Tips on Getting Through Christmas and Family Dysfunction


EFB Christmas flowersI was originally going to title this post “Tips on Getting through Christmas Holidays when Family is an F Word” but I thought perhaps that would offend people who saw it here or in EFB Facebook so I amended the title, but I still wanted to share it with you because sometimes that is how I feel.

Christmas and the holiday season in general is often a really difficult time for anyone who is involved with or has ever been involved with dysfunctional family situations.  It has been at least 6 years now since I have spoken to my mother at Christmas time. Each year is easier. This year when I began to think about writing something about this time of year for my blog, I realized that I don’t think about my family very much anymore during the holidays. For a minute I wondered if I ‘should’ feel guilty about that but the truth is that by their own choice they are not part of my life and when I think about it, there is nothing to miss. I haven’t spent Christmas with my family of origin since I was age 15 with my mother and age 18 with my father.

For those of us who have gone no contact with our families, the holiday season can be a time of questioning our decisions and second guessing ourselves.

For those of us who are getting ready to see abusive or controlling parents during the holidays, it can be a time of anxiety and dread mixed with the hope that things will be better this year.

Here are some Tips for getting through the Holidays;

~ Remember that you are special. You are as special as anyone else in this world no matter how you have been defined otherwise. If people treat you like you are less important than they are, remember that their treatment of you defines THEM, it doesn’t define you.

~ Remember that you are worthy. You deserve to be respected and to be treated with love and care.

~ Remember that LOVE is an action word.

~ Remind yourself that you have equal value and that no one can take that truth away from you.

Celebrate YOU this year.

~Celebrate that you are on the journey to wholeness.

~ Celebrate that you are willing to face the pain and to see the truth about where it actually came from.

~ Acknowledge the child that you were, and remember that children are not born broken or evil. Give yourself love.

~ Set aside some time for yourself. What makes you happy? Chocolate? Watching movies under a fuzzy blanket? Playing sports or watching sports? Taking a bubble bath? Reading a good book?

~ Allow yourself to cry if that is what you need to do.

~ Validate your pain. It comes from somewhere and it isn’t wrong or bad. Validate that having to face the truth about some of the relationships that you have or have had IS painful and that the treatment that we are talking/sharing about here in Emerging from Broken is really horrible.

~ Validate your existence. Validate that you deserve to be loved, respected and nurtured and give that to yourself. 

~ Go out for a walk and acknowledge the beauty in nature. Turn your face up to the sun and give yourself a hug.

~ Think of 5 things that you are grateful for, even if those things are just little things like sunshine, blankets, a bed, toilet paper, or a device that enables you to read this blog.

There is no ‘right or wrong’ when it comes to how we heal. It is okay to be IN the process which means that YOU get to decide how you proceed. The goal isn’t to go no contact and it isn’t to fix the people who are hurting you. The goal is to realize your own value and worth. The goal is to find the false belief system that resulted in the messages that you received about yourself through the actions and or inactions of the people who were supposed to be taking care of you.

I didn’t learn how to think for myself growing up and learning how to think took a while for me. Learning what was “best” (which is always what love is) for me and for others also took some time. I had some stuff to sort out and it took a little time to do that. 

There are many blog posts here that you may find helpful for getting through the holidays. Check the buttons under the header graphic for topics that may interest you. Last years conversations are currently active. There are huge conversations on almost every article and there are over 400 posts. Many people have written to me that they find my book a huge support in the healing process. People are printing it out and using it like a work book! Use whatever you can to continue the process of self-validation. You are worth it!

You can get a copy of the book by clicking the book image in the upper right side bar here or click this book title “Emerging from Broken ~ The Beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing

Please feel free to utilize the comment section of this post as a “meeting place” to share about Christmas when there are difficult family circumstances and to support each other through the holidays.

I wish everyone in the Emerging from Broken Community a wonderful Holiday Season and a Merry Christmas!

Thank you for being a part of my dream to make a difference in a hurting world.

Love and Hugs,

Darlene Ouimet

Categories : Family



Thanks Darlene. Merry Christmas to you. You have made a difference in a hurting world. The tips are really good ones!



Hi Andria!
Thanks! Merry Christmas to you as well!
Hugs, Darlene


THANK YOU many times over Darlene. I cried ready the tips. Other than one close friend no one ever expressed to me that I have personal value. This lack was the root of all my issues. I am. No contact so no stress just sadness that it has to be this way. Thank you for opening up a new world of hope for me. Best wishes for a happy life with those that love you. Your scooter friend Karen


Thank you Darlene for all you do. You are an inspiration for so many and have given hope for healing when I wasn’t sure what to do.

I am hurting today because as the only woman in our family I am expected to be the holiday cook. I am willing to do my share of work for the holidays, but why should I be shamed into cooking every Christmas? My husband says that I am blowing up the holidays when I try to address the issue with him. He guilts me in to feeling that I would be letting the family down if I don’t hostess the dinner. I don’t think he is capable of putting himself in my place, and seeing that I too would like to have a relaxing Christmas sometimes where I don’t have to be in the kitchen. He is usually considerate of me and my feelings but inflexible on this topic. I’m feeling very blue about this today. Darlene, you often say that live is about what is best for everyone in the relationship. It doesn’t feel ” best” to have my feelings on this ignored.


Darlene…how hilarious…the “F” word!
Thank you for the wonderful article. I think the tips are excellent for every stressful time of year too! Merry Christmas to you and your beautiful family! xoxo

Amber, I went through what you described with my husband for most of our married life. It played out in the meal preparation more than anything, and I did not feel valued or appreciated …or off the hook if I felt stressed or sick or tired. It didnt matter how much I tried to explain or ask for him to help or for me to get a break…he resisted me at every turn. I felt trapped, frustrated and hurt. As I began to be aware and believe that I am equal to my husband and that my rights were not being respected…in fact, I realized that I had never signed a contract that I would be the only cook in the home, the only cleaner in the home etc. I also realized that he wasnt going to willingly change because he didnt want to get off his butt and help me. He didnt want things to change between us because he had it really great the way it was. I actually served him his food and put the salt and pepper on his food….that is how I was!! I decided I wouldnt mind the wrath of my husband in order to change things around our relationship as I got healthier emotionally. I declared “cereal night”…a night where everyone eats cereal or whatever they want for dinner..and they have to prepare it themselves. I also declared that if everyone wanted a huge holiday meal, then they could pick how to help prepare and fix that meal from now on. If they didnt like it, then I was going on strike until they agreed because I was done being taken advantage of. I also told my husband that I was finished serving him his plates of food…he could get them himself. It sounds so simple to everyone who hasnt had the kind of husband I have, but he is amazingly stubborn and wont budge unless HE wants to…not because of how I felt. It was a war for a short time, but I held my own and made sure not to cave, and as time has gone by the last few years, the changes he has made to help me have been nothing short of a miracle. He now cleans the kitchen, empties the dishwasher, helps cook and shop and we do things TOGETHER. Holidays we make easy because he helps so much, and there are many times when he takes me out to dinner now for “date night”. Total turnaround. The best thing that happened to me was when I discovered in that area of my life that I wasnt his servant..or anyone elses..and that I am equal and deserve to enjoy the holiday dinner without being the only one preparing it on demand. I feel for you, Amber! I have been there and done all of that for so many years. It has only been the last three years of our 21 year marriage that things have changed like this! I know it is so difficult and I hope and wish for you freedom to be equal and have fun and not have to fix everything for everyone in the holidays coming up! You do deserve…just as I did …and we all do…to not be everyone’s servant in the kitchen. The only reason my husband guilted me was because I had made everything so comfortable for him and he didnt want to change a thing…..I hope you begin to heat things up in your kitchen with him soon!!! Light a fire under him!! Merry Christmas! 🙂


I’m thinking of staying in an hotel because I’m living with a mother I have a strained relationship with since I can’t afford to move out yet after making the mistake of moving in. My sister is visiting from Chicago. If they don’t like that, well so be it. I may be living with her, but I’m not a minor anymore. Oh, I hope to go NC (or at least LC) again!


Merry Christmas to you Darlene, and thank you so much for all you do.
And Merry Festivus for the rest of us who may not celebrate Christmas.

I’ve been dreading the holidays because I had no plans, but a neighbour has invited me to spend Christmas Eve with him and maybe watch a movie, and that means so much to me. I don’t think he can know how much that lifted my spirits, to be thought of and included.

Last week I put up an old Nativity scene that I inherited, we had it under the tree when I was a kid. I was going to throw it away, but at the last minute decided to put it up. I decided to spend Christmas with my Dad even though he’s been gone 25 years. It may sound morbid but I felt him around and wanted to draw him near. Despite everything he was the parent I was closest to. I also placed a few Christmas ornaments we’d had when I was a kid around the scene. I’ve also been writing him letters over the holidays. For months I dreaded this season coming even though I’ll always love Christmas. When I thought of doing this I didn’t feel so alone, it works for me.

Thank you for the tips, Darlene. I think often one can feel like you’re the only person going through something, the only one alone for the holidays, the only one second-guessing themselves. I would be with my family without hesitation if I knew I’d be treated with love and respect. So as lonely as it may be being alone, I’m drawing a line for my protection.

My neighbour allowed me to use his Netflix account and I’ve been watching some good crap movies I’d be embarrassed to tell people I like, but it’s helping. And I remind myself love is not a bunch of words, it’s a verb.

Blessings to everyone here, and a special thought to Pam, Kaycee and Light, don’t mean to forget anyone….Doren


FinallyFree, thanks for your supportive words. I really appreciate them, especially the validation. It’s easy to fall into feeling ” selfish” especially around Christmas when I don’t feel like cooking again for the- I don’t know how many years in a row! We’re made to feel like Scrooges, when in fact Scrooge was stingy and self- centered and I am not. All I ever ask for is to be considered; to have people consider how it would feel to be in my place. I understand how people don’t want to give up a good thing, meaning good for them, and in many cases harmful or unfair to someone else. I don’t want to be in the position of always being the giver. After all, this has been a lifetime role for me because I had been groomed to give and give by my selfish mother from a very young age, and not expect anything in return. And other people have me tagged as a giver and use it to their advantage.

Like you, I have made progress with him over the years. When I went back to work full time ( also raising two kids) my husband started helping more with stuff around the house. I took a couple of nights a week off from cooking and we either got take out or went to a kid friendly restaurant. But there has been an issue around the holidays for quite a few years now. As I said before, I am the only woman of ” hostessing” age in our family now. Does that mean I should have to cook every year so the guys can enjoy their holiday? Yes, my husband is in HIS comfort zone. A meal magically gets prepared in the kitchen while the guys are enjoying their appetizers in the living room. So…..when do I get to enjoy a Christmas without preparing a big meal including serving appetizers and desserts.

There has been a positive development tonight. My husband came back to me and said that I seem very quiet. I said, yes I am quiet because I am upset by our earlier conversation. I am upset that he seems to be unable or unwilling to put himself in my shoes, or to be willing to explore solutions so I don’t have to hostess every year. He was actually open at this point to discussing some solutions for next year like traveling to visit my son, or getting some already prepared dishes that just need to be heated up. Atleast I finally felt that I was heard, and that he was willing to look at other options with me that would make my holiday more enjoyable. So, FinallyFree, maybe I too will be finally free of being the holiday servant every Christmas. I’m glad I stood up for myself and some progress seems to have been made.


First no contact Xmas. Took as many precautions with my email account as I could, so hoping, if she sends a nasty email like last Xmas, it will be blocked. I know I am loved and accepted by my heavenly father, but if I said my heart and guts do not ache from being disowned, shunned, and cast aside, I would be lying. Especially when my dad goes along with her cruelty, and my brother continues to play dumb as her doormat, even allowing my mom to be disrespectful to his future bride.

I have (literally) the best husband and 2 awesome boys. I have cried and reminisced of Xmas pasts, when I was a little girl and queenie’s behavior was overshadowed by the magic of Xmas. I intend to have a merry Christmas with my little family and embrace the goodness that is mine. Thank you for a space to share!


Merry CHRISTMAS and happy holidays to all of you!!! Darlene, you have been instrumental to my healing process. The holidays ARE THE WORSE! Your tips have encouraged me to plunge forward. I know to hold tight and give my love to my precious children and husband. WE ALL WILL GET THROUGH THIS BUT WE MUST TAKE THE PLUNGE! Love and hugs… Susan


Christmas is that time when I recognize if there is a God, all else aside, He made a terrible error and put me in a family of foreign strangers where I have no place, nothing in common and never have. Coping strategies help, thanks Darlene.

I close my eyes tightly each year and am always so grateful when it is over. It is so excruciatingly painful. I am the misfit elf of Christmas, the dentist among the toy makers.

There is never is a real space at the table for the scapegoat. The edges are too frayed. It is as if they put me in the garbage disposal as dinner scraps my whole life but now expect me to show up as a presentable side dish at their glorious feast, better for the beating.


Thank you for this website and have A very Merry Christmas. 8 years with no holidays with my family. It gets easier every year. My husbands family accepts me as I am so I love seeing them. We celebrate Christmas this Saturday with his family. They don’t judge me like my family does.


Amber, I am happy that you stood up for yourself and it turned out to be such a positive talk with your husband! Yay! I would rather be having fun with my family and have ready-made dishes instead of homemade if that is what it takes too. I completely understand the grooming to do the serving and always give and give and give. It takes so much boldness to step out of that mindset and to make sure my needs are getting met too. I still catch myself slipping into it from time to time, but I am much better now and much more aware. It sounds like you have a wonderful husband like I do, but they seem to require us to put our foot down too. I hope it doesn’t sound strange, but I feel proud of you today! I hope you end up enjoying your Holidays now that there is hope for something different and better for YOU next time. Merry Christmas!!


Amber, I don’t know why I forgot to mention it, but my solution at Christmas was to start a new tradition …we eat out! That wouldn’t work for everyone, of course, but it has worked for us. We have even invited friends who were alone one year to join us and we all had a great time. We absolutely look forward to it every year now, and we ALL get served. 🙂


Merry X’mas to all!!

I found many posts here give me guidance/courage/strength to move on while struggling. Every holiday season, many things can be triggers which bring out hurtful memories and painful flashbacks.

Tears and invisible pain will come out from inside whenever i see warm families hanging around, will ask myself what’s wrong with me? why i will come to this situation? Why everyone seems so joyful or supportive among family members, except me? No words can explain such pain and hurts buried deep down in the heart.

Though i’m still struggling and got lost from time to time, but i can find myself move towards a right tunnel. The more i read/explore, the more i understand what’s right and wrong. It never easy to enjoy holidays but at least this is a platform for every survived soul can support each other.


FinallyFree thanks again!! And it is especially validating that you feel proud of me. There’s always that nagging feeling in the background that I’m being selfish when I want my needs met.i know I was groomed to be that way since early childhood so it seems unnatural to have the right to have my needs met too.. My husband grew up in a family where the women were complete servants to the men. His father wouldn’t even get up to get a napkin during a meal his wife had to do it. My mother in law was stuck doing every holiday when we were dating and early years of marriage and no one seemed to care. They were comfortable with her doing everything because they got to enjoy their holiday. It always bothered me though. So when we got our house, I offered to do either Thanksgiving or Christmas each year. When she wasn’t able to do holidays anymore my husband and family just figured it was my job to do every holiday. Yeah, THEY were happy with that arrangement but it didn’t meet my needs at all! Now that the fog is clearing, I really see how selfish it is. Funny that I could see that years ago on my mother in laws behalf but not on my own. Yes the fog was thick!

The food is already bought for this Christmas so I will go along with the plans, but I want changes for next year. On the good side, my husband did offer to help slice and set up the appetizers and he went out to buy the desserts. So there have been some tweeks already.

Have a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful 2015 with continued healing.


Merry Christmas to everyone – however you can manage to make it through.

I made a new friend this year who invited my husband & me to their home for Christmas dinner. She has shown me more compassion and kindness in the months I’ve known her than some in my family have ever shown me.

I’m looking forward to something new and different. I’ve been NC with most of my family for a year already, but I’m struggling a little with being NC with my children this year. When I doubt myself I remind myself that I am not punishing them, but protecting myself.

I’ve been missing a fantasy of what a family could be, not a family that really is. If there is real love in any of them, they may begin to understand. If they don’t, I will be on my own side from now on.



I forgot to check the box that says “notify me of followup comments via e-mail”. Is there another way to subscribe without posting a comment?


Happy Christmas Darlene and everyone on the blog!
I am on vacation for Christmas and wouldn’t you know that where I am currently there are lots of people. People by themselves, couples, couples with kids who have just gone away for this vacation. No tinsel anywhere!
I do feel a pinch at the idea of being by myself for that “traditional” Christmas dinner but I remind myself that “traditions” can involve many things and not all of them necessary or even pleasant.


S1988, I love he hotel idea as a way of coping and getting through the holidays! When we became adults, it freed us automatically to make our own choices about where and how and when to spend Christmas, but I never thought about a hotel when I was younger! I wish I had…what a wonderful time I would have had on my own…and able to “escape” too. Whatever you decide, I wish you peace and comfort and joy!!


Hi Karen
Thank you many times over for all your support, validation and involvement in EFB this past few years! I appreciate you!
Hugs!!! Darlene

Hi Amber
The whole cook thing is a huge one for me. The first Christmas Jim and I and our kids were alone was when I refused to do the Christmas meal with Jim’s family on a day other than Christmas. You would have thought I shot someone! I was such a servant in the cooking department and for so long that I didn’t even realize that it defined me! That Christmas was the beginning of freedom too though.
And Amber ~ it isn’t LOVE OR best to have your feelings ignored. And it isn’t FAIR if you are the only one cooking Christmas dinner! I hear you so much it hurts! (I might write a whole post about the cooking thing as soon as I have time!) Hang in there!
hugs, Darlene


YES that is pretty much my story too! (including the war for awhile!) I too realized that I was a person too, and that I sought approval (which I NEVER got anyway) by serving, cooking, and doing all things for all people.
Thanks for sharing!

p.s. about my in-laws and my family of origin, none of them cared when I drew a boundary which is a huge truth leak about my value in their eyes. The truth is actually pretty obvious when I look at the way this all went down.

Hugs, Darlene

Sending you wishes and hugs for a great year ahead. Glad you are with us.
hugs, Darlene


Thank you for this post. On your last post, we got off topic and I take the blame for that! We got into singles and childfree.

It took me years to figure out I hated Christmas. I used to live 3,000 miles away. Christmas was the “obligation” I HAD to do each year. I booked a flight for Christmas Eve, return trip Dec 26. Two nights. My parents always wondered why I wouldn’t “stay longer.” I blamed the blackout dates. (I was able to get away with that.) But it wasn’t the blackout dates. I just didn’t want to be there in the first place. Believe me, when you have to FLY to visit the family at Christmas, it’s much easier to control with a plane schedule than when you drive.

When I moved closer and was able to drive, then it was, “Why can’t you stay longer????” I had to make up excuses, like, “Studying for a test (that I’m going to flunk anyway) for a professional certification (that I wasn’t required to get….)” Oh man, having to make up the excuses. I finally put a name to what my Mom was doing. She was requiring “minimum required stays.” Didn’t know that a visit to the family meant “minimum required stays.” This was from a Mom who kept saying, “when you grow up, you can make your OWN decisions/choices.” (HA! What she meant was, “You had better choose and do what your parents would have done”)

I finally told my family I HATE Christmas. I don’t like the “gifts” thing. I’m with Sheldon Cooper of Big Bang Theory: “You aren’t giving me a gift, you are giving me an ‘obligation’.” At first my family did the “oh you don’t mean it…..” but I finally said, YES I DO! So now I’m no longer obligated to this holiday. I do what I want.


Hi Doren
Merry Festivus to you too! I love watching “crap” movies!!
I am glad that you got an invite for Christmas Eve.
hugs, Darlene

Amber ~ I just read your update! YAY for being heard! That makes such a difference!

Jill ~ YAY for a wonderful Christmas with the people who love you and the people you love and glad you are here too.
hugs, Darlene


Hi Susan
Yay for holding on tight. The first couple of years were the hardest for me but this past few years have been the best Christmases EVER in my life! It really does get better and seeing the truth more and more clearly made it easier and easier as well.
Hugs, Darlene

Something that really helped me was realizing that if there was no place for me I could make my own space. I decided to refuse the scraps and feed myself real delicious food! I took my life back and that is what EFB is really all about.
You deserve all the wonder and magic that life has to offer. We all do! I am so glad you are here,
hugs, Darlene


Hi Cindy
Merry Christmas! Yay for being with people who are mutually respectful!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Vivian
Merry Christmas to you as well! I found that when I flipped the question “what’s wrong with me” to “what happened to me” I began to see things differently. The way I was treated by them wasn’t about me. It was about what’s wrong with them. And the pain lessened when I began to see what happened to me, instead of looking for what was ‘wrong with me’.
So glad you are here!
hugs, Darlene


That is awesome to have a new friend and for being able to comfort yourself with the truth. (that you are not punishing but doing what you need to do for you) I reminded myself that same thing many many times.
Hugs, Darlene
about the subscribe button, I don’t know of any other way to subscribe to comments but to click the little box.



Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to the readers and contributors here on the board, and many, many thanks to Darlene for starting up this community and making it a safe and comforting place!

I hope the New Year brings light, love, and happiness to each of you.

Love from Light



Hi Alice
Happy Christmas! Yay for vacation! And so true about traditions! We have made some new ones in our family and will continue to do so! No more painful holidays! Have a great time wherever you are Alice!
hugs! Darlene


Darlene, thank you for your validation on the cooking thing. You are so spot on in knowing my feelings about it and it is real good to be heard thousands of miles away!
Yes, I think I made some progress in being heard at home yesterday. Yeah, I know, the reaction initially wasn’t so good. It was like I was doing something terrible in wanting to enjoy my own holiday. But the beginnings of understanding did seep through. Since we have all the food for tomorrow’s dinner I will cook it, and take my husband up on his offers to do certain things to help. Then, maybe something even better next year!

I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a fantastic 2015. You do so much good for so many, and I hope it’s a wonderful year with even more doors opening up for you and your great work.

To everyone on here, Merry Christmas and may 2015 bring healing and happiness to you all.


I like your original title, Darlene. It is definitely an F word for me. And I really appreciate these tips. The holiday season has been really insanely difficult for me this year, as my partner of seven years died suddenly two months ago, and I’m alone. In a lot of ways it feels similar to the two holiday seasons that I spent breaking up with my ex-family, eight years ago and experiencing all of that loss and abandonment. I’m not only grieving my partner, but also I had to break things off with a “friend” of ours over thanksgiving who was making extremely invalidating and dismissive comments to me after he died, who I ultimately realized was fake and had never actually respected me. That was really difficult, as I don’t really have many local friends.

For the past month I’ve been on a rollercoaster of stress, sickness, and anguish that I can’t seem to get off of, and it’s been frightening. I have to leave my entire life behind and start something, somewhere new, which sounds nice, but this intermediate period in-between where I try to set that up and make sure I can survive is filled with doubts, dead ends, and ghosts. It’s been a lot to deal with. I’ve been afraid of my ex-family resurfacing in my life too, though that hasn’t happened.

I’m trying to rest, and avoid stress triggers so I can still have some semblance of a holiday. It wasn’t easy, but it’s working so far, I feel relaxed and am doing self-care, staying warm and making sure I have plenty of films and light reading to enjoy depending on what mood I’m in. I don’t have a lot of energy, but am reminding myself I don’t have to do anything, so that’s ok.

I wish you, Darlene, and everyone here a happy holiday.


Hi Light!
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays back to you! Thank you for being part of ‘all this’.

Everything didn’t change all at once for me; it was a process and often times painfully slow, but it is OKAY to be IN the process. As the fog lifted I saw more and more clearly and made some adjustments. One time Jim said “It’s never enough for you, is it?” because he thought that he had changed SO much and that should have been enough, and that hurt my feelings but I had to stick with the truth of it all. Because of my low self esteem I believed that I could only ask for “so much” and then I ‘should’ just be happy with the small changes and back off.. but in actual fact it was in realizing my actual value that required me to keep going forward with the changes and my requests. If I suddenly realized that something ‘defined me’ as LESS or discounted me in general then that ‘thing’ needed to be addressed as well. It was a process but we have a wonderful, mutually respectful and co-creative relationship today where my needs are just as important as everyone else’s (and so are my husbands and so are my kids!) and that is a beautiful way to live!
Hugs, Darlene


Darlene, wow! I’ve heard the ” it’s never enough for you” comment too!! And I also do the ” I can only ask for so much”. It sort of reminds me of dipping my feet into a pool to test the water before going in. And then going in slowly after that and that is how the process goes for me, testing the waters a little at a time and as I gain confidence going in a bit further.
I think that what you said about things that define you as less than or feel discounting being used as a measuring stick for what needs to be addressed and Im gong to run things through that thinking process as I go forward.
I’m glad you are enjoying that wonderful mutually respectful and co- creative relationship today! 🙂


Thanks for this comforting post, Darlene.

I’m spending this holiday completely alone. If you are too, you have company!

I’ve been NC with my f-word for 14 years. Holidays alone are much happier than the stomach-churning ones I had with them.

I stocked in a bottle of wine and some goodies; my two entertaining boy-cats are with me and I’ll watch true crime shows and study French on the internet and maybe start sewing a winter robe for myself.

I’m also going to plan my goals for the coming year. I’ve gotten many unkind people out of my life, so it’s devoid of people right now, but will focus on filling it back up with kinder people and more fun in the future.

Very best wishes to all for the upcoming year!


DXS — 23

I never liked Christmas and the gift thing either.

Since being dragged into nursery school church at the age of 3 I didn’t buy religion, and when I was a kid my mom would give me one inexpensive item for Christmas but little mountains of gifts to my sister and horses, bridles, saddles and cowboy boots to my brother. Thus Christmas made me queasy.

After having deleted Christmas for myself, this year I added back a few things that I like such as a couple of decorated, lit antique trees glowing around my house. I also avoid stores and advertisements. Now it’s a relaxing time of year as long as I don’t dwell on my lack of family.



So sorry to hear your partner suddenly died. Please accept my sincere condolences. That is so painful for your “fake” friend to have said such dismissive comments. At least you found out the truth. It is still tough to have to deal with another loss even if it is for the better. I hope you will be able to get off that roller coaster soon. It is hard being in the hallway. I am glad that you feel relaxed and are not living in fear at the moment. I wish you all the best for 2015.


Good for you for getting the unkind people out of your life. I hope you have a lot of fun and great people in your life in the new year! You have two lovely friends living with you. Cats are great four footed family members. I have seven of them. Best wishes to you.

I hope every one has a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!



I got Christmas cards from my sister and my mother, and honestly it just made me angry.

After “I have nothing to offer and there will be no discussion” and “you should be at your father’s graveside for his birthday”, do they think Christmas cards are going to make everything OK? Are they going to keep ignoring the real issue and tell me that I’m “bitter and unforgiving” for not responding to their effort?

I’ve been told many times that they “don’t know how to fix it” but they never consider that anything is broken except me.

It doesn’t bother me so much now that I typed it out like that. Resuming the relationships that existed before would be like suicide for me. I’m not going to let that happen.

Now, back to my crocheting 🙂



A relative asked why (email) I’m not at the family gathering and I told her in three brief sentences why. It is frightening, not knowing what her reaction is. I may hear nothing, which is a common response in my family and why I don’t really fit in.

Caden I am so sorry for the loss of your partner. I can only imagine what your grief might be like. It sounds like you are doing extreme self-care which is admirable.

I’m thinking of all of you who are muscling through it as I am…….

As Darlene suggested…5 things I am grateful for:

I am warm and inside and have plenty of food on a rainy day
I feel relaxed and not stressed from family
Friends have been in touch with me
I am practicing self-care by making this choice

Would anyone else like to make a list?



I understand the anger at getting these insincere greeting cards. It is just some motions they are going through. There is no thought behind it. There is no thought to really trying to figure out what is wrong. There is no real caring involved on their part.

After a year of not talking to my sister, she had to call me because our father went to the hospital while he was visiting them. This is how she broached the subject of my NC with her: “well, are we going to start talking again?” Spoken in a very brusk voice to me. I hesitated to think about what I was going to say. She retorted: “you’re hesitating.” Again spoken in a “not too friendly” voice. I said, “let’s just get through this first.” Well, anyone can see where this was going…it was not going anywhere. She was still going to treat me with the same ill-mannered style she always did.

I commend you Hobie for not going on a suicide mission to rekindle the “relationship”. Enjoy your crocheting!



Caden, my heart goes out to you! I don’t know what to say. Sending you hugs and peace and comfort during this difficult time…….and many many blessings to you!


I want to wish EVERYONE here at EFB a very peaceful and grace-filled holiday …. 🙂


Caden, When I was on here before I just skimmed Darlene’s response to me and missed your post. I would like to offer my condolences to you, I am so sad to hear of your partners sudden passing. It is sad that your ” friend” behaved so insensitively towards you. When you most needed to be heard, that person invalidated you. I completely understand why you decided to end that relationship. I’m hoping for happier days ahead for you.


Light….I love your 5 things you are thankful for! #1 I,too, feel relaxed and not stressed from family.
2. I am thankful for my little family and kitty
3. For the few, really nice friends I still have
4. Feeling at home in my own spaces….I never felt like I had a real “home”, but now I finally feel comfortable!
5. I have an outdoor space with lots of trees, flowers, bushes, garden etc. That is vital to my sense of well-being….even if it is winter and everything looks dried up! 🙂

Merry Christmas to you…I loved your sweet message to everyone! 🙂



I’m impressed with your ability to self-soothe, and your courage to let go of someone go rather than allow them to invalidate you just to avoid being alone. I am so sorry to hear that your partner passed away. My heart goes out to you and I wish you comfort through this season.

I also missed your post when I skimmed through the first time. I’m sorry that I overlooked it.



Merry Christmas Darlene, thank you for your wonderful posts! Lisa


Davina, you have everything in place for a very cosy Christmas and it sounds very pleasant. I hope you have a wonderful time with your boy-cats. I have one…we lost our other..and couldnt do without him!!! Merry Christmas and here’s to a very Happy New Year too! 🙂



I thought I was the only one! The gift thing got worse for me the last seven years of contact with the parent I now call “V”. I got one inexpensive gift (a sweater) and my sibling was given a mountain of gifts, coincidentally it was often horse tack as well.The last ever Christmas I spent with V and my sibling they apologized for not doing a Christmas morning stocking for myself, but since we were getting older it didn’t seem such a big deal and money was tight. But they of course had enough money for the golden child and stuffed a stocking for my sibling.



so glad I found this post, thank you for one of the nicest Christmas gifts I will have as I navigate the first year with no contact with 99% of my FOO.

I have been no contact with the parent units since 2007 & the other as of 2012. Today has been a bunch of mixed emotions, and I keep thinking I am supposed to be cheerful and happy or I will spoil what is supposed to be a joyous holiday. I am trying to steer away from that and instead be mad, sad etc. as it comes up.
This year I am also really faced with figuring out what Christmas means to me outside of family, religion, and what do I want it to look like?

In the past that has all been based on what I thought it “should” look like and my families idea of what it should look like. Abusive families like mine tend to be symbiotic and co-dependent and all meaning is focused around them and making them happy. When you pull out from that the feeling of detachment is strange, and a little empty even because none of what you did was ever for you or about you. On the outside you may end up finding that you may not know what is meaningful to you because all that energy and thought was spent on them. This year I have been trying to do whatever I felt like, and if I wasn’t feeling super in the holiday mood about one thing or another, I decided to leave it aside for some other year.

Merry Christmas to everyone here! I am glad to not be truly alone in dealing with these things, but know there are others on the waters with me.


Happy holidays, everyone!

Caden, I’m so sorry and sad to hear what you’ve been going through. I’m glad you’re hanging in and taking care of yourself, and I really hope that everything will come together for you in your next steps in life. That’s so much to go through all at once. My heart goes out to you. I wish I could say something more. I appreciate you and am sending and wishing you love.

I’m wishing everyone here love, self-expanding, -accepting, -soothing, absolute pure love.

Thanks, Darlene, for all your dedication. Wishing you, and everyone, the best for 2015!


I’m so glad I have somewhere to go when I feel so forsaken and sad. Thank you Darlene for opening up your heart to those of us who have been rejected (essentially) by our so-called family. My daughters and I usually go to my oldest brother’s house for Christmas. I still feel and have felt that we are welcomed but with a mixture of obligation and a dash of we really don’t know you, you’re a stranger to us. I may see my brother only twice a year and he only lives an hour away. He’s the only one left that stays connected me despite the fact that I spoke the truth of the pain at the hands of our father. I committed the unpardonable sin of questioning how my other siblings have deified our dad and significantly revised history. Because of this I’ve been cut off by my three other siblings and made the scapegoat. They give attention to and spend time with the step-sister my father replaced me with as his wife (at the time) gave him the ultimatum… her and her daughter or me. So he dumped me and now the other siblings have taken up the abusive legacy and have cut me out. That is all background. My daughters and I will not be going to my brothers this Christmas because he has cancer and may be dying. He is the last semblance of family I have left and I’m heart-broken. I think my sister-in-law approached the others about maybe asking us for Christmas with them. I didn’t ask for that. I don’t want to see them. Regardless, apparently the answer was “NO” since I haven’t heard anything. They’ve cause untold pain to me by continuing THEIR father’s legacy of rejection, abandonment, and heartless disregard. But, I feel such pain at the prospect of losing my big brother. It will mean that I truly will be all alone in the world and it is breaking my heart. Thanks for listening. This is the only place I feel I can talk about it. No REAL friends and my daughters can only understand just so far.

I do wish the best for everyone during this time. I cannot personally call it a “holiday season” because I don’t feel it.


Hi Davina, DXS, Light and All…

I spend Christmas alone in my house and I like it that way. I can still picture the past bad Christmases—growing up in my parent’s house of course—and I am happy to be free. It’s funny since I like my life and my privacy. Each year, I cook a good meal and watch movies and have a few gifts for me!

My elderly parents stay at their home and then neighbors come over for a Christmas dinner. It’s amazing that these neighbors do so much for my parents with food and entertainment. They can’t see my mom for the real person that she is and my dad, and there has been some gossip regarding me….”where is the adult daughter?” I don’t care what these neighbors think of me and I remain the mystery daughter.

I have appreciated all of the kind comments and support from this site. I wish everyone health and happiness for the new year. (I’m still reading comments from the previous article and want to post more). Thank you all!


Yvonne, my siblings live in other states and since they are both married, no one questions why they don’t show up. But of course, the questions about why *I* don’t show up and my mom is forced to go to other relatives’ homes. Fine. She loves Christmas. I hate it.


From the trenches….hang in there guys it is almost over! Went to see a movie all by myself tonight. What a relief after a family get together. For all of those missing family, I will gladly trade places tomorrow. I don’t know if the whole Christmas fantasy is ever all it is cracked up to be, even with normal families. It seems normal families have good relationships all year and Christmas is just icing on a cake that not many people get to taste. Maybe Christmas is something we have to find a heart place for all on our own. One more day to go! Then I have an after Christmas family wedding, oh joy. The song “I will Survive” comes to mind……


Hi All,

My theme tonight is Peace everyone. All I can say is do whatever you have to do to get it!!! Once again, this year has proven to be another humdinger with more words of wisdom from my FOO in particular big brother. I guess it was his turn to be condescending and disrespectful to me this time around. WHAT’S NEW!!!! Just one more day to survive and then I will actually be able to enjoy Christmas. A day late and a dollar short but it beats not having Christmas at all!!!

Walking into the lion’s den with my in-laws tomorrow night after a big feud over a stinkin snow blower that doesn’t even work from LAST year!!! lol Yes, that’s how we live!!! Let it end already!! I really do like the holiday it is the FOO that I can do without. As I read all of your posts I can see that many of you can relate!!! SAD but TRUE!!!

My doctor asked me if I have any holiday traditions and I resisted the urge to say to him “well if you mean getting drunk and bickering and arguing I guess you could call that family tradition!!!” But I didn’t. Sometimes I don’t think anyone gets how horrible the holidays can be for those of us who suffered such severe abuse when we were children. It’s not so easy to just “get over” years of Christmases being ruined by the ones who should have been loving us. Any hoo this is what it should all be about anyway…

Happy Birthday Jesus!!! Without You I am NOTHING.

I’m gonna say it and live to tell about it: MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

Peace ALL and thanks for being such a blessing in my life.



Darlene, thanks, I decided you are right and I made some time for myself this year, not a popular decision. I was supposed to be slaving in preparation for the big day, in that way where I was insignificant in the grand presentation (as I lack all talent) but useful nonetheless to take out garbage and such. I left and went to a movie. I am a villain now, but I enjoyed myself immensely. It was totally worth it and I think I will be doing this sort of thing often.


For those of you with streaming Netflix: I recommend Advanced Style, a short documentary based in NYC about older women with fashion style. It’s uplifting, fun, and very inspiring. If I recall correctly, one woman who was 93 said she didn’t really start coming into her own until she was 80!!

We still have time.


Lynne, hugs for you as you fight your way through this time. If it makes it easier to know that someone else is having the ‘truth teller’ experience, here goes:

I told one cousin the truth about my mother’s neglect and abuse, and one sibling about the sexual abuse of me, by another sibling. Our family has been shrouded in this denial of abuse, which I believe has also caused one sibling to lose his life.

There were two female cousins I reached out to after my mother passed away, and while I was distancing myself from my immediate family, ie, siblings and the abuse. Unfortunately, they idolized my mother, ‘a favorite aunt’ they described her. I was feeling desperate to be with family, so I did not contradict them. They’ve sent me Christmas cards every year, but not this year. I sent them each a card, but have not heard from them.

They have to know this sends a strong message that since I am telling the truth, me, someone who has no right in their minds to do so, cannot expect to also hear from them, or to be friendly with them in any way. This would send the wrong message to others that the abusive ones are less than perfect!

So, the sexual abusers and the violent(both emotional and physical) ones are the judges, and we are the judged.

I do not claim to be perfect, but I have not harmed these people in any way. All financial dealings between us have been fair and resolved completely. To the best of my ability, I have acknowledged my mistakes and apologized. There’s nothing more for me to do, except protect my life and my little family from anymore of their insanity.

This year we had a delicious meal of broiled salmon, and attended a Christmas service, came home and exchanged gifts. It was lovely, but the sadness hit hard this morning that I cannot be around the people who I grew up with, who feel I am the reason why we are not together!


Hi Mary and others.

Well said. My mother is also idolized, by my brothers. They think that I am wrong when I speak my truth and they’ve said very hurtful things to me.

I am sad as well, especially about not having a good-enough relationship with my mother to see her today.


Here is a poem I found for today:

“Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near,
let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples
falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness.
Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.” – Louise Erdrich


Thank you for these wonderful and comforting words Darlene 🙂 Whilst my family situation isn’t as dire as it could be, there are some aspects of it that leave a lot to be desired. My depression and OCD are also currently ‘playing up’ so I was dreading today. Fortunately, it was better than I feared.


Welcome to the NEW people on this post!
I have been trying to answer all day, but I couldn’t get on my own website! I finally put in a support ticket and apparently my IP address got blocked ~ login attempts were seen as an attack which is so strange! Anyway, the hosting company fixed it but I am out of time to comment to everyone because it is time now to get the Christmas dinner together!

I have been having a lovely time with my family ~ Jim and our three kids ~ and it has been so great to have everyone home this year! We had a really wonderful family evening last night and so far today as well. My daughters are making a puzzle and my son and my husband are having fun with their exploding targets (remember we live way out in the country!)

I feel fulfilled and loved ~ I never would have believed that Christmas (a holiday that once filled me with dread) could be so wonderful and actually get better every year! There is hope!

Love and peace to all,
Hugs, Darlene


For me Christmas is a made up date of when Christ was born. I don’t celebrate a different date to my birthday, if what is on my birth certificate is real. I don’t know what it is to feel joy. Why bother.
I have been screwed since childhood and nothing changes. No self pity, just no joy.


Wendy, I am so sorry you have no joy…and not even for your birthday. I am sorry for what you experienced that stole your joy! I don’t know if this will help, and I apologize if it doesn’t……..I had gotten to a place in my life where I didn’t have joy. I felt crushed like a bug and no one seemed to care about me. Then one day I realized that I wasn’t going to get the kind of care and concern for me that I needed and wanted and I made the choice to go ahead and give myself what I had hoped others would give to me for my birthday. It felt silly at first because I wasn’t used to caring for myself in so many ways, but I bought “gifts” for myself…a cake….coffee…decorations etc…and I planned to do what I wanted on my birthday. At first I felt weird, but then I realized that it was actually feeling fun…and that made me feel much better and less lonely. I started doing that every year for myself and now my husband and daughter both go out of their way to give me over the top birthdays if that is what I want, and they love to see me happy. Healing has been a process for me and one that many times is step by step….sometimes baby steps! There IS hope for YOU to have joy about yourself and your life and your birthday!! Sending you comfort and hugs!! YOU are worth it!


FinallyFree, I like what you said about giving yourself the things you wanted for your birthday. I find it soothing to give myself some of the things I missed out on. I wanted a black pocketbook so badly when I was in sixth grade. I was not typically a fad follower but this was one thing that I did really like and wished for. I was afraid to ask my mother for it even for my birthday, and I felt so envious of the other girls in our class, all except me, who had them. So, years later and on my own I treated myself to one. A wonderful surprise I received from an old classmate decades later was an email with a copy of our kindergarten class picture. Unbeknownst to this classmate, my mother had refused decades before to buy the class picture for me because I wasn’t smiling and she didn’t like the way I looked. I had been really upset by that ( she also bought my brothers first grade picture that same day) so I was so happily surprised to get a copy of the picture so many years later.

Wendy, if you can do little things for yourself that would bring you joy, I hope you will do it. For me, something as simple as going out into the sunshine could pick me up. Music, cuddling with my puppy, wrapping myself with a fleece blanket on a cold night with a good book- little things like these can be helpful in times of stress. I hope things will get better for you.


FinallyFree, an update on Christmas dinner here. Yes, I did cook as planned and I’m feeling fatigued from it now. But on the positive side, my husband was very helpful today. He did the slicing for the appetizers as promised, and also helped a lot with things like clearing the table. After dessert I rinsed the dishes and left them on the counter to load into the dishwasher later when the dinner dishes wash finished up. My husband came into the family room a while later and told me he had emptied the dishwasher and loaded up the dessert dishes. I was very happy for his help, but even more happy that he HEARD me the other day about my feelings about cooking Christmas dinner every year.

Darlene, thank you for all your encouragement yesterday on the cooking topic. I am understanding the ” process” better now. I’m glad you clarified things in message 32, because I am feeling better knowing that things may not change all at once and how understanding keeps increasing as more and more of the fog dissipates. I am okay with being in the process!


Christmas is almost over, thank goodness. I traveled to visit a friend who was also alone for Christmas. I’m glad I got away from home, I didn’t want to stay home for Christmas. We went to the movies today. I’m going back home tomorrow.

I was glad Christmas wasn’t spent with the family, but at the same time, I still felt lonely even though I was visiting someone I knew. Because I don’t connect to my feelings very well (which I blame on my mom for “Telling me how to feel”) I have been making myself pay attention to my feelings and to “triggers.” We went to the movie WILD with Reese Witherspoon.

SPOILER ALERT! The character makes this journey up PCT because of the death of her mom. END SPOILER

At the end of the movie, I burst into tears but there wasn’t anything sad about the movie. Well, there were some things that could be sad, but it wasn’t why I burst into tears. I feel that I burst into tears because she missed her mom, and I think I will never feel that way. Or, if something ha


Dang laptop! Didn’t get to finish my sentence. wish there was an “edit post” feature. Anyway, if something happens to my mom, I may feel sad because I never got to resolve anything with her (resolve meaning, to get the “admissions” that Hobie said she did to her children). I just want my mom to say, “Yes, I admit I have issues, and I used those issues on you by making everything your fault so I wouldn’t have to admit to those issues.”


Just home from a wonderful Christmas dinner with a new friend who made us feel right at home with her family. I’m so grateful.

I am relieved that the day is done and I didn’t have to deal with the family issues.

My son came to say Merry Christmas to us. I was surprised to see him because we had tried to contact him several weeks ago and didn’t get a response. It turned out that he got a new phone number and had forgotten to tell us! I have one family member willing to respond to me with some compassion.

Apparently, my brother is pissed off at my mom this year too. It’s an interesting development. He’s a significant piece of family dynamics. I’m not sure that it will make a difference for relationships with others in the family or not. I’m not going to hold my breath on it.

There are good people in the world who are willing to give the love that my family couldn’t. I don’t have to wait and wish for them anymore. This has been a great Christmas!

I hope there are things for everyone to be grateful for and happy about.



Amber, I am so happy for you….it made me smile to read about your Christmas and how you were heard and helped by your husband! Wow! He really validated your feelings and all that you said with actions, didn’t he? It is so wonderful that you shared all of this…thank you!

That is also a great word you used about giving yourself things that you missed out on…”soothing”….It is difficult to know where to begin sometimes in learning how to self-soothe,…at least for me it was….but you really have great ideas. I love your black pocketbook story! The picture coming back to you from a classmate is like one of those little miracles that can be so healing and joyful….I loved that story too.

Healing is totally a process….I had one day where everything fell into place and I became free of all the lies of my abusive and neglectful past…and I could suddenly “see”. And understand the truth about the abuse and abusers and also ME….but that was the beginning of relearning what seems like totally new ways to behave and process and understand HOW to live free, if that makes sense. So when it comes to cooking and serving food and other ways of relating with my husband….it is totally a process we have gone through. Now we are able to actually jokingly use some of the terms used here on EFB….especially “I don’t feel validated”…..and my husband now understands how very important that is to me that he hears me and validate my thoughts and feelings. We had huge problems with that issue until it began to change a few years back. Yay! If there was hope for me…then there is hope for everyone!!

Wishing you a great nights rest and Merry Christmas AND congratulations!


“For a minute I wondered if I ‘should’ feel guilty about that but the truth is that by their own choice they are not part of my life and when I think about it, there is nothing to miss.”

Agreed. I don’t understand why we should miss “abusive people” when they chose their abusive ways over healthy ways. I still get told by people that I should miss and care about my parents, sorry I don’t living with them never made me miss or care for them – there are zero emotions towards them. Abusive people shouldn’t be missed and like I always use the example for people: remember Scrooge and his mistreatment towards people? Remember the Xmas spirit showed him the future how he died and nobody gave a damn? They were glad he was dead and never spoke of his name again. He cried seeing that.

Notice, how the villagers didn’t miss him one bit in the future? I told people/ex-therapist ‘life will continue to move on whether we have abusive family/friends in our lives or not. Keeping them in our lives does what? Because they are family therefore we are under contract to abide by the “family rules” of mistreatment?’ Got the usual pissed off responses and evil eyes towards me. I am not at the point of going no contact yet, but the holidays growing up wasn’t fun. A whore father with his “other family” during the holidays and we always got such fucked up gifts like buttons and other dumb stuff like really!?? Why even make a Xmas list and he never got what was asked for? He told me you are not always gonna get what you want for xmas? I’m sorry, when are you so broke?! It’s one thing when someone wants something for xmas and you couldn’t get it for them because of lack of money or whatever, but that was NEVER the case for my dad.

He stopped with the presents because nobody gives him one. Again, those fucked up damn presents? I have ended throwing them in the trash or giving it to my mom. Gift giving stopped until someone gives him a present and guess what? He left for CA a couple days ago to see his hoe. Hmm, interesting, he has been spending the holidays by himself I wonder why! Hmm, hurts that he doesn’t give a gift I told him before just gimme the money and I will go buy it myself. I’ve been over it but like I tell people his whores has always been more important than us.

My mom’s gifts are so damn phoney “to the best daughter ever, I love you” cards. Hmm, calling your daughter a slut and a bitch how can she be the best ever? I hate those cards I just want the money and this xmas she didn’t get me a card thank god! She claimed she couldn’t afford anything this xmas, really? She just bought herself a fake gold watch from Amazon over $1400 so how is she broke?

Every holiday, the usual bullshit ‘your father and that bitch!’ My mom never made xmas or any holiday fun for us we always had to hear about “that bitch!” She said it’s not her job to make the holidays fun, it’s our job. She didn’t enjoy the holidays growing up because her mom spoiled it and you mean to tell me she couldn’t make it fun for her kids?! Nevermind that loser hubby you married, make it fun for your kids think about your kids they come 1st over some sorry ass whore! She screamed when I said to her about how father is a whore and she said he isn’t a whore yet he is a whore but only she can say that because she is married to him and I/we can’t say it because he is our dad!? Why should a child/adult child be proud of a “parent” who is a diseased walking idiot?!

I tried to make the holidays fun for me singing xmas music and what not. At almost 30, now xmas means nothing to me anymore full of lies and bad memories. I always wanted my mom to put up lights on the house and be creative no she always complained about the bitch having a better xmas than her like omg! Everything during the holidays always revolve around her “unhappiness and misery” I heard during turkey day at a restaurant we want too don’t know why it’s my job to change the conversation. Thought my mom was so grown she can’t do it?!?


hello there,merry xmas to you all. i’m new here. Darlene thank you very much for this precious article. December is one of the most difficult month even if it is a period of celebration. i have been sexually abused by my 2 neighbours during several years. As i lived at my parents place,i still see them. My parents don’t know about the abuses because i don’t feel their love,support,trust.. They adore my 2 abusers. i don’t feel at ease in this house…i feel insecure,sad and family gatherings are an obligation.On the 24th December,i’ve asked my mother if she would like that i decorate the christmas tree. She coldly answered: “No, your younger sister is not there” But i know that they would have decorate it if i was not at home. When i go out,i see caring & loving families or confident women… i also feel obliged to attend family gatherings or to stay at home on the 31 December with my 2 abusers…it’s horrible when they came and kissed me on my cheeks to wish me:happy new year..horrible,i feel dirty…i’ve got lot of feelings inside. while they are busy celebrating,my family is preoccupied by their appearance or the material aspect..i’m busy calming myself silently in my room…


Caden, I’m so sorry to learn about your partner’s death. My condolences.


I cry know that I am at the place where even though I did not understand why yesterday I cried most of it. Now I understand. Thank you. I have been no contact for two years and am healing. I believe this is a corner and I am going to be another piece more whole.


WOW! I wish that I had found this post two days ago! I left my narcissistic mother on Halloween and moved back to my home state 1700 miles away. I have been NC for two months now. I have done this before, but mother dear has always wormed her way back into my life. This time I know its for good and she will no longer be a part of it, which I should be grateful for. It was very hard to accept the finality of our relationship. Also, the anger that rises when I think that I was not given the childhood that I deserved. This Christmas was the worst one I have ever lived through. I hope that it does get easier like Darlene says. And I hope that I can get stronger as the years go on.


Thank you so much Andria, Light, FinallyFree, Amber, Hobie, Alaina, and Alice for offering me support and condolences. It was a huge hindrance to my grieving process, having to deal with that ‘friend’ and sort through the games she was playing, but I’m so glad she’s out of my life, whatever it will be now, full of holes at the moment. I’m trying to weed out other sources of undue stress from my life during this period of holiday rest, in the hopes that the new year will be better. My emotions are unstable and my body is inflamed, so it’s really not easy to move forward; just “limping” through the days right now, and if something doesn’t serve my ultimate purpose, it needs to go.

I hope everyone made it through yesterday o.k.


Hi Caden,

So sorry for your loss. For abused kids/adults the grieving process tends to be extra hard for us. We lose a loved one and we normally don’t have a big circle of family/friends that we can trust. I mourned for years the death of whom I call “my real father”, my only good relative and not my bio father. I wished that Spirit could have taken my bio father and the other one could have lived—(died when I was 18). I know that you can heal and you seemed to have survived a whole lot already! You take care of yourself!

Blessed Be,

Yvonne 🙂



I spent Christmas alone this year to get away from the bullying (predominantly from my sister) and lack of love/caring from my family. It was the best Christmas I have had in years. Not one tear, I did things my way and I was relaxed. Since then i have had communication with my family in which i was called pathetic repeatedly, a liar, ungrateful and mentally ill. I tried to explain how I felt and was shot down with “you’re wrong”. I do not have any problems with mental illness. Its just years and years of chipping away at me has finally broken me and i am showing how upset I am. However my mother has self-diagnosed this as depression rather than facing the truth. How do i make them understand I am not depressed or is it a lost cause?

They have believed my sisters version of events every time that she has bullied/been horrible to me and have even lied about being present and hearing it in one instance. I have tried to accept that they will always defend her over me but this is a new level; lying about things to defend her. It feels like i am fighting a losing battle again?



I am sorry about the scapegoating that is happening to you. You’re post really resonated with me and I practically could have written it about my own experience. I know for myself I am trying to give up the battle of having them “understand” and I think I’m succeeding. It’s exhausting and I don’t have it in me anymore to keep trying. Most in my family do not understand, nor do they want to. This was my first Christmas where I did not attend simply because I didn’t want to. For those two who asked I had a simple 2-3 sentence honest reason as to why. I had a much less stressful Christmas, enjoyed with friends over a few days. I had some moments of sadness too.

You should not have to endure being called pathetic, a liar, mentally ill, or ungrateful. I’ve been told my feelings “aren’t justified”, called lazy and delusional, told to “get help” and not supported with “you’re on your own”, and have had VERY similar dynamics that you describe with your sister. Over this past year when some painful interactions happened with my FOO I asked myself “If a friend did this, would I put up with it?” and the answer was no.

After years of writing letters about my feelings and trying to have conversations in order to garner understanding, I think I’m pretty much done. I will discuss if others in my FOO have an interest and initiate but I’m not holding my breath! In fact, now if anyone in my FOO asks how I am, my answer is now: Great! (the message being “your crap doesn’t affect me anymore!!”).


Hi Homealone!

It’s great that you could spend Christmas alone and enjoy it! I agree that you are NOT DEPRESSED!

Can you make them understand? I’m sorry to say that I’ve had no success in making anyone in my family understand anything. What I’ve learned however is that I don’t need to make them understand. I have instead chosen to live my life apart from them, and it’s turning out to be a good choice.

If things are rising to a new level, they are probably recognizing that you’re “on to them” and trying to protect the status quo. It is likely to be a losing battle, but you may find that what you’re losing isn’t worth much anyway.



hello there, #homealone its really great coz you have listened to your feelings…i’m a little bit stressed,feeling guilty because my parents and I are invited to a family gathering. I really don’t want to parents are against it,telling that I have to come, that I have to please my family…i already said No but they did not pay attention. I hope that tomorrow I will have the courage to refuse..


I can’t even imagine how difficult this Christmas must have been for you; my heart goes out to you and I am so sorry for your loss. I am stunned at a ‘so called friend’ who would add to your already difficult and heavy burden. No matter how many times I hear stuff like that, I just don’t get it. I just can’t comprehend why people are so mean and hurtful.
I wish I could just wave a magic wand of healing energy over everyone but since I can’t please accept my love, my hope and my heartfelt hugs. I hope that you are feeling better soon and hope that things will go a little more smoothly for you in the new year.


Homealone (and Hobie)
Welcome to EFB ~ It was when I finally realized that I can’t make them understand unless they WANT to understand, that I found some peace and was able to move forward with healing from the damage that they actually caused to me. I love what Hobie said.
Hugs, Darlene



I understand how you feel because a lot of the things you mention have happened to me. I also have a sister who has been horrible to me over the years. She is always defended by my father. Ignoring things happening right in front of him. Making excuses for every set of bad behaviors she exhibits. What I feel and what I want do not mean a hill of beans to him. My sister even treats him badly, but it is all okay to him. There is no winning any battles with these people. Before anything even happens my sister is never at fault. It is my problem. So all I can do is disappear from the picture. Apparently, I am not wanted or needed. So I go my own way. It is hard to be rejected by family, but that is the reality I live in. It is okay. It is better this way. I don’t have to worry about what my sister will say to me anymore.



Darlene, Thanks for being here for us. I had a good Christmas; it was quiet because it was my Husband and myself. My family of origin passed away and my husband’s dad passed several years ago. I never used to miss family until social media became available. I have cousins that ignore me. I sent them e-cards for Christmas and only got one reply. I have been wondering what was wrong with me or what did I do to warrant this. I started reading your blog post and realized (although I already knew it intellectually) that it isn’t about me being unlovable. It’s their choice. So I’m going to try to quit beat myself over the head and let it go.


Well, Christmas is over. I traveled and visited a friend I used to work with. It felt good to get away from where I live. However, I still felt lonely, and it was really difficult to get through this holiday. I have spent Christmas alone and enjoyed it, but this one was hard. The friend I visited was alone, too, so it’s not like there was any “family” thing to annoy me.



That is good that you are not taking the ignoring personally. It has nothing to do with you. There are many reasons why people do not connect with others even when it is “family.” Sometimes it is as simple as they feel they don’t have the time or energy to reach out to someone with a simple and short e-mail. There has to be an effort made. People make a judgement call: is it worth my effort to get in touch with this person? Lots of people don’t even ask that question. They just blow it off. I am glad you had a nice Christmas. Happy New Year to you.


Aleta Ballard, hi! I can relate to automatically asking what is wrong with me whenever people are unresponsive to my overtures of friendship or keeping in touch with family. Christmas card sending is an area where I am now doing some self care. If I don’t receive a card from someone I sent one to two years in a row, I no longer send one to them. I like to allow for the fact that someone may have had a bad year ( illness, death in the family, divorce) and may not wish to send cards. After all, I would want that understanding from them too. But I am no longer going to decorate someone less living room with my card if they just don’t want to send one out to me.

That being said, the bigger issue has been always looking to myself and asking what I did wrong when they don’t acknowledge my kindness or are rude and nasty. I’m learning through the process that I am not responsible for their behavior and it is not a reflection on me if they behave badly. Even if they don’t want to take the responsibility and own up to their bad behavior, it is still THEIR bad behavior, not mine. Yes, it hurts when people act like that so my next decision is whether I want to give them the chance to change their behavior by bringing it to their attention or do I want to go no contact. I usually opt to give them a chance, but if they persist in their rudeness, ignoring me, saying mean things then itis time for them to go because that is best for me. I have found that self care is a big part of my healing.


Hi Aleta,
Welcome to EFB and yay for a good Christmas.
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene

Welcome to Lava,
So glad that you are healing and that you are sharing with us.
hugs, Darlene

If there are any new people that have joined this discussion that I have NOT welcomed by name, please accept my apologies and I hope you
find hope and comfort here!
hugs, Darlene


Welcome to Little Girl and Lorna as well.


Thanks everyone for the messages. Its great to know that I am not the only one in this situation.

My parents are so controlling and manipulative that I feel I have to keep up the charade of happy families and obey their every request. I will do this for the moment with a polite smile on my face, the whole time repeating Lights’s words… Their crap doesnt affect me anymore.

Well it does… But i hope to get to a place where it doesnt. I reached out to a counsellor that night, not because of any mental illness, just for some suppport. They’re calling me tomorrow to chat again. It hurts me that my mo, would band the words “mental illness” round like its not real. Its very real and i have friends who are experiencing issues. And anyway, if it were true do they really think calling me pathetic over and over is a good idea?

They are skyping me later… I have been dreading it all day. I am ready for another emotional bashing…

Littlegirl… How did you get on with the family event? From the minute i told my family i wouldnt be going for Christmas right up until the day my life was made hell with guilt tripping emails and texts and skype calls. The day came and it was fantastic. So liberating… I dont know how old you are but my friend had a good comment… “What are they going to do if you dont go?”. Well thats just it. I am in my 30s, am financially independent and live in a different country. What could they possibly do?

Adriana… You are wanted and needed. Everyone is. xx


I got one Xmas card from an estranged family member. It seemed more or less rote. When I saw it in the letterbox and recognized the handwriting, I felt scared, left it there until I could work up the strength to open it (fearing some verbal attack, as there have been in the past) and then when I finally did open it it was this really boring card with a mechanically written “greeting” from the person in question. One of those cards from a pile of hundreds someone sits down to write out of – well I don’t know. It doesn’t mean anything. But I was so afraid of it. I ended up tearing it up, even if it was inoffensive.

I noted that my mother did not send a card this year. I was kind of happy about that. As if maybe FINALLY she had got the frickin message that I do not wish to speak with her. And you know, I feel more positive towards her because of that. It was really all I had been asking her for. To leave me alone and to quit with the entitlement. It was all I wanted from any of them.

While I was on vacation I went swimming in some pretty amazing surf and I spent a while facing the waves and getting sometimes knocked over by them, going back in for more and then back out again. It could get really tiring. The waves were relentless, didn’t “care” for how I felt. If I relaxed and spent too much time swimming and not looking at what was coming, I’d get wiped out and maybe swallow some seawater till my nose streamed.
If I stood sideways (someone had shown me how), the force didn’t hit me quite as hard. When I’d had enough, I just got out of the water and went to lie on the sand. That was it. And so it goes with (my) family. They are (or were, until I took myself away) relentless. They don’t care who you actually are. I could go on with this metaphor, it’s a bit clunky and obvious:) but the main thing for me was to realise that I could just get out of the water.
Which makes it sound simple because waves don’t call or email or stalk you.



Sorry you are feeling the dread of them contacting you. I used to have a bit of dread when I would call my family for Christmas. What a good idea to reach out for a counselor. I hope it helps you.

Thank you for the kind words about being wanted and needed. I am wanted and needed by my husband, my cats, my horses, and my friends. It is just family that shows me they don’t care.

I kept up the charade with my family and my husband’s family for years. When I started telling my “truths” that is when things started to shake up and the facade fell away and what was left was pretty ugly. That’s the way it had to be. It is okay.



I got a card from my mom. She enclosed some note saying, “I never meant to hurt anyone….” Trouble is, she just won’t recognize when something she does is hurtful to ME! If my other siblings don’t care, then OBVIOUSLY *I* have a problem. I AM NOT MY SIBLINGS! I DON’T NECESSARILY ACT LIKE THEY DO!

I shredded her card.


Christmas or any holiday really doesn’t have to be spent with family. I would rather spend holidays with friends but they would rather spend it with their families instead. The lies that people say how it’s selfish to spend xmas alone or not celebrate it at all. People can have their own ways of celebrating the holidays, who says it has to be the way the television says it should be? I am still hearing about my mom bitching if my dad and his whore spent xmas who cares?!?


I got Christmas cards from my sister and my mom. My sister’s didn’t have any kind of personal message on it. Their names were printed on the card – not even signed. My mom’s was hand signed. I really don’t get it.

I suspect they feel like they are taking a step in my direction, but they refuse to acknowledge the actual problem in our relationships. They seem to be thinking that we just wait long enough that the issue is forgotten. I’m just being bitter and unforgiving, but they didn’t do anything wrong.

I can imagine them thinking, if not saying to each other – “at least I tried…” I think they’d try absolutely ANYTHING except actually listening to me. I’ve been telling them that their behavior is hurtful and they keep trying to tell me that they haven’t done anything and I’m “taking it the wrong way.”

Why would anyone want to spend their time in that kind of a relationship? Why did I put up with it for so much of my life?

I finally figured out that I DO have a choice!



Hello Hobie!

I believe that what my family considers “trying” is stuff like sending an Xmas card, maybe a gift, “reaching out” as the expression goes, with a phone call to tell me how they are or an email to say how they are.

At least I’m sure that when they tell other people that they have “tried” they’re referring to this stuff. But that’s not at all what I would call “trying”. In thinking about what my idea of “trying” is, it seems a bit indulgent of me, a bit far-fetched. But in my fantasy they would just realize that I’m not not speaking with them for no good reason. And then they might ask what that reason is. And then they might listen to the answer. I don’t even think at this point that I’d need them to be convinced of what my answer is. But to even listen to it all the way through. That would be amazing. And (I’m thinking of the estranged parents reading this) their listening to it wouldn’t be the conclusion. Like “it’s enough we listened to Alice this one time so she ought to snap back into line” but if they really did listen, and HEAR I feel that would be an opening. And it feels terrible to not be able to promise more than that. But wouldn’t that be a start?


This was the first Christmas I didn’t spend with my family after not having spoken with my parents for just short of a year. It was a hard year. I am grateful the day is behind me. I’m still unsure whether I made the right decision. I didn’t miss the yelling and screaming and belitting and meanness. I didn’t miss the anxiety about seeing them (even though I was still anxious that they might just show up and had a horrible dream Christmas morning that they’d snuck into the house). They did call late Christmas night. The message was fine. My brother messaged me earlier in the day to tell me that things had “surprisingly” gone smoothly. I was glad for him for that. I couldn’t help but think that it was because I wasn’t there. Maybe I had been the problem. It’s such a difficult thought process to navigate. I’m trying…


Gin – I’m willing to bet a lot that you AREN’T the problem and never had been. I’ve had a hard time with going No Contact with my family too, but I must have crossed a bridge somewhere because I am pretty sure that I’ve done the right thing right now.

I’m still struggling with the frustration of having received Christmas cards from people who didn’t want anything to do with me when I needed them and tried to convince me that I’m mentally incompetent to assess a dangerous situation when I’m confronted with it.

I also suspect that things went smoothly for your brother because they were hoping that you would feel guilty if you heard from him.

There’s lots of good stuff on this website to help. Keep reading!



Alice –

Yeah – the opening I hope for is just like what you described. They would listen and actually HEAR! I doubt that will ever happen.

I am learning to find other people in my life who will listen and hear and respond with compassion and gentleness. It was really hard for me to open up to that at first, but it’s made a huge difference.

I think it matters more just THAT I am HEARD, than that my parents or family are the ones to hear me. I feel that the abuse that I needed to heal from is much less of an issue for me. I’m still struggling with the family relationships because of the way they responded to my acknowledgment of the abuse. So far, I feel a lot better without them.



Gin, it seems to me that whatever decision you made for yourself was the right one, given your family situation. It is still sometimes difficult for me after approx 2-3 years without any contact with my family, so I understand what you mean about it being difficult for you! I dont miss the tension, anxiety, chaos, yelling, unhappiness either, but I do miss having relatives and extended family…and I do still love them. They did not want me and made sure that I felt on the outside of their relationships, if that makes sense. It wasnt anything to do with me, personally, but was definitely their choice for that. My choice is to never be treated like that again from them. Now that I am no longer a part of the family unit by choice, I am sure that they are no more happy or unhappy than they ever were…so I may still be the one blamed for any unhappiness because I cut them off. I dont know, but it wouldnt surprise me. I am at a point in my life where I truly dont care! It is great to be free of all of that chaos and dysfunction. Once I realized that the truth about my family is that none of the abuse or neglect was because of ME…or even about ME…it set me free! It really is all about them and what is wrong and sick within them that they would choose to abuse and neglect a child in the first place. I truly believe they wanted me out of the way. As time goes by, it has gotten easier and easier to let go of the years/lifetime of caring how they felt, trying to please them and failing, and worrying all the time about the “why’s” of being abused and neglected. Or “what is it about me that so disgusts them…I must be a freak or really damaged” etc etc etc….all of those LIES that I used to believe, I dont anymore. All those questions I had, I dont anymore and the relief is wonderful! The pro’s outweigh the con’s for me in cutting off the family…and each month and year that passes gets better and better. I still get the occasional random contact from them…one of my brothers always contacts me in November…and this year was no exception…he sent me an unflattering picture of myself as a teen…with no explanation or any words at all. He used to do this to get a Christmas gift the next month from me, but I am not even sure he knows why he sent me that picture …it seems to be a weird habit of his. The great thing is that so much time has gone by that I didnt even waste two minutes trying to second guess or ask “why” or “what” or anything. So….I hope you are encouraged that you arent alone in this process at all! The more you heal as time goes by, the freer you become. There are no right or wrong choices to make about no contact or limited contact etc…whatever you feel is right for you and whatever boundaries you need for yourself to feel safe and free ….that is what matters. I wish for you peace and comfort right now!


Hi im having an xmas meltdown. I have been non contact with my FOO for 3 years. I have broken this about 3 times. I have not spent xmas with them on over 3 years. . I am lonely & can only see the situation getting worse. The non comtact was at my request. I had just left a very abusive relationship & dreaded being harrassed by them. I didnt go about non contact in the nicest way. I told the truth. I sent an email to myum saying she was a narc & i want non contact as ive suffeted enough. She is truly an evil persom.I sent an email to my dad stating i want non contact & he is an alchoholic & takes no responsibilitu. I mde these decisions out of fear of there harrasdment type abuse when i couldnt deal with that.


From all the reading up on narcissists i realise it would have been better to keep up the charade? i survived a truly vicious relatiinship & refused to let anyone abuse me in any form ever again. If i get bullied in a job & cant fight it i walk away. I am worth more. I am finding this ‘new’ life difficult to adjust to & really lonely even though family never really were tbere?


Hi Ji
Welcome to EFB
Why would it have been better to keep up with the charade? For me no matter how hard it has been it has been better than being treated like nothing. By standing up I declare that I am not nothing. As I grew stronger I realized that they can’t hurt me anymore because I am here for me now.
My life is really awesome now!
Hugs Darlene


What I am struggling with is that my Mom keeps giving me the “it’s in the past can’t you let it go” stuff, but the real issue is that she wants me to “allow” her to take an eraser and erase the past and act like it never happened so she can treat me different and act like that’s the way she always treated me.



Ji, I hear you. I recently stood up to a sibling, and in response, I got, “Why are you being somebody you aren’t?” As if I’m not allowed to stand up for myself.

Hobie, I wish my mom would learn from you.


Hobie,I have mangled my way through the family gatherings and a wedding this holiday and these words have gotten me through…..

“I can imagine them thinking, if not saying to each other – “at least I tried…” I think they’d try absolutely ANYTHING except actually listening to me. I’ve been telling them that their behavior is hurtful and they keep trying to tell me that they haven’t done anything and I’m “taking it the wrong way.”

Just knowing there is someone out there who has it exactly pegged and gets it has been my touchstone. I’m barely functioning, I’m knocked out of the ring but hopeful for the New Year. I wrote what you said down and kept it in my purse. It is crazy making stuff they do and say an this was my link to sanity this year. Thank You!!!!!!


Hobie and FinallyFree–

Thank you both, so much, for taking the time to write back. It is so very much appreciated. You both made some pretty important statements–ones I can go back to– and for that I am thankful.

Safe hugs to you both, if OK.



Kaycee – Wow – I never thought my words could be that powerful. Thank you for letting me know that they helped you that much. You’ve given me inspiration to keep speaking my truth. Thank you!



Hi Gin
I went back and forth with the question “maybe it was me that was the problem” for years. I had to look at the bare facts in order to stop having to ask myself that question. I had to look at what my complaints were and if they were unreasonable. I had to look at if my family would put up with me treating them the way that they treated me. I had to look at if the ‘rules for relationship’ were different for me. I had to look at the facts about what I was asking for re change. I asked myself if I was asking too much and if yes, what was the alternative to me dropping my requests… and the truth was very clear to me over time. That is what this whole website is about.
Glad you are here! Thanks for sharing and you are NOT alone!
hugs, Darlene


This year, i did not expect much. Told mom she did not have to do dinner for Thanksgiving, because she complained it was too much work. She chamged her tune in a quick minute when i told her my fiancée’s mom was not going to be home. Oh i assumed you were going there…..blah blah anyway i cooked food that i wanted,shared it with her and stepdad, she complained it was too much…..

I left when i wanted to. Did not care about how long i stayed according to the Queen Bitch. Christmas….she had a pissy attitude because i was not there Christmas eve….oh well. Christmas day she was pissed because i did not have dinner there (she knew 2 weeks in advance) AND i had the nerve to go to fiancée’s mom’s house first…she was a nasty bitch. The tone of her voice, facial expressions.

In front of her friend she says….i didn’t spend the price that is on the box,when i was opening my gift. Then tells her friend this is the first year i liked what she bought.
My fiancee said to me later, who the F leaves price tag on a gift, then talks about the price? When we were leaving she told me my plans to go to a pro police rally were stupid…. Blah blah.

We told her today about our Jan 2015 wedding date. She said not to expect her there. Good! I wasn’t. Good! I wont worry about her ruining things. I told my fiancée i just wanted her to hear it from us, so she couldnt cry about being the last one to know.

Then she tells us she is selling the house and we have to move out of the downstairs apt.
We were planning to move in 2015 anyway.
****(She cant stand me getting stronger, less emotional, the low contact is not what i want to do. She brought it on with her mean hateful selfish ways. She made her bed……she made her mess….she is losing her daughter.


Hi d ch
Welcome to EFB ~ sounds like you have found the right network to share with! Glad you are here and thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene


I tried to finish a new post for New Years but I ran out of time but please know that my heart is with you all!
2015 is going to be awesome!
Every year gets better! I had the best Christmas EVER in my entire life this year, it was just fantastic!

I have a new book coming out (part 2 of the series of 3) soon and hopefully I will be able to start my workbook program (with group coaching in a private member area) this year too. If only I could figure out how to squeeze more time in a day I know that I could do so much more! 🙂
hugs, Darlene


“Hi kids, we don’t know if we are allowed to send you emails but Have decided to do so anyway. Hope you liked the things David gave you and that they fit you. We are finally home from our harrowing trip to the U.S. Our car is all fixed after the accident and we got home on the 23rd. It was a long 2 months. I am quite nervous driving in big cities now as being hit so hard was very scary. Our company from Penticton cancelled coming for Christmas so Helen invited ____, ______, their 2 girls and Pebbles instead. We are going to a New Years party tonight. Hope you reply to us.”

This email from my NM was received by my 14 year old daughter last night after she’d gone to bed. I decided to cut off all contact with my NM and Enabling Father back when I sent them a letter in April detailing all their boundary violations in regards to our children. Since then I have only gotten more determined to stay NC. After they contacted Child and Family Services for access in June I agreed to allow snail mail to the kids, equal cash gifts to the kids, and short supervised visits(thankfully they live across the country) just to avoid being taken to court as a result of being perceived to be unreasonable. I specifically prohibited phone calls and emails. They sent each child a card on their birthday. The kids have seen my Flying Monkey brother here in Winnipeg a few times since then, the most recent being just a couple of weeks ago when he came to watch one of their curling games. He had recently seen my parents in Las Vegas where they had met up since my brother was there for a wedding or something like that. I guess they had picked out the souvenir clothing for Dave to give my kids.

The more therapy I get and the more reading I do to get my own healing, the more I see that the damage done to myself and my beliefs has been very extensive and the healing will take a long time to accomplish. I have no interest in my children having to go through this as well. Our daughter was just starting to do better with accepting that they are not going to be in her life. When my brother saw her recently he told her that she needs to call my parents over the holidays. She told him she would try and he said, “no trying, just doing”. She again reiterated that she would only try. When he was going to meet up with them in the States he had pressured her to send something along with him for them, like drawing, a letter, or a recorded video greeting or something. She never got around to it. Of course our son is not getting any pressure to do anything at all. For that I am thankful, but of course it is because they are mainly interested in our daughter, the GGC. They obviously did not take very seriously what the CFS advocate told them they could have if my brother is pressuring my daughter to phone them and they are sending my daughter email pretending they are not sure if they are allowed to email.
So now I have to consider how to deal with this new unwanted communication. I am not doing anything immediately. Do I just do nothing and completely ignore it? Next week I will contact the advocate from Child and Family Services to see what she suggests. At least she had a good understanding of narcissism so she can empathize. It’s just so frustrating when you work so hard to get through the grief and trauma of going NC and then you find that you can’t just have it be over because they don’t want to let it go. Anyone have any thoughts about how to deal with stuff like this?


Happy New Year EVERYONE!!!

I am looking forward to 2015. A chance to do more healing. Another step closer to freedom!! Today I took some time to reflect upon all the things that I went through this past year. I remembered all the times when I was stuck in my recovery where I just wanted to jump out of my own skin and run away…. and then I remembered all the times when I was able to overcome some really big obstacles that were preventing me from moving forward in my recovery.

I encourage all of you to do the same thing because I think sometimes we don’t realize just how far we have come especially when we are dealing with some very painful situations that make us feel helpless and hopeless and just plain stuck. What I have learned this year is that we always have choices. The days where we are at our parent’s mercy are gone but I also know getting to that realization is easier said then done.

This site has helped me propel to the next level in my recovery and I am grateful for everyone’s kind and encouraging words that enabled me to overcome the fear of speaking my own mind. Thank you Darlene for helping me “see” so many of the lies that I once believed to be the truth about myself but never really were. It is freeing to say the least. You give me hope. Because when all is said and done I know that you were standing right where I am standing at now and I know that if you could find your way through all of that fog there is hope for me too.

I look forward to your new book coming out. I know it will be a goodie!!!

Peace All,



Turquoise, I am sorry you are going through this. We have been NC with my husband’s family for 8 years now. The deal breaker occurred at Christmas when my MIL was verbally abusive to my oldest son. After the initial break there were many e-mails, letters and cards with the exact messaging you describe above. We stated that we would go to family counseling with them (mainly because we knew they would never go) and if that did not occur they would not have access to our children. We actually made an appt once with a counselor and the parents in law couldn’t come because of all their many important commitments. The first Christmas, my husband’s father brought several large trash bags full of gifts to my husband’s place of business, where he was the highest level manager on site. So my husband then got to explain to his employees, or attempt to provide some sort of explanation, as to why his father was bringing gifts to his place of employment the second week of January. He was truthful and it actually gave some of his employees a chance to share their own difficult family situations. We donated the gifts, unopened, to a homeless shelter.

There was an incident when my PIL were involved in a car accident. My husband’s sister painted it that they nearly died in an effort to draw us back into the situation. My husband was able to learn through a friend in law enforcement that it was basically a fender bender. He replied to his sister’s e-mails by saying that perhaps if his parents were recuperating after the accident they’d have time attend a counseling appt. That was the end of those e mails

Our children were small when this occurred. I can imagine this is very difficult with teenagers. There have been a couple of episodes during the years when our sons, esp the oldest, have said things like “don’t you think we should try to have a relationship with Dad’s family? ” This was part of them challenging our authority anyway. When they were too young to handle these crazies, I simply said I thought they were too young to be exposed to people of this type. As they’ve gotten older, I’ve said that I would be willing for them to visit but that I would be there and that it could get ugly or end abruptly and that would be up their Dad and I. We’ve talked and we’ve been very frank and we’ve allowed the boys to express their feelings of sadness and anger over the situation without owning that sadness and anger. At times, we’ve had to remind them of things that occurred when they were smaller, like “do you remember the time your cousins absolutely destroyed everything in your playroom and you asked us why they hate you so much?” No meeting has ever actually happened.

You are walking a fine line here. If you react too strongly, that is exactly what certain family members probably want to see. However, you are obliged to protect your children from these people and you are their parent. That is your charge and your obligation. People will always judge you but parents who love their children make decisions that are driven by love and that is always going to be the best thing for them.

Limits and boundaries are your watch words. Your children are minors and you are the ultimate decision maker for them. I think it’s a good idea to seek professional advice on this situation. Good luck. I will be sending good thoughts your way!!!


I havent put up Christmas decorations in over 10 years. Christmas was dreadful. Christmas cards reminding me what the spirit of Christmas was and the “reason for the season” from people who ignored you all year. Or worse yet, lied about you in their inner circle that you never became part of without condition, that you be as nasty and mean-spirited as them. When I choose not to contact them anymore, I let them keep their december holidays. It was all hypocritical anyway. This sister isn’t coming because that sister was invited to the dinner, sitting around and laughing at the hard financial trouble brother was in. Mocking the new hairdo and make-up on the family scapegoat. It all got to much for me.
The first few Christmases and New years went by without fanfare, they were like any other day. It took a lot of courage to stand up to them and declare “no more” and I had to keep reminding myself why I did what I did. Soon though I got feeing better about myself and mending well, emotionally. So I decided to make the holidays special for me again. Not quite sold on throwing up the tree yet. I found a great satifaction and fulfilment in serving others. The best part was my husband shared my vision of serving the holiday meals and sharing them with the homeless, poor and elderly in our town. This was tremendously healing for me because I went from where I was not wanted to a place where I was needed. It helped me redefine the “reason for the season” Now every year we look forward to the holidays that we share with our newest “holiday family” This year I actually did put up a small tree and decorations around the house but celebrated with our chosen family. Our friends. Thanks for writing about this Darlene. It is helpful to know we arent by ourselves by isolation or no contact. there are others who felt like we did and still more feeling that way still xxxooo


Hi all,
Glad the holidays are over.Huge sigh of relief.I’ve been busy lately,but i read all your comments without adding to them (till now).I took a few long term steps leading to freedom soon,or so i hope.I had to take care of some practical and financial aspects,as there’s no freedom without money.Practical things are not my forte at all,but life is full of those.I wish i could escape based on my feelings and moral values,but i know that’s not how life works.So,these days,i’m learning how to be more pragmatic and down to earth.I’m slowly building my skills for my future freedom.I’m preparing for the jungle outside.

On Christmas day,my narc sister,together with her narc husband,were preparing to visit my narc parents for a narc “family” dinner.My mother insisted for me to be at the table too,but i firmly told her i’m not going to pretend anymore.Having said that,i went into the city and treated myself to a full day me-time.I walked in the park,i read colourful empowering magazines for women,i went to a bar and had a nice meal followed by a hot chocolate sipped in tranquility.All the time,i was surrounded by music and laughter.I was by myself,but not lonely.

May 2015 bring us all freedom and healing and inner peace,the feeling of being loved,respected and safe!


Jane, thanks so much for your reply! I really appreciate hearing from your experience. So many times when I reach out to others I end up hearing that others have had similar experiences, almost like there is a textbook that these kinds of parents are consulting.

Your example with the car accident reminded me of this spring when my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer right before we finalized NC. Of course I went crazy thinking what kind of horrible daughter abandons her mother when she is fighting a life threatening disease? But it turned out it was not the crisis that it had been painted to be as the doctors determined to do nothing as it was some kind of long standing anomaly that didn’t require treatment. The more I think of it the more I see that we just need to have all of them including my FM brother out of our lives. But I feel a bit stuck now by having made that concession to accept snail mail and equal cash gifts because it feels like it obligates our children to communicate with them. Normally if someone sent my kids a letter or gift I would expect them to reply as that is appropriate but I certainly don’t want to force my children to have any communication with my parents if they don’t want to. And they don’t seem to want to. Do we send back the gifts if the kids don’t want to reply to thank them? It seems the kids lose no matter what.

Perhaps this new breaking of the agreement will allow me to just cut off all contact completely now and we’ll be done with it. I don’t think the relationship between my FM brother and my kids is going to work either if he is going to pressure them to get in touch with my parents every time he sees or talks to them. If that’s his main goal in seeing them then maybe he needs to be cut off too. I was so done with him a long time ago. If he were really interested in being their uncle he would see them more than 2 or 3 times in a year when he lives in same city, is a bachelor, and has non-related children in his life that he sees far more than his own nephew and niece. All of this chaos sure does make a big mess in one’s life. I’m so tired of it all.


Saw my NMom today, paid my rent, asked her to let me know when she is selling the house. She said I cant afford having you live in that apartment any more. = because we are getting married she wants more money.
I said i just want you to let me know when you are putting the house on the market so we can have time to move.
She wouldn’t look at me, said ok, started talking to her husband, so i left. Felt good. Change is coming no matter how hurt i feel inside…she will never see my hurt again. It pleases her too much!


turquoise, it is indeed exhausting. We’ve spent a lot of time intentionally fostering other relationships. Don’t know if you’ve seen the commercials for the Friends and Family plan on the cell phone carrier. They call it “Framily”. This year, my oldest son said, “Mom, next year can we just have framily over?” We have some awesome neighbors, old friends, families from our church. We have intentionally created other relationships which are more authentic and, for lack of a better term, replace the relationships that were so toxic for us and for our kids. We have been super frank with our kids regarding the relationships with our FOO. (Mine is not exactly the Waltons, either) We have kept the lines of communication open with our kids. My husband used to say that he wanted to “break the cycle” with his family. One day I commented that maybe in order to break the cycle we would have to go NC with them. The kids are the first priority. It’s hard to understand where this road is leading you, but I have all the faith in the world that it’s to a better place. Take care.


Hello everyone. I’m new here. I belong here. I feel like i’ve written many of these posts. I’ve lost an entire family, 2 parents and 3 siblings – me being the youngest and the only one to SEE the horror of it all. Luckily I have a child. I do wish i had a spouse (so does my child i’m sure). I struggle continually making friendships including those of the romantic type. I believe i keep choosing people that are the same as my family. I really want to break this cycle. Finallyfree, I’ve read many of you posts, especially the last one, that loudly resonated for me. I tried my whole life not to go no contact.. when i couldn’t handle anymore abuse from them i confronted them. With a full heart I explained I couldn’t engage anymore if they could not stop being cruel. So, it was them who went no contact. Not me. An ultimatum is not no contact. Funny, even the simplest of requests – requesting they keep me updated on my mothers illness, were impossible for them to meet. It’s so funny to think of it really, i live thousands of miles away from them and all they could say was, well, if you were here – you would know what is going on. woa… yes, good idea.. if i give up my entire life, quit my job, sell my home and park myself at their door.. waiting for scraps of information, doled out in tiny bits and pieces amongst the plethora of abuse… then – maybe i would be worthy of some knowledge.. but i never was part of the inner circle which was controlled by my almighty father. maybe entering the tribe (my birth) years after all was in play allowed me some visibility that the others did not have.. which was – there were no winners. no trust, no love, no compassion, just a constant state of turmoil.

This years grand event was finding out about my fathers death via a condolence message from a cousin on facebook. wow… who can you tell these stories to? no one who has not experienced the same – of which i have never found anyone that fits that bill. I can’t even tell people that my father died.. my experience is nothing like the rest of the world in the upper portion of the bell curve of human family dynamics. surely it’s me that is the horrible daughter – and human being. that it was only relief that i felt when i heard the news… mixed with horror that THIS is my family…

Thanks everyone on here for sharing… we are very few.


Hi Louise
Welcome to EFB! I think you are going to love it here! I thought that I was one of a few for a long time (that is how it works for them, they make us believe that it is us that is the problem) as well but when I healed I started to speak in mental health seminars ~ mostly about how I overcame depression and dissociative identity disorder, but I talked about the stuff I write about here and every single seminar I got mobbed on the breaks! EVERYONE could relate to what I was saying and that is why I started this website. 150,000 people visit this site every month and over 7000 people stay on it reading for over 30 minutes at a time.
Glad you are here now!
hugs, Darlene


Hi Irene
Welcome to EFB ~ (sorry for the late response; things have been crazy busy at my end!)
How wonderful that you decided to make the holiday special FOR YOU! Thank you so much for sharing your victory!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Jane
Great to see you and read your updates!!
hugs, Darlene


Louise, my heart goes out to you and I could relate to so much of what you wrote…and I used to believe it was me or that I was the only one who experienced such craziness. You definitely belong here and will find answers to all your questions. My family did the same exact weird non-communication games with me too. My Great Grandmother and Great Uncle died within weeks of each other….I found out at some relatives baby shower the next year. When I was in my early 20’s, and living on my own, I realized that I was expected to call my parents on my birthday so that they could tell me Happy Birthday and then arrange a time for me to go to their home for the gift. One year I didnt call….so they never called me either, and days went by and I received a card in the mail that said that they had waited for me to call and come over, but since I didnt, they threw the cake into the trash and put it out for the garbage truck. When my Grandparents were dying, I had to literally get another relative to find out from my aunt how they were….updates….because she loved playing some kind of power struggle games with me over it…etc etc…you can relate I know! The list is endless in the being left out of the loop of basic family info. When I moved with my own child/husband thousands of miles away, I called to let my parents know I had arrived safely, but ended up getting chewed out because I called “at a bad time” for them. I consistently was chewed out for being a few minutes earlier than they expected me…even though with traffic and a 40 min commute when I lived in town it was hard to get there EXACTLY on the minute… get the idea. So my heart goes out to you about all you have suffered with that. It is so painful, embarrassing, and stressful. I am sorry you have had to go through all of that. I am so happy that you have your child! My daughter has been a total gift from above and we have had such great times together. I have rebuilt my life without my other relatives…I am not in touch with anyone anymore, and it is such a relief. I have come to realize that it wasnt me…just like it isnt YOU at all! It is all about how sick and unhealthy and twisted and cruel THEY are. I would rather have no family or friends and be all alone than have those kind of people in my life ever again. I hope I never find out when any family members die, but I will probably find out via FB too. How bizarre that your family treated you that way. I hope you can see soon how normal YOU are in all of that. And I used to ask the queation “why ME?” and thought I must be scum or something warped. The truth is that they are warped and needed me to dump out all of their dysfunctional crap on. That is all. It actually had nothing to do with ME, but everything to do with THEM. And that is the truth for you too. It is difficult to believe after being abused, neglected and devalued, but that is the truth. I hope you find comfort, peace , joy, freedom and answers here!


Happy New year back to you Kris and to all here!

Welcome to EFB ~ I think you have found the right place to share about this stuff.
I hope you will keep reading and sharing,
hugs, Darlene


Advice needed!

A few years ago, I went very low contact with my mom, my siblings, and my extended family. I did this for several reasons. I wanted to get away from being the family scapegoat and could not take one more minute of having the family dysfunctions heaped on my head any longer. I’ve been my mom’s target. She has always seen me as the “weird one” and the “emotionally disturbed one,” the failure, etc. I went through a lifetime of her “coaching” me while simultaneously ignoring my successes. It would take writing practically a novel to explain it all, but from all your posts, I think all of you readers can understand. In order to leave the dysfunctional family behind, I also had to leave our ethno-religious community behind. (It was something I might have done anyway, since I disagreed with their exclusivism). However, I did keep two friends from this community…who did not shun me, and who seemed to understand just what a dysfunctional nightmare I was trying to escape. They saw my grief for years before I split off from the group. I hosted the two female friends over for dinner a few days ago. One of them told me she saw my mother in church. My mother came over and THANKED HER for being my friend. She THANKED her. This just blew me away. My friend did not react to my mother, thank God. But I wonder what the he** my mom is up to. On the surface, it seems to imply that my friend is especially good to decide to put up with the likes of me. Or she is trying to open up a conversation with this friend / aka bait her, so she can see if my friend is open to hearing her side of the story.

I don’t trust my mom with my friends. After going low contact with my mom and leaving the ethno-religious community behind, my mom apparently went to go see one of my new friends. Around this time, this friend pretty much dumped me. I don’t know what happened.

But I feel like no matter where I go, my mom will infiltrate my life, making me look bad to others and that she has been some sort of giving, martyr mother of an unworthy and mentally ill daughter. I will have you know that I am not mentally ill in any way shape or form. I have been having therapy for six years and my therapist says I only have some mild anxiety, no real mental illness or personality disorders. In some way that was a surprise to me, because I have been conditioned to blame all the difficulties in my life on myself.

I wish I could think of a way to confront my mom and tell her just how condescending and how much gall it takes on her part to think she can thank a friend of mine for being my friend. I also wonder if the greater family is circling the wagons, as a brother of mine has been sitting with that friend a lot during church services too. It’s just weird. Am I just being paranoid? Should I continue to ignore or say something?


Eira – I don’t really have advice, but I wanted to respond just to let you know that you’re concerns are legitimate. You’re not being paranoid. I don’t know if it would be better or worse to confront your mom. I wonder the same thing about my own mom!

I’ve had a similar experience with therapy. Having accepted the family diagnosis that I’m somehow mentally deficient – I’ve sought therapy more often than I can count. My current therapist verified what at least 2 or 3 previous therapists said – I’m the scapegoat in an alcoholic family. I’m the one nearest to being healthy bearing the burden of everyone else’s illness. I don’t know why it took me this long to believe it enough to let it help me!

Keep believing in yourself and being yourself. I hope that your friends see through you’re mother’s manipulative gestures.



Hello everyone! I have been reading for a few months now but was spurred to respond. My mother died when I was little so it is my aunt (her sister) who was the reason why I hated the holidays growing up. I SO can relate to Davina: every Christmas morning I felt crushed watching my three cousins open their mountains of presents while I had much fewer and cheaper gifts. I also got re-gifts, while her children ONLY received the newest toys. This still continues even now that we are all adults.
The main thing about her though, is her constant need to tear me down, which she has done ever since I was eight years old. One perennial argument we have is about my hair: I like it long but she wants it to be short like hers. When I was a teenager she used to make me go outside to brush it, and if she saw one of my hairs inside the house she would pick it up and yell things like, “Look at this! Your HAIR is ALL OVER MY HOUSE!” Once she threw the vacuum cleaner at me (at my feet I mean) screaming, “LOOK AT THIS! It’s F*UCKING BROKEN! This was a perfectly good vacuum cleaner!” (For the record, no it wasn’t broken; the roller DID stop because my long hairs were caught in it, but all you have to do is cut them off with a pair of scissors.) When I was younger, like 10 or 11, she would make me get off of her children’s swing set because it ” wasn’t meant for kids as fat as you.” That’s another thing, she harps constantly about my weight: when I was younger and overweight I was told about it constantly: “You’re back is so wide.” “I can see your ass spreading.” “Are you going to eat ALL my peanut butter?!” (When I was taking a perfectly normal amount to top my toast with.) now that I have lost weight…I STILL hear about it! “I hope your not bulimic.” “Well, watch what you eat or you’ll get fat again.” Seriosly??? Would it effing kill you to say something positive?! I’ve never ONCE said anything about her weight ( she is slowly gaining as she gets older). I wouldn’t dare, for one thing.
I did spend Christmas with her and her family…mostly because I have no other choice. Being by myself would cause her to blow up my phone and Facebook page. I mostly kept myself occupied with a book in a far corner of her house, or taking long, unannounced walks when no one was looking.


Eira, If I spoke up and said something, I’d be accused of being too sensitive, imagining things, delusional, jealous, blah blah. In my opinion, ignore it dont let her know it bothers you. That is what she wants….to hurt or disturb your peace!


To @d ch: Oh man, “Too sensitive.” I got that all the time. Is it a freaking crime to be sensitive? NO! You just aren’t being what they want you to be. I have named my alter ego “Blanche.” That’s the person my FOO wants me to be. I’m tired of being Blanche.

But, if your family members are sensitive about something YOU say, they are NOT being “too sensitive.” YOU are the problem, somehow. Just like I was. It’s ok for “them” to be sensitive, but not you.


I found a great therapy (in addition to reading Darlene’s blog!).

If you have YouCam, or something similar on your computer, record a video of yourself telling your FOO what you really think. I’ve done six already, I do one, delete it, do another, delete it. Each one helps!

Therapists used to tell you to write a letter and burn it. (At least they did pre-tech days….). This is a variation of it, and is much more effective!

Just don’t go posting them to YouTube.


Hi Eira,

I sympathize with your situation and I know how frustrating it can be when family members disrespect you like your mother did but what I have found out is the day that I discovered my own self worth was the day my FOO no longer had any more room at the Inn for me!!! Our relationship was based on them using and abusing me and me believing that that was ok. Those days are gone and thankfully so!!!

Confronting any one of your family members now is futile. Much needed work on their part needs to be done before they will ever see any merit in what you are trying to tell them. They don’t want to see the truth. They still believe the lie that they get to treat you however the heck they want to and somehow you will be ok with it because in the past that is exactly how that sick family dynamic between the two of you worked right along with me and everyone else out there who was abused!!

The day you stand up for yourself is the day you become a real threat to their very being. That’s when they try to turn everyone that you know against you by telling them that you are the crazy lady in the head who has been disrespecting them all in an attempt to prevent you from rejecting and abandoning them. That’s what it is all about.

As much as I want my FOO to experience the new found freedom that goes along with discovering your own self worth I also have the wisdom to know that we are on totally opposite ends of the spectrum now. They think that I am the problem and I think they are but I am the one who did all the hard work to prove them wrong and I got the scars on my heart to prove it. They’d have scars too if they ever got brave enough to venture out on their own like I did and I do mean ALONE!!!

I finally accepted the fact that I cannot help my family because they don’t believe that they need it and with that came the realization that I will never have the type of close knit relationship with any one of my family members not because of anything that I did wrong but because of their refusal to admit the truth and with that they continue to think its ok to disrespect me.

Today I don’t care what they say about me or who they say it to because when you know the truth no one can take that away from you and in the end they are just a bunch of hurt and wounded people who never had the courage to ask for help and they will die believing the lie that they are a worthless piece of garbage just like I did for the last 48 years of my life until by the grace of God I finally was able to claw my way out of that sick way of thinking and now I not only see my worth I am able to share who I am with other people too. HUGE!!!

I don’t excuse what my parent’s did to me by a long shot but when you are born into this sick cycle of abuse how is one to know that there is a whole other way of living out there. We all attract one another. Sick begets sick and healthy begets healthy. There are no winners in this game other then the ones who find the courage to face the truth and who have the capacity to drudge through the muck and mire of what being abused did to you throughout your life and the losses that you have incurred because of it to finally emerge to the other side of broken. I pray for that for everyone. Loving yourself is freedom. Knowing your worth is freedom. No one can touch you with a ten foot pole when you have those 2 things.

It’s a long one. What can I say it’s been a while since I posted!!! Lol



Thanks Kris,

You are so right. And yes, they will tell everyone that you know “the truth” about you. It’s like they would like to rip everyone out of your life, everyone they can, if they could. I don’t believe my friend would succomb to it, but I wonder if that is why they’re sending in my brother to form a friendship with her. When I went low contact with my family, I made the mistake of giving my mom full facebook access to my profile and mentioning a friend who lived over an hour from them and who owned a small store out in the middle of nowhere in one of those towns that died 100 years ago. I noticed that my friend seemed to be distancing herself, not returning calls as often and not making plans with me as she had. She had a group of people out to her house one afternoon, including me, and her grown son told me, “Eira, your mom was out visiting at the store.” I just about croaked. I asked what they were doing there, and he said that they were looking for his mother (my friend). Some time later, this friend, told a fellow friend that “Eira is mean to her whole family.” I put two and two together and realized my mom must have been trying to dismantle my burgeoning identity and support system by taking out perfect strangers who befriended me. Now I have to hide all my friends on facebook and I no longer let her see most of my posts. For the longest time, she would ask, “Why can’t I see everything on your wall but dad can?” And I would change the subject. Then, she started to send me messages on my dad’s Facebook account, as if to show me that she can get in anyway. I had to give my dad limited viewing rights then too. I had to defriend and block my sisters, who act as my mom’s flying monkeys, and then they started going in their kids’ accounts, and then I had to reduce access of their kids. I’m not posting anything personal (my boss is a FB friend for God’s sake) but just musings and if I go to anything interesting. The most controversial things I post are sometimes quotes by famous writers or philosophers or even the Bible, which sometimes is nuanced enough that they know its about them, but is indirect.

Thanks everyone for the advice. I think I will let it go. Love my friend who warned me.


Darlene and finallyfree.. thanks so much for your thoughts and encouragement. Now that i’ve found people online who ‘understand’ because they share the experience… maybe i’ll find real live people to make friends with. Typically i make friends and i’m not entirely sure what happens.. somewhere along the way they change.. i sense resentment.. and it eventually comes out in a burst of anger.. in some ways – because i start sensing it.. i see it coming .. but i still don’t really understand it. i’m sure i’m choosing people who are more like my toxic family members than they are like me. and maybe somewhere along the way they see that i’m… not what they were thinking.. not weak? or damaged? or desperate to bend over backwards for them? I don’t know how to work around this. I sure wish there was some type of a meter you could have that would alert you to these personalities. because after the fact.. after the outburst i can typically add the pieces up and see.. the similarities.. u know, hindsight is 20/20.

I know one thing that seems to happen is I have a strong sense of what reasonable give and take is…. I’m guessing that it comes from having to consistently pick myself off the floor and brush myself off from dealing with my family. I don’t break easily. I think strength is seen as aggression – or something. I tend to be unemotional when talking about many issues..

I’m not sure how to move forward sometimes.. I guess I can just go one day at a time and cherish the relationships that do work out.. people that do trust me.

And Eira.. personally – i found it impossible to be partially no contact. In my case, and I would venture to guess in most/all cases of these wonderful families there is one main leader.. the great ape. The group needs to conform to the group at risk of being tossed out.. into the abyss..There is no way to change how any of the group members see you. It is possible for them to come to the same conclusion as you but they have to SEE the situation themselves by sensing what it’s doing to them.

And for everyone.. one of the most liberating concepts for me is that of letting them go.. kindof letting them off the hook for their behavior. I know in my heart, they have no idea what they are doing or how they feel, or why they feel… not that i want to engage, because i don’t, their lack of awareness eliminates their ability to negotiate with you.. I you are on the outside (as i have always been) you can’t get in.

funny observation.. my brother and i went to the same high school.. and when many of us baby boomers reconnected on facebook i connected with this guy my brother currently hung out with almost daily.. i said.. omg.. are you x’s friend? and he said, yes.. and i said, i’m his sister.. we were only 1 class apart in school.. you know what.. this guy didn’t even know my brother had a sister…we had many mutual friends… wtf… he knew about my son.. who was being used as a pawn by my father… but not me.. that’s how much value i had… all my gut feelings about being an outsider were dead spot on.

this pressure from society to always be there for your family because they are the only ones who really love you and will be there for you.. is so harmful. even most therapists try to sell this crap… some families are the most dangerous places in the world for some humans.


Kris, How beautifully put. Darlene has always had a special place in my heart because I relate to much of what she says, in how it was and what she had to do to get out change, grow and heal..I have been going through exactly what you are talking about. They do try to rip everyone out of your life. Ours is an older sibling who has a lot of control and has had it for a very long time. My family really does not know her because she left home at a young age but always maintained contact thru calls and short visits. She befriended people on my facebook acct that she didnt even know to solicit them as her flying monkeys…they know me and knew the lies about she was telling them about me were lies. They blocked her…loyal friends. So she went to my In-laws, she knows none of them and befriended them to keep tabs on me. She folllows me to the sites i visit and makes sure she comments around my comment. Friends were telling me and showing me. I asked them not to do that anymore. I appreciated their concern. But, like you, once I found out what I was dealing with and searched for my own recovery and healing, I really really do not care what they think of me. yet I remember when I thought and behaved just like them. I come from their same pain, but today I dont cringe going back in thought to my past. I know i was in a dysfunctional, sick family and I was as sick as them until I found the Grace and courage to endure the struggle to climb my way out. Thanks for sharing your inspiring story. I was touched again because I can completely relate to what you are saying as if you were talking about me. lol And Darlene does that a lot too!! Thats why i love her page and now and bless further here! 🙂



What you wrote was beautiful. I especially liked: “loving yourself is freedom-knowing your worth is freedom.” Your post was very powerful and empowered me. I hope your are proud of the scars on your heart. You did all the hard work to get yourself where you are now. Thanks for this inspiring post!



Dxs Kris Eira Because NM loves to gossip and talk about what “Is wrong with me”, I struggle with knowing I am not to blame, then wondering about what lies NM, has told about me. When I move, I am texting or calling the Few neighbors I care about, and telling them why I am moving – per order of the NM Queen Bitch. (Not those words exactly:-) )

I need to stop worrying what others believe about me. I’m anxious about how this moving/break up is going to go. She wants us to go….I believe she is waiting for me to come grovelling, begging not to be cast out.

Not going to happen! This change, as uncomfortable as the process is right now is needed and meant to be!
Please keep up the great encouragement! I appreciate it!


Hi DXS (131)

We’re not alone. I have been reprimanded for being “too sensitive” by others my whole life. I don’t understand why it’s so important for the nasty extroverts/personality disorder types to make the introverts more loud and outgoing. They can’t accept differences in people. It’s odd how the introverts tend to not care about making the extroverts more quiet, thoughtful, creative, independent, and self-sufficient. No, I do not need to be surrounded by groups of people every second and you know what? I am proud of myself and I like myself. I find that many of these extroverts tend to be really dull and boring deep down. Most of them have average lives of going to work, the grocery store, watching lots of TV, and then going out to eat with a GROUP of friends and lots of sports! Frankly, I watch very little TV, and I am busy keeping myself entertained with my hobbies. I work, but I also go out to my spiritual groups, like art, study ancient history, go to my knit/crochet group, ice skate, foreign language group, read good books, and spend time with my few extremely wonderful and beautiful friends–(both inside and out). I’m hoping to publish an Amazon Kindle book on witchcraft for young adults, but with a unique angle. Everybody is NOT my friend although I’m surrounded with people/acquaintances from these groups. Most of all I’m happy being me. I am not interested in having children but finding a man who can stand by me.

I have read that one fourth of the population is considered to be an introvert, which is still a large chunk of people. I don’t apologize for being too sensitive or creative. I like being me. Many times I have surprised nasty people by having quite a mouth on me (very articulate) and with a temper. But you have to push me really hard to get there. I agree that many of these extroverts cannot accept differences in others and want to change the introverts to make them more loud and outgoing. I don’t want to change! Notice how the introverts basically don’t give a hang about changing others to make these extroverts learn how to tone it down!

I do enjoy being an introvert and “too sensitive”. I am empathic and I don’t brag here but I am a natural medium and psychic. All psychics are “too sensitive” and feel and care way too much—sometimes too much for their own good. We have compassion and the ability to understand subjects and others on a very deep level. I was involved in the Spiritualist Church for years and I was the youngest adult medium in the church. Another term in the church for a medium is a Sensitive with a capital ‘S’. My real religion is Celtic Pagan/Spiritualist Church.

There are good books on being senstive:

“Are You Really Too Sensitive? by Marcy Calhoun
(A book for ultra-sensitives—beginning stage of psychic development)

“The Highly Sensitive Person” by Elaine N. Aron, Ph.D.
(how to guide written by a shrink)

“Psychic Vampires:Protection From Energy Predators and Parasites”
by Joe H. Slate
(metaphysical guide to protection from Narcs and nasty people using crystals and shielding techniques)

“Spiritual Protection: A Safety Manual for Energy Workers, Healers, and Psychics” by Sophie Reicher

Blessed Be,



I can identify a bit with what you’re saying about problems with friends. Since I left my family and ethno-religious group, I’ve made good friends and have made some bad choices of friends. The worst choice of friends I met was the woman my mother sought out (or she sought out my mother?). She triangulated me with a whole new community group. I lost my faith in humanity. She was the person who encouraged me to leave my family and my ethno-religious group behind as she had made similar decisions in her past. I really thought she was one of the greatest, strongest people I had ever met. I included her and her daughter into my new circle, and she eventually sabotagued me. Wow, that was very painful! I realized in hindsight she had not healed from her dysfunctional upbringing, she simply wanted to move on to a more “powerful” role in a similarly dysfunctional group setting. Whereas she had been the victim all her life, she turned on me and wanted me to be the victim in this new dynamic. I had overshared with her. She knew exactly how to “get” me and it was frightening that she would either seek out my mother or my mother sought out her. They were strangers to one another. It was so icky and its still icky to think about. So Louise, as I have gained strength and resilence, I don’t overshare so much anymore with new friends. Not until people have earned it and that I feel I can trust them. I have a new faith community but would not be surprised if my mother finds a way to infiltrate that…I am resolved to walk away if that ever happens. In fact, my mom keeps mentioning people that she knows who go to my new church…it feels like a warning. She cannot isolate me anymore. The one prospect that seems to scare my mom the most and keep her in better behavior is when I mention that we may move far, far away. In fact, my husband has had job offers a couple of thousands of miles away. I think she understands that if that happens, I will be far beyond her reach and she will lose all that is left of her power. I carefully guard my conversations with her. I don’t mention my friends specifically by name anymore for fear she will seek them out.


d ch! Your mom does not want you to go! She would have to find a new target.

When I went low contact, my mom found a newer target, my youngest brother. In fact, when she and the flying monkeys began obessing on my brothers “problems” and “sins” instead of mine (through lack of information, mostly) my youngest brother, previously a bit hostile toward me, began warming up to me, perhaps seeking an ally or perhaps to get me back into the fold to get the heat off of him. My therapist pre-warned me this would happen, so I was prepared. In fact, she asked me…if you remove yourself, who is most likely to occupy your role? And I said Brother X…and it did happen.

dch, your mom probably told you to get out to see if you would come groveling back, I concur. If you call her bluff she will be terrified.


I like being “too sensitive.” It allows me to call BS on someone who is trying to convince me they are a duck when they are really a goose. Because my mom kept telling me for years my feelings were “wrong,” I denied them. Now I access the feelings and depend on them!


Louise, the topic of friendships is a very interesting one to me. I think in today’s society, it is easy to make new friends, but when the “best foot forward first impressions” wears off, there are so many who begin to reveal their problems, their neediness, their desperate need to gain attention…and they do not understand boundaries or they do not know how to connect with others in a healthy way. You may be giving off a vibe to others that you are nice and kind and caring. Someone who doesnt know how to connect in a healthy way may interpret you at being “weaker” or somehow willing to emotionally invest in THEM to meet their needs…and when they find out you are a very nice person who is unwilling to focus 100% on their lives and needs and you want give and take in the relationship, then comes the resentment or anger or the blowup of the new friendship. I dont understand myself how to change that, but it does get easier to begin to recognize the type and to not engage with them in the first place. Certain key phrases or words they use, or the way they talk sometimes can clue us in. For some reason I have frequently been “targeted” to become the new friend for someone, so I know what you mean! I have just this last year begun to figure this out for myself and so far so good. I do think that other women who view strength as aggression are the ones who only desire us to be weaker than they are so that the attention can remain on them. Being strong and give and take are healthy! Knowing what your truth is is empowering and I think others can be taken back by that and dont understand how to have an equal, mutually respectful friendship. Hang in there, Louise! Having no friends or few friends is better than having resentful people who want you weaker than they are!


I did it. I called my mom and asked her why she was thanking my friend for being my friend. I told her it was patronizing, and it was like implying thatbeing my friend was some kind of extraordinary and heroic or humanitarian effort. I told her that my friends help me, I’ve helped them, that we are equals. I said that if I had cancer and she was providing hot meals or was in and out of mental hospitals that would be one thing, but that she was being condescending and that she needs to STOP. I told her that I was not any kind of special-needs human being and that if she sees me this way, she needs new glasses. I told her that she should imagine her approaching my sisters’ friends at her church thanking them for being their friends, and if the idea of that seems ridiculous, she should apply the same standards to me.

My mom hit the roof. She was angry. She was angry with my friend for telling me, saying she was never going to talk to her again.

She basically told me that she wasn’t going to change, that she would continue being the same way she has always been because there isn’t anything wrong with the way she has treated me and that I am too sensitive. And I said that until she starts “seeing” me and treating as a person with equal value to her own and that of her other children, that I would continue to call her on these things. She said that she no longer wants a relationship with me under those conditions, that she is “too old” (she is 70) to change and to be accountable for the things she says.


Eira, Andria, Irene, d ch,

Thnx for all of your kind words. When you live your life believing the lie that no one cares about what you think and how you feel it is hard to break free from that mold especially when all you ever got before was backlash from your FOO when you finally did get up the courage to voice your own opinion. They weren’t interested in what I had to say. It was all about them and what they wanted and they didn’t give a rat’s behind about me and how I felt at the time and they still don’t.

I still find myself waiting for the axe to drop when I voice my own opinion but when I read the responses to my posts here I get nothing but kind words and lots of encouragement and that is what makes it possible for me to take more risks when I am talking to other people in person now. I thank everyone for that. This is how you break free from the massive amount of brainwashing done to you by people who should have been caring about you but chose their own sick selfish selves over you making you feel like a worthless piece of garbage along the way making it impossible for you to believe that what you have to say is just as important as the next guys opinion.

I got more warmth and compassion on this site in the last 6 months then I ever got from my FOO in a lifetime. Blows my mind but so glad I found this site.



Kris, I feel the same way about the site. I feel like I now DARE to demand respectful and equal treatment and to WALK if I don’t get it.


d ch #138

I wanted to tell you that I think you are on the right path. When you said how you need to stop worrying about what other people believe about you that is such a huge realization because when you are able to do that you take back your power away from them and they no longer have any leverage against you to ruffle your feathers and to keep you stuck in their sick cycle of mass destruction. They are left basically talking to themselves at that point until they find the next victim to abuse just like Eira said.

Amen to that!!!



Amen to that too!!!!


Thanks Kris and Eira. Eira, whenever I have questioned her actions or told my NM she was wrong in what she said or did…she has ranted, raved, had excuses, twisted my words, denied, justified herself, I don’t anymore.

She has done so much damage with her mouth.

She’s the Mother, She’s elderly,She can do whatever
Her reputation is hers….Mine is mine. That is my solace.


WOW, such a breath of fresh words to read there are so many like myself out here.
Seriously, I think you should have a reunion for us souls who have endured a lifetime with persons who gave birth to us. How wonderful it would be to put faces to names and give each other hugs.
I myself haven’t spoken to my mother, the final time, in five years.
She died of brain cancer last February. Have I thought about why I don’t miss her? Yes. Did she nearly cost me my life 5 years ago to a serious suicide attempt? Yes. I “respected” her up until 5 years ago at which time I found out I had another grandchild I didn’t know about BUT she did. That’s when I finally said the words I’d wanted to say to her for a VERY LONG TIME – “If I thought you were the shittiest meanest mother on earth, you took the taco. I didn’t think you could get any worse but you proved me wrong. You were an even shittier mean grandmother. This is the last time I will EVER talk to you. You’ve done way too much damage to my soul. How dare you, but most of all how dare I allow you to have done it for so long.” She was stammering and I heard her start her screaming repertoire as I was hanging up.
That’s when I drove to a very busy highway access road. I thought I’d timed it right when I stepped in front of a “Dooley” truck. Fortunately, he was able to stop. Miracle – yes. I never talked to the driver to find out how he did it. I thought I had timed it right, but fortunately it wasn’t my time to leave Planet Earth.
I sought intense therapy and thank goodness my therapist and I hit it off. I didn’t truly realize how much damage my mother had done to me and my children for at least 3 years in to therapy. The last 2 years of therapy I found where my true self was. I started to live once my true self came shining thru and I am very strong for it to this very moment.

This was the first Christmas since my mother died. I didn’t hear very much from her other spawns (my so-called sister and brother). What I “heard” was thru cousins who find them very pathetic.
I breathe easy now.
She’s gone off this Planet. The damage she done happened, but it no longer controls me. I was 17 years old when I had my first child. I had no idea how she started to poison him against me since he was able to understand words. I always wondered why he was the way he was. Such a very difficult little boy, but I loved him none the less. Still do.
My youngest son filled me in on what my mother had said to he and his brother nearly their entire lives. My youngest son chose not to listen to her and he thought she was crazy as all hell. He told me all of this after I found out his brother had a second child. THAT was the grandchild my mother knew about and kept from me. That’s how she almost took my life.
But I get the final laugh…I LIVE every day now. She’s dead and gone.
I know how hard I tried to “have a relationship with her” but she was too mean. That wasn’t my fault. It was hers and she took it to her grave with her. In case you’re wondering- NO I never saw or spoke to her after I told her off that day.
Someone dying doesn’t make what they did go away. There was NO POINT whatsoever for me to be anywhere near her as she passed from this Planet.
I’ve never regretted my decision. I smile now and from what I understand, I have a beautiful smile!
I just want to say to everyone here that I know and feel your pain.


I just returned from a ski vacation for my kids. I saw my parents on and off for 4 days~ I feel stress in every ounce of my body. I did all the things my therapist suggested, to the best of my ability. I am feeling the need to regroup physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. I am depleted. I try so hard not to repeat the exhausting cycle- and it happens every time. Every time I am affected.
My father in N’istic and my mother in an enabler. They are also fear based people. I cannot tell them how they affect me because they aren’t capable of hearing it. This dysfunction has affected me in ways I cant even explain. For the 100th time I see how messed up the family dynamic is. I went on this trip for my kids, and I feel sick.
How do I recover and not beat myself up for not being able to shield from the pain?


Hi Tracy
my heart goes out to you here. What is good about this for your kids? (stress in every ounce of your body). It doesn’t really matter if your parents are not capable of hearing you ~ the fact remains that they don’t hear you (actually the truth is that they refuse to hear you) so the cycle continues. You ask how to recover and not beat yourself up because you can’t shield yourself from the pain. I was the same way until I realized that I could not shield myself from the ones holding the gun. The bullet was going to hit the target until I stopped standing in front of the gun. Shielding myself from the pain (and making it all my responsibility and all my failure) was not the solution. I could not shield myself from the bullets that they continued to shoot at me and that was NOT my failure. Once I saw it I realized that I could make a new choice.
Hang in there!
hugs, Darlene


Darlene – Thank you for your response to Tracy. You’ve made it make so much sense.

People around me so often see “restored relationship” as the happy ending, I sometimes feel like I *should* reach a point of being able to have a limited contact relationship with my family by not allowing their insults to hurt me. I keep wondering why I should spend my time with them if they’ve proven to me that they will NOT “put down the gun.”

I want to become the person I am meant to be. Packing on armor to protect myself from them is not going to help me get there. It’s so much more productive to just stay away from their kingdom.



Thank you for the responses. My children love to ski, and my husband does as well. I feel like I have to be there to visit with my mother , whom I love, but she cowers to my dad. She allows him an audience aming other things. I should mention also that they live in a town where I spent much if my childhood and we were forced to move due to my dad’s impulse. I was traumatized. They moved back a few years later and by then I was in college. I never saw any of my friends again despite my father bringing us back there over and over again. It is a beautiful place, but ….
When I am there, every fiber of my body is rejecting their energy, or trying to. I cant win the battle as u say, and the effort is killing me, hopefully not literally.

They represent all that I dont want to be, as far as my views on life. It is like being in the Twilight Zone in their presence. There is definate mental illness and disorder.

I am afraid to not be there for my boys on the trips.

There has to be a solution.

Please keep holding me up , I need it so.


I suffer from anxiety and depression as well. I am on medication and currently trying out EMDR therapy due to emotional abuse by my N father.


Dear Melanie (150),

I like your quote, “You’ve done way too much damage to my soul”. You are not alone and I felt so alone growing up. I had the same issues as you with a Narc mom. When I was twenty, I couldn’t take it anymore dealing with my Narc mom and father who wasn’t really there (but he copied a lot of her behavior) and I had a very serious suicide attempt and ended up in the hospital. Then the real nightmare began where I was taken to a psych. hospital by law. I was terrorized by the doctors and patients (see previous posts).

Another long story was when I ran away to a woman’s domestic violent shelter–(see previous post). Yes, that was also terrifying. I am not asking for sympathy here, but if I had had decent and kind parents I am almost certain
that I would have NEVER ended up in these places!

Both of my parents are quite elderly (mom age 82 and dad nearly 87 years old). They won’t last too much longer–I hope–and there is hope. I can’t take much more of this situation. I live alone in my house which is about a two hour drive away from their town. No, I did not visit them during the holidays. It’s been terribly hard to keep up appearances with past neighbors, social friends, and distant cousins that my family was “normal”. I was always labelled “shy” and never very talkative—I wonder why? It’s not that I was so terribly shy, but I was so ashamed of them that I learned not to let on too much about my real thoughts and feelings to others.

I’m sure that your life growing up was not too happy. I was not the most popular girl and not allowed to attend school activities or social events. My Narc mom only viewed me as the live-in maid for their big luxury house. But the past is the past. In my adult life, I am happy with my life and friends and hobbies. I’m actually happier now than I was growing up as a kid. Sure, there are a few issues in my life but NOTHING could be as hard as my unhappy childhood! You’re a strong woman to have survived so much.
Hang in there! I wish you every happiness. Blessed be!


Darlene, #152; one of the most valuable responses I have read on your website. Even though it was not written for me, it gave me valuable look into my own life. How many times did I stand right in the line of fire and wonder why people always hit the mark? The thing is that for the longest time I didn’t know there was any other choice. Perhaps as a child I had to take what people dished out as it was a survival mechanism. And then I transferred this to other parts of my life like on the school playground when there were bullies around. I just stood there and took it. Even into adulthood and through relationships and work, I just stood in front of the gun as you say. It was the only way I knew. I won’t kick myself for having done this because I was just continuing to do what I was so well groomed to do from early childhood. Instead, I will enjoy the fact that I have a choice. I don’t have to stand there. And I won’t stand there if someone is being abusive.


Hi Hobie #153… You struck a chord with me when you wrote about how people around you so often see “restored relationship” as the happy ending and how you felt like there should be a way to accomplish this feat yourself too. I believed that lie for so long myself. I kept on thinking that there must be some way that I can do this. What am I missing here? Why can’t I make things work out between me and my FOO and then the reality finally hit me that it doesn’t have anything to do with me not wanting to work things out but everything to do with them and their refusal to see things for how they really are that keeps on getting in the way from us having a mutually respectful relationship. I realized that that’s just not what they are looking for… I am.

The longer I am on my journey to recovery the more I realize that there is no hope of any type of reconciliation with my FOO. I kept on thinking that the more I healed the less that what they said and did would bother me but what I am finding out is just the opposite. I no longer want to deal with their toxicity anymore and nor should I have to. Life’s too short and I have missed out on too many years of peace already. They don’t know how to have peace. Their lives are filled with chaos that I am no longer interested in. I have chosen to mourn the loss of my FOO while they are still alive and move on with my life in a healthier way. I have them dangling on a thread right now or should I say they have me…but ultimately I know the end is very near. The longer I separate myself from them the easier it is. There are no good memories to make me want to miss them. My life is more peaceful now and I like it that way. I know that there is no way to achieve that with any of them. The whole thing is just plain sad but I didn’t make it this way they did.




Thanks. You’re right. They don’t want a mutually respectful relationship. I HAVE had more peace as I’ve stayed away from them.


First of all I just realized that I neglected to welcome Melanie to this group!

Welcome Melanie!! Glad you are here! It is great that you realize who actually held the responsibility in the failure of the relationship you are speaking of!

Everyone ~ re my comment to Tracy (152)
I guess sometimes I just need to SAY IT… I was worried that my comment was too blunt but thanks for the feedback from Hobie and Amber!
I might write a new blog and expand on that one!
hugs, Darlene


Darlene, I would LOVE to read a blog that expands on your comment # 152. I think it is an area a lot of us struggle with. I know I kept coming back and standing right in the line of fire in hopes that someone would change; someone would apologize, but of course it not only didn’t happen, but I opened myself up for further mistreatment. But now, being aware that this doesn’t work, I can look at what is really best for me. And sometimes the answer is to just get away from those people.


I think Darlene’s comment 152 to me was spot on. A clear metaphor.


Amber and Darlene.
Agreed it would make a great post. So often I read that the measure of “successful” therapy or healing is to be able to return to the relationship having “better boundaries” or some ability to not let them dictate how you feel or your reactions towards them. The onus is on the abused to change for the betterment of the relationship and the promise that somehow that change would solicit a change on the part of the people treating you without respect.
If this is true then I have failed at “therapy” and I have failed at “healing” because I had to remove myself from the relationships.


I have been carrying around this sense of pressure on myself to get fixed so I can resume a limited rela with the toxics in my life (certain family).
This I see is false and yes, I was right years ago when I said to my husband, ” why is it up to me to do all the work?”.
I see now that the work is to benefit ME not them.


Hi Everyone,
There is a new post on the home page called “What we hear when people say that our expectations are too high”. I really want to talk about this one..
See you there!
hugs, Darlene


Is anyone else going through some powerful feelings as we approach the holiday season? I have been sadder than usual and replaying the dysfunction from recent interactions and in years past.

I keep thinking I should be more productive, but part of me just wants to stay distracted with television, online games, food, etc. It is painful to feel.

I know we all have painful interactions. Perhaps some of you can relate to this. My latest was with my mother: I wrote her a note asking her some very specific questions re: whether she thought my sexual abuse was “almost nothing” (she said my father’s therapist said that and she’s said my sister’s experience was “more serious”), suggesting two things she could do to help our almost nonexistent relationship, and asking her for info.

Well, she only addressed one question (I had asked her if she had any solutions for our relationship (she had asked me the same question earlier) and she said she did not. She didn’t even bother responding to the other questions/ideas. The card had glitter on it, and she put several cutesy stickers on it. As if somehow the razzle-dazzle would disguise the fact that her non-response means NO. No she doesn’t want to do the two things I suggested; she thinks my sister’s sexual abuse was “more serious” so NO she doesn’t have support and validation to give me.

There is so much indirectness and deflection to muddle through – and the pain of her no, and her minimizing my experience…well I alternate between incredible desperate sadness for a real mother, and rage at how she ignores my needs and invalidates me.

This is EXACTLY what she does. She’s not ignoring me per say i.e. didn’t she send me such a nice card, signed love? (said bitterly)…but she’s totally ignoring the difficult subject and minimizing and invalidating me. It looks like she’s being “nice” but she’s not. Not at all.

If anyone has any input as to how to respond I’d be interested to hear what you think.

Meanwhile my GC sister seems very happy that I’m not participating with the family much anymore. I think she likes having all the social contact for herself, and she can be extra mean when I am around her and the family. She’s even said to me recently that she’s very happy lately….I wanted to say “yeh, now that I’ve bowed out!! You get all the attention that you want”.

My therapist dropped my insurance a year ago so I haven’t had anyone to talk with except occ. with friends. And here. Thank goodness for this website.



I’ve been struggling with the mess of family relationships as we are in the holiday season too.

I can relate to the message that you got from your mom in a “razzle-dazzle” card. I got the same kind of message in a birthday card in the past year. The handwritten message totally contradicted the printed message. I was also very hurt and very angry. Those kind of actions (or words) typically produce those kinds of feelings. Remember that you’re human and that’s OK.

No matter what you went through, no one has the right to tell you that it was “almost nothing”. It happened to you and you get to assess the damage because NO ONE ELSE can know better what you’re feeling than you.

I hope things get better for you. For me, spending time with people who are willing to struggle beside me is probably the best thing I can do for myself. Keep posting 🙂



Hobie and Light

I feel the pain of my family relationship, too, but I’m noticing that for me, the pain isn’t as severe as it used to be since this is the second time I’ve estranged from them.

Those “loving” cards you both mentioned are similar to some messages I’ve received, too. One I got in my P.O. box months ago actually made me laugh because it was so ironic. “Don’t forget your family.” Like I can forget how they treated and still treat me at times.

A few days ago, I got a generic email from my “neutral” sister wishing me a happy Thanksgiving. I’m surprised I didn’t hear anything from my mother who usually send me phony “I love you, you’re special” messages.

To deal with what I’m going through, I keep in mind that I have a good friend in another state (who I visit every year), and her family is like family to me. One doesn’t need to be related to someone to be family.


This is my second time around for being estranged myself. It has been getting easier as I’ve recognized the family that I “miss” never really existed anyway. I miss the idea of a family that cared about me. My family doesn’t and I doubt they ever did. I have been building new memories of better Christmases with friends this time. And they really are better memories of feeling welcomed and enjoyed.

I may never entirely stop wanting a family that loves me, but it’s much less painful as time passes.




I too struggle with the Christmas holiday. I don’t know which is worse. Having my mother actually reach out to me to give me her Christmas gifts knowing full well that the only reason why she is doing it is to make her own self feel better after 3 years of virtually NC with her other then the “cutesy” emails that she sends me laced with underlying messages about how I should remain loyal to my FOO or not hearing from her at all. Either way it is a thorn in my side that I am sick of having to deal with especially when all I want to do is enjoy my holiday without hearing from her yet I still do all at the same time!!! The only good thing is this year I know that it is MY CHOICE on how I want to handle this situation and not hers.

I am sorry your mother doesn’t give you the warmth and compassion that you deserve but you can’t get blood from a stone and once I realized that I can’t change how my mother thinks anymore then she can me I was able to move forward in my recovery knowing in my heart that this mess isn’t due to anything that I did wrong. It is due to her and her inability to face the truth for whatever reason and she gets to live with that not me.


Ditto to what you said. At this point in my recovery I don’t know of another way to handle this situation other then what I am already doing. I will continue to send my Christmas and birthday cards to show my love from afar and she will continue to send her cutesy emails as a way to prove that she is right out of her own fears and insecurities and that will be the extent of our relationship until one of us dies!!! Like you, I just wanted my mother’s love and I won’t deny this part of my self that still wants to get it but I am no longer fooling my self about it either. I too never had it to begin with and I most likely never will either. How totally unnecessary and sad is that???… but no one ever said that the truth won’t cause you pain. OUCH!


New to this site. At last- people who know exactly what they are talking about. I’m very moved and thrilled to encounter all this true wisdom learned the hard way, through experience. Where have you been all my life?! So grateful to everyone here. And Darlene- so glad you’re in the world. Bless you a thousand times.


Just want today- Xmas coming up and this year, the masks finally came off my family’s faces when I discovered they had lied to me for 40 years. It feels like being eviscerated. I always sensed something was terribly wrong, but of course thought it must be my fault, because how could my golden sister, who I adored, possibly betray me at the deepest possible level for so long? I’m going to read more posts. I’ve found a home here.


Hi All
Just catching up (have actually been away on vacation!)
Re your comments Light;
I had to keep reminding myself that it doesn’t matter what ‘they say’ anymore. They are wrong. There is no “more serious” abuse… that is SO damn devaluing. And who the hell is she to decide that????? I kept reminding myself that just because someone has an opinion doesn’t make them right. Love (yes they write “I love you.. and other assorted lovely things” is an action word. If there is no action behind it, it isn’t love. I kept reminding myself of that too. Hang in there Light, the holidays are a tough time for many but remind yourself too, that you are on the road to so much better!!!
Love and hugs, Darlene


Hi Branwen
Welcome to Emerging from broken. You are absoloutly NOT alone here and it sounds like you have found the right place.
Hugs, Darlene

Leave a Comment