The Roots of Self Blame and Blame Sharing


Blame sharing with PerpatratorI was reading one of my own quotes today about my willingness to share the blame in the past and thought that it deserved to be expanded upon because it is a popular subject here on Emerging from Broken. Blame sharing or willingness to share blame seems to be especially difficult if we are dealing with it within our own families. ‘Blame sharing’ and ‘blame sparing’ both seem to be part of the problem and are stick points in recovery from neglectful or abusive childhoods.

Here is the quote: “When I started to try to figure out why I was such a mess, I found that one of the stumbling blocks in my way was that I was and had been willing to share the blame for everything that happened to me.  I had been told that acceptance was the answer, and I tried to accept that something must be WRONG with me because “I couldn’t accept,” and I concluded that I deserved to carry the responsibility for the mistreatment I had suffered.”  Darlene Ouimet

I got thinking about the concept of “blame sharing”, where it comes from, how it starts and what it actually means, and how I could communicate that information more clearly by showing exactly the way that I overcame blame sharing in my own process of emotional healing. As always I have to show how it got there in the first place in order to show how I overcame it.

When I talk about my willingness to share the blame for the treatment that I received I am talking about specific things that should never have happened to a child that I was willing to actually take a share of the blame for. I was willing to share the blame for things that happened to me when I was powerless over my circumstances; things that I convinced myself that I was NOT actually powerless over. There is a chain of events when a child is damaged. There are consequences to the messages that children hear and accept as the truth when they are in survival mode.

For example, my willingness to believe that if I were not so “needy” in the first place that I would not have been neglected. I believed that I was too “needy” and also since I believed my needs were not actually valid, I believed I was only imagining that I was neglected.

Imagine a child being convinced that they were too needy and that expressing needs was actually manipulative to the adult in the situation.  That believe starts somewhere;

I have heard countless parents express that children are manipulative especially since I became a parent myself. Parents will sit around talking about how babies will cry for attention for no reason. They say babies will cry just because they “don’t want to go to sleep”, they want to “stay up and be with the adults”. They believe babies will DO all these things for NO reason other than to manipulate parents! They believe that BABIES are crying for attention to manipulate parents into doing what the baby wants! The idea of this being true is insane to me. And if they believe mere infants are capable of manipulation, imagine what they think children are capable of.

The parental response or lack of response to the baby is the beginning of communication to that baby. That is where the baby first gets the message about self worth. I think about all the messages that were communicated to me as a child about my needs, my value and my importance.

Babies have no other way to communicate that something is wrong other than crying. It is their call for help. Perhaps they are wet, lonely, uncomfortable, or have a pain somewhere. Perhaps they are afraid, too hot or too cold. But the real point of this is that when a baby is taught that they are not going to be heard, the first damage is done. The message that they get is “your needs are not valid”. That is the beginning of broken self esteem.

I don’t remember being told in words that I was manipulative, but there are many ways to communicate besides verbally. In believing and accepting that my needs were exaggerated, I concluded that my needs were also not valid and therefore agreed with those who discounted them and agreed to discount them myself as well. And as I grew into a woman, I continued to discount myself because of the root belief that my needs were invalid.

These messages were the beginning of how I started believing that if I were not so unlovable then I would have been loved. These messages communicated that I would have been valued if I were only more whatever it was “they” wanted me to be. I didn’t know any other way to figure it out. I thought I would have been protected if not for whatever it was that was lacking in me. I believed that I had less worth than others.  I “understood” why I was not protected because I believed my value was less than. I understood the pain of others and as I grew up I knew that child abuse was illegal, that neglect of a child was also illegal, but I didn’t apply those laws to me because I accepted that in MY case,  I was unworthy as I had been defined by the actions of others, to be unworthy.  But how could it have been my lack that caused me to be unprotected? How could I have deserved to be treated the way that I was? How was I convinced that I was less worthy than anyone else in the first place?  

When I talk about sharing the blame with the perpetrators of child abuse, I am talking about my willingness to be accountable for having been sexually abused as a small child. It isn’t that it started with the sexual abuse, but I am trying to show the root of the false belief. There is a chain of events that takes place when a childs self worth is compromised when they are young; I am talking about that accountability and sharing the blame for having been abused leading me to believe that I was also responsible and fully to blame for being sexually assaulted in my own bedroom as a teenager. It becomes easier to accept blame when you are convinced young that you are unworthy. When my mother blamed me, actually indicating that I had done something to attract the man who assaulted me I knew I was not safe. I knew he could come back at any moment and my mother would not protect me; I never felt safe, but I believed that was my own fault. I lived for many years in a constant state of fear with a thick layer of self blame and self reprimand. Although I was deeply hurt and confused by my mothers response, I not only shared the responsibility for what had happened to me with the perpetrator, I was willing to take ALL the blame for it.

My belief system didn’t form all at once or from one event, but over time as a result of many events. Messages about me, verbal and non verbal all became part of the grid I saw my self worth through.

Part of accepting the blame is simply survival mode and coping methods. Part of it is the learned victim mentality that I lived in. I had to look more deeply at both those things.

Did I need to live in survivor mode anymore?

Did I still need those coping methods; were they still serving me?

Was exactly was this “victim mentality” ~ how did it get there in the first place and did it still assist me or was it in my way?

 And perhaps the most important question of all; Is it true that I share in the blame for any of the neglect, abuse, disregard, failure to protect and mistreatment that I had been subjected to as a child?

 And the answer was a resounding “NO”. NO NO NO

Please share your thoughts. As always you may use any name you wish to use in the comment form. Your identity is safe unless you choose to make it public by using your full name. Although EFB has a facebook page, your comments here are not connected to your facebook profile.  See the highlighted phrases for related posts.

Exposing truth; one snapshot at a time

Darlene Ouimet

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

Categories : Self Esteem



In my healing, many memories are starting to surface. Being blamed for everything is one of them. When something went wrong I was blamed for it. I had two brothers that were close to my age they were 2 and 3 years older then me. It was obvious my mother loved and coddled males. I remember my brothers and I playing with trucks we were actually getting along. I saw my mother take one of my brother’s trucks and she broke it, then went to my brother and told him look at what your sister did, he came to where I was and started to hit me because I had broke his truck she just stood back and watched. Another time my brother was teasing my younger sister she was crying and upset my mother came straight up to me and started pulling my hair and yelling at me for upsetting my sister,when my sister finally calmed down she told my mother that it was my brother and not me that hurt her.My brother was never punished and I was never apologized to. My mother treated me this way my whole life. When my father died I was 35 he had a car that was sitting in the garage my mother told me go ahead and use it for the summer because it’s just sitting in the garage so I did I used it the entire summer to drive back and forth to my brother’s house his wife had died a year after my father died he had 3 kids so I babysat them while he was at work,when summer was over I took the car back to my mother but I made sure it was clean I only used water to clean it with because that’s all my father used he didn’t want any cleaners on it,when I first took the car I noticed on the drivers side door in the inside it was all bleached out white the interior was blue I thought well some one must have spilled something.I figured my mother knew about it so I never mentioned it. She was at the bingo hall the night I dropped the car off so I left it in the garage,the next day she called me on the phone and said what did you do to my car how am I going to sell it now?I told her it was like that when I took it she said you ruined it I told her I only used water on it she said there must have been something on the rags I told her no there wasn’t. I never felt compelled to call her after that,up until then she used me and abused me for 35 years. I have always felt if anything went wrong in anyone’s life it was my fault somehow I was to blame even if I was no where around when the bad things happened I was guilty by association. Guilt is hard thing to shake for me. These are only a few of the memories I have a lifetime guilt memories that tear me apart to this day. Thanks for caring Darlene


A very good topic. I always felt I was treated the abusive way that I was by my parents because I was not perfect. To my mother I was not the sweet lovable baby my younger brother was so that made me deficient.
I tried very very hard to be what she wanted but as he was quiet and I was an impulsive, fearless, hyperactive ball of fire, I could never achieve it and knew I was less than. To my father not only was I not allowed to have emotions, dreams, opinions, but I was not allowed to talk. I was punished always by him
with constant disapproval, told I was bad and “no good”. Many times. He had no interest in my brother or I.
He Loved his car, his house , his airplane and his own image. They made me believe I was bad because of anything I did. So I accepted that I was ugly, noisy, too active, had silly ideas. My self confidence was destroyed. Then when I could not achieve what was expected, especially by him (she had no ambitions for me) it was because I was stupid or rebellious. When I got pregnant, that was because I was bad and had
not become and done what he wanted. The absolute proof that I accepted because it made sense. I am bad, did a bad thing and bad things happened to me . I have strong black and white thinking so if there is a valid argument, I accept the proof. So if some things they said about me were true and proven,
the “if then” logic holds that the other things are true.
It was very defeating to me.


This is one of the main keys for my healing….finally NOT taking any blame, and being able to finally realize how much blame and shame I was taking on myself…or “sharing the blame” for the way I had been treated. It was very difficult to get to that point and I had to rip the blinders off and step out of a denial that I had been in…or the “fog”. Sharing blame and believing that somehow I was too much or too little in my family’s eyes is what held me captive to their abuse. A few months ago that is exactly what I was stuck in. Realizing that their crap and lies were THEIR problem and not mine..and that I was not at all responsible as a baby or child for their abuse and their dysfunction ….and realizing how much they were projecting onto me…that was all a huge reason why I have been healed in my core. It suddenly hit me…the truth about them and about myself…all of it, and I was free. All the years of blaming myself because they had been blaming me…and sticking up for them and defending them and trying to be understanding of their pain and past…all of it was over for me. Today I still struggle to “reparent” myself in some ways, and some days I find myself wondering what to do…but that is the “normal” that I never believed I would find and have for myself. It is a much more joyful process to struggle with figuring out what to do for myself and how ppl should be treating me than it ever was being tormented day in and day out…nights of literal insomnia because of anxiety and feeling worthless. I had a meltdown this last week because I was feeling things that I didnt understand and I was scared I was somehow slipping again back into that dark place I just climbed out of…it was a huge red flag to sit and listen to my feelings. I never learned to do that…to self soothe..any of that because of being filled with self blame and taking on my family’s crap and believing that somehow I must have deserved it all. So I went to a place of sitting with my feelings and hashing it all out. I thought I had it figured out , but then I had another meltdown of tears and it was with my husband. We have been doing so well and things have been progressively improving in our relationship over the last few months. However, I hadnt realized that he was beginning to “tease” me again. Little, joking, gentle put-downs. Laughing at me… and finally he said one thing too many to me and I began yelling at him and crying. I am not really too much of a crier, but I got very emotional when he was unnecessarily saying “that’s what happens when you do that”…”dont worry, it is just a small, simple mistake”….but he was doing that to put me down. It wasnt an encouragment, it was quickly interjected because I messed up on something and caught myself, fixed it and right after I did so, he threw those comments in. I got very angry at that moment and I usually cry when I get THAT frustrated and I yelled at him. He is very stubborn and never will apologize at the time if he is wrong, but I let him have it. I told him about the many times lately he has been doing that to me and how I dont appreciate it. I told him that he doesnt praise me and instead is trying to catch me doing something wrong. I told him that I feel so alone when he does that. etc etc. Then I left the room and tried to calm down and see where that was coming from inside of me since it was so violent of a feeling. I realized that in reparenting myself that I need to find a way of not feeling blamed and feeling responsible for someone elses issues. He was mirroring my parents who loved to catch me doing something wrong and then beat the crap out of me or “punish” me in other ways. For simple mistakes. I was not allowed to learn something fully and I was never explained how to do anything …or if it was explained, it was only done once and woe to me if I didnt learn it that one time and if I messed up. I somehow was not as “intelligent” as I should have been. I got put down and punished. So, I realized that my husband was pushing my buttons and shouldnt have been. He came back later and put his arms around me and apologized and actually admitted that I was right….he was doing these things and shouldnt have…and he realized that he should be thanking me and praising me more for the things I do for him every day. He even went on to tell me how valuable I was to him…to our family. That was an absolute first! 🙂 It made me so happy to hear that and it validated me and my feelings for one of the first times in our marriage (in a major way after an argument)…and in my life. I wanted to share this because I am a person who has been on both sides of this blame and shame game that ppl do, and that abusers will do to children that will impact them the rest of their lives until or unless they find that inner place of healing.
One other thing I am learning about this blame/shame stuff is that in order to get respect from others…to cut through their total crap and putdowns…and to stand up for myself and reparent myself…is that I am going to have to cause some major waves. Just because I am healed isnt giving of enough of a “vibe” to others right now. I am finding that the only way to cause some ppl to back off of their BS is to confront them with it in their face. Just like Darlene has said that she does. I used to read what she wrote about throwing questions back at people when they say stupid, mean, inconsiderate things to her and I would cringe internally because I have never felt bold enough to do so without being in a rage, of course. I dont get into a rage enough to do that…in fact, I am more the “deer in the headlights” kind of person. Someone could say anything and I would stand there in disbelief and actually try to reason with myself that they surely didnt mean what they just said….or I would take it and then go home and fume. Now I am not willing to stand there and let ppl run their mouths or take advantage of me. My next door neighbor was putting down our front yard and the reality is that her front yard looks like crap and her husband doesnt do anything to fix it up, but my husband has worked hard because he loves to garden..and she was feeling out of sorts about it all. She would compliment it, but then tear it down at the same time, if that makes sense. I actually caught that …yay!…and I stood up for myself for once. It felt like such a victory of sorts. I am realizing that ppl do not have the right to treat ME like crap because they are actually feeling like crap inside of themselves. I think ppl are vile and mean because THEY are not happy with themselves and have everything to prove. I am happy with myself, but am not willing to be the dumping ground any longer for this type of person. So I am going to be venturing out boldly to confront other’s speech towards me. This is the only way to stop them and to command the respect that I deserve when I am trying to be a kind person! I only hope I dont go overboard and can learn to do this without feeling angry and acting like everything someone does or says is offensive to me! 🙂 Thanks Darlene…as usual..this is spot on!


This is interesting. I think before my breakdown I was always told things like how “wise for my years” I was, an old soul… an idea of being special and gifted, and how proud of me if I was tough and perceptive, that sort of thing… I actually remember my mom saying I was an adult at the age of 3! Sure! Like a 3 year old can ever be an adult! But in a lot of ways I wonder if what that really was about was an excuse to make it okay for my parents not to be available to me, to say I didn’t need them (when there were so many reasons to see that of course I did) and instead that I was so special in this way that it was totally okay for my mom to use me to meet her needs, to be her “friend,” okay that they didn’t have to be parents to me and that instead I could be (emotionally) a mother to my mother… after all, I was an adult at the age of 3! Then I had a breakdown, and oh my, so it turns out I’m actually fragile, I was actually a child and not an adult, and I’m to blame for being an actress and they would have met all my needs if I hadn’t been such an actress…. But I will take no more blame for being an actress. And no shame. I was exactly what they taught me to be and that’s why I had a breakdown. And it was only by breaking their rules that I saved my life. They’d have a dead child on their hands if I had continued to live by their rules. And I imagine if I was dead, they would’ve blamed me for it in that same way—for hiding, masking, etc. (Though they would never put it out as “blame.”) Even if they don’t believe this, I know it’s the truth and I certainly want to believe they’d rather me break their rules and be alive, than have lived by them and end up dead…. Though I wonder sometimes with my mom and how important it was for her to be “right.” That feels almost like sacrilege to say but after my breakdown, before cutting off, when I was not doing well at all, they did prefer to be “right” than face themselves, even at the expense of their child’s health. And now… now, I don’t know. Still working things through in my head, getting stronger, getting clearer and when I’m ready, I will put it down in stone, so to speak—my truth that they will either accept or not. I’m feeling more and more like “come what may.” I’m also feeling like, after this, maybe I can do anything, that no fear will stop me from living, from trying whatever I want in this life, because I will have gone up against the most controlling, the angriest and scariest person I personally know—my mother. So regardless of what happens, regardless of any possible painful consequences (and yes, there are a few and ones that also reach beyond just my parents) if things go badly, I will still “win,” and have already “won” in fact because I now know that I have my life in my own two hands, no matter what, and that is the most important thing. And I want to thank you, Darlene, and this website, for your part in that.


Jane, Karen, Diane, Alaina
Being the only only girl in a family of eight, My dad didn’t know what to do with a girl so I didn’t act like one when I was small I was always told I was a bad girl and useless so I lived up to that “bad girl” image” when it is all you know then you just assume it is true. I have a problem with my mouth and my temper and I do not like being controlled. Someone asked me once why is it that we are always looking for validation from others and when we don’t get it we blame ourselves? When we are young we are developing our personalitys and our parents are supposed to be our influence so what we get from them is what we become, for me my dad’s anger, for others it is to blame themselves because your parents blame you for their failures. If people can’t accept you for who you are then they have the problem not you. Did you know that approximately 26.2 percent of the american public has some kind of mental disorder and some say it might be more because despite availability of care no one wants to be stuck with the stigma of being “crazy” and being an outcast? especially if it comes from our families. besides my brothers (we are close because we experienced most of the same kind of abuse)I have a few friends that to me are more like family and I don’t have that many friends I honestly can say it is because of me. I too want to thank Darlene for this web site it is the one place I can go where I am not judged the one place were I feel safe enough to open up

All of you are amazing people!!


Darlene, The words, “You’ve no one to blame but yourself” are so deeply engrained in me that even if I know better now, I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to escape them. Also, sometimes, I am the one to blame but I’m so inwardly confused about guilt and shame that I really have to think about what is mine and what isn’t. My reflex is still to take the blame and the worst part about bearing misapropriated guilt is the self doubt it causes. It’s crippling and a major road-block to personal success.

I know I was blamed for my parent’s drinking too much and that was huge and all encompassing. I blamed the alcohol for everything my parents did wrong so by blaming me for thier drinking they placed guilt on me for the whole dysfunction of our family. It’s even deeper than that though. My mother got married to young and had a baby too soon. My dad doesn’t seem capable of really loving anyone. It was as if I was supposed to fill the emotional void for my mother and of course, I couldn’t. I became the one to blame for her lonliness and her own emotional disability. I became the bearer of all the things no one had the courage to face or talk about.



Hi Jane
WOW! These are great examples of exactly how the belief system forms! Over and over again you were blamed and accused. The scapegoat. She even set you up so she could watch you get beat up by a sibling. That is horrible! That kind of thing leaves a major mark!
Thanks for sharing; I am so glad you are here.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Karen
Again, WOW ~ excellent examples of how this causes damage that we accept as our own fault or a result of our “defects” ~ this is what I had to change. I had to look deeply at how WRONG they were to have defined me this way.Then I had to re-define me. A child comes with a personality and deserves love and acceptance. There is NO perfect! What happened to you is so dang wrong. My heart aches for all the people here who were falsely defined and accused.
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Diane
I hope everyone reads your comment! (comment #3 ) Your comment is a fantastic description of the healing process. And I love your conclusions. Yay for standing up to your husband for yourself and double YAY that he heard you and apologized! I came to see those rare occasions (my husband owned his stuff, but my mother did not so getting someone to say sorry is not the solution but it is a wonderful validating and healing thing in healthy relationship!) as BONUS things. I was a deer in the headlights kind of person too. You are right about the “making waves” ~ YES I have made some big waves too. I don’t care; I do for me what no one EVER did for me. I value me. No one is allowed to kick me around anymore. I value others too and I don’t kick anyone around either. I could write a whole lot more about your comments, but for now I will say EXCELLENT! I appreciate your sharing this here and again I hope everyone reads it!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Alaina
Wow, once again your comments are amazing! What a great observation you have made wondering if your parents kept saying stuff to indicate that you didn’t really “need” them to justify neglect and also to lean on you!
My mother prefers to be right at ANY expense too. It was perhaps the most shocking and hardest thing for me to accept that judging by her actions, my own mother did not care about me. That I came AFTER her. That I was in her way. That I was a burden. That she didn’t care enough to protect me. That she took the side of a boyfriend who sexually assaulted me and got caught doing it. I was so sure that when her own sister told her what she witnessed, she would believe ME. But she didn’t and she defended him.

Today I live! I really live and I KNOW it is because I faced the demons of the past and the truth about it. That is what enabled me to win! That is what set me free from the prison I had been in my entire life.
Thank you for being part of this site too! Great comments and I hope everyone reads yours too! (comment #4)
Hugs, Darlene


I read an interesting statistic about a year ago; 80% of all adults in north america have been on anti depressants at least once in their adult life. I think about where the stigma about mental health comes from in the first place. It is a judgement that is used to control people. As soon as someone struggles, (usually a result of being defined in childhood as “not good enough” in some way) the abusers, controllers, manipulators, use the struggle as PROOF; ie ~ “SEE you are nuts, I knew it was YOU who had the problem”. The stigma serves a purpose in these cases.
In all the work that I have done with clients and even here on the website, I have found that depression etc ALWAYS has its roots in some sort of trauma or neglect or abuse.
Hugs, Darlene

p.s. Diane
In your opening line you said “This is one of the main keys for my healing….finally NOT taking any blame, and being able to finally realize how much blame and shame I was taking on myself…or “sharing the blame” for the way I had been treated.” this was and has been KEY for me too. This is VERY key!
Hugs, Darlene


My blame sharing came as an adult with my husband, not my FOO. And I think I did it as a way of gaining control over the situation. I couldn’t make him change his ways, but if it was my fault, I could go to work on refining my thoughts/actions through research and self-reflection. I could DO SOMETHING, rather than sit helplessly by while he made destructive decisions. I kept hearing “you can only change yourself” (which is true) but I used that to re-affirm that if the relationship wasn’t working I must still be doing something wrong. It was like a lock, and I kept turning the dial trying to come up with the right combination. I read a very cool book several years ago call “Shame off me” about identifying blame shifters and when we become enablers to to that type of person by blame sharing…also the personal battle we fight with ourselves over our goodness in God’s eyes. It was very insightful, but I still didn’t see the whole picture of how I was being verbally abused and taken advantage of in the relationship…I still couldn’t see how much of the self confidence I was blessed to gain growing up in my FOO, was eroding as I tried to “do the right thing.” I can’t immagine the position I would be in right now if my FOO had messed me up good and I didn’t have some kind of foundation of self worth…my heart aches for some of the stories I read on here – especially because I am a new parent and keenly aware of the consequences of my actions on this little growing person. But the refining I did of myself during this process wasn’t in vain…it has made me stronger, even if it didn’t save my marriage…in like…the refining so many of your are doing as you analyze and own your feelings and realities…they may not save a relationship, but the are not in vain! I hope that reality is as encouraging to you as it is to me. Thank you Darlene for giving words to what so many of us have floating around in our heads…the validation is worth so much in these confusing times.


Hi Pam
YES this goes very very deep. I can relate to your story here Pam. This is another good example of how the self blame gets rooted so deeply. That is why it doesn’t get undone overnight. I still have to do self talk in certain situations with my kids and my husband. Sometimes I even have to remind myslef that I am not the cause of their moods. It took me about a year to get in the habbit of checking in with my thoughts and now it is almost automatic to catch myslef when I am thinking “what did I do wrong to cause this”… (sometimes when I am really tired it isn’t automatic and sometimes I get in the spin of it for a little bit)
Thank you so much for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


Hi JMarie
YES ~ the solution has nothing to do with saving the relationship with someone esle! This is SO important.
Thank you for sharing this very valid point!
Hugs, Darlene


I could really identify with what you said about filling in the void for your mother, feeling blame for her loneliness and being the bearer of what they could not face… Thanks for sharing your insight!

And Thanks, Darlene, for the response! That is so sick that your mom sided with her boyfriend, even after her sister told her. I’m so sorry that happened to you… It’s really inspiring that you’ve overcome all this.

I was thinking about my brother today and this blame sharing stuff. About a year ago my brother told me that he disagreed with my choice to cut off from our parents. We have never been close and he really didn’t understand anything, though he thought he did. He thought what happened to me was about “impact” and “interpretation.” If it was now, I’d ask him for clarification, but I suspect what he meant by “impact” was “you’re really sensitive” and by “interpretation”—“misinterpretation.” When he told me that he disagreed with my decision, he also said something along the lines of “but because you think it’s the right decision, then it is the right decision.” I stared at that one for a while because it almost seemed supportive. Really, I think he was blaming me but giving me the “benefit” of being ignorant or the allowance of being a sensitive person. I don’t know for sure, though. His words often walked around what he was actually saying, so I could be persuaded (by my own self-doubts and second-guessing) that I was just inferring negative things, as opposed to him implying them.


My mother was very ‘into’ blame and guilt; for other people that is, never in the case of herself. She wouldn’t take responsibility for simple, little things. I remember at seventeen I asked her if she had called the doctor and made an appointment for me like she promised. After saying no, she fired back; “well, why didn’t YOU call?” Of course, there are a lot of reasons why; the fact that she said she was going to do it, that I didn’t have the phone number, access to her schedule or insurance information, not to mention my crippling social anxiety. But instead of saying, ‘I’m sorry, I’ll call soon,’ she turned around and blamed it on me for not somehow getting my needs met without her.

My mother never ‘stood up’ to her own parents, but to the five year old child that I was she had no problem venting about how I was “oppressing” her. I remember often times she screamed at me things like “I’m tired of feeling guilty!” as if that was my fault too. It was my fault for not hiding enough the fact that I had needs and emotions, and that her abuse did effect me. While my parents refused to take any responsibility for what their physical, sexual, and emotional abuse did to me, I was attacked mercilessly for instance when I accidentally cracked the screen on my ‘gameboy’ console. It was all my fault when they hit and terrorized me, I was blamed for making them angry, for ‘being bad.’

I’ve been very surprised at times, living with my partner, that he doesn’t blow up with blame and condemnation at everything that I do. If I’ve broken or lost something (or if something has just stopped working while I happened to be in the same room–a situation that nonetheless would have been ‘my fault’ at home), he just says ‘oh, we’ll get another one,’ and that’s it. Which is the complete opposite of my childhood, where I was screamed at and given a blanket statement of ‘no excuses’ for anything that happened. Often my mother would scream at me “You knew…” for things that actually, no, I wasn’t aware of or perhaps I felt some confusion about (naturally being treated like this, I would be very unsure of myself and nervous about making a mistake, and therefore often act on the impulse of fear, which didn’t often lead to success.)

I also loathe that whole attitude of “it’s no one’s fault but you’re own.” So what if the morality police could decide something was ‘my fault,’ does that mean I’m no longer deserving of kind treatment, of help, of human rights? I see that statement so often lodged at especially people needing help or public assistance, everyone thinks they have a right to nitpick through their personal story and slam the door in their face if they find any ‘fault’ in there. The hateful things I’ve seen people write and say particularly about homeless youth make my blood boil. There is a system at work, in abusive parenting and in the way society is structured that makes sure some people fail and is there to kick them once they fall to the ground. Today, I have thrown away any self-blame; when I think about the past, I remind myself that I tried really hard and I did everything that I could; if I can do more now, then great, but that is because I’ve healed, it doesn’t mean that I can turn back time and act like this back then.


Alaina, My brother never bothered to talk to me or even, find out my side of the story. I didn’t want to drag him into the middle of anything and I didn’t mind if he didn’t get involved but I didn’t think he would turn his back on me when I set my boundary with my parents and sister.I guess he’s happy with how he handles it all and doesn’t want to risk having his way of coping broken apart. I know he is damaged by our childhood, even worse that I was. However, even though we were all damaged and all grew up in the same house, I’ve learned to accept the fact that we have different childhoods. Even if we share memories of the same events, we have different perceptions of them and we were all ‘assigned’ different roles in the family. I have had to let them go, in order to get well but I don’t hold anything against my sibblings. I have empathy for them and I recognize how they’ve been damaged, even if they want to hide from that fact. I hope, in the long run, that the boundary I set for a requirement that I be treated with respect by my parents, will make a difference for them too.



Caden, I think bullies rule the world. We are no where near living in a world of equals. Everything seems to be about power and who gets to rule over who. I think it all starts in families and we repeat what we learn there in the greater world.

My parents were and are terribly irresponsible and I see that basic irresponsibility and the underlying constant of their abuse of me.I grew up to be overly responsible because of it but I would still rather be overly responsible as completely, irrepsonsible, as they are. It’s personal responsibility that helped me survive what they did to me and the consequences of it. It’s personal responsibility that gave me the courage, and the persistence to heal and become more than what they equipped me to be. Actually, they crippled me but I overcame through the power of personal responsibility.



Pam, I see “personal responsibility” as oppressive, abusive, victim-blaming language tinged with more than a little bit of poisonous morality. It doesn’t have any place in my vocabulary, and is not healing in the least to me. We disagree, but that’s fine, I’m just not going to discuss it any further.


Darlene, I went back and read Dianne’s comment (#3), and I can fully relate to it. I too have always been a “deer in the headlights” kind of responder and felt like the only person in the world like that. Now, though, I find I can’t just take abuse/invalidation/contempt just standing there, and find myself wanting to assert myself, and sometimes it still comes out awkward or in a fit of rage.

On the one hand, I can’t let things go any more, on the other hand, having lived through traumatic relationships and going through PTSD, being gentle with myself and avoiding triggers is important because I find myself re-triggered and very fragile when in the presence of people or situations that have abusive elements in them. In the past couple of weeks, a whole lot of stressful and invalidating events happened and cumulatively caused a lot of triggering and for the first time I find myself on the verge of a nervous breakdown. When you are at that stage, there is not enough energy or stability to calmly stand up to abusive people – you either take it like a “deer in the headlights” or you lash out. Did you ever find yourself at that stage?


Caden, We all define words a little bit differently and I’m sorry if the phrase set off something in you that brings pain. If I never took responsibility for myself and my problems, I would still be a junky, punising myself for existing. Personal responsibility means a healthy self-love and high self-esteem, in my vocabulary. Perhaps the phrase was used against you in a way that was hurtful, while to me, it is about self-empowerment and taking my life back from the bullies.



p.s. That should be:I would still be a junky punishing myself for existing. Sorry, I need to proof read before I hit submit.


Karen Ranes,
I struggle with black and white thinking too. I also was not allowed to dream or embrace any idea outside of the 9-5 job, white house, picket fence ideas. I wonder if the stringent control over my thoughts has resulted in the black and white thinking. Because, to her, there was only ONE way. Unfortunately, it seems that took hold of my brain, and I see very little grey. 🙁

#14 ~ my middle sister said to me last year, “it’s all a matter of perspective. In any given situation, the perspectives of each individual involved will greatly differ. The story changes according to each person involved.” WOW, I really had to step back and look at that. I thought, so, all this crap from my mom is only my perspective? There’s no truth? After quite some time pondering this idea, I realized there ARE different perspectives and perceptions. There is also the truth, and that doesn’t change. My mother whipped me with a flyswatter once. My perspective of that doesn’t change the truth. It was frustrating to hear this from her. I had nothing to say in response, but I knew it didn’t feel right, and it was confusing. She is right in that we each have our own perceptions. But, events are events, and NO one’s perception/perspective changes that. Maybe it was a crafty element of denial on her part? To this day, she has the most contact with our mother. I’m just happy it’s not me with the most contact.

You also mention perceptions. I wonder (because I very much admire your wisdom), if you would mind giving your opinion on perspectives vs truth. Do you think the way I described it is inaccurate? I ask because I am not totally convinced that what I came up with, in response to my sister, is logical. She described perspectives to mean each person comes away from an event with a different story. I agree with that, but, I think there is also, the truth of the story….. what really happened. Does this make sense at all?? I’m still a little confused obviously. I want to understand what she said also, if there is something I’m missing in it. I can say for sure that it seemed like she was making excuses for my mother. 🙁

I loved your post. Although I’ve had my moments of rage, the most common way for me to handle things was like you said, go home and fume!! I hate it with a passion. Oh, and of course, I always cry. I hate fuming and ruminating over what I should have said, or how they “got to me”. UGH. Congrats on your success and thank you for sharing your breakthroughs. Hope springs from your story!!

Peace and love to everyone,


Mimi, Really, I believe that truth is much more than only facts. Perception is truth. It is the way those facts affected you. When we heal, it isn’t the facts that are changed but the preception we have of ourselves in relationship to them. My sister as the golden child has a very different perception of what our childhood is about than the one I have, as the scape-goat. Her childhood experience was very different from mine but both experiences are valid. Of course, my brother and sister both have a lot of blacked out areas of their childhood. Part of that may be because I was the oldest and more aware when certain things happened but I think they both have dissociative amnesia. The way they’ve chosen to cope also, affects their perception, as my coping methods affected mine. One thing about my being made responsible for all the bad things that happened, is that it caused those events to become indelibly printed in my memory. That in itself, makes a huge difference. Interestingly enough, since I’m no longer allowing myself to be used as the scape-goat, I’m realizing that I’ve blacked out quite a few things too. I couldn’t be aware of that when I was being hounded to forget the past. If those things come to surface, I will have more facts of my past to deal with but I don’t expect my over-all perception of my childhood to change now. I spent so many years not understanding the things that happened to me and feeling guilty for them and my perception has undergone a huge change in the past few years because it is my perception and not the understanding that my abusers tried to paint over the facts. An important part of applying truth to our own lives is having confidence in our own perception of events. All of us here had that taken away from us and that is what we have to take back, in order to heal. Stay strong, Mimi.



I just had an experience of a lifetime. I knocked on the door of the home that my parents built and in which I lived the first 6 &1/2 years of my life. The entry hallway looked half the size I remember! I felt so big standing in it now! The whole place felt smaller. What a great feeling to know that I am now “bigger” in so many more ways than one.

And the little girl, also age 6, now living in “my house and in my pink bedroom” looks so small.

It was a Sunday and I was grateful that the mother let me in to tour my first home, even though, of course, they had no idea to prepare for this visit, so the house had toys (more toys than I could ever imagine) strewn about all over the entire house. The mother made comments about the mess when we were standing in her 6-year-old daughter’s bedroom! I felt so badly for the girl. It is not her fault that the family decides to spend so much time away from their home and not take time to keep it neat. I just looked at the girl and said, “You’ve had FUN in here, just like I used to!!”

The mom wanted to know if she should tell her husband that since her daughter had fun in the room it was OK for it to be a mess. Talk about putting the wrong people on the spot.

Her comments sort of soured the experience, but at least I got a full update on all the changes that they made to the house over the years and got a photo in front of my first house for my photo collection.

It prompts a lot of memories of things and ways that mother used to talk to me, and even still does. It helps me separate out those bad things from what good there was in it for me.


All, For me, I think freezing in certain situations is part of the conditioning I received through my childhood abuse and also, having been the victim of some violent crimes. I tend to emotionally, shut down when faced with a threat. All that matters in the moment is surviving the threat. It may be two days later before the feelings surface. It certainly, isn’t unhealthy to survive. I don’t really think it is inappropriate to go home and fume as a way to release those normal, angry feelings of self-defense. Uncontrolled anger can make us more vulnerable. While it is necessary to have anger to give us the courage to defend ourselves in and physically, threatening situation, that kind of anger doesn’t serve us well in emotionally and psychologically abusive situations. Manipulators love to find our hot button and turn it against us. It’s wise to hide our true feelings from those kinds of people. I hate it that they can effect me enough to cause me to feel rage but I also, know that the best way to defend myself from them is to never allow them to see that they are able to fill with rage. Freezing is a method of survival in some situations. Sometimes, if I just accept the way I feel and react, it is easier for me to discern what is appropriate and helpful. Beating up on myself for the way I feel is exactly what emotional abusers trained me to do. We are all equipped with everything we need to survive and thrive in this world and I think that a big part of healing is reclaiming those tools as our own and no allowing abusive people to use them against us.



Kate, I’m glad you are finding your way to retrieving some happy childhood memories. Since having no contact for over a year now, I find myself remembering some of the good things too. It’s wonderful to have freed myself from the misappropriated guilt and be able to remenesce about the good times.



Oh, that is so good! I’ve had little contact for a while now, and it feels so good to be in control! I don’t respond to what is not constructive.


In finding good memories, I am finding what is good about myself. It all would have been helpful to know about 30 years ago when I was choosing college and career, etc.


Kate, I have those same feelings of regret and resentment but then, I turned out pretty well despite everything that was against! In fact, I ended up being the most emotionally, healthy person in my family. I was broken into many small pieces from the abuse but it is such joy to put all those pieces back together and see the whole, Me emerge. No one has a perfect life and many don’t survive the destruction that everyone faces in some shape or form. I’m thankful that I never gave myself over to evil, in response to my life and became like my abusers. Even though I have experienced a lot of pain in my life and did a lot of unhealthy things to numb it, I’m thankful that I never lost my ability to feel or my empathy for others. I was broken but I didn’t lose my humanity. We won, Kate!




This is very good:

” I’m thankful that I never gave myself over to evil, in response to my life and became like my abusers. Even though I have experienced a lot of pain in my life and did a lot of unhealthy things to numb it, I’m thankful that I never lost my ability to feel or my empathy for others. I was broken but I didn’t lose my humanity.”


That was the first thing I learned about myself in therapy. B&W. Absolutely No Grey. And I have even got funny stories about situations where if the choice wasn’t B&W, I stood paralyzed and couldn’t figure out what to do. When I was 18 and was told by my father 3 choices of job schooling none of which I was emotionally suited for or wanted, I remember say, “then I will be nothing”. I meant it. I think I just so badly wanted to have a say in my life and I had none. It was a way for fighting and defying him. I always
want to go head to head when a diplomatic solution would be better!

Concerning brother was the Golden Child. His perception is way different from mine, the
Crazy Scapegoat. Hes different emotionally too.
He also always did what was best for him. He uses people to get what he wants.

Darlene Re#10
In 1992 I gave up a job that was very stressful and at the same time had foot surgery which left me unable to walk. This was a big emotional hurdle for me. My foot doctor gave me valium for anxiety. Clinical depression set in. I got addicted to the valium. As my husband was working 50 hrs a week, I went to stay with my parents for 2 weeks as I could not cope with day to day anything. Bad idea! I was in rough shape and I know it confirmed my “mental defectiveness” to them. It was another “proof” of what I spoke of in #2.
All my life I have been set up to accept the blame for my emotional defectiveness. In my family blame is ALWAYS assigned.
Even if there is no one at fault. There MUST be blame. My father was NEVER to blame. Once he decided who to blame for something that upset him he would have a screaming scary rage. Now that I think of it he never hit but screamed and
broke things and emotionally tore the victim apart. No mistake was ever overlooked or forgotten. He kept a tally and would bring up every bad thing you ever did over and over. It has been so helpful to read everyones comments
concerning their very similar upbringing along with an understandable reason why and how this happened to me. Thank you all so much.

My dad treated me like a boy from the time I was little. He had no experience with girls. He was an only child. So thus I was even given boy toys. I have his determined personality so my first response to
emotional situations is an anger/fight response too. So your emotional response rings true to me.
My mother had no interest in showing me how to be a girl so I finally learned from my boy friend’s mother about makeup, jewelry, tampons!. But because I could talk fast cars and boy sports it did make me popular as a friend to a lot of guys in high school.

Thank you for your comments.
I realize, I have never taken personal responsibility for myself and my emotional health. I was never shown how. I was always like a leaf in a stream getting pulled
this way and that by how others made me feel. Constantly triggered by a hypersensitivity to others’ feelings, actions or words. I am starting to change that. I use to let everyone else be responsible for how I felt.
If they felt bad and treated me bad, I felt bad. I see now that I have to get in control of myself.
I take responsibility for my physical health why not mental health? I guess I was never important to
myself. It all comes back to that.

When I went NC with my mother, I got a blame and shame call from my only brother. He never even contacted me to ask what was going on. He just guilted me in a phone call in her presence. (he surely got bonus points with her for that) I did not want to put him in the middle and would have gladly explained my position and dropped it.
I have always supported him, and been there for him. But he’s never been there for me. He’s always too busy if I need support. So I have decided not to be the doormat anymore. He has the same belittling sarcasm as my dad. You can never please him. He always withholds and makes you work for it.
Example: when I was showing him my new talking GPS he said:” does it say shut up Karen?” that while he was a guest in my house. If I protest that treatment, then I’m too sensitive. Im not taking that treatment anymore. I am open to have a conversation, but if the blame starts again I am going to speak up so he knows where I stand. For now I’m getting the silent treatment.
Whats crazy about that is theres just mom, him, his son and my husband and I. No one else in the immediate family?? What a screwed up family I have.
Thanks for listening.


Hi Krissy
Yes I found myself at that stage many times on the healing journey! It was the first few times that I said something (without lashing out even if my heart was beating like crazy) that I became empowered enough to do it more often and the deer in the headlights became a thing of the past. It took time!
hugs, Darlene

Hi Caden and Pam
I had a similar reaction to what Pam said about personal responsibility and I was going to ask her to define “personal responsibility” too. (I see that she has done that now ~ thanks Pam) My first reaction was victim blaming too. I see both sides of it now. For me, I had to take my life back and do what it took to heal myself but FIRST, I had to realize how I got where I got and that it was through no fault of my own. I had to realize that I had no foundation for any kind of personal responsibility and didn’t even know where to start with that. Self blame was my default mode so I just went there. I can see how this sparked Caden. There was a point where I realized that I actually COULD take responsibility for my own healing but for many years it didn’t dawn on me because of the seriously damaged belief system I had.
Hugs! Darlene


Mimi and all about perceptions;
I heard that from my mother and it was tactical! I love how you post it here Mimi. What really happened is the bottom line. My mother says that we all remember things differently but the bottom line is that I remember the abuse and no matter how you slice it, she can’t deny that. (well she can try but I won’t accept her denial as truth and I no longer have to prove (that abuse happened or get anyone to validate it) it to anyone.
The whole perception thing can be a very difficult “rabbit trail”. I like to think of my changed perception as that for many years I did not realize that I had been abused or even what abuse was and now I know. I am very conscious of how I write the accounts of what happened to me for this very reason. It is a huge abuse tactic to tell someone that their perception is “different” when it comes to the truth about what actually happened.

ie; One sibling says “I got slapped in the face so hard that my glasses went flying off and my lip split open. Blood splattered on the wall.”
The other sibling says “Blood didn’t splatter on the wall! You are lying!”
In dysfunctional family systems this one minor difference in the memory of what happened infers that the whole story is a lie. But the second sibling isn’t arguing about the abuse itself, just the blood on the wall part. The whole story is then deflected by the argument about if blood got on the wall or not. That is the problem with inferring that it is a matter of perspective!
Thanks for bringing this up!
Hugs, Darlene


Karen, I was pulled every direction too. Even after I took responsibility for my behavior, it took a long time for me to be able to apply it to the roots of what caused me to choose my bad behaviors. It’s all a process but if what Darlene serves up here were made available to more people, I think the process could move much faster.

My family is a mess too and there was very little support for me there, ever. I used to think I had to sacrifice myself and then somehow, they would start to care whether I lived or died. They didn’t and they don’t. I wont waste any more tears on them either. I put them in God’s hands and pray for His Will in their lives. I wasn’t born to be their doormat.



Hi Everyone,
Darlene, what you said about being “convinced young” that you are worthless, leads to accepting responsibility for the abuse that comes your way is so true. I was scapegoated in so many ways as a child in the family home. Like Caden, I was blamed for the fact that some appliance stopped working in the same room that I happened to be in! Because of this incessant blaming, when I was raped at 13, I automatically assumed responsibility for it. I reckoned I must have done something to provoke it. My mother started to scapegoat me when I was 10, as, to use her words, she was “disappointed and disollusioned” by me. This was because I started to become independent and wanted to play with other kids instead of being cooped up in the house with her. My older siblings were only too ready to join in the scapegoating of me, because me taking the rap meant they were left alone.
Like some of the previous posters, I also “froze” when threatened in any way. My mother had rendered me totally incapable of defending myself or retaliating in any way when I was treated badly. I still struggle with it today. For instance, a cashier in a store shortchanged me the other day, and I was unable to point it out to her. I walked away without saying anything because there is still a voice in my head that tells me I have no rights……
Love Sylvia x


Darlene, I think what I forgot to touch on is that my siblings perception doesn’t make what I remember untrue. We experienced it differently but my experience isn’t a lie and it isn’t unimportant. I don’t have to deal with how my siblings remember events, I have to deal with my memories and what they mean in my life. I think maybe, I wasn’t very clear on that. My perception is every bit as valid as my siblings. My parents, the perpetrators, well, that’s a whole other story. They deal with the facts of abuse in the past by trying their best to distort them. That’s not perception, that’s lying.



Hi Karen
Your family sounds like my former family too.
Re your comments to Pam ~ very good description of the cycle and how we get so stuck. We really don’t know that we have a choice in the first place and then even when we find out we don’t know HOW to go forward. This is why I do the professional work I do. When I see a stick point like this it is very easy for me to help my client become aware of it and enable them to move past it very quickly.

Re your comment about mental health; When we are brainwashed to believe that we are not worthy, we do not easily see our worth. When it comes to taking care of ourselves in anyway, we resist until we take our value back. (That includes actually paying for help. I see so many people who are not willing to make the investment into themselves.)
Great comments as always!

Hugs! Darlene


All, The point I was trying to make and obviously missed, on personal responsibiity is that too much responsibility was dumped on me, all of my life. It was no big deal for me to think it was up to me to make things better. Through my faith, I was able to change some of my bad habits, like the drugs, by taking responsibility for my actions and working to change them. I still carried complete blame and shame for all of the things that caused me to choose drugs in the first place. However, what my parents did to me by making me overly responsible helped me, in the long run, turn it all upside down. I wanted to change and I have no problem taking the responsibility to change. They can’t because they will never take responsibility for anything. They’ve never had to. They use others to do everything for them. They are helpless. I’m not. In the end, their manipulative tactics have ruined them. I on the other hand, continue to improve my life. It’s rotten to be overly responsible but it is really evil to be completely irresponsible. Laying blame on the appropriate door steps isn’t about making one’s self blameless. It’s about owning what one is responsible for and casting off what one isn’t responsible for. It’s about finding balance but it is through responsibility, that I found my freedom. I hope that makes better sense. It isn’t something that is easy for me to express and I certainly, didn’t intend to moralize. I don’t have all the answers, I’ve found a lot of my own answers and I still have some to find. The things we discuss here aren’t the things I talk about every day. Sometimes, it’s a trick to find the right words.



Yes, I think that might be what was missing in your comment.
As for the perps, I know that they are going to deny and lie so their response to me or to the rest of the world matters not anymore! That was one of the biggest most wonderful freedoms for me to finally get!
Hugs, Darlene


Great comments! When we realized these messages (that your mother was disapointed and disollusioned by you) and how they are rooted everything begins to change about the way we view ourselves.
Hugs, Darlene


In post #23 to Mimi, I like when you said, “The Truth is more than Facts”…Truth is Perception…It is the way the facts affected you”. I totally agree!….The Truth for one person is different than another, even in the same family. I can attest to that! When your scapegoated, it is a different reality. There is room for confusion & misinterpretation, when a child is mistreated/abused. I think I have similar issues & problems as my siblings yet we see things through a different lens, as you have mentioned here before. My level of awareness is more acute now, based on my interpretations of the facts. The facts are I was not heard & my emotional needs were neglected. My FOO (thanks for that term)knew what they were doing. They were not capable of deep thinking or empathy. Even though, I have suffered a long time with emotional pain, it has served me well by becoming very aware of the pathological/sick family system, I’ve become repulsed by it. I’m more aware of my physical sensations as well, when exposed to toxicity. I recently had a bout of Karma Cleansing…never knew what that was???, until my counselor told me, that it’s the body’s way of cleaning out the toxins. I spontaneously & gut wretchingly purged on & off one evening. I did not resist & rode the wave of feelings & body sensations. Lets just say, I’ve been cycling around the same negative issues all my life, however, I view it very differently now, through a more clearer lens. Well, hope I didn’t disgust anyone with my story. Just sharing what happened with me…another layer of pain that had to be released, for healing to occur. That is how I choose to view the purging episode. Thanks for listening everyone,


I so agree with all you said in post#3. Specifically, about letting go of the blame & shame from childhood and realizing you were Not responsible for their behavior. That is a breakthrough!….You are insightful & caring. Enjoy reading your posts!


BTW Diane, Self Soothing is important in times of distress. I do the same thing, yet I have to be mindful to do it. It’s not an automatic response to stress for me.


Pam and Mimi,

Yes, I totally get the muddle about “perception.” A year ago, my family all came out to where I’m living now. I decided that I was not ready to reconnect with my parents yet and informed my brother of this as well, explaining a little bit about my choice. This is when he decided to tell me he disagreed with my choice to cut off, as well as my choice not to reconnect yet. He said that he felt that it had been a year, I was obviously doing better and that it was a good time to reconnect (if even just as a one time thing). I explained my choice again and he seemed to think I didn’t understand him and persisted in telling me his opinion. Quite a few emails passed where I explained more and more my choice and he kept reiterating the same point, somehow thinking that I was simply not understanding him. He also seemed to think because he prefaced his judgments with “I think” and “I feel,” it somehow meant that he wasn’t telling me what I should do with my life, though he had in fact said “I feel you should….” Anyway, it all went downhill from there as I was unable to hold my guns and ended up wanting to hurt myself again and then I cut off from him as well…. But in the beginning of this exchange with him, when I was just explaining a bit about where I was coming from and the decision I made, his response was something like “I get it” and “believe me, we’ve talked about it,” meaning he and my parents discussed things and my brother came to the conclusion that he understood what was going on. I.e. he based his perception of MY experience of MY life on what our parents told him. I can only imagine being a fly on the wall, listening to those discussions! I think my brains would explode!

When I think about what he said about what happened to me being about “interpretation” and “impact,” it occurs to me that he might be talking about something similar to what Darlene means when she talks about belief systems… with the major difference being a total lack of understanding that this stuff is completely unconscious! As though you could just take your parents’ conscious intentions at face value to totally undo/void the messages that their actions sent you (while they’re STILL sending those messages with those SAME basic actions). E.g. my parents never wanted me to have a mental breakdown, they never consciously wanted me to take on a whole bunch of pressure and expectations… not in theory, anyway, not in the “big picture” kind of way. They didn’t set out to abuse me. And that is the level at which my brother stays. It’s also the level my parents stayed. The “We didn’t mean to” stage. Fine, okay, but you did do it. You know the saying “the road to hell…” My take is—let’s get beyond intentions here and see what really happened, acknowledge and adjust.

The other thing I think about with “perception” is this: if it was our parents’ job to take care of our emotional wellbeing, then that also means that it was their job to pay attention to our “perception.” That is, if something happened where we were “interpreting” what was going on in a way that negatively affected our emotional wellbeing, it was their job to pay attention, to understand how we were interpreting things (by asking questions, etc.) to try to correct that, so that we understood things correctly, if in fact we were “interpreting” or “perceiving” things in the wrong way (and I don’t mean correcting in a brainwashing kind of way but in a healthy, helpful way). (This would be true with what happened to me after my uncle’s suicide, in which I did “interpret” things wrong and really did need my perception to be “corrected.”) I think this is very much similar to when blame is assigned to the victim because of their personality…. If it really was about the victim’s personality (which is doubtful, anyway), well, it was still the parents’ job to pay attention to their child’s personality, to work “with” the personality, etc., not to say that, well, if you had a different personality….

Here’s an example of what I mean with this perception stuff: When I was a teenager and my mom was going through her self-analysis phase, she was talking to a relative about how when I was a child she used to take her anger out on me for no reason. I was there and I remember saying, “Really?” or something like that. My mom said yes and then continued to talk about herself. She didn’t turn around and say she was really sorry or that I never deserved that. She didn’t ask me how I felt back then or how I felt now in hearing this. She may well have felt bad for this, may well have been sorry, etc. But she did not communicate any of this to me. (Though if she did feel bad, you’d think it would only be natural to turn around and do that; I suspect she was just not stopping to think about me at all.) By continuing to simply analyze herself and not pay attention to me and the impact she had had on me, she was sending a message that it was okay that she had taken her anger out on me, that wherever she was “at” in her life emotionally was perfectly acceptable, even if it had been totally destructive to my emotional health. It may have never been my mom’s intention to take her anger out on me, to have affected me the way she did, but when she realized she did this, it was her job to take responsibility for how this may have affected me, how it had “impacted” me and how I “interpreted” and “perceived” myself and my life and position in the family as a result of her actions. At that point in time, she actually had an opportunity to correct some of the messages she had been sending me my entire life and perhaps the course of my life could’ve changed. But she was so consumed in herself, that she didn’t turn around and see me, thereby sending me the message that she didn’t care and that I wasn’t worth caring about, that it was only her wellbeing that mattered, even if mine had been trampled on. And that same message was sent to me again after my breakdown when I was constantly supposed to look at things from my mom’s point of view, etc., constantly reminded of my mother’s pain (because I had exposed how her actions had negatively impacted me), and supposed to care about/for her, despite them knowing explicitly that I’d had a breakdown, that I struggled with depression, that I was in therapy, etc. Again and again, the message “your mother’s pain and wellbeing are more important than yours.” Is that what they consciously believed and wanted me to believe? I don’t think so. Not in theory. Does that matter? In terms of the past, no, I don’t think so. I think abuse is abuse, no matter your intention; you always hold responsibility. It does make a difference in terms of the present and future, though—in the fact that I understand this now and can hold them to it. That is, if they can hear this and acknowledge it, then there is a possibility of something good and healthy to grow between us. It also helps me in terms of the idea of forgiveness (I mean real forgiveness), where I know that they absolutely 100% had responsibility for taking care of me but most definitely failed to do that but that they were not evil monsters who set out to do this to me. It is absolutely true that I could be dead today because of the dysfunction they carried and passed onto me—I know how close I came. But they did not set out wanting their child to suffer, wanting their child to have a breakdown, etc. Did they blind themselves to a whole bunch of warning signs? Yes, they did. Why did they blind themselves? Because it worked for them, because they were using me and they didn’t want to give that up, they didn’t want to look at or believe what was right in front of their eyes because they just didn’t want to. And with me living out my role of always being “okay,” it was so, so easy for them to sweep it all under the carpet. Never mind the fact that they were actually sweeping their own daughter under the carpet…. Yet, again, I know it wasn’t what they set out to do in the first place. But now that I know the truth and can state it, what matters is if they can acknowledge it. Once the truth is right there on the surface, out from underneath the carpet, they can’t deny it (not for me). If they do deny it, well whatever—they’re stuck then in their dysfunction that ultimately does them harm and I’ll just keeping moving forward without them. Also, if they do deny it, then, in my mind, it will really communicate—not just on a subconscious level but on a very conscious level—that they don’t care. And if they are okay with communicating that message, then that really will mean that they don’t care…. At which point, I don’t think I would even concern myself with forgiveness. Forgiveness is for people who want to change, who have remorse and want to take responsibility… in my mind, anyway.


Alaina, Someone’s pain doesn’t matter if they don’t exist for themselves but only to serve the needs of another. In that case, the only pain that matters is the one to be served. I truly, believe that is the way my parents view me. I have gone through terrible things, rape, stalking, I died and was brought back to life when I tried to commit suicide at 18. When I was young, I was so puzzled when I told them about these things and it was like they had no emotional reaction. No outrage toward the people who hurt me, or questions about why I so badly, wanted to die at eighteen. I was already on my own when these things happened and it just didn’t effect their lives directly. They didn’t have to deal with any of the aftermath. They were totally, unconcerned. My mom told me later how disappointed she was when I didn’t become her best friend when I became a teenager. She had all kinds of fantasies of the things we would do together and of course, they didn’t come to pass. That’s what was important to her and painful. More painful, in her eyes, than her daughter being talked into leaving home to early by a pervert and all of the other things that happened to me afterward. No, what was important to to her were the unfulfilled dreams she had of how I would serve her needs. I think that was my big sin and the reason I was so disappointing. Daughters aren’t born to fill their mother’s emotional needs but that was her purpose for me. All of the things she never took responsibility to get for herself, I was supposed to give her. She’s never grown up past that point either. She’s like young troubled teenage girls who want a baby so they will have someone who loves them. It’s really, that shallow.

I forgive my parents and the rest of my family but I don’t trust them. It’s impossible to have a healthy relationship without mutual trust and as long as they deny responsibility for the things they did to me and neglected to do, there will be no possibility of trust.



I totally, totally identify with what you’re saying. That is exactly how I felt and exactly how my mother treated me growing up all the way until the last day of contact. Some of the things she said, in terms of how I was supposed to be behaving toward her, even after knowing my own reality and even after “apologizing” to me, (though I think it was just a tactic, considering she didn’t change) were outrageous! I am so sorry all that happened to you and that your parents didn’t care. It is absolutely horrid. And so hard to wrap one’s head around… Not only did I identify with what you said about it all being about your mom’s pain that you did not live up to her unfulfilled dreams but I immediately identified that that is exactly how my grandmother treated my mom and still, as far as I know, treats her (because my grandma treats everyone like that)… Perhaps even if I wasn’t acknowledged, I could find forgiveness through that. Knowing that essentially her story was the same as mine but that she never broke free. So thank you very much for your response. I really, really appreciate it…. But, yes, about trust—if they can’t acknowledge, then there is no possibility of trust and therefore no possibility of a relationship. It will be interesting to see what happens. I have hope but it’s definitely reserved. Anyway, thanks again! Your words meant a lot!


Unless you have a Narcissist Mother in which case it’s Blame-SHIFTING. They SHIFT blame to others, usually the scapegoat child.

In our home it was always my fault – even when I wasn’t there!!


Pam! Wow! I just want to thank you again because it was like the last piece of the puzzle fell into place and I know now that I can sit down and write this letter to my parents and that I won’t wait till after I come back home to do it. I will write it now before I go on my trip and when I meet with my parents for breakfast, at the end, before I go on my merry way, I will give it to them and know that I can stand tall! I have worked so hard to get here over the past 8 years since my breakdown and I know I’ve earned this. And I am so, so, so grateful for everyone who has helped me on my way—from my great aunt and uncle and my other aunt and uncle, to friends and profs when I was doing my creative writing degree (there is something very similar between writing workshops and support groups actually and with a lot of my writing, I was working my “stuff”), to two (of three) therapists (one was not helpful), to my “bakery family” at work, to Darlene and this site, you and everyone here… I know I wouldn’t be here without all these people. …I feel like I’m making an oscar speech or something! Haha! Now I’m wondering if I’m missing anybody! …I guess the guy I fell in love with when I had my breakdown. Things went terribly after that but he was the person who noticed something was wrong and asked me if I was okay, which allowed me to fall apart and call my uncle to see if I could come stay with them for a while, which saved my life. I had a terrible dependency on him and he had a lot of problems himself, so it was not at all a healthy situation and I’ve carried a lot of baggage and obsession over it till about now actually. If that didn’t happen, though, I know I would’ve died; I know I would’ve ended up killing myself and I know how I would’ve done it and there would not have been any bringing me back to life because there’s no coming back to life when you jump. The therapist I was seeing last year told me that I was living by the same “script” as my uncle had been—the one who killed himself—and I know that’s true. I knew it on my own and I knew it when I talked to my other uncle, his brother, just over a year ago—how eery the details were, how much it was the same, it was frightening. I am so glad to be alive. I am so glad. Thank you!


Alaina, I’m glad you’ve found your courage and that the pieces fit. Forgiveness, is really about me especially, if they never apply it through acknowledging the things they’ve done. I can forgive and let go of those offences and that forgiveness is there for them if they take responsibility for the crimes they committed against me. Their half of repairing the relationship is to rebuild the trust through owning their wrong doing. All relationships have to be two-way. One person can’t maintain a relationship. If you’re like me, what I just said is an amazing revelation because I thought, for a long time, that I did carry the bulk of responsibility. If you aren’t ready to forgive yet, don’t beat up on yourself. I think that forgiveness is closure on childhood abuse. There is a lot to work through to get to that point. Especially, if you’ve had a supposed lack of forgiveness on your part thrown up as ‘the’ problem. If someone really wants your forgiveness, they start with saying they are sorry. Forgiveness isn’t cheap and it isn’t something to be demanded from another person. Forgiveness is something I really had to think hard about and redefine from what I’d been taught about it. Forgiveness clears the way for a relationship to be reconciled but that reconcilation, also, requires responsibility on the part of the injuring party. I hope that makes sense. I’m tired and I think maybe I’m talking in circles a little.:0)I know it’s exciting when things start to make sense and you begin to see your way out. I hope things go as you expect them to.



That was the problem in my FOO, my mom was a narcissist. There will never be any truth, clarity or fairness around a individual like that. They make the rules and God help anyone who breaks them, actually, they think they are God. They dont see others as people, only as extentions of themselves, as puppets or players on their stage. Life is a drama that they have written , directed and stage-managed. They have cast themselves in the starring role and every one else in bit-parts. Some people are just props on their stage. Because my mother knew she couldnt have any more children after me, I think she saw me as a kind of “investment for old age”. She decided that I was going to be the child that never left home, as my older siblings had done. I was never going to even consider going to University, have a career, or God forbid, a partner and kids who might replace her in my affections. When she began to realise that things might not work out according to her plans, because I had mind of my own, thats when things turned ugly. She started to regard me with a kind of horror, as if I was a puppet who had come to life and started to dance without her pulling the strings. Thats when the scapegoating began, and until her death when I was 18, she punished me for not being who she wanted me to be. The ironic thing was, that for decades after she died, I was EXACTLY who she wanted me to be! I was a doormat, a people-pleaser, terrified to voice my opinions or defend myself in any way. All my plans for Uni and a career went out of the window, cos I was pregnant at 18 to another Narcissist whom I subsequently married. He wouldnt allow me to leave the house without him, much less go back to school. Hey mom, ya shoulda been proud! Not any more though, I hope she is looking down – or, more likely up – and is feeling suitably outraged at my progress and my healing. Why do people like my mother write scripts for their kids? Why cant they be thankful for who their kids are, and let them develop their own unique personalities without punishing them for it? Its like insisting that a dog behave like a cat and then getting angry cos it still barks! WTF?
Love Sylvia x


I watched a youtube video by Daniel Mackler recently. Someone here referred him. He says forgiveness is so backward in today’s society. Modern psychology and christianity push it in a backward way. His words were that forgiveness is a consequence of healing. Such truthful words for me. I am not in a place of forgiveness of my mother. I can’t even really think about it. (yes, I know, her counselor was right, ugh). I’m still very very busy thinking about the dynamics, the blame placing, my reactions in life, my health, etc. That list goes on forever it seems. I rarely even think about the whole forgiveness aspect. There’s no room for it yet. And, I’m still absorbing things as my new reality. I believe what Mr. Mackler said. It is backwards today, and I am hopeful that it WILL be a consequence of healing. It was presented to me by my mother’s counelor that it had to be done today. That it had to be done first. All that makes no sense to me. I appreciate if it does to others. It doesn’t fit me, however.

I enjoyed reading each person’s perspective on perspectives ~ pun intended. 🙂
I learned valuable insight from each person who posted about it. I also learned that my sister’s approach was maybe a little too vague for me to wrap my brain around. It was as though I said, “mom hit me”, and she said, “that’s your perspective”. This is an example because I can’t remember the dialogue, but I remember how I felt at the time. It felt like invalidation, or that my memory of events was somehow just as messed up as I am. I didn’t like the feeling I took away from it. And, like Karen mentioned with black/white thinking ~ this could be an area where I’m still stuck there. Thanks for the example Darlene, it made more sense that way. Seems like perspective could be just as slippery of a word as forgiveness. I know I was ready to mark it down in the book of words I don’t like. No offense to anyone here about it; I am speaking specifically of my exchange with my sister. I wonder if I expected that her perspective would be the same as mine. I also wonder why it wouldn’t? We were both there. With my sister specifically again, it was some level of denial ~ a need to stagnate. She prefers to be exactly where she is relative to our mother. She talks somewhat tough to me, as though “she’s got this”, but, she also took a family vacation with my mom and stepdad recently. I can’t think of anything on earth more brutal!! On some level, I knew my mom was a piece of work, I’ll say, 10 years ago. I stopped going on the expected annual family vacations. I didn’t even want to entertain the idea, but I didn’t know why either. I sure do now! She would send out an email to everyone (her kids and steps) and give the dates we were going, and for how long, and who would be staying where, and the tentative costs to each family. I think of that now and laugh. She not only assumed she could spend my vacation TIME, but also my vacation money! What in the world was I thinking? I really don’t even like being in the same city as her, let alone the same vacation venue. YUCK!
PS ~ Karen, horrible what your brother said to you about your GPS. I would have wanted to respond to that I believe. Like maybe, “no, but I will tell you to shut up.” 🙂 Wonder how he would respond to that?? Oh, and of course, I probably couldn’t have followed through with it. Just sayn! Oh, the thoughts we think!!

I was on the edge of death myself last year. I was so mentally tormented that even if I hadn’t caused my own death, I wondered if I might die anyway. By means of ceasing to thrive really. (I’m so glad we’re both still here)! In post #44, you are so right in my eyes. It IS their responsibility to make sure our perceptions of things aren’t damaging. Like if a school bully says I’m ugly. A mother can turn her head in such a way that it completely confirms the statement. Maybe without even saying a word. It IS the parent’s responsbility to at least try to help the child out of that damage. Yet more light shone on the things of childhood. Thanks for your input and articulation.

Everyone again,
I fear to say that I’m feeling stronger, lest the other shoe drop. I had quite a setback, although I didn’t really recognize it as such at the time, when mother, stepdad, and mother’s counselor all came at me in a short period of time. I feel like I’ve had a breakthrough in self care. I always dreaded exercizing, and I forced myself through it. After a long hiatus from it, I am back at it, and for different reasons. The big difference now is, I want to do it. I did it out of self obligation before. I want to feel better both physically and mentally. I know from experience that exercizing helps me in both areas. Maybe not much of a breakthrough in others’ eyes, but it really is for me. And, it’s all about a desire to feel better and be healthier. I guess it seems like a breakthrough because i’ve been waiting to care enough about myself in SOME way, that I make changes that feel good, and that I desire to make. Not out of self obligation or force. A desire to treat myself better in ANY way, is progress for me. It’s hard, so hard, to do anything good for our own selves when we are full of all out self loathing, like Alaina said. That is such an ugly and horrible place to be. It just is. This new desire I have seems like a first tiny step out of self loathing, and into a healthier self image and esteem. I’m excited about it…. but, ask me tomorrow, when I’m sore! 🙂

SMD and/or Diane,
When it comes to self soothing, may I ask you to elaborate on what methods you use to self soothe? I have tried to tackle my breathing lately. It automatically brings me to a more relaxed state. I also try to remember that I was the child, she was the adult, etc, etc, etc. I wonder, is this how you self soothe as well, or do you have something different you care to offer?? Thank you!!

Pam again,
I’m all over the board here tonight. So much above that are touching points for me. I just reread what you wrote in #23….”My sister as the golden child has a very different perception of what our childhood is about than the one I have, as the scape-goat. Her childhood experience was very different from mine but both experiences are valid.” I understand this to a certain level, then I get lost. In my personal family, my oldest sister was the GC, and I was the SG. For me, it seems true that the perception isn’t necessarily what is different between my sister and I. It’s absolutely true that we were raised differently. Her experiences were different than mine. Doesn’t that represent truth, as opposed to just how she (or I) perceive it? I’m still a little confused I think. I need to go straight to the websters and look up perception, and perspective. Maybe that will help me. Also, you mentioned that perception is truth. I’m having a hard time understandin that too. If I perceive that someone has been mean to me, it doesn’t make it true necessarily, or does it? May I ask you to elaborate a little on perception is truth please? And, thanks!! 🙂

I remember when I came here how thankful I was that I had found a home like no other. I remember that I was so grateful and so confused and hurting. Nowdays, I seem to come on here and blab, without giving much voice to how grateful I am. So, I do want you to know that I’m still incredibly grateful for your wisdom, insight, answers, and for this beautiful place you’ve created for all of us to share. It has meant the world to me, and I want you to feel appreciated for all you do. I very much appreciate you!!
PS ~ credit to Alaina for your thoughtful and grateful post, which inspired me, because I seem to have forgotten to express my gratitude at times.

Peace and love,


#50, so well articulated. It was the same for me. When I began to feel a little independent, mother unleashed on me. That was coupled with my dad leaving and her rage at him was also then directed at me.

I recently described it to my mom’s counselor like this, “I believe my mother is in pain, the kind of pain a princess feels when they’ve been knocked off their throne.”

I do believe she’s hurting. It must hurt to go through life being the puppeteer, and then suddenly, just as you said, the puppets begin to dance on their own. I was 43 when I did. I do believe that hurts her because it may feel like defiance and a will to deliberately hurt her. I have explained to her that it isn’t about her and I’m not trying to cause her pain. I’m simply trying to heal my own pain and damage. I understand that it is a jab to her, because she makes everything ABOUT her. She can’t even give thought to the idea that it might be about me and my own emotional health and healing. Also as you describe, she was in the starring role. It must be painful to be reduced to a bit part after so many years of being the star. But, she designed it all. That’s no longer my problem. I don’t share it with her anymore, or the blame for it.

Peace and Hope,


Hi Mimi,

Tank you for sharing your experience, which sounds very similar to mine, you have made me feel so validated. Yes, in that one respect I can feel pity for our mothers. You are correct about them being in pain. It must be terrible to have built an “empire” over which you have ruled for many years, and then see it crumble. But that isnt our problem, we didnt cause them to have these delusions. We have every right to remove ourselves from their dysfunction. And yes, you are so right, it IS all about them. When my mother was dying from terminal cancer, she blamed me for making her ill. She knew she only had months to live, but she never once told me she loved me, or tried to give me any advice or words of wisdom.(I was only 18 at the time.) All she did was complain about how bitterly disappointed she was in me, and how let down she felt. You can imagine the guilt complex I had for years after that. But bear in mind, this was someone who had verbally AND PHYSICALLY abused her own mother, my grandma, who died when I was 2. I didnt find this out until years after my mum died. My much older GC brother told me how he frequently had to intervene and stop mum hitting grandma. It defies belief dosent it? I think they project their own shame onto us, or my mum certainly did. After she died, I neglected my own health for years. I suffered from eating disorders and several life-threatening addictions. I have only recently discovered that I had a subconcious false belief about not deserving to be healthy, a direct result of being blamed for her illness. Since then I have taken much better care of myself, exercising more, going to the dentist, seeing the doctor about some minor issues that, previously, I did not want to “bother” anyone with. Why should I punish myself by feeling guilty about displeasing someone who used to hit an elderly woman? I wish you lots of luck,
Love Sylvia x


my counsellor told me I had some responsibility in the way my Mum treated me. I never understood that since I was a child, I wasn’t to know – they say it takes two to tango, why do we hold children to the same standards as adults? I had no control over how my Mum brought me up – I worshipped her, she was beautiful to me, I couldn’t see how mean she was being, I thought it was my fault, that I had to do more things to get her attention. And I tried everything. Is that manipulation? Or survival?


Jane, wow! I can not believe your mother did something so heinous, when you were so small. To set you up for your brother to beat you up over the truck she broke. I’m sorry you went through that. That to me was sadistic. And I can relate to what you say about guilt following you around. I wake up somedays and it hits me, before I am even fully awake, It is at my core, and I so don’t deserve to feel that way. No one I have met on here does! Really, no one does. Hmmm, except our abusers. All abusive people.
@ Barbara, yes, the guilt shifting is so incidious. It is always my fault as well. Just recently,my mother confided in me that she has quit drinking, as she had yet another episode where she drank herself to a state of vomiting, said some mean things she “can’t remember”. Same old stuff. So she told me, I have lost 10 pounds since I quit drinking. You would lose weight too if you quit drinking. Huh? She’s a mean abusive drinker, who has been taken to the hospital after drinking for uncontrollable emotional tirades, total loss of control, more than a few times. My BIL is in jail for his 4th DUI,and my brother drives with a coffee mug full of beer. Last I checked, I was a social drinker. So I kind of see that whole thing being set up. Her and my sisters talking about “my drinking problem”.(??) I blocked her on facebook, to give them no more access to anything going on in my life, now I get an invite from her to join her on “Linkedin”. Um, yeah, no!!!! As a matter of fact, I’m going to see if you can block on there as well. I need to become “linked out”, or unlinked!
@ Karen, I was not allowed to talk or make any noise either, as it disturbed my father’s tv viewing. I always loved to dance, and my father demanded I stop practicing in the kitchen,as I was making too much damn noise! (think I was 6). I was practicing a dance the nuns had taught us, as I was never allowed to go to dance class with my friends, b/c “your sister dropped out and it is a waste of money”. Anyways, I spent my childhood walking on eggshells instead of dancing, so as not to disturb my father. I became a very good reader instead.
I have been absent from here for a while, work,school, and really just feeling depressed. It kind of set me off, when my boyfriend lent his brother his truck. He went out of town, and his brothers own truck was getting major repairs. My BF said “It makes me feel good to be able to help my brother, and be there for him when he needs me”. And this is a good thing. My SO is such a giving person. But it made me think, how there is no helping, for helping’s sake in my family, at least not for me. And my brother, who was always there for me, is caught up in the dysfunction, it would seem. He doenst return my calls, or bother with me. My mother always makes it a point to tell me how he always calls her and stops by. So, she’s letting me know, she’s won again.
Thinking about that, and not having the time to exercise or socialize, due to school and work, really had me down for a bit.
I’m beginning to think about finding a therapist again, but not sure if it is the right thing to do.
Thanks for listening and letting me share. And thank you, everyone for sharing and identifying with this topic. It is such a good one. It will take me a bit to read through all of these posts. I need to read them when I am not coming off of night shift, so I can take in all the knowledge and wisdom that is found here. It means so much to not feel so alone. Thanks, Darlene!



Message from MOM, re: linkedin.

Saw this after I just posted…………

Hi Jane! Saw your name on “Linkedin” – wondered if you had changed jobs. See you are listed as a consultant for Immunotec. Are you still at **** **** Hospital? Love, MOM

Wow! Woudn’t that have been something to talk about? I had left my stable, well paying job, to become a kooky sales consultant.(It was actually I side line I had looked into, but don’t do anymore) That would sure take their eyes off of their own misery! It is a very sweet and innocent inquiry, but I know it for the fishing expedition it is. And you gotta love the signature, all CAPS!



Trying to break the habit of blaming for the next generation is what is so important to me. The difficult bit is not knowing if and when my kids feel blamed. I am wondering if anyone can relate.

My eldest daughter has been non-communicative for a long time and even after I left her father, she was still difficult although I would have thought that we could start afresh. At one time, I called the police on her when she struck her brother in fury. She avoided me for a while then came to my house again as if nothing happened.

Lately I have felt that things were getting better but tonight she did something that reminded me of what she used to be like. Maybe she is that way because she feels that nobody cared enough to protect her when she was young. So she feels she is entitled to whatever she wants. She ate the food that I had prepared for her brother. She is supposed to be living with her dad (which she did only to get government welfare) but there is never any food at her dad’s and they fight so she often comes to my place. I had asked her to text me first before she comes but she never does it. I have taken her key away so she has to knock. As usual tonight I was happy to let her in but I asked her not to eat her brother’s food which she was eyeing. She said she would ask him first. Later I found out that she ate it and offered to make something for him but hadn’t. When I asked her why, she said he didn’t seem interested. He was very peeved but I was glad he didn’t get violent, which he used to do when he felt violated. He often feels despised and teased by his sister.

I tried having a conversation with her but she kept on watching TV and doing something on her computer. There was no response whatsoever, except for the occasional, “Yeah…uh-huh..”. After the TV was off, I tried again to talk to her and tell her that what she was doing was not working for me. I tried very hard not to blame because it looked like she was disassociating and reacting to blame. I told her that if I could not have a conversation with her about my level of discomfort over the disrespect shown, then it was not possible for her to keep coming. She went to her old room and began to sleep. I said to her that she hadn’t asked me if she could stay, and she said it was her room. I tried explaining, not for the first time, that after she left it wasn’t her room any more. I warned that I would call the police if she didn’t leave, and she dragged the sheets and quilt off as she left. She is now sleeping in her car parked outside which I feel very sorry for.

It’s hard for me to tell whether I am over-reacting. A child can remind you of the abusive spouse, but the child is not the abusive spouse. The child is the victim. However there is nothing I can do to help the victim or start afresh in our relationship when she is not responding to anything I say but still wants to come into my house and my life. Am I asking or expecting too much that to have a relationship there needs to be a basic level of respect, of hearing each others’ request? Is she not able to do that because of her PTSD and her feeling of abandonment by me because I was with her father for so long and didn’t protect her? I can’t even find out because she won’t talk along these lines. Our communication is very shallow but I have enjoyed having her around because I feel so sorry for her being at her Dad’s and if I don’t have her, where can she go?


karen #31 Its nice to know that I am not alone being the only girl as I got older I was bullied in school because I could keep up with all the sports/car talk I had more male friends then female friends. Kids mainly girls would bully me and the only way I responded was with my temper and my fists eventually the bullying stopped because they were tired of me beating on them. I have been to 4 elementary schools 2 middle schools and 3 high schools all because of my temper and the only thing I got from my dad was “I wish you were never born” and “why can’t you control yourself” “if you would just learn to behave then I wouldn’t have to discipline you” I once told an adult (someone you are supposed to trust)that we were being hurt at home well rather then calling someone to help us he called our dad instead…..I stayed out of school for a week so I could heal from the beating. My mom died when I was very young her family didn’t like our dad so there was very little contact and even his own family had as little contact as possible with him as well. What I learned about being a girl came from my brother’s girl friends.

Barbara I can relate to the blame game!!

Started counseling I like the guy but not sure if I want to continue too many wounds that I haven’t touched and I don’t feel ready too painful.



Hi Mimi, Facts are important but the events represented by those facts have different impacts on the people involved. I’ll use the example of my mother spanking my sister for something I was supposed to have done but my mother thought I was lying about.(I don’t remember what the offense was or if I or my sister had done it) The facts are that a child in the family did something wrong. My mother thought I did it but I denied it. So my mother spanked my sister because she thought I was lying. My perception of those events was that I was bad even if I hadn’t done anything wrong. I was confused. My sister, on the other hand, if she were guilty, probably had mixed feelings. In one way she got away with it but she was punished anyway. If she was innocent, she probably had more resentment for me than for my mother spanking her. In my sister’s mind, I was cemented in as being bad. The facts are the same but they had totally, different impacts on us. Each perception is valid based on the personal impact of the facts. At this point, if it were known who actually did something wrong, it might change the perceptions and bring them closer together. However, that isn’t likely and what has to be dealt with is each person’s perception. Your perceptions are just as valid as your sisters. Her perception of you being hit does nothing to diminish the fact that you were hit.

I’ve had that crap pulled on me too. I’m told that I remember things incorrectly or that something never even happened. It’s just crap Mimi. Even if you don’t remember all the facts involved in something that happened to you as a child, you remember how they impacted you. You know how they continue to impact you. Your perceoption of your childhood is valid. Your perception of your relationship with your mother is valid. They are valid because they belong to you and you are the only one who has the right to define your own life. No one has the right to tell you what your life has been or is. Your sister has no right to tell you that your ‘perception’ of being hit is off. You were the one who was hit. You were hit, Mimi. That incident was directed at you and the memory of it and the impact of it belongs to you. Your sister was only an observer. When families don’t want to face the truth, they do everything they can to minimize the memories of the truth teller and confuse the facts. Remember, your perception is valid. Hang onto your truth.

When I confronted my family with the law in an attempt to prove to them that I was sexually abused and they were criminally negligent in doing nothing to save me, I thought I had them. How could they refuse such solids facts? Well, they did and they used the same tactics they always used. My sister said that statatory rape laws had always been controversial and because of that she didn’t accept that I’d been raped. She said they were just young men confused by the sexual revolution.:0/My mom just flat said she didn’t believe that she and my dad broke any laws. Do you see? Even though ‘my perception’ was reinforced by the law, they still held their ‘perception’ above mine and even above the law. They know they are wrong and the perception they create with their words and attitudes is false. It’s a big convoluted lie. There’s no other way to deal with this than to hold onto what you know is true and how those facts impacted you. This is different from the above example I used to show how different perceptions can be formed and each remain valid. This second example is of how manipulators use varying perceptions to confuse the truth and work a situation toward their desired outcome. You hang onto your truth and your perception and they can’t manipulate you.

I hate that you’re going through such a tough time but I think from the things you are saying that you are dealing with separating truth from the manipulative soup that formed the system you grew up under. It’s confusing but order will come, Mimi.



Hi Evey
Welcome to emerging from broken,
All the things you bring up here are what this website is about. Your willingness to try everything is survival. It is how we are trained as children. As adults when we see that this is a childhood survial method and no longer necessary, we are able to heal and set a healthy boundary.
glad you are here.
Hugs, Darlene


p.s. Mimi, How can anyone forgive when the offences have never been named or their impact defined? Concerning abuse, there is a great deal of work to be done before forgiveness is even appropriate. It isn’t cheap, it comes in its own time, it often comes in layers, but full forgiveness in resolving child abuse can’t come until the end of the healing process. The abuse victim has to be healed before there can be any hope of healing a very bad relationship. The abuser also, has to heal. Otherwise, forgiveness has no power to create a healthy relationship. It only opens the door to restore a malignant relationship. A healed, abused child, can forgive the abuser and walk away but they can never place themelves back in that same damaging relationship and that is exactly what will occur if the abuser has taken no personal responsibility on their part.



I was trying to communicate how we accpet the blame; yes they shift the blame, that is what all abusers and controllers do, narcissist or not. The path to healing for me was in seeing how I took it and accepted it and how wrong that it was since it was never my fault. But because I had accepted it, I didn’t know it wasn’t my fault so at best I was willing to share the blame with them, never having known any better.
Hugs, Darlene


About the whole forgiveness thing;
have you ever noticed how much it is talked about when the perp of the crime doesn’t even admit that they did anything wrong? The abusive person and the rest of the world half the time says “forgiveness is the answer” or “you must find a way to forgive” when half the time are all still saying that the problem is not with the abuser in the first place but that YOU are the one with the problem. It is so devaluing and hurtful; just like being abused again.

I have written a lot about the forgiveness issue; for me forgiveness was not something that I did or sought to do. It was something that manifested as a result of doing the healng work. The anger and resentment, hurt and pain all seemed to transcend when I saw the truth about what happened to me, validated me, and learned self care and self love. Some of my perpatrators did admit to the crime. That was not what helped me heal though. It was the truth that healed me.

“Trying to forgive” held me back for many years. Praying to be able to forgive way before I had even been allowed to feel the pain of betrayal was a huge stick point in my process.

Hugs, Darlene


That is heartbreaking what your mother said on her deathbed. Such a tender age for you to 1)experience the death of your mother, and 2)hear those horrible words. Those LAST words. And beating her own mom…. I see now why you say she might be looking up from where she is, rather than down.

My mom could have written that letter herself. Few words, innocent looking, questions where/if I’m working, and signed in caps. OMG… sometimes the similarities between abusers are frightening!!

Peace and Love,


I’m sorry…. did not have that exact conversation with my sister about being hit. UGH! I don’t think I made that very clear. I was using it as an example…. although my mom did hit me on occasion. I just got to that point in your comment and if I don’t get off here I will be late for work, haha!! I gotta run, but I appreciate your time in explaining, and I will come back to it later.

Love to all,


Boy Alaina you hit this on the nose for me.

“I think this is very much similar to when blame is assigned to the victim because of their personality…. If it really was about the victim’s personality (which is doubtful, anyway), well, it was still the parents’ job to pay attention to their child’s personality, to work “with” the personality, etc., not to say that, well, if you had a different personality….”

So much shame and blame was heaped on me based on my personality. I was a bouncing ball in a family where expression and physical activity and responsiveness was seen as bad behavior.
Like you:
I was also discussed and plans were decided concerning me without my input. I was sent into the cellar to hang out with the dog and not called up until everything was decided. I was 19 at the time. My boy friend was explaining that he wanted to break up with me to my mother and why. He never discussed it with me. I felt so hurt that I was not included in the adult discussion.

Hi Janie, oh we all walked on eggshells. You absolutely had to edit everything you said in front of or to my dad. No making noise. Never any friends over. (If you had friends he yelled at them and they were too scared to come back) He even chose your friends. Later he chose and brought home young men he approved of. As children No toys left out {not that we had much}. The house had to be inspection perfect. He spoiled every Christmas, holiday, birthday, graduation with anger, rage and punishment. No one had any rights, feelings, or value except him. And yet he always talked about the many wonderful things he did for his family. A wonderful home in the suburbs, schooling, food and clothes. He saw himself as a loving benefactor who would cut of his arm {his words} for his family. To him, we should be eternally gratefully on our knees to him for all he bestowed on us. In reality he was stingy and cheap. I’m just gratefully he’s not alive anymore.

I feel so bad for all of you who had mean narcissistic mothers. My mother was just emotionally absent.
I have tried my best for 50 years to be a good daughter and have her love me. She just doesn’t. I see
that as the way it is. I never had love or hugs or affection from either of my parents. We were kept isolated from other family so I look as in a window at other loving families almost with detachment
wondering how that feels. For that reason I think I did not know how to be truely affectionate or love my son. I think love needs to be modeled otherwise how do you learn it? I find it easy to love things and be
really obsessive/possessive in that but people are another story. Sorry if I got off topic.

Mimi..hahaha…I like your answer to my brothers snide comment.

Thanks all!


I too was bullied by the girls in school. I just didn’t fit in so had to sit alone at lunch. They turned their backs on me. I felt less than dirt. I thought it was because I was ugly. So I hung out with the boys. Some were kind of nerdy but all were respectful and friendly. I always felt “different” and so just wanted to belong.
My mother would just wring her hands over any problem physical, emotional, relational, and say “I’m sorry.”
It was almost like having no one. I never told anyone about the abuse. I was afraid of the terrible punishment. I shiver to this day thinking about it. You were very brave to speak up. The bullying just seemed to confirm my lack of value, that I was something bad that no one wanted. Thank you for your comment. I really can understand the powerful punch ’em out rage. Now that I understand it I can try to divert it.
Its hard to sustain so I go out in the yard and dig with a shovel. Its very physical and its hard to keep up the level of anger doing something very physical. Then it passes and I am better. But the (safe) activity has to be at the limit of endurance to wear out the anger. Anyway that works for me. Take care of you!!


Karen #67
I told people but no one heard so I did the only the I knew and I lashed out at everyone, thats why I went to so many different schools I actually graduated it was by the seat of my pants that I did. It can be devastating as a child not to be heard I called my counselor today and he said that I really don’t have much choice about counseling it is ordered by the court. I just don’t feel I will be able to handle facing those demons yet. Thankfully he was pretty understanding he said that we could meet somewhere else to talk if I felt uncomfortable going to his office. He said he wanted to try out the new ice cream shop in town so thats where we will meet soon.

I just started exercising so I think that will help relieve some stress

thanks Karen


Mimi, Maybe, I’m the one who is off. I’m still struggling with this thyroid thing. My concentration isn’t what it used to be. I sure seem to be missing when it comes to connecting with other comments. However, even if you didn’t have that exact conversation, your perception is valid. Your sister’s perception is not more valid. If new facts were revealed, you might both have a changed perception but it wouldn’t change the facts of what happened.

My adult children remember things that I don’t remember and I remember some things that they don’t. However, I never tell them that their memory is false. I don’t tell them that any pain they suffered from the event isn’t real or just a misconception, on their part. Even if I remember it differently, their pain is valid. I care about them and want to help them work through it and heal. I don’t want to use it to confuse them so that I maintain some kind of self-image. My FOO cares more about the image thing than they care about helping me heal. That’s really, the difference that I was trying to get across. This whole conversation seems to have gotten really! Maybe we all need a long, holiday weekend.

Darlene, The forgiveness thing was used on me too and it locked me into believing that I had to reconcile with my family in order to heal myself. It kept me prisoner. I finally, realized they didn’t even want real forgiveness. They wanted me to overlook eveything they’ve done to hurt me and allow them to pretend those things never happened. Forgiveness is too often used as smoke and mirrors. Like you said, forgiveness came as a natural result of the healing process. If someone won’t change their hurtful ways, it’s impossible to forgive them and remain under their power and control. Forgiveness on the part of the injured party, is part of the freedom that comes from no longer being in the position to be hurt by someone who isn’t sorry for what they’ve done.

I’m sorry if I overcomplicated or confused things.




We are all entitled to compromised concentration – I take full advantage of it when possible!! 🙂
Which is likely y I’m stuck understanding perspectives entirely. I do get some of it, but not all. It will click suddenly, I bet. I don’t think it’s your writing that’s the problem. I just need to get a moment to read these comments again and let them sink in. I’ll have more time tomorrow to sit with it, and reread comments.. Thanks for your dedication and effort. I really do appreciate it!!

Karen and flea flicker,
I am a big believer that physical exercise can relieve anxiety, and that energy that builds up with anger. Especially when anger’s left unattended! It’s one of the reasons I started back at it too. Just wanted to say congrats to you both for using healthy outlets!! Here’s to hole diggin, or bag punchin, or whatever it takes to bring that beautiful sense of calm! I’m smiling inside thinking about total exhaustion – the kind where you don’t give a flip about anything, haha!!
And, we will sleep so sound at night! 🙂

Peace and love,


Darlene/Pam – thank you so much for clarifying the whole forgiveness issue…i have never really understood my part in forgiveness nor has anyone ever been able to explain to me forgiveness as far as when that needs to happen. I have been very confused about the whole forgiveness thing. I didnt grow up in church so i never heard anything about forgiveness until i was in my late 20’s and then began going to church and hearing messages about forgiveness. I have also ‘tried to forgive’ – i was told that the pain would stop if i just forgave my abusers, so i have forgiven over and over and over and yet i am still in my thought process becomes “clearly i must not be doing it right or God has not accepted my forgiveness”…I have beat myself up thinking that i must not be forgiving enough. I am so sensitive about not wanting to be angry/bitter/resentful like my parents and my sister were. My sister is older and my only sibling. She is still very angry and bitter about being abused. I learned that i had to take responsibility for my feelings and emotions. I am still learning. the hardest part for me is that its a long way from my head to my heart. I can read the truth and i can hear the truth but it doesn’t penetrate my heart and take hold because of all the pain. I can read what Darlene writes and i believe it to be true in my head but in my heart its like it just will not sink in deep enough to have any lasting impact. My only memories of early childhood are being left alone in a crib for hours and hours and crying and crying and no one ever coming…it was a small dark bedroom with the curtains closed. that’s my first memory of my life and it never goes away…Darlene is right about the truth setting us free…for me its what exactly is the truth i need to know/understand…i too have gotten to the place where i do see forgiveness now coming as a natural part of the process AFTER i do some healing. I work on healing every day. Its exhausting work. I was frozen like an iceberg for about 40 years and have been “thawing” the last 9 years…its a very hard and painful process. I thank you all for you love and prayers and support !



Hi Dave
It is so interesting that you wrote about this today. This morning I have been editing a new post that I had started writing about 2 weeks ago, about the invalidation of being told to forgive before the pain is even validated.
I hope you will enjoy it when it is published. (possibly later today or tomorrow)
Hugs, Darlene


Dave, I have an early memory something like yours. I’m in a strange, dark, room and there is a huge pile of something on the bed with me. I cry and cry but no one can hear me. My dad was a musician and when I was little he played for parties and dances. I was taken along and I’m pretty sure this is at one of those parties. I think I was on a bed with a pile of coats and I alos, thing this happened more than once. The rear and helplessness that comes with being terrified or in need and no one coming, is awful. I’ve had that feeling all of my life that no matter how much I needed rescue, no one would come. A major part of human trust was broken very young. I think part of the reason I got stuck on forgiveness is because I confused it with trust but they are two separate things. Also, people who really want forgiveness start with “Im sorry for hurting you” not with “You just need to forgive! The problem is you won’t forgive!” No amount of forgiveness can build the trust necessary for a healthy relationship with the second kind of person. I was locked into thinking that if I forgave them, then I was also, locked into a relationship in which I would be hurt over and over again, with no hope of it ever changing. When I gave myself permission to set a strong personal boundary and walk away when it wasn’t met, forgiveness came naturally as part of my freedom. They can’t hurt me now and the past can’t hurt me anymore either. I’ve forgiven it and I’ve moved on. It’s really over.


Krissy #57 just to let you know that what you are doing for your daughter right now will make a difference in the future, just don’t give up and let her know that you love her despite the behavior. I myself and a couple of brothers gave our stepmother gray hairs she never gave up on us. She told us things that we did not want to hear even if it meant we gave problems. Now that I am parent I realize what a pain-in-the-butt I was but I am definitely grateful she never backed down from it all she could have after all we were not hers. She has acted as a mediator between us kids and our father. She offered stability even when I thought I didn’t need it, she was the only stable thing in my life at the time and still is. She eventually had to let us learn the hard way but she never went far. I had been arrested a few times because of my temper getting away with me, she never bailed me out yet she let me know that I would be ok, learning can be painful!!
I and my brothers are forever grateful that she stepped up to the parenting role when our father did not want to be one. She married our father when I was about 17.

A few years after they married he went into counseling and quit drinking he has been clean and sober since.

though some damage has been done you have not given up on her and she will remember that later. Just hang in there!!! 🙂




Dave I can relate to the healing process it is painful!!! I just started my journey. Some where along the way I will make the connection until then I know I have alot of work to do. I have kids and I want to be there for them as a whole person not just in part. Those first steps are hard.

I’ll pray for you and you pray for me 🙂



Darlene YOU ARE AWESOME!!!!!!




As a result of this post and my plea for help I received 4 donations this week totalling $65.00 so my expenses (which are $200.00 each month) are covered for September!
Thank you to everyone who is helping and has helped me to keep this site published.
Hugs, Darlene


Dave, #71, I can so relate when you say: “I can read what Darlene writes and i believe it to be true in my head but in my heart its like it just will not sink in deep enough to have any lasting impact.”
I feel like what Darlene, and what everybody here says, chips away at the protection I put around my heart……….I expect it wil be a long process, but always hope for an epiphany of sorts.
I think I am also desensitized to things as an emergency room nurse, and wonder if it is no accident that I chose this line of work.
Mimi, #64, that is frightening, that they are so similar. I did not respond to the “LinkedIn” message, now she has stepped it up to a phone message, relaying info on the death of one of their friends I didn’t really know, and some news about a painful new illness she is dealing with. Now, how could I not respond to that? And if I don’t respond, she will tell everyone how heartless I am. Another poor me,for her! She has ante’ed up………
Karen, # 66, I am sorry you know the egg shell feeling as well. My father was also a tightwad, notoriously cheap. I had to fight one year for a winter coat. Think I was 12. We lived in New England!
And I am sorry that you were sent down with the dog, while your mother discussed your relationship with your own boyfriend! That is really mind blowing! That is an emotional experience that you should have been allowed to have, painful or not, not have managed for you like it is a business decision! I wish you had been allowed to feel where your BF was coming from, and feel your own feelings about your relationship. That is how we connect, that is how we grow! You were not allowed to be emotionally present in your own relationship! Why do they try to wring the emotion out of everything?
Still reading, and learning here…..




That is so crazy about your boyfriend! I can’t believe that! I have no idea how things would have played out in my family if I’d ever dated. I can’t even conceive of it. But I can only imagine there would have been definite weirdness and dysfunction. Though it was never said, I think it was part of the rules I lived by that I could not date, as I belonged to my mother and I was extremely rule-bound (I don’t think I had it in me psychologically, if that makes any sense—not just that it was disallowed by her on a subconscious level but that my own psyche was incapable of going there because of the degree of control and power and possessiveness she wielded over me inside my own mind). I could not rebel; the only path to freedom seemed to be a mental breakdown (I thought that even before it happened, except I also thought, sarcastically, how there was no room on my resume for a nervous breakdown).

About personality—I’ve come to the conclusion that if you cause problems or are in any way a bother, your personality is going to be blamed/shamed, no matter what the personality actually is. I was shamed for my real personality as a child and then later my fake personality was blamed for the cause of the dysfunction between us, when really my fake personality was their creation.

Your comment about walking on eggshells reminded me of something. After I began to bring up my issues with my mom, she made a comment to me about how hard some family vacation had been on her because she felt like she had to be constantly walking on eggshells around me. And I’m sure that’s true–to go from a bull in a china shop to feeling like you have to walk on eggshells is probably really hard! I can really see now how much I was blamed for the pain I “caused” her by being broken by her and having the audacity to actually tell her. I don’t doubt her pain, I’m sure it is very real, but I was the last person who should’ve had to deal with that particular kind of pain of hers. All the same, both my parents wanted to make me responsible for fixing or at least easing that pain by doing things for her, and yes, most definitely blamed that pain on me, by way of pinning what happened on the result of my “personality,” (which wasn’t even my personality but a coping mechanism!) which of course was so, so, so wrong!

Anyway, thanks for writing! I wish you peace and good shovelling! 😉 I could relate to what you wrote about looking through a window. It is a hard feeling to sit with. I have a lot of difficulty with touch. A desire for but also stress, fear, revulsion and resistance. My mother would corner me into hugs for years and I felt I “had to” submit to them, just as I “had to” say I love you, too. I know that I do want love but that the largest, almost all-consuming love I’ve experienced in my life was this soul-sucking kind (which I know isn’t real love). When I feel at ease and can trust the other person, know that things are mutual and healthy, I can handle affection but it’s tentative (both receiving and giving) but I do know I’m progressing, slowly but surely. It is hard, though, when you see it with other people—their level of love and affection. But I think being here, and generally learning how to give this to ourselves first, opens up to the future with others, so that the window feeling will lessen over time.

Thanks for your thoughts and yes, you were making sense to me! I found it interesting what you said to Dave about forgiveness and trust. I do sometimes have moments where I have tried to force forgiveness on myself but I don’t think I do that for extended periods of time. What I’ve noticed is that I will have a feeling of forgiveness which will come to me naturally, kind of swell up and then dissipate, but often this will be followed by fears (especially of being engulfed) and then a resistance against this in form of anger. It can really go in circles. It is exactly what you were talking about—the fear of opening up to be hurt over and over again. So sometime after that swell of forgiveness, I will go through a period where I feel like I am being invaded by my mom, like I’ve opened myself up to her tinkering around inside me, trying to control me, change me, manipulate me, possess me entirely, and then I close up and get angry all over again for the same old things, fighting her in my brain. All without her even being in my life or doing anything! But it is exactly what you were talking about with trust and forgiveness and yes, they are two separate things. I am hoping that once I’ve firmly drawn my boundaries, stood up for myself and the harm they did me and required them to acknowledge the past for what it was (or lose me), that this cycle will come to a conclusion eventually (whether they acknowledge or not). It seems logical that that is what will happen. Anyway, thanks again for your voice on this site! I appreciate it! I’ve been quite cranky the last two days—I think I’m ready to write that letter but what with work, etc., I haven’t had the time to dedicate myself to it yet, so things are just turning round and round ready to spill. And the more I understand and can see clearly, the angrier it all makes me. But it’s a good, productive kind of anger I can channel. Will work on it this weekend.

I’m so glad you’re here too! I understand your confusion about perception. When I think of it, it confuses me too. I think others pull it out to do just that—to pull the rug from under your feet. I think Pam said something about how as victims we had our perception taken away from us, negated, etc. and that the healing process is all about taking it back (or something to that effect) and I really believe that. Our story is taken away from us and written over by someone else. Being able to take our own story back and rewrite it to fit us seems integral to the process. I think our perception of our reality is never going to be bang on the exact truth to every detail—for one, we can’t store or process every moment of our lives, we don’t have access to a lot of information, etc. But I think you can find the story that fits, that feels right, that’s close enough, that is an undeniable EMOTIONAL TRUTH, so that the exact particulars don’t matter. Like Darlene was saying, I think the people in our lives who want to deny our truth look for the holes in the details and use that as evidence against the whole.

I also wanted to say congrats on the new exercise program/resolution. I have also decide to take up jazz dance (I’ve been doing ballet off and on for the last 7 years but decided to branch out) and to try taekwondo, as I’ve been thinking of doing some kind of martial arts for a while—maybe a place to work out anger as well as develop more confidence… And another thing I wanted to say—about your “setbacks”… are you sure they were setbacks? In my mind, you had people coming at you from a few angles all at once and you successfully managed and dealt with them. I’m sure you felt like shit, pulled around, your mind and heart wrenched, second-guessed yourself, felt yourself being dragged under at times, back into the old ways, and probably at times you were dragged under (as I can imagine myself in that position—I don’t mean to put anything on you that you didn’t actually experience; I just imagine that’s what I would have gone through). But you KNEW the truth and you SPOKE the truth, despite all the emotions taking you for a really crappy ride. I mean just look at your actions! You dealt with these people! They were wrong and you didn’t put up with it! That’s awesome! So I don’t think it was a setback at all but rather another step forward in your process—if you ask me, if it’s okay that I say so. I really hope that you continue to feel stronger and stronger. I know some days are good, some days aren’t. With me sometimes, especially lately or whenever I’ve been really into the process work, it’s moment to moment, not even day to day. I can go from really cranky to jubilant quite fast—I know that it’s part of the process and I try my best to remember to try to ride the wave. It’s of course easier in the jubilant phase, although when this first started happening, I was very frightened… I had been used to feeling low/depressed/flat, so excitement made me feel out of control and crazy. It was hard to deal with. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone on the outside who didn’t understand this stuff might have wanted to diagnose me as bipolar or something like that, who knows. It would have been understandable but not particularly accurate. In general, as I go along, things are balancing out but yes, when I’m right in the midst of things, it can be quite exhausting and stressful, moving through the emotions. All my best to you! And many thanks for your voice here as well!

I’m happy to hear you reached your September expenses! That’s great! Thank you always for all that you do.


I’m excited to read the forgiveness post. It is a slippery word ~ constantly redefined by clergy, celebrity, abusers, everyone!! Like many people here, I don’t have the ability to flip a switch. Logically speaking, it seems like a backward approach to expect it FIRST, rather than as a result of healing work. So, I’m excited to read your approach. And, I’m thrilled the website is being supported financially. 🙂

Same thing. You have described my mother again. Same tactics, with slightly varying specifics. And, the real kicker that I totally appreciate ~ when you said, then if you don’t respond, she will tell everyone how heartless you are. I tell ya Janie, if I’ve experienced that once, I’ve experienced it a hundred times. So frustrating!! My mother would pull this thing every holiday. At the last minute she would ask me if I could go pick up my grandma on my way to her house. Not that I couldn’t, but, it’s inconsiderate to ask at the last minute. I finally got so I would make plans with my grandma far in advance, leaving my mother out entirely. The twist in mother’s plan was, I didn’t dare refuse, then she could tell my grandma how heartless I am, that I refused to pick her up. I wanted to refuse so as to put the responsibility back in mother’s lap at the last minute. But, she would swiftly turn that into me punishing my grandma, and she would not let slide the opportunity to tell my grandma just that. So calculating. And frustrating!! Janie, I suspect mothers like ours will start getting mysterious illnesses as they age. You know the patient, the ones who suddenly become ill when their family is leaving town, etc.

Interesting you mentioned ER. I have only floated to ER, but worked medical for several years. I was an adrenaline junky. And, people marvel at the calmness when there was a code. The clarity of thought, etc. I had an epiphany when I read what you wrote. Operating in chaos is what I learned as a small child. Perhaps that adrenaline and staying cool under pressure, the whole scenario, is actually a comfort. It’s been said that no matter how bad our situations are, it’s what we know, therefore, it’s comfortable. Hmmmm… I’m definitely wondering now.

I love what you wrote to Krissy. Powerful insight there for me. Because, my mom gave up on me. She not only injured me, she gave up as well. And, you’re exactly right. There might be a few injuries that can be overcome, but, throwing in the towel on your own child is never forgotten (for me anyway).

Hugs back to you, and I hope your meeting at the ice cream shop goes well. I think nearly any meeting could go well if there’s ice cream involved. 🙂

Thank you!! I appreciate your explanation of the perceptions/perspectives concept. If I replace the word perspective, with the word opinion, I get even more stumped. I guess because my opinion doesn’t make something true. It’s just my opinion. Like I said earlier, it seems to be a slippery word. And, I believe what you wrote, that people can be tricky in using that against us.

And, thank you for your sweet comment about my “setbacks”. Even if it feels like a setback at the time, I realize there was a force behind it. It wasn’t a spontaneous setback from the blue, and there is a big difference. Those kind are scary because there doesn’t seem to be any provocation. I can look back on those days following the emails from mother, stepdad, and counselor, and remember I was so tearful. Nearly anything would make tears well up. I couldn’t figure out why at the time. Now that I’m past it, I realize it was just them getting to me. It’s hard to stand up to three people attacking. Especially when two are parents, and one is a “professional”. There really was power in numbers in that instance. Thanks for helping me realize these things, and validating!!

I have yet to go back and read the comments about perspectives again. I’m going to do that now. I do want to make sure I clarify that I am not at all questioning your understanding. I’m only trying to understand it myself. I hope you know that!! I do think the black and white thinking is a part of it for me. So often, things are either one way, or another to. It will help me to try to apply it to a real scenario in my life, so I’m headed off to ponder all of this. Thanks again for your time in explaining. I value your opinion and understanding of things.

Love and Peace,


Well I screwed up again I am asking myself why!! I need you all to pray for me!!. I feel like I took 1 step forward and 2 steps back i am trying so hard to get myself under control. Called the counselor I feel like such an idiot!!

Please Please!! pray for me I will post later



Fleaflicker and Mimi, thanks for your insight. I esp love it when people can relate because they were in the position of my daughter. I am only afraid of pushing her away because she perceives anything I do that sets boundaries as rejection. I sent her a text the next day expressing my sorrow that she had to leave and that I would love for her to eat and sleep at my place, but only if she showed basic respect of letting me know first and respecting her younger siblings still at home. I wonder if she thinks I am being condescending in calling her disrespectul and defining her that way when other daughters have a right to go in and out as they like, and not get targeted if they eat their younger brother’s food. She has not responded, and I can’t imagine her doing so.

I really can’t see if my perception is wrong but in reading all the other comments, it is clear that abusive people love to gaslight and make us feel like OUR perception is wrong. If I feel in my gut that she is showing contempt for me, then regardless of how wounded she is from the past, by her father, and by me, then surely I do her no favours by allowing her treat someone disrespectfully. What if she doesn’t agree it is disrespectful? A friend of mine today was a bit appalled that I would draw boundaries that would push her away when she thinks it is a privilege to have kids wanting to be with you.

My biggest concern is – what if she detaches, decides she can’t rely on her mother OR father, and she puts herself in a dangerous place? She has very little regard for her personal safety. She has slept in her car in the middle of the city, and she has walked home past midnight from the city (over an hour’s walk). Worse, what if she is so broken on the inside she can’t deal with the abandonment and rejection, can’t hear my words in love, and she harms herself? Would it have been worth it, just to set some boundaries, when the person on the receiving end can’t take it?


Wow, Sylvia that part expresses very well my situation :
“Because my mother knew she couldnt have any more children after me, I think she saw me as a kind of “investment for old age”. She decided that I was going to be the child that never left home, as my older siblings had done. I was never going to even consider going to University, have a career, or God forbid, a partner and kids who might replace her in my affections. When she began to realise that things might not work out according to her plans, because I had mind of my own, thats when things turned ugly. She started to regard me with a kind of horror, as if I was a puppet who had come to life and started to dance without her pulling the strings. Thats when the scapegoating began, and until her death when I was 18, she punished me for not being who she wanted me to be.”
My father started to hate me and made me feel guilty and responsible for his own despair. The plan he had for me was to fix him, to repare and give him all he lacked during his own poor childhood.
I remember he made me cry very often from the age of 5 (when he complained about me to be abandonned by his own mother and grew up in an orphean). He considered me like his psychologist.
When I was a child, I played this sick role but then I couldn’t do it anymore. And he violently rejected me. And unlike my head knows today that I am not gulty at all for his hate, I feel very guilty because he repeated me over and over that I hurted him and for that I deserved to pay for it.
I hate him and I want he die !
What horrible person he was. So horrible that if someone asks me what he did to me, I just can’t say precisely what he did (exept the beatings) I have a lot of difficulties to pinpoint the huge emotionnal harm he did to me.
I feel very guilty and I have problems to move on in life because of that. Because the idea that I deserve nothing and certainly not to be happy is so strong.

Thank you for reading,
Hope and love for everyone.


Hi Aurele!

Yes, I guess what my mom and your dad were doing was “parentifying” us – making it our job to meet their needs rather than the other way round. It is so sick for your father to have treat you as his therapist. Why do these people have kids, for Christs sake? And it is understandable that you are finding it hard to move on. I suppose thats what the healing journey is about, overcoming these difficulties, and we will get there, please believe that. My father died when I was 14, and from then on, things got much worse with my mom. Because there was just her and me living in the house, she made me feel totally responsible for her feelings, moods and behaviours. I was not allowed to grieve for my father. She once barged into my bedroom and found me crying. Any sign of me showing emotion, literally sent her nuts. When I explained that I was feeling sad about dad, she screamed and shouted, telling me I had no right to grieve, as I had never loved him. I think, even as young as I was, I knew she wanted dads death to be all about her, to be seen as the grieving widow, and didnt want me getting any of the attention. But at the same time, I was supposed to cater to her emotions, and to play the role of her phsycologist/whipping boy/nursemaid. How the hell can a 14 year old kid be expected to do that? Miraculously, within 6 months, her grief had abated sufficiently for her to get a boyfriend who then went on to sexually abuse me! Great isnt it? The good thing is, that with everyday that passes, I become incresingly aware of how sick my mother was, and how deeply she damaged me. Its good, because it enables me to feel more love and empathy for myself, and less understanding of her dysfunction. Some might say that I should try to understand, but why? Why should I bother my ass about what was wrong with her? I have had people ask me why, when she has been dead for many years, dont I “forgive and forget”? The answer to that is because the harm she did me continued for so many years after she passed. She left me in a state of arrested development. I suppose you could call it the gift that keeps on giving.
Love, Sylvia x


Thank you everyone for your thoughtful comments. You know Janie, you hit on the exact feeling I get from my mother. She handled and handles me like I’m a business decision, unemotional and disassociated.
Like I’m a situation or problem to be solved, not a person. Sometimes its so hard to express the invalidating treatment. How small and broken it makes me feel. How I just have to put on my smiley face and pretend as always that I haven’t feelings. I know not to express anything because then I am considered to be “in a mood” and any attentiveness evaporates immediately. With her there are no cross words or anger. Just a total lack of affection and caring for me. And if I question something, there is always a reason why she
was unavailable. Because of all the discussions and insights here I am
seeing it all. How I foolishly stepped back into my messy family again in 2003 when I should have just stayed away.
I don’t miss them, now 5 months no contact. No stress. One thing thats nice about them, when I break it off, they never even try to contact. I know a lot of you struggle with bad contacts thru email and facebook etc…
not my family. When I stand up to any of them they drop me like I’m dead.
Again, thank you all for reading and commenting. Sorry if I dont have comments myself that are insightful and can help with advice.
I don’t seem to do well in social settings. Best Regards, Karen


You have excellent and insightful comments. I value your imput here. Most of us have our breakthroughs reading other people’s breakthroughs.
One of the hardest things for me was that when I told my mother how I felt about her treatment of me, (and I only got to say 3 examples of actual incidents) she never tried to talk to me again. The way that hit me was horrible. The reality of that fact was really devastating. She really didn’t care and wasn’t going to even try. But that truth led me to so much freedom and insight as time went on. It helped me to realize that it was up to me; that my healing and progress was really up to me.
Hugs, Darlene


Alaina, its so funny. Its like there have always been two people inside me. Now I see the one was the shushed, obedient and compliant child that I was forced to be. The other is the real me underneath..impulsive, fearless, imaginative, always wanting to express and try everything. The bouncing ball! These two are so different. By 2003 after 9 years NC, I was pretty much me again..
immediately they said my activities, words, clothes, friends, hobbies are not appropriate. Immediately the shushing began. My bad feelings started slipping back. So don’t let ’em shush you’all. Its my life and I’m taking it back again.


Thank you Darlene. After initially being hurt by her attitude, I remembered that she did it before , then I started looking at each incident where she wasn’t there as a loving mother would have been and it was wow. This isn’t new. Ive felt it but never really accepted it as I am now. EFB has been a blessing to me. Thanks You!!


Mimi and All
My new post is going to have to wait another day! I have two kids moving this weekend and I have run out of time! Perhaps tomorrow I can get it done.
p.s. there are two posts in this site that I wrote about forgiveness that were very popular in the meanwhile..
here are the links: (this one contains the link to the video by Daniel Mackler


Karen, My family is the same way. In my heart, I knew they wouldn’t try to change my mind if I walked away. I think I always knew it and though in other times in my life when I did stand up to them and walk away, I came backe because I knew no one else would try to fix things. It finally, had to get so bad that I wanted it to end. I wanted my freedom and I knew all I had to do was require they treat me with respect.

My sister responds to me the way your mom does. She’s always made me feel that she ‘helps’ me out of pity because I’m so overly, emotional. One day, she told me that she doesn’t have strong emotion and that was the day I quit transfering the love I have for her onto her and assuming that she loved me in return. I’m not overly, feeling. She has very little feeling. She is the one who needs help, even more than I ever did. She is also, not likely to reach for it. I feel better not being around them because I really, am not mentally ill. They are.



Sylvia, #84, I like when you say that the more love and empathy you have for yourself, the less you need to understand the reasons why your mother was the way she was. That seems like a very healthy place to be! I want to get there!!!
Karen, #85, I am glad you could identify with what I said, I was worried that I had projected too much of my own situation onto your mother. I always feels like my mother treats me like a science project that has gone awry, when I am not in lock step with the others, or express feelings. I feel your comments are very insightful and I can identify with alot of what you say! I also feel like I am not good socially, and I have withdrawn over the past few years. I have friends, but my few people I had thought were close friends had betrayed me and put me down. And I was liking myself enough to drop them. Now it is very hard to feel that “click” of friendship again, and I feel awkward in social situations that are not superficial interactions, like large gatherings. If I did not have my S.O., I would feel close to virtually no one!
I am still working on what is acceptable to post here,as well……
So, my mother, I did not respond to her phone call, when she called reporting the death and funeral of one of their friends, and her painful new illness. Now, she has sent me an email today entitled “Vodka”. It lists all the things you can do with vodka, like clean jewelry, bring down a fever, disinfect things,etc.(with an aside about how glad she is she doesnt drink anymore) Curiously, she sent me the same email yesterday. If you can remember, she confided in me that she had quit drinking, after yet another embarassing episode where she lost control after drinking. My father always served cocktails at 4 pm, and if you were there at their house, you were offered one. I might have one, one that had vodka in it. When she told me she had quit drinking,I felt she was trying to project all of the family’s drinking problems onto me, telling me I would lose 10 pounds if I quit drinking, when I dont have that problem. I am wondering, if she is trying to get any kind of response out of me at all,even goading me with the vodka email. I dont really understand that part, but I do think the next step will be the frantic “Are you okay” call, when she can go months without speaking to me. THe problem is, I am setting up boundaries, and she doesnt like it.

P.S. It is hard not to respond to my mother. I am not heartless. It is just that I feel like the reasons behind the attempts to contact me are out of control issues. And being kind to myself would involve not being pulled into an upsetting situation. They can scapegoat each other,not me!


Well I will be gone for awhile so this will be my last post for some time. I just wanted to thank everyone for your encouragement and support.



Fleaflicker, I hope you are okay! Your previous post said you felt like you had blown it in some way. Is there anything we can help you with? I hope you continue to heal and will pray for you, to be okay and protected.



Janie I feel like such a failure things seem to be going ok the doc put me on some meds just so my brain can slow down some. I have anger issues well some one said something about me and I reacted in a bad way:( .
Well they called the cops and one of my older brothers called the counselor they are recommending some kind of inpatient care and I don’t want to go I being told that I don’t have a choice!!!!!! I don’t know what to do …!!



I am sooo embarrassed I can’t think straight now



Fleaflicker, Wow! I am sorry you are going through all of that!! Do you feel you can trust your counselor? If he says it is an absolute that you have to go, I would imagine he is telling the truth. Ask your counselor what your options are. I don’t know where you live, but where I am, the U.S., I work in the emergency room. People are brought in for help, if it is felt they are a danger to themselves or others. I don’t know the process inside out, I am just the nurse at the beginning of it. The patient starts in the ER, then they are moved to a facility for psychiatric care. People are usually only there at the treatment hospital for a few days, insurance being what it is.
Do you think it is better to co-operate and get through it? Have they said you were thought to be “a danger”? If so, then I think they can push it so you go in for treatment. If you are going to the hospital, you can ask for a patient advocate, to have someone in your corner.
I wish I were closer, I would try to help you.
Whatever happens, please try to stay calm, it is very temporary! The calmer you can stay, the better it will go!
I pray you will move through this quickly, and keep healing. We are all in your corner!
I wish the best for you! Please update us here. I really do care what happens and want you to be well!

Hugs to you,


I am still waiting I am really scared!:( I have never been hospitalized before they think I might be a danger to others. I didn’t mean it, I said I was sorry!! Janie I have a history of lashing out, I hope they know I am sorry



Hello Janie and everyone this is fleaflickers older brother I have her cell phone I am asking that you pray for my sister. My wife and I will be caring for her children while she is away. My sister is a fighter and fiercely protective of her children. There was an altercation with the neighbor which of course involved the cops, unfortunately she has a history with the local police department. I called her therapist and she will be taken care of. One of the cops said something about removing the kids and she went berserk and had to be restrained. She told me about y’all and this web site I am really glad that y’all have been there for her as I am sure she told you all about our fragmented childhood, she never got to be a kid none us really had a chance, she never got a chance to take care of herself she was always taking care of us. Now it is our turn to take care her she will get the best care I promise you that. She will be back in a few days.

Janie yes we live in the U.S. on the east coast

Respectfully Yours


I am really sorry to hear this. I am pulling for you fleaflicker…. and of course you’ll be in my prayers. It’s quite okay to be scared, in my opinion. I agree with Janie… try to stay as calm through it all as you can. It will just make it easier. Incidentally, the bible says “fear not” 365 times. One for each day. I will be with you in thought and prayer Fleaflicker. I wish you the Peace that does surpass all understanding. I’m so sorry you’re going through this.

Love and peace and HOPE,



I wish you luck and hope you are back soon, I have really enjoyed reading your comments, as Im sure everyone else has. You are a vital piece of the jigsaw here.
Love, Sylvia x



I loved your comment#91, about your mom treating you like “a science project that has gone awry”! Beautifully put! Thats exactly how my mom saw me – as if I had mutated into something unspeakable as a result of an accident in a laboratory! Well if thats the truth, then I know who the mad scientist was – her! Also, you talk about your mom projecting the family’s alcohol problems onto you. This resonates with me as I had an alcoholic friend who used to do this to me. I will admit that I have turned to drink during some difficult times in my life, but when socialising with this particular individual, I HAD to stay sober in order to look after her. I also used to receive calls during the night from her, wanting me to drive her here and there, on 2 occasions to the local ER. But she constantly made sarcastic remarks about my drinking, and made out to others that I was the alcoholic, not her. Thankfully, few people took this seriously, as they had witnessed her falling down, sreaming expletives, even taking her clothes off in public. I think the reasons that people attempt this projection are- 1. They think that they can get away with it. 2. It stops them having to look at themselves. 3. They are seriously mentally ill. I only once tried to confront her over this issue, but she started to cry and accused me of being jealous of her. After that, I slowly backed out of the friendship. Its enough dealing with your own problems, without having to own someone elses.
Can I just say, I think whatever anyone posts here is lovingly accepted by everyone else. I have posted some pretty heavy stuff here and received so much support and validation. We are all safe here, and as I once said to Aurele, when you share, it makes others feel ok to do likewise.
Love, Sylvia x


Fleaflicker..I am rooting for you. Sometimes from something that seems so bad, something wonderful comes. I am keeping you in my thoughts. You are very strong and your strength will help you through this.
Your friend Karen


Sylvia, Mimi, Karen

This is fleaflickers older brother, an update– they are going to keep her for a couple of days then transfer her to an facility where she will stay for about a week. She asked to tell you all that she is sorry that she let you all down. I read your posts to her and she seem to calm down. I will be handling her care since she has no one else to help her at the moment. There seemed to be so much paperwork I am tired so I am going home to bed I have her cell phone. If you nice ladies need anything I will checking the web site periodically

Respectfully Yours


Fleaflickers therapist has been a big help too. Just too let you know my sister is also a military veteran and has a diagnosis in her records for PTSD. The therapist and her employer (who is a big supporter of the military) is helping me navigate the insurance process as far as the VA goes.

Thank You



Hi Fleaflicker and Janie
(Perhaps Paul could relate this message) I think what Janie posted about asking for a patient advocate is a great idea.
Thanks for your suggestions Janie.
Hugs, Darlene


My thoughts are with you.

I so relate—exactly with the two people inside and exactly the same kind of personalities. I am just now starting to understand who I used to be before I became the compliant quiet one. I’m really feeling like I don’t know who I am exactly. I’m now in a place where I can connect inside to myself, but on the outside, in the world, I feel a bit like I’m on clouds and looking for firm ground… but also realizing that maybe for now that’s just the way it is, that I can’t go around pouring concrete, if that makes any sense.

Anyone, everyone,
I spent this morning writing out my letter to my parents, stating my truth and my need for them to acknowledge the past for what it was. When I read it later, though, I realized there was about a .000001% chance of my mom being able to accept almost any of it. I know it is the truth, I feel it at my core, but I’ve come to the conclusion that this is not an effective route to take. If it was just me and my mom, I might do it, who knows, but there are so many other elements. If I take such a hard line, my mom would probably try to take my dad with her and I don’t believe my dad really has the courage to stand up to her, not yet anyway, even though I know underneath his fears he has a degree of understanding of the truth. I know my brother pretty much takes my mom’s side but that right now he’s put that to the side in order to make a relationship with me work, so that I can have a relationship with his son, which I really want, and he also wants his son to have an aunt, but if I take this hard line, I’m not sure if that will continue to be the case. There are also extended family members involved, who are a huge support to me and it’s not that they would take sides, but it would absolutely put strain on their relationships and if I can spare them that, without causing harm to myself, I’d rather spare them… I wondered if it was worth it, is it absolutely necessarily to risk all this? And the answer I’ve come up with is no… for now, no. I definitely need firm boundaries and I will not accept abuse but I don’t need their validation about the past. I know my truth and I’m continuing to discover it. I know that I certainly can’t have a close relationship with them, that until they acknowledge the past, it will never be anything more than an acquaintanceship, but that’s okay for now. They also got all my previous letters/emails from before I cut off, and though I understand things much better now, there was a lot of truth in there. They’ve also agreed to go to counselling for themselves. I’ve opened up the channels of communication, so they, too, of their own accord, could come to the point of understanding and acknowledging the past, without me giving them an ultimatum. What I believe is that I can hold firm and live by my truth, validating myself, etc. It’s much more of a day-by-day route, which can be more difficult, but I think taking smaller, subtler steps will be more effective. Make the changes in the way I act toward them and slowly bigger changes within the relationship might take shape and eventually perhaps they will acknowledge the truth. Not that I’m holding out for that and I do know there will probably come a day when I will no longer want to continue things unless they do acknowledge the past, that I won’t want to keep this up forever, but for now, I don’t think it’s necessary to rush right to that hard line, when there’s so much potential that it won’t work out in my favour. Also, I now have a firm grasp on the kind of relationships and treatment that I completely 100% reject but on the other hand, I only have a kind of theoretical idea of what I would like to embrace. I want to go out and really find a life and find myself (again) and get stronger. If I risk it all now, not only do I think it would be a less effective route but I also don’t know that I’ve shored up enough that is positive in my life to really be well prepared to handle all the grief that would land on me, should the worst happen. I’d survive but it would be hard and better if it came—if it has to come—further down the road when I am stronger and more rooted in myself and in my life. This is actually the way I was feeling about it all a few months ago before I contacted them, but I guess I had to go through the whole rigmarole, processing, to get back here. I’m sure that I needed to write that letter to them—but for ME, not for THEM. I can hold strong, walk tall in what I know, and not allow them to treat me as they used to. I don’t need to force validation, because I’ve validated myself. I know that they want a relationship with me and I believe that they will respect my boundaries, and I will certainly hold firm with those, and for now, I believe that alone is good enough.


Hi this is Paul again
As I read some of these post I can see why my sister is drawn to this blog. I am sorry for all that has happened to you all and some of it mirrors what happened in our own childhood. Ok another update my sister is doing ok she is resting they gave meds so she is sleeping more, also my wife and I were able to get a hold of her husband he is out of the country on an assignment. The kids miss their mom but they are old enough to understand that she needed a break
Her husband said that he saw it coming but had to leave due to the nature of his work. He loves her dearly and was heartbroken about all that has happened, he will be home by Wednesday at the latest pray for safe travel.

Darlene and Janie
Between her therapist and the patient advocate we are all doing what we can for her so that she receives the best possible care. Thank you so much for the suggestion and for that I am grateful

Respectfully Yours
Paul and Elizabeth (that’s my wife)


Karen and Mimi
My sister mentioned you both specifically, I want to thank you for reaching out to her and being her friend. She needed that, again thank you both

My heartfelt thanks for this blog for it is a safe place to go for those who are hurting



Hi Alaina!
I think it is fantastic that you wrote the letter even if it is just for YOU and they never see it. I often tell my clients to write a letter “as if” no one esle will ever read it. It is a tremendously healing exercise!
Writing a letter like that is some of the really hard work so bravo!
Hugs, Darlene


Alaina, I’m impressed by how you’ve thought everything through and made the decision that’s best for you.:0)We all have a lot in common here but no two situations are exactly, alike. I think it’s always necessary to reckon with the past before leaving it behind but there is no set formula for that reckoning. Here’s wishing you the best possible outcome!



One of the beautiful things about writing here, is we are free to be ourselves! I have found that no matter what decision I make, I can run it by everyone here, and I get great feedback and support. All my best to you as you continue in your process. You have awesome insight!!

I am happy to hear she is resting. Sometimes, it’s what I need most. To rest and let my mind be still. Paul, thank you for updating us. I have been praying for Fleaflicker. Please tell her that no matter how bad it seems right now, it does get better. I remember my first days of processing my mother’s abuse and how completely insane I felt. The more I let things out, the better I became. There is so much hope in uncovering the truth. Our souls are damaged by buried secrets. I want to give all my encouragement to your sister to let it all out. SO healing!! I’m looking forward to hearing from her soon. This is absolutely the place to be for the hurting. Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 🙂

Please continue to update if/when possible. And, thank you!

Peace and Hope to you Fleaflicker, and to you Paul, and your families,


No pressure!! 🙂



Alaina, to me your reasoning is sound. There’s no rush anyway. I don’t think as you said that you could force validation. You have a lot more swirling around in your family relationship that I do so taking time to go at it slowly sounds wise. My mother ignored my letter as though nothing in it was even worth talking about. But shes very passive/aggressive and will generally back off from anything she doesnt want to face.
Also you would want real validation, not lies to make it seem as though things have been addressed.

Hi Paul.. tell her a big hi for me. My husband has received excellent care thru the VA. They have really gotten their paperwork /beauocracy fixed. I am from the N.E. originally but like the warmer weather here in
FL a lot better. We all enjoyed her comments here at EFB. Karen


Hi Everyone
Well it has been a huge week for me; My eldest son (T.J.) moved out the other day; he rented a house with some friends in the city where he will be attending school. And today my daughter Katie also moved out to go back to school for her second year. Last year she lived in residence and it didn’t seem so final but this year she too will be living in a house with friends in the city where her school is. Both of them are in different cities! I feel weird; like part of me is MISSING! At the same time I feel like this is how it is supposed to feel. Like this is what real love feels like when your kids are growing up living life. A mixture of pride and sadness. A blend of letting go and being afraid to let go. A willingness to set them free with a secret desire to never let go, but all the while knowing that my job since the beginning was to prepare them for this…….. and I have.
Anyway, I just wanted to share that that is what is going on at my end!
Hugs, Darlene


You are so right Trust & Forgiveness are two separate things. I was stuck on that for many years until coming here and reading, processing & reevaluating my believes about Forgiveness & Trust. I’ve come to accept that I don’t Trust my Foo & Forgiveness may come from me healing the layers of pain. I’m accepting of others yet like Darlene says, “I don’t accept mistreatment”…That stands out for me!


Hi Darlene, Wow! You did have alot going on this week! I can understand the happy/sad feeling you describe. But what a good job you have done preparing your children! And what a healthy transition for them both!
I know in my family, growing up, kids left in anger, were kicked out, or on impulse.
Anyways, it’s great to hear a success story, in a healthy situation!



Thanks Darlene, Pam, Mimi and Karen! I really, really appreciate all your thoughts and support! In my last communication with my parents, they asked me if I was looking to see anything come out of our visit and I replied that I just wanted to visit, catch-up, keep things simple, etc. That I did want to address some things but that I would do so when I got back home from my trip. I think I’ve come to a decision, though, that my position will just be that if they ever want to talk about the past, if they ever have questions or want to know where I’m coming from, I am open to that conversation but otherwise I’m happy to keep things simple. Just keep it to the here and now and share with them only the details of my life I wish to. For me, I think my priority is really about having a relationship with my nephew and feeling enough ease within the family to manage that. Whatever else is really up to them. In essence, the relationship will be reflective of how much they want to put into it.

Darlene, big hugs to you, letting go of your kids… I’ve often felt hostility toward a mother’s sadness of letting go of their kids because of my history. At 18, I wanted to work and travel, but my mom wanted me to go to university (and of course still live at home). She didn’t have to say anything—I just saw her face and knew I wasn’t going anywhere. At 22, I mentioned the idea that I would one day be moving out (as she wanted to buy me new furniture for my room and after visiting four furniture shops, I finally got the courage to say it might be better to hold off on it) and then later she came into my room and told me that she knew that I would not be leaving home… one day I would but not for a “long, long time.” (I did move out at 23, living on res. while doing my masters degree for the first year.) Then at 26, when I was thinking about moving to where I live now, my mom was livid when she found out I had been discussing the possibility with two of my aunts before mentioning it to her (keep in mind I hadn’t actually made any decisions; I was simply thinking about it and wanting to talk to them in person about it) and she got quite angry at both those aunts. Then when I did tell them (not long after anyway), they just bashed the city, telling me I wouldn’t make it through the winter—I’d be back home after the first year. Every time I spoke to them from the moment I told them I was thinking about it till after I moved and cut off from them (so, about a year and a half), they’d crap on the weather. Other than that, it was about my mom’s sadness that I was leaving before we had a chance to fix our relationship. The last time I visited them before moving, my brother was there and when we were driving away, he said, “Look, you’re making her cry.” It was all such a guilt trip. The kicker was when I talked to my parents about it after I’d been living here for six months or so, they claimed to have been supportive all along, right from the beginning! …So, needless to say, I’ve often had a hard time hearing of a mother’s sadness of letting go of her children, but when reading your post, I could understand and feel for you and admire your take on it, as it feels correct.

You know, when I did go through my first winter here, during the first cold spell, I was living in an old apartment and there was a serious draft and my radiators weren’t working well. It was a weekend, so I didn’t have to go out to work. Basically my brain got super messed up. It was as if I wouldn’t allow myself to feel or fully admit that I was freezing because I thought then I’d have to move back to my hometown, and I didn’t want to move back. I also thought, since the rads were working a little, that if it was this cold inside, it must be absolutely brutal outside—so I didn’t leave my apartment. I thought that that was the “normal” amount of heat that was coming out and that it was probably sufficient for all my neighbours, who were hearty folk who could handle it, unlike me. It was a bit of that “perception” thing going on—telling myself it’s not really that cold, you just think it is because you’re just too much of a wuss and can’t handle a “real winter.” Meanwhile I was dressed in a bunch of layers, with my toque and boots on, under a blanket, freezing my ass off. When I went back to work, after not leaving my apartment all weekend long, I found out that outside was not much colder than inside and it was -27C out there. I imagine I was living in somewhere between -15 and -20C. When the repair guys came in, they felt so sorry for me, saying I was living in unliveable conditions. Now, a couple years later, I can have a bit of a chuckle over this story, as it was really ridiculous, but it was also pretty messed up and sad… Anyway, it turns out I can handle the winter just fine and even rode my bike to work all through last winter, except when there was a blizzard. I’m much tougher than my parents ever wanted to give me credit for… All because they didn’t want me to leave them. The irony is that if they had been able to let me go, had helped me to do what I wanted (at 18, for example), it probably would have averted what eventually happened and my cutting off contact with them. I.e. they wouldn’t have lost me. I don’t know if they get that…. Anyway, big hugs to you in letting them go. In a healthy home, they’ll always come back, just in a different way. xo, A


Darlene, There’s an old Moody Blues song with the lyric, “Stepping into a slide-zone” about being between the present and the future. That’s where you are now and it’s confusing to be at a point in your life that is both an ending and a beginning. Before you know it, you’ll be in the future and things will feel normal again. What can never feel normal is to try and stop that natural slide and attempt to keep grown children, as children. They’re sure to have some bumps and bruises and some of your most challenging days as a parent, may lie ahead. We never stop being parents but what is needed from us contantly, changes. My kids are both in their 30’s now and I finally, feel that they are grown ups. They still need me in that I hold their childhood and when they visit me,they can relive a little of that childhood. I’m thankful that I was able to give them a childhood that though it wasn’t perfect, is still a place they want to visit. That is a wonderful, peaceful feeling and I’m sure you will be able to enjoy that feeling that is accomplishment, as well. You’re a good mom.:0)


Just suprised by another memory. While people from my hometown were posting on FB, people were talking about the variety store in the center of town. I remembered visiting there when I would have to ride my bike to school, if I missed the bus. We had a crazy bus driver, who would sometimes fly right by us, we lived on a busy street. My mother would say, well, its your fault, you missed the bus, I am not driving you, so you can ride your bike or walk. It was over 3 miles of busy roads, and I remember having to ride my bike in 3rd grade! That felt just like another slap in the face from her at the time, that she would be soooo angry, and have that “you’re on your own” attitude. I always wondered why she was so angry at me, and so mean. Only the other family scape goat, my brother had to ride his bike. My golden child younger sister, if she had to stay after school, my mother would arrange a ride. Me? I could just walk! It’s not a huge thing, but the memory just came back, and I think it was neglectful…………
And her new medical condition, I was hospitalized both for chest pain and seizures, and my father had to TELL her to call the hospital to check on me. She could not understand why he got upset about it. So, she’s on her own, with the shingles. I’m not calling to check on her, she’s just trying to play on the nurse in me, to suck me back in anyways……………..



I hope the memory I had does not seem petty to you folks here! It just seemed yet another time my mother was hateful for no reason. She also knew I would be late,which would set me up for trouble with the nuns.
Was just checking my email, befpre going to bed, and she has sent me aother email through LinkedIn, telling me to call her. It is really upsetting, that she will not respect my boundary. She knows I blpcked her on facebook. I Did not respond to her prior request on LinkedIn. I feel she is contacting me througj LI again, because it is her way of saying, how dare you not include me in this! She has no reason to be on that sight, as she is elderly and long retired! Really sick feeling in my stomach.


I don’t think there is such a thing as a petty memory. They’re all part of the puzzle. I have put some memories out here that may have seemed trivial or out of the blue to others. But, they were big pieces to my puzzle. Without them, I’m not sure I could believe in my heart what my mother did.

I have a similar memory to yours about the bus stop. We lived in a tiny town out in the middle of nowhere. We walked to another house to be picked up by our bus. All the kids gathered at that house. One morning I left my books there. That night, my mom made me go get them in the dark by myself. There were always rumors that the house was haunted. I had to go down a very dark alley to get there. The kind of dark where you can’t see your hand in front of your face. I think I was in 3rd grade also. I think she arranged it so I’d have to go back in the dark. There was little risk of danger where we lived. But, I don’t think it was very nice to force an 8 year old to walk in the dark to a “haunted” house. Actually, I didn’t walk…. I ran like hell. I was terrified. It seems like to me that was an adult consequence for a child’s mistake. Same for you and riding your bike. And, like you said, just mean.

That “you’re on your own attitude” you describe. Ah, how familiar that is to me. It didn’t seem to matter what age I was. I was to figure it out on my own. Without any direction, advice, support, or skill.

My mother seemed to have no patience for mistakes. I remember when I was in middle school, if I stayed the night with a friend and she came to get me, I better be standing outside waiting on her. She went into a rage one time because I wasn’t ready when she got there. It could have even been before middle school. I can’t remember the age precisely. I think she was secretly put out by having to make the trip to come get me. We lived 15 minutes from the town I went to school in, where all my friends lived. (A strange expectation that I would somehow KNOW how to navigate through childhood without making mistakes, or forgetting something.)

My mother didn’t allow us to watch much TV. She said she wanted us to explore our creativity, so we had to play outside as much as possible. I don’t regret that. I have fond memories of it. I do wonder if her motive was to have all her kids out of her hair. Case in point ~ if I had chosen a career making mud pies, she would have came out of her tree, although I learned it in my “creative” time. Any kind of art or military work was out of the question entirely. We were ABOVE that. You can’t make a living in the arts (of any kind), you must work 9-5, monday through friday. If I’d been gifted in writing, or singing, etc., it would have been completely discouraged.

I’ve been steadily having new memories too Janie. Just recently, I remembered my mom had a friend who was significantly overweight. She had this beautiful leather coat with fur trim that she didn’t want anymore. The woman was 3 sizes bigger than me. BUT, mother gladly took it and said I could use it. It hung on me. It was just a subtle insult ~ which she specializes in. This was only about 10 years ago too. And, my mother has always been her perfect weight. I remember her telling me not to stand (in my natural stance) like “that” because it made me look fat. I was 7 or 8 years old at the time, and I was never overweight.

Well, I didn’t mean to get off on a rant. Just wanted to let you know I get these same little memories creeping up. They stay stuck in my head for a week or so. Until I come to terms with the reality that she really did say/do that stuff.

That whole linkedin business… my mother looked me up on there too, albeit when we were still in an ongoing relationship. It had somehow gotten to the point where she wanted to intrude on everything I did. I had a friend come from 400 miles away. She wanted to see her. I was invited to a benefit/fund raiser for a big effort in our city. She asked why she wasn’t invited. How should I know why? I became a volunteer at a halfway house that a mutual friend heads up. My mother immediately put her name in to volunteer there too. I thought to myself, well mother, these girls have been in prison and lived on the streets, and addicted to crack and heroin. I doubt they have any interest in discussing your Coach bag. Haha!!

My mother has really upped the ante. She’s gone way further than I ever expected her to. It’s been three weeks now since I heard anything from her, her husband, or her counselor. After the last contact from all three of them in a 5 day span, I decided it was healthiest for me to not even read what they write. I blocked all of them in my email account. From what I understand, it doesn’t even go to my junk folder. Just blocked altogether. It was a little tough to do that, lest I miss out on something important. Then, I realized they haven’t said anything important for a few years now.

Okay, done ranting!! Thanks for listening. Hang in there Janie. I know that stomach feeling. YUCK! I hope things get better for you very soon!!



I can relate to your story about the lack of heat and that you toughed it out. Even though my mother constantly communicated that I was a burden to her, she also constantly said things like “just wait till you get into the “real world”. I also thought that everything that was hard was “just me” being a whimp. It has been so important for me to realize the messages that I got about me from these communications in order to change them back to the actual truth. Thanks for sharing and for your lovely words.
Hugs, Darlene

Thank you for your support! I can relate to the “slide zone” you are talking about. I started the fight to resist keeping my kids back about 7 years ago now! LOL ever since I became conscious of everything in fact. Sometimes it is the strangest feeling; like I know exactly how and what my mother was thinking when she did and said the things she said to keep me down and it horrifies me that I could even think such things. I am grateful that I never do or say them and that I realize where they come from; the false belief system and victim mentality. I realize that my own mother never grew up and became the mother in the relationship and I have.
Thanks for your insights here Pam!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Janie
My mother always acted like every little thing was such a huge burden to HER. And I remember her being angry at me for things that had nothing to do with me too. Your memory is actually a pretty big thing because it speakes to the depth of pain and neglect. She couldn’t even care enough to take you to school, to make sure you would be safe. Those are big things! The hospital neglect is a huge thing too. I am so sorry that these things happened to you.
Hugs, Darlene


Darlene, Karen,Mimi, Everyone
My sister is a her new place she is doing fine. I will be picking up her husband from the airport late tonight
also all of us brothers will be all together for the first time in 10 years. We are standing by our sister it’s the least we could do for all she has done for us. We all feel guilty for we should have helped her sooner she never complained. Some of us were trying to put ourselves back together.

My wife and I just sent our twins to college. They are about 1000 miles away seems like a million.
They are very independent. :).

Respectfully Yours
P.S. fleaflickers real name is Ayden she doesn’t like her name


Mimi, Thanks for responding! It means alot to me to feel validated, and know that I am not “splitting hairs”. That was really mean, when your mother made you go back to the haunted house in the dark.Someone could have accompanied you,gone in place of you who was older, or, waited until morning to pick up your books. But she chose the most punitive measure she could come up with! Just mean!
This incident makes me think of something that happened this summer, at my BIL’s house.(I call my S.O.’s brother and wife, BIL and SIL, though technically not so…) My SIL had neglectful parents/family growing up,and she has distanced herself from them. They (BIL & SIL) have 2 girls, 9 and 11. Well, for some reason the members of the neglectful family were visiting, SIL’s older sisters, I think. One of them dropped her cig lighter through the deck and to the netherworld underneath. It was dark, night. The woman told the littlest niece to go under the deck, b/c she was small, and fetch her lighter. My BIL happened by, and said, Absolutely not! It is dark, we don’t know what is under there (it is in the country, backed up to woods,the lot the house is on). There could be anything under there. No! And the woman persisted. She’s small, it would just take a minute. I don’t understand….. then he went into the house, got some matches,and said , Here! My kids are not here to fetch things for you! I was thinking, Yes!! She was attempting to devalue his child, and he would not allow it. I have thought of him like a brother ever since……….
So, I noticed this morning, I had that guilt and shame attach itself to me, before I was fully awake again. After I wrote what I wrote last night, I kept thinking, my mother is old, she probably wont be here much longer, it is wrong to speak of her in such a way.
But it is the truth. Like Darlene said, she didnt care enough to see if I got to school, or got there safely. She didn’t care enough to see if I were ok when hospitalized. She just didn’t care. So, she can deal with her shingles herself, or go to my sisters, who were rabid when she started to confide in me about her health matters. I’m not her nurse!!!!
Mimi, I wonder how your mother was able to function as a volunteer with these women? Did she ever actually interact with them? My mother likes to sit on the boards of community organizations, but never gets her hands “dirty”……..
Thanks, Darlene, for making me feel validated. Sometimes, I really don’t know what is proper or not. I read somewhere, think of another chid, at that age. If this event happened to them, or they incurred this treatment, would it be abuse, or neglect? That helps sometimes. The answer is almost always, “yes”.

Hugs to all,


Mimi and Janie the same thing was true for me. I had to deal with
everything alone. I was dropped at the curb the 1st day of 1st grade.
Left alone in the hospital both times to have my sons. No hugs, no
reassurance or even explanation of what to expect. Dropped off for my
hysterectomy and no one called all day to even check on me.
I have always had to deal with everything myself.

Darlene you did right by your kids. Its just the best feeling when
you know it in your heart.
In some ways I find it so hard to relate to feelings like that because
I was not permitted to express them. My husband doesnt like to
hear me talk about our son. He is very B&W about him saying that he
did everything for him and he turned out bad so nothing needs to be
discussed. Very much the way my father thought and spoke about me.
So I have learned all my life that my concerns are not valid even
about my children. So regular feelings and responses are kind
of foreign to me. All I ever had was my anger and that got notice.
I dont express in that way anymore but have not yet been able to
replace anger with other expression yet. I hope that makes sense.
Thanks for listening ! Karen


GOOD for your brother in law!! I like stories about people who actually advocate/support their children. 🙂

I have a memory similar to this one too. I was sent under our porch when I was about 6 years old. No one else would fit, so my parents sent me under there with bug spray in a watering can. Specific instructions to make sure I got it high on the foundation, and BE SURE not to get it in my eyes or my skin. Well, it splashed in my eyes as I tried to get it high up on the foundation. Sheesh!! I don’t think it was malicious intent. Just really poorly thought out.

I have those morning feelings sometimes too. Usually after contact of some sort. It’s not necessarily guilt, but definitely doubt at times. But, then, the more time that passes, the more I begin living in truth again. I’m still not strong enough to not be affected by her in some unsavory way when she contacts me. I’m still sorting and trying to figure out who I am with respect to her. I’m still unstable. I don’t welcome her knocking me further off balance. I understand what you mean about guilt though. It comes at us from every corner of the world. We must respect our parents, elders, etc. But, if they don’t respect/love us, do they deserve that courtesy in return? Do we continue to lavish them with whatever they need as they step on our toes? It’s been a sticking point for me at times. When I experience all the unsettling emotions, and debilitation after contact, I have to ask myself, do I continue this sacrifice? I am sacrificing my own well being, emotional health, contentment, for her. I did that for 43 years. I know it doesn’t work. I was sinking. I look at it now as a choice I have to steadily make. I can go back there, and live out my life with discontent and general depression, or I can start to take care of myself, no matter what it costs anyone else. That sounds so selfish, and I know it. I feel like I have to be selfish for now, to get my stability, to know my boundaries, to build strength. I could allow myself to feel guilt for coming here and spilling my guts. On the flipside of that, she spills her guts to my whole family, and literally anyone else she can get to listen. She slanders me, and feels no guilt. When I think about her doing that, I feel like this is my healthy safe place, and for that I have no guilt. If I didn’t have this outlet, I would be screwed. Certainly no one else in my family wants to talk about it. No matter what their personal stance is toward my mother, they still don’t want to talk about it. Janie, it seems like it’s almost life or death for me. Today, I have to choose my own life. I can’t say where I’ll be a year from now with my mother. I just know I need more time. Lots more time.

Jeez, I can sure babble!! I really just want you to feel better. I know that yuckiness. It stinks so bad!! Indecision, marked with sorrow, guilt, suffocation, etc.

And, shingles? PFT!! Not life threatening for sure. Very uncomfortable of course, but what can YOU actually do for that?

Oh, and my mother was never selected to volunteer at the halfway house. Thank God in heaven. I would most likely run into her there if she had been. And, I have NO IDEA how she could have possibly related to any of them. She just didn’t want to be left out of whatever spotlight she thought it might earn her. She doesn’t have the capacity to realize these are real hurting people who’ve been to hell and back.

ALLLLLLL this to say, I hope you feel better soon! 🙂



Hi everyone,

Tomorrow I will go to an appointement to have unemployment benefit.
But I am really frightened and I feel guilty to do this (my family made me scared to death about my future and my ability to succeed in anything).
Before, I used to do a job which made me suffer but that permitted me to not question my life and it masked my problems.
Now I want to change my life but it’s really hard, I am very scared.

I am scared because the governement wants to reduce the numbers of unemployees and somtimes the employees of this agency oblige people to accept any job. (In my case that will be terrible because I have severe joint problems which prevents me to do a physical job).

Sorry, I don’t if my post is in relation with the subject of the article.
Thank you for reading.


How is it our parents think we’re born having life all figured out? And, I was the third one!! So, maybe my mom didn’t have an instruction book either, but, surely she learned something from the two before me. I think what she might have learned is that none of us could fill the deep void in her. She says that by the time I came along, it was my dad who prodded her into having another baby so she would be stuck at home barefoot and pregnant, while he was out on the town. Translation ~ she didn’t want me. Oopsy…. I think that’s what Darlene refers to as a truth leak!! 🙂

Peace and hope to everyone,


Very best of luck to you at the appointment tomorrow.

Hugs and love,


Mimi and Janie,
Re: Petty memory
Since starting this process of really knowing about my abusive family. As I married off my daughter, memories came flooding back to me. Where was my mother during my wedding planning, she didn’t go and look at flowers with me, I truly don’t even remember her coming with to pick out my dress. I was alone or with friends. I remember being so proud to take of picture of my NRents talking on the phone the day of my wedding, they couldn’t smile for me. I still have that pic.) I truly do not even remember a hug from NM. I also don’t remember her at my graduation. Am I blocking these things out since I’ve found out about her abuse? When it all finally came together, that it was clear she not only would never love me no matter what I do, but that she HATES me, I am now numb. But after the blow out she created near my daughter’s wedding, and all of these Petty Memories it all adds up to never being over for me. It will never get better in my FOO. And now since I called her out on what she did that day and my sibs were outraged at me, I feel even more alone. I cling to this site and my immediate family for support. Peace to all….


Mimi, Wow! Giving a 6 year old hazardous chemicals and a job to do. Sounds crazy now, doesn’t it!! Another similar for me. I was hospitalized twice as a small child, for getting into insect repellant (ya think she would have secured them, at least after the 1st exposure!).My mother remembers the story, herself getting “frantic”, and calling for the police to take me to the hospital. And you can bet she got a lot of attention and sympathy from the men in blue. Nowadays? I know she would have been locked up or I would have been temporarily removed.
Thanks for the reality check on feeling guilty. You are so right! She does alot of Jane-bashing, to whomever will listen. But as my life becomes more and more stable and productive, I would like to think she look crazier and crazier….
And, yes, I know shingles is certainly not life threatening, but very painful. Average case is 2 weeks.Probably the stress of being “found out” in the community, about my sister’s hub being in jail.

Melody, I remember what your mother put you through right before your daughter’s wedding! Isn’t it amazing, how the sibs come to her side, like guard dogs? The are guarding smoke, a fluff of air, an optical illusion of a mother (my interpretation of the N mother). When I told my sisters my therapist said, “You are all fighting over scraps of affection”, their faces were like stone. Maybe they have never experienced true affection? Or to recognize her falseness makes them unreal as well……….And you do have a true Nmom. Can’t partcipate in any happy event which she can not be the center of. I’m surprised she didnt try to flip the wedding into an “all about her” event!(Of course, she attempted that at your daughter’s) My mother hired a nonprofessional, alcoholic from the American Legion to take my wedding photos. Just so she could be, “good little Marie”, helping out the veteran. It is funny now, as the event progressed, the photos got more wild, then,none at all, hehehe, he must have been hitting the bar!

Aurele, good luck tomorrow! I’m hoping your appointment brings something positive! Praying for you!

Hugs, Everybody!


Karen, I felt so sad when I read your post. Dropped off to major life events, like you were riding in a taxi. I’m glad you found a way to express yourself, even anger! The people in your life sound like they were so empty. Checked out. You are certainly not, and that is why it hurts! Anger has been my emotion of choice as well, and I, too, look for a new form of self expression. Even though I myself feel empty at times, I know it is a process, and better things will come.
That little girl, and that mother you are, need someone to express outrage at you not being honored and comforted. I see it as appropriate, to be angry that you were not recognized. And also for your son!
Thank you for sharing your experiences!



Can guys post here too. Just wondering?



Hey all
One of our younger brothers would like to share a story about our sister if that is ok with you all. We don’t want to intrude if this bothers anyone just let me know

Respectfully Yours


To all,
My dear little girl went into second grade today. A successful day! Last year, she was very worried with the transition from kindergarten to 1st grade. She was worried & confused about the new routine from half day to full day, riding on the big bus & having a new teacher- that has a strong personality/strict with the little ones. It wasn’t the best fit. She also had to cope with a newly diagnosed Health Problem. I was invested in communicating with the teacher, psychologist,& the specialist regarding her needs. I was pleased & grateful for the school’s support. She made many gains last year.
This year, I’m proud of her for facing her fears, liking her teacher, talking about friends in her class & being a good listener by following directions. She had lots of positive things to say and when I asked, “How do you feel about school?” She said “better”. I feel happy, relieved & excited for her & this coming year.

Even with the positive school experience with my dtr, I also had painful memories & feelings of myself at her age. I vividly remember being told by my dad, that I was no longer a baby in 1st grade & he expected me to walk to school by myself. I was terrified & I remember my mom questioning him about it. I think she could see the fear in my face. Well, the fact is I did walk down the sidewalk on a busy street & crossed the intersection with my mom watching me from the door & my memory fades from there. All I can remember is feeling FEAR & PANIC! The other thing I remember is an older boy at the corner watching me & not feeling safe. Don’t remember anything from the boy at the corner intersection to the school, which was about another 5 minutes of walking. The school was a big brick building & I remember feeling intimidated by it. My next memory, is of me walking home from school & bursting into tears, as I entered my house. I also remember telling my parents that the older boy on the corner was picking on me. He was saying, something about me being a little girl. Saying someone was picking on me was safer than expressing my fear of walking alone. I was a little shy girl who needed my mom & dad to be there for me. This experience was traumatic for me. My dad did go with me the next day & told this boy to “pick on someone his own size”…Well, that brought temporary relief but it didn’t help my fear any.

The point to my memory flashes are, I have chosen to address & support my child in a healthier way. We talked about her worries, school rules, & how she will go to school. She is a bus kid, but the family decision was to drive her to school & then take the bus home. My thoughts about her needing that extra support on the way to school, triggered my past memories. It’s normal to give your child support, especially with first day jitters & excitement…..My parents dropped the ball for sure!….I did feel some quilt over “babying her”…this is my default mode of feeling, however, that comes from the way I was parented. Like I was suppose to just magically know what to do & how to cope….Not reasonable at all. That was their problem not mine. Anyway, just another post trauma memory that I’m processing & coming to terms with. Nothing like Radical Acceptance of a situation I had no control over. Sorry, if this stirs up emotions for anyone else, just sharing a powerful memories that tie into my default feelings of anxiety, guilt, & shame. I have nothing to feel guilty or ashamed of. I was sent out to deal without any protection. I did not feel safe. I’m teaching my daughter to acknowledge, express & assert herself, which is a work in progress…I’ve noticed that she is a spirited & sensitive child like I was. The difference being, that I was more compliant,due to my Controlling parents.


To Mimi, Janie & Karen,
I just finished reading your comments & feel so validated. Our experiences were similar with our needs being ignored & neglected. Angry & Sad about the mistreatment & neglect we had to suffer. We are not robots that need programming!…We have human emotions & needs! When I called my brother’s mean behavior of ignoring & leaving my kids out, this past Christmas, he bashed me & punished me by unfriending me on facebook! I was reasonable when i confronted him & mindful of what i said to him. I did not bash him, swear or disrespect. I just spoke my truth that I did not understand why he ignored my kids & did not get them gifts at Christmas. I believe this was done maliciously, since he gave my sister’s kids gifts. The nasty part was, that I was connecting to him via facebook prior to Christmas, it was all positive with well wishes.

I was hopeful to see him & his kids. Well, that was blown out of the water, when he had no presents for my kids & then did not talk to me for three days after Christmas. I waited for some response. Then, I took action & contacted him via facebook whereupon, I expressed my confusion over his actions & labeled his behavior as “lousy”….Not even a powerful word at that & then he shifted blame by pointing the finger back at me for insulting him & then, took action by unfriending me!…He was cruel & walked away from me. I’m still hurt by his invalidation & meanness towards me. He has gone NC. I don’t carry the burden to work it out. If he only apologized or validated my feelings of rejection then, we would have had some foundation to build on but Nothing! Sorry for rambling.


I love what you shared about your daughter and your dedication to making her feel safe and comfortable. I think it’s what so many of us needed and longed for when we were her age. Applause to you for giving your child what you didn’t get. It must be a strange place to be, looking at your own child, and seeing your small self. Seeing what you really needed, as you give it freely to your own child. You really touched my heart with the way you’ve supported her and stopped the dysfunction.

How ridiculous of your brother to leave your kids out at Christmas. That doesn’t really hurt anyone but your kids. Why would he deliberately want to hurt them? I don’t blame you for addressing it. When I read that story and came to the part about him going no contact, I thought it seems like he had no reasonable excuse so he ran. I mean, how can anyone come up with a viable excuse for that? Unless he was broke or something. But, if that’s the case, he should not have given to his other nieces and nephews. It’s sad you had to endure that and try to explain it to them. Just hurtful actions and some people don’t seem to care who they hurt. Hang in there Sonia. For what it’s worth, I think you’re doing the right thing by your kids. I can’t imagine the strength it must take to do things differently than what you know/how you were raised. Oh, and since he bashed you and unfriended you, it sounds like he felt a little guilty. What other reason could he come up with? He had no good answer, so he tried to make you look bad. I bet inside he knows you had every right though.

Congrats to you both for a successful first day of school!!

Peace and Love,


Hi Aurele
This happened to me once too. I was also scared to death and made to feel like a thief because I even applied for it. Hang in there and know that we are all in your corner! Keep us posted about how you do today!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Melody
It seems like a lot of us have a lot of pain around when we gave birth to our own children and when we got married when it comes to our mothers. I have not written about my wedding day in this site yet, but your post inspires me to tell that story one of these days. My mother didn’t help with any of my wedding either. She showed up and complained about a few things. I blocked out the pain of all this stuff and I tried to convince myself that it was my “expectations” that were the problem instead of seeing that the truth is my own mom never cared enough to BE THERE for me. And this is what I hear in your post too; that it all adds up to the truth… It is okay to feel that horrible pain and face that awful truth.
Thank you for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Sonia
YAY. This is what I did with my kids too. I CARED about them and they responded to my love and flourished in that love. People told me (judged me) that I was spoiling my kids and that I would be sorry. Spoiling them because I paid so much attention to them! You don’t spoil a kid with too much love! I always secretly told myself “we will see when they are grown up if I spoiled them or not ~ the proof will be in the pudding” .. well two of them are adult age now and one is a teenager. I get compliments on my kids every day of my life. They are really awesome and interesting people. They have confidence and each one of them is an individual. I don’t regret one thing that I did to baby them! I LOVED them the way that I was never loved and I will never regret that!
Thank you for sharing this Sonia! YAY for the way you love and mommy your child!
Hugs, Darlene


Emerging from Broken welcomes both men and women. There is no gender when it comes to abuse.
Hugs! Darlene


Janie, Mimi, Darlene and all,
I still vacillate between wondering why I don’t remember my Nmom being involved or maybe she was there and I’ve forgotten. I’ve been married quite a while..I guess it’s the lack of love and happiness for me that I DO remember. That also came through during my daughters’ wedding. When we finally talked at the reception she was very short and had quite a scowl. She kept the conversation off of me and not even acknowledging it was a beautiful wedding and my daughter being beautiful. There was nothing but small talk and Ndad explaining that they had to leave. Which triggers another memory for me, that all of my events, grad parties, confirmations etc that I’ve had for my children, Nmom either sent my dad alone or left early for a get together with one of my aunts and uncles. Almost as though they had some obligation to attend, but wanted a fun thing to do after my event. They wouldn’t even look at the slide show that we had made for my middle son’s graduation. I digress though.
Janie,that “fighting over scraps of affection” analogy really makes sense, I had never thought of it in that way. Not sure though that I want to start feeling sorry for my sibs quite yet for not having Nmom’s affection though. In some ways I do think that they (my FOO) are closer than they have ever been at least on the surface, since I’ve caused trouble again by speaking out and defending myself. They are posting lovely pictures of them all together having dinners and such.
And Darlene, I would love to hear your wedding story. No matter what happened that day or during the process of planning you are the success story! Good luck with the college students leaving, I am in that boat also…Peace all…


Hi everyone,

Darlene and Sonia, your love for your children shines through in your posts and is very beautiful to read about. Like you, I was determined to show my daughter that she was loved dearly, and yes, I was often accused of spoiling her. And sometimes, I spoiled her too much. I didnt always have healthy boundaries in place, or enough discipline. I let her manipulate me and wrap me around her little finger. I just wanted to be the polar opposite of my parents, and their ridiculously strict regime. I just wanted her to have everything I could give her. I was materially spoiled as a child, but emotionally abused. I certainly wasnt the perfect mom, but I wanted Lindsay to be happy and to feel the love I had for her. I never put her down, I told her she was beautiful, clever and special, (which she is!), I told her that nothing was beyond her reach, I celebrated and championed her for WHO SHE IS, not who I wanted her to be. She is 33 years old tomorrow, we are going out for lunch, and a few cocktails! She is confident and assertive, she has a wonderful partner of 8 years. He is 18 years her senior, and I think maybe, he represents what her narcissistic father couldnt give her, a secure and tender, accepting love. And they are very happy. She has decided not to have children, which I respect as her choice, because this is HER LIFE. Why on earth couldnt my mother have seen my life as my own and not her exclusive property? Today, on the eve of Lindsays birthday, I was thinking about how, when we are small children, our parents represent the world to us. We think that how our parents are, is how the world will be, we have no other frame of reference. Because of my mom, I expected the world to be a frightening, punishing ordeal, full of bullies and manipulative, spiteful, control freaks. And thats how it was. Because of Dad, I thought the world was a lonely place to be, a place where men would not protect you, or be emotionally available to you. That men would not think you good enough, would prioritise another woman over you, and would eventually leave you. That you could never rely on a man, and of course, thats how it was for me. We live life through the filter of our false beliefs. I am so glad, that for my daughter, the world has not been such a bleak place, and that its no longer like that for me either. We all deserve so much better.
Love Sylvia x


Just want to mention it doesn’t bother me ~ whatever story you want to share.

I too remember what you were going through as your daughter’s wedding approached. I don’t know why people can’t just be happy for each other and live in harmony. UGH!! So frustrating when people stir up trouble, then point fingers at the people who truly do seek out peace. It just doesn’t have to be that way, but they refuse to see it, or take responsiblity for their part in it. THAT is what I find petty. It’s not our memories of these things that are petty, IMO. It’s their actions that are petty.

I have my own wedding story also. I guess it’s just another similarity between abusers. There are so many it’s uncanny.

My mother didn’t help me pick out my dress either. I went alone. But, I think it was my decision to do that. I was 33 when I got married and I think on some level, I didn’t want her hands in it too much. I think in my subconscious mind, I knew there were control issues. She didn’t pay for anything, except the rehearsal dinner. I bought and made everything else myself. Wait, she did make the flower girl’s dress. Aside from that, she had nothing to do with it. She asked how she could help, so I told her to find us a church because at the time we weren’t members anywhere. She failed to do it. I found the church. She went with me to look at a few reception venues. It was me who ultimately arranged everything. I made the center pieces, and every other thing that went along with getting married. I addressed all my invitations and thank yous. I chose my florist and used my own flowers. I designed and printed all the programs at home. I had trouble finding an organist, and someone to sing, so I had a friend use the system in the church and play our music from cd. As we stepped down from the altar, he hadn’t started the exit music yet. We took a few steps before the music started ~ just enough to be within earshot of my mother. She couldn’t hold her tongue, she had to say, “you’re supposed to wait until the music starts”!! Unfortunately, that phrase hung around in my head for a while. I thought, “Oh no, I screwed the whole thing up and people HAD to notice we did that”. In looking back, I bet no one noticed. I’m not sure I would notice if I was at someone else’s wedding. It was only a few steps. She couldn’t let the day go off without mentioning some screw up…. because I had done it all myself. She was probably secretly angry because she couldn’t take credit for anything. No one gave me away, I walked down the aisle alone. I didn’t want her husband to get any glory because that’s what he lives for. My mother was probably secretly angry about that too. She did try to talk me into it a few times. I know now that it was only because it would look bad on them if he didn’t give me away. I’m so glad I stuck to my guns. They didn’t pay for anything, or do any leg work (except the flower girl dress and rehearsal dinner), so I felt perfectly justified in sticking with my decision.

My only regret is that I let her comment get to me a little, and it seemed like we screwed up the whole wedding. I also regret that I made her toastmaster at the reception. OF COURSE, she mentioned how far I had come and how difficult I was to raise, with a bit of subtlty. I just remembered that. UGH!! I think I have it on video. Now, I’m going to have to go back and watch it and see exactly what she did say.

Anyhow, peace and love to everyone!!
ps ~ Melody, it is a very alone feeling when the siblings ostracize. I’m sorry you’re going through this.


I could really relate to what you wrote about the kinds of people you expected to meet in life because of your parents…. I think maybe I knew in theory that there were other types of people but that those types were not “for me,” that it was somehow the universe’s design or my challenge in life to find a way to work with the types who were like my parents. That the other types were never meant for more than acquaintances, perhaps because it felt like there was no basis for real connection because they were so foreign to me and I to them… while the relationships with those like my parents, while unhealthy and terrible, often had an intensity and a feeling of meaning/purpose… in a driven, searching kind of way. Obviously because I was trying to fix the past in the present… As I work through my past, though, the more connecting with those types of people seems like a waste, now meaningless, absurd and I hope slowly more and more foreign.

I was thinking of what you wrote me quite a while ago in another post about the conversation you had with your GC sister, about being a “fixture.” About my own experience in the past, I thought to myself, It didn’t really matter who I was. You could take me out of my body and replace me with another and it wouldn’t matter because I was just a “fixture.” There was nothing special about me—I was just born the girl. My brother was the firstborn and for the first couple weeks of his life, my mother kept calling him a “she” until the doctor got mad at her. She’d tell this story over the years and laugh about it (Did I tell this story in a comment already? I don’t remember. Anyway….) Lately I’ve been starting to feel sorry for my brother’s experience, even though for so long I envied him his freedom and I know he really has no idea the cost of being the “chosen one” (keep in mind my brother wasn’t the scapegoat; he was simply not the “baby girl”). I remember when I was 17 or 18, my mom made a comment to me about our future lives. She said of my brother that no matter what he chose to do with his life, he’d probably accomplish it and do so with ease. His personality was such that he could kind of glide through life. Whereas with me, she believed that I could actually go a lot further in life than he, but that I would struggle a lot to get there. This was somewhat reflective of our reality but I now believe it was a situation that was more or less created by her and a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe in her comment, she was saying that with my brother, he could just go on and do life without much help from her and that he wasn’t particularly “special.” (I suspect he was emotionally abandoned at least to some degree). But with me, there was this idea of being “special” but because I would always struggle to get there (wherever), I would always need her help. Certainly it always felt as though whatever I accomplished somehow belonged more to her than to me because she was my mother, she made me and helped me get there. Perhaps even the undercurrent idea that if not for her, I’d be nothing because certainly it was communicated to me that I wasn’t good at certain types of things (practical and social—the areas in life she controlled), that the real world would eat me alive if she was not there to protect and help me through it. I believe it was her fantasy to reach some place where we could bask in some mystical glow of being special together—except that it was always about potential; it was always unattainable. I remember as a teenager feeling all this pressure I put on myself to become “great,” way beyond good grades and artistic talent… The ironic thing is, now thinking back on it, my brother was in fact way closer to being “special” than I was. He was a competitive swimmer and while not strong enough to get to the olympics, he did get to the olympic trials. That is way beyond anything I ever achieved. He did get attention and praise for this but it wasn’t the same in terms of being special and creating some deep bond. I believe that if he had been the girl, his getting to olympic trials would have become something way beyond what it was. It was his dream to get to the olympics and I would highly suspect a large part of the motivation was coming from wanting to be “special” in our mom’s eyes (I also think he would deny this, however; I think he is quite cut off from all this, especially now after what I’ve done with my life—he’s become protective of our parents—but I imagine that there must be an element of truth in it because how could there not be?). Anyway, I know, though, that that sense of “deep bond” is totally false. As I said, with me, you could’ve swapped me for someone else, it didn’t matter—it was just about her and being HER baby girl. It was never about me. I was just an ordinary person, an ordinary kid, that she tried to use and did use to try to fill the pain of being the “bad daughter” in her relationship with her mom. I believe underneath it all that she felt if she could only reach this absolute, mystical bond of being special together, she would know (and prove to everyone) that her mother had been wrong about her, such that she would heal all her wounds… but of course it doesn’t work that way, it is an impossible dream, as nothing is ever enough… It is a relief now to know that I am ordinary, that it is okay that I am ordinary, that I don’t have to be special, that anything I do manage to accomplish in my life that might make me “special” is not the meeting of an expectation but rather icing on the cake…. For years, though, I think I really clung to that idea of being special, that it was what I got in return. My mother got to use me to meet her emotional needs and in return I got to think I was “special.” Of course, underneath it all I didn’t really believe it—my self-esteem was lower that low—but still I clung to it, often judging others and feeling and acting superior to them. My “specialness” was being smart… but now looking back at myself, I know, yes, I was smarter than average but certainly no genius and it was something that was developed, at the expense of other aspects of myself, skills and traits that went totally unfostered. Had my mom not had this dream child fantasy bond possession over me and I’d had freedom, I may have not become “smart” at all. Who knows, maybe I would have been one of those social butterflies.


Thanks so much Mimi,
I do think it is all similar things we have gone through. That is until we wise up and smell the coffee.
Welcome Fleaflicker and company… Peace….


Yes Paul everyone is welcome here!!
Thank you all for your comments.


My mother is very much in control of the emotions and person
she shows to the world. She has never shown any emotion for or
towards me that I would call normal. Yet she is loving and caring,
giving and full of praise for friends, people she wants to impress,
my brother and his son. But underneath its all about getting you to
do what she wants without you being aware of it. She doesnt complain
she manipulates. Shes downright sneaky. When I was little 8 or so
she made me her cohort. I had to lie, and be part of her schemes
at a young age. My mother embezzled money from several institutions
and I had to lie for her. I had to lie when she was out with her boyfriend.
Lie to her probation officer. She had a lot of bad coping being married
to an angry abusive cheap N. and yet she never saw that all
the abuse and aweful homelife was what damaged me. She is smart.
Intellectually smart. Since I put all this together 7 months ago I
still find it so hard to believe. But its true. Its all I think about.
I know I can keep my boundries with her and my brother but
dont know how to deal with everyone else because I never learned how.
I feel like a third grader who doesnt speak the language.


Sylvia & Mimi,
Thanks for your support & kind words. It’s mind boggling to be so aware of the trauma put upon us as children. When are FOO should of Been there, they were not. The Fear, Rejection & Anger are hard emotions to cope with. I certainly don’t want to damage my child the way I was & I don’t see that happening. She will make her own mistakes & be her own person with my support.

I like what you said about my brother feeling guilty. Yes, maybe he can do some soul searching or perhaps some acknowledgement of his feelings, yet I don’t see him coming around. Time will only tell. I’m certainly not doing anymore reaching out to get burned. I’m focused on my life & my family (kids & husband). I have triggers with FOO & can’t always avoid them, yet I’ve been No Direct Contact with FOO for over a month now. Mom called once & left a message saying, she hadn’t heard from me…Nothing said about how the kids & I are doing. My gut tells me she was calling to find out why I have not contacted or visited her. She doesn’t ask directly, but instead fishes for info. She has been liking all my vacation pics, so I know she is spying on FB. She rarely posts anything & I tend to over share. I’m not sharing my personal thoughts & feelings on FB. Just, Vacation & interesting pics, and inspirational quotes. I rise above Bad Mouthing or Nastiness on FB….Some mean people I know use it for indirect attack, to avoid direct contact. My FOO uses it for rubbing in good times with other family members & spying. My dad picks up on loads, he has commented to me directly on certain things- like who I’m friends with, what I post & blah blah blah…if that’s not keeping track of me…it’s kind of a boundary issue for me & I know I can tighten up my privacy controls, yet like I said, I’m not sharing personal info. I actually want FOO to see I have a Life outside of their closed circle.

Your a Supportive MOM & I admire how you raised your daughter. You have Toxic FOO too & you rose above that nastiness. Your so right about learning from FOO on how to interact with people in the world. For many years, I distrusted people, although had compassion for those suffering. My FOO was the template I applied to others and that was skewed. We go towards those who are familiar & they are usually the wrong people we want in our lives. Thanks for sharing your relationship with your daughter. No doubt, it’s a healthier relationship then we had with our Mom’s.


Karen, I went through what you describe with my sister. I was blind to it for most of my life but when I began to see it, I couldn’t deny it was true and I knew she’d always been that way. She confides in no one. She never expresses any bad feelings and she told me that she doesn’t have strong emotion. It’s like she watches others and knows what love looks like and can imitate it. She’s wonderful at remembering special days and buying gifts but she’s at a loss when someone who loves her is in crisis and asks her for help. Those are the times when her responses are off. She’s also, repulsed by tears or any display of emotion. She appears as an angel though. Some who’ve known her for a long time, see what I see but most would never believe me. I don’t miss her trying to manage me and my life but I do love her and feel sorry for her. She’s my little sister and I witnessed the events that damaged her. Still, for my own health, it’s better for me not to be around her.

My parents are the same way when it comes to emotions. They aren’t as good at appearing angelic. Especially, since they are older, what they are shows through. They manage to fool people for a short time but their bag of tricks is nearly played out. They have nothing real when it comes to family and friends because all of their lives, they were just faking it.

I really relate to this:Since I put all this together 7 months ago I
still find it so hard to believe. But its true. Its all I think about.I know I can keep my boundries with her and my brother but
dont know how to deal with everyone else because I never learned how.
I feel like a third grader who doesnt speak the language.

I know how hard it is to learn to relate to people in ways other than what we’ve been taught. I still struggle with that too. I always played a supportive role. I was tolerated in my family of origin because of what I could do for them. In forming friendships, I always subjected myself to others and looked for ways to be helpful. I earned my friendships and I attracted a lot of people with the same type personalities as people in my family. It’s a new idea for me to think of people being my friend for who I am, only and not for what I do for them. It’s also, hard to put in action at 56 years old. I don’t want to scrap every relationship but some of them have fallen by the wayside just because I’ve changed. Once the world turns right-side-up, it’s impossible to return to living up-side-down.



Hi Pam..yes that is all true for me and your sisters responses are like my Moms. I went no contact for 9 years in 94 because of abusive treatment and was so much better for it. It was just a response to really nasty treatment. Now I understand the dynamics of why so I wont try and connect for approval again.
I now have several true friends in the new city where I live and hope to make more. Although I am watching my behavior and trying to modify my expectations of people. Thank you for all your insightful comments. I’m 58 so
we are from the same generation.
Best Regards,


Hi Everyone
I have still not caught up with everything this week enough to post a new article!
There is a conversation going on in my post from this time last year that I thought some of you more regular commenters would like to join. The last few comments are from readers struggling with some of the aspects of recovery. I thought perhaps some of you would like to join the conversation there!
Here is the link. (the fear of not being loved ruled my life)
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Darlene! I just read that post and am going back to read it again! It is so true. Inside that post was a link to another post, “The Purpose of facing the Past and Childhood History”. That seemed to be something I needed to hear, and will also read again. That post seems to get to the root of where I am at right now!
Thanks for all of your important work that you do!



I went back and read this post here. I find that I need to reread many things, as my concentration is not always at its best. I really like when you said
“I don’t remember being told in words that I was manipulative, but there are many ways to communicate besides verbally. In believing and accepting that my needs were exaggerated, I concluded that my needs were also not valid and therefore agreed with those who discounted them and agreed to discount them myself as well.”
I have mentioned before that I can remember being very young, crying when hurt or upset, and my mother saying “Oh, those are just crocodile tears”. She didn’t scream it or shout it, I would call it more of a “chiding”. I remember it feeling like a slap in the face, that I was faking, or , exaggerating! I also remember feeling a mean and uncaring side to my mother and being frightened by it. I think it was more the feeling of being frightened and unprotected that upset and scared me. That no one was going to take my crying, as anything that was signaling something wrong or needed help. When you think about it, that is one of the red flags, or defenses a child can throw up. And when you are told, “I am refusing to recognize that”, where do you go from there? I think for me, I tried to become that person who didn’t cry, not so much as to please, but to not draw out that evil side in my mother, that other person who could not be her.

P.S. I find it interesting that I signed my real first name in the above post. Sure, I’m tired, but I think I am just feeling more comfortable with everyone, and less willing to hide and cover up for others. My sister did badger me, when she was learning about this abuse, what site I went to, but I instinctively never told her (at that point, I wasn’t even at this site yet). However, if she wants to chase me and find me, that’s okay! Our FOO’s own little avenger,lol…….
I still will go by Janie,and you know why? Friends I have made on my own call me that, people who are supportive and have nothing to do with my FOO. And I like that!!


It is not what we do that makes us special it is who we are. I found my special after years of feeling less than everyone else but it isn’t what I did, it is who I am. You are no less special than anyone else. It was so important for me to find a way to get the false messages OUT of my belief system. (I did that by finding out what they were in the first place) My parents, teachers, elders etc do not define me. I just thought they did. Every single “type” of person can be a victim of abuse, neglect etc.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi everyone,

Thank you Mimi, and Janie for your kind words and prayers for me.
Thank you Darlene too :), a lot.
Do you felt this feeling when you were asking unemployement benefit too ?

I feel relieved now, this appointement is over.
I was very stressed before the appointement. And I felt the same feeling in my teenagehood when I skipped school. I couldn’t go to school because I felt so bad about myself and the others in my class mocked and ridiculized me. This feeling of guilt (because I was escaping the shcool) was mixed with the fear of punishment and the future reaction from my “nice daddy”, because I knew he would be mad at me and that I will “disapoint him”.

I will not have my unemployment benefit before 2/3 months unfortunately and that makes me very scared about money and insecure. I will have to borrow money until I get paid.

I felt boosted in a way after the appointement, because the person validated the fact I could work in tourism but I have to do some actions to justify my benefit and for me, here, I just can’t work or do a trainee in my birthtown, my body wouldn’t appreciate it. But I have the feeling I could do it and live a better life in an other town.

I went to the therapist I have seen for on year and a half today, but this let me very confused. I don’t know if it’s good or not for me to see her.

I have the feeling she can’t understand my strong feelings even if she considers that forgiving is not a solution and admits the evilness of my “so sweet daddy”.
With her I can make links between the present and my past but when i talk about heavy stuff, I don’t feel very fine nor very considered and supported on my side, she seems too neutral.
What I like is that she is not directive and she is quite comprehensive but maybe in only to a certain point.
I have the feeling she can’t understand toatally what being abused in childhood signified to a person.
But in other hand, I know that I am very high standards sometimes because my needs were never met.So, sometimes I can be a little enraged when I need help from the person.(especially people like medical people who are supposed to help me)
I told her that when I was a teenager (18/19), I abused my little sister 🙁 who was 11/12. I licked her breasts 🙁 and we watched together erotic films.
She tried to reassure me telling me that it was normal because it was only just a game, and a way for us teenagers to discover our body !
Which for me is wrong, because if I grew up in a healthy family I didn’t have to do that even if my little sister agreeded.

Hugs to everyone.


I did call my mother night before last. I called from outside of a restaurant, thinking I could limit the time and hang up if needed. Of course, she was so worried about my job (when I had a position in hospital admin, she never could remember what I even did, lol). Then she just went off into a litany about who is making “arrangements” in our family, her sister’s husband, my Uncle, so that their families could avoid probate. Who has picked out a grave. Headstones. Then she told me my father refuses to make any arrangements, that his will will go through probate, and we will have to figure out how to bury him. (He’s well, btw) At first, I was a little upset thinking about the stress I would go through with my sisters, but then I told her, Well, it’s his decision, and it’s something we will just have to deal with in the future! It was an odd conversation. I think she was trying to upset me, ignite the nurse in me.
Neither of my parents will fill out a power of attorney, a living will, a DNR form, or, I guess, do the paper work to avoid probate. I don’t really care about the will, what will be will be, and I am aggressively planning for my own retirement. My one brother is the one who is financially insecure, but he is not materialistic. It would prob be my sisters with the issues. Namely, doing what they could to cut me off, as I am such an ingrate, lol. Whateva……..
What gets me is the inconsideraton, knowing of all the dissent in the family, and, in all probability, WWIII errupting if we were placed in this situation. What should we do in a critical situation? Do you want to be resuscitated? A breathing tube? Bury or cremate? Etc.
It’s all very morbid, of course. I am just going to walk as far away from this issue as possible. They know what needs to be done. They have choices. And doing nothing is a choice, to cause dissention. It has nothing to do with me. Actualy, it does. It gives them one more opportunity to allow me to receive abusive treatment from my sisters, from a sick bed, the grave, etc………
So, luckily, I got to say, Oh! Our table is ready! Talk to you soon! And she sounded utterly dejected in hanging up.Like she had failed in her purpose. Maybe trying to transfer her morbid mood onto me?
I feel she tries to parentify me at times, and that is not happening. I think she wanted me to speak with my father, and I am certainly not being a champion of someone who couldn’t have been bothered with me as a child!
I was reading the info Darlene had posted on definition of neglect and abuse. She was certainly very neglectful. I was thinking today, how glad I am not to be around my sister and see her do the same thing to her own son. Not getting him help for his learning disabilities is neglect. Something I dont know what to do about, since my FOO refuses to acknowledge it when I bring it up, but gossip about it when they see fit.
It makes me sad that I will never have that mother I deserved. First neglectful and absent, now trying to make me her friend or caretaker.
I’m going to continue to remain very low contact. The lower contact I go, the better I feel!



Yes!…..I tried to be the Brave Girl because that was expected of me. To stuff my feelings & care for others’ needs & emotions. I was given mixed messages from FOO re: expression of emotions. If I was genuinely sad or angry over something justified, I was labeled as a cry baby or exaggerating. I’m a feeling & giving person, so expression comes naturally for me, however, FOO does not tolerate emotions. It’s really more about them. The only one who is in touch with her feelings is my sister, which I admire, however, she has a mean streak. She can manipulate & triangulate. She has been doing that since childhood & some of that is learned behavior in my FOO, however, she has also chosen to be that way & I’m not comfortable when she is Nasty. Anyway, I also feel better with less contact., although I can say I still struggle with guilt & fear, based on how I was conditioned in my family. Guilt & Fear are not effective feelings for behavioral change. Yet, observing & describing my emotions IS healthy & may lead to change in my behavior. The whole cognitive/behavioral approach. Seems easy, yet rewiring the emotions & thoughts IS hard work. Also, if I responded in a reasonable/wise manner, I was accused by FOO of not caring….No Win Situation. Although, they could get angry, rant & rave & be malicious!!!!


“although I can say I still struggle with guilt & fear, based on how I was conditioned in my family. Guilt & Fear are not effective feelings for behavioral change. Yet, observing & describing my emotions IS healthy & may lead to change in my behavior. The whole cognitive/behavioral approach”

Sonia, thanks for this. It explains alot of what I must do to feel better. I do feel alot of guilt when I tak about this. I need to work on feeling and expressing my emotion. Sometimes I have buried emotion so far, it is hard to feel.

I’m sorry you were labeled a cry baby or exaggerating when expressing your feelings. Manipulate, triangulate and meanness, that is my two sisters and mother as well. I have to stay LC as well. Actually, NC with 2 sisters.

Also remembering,if my mother did not feel ike dealing with you, she’s say, Mom’s not my name, I’ve changed my name, I’ll tell you my new name on friday. or, Mom’s resigned, or, Mom’s moved. Which meant she was not going to help you or take care of you at that time. So, you felt abandoned while your mother was standing or sitting right in front of you.

She wasn’t always mean. She would read to us, or color with us. Yet, it made it very difficult, to reconconcile the two different “Mommies” you had to deal with. When the mean mother came out, I was very fearful, and almost tried to block out the feeling the mean mother gave you, it was too much to take. And it was always me, the one slammed against the wall, locked out of the house, bread board broken on my butt, tied to the tree, etc…..

I get the No Win situation. Their actions were controlled by their black hearts, which they couldn’t outwardly express. When you expressed righteous emotion, they can’t deal with it. When you point things out in a logical fashion, you are uncaring, unfeeling. Becuase you have pointed out the truth and stepped out of your assigned role as victim! (that’s my FOO, noy trying to project onto you!)

I would commonly hear, everything is fine until YOU turn up and stir up trouble. Translation: until you step out of your victim role, speak up for yourself, speak the truth, and refuse to accept their abusive treatment.

hugs, Janie


I’m glad what I said resonated with you. Since coming here, my eyes are open to the Control Tactics & Mean Behavior. Yes, my mom can run hot & cold and you never can predict what mood she will be in. That is anxiety provoking in itself let alone coping with their nastiness. I was trained/conditioned to be compliant despite my feelings & needs. I’m not buying into that anymore. My choose to stay NC at this time,is not to punish them or myself. It’s about taking care of me in my recovery. Self Validating that I’m important and it does not depend on them loving me back. Their love is conditional on what you do for them. My anger & fear is justified given my history, yet I’m trying to let go of the Anger & I can not do that if I continue to be triggered by FOO. Reducing my emotional pain is my goal, so that I can be healed. I’m working on how to do this & it’s a work in progress. I can relate to everything you said esp about our moms.My mom has a sweet/mean cycle & she frequently said, “I’m not in the Mood”.. then trying to understand when will she be in a good mood???…Also, pat answers like “Sticks & Stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me”….I actually remember kids throwing rocks at my sister & I, when we were under 7 yrs old, after saying this. It really does not make sense to children who are concrete…They wanted to hurt us, so they threw rocks/stones. The Truth is Words do Hurt. Labeling, Judging, Bashing, Name calling is all hurtful, when you are the one singled out.


Hi Everyone
I finally got my new article published!
This article was inspired by some of the recent conversations on this post about forgiveness.
You can read it here.
I am looking forward to the new conversation!
Hugs, Darlene


Darlene – this is the first chance i have had to come back and read your response…the holy spirit brought me back to you because i have been crying out for help/answers and praying…you are the voice of reason and truth in an insane and often cruel world…God was speaking to me even before you published the recent blog that i needed to read what you have written and will write about forgiveness. I want you to know that God is using you to answer my prayers for help. Even tho you are far away he knows what i need and he knows that you have the wisdom and experience to help me through this very painful time. You are a direct answer to prayer…even tho we dont always agree on everything i see the big picture and know that the truth set you free and it can do the same for me. I just need more of it and need it to get down deep to root out all the lies. If you ever wonder if what you post is really helping and if it really reaches people the answers are a resounding YES, YES and YES ! You are like a lifeline for me…this place is my refuge…its the only place i can be real and share my stuff and not be condemned or told to just let it go, except with my counselor. Thanks for all you do !




[…] what was wrong with me then everything would be okay.  I believed this stuff because it had been communicated to me through the actions of other […]


Hello Everyone, Someone mentioned that their sister on here had said that everyone sees things differently and that is was all up to their own interuption? Wow, I could of written that myself, as my sister said the same the same thing to me when she contacted me after several years of not speaking to me, she told me that holidays will always be with the parents and I could be included perhaps but it would never just be with me or her and that they were always to come first.
I can remember her to this day telling me that we all have our own opinions over what truth was and what reality is and that I needed to accept this, She also had a gun pointed at her too from our mother and she choose to ignore that her own mother threathened to take her life and mine,,,,god the things people over look when it comes to the dear mother!


I don’t know if it was me whom you’re referring to, but my sister did the same thing you speak of. She’s discounted me and my approach by referring to my opinion, my perspective, interpretation.

I’ve come to realize that it’s HER truth. I have mixed feelings about how she words these responses. Part of what was offensive about her statements was actually that she was simultaneously implying that my perspective/opinion was wrong. That I don’t accept. I can accept her beliefs, but, I can’t accept her putting her beliefs on me, as if mine are wrong. I recently explained to her in a little more detail about this. And, I stood up for myself. She has backed off from spoon feeding me how I should be going about things. I told her in clear terms that I don’t judge other family members for how they choose to handle the dysfunction in our family, and I EXPECT that in return. Surprisingly, she’s honored that and even though we’ve had conversations again about perspectives, she hasn’t suggested mine is somehow flawed, and she has said she appreciates that I must do what’s best for me.

I think initially, she was a little taken aback by the conversation. But, she redirected her path since then, with regard to the whole “perspectives” conversation. The tone is different now, so I’m glad I stood up for myself. It actually did work. 🙂

Peace to you,



Thank you for what I can only imagine was an act of courage for you when you included that you had talked to your therapist about your sexual experiences with your younger sister. I, too, have been involved with experiences where I was the older child who either initiated or participated in “sex play” (or as people who re-visit these experiences may frame or re-frame these kinds of experiences might rightfully call them – “child sexual abuse”).

At the time, I felt that it was natural and consensual, but what does that mean when the other person(s) involved may have been affected in a traumatized way? I recall my motivations were out of a desire to both to feel close to them/express my emotions AND to explore my own sexuality (apart from being the object of repeated sexual abuse from age 7ish, not to mention neglect and emotional abuse from day 1 of my life).

It mainly consisted of backrubs, and at some point did progress to genital contact (hands and some oral). I don’t recall it being forceful and I do recall feeling that we had our own boundaries expressed.

I don’t even know that anyone involved with these sexual experiences DO feel they were traumatized, but surely they feel shame in that it was taboo (i.e., it was with younger cousins/the big I for INCEST). A part of me has wanted to ask, but I’m not sure it is worth the drama in light of the bigger picture.

It seems that victimizers are often victims first, and I am struggling to find peace with the victimizer and the other “dark shadows” that I’ve buried within myself, but which are part of my whole-integrated-self.

I struggle with the fact that I am capable of committing actions that can cause others to feel victimized. I struggle with the fact that my trauma history provided an origin for these actions, and that they can be interpreted as a normal expression of my having been victimized. On some level, it feels like I’m making excuses BUT what I really hope is that I’m slowly and painfully building a DIFFERENT AND MORE WHOLE ME.

I can use many labels to describe my past ADULT actions/my dark side: cheater, liar, adulterer, cold-hearted bi#ch, aloof, defiant, intense, aggressive, bully,* etc.(*with bullying as such a hot topic lately, I really have struggled with this one as it was a workplace situation that was terribly complicated, but I am willing to concede that 2 individuals had the right to interpret my actions as at least some degree of bullying).

I realize it is seductive for me to dwell on my dark side and my regrets/shame/guilt, and then push them back down into my subconscious rather than try to learn how to love myself and forgive myself and re-frame my “dark side” as being critical in my surviving my childhood. These qualities seem to surface in an amplified/over-exaggerated manner when my guard is down and I am feeling anxious or basically like a helpless child (when I revert to survival mode). Looking back I realize that I am prone to making decisions that are over-influenced by my dark qualities when I’m “in the heat of the moment”.

Intellectually, I know that beating myself up about things I’ve done to others won’t take me very far in healing.

I’m gambling on the hope that by acknowledging and exploring and forgiving and even loving my dark qualities, they won’t come out in such destructive and self-sabotaging ways in the future.

Aurele (and others), wow, that was long-winded (it’s my nature). I follow EFB, and haven’t seen a lot of discussion on dealing with the abuses that we survivors have done to others, and how to deal with that. This is something I’m really struggling with.


My brother was made to take the bulk of the blame and today his life is basicaly ruined, he is on ssi and can barely function or get along and he is in very poor health, he once told me that he was made to kill animals by our grandmother and her next door neighbor, had had to drown them or else, he then did as ordered and then they beat him cause he refused to take payment for it, they stuffed money down his pants, he was four he said when this had happened. I can now understand why today he refuses to take take blame for anything…cause most of his life that is all he did, he went to the other extreme, I dont blame him at all for life or his violenmt outbursts, and I think my parents had one percent destroyed his life along wtih some others.


meant to say that they were 110 percent responsible for how he is today, yes.


[…] So next time someone says “your parents did the best they could” ~ consider that they are wrong. Period.  You don’t have to prove it. […]


[…] deserve evil consequences and those who don’t. In this world view, according to the abusers, victims are those who deserve what they get. Disapproval keeps victims in their place, accepting the consequences that only they, […]


I wanted to comment on the situation in London concerning the nurse who committed suicide but wanted to put it under the correct context on this site:
Blame and shame.
To me her needless death has pointed to the prevailing need to blame the victim.
Until she died, the perpetrators were lauded.. ha-ha-ha…look what we managed to do! what a joke.
On her side of it, I’m sure she was reprimanded by her superiors (quietly) for her failure to see the call as a prank. I would think she was to be quietly punished by removal from her position by those in charge at the hospital. Her own letters speak to this.
She was the victim of the prank. But she would have been the one punished. Meanwhile the perpetrators get accolades for
being so “smart” in their prank. To me it was a clear case of the perp getting away with the
“crime” and the victim being punished.
Ah, but taking her own life changed all that didn’t it?
It made everyone turn their eyes to the true bad guys in this situation. Its a sad thing that she felt so shamed over it that she took her own life. Just my opinion.


Karen, I agree with your comment so much. I still keep hearing so many people blaming her and defending those horrible DJs, it’s maddening.


I especially relate to this, because I have always felt a sense of “duty” to accept blame whenever I was hurt. No matter who hurt me or how badly I was hurt, I would always say, “Well, I know my part in this was A. B & C. I just want “whoever” to accept their part in this situation as well.” I have never been hurt in my life when I did not share in the blame for hurting myself. With that rationale, it’s safe to say that all the hurt and emotional pain I’ve suffered in my life was inflicted by me. Sounds crazy, but that is what I was taught to believe.
I was the 9th of 14 children and I do believe the core of my personality issues were born in my infancy. It just stands to reason that one woman caring for 9 or 10 children under the age of 12 gave up on trying to meet the infants needs when they needed to be met. I’m sure she got around to it when it met her needs. I’m sure 90% of the bottles that were given to me were propped up on a pillow (I remember that technique being used on some of my younger siblings). We did not get that attachment that is achieved when a nurturing mother lovingly holds her baby while feeding and looks lovingly into the baby’s eyes giving the infant a strong sense of connection and importance. I cannot explain how damaged I feel inside because I know this was not given to me. These neuro-connections that are made in an infants’ brain, were not made in my brain; nor will they ever be. I feel there is only a small window of time for these connections to be made and if they are not made…bye, bye…the opportunity is gone. Can we lessen the damage done by not making these connections? Well, let me say….I really hope so. My life has been so negatively impacted by the neglect I suffered as an infant and child, my only hope is to try and have some quality of life before I pass on. My only hope is maybe I can leave a bit better of a legacy for my child and my grandsons. I do know this: I breast fed my daughter until she was one years old, so I know she got that connection in her infancy. Did I damage her too? Yes. While her infancy was quite good for her, as she grew my rage issues and complete emotional instability were a detrement to her. However, when she reached the age of about 13, I did openly talk to her about realizing there was something wrong with me, but I didn’t know what it was. I’ve been searching for answers as to why I am the way I am for many years, decades. I’m finally starting to find some answers. As for my grandsons, it is interesting to note; my “neediness” in a way helped them to get what they needed as infants. I just wanted to hold and rock them constantly. In a previous comment I mentioned that maternal deprivation in my infancy caused me to rock back and forth as a child and has carried right on through into my adulthood. Of course, I controlled it in public, work situations or other places where I would be viewed as “crazy”, but with age it has become more and more difficult to hide. It’s mostly a morning thing for me now. I actually MUST rock back and forth in order to wake up in the morning. But getting back to my grandsons, rocking them, singing to them and looking into their darling , precious eyes was therapy for me, and I hope in some way gave them something that all babies need. Gave them a strong sense of their importance and their value. Mostly, I hope my daughter and grandsons felt love when they were infants. I did not. Therefore, how could I ever accept love or know what love was? I didn’t. It’s been a very difficult and confusing life.
My Aunt died about a week ago at the age of 72. She was a very lovely woman who battled through her own demons throughout her life. She was a lost child of a large family, struggled with alcoholism and addictions, but really lived the last decades of her life with some grace and dignity. A young woman I used to work with died yesterday at the age of 39 leaving a husband and 2 small kids behind. I believe it was a tragic accident. A friend of my family killed herself about a month ago by slitting her wrist and then threw herself into the frozen river behind her house. She was the same age as me 52. She had a beautiful home, a husband, two handsome grown sons…but apparently she could find no joy or peace in her life. All of these deaths have given me great pause and reason to reflect on my own life. Even though “survivors guilt” is only referred to when mass deaths occur, in a way, my belief that I am such a nothing almost gives me “survivors guilt” over these deaths. Why them? They had something to live for. People who loved and needed them; I know my daughter and grandson’s love and need me, and I would never consider suicide because of this fact alone, but do you get what I mean about survivor’s guilt?
It’s been a difficult winter for me. I am hoping for an early, warm spring. And I hope springs eternal.


It is amazing the power blame can wield over our lives. As I write this, I doubt that I have a ‘right’ to as I still struggle with self-blame. One of the hardest things in my life was getting cut off from my parents the year I was 20, after being fired because I “took all my father’s money”. Literally, he said, “YOU TOOK ALL MY MONEY”! Who tells that to a child? And I hadn’t taken his money: he still had a house, a car, a BMW, went to the tennis club, etc. But he resented me for the years he did decide to support me (though many of these years I did not have adequate food, shelter, clothing, medical care. He always said “I don’t have enough money.” Yet he makes over $250,000 a year. I had one outfit in my jr year in high school and was often cold but no one seemed to notice? This is insane to me!
Anyways, after I was cutoff, despite the fact I was working, I couldn’t make ends meet. I was essentially homeless, living with a drug dealer, getting molested, no heating, couldn’t afford underwear, often went without showers. After I moved out, my parents found the cheapest apartment for me $365 a month, and I was being stalked. I told my father, “I don’t feel comfortable being in public.” and he responded, “Well, at least you learned your lesson.” I still feel responsible because my father expected me to be 100% self supporting at 18; any inability to care for myself at that point was 100% my fault. He didn’t teach me the skills to care for myself; socially, academically, etc. And the truth is, my basic needs were denied before I was 18. He spend $100,000 to have me removed from home, sent to a treatment center and locked up at 16 with prostitutes and drug addicts and bullies despite the fact I’d never tried drugs or been kissed or broken the law. Of course, I “deserved it”. He said it was because I banged my head against a mirror (out of stress) and went joyriding once for 20 minutes. I remember him walking up to shut my door when he heard me crying. Like I was nothing!

It still hurts. I feel awful, terrible, sick. Guilty. But deep down, I am starting to heal. I can feel it. I know all that happened is not me. Whats hard now is the whole “what was your part in it” or “your parents truly love you”.

Really? Is that why I’m not entitled to an education (thank god my aunt is paying for it)? Is that why when I called my mother in fear when homeless and told her “I’d rather be in jail than here” she said, “Oh boo hoo I feel so sorry for you” and hung up? Is that why when I begged and cried on her porch for food at 20 after going an entire week with only brown rice and nonfat milk in the fridge walking along the freeway to pick blackberries and shoplifting stale food at Bi-mart only to have her say “you’re manipulating” and after saying “You don’t have to let me in. Or even feed me- can I just have a glass of orange juice” she turned me away. And then her excuse was “I was so afraid of you” Like I’m violent, dangerous, and evil for having emotional reactions to abuse. How is hunger manipulating? Why does justified anger, fear, sadness have to make someone(me) evil?

And yet still, I feel enormously guilty.

I had a revelation when I had a recent phone call with her. She has spent her life telling me how unstable I am, that I am just too crazy, and a “problem”. Well, I felt stable, talked slowly and calmly and after not talking to her for 8 months, she starts bursting into tears, saying how she’s doing great, talking over me, not hearing my numerous requests “I’d rather not get emotional, I’m not ready for that” and “I have to go, I have to go”. It’s like I’m not even there. The concept of respect is nonexistent, unless its about her, and in that case, I am horrible and always need to treat her better. How she treats me especially when I need her, is just irrelevant.

I realized also that the only time I’m suicidal is when I talk to them. A therapist told me, “That’s not normal. Most people don’t feel suicidal after talking to their parents.” And I realized: she’s right! That’s not normal? Why is that the only situation in which I would consider taking my life?

And yet, she’s spent years telling me how I’m “abusive” and she won’t “put up with it any longer” so I do doubt myself, thinking, “What if I’m abusive? What if it’s not her who’s the bad one and it’s me?”
It was also so creepy to hear her voice: she sounded 5 years old and talking to your own child in a baby voice is just honestly the creepiest thing ever. Has anyone here experienced that?

Anyhow, sorry for going on and on, but yeah. This is tough.
I hope I can heal fully someday. I do have hope but so much of this is so raw.

Thanks. This website is great.


Welcome to emerging from broken! I think you have found the right website.
I was ‘trained’ from a young age to believe that it was ‘me’ ~ and I felt the same way about not having a “right” to even feel ‘wronged’ and this was the root of my whole problem.
About “what was your part in it” ~ I had to look at that differently than I used to look at it. I had to look at it from an earlier age: what was my part in it when I was 5? or 8 or 13? I had been told that I had a big part in all of it no matter how old I was and that was the root of my guilt and shame. What was done to me had nothing to do with me, and instead of protecting me and validating ME, they blamed me and by doing that they protected the neglectful or abusive person. They justified the wrong done to me by blaming it ON me. Looking at all of this through new eyes is what helped me to let go of shame and guilt.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Darlene,

I tried looking back further that this morning but it is hard, because I was trained from a young age that I was the favorite, golden child, and my sister was the one who was constantly demeaned and though not sexually abused, my father did physically hurt her- I remember him picking her up by the feet and holding her upside down to get her to stop crying. And yet NO ONE remembers this, and if they do, it’s “no big deal”. Of course, my father is never to blame, when in reality, the man is a monster who is a very good actor.

Once I turned 16, our roles switched; my sister was congratulated and adored and I was the one who was constantly demeaned and treated just awfully over and over (of course with intermittent “we love you” and “care” which I am still trying to sort out- how does care manifest as abuse and neglect?). Basic needs not met, humiliated by my mother so SHE would never feel humiliated.

I think it’s harder than if I had been scapegoated all along, because I can’t look back and see the abuse at me; only at my sister. So I tend to think, well, I was a ‘good’ kid, with good parents, and then I ‘turned into’ a rotten teen. Thinking they didn’t change, I did, it’s my fault; Like by the time I am 16 it’s time to ‘take some responsibility’ (a phrase I feel sick just hearing).

Though it was strange to hear “make your own goddamn money” (which he denies saying) at such a young age when we asked for things. I remember my sister having to shoplift clothes. A DOCTOR’S DAUGHTER having to shoplift clothing is obscene to me. And of course they shamed her for that too. There was no concern about her struggles, just blame. And no one ever stood up to help because the truth is, they always came first.

But over the years the abuse has gotten worse and worse and it becomes harder and harder to see them as even neutral- due to rumor spreading, breaking the law even regarding my privacy by going to my doctors behind my back at 22 (though HE is a doctor so he knows the hippa laws, and this greatly aids his image as ‘good’ as well as helping him stay in control).

I am wondering, if I can’t trace back the abuse to me in childhood, only my sister, how should I deal with this? Because at 5,8, and 13, I can’t say the treatment was bad towards me (only that I was a perfectionist so that I would never be ‘that person’); in fact I was treated quite well; the only thing traumatic was witnessing my sister’s abuse and fearing that one day it would be me.

One day it was decided I was no longer perfect enough, and that has continued on. I did have some serious health problems around 16, which my father denied (he yelled at me in the most terrifying rumbling voice “you’re not sick, you’re depressed!” and I’d flee up the stairs), but that is probably why we switched roles. Still….

I am truly at a loss. I love your advice, but can’t trace back the abuse that far.


Looking at the messages that we received at any age is a good place to start. The message that I got was basically that I was not as important as they were. And I had to change that message. I think you will find a lot of light is shed on this in my earlier work (use the archive button for earlier posts ~ 2010 and 2011). That might get you started.
Hugs, Darlene


Thanks Darlene! I will do that. I am interestingly starting to remember things that go a bit further back, and further…. It also helps me validate this happening when I realize that it is traumatic to witness the abuse of someone helpless day after day- even if it’s not you. It basically instills this feeling that the world is a scary place- and unless you’re perfect- you will be punished. Sort of like beheading someone and then hanging their head up for all to see what will happen if you disobey. My father tended to rule by the “Let that be a lesson to you all” mentality. Which isn’t how the world is. Yes, sometimes it is in certain environments, but certainly not all or even most, just in some families it becomes true and it starts to feel like reality.

Wow! It is helpful to work this out in writing… 🙂



Oh, and I forgot to ask-
Could I be put on the waiting list to do coaching with you?
You seem very insightful and grounded and it is that kind of insight and stability I believe could help me heal.



Please contact me through the contact form. I will send you my fees etc.
Hugs, Darlene


I’ve been looking for an article on self-forgiveness but will comment here…just wanted to also thank DXS for commenting on a post I wrote the other day about being left on Yonge street by my Dad…it’s hard for me to write a lot in a conversational way with others, and I’m trying not to be down on myself about THAT too. People here are very supportive and it amazes me how loving they can be after what they’ve gone through.

I have been on the outside looking in so long I can’t remember feeling otherwise. That means I developed that feeling has a kid. Although I’m working on understanding why, I still essentially feel the same way about myself as I did at 15, or 10. I remember in high school the boy next to my locker saying to me, “I can tell you had a good Christmas, you washed your hair”. Why wasn’t I taking care of myself? At 10 I was sitting alone at a table eating lunch knowing that a girl was looking at me trying to figure me out. My Mom couldn’t stand my weight but still put a whole sleeve of crackers with my soup; I probably put all or most of the crackers in the soup as I had an eating disorder by then.

I’m struggling hard to forgive myself for how I’ve lived my life. Why haven’t I been productive when other survivors have been? I have been diagnosed with Complex PTSD but still blame myself for not having worked much in my life, for taking over 20 years to get a degree, for the drinking and overeating most of my life. The not working especially, I judge myself hard on. If there are tons of survivors out there what’s my excuse for being “low-functioning?” Is it laziness? No, I often worked very hard at university. I don’t like so much time on my hands.

When I’ve pictured myself working, I felt exposed and incapable. Will I do or say the wrong thing? I guess it comes down to acute self-consciousness and lack of confidence/self-belief. Early on I got fired from several mundane jobs for not being fast enough, so the low confidence deepened. I was too afraid to try, too afraid to be around people and mess up. I felt too afraid to be responsible, to be a “real” adult.

When I was a young child, I was top of the class, or near the top. Teachers praised me. By 15 I was sitting by myself in class staring out the window, getting D’s. My father called me weak and gave the message I couldn’t take care of myself. They were rather explicit that something was wrong with me. But they still pushed me to find work as a teenager, which I had trouble doing. I usually just managed factory work. I remember at 14 Dad began talking that I should pay for my meals when we went out eating.

I have been unemployed most of my life cause I don’t feel capable. But am I not responsible for what I’ve done as an adult? I didn’t call it abuse in my heart until last year, I just thought I was a low achiever.

Can your spirit or confidence get crippled to the point you don’t work? My main priority all these years has been drinking or pills, which has felt like a matter of survival to me. Basic emotional survival.

There was NOBODY there for me emotionally growing up, I had to take care of my emotions—and yet I was told I was incapable. I never learned that I could count on them or myself w/o a crutch. My energy has gone into those crutches all my life.

Were they supposed to get me help when I had an eating disorder as a child? Was that their duty? Even though Dad had the same eating disorder and it was the 70s? Were they supposed to get me help at 15 when I started to drink? Nobody did a thing for me, they just got angry at me.

Was I to blame for sneaking into their bedroom and looking at Dad’s porn magazines when they were at work? They got mad at me, my sister got mad at me. Was it my fault when I saw the horrible pictorial one day as I flipped through? Can I say, because I was a kid it wasn’t my fault? That it was his fault for exposing me to it to begin with? I should not have even known my Dad bought that stuff. I shouldn’t have known he was impotent, but Mom told me. When I told Mom I knew why he locked himself in the bathroom all night, she laughed. It was gross, maybe that’s why I have felt gross about myself.

A part of me says, to heal I must forgive myself for my life’s choices, because there are reasons for them. Either something is very wrong with me, or my childhood was so damaging I made those choices as a result. I keep going back and forth on that…I hope that is normal, I hope that is part of reconciling with the past, and the truth. I want to be compassionate towards myself for not achieving anything but survival—no children, no job, no house, no car, no money, just survival. I can’t blame them for my choices as an adult but I have to understand that their parenting created the self-image which lead to those choices.


Hey Darlene! I would just like to acknowledge how much I appreciate the way you take it all the way to the root. This has been my same approach since I started this journey 18 years ago. I am learning not to judge myself so harshly as an adult as I get to the deeper roots because I’ve come to realize that I created beliefs based on the way I was treated.

I really appreciate that you have children of your own and you challenge other parents beliefs. My sister and I would go at it when I challenged her on her parenting and her knock out punch would always be “what do I know about anything because I never had children of my own”. This is when I realized that the cycle had taken root in her and I felt so disappointed and hurt that she had no desire to receive help or support. Once again I was dismissed on a whole new level. I couldn’t get my head around the fact that she knew how it felt when she was on the receiving end so why would she do the same with her own.

This is when my truth seeking mission really took off because I needed to understand more about beliefs and programs and how ingrained they really are. I think what upsets me most about all of this is being a witness to how abuse changes a person. I looked up to my sister, she protected me as much as she could and tried to fill in for my parents. She was treated horribly and sometimes she took it out on me. This affected me in a profound way because I felt sorry for my sister so when she was mean to me, I understood where it came from and I didn’t fight back. I was scared to fight back because she was my buffer between my parents and if I didn’t have her then I had no one.

My life has been a huge lie because I learned that to stay safe in my family I had to go along with what ever they dished out. I became afraid of standing up for myself because I related it to not being safe and supported. My own fears were used against me because I showed my vulnerabilities. Everyone in my family knew I depended on them for my well being so they had all the power.

It really breaks my heart to think I protected these people because I felt sorry for all the abuse they all endured. I failed to acknowledge my own abuse because I didn’t think I mattered. Thank god today I believe I matter and I am giving myself as much love as I truly desire.

Thank you Darlene for showing me a new path and helping me find my voice. I commend you on your journey for speaking your truth, you are changing the healed soul at a time, Namaste!


Doren, re: the cycle rooted in your sister. Wow. Sorry to hear about that.

I, too, am child free (by choice). I look at my two sibling’s children and see that they broke the cycle, because their children love them a lot. I have no issue with how they raised their children.

My mom gave me the “you don’t know what it’s like because you don’t have children” stuff. Yeah, I don’t have children. But my mom could stop all this nonsense if she would just apologize to me. And it has to be “sincere.” My mom says she apologized, but her words were just jibber jabber with no feeling in them.

I put this in another post, but I have the gift of “seeing what is” not what is “supposed to be.” When I tried to point out truths as a child, I got squashed.

when I was in my 20’s, I was afraid to “go against my parents.” When I got a job 3,000 miles away, that was when I realized “who I was.”


Excellent comments Lora!
Once I understood WHY I protected all those people and kept ‘putting up with abuse’ and excusing it, it kind of made me feel sick! I thought that I could “LOVE them” to healthy, but I had the wrong definition of love!
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


Hi Doren
Excellent comments! You have expressed very well some great examples of ways that you were discounted and let down! (about the porn mags ~ interesting that you got in trouble for looking at them, but had they not been there in the first place, you could never have seen them! When a child has access to material like that, a type of sexual abuse happens and the fault lies with the parent!!)

In the beginning of EFB I wrote a lot about the “how we got broken in the first place’ stuff. About how the things that happened to me as a child created my belief system and led to some of my bad decisions as an adult and about how I had this ‘false shame’ about what happened to me when the shame belonged to someone else.

There ARE reasons for our life choices. I was able to forgive myself for my bad choices as an adult when I saw how I came to make them in the first place.

Like I always say; The key to the present is in the past!
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


My mom has specialized in that comment as well….. “you don’t know because you don’t have children”.

We don’t have to have children to know the difference between right and wrong. That is one of my mom’s “go to” comments when she couldn’t think of anything else, or when she just wanted to throw me off course with crazy making. Sometimes, like much of what she says, it wouldn’t even pertain to having children. Just some sideways comment to get my head reeling.

My mother also apologized about a year ago in an email to my sisters and myself. In my humble opinion, it’s only meaningful and heartfelt if things change. Some things she flat out refused to acknowledge, let alone apologize for. She apologized for the things she knew there was no lying out of. One of them was badmouthing our dad. She’s done it for so many years and in front of so many people, she knew there was NO WAY to lie out of it. If she’d seen a way, she would have tried.

I need more than this. I need a person to talk to me face to face, express some remorse, some sincere regret, and any little bit of effort toward making things better would be nice. Mother would NEVER reduce herself to that. I’m okay with it; it’s just more proof that she’s not a human being inside. More of an empty shell who doesn’t want to operate on any level of reality.

Peace and love,


It’s cool that you see this comment the way you do. My mother said stuff like that to me as well until I had kids. Then she just found a different way to discount me. I spent most of my life waiting to be valid. When my kids were small, I didn’t know anything because they were still small. (just wait Darlene… you will find out when they are older…)

There is such FREEDOM in knowing that these kinds of comments were about her and never about me. She was a master at discounting and invalidating me at all stages of my life.
hugs, Darlene



I’ve been reading your articles and posts ever since I stumbled on this site.

I think it is important to tell you how VERY Valuable your insights and guidance are.

I began my journey of healing after my abusive husband of 20 years tried to kill me. THE shock left me in such a dark place of hopelessness,followed by my family and especially my mothers reaction to my needing help and support. In one instant, it was time for me to face reality and to find out how I got to this point in my life.

I have been in trauma therapy and have studied and learned all i can about abusive people with personality disorders. I am feeling safer. I came here to begin the TRUE Healing of my childhood.I come here everyday and read one of your articles and let it sink in..

I cannot tell you how helpful all of your words and experiences are to me.Such a blessed writer you are!

There are so many of us looking for help and healing. I come across so many and offer what I can(what I have learned so far).

I just wanted to say thank you, thank you, thank you!
You have come so far and YOU are a sign of hope for so many of us. If you can do it…so can I.

I began to break the code of silence by writing about my childhood experiences in a journal..getting to where the damage began.(after reading your articles) Somehow writing it ( the truth and not the version my mother wants me to recall) made me feel like a bad person.. as if I was betraying HER( them) the code of silence and keeping up the family image,… but at the same time I can feel the freeing and the healing beginning. It’s as if a load is being lifted off and the truth will lead to freeing me up to be ME and to let go of the less than, guilt and shame, servant messages/beliefs that I carried for so long. Changing what a good girl looks like and MOM’s influence is slipping away and a healthier one is slowly getting in.

Thank YOU! Thank you! Thank you!
I hope you write a book. THERE is a NEED for this.



I read some of your experiences with your mother. NOT good. I am no expert but I have been through a LOT and have done extensive therapy and studied abusers. In my opinion it would be a good start for you to look up Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

You have become a threat to your Mothers false image of herself and she WILL treat you as if YOU are the crazy, messed up one. If she is disordered… your complaints will go unheard and you will be looking for validation that will NEVER come and are setting yourself up for SO much pain. I SO feel for you. Been there.

If you can learn to let go of the dream to get you mother to accept accountability.. and focus on YOUR own healing, you will be putting your precious energy and heart into something worthwhile… YOU.

Please do not let your family define your worth or value. and Please do not allow yourself to finish yourself off.

keep working on YOUR healing.



Welcome to EFB ~ thank you for your comments and for validating the importance of what I am doing here. I used journaling so much in my own process and it is such a valuable tool that I use it with my clients in the coaching process too!

About what you posted to GDW ~ I ask that people don’t tell others what to do or tell them what we think the answers for them are; this website works because my work is about me and my discoveries and healing is about having the permission to make our own decisions and come to our own conclusions in our own time. I had a life time of being told what to do and what to think and it is so important that I learned to think for myself and to be empowered to make my own decisions.
Thanks for understanding!
hugs, Darlene


Darlene, I am so thankful for reading websites such as yours, because as you say, the programming I got was deep and from a young age! I often felt like I was in trouble and came believe I ‘was’ trouble and became trouble as well; and then troubled!! The validation you are giving yourself is resonating with me and well, thank you. It seems to be taking a mountain of the opposite kind of self talk, reading and recognition to undo it all. I would undermine myself and my own feelings when I fact I needed several great big hugs. wow.


Thanks for this, it makes sense now. My parents – especially Dad – used to act as if I was being manipulative if I had a problem. It hadn’t actually occurred to me that that’s why I blame myself all the time for everything. Im trying to learn how not to do that and to be able to see myself as…well…not omnipotent…because it’s really destroying my health. I also have to remind myself that IT is destroying my health, not ME. Because the thoughts now come from within rather than outside of me then I blame myself for my emotions too – “stop beating yourself up” or “everything would be ok if you could just sort your head out”.


Hi Anon
Welcome~ Awesome breakthrough. Thanks for sharing!
hugs, Darlene


taking on the blame seemd natural – my mmother blamed us for being born in the first place and ruining her life, therefore everything she did was justified

for a long time i thought if i were dead she d be happy and i had ot do this as well – in a way she even expected this to happen –

but as time went on i realised i actually have a huge lust for life dsepite the suicidal ideation and the guilt feelings of never being enough and of ruinin other people s lives

that actually i am funn y and do have humour, and that the reason friendships did not work out was cause it was not safe to have people around me that liked me – they could be in danger or i could be in dagner for my mother could not bear to see m ehappy at most times –

it was a huge effort and still is ot realise i was actually innocent andthat it s become harmful to share the resonpsibility of what happened-

and a learning process to accept that what i truely was responsibel for in that situation was much much less – letting go of that, accepting i do not need to save my mother anymore and never needed to to begin with – and that i m aloowed to forgive myself and to leave what she was responsible for on her shoulders –

has been a relief so far and strange too – as i ve lived my life as a servant almost apologising for breahting –
and feeling worhthless

to see my own worth is stilll hard cause i was told to be worthy i should hae a hwhole lists of things i do not have – i can see however that there is a light – which is valuable – i just need to see it again after all the hearthache

and empower myself again without waiting for my family to do so – it would have been nice if they would ve seen me for who i am instead of who they liked me to be – but i can do that – i do not need to wait nor need to convince them – it s time – right now

thx for sthairing these inspirational thoughts

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