it to hurt me when I now realize how truly disgusting and selfish my “family” is and that they are NOT worth the tears, as my friends and cousins stress to me. I guess it’s like one cousin gently told me, “The past year you have been mourning and grieving the family you never had. You deserved a loving, supportive family and you got stuck with these hateful users instead.”

    Please check out this blog by Dr. Martinez-Lewi:

    http://blog.thenarcissistinyourlife.com/

    This psychologist nails it in her posts about the blood suckers in our own “families” who seek to unbalance us and bring out the worst in us, as opposed to our REAL friends who want us to thrive and always seek to bring out the best in us.

    A big hug back to you and love,
    SNL

  4. By: Mimi Posted: 1st June

    SNL,
    That’s it…. that is EXACTLY IT!! Nasty people detect vulnerability, and they move in like a hand grenade and explode in your face. That happened to me recently with a teacher. She was so nasty. I sat in the front row and she would talk to me (just short of yelling), so the whole class heard her belittle and talk down to me ~ act like I was an idiot and stupid. She refused to answer my questions. Her response would often be, “well, what did I say to do with your specimen”, etc. Well, if I KNEW that I wouldn’t have asked the question!!! I was also in the honors progam and had to do a project to meet honors requirements. I had to run ideas by her for approval. She shot every one of them down. I was left standing there with my proposal in hand, looking at her, and feeling like a complete moron. She never offered suggestions, just shot my ideas down and then stared at me. It was a microbiology class and it was my worst educational experience ever. I turned her in to the dean, and I tried to drop out. The dean talked me out of it, he was a nice guy. He allowed me to finish the course without ever stepping foot back in the classroom. I got recordings and notes from other students, and finished with my first ever “B” grade. I had a 4.0 until that crazy old woman came along!!! I just heard she retired, I’d say she was close to mid-late 70s. I’m not sure she retired, I think they may have helped her with that decision. We got to review her after the class was over, TWICE! I know her reviews were poor based on the chatter among students. She tells people she retired. I’m not certain that’s the case though. None the less, she’s GONE!! I might take it over so I can replace that B. Grrrrrr!!! All this happened during the time my foundation was crumbling because I was just discovering the crap about my mom. Okay, enough of that painful memory!! UGH!

    My dad is an alcoholic and he left our home when I was 11. I was estranged from my paternal family until just a few years ago. I understand from what the family says, that he too walked on water. He was the only male of 5 kids, and of course the only one to carry on the family name. I don’t know what the truth is for sure about those dynamics. I know his parents discounted him on several money making deals and wouldn’t allow him to buy out part of the business they owned. It was probably like everyone here…. we love you to the outside world, but inside, we don’t want you.

    You spoke about family loyalty. I think that’s the heart of the dysfunction in my immediate family. Silent teachings that people subconsciously follow along with. Denial and/or sweeping it under the rug is the way things are handled. I’ve tried to keep communication going about the deeper “stuff”. I’ve sent several emails to that end this year. I got nothing back, or a sentence or two. This is what support looks like?? Both my sisters have been through a lot of personal stuff this year. They both have kids too. I too have been through a lot with my husband since learning of his affair a year ago. My middle sister didn’t reach out to me one time after I told her of the affair. I could have divorced and moved across the planet and she would have never known. My mom didn’t reach out. I can’t imagine if one of my sisters or my mom were facing a possible divorce, that my heart wouldn’t be breaking for them. My oldest sister did reach out often. She was my support during that time. She moved 500 miles away about 6 months later. Her family was upside down, I understand she had to put her energy into keeping her own family together. My mother visited them a few months ago. My sister said all three of her kids ran to hug her when she arrived. My middle sister and I visited them in September of last year. When we arrived, we met them at a HS football game which was already in progress. We walked up the bleachers and my oldest niece who had just started college there, was sitting with two of her college friends. I don’t even think she said “Hi” to us. If she did, it was hushed. When I think of that non-welcome, and how she RAN to my mother when she visited them, I wonder, where the heck did I fail as her aunt?? I have searched my heart for an answer, and tried to be totally objective and honest with myself. I’ve failed to come up with an answer. Now, I give up. Wasted heart and mind space.

    I believe you’re right on the giver statement. My friends see that in me. They often make sweet statements about me and I think, “where did that come from?” I suppose because no one else sees it. I bought my oldest sister a plaque for her birthday when I was on vacation last year. It’s called soul sisters. It says, “Because you see me clearly, and I see you. Because you inspire me to love deeply. Because you celebrate my courage, yet nurture my tender heart pieces. Because you are my memories. Because you always know what to say, and when to simply listen. Because you know my heart. Because I know yours. Because we are side by side, heart to heart, in this life journey. Because I count my lucky stars for you every single day.”

    I can’t tell you how much of my heart was in that plaque. I wished someone would give me one deep down. I bought my middle sister one on ebay later on, and was going to give it to her for her birthday this year. I decided to give it to myself instead. I look at it and pretend it came from an imaginary person who feels this way about me. I also imagine that my oldest sister has hers face down in a drawer somewhere. It’s okay…. I have my own, and my heart is in it ~ To me, from me!!

    Thank you so much for your insight, support, and correspondence. You’re right about the decent people here. People who have been squished know all too well what the pain of it feels like. I hope like heck I never ever inflict it on others. It’s having to experience it ourselves that gives us compassion and empathy for others. Thank you for your compassion!!
    Much love and peace,
    Mimi

  5. By: Scapegoat No Longer Posted: 31st May

    Hi Mimi,

    Thank you for your best wishes about my new job! I’m glad you know about Alice Miller because she was an incredible writer with brilliant analysis. I’ve read summaries of her books and intend to read them soon. Here is one other very important link:

    http://www.lightshouse.org/the-scapegoat.html#axzz1wR7yOB35

    This entire website is fabulous and when I first read the above web page after my mother’s death last year, I could barely sleep for several nights because it so completely and accurately defined the sick, bizarre role I had been irrationally forced to play in my family all my life. My Mom & siblings always viewed and treated me as a weird failure to be held up to ridicule. But my friends, cousins and nice coworkers, for example, genuinely liked and respected me. They could not understand why I always had such low self-confidence and low self-esteem because they saw the good, capable person in me that my family refused to see.

    Nasty coworkers who operated like my mom & siblings easily detected my vulnerability and would walk all over me. I can remember once complaining to my mother about a mean coworker and her regular attitude was that it was always MY fault because I could not get along with anyone!! (Fortunately I always had good friends at whatever job I had and we would “watch each others’ backs” when dealing with these backstabbing coworkers.)

    There is another point that I want to stress. Like you, I suffered from knots in my stomach due to anxiety and now realize that it was the direct result of child abuse. Thank God for all the psychology artices posted on the internet, because they literally saved my life last year when the realization exploded in me that I am an adult survivor of child abuse along with being my narcissistic mother’s scapegoat daughter. They say that, until the adult survivor comes to terms with the fact that they were genuinely abused, he or she carries a sense of inexplicable emptiness and inability to put down roots their entire life. That was me! I carried that emptiness and moved from place to place over the years, always wondering what was wrong with me that I felt so alone and out of place everywhere. For years, I was scared to death to attract a decent man into my life because I worried that, once he knew the “real insecure me,” he would reject me as a fraud. In other words, I subconciously took it to heart when my mother would grind into me repeatedly — all my life from the time I was an innocent little girl — that “no man will ever want you…”

    No longer. Now I can move forward, thanks to my new insight and also the support I get from EFB. I have wonderful friends who grew up in loving families and they have been so kind to me. However, I crave and appreciate the contact with people here at EFB because only you and everyone else here fully understand and share the same pain as we process the lies and cruelty of our dysfunctional families and move BEYOND that pain to the happier lives that we fully deserve. (Hope I’m making sense here, as I do not mean to criticize my friends.)

    It is interesting to hear from you how the dysfunctional dynamics are at play over several generations in your family, because it is exactly the same with mine. However, my mother was a very spoiled only child and could do no wrong in her parents’ eyes. My maternal grandparents were enablers. They saw my mother verbally abuse me constantly and literally try to eviscerate my soul. They never interceded on my behalf and would always act afterwards as if nothing at all had ever even happened. So when you have your own grandparents acting as if such vicious behavior is entirely normal, it just contributes that much more to the “brainwashing.” My mother’s parents put her on a pedestal. She could do no wrong. My late dad once recalled going with my mom to see her parents. When they walked in the front door, her parents reacted to her entry as if she were “Jesus walking across the water,” my dad said.

    In regard to my nieces & nephews, they are all young adults except for my niece who witnessed the assault. She is still in her teens. I haven’t had to really cut them off because they have not bothered to initiate any contact with me at all since my mother’s death. My cousins think they are self-centered users just like their parents and saw how they ridiculed me behind my back at family gatherings where I was not present. (My cousins, bless them, have cut off contact with my siblings & their kids because they are disgusted with the way they treated me. Besides, as one of my cousins told me, “they are only interested in us if we can give them expensive graduation or wedding gifts. Otherwise, we don’t exist for them.”) I realize now what a one-sided relationship it always was with these kids. I was the one who put in all the effort to maintain contact and be there for them whenever they needed me. No longer.

    Mimi, I believe that we at EFB tend to be the “givers” and our dysfunctional family members are the “users” or “takers.” We could give them the clothes off our backs and it would still NEVER be enough! Ultimately we have to create new families (friends, cousins, etc.) for ourselves – families that are loving, supportive and givers like us.

    Yes, I’ll keep up with EFB no matter what. I want to keep up with all the news on how you and others are progressing as we all move onward and upward! It took me until my late 50s to WAKE UP to my dysfunctional family. (Thank God for the internet!) Yes, my siblings & their kids may be well-educated and financially successful. But they are also vicious, greedy people who are out of touch with their own emotions and use other people like toilet paper if they have something to gain or benefit from them.

    In my opinion, the REAL success stories are right here at EFB. Decent, kind people who seek to live full, rewarding lives WITHOUT abusing and mistreating others in the process. And we are regarded by our selfish, nutcase family members as the unstable losers? I think not.

    Many thanks again for your inspiring posts,
    SNL

  6. By: Mimi Posted: 30th May

    Scapegoat No Longer,
    CONGRATULATIONS on your new job!! I’d be a nervous wreck too, but, I think everything will be okay!! 🙂 YaY for YOU!!!

    Thank you for the resources. I have a McBride book, “Will I Ever Be Good Enough”. It was a great resource for me in the beginning when I first started to suspect my mother is a nutcase, lol!! That was early last year. I should go back and read it again, I’m sure I could gain new insight since a year has passed. I haven’t heard of the other author but I will google it. Thanks!!

    I am curious how you handle nieces and nephews who have followed along in the silent training by your mother/siblings?? Are they still children?? Did you cut all contact with them too??

    I was able to observe my grandmother very closely earlier in the year. She became very ill, and I took care of her for a while. It’s painful to admit that even though she’s always been good to me, I saw my mother in her. I haven’t really talked about it here. Only with my husband. I could see the patterns repeat. It seems to follow along with firstborns. I know my mother was always in the shadow of her sister, who was the oldest. Her sister was just more respected and highly regarded than my mom. She was the golden child among my mom and her siblings. The same happened in my FOO. My oldest sister occupied the pedestal for many many years. I was often asked why I couldn’t do “such and such”, like my sister. Why weren’t my decisions as good as hers. She was the oldest, and the golden child. The pattern repeated from my mom’s siblings, to her children. She failed to stop the pattern. I don’t excuse her because she was a “less than” in her family. I believe she had kids to fill a void. I have read that the anger that comes out toward the scapegoat, is misdirected anger that’s been bottled up. It’s actually anger toward the PARENT, that is inflicted on the child. So, it plays out like this ~ my mom had deep anger toward her mother and an unmet need, a void. She took that anger out on me, the scapegoat, rather than directing it to the responsible person. Although that makes sense, I still don’t excuse it. She had a choice, exactly like I do. It’s not my fault she chose to repeat the pattern and live a facade. She should have sought out truth and healing before she ever had children. Now, it has spiraled completely out of control, and much to my chagrin, she really did teach people how to treat me, even encouraged disrespect. That’s been a painful reality to face. But, it is what it is!

    I love the writings of Alice Miller. She wrote some very good stuff in “The Drama of the Gifted Child”. It spells out the pressure and expectations that go with being the golden child. They are programmed, groomed from infancy to perform. It’s sad…. as sad as being the invisible one, or the scapegoat. She also wrote a book called “The Body Never Lies” which I found so interesting because I did an experiment with a counselor that proved the body can’t lie. Very intriguing. I knew when knots developed in my stomach when reading about NM’s, that my body wasn’t lying. It was all there in black and white, and it made me physically ill. I think that is where the physical symptoms of anxiety are rooted. That adrenaline and need to flee….. my body is telling me something’s up. I had no idea my mom was at the root of my anxiety until last year. No idea I feared her at all.

    I didn’t send my mom a gift for mother’s day. It’s easy to predict she would EXPECT one. I haven’t heard a word from her since that day. I have figured out how to get her to leave me alone….. buck the expectations of gift giving. She’s quickly figuring out it’s MY decision who I spend MY money on. She’s held that power for 43 years and that’s way too long!!

    So is my post!!! Thanks for your input and very kind words. Even despite your new job (YAY), I hope you get to come back and keep us posted and share your insights. They are valuable to me and others. Thanks for sharing and very best of everything at your new job!!
    With peace and hope,
    Mimi

  7. By: Scapegoat No Longer Posted: 30th May

    Mimi,

    After doing lots of temp work, I will be starting a new job soon (am a nervous wreck!) so I may not get to view EFB as often as I would like – but I wanted to alert you to two psychologists who have written extensively on the narcissistic mother/scapegoat daughter: Dr. Karyl McBride and Dr. Linda Martinez-Lewi. You can easily find them via an internet search. They both have been fabulous sources of information for me as I come to terms with the fact that I had a mother who NEVER loved me and brainwashed my siblings to treat me like dirt. That brainwashing has already passed on to the next generation. My nieces and nephews don’t appreciate anything I ever did for them and they treat me like dirt, too.

    The bottom line is, I will not waste the rest of my life on these nasty “family” members. From now on, I surround myself with KIND, decent friends and cousins who treat me with respect and value my loyalty and friendship. I also have ended contact with “friends” who treated me in the same disgusting pattern as my late mother and siblings have always done. Life is too short!

    I see the way you are generously helping out not only me, but many others on this board with your insightful, wise comments. Mimi, you are one amazing, strong and articulate lady with a very bright future ahead of you! Remember that you are not alone. We at EFB are all in this together as we try to make sense of the horrible, dysfunctional families with – in our case – mothers who fed us lies that affected not only our early years, but our entire lives. We must start listening to the voices of the people who REALLY love us and want only the best in life and happiness for us!

    All the best,
    SNL

  8. By: Lauralee Posted: 30th May

    Hello Everyone,

    Just finsished watching a Dr. Wayne Dyer show, he’s a motivational speaker, and here is one of the things he said. People were given 5 pieces of cardboard and were asked to write down 5 chapters of their lives. Here is what one lady wrote: CHAPTER 1: I walked down a street, there is a big hole, I fall in, I’m stuck and it takes hours to get out, who put this here, how can they be so dumb? CHAPTER 2: I walk down the street, there is a big hole and I fall in, here I am again, stuck in this dark hole, I can’t belive it’s still here, it takes forever to get out. CHAPTER 3: I walk down the street, there is a big hole, I fall in again, it’s my fault! I knew this hole was here, I get out right away. CHAPTER 4: I walk down the street, there is a big hole, I see it and walk around it. CHAPTER 5: I WALK DOWN A NEW STREET!
    I just love this, hope you all enjoy it as well, and I hope it gets ya thinking, wishing you all a wonderful rest of your day,
    Peace, love, hugs, happiness and Freedom
    Lauralee xoxo

  9. By: Mimi Posted: 30th May

    SMD and Drained,
    SMD, thank you for your kind words… they warm my heart!! I don’t think it’s coincidence that I’ve found you and other friends here either. I believe in my heart that God knew I was going down. I credit EFB and the compassionate people here for saving my life. That confusion and total insecurity that Drained mentioned above…. that’s where I was. I literally was spending my days wandering around the house with my head spinning, couldn’t make decisions on when or how to do laundry, I was so confused. I remember wanting to pack up my car and just drive and start over somewhere else. That desire nearly came to fruition many times. The counselor I saw at the time said it would all follow me. I thought, like hell it will. If I drive across the country and change my phone number, how will ANYone follow me. I know I can’t change the past but I sure can change what’s going on right here and now! That desire to flee and get away from everyone was overwhelming.

    SMD, I had that same thing happen on Ebay once. The package arrived damaged. I shipped it USPS and if I remember right, I had insured it. USPS refunded me the value of the item. Have you tried that route? I think the buyer has to mail it back, if I’m not mistaken. It’s been a long time ago, so these details may not be correct. Just a thought.

    Yes, I’ve had incidents in the work environment where I KNOW now that it was someone digging at unresolved issues with my mother. A coworker once claimed I hadn’t gone to a fire alarm in a different building. She was in the building at the time and didn’t see me, so in her mind, I didn’t go. Mind you, it’s a two story building that houses about 75 apartments. She started to spread that lie and went to administration with it. A meeting was called with my immediate supervisor, the liar, administration, and myself. I was soooooo burning up inside I could barely contain it. By the time the meeting was over, the liar was crying, and she cried all day. I didn’t raise my voice, but, I did in very clear terms reassure her that I wouldn’t take it lying down. Not responding to a fire alarm is a very serious claim. And, I have a license to protect. I wasn’t going down that time. I wish I hadn’t felt so much boiling anger inside though. She did what my mother has done all my life. My anger was twofold…. at her, and at my mother since I’d never processed the crap with my mother. My hope is that in the future, this kind of stuff will roll right off my back. I was desperate to prove myself, and that desperation comes from years of being stifled and unable to prove I’m good to anyone ~ because my mother got to them first, and she convinced me I wasn’t good, that I had no voice and if I did speak, no one would believe me. All that came flooding back. It was a horrible reminder of being lied about, gossiped about, not having a voice, and the desperate need to prove myself; that I’d done the right thing. I was FURIOUS!! At the time, I had no idea there was a connection between the incident and my mother. I hope that being armed with that knowledge will help in terms of letting it stir up so much anger that I thought I would explode. I HOPE I’m done with that because there are people like that everywhere. I didn’t have trouble looking at her, I didn’t have trouble standing up for myself. The trouble I had was I was boiling inside, and I let it spill over into my home life and emotional life, for quite some time. I felt hatred and unforgiveness toward her. I soooo want to be done with all that crap!! At the same time, not sure how to stop it. I hope just having the knowledge will help in the future.

    SMD, you’re so right about bully bosses and Narc personalities in positions of power. In the medical field, that stuff is rampant. Especially with doctors floating around pretending they’ve just saved the planet. LOL!! I recently read something on FB I think, “the definition of character is how you treat people who can do nothing for you”. So true!! Unfortunately, treating people as if they’re beneath you, brings such satisfaction and soothing to so many people who can’t draw from their own security and self esteem ~ because they’re absent of it. Truly unhappy people.

    I hope your dad comes through for you, and his desire to see you and your kids doesn’t play out in a manipulation to get help with your mom. I admire your ability to stick to your guns. If I was put in a place where I had to care for my mom, I’m afraid she might get back what she’s always given me. If she’s old and hunched over, I could tell her to stop standing like that, it makes her look fat!! Haha!! (her words to me, age 8 I believe)

    Thanks for the insights and caring correspondence ~ both of you!!
    Love and peaceful days,
    Mimi

  10. By: Drained Posted: 30th May

    Mimi, the only way I deal with these clueless people and their comments that make my mother-resentment flare up is to NOT REACT. I have to restrain my knee-jerk, defensive reactions. They always make things worse. I have to use great restraint and keep calm and remind myself that they don’t know any better, they don’t know the whole story, and my mother can put on a great facade. It’s what’s she’s done for over 80 years!!! Basically, while I’m rationalizing to myself and calming myself down, I’m forcing myself to look these people in the eye. I’ve always had a hard time doing that, usually looking away or at the floor, which immediately takes away my authority or any credibility. But this all takes lots of practice.
    Which is hard because I prefer to NOT be around people LOL. When I’m around people I feel like I’m walking a tightrope, and when I get home, it’s like I’ve reached the ground (safety).

    Your comment “actions speak louder than words” rang so true. What made this toxic N Mother relationship so confusing was that she’d often say things but her actions never backed it up. Always keeping me in this state of confusion and insecurity with those mixed messages, doubting my perceptions, wondering if I was that stupid or crazy. Now I know… all part of that tangled, dysfunctional Narcissistic Mother vs Scapegoat Daughter dynamic.

  11. By: SMD Posted: 29th May

    Drained & Mimi,
    I can relate to both of you on Narc personalities. They rub me the wrong way & get under my skin. That has happened with Narc bosses, friends & family. They are pathetic & they are the ones that need to do some Soul searching if they have one LOL….My ex-boss comes to mind on that one! Bully Bosses should be banned from positions of power. Narc personalities thrive on power, so being in a position of power is their bread & butter!

    @ Mimi, I hear you when you say that you’ve been withdrawn from life for almost 18 months. Isn’t that ironic! I’ve been out of the rat race too, since Sept 2010, which is about 20 months now. Wow! Another thing we have in common & I’m beginning to think this is not a coincidence, that we have connected on EFB, at this time in our lives! I’m considering getting a low key part time job but do not want to get wrapped up in taking care of anyone, so social service is out. I’m sort of stuck on what to do out of the house. I’ve been a seller on e-bay but that has been more of a side job for pocket money & extras. I sort of feel like I’m in a mid life crisis but I’m not panicked just uncertain what to do about work outside the house. I’ve invested in items to sell on my E-Bay site and taking a chance that I’ll make some money & profit. I hope it pans out & if not then I’ll put myself out there again. I fear getting knocked down & crushed. I can’t stand feeling that fear, it’s so unproductive!…I’ve been working on building myself up, so I can handle the work stress. Anyway, won’t really know that, until I’m out there again. Have you had any run ins with difficult & unreasonable people in the work place?…I recently sold something to a lady on E-bay and she was difficult by demanding a full refund, which I have posted I don’t give, however, my motto is customer satisfaction. I know it wasn’t my fault that the item got there damaged. I believe the post office mishandled that one and I mentioned that to this lady. She came back blaming how I packaged the item & said, “it was substandard at best”…Well, I didn’t argue but diplomatically stated that it was bubble wrapped more than once & put in a tight box as to not bounce around, while being shipped. Anyway, I did give her money back & she left me with Neutral feedback on my site. I was not pleased but it wasn’t negative feedback. My track record has been 100% positive feedback since I started about 8 months ago, so that is not bad!…Mistakes happen! Sorry about rambling on but you know me by now, when I get talking, I start going LOL
    Thanks,
    Sonia

  12. By: SMD Posted: 29th May

    Mimi,
    Thanks for your spot on feedback & support!…You asked a good pointed question, when you said, “Is there something your dad could gain from going to the parade?” Yes, it’s to be closer to his grand kids but also it may be his way of getting support for my mom. I think he is aware of how serious her health problems are and he may need me to help out. It’s very likely that, “my mom does have him under her thumb”. She is manipulative & more needy than ever. I actually feel bad for my dad and believe he is waking up to her ways. In my experience, she is more difficult to deal with, when she is physically sick. It’s not even the physical part that I’m talking about LOL….she is like a damaged bird…it’s pathetic! I won’t walk away but I’m sure as hell not going to be there emotionally. I don’t even think she would ask. It would be my dad who would ask or tell me that I need to be there for her. Anyway, I need to be prepared & keep strong with my boundaries. I don’t want or need to be sucked into the pain & dysfunction.

    After reflecting on yesterday’s events, I do believe my dad was genuine in his feelings toward me & my kids. He did make an effort to be there and he’s never done that before!…My kids do like him & they are more guarded around my mom, if that’s not telling. Thanks for saying, that I didn’t miss much with my whole family this weekend, I definitely don’t miss the drama & tension, particularly from you know who. I also like your comment about “keeping my strength to allow my dad to prove himself.” I will give him the benefit of the doubt & see where his heart is. I do hope it’s not to manipulate, so I’m going to keep my eyes open. I guess the saying goes, “I’ll play my cards close to my chest”, on this one. Thanks so much for understanding & being your kind self. You have a real knack for this..I really appreciate your insight!
    Love,
    Sonia

  13. By: Mimi Posted: 29th May

    Drained,
    You took the words right out of my mouth. I have had the same trouble in life. People who touch that wound my mother dug out in my soul (with what felt like a pick axe) ~ wow, the reactions, heartache, humiliation, and inability to cope is mindboggling. I understand the antisocial attitude too. I have some really great friends from childhood who have kept me going at times. Outside of that, I don’t have much desire to meet new “friends”. My friends know me well, and accept me for who I am. No judging, triangulation, or being treated as a less than. I’m an equal in that circle, and they’re loyal to me. I’m thankful for them!!!

    I wonder if you’ve found any new ways of coping with or handling people who cause that resentment for your mother to flare up?? I have been withdrawn from life for almost 18 months. I just started working again in a very low key, private setting. I haven’t branched out into the REAL world so to speak. Not sure if I’ve healed enough to be able to turn my back on the people who like to pick, lie, keep things stirred up, etc. (in the workplace) If you have some insight, I sure am open to it! 🙂
    Hope things are well with you!
    Love,
    Mimi
    PS – my mother apologized to me one time. ONLY because there were so many people around when she badmouthed me that she couldn’t possibly lie out of it, although she did try. She tried hard. She did eventually apologize, but other than that time, NEVER!! She’s so above that!! And, when I woke her up that night, I was upset and crying. Sort of blows a big FAT hole in that whole claim, “when my kids hurt, I hurt!” That is laughable!! I’ve learned about apologies in this process. If people say they’re sorry, but don’t change the behavior, or do anything to make it up to you, or make things right, it doesn’t hold any water. I have redefined both love and apologies in my process. They’re words, anyone can say them. It takes a truly caring and noble person to be able to act them out. The age old adage really is true ~ actions speak louder than words!!

    Wow, long PS!! 🙂

  14. By: Drained Posted: 29th May

    Wow, Mimi, that breaks my heart to read that cold-hearted reaction your NM had to your apology. I guess it reminds me of the same type reactions I got when I apologized to my NM. She NEVER apologized. She wanted me to feel bad. It was always that angry “You should be!” and the icy “We will not discuss it.” And I still kick myself for apologizing to a person like this.

    The fly-swatter beatings remind me of of my mother-in-law’s stories. She and her sisters were swatted on the bare legs with those fly-swatters. Yet, due to their southern baptist upbringing, they don’t dare find fault with their NM and continue to cater to her and try to win her approval well into their middle-age (yet, have made some not-so-kind remarks about her behind her back).

    I have found that the people I’ve had the most difficulties with (in-laws, family members, co-workers, bosses, etc.) were those with the N traits that I could never deal with in my mother. The superior, smug attitude, the put downs, the controlling and manipulating, the lying… It stirs up so many resentments, hatred, feelings of inadequacy, that I over-react to them, which they love! Ugh. There’s so many of them out there! No wonder I’m so anti-social!

  15. By: Mimi Posted: 29th May

    Scapegoat No Longer,
    Thank you for your very kind words!! You brought a smile to my heart!!

    Putting a running garden hose down your throat is BRUTAL!! I can’t believe some of the things I read on here, how people survived, and even thrive. How crushing to have your mother punish you in that way.

    The worst my mother did was whip me with a flyswatter on my bare legs. It left welts, but she denies that. Even so, it doesn’t matter now. I believe MYSELF. I don’t have to believe the lies she’s force fed me for years, that I somehow remember wrong, or that I didn’t see with my own eyes, the welts on my legs. Like overhearing her when she would bash on me to my family. FAR more painful than any flyswatter, but she’d try to lie and say I did’t hear what I heard, WITH MY OWN EARS!! Once I caught her badmouthing me to my sister, I confronted her, right when it happened. She lied right then and there, looking me straight in the face. She managed to slice me down to nothing at that time, to shut me up. In the middle of the night that night, I woke up and was so anxious about the whole thing, I went into her bedroom and woke her up and told her I was sorry. With hate in her eyes, she said, “you should be!!” With that she rolled over and went back to sleep. To think about those occasions now, where she squished me, lied, and manipulated me, I can feel heat rise up. The pain of hearing my mother say horrible things about me…. a very deep wound!!! It’s followed me everywhere, and created such deep self loathing that I barely functioned at times. On the flipside of it, she brainwashed me to believe she was all I would ever have. Wow, double whammy that played out in my mind like this ~ the only person I’ll ever be able to count on, and she hates me. Very alone in the world.

    You mentioned being taught loyalty by your paternal family. I don’t think we were really taught loyalty. My mother is ANYthing but loyal. ESPECIALLY to her kids. It’s nothing for her to stab any one of us in the back, repeatedly, to anyone who will listen. It’s baffling that she “loves children”, but, she doesn’t love her own. Actually, it’s not baffling ~ I don’t put energy into trying to figure out the many facets of mother dear anymore. A waste of time, love, energy, head space, etc.

    Onward and upward my friend!! 🙂
    Peace and love,
    Mimi

  16. By: Mimi Posted: 29th May

    SMD,
    I agree. It’s so hard to know the intentions. My dad doesn’t really come into the picture when I think on those terms. He lives in another state, and there is no pretending with him. He’s a really bad alcoholic. He’s just drinking and waiting to die, IMO.

    My mom, whoa…. in my case SMD, you’d have to be an airhead to miss my mom’s intentions. The last several months have gone down like this…

    ~ I sent mother and sisters an email, holding her accountable for recent lies.
    ~ She ignored the email and failed to address her responsibility.
    ~ She began sending me mushy texts, cards in the mail, and other correspondence.
    ~ Two months later, my sister invited her to visit in another state.
    ~ Three days after that invitation, she responded to the original accountability email, refusing responsibility. (she had someone else, she could toss me aside).
    ~ As of today, since going to my sisters (about 2 months ago, give or take), all the mushy stuff has stopped, as predicted.

    I think, how heinous to mess with your own child’s emotions like that. And, then pretend I’M the crazy one!! For 43 years!!! Who does that??? It’s not new behavior. This kind of divide and conquer tactic has been going on for as long as I can remember. I just lived in that fantasy; I turned my head. It doesn’t hurt anymore to realize she doesn’t love me. She loves the way she loves, and that isn’t love. I was so blessed to have the time last year to process her crap and mourn EVERYthing. I think that really helped me a lot. I wasn’t sure I’d live through it, but, I came out the other side ~ more healthy in terms of mother.

    All that said, I do know what you mean about questioning intentions. It’s hard not to when your heart has been stomped on. I think it’s great that your dad came to watch your son. Would he have made the effort if his motives were impure? (With my mother, I almost always know what she’s up to now). Is there something your dad could gain from going to the parade? I don’t know him of course, but, for him to go and be with your husband (some tension I suppose) and put himself in that place of potential discomfort, I would guess his motives are pure. Was he trying to earn points with your son? I don’t know, it seems like he was just doing what was in his heart, but it’s hard to know from an outsider’s perspective. The fact he called afterward seems like he was making a sincere effort with you. I HOPE he was making a sincere effort. Isn’t it crazy we have to guess our own parents’ motives and be on the edge of our seat wondering, is this sincere, or is this self service? I actually know parents who aren’t like this. They do exist, and if I use them as a measuring stick against my own mother, OMG, she truly failed. She kept us alive, but, that’s about it!! Haha! (she should have gotten a plant).

    Maybe your mom has him under her thumb….. he has to perform in her presence to keep peace in their house??? Maybe he sees her failing health and realizes time is short, he better step up to the plate?? The only man I can compare to is my maternal grandfather. He was never ever abusive to anyone in our family, but I can imagine him being quiet or pacifying my grandma to keep peace in their house. I think there could be a lot of husbands out there like that.

    Anyhow, SMD, I hope like heck it was a good deed on his part and not something to gain leverage. BTW, you don’t sound paranoid at all. You sound like someone who’s been deeply wounded and it’s a natural reaction to guard our hearts. I’m sorry you were down about not being with your family. But, I celebrate your ability to turn that around in your mind and realize some truth. I didn’t know it, but, for years I had this feeling of ‘not looking forward’ to family gatherings. I would have fun it seemed, so I couldn’t figure out why I could have easily skipped it. I have been skipping them (thanksgiving and xmas last year) and I was very blessed to be free of stress and meeting expectations. I had no idea I was still striving to “fit in”. Now, I choose to surround myself with people who don’t treat me as a less than ~ who haven’t been brainwashed by my mother. She’s trained EVERYone, even great aunts and EVEN my dad’s sister (albeit maybe only halfway successfully with her). I don’t have to put myself in that situation anymore. We all deserve to be respected and treated as an equal SMD. I know you know that, but, just to reiterate ~ I bet you didn’t miss much this weekend, and perhaps you even avoided something ugly. 🙂 I hope you keep the strength to stick to your boundaries and allow your dad to prove himself to you, and even more, I hope he does!!
    With love,
    Mimi

  17. By: SMD Posted: 28th May

    I had a revelation this weekend about my mom & dad. They are both emotionally unhealthy and abusive, however, it’s really been my mother who “nearly sucked the live out of me”, as Mimi said. Like previous posts, I’ve shared that my mom is in chronic physical pain recently, and how I’ve had to really limit my contact & exposure to her. I’m so glad I’ve been doing that! I realized that I could get sucked into her pain & misery. I’m an empathetic person- a blessing & a curse. I’m taking care of me & my family and that feels so healthy. I had a good drama free weekend with my kids & husband.

    I did go to my default mode of feeling down about not being with my whole family of origin, over the Holiday Weekend, but I turned it around by saying that I would feel miserable in my mom’s & brother’s presence. It’s like you said Mimi, “I’ve accepted that I lived in a fantasy about my relationships with all of them”. I’ve worked for years to get along, hold the one-sided relationships together and tried harder to please to get approval. Well, it wasn’t worth the effort in many ways. I was the scapegoat also, and my feelings were dismissed.

    I have realized in these last 4-5 years, that I can not get my needs meant from them. I’m on my own emotionally. I knew that, but it didn’t really sink in, until this past year, when I could filter the dysfunctional crap, though my own Truth Filter. I’m grateful for my truth & ability to see them for who they are. Although, I’m second guessing my dad’s motives, regarding him attending the Memorial Day parade for my son. I was shocked that he came. I figured I’ll invite him, since he mentioned that he wanted to see his grandson play trumpet. Well, I figured I’ll invite him & he won’t come. He couldn’t say that I didn’t invite him, like my mom has said to me over the years. I did like the fact that my father was direct, in a nice way, about wanting to see my son. I don’t remember a time my mom came out & said she wants to see my kids or that she misses them! She usually points the finger at me for not seeing them! I do limit contact and I think that has made her furious that I’m not appeasing her. I visit, when I want to or feel up to it. Anyway, my point is that my dad was nice and we had a good time. He seemed genuinely pleased to see his grandchildren.

    However, I found myself second guessing his motives and thinking about what is in it for him. Well, I concluded that he does better without my mommy dearest around. He is different, when he is alone- more at ease. He actually told me that she doesn’t want him to go anywhere, since she’s been physically sick. Then when the parade was over, he called me to say that my mom & him, Wish me a Happy Wedding Anniversary and he had a good time at the parade. I was in more shock!…He’s never done that before!…I started to think what does he want & when is the other shoe going to drop???…It’s sad I have to second guess & doubt his & my mom’s motives. It’s hard for me to take their behavior at face value. I know where this comes from & is this part of their brainwashing to get to me through my kids and how long is this going to last??? It’s been one-sided for so long…I’m confused. This was also the first time my husband & dad saw each other in years, and they were cordial to each other. I think what helped is that my b-i-l, who is genuinely a good & kind hearted guy was there too. He conversed with my husband and served as a buffer.

    I’m not too quick to think that my parents have changed their abusive ways but my heart wants to believe, that it could be possible. There goes my bleeding heart again! Don’t want to live in a Fantasy World LOL… I’m not going to do anything different in terms of lifting my boundaries. I’ll continue to do LC. I’m afraid to get sucked in. I know I sound paranoid about their intentions, but I have good reasons to believe that it isn’t about love but control. I can’t stand saying that, but the truth hurts, when it comes to my family! I’d appreciate any supportive feedback or similar stories.
    Thanks, Hope everyone had a good weekend!
    Sonia

  18. By: Scapegoat No Longer Posted: 28th May

    Hi Mimi,

    Thank you for your thoughtful, insightful reply. I read Eddie’s comments too and he made some excellent points. I finally saw how I was always the one trying to be there for my family, doing whatever I could for them yet NEVER getting any appreciation or anything in return. All of my siblings were like my mother: reel me in with some shreds of kindness to get me to do something and then follow it up with more abuse later.

    In my case, it was the concept of family loyalty instilled by my father and paternal grandparents. My paternal grandmother was the only loving force during my childhood and my mother did her best to keep us from seeing too much of each other. My paternal grandmother had suffered verbal abuse and ostracism from her older half-brothers during her childhood on a farm. And it was made worse because her father (the second husband who had married a widow) deserted his wife and all of her children on her family farm when Grandma was a six-month-old baby. She was afraid to stand up to my mother out of fear that she would be denied access to us grandchildren. So she would tell me to take things like “a duck lapping water off its back.” But she had no idea about all the beatings I endured (never told her because I thought this was normal, including the terrifying time at age four my mom stuck a running garden hose down my throat while clamping my arms behind my back and I gagged and squirmed while choking on the water until I turned purple and almost passed out – that is when she FINALLY released me).

    Grandma also did not realize how relentless and destructive my mother’s verbal abuse was on a daily basis – especially when my mother would gleefully allow my siblings to join up with her against me. When I cried out against their taunts, my mother would say with fake, simpering piety, “Just ignore them,” without telling them to stop ganging up on me. Plus I would get punished and beaten for things my younger sister did and she would believe my younger sister’s lies that I had done it. Once my cousin was at the house visiting and defended me to my mother. She said that my mother responded with irritation that I was ultimately responsible for everything that went wrong in that house, no matter what. My cousin said that is when she knew my mom “had a screw loose,” not to mention the fact that she was always afraid to spend much time in our house due to all the fighting, yelling and screaming that constantly erupted, especially when my father would come home and my mother would scream at him. My Dad was a WWII veteran and he kept his emotions all bottled up. He died at 65 from a miserable marriage that he stayed in only for the sake of his children.

    My family constantly implied that I was unstable and mentally ill. Mentally ill compared to what?! I would never presume to advise you what to do, but I will tell you that the absolute key to my ability to move forward in my life is to keep as active as possible and surround myself with loving, compassionate friends and cousins and avoid at ALL costs the siblings who only wanted to use and abuse me when it was convenient or beneficial to them. Everything in their world (and my late mother’s) is about money, power and social status. The fact that they totally denied me any of the household material possessions speaks volumes about the way they see me as “half a person.” (Two of my three siblings are attorneys, so there is no way I could have fought them on this.) But ultimately, you are right when you mentioned that the material possessions would just serve as painful reminders of the past.

    Mimi, I have gotten the “silent treatment” from my siblings, too. That is because they do not want to face the truth about their boorish, selfish behavior and the fact that our family was based on dysfunctional lies. What is helping me heal most is to keep as far away from this fake of a family as possible and maintain only minimal contact as needed, while nurturing my relationship with my wonderful cousins who share the same beloved late Grandma with me.

    I loved your analogy of “cracking out of the shell.” I admire your beautiful attitude and perseverance so much. (I think both of our mothers were jealous of our inner strength because – tried as they did to bring us down – they did not succeed!!) You have no idea how much your very perceptive writings have helped me (and others, too, for sure) to develop a better perspective on my own situation.

    Many Thanks,
    SNL

  19. By: Mimi Posted: 28th May

    Eddie,
    I too tried to hold it all together, as appointed by the weight the scapegoat often carries. For whatever reason, that’s what it turns into. The abuse somehow becomes a huge weight we carry and a responsibility to cause people to get along or love each other, etc.

    I remember when I started seeing clearly last year, about my mother. I cried so much over her and the confusion, etc. I remember often thinking, “I just want my family back together”!! That painful thought included EVERYone!! Even my mother’s brother who hasn’t spoken to her for 10 years. I mourned that too!! Unfortunately, I seemed to be the only person wishing our family hadn’t crumbled. I can’t say I know what everyone else was thinking, but, I know how they were acting. Silence!! I would reminisce about old fun times we’d had, when everyone seemed to be getting along, thinking I had this bond with my mom and sisters that would never be broken. Then I would mourn the loss of future fun times. It was heartbreaking, but thankfully, like having your appendix removed, you only have to do it once!

    My mother didn’t necessarily only put ME in the middle. She’s put everyone in the middle at different times. It just depended on who she was miffed at. For many many years though, I occupied the hotseat and she gabbed to everyone else about me. Now, I look at her with great disrespect and sometimes pity at how broken she really is. How miserable she must be to harbor such anger, hatred, envy, low self esteem, etc, such that she needs to suck people in and bleed them dry. She IS a life sucking force, and she nearly sucked the life right out of me. Perhaps my own suicide would have made her happy?? She holds no power over me like that now!! It’s a very liberating feeling.

    So funny how you said, it’s not your job to see that everyone in the circus is happy!! I sooo agree!! Good for you on the revelations ~ even if water was shed, you are aware, and awareness = life to me!!
    Love and peace,
    Mimi

  20. By: Eddie Posted: 28th May

    Hi Mimi,

    Something you said about really struck me:

    “It proves to me that it was ME holding up the relationship, doing all the work to hold it together.”

    I can so very relate to that statement. Back before my eyes were opened by a complete breakdown, I used to be that person in that family that was trying to hold everyone together. My mother would complain to me about my two older brothers, how they did this or that, blah, blah. It never occurred to me to tell her “Well, have you talked with them about it?” That would have been unheard of.

    When I was talking with a counselor about this dysfunctional mess, I was telling him about always being the one in the middle of the crap, and then I told him about my oldest brother who never wants to be around the family. His simple response was “Why would he want to?” That stopped me dead and really made me realize for the first time what a freak show this family is and as much as I wanted to try and make it a “normal” family, it was never going to be that. Immediately my view of my older brother and my mother changed – he was no the bad one for avoiding the family; and she was no longer the innocent victim of all those around her. Finally, I began to see these people as they were. He couldn’t take the crap any longer and walked away from it, and she was the sick one, thinking the world revolved around her. That was a true watershed moment when my thinking about the people in this family shifted 180 degrees.

    The counselor next told me “And that ‘holding your family together thing’….that’s not your job.” Another truth. It’s not my job to see that everyone in this circus is happy.

  21. By: Mimi Posted: 28th May

    Scapegoat No Longer,
    We must have been typing at the same time. My response above was to your first entry.

    I have pondered what you wrote about taking care of your mother in her final days. I wonder how that will play out in my life. My mother is 70 and healthy as a horse. She is healthier than me I believe. I hope to be 2,000 miles away when she is faced with failing health. My husband and I have discussed a few different retirement destinations FAR away from here. At this point, I think I won’t have anything to do with her decisions, or financial discussions, nursing home, funeral home, burial, etc. My plan is to tell her in no uncertain terms, that she should have all this on paper before the time comes, because I’m not making any decisions on her behalf. Either she will have to do it, or my sisters will. I’m out. Another thing she’s always referring to is my inheritance, which I’m sure there will be none. There is literally NOTHING she has that I want. I would take the diamond ring she got from my father, but I’m sure not going to fight over it. I don’t want to go to her house and sift through crap that brings back painful memories. Everyone else can fight over it (I have two step siblings), and I’ll be happy as heck in my own home, surrounded by PEACE, and hopefully, like I said, 2,000 miles away!!

    I’m sorry you went through that assault at the hands of your brother in law. Families can be so brutal when someone dies. It’s a good opportunity to see what they’re made of.

    Your last paragraph ~ I have heard this about scapegoats more and more as I read and research. That we are the healthier ones because we have faced the REALITY and processed etc. I never thought of myself as a strong person emotionally. I have been plagued by anxiety much of my life, and depression as well at times. I have accepted that I have mental illness rather than the truth being, I was simply reacting to being shunned by my mother and other family members. She was always good at swaying people to the degree that they never even considered if she had some fault in it. It was always MY fault, no matter what. And, it was always evident that I had no one to turn to by the way I was treated at family affairs. I was just a less than, and it wasn’t hard to see that. I still am a less than. But, I’m emerging, and being a less than or being treated disrespectfully is no longer acceptable to me.

    I had a realization about my siblings about 6 weeks ago. It just hit me like a pie in my face one day, out of nowhere. I woke up, and there it was, staring me in the face. I have spoken with my middle sister about the abuse quite a bit over the last 6 months. She has often negated it almost to the point of saying it’s not true based on the fact I was a blue eyed blonde. I believe in infancy that could have been true. It was not true for long though. I have had many discussions with my siblings about my mother’s deceitful, back stabbing, lying ways. They agree. My middle sister has invalidated my feelings quite a lot though. I know it’s all part of our “training”, but, that doesn’t make me feel better. I have sent out heartfelt emails about seeking truth to my mother and both sisters. I got no response, or a single line or two. It hit me that silence is just another form of rejection back when I realized the truth about my sisters. I have emailed apologies that went unacknowledged. I have spilled my guts sometimes in emails. All of those efforts were like sending them to outer space. No one cares what is going on or if I’m sorry, or if I’m planning a new approach, or if I’m in pain, etc. I was the only one drafting such emails, laying out truth, apologies, plans of action, etc. In a family that claims to be able to talk things out and be honest about our feelings, etc….. there sure is a LOT of silence! I have accepted it now. I’m still moving forward. I don’t run my feelings or plans by them anymore. They aren’t engaged, why should I be? I’m learning self reliance, and I run things through my own filters now. It does get easier, glory to God. I stopped all effort with my middle sister, and what I predicted would happen sure did come to fruition. I haven’t heard a word from her. It proves to me that it was ME holding up the relationship, doing all the work to hold it together. Not any longer. I feel s****y enough without another slap in the face. I seek out reciprocating relationships now. If my family walks away, so be it. I’ve accepted that I lived in a fantasy about my relationships with all of them. The fantasy was so painful to shatter, but, I can’t be held down long. 🙂

    The beauty of seeking and living in truth IS emerging from broken. It’s like I’ve been in an egg state all my life, and now I’m cracking at the shell, ready to emerge like a fuzzy little chick…. with all things new. Although it’s painful, I see the rewards as well. I look forward to moving along in the process now. I can see life and thriving at times, rather than just breathing to stay alive. I want to LIVE, not just survive. I wish that for you too. I wish it for all the readers here. There are too many broken people in the world. EFB sheds so much light into the darkness.

    One last thought, which you may have seen here already. One of the posts has a quote in it that I often remind myself of ~ “I’ll leave the past alone, when it leaves me alone”!!! This is another thing my sister has said, that it was so long ago, let it go, etc. I don’t buy into that. I believe with all my heart that the only way to the other side is through it, not around it. I refuse to listen to excuses that make no sense, and that one makes no sense. It’s just society’s training, quit reliving it, leave it alone, it was so long ago, why bring up the past, etc, etc, etc. To all of that I say the quote above!!

    Much clarity and hope sent your way!! Thank you again for sharing. It’s important to everyone here!!
    With Peace and Hope,
    Mimi

  22. By: Mimi Posted: 28th May

    Scapegoat No Longer,
    Thank you for coming here to share your painful story. I can relate to nearly everything you wrote. It is so painful to realize our parents’ selfishness that extends so far, they would prefer we fail. I am happy that the light has come on for you and you are processing the abuse. It’s an incredibly painful journey, but I believe it leads to freedom like we’ve never known before.

    You mentioned something I’ve pondered lately. (as part of being IN the process, there are constantly new revelations and insights for me). You said you were the only blue eyed blonde. I too am the only blue eyed blonde of three daughters, and the youngest. My middle sister was the invisible child, according to her, and I believe she’s correct. She has invalidated my feelings at times (perhaps unknowingly) because she took backseat ~ I was a trophy child when I was an infant and toddler. This is the way she describes our young childhood. Of course, I have no memory of it. I take her word for it, and I imagine it to be true because my mother is always drawn to the most successful, most powerful, or most thin and beautiful people. If you’re not any one of those, you’re nothing in her eyes. My sister fails to realize that the dynamics changed ENTIRELY throughout the years of my upbringing. I believe my mother needed me to be a failure as well. She did and said whatever it took to beat me down and keep me there. If ever I was a trophy child, it didn’t last long. It swiftly turned into what felt like hatred from my mother. As I look back over the years under her roof that I DO remember, it seems like my mother may have been jealous of me. That would feed into her need to stifle me and keep me under her thumb. When I finally did succeed in getting a nursing education, she pretended SHE was the one who produced the drive in me to do it. She was proud, although she did nothing to facilitate it. She even negated it all along the way. I did have to move back home in order to go back to school. For that she would say, “after all I’ve done for you”!! It was HELL living there again. I remember toward the end of my stay there, and the end of my education, I was drinking vodka straight from the bottle at times. I binged on hardcore drugs as well. Anything to escape her. I worked full time, and went to school full time, and it still wasn’t enough for her. I believe she envied my drive to succeed because that meant she failed at beating me down. She felt me slip from her grasp in that I was finally making a way for myself ~ to be independent. She hated it, and she hated me. It’s all VERY twisted and insidious. When I was finally done with school and started my first job as a nurse, she told me it was time to get out. She was generous in giving me 30 days. I remember as I made trips to my car with all my belongings, she sat on the sofa and watched with contempt. When I got into my new apartment, I wrote her a card that said I knew we didn’t always see eye to eye, but that I missed her. She never acknowledged it. She would never have me think she missed ME!! All that has changed now. I don’t miss her at all. In fact part of me hopes to never see her again.

    It’s great that you have the support of your cousins. It’s so helpful to have someone in your corner who knows or has seen the abuse for what it is. I understand what you mean about low self esteem and value. For years I attracted abusive men. You are better off alone, than getting involved in an abusive relationship. I spent several years alone after I graduated from nursing school. It was a great time of self discovery, and I gave up on ever having a rewarding relationship. Then, along came my husband. To this day don’t know if I made a mistake in marrying him. We will be married 10 years this year. Until he had an affair last year, I thought we had a great marriage. Now, I wonder if I’ll ever REALLY know him. I fantasize about getting all this family stuff ironed out in my head, and then leaving him. I don’t know if that will happen. Just something I think about. In some ways he mimics my mother. And, that sickens me!!

    Anyhow, I didn’t mean to write a book, but it’s been a few days since I’ve written. I can usually count on a LOT coming out if I haven’t written in a while.

    Thank you again for sharing, and I hope you come back and continue reading and growing. I believe there is hope for love in your life. I don’t think it’s EVER too late to fall in love!! 🙂
    With hope,
    Mimi

  23. By: Scapegoat No Longer Posted: 28th May

    Mimi,

    I just want to clarify some things I wrote about in my previous post. I quit my job to serve as my mother’s unappreciated caregiver in the year and a half before she died. (My late father, who died when I was 30, said he knew that I would be the child who would be there for my mother in her final years and I promised him I would be.) While I was taking care of my mother and keeping up her house, she would tell me how much she needed my help, yet at the same time get on the phone and smear me to my siblings, telling them that I was lazy and leeching off of her! (Even though I was using my own savings for all of my personal expenses, as I was not paid any sort of allowance to take care of her.)

    My mother’s neighbors said I did an excellent job of taking care of her. It was a hellish time serving as my mother’s caregiver because I got nothing but constant verbal abuse. I told my mother in the hospital before she died that “all I ever wanted was for you to love me.” How pathetic to be a single woman in her late 50s who was STILL seeking her mother’s approval and thinking that “if I just did this, or if I just did that, maybe she will finally realize my value.” Pathetic. But she never did because she was a selfish narcissist and I was the irrational target of all her anger and hatred about being stuck in a small town that she never wanted to be in.

    Mimi, it’s true that they say the scapegoated child is always the strongest and most vulnerable in the dysfunctional family. But – for all our suffering – we are still the most emotionally healthy because we don’t use and abuse other people the way our abusers do. And it is only natural that this hatred would cause us pain. Who wouldn’t get depressed after having to endure such hateful families? But out of that pain and depression a stronger person arises. We no longer live in repression and denial about the truth of our families. And we move forward in life surrounded only by the people who value us for our kindness and compassion – not whether we have buckets of money or high-society status.

  24. By: Scapegoat No Longer Posted: 28th May

    Mimi,

    Thank you for posting your very insightful, courageous messages here. Please know that you also help others so much because you bravely share how you have come to terms with and are rising above the painful abuse you had to confront in your life. Because of amazing, wonderful people like you, Darlene and others here, I find such incredible support as I deal with the fact that I am an adult survivor of child abuse (physical and verbal/emotional, with the verbal abuse extending my entire life) and the scapegoat daughter of a narcissistic mother.

    Nothing I did for my family over the decades was ever appreciated. Whatever accomplishments I made were belittled and ridiculed. My cousins (my real family now) noticed these sick dynamics and if it were not for them and my loyal friends, I would be totally alone today. After my mother’s death last year, decades of brainwashing and abusive treatment by her and my siblings just exploded in me. I realize now that the reason I never married (dated, but never even had a boyfriend) was due to the low self-esteem that my mother brainwashed into me from the time I was a toddler (“you’re selfish, ugly, lazy, a failure, unstable, no man will ever want you…”). My maternal grandparents and siblings were her enablers. My late father was a passive enabler who buried himself in his work and if he tried to defend me, my mother constantly sneered in front of my siblings that I was “Daddy’s little favorite.”

    My mother tried to murder my soul. She WANTED me to be a failure. She did not want me to have the basic joys that others experience with a happy family life of one’s own. I still pray that it is never too late to meet a kind man, even though I am in my late 50s. This website is like a wonderful sanctuary where I can come for spiritual sustenance while I heal myself and move forward and away from a very sick, evil, dysfunctional family that used me for decades while also treating me like a punching bag. A few months before my mother died, my brother-in-law assaulted me in front of my mother, sister and teenaged niece. (I realize now that they wanted me out of the house so they could go in and grab everything, which my siblings did after my mother’s death, and I got nothing.) After he beat me, three generations of women in my family – including my niece who called me her “other mother” when she was a little girl – all sneered at me and shouted that I “asked for and deserved it.” There is so much more I could say, but I will leave it at that.

    My cousins tell me that whenever they came to visit during my childhood, “you were a ray of sunshine – kind and generous – while your sisters and brother were mean, vicious and greedy like your mother.” I am so lucky to have these precious cousins who care so deeply, when it would have been so much easier for them to just pull back instead of reach out so lovingly.

    I was loyal to my wretched family because they were the only family I knew. It has taken me the past year since my mother’s death to process the evil caused by my own “flesh and blood” that nearly destroyed my health. My maternal grandmother years ago had excused my mother’s scapegoating of me by claiming that my mother “had to be harder on you since you’re a blue-eyed blonde and she knew life would be easier for you.” SICK.

    I share my experiences here because, while I am relating my pain, I also want others to know that it is NEVER too late to reclaim one’s life and move forward with joy. I am trying to do that. It is an uphill struggle but I get stronger each day, thanks in part to the wonderful strength I get from everyone who posts on this website.

    To all of you who read this, you are NOT alone in your suffering. The best thing that has helped me is to avoid my siblings completely and only exchange brief emails with them. Eventually “no contact” will be the ultimate goal. When family members use and abuse you, and could care less if you die in a gutter tomorrow, they do not DESERVE to have you in their lives! And just remember that, while there are many of us in the same boat with horribly dysfunctional families, we’ll rise above their evil and thrive!

  25. By: Carole Posted: 17th May

    Mimi,
    it’s been a real roller coaster this week… since my attempt to end my life 2 yrs ago has been a roller coater to get well…before that I just had no hope and was just there..not really living. I still have so MANY feelings to process about my past. I know everything I went through is for a reason…just trying to figure out some of them. When I tried to end my life 2 yrs ago..I was in chemo sessions so that was hard for me to get heal physically and emotionally at the hospital. I don’t remember all of what happened as I know I was heavily drugged too because of my injuries. I know if it wouldn’t be for my meds that I’m taking now..I wouldn’t have to will power to fight to be healthy…sometimes it’s hard because I feel that I’m getting better but is it all the meds that are bandages the hurt and I’m not really getting better. People tell me no, no you are stronger and better but if I would stop taking my meds would I be this strong still??? Makes me feel that I’m fake sometimes… but I do have a great support friends that believes in me and I don’t want to let them down but I still wonder at times and that makes me have mixed feelings about how stronger I am really. Not sure if this made any sense…I’ve always told myself that being french is not always easy to express myself in english. BUT… thanks for your support as well.

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