To Confront or Not to Confront When Talking Does no Good


Navajo Proverb: You can’t wake a person who is pretending to be asleep.Standing up for yourself, self esteem

In the March Article “The Unheard Invisible Child; Being Seen and Finding my Voice” here in Emerging from Broken, a commenter asked a very popular question.  Here is the query;

“Now that I’ve found my voice, I have this strong desire to voice my anger towards my family. To tell them that they are wrong with how they have mistreated me. However, I don’t want to put myself in a position to be hurt again. Based on past experience, they will not hear me and will deny the truth & blame me for misinterpreting them. It’s been that way since childhood.

I’m an adult now and I deserve equal respect but like you said I have to “give up being heard from the people that silenced me in the first place”… I want to assert myself directly to my mom for something hurtful she recently told me, but what will this accomplish?… I will not be heard. Asserting myself and not being heard is insulting! However, if I don’t assert myself, isn’t that sending them the message that they can say whatever they want to me with no regard for my feelings? Please clarify…”   

Here are my thoughts expanded from my original reply;

I constantly hurt myself by accepting devaluing treatment from other people. I didn’t realize that it had become normal and acceptable to me. For instance take the phrase in the query; “I’m an adult now, and I deserve equal respect.” The false belief in that statement is when we become adults we deserve equal respect but the truth is that we always did deserve equal respect, even as children. Respect and authority are not the same thing. Adults have more authority over children, but in the true definition of love ~ respect and equal value have nothing to do with age or social status. 

When I finally accepted that the fact that they never heard me before was a pretty good indication that they were not going to hear me now, I decided to stick up for me; not so that they MIGHT hear me but because I needed to validate myself. It wasn’t so much about asserting myself. It was more about empowering myself. For the first time in my life I knew that I had a choice in the relationship with them. That brought a new clarity; I realized they had a choice too; they could try to hear me or they would reject me again. They could choose relationship with me which includes mutual respect or no relationship with me which is rejection.

Deep down I was afraid of rejection because I thought rejection would serve as proof of my biggest fear; that they didn’t really care and that I really was “nothing”, just like their actions were pointing to all along.  Accepting abusive and disrespectful treatment without question helped me avoid the actual truth about their actions.  But the truth set me free. The fear was never as bad as the reality.

On this journey to emotional healing and recovery the boundary is drawn in the heart. (which means that when I got it, they got it) When my family and friends knew that I was no longer going to bow down to them, many of them withdrew. They didn’t want me to change; they didn’t want me to regard myself as equally valuable. I realized that in their view there was really no relationship in the first place unless I was beneath them. That truth stung but it also clarified things for me and it spoke clearly; their actions and attitudes highlighted their disregard for me as equally valuable to themselves.

I was unwilling to live defined as beneath anyone anymore.

Not speaking up for me was sending the message that they could treat me how ever they wanted and I decided that those days were over. I made my new self empowering decision and I decided to take a chance on the outcome of standing up for myself so that I could live in freedom from the bondage they had me in. Taking a chance did not depend on them finally hearing me but I did have to decide to accept the outcome either way.

So much of my recovery and overcoming the past has been about looking at things differently. I knew my mother would not value anything I had to say in standing up for myself so I didn’t speak for her to hear me. When I said that I had to give up being heard by the people that silenced me in the first place I meant that I had to believe that being heard by them was the answer. I had to look at what I wanted to accomplish in a new way. I spoke so I would hear me. I had been focused for so many years on the end goal being for “them” to hear me. I think I started to get a glimmer of understanding that even if they heard me, the damage would not be fixed without doing some personal healing work. When I changed my focus on the end goal to healing and emotional recovery for myself, instead of “being heard by them” I was able to speak after all those years on MY behalf.

Not being heard IS insulting. And by looking at the truth of the whole situation I finally had the self respect to understand that I don’t have to accept that treatment anymore.

In the case of my mom I only got to say about three things on my own behalf and because I was still full of fear I kept it pretty mild but it was enough. It was validating. I took a stand. I said I was done with being treated the way she treated me. She asked if we could just forget about all of it and just start over. I said no. She said that in the past we had always been able to sort out our difficulties. I replied that actually in the past I always conceded. I always gave in to her and let her be right. I always backed down but now I told her that those days were over. I told her that I wanted to have a “real relationship” where each of us had mutual respect and equal value.  Much to my surprise, she listened to me. She even suggested that we might try therapy together.  I let myself get excited. I felt a new hope.

At the end of the call she told me to think about what we had talked about and let her know what I decided… My heart kind of sunk.  I had already let her know what I had decided. This was the same old “power play” where she put the ball back in my court and made it all up to me to carry the responsibility for the outcome of the whole mother daughter relationship between us.  I quickly recovered from my shock and reminded her that I had just finished telling her what I had decided and that this time it was up to her to consider if she wanted to work on our relationship WITH ME. A real relationship takes two.

That was the last conversation that I had with my mother. But that is okay. I have grown and flourished since that day. The truth set me free. In the years that followed I have seen the truth about our dysfunctional mother daughter relationship and I have grown stronger in my understanding. My mom had a choice. She chose denial. She chose not to give up her power. She chose to let me go. Perhaps she chose “being right” over being with me, I don’t know, but I have found the sunlight in my own life. I have blossomed into who I was meant to be and I am fulfilled. I have no regrets about standing up for my equal value because now I trust myself with myself. I have no more depression or oppression. I don’t jump when the phone rings. I overcame dissociative identity and multiple personality disorder. I have more confidence and self esteem than I ever thought possible.

Realizing that my own family would rather not bother with me if they had to listen to me or respect me was really hurtful. But the truth that I had to realize is that they had been hurting me for years. The pain was not new; I had been trying to cope with it for over 40 years.  My entire life I had been told that I had misunderstood them. They denied all accountability for any problems in our relationship and insisted that the problem was me.  The difference now is that I stopped believing it.

Please share your thoughts.  Please feel free to use any name you wish in the comment form if privacy is a concern. Only the name you use will be visible to other readers.

There is freedom on the other side!

Darlene Ouimet

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


Related posts: To Confront or Not to Confront; That is the Question

Facebook Parenting for the troubled teen ~ how kids are devalued

Adult victims of Child Abuse still need to be Heard

Conflicting feelings of Rejection when the abuser withdraws


Categories : Family



Darlene you are amazing!!!I am so appreciative of your effort and ability to share your story. I had this experience this weekend with sisters who abandoned me when I told them of our mother’s lies and our parents who raped me as a little girl. My sisters, I thought, were my best friends but when I decided to stand up to my mother’s manipulating and controlling ways they turned away from me and stop communicating with me. It’s been over two years since this happened. This past weeknend they come to me and my story didn’t change. I told them we must respect each other as individuals and even though we grew up in the same house we came away with similar but different experiences. It didn’t really change our relationship, far as us becoming best friends, but it did give me closure with how they left me when I needed them the most. It gave me an opportunity to express myself and what the sexual abuse did to me. They still had a hard time hearing it because they want to block it out. They told me this. I told them blocking out means blocking out a part of me and that’s not healthy for my emotional well being. It’s because of my healing we can’t be friends but they will always be my sisters and I’ll always love them. It was a very therapeutic visit for me. I do desire to have that closeness with them as best friends do but it cant be as long as they’re not willing to accept all of me. I’m not angry with them about it. They’re not willing to feel the pain of what their parents did to me and them. Thank you Darlene for sharing your story. It really helps me to read a part of your journey.


Hi Will
I am sorry that your sisters can’t accept what happened to you. This is so often the way it is. If I could tell people one thing (and if they would hear this one thing) I would want to tell them that the pain of facing the truth is no where near as bad as the pain of staying in the lie.
Thank you for sharing. I am glad you are here too.
Hugs, Darlene


—-“At the end of the call she told me to think about what we had talked about and let her know what I decided…”—-

That’s EXACTLY what my mother would say to me!!!

The times I gave my mother a firm answer that she didn’t agree with, her usual tactic was to keep asking it until I caved in and went with HER way. If that badgering tactic didn’t work, she’d end the conversation with, “You think about it some more and let me know what you decide.” Infuriating and again, devaluing me. And when this behavior is repeated over and over throughout your life, it either breaks your spirit and you wearily cave in all the time, or you stand up for yourself and endure a battle and feel guilty about it because you believe you aren’t really worthy enough to feel this strongly with an opposing view.

If things got too heated with me trying to take a stand too firmly or explain my viewpoint, she would cut me off and talk over me, or shut me up with a terse, WE WILL NOT DISCUSS IT.”

And that’s why I am DRAINED.


For fifty years she has not listened. If I try to get a hearing, I will simply be illustrating the definition of “insanity.” I will not keep banging my head on a brick wall; the sixth commandment says, “Thou shalt not kill” with the explication of that by a catechism of “tending to do what keeps life alive.” I cannot be fully alive if I am under her emotional thumb. Numbness has been replaced by complete indifference, and that, believe it or not, is a good thing. I reject the rejecter because I cannot live as a rejected, defeated, put down, beneath her, too dumb to be believed human being anymore.



(this is path to peace btw 🙂

You are just precious! I went no contact with my extremely abusive, outrageously ridiculous psychopathic family three years ago.
The scapegoating was too much. I was done. I saw that it was never going to change, the role I played, i realize was one they ENJOYED. The family could not “dysfunction” to its optimum without me. Perhaps the family dog has now been assigned this role? 🙂

It has been a lonely journey because I had to let the entire family go. It was within that first year of their absence, that I really noticed how little they cared, how strategic and purposeful the abuse really was. It was the first time in 45 years that my psychopathic father did not send me a birthday card with the innocuous gift enclosed. I cried all day. Not just because it was a sign delivered in validating what I already knew to be true, but that I truly, by choice, CHOSE ME. I validated myself and at the same time, validated the hurt and pain they caused me, even though they never would.

I also knew that it would be another process in letting the man I loved at the time go too. He was psychopathic and I was his scapegoat, willingly. I spent the next year and a half letting him go and one of my pathological children as well, to stay free.

Family is about spirituality now. About a God I have faith in, but have not yet met in person, my truth Father, brother, sister, but who has increased my faith in myself by the placement of wonderful others, directly with new friendships and indirectly such as yourself and your page/blog. You are apart of my healing family, Darlene, and your sharing inspires me to stay strong on the path of love and of hope.


You are so right Darlene, the pain of facing the truth is no where near as bad as the pain of staying in the lie. My family is still living the lie, but I am the outcast for chosing to. Just last week, my mother left me a voice mail, telling me I chose to be the outcast in the family. I was floored. I have not spoken to my parents in over a year and everyone is pressuring me to because they are almost 80 and feel I will have regrets. All of us have been abused, physically, verbally, and sexually and they all still want the secret to be kept. It’s so terribly sad.

April 17th, 2012 at 3:09 pm

My mom always tries to put it back on me too. For example: “I’m so sorry u feel that way. It sounds like u aren’t able to forgive me & I will just have to live with that for now.” Like her hands are tied and she has no choice in the matter! Not!

She continues to use her typical toxic, unhealthy means of both making non-apologies and guilting comments. I’ve told her several times that her apologies are not apologies, but she just doesn’t get it. And this go round, I asked her what I’m supposed to have forgiven her for since she has not been accountable nor tried to make amends at all.

I’ve given up trying to have her listen and have understanding as well. She just isn’t capable.


Yes, I’m really beginning to take on board now that I am not who or what they said I was and that the problem was not me but them. It’s been a huge journey to get here and it feels so good to finally be able to begin to see that, to acknowledge that and to begin to believe it, it is transforming on so many levels!


Hi Drained,
All of what you said sounds very familiar to me too! If things got too heated with my mom she would remind me of her fragile state and that I was upsetting her. We all knew not to do that… I used to think she didn’t realize the effect that had and how worried I would get ~ but today I realize that is exactly why she said it!
Thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene

By that interesting definition. I agree ~ I was not really alive before, how can a squished flower bloom in the dark? I couldn’t live that way either.
Thank you for sharing! I can appreciate the passion in your comments!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Kelli! (great to make the connection with who you are on your page!)
I often wonder who took my place too! My brothers were not very happy when I stood up (my eldest brother sneeringly said ” you’ll be back; I give it 6 months”) but I bet they were scared that they might have to restore her order if I wasn’t around to take all the crap. I lost my entire family too, but I gained so much more in return. I was devastated when the months ticked by and no one tried, no one wanted to bother with me. (my father still sends cards but that is a whole other story for a whole other article)
I LOVE how you ended your comments with the empowering victory that you chose you! YAY. I chose me too! I validated myself and re-parented myself.
I have a wonderful life today!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Giftedwithbrokeness
This also sounds like my mother. Excellent additions here! Love the part about “like her hands are tied and she has no choice in the matter!” EXACTLY
I am really loving these comments! (and yes about when they don’t admit doing anything wrong, how can they talk about “forgiveness?”
Thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Donna
Wow. just wow….
So why are they worried that YOU will have regrets?? Why are they not worried about this elderly people who might go to their graves without making amends??? Interesting!
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Fi
YAY! Thanks for sharing your victory! That is so huge!
Hugs, Darlene


I give up.
I am tired of the drama of conversations where I am yelled at, blamed, accused of lying or I am interrogated.

My mom replied to my written confrontation with no mention regarding what I wrote (below)
When someone tells me or I know I have done or said something to hurt someone else, I know how to say I am sorry.
Some people make excuses and never see their wrong, only what someone else has done.

I don’t believe she will ever let me question her actions, tell her what she has done wrong, or share my anger/hurt.

In her subtle way she has criticized and disrespected me this week. It did not hurt me. I did not respond or react. I know she was expecting me to get defensive so she could attack.


I am sorry this happened. I wish that they could see what they are doing, but when I realized that my mother would never pause long enough to give me an equal say, there was real freedom in that understanding. It was a kind of acceptance that I had never considered before. Acceptance without bowing down! I can accept that she is like that, but I no longer accept that I deserve it!
Thanks for sharing and good for you not reacting!
Hugs, Darlene


Darlene, every time I hear your story, I can’t believe you actually managed to sort out the truth from lies and rebuild your life. Not because I don’t think you are capable of doing it, lol, but because it is so hard to do when so many false messages had been dumped into your mind. It has given me hope, not only for my own life but also for my loved ones – kids and friends.

All the tactics that you talk about is what I have been going through with my ex. He thinks he has changed and now my problems are supposedly due to my rejection of him, my refusal to forgive or listen to God. Putting the ball back into my court is his subtle but consistent

Just as you said, it is hurtful to think that the person who vowed to love you and who you believed truly loved you only really valued himself. What was unbearable about that truth was that if the one person that seemed to really love you didn’t, then who would? It meant that one had never really received love.

Now I don’t look for the love of others to prove my worth. The fact is that one can empower, validate and love oneself, even if nobody else around seems to, and indeed one must do that to live a whole, healthy life. In fact, I am wondering if the chronic emptiness of sufferers of borderline personality disorder might be due to the messages that one is not acceptable, and has to look for that acceptance and worth from others.

I am finding that some friends around me are struggling intensely from depression, anxiety and fighting off a constant feeling of being bad and chastise themselves for being overly emotional or impulsive. When I try to sort through with them some of the irrational thinking patterns, they thank me for grounding them and they say they need friends like me to do that for them. But I think that is still depending on others because of the belief that one is flawed and only someone else can fix it. If only more people got that message that one can sort out the lies from the truth and find out HOW the dysfunctionalities got there rather than try to beat themselves up for their “flaws”.


I know my family will not listen to me or even entertain the idea they are ones at fault. They will only tell me that i am wrong and deny what happened. So I don’t bother even making an attempt. It has been almost a year since I had contact with several of my brothers and not once have they made any attempt to contact me. I get the message loud and clear. It hurts but not as much as sacrificing myself to continue to be abused. My mom is in complete denial that my brothers are abusive. She has always allowed others to abuse her regardless of the price she has to pay. So it is what is. I don’t want ever be back in that place of allowing my family to abuse me. My dads gf has even jumped on the band wagon along with my brothers kids. I am the focus of unkind needling comments, rejection, and critism. Ever walked into room and the vibe is you are not wanted? Or it’s okay to say and do hurtful things just because you are you? Well I take back ME! I don’t need them in my life. I have other healthy relationship to put my time and energy into. And one of the most important relationships is with myself!


I have found my voice by going No Contact (NC) with all of my abusers. Yes, there have been many. I take so much strength from the fact that I no longer have any reason to even speak their names. It was a decision I made for me…the first of many in the past year…which is leading me down the path of recovery.

On the flip side (and not the reason I went NC) it infuriates my abusers that I no longer participate in their abuse of me. I dropped the rope, walked away and feel like a whole new person.



Another thought occurred to me with the outrage that I would dare to depart from the role assigned and the fam as a whole:

They hated me because I was sensitive. From day one. They scapegoated me because of that sensitivity. I was targeted because they were AFRAID of me. They knew I might tell the secret of the sexual, emotional and occasional physical abuse. This is why I was denied medical care, why I was rendered invisible, why I was isolated and grounded constantly as a child….I might share the secret.

Well, now the secret it “out” like a Senator in a public restroom.

So despite their efforts to silence me, they, in reality, only strengthened my voice, and with the added benefit that MANY OTHERS know it now too.

Karma. It happens. 🙂


Hi Krissy
You don’t have to believe your ex. One day I just stopped listening to them. I finally just stopped considering that it wasn’t them and I ignored them when they put it back on me. Words fail me now as I try to communicate HOW I did that.. it was like I just no longer would consider that it was me. And the people in my life “got it” and either gave up on controlling me, or they took at look at what the way that they did relationship with me. Abusers, controllers and manipulators don’t need to TELL you that they have changed. They prove it. They live it. We know they have changed by their actions and attitudes. I can tell the difference between a tactic change and an honest trying to treat me as an equally valuable person.
At the end of the day I realized that I have to love me. Everything has changed since I started to take care of me.

I believe almost all mental health diagnosis have their roots in damaged self worth. I began this site because of my success with speaking in mental health seminars. It never mattered what the diagnosis was, the root of it was always the same.
Great to hear from you!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Daisy
Thank you for sharing your empowering victorious comments! I love what you have said here! I took ME back too!
Great to have you here
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Kel M
I totally identify with how much it infuriates people that can longer abuse or control me. Yay for dropping the rope and doing what it takes to break free from that oppression!
Glad you are here,
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Kelli
I totally get this. I came to those conclusions too. This is exactly how it works. And they make sure that self esteem is NEVER elevated because that is dangerous. You might start to “think for yourself”. Well I started to think for myself alright… and I found the voice they never wanted me to find.
Hugs, Darlene


Thank you so much for reading my thoughts… LOL, again! I too share this journey of caretaking, parenting, and not being validated.

Growing up with the much needed desire to be wanted and accepted for who I was. I was always crushed by my parent’s dysfunction. I too recently started setting boundaries with my mom, and other family members. I am able to now do this in a spirit of love and respect. Not because I need them to love me but because I respect myself. I ask for what I need, I validate myself… I have concluded, I could be the nicest person on the planet and others still won’t like me. This twisted warped thinking stems from codependency, perfectionism, and a NEED to be wanted and valued. I was not respected in my house hold… my person life was broad cast thru everyone via my mom (no boundaries, my life was seen as an extension of her!). My father, a raging alcoholic was never emotionally present… I was always in fear of his rage, or drunken stupor was once again, boundaries were crossed. And to mention I was sexually abused by and uncle at a very young age. There was never any safety or a place I could be safe in my own world. I learn to separate my self to deal with the lack of respect and trauma I endured, a false way of protecting my inner child.

My mother was also a victim of this behavior via her mother, which prepared her suitable for a relationship with a narcissist. This is how the cycle perpetuates it self. The evil continues to craw thru family generations until someone breaks thru the wall of fear and takes a stand! I stand against being treated unfairly, I now speak my mind and my intention, I expect to be treated with equal value. I have developed limit, boundaries and deal breakers for others to be in a relationship with me.

Basically, if others do not place value on me, I don’t care anymore. I don’t NEED anyone to tell me how to live, act, think, breath, choose, care, love, walk, sleep, eat, talk…for me. I am very capable of having my own opinions and being okay with them. Am I going to make mistakes… You betcha! But there MINE! and only MINE to correct. Those fault finders out there really need to take a look at their own crevasse before looking into mine. Some wont and some cant. That’s not my problem anymore… THAT is powerfully freeing to me.

I can accept others choices. As painful as it maybe sometimes having to move on from someone you love, it’s better for me.

I have learned the self-care of Acceptance and Surrender. I am able, to live freely in my needs, beliefs, wants and desires, one day at a time.

Thank you Darlene, for sharing your healing journey! The lessons you post are priceless!



I am in this situation at this very moment. Just when I thought we could get along (not be close but get along), she has decided to literally blackmail me. I am certain that she convinced my grandpa to write me out of his will so that she could have total control. She said she would be the one to give me my inheritance from my grandpa, but she needed to talk to me first. Then she sat me down and listed about 12 years worth of resentments she had toward me including a simple sentence I said in my Christmas letter 7 years ago, and issues around her spending money on my wedding. She felt I wasn’t appreciative enough. I recently realized my relationship with her is about having to appreciate her and apologize to her. She wanted me to apologize for these things before I could have my inheritance. I told her she could keep it and I haven’t spoken to her since then (going on 4 months).

She claims she just wanted to know how I feel about her and now she is trying to be sweet and sending gifts etc. I don’t want to keep her away from her only grandchildren but I am so fed up. My therapist has sort of understood but seems to want me not to confront the issues and set a “start over date.” That just made me feel ill and I discontinued our sessions.

Being a therapist myself, I feel I needed more empathy and an advocate for my needs. I wrote an abbreviated version of the letter and will send it with my birthday gifts to return to her (I figure if she is so mad about spending money on us at the wedding she shouldn’t continue to buy us things…so she can say, “after all I have done for you?”). From now on I am setting a no more than two days limit on visits and we aren’t going out there again until we can afford airfare, hotel, and car rental so we won’t stay at the house.

If she keeps pushing I think I will send the 7 page letter that I have written. Not to change her (I know for a fact this cycle is never going to end). Ugh, so painful and frustrating. Just wish my therapist would have understood how just the thought of speaking to my mother makes me physically ill because of all of the past trauma. A start over date doesn’t work with people like her.



Darlene, I remember about a year ago, when I was going through this same kind of experience with my mom and struggling to grapple with the pain of her final rejection. You told me that I would eventually, see how much happier I would be without them in my life. A year later and what you told me has proven true. Even with the new, paiful revelations that I shared with you last week, I’m doing so much better and it doesn’t matter so much that they never love me because I love me, God loves me, and the family I created loves me. My son told me, “the cycle has been broken, Mom.” Awwwww, it makes me cry just to write it…I think I’ve reached the point of forgiveness and acceptance. I know the work isn’t over but I have accomplished so much. Thank you, Darlene for helping me find freedom and self acceptance.



Just wanted to add one more thing:
Whenever I did try to stand up to my mother, I felt that I sounded so defensive… She was on the attack and I couldn’t think of the right words to assert my rights. I suppose that goes with the bad programming. Maybe deep down I felt so unworthy that my subconscious wouldn’t let me find the right words to defend myself. I ended up sounding like a weak little child, no matter how old I was, which added to my self-loathing. Ugh, what a vicious cycle that even poisoned my work relationships with my bosses and some romantic relationships.


Hi Darlene,

You took the words right out of my mouth. It was flattering & surprising to see my words used as an example in a whole new article! I do agree with your comment, “the truth is that we always did deserve respect, even as children”… it’s so true that just because our parents had more authority over us as children, does not mean age or social status has more respect or value. Just because they are our parents does not mean we automatically respect them or value them more than ourselves. As a child, I believed them, but now I know it’s important to validate myself.

Since my comments from the other article, I have stood up to my mom not based on the outcome of being heard by her, but to express how her nasty comment made me feel, so I could validate my feelings and send the message that it’s wrong to say abusive/hurtful things to me. Of course, my mom deflected from the truth, that she intended to hurt me. I am learning self care, boundaries & limits with my family. My contact is limited, but I know that if I choose to continue some relationship with them, I will need to continue setting boundaries & limits.

My feelings & thoughts are of equal value and I am healthier because I’m capable of facing my problems & pain. I do see myself as a worthy, competent & capable individual. As always, your articles are thought provoking, which is what I need to chip away at those false beliefs, that I’ve been programmed to believe. It’s such hard work but I’m doing it!


Darlene – what a well-timed post…this is all so close to my heart and so current in my life. And I am so grateful to all the commenters who shared their stories as well. I struggled with my own relationships with my family for so long and even more so when I became a parent and they rejected not just me with their silence and denial and bitterness, but my partner and child. I’m so happy to hear all these stories of people who have moved on and thrived by cutting away the negativity and toxic ‘family’ members. Light and healing to all of you. Thank you again Darlene.


Hi & thank you for the wisdom. My mess is too long, complicated & hard, to know what to write where it makes sense typed. I have never told anyone the details, or ever written into anything, and don’t know if this will be read. Not trying to sound difficult, it’s just soo hard to think about especially since I just the past 2 months figured out the answer to my 24years of a nightmare marriage that I’m stuck in. But I did want to ask… how do I confront mainly my mom, and my dad, when they are dead? I have been cheated outs that one, right? Thanks soo much, I thought I was alone in this till I found you! Debbie


Hi Everyone!!

So many of these comments hit so close to home. My mother recently said, “I did the best I could and I’m sorry if that wasn’t good enough for you.” A non-apology, and a lame excuse all in the same sentence. Both designed to put the blame back onto me. I have learned all of this from reading your story Darlene, and the stories of others. I had no idea the power that statement held prior to coming here. I had no idea what it was designed to do either.

I am working on writing my mom a letter. Since she has recently denied lying, bullying, or going into rages, I am writing a new letter that states, it’s okay. She doesn’t have to own it for me to heal. I also intend to list out consequences for future behavior. If she lies about me again, I will make sure the truth is out. If she sidesteps responsibility for devaluing comments, I will keep the pressure on instead of backing out like a wounded child. If she makes excuses for her behavior, I will continue to point out the behavior… again keeping the pressure on. That should be enough to make her RUN in another direction. As I understand it, she doesn’t want to be “discovered”. I believe if she knows I’m onto the truth, she will flee. She did 2-3 months ago when I told her I was aware of some very damaging lies. She simply ignored me aside from a few mushy things she texted or sent in the mail. She never addressed the lies until my sister asked her to come to her house for a weekend to visit. Then, because my mother believes she was empowered by that, she sent an email of denial. That’s when she said the statement above about doing the best she could.

So many damaging things come to mind when I read people’s stories. I’m so thankful for that because the memories are buried, but coming here has brought so much to the surface. Yesterday, I remembered that when I was 12 years old, she badgered me to death trying to get me to admit to having sex. I didn’t even know what it was aside from hearing her doing it with her boyfriend. At 14, she said I would be pregnant by age 16. I’m 43, and I’ve never been pregnant. I was a virgin when she made those accusations. I wonder if that was her best.

Anyhow, great insight from everyone here, and thanks for this enlightening post Darlene. You’ve done it again!! And, I’m so thankful for you!!
Love and hugs,
I am waiting until after my grandma’s 90th birthday party to send the letter to my mom. I almost can’t wait. It feels like waiting to cash in a lottery ticket. Haha!!


You described me exactly in post #24. Well said!!


Congrats on standing up to your mom, and chipping away at the false beliefs. It is hard work, I agree. But, I know we will emerge from BROKEN!! YaY!!


Hi Suzanne

Excellent comments (comment #21)! We all deserve equal respect. It is amazing how many people in the world believe they have special rights and how many of their victims “AGREE” with them. My mother was a victim too and in the end I had to stop putting her life and importance ahead of my own. I could not stop the cycle as long as I was trying to fix and repair her damage and ignoring / excusing mine.

Love your comments! They are wonderful, empowering and healthy.

Hugs, Darlene

Hi Gretchen

Wow, I can certainly relate to this. My mother was constantly hinting about money stuff and my in-laws did too. I remember when I realized how much it actually worked on me and I realized that I had been brainwashed to the degree that I really thought I needed to suck up for those financial inheritances! I suddenly realized that I DON’T need them and decided that I can’t be bought. so like you, I decided they can have it.

About a “start over date” oh wow. Does that work for anyone?? Isn’t that like validating that they CAN treat me anyway they want? It is just more compliance! (I get hot about such subjects!!!) Good for you for discontinuing sessions.

Great comments, thank you for sharing,

Hugs, Darlene



Sonia, this post is dedicated to you, I just didn’t know if you would be comfortable with me saying that in the post!

It was huge for me to realize that I deserved respect when I was a child! I had been totally brainwashed that I didn’t. That I was “just a child” as though that meant that one day I would be a ‘real person’ but until that day I better try harder to deserve…

That is awesome that you expressed to your mom how her comments made you feel!

Thank you for sharing!

Hugs, Darlene

Hi Mimi!

My mom is a master at “I’m sorry but…..” yuck!

Your comments brought up a few things for me as well. My mother accused me of having sex before I ever did too. I remember her saying to me “I wasn’t born yesterday” as though I was SO stupid to think that she would believe me that I wasn’t having sex… so very hurtful.

I believe that my mother “ran” too. She ran because she couldn’t face her part in any of this. (not because she didn’t know any better though)

These are great comments Mimi, I like your “plan”

Hugs, Darlene


Hi Debbie,

Welcome to EFB (I read everything that comes through this site)

It is important to understand that confronting is not necessary to healing even if parents are alive. Validating and facing the damage that was caused is the only road to healing. I only got to talk to my mother once and I certainly didn’t tell her any of the stuff that I write about today because back then I didn’t know how, but I don’t need to tell her anything in order to heal. Confronting is a consideration when parents are still alive and still jerking the grown child around, manipulating, controlling etc. but even then it is only the boundary that is necessary to healing, and not the confrontation. I hope this helps explain a bit.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Vicki
Thanks for your commets. Hugs Darlene


Hi Pam
What your son said to you brought such a serge of joy to my heart! That is why I do this work; to help break the cycle of abuse and dysfunction! I am so glad you are here Pam!
Hugs, Darlene

P.S. Just a minor correction for the sake of other readers about something you sid in your comment #23 ~ I told you that *I* was happier without my parents in my life. I would never tell anyone they would be happier without theirs after all, how would I know that?

We react as the children we have been brainwashed to be. We don’t suddenly have the tools to find the right words to defend ourselves with, that takes some deep healing and self validation work. In my case looking back I was afraid to defend myself with the real story! I was very afaid of her. (them) and yes.. it is a complicated twisted and crazy cycle!
Hugs, Darlene


Darlene, I don’t remember how you worded it but I know you were encouraging me that things would get better than they were and they are. I’m not sorry that I drew that line in the sand. I pray for all of them every day and I’d love it if they would comply and treat me with respect but I’m fine if they don’t. I forgive them but they haven’t taken their portion of responsibility to apply my forgiveness and our relationship isn’t fully reconciled. That’s okay if that is their choice. I have closure now and I can finally, close the door on my painful past. Not burry it alive like I did before but instead I’m closing the door on a room full of memories that are now fully understood and correctly and neatly labeled. There is an order to my past now and it is not so jagged and chaotic. When I look back, I can’t believe how far I’ve come and how much things have changed since I posted my first comment here. If what my son said makes you smile, you can just imagine what it has done for me! Love you, Darlene.



There are days when my kids say things too that just amaze me and validate that what I have done really is the greatest thing and that I have broken the cycle of abuse and dysfunction that both my husband and I came from.
I like how you say that you have closed the door but not buried it alive like in the past.. ~That is such a powerful statement. I tried to bury the past alive and it caused me nothing but depression and struggle with self esteem. Those days are long gone!
Hugs, Darlene


Mom is being nice again. She told me I look depressed, stressed out and sad. She says I need to go and see the Doctor she goes to, and go to the new church she goes to.
She has told me before she talked to her Doctor “all about me”, and I bet the new church people know all about “what is wrong with me.”

This is her way of making me think there is something wrong with me, because I confronted her last month, and have not been in her house since.
She offered to pay for my prescription (called me twice about it.)
I am not accepting the $ from her. I’m sure she will flip when I tell her that. This is a way to get me in her house (“come and get the $.”)

In the past, I would have fallen into the “tangled web” of her opinions and plans, but now because of all that has been shared at Emerging, I feel I can choose not to believe what is said about me, and I don’t have to accept $ or gifts in order for her guilty conscience to feel better.

Telling me “I’m sorry” is what I want to hear, and I want to see an honest change of behavior towards me. I don’t believe that will ever happen.


Hi D.C.
Great insight. About your last sentence, that you want to see an honest change of behaviour towards you, (YES that is exactly what we want!) but that you don’t beleive that will ever happen; it was a major freedom for me when I realized that my health and emotional welfare did not depend on that happening! I want it to happen, but I don’t need it to happen!
Yay for not falling into the tangled web!
Love Darlene


Mimi, Good for you and good luck with the letter you will write to your mother. Stay strong and be prepared for the venom, verbal stabs and various other tactics Narcissistic mothers use in their arsenal. She will no doubt “test” you to see if you really will do the things you say you will. These types are so sure of themselves and knowing how long they were able to control you, they will think they can continue to do so, no matter what you say. Stand up to that and know we are all silently cheering you.

I found that when my N mother didn’t get the the reaction she wanted from me, she would try a different tactic. One thing she never did was back down or apologize. Ever. The closest she ever got to an apology is “Well, I’m sorry if you feel that way…” which as we all know is not an apology but another put down.

A quick side note: In my mother’s old age this past decade she’s been in and out of Assisted living, rehab and nursing home facilities, plus the hospital stays… Everywhere she’d been, the staff referred to her as “feisty” which I believe is their polite term for obstinate b*tch. I feel like saying, yeah, try being the daughter of THAT for over 50 years!

Hugs to all and congratulations to everyone for reclaiming their lives! What a journey this is!


D C,
I am feeling joy for your recent victories. It’s very hard to stand up for what we feel in our gut toward our abusers ~ PARTICULARLY, when they flip and do an “about face”. My mother does this too. I got a thank you card recently for caring for my aging grandmother. (from my mom) She said some stuff in there that she KNOWS will touch my tender side about my grandpa who’s been dead for 10 years. He was the apple of my eye, and she knows it. So, she brought him into the picture. I was shocked at my own inability to feel anything about it. A year ago, I would have sobbed. Now, I see it for what it really is… bullsh*t!! Pardon my french! I know I’ve made progress based on that alone. She wasn’t able to touch my weakness. I’m happy and feel free today. I’m thrilled for you too!!


Thanks for your support. My mother doesn’t ever back down or apologize either. She does things she thinks will cause more pain, or lure me back in. The silent treatment…. Bahahaha!! She doesn’t realize that’s what I’m hoping for these days.

It’s ironic you mention your mother is aging and has been in and out of facilities. I remember when I was a young nurse and still blind to the ways of my mother. I would be caring for someone who’s aging and who’s family was scarce. I always thought how shameful it was that no one ever came around to visit. Once I had called a family to tell them their mom was about to die, and no one came. She died in the middle of the night. I called to tell them she passed away, and they asked if she died alone. I thought that was so horrible. Now… NOW, I understand that I was presumptuous in my youth. I thought everyone should come see their family, especially if they’re dying. I also feel like now, I’m not sure I’d go see my own mother. The medical staff may wonder, but, it doesn’t matter. I will be happy to spread around what kind of crap she pulled in her life. It will only serve to give them better insight on how to handle her, and I’ll gladly do that. I know she will be a handful. And, I bet you’re right… the staff is probably politely calling your mom feisty!! Haha! These days, I’m not shocked when older women don’t have visitors. I just think, “well, what the heck kind of crap did YOU unleash on your children??” Live and learn!! 🙂


It’s wonderful and healing to have a site like EFB to work through our painful and confusing upbringing. It brings clarity, validation and a safe harbor to work though our revelations and heal.

In my experience, sharing these stories to the outside world can have consequences that interfere with the healing process, because:

1. The people you are sharing or venting to may not have had a parent with a personality disorder and can never understand the pain you’ve gone through and can’t (or won’t) support you.
2. The people you are venting to may be Narcissists themselves and feel extra unsympathetic and in fact may make you one of their “victims.”
3. Some people will get on their holier-than-thou soapbox and condemn you for daring to “disrespect” a parent no matter how badly they treated you and you get shamed AND a sermon from them.
4. Those adult children of Narcissistic parents that are still in denial over their situation might resent your sharing because it might cause them to face their own dysfunctional situation on a subconscious level which is uncomfortable and they might take this out on you.

So if you DO take your stories outside a support group, just be prepared for those darts that will get thrown at you.

Anyway, thank you Darlene and posters!


Hi Darlene,
Thanks for your comment. Honestly,when I read the article my first reaction was of discomfort seeing my words, due to my programmed thinking. I thought, Oh No…I’m being singled out & what did I do wrong?….However, I turned that around by saying, is that really true? & Is she saying I did something wrong? Well, the truth is I do have some faulty thinking, which I’m aware of and you just point it out in a helpful way. I automatically react as that wounded little girl, however, I’m learning that I CAN turn my thinking around. It’s just more evidence that my family brainwashed me. Thanks for opening my eyes to the Truth in a Supportive Way. I truly appreciate that!
Love, Sonia


Hi Drained,

You are right on and so clear in your statements about sharing outside of this support group. I can relate to all of that. It can be more hurtful to share your feelings & thoughts, based on the fact that others can reject you, as our families have. Some people don’t want to hear it & don’t really understand for different reasons. They will throw darts by making snide/insensitive comments or dismissing your feelings. I have a sister in law, that I like & get along with, but even she has made snide comments, when I’ve told her about my family. I was looking for support but instead got shot down. One comment she made was, “I’m so glad I have my family” and “My family is very forgiving”. Well, that is mean towards me, regardless if that’s true or not! Her family has their issues too but she presents a glowing family. The truth is she has her family problems too. But she may not think it’s as bad as mine, so it’s like she has to rub it in. That IS hurtful. Empathy comes from those who have lived the pain & done their own healing work!
Thanks for sharing, Drained…I look forward to reading Your Comments.


Hi Everyone!
I completely agree about sharing outside of this safe place. It’s hard to even describe my mother. She’s very elusive and quite well thought of among her colleagues and church friends. It’s only the handful of people who have lived with her, that really know the true colors. I have rarely even tried to share anything with people outside my family because I feel myself shrinking just trying to explain. I end up feeling like I’m complaining about nothing when there are far more damaged people in the world.

Now, I just come here!! Thank you Darlene!!


My experience with my mother was very similar to Darlene’s – when i finally stood up to my mother and told her i wasnt going to put up with the disrespect and the lies and all of her control and manipulation (i was yelling at her for the first time in my life) – i broke the power that she had over me for 40 years. It felt like i took back control of my life. I just shared with someone yesterday that cutting my mother out of my life was the best decision i have ever made. She was trying to ruin my marriage and was destroying my well being and i was an emotional wreck every time i got around her. I am not suggesting everyone do this but for me it was the best decision. I only wish i had been able to do it sooner. the damage she did has left me wounded, broken and hurting. I was abused by both parents and had no one there to help me or stand up for me. I am suffering the effects of it now. I daily work through the pain of being abused and controlled and manipulated and lied to for so long. the damage is severe. I am like humpty dumpty after falling off the wall. I am working very hard to try and put the pieces back together. Its a long and hard process but at least i no longer have anyone in my life abusing me and disrespecting me like i did for so long.


Hi Darlene,

It’s amazing that your story is so similar to mine, and comforting at the same time. It has been about 1 month and 1 week since my mom and I had the same conversation, and I haven’t heard from her since.

Since that day, I have learned SO MUCH about my mother. You see, she has likely done this many times before, but such distancing, or ignoring, would make me press in more to her, bowing down to her instead of standing firm. I didn’t know any better. When she would walk away before, I would go after her, and just pretend like nothing happened. I could force her to engage with me. She would, out of guilt, I guess.

I could do that again and pretend everything is peachie still.. holding all the hurt inside, playing games with her, trying to get her to be what I need… as in the cliche, trying to squeeze blood from a turnip.

My mom is the type of mom who likes to think of herself as the perfect mom. I believed, I literally believed that she was the best mom on planet earth. She was my BEST FRIEND. I told her EVERYTHING. I didn’t make a MOVE without her. I never told her how badly her severe neglect hurt me.

The day I did was our last conversation. It is so telling! It speaks volumes, just like you say, Darlene!!! It says, “I put my pride over our relationship. I would rather never speak to you again, if it means hearing you and respecting you.” It says, “I don’t want to see you as equal. I liked you down low, where you were.”

I have learned so much in the past month. And everything is unfolding since her blatant rejection of me. It’s giving me the chance to see the big picture in the light of truth. Her rejection is THE BEST THING to happen to me, given the circumstances. It keeps me from having to walk away from her, and it shines light on the truth.

I hurt so badly, still. I physically feel as though my heart has been raped, scraped and robbed. I feel a bubbling wound in my being. Strange as that sounds. But I know this is true feeling, and I know that I am processing all the pain from the past. I know that this energy was locked inside me, keeping me bound and confused. I am going through this pain, and I know strength, love, clarity and self-respect reside on the other side.

God speed.


Wow I really appreciate this article! I recently had a similar experience with my mother and we have not spoken since.


I just had this situation come up today.First I have learned my mother and I will never see eye to eye.It seems if I SAY ONE THING,SHE HAS TO HAVE THE OPPOSITE OPINION.God forbid I have a thought of my own! My sister who died in November was my greatest buffer when it came to my mother.She had said she didn’t think it was as bad as I made it out to be.Until she came for a visit and saw us in action..she was shocked at the way my mother dismissed me.Needless to say it was easier to talk to my sister about my views,then I knew I was being heard and valued.Now she is gone.Today something came up about my daughter and a personal issue that my niece felt like it was fun to tell the whole family at Easter,which by the way I was not invited.My daughter was in the hospital and I was alone. I called my mother tonight to air my feelings on the matter and was quickly dismissed with a oh well, its done now! I couldn’t believe my ears! I didn’t have the heart to tell my daughter so I lied and told her Nana understood and apologized FOR Kristen saying that. Again my daughter wanted validation for her feelings and I had to lie to give that to her.I feel better for my relationship with my daughter,But am sick of the one with my mother



Thank you for your validation. It’s tough to fire your therapist when they have been supporting you through a difficult time. I realize that for adult children of borderline mothers it is difficult to find a good therapist who really gets it. I thought I had found someone who would help and be empathetic and then he started to discuss the start over date. The mistake I made was letting him read a letter from my mother to me. She is so skilled at playing the victim that I think he got confused and started to wonder if I was the problem. I thought he would see through her shenanigans but obviously not. I love (sarcasm) how she told me she doen’t need to be manipulated by me anymore and she is “confused” by my reaction. It really does a number on your sanity and keeping a distance is really the only option.

I think I will re-visit my less experienced therapist (at least on paper) who was able to validate my pain. Good books on the subject are Understanding the Borderline Mother (it’s a 45.00 book but loaded with information and validation), Will I Ever be Good Enough? (About Narcissistic mothers), and the book Toxic Parents (she does a good job talking about letter writing to find your voice). I am glad you have this resource for people to find validation. It is pretty dang valuable!

Thanks Darlene!


“Drained”, Mimi and SMD
Thank you for sharing about the dangers of sharing your pain with the wrong people. This is a great conversation and it brings to mind all kinds of things! Today (this took a while) but I find the more clarity I got the more I realized that those people who shot me down with their judgements etc, were actually afraid of what I was saying. It wasn’t so much that they “didn’t understand” as that they couldn’t even look at it, because if they did they would have to face their own pain! Nobody gets away with saying anything to me today about my decisions to deal with my life the way that I do. I have some really blunt phrases of truth that I say back now.
Great conversation,
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Dave
Thank you for sharing your exp. here. Standing up to the abuseive people in my life was KEY however that looked. Some I distanced myself from, some actually wanted to work it out but my boundary made the statement that “I AM WORTHY OF LOVE AND RESPECT”. I made the statement to myself first and then the world began to hear it.
It is hard but I am here to tell you that freedom, wholeness and living a joy filled life after abuse ~ IS possible! Hang in here Dave!! It is great to be on the journey with you.
Love, Darlene

Hi Ladybug
Thank you for sharing your insights! They are excellent. Amazing how the fog begins to clear when there is distance when we stop fighting the distance; I totally relate to you saying that in the past when she withdrew, that you would press in closer! That is exactly how I was too because I was trained to be that way. I was trained to “try harder” and they think with their ‘distance’ that they are punishing us… (and it used to be just that) but when we set our boundary, the punishment they dish out becomes a “favor” that allows the fog to clear. When the fog cleared a bit I was able to see the truth and manipulations in the statements, just like you are sharing here.
I know it hurts like crazy and you are right; it really pays off to face it because there IS another side.
Thank you for sharing that pain.
Hugs, Darlene


I dumped my counselor too. One of the things I realized toward the end was, she thought her education deemed her more experienced in my personal struggle with my mother than ME… the one who DID experience it. There is no textbook that can articulate my personal struggle and pain. Not to discredit her for the good she does, but, in my case, it just wasn’t working. She sees my mother too, and she even used the words, “what if your mother did the best she could with what she knew”. My response was, “well, she’s almost 70 years old now, and she hasn’t learned anything yet???” She’s still offending. She asked me how I could forgive my drunk father who left when I was 11, but I couldn’t forgive my mother. There are two problems with that statement. She implied I hadn’t forgiven my mom ~ only I can know that for sure, and my mom is a repeat offender. She’s still actively pulling crap. My conclusion ~ It’s not that I can’t or haven’t forgiven. It’s that I don’t welcome her BS anymore. That whole concept seemed to really stump her. She just couldn’t wrap her brain around the difference between forgiving, and caring for myself; setting new boundaries. I knew it was time to go. I feel better not going. Congratulations on setting a boundary with your counselor and seeing through the fog. I firmly believe in this day and age, we have to be our own advocates and not just swallow whatever is put on us by the higher educated. Please understand I’m not dumping on the higher educated. I just think that I know ME better than anyone else. It kind of rubs me the wrong way for someone to pretend they know me better than I know myself.

Congrats again Gretchen and the very best to you as you move along in the process.


Hi Shaunita
Welcome to emerging from broken
I am glad you are here,
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Kelly
I realized that too; that I was not permitted to have my own opinions or thoughts about anything. One thing I would caution you about; be careful about lying to your daughter. I have seen that backfire many times. You can spare your daughters feelings by not telling anything at all, but lying (even with the best of intentions) has consequences that we don’t always see. I have seen many grandparents get the kids to turn on the parents and if the kids didn’t have all this false info in the first place, they might not have been so susceptible to the b.s. of the grand parents. I had to let my kids see the truth for themselves. I didn’t talk bad about anyone to them, but I didn’t cover up for anyone either.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Gretchen
There are all kind of reasons that it is tough to fire your therapist. I think it is hard to find a therapist who gets it for ALL people who want to deal with dysfunctional parent/child relationship. Alice Miller writes about this in her books. If a therapist has not faced their own issues with parents, how could they ever assist or guide someone else to deal with it? If your therapist was still a victim of his or her own manipulative parents (brainwashed since childhood) perhaps he did see the parent as the victim and has to maintain that illusion OR face his own stuff.

My mother still says all this same stuff too but I know it isn’t me anymore. Coming out of the fog allowed me to finally see the “truth leaks” about how it was her and how many things she did that she knew were wrong and how she covered them up. (which made me wonder about her “disorders” that only seem to show when she is alone with certain people….)
I am glad you are here!
Hugs, Darlene


I love your comments here! Excellent and healthy!
I went to some mental health professionals who did a lot more damage to my process than they ever helped me. A degree means nothing as far as I am concerned. Looking back I gave those people positional power without any thought to them as people. And like I said to Gretchen in my comment to her in this thread, it is imperative that therapists have faced their own demons about their parents if they are going to actually mentor someone else to deal with any damage they are trying to face.
It makes me burn when I read stuff about therapists telling clients to “forgive” just because the parent is the parent! What a load of crap. The family ties are not more important than the individual and teaching that it is so invalidating and not conducive to recovery!
It isn’t about dumping on the “higher educated” for me. It is simply about the truth of the situation. We are all equally valuable, but not everyone’s message has the same value, degree or no degree.
Hugs, Darlene


I too declared my mother the best on the planet. She designed it so I and my sisters would think that way. Since my dad left when I was 11, and was rarely around before that, my mother had these little kids all to herself to mold into what she wanted. We were honestly brainwashed. She also sees herself as the perfect mom. YUCK!!

I always pressed in as well. I couldn’t stand it when things were unsettled between us, particularly if I was under her roof. I remember catching my mom bad mouthing me to my sister over the phone. I was under her roof at the time. I had horrible panic attacks during that timeframe. I confronted her and she flat out lied. We went to bed that night with tension so thick you could cut it with a knife. I woke up in the middle of the night in a complete panic. I went to her room and woke her up and told her I was sorry. She said, “you SHOULD BE!” With that she turned over and went back to sleep. She had an evil look on her face I will never ever forget. I swear it was satan personified. Then she proceeded to unleash the punishment further in the coming days through contempt and the silent treatment.

That was just one instance where I caved and tried to earn her forgiveness even though I wasn’t the offender. I was so fearful of her, and I didn’t even know that until the last year. Now, she can’t touch me!! So liberating!!
Hugs and love,


Thank you for pointing out that the family ties are not more important than the individual. That is so true, but I’d never thought of it in this way. Your perspective is beautiful!!


For me that was all part of the brainwashing. People said that family was the most important thing and I totally agreed. But in my case one day I found myself wondering why I believe it. I started to see things through the truth grid of reality. My family was not healthy. My upbringing was not focused on nurturing and empowering or even paying attention to the needs of others. I actually found this truth shocking but it was the beginning of me realizing that some of the things I write in EFB were extreemly abusive and dysfunctional and when my rose coloured glasses shattered, it hurt like hell but it was deeper path to freedom.
Hugs, Darlene


Can you share about your “Blunt statements of Truth”?…I have mine as well, but I could use more examples, for dealing with my Nar mom & difficult family members. It’s helpful to have the words to speak the truth to these abusive people.


It depends what is being said ~ I have said things like “you do know you are asking me? You understand that whatI am talking about was wrong? YOu understand that you are asking me to get over something that has never even been aknowledged?”

OH and sometimes I say “why are you talking to me in that tone of voice?” (and that is always met with stunned silence)adding do not talk down to me, or don’t talk to me as though I am a child.
I sometimes ask if they would like me to use the same tone on them.

“why are you blaming me for this, what exactly did I do?” and then I wait… (they can’t tell me)
Like I said it depends on what was said but I delever the truth right back.
Hugs, Darlene
p.s. something that is really key here is that when I say these things I believe them. When the boundary was firmly drawn in my heart and I believed that I was right to stand up for me, something happend to the bullies.. they just seemed to cringe..


Thanks for Sharing! I like what you said about delivering the truth right back. It does depend on what’s being said. In the past, I would keep quiet, explain myself or get defensive. I’ve been giving it back enough & believing what I say…It does take the Bullies off guard! I’ve found that it takes practice to deliver the truth in an assertive & confident way. Being a door mat or push over serves no one!
Thank You,


Hi Sonia
Yes it really does take time! The first time I really stood up forcefully was with a neighbour on the phone and he was so shocked that he hung up on me! He was being a total bully and when I said I would contact my husband he still wouldn’t stop yelling at me. SO I started talking very forcefully back and asked him in a loud voice “I said I would call Jim, why are you speaking to me like that?” (that was when he hung up) When I realized that I had actually backed him up enough that he retreated… and I reviewed what I had said and validated that HE was in fact the one who was wrong, I felt so empowered, but embarrassed at the same time! It took me about 2 days to really feel okay about it but it got easier after that.
Hugs, Darlene


Mimi, It is always better to educate ourselves and rely on what we know rather than pin our hopes on the supposed knowledge of others. I don’t believe forgiveness means allowing someone to continue to abuse you. It isn’t loving behavior to do so either. The abusers in my family have seldom been held accoutable by they family and I think that is a big part of their problem. I’m proud of you. You encourage me.



I love your comeback comments. If I argued with my mom when I was younger, and I would say things about her getting angry, she would deny it and say I was the angry one. Well, she’s still doing that. Her opening statement in a letter she recently wrote where she denied lying and bullying she said this, “obviously you’re very angry and in pain”. I wasn’t angry until I read that statement, haha!! I want to write back, “well, no, I wasn’t angry, but you’re pissing me off by trying to put it on me.”

Thank you for your sweet comment. You also encourage me when I read your comments. There is always incredible wisdom in your words, and I appreciate what you write and your willingness to share deeply personal things.

I cried for the first time in a few weeks (or more) today. It’s so profound to me how the truth does come in waves, as I’m ready to accept it. The most recent truth or should I say, questionable reality, is that maybe my sisters aren’t my allies. I am the more forthright one of the three of us. That is in part because I’m the only one here in the same city as my mom, I have to deal with her the most. And too, I was/am the scapegoat. She didn’t say all the damaging things to my sisters that she said to me. She never tried to back them into a corner in the fetal position with her tongue and with implications that I had no one to turn to ~ that I was alone on the planet because everyone believed and agreed with her.

Lately, it’s started to be on my mind that my sisters aren’t going to have my back, even though they claimed they would and that we had to stick together in pursuing the truth about our mom. It seems like they have basically pulled out. They both live away, and the sensation that they don’t want to be bothered with what’s going on here, is becoming more apparent. They have busy lives, and kids, and I understand that. It keeps coming to mind that they don’t really want any part of “IT”. That they intend to keep pretending just to avoid upheaval. I will be out in the cold alone again. It feels like I need to sever ties with them, but I’m guilty of acting on emotion in the past, rather than looking at things rationally. I don’t want to act on emotion, which I could regret. I do want to get it overwith though. I want to write them both and say, I’m out of the WHOLE family for good. Not just withdrawing from my mom, but everyone, them included. I am hurting for a reason I’m unsure of. Perhaps the truth is that they really aren’t there for me. Perhaps my future will be void of any blood family. I wonder if I fail to contact them, would they need me? Would they contact me, ever? Yet, I can’t stick to a plan of not contacting them. Right now, I don’t know the truth 100%. I only know what keeps coming up in my mind. It seems like subconsciously, I’m trying to let them go, but when that notion hits my conscious mind, it’s painful. I can see myself wanting to push them away before they have a chance to disappear. But, would I regret that? It seems like I could be the only one who cares if our family dissolves altogether, sisters included. I want so badly to be at the place where I just don’t care whether they are with me or not; love me or not; need me or not. I don’t want to care anymore. Why am I having pain about them suddenly? I thought I was over the any pain of separation from them in 2011 (which is a whole other topic). Now, suddenly, I’m crying about both of them. Like I’m in a pre-mourning phase… for what’s about to happen or for what truth is about to come to the surface. I am horrible at waiting. That’s partly what makes me want to write them and say goodbye, just to get the pain of it overwith.

Well, that’s my story for today. Thanks for listening. Better days are coming… I know it.
Love and hope,


Mimi, I guess that’s why I left it as their decision. I didn’t tell them ‘go away’, I set some basic, simple, boundaries for continued relationship with me. The power was in their court. Their choice showed me their true heart in the matter and also, set me free. It does hurt but if I’m honest, I don’t ever remember a time when it didn’t hurt. I’m so much stronger now. I don’t have the continual emotional drain of loving people incapable of loving me back.–You’re brave, Mimi. I know you’ll find your answers. I’m sorry the process hurts so much but when I read about what is happening in your life, I’m very glad that you are in the process.



Hi everyone,

I’ve tried to write quite a few times lately but keep giving up first. The bit you wrote Darlene about ”I had to be willing to accept the outcome either way” I think helped me realize I don’t feel ready to do that. I’ve largely stopped talking to my parents (or answering calls/responding to msg’s) since moving out. Feels like at least a slight attempt at asserting some independence. But they’re still paying for some expenses that I don’t want to go without & couldn’t afford on my own.

Not feeling very proud about admitting that, but feel pretty stuck. Haven’t been able to hold down work for years, and don’t have much hope of that suddenly turning around now. With mother’s day & parent’s birthdays coming up, I kinda just don’t want to respond or see them, but worried about financial reprisals.

And still doubting myself over how much I’ve been blaming them lately. My mother’s been sending quite a few msg’s wanting to catch up. Mostly I ignore them. But feel guilty for doing so. But also don’t feel like they’d ever listen/’hear’ me or anything (in fact feels more likely they’d return fire, so to speak) so don’t want to confront them. Plus I’m just plain scared to do it.

Didn’t read all the comments so I could just concentrate on actually finishing a post of my own, but hope everyone’s doing well.


Hi Pam,
I realize that my statements above appear to be aimed at you, although, I was really just talking in general. I appreciate your correspondence and support. I have to say, I don’t feel a bit brave. I am glad I’m in the process too. I know that whatever pain is present, will pass, and something good will come from it, even if it’s nothing other than knowledge/awareness. I really appreciate the knowledge I have from the processes of the past year.

I don’t have a plan in place to write my sisters off. I’ve always wanted it to be my mom’s choice to run; that would release me from any guilt since it would be her choice. I’m working on laying down new boundaries for her in the next few months. (and hoping she runs)

My sisters are a different story. They don’t buy into my mom’s crap at all, but, it seems like they aren’t going to take an active stance in preventing future upheaval. I just have to be okay with that, and move on. It is painful that they’ve seemingly pulled out and left me standing on my own. But, I have to muster the strength to keep standing, that’s all. I have to remind myself it’s for ME. No one else really matters in MY healing. On some subconscious level, they have bought into the lie that I’m crap from so long ago. It’s just the way the dynamics are, as set forth by my mother. They don’t even know when they say things that could be perceived as discounting. I am going to try to withdraw from them and not contact them for a while. Just not be the bearer of the responsibility for maintaining contact. Although I’ve told myself before that I would do this, I could never stick to it. I need to stick to it now, to give them an opportunity to prove their feelings about me…. so I will know if for no other reason.

Thanks for your support and kind words Pam. It means a lot to me!
Love and peace,


Mom is being so nice, it has me wary (not weary! lol lol).
She is also in her needy “I need you to do this, that” mode.

My Stepdad TOLD me to go upstairs and see Mom. I said “no,I’m busy outside here.” So she came downstairs/outside to chat for a while.

I feel safer and stronger on the turf that I choose.(Being outside, there were no walls around me. Anyone know what I mean?)

I need to remember that my standing up for myself was/is necessary to keep my sanity. Her being “nice” right now feels like a trap being laid for me. I hate feeling this way, but that is how I feel.

I hope that she is changing for the good. Only time will tell I guess!
My changing is what I need to continue to focus on. And finding a job soon! I am getting discouraged again.


Hi J.
Good to hear from you! I think that reading is great even if you can’t comment. One day the clarity will come!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi D.C.
I know what you mean about what I call “feeling trapped” especially by my mother. She has this way of “holding me hostage” that made me feel like I was smothering. And yes about feeling like “nice” is yet another trap. I identified this in every abusive relationship I was in! the “nice trap” that was a con job to get me back under control! It got me feeling guilty about how much I suspected them! round and round that went until I found the truth and stuck with it.
Hug, Darlene


Mimi, It is amazing how siblings in the same household can have such different childhoods. As scapegoats, what we have to do to heal and live a productive, happy life isn’t the same as what our siblings need to do. My siblings are happy in their coping mechanisms and prefer them over complete healing. I was miserable in mine but they would prefer me to stay there if it means upheaval in their own lives. I’m at peace with my choice and I miss them but there is nothing about the role I played in my family that I miss. My husband and children don’t miss that either. The one thing I do have reget about and kick myself for is allowing it to go on for so long because of the pain it caused my husband and children, as well as myself.–I responded to you because I wanted to not because I felt pressed. I just really relate to what you express here.



Ding ding ding (supposed to sound like a vegas slot machine)
This was the 16,000th published comment on Emerging from Broken!

How exciting that it was YOUR comment!
Love Darlene


When talking about my mother the other day with you Darlene I thought I could take a deep breath,blow out slowly and say “it’s okay” obviously it’s not in the cards to let this go… my mother I found out,invited both my brothers,and their kids for a sleep over Friday night. Dinner,drinks and swimming. Apparently my mother talked to my brother-in-law in Cleveland who asked where I was…she said yeah,Kelly… and said nothing. I cant do this anymore!!! I have hit my limit on patience and understanding.When is it time enough to give up? I know I am bipolar and in a full fledged manic phase..Meds don’t seem to be helping right now. I need to watch my Ps and Qs.But how do I know my rant is well deserved and should continue…I would love your opinion


Hi Kelly
I wish I could help but this is not something that I can help you decide in a comment. I hear how much you are struggling and I know it is really hard.
Hugs, Darlene


Darlene, Exciting but not surprising!lol!I’ve always got something to say…:0)



Hey All!
There have been a lot of comments lately from readers who think that the trauma that they went through was not as bad as what others went through. That inspired me to write a new post about it
You can read it here: “My Abusive childhood wasn’t that bad because His was Worse” http://emergingfrombroken.com/my-abusive-childhood-wasnt-that-bad-because-his-was-worse/
Hugs, Darlene


Thanks for your input again.

I’m really struggling right now and the weekend wasn’t a whole lot of fun either. It’s like the reality/truth blindsided me from nowhere. I am on my own and I feel like a total idiot for believing that my sisters would do anything different. 6 months ago my oldest sister said she thought to make any progress we would have to stick together because that was the best way to make an impact on my mother. Then, like 6 weeks ago she invited her to her home. I knew my mother would feel empowered by that and use it against me, and she has. Now I’m realizing my sisters just have thrown up their hands and just deal with it because nothing’s going to change her.

I have woke up every day for at least 4 days consumed with thoughts about the letter I’m composing to my mom. Somewhere in those thoughts (which I call the “dwellies”) some reality of my sisters’ inactivity started coming up as well. After about 4 days, I was in full appreciation of reality; they have washed their hands of holding her accountable. I’m so screwed. I have the exact same feelings I used to get when my mother and I were along and she would be bashing me. Like I am one inch tall, and no one gives a crap. I have taken what feels like 15 steps back with this new revelation. I am angry. I’m hurt. I’m shocked that there was MORE to come. I wonder when it will end. I have to reconstruct the letter to my mother. I don’t even want to go to my grandma’s 90th birthday party. My mom hasn’t even told me about it. She’s told my sisters, and that’s how I know. Maybe she won’t send me an invitation. I’d be thrilled with that. I don’t want to be around any of them. It will feel like I’ve been the topic of conversation. Like they’ll be whispering about how bad I am. I wonder how far down a person has to sink before they can get back up and brush it off and be better. I’m really sick of setbacks and broken heartedness/new discoveries about people I trusted. Does it ever end? Or, do you just have to be in a place where you go through life as a zombie, unaffected by the world around you. Not caring about anyone or anything. Not talking, or functioning really. Just waiting. I’m angry and non functioning today. And, I don’t have a clue how to get out of it. 🙁
Love and peace,


I see so much pain in so many of these posts and I wish I could offer suggestions or helpful advice to everyone, but I’m not in a place in my own healing to be able to do that. All I can say is don’t do what I did for so long and cave in to the control freaks and Narcissists. Stop wasting one more minute of your life because that approval NEVER COMES. When there’s more than one N in your life, you have to be that much stronger.

Believe in yourself, even though that may seem impossible to do. At least in my case. I feel like I have to keep propping myself up when I slip. Just when I think I’ve “got” it, I get knocked down by a comment or look (whether it’s from my NM or an outsider) that whisks me back to my childish defensiveness or submission and then I get angry with myself. A vicious circle. Getting past that “What will people think or say about me” mindset would be a tremendous step in the healing process. But that can’t happen until we feel confident and worthy.

Personally, every second I’m not at the nursing home spending time with my NM I feel guilt, and know the staff thinks I’m a terrible daughter for not being there more. I’m the only one left to look after her so I’ve been carrying that additional weight for the last 14 years. I’m trying to let go of all these conflicting feelings so I can function in my everyday life, but it’s a challenge. Wow, this takes work.


Hi Mimi,

Sorry to hear you’re struggling so much at the moment. Hope things pick up soon.



Mimi & Drained,
Wow! I can relate to both of your comments. Mimi, I empathize with you because I too have siblings that will not hold my mom accountable and deal with her by “appeasing” her (their words). I don’t do that but I don’t confront often either. Like I’ve said in other comments, I speak up more to mom now, to empower myself & I’m believing myself. It is hard and I’ve been there about wanting to cut my family off. For example, limited contact & drawing boundaries in my heart, as to what I will tolerate & that is not abuse! I have had days where I want no contact and stay away. That’s ok because that is taking care of me. I don’t have to make an announcement about cutting contact because that will speak for itself. I’m not at the point of totally cutting my parents off. I’m still sorting out, processing & letting the damage sick in before I make any life changing decisions.

Drained, Yay for you limiting contact! When I started limiting contact, I felt guilt & relief. I definitely agree with your comment, “Getting past ‘What people think or say about me’ mindset would be a tremendous step in the healing process.” It’s important what we think about ourselves & our choices! I just started reading a book called, “Healing the Shame That Binds You” by John Bradshaw. He talks about the difference between healthy shame & toxic shame. I’m sure others here have read the book. It is copyrighted 1988 & over a half milion copies were sold. I don’t have the answers about getting out of the pain, all I can say is it a work in progress and a real challenge to heal!


Hi everyone,
Thanks for posting your similar experiences of pain, etc. I don’t miss my mother at all. I hope she chooses to flee when I send her the letter. Just when I was really settled with the idea that she will likely talk crap about me, and that I don’t care if she does…. was just getting to a place of acceptance and freedom with all of that. Then, something else. I swear, is this what it will be like from here on out? One painful revelation and betrayal after another? I must sound so pitiful. Yes, today I’m having a pity party. Care to join me??

I’m really discouraged. I feel like a freak, the crazy one. As if letting it all go is the more “sane” thing to do. Living in denial and pretending is actually more socially acceptable than telling the truth and struggling to be heard. I don’t know where I’d be if I didn’t have EFB to come to. I’ve encountered a big setback and more stuff to process. I’ll get through, I have before.

Thanks to everyone,


It’s okay to have a pity party; sometime we just need to sit on the pity pot! It can be validating. I totally went through it many times myself. One little tip though… just don’t forget to flush ~ 🙂
It seemed to me that just when I was getting over something it was all fresh again and such is the process. It’s okay, it isn’t you, it is because you are facing years of brainwashing. Hang in there ~
Hugs, Darlene


Thanks for helping me feel better about sitting on the pity pot!! I will definitely flush!! I do not want to see it again, lol!!

You made me smile with that… and it might have been the first time today.

I’m already starting to be thankful for the reality check with my sisters. My middle sister just sent me a text this evening and told me she’s coming home this weekend and staying at my mom’s. So much for a united front!! I may have been really caught off guard by that if I hadn’t just had this huge epiphany! She said she wanted to let me know in case my mom invites me over. Bahahaha!! My mom is NOT going to invite me over. She’s going to have a little party with my sister, then brag about it. She’ll feel so much power in doing that. And, the way I feel right now is, party on!! I wouldn’t go if she paid me.

My response to my sister’s text was, “thnx”. I am not engaging any family member in any way right now. It only kicks me in the butt somehow, eventually.

Thanks for all you do Darlene. And, for validating my feelings just now. It’s a huge comfort coming from someone who’s out on the other side!!


I really value your comments and the conversations we’ve had here. I have this nagging sensation that I hurt your feelings. If that’s the case, I’m really sorry!! Please accept my apology if I’ve said something that hurt you in any way.


Mimi, No,honey, you haven’t hurt my feelings. I know the place where you are right now. It’s hard to face the truth when your family doesn’t regard you as a family should. It’s a process I had to pass through, mostly alone. I was talked about too and it hurts but I try to counteract it with the truth and it makes me stronger. I know they think I won’t talk about the sexual abuse my parents allowed to happen to me but I am willling to talk openly about it. It’s the truth and if they are going to involve others in our problems then those people should know the truth. I wrap myself in truth and use it as armor. There is no better protection against liars and gossips. I hope you feel better soon. It isn’t an easy process to get through.



I know your comment was for Mimi, but I hope you don’t mind me saying that I love your comment, “I wrap myself in truth and use it as armor.” The truth is the best protection. It’s facing the truth of our abuse that is the hardest part in the healing process. I’m going to think about your comment, when I’m in those difficult times. Each layer of lies that I’m unfolding from abuse, brings on more pain. There is the hope for freedom & wholeness on the other side, as Darlene talks about on EFB.
Thanks for sharing Pam,


Hi Pam!
I love what you said too ~ this whole quote

“It’s the truth and if they are going to involve others in our problems then those people should know the truth. I wrap myself in truth and use it as armor. There is no better protection against liars and gossips”

That is so healthy! It is about standing up and self care and self validation! I love it!
Hugs, Darlene


MEEEE THREEEEEEEEE!!! It’s fantastic and I will be referring to your words often!!! Thanks Pam!


oh my gosh, I could have written this post – word for word. I walked away for the same reason. I asked for respect and my mother would not say she will respect me in the future. I have stuffed my feelings for 20 some years as an adult before I even recognized that I had to do this my entire childhood. I cannot tell my mother she hurt me or please stop …. anything or she will lash out and blame me and if I bring up how I feel she is or has been in the past she tells me that I am spoiled rotten and that I am just looking for someone to blame for my unhappiness. She further states she takes no responsibility for my childhood and feels NO guilt. And every time (which isn’t many because I know I have to suck it up) I express how I am hurt she tells me how mean, selfish and hateful I am and DO I REALIZE HOW MUCH I AM HURTING HER?

I have blown up at her maybe 5-6 times – when I can’t take sucking it up anymore. And we have never had a conversation about it. I have to go back and say I am sorry and it gets brushed aside – unresolved. She pretends all is well now without ever having said “I am sorry”. She has NEVER (not an exaggeration) been there for me. Everything I want her to do with me or my family is and always has been an inconvenience and a burden and therefore she rarely shows up. The very few things she showed up at, for my kids, has been painful for me as I work my way through her conditions “well, I can’t stay past this hour, and I won’t drive my car, and I want to be home before dark”. And then I worry the whole time that it might run late or she isn’t having fun… OY.. I can’t stand it because I am expected to be there for her and visit her – the guilt she puts on me for what she would NEVER do for me.This is a woman who will tell me what time she is leaving the moment she arrives. And I can only tell her what she wants to hear and therefore I have never been able to share my life with her. Nurturing? I don’t know what it even feels like to be nurtured, supported, loved, encouraged by a mother. No woman should ever have to experience the pain of being dismissed as a human being by her own mother – the one person that should be a constant source of love and support until death.

I walked away in in the fall – from my whole family – and have been intensely working on me through the help of some wonderful people and programs and I have found myself in a far better place now than I have ever been or ever imagined was even possible for me.

Like you, I walked away because I asked her to respect me and she never responded. And I am actually happy about that because if she would have said “fine, I’ll respect you” I would have gone back and she wouldn’t have delivered and I’d have been sucked back into the pain based on an empty promise.

I know this was a lesson I was to learn in life and it brought me to where I am now and for that I am grateful. And the holes in my heart have taught me exactly what my kids need (thankfully they are still young) I am so grateful that I saw the light and I didn’t just turn around and raise my kids the way I was raised – and for that I am proud of me! I get it that my mom must be in pain – I have my theories on it and I now feel compassion for her despite that don’t even know her story. She doesn’t share anything about herself.

I think I did this against my better judgment but I feel better to know that time changes nothing for this woman. When I got to that point, where I felt compassion- I tried again – and it had been months and I wondered if anything had changed – has the months away caused her to look inside herself or will she still blame me? What do you know? She still blames me and still won’t say she will respects me. And now, I am done with her for good.

Thank you for sharing your story – it’s so comforting to know that others out there “get it”. You are a great inspiration to many women like me who need to know we aren’t alone. 🙂


You guys are giving me a big head!lol! Love you all.



Welcome to EFB ~ we are certainly not alone in this. I have a mother daughter post that has almost 400 comments on it. The conversation keeps getting re started! (all my mother daughter relationship posts have amazing discussions; if you are interested click on the “mother daughter” category at the top.)

Your mother sounds very very much like mine. It was when I realized that the way she asked me to “love” and what she taught me “love is” is nothing like what she is willing to do back for me. It is all about her. I have no right to respect or to equal value. It was in realizing all of this that I realized where the broken began and how I needed to re-parent myself and learn to love and take care of myself.
Thank you for sharing! I am really glad you are here.
Hugs, Darlene


Thanks Darlene, I have dove deep into your blog – you give a lot of hope and great insight. I know that women like us – as we work through ourselves – will likely always have a piece of us that wonders if walking away was wrong to do. My issue with that at the beginning was was all consuming and now it’s just a very small piece as I recognize that I do deserve respect and if that’s what you asked for and can’t get? Well – respect is a fundamental piece of a relationship. Without it, there is no relationship so there is nothing to go back to now that I recognize that I deserve it and never had any. My mother believes she is superior to me and I must respect her simply because she is my mother. I know that me walking away was painful for my mom and I felt terrible. But then one day I realized… I felt bad for my mom because she was hurting.. My mom feels bad for herself because she is hurting…But no one – including me – felt bad for me because I was hurting. My mom blamed me and I blamed me. It’s frightening how terrible we treat ourselves. If you think about the things you say to yourself – would you ever say those things to another person? Why do we do this to ourselves? We MUST love ourselves to have a happy life and therefore we cannot stay in unhealthy relationships no matter who it is.

One of the key things to healing yourself is finding compassion for your mother- and her story – and forgiving her (not to be confused with reconciling with her!). I went through some powerful exercises to learn how to do this and I find myself in a much better place because of it. I recently learned a reason to do this that I had never heard before and therefore I wasn’t willing to go there before. I what i did in this regard I only did to free myself. That reason is this: if you hate or carry resentment or anger towards your mother you will find it extremely difficult to love yourself because you come from her – she is your source for life. Because of that you likely will unconsciously consider yourself another one of her failures. So I say this “I honor my mother for giving me life and doing the best she felt she could do”. Even if all you learned is how NOT to be – those are great lessons to learn too.

I did find your Facebook page, but do you have a Facebook group? If so, I’id love to join. But, if not, with all the comments and conversation here you’d likely have a ton of people in there who can give great support to each other and also learn a lot from all the great insight you gained from your journey. 😉


This is my message exactly. Being a parent, boss, or sibling does not give anyone the right to disrespect another person or treat them as though they are beneath them. That is the misuse of power and the purpose in the real definition of love is “to empower”. Not to disempower! We all deserve equal consideration and when we are kids we deserve even MORE consideration so that we learn how to be considerate when we grow up.
Yes, emerging from broken has an active FB page with a large community ~ the link is also in the sidebar here, or search “emerging from broken” in FB.
Hugs, Darlene


“Navajo Proverb: You can’t wake a person who is pretending to be asleep”

I loved every bit of this post, even this first sentence!
My mother, who will sometimes get on a talking jag, like I am her buddy (or did when I sat there and listened to her, before going LC), confided in me, that when she flew on an airplane with my father, she always pretended to be asleep, as she didnt want to deal with his anxiety and nervousness about flying! So, your spouse, whom you are supposed to comfort, and be there for, you abandon by fake sleeping! Nice. It’s just that she has no empathy. Her model was built without it.
Imagine my surprise, and how funny it was, when she started to pretend to fall asleep at the kitchen table, when I was talking to her!! LOL. She despises me,like she does her own sister, and she had gone through the motions of pretending to talk with me, you know, what ever that mother thing mothers are supposed to do, listen, be supportive, empathize, maybe offer a little advice?, ya know, that thing which makes you look socially acceptable and tricks your husband into believing you actually give a bleep, ya, that thing there.
She must have forgotten she had confided that tidbit in me, that fake sleeping bit she does………. hahahaha



Hi Janie…
That is a pretty funny story. My mother would tune out when I was trying to talk to her. She would just ignore me. It was really hurtful and today I wonder why I tried so dang hard when I was aware of it for so many years. Sometimes I would start talking about a greusome murder in a regular tone of voice to see how long I could talk about it before she clued in… (mostly because I was addicted to proving that my suspicion was correct, but even when I proved it, I still continued to try harder) I don’t miss any of that anymore!
Thanks for your comments! Hugs, Darlene


Darlene, In response to your comment #61 referring to those “blunt statements of truth,” I found that when I summoned up the courage to question mother or make a blunt statement of truth, she managed to always have a retort that ended up making me flounder, or crumble.

For instance, I have said to her “What if your mother talked to you this way?” Her answer would be, “Well, she never HAD to talk to me that way!” Meaning, she was perfectly behaved and didn’t need to be spoken down to. (Side note: When I was a kid, I asked my grandma to tell me stories about mother when she was a child and some of the naughty things she did. Grandma replied, “Oh, she never did anything bad. She was a perfect little angel!” And mother stood there with a smug smirk on her face. Ugh. I felt even worse about myself, like I was bad, bad, bad!)

If I pointed out to mother her tone of voice, she would feign innocence, not knowing what I was talking about and imply that I was wrong in my perception (Implying I was stupid, which was a favorite of hers). Or if I pointed out that she was trying to make me feel guilty, she would turn it around on me again and insist that I must have done something WRONG if I was feeling guilty.

It was a no-win situation with her. Getting beat down when I tried to stand up for myself just reinforced my feelings of inadequacy. I’d hear her remark to people, “I just don’t know WHY she doesn’t have any confidence in herself.” UGH! If only I would have learned how to deal with her, it could have helped me cope with not only her, but all the other Ns I’ve come across (especially in the workplace, those awful bosses and certain coworkers). Not being able to figure out how to handle these types just reinforced feelings of stupidity.


Suzanne, wow! I read your comments and you have just handed me the key to my overcoming and moving away from sadness and pain and guilt and anger and emptiness! Thank you for expressing your heart!


Yes that is exactly how they are and in the past it just shut me down. Thank you for sharing this awesome examples! I had a huge issue with that “stupid implication” one! I rememeber when I realized that I was smart; I just kept saying over and over agian “I am really smart” I got good grades in school but i always believed that I was kind of dumb because of those messages that I got.

Today I don’t care one bit what the response back from them is. I learned how to deal with them too; if they don’t respect me they don’t get to have the pleasure of my company any more. It became that simple.

Thanks for sharing! Great comments!
Hugs, Darlene


Excellent article Darlene. I love your response to the statement of how ‘I’m an adult now and should be respected.’ I remember when I turned 21 my much older sister started saying things like “well, you’re an adult now so I won’t say anything,” which was of course both a disingenuous expression and a way to let me know that she had more backhanded criticism inside her mind that she wasn’t going to describe. I know now that I did deserve respect from day one, not to be a trash can for hypercritical, insensitive family members to unload all of their anger and anxiety upon.

My older sister virtually raised me as a young child, but when I became a teenager, I bristled at the fact that she gave our abusive parents who had greatly harmed her a deference and sense of kindness that she never afforded me. This fact didn’t really change when I tried to have a relationship with her in my early twenties, as each time I tried to stand up for or assert myself, I would be attacked. She would sometimes break out in tears, or insist loudly that “so, you’re saying I’m responsible for your feelings?” I was saying that she was responsible for being verbally abusive and hypercritical, and to someone who she knew was very traumatized and vulnerable.

Eventually, just as with my mother, I realized there was simply no way she was ever going to stop imposing on me an image of myself as stupid, ridiculous, and insignificant; and that it was really too late anyway. So I wrote a letter responding to all the insults and hatred she had spewed out at me; and I ended the relationship.


Hi Caden
Welcome to emerging from broken
Thank you for sharing your story. It sounds like you can relate to what we are talking about here too. All the twisting and turning things around that they do is exhausting!
Hugs, Darlene


my mother just recently told me,because of my “habit” of saying “you know?’ when describing what i’m talking about.She doesn’t listen to what I’m saying,she counts the times I say “you know”!


I came out about the abuse in our family many years ago in a letter to my parents and siblings. They minimized away every issue and told me I had better get myself committed to a mental hospital and take my theraphist along with me, cause we were crazy.

After thinking about all the horrible abuse I had suffered, It does amaze me at times I had the backbone to do that, I do it again too, I had to do that in order for me to feel validated and to set the facts straight.

My sister was also a victim but she choose to cast me out and turn in favor to my parents for the usual reasons others do…I feel sorry for her cause one day she may wake up and see what she did, but it will be too late.

In the meantime, I continue therapy, read as much as I can and try to live a healthy life style, one of happiness, one of content with my ow family today…it gets easier…hardest part is learning that you have rights and not be afraid to excerise them, but as my children role model, I have that responsiablity to her and to humanity.


Hi Kelly
Well that is certainly not “relational”! This information is what I call a “truth leak” meaning it is a truth about HER and what she is doing instead of listening to you AND she is blaming you for it too.
Thanks for sharing this example
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Kimberly
Good for you for making that decision. If people are not willing to meet halfway in the relationship that means nothing is going to change. I got tired of beating my head on the wall too.
Hugs, Darlene


There is an interesting discussion going on in the current post about overcoming Post Traumatic Stress Disorder;
PTSD isn’t about something that is wrong with you ~ it is about something that happened to you;

You can read the post and discussion here : http://emergingfrombroken.com/overcoming-post-traumatic-stress-disorder/
hugs, Darlene


Mom has been pretty good lately. She has made a few insensitive remarks, and I have been sucessful by ignoring them. She said I will never find a job, the neighbor has a nice shape, never gained weight (while looking at plump me.) She got pissed off gave me the mean threatening look because I asked someone about work today. It is like she wants me to be poor. Poor means I can’t move to another location! I believe she is testing me, and also, she can’t or does not want to stop her negative behavior. She has started to yell at someone else, and a few times I said to her “You don’t need to get that upset do you?” She quieted down twice, and continued her ranting the other times. In her older years, she seems so child-like. I am still limiting my time around her.


DC, “You don’t need to get that upset do you?” OMG That is a BEAUTIFUL line. I wish I would have used that one on my TM. Good for you and stay strong. I noticed the same thing in my TM. She became more childish (not child-like) in her elder years. She pointed out my weight gain and that I shouldn’t wear my hair so long at my age…. Now, my TM has dementia on top of her Narcissistic, childish personality and is giving EVERYONE hell. Strength and courage to us ALL 🙂


Good for you D.C.!
I began to see the motive behind this kind of manipulation with my husbands father. As you say, it is a way to keep a person prisoner.
Thank you for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


I am not a psychiatrist nor a psychologist. I say this first.

I am wondering, though, whether anyone else has ever thought about the fact that all humans have had multiple personalities as they grow and change.

When I was a baby I had a personality. It was not formed by my parents, but perhaps by my soul. Was that personality hurt by what happened to me? Did it fail to thrive inside of me as my toddler personality continued to grow? How was my toddler personality nourished? Did it grow and change into my little girl personality, or did it choose to hide?
My little girl me was hurt. Did it grow into my big girl me, or did it wait for reassurance before it dared continue?

I hope you can see where I am going with my question. And it is a question not a statement of belief!

Do you think that multiple personality disorder might be parts of our souls hurt and waiting for relief before being able to face the world outside of their inner sanctum? That all of our selves, that is, all of our different ages of
development, might be forming an inside supportive family where none exists on the outside?*

I recognize that I do have these different stages with/ in me, just as I recognize myself in school pictures. I do not look like my 1st grade photo now. I do not look like my high school photo now. Yet those are me.

I try to go back and recall each stage to release the angst and comfort and speak the truth for the little me. Yet I do not require the little me to suddenly become the 60 year old me. The physical me grows through linear time. The soul me is not in a linear time frame, but time can be travelled in memory.

Perhaps I am just too philosophical. But comforting all my little mes comforts my old me too.

*In case the question got lost in my musings here, I put an asterisk on it.


There is a warrior me, the personality parts that travelled on through all stages and ages. That wasn’t always able, when it was young, to comprehend what was happening or how to stop the damages. But the warrior me kept me going, kept me learning, kept me living, protected all the mes, kept the little mes alive and hidden in a safe place in soul and memory until the warrior was able to become an understander and a nourisher too.

That warrior confronted all along. Speech labelled sass. Bravery labelled defiance. Courage labelled confrontation.

That warrior knew when to hide, when to fight, when to feint, when to do battle for a bit of honor.

Not giving in to full surrender, even when battles were lost in the physical time and time again, that warrior child,
adolescent, young adult, kept me alive until the time when understanding could break through. That warrior is the
guardian angel part of my self.


It is like expecting water from a rock…from all I read and my own experiences abusers are often naracisstic and are nit able to feel empathy for anyone but them…I wrote letters…and was told to go to the nearest mental health hospital and to take my theraphist with me. I no longer reach out…its pointless. These people band together because they all have blood on their hands and learned early on that its best to just let the past be the past…nit me. At the very least I got a chance to say what I had to say…and its feels good…no one cares about me or my family these days…for now I have my own mind now…I can’t be controlled…and they hate that…good!


No one cares about me either. I guess the fantasy world is more important or comfortable. I’m done reaching out to. I have to save my sanity. Writing letters of explanation, making valid points, trying to connect on a deeper level than just happy BS – gets me nowhere. No response or a one line response. It’s rejection. I shud be used to that by now, but, it still hurts to find out yet another is turning away from the truth. Oh well! Onward and upward I guess!


Hello mimi….I think time helps and of course realizing that you can’t make people accept the truth…people will think what they want..some have to in order to live with who they are…cause the truth might destroy them…if they were actually able to face their evil deeds…and people naturally side with their parents for the obvious reasons…that is ok…I see them fir they are very clear now…I am fine making people something they are nit cause I want my bio family back…I wony’t live a lie anymore.

What an awesome site Darlene! Thank you.


I personally feel most not all mental illness either results at birth and or from abuse. And if from birth…good parenting and help from the get go helps manage that or reduces it and if from abuse and from birth…it will manifest to more serious dieases such as schizodphrenia and etch if abuse is present as well.


I think my previous comment got lost somehow.

If it does not reappear.

I will re post.


Hi Karenina
From my own exp. I think that multiple personality is a coping method. The way it works or happens is different for different people.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Karenina
yay for the warrior. I fought hard for the freedom and wholeness that I have today.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Kimberly
That is how I feel too; I got the chance to say a few things and that was for me, not for them. My family is not talking to me, but I don’t miss all the crap that went on!
Hugs, Darlene


“My mom replied to my written confrontation with no mention regarding what I wrote”
I also wrote a concise, respectful letter stating the many ways I had been devalued to my mother.
I wanted a dialogue. I wanted to stop the verbal abuse. Oh so subtle but still there in every call.
When I finally spoke about my letter she chose the simplest most innocuous item and challenged it.
No discussion in any way about the other issues. The important things. With her its pretend..never confront. Manipulate to
get what you want. Karen remains the devalued servant. If I speak up its a sign of my “problem”
behavior. Grrrrr


Yes darlene…its actually very freeing to let go of toxic people…what has been an issue lately is people who ask me why I don’t speak to my family…as if I am this mean horrible person…I can’t come out and say why to these people…its personal you know? I just have deceided that maybe those who are aware of abuse ans etch may be the only people who I can open up too…thoughts anyone?


School…I am sorry your experiencing that…I used to spend so
Much of my life…energy trying to figure out…well what did she mean or dud I take that the wrong way…wasted years of my life…I do remember that. When we first moved out if state due to my husbands employment offer..great money and promotion…she was pissed..told me that I was selfish and that a realiving daughter would give that up andenciurage her hubby to stay put…and that we should work several low paying jobs between us…she was so jealous if me…that my husband is an professional and that she struggled all her life…how is that my fault…well its not but she knew how to guilt me and make me feel bad…thankfully I cut off her power to hurt me….wished I done it sooner actually.


Yes. Karen…I remember that well too…to speak up is to be the trouble maker…cause for so long so many of us had no power and when we try to reclaim that…we are punished…


Hi Kimberly
It is fine to say that your reasons are personal. You are not obligated to tell your reasons and you don’t have to justify them either. I have found (shockingly) that many abused people stick up for the dysfunctional family system even more that those NOT abused but I aslo find that people don’t judge me “outloud” when I put the abuse in certain ways such as ” so you think that I should just let my mother treat me like shit and take whatever she dishes out for the sake of peace?” That kind of statement shuts people up really fast even though I am willing to have a long conversation about what happened between us and why we have no relationship anymore! lol
Hugs, Darlene


I laughed out loud when I read your response to people to shut them up. Seriously, it’s no one’s business anyway. I figure if someone wants to ask me sometime in the future, I would imagine they’re trying to squeeze my pain out of me so they can talk about it with other people. Who asks those kinds of questions anyway. I can see myself asking someone how their dad is doing or something, in innocence, but to keep going if there’s a red flag is rather pushy, and nosy! Just my opinion, although no one asked for it!! 😉

Kimberly and Karen,
I have been through exactly what you describe. I always ended up looking like I had anger issues, or I was mentally ill, or impossible to communicate with, and like you said Karen, “my ‘problem’ behavior”. I actually DID want to communicate. I expected mother to at least be able to reciprocate and take her share of the problem. NEVER!! I was very willing to own up to my part of any problems. I actually could have a conversation and speak calmly about it, and hope for a resolution that left each person satisfied. I had no idea at the time that a resolution with my mother would never ever be obtained. Thus, I ended up carrying the entire weight of the problem and all the guilt, shame, remorse, and self hatred. It’s so horrible to think about those days where my mother would verbally beat me down and manipulate me to a place where I felt less than an inch tall. How dare she do that to her own daughter, whom she LOVES…. according to her. Love doesn’t work like that in my book. Nowhere in Corinthians does it say, Love is contemptuous and hateful!! It doesn’t play out that way in my life anymore either. I have new rules!! (Thank you for that Darlene!!)

Peace and Hope,


Well said. It amazes me how the abusive person so often wants to be regarded as THE victim in any given situation. Because this usually starts when the accused child is SO young, the child never realizes this imbalance. I think that often times “the world” also takes the side of the parent due to all the conditioning and brainwashing that we have all had about this. The truth is glaringly hidden because of this brainwashing.
Hugs, Darlene


Hello all. I had to take a step back from my family because they were getting so toxic for my own well being. I found myself having all kinds of stress related health issues, plus dealing with my husbands father passing away and him not dealing with his grief, putting our beloved dog to sleep after 15 1/2 years. Well, a year and several months went by and I was being urged to try and talk to them again by my adult children who know of all the abuse that I went through, even though I don’t think they really comprehend it all; plus my older sister who received far more of the sexual abuse than I. I used the excuse of going over to visit my sister who was visiting my out of town to be there and it was like I had never been gone. They just wanted to act like everything was normal. Which is just like my family deals with things, if you don’t talk about it, it never happened. Well, I took a stand and tried to explain why I had not been around for a year and half. I tried to validate my feelings and why I still had anger issues and it immediately became all about my mother, how I was saying she was a bad mother, and on and on, and then said she was having chest pains (this is what she does when she doesn’t want to have a confrontation). Just like you said Darlene, she became the victim in the conversation. She even had the gall to say that I wasn’t the best parent. So I said, I’m not talking about me, I’m trying to talk about why I have these issues. So she then said “well I didn’t know you were going to come over here and bring up the last 50 years. “You just broke my heart and you’ve lost me”, “I’m done with you”. So I left. Then my older sister who was the one who got the most abuse, sent me a message the next day and said “I need to get help with my issues and they aren’t going to be around much longer, and family means everything” OMG, now they have me feeling guilty again. This is just crazy, my family is so dysfunctional.


Hi Donna
No matter how many times I hear these stories I still have the same reaction; it is kind of a “what the heck!!” reaction that most of the entire world is brainwashed about this “family thing”. WHY is family everything?? What does that mean? (you would have to ask your sister) These were questions I had to ask myself in order to see the truth. Why was I better off just letting all of it go and continuing to be kicked around?? The truth is that I wasn’t better off and that “family” when it is dysfunctional is not better than NO family! Your mother said she is done with you, but yet you are the one who is expected to fix it?? I had to ask myself when I was going to count? and the answer was “when I decide that I do”. So I decided!
I hear you Donna! hang in there and thank you for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene


I know Darlene….what does that mean “family is everything”? To me, my family is my husband, my children and my grandchildren. My younger sister doesn’t speak to me because she doesn’t believe me when I tell her what our father did; she married somebody just like him by the way. I thought I had a close relationship with my older sister, but after she said those things, I’m not sure just how close we really are. I just can’t keep going to family get togethers and pretend anymore that we are just one big happy family because we aren’t. Thanks Darlene for all you do.


Hi Donna
I also had to ask myself why I had to be believed by others before I validated myself. The answer was that it was part of the brainwashing. I felt that until someone else agreed with me that what happened really happened and that it was wrong, I had to keep staying in the situation and keep on trying to PROVE that I was justified in my right to be angry! My family is not willing to hear me. (they never were) and they are not going to agree with me OR validate me (just as they never did before) so I gave up. I accepted that they were going to be that way and that I wasn’t. I validated myself and the things that happened to me.
Hugs, Darlene


Donna & Darlene,
I can so relate to Donna’s dysfunctional experience with her family. When I confronted my brother about how he excluded & ignored my kids at Christmas, HE blasted ME. I finally stood up & told him the truth and he could not deal with it!…I know i was right for empowering me & standing up for my kids. The thing about that incident is HE walked away from ME. He said, “I’m done with you”…No trying to work it out. Then on top of that, my dad tells me, “You should of gone to coffee with your brother & work it out.” What!…I’m expected to fix it. I’m not responsible for his behavior & total disregard for me & my kids. There is just too much finger pointing in my family. No one wants to step up & apologize or work things out. That is so dysfunctional! I’m willing to sit down & talk, as long as no one verbally or emotionally attacks anyone. That is wishful thinking! Well needless to say, I’m NC with my brother & his kids and I will not fix it. He choice to walk away. I’m sure if I confronted my sister or parents with the Truth, they would walk too! It really is a sick system that would make anyone confused, angry & sad, unless your just as dysfunctional as they are.


I always was willing (when I was under mother’s thumb) to sit down and talk about things calmly and try to work toward a resolution. She would accuse me of being angry if I held her accountable. The truth was, she was seething with anger, and she’d be all bristled up, but still denying she was angry. Days would pass with the silent treatment, but she wasn’t angry according to her. It was just that I was impossible to talk to or deal with. I believed it too. I thought I was impossible, that I was angry, etc. I realize now how untrue all of that is. I CAN have an adult conversation without anger. I WANT to have those kinds of conversations. And, I do have them with other people. That proves I am able! My mom is just crazy and I’m relieved to know that I’m not some brash impossible human being that can’t be reasoned with. Even an apology to her would be somehow wrong. Now, she can kiss my a…… pology!! Heehee! It’s so frustrating to try and prove you’re not what they claim you are, and it’s confusing too. UGH!


They make you wear who they are…don’t allow that!


Mimi, I know just what you mean about trying to work toward a resolution with someone who won’t try! And who makes you out to be the problem instead of facing the issues!


All of these posts heal my heart and inspire me. So many are my story too. I laugh – I cry – I hoot and hollar and my husband declares from the other room how happy he is that I can get “therapy” from these blogs…Thank you my true sisters and brothers for the understanding and peace I gain on this journey as I reparent my-49-yr-old-self!! This is my happy F)&*%$’s Day truth. I Love you Darlene and friends…..


Wow mellifluous…I can so relate to the scapegoating…ever notice however because how we were raised…how others in society do that too?


Oops…I meant kelli…I hate wordcheck…sorry.


It’s like a vicious circle ~ you can never win. It’s so mindboggling at the time, when you’re in the disagreement. It was always like my “truth” mind had a tiny little voice, and it was easily drowned out by the voice of unreason. I don’t know why I bought into it. I honestly don’t. Why didn’t I ever think to myself what the real truth was. I just walked away in confusion and frustration…. and, not knowing why I was frustrated. It’s so very complicated.


Hi Tamara
Thanks for your comments!
Hugs, Darlene


Mimi, In my case, she could never see that her opinion was an opinion…it was THE LAW! If your opinion differed about even the simplest thing, you were outcast. She couldn’t or wouldn’t see that there is more than one side to an argument, more than one way to visualize a solution to a problem, or more than one way to relate to another person. She talked about me behind my back in some truly mean ways. I learned not to believe her when she started a conversation with, “I’m worried about” so-and-so, because a bashing of that person was sure to follow!
With me, if a general conversation did not completely agree with THE LAW, that is her opinions, she would turn her back and walk away and do something noisy so she would not hear what she did not want to listen to. The last conversation was about the state of medical practice these days…not a personal conversation, exactly. She got up from the table, turned her back, went to the sink and began to rattle pots and dishes. I simply raised my volume(she has become a bit hard of hearing) and finished my sentence. My sentence, concerning how sometimes statistics are gathered improperly, gave as example, my own dad getting a cause of death that I disagree with on his death certificate. Finally she ended the conversation with “well he is DEAD now so he doesn’t matter anymore.”
I don’t know if you can see that her reasoning did not fit the subject of the conversation, and that it dismissed any intelligence and my entire career, and was clearly designed to put a stop to a conversation that did not agree with THE LAW by shutting me up with an especially cruel statement. Her husband…they married at 77…less than a year after my father died was there, and so was my DH. I was literally shaking not to explode.
I guess it doesn’t sound like much, but it was just the final straw falling upon bales and bales with plenty of manure mixed in!


Mimi, I told her that it was obvious that Dad did not matter anymore to her, but that I still loved him and grieved for him. And that she would not be seeing me again.

I probably shouldn’t have posted right now…my three darling grandsons are visiting for two weeks, and I have a hard time getting online… no time really. Though I snatch a minute now and then. So is it ok with you if I come back much later to respond to what you say next??? They are 10, 6, and soon to be 5, so quite a handful! But I adore them, and need lots of time to spoil them…LOL


Thanks for your insights. My momster was the same way. Her opinion was LAW. She’s now seeing how valuable her LAWS are… to me specifically.

Have a great time with your grandsons. Might you need a week of recovery when they leave?? Very active ages!! So fun!! ENJOY!!


Ok, they’re playing video games right now…a few mins to respond after all, haha!
Sometimes I fight the “trained in” guilt because she is old now, although she still has all mental faculties. My younger bro is ill and medicated, my sister ill and medicated, my older golden brother says “ignore her, I do” all the while playing devoted son. I was actually the only one who listened to what she had to say, or considered her a person in her own right. Yet I was seen as the difficult one, the one she maligned most, the one she continually chose to ignore, put down, disparage.
Now, as she enters late old age, I would have been the only one left she could have depended upon if her precious preacher-man husband dies…or at least the only daughter…I am sure she trusts golden son who she taught to be too narcissistic to care.
I keep telling myself not to feel guilty for finally breaking free of all of it. I cannot continue the rest of my life in this ongoing stress, and she chooses to keep on with her insults, dramas, backstabbing, denigrating my Dad, and so on.
Am I supposed to be waiting in the background to take loving care of her when she can no long do so?


I am always trying to find new ways to write about this whole thing; I know what you are talking about! The primary goal is to say no to abuse and to heal from the damage that it caused. I got so caught up in their needs and how they didn’t know any better. Alwyas about MY guilt and never about the damage is what kept me so stuck in the dysfunction, and in being only half alive. Always trying to “prove” that I tried and that I was trying and never realizing that I was alone in that and that relationship takes TWO. I was terrified to even think about what I would do when my mother was in her final years. I have resolved that today.
My mother always taught me that you reap what you sow… I guess she will understand then why she is alone?
Hugs, Darlene


I too got totally sucked in to their needs and how they did not know any better. My mother is 78, my Dad 79. I am in the process of resolving the same issue of ” what I will do in their final years”. It’s weird because my older sister and younger brother still cater to them and get them out of trouble that they cause with their demanding and impatient ways. They give me the silent treatment because I have gone no contact. I have a husband that gets me and a few good friends that love the real me; not the “circus monkey” my family brought out in me. It feels good to be a ‘natural woman’. I am at the threshold of coming into my own; finally, at age 49! As Karenina has experienced, I too was the one who would really listen to my momster and try to help. She only responded with ignoring, putting down every idea and insulting backstabbing….I feel so much better not ever calling or talking to her. It’s like my entire gut changed. I love not getting stirred to distraction by her mad and mean ideas about every one that I love.


My siblings don’t talk to me either but I think they are jealous of my freedom! They have to do all the things that I USED to do now. She likely picks on them the same as she picked on me. I bet the hate me for that. (but they have the same choice that I had, although the truth is that my mother is the one that went no contact with me first. I think it was a game she was playing and it backfired on her… )

Hugs, Darlene


Gee, Darlene, I don’t know how you do it! Somehow you find the questions and make comments that show you understand and care. Even when there are so many.
She used to say, “You made your own bed, now you’ll have to lie in it.” As if I could not correct anything, make any changes for the better in my life. But I did anyway.
Well I am making a new bed for me, more conducive to rest and peace.
And she has made hers.
I only hope for her that it gives her rest and peace. I don’t hope for bad things for her. I only want to be left out of it all now, as I generally felt myself to be left out all along.
I was not heard. Now I do not speak. That should make her happy, now that she doesn’t have to work so hard not to listen, shouldn’t it? So, better all ’round.


I almost fell outta my chair at your last post. The VOLUMES of people here who have stated they heard those exact words – myself included! So classic, “You made your bed, now lay in it!”

I posted somewhere else that I daydream about dropping mother off at a nursing home someday and saying, “Well, you made your bed, now lay in it!”. Not saying I would or could, but I don’t mind daydreaming about it, haha!!

Many kindred spirits here!!
Peace and love,


Mimi and Karenina

I would have no problem telling my mother today all the things that she taught me. (She said all that stuff; you made your bed now lay in it and you reap what you sow.) I think that she knows I would have no problem saying it and that is why she walked away. As soon as I stood my ground she was gone. I hope she considered all the things that she taught me in all of this. I don’t think she ever thought that I might apply them to her though. (and she may very well know exactly what I am up to since I use my birth name for this website. After she threatened to sue me if I wrote a book, I decided to legally change my name back.)
Hugs, Darlene
P.S. ~ but I don’t think I am going to be the one that drives her to the nursing home!


These comments are so funny! Thanks everyone! Good to laugh fir once about this issue! I can remember being an target often…if it wasn’t me it was either one of my siblings or my dad…now I never have to worry about being an target anymore….feels good;)


Tamara, I suppose I will cross that bridge (what to do about her when she can’t take care of herself) when the time comes, if the time comes. No use worrying about something that may not happen. Heck, I might die first, for all I know, for all anyone knows.

I only know I won’t be wasting time and energy and tears hoping for change anymore. That’s a relief in itself.

It’s amazing to me looking back how much energy and worry I put into trying to fix it in the past. Energy I can now put toward positive things for myself and those who love me, and worry I do NOT need.

I can’t fix it. I didn’t put it together this way in the first place, and I didn’t break it. It is what it is, and I am finally able to leave it at that, that’s all.


I love the perspective in your last post. You didn’t put it together, and you didn’t break it!! Gooooood stuff! Thanks for sharing your wisdom!!
Peace and hope,


Karenina – What a relief not wasting the time energy and tears worrying about fixing the past – I couldn’t agree more. I am into creating new, happy memories. It seems that the more “creative” I am the less interupting the old negative self talk is. It can’t live here anymore.
Darlene – My No contact choice with my mom/parents came after they treated my husband horribly after a family gathering. I had seen them do it to all 5 of us growing up but when they got really loud and direct with my husband who has been nothing but loving and helpful toward them; that was it! We left their home after they yelled at my husband for presumabley sitting in the Master’s chair. It was surreal – like Archie Bunker…I used to call them once a week and when I stopped no one called me. So no matter who made the choice of no calling… no contact was best for me!! Over the last three years I wake up w/out dark haunting clouds nor nagging shoulda-woulda-coulda stuff. Geez – still venting though…


Another thing you expressed so eloquently Karenina is the “mothers word is law thing” Be it politics, cooking, fashion, “Bible version preference” Her way was it. Kinda sad how she limited her once brilliant mind by obsessing with every one else’s ‘wrongness’…


Tarmara…My family also did that to my husband and it was the last straw with me too, funny how things are so predictable in toxic families, huhn?
I can remember going out to eat dinner with my parents, my sister and her husband and us…My mom made comments how good looking my sisters husband was, how he resembled someone from one of her fave soap operas, then she just looked at mine and just said nothing.
It was one of her little digs, she loved those and used those all the time with people, including myself but I did not really get upset and mad till she did it to the man I love…
My sister would make off comments about my husband as well, pertaining to as being a nerd but not really coming out and saying that but she learned how to do that from our dear mother…thankfully I did not fall victim to learning that tactic but I had and still do have to unlearn how to do other things…comes with the terrority I guess.


Darlene…whenever I was on vacation or out of town for whatever reason my sister could not wait for me to get back home, she told me she was tired of being the target…actually said for me to hurry home!


Kimberly – Yes – so similar and so purposefully mean. I think that is why it takes so long to recognize and escape from – how could any one be that cruel and in your face?? My parents even called my brother-in law ” the buck-tooth wonder…. and laughed about it all the time. He still bought them a car! God love her but” Hurry home Sis, I don’t like being the target!!”for me is a little sad – I still kinda think my sister will wake up – even if I have been waiting many years…


Kimberly ~ I totally get that! eeks!

Tamara and all ~ One of the reasons I started this website was because when I was working in seminars as a speaker/advocate I was shocked at the similar stories and control tactics. And so was everyone esle! No one realize just how common this really is. Like there is a script or something! I know that healing happens faster when we know we are not alone and the truth about where the problem originates is esposed!
Hugs, Darlene


My NM does the opposite with my S.O., she puts him up on a pedestal,is just so sweet and loving, always asking about his mother’s health. I debrief him continually, but this is not such a big problem anymore, as I am LC (low contact) with her. I think they usually go one way or the other. Interestingly, my S.O. is the golden child in his family. As his partner, I know what it is to be a vicarious golden child. What a trip!(his poor sister is the scapegoat, and it pains me to watch her turn herself inside out to fit in. I want to slip her some literature, but she doesnt like me–not surprisingly–anyway)

I am long beyond confronting NM and her evil behavior. I manage my exposure to and response to her,to be able to see my father. I give absolutely NO information as to what is going on with my guy, and his children, who live with us a good deal of the time. The reason? The whole dysfunctional team will have to find their fodder for gossip and condemnation elsewhere! And you know how that goes, it turns to one of the others, lol.

I had not given NM my address, but have a PO box. The reason no address? One time when I was not home at a previous address, she SPIED in my windows “you’re moving? Why are all those moving boxes in the living room?” Um, yeah, no car in the driveway, hello, I’m not home.No need to peak in the windows. Reason #2: she gave my sister my new address so she could “return to sender” a letter I had sent her in response to yet another angry phone tirade. Interestingly, they had steamed the letter open, read it, then returned to me. The next phone convo with NM,she angrily rebutted the 4 or 5 points I had made to my sister about NM.
So she had no physical address,but could send me mail at the PO box. When my S.O.’s Dad died, she began pestering me for our addy so she could send flowers. “I cant send flowers to a PO box”! I eventually gave in. I couldnt argue with that. But what did she send? A CARD!!!!!! LOL. Boy, she sure tricked me!!! Last time that will happen…….

Supposed to take my Dad out for belated fathers day today, and she will be going as well. I really resent her for that,blocking me from alone time with my Dad, he has been trained well, alas! I do have some things to tell him…………


Whoa…. the whole husband thing. Yet another facet of garbage comes forth!! A week or two ago, it was the anxiety over having the perfect house. So many shared the same anxiousness.

Now, so many share the same S/O issues. Do the similarities ever end? And, do we all have the same momster??

An event happened with my husband before we were married. He hadn’t spent much time around my family. We all took a long weekend vacation together ~ my mom, stepdad, sisters and their families, grandma. On I think the second night, my mom and sister stood outside the restroom my husband was using and laughed at him, making jokes about him using the restroom. I won’t go into detail, just know it was in very poor taste. I was so embarrassed for him. I was angry and hurt by my mom and sister. I had trouble even looking at or talking to them I was so furious. My mom the began making fun of both of us for being withdrawn the next day. She referred to us as “the happy couple” in a group of people who should love me. She was bashing… I knew it. I heard her. She was on the patio below me, I was on a balcony and she didn’t know it. I was even further hurt and infuriated by her words to my family. I was so upset by then, I gathered up our stuff, and we left. We were 5 hours from home. My sister cried, apologized and asked us not to leave. My mom stayed away from us and then tried to lie and say she didn’t mean it the way I took it. She didn’t ask us to stay, and she didn’t apologize. She put it all on me… and my faulty interpretation. We left anyway, and I sobbed for a solid day. It hurt me so bad to hear her bashing on my husband and I.

I’ve not been on a vacation like that since. Why would I?? I can feel anger and hurt well up just typing about it. What is wrong with people that they can’t treat others with respect and act like they have some sense?? Jeez!!

Anyhow, that’s my ugly S/O story!! Grrrrr!
Hope for Peace,


It’s all about control and power. It is all about the double standard. They are never wrong? We are always wrong? It isn’t that we all have the same mother or parents; it is that this is the way that people get control of other people. It is the misuse of power for the purpose of having control. The correct use of power is to empower.

I was in 12 step programs for 25 years including Al Anon. It held me back because of the misunderstanding of the concep of acceptance and accountability. There were some great teachings but they seemed very often to get taken out of context because of the original belief system of unworthyness. It was so easy for me to agree that I must have done something wrong to bring it all on myself. The ways that I had learned to accept the abuse was never addressed. I was too busy letting go and being accountable. So the root of the problem was never addressed. (I write about that stuff in this site. Use the search tool for the word “accountability”. ) Just my thoughts.
Hugs, Darlene


Thank you for the clarification. I never knew what the correct use of power was until you said it’s to “empower”. Imagine if people knew this, how different the world would be!!
Thanks Darlene,


People are terrified to give up their power or to be equal to others because they too believe that power or whoever has the most power, wins. This is what they have been taught in thier own exp. as well. It is the example of the worlds belief system. If you think about it, what was the original message of Christ?? In a nut shell I believe that it was equal value. (and it doesn’t matter if you follow Christ or not; that isn’t the point;~ the teaching still holds true in the world no matter where it came from) You can’t have equal value, you can’t communicate equal value when you have power over someone else. He told the leaders to stop using thier power the wrong way. But they could not stand the idea of giving up any of it. They could not fathom using their power to empower because equal value was the farthest thing from attractive to them. The way this message is taught today is with an emphisis on perserving power over others and NOT what the actual teaching is at all. That is why we have all these double standards and two sets of rules. (for instance one for parents and one for their children no matter what age) That is the fog that I came out. Two sets of rules doesn’t work. There is only one true def. of love.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi All
My new post is finally published: “the fear of good bye if you don’t comply” is about why we are so afraid to stand up to someone else esp. a parent. It all starts somewhere and finding out what that fear really is and where it came from gave me some information about the lie behind it.
Hugs, Darlene


Thank you for the response/explanation. I wonder what people think they get when they “win”! When they overpower someone. Baffles me!!

I think about the idea that people on their deathbed rarely wish they’d spent more time at work, or saved more money. Right there in that moment, they more often wish they’d worked less and spent more time with people they loved, or have regrets of hurting others, etc. Money and work don’t matter anymore. It’s the intimacy and love that matters. (at least in people who actually love).

The connection I made here is, what is it the people who forced their power on others hope to accomplish? On their deathbeds will they be saying, “I WON!! I’m dying a WINNER” Is it all that matters to them? I can’t figure out what they are hoping to accomplish in the “big picture”. Does it really matter that much to overpower people and win??

I suppose it comes from their own brokenness. I also suppose that’s no excuse in my book!! I’m no longer a rung in their ladder to the top. Not just my mother, it extends to everyone. I have bent over for people to step on my back in order to boost them up. I don’t bend over anymore. I am slowly learning to stand up straight!! I thank you and EFB for that!!
With love,


Darkens…and everyone else too…I never thought that 12 step programs were. Healthily…I don’t like being shamed…told I am not ok till I show so
E con dependent behaviors…some of it is ok but overall I feel like I am sitting in some backward culture…church telling me I have to do a…b…c..or else I am not ok..I never felt real acceptance at those meetings personally.


Hi Kimberly
We are sitting in a backwards culture/society! The whole thing is backwards. Turth is hidden so that certain people (usually bad people) can have power over other people. Crazy!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Mimi
I think it has a lot to do with preserving their identity (which is a false identity anyway) which is rooted in the lies. Winning means that they are right. Winning means that they are valid. Abusers have all the same problems as victims do because they were victims first and their biggest fear is that someone will find out what they belive about themselves. Having said that, I spent so many years making excuses for my mother and her pain and her childhood, that I don’t like to post too much about how all abusers were victims first. The thing is that just like we are doing “our work” here, they have to do thiers. We can’t “love them” to health in the way that the world teaches. Love is not letting people hurt you and mistreat you because you feel sorry for them. By standing up to my mother, she actually has a chance to think about her life if she wants. It isn’t up to me though. It is her choice. I am taking MY choice.
They are so caught up on hiding the insecurity in thier hearts… It is very sad and I am glad that I moved past it!
Hugs, Darlene


I totally get that. I feel the same way (finally… after spending so much time here learning). I finally feel like playing along in the game isn’t a message of true love. Giving my mom an opportunity to love me in an honest way and to have a sharing and giving relationship is an act of love. From you I’ve learned that it’s her choice, and if she chooses to stay in the dysfunction, there isn’t anything I can do. I at least have given her an opportunity to be honest and REAL! Unfortunately, there is nothing real about her, and she likes it that way. Not my problem anymore! 🙂
Thanks again Darlene,


To everyone…
Has anyone here noticed that if a toxic mother and sister often call you around the same time? When I had contact, my mom would call and start her usual games and then about a half hour later my sister would call, their calls always seem to be around the same time and day..almost always.


Darlene…yes i always had watched people since i was a very young girl and sadly I always seen who the scapegoats were in life, being one myself, I knew, I was not in any group at school and no one ever seeked me out, I spent most of my time alone…



I been working on trying to counter the lies of who I was told I was and what I am was told by someone that I am truly am, and a good excerise for me was to only write down the good things about me, from my childhood, I am having a hard time doing that, I keep wanting to write down what was bad bout me, things I did etc and its so hard to remember and even when I do I cant seem to do that and I am so scared if I cant do this, i will always live a lie believeing this and that my life will be wasted cause I am living in the now thinking I am still not good enough, how do you do that? will I die beliveing a lie and will they win over me forever? What if i cant come to love myself? How do you do that? I cry so easily when people talk bout loving yourself, how do you do that if you deep down cant?


I did this a little differently than how you are trying to do it; I listened to the things that I believed about myself. (instead of only trying to concentrate on the good things) I looked at what I “thought” was bad about me and asked myself why I thought that. I dug deep into where that belief came from. Getting to the root of that belief was the only thing that ever worked when it came to changeing the belief to the truth. It turned out that everything that I thought was BAD about me came from things other people said about me and mostly from abuse. I didn’t love myself until I discovered why I didn’t love myself in the first place. For me, facing those things I thought were “bad” about me led me out of this mess, but only because I then exposed the lies that those beliefs were full of.
Hugs, Darlene




I’m still conflicted about whether or not to confront my narcissistic mother. (My psychopathic father died some years ago.)

My mother has two weapons in her arsenal: 1) playing the martyr and weeping, and 2) becoming enraged, blasting out venomous, hurtful statements. There is no way to talk to her about anything, not anything, unless, of course, it is to criticize people behind their backs.

She does not listen. She has never listened. Not once. In my entire life.

Whenever I’ve confronted her about her abusive treatment of my nieces, she denies it. An incident of her verbal abuse could have occurred five seconds earlier, and she will still become self-righteously indignant and say it didn’t happen! She’s always been this way, since my earliest memories. She denies everything. She has denied the psychopathic father’s horrific abuse, denied my sexual abuse, denied that she ever did anything wrong. To hear her tell it, she is a saint…..a real Mary Poppins, “practically perfect in every way.”

When you talk about standing up for yourself, I get it. I think it’s great. But, sadly, I’m not sure I even know how to do this. I wish you could give some concrete examples. I believe in the concept, I really do. And I want to stand up for myself, too. But I never know what to say. I just end up sounding silly to myself.

Here is an example, Darlene. I realize it’s a small thing, but this particular person tends to be a real know-it-all blowhard. He’s really condescending and arrogant, and he’s an in-law. At a recent family function, his wife wasn’t there, so I asked him where she was. (I always enjoy seeing her and talking with her.) Instead of saying, “Oh, she went home to feed the cats….she’s coming right back,” he said in a snarky way, “I guess she’s wherever she wants to be.”

I honestly didn’t even have a clue how to respond.

It wasn’t until I got back home later and thought about what a jerk he is, that I got so angry. I wish that I had said something, but didn’t even really “get” that I’d been treated rudely until I had time to think it over. (Does that make sense?)

In a case like that, what would you have done or said?

I’m trying very hard to learn. Thanks a million!


Hi Marore
looking back, I waited quite a long time to confront my mother. It helped that she lived a long ways away from me. But I waited until I was ‘solid’ in what I wanted to say. I waited until I really knew what she had been doing all those years was wrong and that I deserved better.
You said that your mother never listened to you and that she denies everything anyway. So you have that info already. It is likely that she won’t now either so be prepared for that. I confronted for me, not for her. I had to let go of any expectation that she would hear me. It didn’t lessen the blow when she didn’t but at least I could tell myself that I expected as much.
I have written lots in this site about how I respond so keep reading!
For several years (about 3) while I was in the process of coming out of the fog I never had a response to abusive statements either. That will come in time. The first time I ‘gave it back’ was on the phone with a guy giving me hell about our cows that had broken a fence. I said my husband would call him but he kept going with yelling at me. I said “WHY ARE YOU SPEAKING TO ME THAT WAY? I TOLD YOU JIM WOULD CALL YOU.” I was shaking. He was so shocked that he hung up on me! and suddenly I felt GREAT! I knew that I could stand up to that crap! (and he never called ME again! he was exagaraging the whole thing, the cows were already off his place and he was just trying to get his order restored through being nasty to me)
I would have said to the guy you are talking about something very similar.
Hugs, Darlene


Marore ~
Here is a post I wrote called “dealing with people who talk down to me”
My response to (or not responding at all) these people has so much more to do with the way that I saw me.
Hugs, Darlene


The best gift you can give yourself and if you have a family is to disconnect from such people who do not believe and rather throw you under the bus for the inheritance and approval they choose over you cause believe me, that is why they choose to not believe or care, the best gift you can give your future generation to bring up your children in a healthy and respectful abuse free environment and that is only done by staying away from people who need you, a need to abuse you and deny you you the truth cause it makes them feel better, that is far from love and its basically predatory behavior on their part.


Hi Marore

reading your post #172, that delayed response to rudeness or disrespect happens to me too. Or my gut usually tells me I’m offended, but I keep quiet—especially if it was a family gathering. All that “gotta keep the peace, gotta keep appearances” stuff. I’m learning to trust my gut more. For me it’s that healthy inner part that is inviolate, that never got brainwashed by the lies and distortions.

I’m also feeling more compassion for myself for all the times and years I let things go. Conditioned behaviour is very hard to change and the last thing I need to do is kick myself more. A whole lot of people don’t face fears, and this is what we are doing, how strong is that! It’s very much like swimming against the life-long current. So I give myself time and “inner cuddles” when things happen that I don’t catch right away or keep quiet about.

Today is just two months since something broke in me about childhood. That day I felt a powerlessness over a rejection and was overwhelmed. This person who rejected me had also been disrespectful to me for several months but I took it because I liked him, and any attention was better than none. I gave him a birthday card and the next time he saw me, he walked by briskly , said hi, looked me in the eye then stared at my breast as he left. He’s never tried to talk to me since. I felt confused and disrespected in the gut but did nothing. Part of me ‘liked’ it, if that’s the word, cause it was sexual attention and validation.

Now just a few months later, I can accept it was contemptuous on his part, as my gut told me. I’m understanding my childhood and its messages more and how I was taught sexual validation was my primary worth. At that moment, the most important thing was not ‘losing’ him. Today, I would see what bus he got on (he’s a driver) and quietly tell him, “Don’t EVER ever do that to me again, I will report you. If you have a problem, you can talk to me like a man”. But I put him above me, and I understand where I was at mentally. I actually have greater compassion for myself now in part because my reaction tells me how I had to internalize mistreatment to survive.

More recently, on the weekend I wrote my sister telling her that every time I borrowed money, it didn’t go to food, but to alcohol. I came clean to make a new start. I also wrote of my need to not kill myself anymore over mom and dad, that there’s nothing wrong with me after all, it was THEM and their brainwashing. I wrote of a couple of things Dad did, like leering at me, buying mags with me standing there as a kid. I finished by telling her how conflicted I was over Christmas, cause I felt ignored by her.

She wrote back (I’m sorry sis):

Thanks for the mailing and videos ….I am not too concerned about the timing of your loan repayment …I know you are good for it ..This is not going to be a long mailing as I fell asleep in my chair again so I think I will go to bed soon ….
I am looking forward to watching those videos tomorrow when I am halfway awake! !!!!!! I also need more awake time to formulate my thoughts 🙂 So I hope to write something a little longer in the next little while …….
You and Carmen try and have a good night and give her a big ol’kiss for me too!!!!!!!
tty Luv (name deleted) xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox
PS. I am very happy to get your emoties …..especially the sister ones ….I keep them all!!!!!!!!!!!

I waited for a few days to hear back about the deeper stuff….specifically Christmas, because I know she doesn’t address childhood issues. She never did. In the meantime I saw my therapist and told her about our emails. She was supportive but said it wasn’t fair for me to bring up specifics of childhood if she didn’t want to hear that stuff. I am fighting kicking myself now over that, because, every time I make a mistake, I can’t just be a human who makes mistakes, it means I am A BAD PERSON. Actually I don’t know what to think about that, was I being unfair, was I explaining myself, I don’t know…I do know she doesn’t address this stuff but I felt a need to put my drinking in context. My inner compass is all over about it.

Sis told me a couple of days ago her husband lost his job. I wrote something supportive a couple of times and knew now Christmas wouldn’t be addressed for sure. It sounds very selfish to me, but I also wrote to say I would not be there for Christmas, but I hoped they would have a good one. I feel very bad that he lost his job, but to me these are two different issues, and I don’t want to murk them up by telling myself, “Well now they really expect me there, they’ve helped me with money, and I never got my worries over visiting them and feeling ignored addressed but he’s lost his job for God’s sake”. But the thing is this is the third time in a year I’ve brought it to her attention and I feel really bad for the guy but I will not risk it happening again because for me to go would be like saying, “Don’t listen to my complaints, I’ll do the same thing anyway, and so can you”.

By I know darn well they think I’m being selfish. I am putting myself first now, for the first time in my life…



I did this recently have a sit down with both parent’s and it was a complete bust. I do this every so often thinking this time will be different and it never is. I leave feeling drained and disappointed. My mother has never come to me about our relationship, ever! I have always been the one who makes the effort, I continue to ask my mother why we don’t have a close relationship like she has with my sister’s and there is no answer.

I realize that I am doing this wrong. I need to state what I won’t accept and leave it at that. I am looking to them to validate my feelings and that is never going to happen.

I remember once when my mom, my sister and their friend decided to go shopping. They called me and ask me to go with them, I told them I would be over in a few minutes, I live close to my mother. When I got there they were gone leaving a note saying that went to visit a relative and would be back shortly please wait, so I did for half the afternoon and finally left. No phone call nothing. Later I found out from a friend of mine she saw them shopping and when I confronted them they got very angry with me, my mother was screaming at me asking if I was going to hold this over her head, my sister simply said to get over it. I sat there thinking why would they do this to me. Would they like it, probably not. But they didn’t care what they did and sad to say this type of situation has happened a few more times and I never said anything.

I have found it best to limit my contact with my mother and my sister lives in another state. My family does get together for holidays and such, some I go to other’s I don’t. But after this last confrontation I will NEVER EVER do this again. I leave with my tail between my legs and feel defeated.


Hi Cathy
That is the conclusion that I had to come to ~ that the truth is relationship is two sided not one sided. That I had to just say “I will not be treated like this anymore and leave the rest up to them. They didn’t want to work on any of it, but that doesn’t reflect on me.
Today I look back and see that I stood up for ME. I became my own hero, my own advocate. My own parents! And that was so amazing!
Hugs, Darlene


Thank you Darlene~


I have been reading a lot about differing personalities, such as in the enneagram- I don’t know if any of you have heard of this. But it has helped me a lot in seeing that some ‘sins’ and mistakes follow a general order, in that they follow a person’s personality ‘type’. Each type has a number, #1-9. My mother was/is a #7. The #7 is a lot like the mothers listed on this blog: unseeing, uncaring, occupied with her own life, her own self, and simply notgiving the time of day to her child. It has helped me to read about personality types of the enneagram and to know that the way my mother has acted was not as a response to me, but was her personality type. People here have called ‘narcissiam’ but it is the same as #7 in the enneagram.


Hi OwlJulie
Welcome to EFB ~ I don’t know anything about what you are talking about but understanding the abuser is not a huge part of the solution although it is interesting to read about that stuff. It is in facing and dealing with the damage the abuse caused to us, where the solution can emerge.
Thank you for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


Mom has cooled it with her pissin and moaning. I have limited my time weekly to a few brief phone calls and maybe a 1/2 hour visiting. She is using her Drs. appointments and prescription refill conversation to remind me of her “health”. She had a Bday last month, reminded me of her 70+ years……..She has tried to make problems for my Boyfriend and I during the Holidays. Did not work! lol I expected something. She is not happy that I am working, and was hired permanent last month. Ïf I had a man that made good $$$ I would not have to work.” The Christmas gifts she got were way more expensive and better than what I received…….blah blah blah…..The subtle toxicicity is still there. She knows I can and will stay away from her if her shit continues to hit the fan. Less headaches and stomach pain since I really understood that my mental and physical well-being depends on ME. For the New Year, New strength and resolve, and continue to do well in my job (which is not acceptable to mom) My self esteem is better and I try real hard not to share too much with someone who really does not want to see me happy.


PS. Judge Jury and Executioner cannot sentence, punish or condemn me like in the past!


Hi Darlene,
This story describes something I had been going through recently. My “adult” estranged daughter had done some horrible things, and I vented my feelings about it on my facebook wall. I have lost about 5 friends in the process. They felt that what I wrote was “disturbing”. Since when am I not allowed to express my feelings? Why was that considered bad? I told all of them that I was not backing down, nor was I going to take it off my wall. So I was blocked. Then another message came in, about how I need to forgive. Why is it that I am required to forgive according to someone else’s timeline? My brother then comes along, and tells me that “I don’t have a right to my feelings”. You see, just because HE didn’t think I should feel that way about something, meant his word was God. Excuse me???? So when you wrote about others wanting to bow down to you, I could relate. I could also relate to everything else. Well done.


Wow I like this I told my sis to read your blog and I was told out of everything she read she seen nothing on forgiveness or about God.
I stated you can forgive and move on with out a relationship. You forgive so you can move on in your life.
They are not understanding mom apologized but not once has she validated a reason why she let all this go on and did not protect her children OR STAND UP to the abusers it is all in the past and it should be put away which is true I forgive I am moving on and I am still in the wrong it never ends always something. So I am currently the black sheep that causes chaos when I do not contact them because of the drama&
I stay to myself so something is wrong with me and I need a psychologist I used to be told I needed meds. lol now I am beyond needing meds. lol I have tried and tried but as I get older I see things clearly.I am opinionated I get chastised because peoples feelings get hurt I call it being truthful & honest.So I have decided I have God, my life , children , & Hubby to focus on!! Oh wait that is not it according to them all I do is make excuses.
And I may be reading the wrong thing because you mention nothing about god and forgiveness,what they are reading you are saying abandon all your family and I need be talking to someone else.
I have said ugly things out of anger I should have moved on along time ago but I did not and I will admit that I was trying but I think the last straw was my mother not standing up for herself of course we were put in the middle of it and not once did my mother stand her ground for herself or her children at all again so as defensless children she did not take a stand for her children or herself and adulthood when the drama started again. So I am like done, done there is so much more I could prob. write a book but it’s all a family secret I might get chastised. If the church family knew and the family members knew her reputation could be ruined.


Hi Darlene! I have come to realize that no one except me will ever really know the depth of hurt that my family has caused me. At age 48, after many, many years of soul searching for the truth I decided to send letters to my family and letting them know that I didn’t want a relationship with them anymore. As I wrote the letters I realized it was not about their response or a hope that they would want to talk and try to heal together. It was more about honoring my own soul and acknowledging to myself that what happened to me mattered to “me”. I took back my soul and made a decision that I will heal and love myself unconditionally in spite of the way they treated me.

It’s all about me learning how to love and accept myself for the loving, beautiful soul I really am. This wasn’t the way I would have chosen to learn about love and I have learned to accept life on life’s terms. It all happened and I can’t change any of it. All I can really change is how I view it all. I have studied many resources to bring myself comfort and accept responsibility for my part in it all as an adult. I have cleared all the wreckage from the past now and only scarrs remain.

I’m not really sure what my purpose for being here really is, all I know for sure is that one day at a time I will continue to love myself through whatever comes up along the way. It’s been a long road to get here and all I care about now is just embracing the peace within.

I’m tired of blaming and being resentful, I have laid my wounded soul to rest and I am allowing a new soul to be rebirthed. Where she takes me is unknown and I’m ok with that. She deserves a chance to find her joy and I will let her fly as high as she wants.

Thank you so much for all your loving support. My soul has been blessed to find a safe place to land and heal. Namaste to everyone on this healing journey. I wish you all the peace and love your heart can hold.


Hi Angie
Welcome to EFB
I do actually address forgiveness and God within these pages. (there are a heck of a lot of pages here!) but not in the way that people are used to. Forgiveness was a result of the healing process that I went through, not a goal or a solution for me. People can say whatever ever they want about my site, (and they do) but this is my story and I tell it exactly like it is; I healed and this is how.
I didn’t abandon my family, they walked away from me because I didn’t do what they wanted. Agreeing with them meant agreeing with the lies and keeping the secrets and accepting all that but I could not do that anymore. I was so stuck in depression and I found a way out. The truth is the way out. And when I read the bible for what it really says, I realized that my message was in there long before I put it here.
I stopped worrying about my mothers reputation. If she didn’t do all that stuff, I would have nothing to write about. 🙂 This isn’t about blame or any of those things, it is about healing from the damage by facing and validating that damage.
I took my life back and that is what I encourage others to do here. Abusers and controllers don’t like that but so what?
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Lora
Awesome! I love how you realized that it wasn’t about their response but about you. That was so life changing for me. I finally realized that I deserved to heal. I deserved to have a voice, to make decisions and to make choices. I didn’t have to convince them of anything anymore or to prove that I was worthy or that I wasn’t crazy. Finally it was about me. 🙂
Thank you so much for your comments.
Hugs, Darlene


Yes, yes. My mother’s last conversation with me lasted almost five hours and ended the same way, “Well, let me know what you want to do.” I flat out said NO, it was up to her to make amends and repairs, do the right thing now and support me as a victim of sexual abuse, and acknowledge the truth. Really, she just wanted to repeat herself that she didn’t want to “get in the middle”- not when I was a child being brutalized, and not now, as my abuser has moved in with more children.
That was a few months ago, she never called again.
I appealed to my aunt and cousins to bear witness. One agreed that the kids were at risk, but said I was “too steeped in anger,” which wasn’t “helping the situation.”
The other cousins didn’t acknowledge me at all.
And my aunt, infuriatingly, continues to forward me recipes, coupons, news articles of zero interest, and ignored my real questions.
I would love to move on with happiness, but I fear for these children!!


This is part of my healing process and I did not look for this site actually it found me I do not even remember what or how this site got brought to my attention maybe divine intervention so onward I go!!!
Thanks for your quick response back and your honesty. 🙂


Wow Darlene, just wow. Your response was magnificent.

When I tried to have a conversation about my sexual abuse with my mother she resorted to her well rehearsed “pity her” defense. She sniffed, “I did the best I could”, then retreated from the conversation once again. She died 20 years ago without ever accepting the reality of what happened in our family.

My older brother lives on, I wrote a memoir, he read it, then called me to respond: “Jane, it really hurts that you described me so harshly in your memoir.” Once again it was all about him.

These days he calls me when he is feeling down and out. I finally realized he did that because he literally wanted to lay his bad feelings about himself at my scapegoat feet.

We rarely talk these days because I refuse to play the role of scapegoat.


Hi Jane
Welcome to EFB. I felt so invalidated and diminished when my mother (or others) made it about her. I realized one day that nothing was EVER about me! And that was another area of my life that I got back.
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


Hello Darlene,

your article describes really well the type of relationship I discovered I had with my mom and step-dad. I never had any problems with my mom; very bonding relationship, I thought I had the best mom in the world but I realized it was because I always went her way. The relationship with my step dad wasn’t really one, he controlled me and critisized me constantly because “he loved me”. Being an adult I thought that my relationship had changed with him (still ironic comments, or minor arguments where I would always back down) but I learned that it hadn’t in the hard way.
It was during my marriage that it happenned. I was happy and for once, I was myself with them, that is, I was an adult. I said it when I didn’t like misplaced comments from him and at one point I told my step dad to leave me alone, he got on my nerves.

My mother asked me to apologize to him (for the millionth time in my life) and I did to calm things down even if I didn’t believe a word that I said to him.
It wasn’t enough apparently, their ego was so chaken that my mom blamed everything to me and lectured like I was 5 and both of them humiliated me and my husband in a very violent way, that was a “discussion” that was ment to clear things out.

That’s how I found out that my mom was a lovely mom as soon I agreed with her in everything. Talking, arguying with her afterwards showed me that she was in complete denial, forgetting whatever didn’t suit her, minimizing my feelings and kept guilt tripping me about everything without taking any responsability of her actions.
She couldn’t even understand the concept of mutual respect, children must respect their parents but nor the other way around.

I’m litterally in shock for months now, trying to grasp to understand what happenned. I wrote to her an email explaining my feelings (we live far away from one another) and told her to stop pressuring me to call her and make an effort to make things right again, that her actions have concequences. Since the, not a word. it’s been nearly a month now. I don’t know were to go from there, I know I don’t want to see my step dad ever again, he was hideous with us, although I cannot fully feel ok with that feeling. And I don’t know what to think of my mother and my relationship with her. Will I ever ?

I was so wounded by our last conversation when they wanted to clear things out that I don’t want to go through all of this again. But if I leave it as it is will it just fester ?
Then again I know I’m trying again to fix things as usual, I don’t trust my parents to change.

I know it has been a long post, but it sums up my situation. I would really need some feedback and I’m so happy to find a plce to share my thoughts with people that have been there.


Hi Alice,
Welcome to EFB!
Sounds like you have found the right website! I talk/write about the actual truth here, the truth about what love really is, about equal value and respect and about issues such as parental entitlement and all kinds of stuff that children are groomed to accept as ‘right’ so they never know that it wasn’t or isn’t right.
To answer your questions, I am going to suggest that you read more of the articles and comments here; you will find the answer that is right for you!
thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


Iam just about to move to a new county without telling my parents because i suffered emotional and physical abuse while growing up and has ruined my life.my mother still pulls my strings and i cant stand up to her.it has caused me to make poor relationship decisions.


Hi, I’m new here & this is my 1st post. Today as I read this, it validated to me that I’m still in the process of either ‘speaking up’ or not. I once wrote a letter to my mother, who completely turned it around back into me. I felt humiliated, small & yet again incompetent. However, I have just read your 1st ebook & I have become much stronger within myself. Because of this post, and reading EFB, I will now begin my journey to freedom by letting my mother know how she hurt me over the years. I already know the outcome (rejection) but because my mindset is much stronger than before, I’m willing to give it a go.
Thank you Darlene, your story is inspiring and it has given me the tools to validate my own life from now and into the future. Thank You 🙂


Hi Lydia
Welcome to Emerging from Broken ~ I am happy to hear that you found the tools you need here!
I hope you will share with us as you journey!
hugs, Darlene


I came across this website and post after googling something about why my dad doesn’t love me anymore. He has always been like a mom since he was a stay at home dad and always tated us girls like we we the most important thing, until he left my mom. Then his new wife was the one we had to please and everything was second to her. She is like a mom to me and I love her very much, but he just changed. We were supposed to drop everything and wait for her schedule, to eat when she ate, to like what she liked. I believe this is a form of abuse because you are no longer important. When her sister got sick with cancer and he went to take care of her after he left his second wife, he did this but worse. It was like he was literally worshipping his mother through his sister. It was like it was our fault for her being sick and his guilt at not having been with her all these years made him turn his back on his other faml and put her on a pedestal. He stopped talking to me when 8 caled hm on it. And when I started talking to his other sister whom he hadn’t spoken to for 30 years! He expected me to not talk to 25 of my family members because of something she did to him when they were kids and since he couldn’t forgive her, he expected us to just go along with it, even though he could never tell us why he wouldn’t talk to her? Just writing this down helpe me, because I can see that his not talking to me now is not because of something WRONG that I may have done, it’s because I asserted myself and would no longer take his bs. When I called him on his sister, I also made the mistake of pointng out that his sister and he were like a married couple. i told her that she was like a stepmom and that I felt ncomfortable with that because whenI would try to get close to him like 8 had been when I was little, he would just share my confidences with her and she would be asking me about all this stuff I told my dad the night before. It was none of her business! I know she was sick, but that didn’t change that private thngs shared between two people shold remain that way. Anyway, I did not bow down to her as my Queen or qhatever and he simply cut me off. She died maybe a year later and she refused to talk to me and her family ostrasized my family. I guess her feelings we hurt, but I broughtnup that feeling I had about feeling like she was acting like my stepmom, so that we could talk it through and see if they could see that. I expected them to say, really? i didn’t realize you felt that way, or that my dad would have said sorry for breaking your confidence, etc. but that did not happen. Instead, they just stopped returning phone cals or making plans to see each other, just like that! What is that? I don’t think I will ever understand how a parent can just stop talking to a daughter and I hope that I do mot do that to my kids.i think the lesson is in how to try to be better parents than your parents. Your experience Darlene helped me feel better last night. I’s not something I will understand but I know it’s some kind of deficiency in someone if they cab’t handle the truth and don’t want to work through things or make the effort. I guess I was important to my dad as lng as his efo was stroked or for whatever reason, but that is not love. Love never ends, it goes on forever. Anyone that stops talking to you like that never loved you in the first place! It’s a deficiency in them. Thanks for your post. It really helped me last night.


Hi Lollipop
Welcome to Emerging from Broken! ~ I agree that this is a form of abuse. It is certainly ‘devaluing’ when a father suddenly loses interest in his childrens wellbeing and those children are required to conform to the likes/dislikes and schedules of an adult, no matter who that adult is.
The rest of your story is also very typical dysfunctional family dynamics stuff which we are discussing here in this website for the purpose of healing from it. You have found the right place!
Thank you for sharing.
hugs, Darlene


I am married to a man that wont consider forgiving 31 years of trying to direct his behavior and rights, I refused sex as part of this control, The need for my father in law and his friends became so bad they used fire arms to force my husband into the behavior they considered correct for all concerned, This caused my husband to miss 256 consecutive holidays, and work everyday but six for 31 years because it was felt other people needed time off more than my husband.
This has now come as an entire resentment by my husband and he will not accept that anyone but him has any righto say what he is allowed in manners, and control over his life now, after a brain surgery in 2001 he started to take his rights by seniority at work and people were hurt trying to get him back in the line they wanted. That is when firearms started to be used to force my husband not to use his seniority to make people with less to work instead of him. This last year has been especially bad.
My husband will not allow any interference in what he will and will not be allowed to do, Its ended up with his making me allow him a marital life by force, He will not allow any one private time with me, he takes reservations made by his father that if I am invited he is to, And he forces the issue, The last time his father said just because others have rights does not mean you have them. Memorial day developed into an all out brawl in my kitchen between my husband and his father when my husband striped his fathers best friend of a reservation made for this friend and me and made him run for his life. Then when his father objected he slapped my husband who in turn broke his fathers jaw in a backhand.
My husband is taking his rights back over objection, I don’t know what I can do stop what is happening between his father and him, its become so bad that there are people being hurt when they line up against my husband in or around our home My husband accepts nothing as an input for peace now, He considers his father and his friends enemies now. As for myself I live in fear that my husband will kill anyone else that tries to interfere with what he wants out of life no matter whose life he interferes with now, he says he comes before all in our home.
I know we abused him for 32 years but is that an excuse to get so violent in the defense of his needs and wants, he allows nothing in the way of a suggestion, promise, request for compromise. He says that compromise is a way two parties benefit. He says that our form of compromise he is to lay down and let us wipe our feet on him so now its his way or hit the road. Any one ever dealt with this kind of situation before when the abused started to abuse and not accept any input.


The abused becomes the abuser all the time. If there is this kind of activity going on, the police needs to be alerted and involved. This is a very dangerous situation.


I haven’t communicated with my mother in about a year now. I was tired of being silenced and disregarded. I let her know. After a while, my husband tried to mediate for me. After many weeks, her response, sent through my husband, was, “I have nothing to offer and there will be no discussion.” That sounded to me like she wasn’t interested in taking any responsibility for maintaining a relationship with me, so I haven’t communicated with her since.

I had written to my oldest daughter that I felt we no longer knew each other and that I felt we needed a chance to start over. I tried to apologize for what I understood to be my failures in raising her. She didn’t feel that she could respond right away and asked for some time. Six weeks later, when I found out she was arranging to get drinks with a friend, but she hadn’t responded to me, I let her know that I felt like she didn’t care and that I was hurt. That resulted in a blow out argument in which she told me that she never wanted to hear from me again.

My youngest daughter is a more complicated story but I was feeling manipulated and used by her as she made poor choices against my advice, but expected her dad & I to pay for the consequences of those poor choices. We ran out of money.

I thought a little background was necessary to share the note I got on my birthday card yesterday. Reading this article today, it seems the right place to get other opinions on my mother’s reaction to my withdrawal.

“Just so you know – you’ve ‘broken my heart’ how can you not communicate with your mother? Your father is crying in heaven. Your kids wish they had a mom. I am thankful for the relationship I have with them as they are with all of us. No money involved.
This message *is not* for facebook. we know what you put on it and texting. Please no more. We would still like you to be in our family, so would Jesus Christ.”

“all of us” refers to my sister and brother who have not communicated with me in 2 years.

So…would anyone feel compelled to rejoin this family?



Hi Hobie,

I found an interesting link on estrangement here. http://www.tinagilbertson.com/estrangement.html

As you know, I’m NC with my own family but I wouldn’t be compelled via religion (it wouldn’t wash because I don’t believe and if they knew me well enough, they’d know that) or duty (they failed in theirs and so I consider myself free with respects to owing them anything at all) or authority (on what grounds? beats me!) but I do think that if they bothered to take some of the advice in the article I linked to, it could be different.

Take care!



Hobie- What I heard from your mother was “woe is me and cry me a river” still blaming you for things that she is responsible for and using the name of Jesus to do it with which really disgusts me because I am a Christian. I hated her trying to guilt trip you by using your deceased father’s name as well as your own children. She ought to be ashamed of herself. The whole letter reeked of dysfunction. It was all about her and had nothing to do with genuinely caring about her own daughter on her birthday no less. No accountability. No nothing. NOTHING HAS CHANGED. It’s all about her.

Sorry you had to endure more abuse at the hands of your mother again. Hope you had a Happy Birthday despite it.



Hi Alice,

Thank you for your comments. That was an interesting link! The thing about my choice to be estranged is based in the fact that my relationship with my mother and the rest of my family has been just like that note for a very long time. The first part of the note is all about how I’ve been mean and bad, while it ends with an apparent demand that I return to the group because I’ve broken the rules.

I am a Christian and my family claims that they are also. They have always tried to make me believe that if I made them unhappy, I was making God unhappy. I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t know the same God and Jesus that they do, and I don’t like their God or their Jesus. If I’m wrong, maybe I’ll go to hell when I die, but if I believe they’re right, I’ll be in hell again for the rest of my life.

I don’t see anything in that note that is actually compelling in the direction of restoring contact with any of my family.

My therapist would call what I’m doing here a “reality check.” Having been told by my family that I misinterpret everything they say, it helps me to find out if someone else sees their words differently.


Thank you Kris,

I saw pretty much the same thing you saw. Nothing has changed.

I actually had a great birthday. The weather was fantastic. I spent the morning outside at a yard sale where I got rid of a few things that needed to go and I got some money for them. And I have one child who has not criticized and rejected me who invited me to lunch and to meet his new girlfriend. He looks happy and I have hope for his new relationship. She seems nice.

I left the birthday card unopened until the next morning. I have recovered enough that my mother’s note is not at all devastating. It’s aggravating, but proves that I’ve made the right decision.

As I said to Alice – I know a different Jesus. I have prayed a lot over this whole thing and believe that genuinely following the Jesus I know means that I need to leave destructive relationships behind.

Matthew 19:29 – “And anyone who gives up his home, brothers, sisters, father, mother, wife, children, or property, to follow me, shall receive a hundred times as much in return, and shall have eternal life.”

I believe that verse applies to me now.


Hi Hobie!
My mother has played her “I’m the MOTHER” card so many times. I still can’t define that word properly. I fear it.
She hasn’t played the “duty” card though whereas another family member has. She has tried the “after all I’ve done for you” thing as well as this weird guilt trip that makes what I now understand to be reasonable life choices seem as if you’re doing some kind of terrible thing to your family.

Have you heard of the concept of “spiritual abuse”? That whole using heaven and dead loved ones and Jesus thing seems to have it written all over.
I’ve also become aware that abusive people can pretty much take any concept and twist it to their advantage. Nothing seems to be exempt.



I heard of spiritual abuse. I just didn’t hear of it, I’ve experienced it during my upbringing. I come from a strict Baptist background where I attended a private school where paddling was (and maybe still is) practiced and that the smallest infractions were punished with the threats of hellfire and corporal punishment.

I’m an atheist now, and I think my past played a role in that. I was so hurt by it, that I was on the verge of being an American Richard Dawkins. Meeting and befriending a Christian girl who is non-denominational erased my resentment towards religion. Fundamentalism can exist in religious and non-religious beliefs (Communist countries are great examples of atheist extremism.)

Oh, I can relate to being the bad guy. According to my mother, limiting contact and keeping distance from family members is being hateful, even though I told her many times why I don’t want a relationship with her or my siblings. In their eyes, I’m a negative whiner. I pretty much lost hope of them “getting it”. That’s their problem, not mine.


hey Alice,

Yes I’m quite familiar with the concept of “spiritual abuse”. With my family, spiritual abuse is either the last resort, or the game they pull when they feel the need to pull out the heavy artillery. It feels to me like just an extension of “nobody will ever like you”. It’s pretty clear to me that they don’t like me.

Over the past several years, I’ve found that I’ve felt more loved by the non-family who are “only being polite” than I ever felt loved by the family who claimed to be the only ones who would tell me the truth. I decided to spend more time with people who made me feel loved, because I REALLY wasn’t enjoying the “truth”.


I’ve come to the conclusion that most people have reasons to believe what they do. I don’t intend to argue anyone out of their spirituality or atheism (I’m not sure that atheism is non-spirituality, but I note it separately just in case).

I’ve found comfort in my Christianity, and I’ve experienced forms of Christianity that bear very little resemblance to the Christ I believe I have experienced.

My mother’s use of the name of Jesus Christ is intended to make me feel guilty or question the righteousness of my choice to distance myself from them. I recognize it for what it is and it does fall into the category of spiritual abuse. It bugs me that she does this, and it is an indication of how unlikely she is to listen to any kind of reason.


Hi Hobie!

“most people have reasons to believe what they do” Bingo! And this was/is also the case for me, believing that I (was) worthless, wrong (which ironically leads to a fear of and a defense against “being wrong” when I actually *am* wrong) etc.

The “reason” was because of the way I was treated. If you asked my mother, she might come up with something that reflected a belief in that being ‘just the way you did things’ or about how she viewed children. She probably wouldn’t state outright that she didn’t see them as people (and of course she has denied that view when I confronted her directly with it, telling me ‘you’ve always been your own person Alice’) but there would be something towards that end in it.

I think that the family member who railed at me over ‘duty’ absolutely does believe in it. Whether she believes it’s a two-way thing or a one-way thing is another issue entirely. Someone who is of the “Do what I say, not what I do” crowd, probably doesn’t believe the things they’re saying. Or they believe a very tailored version of it. Tailored to their interests that is!

There’s a new documentary out on Scientology called “Going Clear” which could be viewed as a study on belief in general. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Going_Clear


Hi Hobie-That was smart waiting to open up that card the day after your b-day. My mother continues to send me emails that have underlying messages about how a child should remain loyal to her mother and father till death but the point she is missing is those sayings only apply when your mother and father did the same thing for their children which in our case has still yet to be seen. Now I just hit the delete key. I get what you were saying. It doesn’t hurt me anymore too but I don’t need the aggravation from her either.

I just cleaned out the attic full of childhood crap that she gave me and I threw it all out to the garbage. Any fond memories I once held with those things has been demolished by learning the real truth about how she brainwashed me into believing a pack of lies about myself that cost me so much in my life. It felt good getting rid of it. The last batch is sitting out at the curb and I can’t wait to hear the garbage truck come by and eat it all up!!! CRUNCH!!! GONE!!!

Getting to the point of realizing that I don’t have to keep her things to prove that I am no longer angry with her and that she doesn’t bother me anymore is freeing to say the least because now I know the truth. I will forever be angry at “what” she did to me but because I did all the hard work I no longer carry around all of that anger and resentment in my heart that used to rob me from being able to experience peace and joy in my life. Now I know keeping her things would just be a reminder of the train wreck of my childhood and who wants to be reminded of that!! Glad you made it through as well. Enjoy your new found freedom.


It does sound liberating to hear the garbage truck crunching up old stuff that needs to be gone!

I’m not quite fully free yet, but I’m a whole lot less trapped than I was. I’m going to see my therapist tomorrow to share a response I’ve composed. I’m not sure it’s worth sending. Like the title of this article, so far talking has done no good with my mother. But I like that Darlene encourages us to speak to hear ourselves. It helps to put these feelings into words and frame them in a way that helps me hold on to them.

Maybe I’ll share it after my appointment if that goes well 🙂



Hey Darlene,

I have had sudden urges to confront my abusers within my family for so long, resulting in me picturing how I would confront them in my mind. You know what sucks? Whilst it felt good to see myself standing up to them, I also didn’t feel good, because the way I was portrayed in those images, was that of a vengeful son and grandson who felt the need to make them feel the same way (Yikes! Thankfully it was only imagined as the “live-action version” was bound to be a lot more terrible than what my mind has already portrayed.

Since I have chosen not to do any of the aforementioned, I instead have chosen to write (Even before discovering EFB) as a way of pouring out all of that pain. This one piece in particular that I composed expresses how I feel on the particular subject conveyed in the article. Without further ado, here it is:

Living in fear while you are near, is the reason why at times I feel like I no longer want to live in here

Good were the moments full of laughter that we have shared, but bad as well were those times where you showed and made me feel that you never cared

As much as I want to tell you how bad I had felt, the thought of you denying all those times that you were wrong, makes me want to melt

Melt in the sense that confronting you probably wouldn’t make a difference, for I know in my heart that doing so will only make me feel disgusted about my existence

I must be crazy to keep on loving you, when I know that I deserve better, but the good that I see through you still continues to matter

It really hurts to know that the goodness within you was shrouded by the darkness you have chosen to expand, the darkness that has always led for me to abide by your command

Painful as it may be to say that this relationship has now come to an end, but I can honestly no longer see a heart that was torned by all the pain to successfully mend

Healing can only be achieved through severing those ties, the ties of which you have tainted with your constant stream of lies

Know that I will always be here if ever the time will come that you’d want us to be together, but also know that I am no longer going to be an animal who you can still continuously tether

So for the abusers within my family, this piece conveys all of the years of pain as well as all of the reasons why “soap-operatic” style confrontations have yet to take place, in spite of the many time where I could have “caused a scene.” Be thankful that I “chickened out” not for you but for me and my sanity. As much as it feels good to put you in your rightful place,
it sucks to know that even something that feels good can be so bad. That something so right can also feel so wrong.

My apologies for the drama,

Kind regards,



This is a hook, a hanging point in my recovery and new ground that I am so grateful to see being explored here. I know it is implied, always, in all of the healing work, that we will separate, become sovereign individuals, but the reality of it is stark.

I cannot express how long, and how far this particular hang up thwarts me. It is, as difficult as it is for me to admit, an obsession with me. I have worked so hard, for so long to understand what happened to me, how I grew up learning to despise my own self, to under value everything I did.

I have not yet come to terms with what I lost. I am still in a grieving stage and it feels like I will be here forever. I feel like a person who had a winning lottery ticket but was afraid to cash it in because everybody kept telling me I was reading the numbers wrong. When I finally got glasses and saw through the haze, the deadline had passed, my youth was gone.It is hard at this point to envision an entirely separate life, away from those I have been conditioned to be dependent upon.

But now that I know the truth there is this terrible need to make them see it. I am still somehow tangled in this web where their opinion matters. This is because my entire life has been based on what they taught me about myself and how I never existed as a real person outside of them.

I am not young and somehow that makes this more daunting. I keep going back to the ideal that the goal is to make them see me and if I can just accomplish that at this point, somehow I will have accomplished something.

Knowing intellectually that this is a meaningless, fruitless goal has not stopped me from automatically returning, constantly to the place that making them see is the point of all of this.

I want to curse and cuss and throw books at the wall. I just can’t move the focal point from making them see their wrongs, to just focusing on healing and becoming me with whatever time and limited resources I have left. I feel like I want to avenge and I have not overcome this hurdle yet. I have been stuck here for far too long and I want to be free, but it is like some strange default mode that I cannot delete.


Oh Darlene , like all those above your honesty and sharing touches so many and for this I am so very grateful it helps to free people who also have challenging demeaning relationships with their parents and others.
For me I am new to this and and only just awakening , it is so Empowering and so dam scary too.
My story in brief is I was sexually abused from my step father and my Mother stayed with him ( and still with him )She told me I was a liar so I left home at the tender age of 15 to survive on my own. I am now 52 years old and have only just stood up for myself.
I had this burning inner energy late last year which was telling me I needed to empower myself”””
I was having big and deep dreams and realized the pain and fear that I have carried all my life and that she never stood by me supported me and stayed with him, forcing me to have a relationship with a man who sexually abused me . I told her very clearly how much pain this caused me all my life and her betrayal has hurt me more than his abuse.She could not hear me at all, instead she told how difficult I was as a child and was giving her such a bad time ( I have been told this all my life ) I then brought it to her again a few months later and asked her if she wanted to talk about our previous conversation and she said Helane you need to know some home truths and they will hurt you are you prepared for this…. I said Mum no child causes abuse or neglect no matter their behaviour and then she said I was killing her with this all…. It all fell on deaf ears and I felt slapped and abandoned now twice….Since then only a few months ago I have been going thru such deep pain , my umbilical cord being cut and realizing that my Mother does Not love me and that she is a Narcissist .I cannot believe it has taken me so many years of serving her Yes serving her to my own detriment and exhaustion .She only gives when I give and can never just give and love me for who I am.I have been my Mothers rescuer all her life as a way to feel loved by her and she would take and take and never give , little things like calling me I was the one to call her every day for years ,she very rarely called me despite me asking her numerous times.So critical of me with looks or sighs or commenting on my looks or dress and even at times critising my son, I have been scared of her all my life and walked on egg shells. My sister has little to do with her as a way to survive yet I on the other stepped right to being her rescuer and putting up with constant subtle and not so subtle abuse ( How could I had been so asleep all my life and put up with her treatment I have no idea) I asked her a couple of times to come to my counsellor , so much I wanted healing With her and move to a healthier relationship but she will not come with me.She now is so cold and distant towards me rarely responding to my emails or photos I send her of her grandson, she sees herself as a victim of me and still blaming me for her pain, just incredible! I do not like my Mother as a person and do not know even if I love her anymore which is such a strange out of body feeling after all these years of being So tangled up in her energy.
So now my journey is So amazing as I confront my pain and fear of her. It has always been ALL about her and now it is about me healing my heart my broken heart and it is so dam awesome still scary at times too. She is 83 years old now and I know I will not be caring for her as she declines in health I just could Not do this to myself as in many many ways I have been caring for her all my life .Reading your story Darlene and reading books and having therapy , doing ceremonies of letting go all of it has helped and is helping me Honour myself.So Thank You Thank You for your website your sharing and touching peoples lives. Blessings to all who have and are struggling with cutting the cord….. We are on an AWESOME journey xx


Hi Helane
Welcome to Emerging from Broken. I totally understand your pain. I think you have found a great place to share and to read. There are hundreds and even thousands of insights and info in this site between the 450 articles published here and the comments in discussions. You are not alone. I am so glad you are here. 🙂
Hugs, Darlene


Wow this really hit me hard ,just everything you wrote is exactly what I’m going through.. I thank you for talking about it..I am now 26 I fear my mom like a 5year old who’s stolen sugar & got caught ..What mom is doing to me has resulted me in becoming a very shy person which is affecting me to geting a job..I shiver when people speak to me ..I have become a complete idiot..I underestimate myself , I feel I’m not good enough, I settle for less, i don’t see any good thing about myself. People tell me I’m beautiful ,sexy ,that I’m supposed to be a millionaire but I don’t see myself like that,I’m just hopeless..I am smart ,intelligent & beautiful…But my own mother took away my Identity by doing the very same things mentioned above ..She hates me ,I can see it in her eyes

Barbara Anne Kelly
February 9th, 2017 at 1:38 am

I need advice ASAP. My 21 year old niece is traveling 2100 miles to come and stay with me for two months. Sadly she is following in her mother’s footsteps and allowing men to use and abuse her. My brother, her father, has always treated her as if she was worthless. She now believes it is true. My brother is an angry, mean, hateful, selfish, dishonest, narcissistic, lazy, drug-addict, alcoholic, abusive, self-centered, and evil person. I had no contact with him for 15 years and unfortunately had no relationship with his two daughters. His first daughter can do no wrong but this second daughter has been treated unfairly since she was born. It does not help that her mother has mental problems (who wouldn’t after being married to my brother) and totally dislikes me and the rest of the family for not being in their lives and helping her. I told her before they had children to leave him but she responded with “you just don’t want me in your family.” I pointed out to her that her illness (depression and suicide attempt) were due to being married to him and her response then was “if getting healthy means losing your brother I would rather stay sick.” I couldn’t reason with that.

After watching and hearing him verbally abuse her and her son I decided to not be in their life. Now 18 years later my niece ask to come and stay with me for two months because her life in her current home is “shit.” Although her parents are now divorced they are still a part of her life. She lives with her mother and my brother is an hour away. My niece, who barely knows me, is so disgusted with her life she reaches out to an aunt she barely knows. She informed me she has problems with mean boyfriends, addiction, isolation, financial, and hates her going nowhere fast food job.

My question is my niece wants to know the truth about her dad. I know so much about him that I am sure he has hidden from his family.

His first marriage was to a sweet young girl that my family loved dearly. I went to visit them once and he got mad, beat her senseless, locked me out of the house, so I sat in my car and listened to her screaming while he beat her. That was in the early 80’s before cell phones. I drove 350 miles home as soon as sunrise. Years later she finally divorced him. She took off while he was at work. All she took was his gun. He never heard from her again but heard from her attorney. He told his daughters that he had been married to her but because she could not have children he left her. The truth is that while she was pregnant he beat her so much she miscarried.

He also was married to a woman that supposedly cheated on him. He would never be married to someone that did that although he has cheated on every woman he has ever been with including the mother to his children. But this particular women he took to a hotel, under the pretense of fixing their marriage, and they had sex all night. The next day after they had checked out and were in the car he told her he was finished, she was a whore in his eyes. She attempted to jump out of the moving vehicle, was injured, and the police came. She told the police he had held her against her will and raped her all night. He was arrested, went to jail, and started calling me collect begging for me to hire an attorney or he would spend the rest of his life in prison for spousal rape. Three of my family members raised the $17,500 required for bail. He called non-stop from jail sobbing stating he would do whatever it took to pay us back. Two days late, be was released, due to a technicality. He walked out free and never once talked about repaying the money.

My little sister who died five years ago informed me that he molested her as a child. She told me this when I went with her to her counseling appointment. So I know she went to therapy for this. She also told me she discussed it with my brother and they she did not hate him and was able to have a relationship with him until the day she died. She was, in fact, the only family member that would tolerate him. She told me she felt sorry for him and that is why she would spend time with him when he came to town. He seemed to treat her better and was nicer to her than to others. When she first became ill he flew into town and due to the fact that she had no power of attorney be bullied every medical and family person until he somehow became her spokesperson. He convinced his ex-wife and daughters that I wanted her dead so therefore it was a good thing he came in when he did or she would have died. Non of that was true. She survived the first episode of being on a vent on her on own. She died four months later from the cancer. Her and I were extremely close and she was so worried that if she died that brother would have no family that cared about him. I promised I would try and build a relationship with him and I have kept my word.

I don’t know what to tell my niece. Do I tell her my sister’s admission of him molesting her? Do I tell her about his nail time and reason? Do I share with her the truth about his first marriage that I personally witnessed the abuse and his wife told me when she left that all she was taking was the gun to protect herself in case he came after her? Do I tell her that after visiting them the last time, 18 years ago, that his meanness towards her stepbrother and mother while he was high on cocaine was the last straw for me? Do I tell her that I reconciled with him after his arrest for spousal rape and I allowed him to come to my home then because he had PTSD that I took him to councillors for?

She told me she wants to know the truth about her dad. She wants to know why her mother feels as if we deserted them. She wants to know why we were not in their lives when they were growing up. She wants to know why everyone hates her father.

I am torn between answering all of her questions or telling her to ask her parents. Which I know she has done and all she receives are lies. I am not concerned about my brothers reaction to me telling her the truth but more about hurting her even more. Will the truth be too painful for her young ears? She has told me that she has problems with addiction, her mother, boyfriends abusing her, debt, and self-hatred. I don’t want to add fuel to the fire. Is the truth going to just hurt her more? Is she too young and fragile to handle all of this.? I know she has a lot of anger, hatred, frustration, and confused feelings for her father. I don’t know what to do.

Sorry about the length. Thank you for reading if in fact you do.


Hi Barbara,
This is a huge issue and not really easy to answer; only you can decide how much or how little would be best to share.
Thanks for sharing
Hugs, Darlene

Barbara Anne Kelly
February 9th, 2017 at 2:43 pm


Thank you for your response. I appreciate your feedback!!


Barbara Anne Kelly
February 9th, 2017 at 2:46 pm

P.S. I love your website!! I wish I had found it years ago but now that I have you have another huge fan!!

Barbara Anne Kelly
February 9th, 2017 at 2:47 pm

I love your website!! I wish I had found it years ago but now that I have you have another huge fan!!


Hi Barbara!
Thank you so much! I am so happy that you are here!
hugs, Darlene

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