Toxic Mother Daughter Relationships when Mom says You are the Problem



dysfunctional mother daughter relationship

Pure Truth

“When someone is unrelentingly critical of you, always finds fault, can never be pleased, and blames you for everything that goes wrong, it is the insidious nature and cumulative effects of the abuse that do the damage. Over time, this type of abuse eats away at your self-confidence and sense of self-worth, undermining any good feelings you have about yourself and about your accomplishments.” The Emotionally Abusive Relationship by Beverly Engle

Although this quote is aimed at the victim for the purpose of exposing how the self-esteem gets torn down, the first time I read this quote I thought of my mother and how much she said that I hurt her; she always said that I was the problem and that I did this to her ~ that I tore HER down;

“Darlene, you are so critical”

“Darlene, I can never do anything right in your eyes, I am always wrong”.

“Darlene, there is no pleasing you”

And overtime I believed that my words, actions and behavior (although I could not figure out what I was doing that was so offending) had eaten away at her self-confidence and harmed her sense of self-worth and undermined any good feelings that she ever had about herself and her accomplishments. I believed everything she said about me. I believed that I was the critical one and that I was the one doing all the damage.

When I became an adult she adjusted her accusations. She used a different voice infliction when she said things like;

 “Darlene you always were so hard on me”.  This was to remind me that I was “always” this way and always the problem.

“Darlene I have always been afraid that you would take your kids away from me and use them as a weapon against me”.  She said this as a kind of reverse psychology or a warning that if I did it, she had predicted that I would do it because I am a mean and spiteful daughter who has always done mean and spiteful things to her. And I set out to prove that I would never do something ‘like that’.

This is the brainwashing; this is what happened that caused me to try harder with her and to try so hard to ‘understand her.’ I tried to reassure her, to soothe her and to be the daughter she always wanted.

And when I started to look at the way SHE treated me in this profoundly dysfunctional mother daughter relationship we had, I became aware that now I was saying some of the same critical type things about her too.  When I started to look at the truth about how toxic our mother daughter relationship was, I felt guilty because I believed that I was being critical of my mother, and I had tried so hard all my life to prove her wrong about me! In the first couple years of my healing process I kept saying stuff like “well in all fairness to my mother, I was not the perfect daughter because of…. And I would list my faults. Just like I was trained to do; I was trained to look at me, always to look at me and my faults and to take the blame. Looking at my faults is not such a bad thing, but the lack of mutuality in our relationship is a ridiculous thing. This started when I was a kid and I had been convinced mostly through the actions and results of those actions at the hands of the adults in my life, that I was the failure and that if I could be different, THEN I would be loved. There was no accountability on the part of the adults!

Today I refer to that thought process as “the spin”. I would spin around and around in my mind about why my mother was justified in her criticisms and judgments of ME which I somehow believed nullified my judgments of her. I could never validate that something really was wrong with the way she treated me, because I was so convinced that I was at least as much of a problem for her as she was for me. I didn’t see how she was “the parent”, or how she expected me to be more responsible for the success of our relationship than she was. I didn’t look at HOW I learned to have a relationship in the first place. I didn’t realize that my self-esteem was never put in place because my parents didn’t put it in place. I didn’t consider for one minute that the truth was that it had been up to them to give me a healthy emotional foundation in the first place.  I had learned to LOOK at myself in a critical way and to never look at anyone else in a critical way. There is something really warped about that.

In the healing process, this is a huge stick point for many people.  In reading the quote I used above; “When someone is unrelentingly critical of you, always finds fault, can never be pleased, and blames you for everything that goes wrong, it is the insidious nature and cumulative effects of the abuse that do the damage. Over time, this type of abuse eats away at your self-confidence and sense of self-worth, undermining any good feelings you have about yourself and about your accomplishments.” The Emotionally Abusive Relationship by Beverly Engle ~ My first reaction was that I had been the one who was hurting my mother with MY criticism.  I had effectively been taught and groomed to turn the spotlight on myself.

Statements like the examples I used above and statements like “Oh you think you are so perfect” or “sorry I’m not perfect” are actually deflections meant to make me believe that the problem was my “unreasonable expectations” of her; I picture my mother as wearing wonder woman type shiny wrist cuffs to deflect the statements I made to her, BACK on to me. She didn’t hear me, she had no intention of listening to me, she just found a way to put the responsibility of our relationship back on me.

When I was around 33 years old, just after my second baby was born, my mother told me all the things that I had ever done that had ‘disappointed her’ and all of my faults and failures and when I wanted to say a few things about how she made me feel, she threatened to have a breakdown and reminded me that she was too fragile to listen to me. That was the first time I had ever really tried to stand up to her and when she threatened to go home, I said go and she did.  

There was NO communication when I tried to sort any of this out. She had no intention of actually discussing any of it with me. She used statements to deflect whatever it was that I had to say causing me to look at me again, instead of at her. She was very efficient at getting me to see how I caused the problem for her and never the other way around.

Sorting this out was really hard. It was extremely valuable for me to learn to examine the motives on both sides; My motive was not to hurt her. My motive was not to be right, but to be heard, to have a say, to have some impact on the relationship. My motive for approaching her with anything that was bothering me was to improve our relationship. My motive was loved based both for her and for me. Her motive was more about being right. Her motive was about being in control. She didn’t want to communicate with me, she didn’t allow me to have impact on her life, she didn’t see any need to look at HER part in the relationships or why it was so difficult between us. Her motive was ultimately NOT love based. Her motive was not what was best for me and ultimately not what was best for her either.

When I wanted to talk to my mother about our dysfunctional toxic mother daughter relationship it wasn’t to fight back or to fight to have a voice. It wasn’t so that I could have control over her. My motive was the desire for a BETTER relationship for both of us. A mutually respectful relationship. I told her that I could no longer accept the way she treated me. That was love for both of us; I had learned that self-love does not accept abusive disrespectful treatment. I had also learned that putting up with the way she treated me communicated to her that it was okay for her to do it, and letting her treat me like I didn’t matter was not loving for her either.  We don’t put up with that treatment out of LOVE for the people doing it; we put up with it out of fear of the consequences if we draw a boundary against it.

All I did was decide that our toxic mother daughter relationship problems were not MY fault.

Then I decided that since I realized it wasn’t my fault, I wasn’t taking the blame for it anymore.

Then I drew a boundary which bluntly stated was; “either you stop treating me in this disrespectful way or I will not have this relationship with you”.

She picked “not having a relationship with me”. OUCH. But at least I knew the truth. It was easier to move forward when I knew the truth.  It wasn’t exactly the validation that I wanted but it was validating to know my suspicions were true.

At the end of the day I know that my mother is not a happy person. I also know now that it isn’t MY FAULT.

The hurt little girl part of me thinks that my mother must be happy now that “her problem’ which was me, is no longer in her life. But the healthy adult part of me thinks that my mother could have been much happier if she embraced the idea of having a ‘real relationship’ with me. A mutually respectful relationship based on equal value instead of rejecting me because I stood up to the existing toxic mother daughter relationship we had. But as she always said to me ~ she made her bed…..


Please share your thoughts about being taught that you were the one who failed and if you somehow believed it. Are you out of ‘the fog’ and ‘the spin’ or are you still coming out of them. It’s okay to be IN the process.  I had to be IN the process to get to the other side; Looking forward to your comments!

Exposing Truth; one snapshot at a time;

Darlene Ouimet

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Related Post~ “Emotionally Unavailable Father and The message of Passive Abuse”

Categories : Mother Daughter



My most toxic relationship and the one that always felt “off” was the one with my mother. My Dad was a name calling, destructive screamer. Nothing covert about that. I know his not seeing me as anything but the child he could control, hurt me.
But from a very young age, as young as I can remember my mother was
emotionally absent to me. No hugs or I love you. Nothing. (she has since told me I was to blame as I was unhugable).
She fed and clothed me but the love was always missing. Everything that should have been between us was just missing.
She is very passive and manipulative. She would never express her dislike/displeasure of me she would just not engage…unless I could be used as a tool. She taught me to never speak up, speak against, to never have or express an opinion. She was so dismissive of me even as a child, that I felt I was nothing.
By 8 or 9 I knew I was bad, ugly, defective and the opposite of what she wanted. I clearly remember those thoughts. I had no self esteem because I was not valued by anyone in my family.
She clearly set me on that path. As I aged thru my 20’s, 30’s and 40’s I was always trying to
prove that I had become a “better person”, a worthy person, than I was a child. But as I got older her devaluing treatment shifted to be much more in my face. The more hurtful she became, the more distraught I became because I took it and took it.
Supposedly I was too emotional and taking it wrong, seeing her actions wrong, misunderstanding, being too whatever.
When I finally spoke up directly to her abuse Bang! she didn’t speak a word to me in 3 years, not a word. She will never see me as a person of value. I have always been either the problem or her tool. I tried for 3 months to engage in a discussion concerning her treatment of me.
I was slapped in the face with another of her belittling actions. A very blatant one. She showed me how hurtful she could be once again. I no contact now and that is the way it will stay.
Being part of this website did that for me. The various topics and many of the posts describe my
life and my family’s treatment so exactly that the words could be mine. That truly spoke to me.
All of you speak from the heart. I was parented with lies and my eyes are open. Karen


Yes, my mother was always finding fault with me too, Darlene. The difference between your mom & mine was that yours was covert, while my mother used overt ways to control me. She told me flat out that I was mean, hateful, & selfish. She also stated that I could do nothing right. She was extremely critical of me over the years. In fact, she never really did have anything nice to say about me.

What’s really interesting is that although she never said nice things to me, she’d tell me that she would brag about me to others. Like that was supposed to make me feel better when she said I was a horrid child to my face? I never could get a handle on her behavior. I am fairly logical in nature, & her words were odd. I can remember trying to wrap my head around the fact that she would boast about me to someone else while to my face I was bad, evil. I couldn’t understand how I could be great on the one hand & the devil’s child on the other. It was as though she split me into 2 separate kids…twins, one of whom was angelic & the other a demon. I still don’t get it… I am not sure I ever really will.


Darlene, I just want to say “Thank You” for this site. It has been a Godsend that I received at a time in my life when I couldn’t have needed it more. You have opened my eyes to so many issues I have faced with my own two children at different times in our lives. I adore both of my now grown children and have always loved them unconditionally. I thought back when my children were growing up that I was the best Mom because all my focus was on my children or so I thought at that time. Looking back now I see how immature I was as well as my ex husband (the father of my children). Neither one of us would have done anything intentionally to harm either of our children ever. Although one of my children now says I was disrespectful and didn’t show any love, and has cut me off totally for the past 7-8 years. I did the very best I could, it was the best I knew at that time in my life. I agree looking back now I would give anything to have the chance to go back and redo a lot of things I had done earlier. I feel so bad and have no idea where to start. The child I speak of that has cut me off even had our local prosecutor to send me a letter stating I was in no way to try and contact this child in any way.I have turned it over to GOD and pray that he will help us to repair this toxic relationship! Any suggestions?


January, this is a common trait of mother like ours. They USE our goodness as a reflection on themselves. If we look good to others, they can take credit for it. My mother is/was the same way.

As usual, Darlene, you are spot on. My mother was a bit more overt with her abuse, but the message was the same. I’ve been wondering, will there ever be a time when I will feel completely healed from this? I’m starting to wonder.


Hi Darlene! I love this article and it touches me deeply. What I had discovered for myself once I removed myself from her life is that we recycled our pain back and forth. I did my best to make it about her and her needs and then I would hit a tipping point where I would lose it and lash back. That’s when I would get the real nasty stuff and feel horrible about myself. I can honestly say I have no idea who my real mom is. Her wounds turned her into a monster and I really believe she made an identity out of being a monster. Heaven knows I did my best to guide her to resources and I even tried going to counselling with her so we could have a fresh start and learn to move forward and have a healthy relationship. It was then that I had to come to terms that is was too late for her to change. She clung to her mental illness and used it as a shield all my life. I also realized that the healthier I became the more jealous she became. She used my good health as a weapon to put herself down…once again it would be all about her. Her self centered-ness was too much for me to handle. I like the place I am in today. As I discover the love has always been within me I find myself discovering who “I” really am. I used to show her my writing when I was younger and she said I must have copied it out of a book, there is no way I could write like that. Then as an adult she gave me credit for the way I write and expressed myself and then put herself down with it. She wanted me to fix her relationship with my sister and send her letters because I could write better than her. I’ve been used all my life, it’s no wonder I behaved the way I did. All my choices make sense to me now. I didn’t have a drug or alcohol problem, I had an “abuse” problem and I used my addictions to self medicate because I had no idea how to deal with all this crap. I thank god that we live in a time where spirituality and holistic healing are available. I remember spending 3 years with a counsellor who did sound therapy and we would discuss my issues. When I was near the end she told me I had to have a relationship with my mom and to go to her and make amends for the way “I” treated her. Since I was used to his type of advice I listened, even though inside I didn’t want too. That cost me a huge price and set me back. After that I lost faith in counsellors and starting taking my healing into my own hands. This was sure a tough journey to get here and I sure learned that not everyone is cut out for this kind of work. I’m taking every negative situation I’ve ever had and will become the best healer I can. I feel very passionate about helping people through this process and I will make sure I am healed before I guide anyone. Thank you Darlene for being a fine example of a true healer. You are my hero and I love you! Namaste!


PERFECT!! This post perfectly describes the hell. I’ve been questioning my own motives lately. And, even if I should “try” with my mother again. I think it’s my siblings’ sort of newfound recommitment to mother. They know the truth, yet my mother is pulling them both back into the brainwashing again. It has been painful to see this. Painful that they would put more energy into developing a relationship with her again, than they would into a relationship with me…. the whistle blower, the truth teller, the one with a spine who’s said, “I don’t have to tolerate being treated as a less than”. I’ve had some down days about this. I’ve had some very empowering days as well. I actually got back into wondering if it was me…… if I was the problem in all their lives all along. It hit me so hard what you said about parents having the responsibility to develop our self esteem, that they are responsible for the foundation of the relationship. After all, SHE was the adult. How could I know how to develop a relationship at 5 years old, or even 12 years old? Somehow, like you said Darlene, I was always the problem.

My middle sister says we shouldn’t talk about my mother. It is gossiping according to her. And, judging. Her fear, as she states it, is that she will be judged, so she prefers not to judge my mother. She also likes to pretend things aren’t serious, or REAL. Like my mother being a one woman wrecking ball in the developing relationship between my sisters and our estranged paternal aunt. That relationship is completely dissolved (with my aunt). My mother’s doing. A woman who was her sister in law 34 years ago. She planted herself right in the middle of it and stirred up more crap than I can even fathom. She cried and lied to anyone who would listen about how my sisters and I were keeping secrets from her when we began to see our paternal aunt. Wow, I haven’t operated in that mentality since I was 7 years old.

Just an uplifting sidenote I’d like to mention. I watched Dr. Phil just now. He says he’s studied the ways of winners since he was 15 years old. He said winners operate in truth, and they navigate life in investigatory mode. I take that to mean we’re ALL winners here. Thank you for blazing a trail Darlene!!



I confronted my mother several times about her severe abuse in my childhood and adulthood. I got a “why are you doing this to me? This is hurting me. why can’t you leave the past in the past like God commands us too?” from my mother as her response. complete denial, zero apologies just deflection putting the blame back onto me. I went no contact realizing that she too didn’t hear me and would never listen to me either. I have been going back and forth (I guess a spin of my own) from feeling bad about walking away knowing the next time I see her will most likely be at her funeral and judging myself critically about this to feeling free and knowing that I am finally protecting myself and doing the right thing. I guess this is a perfect example of how they train you to look critically only at yourself and let them not be held accountable. At times I feel shame over my choice and hope that with time and looking more critically at her behavior and putting the responsibilty back on to her it will lessen and go away. Thank you Darlene for your truth. It is holding me up through this tough time and reminding me that I am not alone.


My mother had continually said abusive and hurtful comments to me and my kids for all my life. Here are just a few;

1) The only time I’m pleasant to be around is when I keep my mouth shut.
2) It’s my fault that Obama was getting picked and that if I didn’t like what she wrote on my Facebook page, then I shouldn’t be making statements on my own page “or it was my own damn fault”.
3) I baby my son too much
4) It’s a good thing I have my husband, because no one would ever want to put up with me
5) No one can talk to me because I’m bipolar and too sensitive (Note: I’m not bipolar, she medically “labeled” me). I guess because I got upset at her rude comments, that made me bipolar.

well after many years of her putting my self-esteem down, at many times, forgave her and kept an open relationship with her. My therapist told me not to keep contact with her and I didn’t listen. Her words because so hurtful at times, I tried to commit suicide. Pastors kept preaching “forgiveness” and another family member would throw the “poor old mom is going to die someday” excuse. So I gave in. But year after year, she never did stop. Every time I tried to work things out with her, she always snub her nose and expect an apology from me, and put the blame back on me that it was MY fault, that I was “TOO THIS” or “TOO THAT”. Her last episode was in Nov during the election. I had posted a comment on FB about how I was tired of everyone arguing over the election and she posted on my wall “It’s my fault that Obama was getting picked and that if I didn’t like what she wrote on my Facebook page, then I shouldn’t be making statements on my own page “or it was my own damn fault”.

I told her to fuck off.

And you know what? It felt good!! For years, I kept my mouth shut and took her abuse. I sometimes feel guilty for speaking to her that way. Sometimes I feel like I am the one that should apologize but Darlene, do you know what? She will only hurt me again if I do. She has proven to me after 45 years that she won’t change. I no longer keep in contact with her and have blocked her from my life. Which is sad. I’ve had to mourn my mothers funeral even thou she is still alive. My BIGGEST healing struggle is realizing that there is no fairy tale mother waiting on the other side. I sometimes need to hear my husband tell me to stay strong and not contact her. Yes, I miss her sometimes, but my life also a lot less stressful because I cut the cord with her.


This was amazing to read. As you know what I expressed on the your previous blog. This was a sad but needed story to hear. I feel like I am finally seeing things clearly for the first time and my mother’s response to me wanting a healthy relationship and adult conversation was “Obviously you meds are not working” and “you are delusional” and “you need help with you rage”. Through this whole process I have noticed in my personal relationships when I get mad I get ugly. I learned that from her and it wasn’t until recently that I noticed that. With my boyfriend he is the first that I practiced not fighting with and it has worked for years. I think it is because he is the only man who has really lived with me and the kids, and the only man my kids every met that I dated. I practiced the hour rule. If I got mad I took an hour and if in an hour I was still mad I was calm enough to talk. If after an hour I forgot about it, it was just my quick temper and wasnt important enough to argue over. My mother keeps throwing my children in my face and saying that I am taking them away from her. I have given her safe options to see my kids and she chooses not to. I am trying to learn this is not my problem. Every time I tried to reach out to her and talk about it there are rude comments about what I did to her, “Im nothing but a spiteful person why would you want to talk to me”. Mind you spiteful was the only mean word I used after two days of horrible harassment from her because I told her she hurt my feelings and begged for an adult conversation. I am starting to see that my mother is not my problem and I have tried. But I to have that thought in my head that this is my fault, and if only I kept my mouth shut instead of telling her that she hurt my feelings. She did say sorry once throughout the whole thing and it was when I asked for an adult conversation and she responded “lets just drop it. fine. Im sorry”. That to me was not an apology that was a “lets sweep it under the rug” which I refuse to do anymore.

Karen – I am sorry about your mother being so absent. I don’t want to make excuses for her but knowing what it’s like to be a mother with an abusive man, you tend to shut down. I dont know your grandparents but I know for me I learn abusive love at a young age from my mother and her husbands and I know she learned it from her mother and father. I decided to break the cycle. With my ex I was so isolated and depressed that I could barely function to take care of my first child when he was a baby. I just held him and cried constantly til he was about one. I still find that when Im upset I want to cuddle him up and just cry but he is old enough to know that mom is crying. Im sorry that she was so absent.

January- Very similar to the verbal abuse from my mother. Since a young age she put me in and out of mental hospitals and had me on every depression medication she could think of. A child at age 9 on anti depressants. Really busted the self esteem and made me label myself as “something is wrong with me”. She would also brag about me to people about how much I do and how great I am then turn around and tell me everything Im doing wrong and what a bad mom I am. Told me that I cant handle working and going to school (I take online classes and one night class) not very stressful. Her recent reply to me was that I needed to apologize to our whole family for everything I said when I only talked to my grandmother to tell her the kids were not joining my mom in her visit and I would bring them later this summer. she said when I refused to apologize to tell me I dont need to because they have “known you for 15 yrs and know exactly what you are and how horrible you are.” That was the last straw to this abuse I was going to take. I took a stong stand against her and she started blowing my boyfriend up saying I was cheating on him with my son’s dad (who had been a constant problem for yrs) and that she would not tolerate the way I speak to her and treat her. Then she threatened to take me to court to take my kids away from me. I kept every message from me to her and vise versa because it only shows how adult I handled the situation and how she did not.

Patricia Payne- Your story made me want to cry. I hope deeply that my mother wants to make things right. I am not saying that I am completely innocent in this whole adventure because I was just as nasty back to her growing up. I learned to be mean and spiteful and hurtful with my words from her and used it back at her. I am not the type to sit back and take it. I have recently turned a corner in my life where I have to stop caring about others and learn to love myself. In doing so I have to rid the people who prevent me from doing so.

I know I write a lot but with the cut off of my relationship to my mother being as recent as early last week, this blog and all of you have greatly helped me in a way I dont think my counselor, boyfriend, father, or friends could. Thank you all again. I don’t mean to be so thankful for the pain that you go through but it is a releif to know that others go through the same and turn out ok. <3


hi, great post. Wow your mom Darlene invented a great brainwashing tactic. What is crazy is she said allll the things u should have been saying to her. She did the project rejected self to the t.

i have to think how it was when i was in the my fault fog. its been a while yay. I was made to be the sick one with mental problems. I failed in everything as a daugher hence deserve to be yelled at threatened and lucky that it wasnt worse. I failed at being me, looking ok, looking good, being competence. I lived in general fog of incompetence that involved everything i said, and how i said it, why i said it. And when i finally gave up talking i failed at not being good at conversation and a strange quiet person. To my mom I was a files human being. I think my moms big trick was to shut me up cuz i always said the truth of things. i told her i hated her when i was very young. Now that i think about it this was my major grooming to shut me up. i dailed at talking to her and would get constant remarks … u dont know what u are saying, that makes no sense, what is wrong with you. She groomed me to fail at expressing myself. Even today i can go days without talking to people and have articulating my needs issues.

When i was still in fog i went nc to prove to myself that they r the toxic ones with the problem and not me. what happened was i didnt talk to my parents for 2 years. The best part of it was that my brother saw how toxic that behaviour is and it pulled him to my side with all this. In the end i resumed communcation cuz i was still in fog of denial.
i ended up reading so much about narcissist i came to realize i am dealing with a mentally deranged person. i prepared narcissit behaviour tests on my mother and was shocked to see it to be true. i tested her like an evil narcisissit in a lab, brings me dark joy. Then i began testing what upsets a narcissist and i made my mother physically run from me. I brought the power of what is wrong with u on the narc mind, it cant take it. In the end no one can control evil even in a lab, the only safe way of interacting with evil is to get away. i do not talk to her as an equal because she isnt. she is brain damaged. i have no pity about it though. she damaged my brain. i write this cuz i never did the give me respect demand. it is not going ro happen with a narcissist. maybe it will make me feel better. Turning all that talk they did to me on my mom is great, she cant handle a minute of it and i took a lifetime!!


Patricia, as someone whose mother has not accepted my decision to go no contact, my advice would be to respect your adult child’s decision and also respect their boundary to be NC. If you are not in therapy, look into starting therapy sessions so that if (IF) your adult child contacts you in the future you can be ready to respond in a healthy way. Therapy can also help you to heal yourself and accept the current state of your relationship with your child (it’s not something you have control over).


Hi Karen
I was fed etc too but the love was somehow missing and it was very conditional. It’s really pathetic how a mother can turn it all around to blame the child. Being told you were not hugable must have been horrible.
hugs, Darlene

Hi January
My mother was covert sometimes and really overt other times. She sometimes said nice things to me, and sometimes said mean nasty horrible things. It was confusing! Today I realize that her mood swings didn’t have anything to do with me. It was all about her. The way she treated me depended on what she needed. (like to overpower and disable me to make herself feel better or to be happy with herself because she took me to a resturant. ~ none of it makes sense..but I don’t worry about that anymore.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Patricia
Welcome to EFB
It is painful when a parent is ready to admitt thier faults and the child feels it is too late. For me my healing has made the biggest difference with my kids. But if your adult child has decided that it is too late, you have to respect that. Esp if they have taken legal measures. Perhaps the other child will bear wittness to the changes in you and tell the sibling? It is important not to defend yourself if you do get a chance again. It is very discounting of the damage to be told “I did the best I could”. It is so much better to just admitt the mistakes and really communicate regret as you are doing here.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Brenda
Well I have completely healed so I know it is possible!! Keep going forward!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Lora
Thanks for sharing this ‘snapshot’ of truth ~ it is so common and so horrific that this happens so frequently and to so many! To be told that we HAVE to have the relationship leaves us without hope! It is a type of abuse in itself. It is very hard to find someone who had done enough of their own healing work to be able to actually help others!
Thank you for your lovely compliments! I am very blessed.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Mimi
Oh yes, I had to fight and stay conscious of my motives for several years! Even recently it popped into my mind how horrible it would be to be the mother of a daughter who writes one of the highest traffic blogs about mother daughter dysfunction on the internet…(this blog ranks higher then amazon for this topic!)
That daughter would be me… and that blog would be this one ~ I actualy feel sorry for my mother, but I keep reminding myself that it she didn’t do this stuff, I would have nothing to write about. (and I have barley scratched the surface of some of the hurtful things that she did) I have such a passion to help others out of the HELL that we were in because of this crap.

It’s crazy to me how people will defend the abuse and the abuser! I know that is survival mode and victim mentality but wow.

Great side note!!
Thanks Mimi
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Larae
OH GROAN! my mother said stuff like that too; “why are you doing this TO ME?” ~ WOW. It is very common to go back and forth with the feelings that you are wrong. I did it for a few years in this process. I had to look at the truth and it was just not worth it anymore for me to not LIVE whole and be respected and valued as an individual person who had rights. Healing has been about validating me and not letting anyone invalidate me anymore. I am not asking for anything other than mutual respect. That is not too much to ask.
Thanks for sharing, you are certainly NOT alone!!
hugs, Darlene


Hi Susan
Welcome to EFB
yes, the proof is in the pudding. That is what this site is about ~ looking at the proof, the truth about what the relationsip IS in the first place and how love doesn’t devalue another person like that.
Thanks for sharing
Hugs, Darlene


Hi *broken*
WOW these are more highlights of the things they say that they seem to think are NOT abusive! Such obvious nastiness! I got tired of all the crap that got swept under the rug; it was getting to be a big smelly mess that everyone pretended wasn’t there.
Thanks for sharing! hugs, Darlene

Hi Kathryn
Yes it is all grooming and for lots of different reasons too!
Thanks for sharing! hugs, Darlene


Whenever I pop in, the message here is always reflective of what is going on in my life and right now and this one is no different.

I finally told my mother that I’m not going to PRETEND anymore that we have a normal relationship when we don’t. I spoke my peace and I know she didn’t hear me, she never does, she’s so clever in turning the conversation around and making it about her and how she is always let down, why am I punishing her, etc. I’ve tried for too long and I’m tired.

Now it’s the healing process and I’m hoping it will be easier than the one-way street I’ve been on.


Hi Darlene,
Wow! This post hits home. I’ve recently had to deal w/ my mother’s wrath during the Holidays & shortly there after. My last conversation w/mom involved me coming out about being sexually abused as a child. She expressed more concern over being blamed, then giving me support. She said, “Don’t Blame me, I didn’t know”. Most of her nasty & hurtful comments came flooding back from the past, after this interaction. Such as, “Why do you continue to hurt me” & blah blah blah….”What about my pain?” A child responsible for dealing with a serious problem (molestation) & then so frightened & ashamed to speak the truth for FEAR of the Consequences. That was yell and messed me up for years! I let go of the consequences, by coming out with the truth and the hell w/consequences- my fear of family rejection. Mom wrote me a letter, after are interaction, saying, she wants me to heal. Yes, I said I’m already doing that. It had nothing to do with what she has to do, which is work on herself & have a mutual and equal relationship with me. I asked her for that after coming out and she said, “You are my dtr, you have to come to me”….I said, “It (the relationship) doesn’t have to be that way”…There is nothing Wrong with asking for what I need. Yet, for years I denied my needs, out of being dismissed & discounted for being “too sensitive”…that is a trigger for me because my feelings of rejection & sadness was real and needed to be validated and addressed. When I started asking for what I needed, as an adult, after my kids were born, she couldn’t be bothered & had excuses. She actually told me, “I already raised my kids & I’m not raising my grandchildren”…I never asked her to do that, nor would I want that to happen. My sister was pawning her kids off on my mom & dad and she was resentful and angry, which she expressed to me. I saw how my sister kissed up to her, by buying dinner & having her little girl trained to sit on grandpas lap and play the favorite grandchild. I don’t play that game & I’m not willing to pretend I have a normal family. I’ve been hurt too many times by trying harder & doing better. It’s their turn, if they want a mutual relationship with me & my kids. The damage has been done & I’ve let go of trying & fixing. I continue to be blamed & that’s not acceptable. They need to apologize & work on a mutual relationship. Actions speak louder than words. I’m not counting on it, yet another thing my mom has said a lot over the years. She also used to say, I made my bed & now I have to lay in it. She could be hot & cold. Caring & Abusive, so I had many mixed messages that added to the fog & spin you talk about. I’m seeing my mom clearly now for the damaged & controlling person she is. Of course, she would say I’m the problem :0


Thank you for making this blog, I also write in my blog from time to time about my past, as a way to hopefully tell someone else out there going through the same thing that they are not alone. And wow, not only are we not alone, we sound like we came from the same household. I could have written the last few paragraphs word. for. word.
After I wrote in my blog about suffering from atypical depression and having panic attacks, and also having attempted suicide several times, and the most nearly-successful attempt resulting in me having to be rushed to the hospital in an ambulance and staying for 3 days……my parents’ response was 1. why are you doing this to us, 2. it’s your fault because you didn’t tell us. and 3. you have Aspergers.
I told them the truth, that I had been called moron, wacko, jerk, asshole, by them for years and had severely damaged self-esteem and I also asked how in the world could they find out their daughter was literally a few hours away from dying, and all they could say was it’s my own fault. They backtracked and said it was “heartbreaking to hear” (too little too late) and I also personally asked my “mother” to make the arrangements with a local Asperger’s specialist and have me professionally diagnosed so I could get the treatment she wanted to give me (according to her, she wanted to help me but never could, so I offered her a perfect opportunity) I even gave her a list of reputable professionals in my area but she refused. She still flaunts her golden child son (nothing new there, she made it very plainly obvious that he was the favorite from when I could remember) and refers to me as “asshole” “rotten” basically treats me like garbage and violates my boundaries and safety to the point where I had to contact local authorities and legal counsel.
She will probably do some hardcore googling or whatever and find this posting too, just like she found out the address of the apartment I had just moved into less than a year ago (which I found out by googling my address to get a map so I could get directions somewhere) it just never stops with them, they see us as their scapegoats, a lump of everything that is wrong with them in their lives personified and projected upon.
I just shake my head whenever I read blogs of fellow “sisters”…it’s a shame that one of the symptoms of their disorder is the inability to recognize they have a disorder, which makes NPD impossible to treat. It’s like a terminal illness of the personality.


Thank you for your comments. Painfully as it is I have respected his wishes. I see my two grandchildren through the ex, which is another sore spot! I have been in therapy 3 or 4 times and each time was told the ball is no longer in my court. I have done everything I can do and now it is up to my child to make a move to try for us to resolve these issues. I do not want any control, I just want to repair any damage i have done if possible and make sure that my love for this child has always been here, I just did a poor job of showing it. Thank you all
very much and I wish all of you the best!!


correction: above should say “make sure that my child knows mt love for him has always been here.I did a poor job of showing it.



Hi Cathy
It is exhausting isn’t it! Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

I hear you! My mother was the same way too. It is so devaluing and discounting to tell someone your feelings and to have that person defend themselves and deflect the problem without ever acknowledging what you are saying!
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Samantha
Welcome to EFB
It is a shame that our own mothers/fathers are not willing to see us as valid individuals worthy of respect and equal value. It is devastating to be constantly blamed, disrespected and misunderstood. Healing from this damage is possible and there is hope. The hope is not in them changing, but in healing!
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Patricia
I hope that your child gives you another chance. It is wonderful when a parent wants to make those amends! Most adult children really want the relationship to be resolved.
Hugs, Darlene


I wish I could stop thinking about how unfair it is. I was rejected by my mother – I was fed, clothed, sheltered . But I never had a voice or an opinion – I was told what to do, wear, think , feel – having trouble moving on as she did nice things also – I feel like I’m In A tangled web of emotions even tho I can list so many unpleasant things she’s said and done all my life. I think she hated my dad so much – I look like my dad – that she rejected me too for looking like him and being like him – I wish I could switch off all those feelings that make me so sad


Just yesterday had a horrible conversation with C (mother). Gave her an example of medical neglect and she: attempted to change the topic, said she “didn’t remember”, then resorted to disparaging me and telling me it was my fault. She essentially called me a liar. Horrible. Other topics were just as horrible yesterday. I haven’t even cried. I think I am compartmentalizing and can’t take it in.

She does nice things too and so there are mixed messages.

I am confronted with things like: how do you find a partner and explain that you’ve orphaned yourself from your family?

Who do you list as “emergency contact” if you have gone NC with family and yes, you have friends but good ones are 1+ hour away and nearby ones are newer and not that close.


Light, you are still in contact with her? She sounds so harmful and damaging. Doing “nice things” means nothing if she lies and shows no remorse for what she did, and no intention to make things right.

Maybe things are different in HI because a lot of people have family living far away and people tend to band together and create their own “ohana” but I just state that I don’t have family anymore, and spend Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc with good friends instead. I have good contact with my neighbors and I listed them as my emergency contact for my daughter’s pediatrician. Why in the world would I ask them to call people 3,000+ miles away who never met my daughter and barely even acknowledged my pregnancy?


Hi Justine
Welcome to EFB ~ Instead of ‘switching off’ from the feelings that made me so sad, I learned to let them serve me as clues on the journey to healing. Those feelings have so much information attached to them about the messages that I got about me; My healing progressed when I realized that the ways that I was treated planted all kinds of messages in me about me that we all lies. Seeing those lies helpd me to change my beliefs about myself and my worth.
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Light
I explain it to people bluntly; When someone kicks you around all the time (emotionally or physically abuse is abuse) I don’t think it is wise for me to hang out with them. About nice things, the good doesn’t cancel the bad. But coming to the decision to take some sort of action is part of the process itself. I didn’t take action until I was strong enough and ready to go forward with that part of my life. Hang in there!
Hugs, Darlene


Darlene, whew again, a very insightful post. It makes me so sad that your mother said those things after your second baby was born. Why does it always get so much worse near a happy time? It’s almost like they have seen someone who is happy and cannot allow it so they sabotage the daughters’ happy time. All I can say is these are some really sad mothers. I myself have always been so happy for my childrens’ accomplishments. I don’t know any other way to be but proud of my children. I chose to be the exact opposite of her, not to say I was the perfect mother, but there was the intent to be extra supportive of them.

Justine, well said. I am a bit stuck in the feeling it is unfair. Why did I end up with a mom like this, and not the mom of my dreams? This site really is helping me through the anger and grief of it all. With my walking away from my FOO, some days I am really ok with it, and other days I question myself. But in the end I tell myself the truth of it all, she will never change, and my bad relationship with her will never change. I cannot keep beating my head against the wall with her in hopes of change. (Getting her to love me.) So many years of waiting and trying on my part, what a waste. Which again is what Darlene touched on in the post, she always thought everything was her fault due to the brainwashing. Again a great post! Peace all….


Hi Melody
I parented with intent too. I certainly can be done!
I have some ideas about why happier occasions are harder; I think it has to do with several things, one of which is the fear that they have that you might not ‘need’ them as much if you are happy. In a sick way some ppl. are threatened by your happiness and by your accomplishments. Esp. if those things are independant of them or if those things could allow you to escape from them.
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


I can’t even comment because I’ll be repeating almost everyone. That was and still is my life and no matter how much I try to become “something” in order for us to have a relationship I was done, she went as far (in the middle of one of her tantrums)telling me “when I die u don’t have to do s**t for me, my grandkids can do it, I’ll leave everything to them….”and it goes on. Yes she is trying to do the same thing to my kids that she did to me and yes that’s where more problems are because I’m “the reason we have such a messed up relationship” So yes U described my life.


Dear Darlene and fellow EFB members,

When I was in my late 20’s I was seeing a therapist for depression, eating-disorder, low self-esteem, etc. After hearing about my childhood, the therapist suggested that I invite my mother to a counseling session to tell her the truth about what I was dealing with and how the abuses from my childhood were negatively affecting me in my adult life. The first thing out of my mouth was, “my mother couldn’t handle it emotionally if I told her the truth.” I was worried that it would be too upsetting for her and it would be “my fault” for bringing up things from the past. She would be embarrassed & angry that I was airing our “dirty laundry” to a stranger. I had to be more worried about my mother’s feelings than my own. Nothing had changed since I was 4 years old. I had learned well over the years to not speak my truth.

One example that comes to mind is when we moved (7th grade) to a small townhouse. I was in a new school. Our home was a total pig-sty. Single-parent working mother and 4 kids ranging in age from 10-15. When my mother got home from work she took a valium and passed out on the couch in the living room in front of the TV. Nobody cleaned or had assigned chores. Cat-litter box never emptied; carpet smelled like dog pee / poop from dogs; dirty dishes in the sink; dirty clothes everywhere; etc. Nobody cleaned or cared. About 6 months after we moved in my mother (in front of my older golden child sister) said, “Why don’t you ever have friends over?” I dared to say in a meek, quiet voice; “I am embarrassed about the house being so messy.” My mother went into a loud, abusive rage and in summation said, “How dare you blame me for the fact that you don’t have friends.” “There is something wrong with you that people don’t like you.” My older GC sister chimed in, “I have friends and I have invited them over and I’m not embarrassed.” Narcisstic mother says, “See – See – there is something wrong with you that you feel that way.” Sister said, “She is a weirdo.” Mother agreed.

By the way – the messy house was horrific but it was only one of the reasons I didn’t have friends over. Another was the possibility that my mother would be on the couch with newspapers over her for warmth like a homeless person with an open bag of Oreo’s on the floor in front of her (her dinner – no dinner for her kids). Another fear was that my older sister would verbally humiliate me in front of my friends for laughs and would hit / kick me in front of them in hopes that I would start to cry.

How I got away from all that is nothing short of a miracle. I managed to get out and stay out. Fast forward to my 30’s at which time “no-contact” had never even entered my mind as an option. I was completely independent, outwardly successful though inwardly still shattered; married; with 2 beautiful children. My mother gave the final insult: “The worst part about having a daughter like you is having to face that fact that you came from me.”

I am in my late 40’s and I am getting stronger and healthier spiritually, emotionlly, and physically. The more I am honest with myself about how I feel, the more I value my opinions, the more I am true to myself, the happier I am. The less I think about getting all those things from my mother. I am learning to re-mother myself.


I have recently had another run in with my mom over how she comments on photos of my son. I have tried and tried in this relationship to focus on behavior and not personal attack. Yet the responses I always get are that my emails are hurtful. Well, truth does hurt sometimes, especially if you are unwilling to deal with your own side in a relationship. I don’t need to have comments about how my son probably doesn’t remember her when our family is in the military and have young children who don’t fly very well. On top of that my parents would visit on their schedule and ignore our busy schedule, so we’ve had to set boundaries about visits, also so other family members could enjoy seeing us equally! It is a pattern of entitlement that I have dealt with- she always talks to me like I should submit to her better judgement when all I want is an equal adult relationship with her. Her cancer scare trumps my miscarriage and first deployment, for example. I decided a while back I am done being her supportive ear, because I don’t get any support from her. When I voice this, however graciously I speak, I am told I am the problem allowing Satan to cause division between us. Which is odd, because I thought the problem was our imbalanced relationship. Ugh. Am getting some phone counselling because I don’t think I’m the only military spouse to deal with this guilt trip. I just don’t understand how you can care so little for your child when they voice hurt you’ve caused them. I didn’t share it to hurt my mom, I shared it to help us relate better. But I guess I have to accept I’m not allowed to have feelings, only listen to my mom’s…


I too have many past situations with my mom–physically abusive,verbally abusive,passive-aggressive behavior,and downright neglect in many ways as a kid. I can remember as a teen dealing with the severe power and control issues in my house from both parents. I worked so hard playing the ‘model’ daughter role. No matter what I did to please them like doing all of their housecleaning like a live-in maid, being an honors student and a VERY clean-cut kid, I was always criticized. I was NEVER good enough. If I did the housework all day long on Saturday,she could find an extremely tiny point to critique and I would never hear the end of it….and there’s more…

The hardest part now in my life are the extremely few visits from them that I’m still dealing with. I live about a two and a half hour drive from them and due to my personal circumstances with job,etc. I am not living far away in a different state. I have worked hard on myself, but in dealing with narcissists it’s never good. Now, I am forever attacked for being overweight–(not morbidly obese)–but I admit to putting on some weight. There is nothing I can do to change the subject and talk about my job, the neighbors,or just about anything. It’s become like my parent’s latest obsession to insult me over weight issues. I am constantly screamed at for being a bit overweight and told that I will DIE of a heart attack at my age! Come on now—I am really not that bad! I do everything that I can to keep these parents away from me. It’s complicated and yes I could slam my door in their faces and hang up the phone,etc. but that would create problems among my few good family members. When I was younger I prayed for ‘no contact’ but I was only able to do ‘low contact’ and not move to a different state. I know it sounds cold but they are quite elderly–(both in their 80’s)– and when they can pass away I will be relieved! Sometimes I don’t feel safe even as an adult
(and I’m like 40 now!) but I just try to avoid them. I am single living alone and my finances are tight. So, I just try to be happy and keep going forward one day at a time! Thanks for your awesome site and great support! Keep it up! Blessings….


I can’t say that I understand what you’ve been thru because I’ve never had a relationship with my mother period. She has always treated me as nothing. We’ve never communicated and when we did it was shallow superficial things. The most my mother ever really came to communicating with me was she did talk to me when I was 12 and brought up the fact that we girls, at school, had watched “The film”, about periods, and all she said when I brought it up and asked her how old she was,”I was around 13″. The one other time was the night before I married my ex. She came in to “have the talk” about marriage and my “duties”. She explained that “sometimes they want to “make love” when you don’t want to but that’s how they relieve stress”. Little did she know that I already knew more than she did because not only did I go to high school in the 80’s but my ex was pushy when we dated and I was no longer a virgin. My point is no communication ever between her and really not even my father. But, of course, I now know that my mother has always treated me that way because she views me as “The other woman” because of what my father did to me.


I don’t recall my mother saying much to me as a child. Her method of control was fear. We all tip-toed around her and tried to keep really quiet. We got really good at reading the non-verbal cues by watching for her facial expressions and how she held her body. It didn’t take much to set her off and that was one of the reasons I didn’t invite any friends over after school. Well, not after the first time. She was in a bad mood that day, and when completely crazy screaming and throwing things. My friend just ran. Probably explains why I was a pretty solitary child, and now as an adult I’m quite happy with my own company.


Last night, I had a conversation with my mother. I had been avoiding her because I knew that it was a pointless exercise to even try to speak to her. She called me last night and thus, my means of escaping the confrontation was over.

My mother is one of many in my life at the moment who ask me to “let go” of old hurts. In their mind, old hurts cannot be discussed because a blanket apology has already been issued and thus, covering all sins.

For some reason, it may work for others, but it doesn’t for me. It is the equivalent to telling me to shut up and be silent….and I just cannot do that any more.

I told my mother last night that I had been avoiding her because I was hurt. I had recently told her that my grandfather (i.e. her father) had molested me when I was a young child. My loving mother replied at the time that if it were true, why did I wait 40 years to tell her.

My mother called me a liar and refused to acknowledge any responsibility. There was just only ONE response I needed to hear from her. Just one. The words that are the hardest for her to ever say. I AM SORRY.

My mother again called me a liar last night. I reminded my mother last night that I am her child that was born out of her, and I was hurt that she could treat me this way. With that, I hung up on her.

This morning, my father called me. He said that he was disappointed that I continued to want to “pick fights” with my mother. I hung up on my father as well.

I tell them that I am hurt…….and rather than dealing with my feelings, I am told that I am just being argumentative.

I know that I should not expect anything better from my parents, given that all my childhood memories are marred by ugly physical and emotional abuse perpetuated by my parents. My memories are filled with screaming, shouting, smashing, smacking…….just ugly ugly stuff.

I do not remember receiving a loving hug or a kiss from them. I do not remember ever being praised or valued.

Is it any wonder that I didn’t tell my parents what my grandfather did when I was a child?

My mother’s response still hurts……..even though I know I should not have expected anything more from her.



My childhood is similiar to yours, except my molester was my oldest brother. I didn’t tell my parents at the time (I was 11 years old) because I thought it was my fault, and that they would blame and punish me. I later learned there was incest between all of my brothers and sisters.

When I told them of the incest as an adult, they wouldn’t believe it of my golden child brother. He denied it so it didn’t happen.

I’ve been able to find peace and happiness without my FOO, I just don’t want that dysfunction in my life anymore.

All the best..


My mother told me a few times that if she lost me and my two kids then she’d commit suicide. This was the reason why I could never tell her the truth because I felt she wouldn’t be able to handle it emotionally. I waited 46 years to tell her how I felt and when I told her I hadn’t told her before because of her suicide threats and emotional instability, she replied “well I haven’t said that for a while and I’m happy right now”. With the help of friends, fab husband, fab children etc I now realise that I’m not responsible for her happiness, I am only responsible for my happiness which she doesn’t give me.

I have been NC for a couple of months only. She did something the other day which resulted in one of my children being terribly upset at work and having to get her employers involved. I texted my mum (I couldn’t bring myself to speak to her) and told her to stop playing the victim and realise that her actions upset all the family not just her. I then got a voicemail of her screaming at me that I was the reason she wanted to commit suicide and to leave her alone. Not one mention of how was her grand-daughter or any apology for her actions.

To compound matters a couple of weeks ago I arranged via internet company to send her a Mothers Day card (we are in England) which she will get this weekend. I tried my hardest to cancel it after her last tirade of abuse to me but they can’t so she will get a Happy Mothers Day card which I desperately don’t want her to get.

Thanks for everyone’s comments on here – I shed a tear when I read them as we all so much want the “love” of our mothers and the fairy tale ending which just isn’t going to happen – so terribly sad 🙁


Darlene, per #12. I turned it around on her. I said..maybe I wiggled away when I was 4, but what about when I was 10, 25, 50? She didn’t have an answer for that one. When I stopped accepting her denials and projections that I was always the problem, I saw the truth of who she really is to me and what she is not. Thanks for your response!


Justine..I looked like my Dad too. I had his personality type also. I am an extrovert, outgoing, chatty and active. My father was so abusive to her I think she saw that I looked like him and it was an immediate strike against me. She was very jealose of any attention he showed me as a child and much more so as an adult. And yet she had her golden child son, nothing was too good for him. It was such a sick place to grow up. Every interaction and teaching in my family pointed to and underscored my inherent “badness”. How can you grow and thrive and learn when you “know” inside that you are no good? That it took this long for me to see it and name it frustrates me no end.


Hi Ce
Oh yes, her grandkids can become her servants in order to get some sort of pay off at the end. This is how they actually think! That is about ‘ownership’ and not about love or relationship. My mother held “the pay off at the end” over my head too. One day I realized that it was another conrol tactic.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi OnMyWay
What your mother said to you is a hateful thing to say! When I look at these kinds of hurtful statements with clear eyes they are disgusting and pathetic to me. These statements are the farthest thing from “LOVE”
Thanks for sharing.
Hugs, Darlene


You have found the right website! This is one of the most popular topics discussed here. The truth is that there is no excuse for the way that they regard/disregard and the relationship is one-sided which translates into NO relationship at all. When I started to value and respect myself the way that I longed for her to value me, everything changed and I began to heal.
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Yvonne
Again, this is not love. What part of love treats a person like that? It doesn’t sound ‘cold’ that you will be relieved if they pass.. it sounds ‘logical’.
Hugs to you,

Hi Laurie
I am sorry that this has been all you had from your own mother. Thank you for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Daisy
My mother used some fear tactics too. I got good at reading the cues (actually this is really common for all survivors of any kind of abuse, even if they are not aware of it) ~ all that creates major anxiety in the child and contributes in a huge way to the forming of a false belief system and broken self-esteem.
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


Hi Ginger
“letting go of old hurts” BEFORE they have even been validated doesn’t work for anyone. It is at the root of all broken self-esteem and most deperessions etc.
It is okay to EXPECT to have been valued and protected. It is a basic human child right. When I finally acknowledged that pain and that it wasn’t right, that what happened to ME was wrong, that I had been treated in such a discounting and invalidating way, I began to heal from it.
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Wendy
When someone commits suicide it is NEVER someone else’s fault. Threatening to commit suicide in the way that your mother has is a horrific abuse tactic to get someone to do what they want, to back off, and for all other types of control. YAY that you know you are not responsible for her happiness.
I got my fairy tale ending, a different way. I healed from all this and today I live a full and amazing life. The fairy tale ending didn’t look like I thought it would, but when I changed the way I looked at things EVERYTHING changed!
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Karen!
That is awesome. Funny how when we speak that kind of truth they never know what to say!
Hugs, Darlene


Boy Wendy I’m sorry to hear what your Mom said to you. What a guilt trip to be told you are the reason she wants to committ suicide. That is so aweful to hear and internalize. My son did the same thing. He would say if I didn’t support him and his drug lifestyle that he would do that. Its cruel manipulation.
My mother plays the helpless victim. She likes deniability. She would never directly attack like that she would stab me in the back by using others to guilt me in punishment. My family is all about punishment.


Thank you Darlene for what you said about suicide in the above post to Wendy. I have always questioned myself as being unable to stop my son’s death.My family was always big on assigning blame. Someone HAS to be at fault, blammed and punished even if an event is beyond that person’s control. Once blame is assigned their evil lives fall back into place and they feel justified in their abuse.


Darlene, One day, I realized that the things my mother critisized in me and the things she feared I would do, were the things wrong in herself that she didn’t want to take responsibility for. She feared what I would do if she were in my situation because she only saw her flawed self in me. She’s never known me at all.

During my five year ordeal in trying to reach my mom and sister, my husband said it was so painful to watch because I was trying so hard to have a relationship with my family but all they wanted was to win what they perceived as an arguement and have things go on as they’ve always been, no matter how much emotional pain that caused me, or them, or other members of the family. It’s impossible to work through things with a person who only wants to avoid taking responsibility for their actions and maintain control in the relationship. I know now, that I’ve never had a real relationship with my parents because they never put the work in that is required to build a relationship with me. It makes me sad that they don’t even seem to understand what is lacking in their lives but I also, know that there’s nothing I can do to make them want what would be best for both of us. Staying in an abusive relationship for the sake of family image, is a waste of precious life.



Another great and very helpful post that couldn’t have found it’s way to me at a better time. (I so love the law of attraction…yay!)

“You are the problem; it’s your fault; you are too sensitive; you need to do this; why do you always hurt me so much; blah, blah, blah”…according to my mother I was to blame for absolutely EVERYTHING when I was a kid and nothing has changed as an adult (if anything I am more to blame). I am a fifty year old woman with four kids (aged 28 – 15)of my own and host mum to countless exchange students…yet still her misery, depression, anguish, sadness, etc are all my fault! But of course she contradicts herself constantly when I confront her; stating that her life is simply wonderful. I’m left totally confused thinking that I must of imagined all of the comments and conversations in which she would complain about everyone and everything (oh; except the few Golden ones that she passionately defended).

I’ve lost count of just how many times she has totally contradicted me, both in front of others and to me privately. I’d be like…WTF? It would really do my head in. And the fact that she was always so good to me and my kids made it even harder and more confusing. To have so many conflicting feelings about her and our relationship only confirmed how bad / nasty / ungrateful I was. So deep down I believed her accusations of everything being my fault because I was such a bad daughter, etc.

Now that I’ve gone no contact (I was fortunate enough to listen to my intuition and not react to her BS this time knowing she would go ahead and cut me off because I had started to use healthy boundaries that repelled her…I was no longer a good source of narc-supply)…things are getting better and I’m healing. It’s hard though and like many others I feel immense sadness these days too. But it’s time to shift the focus from “Everything is my fault” to something different. What is that something? I’m still not sure as it changes daily; momentarily some times but perhaps it usually has this message embedded…”Each and every person is responsible for his / her own feelings”

Again thanks for your fabulous website Darlene…XOX



I can relate to so much of what you say, particularly about parents shutting you up. In my case it was my father. Anytime I would request anything, once I started to become a teenager and have (gasp- opinions and, because of him only a failed attempt at identity) his response would be something akin to “Why would you even dare open your mouth you idiot?”. I literally lost the ability to speak, to my peers, at school. The only person I trusted was my sister. I lost almost everything- social skills, a voice, my health.

And yet, I was the problem, for not being the model student, and earning more money, etc.
How can someone succeed if they’ve been taught, and believe they don’t even matter enough to open their mouth, no matter how much they suffer? That all suffering is caused and can be remedied by them- despite having so many basic needs unmet?

It makes me sick.

I too go a long time without talking to people. I am really afraid and I often shake, almost always. Eye contact is hard. It is impossible to smile because my jaw is always locked and trembles. It’s terrifying, and I know if I hadn’t been taught through a number of actions and words, that I was scum, that I wouldn’t be so afraid of people.

I hope you find your voice.



Just want to thank you Darlene for you thoughts re: my situation of being written off by my adult child. I want to thank all of you for your comments. I find them to be very helpful. I will continue to pray to GOD and read your posts on EFB.
You have already made a difference in my life.
Thank you and God Bless.


Hi Pam
Yes “all they wanted was to win” ~ I can relate to that so much! That statement fits in so many places in the dysfunctional relationship system and has so much to do with power and the misuse of power. People have ‘winning’ mixed up with self-value. It is so nuts and yes, a waste of precious life!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Karen,
I can’t imagine how painful that kind of blame must be. It is one thing to question yourself, quite another to be blamed by others for something as devastating as that. These sick people will use ANYTHING as proof that you are the problem. It’s so disgusting and pathetic.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Dianne
Yes all the conflicting messages, being treated well, and then not being treated well, all of that goes into the spin that I couldn’t seem to stop! Learning to see things for what they were, and not letting the good cancel the bad was a huge help to me in this process.
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Patricia
Thank you and you are so welcome!
hugs, Darlene


I am sitting here… wondering what to say, because so many of you have said it for me. But I am reading and spinning in my head that I have gone through much of what everyone else has, but where does it end and how does it get “fixed”?

My Mother is sick/toxic… blame game… lots of lies… She married a man that adopted me that carried on the same sick behavior with me as she did. They spent their entire life controlling me, belittling me, putting me down. My Mother dressed me, fixed my hair, etc.. I hid behind her for SO long… then when I stopped hiding and fought back, I was crazy, my meds were not right, I was destroying her heart, etc…

I have been diagnosed with Bipolar I, social anxiety, OCD, and other things but no one knows how to help me. The meds don’t work right… the therapist runs out of things to say or ways to help me.

Best thing is, they turned my son against me. Their constant name calling to him about me… doing the exact opposite of what I wanted done as a parent… All the good stuff. They feel money is superior to real life relationships. If you don’t have money and power, you aren’t shit. They give him anything and everything he wants. Pays for him to meet rappers, buys him the best of the best – and I am sure threatens him about seeing me, contacting me, etc.

Here is a small portion of how it happened….

After my son graduated high school he decided I wasn’t good enough for him and he said he “didn’t” support my marriage anymore (because my parents never did because my husband didn’t put up with their shit and treated me like a lady, which my adoptive Father does not believe in – he is a woman basher, manipulator, and a sick man), I was fake, and needed “space”…(I have been married to the same man since 2001 – his sperm donor has never been involved in our lives) so who else took him in, but my parents, against my wishes as his Mother… and slandered me and broke the entire family apart…

I have always had to compete with my parents against my son and I always had to stand up for myself… because they were always putting me down. You see, I have never been good enough, skinny enough… just enough… I let them control and run my life… I let them tell me what I should and should not do as a parent and a WIFE to my husband…. It took kicking my husband out over four times, because of them telling me how NOT right he was for me… to finally realize he is what I have always wanted…. There is so much more to the story…but I would write more than I am already writing…

I have not seen my son since 6-29 of LAST YEAR…. my parents let him give up is full scholarship to an honors academy that he and I worked so hard to get…. they let him do anything and everything he wants…. no rules, no job… no respect.. nothing. So… I quit my job running THEIR business of 22 years (yes, I had to walk in there every day and listen to my adoptive Father put me down and talk about all the things they were doing as a family)…. It was killing me… literally I was on the verge of wanting to commit myself…. I bought a house in the country… my house (filled with memories and my son’s room) still has not sold… and I took a huge leap of faith and started living for myself and my husband for the first time in my life… I am no longer captive my them… but still very broken emotionally….. I walked away from it all..

Ever give someone what you felt was all of you …you gave them life … Your very heart .. Lived for them … Felt what they felt .. Tried to hide them from cruelty ..hurt .. pain .. You did what you thought was your best always gave in … Said yes …. You made mistakes … But you felt good and proud of who they became ….

You never knew everything you thought you were saving them from was one of the major influences in their life ….. You never thought the bond you created could ever break …that anyone could get in between the love of a mother and her child …..

Then one day … He leaves … And the whole world comes crashing down … Nothing matters .. Everything hurts … Tears don’t stop and you are completely broken ….

What did I do wrong … What did I do right? How do I trust again ?

What do I do ? How does the pain go away ? And why me….. Why me ..

So there is my story…. sorry for the book and being all over the place … I just cannot find answers…

How do Mothers do this to their children ???????????????????


I so feel your pain. What you related in the first two paragraphs #54 was the way my Dad treated me. Only I was a “snipe” and no good, NG. All the time he screamed it at me. I was an A student and never gave any trouble??? I literally folded in on myself and many times self harmed. I had zero worth and zero self esteem and thought I was so ugly that people would hate me on sight.

Later blah blah blah if I had a better job, made more money, became what he had picked for me I would have made him proud. He could have bragged and “owned” my success. But choosing what he wanted or choosing to be “nothing” I choose to be nothing. Seriously I remember being 18 and saying to myself I will be nothing before I will follow his choices.
I have black and white thinking to this day. Something I try hard to overcome. I will still deny myself rather than do what “they” want when I am pushed no matter who “they” are.


My mom would use whatever means possible to make sure my sisters and I would not step out of line. The rule in our house was that dad was the important one in the house. She was his servant and therefore we were subservant to her and my dad. This gave her the right to manipulate, degrate and scare us into obedience. We were groomed to be victims and accept the poor treatment we deserved.

My mom was also embarressed of any success I had. I love to sing and dance. Anytime I would perform and people would come to me later and say how much they appreciated my talent. I would get in trouble, all the way home of how I was a show off and that I was acting prideful. By the end of my mothers tirade I felt an inch tall and embaressed for even being on stage. She was also ashamed of the way that I looked. People would say to her that I should be a model or be in commercials, for some reason this was a bad thing. I honestly did not connect to the fact that I was pretty till I had been in therapy for almost a year. I grew up thinking that I was fat and an embaressment to anyone that I was around.

Counselling really helped me realize who had the problem.. it was my mom. Really understanding this took a huge weight off my shoulders and the healing process began with this understanding.

Being a mom now I realize what an important role I play as my childrens advocate and role modle. I know that I am not perfect but I am at least aware of the tremedous effect we have in our childrens lives that will affect them for the rest of their lives.


Darlene and Samantha, Thank you for your comments. Yes, taking action is part of the process. I am not there yet, but I am taking baby steps. I have alternate plans for the next holiday … not with family.

Have any of you done LC or NC but stayed in the same area or decided to move away? My friends and support systems are here, but my FOO is here too. I am trying to decide whether to move or not and would welcome any experience with that. I am so torn as to what to do. Going to a new area all on my own is daunting, and I don’t really have friends all around the country. Staying here is draining me, but is there a way to do LC/NC with family nearby? It seems like it would shed even more bad light on me if I stay here but then don’t attend most gatherings, etc. If I move away it seems more gracious….because I would live too far away to come back very often.

All: It makes me sad to read your stories, yet also I feel a sense of camaraderie and community here. So many scenarios, words and behaviors are familiar to my experience. We are so lucky to have you, Darlene.



Thank you for your acknowledgement of my post. It has been a difficult week for me. This week, I have suffered much pain by being denied yet again my right to be listened to.

I had a similar conversation with one of my husband’s sisters, and I have come to realise that very few people actually know how to listen. They truly believe that listening equals hearing. I accused my sister-in-law of not being respectful and reminded her that I am her equal and expected to be treated as such. She countered that she has “been listening her arse off”. I then gave her a lesson in the difference between listening/validation and hearing/refusing to acknowledge any of my feelings. She isn’t speaking to me, so I guess she resented being treated like a child as much as I do. The feeling is mutual. I really don’t feel the need to speak to her either at the moment.

I have now ended the week feeling better. I recognise that my pain comes from trying to save something that really doesn’t exist. In my mother’s eyes and my sister-in-law, I am a non-entity. But, whether they like it or not, I am alive and with every breathe I take, I will continue to restate my rights. They cannot tell me otherwise any more. I will not be shut down, just because it pains them to be confronted with how much they have hurt me. It is my truth. They did hurting and I can only be in their company with the acceptance of my truth. Nothing less.

I still surprise myself. I had collapsed during the week because the emotional pain felt so overwhelming. Today, with my beautiful children happily playing around me, I feel stronger with my resolve. I have ride a huge rollercoaster of emotions this week that at times, I feel quite schizophrenic.


Courtney, I’m not a parent, but your story really touched me as most do. It must be sheer hell for you and all the other parents here who have lost a child in all of this dysfunction. I lost my niece ten years ago..I felt quite maternal toward her.

Just wanted you to know I am thinking of you.

Darlene had some good advice earlier in the comments in this post.



I read your story and my heart aches for you. I truly understand the pain you must feel about your son. Hopefully, there will come a day when you son will realise that he gave up too much and re-establish contact with you again.

We all ask the same question. “Why me”.

For me, it is usually at times when I am feeling depressed and have had a huge blow to my self-esteem. My pain has become easier to manage ……not with the passage of time……but the time I give myself to heal through better understanding why I hurt.

Noone can tell you what to do, as none of us truly sit in your shoes. However, I know with my children, I always tell them each and every day that I love them. Perhaps, your son just needs to occasional reminder and God willing, with time, will shower you with all his love for you.


Hi Ginger, I just reread your earlier post. We had very similar weeks. My mother invalidated my truth as well and downplayed serious damage. I have a sibling who wants me to “let go”. Glad you are feeling better. Yes, it is my experience as well that there aren’t a lot of people out there who really listen and reflect. Those people are gems.


Thank you for acknowledging my gibberish Light … I am hoping to find peace …sense of belonging….and a light at the end of the tunnel …. I’m a mess..


Thank you Ginger … I have been telling my son … Sometimes he told me he loved me … But most times he didn’t want to see me …talk to me…. basucdlly mo response and I couldn’t keep subjecting myself to that kind of hurt… The last email I sent him I completely bashed myself as a mother and blames myself for the circumstances and apologized … I feel ridiculous now about that because I gave him pretty much all of me …and he knows that…

Sad thing I know it’s my parents money and control that have a big part although he plays his part too … How does he go from calling me and telling me he loves me all the time … Hugging and involving me …. Confiding in me … To her .. My mother .. Who drive him crazy … All they did was fight; however … When he is told bad things about me …told to hide things from me … Given a life of money and luxury in lieu of responsibility and rules .. Which do you think he would choose ?

My mother goes around bragging about him living there and the adoptive dad tells everyone I abandoned him… Refused to let him come home or pay for college …

I’m sorry to be rambling .. I keep telling the story like I am finally going to get answers of he will come back to me….

I cannot believe there is concern here … Among complete strangers … It is the most incredible feeling … I don’t feel as ashamed ….


Sorry for the typos .. My phone has a mind of its own ..


Hi Darlene,
I am at the beginning of my journey to healing. So I cannot say that I am coming out of either. Memories keep popping into my mind from childhood, more vivid and detailed than I ever allowed. When I was four, I attempted to be heard. I told her that she hurt my feelings. Whenever I bothered her, her response to me was a very loud, roaring, “Do you want me to have a heart atrack and die?” So I expressed my hurt, never mind the sore throat I was seeking help with. Her response was a swift,”You don’t have any feelings!” I was confused by this and went back to my room to try to process it. That statement and following reinforcement of the statement, from both her and myself, has always plagued me. I never married, even though I was engaged five times. My mother hated my happiness and would display her disgust for it, so I would relent. I think in some way my mother became my god. I valued her opinion more highly than any other. The perplexing part of it all, was the dynamic of my older sister. My mother loved her and showed it every chance she got. When my sister was home, my mother would create activities for us and bake cookies, etc. We were her babies that she loved so much. I stayed so confused. Was I imagining what happened that morning while my sister was at school? It has created such a sabotaging spirit in me. I won’t allow myself to be happy and I do whatever I can to be pathetic. Right now I have moved back in with my parents. I have a son with autism and somehow always manage to become some type of victim on my own. I’m not sure if I believe that or if it is being believed for me. What is so hard living here is seeing it with completely opened eyes, and wishing I would have done this 20 years ago. I was not only taught to worship my mother, but my sister as well. She was the pretty one, the one that looked like her. The truth is, I look like my grandmother, whose beauty my mother always admired, and was ridiculed for not having. I excelled in school, never got into trouble, was fiercely independent outside of home, and I get along with everyone. She and my sister are the opposite, so they have to stifle those things in me, so I don’t outshine their accomplishments. I fought until I was exhausted and just gave up. I can see her joy in my short comings now more clearly than ever. My next phase is to get back on my feet and at least for a time have limitted, minimized communication with my family. They never include me unless they need help with something they cannot do on their own. My son deserves better. The funniest thing to me is the relationship between my son and my mother. His autism does not allow him to cave under her devices. I love the frustration she has with him. He is an amazing human being who simply is himself, no matter what. I admire that in him. I tell him everyday how greatful I am that he was born and that he is the best present Mommy ever got. I will never be her….ever.


Hi Courtney
I am so sorry that you are going through this. I really hear your pain.
Thank you for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Angela
Yes, parents ‘think’ they have rights like that, and as children there is nothing we can do about it. The place where I got so stuck was that as an adult I had a choice but because I had never had one before, I didn’t KNOW I had one. Finding out I did and learning how to live in my choices was huge!
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Ginger
When I started to speak up for myself, nobody liked it. They liked the compliant Darlene, the Darlene that went along with everything and everyone. But I decided that if I was going to live, I had to start being there for myself. I had to acknowledge ME in the ways that I had not been acknowledged by anyone else. That was the beginning!
Good for you for your resolve to take your rights back! Thanks for your comments!
hugs, Darlene


Hi Sherrie
YOU deserve better, not just your son. I had to look at this whole “deserve” thing; I didn’t realize how much I discounted myself by going along with the ways that I was treated. I didn’t deserve any of that and it was in realizing that I deserved better that I was able to learn how to give ‘better’ to myself. Your son sounds wonderful. 🙂 I vowed never to be like my mother too. 🙂
Thanks for sharing.
Hugs, Darlene


Thank you Darlene for this post. I have not had a relationship with my mother since late 2010 when she tried to break up my new relationship with my now husband. She used my 4 year old to try and do it. I confronted her and asked for an equal adult relationship. First time I ever confronted her but for my kids I had to. She denied everything and told me I was deluded. I have since offered for her to see the kids with me but not alone. Apparently that is a ‘disgusting’ idea. I have been plagued with guilt and I miss her so much despite everything. In my heart I’m sure that distancing myself and my kids is right for us. But I feel so responsible for her and guilty over the hurt I’ve caused her. I’ve tried over and over to reconcile but in 2 years she cannot concede that any of her views may be wrong. I’ve tried at every point to address the issues and not attack but all I get in response is that I used her and that she never trusted me and always knew I’d take my kids away from her. The funny thing is I moved out of home at 16 with a man twice my age, she said nothing. She moved interstate. She was then barely involved in my life until I became a single mother when I was 3 months pregnant with my youngest child. She was then my only support for 2 years. That’s when I apparently used her. But I miss those times. It wasn’t perfect and in fact I can see it was quite unhealthy but my mother was present. I want her back in my life but for my children’s sake I keep her away. Unless she can show some kind of change some kind of realization – some willingness to discuss things with me rather than just believe she is right and I’m deluded then I can’t see moving forward. I second guess myself all the time. I wonder if I’m wrong or if I’m a terrible daughter. In many ways it is exactly how I felt leaving my abusive partner who is my children’s father. I missed him more than anything and yet I knew it was so unhealthy I had to stay away. I wish walking away from her was as easy as she makes out it must be for a cold heartless person like me haha. If only she knew how often I cry for her and wish she would fight for a relationship with me. There’s so much more I could say but I just want to say thanks for validating my feelings and my actions by sharing your story. I hope one day it will hurt less and ill feel less guilt over my decision. Maybe one day I won’t cry for her at christmas or on Mother’s Day. I know I’m doing the best I can for my kids and myself. I just wish it wasn’t so hard



I am sorry for your pain yet I hear your determination. We have some parallels. I have an older sister who seems to “whack” me when I’m happy and animated, and there is extreme defensiveness from both her and my mother when attempting to talk about hurt feelings. You said a couple of things that intrigue me:

“It has created such a sabotaging spirit in me. I won’t allow myself to be happy and I do whatever I can to be pathetic.”

“somehow always manage to become some type of victim on my own.”

I would be interested in hearing more about what you mean if you feel like sharing. Maybe (for me) miserableness is easier than taking the steps to change? I have been here for so long! In the past year I had the realization that the reason I have needed so much therapy is because I am not moving away from the source of the pain! Didn’t see this before! My whole identity will change, since I won’t identify with my FOO anymore or it will be very limited.

I know I’ve had to relearn how to take care of myself, not ignore my medical/physical needs.

Now I need to take steps not to ignore my emotional needs…… so hard to leave my FOO. There is both good and bad, laughs and deep pain, when I am with them.

Also, so interesting what you were saying about how your son relates to your mother and it’s just not in him to cave.


Hi Light!

It’s G-how are you?
I know this post was not directed at me, but I can really understand where you are coming from.

I’ve started to look at the whole ‘keeping myself in a victim status’ in a whole different way over the past few months. From my experience, I’ve always been ‘rewarded’ by my family when I become an unthreatening, unindividual victim. They appriciate my sadness and self-loathing (though they would never admit it, even to themselves) because they can always blame any of their own self-loathing on me, and focus their attention away from their failures, and onto theirs.

So I try not to blame myself when I find myself hating myself. It was conditioned into me, and I needed to act that way to survive (to please my parents, so they always felt like they were better than me; my father even says of his past abuse- “Well, the reason I didn’t get help was at least I was going to work” and still does this kind of thing, saying things like “I didn’t need someone to help me pay for college” and “I don’t need to go to therapy”- I don’t talk to him anymore because the theme of his conversations is generally “I am better than you- let me prove it”). If I was individual and self-confident, I likely would’ve been on the streets or locked up at 14. But both of those things happened anyway, because I am a human being and therefore do not exist to please just him (I am sure this was a shock, and also sure that my parents had me to fix themselves, with no regard to the fact that fixing them was not in my ability NOR my responsibility)

The minute I start to be happy, or do well, it creates panic and anger in them, and therefore fear in me. Happiness and confidence is equated with fear because happiness and confidence were consistently punished to the extent of losing food/shelter/clothing/safety/medical care/free will! So it’s not my fault- but it is a shame that I won’t allow myself to feel ok, at least not publicly.

Anyways they experienced panic and anger, and would attempt to supress these good confident feelings by any means necessary. It’s a panic, because deep down, they know that, if I’m ok, and they’re still angry, even if it’s at me, its probably not my fault (again, this is deep down, subconscious). They need a reason to be angry with me, to hate me, to bully me, to demean me. Therefore I must always be evil, crazy, or pathetic. And come to think of it, I was rarely defined by them in any other way (and yet others define me soooo differently!!!).

A good example is how even when I am doing well, or if my parents have not communicated with me in a long time, they comment on how “great” they are and how “horrible” I am doing.

My first step in ’emerging’ was hearing my mother sobbing, telling me how great she was doing, implying how weak and horrible I was, and saying any unhappiness she has was because of me. Well, she does this when I am in communication, but it was a shock to hear how I was the reason for her otherwise ‘perfect’ life going astray when I had not spoken with her for more than 1-2 mintues to ask for my passport in 8 months.

A great book I’ve just read is called “People of the Lie” by Scott Peck. A lot of people talk about it on this site, and it’s really helped me understand how some abusive people actually enjoy victimizing their children. It talks about why. It helped me so much to just understand. I was afraid to read it, because I didn’t want to admit to myself just HOW bad my parents were, but at least I am not in constant crisis trying to understand their behavior or ‘find’ the love that was never there.

In my mom’s case and dad’s, they will pity and feel sorry for people she doesn’t even know, as it distracts them from their own selves. Apparently in their realities, everyone is miserable, but they are happy.

It’s so confusing, but important to realize that most people actually do not want you to be a victim! Only unhealthy ones. I used to think everyone wanted me to be a victim, that I would be safer, and nonthreatening. So I attracted people who liked that (abusers). But healthy respectful people are concerned by that and do see how unhealthy it is and will avoid it, or at the very least they are oblivious. It’s only abusers who seek it out and nurture it to keep themselves in what they consider a position of ‘power’.

Wow! I know this is long, but I think this is such a huge topic and what you bring up relates to so much of this site and this issue in general.

Hope that helps!!



Hi Amanda
Welcome to EFB
I understand the pain! Something that helped me move forward with my healing was looking at the pain that was caused to me instead of only looking at the pain (she said) that I had caused her. I was the child who was not considered as valuable, not protected, always responsible for her feelings. Something was wrong with that picture. This isn’t about being heartless or cold at all. It is about mutual respect and real love which BOTH people in any relationship deserve. When I started to heal from the hurt in the past, the pain lessened a great deal.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi G! (and everyone)

Thanks for commenting. I addressed that last comment to Sherrie, but really most of it was meant for everyone.

Yes, this is a huge topic. I have heard of the book you suggested .. I want to read it. Another realization I had recently was that, for me, as dark and draining as it is to feel depressed, it is actually EASIER than feeling anger. The shift to anger is outward, directed at others, and means taking in the horror of what other people in my FOO are saying and doing…which ultimately means confronting them and probably leaving.


Hi Light!

Yeah, I agree, being depressed IS easier. To me anger represents a huge risk— so much to potentially gain and so much to potentially lose (not so much family as confidence, peace of mind, a feeling of safety from repercussions).

Right now I am depressed, and trying to let myself FEEL the anger in order to heal. In my case, I feel that my numb depression is mostly a ‘cop out’ replacing my actual healing. I keep telling myself I’m just trying to survive, not breakdown, but I don’t feel alive!

I guess that is better than constant crisis….this is all so hard.

But I hear you. It all makes so much sense. Thank goodness for this community! I would definitely feel like I was losing my mind without it.

One thing that strikes me is how little good accurate information is out there, both in the mental health community, books, and online! I am baffled and shocked at the articles out there regarding ‘parent abuse’- as if children have any power to abuse in the first place! Also, as far as online stuff, it seems like unless the abuse is purely physical, it holds no weight, is not legitimate! There is such a lack of information out there, but blame the victim seems to be so common in therapy/family therapy/online stuff…. etc.

I am all for taking responsibility when necessary, and I realize a part of my healing is to look at the places where I need to take responsibility. Ironically those places are not with my parents, where the most blame was placed. However, scapegoating is not therapy, parenting, or teaching responsibility– it teaches confusion and cruelty and abuse.

Ahhhh- ok, that was my typical rant!
I am so grateful for Darlene’s site, and all the members, as I think we are really helping eachother heal. The truth is healing. 🙂



Hello Darlene and everybody,
Brilliant piece of writing yet again Darlene.
My mother never did anything for me and never will apart from breaking my heart pretty much most days.She never ever hugged me and has never tolf me she loves me. She left that to my father when he sexually abused me. I sent her a small bare minimum Mothers Days card to the home she is in. Tomorrow I will not be visiting her and I know for sure that my father will be at the CH expecting me turn up. Well I am not going instead my husband and I are going to look for a new kitten to replace my dearly loved kitty who died the other week.
I have had enough of the name calling and constant blame for everything. When my (princess) sister who I love very much split from her first husband my mother blamed me saying if I had not introduced them in the first place it would not have happened.All she has ever said was not to bring any trouble to her homebecause she wouldnt be interested.Well for 63 yrs she has been true to her word. Now its my time.My father will be rocked rigid that I dont go to the CH tomorrow.
The visiting can be left to him.They have one another now. Thank you so so much for all the support I have been given just from reading everybodys comments.Wendy xx
Darlene I think you have two Wendys.Comment 42 is not from this Wendy.
Thank you xx


Hi Wendy
(there are so many duplicates here! It is helpful if you add an initial or a nick name to your name in order for people not to get mixed up. I think that there are about 4 wendy’s total! )

It was empowering when I decided that I had had enough; I had begun to see that I didn’t deserve to be regarded, treated and disregarded in the ways that I was.
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


For those of you who have gone low contact with your FOO:

Did it involve a move? I am so torn about staying vs. going. My friends/doctors/support people etc. are here. But if I stay I think I would be looked down upon by my family if I keep declining contact, not attending gatherings etc. and I may ruin the one or two positive family relationships I have if they are swayed by others. Also, I am the youngest and I could easily have it expected of me to take care of older family members.

It would be more gracious to just move, then I “can’t” come home as often and it wouldn’t be seen so much as rejection.


Hi Light
It is so much better if you come to the conclusion about what to do without being advised. Part of the problem for me was that I had been taught to depend on everyone else for direction and healing is about deciding the direction on my own. (not saying that you can’t share about it, just saying that only you can decided what is right/best for you)
I know how hard this is.
Having said that, in the case of my family I had already moved way before I drew any boundaries. The distance didn’t make that much distance. In the case of my in-laws, we didn’t move. At the end of the day, it is the boundaries that we set that made the most differences. Our families have a chioce about their part in all of this too. A big fear for me was that I would be rejected when I set the boundaries, even by people that I didn’t want to be rejected by, which of course happened. But the truth is that not being allowed to have a voice or make a decision for myself and not being respected IS rejection ~ so being rejected again wasn’t anything new. 🙂
Hugs, Darlene


Thank you for commenting Darlene. Yes this is hard. I think what I am asking for is any additional insight or experiences to expect that I haven’t considered re: moving vs. staying.

For instance, one thing I find difficult about staying here is that I hear about who came to visit my mother and when (like a stab in the heart when these family members don’t get in touch with me 10 min away). Though I could choose to put a boundary in place that I prefer not to be told.

At Christmas several family members stopped at my sibling’s home without knocking on my door – I live next door. That really hurt.

I am doing so much better about having a sense of self, and knowing my interests and direction. I’ve changed so much in that way the last three years. Things like personal style, music I like, interior design, and most importantly, a passion that I am pursuing, have all become clear to me.


It never ceases to AMAZE ME how simmilar our mothers are.
That fact I worked out its HER problem of HATEING me
It’s HER problem of insecurity etc & BLAME & ridicule & always voicing
Her DISSAPOINENT .. They are CONTROL things.
Back ended statements… YOU this YOU that!
I started to believe it as a very little girl.
I’ve had to just distance myself & make a decision to never go to her house EVER AGAIN
BY MYSELF.. Because I don’t drive and so I can’t ESCAPE if I feel the NEED TO.
I too tried to UNDERSTAND MORE etc whilst believing what I was told.
I thought you would turn out the best of 6 kids.
You are a disgrace.
LOOK AT YOU (I couldn’t see anything WRONG except I wasn’t perfect.
My hair IS CURLEY.. – I love my curls. But it was seen as a disgrace, messy
…. But ALL these statements were about HER NOT LOOKING GOOD.
The ONLY time she wrote me a note saying I’m so proud of what you do for
the church & Jesus .. STILL that’s selfishly orientated because I was in the front office & people seemed to “like me”
& being “Kathy’s Mum” brought her respect & favour.
So she started to enjoy this ‘attention’ .
Otherwise in her eyes I’m a piece of shit always in the way, a total embarrassment because if “how I Look”.
There is heaps of things that happened when I was a baby etc etc that HER INSECURITIES IF NIT WANTING TO LOOK BAD in others eyes DROVE HER BEHAVIOUR of
Blame others etc etc. point the finger at someone ELSE because deep down she DID FEEL BAD cis she DID do some TERRIBLY BAD THINGS.
And when she sees women down the street eg.
A lady has a disabled daughter & my mother sprouts how
she can see that mother just keeping her daughter pressed DOWN..
Won’t let her speak
Treats her like an IMBACIL
Oh but my mother KNOWS this disabled girl is
SMARTER than how the mother treats her etc etc.
Makes me feel SICK in the guts because HELLO
And STILL verbally beats me down & treats me like the imbecilic idiot slow bastard of a kid, deaf head STUPID.
But in front of people she’s different.
I’ve walked into a room on a few occasions where she’s stopped DEAD in the conversation because she WON’T
It comes down to SHE’S NOT HAPPY
People aren’t even allowed to praise me up because she gets a grave JELOUS thing happening because
SHE WANTS TO FEEL SPECIAL & has manipulated me into Doing Things that are ALL ABOUT HER &
No one ELSE is allowed to be happy because it highlights her feelings if deoravuty (where she is if not could be perspective because she’s pretty dam blessed in a lot of ways)…
No one ELSE except the 1st born girl & boy was ALLOWED to do schooling past year 11.
Because that’s what she did up to & anyone else topping her WELL.. She couldn’t handle that
.. Says me who felt I HAD to sneek to enroll as a mature age student to do year 12.
But oops. I did so WELL I was told I would be accepted into ANY University in Australia.
Then I did a Grad Dip that became a MASTERS.
So I guess that gave her something positive to tell the family :-/.
Tho she never said a word to me about it.
It just showed me what NOT TO DO TO PEOPLE.
It’s why I try reeeeeeally hard to Value People. To Encourage them.
But I’m NOT responsible to be THE ONE to do that for my mother or to SLAVE for her –


“Please share your thoughts about being taught that you were the one who failed and if you somehow believed it.”

I was angry with my parents about emotional and medical neglect, covert sexual abuse, and at them for being controlling and unavailable. I was constantly irritated, or withdrawn in my room, and I didn’t have the tools to speak directly or get help. We had no extended family around us, and I was so repressed I didn’t know how to ask for help at school. I had obsessive-compulsive behaviors. As I got older there were often outbursts over crazy things that were said or happened. For instance, like the time my mother thought that I wouldn’t be able to figure out how to use the air-pop popcorn popper when I was in my 40s…. . Or the time my father didn’t want to turn on the AC in the car even though my allergies were so bad and I was miserable on the trip…I “won” that one but I had to fight for it. These kinds of things happened all the time, along with the more serious shit. Infantilizing, controlling, using,ignoring, neglecting, drinking, deception. It was a quiet desperation and quiet dysfunction. This was mixed in with happy moments and happy memories as a family. My siblings were there for me as a child…they were my “emotional parents” and my mother is good with notes, cards, gifts, dinners, cookies. She makes the perfect acquaintance or grandmother where little is expected emotionally. So some people don’t really get what I went through.

So I had regular outbursts, and over time I became viewed as the problem and I came to believe it too. No one else was angry or having outbursts … it must be something within me! I think my brothers didn’t need as much emotionally as I did, and my sister got validation, limited, yes – but validation – from my mother. Also, none of them had to live alone with my parents for several years like I did being the youngest.

My brothers blame me for being angry with my mother. Their children are loyal to them so they distance themselves as well. My sister seems very competitive with me, whacks me down when I am up. She has garnered support for her “side”. At Christmas a few family members went to her home next door and didn’t even knock on my door. She says they were “following her lead”.

Yes, I guess they were – their choice. Now I make my choices. I am so hurt and furious.

Sorry so long and so many posts – working through this.


Amazing writing about an unfortunately common topic – for me my Mother has taught me what NOT to do when raising my daughter.

The confrontation I had with her went nowhere, like your other readers. I have instead chosen to keep contact to a civil minimum and not react, listen or interact with the negativity. I choose my side of the conversation so as to not bate her negative words.
We have an obligatory relationship and she has chosen to treat her only grandchild (girl) in the same way she treated me. Sho now I am teaching my daughter that it is not ever her, it is and will always be her Nan’s problems.


The Toxic Mother – Daughter Relationship ….

It’s a very difficult concept for those who are lucky enough to have a healthy relationship with their mother to comprehend.
While my mother’s second husband was my emotional, physical and sexual abuser, my mother abandoned me and believed, protected and joined my abuser in being critical of me. She told me to, “Stop causing trouble.” She’d demand that my brother and I not question anything we were told to do by shouting the command – ‘Do as you are told’, then be furious when, fearful of making a mistake, we didn’t make decisions for ourselves by screaming ‘Do I have to breathe for you too?’ So demeaning — She set us up to be abused, not just by her but by anyone else who came along.
I was in the way, not suppose to need anything, not suppose to be angry or to get bored waiting endlessly for ‘them’ in the car, not suppose to complain get hungry or tired, suppose to work like an adult – lifting and carried stuff that weighted almost as much as I did. No one ever said ‘Please’ or ‘Thank you’ to my brother and I but we were required to say it to them as well as ‘I’m sorry’ for any and all infractions, whether we were at fault or not. We were called stupid, pansy’s, dingy kids, lazy, smelly and selfish. My abuser made me the butt of his jokes – not only did my mother laugh, she’d scold me for enjoying the ‘joke’ that was at my expense.
She wouldn’t allow me to associate with boys under any circumstances while in junior high and high school. She told me straight out that I couldn’t be trusted. “I don’t trust you any farther than I could through you”, she hissed. Now, mind you, her husband had been molesting me since I was 8 yrs. old … but “I” was the one who couldn’t be trusted!? I begged her for a lock on my bedroom door, screamed when he touched or tickled me, resented doing things for him and openly ‘hated’ him. She NEVER-EVER asked me why. She was just wanted me to STOP being the problem and was furious that I wouldn’t.

In the last year and a half, I rarely speak to her. She calls to criticise and demand contact so I can take care of her emotionally the way I always have. “You’re my baby” she whined into the phone – I wanted to vomit. I’m 57 years old. I’m NOT her baby – and what she doesn’t understand is there was a time when I was a child and needed her – but it wasn’t convenient to be my Mother – choosing the abuser and her own needs instead of protecting and nurturing her children.


Hi Darlene – I have been “off” your site for a couple of months. I have yet to read this post. I wanted to send a donation – (Yes, it came to me “suddenly” that you and all of the beautiful souls who contribute here have helped me to carry on these last four (4) years!!) I was unable to enter my state of California on the paypal form. Some of us do not enjoy discussing the basics of funding but I do wish to participate. I truly do not know how I would have survived with out the amazing and practically unspeakable support I have received through all of you….
I did not have this trouble before – maybe an instructional email…
Hope I did not interfere with content too much…


Light, I had the same angry outbursts and emotional instability after
years of invalidating abuse as a child. They started at about age 9 and
just got worse as they became my normal response to all the hurt.
They indicated that I was damaged and crazy and a bad child.
As I became a teenager the anger became more self directed and
destructive. And it was always, always seen as my craziness.
So boy do I identify with what you wrote. Thanks for sharing because to
me its a proof that the abuse damaged us. We were not born bad.



It is so helpful to hear you talk about your family. It brings up a lot for me. Triggers, in a good way. 🙂
Being the ‘angry’ one? Yup.
Being the reason why the family is in dysfunction, even according to your own sibs who you know have been abused too? Yes!
My siblings are so loyal and it hurts. It hurts that they have to take it (though on some level I know it is not up to me to ‘figure it out’ or tell them how bad it was) and it hurts that I cannot have contact with them.

On another note, my father often speaks for my siblings. I believe him everytime! He says how much they dislike me, want nothing to do with me, etc, etc,. I finally realized he was talking about himself! He dislikes me, wants nothing to do with me, etc etc (and maybe he dislikes himself too etc). However when I talk to them, they have been happy to talk to me, very happy. However, when it is in front of my father (since I don’t ‘side’ with him) they tend to agree with everything he says, and all of a sudden are so much more offended and horrified by my behavior, than they would be if he wasn’t there.

It hurts because it is so obvious what he is doing, but they seem to have no clue. As a result we all suffer, though none of us are at fault- sick.
I have been reading the Biography of Malcolm X, and while about racism specifically, it’s really about the abuse of equal human rights.
One thing that stuck out to me in that book was when he talked about the white people keeping black race divided and fighting against each other as a ‘trick’. I think this is a trick in a lot of abusive families-
the siblings who could unite and help eachother and get away from their abuser, end up hating one another and doing what their abuser wants. Malcolm X has some amazing insights on abuse. But to me it’s just crazy on top of crazy. Sometimes I feel like my father is just one big hate factory.

He hates himself, he hates us, he (tries) to make us hate one another. It’s just like a breeding ground of hatred. It can be very overwhelming at times, but I love my siblings deep down, even if we can’t comfortably communicate- because of his effortful attempts at getting us to turn against eachother- he is truly devious- because even if they are in denial, they are just doing what they feel they have to, to survive. They did not abuse; he did. I have to remind myself of this, when I get angry when his side, not mine, is taken- they are frightened victims, but HE is at fault, not them.

Sometimes, honestly, I am convinced this man is the devil. Maybe because I am learning about religion, and I see so many correlations between the devil and my father.

And I think it was interesting what Darlene said earlier- about making your own decisions (thank you Darlene! That helped me too!). I am at a point where I’ve been asking for advice, getting it, and thinking, no, no, no that goes against my intuition. A lot of people trying to shut me up mostly. And in the back of my mind it keeps doubts where if I had just listened to myself, I would not have doubted- I think that’s a big reason why my healing is at a standstill- people who do not want to face the truth are telling me to not face the truth and I’m listening to them- not me.

It is so hard, and I totally agree with Darlene- I’ve been raised to ask for advice and not value my opinion, intuition, individuality too. But it’s powerful.



It’s crazy how so many of us were scolded for our “outbursts” or our temper being out of control. As a low to NO contact adult, I will still hear the complaint of how I could not control my emotions…NO, I guess not, after trying to express them dozens of times with no ear. I can not imagine playing those mind f*%k games on any one!! I feel so much better not having a relationship with my parents. I never had a real emotional connection with either one of them and when I finally let go – my whole body became more healthy…


Wow- yes!

For me, my ‘outbursts’ which I liken to being screamed when you are getting stepped on, were written off as ‘mental instability’. It even got so bad last year that I was diagnosed with BPD, as according to the diagnosing therapist it is about ’emotions out of control’- damn right abuse makes me emotionally out of control! Something about that diagnosis made me feel as if, yes, I really was insane, it was my fault. Many, not all, people since the person who diagnosed me with that (who also sided with my abusive father, despite seeing him lie to my face WHILE calling me a liar) have disagreed with that diagnosis.
I know most people don’t think I’m crazy, but my father can always convince me that I am when he feels he is not winning an argument.

Regardless, I am now ashamed, and because the diagnosis has been thrown in my face by FOO I know that they interpret any emotional reaction of any kind is because I’m ‘crazy’. My mother even looked up all of the symptoms of BPD and during a fight screamed at my dad “Honey, she’s splitting, help me!” – she didn’t even know what splitting was- and after looking it up, I realized I wasn’t even doing it. She just liked being able to make me feel like a freak.

Even when my only diagnosis was social anxiety, whenever my mother would harass me and I’d react, she’d go, “Are you on your meds?”. Medication made me worse, but was not an option- my mom thought it made me ‘better’ because it numbed me so much that she would yell and insult me in the car ride home from school and I was too zonked out to react. So to her, my ‘mental health’ is taking abuse.
My sis flushed hers down the toilet, and I wished I had the guts, but was too afraid- so instead I got all the side effects. My mother accused me years later of hiding my meds all around the house (?) anyway.

It seems like whether we did something or not, we were blamed. It truly distorts reality to be blamed for things you haven’t done. No wonder I feel guilty all the time.

Anyways I think all the shame around ‘outbursts’ is to silence us, to shame us into not standing up for ourselves. I am having a real debate with myself. I know that I need to say one last goodbye to my father, I need to tell him what I’ve always been too scared to tell him, unedited- for me, not him. I’m not afraid of ‘losing him’ or even necessarily his anger. But I am afraid of his gaslighting, the whole “oh, wow, I feel sorry for you, you know you’re just crazy and saying anything of merit, true, and uncompromising is just proof of your crazy so it’s just not true you poor crazy liar” and me believing it. The only time I feel crazy, is when I believe that I am crazy. other people don’t pity or dismiss me in that way, but I start to feel mad whenever I talk to just him or my mother. It took me too long to realize, there is a reason for that! It’s not just me it they are the only ones who drive me to life-threatening extremes, time and time again.

On some level, they must enjoy it. They enjoy grinding me into the ground, they enjoy pitying me, they enjoy making it look like they will help me just enough so that they can break their promises and grind me back into the ground. But as much awareness as I have now, it’s like he casts a spell on me whenever I talk to him, I believe it, I believe things I have evidence against, things that aren’t true, things he does while he blames me. He is in such denial about what he’s done, that I think he really does think those things about me, and with such a lack of doubt on his part, I think, well, he must be right, I must be crazy, evil, guilty, criminal, mean, responsible for his financial problems, responsible for my mother’s happiness, the reason she is sad, greedy for wanting adequate medical care and clothing, and born to serve him and undeserving of exerting any form of free will or opinion.

I am DONE with that.
Now I just have to figure out how to show him without him casting a spell on me, I think its what Darlene calls the ‘spin’.




Tonight, I have had to deal with consequences of standing up for myself.

My poor children. All three of them cried at various points tonight because they were upset their favourite aunt decided it was easier for her to cut off all contact rather than have the courage to hear me, acknowledge and validate how she has hurt me.

It is too easy for many adults to forget that their actions impact so many. Not just the individual……..but it infects the whole family.

I won’t back down and act like a doormat anymore……and have tried to explain to my children that it is better to have a few good friends and loved ones……than many people in their lives who really don’t care at all.

They feel that they have been rejected, just as I have been rejected.

In truth, that is exactly what has happened……but how the heck do you explain that to an 11, 9 and 7 year old.

Gosh, tonight, I really do hate so many adults in my life.


Hi Kathy
Yes. That is exactly what this site is all about.
Thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Kelly
That is awesome that you are teaching your daughter that it isn’t her fault.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Susan
OMGosh.. no matter how many times I hear these things, it never gets easier! It is horrible that parents can treat children (PEOPLE) this way.
Thank you for sharing. There is recovery from all of this!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Tamara
I don’t know what to tell you; this sounds like a paypal problem, not an efb problem. The form has to do with paypal not with my site. I checked it from my end and all is well with it here. I really appreciate your trying to donate; perhaps you can try again??
Hugs, Darlene


Controlling ppl will use anything that they can as proof against you that you are the problem. That includes any kind of diagnosis. (and half the time the diagnosis is wrong anyway and the actually problem has been caused by the dysfunction and discounting from these same controlling ppl) Something I learned was not to give so much information to them. I watched my mothers husband constantly worry over my mothers medication and use it against her. It’s a terrible thing!
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Ginger
Yes, this is a tough one alright! My kids were very hurt by the fact that their grandparents abandoned them too. It didn’t take long however for my kids to realize how manipulating etc. their grandparents are. I used to feel bad that my kids ‘lost’ their grandparents in this whole thing but today I am relieved; once I understood what drives these people I knew that my kids were next in line! I don’t miss any of it.
Hang in there! Hugs, Darlene


Great points about the contradictions! They teach us NOT to have emotions and then remind us that we were out of control… Thanks for sharing
hugs Darlene


Darlene and everyone.

Please …..indulge me. I need and want to share this with you.

A year ago, my husband left me and our 3 children……for about 3 or so months. It was a tough time but we are together again…stronger than ever.

However, during our time apart, his sisters decided it was the perfect time to draw out their claws. They treated me no better than garbage, even though I had committed no crime. They all thought it was the perfect time to kick me while I was down.

When my husband returned home, I read his email exchanges between him and his sisters and was horrified by the communication exchanges between them. It was even worse than what I knew about.

I confronted each of my husbands four sisters. Each of them refused to discuss any of their actions …….but in a gesture that I should forever feel grateful (NOT), I was asked to let go of any ill feeling with a blanket apology. They told me that they didn’t feel it did any of us any good to discuss the past. I have repeatedly said no; it does not work for me. I need to discuss how you hurt me.

I have been given all sorts of excuses, including that they suffer from depression, I suffer from depression, let it go, it is unhealthy to live in the past, etc. When the excuses don’t work, they then move into the mode of “I will not subject myself to this any more”.

Time passes, and they come back again to request we try to re-establish a relationship again. I say fine…….but I really need to discuss what happened a year ago. And the cycle repeats over and over again.

More recently, their manipulative attempts have become more desperate. Now, they’re saying if I don’t let it go, they will walk away and cut off contact with not only me but my husband and my children.

At that is where we were up to until my last post earlier today (#93).

Tonight, I broke the news to my children. My 9 and 11 year old were hurt. They felt rejected. They felt unloved. And they emailed their aunts to tell them how they felt.

My youngest surprised me the most. He did not take it personally. He accepted it for exactly what it was. At the age of 7, he was able to tell his aunts that he was sad because they didn’t care about him. Not that he felt uncared for…….but they did not care.

Anyway…….I have been angry and sad and upset for my children. They went to bed about 5 hours ago and I have not been able to sleep.

I felt like a lioness who was so desperately wanting to protect her cubs but felt powerless. I didn’t know how to.

I then realised that I just need to say what is in my heart….and damn politeness. I have just sent the following message to my 4 adorable sister-in-laws. I hope they get the message loud and clear.

I emailed the following:







Karen and GDW I am glad that my posts had value for you. I am finding so much value in hearing about the experiences of everyone here.


Hi Darlene,

Thanks you so much for this post. I am new to this web site but I absolutely love it. I finally feel like I have found a community of people who know exactly what I am going through and have been through. This past year has been the most painful one in my life (of 45 years)as I broke off contact with my entire family (parents and 3 younger sisters). The only family member I am still in contact with is my younger brother who was sentenced the other day to serve a year in jail for drug-related charges. (and who also happens to be in poor health) I was the only one in court to support him and drove 6 hours round trip to be there while my parents and sisters who live 15 minutes away were not. They will not even accept his mail. I am struggling to understand how parents can cut their own children out of their life. To me, it goes against all the laws of God and nature. However, I guess I don’t need to understand it in order to heal. Anyway, this post describes my mother exactly and your recent one about the emotionally absent father describes my father. I am convinced that they are two narcissists who never should have had any children, never mind 5. I don’t know why this loss of family is so hard for me to accept and I know it’s not rational. If I had “friends” who treated me the way my parents did, I would not think twice about cutting them out of my life. Why is it so hard when it’s your family of origin? My brother keeps urging me to re-connect with them because he believes it’s the only way for both of us to heal. He is going to keep trying to reach out to them. He keeps saying that they’re old (70) and tells me we won’t be able to live with our guilt if one of them dies. While I support him doing this if that will help him, I don’t believe I will. My question is, what about their guilt if he or I die? Oh wait, they won’t have any. So, that is what I am struggling with now. My feelings of rage/guilt, rage/guilt…Anyway, thank you and everyone else for being here. It helps a lot.


Thanks so much for this website!


Hi Liz
The whole thing for me was realizing how one sided the relationship was ~ how the expectations were all on me. That I was responsible for the entire success of the relationsip. It was in realizing that was wrong, that this ‘parental entitlement’ made no sense in the true definition of love, that I was able to see thing from a different perspective. I am not the one who wasn’t trying. The mutual respect and equal value was missing. You are right, you don’t have to understand ‘them’ in order to heal but understanding the dysfunction was very helpful to me when it came to healing. Real Love isn’t about compliance or obedience. My biggest fear (before) was if they died I would feel guilty but that was because I still believed THEM that I was the problem and that I wasn’t tyring hard enough to FIX ME. Realizing that I was not the entire problem and that in face they were the ones unwilling to make any changes including mutual respect for me, is what set me free from that ‘fear’.
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


Darlene, what a timely post!!. I read this post a few days ago, and have been thinking about it ever since. I’ve been really picking apart the truths and lies about various things, memories, and such. You had stated that we must really take a step back and question our brainwashed beliefs, challenge the dysfunctional lies with open eyes. I firmly believe in the phrase, “actions speak louder than words.” But, as young children, often we are told that we should be seen and not heard, we have no voice, no right, nothing. I hate how this sets a child up to not believe their own truth, not to believe what their gut/intuition is telling them. For me, this is the beginning of the downward spiral of self esteem, and limited self knowledge.
My relationship with my mother was always one sided and confusing, conflicting and contradictory. SHe would fluctuate between telling me she loved me because I was her first born, “…it was always us.” ” I was asked to abort you, but I kept you….” She would say. ANd then she would ask why I continually hurt her, why did I purposely make her life more difficult. I was born with a birth defect, my mother passed me off onto whomever she could. She made it apparent at such a young age that she didn’t want to know, therefore, she wasn’t responsible for helping much less knowing how I was feeling. She never knew about me being beat up and picked on during my school years, eating out of trash cans in college, taking other people’s throw a ways because I couldn’t afford things. She never knew about my suicide attempts, she never knew about my pain, she never knew about how afraid I was to have surgery, I wasn’t allowed to be afraid, but so many times, all on my own, I had to be brave and not cry.
BUT she did know about me being molested at age 4, and did nothing. AND she still called me gay because I didn’t date, (Plus, I really couldn’t get dates either) I was so afraid of men, I knew about oral sex and things, when I shouldn’t have. HOWEVER, I was expected to be understanding and help her with her pain. I was expected to be compassionate and have empathy in her stepgrandfather abusing her at age 4, her being raped at 15, her being beaten by my stepfather, her pain, her sadness. I remember stepping in between her and my stepdad when he was beating her, pleading for him to stop hurting her. Not once, did she ever step in between me and my stepdad. She’d encourage my stepdad, egg him on. To tell her this stuff, she’d deny it all. Theres so much more, but the thing that hurts and angers me the most, is now that she’s gone, my siblings are content in ‘saint-ifying’ her memory. The behavior she inflicted on me and even my siblings, is now being done by them.
I totally agree with many of the things that Ginger said, in posts 93 and then in 99. My children know all about the abuse my mother and sisters and stepfather have done. They know they do not matter, they know they cannot trust these people. They too are hurt. My eldest daughter has become so hardened to them. Luckily my son has no idea of any of them.
I’ve grown up, gotten married, and had children, and I can’t remember who said it here, but I agree with them when they said that their parent has taught them how NOT to be a parent. That’s how I have learned.
Be open, listen, and love. Show your love in actions and in words. Be genuine, be real. Thanks Darlene.


I will try to post again…one of my worst memories of my mom was when I was very young and she would scream at me and try to beat me up saying, “if I told anyone then my body would be found in the woods in the blackberry bushes”–(a reference to missing children in the Seattle area–1970’s)

It was worse for me in some ways than other kids since I was an only child and there were no other kids in the home to share the ongoing family problems. It makes me mad to this day that only children are often labeled ‘spoiled’ and that “they can’t share!” I understand the labels of the ‘golden child’ and ‘scapegoat’ etc. but it’s so much harder when you were the only one to be hurt! I can try to post more–but I seem to be having computer issues…THX!


Yes Liz I feel the same way. If I had contact with my brother anymore which I don’t he would continue to try and guilt me into putting up with my mother’s abusive behavior, after all she’s older now and in poor health. Well my brother can keep his guilt and shame because I certainly dont feel guilty for no contact. They have both treated my husband and I terribly for years.
Thats sad that they don’t support your brother. But he’s an adult and will make his own choices. I guess we each have to choose our own path in regards to contact with abusive family.
Its funny but if its anyone but family abusing you people seem sympathetic, but the minute is poor old Mom or Dad, bang…you become the bad guy.
The way my brother tried to guilt us about my no contact choice made my decision on his personal abuse of me. In 6 months he never even called to hear my side. That is because he doesn’t want to know. Doesn’t want to be upset by my “emotional outbursts”. He is the golden child and will always stand with my mother. To them I am the crazy one.
OK, using that reasoning they certainly should have no desire/issue with not being associated with us anymore. I don’t miss them. He is my only sibling.
Their loss because we are fun, helpful, caring, and have always stepped up to help.- Karen



I am really sorry that that happened to you. She essentially threatened you with murder. What a terrible, terrible thing for her to say (couldn’t even type mo**er). I was the youngest, my siblings considerably older, so I had 6 years alone with them. You’re right, there really aren’t labels that I know of for the only child that supports them.


Hi Yvonne-

While I certainly don’t think anyone’s abuse was worse than another, as it can be invalidating to hear someone say that ‘my abuse was so much worse’, as it was all abuse, and I’m sure all on this site have suffered horribly, I do see what you are saying about the only child thing.

My mother and father used to gang up on me and my sister. Once we moved out, I assumed my little brother was spoiled and babied as he was never tormented, but the golden child WHEN WE LIVED THERE. However, once we moved out, my mother had no one left to abuse.

It can go a number of ways- siblings can support you, and validate your abuse, or side with the parents, heighten the abuse, and invalidate you more. Often they are just too afraid to do or say anything. What I’ve found is that my siblings acknolwedged it before, but as my father’s punishments get more and more frightening, there is less and less willingness to stand up to it, or even admit to it behind closed doors.

I did everything I could to make sure he would not have to live at home with my mother- and with a lot of planning and advice we finally convinced my parents to let him live with my sis. My mother doesn’t work and takes abuse from my father, so putting all that abuse and hatred was her full time job, and he was the only one home so 100% abuse went to him 100% of the time- that would drive anyone insane.

So again, while I don’t compare abuse as worse than or better than (it’s all abuse) I do see how it could be especially hard to not even get a ‘lunch break’ from the abuse as the only child.

At the end of the day, it matters that we are all heard and validated for the horrible things we’ve endured. It sounds like you’ve been through a lot, regardless of what outsiders think about the only child status. They don’t know because they weren’t there. I think it takes a lot more work, time and an open mind to see what is really there, when it comes to abuse.



Hi Darlene : Wonderful article yet again! So I begain my journey on last Christmas Eve and have been at this “healing” thing for almost 3 months now. I have found so much peace and have come a long way in a short amount of time thanks to your web-site. With no communication with her since Christmas Eve I have been learning how to value and respect myself and it is such a blessing because the rest just falls into place.

The past 3 days have been the toughest since I was not aware that my teen sons were in a way tricked into going to lunch with her and my nephew. I stood speechless and did not know how to feel, what was appropriate action, resulting in me doing nothing in regards to this issue besides feeling anxious the entire day and trying not to ask the boys too many questions. they didnt even want to go because they see what she does to me and really do not care for her by their choice. To then top it off I went to court with a friend today who’s son had been violated by a daycare worker (he got the max sentence of 39 years). This is super difficult for me because I had been molested most of my life growing up and my mother has “NEVER” validated my traumatic experience – in fact she demeans the situation. Anyway, shortly after I arrived at the courthouse she called my cell phone! Now I feel crazy in the head because I wonder if she knew I was there (she lives close to the courthouse), and has a history of spying on people. Her voicemail message was “Hi, just thought I would call, haven’t talked to you for a while, I would love to talk to you and I miss you”. Really, haven’t talked for a while “no shit”, did ya finally notice and why the sweet little message? If I had’nt talked to my child in 2 days my message would be “honey, is everything okay, are you okay, please call me I am worried and I love you.

I will be or already am the reason for her sadness – I did this to her and there will be no responsibility on her part for “a child shall rise up and call you blessed” UGH, I cannot do that!

My struggle at this point is that I have been trained to know how she feels at every second of the day and know that I am the ass for not calling her. I WANT time to heal, emotionally I would not be able to be strong enough to enter into such a Jerry Springer Show relationship again! I am trying to go by my gut and if it feels “yucky” then it is “yucky” and I remove myself from the situation, however I feel “yucky” in my own skin because I hear her voice and see her expressions clearly in my head saying “how could you do this to your mother”!

I guess I have been feeling strong but now that it is right up in my face I feel confused, angry, violated, and yes “broken” yet again! Does anyone have any advice as to if a person needs to give an explanation to the offending mother prior to departure? I just stopped talking to her after her rude distant demeaner towards me and I really do not know if that was the “right” thing to do. I had told her prior to that moment “don’t call me again” after she deceided to tell me that I “do everything right”, she “does everything wrong” and I am “Miss Perfect! So does it count can I just end the relationship without an explanation?

Thank you EVERYONE for sharing your stories I am learning so much from everyone and can relate with so many! I honestly never knew that others shared such a similar story as I. All I hold onto is knowing that “GOD”S GOT THIS” and I pray he will guide every detail in my life and the lives of others whom fall victim to such demise.

God Speed to Healing!


Seems like many Moms want the pain of their life experience acknowledged while ignoring the torture they are inflicting on their own offspring. I have been NC for 4 years and my mother sent an e-card valentine’s day greeting signed by “Dad”. It totally sounded like the way she talks. It was weird. My heart still feels the pangs of lost hope but I know I have to stand strong. I am going to be in their area (400 miles away) soon and am actually toying with the idea of a visit. Am I mad? I have come so far. Why do I still have the tug???


you have the tug because you desire what is good and right. They should treat you well. Remaining NC takes ongoing effort as it is not automatic. Just make a list of usual behaviors they exhibit towards you and watch for those during the visit. I am sure, if they are like my FOO, you can check off the whole list when it is over. I saw my folks for one hour in a restaurant in Dec. and they have gotten worse. I am maintaining less contact now as a result.


Hi Raven
When I hear things like “she was asked to abort me but she kept me” I hear the obligation attached to it; So she kept you and now you owe her somehow? Like she didn’t “have” to keep you? But the truth is that still doesn’t obligate YOU. All of your comments show the truth about what really went on some of which is criminal! That is what we are talking about here!
Thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Yvonne
What a horrible thing for a parent to communicate to a child! Talk about fear of death!
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Taz
The road to healing is full of bumps, caves, pits etc. It is hard to change the belief system that we believed is what kept us safe for so long. Something you said resonated deeply with me: about not knowing “HOW” to feel. That is a common thing on this journey when so much is “new”. I have found that as long as I keep trying to go forward, I get my feelings back! Hang in there!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Tamara
bingo. That is something I have noticed a lot too. (and i have written about it)
Thanks for sharing
hugs, Darlene


Responding to your previous response to me.

Both of of my parents worked to shut me up. My dad backed up his threats with physical force though. It is dam hard to be successful at work and socially when its your voice is taken away.

I am sitting here at work and had a revelation that I keep thinking that my bosses should be happy that I sit there do good job and dont say much. What it really means is that I am doing exactly what my parents groomed me to do, go do my chores and shut up. I am expecting my bosses to act like my parents, most pleased cuz I am quiet. I am dissapointed at work how my accomplishments are not recognized (and how can they be when I never talk about anything).

I used to be a scared wreck when talking to people. I still am but its not as bad. I spent 3 years in intense DV counceling by most wonderful women and I lost most of my fear of women. I still have fairly bad fear of men. I used to jump and recoil when people touched me. One day shrink told me, people touch u when they like you. Since then I have been training myself to not freak out at pepole touching me. Now I still notice it. If you touch me I will completely lose the conversation and focus on the touch. My mind will study it in detail.. maybe looking for a threat. Then I have to jump in and tell myself, this person likes you thats why they are touching you, its ok. And then I can move on back to the conversation. Its so sad that I am this traumatized. I was so cut off from humans.

I am still finding my real voice in life.


I wrote in all 3 letters to my mother explaining our issues before going NC. They were not rude or demanding and stayed on point. I listed the problems with our relationship that I wanted to address.
For 2 months after the 1st one, nothing. She in no way felt anything was worth talking about, avoiding any of my topic/questions when we spoke. She then was very demeaning and abusive again. Its like even when I put it in writing she didn’t hear me. Didn’t WANT to hear me. I just went NC after that.
Then 4 months later I got a call…”Hi! How are you?”.
Like well crazy Karen is probably over her emotional rebellion, now we can go back to the normal blah, blah blah abuse as usual.
I just told her straight out not to call or write me as I want nothing to do with the family any more. She started with “well I’ve be thinking…” I said no, Good Bye.
She had months to think, months to reply. It was just a scam like it always is with her, a hook to draw me back in.
Its been 8 months now and I feel so much better. I don’t miss her a bit. Karen


Hi everyone,

My mother talks about me having mental illness to anyone who will listen and all my aunts and cousins on her side don’t contact me at all, except to tell me how horrible I am for upsetting her. Not that they cant upset my head anymore as I don’t care about family approval.

I so relate to the emotional outbursts. I was so repressed/squashed for years (around 33 years of holding in all the dysfunction) and I kept exploding because I couldn’t take the constant drama and I was suffering from anxiety/stress/fear.

I found my voice 10 years ago, I sent her emails, I spoke to her at length, I spoke to my father (emotionally absent, his advice was to just switch off) my siblings (sided with mother to her face, agreed with me behind her back). My mother pretends that she didn’t receive my calls asking to talk. She walked away from me, she didn’t return my texts to talk about it. She lies about not receiving communication from me, but she chose to walk. I have chosen to stay away because I realise that she is the one who truly does have a problem.

I am really glad that I did try to explain to her exactly why our relationship had completely broken down because I needed to know that I really tried my hardest to make it work. If I had not confronted her, I think that I would still be holding in everything I needed to say. Even though I had a bad outcome and we didn’t manage to resolve anything, I feel I do have closure and peace that I tried and knowing she didn’t make the effort told me all I need to know about her behaviour. Someone once told me that when a dysfunctional person is confronted about their abusive behaviour, there is often an extreme result. They either shift their behaviour or leave your life. My mother chose to leave my life but says to all of the family that I walked away from her.

It was mother’s day yesterday and I spent it with my aunt and my cousin and we had a lovely, happy, normal fun day.

My aunt knew how sad it was that I was not there with my mother and when the waiter came and served us she said yes its very nice to have your daughters take you out on mothers day. That kindness and thoughtfulness was noted by me. My mother would never do that, she would have insisted that, this is my daughter and this is just my niece!!!

No Contact for me means freedom from abuse. I am at peace with my decision. I am happy now and I wish the same happiness and healing for everyone here whose stories educate me and validate me each day.

EFB is a godsend.


Emma (117)

OMG I couldn’t have said it better myself! You have managed to put down in words what I feel exactly. I have just gone NC with my mother after she returned my Mothers Day card to me last Sunday on Mothers Day having written on the envelope “how you can wish me a HAPPY mothers day is beyond me”. That took the wind right out of my sails as I still thought that after absolutely everything that she and I have been through, she was still my mother – obviously not.

My question to you (if you’d be kind enough to share) is how did you get to the place where you don’t care what people think (ie family, mutual friends etc). For some reason I am soooo angry that she’s going round telling people that I’m the one with the problem and poor her for what she’s going through. I can’t seem to get my head around that.

Thanks for your post – it really struck a chord with me 🙂



I still talk to my mom aka spawn of evil, once in several months. Mainly she calls. I hope to give less crap about her then she about me, and so far I out wait her every time and she calls. Also I blew off her last birthday. I still felt bit guilty and sent her bigger xmas present.
For me it is a tricky situation because the ahole parents brought me to this country and I have no other fmaily to rely on. I would have to have a husband and a solid family on my own to really tell them to ef off.
At the same time if I do a total ef off it might not look good for my long term plans of destroying my parents reputation with everyone. If I stop contact gently I can show people how my parents never call me because they have no intrest. This is the main way my mom abuses me , with neglect and silence. While other peoples moms are raging fiends actually picking up the phone, mine is a rejecting abandoning neglectful devil. It hurts so much that they would care nothing even if I did a complete ef u NC stand. It sucks. But back to my point of my long term plan of destroying my parent reputation. I step back and show people how they act and who they really are.
I have already started with family closest to me in Canada.. They know. Eventually I will infiltrate my other family back in home country and tell the truth or at least put myself in position of levarage that if they dont do as I say I will tell people on them.
In the end I will get ultimate revenge. I will etch on my parents tombstone they are abusive bastards. The only thing preventing me from not disclosing my name and my parents is my career opportunities. When I finally have total financial security, their names along with evil abuser mother effers will be all over the internet. And anyone that will google my moms name will know everything! and I mean eveything. I cant wait for that day.


Also would like to add as part of my revenge plans. I have dreamt of the day when I speak at my mothers funeral.. so many times. I have a speech prepared, unfortunately it will be another 20 years or so before I get to it. Maybe by then I wont be so angry but maybe I will. I am so dam angry with my mother. I can’t wait, for the day of her funeral. If anyone comes since she barely has friends, I will get to inform everyone… Here lies the devil, finally gone from this earth.


I was reading Kathryn’s post, and it made me think of an obituary that ran a couple of years ago. I’d be willing to be that the mother that has passed away was very much a narcissistic mother. I have my own thoughts on obituary’s and how to deal with the dilemma and stress. But, I found it on the internet and I’ve posted it here:

“Dolores Aguilar, born in 1929 in New Mexico, left us on August 7, 2008. She will be met in the afterlife by her husband, Raymond, her son, Paul Jr., and daughter, Ruby.

She is survived by her daughters Marietta, Mitzi, Stella, Beatrice, Virginia and Ramona, and son Billy; grandchildren, Donnelle, Joe, Mitzie, Maria, Mario, Marty, Tynette, Tania, Leta, Alexandria, Tommy, Billy, Mathew, Raymond, Kenny, Javier, Lisa, Ashlie and Michael; great-grandchildren, Brendan, Joseph, Karissa, Jacob, Delaney, Shawn, Cienna, Bailey, Christian, Andre Jr., Andrea, Keith, Saeed, Nujaymah, Salma, Merissa, Emily, Jayci, Isabella, Samantha and Emily. I apologize if I missed anyone.

Dolores had no hobbies, made no contribution to society and rarely shared a kind word or deed in her life. I speak for the majority of her family when I say her presence will not be missed by many, very few tears will be shed and there will be no lamenting over her passing.

Her family will remember Dolores and amongst ourselves we will remember her in our own way, which were mostly sad and troubling times throughout the years. We may have some fond memories of her and perhaps we will think of those times too. But I truly believe at the end of the day ALL of us will really only miss what we never had, a good and kind mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. I hope she is finally at peace with herself. As for the rest of us left behind, I hope this is the beginning of a time of healing and learning to be a family again.

There will be no service, no prayers and no closure for the family she spent a lifetime tearing apart. We cannot come together in the end to see to it that her grandchildren and great-grandchildren can say their goodbyes. So I say here for all of us, GOOD BYE, MOM


I meant, I’d be willing to bet, aHHH, not be…. sorry


Hi WendyMac,

Thank you so much, I am so glad my post reasonated with you!!

Ask me anything, no problem!

Just like you I felt angry at how she would trash me to relatives and make up lies about me. I would be floored by her behaviour too, I felt betrayed, put down and couldn’t believe that a mother would act like this. There really was no loyalty on her part. She wanted everyone in the family to think I was a crazy cruel monster.

It took me a very long time to get these reactions out and feelings out by facing the truth and by feeling angry, looking at the facts of her behaviour towards me, doing research (efb = godsend!).

Its been a process and I have felt so angry at times I would want to drive my car into a tree just to explode. I don’t feel angry anymore because I think when the anger is gone its gone, but its a process getting it all out I suppose was cleansing and healing for me.

I got so used to expecting my mother to trash me to anyone who will listen, I have accepted its part of her dysfunction and as disgraceful as that behaviour is, I have found peace in the total belief that its not my fault. She is dysfunctional and has an abusive personality. I don’t care anymore because I have gone through the grieving process which has included anger, negotiation, sadness and then acceptance and peace. Its been painful and yet necessary for me to go through this.

I feel that its like experiencing the death of a parent, although they are still alive and all those awful feelings like anger and sadness and negotiation, shock, frustration, betrayal I have felt and I now feel peace.

With peace comes the feeling of just not caring what they think about me because I know in my heart what they are, I know in my heart how hard I tried and how much love I had and I know in my heart that she will always lie to anyone about me.

Hope that gives some kind of explanation of how it worked for me. Everyone has their own ways, and my way may not work for many. Its really each to their own and trusting their own gut and intuition and learning and validating our own feelings and thoughts.

I also realised that I was addicted to finding validation and approval and “fixing” the relationship with my mother. I weaned myself off that behaviour and by doing research into abusive behaviour and finding much knowledge on efb I can see a lot of how abusers made me act in a way which was harmful to me. This also made me stop caring what my abuser and family said about me as I was no longer allowing them to get me hooked into being “desperate” for their “approval”. I took my power back and blanked what they said as everything abusers say about their victim is one big fat lie. I will listen to what someone says about me if they are someone who I know is not a controller or an abuser, it has to be someone who shows me genuine love and concern and respect.

Hope that helps and I haven’t waffled on for too long.



I live 1300 miles from my family, so I don’t have to deal with them living nearby. But you know I
don’t think it would make a difference. I plan to visit friends there next summer and I just won’t go near family.
Oh it angers me mostly that my mother stole so much bright promise from me when I was young. I mourn more the years lost to emotional instability and dysfunction. I missed out on self confidence, pursuing my dreams to be in a scientific field, better relationships built on love and trust, jobs where I wasn’t the doormat, etc. 50 years of thinking I was less than everyone else, all
because of her. She manipulates and lies. People who prejudge me and won’t even hear my voice (my brother) don’t deserve my concern. I know that sounds harsh. But when I put them and what they (whoever they are) ahead of me, all my life all it got me was the slow destruction of me.
They don’t get a say any more. – Karen


Raven..that obit could be my grandmother. My father’s mother. Couldn’t say anyone mourned her passing. As a matter of fact my grandfather (84) took up with his old girlfriend (from before they were married in 1919) within weeks! She was the initial instigator of my family’s dysfunction.



I am experiencing a similar situation as you. Because of the abusive behaviors of many in my FOO – I have chosen, for myself – and my kids, to go as low contact as possible. No more than one social visit with them a month (lately, it’s been even less than that). But, this is still not stopping them from using every opportunity to try and make me feel guilty for ‘disrupting the unity of the family’ … I live 3 blocks away from one source of the problems, and about 10 minutes from the other … Though I have set firm boundaries – and they no longer come to my home (and their calls/text messages/voice mails never get through on my phone) … we still meet at the same place 2x a week (we are of the same religion). They have used that as an opportunity to try and ‘make peace’ (i.e. tell me how awful I am and that I should just go back to ‘how things were, regardless of whatever pain they cause’ – as well as taking my little 4 year old aside and trying to say things to him about how ‘mean’ I am being to his ‘sweet grandma’ – “Tell your mommy that she is making your grandma cry – tell her that grandma loves her and tell her not to be mean to me anymore” … Do NOT involve my baby in your issues, people.) Living this close has made it difficult – it’s like this constant in-my-face reminder of how devoid of love my FOO is, the regular realization of rejection stings. While I am doing SO well emotionally – after going low contact with them – My husband and I have still decided to move about 3 hours from here (where his family is) – so that the negative ones of my FOO will have less access to and influence on me and our kids.

As for the remaining ones in the group of my relatives who we still like having around (a select few) … I feel like this: As much as I worry about them being fed lies about me … I’ve developed enough of a reputation with them to the point that – when they are told lies, they know I’ll tell them the truth. They now just roll their eyes and say to themselves “you know how Mom/grandma/or aunt is” (basically giving no value to the BS that they’re being told about me) And those favorite ones of mine still make an effort to keep in contact with us. There have been ones that I thought I was close to- but, they are so firmly entrenched in the false belief system that they have now taken a stand against me. It hurt, at first, but – now I realize that it’s better if I don’t have close association with ones who support such a negative way of acting. There have been relatives who have ‘looked down’ on me for ‘acting this way’ … but, really: ‘acting what way? Speaking up to people who are being hurtful? Not allowing my family to be surrounded by abusive behavior? … I’m doing nothing wrong. The WRONG thing to do would be to continue submitting myself and those I love to abusive people. So -they can go ahead and look down on me for that. As far as I’m concerned, the opinion of people who don’t care about my pain, or my kids well-being – is worthless – so there’s no point in valuing or responding to that opinion. (STILL haven’t said that to any of them, it’s enough for me to know it in my heart – saying it to them wouldn’t do any good anyway. Dense people.)

I feel like – for myself and my own immediate family, its for the best that we re-locate. I am building up my ‘family’ of friends in this area – in the meantime. (We still have to wait around til our house sells) So, we’ve started trying to make up our own ‘family’ in the area. Keeping busy with them has helped when there are FOO gatherings – we can always say ‘whoopsies, we’ve already got plans’ – and no one else (that is, no one normal) thinks anything of it (just the FOO gets upset – that’s fine, have fun with all that drama, we’re gonna just be over here enjoying life now. 😉 .. haha)

But, as Darlene put it earlier – it is a choice that we all have to make for ourselves. Only you can truly know what is best for your own situation. Thankfully my husband and I already know a good bunch of people where we’ll be heading to – so that helps me feel better. Knowing we’ve already got a support system in place. I understand what you mean about not knowing anyone where you’d be going to … Moving to a place where I know nobody, would be a bit too intimidating for me – (it was one of my DH’s suggestions – to which I promptly said ‘heck no’) So, thankfully we have that place (DH hometown). We had lived there years before, when we first got married – and (because I hadn’t yet ‘drawn the boundary line in my heart’) my FOO still reached me to the point that my crippling emotional issues (anxiety attacks, depression, serious thoughts of suicide) never lifted – despite the distance. It’s only with this work (the WONDERFUL help from Darlene and comments on EFB) that I’ve gotten better and I feel MUCH more confident about it staying that way (or even improving) upon our moving further from ‘the crazy zone’ … I feel strong enough now to actually take a more open stand against their messed up ways. yay!!!

Light, I really hope you can figure out what you need. Only you know what kind of stand you’re able to handle right now. I wish you the best! (Our journey is not exactly an easy one – but it gets better!)



Hi Kathryn
Something that I have oberved is that in the dysfunctional world, death will not change a thing. If people see my parents as ‘just fine’ now, they will see them as even more wonderful in death.
I found that I couldn’t rely on them at all, so being without them was not a loss. Recovery for me has been about learning self care and loving myself and filing all those voids that were not filled in my childhood and beyond.
I had so much anger and hurt that I believed revenge was the only way that I could get rid of it, but I found out that was not the solution. The solution is in healing from the damage. Today I don’t have any of that pain and I don’t care how anyone sees my parents. I just know that I don’t get abused or discounted anymore and it feels pretty great. 🙂
Thanks for sharing.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi All!
Darlene, thank you once again for a thoughtful and insightful post! You have a gift of being able to articulate the nature of the abusive and unequal mother/daughter relationship, helping to cut a light through the fog!
I, too was struck by the sheer meanness of your mother pulling this right after the birth of your second child. What a killjoy! But of course, it wasn’t about her, and I suppose she had to find some way to denigrate you.
I am going to start asking for mutual respect as well. For instance, I am not including in the planning of any holiday events, just informed of when and where, with a glib “hope you can make it!” (though we dont give a crap if you really can, we just want to be able to say to others that we actually invited you).
I am planning a birthday party for my Dad, without input from my sisters. At a time which works for me. I am inviting my brother and his family from a distance as well. It will be interesting to see if, and how, they will attempt to foil my plans, lol.
It is amazing how our mothers share many of the same faults: always blaming chidren, taking no responsibility for their child’s self esteem,shining the spotlight on others, so as not have to admit their own faults, or take responsibility for their actions.
Last night, my S.O. and I got into a discussion about if mean or evil people exist in the world (I say “Yea” to this,he says nay). He believes that all mean and unkind acts result from bad/abusive experiences or neglect on the the part of the evil doer. It is amazing to me, because we all have come from neglective and abusive backgrounds, yet try and chose to rise above it. I think it is the response we choose that defines us a person. I guess this may be because he is a golden child. And having observed my own mother choose to treat each child of 5 very differently, I can say it is a choice!


Hello Wendy Mac,
No matter what you do to please your mum it will never be enough,they keep moving the goal posts. That is how it is with my parents. I am sorry that the card came back to you,that is not your fault.Your mum is to blame, she is rude,spoilt and childish.Sorry if it offends.In my book rudeness is not being aware of other peoples feelings.Of course I can think of much stronger words.She wouldnt send a card back to a neighbour who she didnt like because she has not got the courage or would not want a neighbour to think badly of her. BUT yes do it to the daughter that is ok.Well it isnt.I sent my mother a card but did not visit.I have done enough all my life trotting after everybody trying to please please please.What happens I get taken advantage of(at my age).Toughen up I keep repeating to myself. It has been drumed into me that everybody is more important than me and it hard to change. Reading the comments on this site is a huge help to my healing. I will get there.xx
Well written. Your comments are always encouraging. xx


This post has been so enlightening and I’ve been thinking about it a lot. The explosive nature of the number of comments here have definitely kept my mind going.

The night before last I was sitting in bed thinking and I had a memory float back to me. It’s been happening a lot since recovery began. It’s like they rise from some murky depth, and they come with feelings.

When I was 7, after my oldest sister got kicked out of the house, my other sister was baby sitting me. She would have been 13 or 14 at the time. She convinced me to let her tie me up with my skipping rope, and then she tickled me so bad I peed myself and I screamed so loud that one of the neighbors called the police and they came a few days later (I’ve always wondered about that!). This event wouldn’t be quite so traumatizing if I had been believed by my parents. Of course they didn’t believe me, and my sister did not get in any trouble when the police came; I’m sure I was passively if not actively blamed for it, since that has been a trend, heh. If I had done what she did to me, but to her, I can’t even imagine the amount of shit I would have got in. But this I’ve always remembered. I remember it happening, remember wetting myself, I remember running over to the neighbors house after she let me loose. I never touched my skipping rope again after that, and tickling (obviously) became unbearable for me. I’d like to say my trust in my sister was injured after that, but it’s been a thing between her and me where I just blindly forgave and trusted her, despite all the things she did that showed I shouldn’t forgive or trust. Since recovery this has been communicated to her, and she largely ignores me now. No surprise there.

When I was 9 we moved to the farm. It was fairly isolated, a couple miles from any other house. This memory came to me the other night. My mother would say things like they would never hear me if I got tied up in the pig barn, or that I could scream and scream out there for hours and no one would hear me. Of course, if I brought it up what these things meant to me, I would have been told I was being too sensitive (a trend in my relationships with them). The feelings that came with this memory are all related to fear. Fear of being put out in the pig barn to scream away, fear of being tied up again, helpless. Did not want a repeat incident, but I didn’t realize that not everyone gets told those things by their Mum. Other people’s Mums don’t use traumatic events to control their children, but I didn’t know or understand, or comprehend that. It had been my experience, my only experience. Same woman told me last year that if abortion had been available, she would have aborted my sister. At my birthday lunch. She was shocked when I said I’m glad she didn’t because then I wouldn’t exist. What a charmer, my mother.

I look forward to these rememberings, but it hurts too. No wonder I forgot almost everything before age 9, and of THOSE memories that
I remember, I have hardly any with my family. I remember being alone in my room a lot, or crying outside in the playground at school, being bullied, or being at my neighbors house eating their delicious, homemade treats. I remember some sort of sexual abuse happening when I was very small, but I can’t say what happened, who was there, or if it was even happening to me. I remember, but I don’t at the same time. Hard to explain.

I think this post and all these comments helped bring this memory to the surface, and it really reinforces my belief that distancing myself is a good thing. I am just glad (and sad, by default) that I don’t have to look very far to find examples of good reasons to stay away from them. I have my entire life to look at, in addition to all the stuff they pull whenever I see them. I don’t really care about THEIR reasons for the abuse anymore; I used to care, but their angle is all about me not being a real person and I know that to be untrue. I see their abuse, I hear their abuse, I feel their abuse, and I know it is abuse, and it is no longer in my nature to passively tolerate it. I no longer wonder what’s wrong with me, and my suicidal feelings have finally passed (I’ve been struggling with it since I was 12, when I first tried to off myself, but I’ve been free of them for about 4 or 5 months now), I am being successful (in the way I want to be) and I am relatively happy. So, since addressing these issues, since recognizing that I am not the problem, since finally confronting what I need to confront, placing responsibility where it belongs, and being resolute in my determination to be myself, love myself and to not betray the little girl inside me like they betrayed her when she was standing right in front of them, I feel like I am finally here instead of somewhere far away trying to escape the pain that I didn’t understand, and was not initially caused by me. I ran and ran, until I couldn’t run anymore. Running never eased my struggles. I falter in my efforts on occasion now, when I am triggered, but I feel safe inside my skin in a way that I didn’t before, so when I am triggered the results are not usually devastating. I see the process and I see them for the snakes they are; I feel the pain of the loss, but it is a pain I am eager to endure since it means recovering the remainder of who I used to be, and to integrate her into who I am now.

I look forward to my recovered memories, to validate myself and use that as a tool with which to navigate this nasty business. But at the same time, I reconcile with the reality that I may never recover my memories. My heart sings thanks to my efforts, but it would never have learned the words to its song without this community, that is for sure.

hugs, love, and my thanks to everyone, and especially to Darlene


Thanks Darlene. Thanks for the words. I do hope I will not be this angry in a year or so and will heal this somehow. I feel like I am dripping venom venting here. Thanks for letting me vent here.

I always had problems with my anger being stuffed because my father threatened me with physical force at a first sign of it. If he did not beat me first I would have beat him and my mother up. I hate being so oppressed by my father. I feel like I can not be me, can’t protect myself, fight for me because of this chain i have on my neck. I absolutely hate it. I also cant wait until he is too old to fight me and I am stronger. I feel like I have this glass ceiling to my being because there is a wall I cant cross or my father will beat me. I did ended up telling him I will report him to police which ended the physical threat but that psychological wall remained. I ended up marrying a guy I was barely attracted to but the selling point was that he couldnt beat me up. We are no longer together cuz obviously that was not a good basis of relationship. Also I think I now end up dating men I can control in some way because I am so scared to be dominated again. I hate being dominated by anyone, at work or anywhere. I will not give anyone trust with my person.

Not long ago being angry caused me anxiety, entirely related to being threatened about being angry. I am not entirely sure but I think I lost my fear of being angry, by a lot. I also have fear of being angry with my mother and I feel oppressed by that. With her my fear is more that I will be abandoned and told off. I will be made to feel horrible about myself. And then she will sick dad on me. I am so angry at her for preventing me from having my own feelings, even of anger. I hae she didnt let me be angry with her. I hate she didnt let me be happy. I hate she didnt let me be great. I hate she didnt let me special. I hate it. I have such a hard time finding that inside me now, and that makes me angry. What right did she have to deny me being great.

There was nothing and I mean nothing good in my interaction with my mother when I was young. The thing that saved me was her total neglect of me allowed me a lot of time away from her in nature. I was a 10 year old hiding in the bushes dodging perverts at 10pm at night in a city. It was better then being at home. I thank her for sending me away from her so often. In part she had to because when I was home I would get sick. I was so consantly sick around them. I had every disease on this planet. In a way she had no choice but to send me away where I magically got better. Besides few memories I have mostly amnesia from the trauma. I hate how she didnt care about me. I hate how toxic she was that made me sick all the time. I hate that she was so unsupportive. I hate that she didnt love me. I shohudl have ahad a normal mother that loves me. I deserved all of that. All that great good feeling stuff. I deserve to live out my dreams without fear.


Thank you so much Wendy am, Karen and Emma for your comments (and everyone else who contributes to such great posts!) I find sometimes that I can’t put down on paper or in fact vocalise how I’m feeling or why I’m feeling the way I do and reading everyone’s posts helps me so very much.

I now realise that I’m sort of in a grieving process for my mum who I thought for many many years was so wonderful and am now realising did nothing but manipulate me, lie to me, disrespect me, emotionally blackmailed me, etc, etc, etc!

My parents divorced after 35 years of marriage and both still live very locally to me. They both have new partners; my fathers is a lovely lady who has helped my dad to blossom into a fantastic loving human being whilst my mother’s partner is an enabler who is incredibly weak and will do anything for a quiet life. My father is fully aware of what’s been going on and has tried in his own way to make things better between my mum and I. Of course he was unsuccessful as she’ll never change. He does keep on saying though that he’s sure sometime we will resolve our issues and have a relationship again. I’ve realised that although I understand he wants the eutopia of everyone loving everyone else, by saying this to me on a constant basis just delays any healing I’m trying to do. I’ve decided to write him a letter to try and put down in writing why this will never happen and how he must stop telling me that everything will be alright – it won’t! I know my mum phones my dad to find out how we are and what we’re up to (just so she can report to her friends – she’s not really interested in us). I’m going to ask my dad in my letter if he’ll refrain from telling her anything about us – don’t know how he’ll react to that as he feels as my mother and a grandmother to my children, she “deserves” to know how we are 🙁

As my mum and I only live 3 miles apart, I absolutely dread the day when we will bump into each other at the shops or whatever. I really don’t know how I”d react to seeing her. It’s got to the stage that I will only go to our main shopping mall when I know she’s at work so it’s affecting my life which has got to stop as I should be the powerful one now, not her!

|It feels so good to share this with other kindred spirits who get exactly where I’m coming from – you are all keeping me sane !! 🙂 Thank you xx


Hello Wendy mac,
I smile at your fear of bumping into your mother at the SM. The same thing happened to me only with my father.It was in Sainsburys SM and he caught sight of me and came over to say that I had caused lots of trouble. (How could I be blamed I’d been out of contact for 5yra after he had attacked me with a poker for having a difference of opinion from him over my childhood) I walked off and managed to escape from an emergency exit. LOL Well it was am emergency I was scared.Shortly after they were robbed by two men posing as Water Board Officials.They had kept money under the mattress.For goodness sake who does that in this day and age!!! My princess sister asked for me to go round because they were so upset.To be very honest although I did think of them whilst I had kept away I was happier because they couldnt emotionally hurt me.Things improved for a while but now it is back to no contact.
So be prepared for an escape route in the shopping mall.Think of something ready to say or what you might do.Be prepared if you live in a small town.xx


I so understand this post. My mom has been in bed for 15 years becasue she never took care of herself yet she blames her mis-fortunes on me and the truth I told about the family.

I miss having a mom.. I never had one that wasn’t sick in bed.. I miss the thought of having a mom/daughter relationship.

Thank you for sharing this…


Wow, what strikes me about all this is remembering how my parents so many times rejected me already.(ie they went no contact, but only at the times when they knew I’d need them most- the times when I had no one, or was too unstable to be in school, and no resources, or was really really not functional due to having needs met). To blame me for NC seems odd. They went NC when I needed them, when it would hurt me. Now that the only way they can hurt me is with words and emotions, they are so hurt that I would choose NC! As if I did it in the first place!

They times they rejected me were always when my survival and safety was in jeaprody:
-After I’d been living in my car and then with a guy I didn’t like. My father said he’d help me out with school, but I had to drop a class, so he cut down his contribution with no warning, Just one day, I didn’t have enough to pay rent. I remember showering in the school bathroom before my finals. I came home thinking I would get support, but of course that was not the case.
-When I had almost died from an overdose of xanax and my aunt paid for my mother to come down and stay with me. She would not even hug me though I had gone days without talking to people and felt I was going crazy, and ignored me when we first met, texting the whole time. She stayed for a few days certainly less than a week, spent most of the time with my younger cousins and their mother (when I asked my dad why she was with them if she came down for me, he said they were more easy and ‘fun’ than I was, which really shows you where my mom’s intentions were- herself and fun- with no regard to my feelings) and then she left. No warning nothing, just walked up to me and said she’d decided to go-when I was at my lowest point.
-Right before I was about to go to college and I told her that my basic needs had never been met. She screamed at me that it wasn’t true. My father listened in a therapy session, then talked about me behind my back to the therapist, broke his promise of finanical support for the summer before college, tried to put me in a mental institution (but the institution rejected me for being not unstable enough) and I had the threat of homelessness/hunger/cold/rape/stalking for the second time in two years. He said if I ever needed somewhere to stay (in the case of having no money) I could stay with him so things never got that bad again. He lied- no resources, though he promised an explicit number to my face for the summer, and no place to stay, his excuse was that my siblings hated me (they told me they did not when I finally had the courage to talk to people I was convinced hated me). He then did everything he could to prevent me from going to college in the fall. He would not sign the loan, and because he makes so much money, I could not get aid. My mother insisted I was not ready and my father tried to shame me from getting any college support from my aunt.

When I need them, they always have reasons to reject me and treat me with such neglectful hatred.

But now that I’m ok, they hate that I’m not crying on their doorstep, begging them to save my life. They love seeing me like that and going, “Nope, we can’t help you. You’re bad. You did it to yourself.” They love the power. They hate that they can’t even abuse me a little bit, with words and emotions, lies and put downs. They just hate not being able to crush me and that is so evil!

What else is crazy is that, despite such cruelty and rejection when I needed them most, I am somehow the bad guy to other fam for not talking to them.
Aunts say “well, if I had a daughter who wouldn’t talk to me….” They don’t realize, they wouldn’t talk to me. They didn’t take care of me. They practically killed me and love being able to dangle my life and my spirit over my head. They just can’t stand it now that they don’t have the opportunity to crush me.

I am now recalling so many instances when I would talk to them in a time of need and their excuse to not help me/talk to me was always some vague reference to how bad and mean I was, something so horrible I said. I could never trace it back to any specific comment and certainly never an action. When I asked it was always “being so angry or the way I said it” which was ALWAYS a response to their cruelty, never outright random meanness like they made it seem. Yeah, if someone stabs me, I’m gonna scream.
Once the reason was my spending. I confessed to buying makeup. Then I returned it. My mother screamed at me for being irresponsible AFTER I APOLOGIZED AND RETURNED IT.

I check my comments now, to see if I’m being bad or mean with others, and that is consistently NOT the case. I just can’t handle being told how rotten I am when I’m not. I’d like to be responsible for myself, and if I am truly wrong, I want to make it right. But if I am just made out to be bad 100% of the time, I will never understand reality, what’s good and bad, ok and not, and likely by the time I do get mad, it might not even be for something someone did! Then I’d be like her.

I just want to not feel guilty when I’m not in the wrong. So much of the time I accepted punishment for things that not only were overly punished, but often when there was nothing to punish in the first place! Sometimes it is hard to comprehend how much my parents really hate me. I remember as a kid always saying that my parents hated me/didn’t care, and people would try to talk me out of it, but now I know those emotions, tears, and words were there for a reason- it was true.
I understand their behavior- but I can’t quite believe it, if that makes sense.


Hi Kathryn-

Thanks for your response. I too find that my interactions with others mirror my interactions with my parents. It’s like EVERYONE is scary/gonna get mad/going to punish you. I remember my second quarter in college there was this girl in my class. She just had a mean look on her face. I was terrified that she was going to yell at me or humiliate me or something. I finally got up the courage to ask her if I’d done something to piss her off- though we’d never really spoken, and she goes “Sorry, do I know you? I had no idea I was giving off that vibe”. It’s just crazy because in my mind angry facial expression = for me: anger/punishment/belief that it’s all my fault/guilt/fear. I think normal people just go, “Hey that person looks pissed” or “How weird” but for me it signals danger and then I feel guilty.

It’s amazing to me how this stuff gets hardwired into the brain.

For me too, it’s not as bad as it was. But for me, I don’t know how long it will take. Its like the brain knows the reality, but the body won’t forget the trauma.


Hi Janie
I think that my mother was abused and she in turn abused me but so what? She abused me but I didn’t do it to my kids because I made the choice not to, because somewhere deep down I knew that she was wrong. I had to face the damage done to me in order to stop the cycle because I now had kids and I was full of false belief systems and false belief systems get passed on when you don’t know what they all are. yikes. I think that you are your SO are both right.
Thanks for sharing, your comments are wonderful.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Jackie
I felt my heart squeeze when I read your story. Wow that is disgusting to me. (all of it, what your sister did and that your mother used it to control you with the fear of it) That is really really awful.
Thank you for sharing this deep and horrible memory and to the amazing hope that you share at the end. I think that it was only hope that I COULD get through to the other side of this, that kept me going.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Kathryn
You are very welcome to vent here! I was so afraid of my anger when I first started the journey that I shut it down and actually had to learn to ‘permit’ feeling it! Vent away my friend! It helps others who are in the position that I was in to be able to connect to someone elses anger and passes on a type of permission. which is awesome!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Karen C.
Welcome to EFB
Yes, at the end of the day I realized that I missed the fantasy of having a mom who would ‘be there’ for me. (I found out this past few years that one of the gifts of recovery is realizing that reality is way better!) I am glad you are here. Please share often!
hugs, Darlene


Excellent insights! Thanks for sharing all of this! I see so much growth in you!
Hugs, Darlene


So sorry to hear what all of you have gone through. Hugs.

Yvonne, I am an only child too and it hurts to have people say we’re spoiled, etc. Meanwhile, my childhood with and abusive father and enabling mother sucked, and I felt like there were no other witnesses to what happened at home “behind closed doors”. My father threatened to kill me and my mother forbid me to talk about anything. Good times.


Gird up your loins- this’ll be a long one! Had posted it on FB, but can’t get FB to edit my settings, so it could turn up in someone’s newsfeed, and I don’t need extra drama. 🙁 So here goes more anonymously, I hope. 🙂

I am having some serious issues with my parents, and have tried to work through things with them to no avail. They SAY they have forgiven me, but nothing has been resolved. What I find so evil about them forgiving ME, is that in most cases, our disagreements have centered around boundaries I have set for my own sanity and that of my husband/family that have been consistently over-run.

By over-run, examples would be when I told both sides of the family we would not be having guests at the birth of our first child, since I had had had a miscarriage prior to that successful pregnancy, and my husband had been deployed/we live on the west coast and our family is further to the east coast. We invited family and tried to space out visits from 4 weeks after the birth, so that my husband and I could enjoy our new child, grieve and rest up a bit, then adjust to hubby’s schedule as he went back to military duty after less than 2 weeks paternity leave. My parents gave me constant grief over email about this decision, whilst my mother-in-law (who has her own issues) simply asked if she could come in X month over x dates or so. For the record, my parents were the first people out here to visit.

Another example is when my son was one, and my parents planned to visit, and I had told them any weekend but the weekend of our anniversary, and they then came for a week ending the day of our anniversary, and were hurt because we had a babysitter booked and did not make ourselves available to them over the weekend we had said we were not available.

Since then, we have tried things like flying home and surprising them (I’ve always tried to balance both sides of the family), inviting them during appropriate times for both of our schedules, etc. Yet since we are not local and do not intend to move near them long-term, I have had constant what I can only call whining, from my mom, and nagging to please her from my dad.

I have challenged certain things my parents have put on my facebook wall due to how they make me feel- with my dad it was spiritualized political views I find offensive and with my mom it was guilt-inducing comments on how far away we are. Both times, I have been made the problem, despite trying my best to be kind as well as direct. I finally deleted my dad from facebook and recently restricted my mom, because they feel they have the right to say whatever they want on my profile. This is despite me respecting their wishes when there are things they tell me not to put on their FB walls!

At Christmas, I was trying to work through this with my dad, having deleted him, and my husband and I received a prayer letter (my parents are connected to a missionary organization) with some misleading things in it about my husband’s job. My husband did not wish us to be in the prayer letter anymore, since things we say in conversation have gotten misunderstood and typed up then sent out to people we do not know. I wanted more privacy for our children, having grown up on display as an MK. My husband emailed my dad a very concise clear email asking us to no longer be included in future, giving reasons, and my dad’s response clearly showed he had no intention of removing us without a long drawn-out verbal or email battle. So I contacted the director of the mission for support on this one issue. This started a back and forth exchange from my dad towards me, which ended in him refusing to accept that by going to someone trustworthy outside of the issue, I was trying to protect my husband being personally attacked by my dad simply to get our info out of the letter. My parents seem to think our info is their property.

After all of the “you have dishonored God by going to someone outside of the family without my permission” kinds of comments from my dad, and self-justification, I keep copies of emails because my words get twisted back to me. As stated above, I just asked my mom to stop saying things on facebook about how my son doesn’t know her since we have enough pressure in our lives, and got a back and forth exchange going about my “hurtful” emails. Having re-read everything I said and have said, I don’t see anything hurtful. Like I told her, I can’t win if I write a short note or if I write a long explanation- either way I am “hurtful”.

To add to all this, I am pregnant, and every time I interact with my parents, everything comes back to how they feel, with no regard for the hurt they’ve caused me or my husband, nor care for the fact we can’t over-stretch ourselves for the sake of our son. I am not interested in being in contact with my parents til after the baby comes in May to skype so they can see him. They’ve left it all up to me to call them, from what I am hearing, because my dad thinks I owe him an apology/am unsubmissive, and my mom says she is scared of how I will react if she “crowds” me.

I think there are unresolved issues with my parents from the very start of our marriage and most likely before: my mom especially tried to get me to break up with a boyfriend and leave their mission field at age 26/27 to live with them in the States though I was employed and well-connected where I was at the time,but I chose to stay at that point, and my parents tried to get me to change my mind about my husband, and were not aware of the depth of our relationship due to unusual circumstances (I had met him after they left the mission field where I stayed and had employment/a life.) They say they have nothing against him, but things were said at Christmas by my dad that prove that to be false, in my view. Beyond that, my parents did not think I was mature enough at 28 to know who I wanted to marry, and their legitimate concerns about our age difference were over-run by fears I had got pregnant and was rushing into marriage to cover it up! (Whereas, I was actually a virgin when married, and we rushed because of an impending deployment, plus my age.)

I feel my parents have not ever let go of me, but when I have said so directly, I start off (ahem, my parents begin) a firestorm of accusations against me. I am not sure how to handle the birth of my child- I have no desire to deal with drama while I am recovering from childbirth, and I also don’t want my husband having to deal with it while caring for our toddler son. Last time I had grief for the lack of photos available to them on FB, and it seems to me that was Mom’s way of guilting me for not letting her be there. My husband is going to send photos and we will unplug the phones, but I don’t know if my parents will accept that without hurting us in some way, especially since I have no intention of calling them between now and skyping at home after the birth as things stand. Any advice would be appreciated! I am getting some free telephone counseling through a military source, and I think that may be a help with the dynamics we are dealing with military-wise/distance-wise. I think the hardest thing is dealing with my parents’ complete lack of empathy for the pressures and uncertainties we are under as a family (this year we are set to move, but no idea when), and the sense of entitlement they have towards our kids, plus this idea we are under dad’s authority(?!), is very hurtful. It makes it hard for me to empathize over my mom’s hurts about being “so far from her grandkid(s)”.


#132 ~ you mentioned being afraid of running into your mother when out because she only lives 3 miles from you.

I also live in the same town as my mother. About 3 months ago, I pulled into a shopping mall and I saw her car as I was getting out of mine. I started to get right back into my car and drive away. I stopped for a moment and thought through it a little bit. I suspected she could be in the same store I was headed to. After pondering the scenario for a minute, I decided I’d spent 42 years being afraid of her, and I was not going to be afraid that day. I had driven and spent money in gas, and I needed whatever it was I was shopping for, and it would mean coming back another day, or later that day, and more time and gas. After thinking all of this through, I got right back out of my car and headed toward the store. As I was walking, I saw her exit the store next to the one I was going into. I saw her, then focused my gaze straight ahead. I don’t know if she saw me. I don’t care either. I just thought to myself, this is NOT her world. This is NOT her territory which I should be afraid to infringe upon. This is My world, every bit as much as it is hers.

I don’t know what I would have done had I run squarely into her inside the store. I suppose I would have just kept going. All I know is, I felt I couldn’t let her dictate my intentions that day. And, it felt good.

Peace and Hope to you,


My mother has also noted that she’s forgiven me for all the things I did to her when I was growing up. LOL!! So telling, that statement.

I wonder how you could be dishonoring God by going to people outside the family? Isn’t that what your father did when he continued to put your business in the newsletter? Wasn’t he “going outside the family?” Wouldn’t that mean he too, is dishonoring God?

Your dad said you were unsubmissive. I wonder where he found in the bible that we are to be submissive to our earthly fathers? On the contrary, the bible says that when we marry, we leave our parent’s home and the two “shall become one flesh”.

I bet you know these things already, and I hope I’m not offending you. I found your post to be frustrating because so many people use spiritual abuse to control their victims. My mother did the same in her last hate mail. Her husband (who’s never attended church) stated he thought he, my mother and myself should get together with my pastor so he could explain to me what “honor thy mother” means. I wanted to respond by saying, “well, while we’re there, maybe the pastor can explain to you what the verse ‘do not provoke your children’ means.

It’s so twisted that our own parents would try to inject us with fear that we are displeasing our heavenly father. So abusive.

Congratulations on your little baby to come!!

Peace and Hope,


Thanks Darlene,

And thank you for all you are doing. It is just fabulous. I realize how wonderfully unique your approach is to our often flawed system of ‘healing’. Yeesh! I just got finished interviewing a coach in my area and when I interviewed her about views on dealing with the past she spent a lot of time saying how “We can’t understand the past and it isn’t even worth understanding” and I responded with “Figuring out the past was the only way I started to get better in the now, and the only way I can protect myself.” and when she said, “Well, sometimes looking at the past is easier than confronting the present” and I said, “Yes, I need to face the present but I can’t do that without looking at the past”. It’s only possible for me to function and face the present once I make sense of the past. I told her I needed both.

Well, she wouldn’t have any of that. I told her I thought our belief systems were different and it probably wasn’t going to workout, and goodbye. She called me back! When didn’t pickup she left a message which I deleted, but I was stunned, and am stunned by how many people will go so far to deny what I’ve gone through, that really hurts. It sounds like from some of your articles, that this denial/invalidation is not uncommon, which is what I’m finding- but what’s so hard is, whatever bits of self doubt I still do have grow enormous in those moments- it’s hard to fight self doubt when people willfully feed it- but I am trying.

I know it is just her fear of facing the past, but I am appalled at how detrimental some of this advice people give is. It’s awful! The only reason I am functioning today is because I don’t talk to my parents. I never would have come to that without looking at the past. She basically said that I’m lazy and a coward to be looking at the past, and that doing so is just a way to avoid looking at the future…as if I’m ruminating and not applying what I learned to now. She actually used the word ruminating when describing looking at the past, implying that any look backwards is self-pitying pointless rumination.

Ugh! I know its not personal, but it felt like a personal attack and I am so angry. If I hadn’t read your blog, and Scott Peck’s work, I probably would’ve believed her. It’s not empowering when people tell you to “be the best you can be” and “live up to your potential” and that everything you have not accomplished is because you ‘just aren’t trying hard enough’ – man that is just blame the victim and invalidate trauma.

I think that so much of the problem lies in our society’s pull yourself up by the bootstraps mentality. It’s one thing to be willfully lazy, but another to try really hard, and still have people tell you that what you’re going through is all your fault! It is really crazy-making stuff!!!!

I am sorry this is so long Darlene and all,- I feel like I have so much to say- sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever get it all out- especially with all the people trying to deny and ignore it!!!

But please know this is so wonderful and healing and I so appreciate it!!!



Wow thats a brillaint observation about interpreting peoples angry faces as your fault. I so do this!! But never conciously thought about it. OMG this is hell at work. Whenever anyone at work has an angry face I think its my fault. I invent 1000 stories how they are mad at me and then get anxiety how to fix it. I get extra nice to them and try to get them to smile so I can have relief its not me.

I am doing this right now with someone I should have called last week. Now I feel guilty and feel they will be upset at me. I am making it like its my parents that are upset at me and its a giant deal in my life. Its not a big deal. And this person is probably not mad at me at all. Instead of enjoying an opportunity I am scared and anxious that they will be dissapointed in me. Like my parents that were always and I mean always dissapointed in me.


In the words of one of my good friend (who is estranged from her family for 17 years)…. “they just haven’t arrived yet”.

It sounds like this lady you interviewed has totally not arrived yet!! And, she might even be going in reverse. 🙂

In my early 20s I had nearly debilitating panic attacks, daily. My mother used that line, “you need to pull yourself up by your bootstraps”. I remember it vividly. I don’t buy into that non science for a minute. I believe when we’re ready, and we’ve gone through, rather than around, we can eventually give ourselves a hand up. But, for me, not before then. I fully believe in Darlene’s concept of the “process”. To deny ourselves this process is to continue on the same ugly path. It’s held true for me anyway. (thank you Darlene)

I heard in a lecture recently, “if you aren’t part of the solution, you’re part of the problem”. I don’t really believe all things and circumstances are this black and white. However, I sure find this quote to ring true when it comes to people of the mentality such as the woman you just encountered. She is part of the problem, not the solution. Simply put, she hasn’t arrived. Give yourself a high five for being part of the solution, and for taking on the difficult journey to arrival. It takes guts, and courage. Not many people have that I’ve found. Virtual high five to you for having the courage!

I hope your day gets brighter!

Peace and Hope,


I think that I can keep talking forever on this particular thread–it’s all so good and hits me very hard! I think if I had to choose not a specific incident(s) with my mom I could write a book like “Mommie Dearest”—and a sequel book about my dad’s abuses toward me. (I like to call my parents “That Woman” and “That Man” who simply lived in the same house as me,since we had no REAL relationship and basically were like strangers to me!

Anyway, I understand the other posters comments about being “afraid” maybe “on edge” about running into ‘That Woman’ in the store,etc. and just wanting to be free….when does it end? I live in a different city but in the same state as parents. What is very hard is that I have had incidents where I have lost friends over ‘That Woman’.

Like others here, I have tried to explain some of my past and assuming that they are my friend then they would understand. Well, not! You really begin to see who your true friends are. There was a situation with a girlfriend a few years ago and I lost her. It’s complicated and too long to explain all the details. I work at a FT not-very-high paid job at the moment and I try to pinch pennies in whatever small ways I can. So, I only have a cell phone and currently no land line phone in my house. I have VERY LC with my FOO and I like to keep my cell phone turned off during the day and check my voice messages in the evening. I call friends back but I don’t immediately pick up the phone to talk. Well, there was a girlfriend incident and she became VERY mad because I always keep my cell turned off as a general rule. I tried to talk about my FOO and why I must protect my peace of mind and screen my calls carefully. She couldn’t get it and felt like I was being ‘rude’ and this was some kind of insult to her! Then she would leave messages saying, “I’m a grownup and why am I so afraid of my mother and that I need to grow up!” She does not know what I have lived through and I have turned out well and made a minor success of my life despite all the obstacles from my past FOO. Finally, I got mad and there was a fight and I lost her, too.

Another time there was a woman about my age from one of my spiritual groups–(I’m very positive New Age/metaphysical.) Her house is close to mine and she was inviting the members to come over to her house to pick up fresh herbs from her garden. So, I called and went to her house for the herbs,hoping to make a new minor friend. But it didn’t work out! She spent like 90 minutes talking all about herself and her wonderful extended family, almost like a monument to herself. With new people, I tend to get a bit nervous and I didn’t know what to say so I tried to talk. I guess I am a bit naive and too honest at times–(still working on social skills from a damaged background)–and all I did was talk about me and not insulting her at all. I think I said something like well it’s wonderful that you have such a close family but I don’t and my parents are both quite old–(in their 80’s)—without a lot of time left to put up with the problems. I basically stated that I am not close with my extended family. She made some kind of excuse, looking at her watch that she had to go, and practically through me out of her house!

I don’t believe that it’s miscommunication and that I don’t understand people. Some people are simply very selfish and don’t get abused people. They belong to the “School of How Do You Say That About Your Mother/Father, etc.” since they come from a beautiful, golden family background. I get so mad and so hurt by these people! How can they be so selfish,mean and dumb? I am not personally attacking them when I talk about my past! I don’t know how these kind of people don’t seem to listen at all, nor do they even care! It’s like how dare I shatter their own golden bubble of their wonderful FOO by simply telling the truth about my FOO and that there are not so good parents, family, etc. in the real world! I think that they’re the ones who need to grow up! So there’s my rant…I do have more stories of my FOO to tell….Thanks everybody especially Darlene!


Hey Mimi- no offence taken, in fact your comments are very helpful. I called my dad out for spiritual abuse, and I know everything you are saying. It helps enormously to have my own thoughts and feelings validated, thank you. I also hadn’t seen it like that about how our info was being taken outside of the family. Goes back to their entitlement issue, and thanks for giving me some clarity. This site is so helpful, I keep reading things that sound like me. Good to know am not alone.



Thank you for your long and thoughtful reply to my post. I’ve been pretty low lately and in turmoil. Sorry I didn’t get back to you sooner.

As I read over your post and others, I know it’s probably not politically correct to say it, but I wish I had a husband for some support. I don’t have anyone that I am in contact with every day. It’s more that I have a few friends that email every couple of weeks. It’s not enough and I’m terribly lonely.

They are busy with their families and their lives. Several live in another state. I am busy too, but I also have some health issues and fatigue, and having a low key lifestyle is what my world is like.

I feel so rejected from siblings who don’t understand and don’t support me….and then the ripple effect of estrangement from the nieces and nephews I loved so much, and visited so often, when they were younger.


Mimi (144)

Your post has inspired me 🙂 You are SO right in that the world belongs to me just as much as it does to my mother so I have every right to shop whenever I want whether she’s at work or not !!! My only worry is that she’ll try to talk to me or worse still cause a scene, however I will just walk away (shaking uncontrollably!)

Thanks again to everyone that posts on this site – I now feel part of a very large “family” 🙂

Love to everyone xx


Light (150)

I really don’t know what to say to your post. I consider myself so privileged to have a caring husband/children who do support me. I can’t imagine how hard it is to go through this whilst you are feeling lonely.

I send you loads of hugs and love and hope that the knowledge that you are not alone in this group goes somewhat to helping you. I do hope you take my post with the love it is sent with – I would hate to think you thought I was either belittling your situation or being patronising 🙂 xxx


Darlene, I was wondering if you have ever discussed siblings. I have learned and realise that one of the main reasons my siblings and I are not close, has a lot to do with my parents. My stepfather’s favorite was his first born child, for my mother, it was the baby, her little girl. I also realise that my mom only ever taught us to cater to her needs, and that there was never any push to teach us family, togetherness. Sisterhood. Now that we are older, all there seems to be is this great divide, and continuation of scapegoats, and golden children. The cycle of narcissism is repeating with my siblings. This is why I have been no contact. The abuse has continued and I feel like an idiot for ever thinking, hoping, it would change. Especially since one our parents is dead. It doesn’t matter, the roles are set, the only difference is that I refuse to be the black sheep. Do you have siblings, and how/what have you done in your experience? ( if you don’t mind me asking)


Hi Wendy Mac,

Thank you so much for your loving and kind words. They really do help! I’m not sure what post of yours you might be referring to, but anyway I don’t feel in any way belittled or patronised. I feel cared about 🙂

Yes, we all have our individual circumstances which are challenging to say the least…and for me being lonely makes this whole ordeal extra difficult.

Thank goodness for my kitty. Having a living being in my home makes all the difference. I think I’d really lose it without him.


Hi, it has been awhile since I have posted,I visit and read from time to time.
One wrote when we approach our FOO or stand up to them concerning their power over us/abuse; they usually walk away. This is the case for me;
I am done grieving over the mother who never loved me and the siblings who treated me as less. I am actaully free because i have forgiven them and can no longer look back. This has taken me only 60 years to get to this place. My health has taken a hit, I am not the dreamer I once was, yet all of this does not define me. By the grace of God I will move forward with life, know I have unconditional love from HIM and finally decided it is not important that I don’t have a family. I have me and my God who created me as I am, accepts my faults and gives me Hope for my future…


“When I wanted to talk to my mother about our dysfunctional toxic mother daughter relationship it wasn’t to fight back or to fight to have a voice. It wasn’t so that I could have control over her. My motive was the desire for a BETTER relationship for both of us. A mutually respectful relationship. I told her that I could no longer accept the way she treated me. That was love for both of us; I had learned that self-love does not accept abusive disrespectful treatment. I had also learned that putting up with the way she treated me communicated to her that it was okay for her to do it, and letting her treat me like I didn’t matter was not loving for her either. We don’t put up with that treatment out of LOVE for the people doing it; we put up with it out of fear of the consequences if we draw a boundary against it.”

I could have written that. Also the paragraph about how she told me I had always been critical of her. Word for word. Whenever my mother would ask me why I made certain decisions in my life and I would answer her honestly, she would get very angry and say things like “It must be NICE to KNOW EVERYTHING and be so PERFECT!” I never thought of myself as perfect in the least. She spent all my life making me feel like an unfinished, flawed version of what she wanted me to be: the perfected version of her. She never saw me as a separate person or said a kind, encouraging word about how I handled any challenge in my life. Not once did she saw “Wow, that showed a lot of maturity,” or “I can see that you are trying to be kind to So & So, but have you considered XYZ?” It didn’t matter if I were dealing with her (although she created the bulk of my life’s challenges, in retrospect) or any other situation: school, work, friends, boys, husbands, divorces, children, medical crises, or even when it came time to manage her own cancer, hospice and death. NOTHING I did was ever good enough. And my repayment for trying to care for her was that every interaction between us was used against me in the Court of Family, so that I now have no contact with any of my siblings.

She succeeded in making me feel like I’d never been born, a wish she frequently repeated aloud during my 40 years as her daughter. I’m glad I’m alive. I like my life. I just wish my mother hadn’t been so sick and hadn’t trained me to be her punching bag (although mostly it felt like her toilet) for most of my life.


At the age of 48, I am finally starting to realise much about myself.

I spoke earlier on this thread about my mother’s reaction to me trying to tell her that my grandfather molested me when I was about 7 years old. He did not get an opportunity to do that before or after because we lived in two different continents. It happened during our first visit to his house when I was young.

My mother responded why had I not told her previously.

The answer is quite simple…….but it can only be given once I understood how toxic my relationship was with her.

I suffered many beatings from parents that left me with scratches and bruises. Anything close at hand was used as their weapons against. I took blame and responsibility for things that were not even mine. I was punished for my brothers wrong doings. I was punished for not doing something that I didn’t even know they expected it from me. I was punished for their own frustrations and anger.

When I was 7, my grandmother woke up one night while my grandfather was molesting me. My grandmother told my grandfather to leave me be. The next day, my grandfather told me ……a little 7 year old…..that he no longer loved me. He told me that he just loved my brothers.

What is a 7 year old to understand…..other than she did something wrong and is being punished.

Given I knew a lot about punishment by the age of 7, why the heck would I tell my mother. To be punished again.

By pealing away the layers of an onion, I could finally understand me. It is not something that a 7 year can take in. It has taken me a long time to confront my mother… I could not do it without me understanding myself.

With that realisation, I now know that my mother is as much to blame as my grandfather and my grandmother.


Hi Melody Y/mky
I struggled with this whole thing until I suddenly realized that being ‘submissive’ to my parents was NOT respect for them it was disrespect for me. Not only that they kept changing the rules. All I wanted was a mutually respectful relationship which for some reason they don’t comprehend. But they don’t want to comprehend what I am saying, they don’t want to make the effort. I gave up trying to understand why. I got so tired of always having to make all the effort and figure everything out.
Thanks for shraring. Congrats on the new baby coming!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Mary,
Hugs back! Darlene

Sadly you won’t find too many people doing this healing thing the way that I do it. The whole world is brainwashed into leaving the past in the past and never going against (standing up to) family if it means that it might be messy. (but after over 20 years of searching for healing, this way took the least amount of time and it was the only way that had lasting results so I am sticking to it!) Thanks for sharing.
Hugs, Darlene


I just HAD to comment on what you said about your mother has ‘forgiven YOU’ for all the things YOU did to HER growing up! Isn’t that just the truth in a nutshell!!! ha.
My mother also used to say that she had forgiven HER mother for all the things that she did ~ (so what??)
Thanks for your comments!
hugs, Darlene

Hi Raven
I have 4 siblings. 2 brothers that I was raised with and two half sisters from my fathers second marriage. I rarely mention them here because I see them as victims of the same dysfunction even if they don’t see themselves that way and would rather defend the dysfunctioanl family system. Having said that, I see my parents victims of the same dysfunctional system and I do write about them because how else would I communicate how I recovered and overcame all this stuff? I see my parents as the ones who failed, not my siblings. All the ways my siblings are, are a result of the dysfunction. I would love to see all of them find the truth too. This is not about dumping family ~ this is about living in truth and freedom. My family all have a choice but today so do I. I chose to fight my way out of that dysfunction and take my life back. They were not interested and that is fine but it is’t going to be at my expense anymore.

My bottom line for all of it (and all of them) is that “they were all victims too” is no longer going to be what I excuse anyone with anymore. I sought the truth and found it. I am not asking too much to be respected in the way that I am expected to respect. If they want to treat me as though I am not worth the effort, that is about them and I know the truth about me. I am worth it. 🙂 especially to me! I had to own my worth before I could let go of the crappy system I came from. Before my worth came from them; I let them define me because I knew nothing else. Today I define me and I am worth way more (respect/love) than they are willing to give.

Hugs, Darlene


Hi Le’ah
When they walk away it is very telling. I call it a ‘truth leak’ and it was very painful when it happened to me. It was like my family was saying ‘you are not worth it’ but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that this was the message that I had received all my life. I finally decided that I WAS worth it.
Hugs, Darlene


Wendy Mac,
I want to clarify something I said. I hope I didn’t come off as presumptuous about what would work in your situation with your mother publicly. I just really wanted to convey the message that fear had nearly crippled me and instead I had a jolt of bravery.

Every person’s situation and family are different. You said you feared your mother would make chaos in public. The difference for us is, my mother wouldn’t dream of doing that for fear it would shatter her very mature, high class, and controlled persona. I’m not sure how I’d handle it if she were a person to cause public chaos. A much different approach maybe.

Peace and Love,


Hi Leslea
That sounds familiar.. ick. That whole ‘must be nice to be perfect’ thing is nasty! I had to realize that I was good enough ~ good enough and worth of all good things especially love. They don’t get to define me anymore! Freedom is sweet!
hugs, Darlene

Hi Ginger
WOW about your grandmother. And yes, that is how we learn not to tell and we learn to invalidate ourselves. so sad. You make some excellent connections in your comments here!
Thank you for sharing, I am so glad that you are here.
Hugs, Darlene


It’s funny, that whole forgiving me for what I did to her when I was a child/teen. Becoming an individual was the only thing I can think of that must have offended and hurt her. Having a strong will, and my own mind really set her off!!



Oh good!! Happy to help, haha!!

Peace and Hope to you!


Thank you for your dedication,
Yes the truth leak has been a flood of rejection my entire life, yet it is shocking to my being to experience it again and again and again…/ They don’t know who they are. I am a threat because I can only be me. The dictates of their control to be just like them, I could never be and now I cannot let it matter. It’s never too late to embrace the person I was created to be. Forgetting what lies behind I press forward; it is my Hope, I am free. I forgive and have to choose to forget(them,)it only hurts me. I believe they will also have their day of reckoning…
Hugs and much appreciation back > we are not alone.


Mimi (165)”:Becoming an individual was the only thing I can think of that must have offended and hurt her. Having a strong will, and my own mind really set her off!!”
Wow! so true! My mother really resented me being an individual, and the more different I was than her, or her hopes and expectations, the more freakishly she portrayed me to others. I was spoke of like that wierd science experiment that had gone wrong, lol.
In fact, psychology show it is healthy for children to differentiate themselves on their way to becoming “individuals”. What a concept! Eric Erickson (sp?) talks alot about this in his stages of life. I always think that is why my sisters are so sick, they never attempted to operate outside of the dysfunctional system!

Darlene (161): “They were not interested and that is fine but it is’t going to be at my expense anymore.”

I loved this statement! It does sum it up! Our siblings are victims of the same dysfunctional system. However, if they chose to remain in it, that is their choice. I deserve mutual respect as well. They don’t give it to me, so that is their choice, but I don’t play their games or dance to their off key tunes. I have even said to my sister, “That is the old system. I refuse to function under it because it is obsolete. I dont allow myself to be treated as “less than”………….

Having a wonderful time today, skiing/snowboarding with my new family and friends. Everyone is going at their own pace. There are no rules. We are all chipping in for chores/meals. It feels so natural. There are no roles to fill. I can take a lesson at snowboarding, not be perfect, fall, and it is okay. So nice not to be judged!


Thanks Mimi and Darlene, your comments have been great. Yes, I feel my mom is also a victim where her mom is concerned. However I agree that is not an excuse for an adult. Part of growing up is questioning the patterns we were brought up in and finding what works for us. Having worked in education and with children needing behavioral support, I can’t stand it when individuals don’t take responsibility for their own lives. That is what we are meant to teach children so they grow up healthy.

On being independent, my mom has made comments to my face about my independence that make independence feel like a negative thing to me. Of course, she would claim she is actually proud of me for that trait, but the way things were said it felt like she was jealous/disapproving.

On siblings, well, I tried to explain things to my brother so he could see both sides and understand I am no longer close nor safe with my parents. I just got a long email back explaining how he is not taking sides, but how I basically am selfish for expecting unconditional love and mutual respect from my parents. That I should be expected to make the first move to talk to my dad, since I was the one to cause him hurt (by setting boundaries and challenging hurtful behavior that affected not just me but my family).

So there is no use explaining myself outside of counselling or support groups/friends who really know and accept me warts and all. I don’t expect any of us to be perfect, but my parents think that when I find a fault with them that I am nitpicking. I try to focus on behaviors, not ever personal attack, but since we’ve never been mutually honest in family, I am changing the game more than they can handle. An honest expression of the facts gets blown up into a deep hurt, and my brother may always see my parents as heros. Whereas I see them as human like me. I really can’t go back to doing all the work to show them I love them anymore. Since they don’t take turns, this may mean NC by default.

Honestly though, I’m ok with being a bit wrong and free from control than being under the thumb and still blamed for everything.
Let’s break the pattern here, and be better with our own kids, that’s my philosophy. Hard going through it though.


Hi Melody

“whining, from my mom, and nagging to please her from my dad” Oh my god- THIS. It’s my life in a nutshell. It’s like my job since birth was to make my mother happy. If I could not it was my fault- my fault my mother was stressed, marriage problems, etc. When I used to ask my father why she would do x,y,z (negative stuff) he would say something like “Well, because you…”. All of her behavior was because I MADE her do it. Despite the fact she is an individual and an adult. Also it’s impossible for me to make my mom happy.

My father abuses her, she takes it out on us kids, and then it’s my responsibility to repair the damage he has caused? Basically, if I don’t get down on my knees and say “Thank you for your abuse, I love it” I am in the wrong. It’s nuts, beyond nuts. I really am his favorite scapegoat. But no longer. One of our last few phone calls, before I even found this site, I told him, “I’m not going to be the scapegoat any longer”. It is amazing to me now that I finally recognized it!

Anyways, in regards to advice, everyone is different. A big part of the healing process, like Darlene said earlier, is learning what you think- and it is hard!

For me, NC wasn’t just a part of the healing process, it was a part of my survival. I could not function with them having any of my personal info, because they took advantage. Whenever they know anything about me, all I have to do is wait for surprise attacks. Healing began for me, when they were not able to do that.

Because of privacy issues- my father talking to doctors, therapists, without permission, and calling when I asked him numerous times not to and explained why, I cannot have any contact. I mean any.
Other examples:

Mutual friends— he will gossip
Phone number— he will call and harass me even when I tell him his phone calls for days after make me unable to eat and I start shaking uncontrollably and emotions out of control
Address— possible ‘surprise’ visit, also cheap gifts used to guilt trip me into being ‘ungrateful’, and ‘lucky’ even after thanking them 5+ times
Email- harassing long emails, mostly from my mother
Doctors- he calls them and tries to- and sometimes does get info illegally- uses diagnoses against me (and perhaps behind my back)
School ID: my mother contacts the school and teachers and gets and submits info without asking

There are no boundaries. It’s unfortunate. What’s even harder is that, after setting all these boundaries, I tried letting some down, like calling after #67, or initiating contact with a third party- relative/therapist. Things were as bad as ever. I would say they’ve ‘gotten worse’, but I realize that whenever they’re abusing me they have something seriously stressful in their life going on as well. However, I can’t even predict when they’ll be really awful since according to them, they are always ‘great’. So for now, total avoidance is key.
There is always insults and blame literally sentences after I say hi, even if we have not spoken for months. They are like vampires- they need my blood. The problem is, I need my blood.


Well it happened! Went to our local Costa coffee place this morning with Callum (husband) and my mum was in there with her partner, his son and daughter in law and their son whose about 5 years old. I know her partner saw us; he even tried to sort of smile at me but I just looked straight through him (he is her enabler). No idea why they were there as they never go there and I’ve always felt safe there.

I sat down with Callum; he made sure I had my back to them so I couldn’t see. I just couldn’t stop shaking. Then some friends came over to talk to us on their way out and I think I was talking gibberish – God knows what they thought.

It’s hurt me all day today just thinking about her with her partners grandson when she has two grandchildren of her own. I had to keep going over and over all the bad things to reassure me that I’m doing the right thing. It’s just so tough. I felt like going over and telling her partners son and daughter in law all the horrible things she’s said about them to me in the past but what’s the point – they wouldn’t believe me because she’s “perfect” and I’m the nut job.

So all in all I feel I’ve taken a few steps back on my road to healing – never mind tomorrow’s another day and I’m determined my glass will be half full tomorrow! 🙂


I wanted to ask something quickly, as I do not have the time to write the full response I want to. I will come back and do that tomorrow. I was wondering has anyone else felt that their mother’s have had boundery issues with their friends or ex’s.

I have constantly tried to understand how my mother sees greatness in other children and never saw it in me. She once told me I’d rather have a child that smokes and drinks than to have a disrespectful daughter like you. However I have never once cursed at her or yelled at her. I “disrespected” her by not cleaning good enough or not sticking up for her in her adult battles as a child.

SO over the years my mother has praised my friends and told them how proud their mothers must feel to have wonderful children like themselves. After I break up with guys, she seems to rush to their aid and feels so bad for them because I have done them wrong. When in actually I have never been taught what a normal relationship is. I am figuring that out on my own. She likes to get information about our relationship from them as well as use them for whatever she can.

I do not get the reason she does this, and have decided that she will no longer meet anyone I date.


Raven 154… I totally agree with you as far as relationships with siblings. My issue was only with my mother, who I felt growing up taught us to love each other and be there for each other, but as I got older I have came to realized she did a lot of pitting against each other, and when we did not want to be around each other she would use the love each other approach.

One sibling was always smarter, did better, listened more, than the other. Now that I have chosen to break away from the nonsense, I am looked down upon and have taken the lead of being the bad sibling. and she stands tall in the light as the only one who loves them, which is what i was taught growing up. No one loves us but her.

So now as an adult the family values I should have are not there in me, and she blames me for that and points the finger at me about not being family orientated.


It seems like lots of these kinds of moms have a hangup with the child that dares to be independent/individual. It’s like a threat to their being, which makes no sense to me whatsoever. I think my mother always thought it was a reflection of her if her kids weren’t the little robots she’d worked so hard to mold. In our house, appearances came before literally anything else. She was always following in her wealthy, very high class sister’s shadow. And, by high class, I mean, she would never dream of treating people the way my mother has. She actually was wealthy, my mother just pretends to be. And, her sister was never the type to let people know her financial status.

It’s Not my fault she was in her sister’s shadow. Maybe she should have taken notes. Her sister was very highly thought of by anyone who knew her. Ps ~ I remember Eric Erickson in my psych classes. However, I can’t remember what his claim to fame was. That’s kind of how I roll….. lock it in until test time, then it’s gone, haha!

Wow, I’m sorry you ran into your mother. Crazy that we’ve just been talking about that. I can identify with shaking and for me, it has been sort of like an emotional crumbling inside, when I’ve encountered had to sit with her ummmm, aura. I’m speaking of times in the past when we were still having contact. For lack of a better word, sometimes just her presence would cause a fearful uprising in me. So crazy what these women do to their own offspring. I would have rather been born to a rabid bear who’s inclined to feed on their young. Surviving is more torturous it seems. I think your encounter sounds like you handled it with huge success. Sometimes I have to remind myself to do it afraid. Just do it and heck with the fear. NOT EASY! Not at all easy. Blessings to you for what you’ve endured.

Yes, my mother has always had issues with my friends. She hated the ones who had her figured out. The friends she approved of would often come up in conversation with reference to how well they’re doing, how they were overcomers, their jobs, education, etc. Anything she could find to sort of torture me with, as if they were successful, why couldn’t I be?

Mostly, she’s just disapproved of boyfriends. One in particular I can think of whom she was appalled by when we first started dating, was a man who eventually became abusive. Of course, it never measured up to what SHE’D been through with my dad. Nothing anyone on the planet has ever been through, is as monumentally horrifying as what my dad put her through. I have found out what I feel is the truth on that subject too. 34 years later, she still cries on anyone’s shoulder who will listen, about a marriage that failed. She’s been remarried for almost 30 years.

Madison, your last post says “no one loves us but her”. Oh my goodness…. so SO true. My mother beat it into our heads that she was the only one we could depend on, the only person that would love us, etc. If we ever said we wanted to live with our dad, she’d make us go. We knew not to ever threaten that, out of all out fear. Another similarity you mention is your mother pitting you and your siblings against each other. My mother has always done that too. ALWAY. We never suspected it though because she was so sneaky and was very good at brainwashing. We worshipped her. We BELIEVED what she said about how she was the only person we’d ever have. And, someday we would regret our words or actions, or someday we will need her. Oh my goodness…. so twisted. The truth is someday is here, and I don’t want any part of her. She made her bed, I guess she can lay in it. Which incidentally, has been a big topic here at times and I think there might even be a post dedicated to making our beds. It is alarming how many mothers used these words. Because at the ripe age of 7, 10, 13, etc, we are supposed to have the wisdom and ability of a full grown adult. In my humble opinion, our family values are instilled in us by our leaders who are our parents. If there’s something they claim is missing, they should look no further than themselves, the fearless leaders. Just my 2 cents Madison.

Peace and Hope to everyone,


I was hurting when I googled “my mother doesn’t love me” and found this site. The many post’s have proved to me that I am not alone.

Awhile back I started posting and made the mistake of voicing my opinion along with being disrespectful so I was expelled from here. In recent week’s I asked to be let back on and Darlene told me as long as I am not disrespectful to others.

So, thank you Darlene for expelling me, I will always have an opinion thank God for that, but it pushed me to want something even better for myself, I hired a wonderful life coach who is extremely gifted in her profession, her wisdom has helped guide me through the many processes of healing and provided me with solution’s for finding myself amidst the chaos of family dysfunction.

Many Hugs~


Darlene, what impresses me the most about you is that you acknowledge everyone’s post here. It is truly remarkable. I am honoured to be in your company.

I can only just imagine how much time you devote to your website….and I am sure my imagination will not give you enough justice.

I thank you for allowing me to post……you do not need to thank me. 🙂


Hi Madison,
In talking about your mothers odd behavior with your friends……..not so odd for a dysfunctional mother! In yhe typical dysfucntional family, I read that family members will either scape goat the scapegoated child’s mate,or, be ultra “kind” to them,to show them how wonderful and non dysfunctional the family is (thus, how “crazy” you are, for mentioning the dysfunction, abuse, neglect, etc).
It seems to me, your mother took it one step further and included your friends and boyfriends. Especially after you broke up with someone, by sucking up to them,and playing the “good mom”, she could further drive home how wrong you are (in her distorted vision of things).
Sick and crazy,they are………


Reading all the posts has triggered so many memories from the past I don’t know where to start or end.

As far as mothers who are nice to other children and relatives… growing up my mother was always so loving & warm & kind to her sister’s children. I was so jealous of the affection and compliments she showed to them and their mother. My cousins used to tell me that my mom was “their favorite aunt.” My mother showed me no physical affection; no emotional support; no compliments, etc. If it would of been consistent across the board it may not have been so damaging but it felt so personal that others received so freely what she refused to give her own daughter. My mother has been “over-the-top” nice to my husband and mother-in-law. She asks them all sorts of questions about their interests, health, hobbies, etc. She presents as a great listener and conversationalist. She has never asked me about my schooling, work, profession, friends, interests, hobbies, vacations, etc. When I have attempted to tell her anything about myself she cuts me off and starts talking about herself or changes the subject or makes a condescending remark about what I said.

As far as mothers pitting one sibling against the other and discouraging healthy, strong family alliances….. my older sister would tell my mother (in front of me) that I was dirty, smelly, bad breadth, etc. My mother would humilate me and tell me to brush my teeth & take a shower to make sister happy. She seemed to revel in the fact there was a pecking order and she was at the top. She dictated everyone’s position and ensured that we never had the strength to all align together against her. She rewarded golden child older sister financially if she ever strayed away too far. She rewarded my siblings materially for ostracizing me.
The extreme toxicity and mental cruelty of my mother gave her relatives permission to do the same. After my father died it became worse because there wasn’t anyone left to rescue me.

It has been painful to extricate myself from all this because I was entangled for so long. At first it is painfully lonely but there is a light at the end of the tunnel if I don’t turn back. I can work on my relationship with myself now.


Hi Darlene,

Great article.

I would like to give you some news.

I didn’t go to the appointement with the social worker. I asked advices to a lawyer and I weren’t obliged at all to go to this appointement :-)).

I took the occasion to finally cut definitively contact with my mother (I took all my stuff I had at her home) writhing her a letter.

Have a good day :-).


Hi Darlene,

Great article.

I didn’t go to the appointement with the social worker. I asked advices to a lawyer and I wasn’t obliged at all to go to this appointement :-)).

I took the occasion to finally cut definitively contact with my mother (I took all my stuff I had at her home) writing her a letter. Yeah !

Have a good day :-).


I can relate to this post a lot. Because of my job in the family, almost nothing had to actually be said for me to feel this way. My mom had a lot of pain in her life and I was the listener. There wasn’t a day that went by that I wasn’t aware of how her back was doing (she had chronic back pain), in addition to her painful childhood, her unfulfilling marriage, her problematic/abusive relationship with her mother, her under-appreciated, unfulfilling work-life, her intense unresolved (and constantly denied) grief over her brother’s suicide, etc. On the other side, she took great pride in her parenting—it was her reason for living. For me, even to bring any kind of problem, need or pain to her would be an affront to her pain. It would tear down her most basic and essentially only source of self-esteem (though it was a false source—an impossible source, and that it is why it sucked the life out of me and almost killed me because I could never, ever be enough for her). She was very possessive and for me to even have relationships with other (extended) family members caused her pain. Coming to understand that I am not responsible for this pain has been the biggest hurdle for me. I didn’t understand the distinction. To me anything that caused her pain equated to ME being the abusive one. So moving away from home was abuse, having a relationship with my aunts was abuse, everything I did to separate to live my own life was abuse. It was killing me to be “abusing” my family like this! It was impossible for me to live my own life. All the steps I took to try to live my life was accompanied by intense feelings of crippling guilt. Of course, when I did start taking these steps, things were said to communicate that I was the problem, but it really didn’t have to be much at all. A few words would torture me for months, years. Icy tension—that silence could be the worst. My dad would talk to me on her behalf. I remember being talked to about “vinegar” and “honey” and about how when he was a soccer coach, he found it more effective to praise and draw out his kids’ strengths than to focus too much on what they were doing wrong (I guess I was supposed to be “coaching” my mom to be a mom)…. Never mind that I’d just had a nervous breakdown and was lucky to be alive because of the dynamics of our family system. It was so frustrating, what was the equivalent of broken bones was treated as scrapes and bruises, and for me to be insistent, to say, No, no, these are broken bones was mean, disrespectful, if not abusive to THEM. And I BELIEVED THAT!!!!!! It was all about the pain I was causing them, even though the pain they were experiencing was simply due to me putting up boundaries that they ought to have held up and respected when I was too young to even know what boundaries were. I was in no way abusing them. I was doing what was right and good and healthy…. I suspect that my parents are going to give up on me and the prospect of any kind of relationship because of this pain. I am a source of pain for them. My mom didn’t want to talk about “specifics” with me until down the road when we felt safe and there was “mutual trust.” To me this means that she doesn’t feel safe with me and doesn’t trust me. This makes sense to me in that for years she staked her life and identity into being a mother, into having a good relationship with her kids. I upturned all this in order to save my life and that caused her tremendous amounts of pain (which was NOT AT ALL my fault because it was absolutely 100% wrong of her to use me the way she did). And now, I can imagine that instead of looking deep into that pain, instead of venturing forward and working that pain, she will do whatever she will do to protect herself from the pain. And that’s a shame. In a way, I understand it because there’s a heaping mess of pain there for her to go through. She could if she wanted to. It’s a choice, or a series of choices. For me, I had to because I literally could not live as it was—I could not do my life in any sense. My mother is not a happy woman but she can get by. It is a hard realization to know that losing a daughter is not enough of a crisis for my parents to look deeper, especially after I gave all my life to them. But I guess that realization also gives me my freedom, the knowledge of what’s my responsibility and what’s not… I’m in quite a bit of pain these days, even trying to get back into life, connecting to people, telling what’s going on (even just in general with one or two sentences—and speaking it out loud hurts more than writing it). I feel crippled. I know I’m en route, that I’ve expelled so much of the toxins inside me and that I’m on my way to a good and healthy life and that there will be real meaning for me in my life but right now, gosh, yes, I feel crippled. I’m grateful in that I’m not broken anymore. I’ll get my gait. One step at a time. Thanks. Love to all. A


Wow Alaina – again your post just hits the nail on the head as regards my mum. She was forever “ill” having test after test after test and yet nothing could be found but I was the one she talked and talked to about it and took her to hospital etc. My cousins only lived an hour away but I was never encouraged to have a “relationship” with them and if we saw them once a year I was lucky – she would say things about them and my Aunt to me that would be very negative and without knowing it myself I was put off them.

The bit that really hit home was your comment “It is a hard realization to know that losing a daughter is not enough of a crisis for my parents to look deeper …” I can never imagine a situation that would mean me losing my daughter no matter how much pain and discomfort I had to go to put our relationship back on an equal, respectful path. Why does MY mum give up so easily then? I think again you’ve got it right that she wants to protect HERSELF from having to work through that pain – it is definitely a choice and she’s chosen not to go there. I’m so glad I chose to go there and no matter how painful and soul searching my journey is, I know that already I am a happier, more contented human being. I have good days and bad days but today my glass is definitely half full …… maybe one day it will be completely full ! 🙂

Thank you for such a great post x


I would like to thank everyone who wrote me back! 🙂 You all are assisting in my healing.

@mimi Yes my family structure was crushed and I am still working on knowing the importance of family. I figured when I have children maybe it will come to me more and I can just instill in them what I did not get and can move on. but i know in my heart I must work with my family as well. While I have a close relationship with some family members the importance of family is not in me. I am praying one day it will be. I also feel the same way about the bed.. I am so tired of the constant disappointment from her,(in reference to not being a mother, and not being mature, not taking responsibility and continuing to be hurtful) I can’t image how you get up everyday in a distorted twisted world and you see NOTHING wrong. It is everyone but YOU. (and i mean YOU as in my mother) So because its always ME i have chosen to remove myself. It isn’t always easy, I do get sad, but the reward outweighs what im missing. I can no longer deal with her negativity.

@Janie I never thought about it that way.. I was so fixated on the WHYS I could not grasp the bottom line of it, and now that you have said it, it makes complete sense. When I am able to get to the bottom of her foolishness, it hurts less and less and I am able to heal a little better. so I appreciate you bringing that to my attention. It is amazing what the illness of the mind can make you do to your children. Of course my mother is older than me and to cling to my younger ex’s has been mind boggling and has made me wonder what else she would do with them, being that I believe she sees herself through men and relationships.

@onmyway I understand how you feel. My mother was very nice to my cousins, however she does treat my siblings the same as they have gotten older, but she is more severe with me because if she is not, it will start to make her look bad. I think the more i separate myself the more she will have no choice. But yes it is hard to have your parent be mean to you but praise others, especially others that are not doing as well as you. Not to be demeaning, but if you are excelling in life and your mother praises someone who is going against things they have raised you to be, it makes you feel EVEN worse. Like clearly you would not accept that behavior from me, because they are NOT ME, you LOVE THEM. I could not grasp it at all. So now I have came to the conclusion that since she loves so many other people, then they should be the ones to help her out when she is in need. However she never asks those people, she always ask me, and I’m cutting the cord off! If I am not good enough for your daily life, I’m surely not good enough to give you a couple minutes of my time to help you out with your daily life.

Overall I pray all of you are experiencing some type of healing.. it takes time and literally I got hour by hour, it has to start there. This is a person who birthed us, and constantly makes (me) aware of that. It is natural for us to want them in our lives, but it is unnatural to deal with abuse. Just because its YOUR MOTHER and YOUR FATHER (which i get so sick of hearing,..(my issues are only redistrict to my mother however) does not mean we are made to suffer the abuse. you can always love from a distance and not accept what is being told to you!


I would like to address this post. As I have gotten older I have realized as a child I never had a chance with my mother. She is very defensive and always think people are against her, so she had me to be her support system and the person who will never be like that. However through out the years, I feel she has just pinned me as one of them, I begin distancing myself emotionally in 7th grade.

I can remember seeing the dysfunction then. I can not understand what I could have done prior to that to make her dislike me as much as she does. I was called bi polor, crazy, dumb, stupid, retarded, and not because I was making grand mistakes or even mistakes that are abnormal for a child my age (at the time) but because so much responsibility was put on me that I did not always handle things on a “mature” level. How can a child think on a level of an adult?

My childhood was at a young age. I became an adult. with responsibilities of cleaning up her house, and parenting her children. She would leave for the day and come back at night and get mad because things were not right at home. How is a child suppose to know how to take care of little children. I have been my mothers, slave, servant, bank, and even her PARENT, for long enough and it continues in my adult hood. I know Darlene had a topic about re-parenting yourself, that I must read again. I have grown up a very serious person who has a hard time enjoying life. However each year I leave my mothers control I gain control over myself and my happiness.

I posed the question once, how can you see the goodness in yourself, when the person who raised you saw no good. One moment I am great and she is so proud and the next I’m awful and selfish. That was my mother’s favorite word. Selfish.. I had always thought of others, but I was still selfish. As I got older I realized that I thought of her less and less, because no matter what I did it was never good enough. Why go out of your way to please someone who can never be pleased. My selfishness became a defense mechanism, she did not care about me, so who would? I had to care bout me.

I have recently came to the conclusion that I do not want her apart of any major life changing events in my life. I would hate to look back on happy times and realize she was there. Especially if we are not in a good place. I know some family members would not agree, and I am willing to let them go as well, if they chose that path. No one has been through what i have (in my family i mean) they did not deal with what I had to deal with. They only know the surface of what they have seen but there is so much they did not know. Being told my mother hated me, by my mother, me reaching out to help from my family which they tried only got my mother mad at me, which led to her punching me in the face at the age of 13. She never treated me like a child, her daughter but more or less like someone off the street she hated.

I never had a chance to be loved by her, she never gave me a chance to grow up a happy adult, but I am taking that into my hands now. I worry of the day she passes and we never resolve it, that is not what I want. That has been the biggest thing for me. I would love to know what you guys think about that. ..Hugs…


@Alaina.. My mother as well continues to claim sickness…especially after she has created an issue with a person, which results in an argument, she quickly rushes to the ER to blame the person she got into an argument with. Other people “make her” ill, the stress of dealing with people and their negativity makes her ill, even though she is the one who starts the issues. And now she is upset that no one rushes to her aid anymore. If she is sick and no one comes to see her etc she calls them out. I think others are starting to see the behavior patterns. Its all attention seeking behavior. And I feel bad for her because I see a little girl who was hurt herself and is reaching out. Like you said about your mother’s past, my mother had very similar issues, if not the same exact issues. Her childhood was tainted as well. I just wish she cared enough or was strong enough to make the decision to be better for her children sake. I do not think it was her wish to be this way to ME, however I can no longer make excuses for her. I am very sorry about your past and hope your healing is going well…


Thank you WendyMac and Madison. I really appreciate your comments. I wish we weren’t connecting over such things but I’m grateful that we can be heard and understood amongst ourselves… I’m quite exhausted these days, the grief work is getting to me, but the sun is peaking up over the horizon. There is hope. When we have the truth in our hands, there is hope… As my mother’s child, I am definitely worth doing the work for. I was looking at photos of my nephew (whom I might lose in this process) and he’s this adorable, happy little one year old, whose spirit you can feel right there at the surface and I had this realization that I was and I am also as deeply loveable as this little boy, that I in no way deserved my experience in life. But also (theoretically) I know my mother is the same and even beyond doing the work for her child’s sake would be doing the work for her own sake. I don’t know what stops her exactly—I don’t have access to her soul and psyche—but I know that I am worth doing the work for and that she too is worth doing the work for and I hope that I can leave it at that. It’s exhausting being angry. I just want to lay it all down and walk forward into my own life, regardless of however my parents choose to live. It is no reflection on me…. My best to both of you in your healing. Hugs.


hi all,

Alaina, your post was written so perfectly in the way that you described your mothers refusal to face her own pain and put all of that pain, the responsibility for her pain and the solution to fixing that pain all onto your shoulders, your spirit and your psyche. Your description of how you gave and gave and was sucked dry is so similar to describing my own experience and how your parent’s responses and refusal to face their own pain and sacrifice their own flesh and blood is also exactly what I have experienced in my life also. You write in such a compassionate and fair way, I wish you well on your journey to healing. There is so much light at the end, I am getting there and I am so thankful to you and everyone who wrote here on EFB.

Darlene, I would like to thank you for this site. It has given me so much knowledge and validation and confidence to stick to my choices and decisions knowing I am not a bad person. Your way to healing has definitely been a huge help to me, and I can’t understand why anyone would want to criticise what you do, when there are many hundreds, maybe even thousands of people being affected in such a positive, loving, powerful way. I see the way you reply to people’s posts in such a loving, encouraging and happy way and I hope that your work grows more and more successful each year. Your writing style is so clear and straight to the point and that really helps my brain absorb this knowledge, because as a survivor of brainwashing/abuse, my brain is very sensitive and the information you provide helps to soothe, calm and heal my mind. This site is the most powerful site I have ever come across. In the past I read literally hundreds and hundreds of books over the years, yet your writing seems to hit straight to the core. Thank you.



I think that with the passing of time, you will become more at peace with the fact that what is not resolved with your mother really is not yours to resolve. It is only normal that you want it resolved, that you want what it right and good, but you cannot resolve it.

For me, in my current continuing experiences of hurt with my parents (although very limited)and when I see where their true loyalties are, and how hard they work to defend their favorites and put me down, I anticipate the relief ahead, at least in death, the continuing hurt will stop, even though the pattern ingrained lives on, but not necessarily…


Hi Aurele
Thats awesome ~ thanks for the update!

Everyone ~ I can’t answer all the comments here, I have run out of time this week ~ so if I missed answering yours, I am very sorry! ~ Darlene

Excellent comments and insights. Our parents, freinds and family DO have a choice just like we do.
One of the most painful truths that I faced in healing was that *I* was not important enough to my mother for her to try to have a relationship with me. And that pain lasted a long time too. Thankfully, it did pass as I learned to fill that void and learned to love myself the way that she never did. I see my mother the same way that you talk about; that she chose NOT to face her own pain and that she will do whatever she can to protect herself from it and I understand that today, but I am no longer willing to have her pain directed at me.

Thank you so much for sharing and to all the people that responded to your post, ~ all your comments are excellent and very much appreciated too.
hugs, Darlene


Hi Madison
I can relate to what you have shared about your mom. YAY for taking these matters into your own hands now! That was the only way that I recovered. I had to find the truth and decide to live for me and finally value myself.
Thank you for sharing all that you have in all your comments,
hugs, Darlene


Hi Emma
Wow, thank you so much for all your encouragement! (about critisism ~ the majority of people are afraid to face thier own pain and my writing triggers them too. I am just glad that I am able to reach the people who ARE ready to face the truth and the pain in order to find freedom!)
Thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene


Thanks Emma! I’m sorry you were also treated in that way. Thank you for telling me my words were compassionate and fair. Of course this is what is lodged against me—that I’m not compassionate and fair (or enough anyway). My family’s idea of compassion is so warped and not fair at all because they don’t show the same depth of compassion to me, not in the slightest. At one point in my communication with my mom, I tried to appeal to her own experience with her mother, asking her what it would mean to her if her mother was able to take accountability, if her mom could address all the times in her own life when she felt powerless and worthless, subservient and less important and give real recognition for my mom’s experience. My mom, totally missing the point, seemed put out any time I mentioned her mother in our communication and told me that she’d accepted that her mother was a narcissist a long time ago but she still cared about her. (I wonder if that’s what I’m supposed to do?) I don’t actually believe this is the reason my mom doesn’t hold her mother accountable, but it makes me wonder, though, if you were to take that as a suitable reason—is THAT compassion? If I’d made some mistakes in my life and was hurting someone else and I knew it in the back of my mind but it hurt to think about and it made me feel terribly ashamed and I had all sorts of defences that were keeping the truth at bay and the person I was hurting wasn’t saying anything, was holding it all in and acting like everything was okay and the way I was hurting the person kind of made me feel better and I really didn’t want it to be true that I was hurting this person, because I did care about this person but again they acted like everything was fine, and it offered relief to my pain, so I just kept myself busy and not thinking about it too much, but then later I found out (maybe from a third party) that this person had never said anything to me all this time because they’d accepted that I was narcissist a long time ago but still cared about me… well, how would I take that? Is that compassion? If I was being honest with myself, I’d have to admit to my narcissism but what would the truth of the relationship be, of the other person who supposedly cares about me but never thought me capable of being anything other/better than a narcissist. What a sham the whole thing would be, such a waste of life. As hard as the truth can sometimes be to hear, I hope that in my life, my loved ones will have the freedom and ability but also the respect and compassion to address any issues they have with me. It’s how we grow as people. It challenges us to be more than what we are but it also speaks to the belief that we CAN be more and the underlying compassion that we make mistakes for a reason, that we aren’t simply born narcissistic or abusive and that’s that, end of story, there’s no hope. So, no, that isn’t compassion and I don’t care what anybody may think, I know I’m compassionate (even if I have to remind myself of that when the old default mode/voice comes back into my head, questioning me, doubting me, etc)…. Anyway, thanks again and I also wish you well on your journey!

Thank you, too, Darlene! Yes, I can see it’s going to take some time to get over that pain—it comes and goes in waves. But I absolutely know that I have all seeds to fill in that void and learn to love myself more/better. Just got to keep at it. xo, A


Hi Everyone
I have written about a lot of things to do with my mother and how she blamed me, but one thing I haven’t written about yet is how after she blamed me for her boyfriend coming in my bedroom, she started to treat me like her competition and started flirting with MY boyfriends. I just published a new post about what it was like for me as a teenage woman to go through that. You can read the post here: “Was my mother a Cougar? More toxic mother daughter relationship”
This subject matter applies to all actions that devalue or disrespect the child.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi guys, thanks for your responses! This is such a great thread.

Mimi- Yes! I so agree that ‘if you aren’t a part of the solution, you are a part of the problem’. This quote helps me to see others for who they are and keep myself accountable where/when I need to be. Thanks for the support- it is a good antidote to all of the people who insist on trying to shut down healing as it freaks them out.

Kathryn- Yeah, the ‘look’ thing is definitely an evolutionary process. What I’ve realized is that how I relate to myself and my family does pour out onto basically everyone. Today I got a ‘look’ when I sat down on a bench next to a girl. I still felt uncomfortable for a bit, but I didn’t crumble. I realized that it wasn’t my fault! In the past that would’ve just ruined my day! I think as you get better you’ll find that the way people treat you at work is better too! Of course none of it is your fault and no one has the right to treat you badly in the first place, but what’s great is once you are healed they won’t be able to.

Light- I too have experienced the ripple effect of isolation. What I’m learning is that it is very common. I am lucky to have my aunt and all of the people she has connected with outside of blood relatives- friends, boyfriend. However, recently I’ve come to the sober realization that she is the exception, not the norm in my family. I always thought it was just my mother who was crazy- over the last 4 months, I’ve realized that two of her sisters, who both have children and spouses, are siding with her pulling the “well, if my daughter didn’t visit me….”. It’s actually quite shocking to see who people really are when push comes to shove. Friends is a good way to go. Making your own family and all. It’s a slow process. But every step is worth is when you do find a good friend (sometimes they can be positive networks too- like finding one friend who just includes you in their huge group so it’s like finding 20 friends really). Then there are those friends who are always ‘busy’ with family and stuff. That’s not ideal for me, it is hard. Health/fatigue problems suck! I had those a lot when I was younger, now I realize they were a result of living at home and the stress and abuse (they went away as I got older). Everyone is different, but as you have more positivity in your life, you will likely feel better (they’ve done a lot of studies on how stress affects the immune system- I actually developed a few autoimmune illnesses that have mysteriously ‘gone away’ since moving out of the home…).

It seems the world is brainwashed! I think this is so brave of you because you are not only fighting against your family’s past abuse, but also against a majority who validate them and try to convince you that you are in the wrong! It is people like you, who fight against a majority belief that is wrong, who change the world! So excited about all of this!



Thank you!
That is my hope! To make a significant change in the world so that the captives can finally be set free!
Hugs, Darlene


Thanks Darlene! Thanks Kate.. I think the issue for me is even though I have no desire to try when she is alive, I fear in death I would know that reconciliation is dead as well. Its finale. You know what I mean


Thank you for writing the exact words she used. I have just come through the fog to the other side. Initiated NO CONTACT 14 days ago. This article I needed to read because of the covert nature and the exact style was the story of my life as well.A lot of what I have been reading describes the N Mom as yelling and such. Mine didn’t do that. Mine did what yours did..and also the puddle method if all else failed. Meaning crying and accusing me of hating her and thinking she is a horrible mother. Which was my cue to drop whatever she did wrong or forget it is my husbands birthday dinner and reassure her. Now that I finally have 3 words ” Covert Narcissistic Mother”. Hallelujah, the last piece of the puzzle that I have been dragging around from my freaking neck finally clicked into place and off of my neck. I can breathe!


Hi Alaina,

I just wanted to reply to your comment about compassion. I think being aware of how other people are feeling and showing true care, concern, respect and empathy for how someone feels shows how a person is so NOT a controller/abuser/narcissist.

I think your respect for your mum and dad’s feelings shows through and I often say to myself, if my daughter came to me so unhappy and so sad about how I had treated her, I would move heaven and hell to help her feel loved, safe and know that her mental wellbeing comes way above mine. Good mums needs don’t come first.

For me, I am finally starting to realise and understand how their responses to my normal healthy, loving requests tell me so much about them and what kind of people they are. Their actions are the opposite of love for me. For me, if my mother responds to my pain with the attitude that there is something mentally wrong with me and that she is absolutely perfect, that is a huge red flag that confirms how dysfunctional she is to me and how she has no concern or empathy or compassion for my pain and my feelings.

Emma. x


Tiffany (197)

I love your description of “the puddle method” ! That just sums my mum up. If she disagreed with something I said/did she would start trying to convince me that I was so very wrong and if she felt she was getting nowhere and God forbid I was “winning” the discussion, then the tears would start and every time she would say “I never said I was the perfect mother” which was my cue to shut up and reassure her that she was a good mother!

Emma (198)

Yet again so very true – if my lovely daughter told me that I’d made her very unhappy I too would move heaven and earth to help her feel loved. I can’t imagine why any mother would choose to do anything else but that. Unfortunately my mum feels the pain of losing me and my family is less hurtful to her than even trying to face up to the issues I’ve spoken to her about. Today I’m feeling angry about it as I go on my journey to heal myself but I’ll take each day as it comes and hope tomorrow is a little easier.

Love to everyone in this group – thank God for this website 🙂 xx


Hi Tiffany
Welcome to EFB ~ Well my mom yelled too, she had a big combo of methods to get things her way. And oh the crying ~ sometimes I wonder if that is why I have so much trouble crying; because I hate to be anything like her and I came to see tears/crying as manipulative and dishonest ~ my mom certainly used the crying tactic. (I like how you call it the puddle method, lol, that is a new one on me!)
Thanks for sharing and welcome to EFB
Hugs, Darlene


I love what you said to Alaina! Excellent comments! (AND i love how you wrote “good mums needs don’t come first”)
Hugs, Darlene


Aaahh, the fake tears! Yes, I was and am subject to them, however, since I have let NM know that the jig is up, and I know they are not real tears, she usually saves them for someone else she knows will be manipulated by them. lol. Pretty practical, when you think about it. Why work yourself up into a fake lather, when all your efforts will not return the desired results? Guilt, shame, apologies for standing up for yourself, etc.
When I was a little girl, my mother would say “Ohhh! Those are just crocodile tears!” whenever I cried. It felt like being punched in the stomach when she said that. The older I get, the more I realize how odd and sick it is for a mother to have no empathy for her own small child,or any child,for that matter!
Later, I put it together. She accused me of what she herself did. Cry ceocodile tears.
Come to think of it, if she ever does it again in front of me, I will say to her “Ohhh! Those are just crocodile tears!”


Thanks for your words, Emma. You’re so right!! Everything you said! Sometimes I have to also remind myself that these people are 25 and 30 years older than I am and they’re not stupid. Yet it’s amazing how I had to keep explaining myself, how many different angles I took trying to get them to see what I was saying. They ought to have so many more years worth of understanding, wisdom and insight, but they don’t. It’s about priorities. They have a ton more knowledge, experience and insight than I have in other areas of life. I don’t think they want to understand. I think they made their choice a long time ago. Someone once told me that people aren’t so cruel as they are stupid and as a general statement about humanity, I’d agree. And though I’m not religious, there’s that idea of forgiving them “for they know not what they do,” or however it goes. But I think there’s a point when stupidity becomes cruelty, when you become aware of the harm your ignorance is causing and have before you all the resources to understand and inform yourself on the subject at hand, in fact you have it all spelled out, but for whatever reason you don’t want to put yourself to the task. My parents recognized that they failed me and they’ve both apologized at one time or another (or multiple times actually), but they aren’t interested in knowing HOW they failed me. They have their own ideas. They don’t mind being imperfect but they want to be imperfect in the way they see fit, not in the way they actually are. They always need to be the expert, even when it comes to their own dysfunction. And so I get swept under the carpet the same as I always was, even as they recognize they failed me, even as they recognize I’d be dead if not for outside support. They never hear me, and it’s mind-boggling to me how they can be so close but not look. But that’s on them. There’s that idea of not being worth it to them, not being important enough, or that they don’t actually love us… but sometimes I think you don’t even have to go that far. I think it’s a question of having a conscience. If I was presented with the truth of how my behaviour almost killed someone (say, a total stranger), I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t have the guts to look myself in the eye and face whatever pain I had to face. I’d do that for a stranger, never mind my own child. I can only imagine the damage they are doing to their own psyche and spirit by negating their own child. While on the one hand I understand being in the fog and wanting to avoid the pain, etc., on the other, where I’m standing now… it’s unfathomable. I guess that’s a sign of my emerging health! YAY!!
Thanks again for such a thoughtful response. I am very grateful to this place and everyone here. xo, A


I am so glad I ran across this post. My mother didn’t want a human being… She wanted a robot. All she felt obligated to provide me was a home, food, clothing, education and health care. Beyond that, I wasn’t supposed to have needs, wants, thoughts or feelings. After I became an adult, it was all about how I owed her for raising me. Whenever she didn’t get her way, I was an “ungrateful little bitch”. Anytime I stood up to her she used that as an example of how I was a bad person and that she was justified in being abusive towards me. After moving back home in my late twenties I came to realize that it was all HER, not ME.

Two years ago I moved from the west coast to the New York City area for a chance at a better life and to get away from the toxic situation (including her). I hoped she would finally “get it” and start valuing her only child once I was so far away. Nothing changed and she was still passing judgment and trying to run my life from 3000 miles away. I started the internal debate about cutting her out of my life and was really struggling with that.. As awful as it sounds, she did me the favor of passing away from her long term illness the months after the move. It has been a year and a half. I don’t miss her, and while the process of healing from a lifetime of abuse will take a long time, I already feel happier with myself as a person than I have been in my whole life.

Thank you for sharing your story and giving others a place to have a voice.


Ah yes, my mother is another one who thinks I am mentally ill.

I cut off contact with her about a year ago. She’s written a couple letters. In spite of having NO information about or from me (since we live out of state and one of my kids won’t talk to her and the other tells her nothing when he calls), in the last letter my mother sent about a month ago she said she knew I was “lonely, depressed and in a bad way”.

Ummm… no. In the year and a half since I’ve seen her, I’ve lost 30 pounds, have a great boyfriend, have taken up a cool hobby (scuba), changed jobs to something very very cool, and have been happy. She knows none of this. But still she’s telling ME that I’m lonely and depressed and ‘in a bad way’.

She is so full of shit. And she really believes this stuff.

Does anyone else’s mother do the omniscient God mindreading thing? My mother believes she knows everything about everyone and how they think and feel. She knows what is going on in households 1,200 miles away where no one tells her anything. She simply believes she can figure it all out and is sure she’s right. She’s smarter than doctors, therapists, diagnostic labs.

And she is so sure of her opinions, no proof on this earth can convince her otherwise. My oldest son has a pot problem. I told some residue to the FBI lab and had it analyzed–yep a certain type of pot. Mom doesn’t believe it. She knows more than the FBI!

She knows my emotional well being, my feelings, my thoughts better than I do. She loves to psychoanalyze everyone in the world–except herself.

I asked her to set up joint therapy in her state with the therapist of her choosing, and I’d fly up stay in a hotel, rent a car, take time off of work. She’s TERRIFIED of therapy (I once told her that no therapist in the US believes that a family estrangement is just one person’s fault–and I guess deep inside she knows it’s true). She pretended not to understand, waffled, told me that IF **I** got a new therapist here in my state (since my current one is clearly not effective–and she knows NOTHING about my therapy or therapist), MAYBE after a year of me having better therapy, she would check out my therapist’s credentials and if he was good enough, she MIGHT do some therapy with me to HELP me with MY problems.

I pointed out I was not asking her to join my therapy and quoted myself as having said, SHE chooses the therapist in HER state and she could check out his/her credentials to her heart’s content, and **I** would come to her and we’d do it HER way.

She decided she was not the person to help me with my problems since apparently she was (being snarky here) the person who caused all of them. Sorry, no therapy.

I pointed out it was not to help ME, but to help US. To improve our relationship. She wrote back (all this was done by letter) that ‘of course I understood I would pay for it all’. I said ‘No, I would pay for half of the therapy and all the expenses of flying up there, taking time off work, getting a hotel and a rental car, etc… However, since we would BOTH benefit from an improved relationship, I expected her to pay half the therapy costs (which her half would be $300–covered by insurance).

My mother is TERRIFIED of therapy. TERRIFIED. She’s told herself for 70 years she is perfect and I’m a mess, she can’t handle the possibility that she might be partially responsible. She refused to do it citing the money. She’d rather have no relationship than spend $300 for the possibility of an improved relationship.

My mother has also recently told me that she has never been so betrayed in her ENTIRE life by anyone as by me. I’m not sure what I did to betray her, but I did let my two younger sons see all the letters between us and did send a copy to my brother–without any commentary from me. He could see what I wrote, good bad and ugly, and he could see what she wrote, good bad and ugly.

Well, apparently this is an unforgivable betrayal. I am supposed to keep her coldness and hatefulness and snarky words to myself. She wrote that ‘everybody’ was pounding on her, this was a betrayal and as far as I went, the ‘family ship has sailed’ (and I’m not on it). I was disowned. Not by anything I said, but because when people read her own words she didn’t come off looking too good. She betrayed herself with her own meanness to me.

Everything is always my fault. I’m defective and she’s perfect. All her friends say so.

It’s the people who are terrified of therapy who need it the most.

And it’s absolutely true, estrangement is NEVER just one person’s fault. Not EVER.

She does not want to fix things, she wants me to shut up and take it–or disappear. I won’t be doing either.

I’m another one who will be spreading her name all over the internet when she dies. I’ve already uploaded the letters and other things to Ancestry so anyone ever searching family history will know all about her (and also my slut aunt who fucked my husband). I will be taking out truthful obituaries when she (and my aunt) dies. Imagine in my aunt’s case, her whole life, her whole meaning on earth, every thought, feeling, act she’s ever done will be superseded by the truth that she fucked her niece’s husband. She has no kids or anyone else to write something nice about her–so what I write is IT.

And it’s not to be mean, altho I admit I get satisfaction out of the thought. It’s because for my whole life my family has been one big lie and full of secrets (like my aunt fucking my husband), and I HATE secrets. Secrets are so destructive and all this lying has been devastating for several generations of my family. The lying and secrets stop NOW.

My mother has spent her entire life running from the truth and suppressing secrets and manipulating information to support her fantasy world of her irreproachability and perfection (must be exhausting) and it will ALL be futile. My mother was a cold, rejecting, selfish, inadequate mother. My father was a drunk (big secret), my mother got knocked up and had to force my father to marry her. My father cheated on my mother. My aunt fucked my husband and walked away and my mother supported the slut rather than her daughter. And that’s the beginning of the secrets I’ll reveal. I tell everyone if it comes up what’s really going on in my family–and an interesting thing happens, people reciprocate and tell me their family secrets. There are a LOT of horrible parents out there who pass for decent loving people.

Will people criticize me for it? Some will, but most won’t. And I don’t care. It’s not like I haven’t been criticized re my mother before. I’ll survive just fine.

I believe that my mother was so shamed by getting herself knocked up in 1960, and so overwhelmed by having a baby and a reluctant husband, and so blamed by her rigid parents for getting herself knocked up, that she had no ability to love me. And she knew it and was ashamed and mortified by how she felt. But she could not believe that she was anything but the ‘good’ girl, the nice popular one, so she decided I was a bad baby. And she has spent her entire life looking for reasons to dislike me.

When I was about 11, she told me that when I was a baby, I would not hold still to have my diaper changed. I’d twist and kick and wriggle. And when she told me that, she was so angry! The anger still seethed out of her–TEN years later. I remember being shocked and confused. I had no memory of it. I didn’t do it on purpose. I was a BABY for godsakes, didn’t all babies wiggle? And why was she angry still? What could I do about it.

Other mothers would think it was a funny story. My mother was enraged about it ten years later. Although she’d deny it. Perfect mothers are never angered by normal baby behavior. She would just say I’m making it up. It would be a sign of my mental illness and what a poor therapist I have that I would ever say such a thing.


Hi Charity
Welcome to EFB ~ Thank you for your comments, it all sound very familiar to me! I moved to the other side of the country when I was 19 and for a while I felt better but the damage that had been caused to me went unattended. When I had kids I forgot all about how hard things had been and why I moved out so young (17) in the first place because I believed that everything would be different now that I was married and gave her grandchildren… in the end the distance between us was not helpful and facing the truth about our relationship served to let me face the damage so that I could overcome it.
Thanks for sharing, glad you are here!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Kalispell
Welcome to Emerging from Broken
I can relate to much of what you have posted here and on the other comments that you left on other posts since last night and so many of your points are very true. Thank you for sharing your insights and examples!
Hugs, Darlene


My first post –
8 days ago after yet another nuclear explosion on the other end of a phone call w/mom, after holding the phone out in the air till I heard the screaming stop, I ended the phone call as politely as I could so I wouldn’t be the one who rudely hung up. It had started when I told her I felt left out of the family by not being told of my stepdad’s illness. So after the usual blow-up where she was the victim, I felt overwhelmed by once again having been manipulated into being The Bad Guy. I went to the computer and typed the words “OVER” and “DONE” and “F*** YOU” in the biggest ugliest font I could find, then, desperate, I decided to google “my mother doesn’t love me,” somewhat afraid of what I would find. I have been reading this blog ever since! I can hardly believe it is all here, like a dream, MY experiences and feelings, discovering that I am not alone. I almost feel guilty for finding this resource, it’s such a taboo subject. I’m shaking as I type. Thank you to all brave enough to push the send button. THANK YOU DARLENE (tears now) THANK YOU THANK YOU.

We could all go on and on, eh? (a little humor for you Canadians) My first “share” (sort of a trivial matter on the surface) starts in the teenage years….. when my friends were complaining that their moms criticized the way they looked or butted in on their social matters, I wished my mom cared that much. See, she wouldn’t give me an opinion or advice even when I asked for it. So I figured my mom didn’t care how I looked or what I did (as long as I followed THE RULES). What mattered to her was how much I did or did not annoy her at any given moment. Giving her opinion or advice to me would possibly prompt an arguement, and she had given up on that because she said I was “smarter than her” just like my dad who always verbally got the better of her (only verbally though). So she would cease an arguement by hissing that she just wasn’t smart enough for me… blah blah. She still does this! … And, I’m embarrassed to say, I am 66 years old(!), and she is 88, now in a position to use the vulnerability of old age for leverage. For decades I have tried every way (including dumbing down) to get her to see me as a loving daughter who does not want to hurt her. I had a 30 year career working with youth and parents, criminals and victims, but I can’t get a handle on this lifelong “non-relationship.”

Mom hit me frequently as a child, which she says now didn’t happen, and that I am a liar. Sometime in my 30’s she told me that when she learned she was pregnant with me she tried to cause a miscarriage cuz she wanted to leave my father. More recently when I pointed out to her that she need not have told me that because it hurt me, she says I made up the whole thing. She let me be the one to find her when I was a teen coming home from school, with a “suicide note” and her passed out from wine and pills(?). That never happened either.

I don’t know if I’ll submit more comments, but I do learn so much from others and have so much empathy and sorrow for the pain others have had. The hard part is moving out of that place we have been in for so long. You younger forum-members are so fortunate to have the opportunity to work on this while you are still young. But regardless of age or depth of pain, we are all in this together – this life and this world, and it’s never to late to re-discover our “real selves.” The “good” selves we were born as.


Hi KathyAnn
Welcome to EFB!
It really helped me when I started to believe me. I finally stopped caring if ‘they’ said I was nuts or if they said I was a liar. I know differently. I know what happened to me. I know what it was like and I have a right to finally be the one to be angry and hurt over it. I finally stuck up for me and that was such a huge new beginning. No wonder they lie about how it was ~ if they admitted it or stopped justifying it by blaming even more on me, they would have to actually DO something about it. If they admitted it they would have to actually look at the person they are, and the damage they did. I am not surprised anymore by how much they lie and deny. It is wonderful to live in that freedom!
Thank you so much for sharing, I am glad you are here and I hope you will share again.
Hugs, Darlene

p.s. You are not alone ~ It is so sad that people find me by searching ‘my mother doesn’t love me’ but what is even more sad is how many hundreds and hundreds of people every single day find this site by typing those words into a search engine.


Kalispell (205)

I can relate to everything you’ve commented – thank you for sharing 🙂

My mother thinks I have mental problems too – her partner shouted at me once that I needed to see a psychiatrist and she said nothing. I have had to have therapy only because of her on three separate occasions during the last 8 years – she didn’t know I’d had to seek therapy but once I told her that I had and it was because of her, she made no comment whatsoever. After a great deal of stress and persuasion from both myself and my husband, I did get my mum to come to one mediation session with my therapist. Needless to say it was a complete waste of time. I did tell my mum that the mediator would not be taking sides or offer any advice – she was merely there to “keep us on track” and make sure that both sides could make their point. I began the session by thanking her for coming and got some notes out of my bag that I’d made because I was so worried/stressed about our meeting I wanted to make sure I didn’t forget anything important due to nerves. Her response to this was to say “well you’re very well prepared aren’t you” – not even a “yes, let’s hope we can get our relationship back on track” or even “thank you for arranging it for us” – that would have been too much to hope for.

Once the session started it went completely wrong. I admit I did get angry with her because she just wouldn’t listen to my feelings and called my daughter a liar. This played straight into her hands and she turned the water works on (which I had warned my therapist about). She then got up to leave, thinking that either I or the therapist would ask her to stay. Neither of us did and as soon as she realised her little drama hadn’t got her anywhere she sat back down again and miraculously stopped crying.

A complete waste of time and money and no she didn’t pay half! She thought the mediator was a complete waste of space and told everyone who would listen. Funnily enough at the end, the therapist said she couldn’t comment on things my mum had said but that she obviously had some deep-seated problems and could do with help.

Next week it will be a year since she has spoken to either of my children (aged 17 and 13). Neither of them has done anything to her. I’ve been completely No Contact since mothers day when she returned my card -she no longer thinks of me as her daughter.

It’s amazing how in that short space of time I think I’ve found a little piece of me that I didn’t realise existed and this in itself has given me such hope for my future without a mum.



Thank you for taking the time to comment to me. I appreciate the support. Yes, I try to make friends…it’s harder at this age. Some of my friendships are changing because I can feel myself wanting more equal reciprocity, and some of my friends are used to me doing more of the “work” of sustaining the connection.


Wow, the topic says it all. Being adopted and being labelled the bad child has stayed with me and still, even as an adult, upsets me. Just recently been diagnosed with emotional dysregulation disorder or otherwise known as BPD. I find myself having moments when l get angry, thinking all these years l was labelled bad, rebellious, trouble-maker etc,when in fact, lm pretty darn sure l had BPD in my teens, but it was never picked up. I will always have a toxic relationship with my mother. I choose to have nothing to do with her, as it just causes me too much grief. Have so much shame and guilt from growing up, just cant face her. Then l suffer the guilt of my children not having a relationship with their grandma yet l feel because they are my kids, they will not be good enough as my sisters kids, and l never want to subject them to feeling like that are not good enough because of me. Ive explained my relationship to my girls, and they are free to do what they want when they are adults. As it is, the girls don’t really know my mum, as we moved away, to the other side of the country, therefore not growing up with her in their life. Which l think is a good thing, not being around any of the negativity between my mum and l. I think if l hadn’t moved, l would be having many more meltdowns and self harming. I have always wished to have a mother-daughter relationship. But its never going to happen. I wish l had a mum who was there for me to talk to, to be there when l went through post natal depression with my first baby. But instead l put on a brave face, portraying that l was coping. Going by all the above posts, l guess l am not alone, maybe in my own situation, but similar to others.


Reading all this reminded me of another memory. It was the last conversation with my mother on the phone a year ago–I’m sure the last one we will ever have.

My ex was a stalker. Then he moved out of state and became an internet stalker–basically following me around the internet.

One day I noticed my mother had Facebook friended him. I was devastated. I called her up and asked ‘WHY??????’.

She played stupid; she was just being friendly, blah, blah, blah.

I started weeping, quietly because I was on my cell phone at the library, kind of over in the corner where they have the couches, and while there weren’t any people around, it was quiet and I didn’t want to draw attention to myself.

I was in anguish though. I’d been married to this guy 4 years and he put me through hell. I had a restraining order on him. The police had to removed him from the house. He HIT me. My mother knew all this and now 3 years after the divorce (which he made hell because he wanted alimony etc…) she Facebooked him. Whhhhhyyyyy? Why did you do this?

So like I said, she played innocent and I was quietly upset and had tears in my voice. And she said I needed to be hospitalized, I was in urgent need of a mental hospital. And–concerned mother that she was–she’d hop on a plane RIGHT now and fly to me and help me commit myself.

I wasn’t hysterical, I wasn’t out of control. I wasn’t yelling. I wasn’t suicidal. I was weepy and upset. In the library. Drawing no attention to myself whatsoever.

But I questioned her, perfect loving concerned benign onmiscient all knowing Nancy–thus **I** needed to be put into a mental hospital.

Excuse my vulgarity, but fuck her.

Dementia runs in the family. My guess is I’ll see her institutionalized long before she sees me committed. When that day comes, although I bet it will be meaningless to her, I’ll be remembering that day in the library when she was oh so willing to fly to my state and have me committed because I questioned her cruel F-you choice.


Hi Kylie
I got really angry when I realized what CAUSED my depressions and bi-polar in the first place. It wasn’t something I was born with. When I was diagnosed, it was used as the proof that there “WAS” something wrong with me, and that ticked me off too. But today I realize that what happened to me caused all of it which really had to do with them and not me! (and about your mom and your kids ~eventually I realized that if my relatiosnship with my mom was toxic then it was a good choice to protect my kids from that~ that helped a lot with the feeling that I had caused my kids to miss out on something good, when in fact they are missing out on something bad.)
Thanks for sharing Kylie!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Kalispell
yes, this is another typical story of how it gets all truned around. It was so freeing for me when I started to see it and to know that they will use anything and twist anything to make me the scapegoat.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Everyone,
I just published a new post related to the content in this post. The question comes up a lot in this site ~ “what if my parents die”~ its natural to wonder about that when we are having issues with them, but it is a horrible thing when people make that statement against you as an accusation, as though you are such a terrible person for standing up for yourself ~ so I wrote about it. You can read it here: “What if my mother or father dies before we resolve our relationship?”


I just read your story about the library. I’m so sorry your mom did this to you. That is blantant and painful emotional abandonment in my opinion. I can’t help but think if a person, particularly a parent, has true love in their heart for their children, they would FIGHT for them in the type of battle you had with your abusive husband. NOT, invite them for tea. Jeez!! I see exactly why you took the position of telling her to eff off!! I’m sure it doesn’t make it hurt less however. I’m sorry she did this to you!! Grrrrr!

Peace to you,


I’m writing this from the hospital. Yesterday I had a regular check up and they discovered my iron level was 3…normal is 11. I was in iminent heart failure–at age 51! I am being giving 4 bags of blood–14 hours of transfusion.

And today was one of the best days for me in years. My two younger sons hovered at the hospital, very anxious. As I started feeling better we were laughing. My future DIL spent hours. They were not going to leave me alone–they are 18 and 21. They brought their laptops and settled in, ran and got me food and stuff from home and we were in the ER LAUGHING. How often are people laughing in the ER?

It’s my future DIL’s father’s birthday. They would have canceled it. I sent my son to go to dinner with them. He called twice and at 11, an hour ago called again. If I was lonely he’d spend the night sleeping in the chair. If I was not being treated nicely by the nursing staff, he’d stay the night, etc… My younger one stayed until 9. They worried about leaving me alone for an hour and coordinated who would be here when.

I didn’t expect it. Why? …you all know why: I was conditioned from birth not to expect normal care and concern. Among my son’s future inlaws there was more concern for me than there ever was from my own parents if I were hurt or sick. Where did my children learn this family love? I don’t know. I think from my future DIL’s family…and because they really do care.

My mother and oldest son weren’t told, and won’t be. Mom would be interested–but only for the drama and gossip aspect. I’ll never tell her.

She’s rejected me and pushed me away. She’s disowned me. She cut me out of the will. I live frugally, but securely. She has a couple millions.

Today I realized I am richer than she will ever be. Nobody will be rearranging their lives for her when she’s seriously ill. The ones who would, me and these two children of mine, respect her wishes to disappear from her life.

My brother is the type who will take her to the ER, talk to the dr, hang around until she’s in the room, maybe make a run to pick up some things from the house, and then wave good bye from the door and tell her to call if she needs anything. My brother will not bring items from home and settle comfortably in next to her. My brother would not cancel a birthday dinner with his inlaws. My brother will not offer to spend the night just in case she’s lonely. My sisterinlaw will not come and spend hours and hours in a dinky ER cubicle and a small room without enough chairs.

My brother will take her to the hospital, talk to the dr, get her settled, and wave goodbye until it’s time to pick her up. Maybe he’ll visit every couple days for an hour. He will NEVER set up camp and be entertaining and begin advocating for her. He will never slip off to the store and buy a bunch of surprise treats. He will never even think to worry about her feelings and fears or research her problem on the inet, or advocate with her with the staff if necessary.

And that sister of my mothers, the one who fucked my husband, she’ll be no where around–altho she might send a 2 or 3 sentence email.

The favorite grandson might visit once, once everything is settled, but it will be boring, and he can’t tolerate boring, so he’ll be gone. Potheads living out of state aren’t good at nurturing.

My mother will never have this experience. I feel so loved and so lucky right now. I’m richer than she is. I’m very very rich indeed!


Oh my goodness!!! I am so sorry for the heart problems. I also am so happy that you’re surrounded by unconditional love. It really warms my heart when people recognize that their riches come by love rather than money. It sort of sickens me that people who are monetarily wealthy, really have no idea what life is about. It seems most the people I’ve met in that condition, are generally fooled by their money. Fooled to the point that they think they’ll live forever, or their money somehow makes them invincible in the face of all of life’s adversities. Money sure doesn’t protect against cancer, heartache, divorce, abuse, etc.

I hope that you will make a 100% recovery with the heart condition, and I’m so blessed by your view of riches. You truly are rich and I hope you get well so you can enjoy those riches!!

Love and Hope,


We arent born with BPD . The major cause: invalidation. I have had emotional deregulation and
self harm since 10 or 12. I wasnt born that way and now know my lifelong struggles with it were caused by my parents constant abuse and crazy making belittlement. I never had any loving guidance growing up. Just constant emotional abuse and punishment.
How could I succeed to become the wealthy educated successful person they expected with no
self concept? If I wasn’t perfect (ly compliant) in every way they expected i was no good . There was
no middle ground. They literally made me act crazy and then belittled and labeled and punished me for acting out. I didnt understand my own behavior at the time for what it was. I just accepted their judgement that I was “no good”.



I know this comment was intended for Kylie, but it has actually been very helpful for me to hear. I was diagnosed with BPD and my mother consistently used it to villify me. She went out of her way to say that BPD was ‘genetic’, when anyone with two hands can do a google search and read about how it is a largely genetic thing, and specifically has to do with childhood.

She was so relieved when I got diagnosed, she didn’t have to say anything, it was like “Wow, this is why I’ve had so many problems! My daughter really is the horrible flawed individual we always thought she was- now we have proof why she (and therefore our lives) is so messed up!”

She certainly didn’t respect my privacy, which hurt, but most of the people she knows I don’t have any interaction with anymore, so if a bunch of strangers think I’m nuts, oh well. The people that know me from my behavior, not malicious gossip.

And YES to much of what you say. To me, my childhood was essentially being repeatedly stabbed and then screamed at “Why are you bleeding? What is wrong with you? Other kids don’t bleed! If only you didn’t bleed my life would be perfect! stab-stab-stab”

Hope that makes sense. But yeah, growing up in dysfunction sucks. Its really very confusing.


I hear you GDW. Its difficult being blamed throughout your child-hood. This BPD diagnosis has been very liberating, gives me an explanation for why l acted/ reacted, and still do. Wish they had diagnosed me many years ago. I still struggle on a daily basis with it. Yet my family, especially my mother will never understand – well actually most of them wont to be honest. The only person that knows is my brother, yet we really don’t stay in touch that much. Everyday, l want to rip this bad part out of me. It depresses me all the time. With me it affects every aspect of my life. I often feel like lm filled with rage and l know a lot of this is deep seated fears, but comes out as anger and resentment. Never knowing should l say something or keep it hidden away. I alternate between opening up and saying nothing. Depending on whom lm talking to. I hope you have a better handle on it than l do. Its certainly a balancing act.

I quit therapy a few weeks ago (seems to be a bad habit of mine). Sometimes therapy messes more with my head. I definitely need to master the self soothing skills lve learnt, just haven’t been able to put into practice. I think l need to hit rock bottom again, and go from there. Which l know for me is just around the corner.

I lack trust and faith in our mental health system. I seem to sabotage any kind of help, its up that way it seems. I look to them as my source of keeping me stable, as l do not have family or friends l feel completely safe to share my issues with. So many issues, never knowing which one l need to deal with first as they all seem important, they all seem to coexist together. I feel like giving up as its taking so much out of me emotionally and physically and has done so for many years. Its been about 3 years since l o.d. For me, its like lve been s good little girl, getting a handle on my life. If only people realised!!!!


Hi Everyone
I just published the new post~ this one is about Narcissism vs. Narcissistic. There was a reason that I was so interested in diagnosing my mother but it was keeping me stuck. I hope you will share your thoughts on the new post! “Narcissism vs Narcissistic re mother daughter relationship problems”
Hugs, Darlene


Oh I am in the throws of the spin and fog and with no where to run- afraid; because I do not want to hear or feel any more abuse and afraid that my anger will explode at them and make our situation worse. i need to have a safe thing to do when the next attack comes. I do not like having these triggers- just the mention of a family member’s birthday/ name set me off yest. and I was shaking all over and so ANGRY!!! It is so painful to not have any contact with ANY family members as I feel none are ‘for’ me, but I feel I cannot trust any of them right now- sadly even my daugthers as they have relationship with many and ‘share’ when asked things. I have wondered for years WHY my np’s have ignored me and treated me as if I am not there..and that my sibs follow suit?? now I am beginning to see the ROOT of their behavior to me- I am no longer going to blame myself- all these YEARS of thinking something is very WRONG with me. WHY family hates me- no friends- not able to connect- WHY? I try, being nice/kind/funny/empathetic wasn’t enough- WHY? I often thought I exuded a spirit of REJECTION which others could sense and I would pray war fare prayers for years but nothing seemed help. so WHAT WAS IT?? My sister took my last friend a few years ago somehow- my friend now sends HER her Christmas letters- I wondered why she is not talking to me now or sending me the letters- and my cousins I was communicating with and getting to know- she then goes to visit them and they stop talking to me. She said we could go together to visit our cousins- our uncle passed away and I wanted to go to his funeral. Next thing I knew she and her fam- my np’s and np bother/sil went without me. This time I spoke up and asked why- she just said’ plans changed.’ It is so painful to have them all do this repeatedly my entire adult life. My sister said she wanted to go to MY HS reunion, not hers. Whenever I have said I like something or wanted to do something she started getting/ collecting/doing whatever I liked. years ago she confessed she had always been ‘jealous’ of ME- I was dumfounded!! I didn’t even like me- and she wanted to be me. She has exceled at everything she does and I have always been proud of her. I have sensed this competitive spirit in our family and remained out of it. it is only fun in games- not life. Since we were very young I have felt I needed to protect her..
Previously the way they treated me always confirmed to me that it was ME that was the problem- I could never put my finger on why- because I was a kind person. well I am having my eyes opened to the truth, the painful good truth. Im still as alone as I ever was before- I just now know why. Why does it still hurt so much?


Hi Kylie–

I am glad that the diagnosis has been helpful/liberating for you.
For me, it was painful, a kind of death even. It just added to my mother’s ability to bully and abuse and her argument that “Gillian is crazy/different/flawed/defective/fucked up/the problem” was starting to even sound credible, the more I read about it and the more I saw the judgemental therapist’s reactions.

I have a semi-epiphany today, though, which was AWESOME!
So one of these therapists, the one who intially told me about my “BPD” said that people probably didn’t want to tell me because they were ‘scared of me’. She was villifying me in the same way that my parents always had. My mother and I both had more evidence, with this therapist, that I really am an inherantly bad evil person/child.

But today my roommate told me that she was scared to have me be her roommate. She said, “When I first met you I was scared. I wasn’t afraid of you. I was afraid because you were so honest. And I knew it would be hard to be your roommate. But I knew it would be good for me.”

I thought that was really cool. People are afraid of the truth. I tell the truth. They can’t handle it, but that doesn’t make me evil or bad, or crazy and I heard that straight from the horse’s mouth!

That was so cool for me.

I was told that I can ‘take or leave’ my label. I choose to (try) to leave it because if someone treats me badly, and I get very angry, that is PTSD that is me being human, that is a reaction to maltreatment, not something inherantly wrong with me (though according to my mother who apparently thinks she is a doctor now, it is 100% genetic- ugh).
But for me, it was just a lot of untrue stigma. Ick!

Boy oh boy, do I have a lot of processing to do around this bpd label- ick for me at least. I think it is a huge trigger for me actually, just because it all relates to the scapgoating and blaming, in my situation (but cool if in your case, you can see what really causes it and not be ashamed).

Therapy? Yeah, I hear you. I know there are people even on this website who are not in therapy, yet healing well! When I look back on my life, it was not the therapists, who helped me heal the most- and some have deeply traumatised me. I recently met with an ex therapist who hates the system too. He said, “I wish I could say it was the exception (blaming the victim and re traumatizing and pathologizing the patient) but it’s not, people get messed up from their therapists”. It was more of a fantasy on my end. I have had great coaches, mentors, friends, peers, etc. That healed me. It seems almost taboo to criticize- I always get the “Are you a scientologist?” and my answer internally is, “No, I’m just someone who has seen from personal experience how harmful this stuff is and I’d like to come out alive, and independent and self respecting.”

Cool. Yeah, sorry I tend to go on. I have so many thoughts and opinions about this stuff and EMB is a great place for processing and support and relating!!!



Hi Everyone,
I have published a new article and this one is about ‘crying’ and the difficulties that so many survivors have with crying. I am big on the messages that lived at the roots of all my struggles and last week I made a deeper discovery about crying and my deeper feelings about it. You can read the post and comment here: “Difficulty Crying or Feeling Ashamed or Afraid of Crying”
Hugs, Darlene


If anyone on this board has ever seen the movie, “Precious,” then you will have a very good idea of how my mother treated me when she was alive. That movie really reasoned with me. She did not sexually abuse me though (thank God!). Her abuse was primarily verbal with some physical abuse thrown in for good measure. I was blamed for everything that was wrong with her life! Somehow, all of the bad choices that she made (and there were many) were MY fault. “You’re stupid just like your father.” Was one of her favorite insults. Sadly, I believed it. To my credit, at age13, I stood up to her–if only that one time during my childhood–and felt both terrified and empowered. Tired of her insulting me I snapped back: “If I am stupid like my father as you say, there is nothing that I can do about it because I have his genes and had no choice in the matter. You, on the other hand, chose to marry him, and have sex with him; so what does that make YOU??” I then cowed down and braced myself for the smack upside the head that was sure to be inflicted upon me for talking back. Terrified, I waited. Nothing. Silence. For the first time in my life I had rendered my mother speechless!! You see my father was an evil man (think Ike Turner) and would get drunk and become very violent. He beat my mother senselessly, and terrorized me. We were constantly moving due to being evicted as a result of my dad’s violent behavior (kicking down doors to get to my mother). My dad spent most of his adult life in and out of jail or prison as a result. Here’s the kicker: once we relocated and my mom got back on her feet, she would tell my dad where were living, and the abuse would start all over again!! When she was eight months pregnant with my older sibling,, my mom told me that my dad hit her in the stomach with a broom and she lost the baby!! All I could think if was, ‘Why on earth did you keep going back to that fool?!?!’ Of course I would not have been born if she would have left him alone after that incident.

The happiest times of my life were when I spent my summers down south with my maternal grandparents. They treated me like gold. Now here’s a shocker: Many years later I learned from one of my cousins that my sweet and beloved grandmother treated her in the same manner that my mother treated me!! WOW!! Unbelievable!! I felt SO bad for her, but at the same time was SO grateful that my grandmother was my saving grace, as was my grandfather.


What a great website, so full of encouraging words. My life has been spent trying to figure out how to tolerate my mother’s abuseive behaviors and lies. I have read so many books that point me to accepting and tolerating her behaviors.I try but when I can’t then I experience guilt and shame. Shouldn’t I be stronger? More mature? I would not accept the same treatment from anyone else. Boundaries vs tolerance. It’s all so confusing to me.


For months I have endured verbal emotional psychological spiritual and financial
Abuse as has my son. Yesterday after again asking for my property I was again screamed at about how sick and crazy I am and a bitch. I have not retaliated in kind until yest. I guess I had been kicked enough so when she screamed again that I am crazy I retaliated in kind…’no you are crazy’ and ‘you are a bitch’ and ‘you are sick’ ..right back at her after she screamed the names at me. I kept trying to stay on topic with repeating’ I just want my property’ ‘just give me the keys’ but she would go off on name calling. I have endured a lifetime of abuses and just cannot endure their treatment of me any longer . I had repeatedly asked ‘ if you cannot say anything kind to me or about me don’t say anything at all’ Well probably minutes after she walked away still calling me named she must have got on the phone to my equally abusive sister because she was waiting for me today in their living room and screamed abides at me as we walked by her. She screamed ‘ how dare I talk to mom that way you should be ashamed of yourself!!!’ And then SHE called me a bitch too. She started this months ago by keeping our property because she wants my sons nice TV and she is used to getting and taking whatever she wants. This thievery is rampant and been going on decades with certain fam members. I have seen my property, My ex husbands, my children’s
In every one of my siblings homes..and they say I am crazy. And now a bitch because I am not going to let them take all I have now. Each time I have asked their abuses have gotten worse…. My sister has convinced them to throw us out in 3 days. My son is recovering from a stroke, and has been working hard for my dad who said he would pay him but hasn’t. The income was to help us get into our own place but he liked that’s son did whatever he asked and so well! He has been feverishly looking for other work in the town 25 miles away . He is an honest hard working young man who has survived a lot in his young life. His dad left when he was just 4..and I can’t believe the inhumanity of his own g parents and aunt . My mom has been working all my life to divide and destroy with her mouth
She has garnered other family sympathies as she is the ‘victim’ she really is good at this. I now see in my face what she has been doing all my life behind my back.
I do not know if their hand written three day notice is an actual legally enforceable document??
We have no place to go. threats to keep quiet and not reveal what they have done and are doing, in hopes of getting my property because I said I was getting legal help. I know they do not want me talking about my childhood abuses and what they continue doing.


Hi Lana
Welcome to EFB
It isn’t about being stronger or mature; for me this was about the truth. Why on earth would I want to learn to tolerate and accept the abusive treatment that I was getting? It was when I realized that truth that I began to realize recovery from the past. Exactly as you say ~ I would not accept that treatment from someone who was not ‘family’ so why did I have to accept and tolerate family who treated me like nothing. This site is full of this kind of information.
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Everyone!
The discussion page is up for the free guide (in the right hand side bar) to getting unstuck on the journey to emotional healing. (If you didn’t get one yet, please grab one!) The guide has a lot of info about parent issues too.
Here is the link to the discussion page:
Hugs, Darlene


My new post is published and it really relates to this one and to the comments on this one. It is called ~ “Honor your mother and father; is drawing a boundary a sin” ~ hope you will visit there and perhaps leave a comment!



I’m in tears right now reading all this. I’m stuck in this situation right now and I am sinking very fast. I’m so tired of fighting all the time with her, I’m tired of feeling like I’ve done her wrong even though I know I haven’t. I’m tired of knowing that the one person who is supposed to love me and lift me up can only see the faults in me. My own daughter who is only 5 finds me in tears at least a couple of days a month and tries to comfort me by rubbing my back. I don’t know what to say to her I don’t want her to know how her grandmother treats me. I feel so broken and lost. I want so badly to draw that line but I feel I can’t. I can’t punish my dad with her, I don’t feel I can punish my children from seeing them. Plus I work with her! I work with her! There is no escape for me! I am very broken, but people around me would never know because of the very large walls I have put up to protect myself. The only people who see my true colors are my husband, my children, and one close friend. My family will never know the fragile person she has created, because I am too good at showing them they can’t break me. But I am broke, and I don’t know what to do. She does stuff like buys stuff for the kids or gives me money for their events, only to use that money to control me and say stuff like, “that’s the only reason you do like is because of my money.” If I don’t except the money then I’m not letting her be a part of the children’s life. Really no matter what I do, I’m at fault. She’s been doing this since I was 18 and that was a rough time too one that made me move out, but then she got help saw a theropist. She told me she hated herself for putting me through that, and that she blames herself for our relationship and promised to never treat me like that again. Then we were good for like 6 years, I had kids. Then about a year ago she snapped and she’s back to her old ways, but even worse. There is no reasoning with her. I can’t get her to see that she’s back to being that way. She know’s I wont hold the kids from her and she uses that to her play. She yells at me all the time because I don’t love her and I’m not close to her, but in my eyes the more she treats me the way she does the higher my walls are going to go. The more I am going to distance my true feelings because I don’t want her to see how much she is hurting me. How can she blame me for the relationship she has built with me. She raised me, not the other way around! I’m sorry about going on and on, but I think this is the first time I have let all this out to someone other than the one close friend or my husband who even with him I don’t say it all because I don’t want him to completely hate my mother incase she does get better. Any advise, any at all. Please help.


Hi Stacy
Welcome to EFB ~ you are not alone in any of this. I hope you will keep reading the articles and comments here for additional insight that may help you to sort more of this out. I see so much of how it was for me in your comments but I found my way out of it and into healing and self love. I had to learn how to fill the holes that were left in me for myself. I had to realize that covering up for me mother was actually making things so much worse; for me.
Hugs, Darlene


I actually spent most of the night on here and on other websites about daughters of narcissistic parents. I must say I feel that I took a little journey and had my eyes opened. I have decided that things do have to change and I am the only one that can change them for me. I am planning on trying to go through some steps that were suggested on one of the articles I read to help me get started. On step was to accept the anger of the situation and let it out. (Greif, break some plates, learn to deal with the emotion) I figure what better way then exercise! Some kickboxing and running on the tred mill, something to get the anger out in a positive way and will allow me to get healthy physically at the same time! I also think I might start a journal. I haven’t really made up mind if I need to commit to low contact with my mom or no contact. However, I do think I will have to commit to one if I am ever to sort my own emotions out and grow from her abuse. (first time that I have admitted that she did abuse me since we tend to think of abuse as getting beat up, not emotional) I think if I start a journal that I might be able to determine which of these is the proper route for my situation. I think even keeping a log of her emotional outburst migth help me determine what trigers them, how often they truely are, and might help me determine what the route. I know it will eventually come to the point that she will have to choice between getting help, stopping the outburst or not be apart of my life. I’m just not ready for that step…. However, I have determined that I don’t want my family to suffer anymore from me being emotional upset all the time from her, it’s not fair to them. They deserve my best and we all deserve to be happy. Here’s me on my new path, I will keep you updated.


I want to improve my toxic relationship with my teenage daughter, as I feel it slipping away quickly. A little history. My daughter has always been very “spirited”, even as a toddler. As an example, she refused to participate in kindergarten, and I was recommended to hold her back, which I ultimately decided to do. In a way, I regret the decision, because she has always held it against me, but in another way, it was probably good for her relationships with other kids. My daughter has always had difficulty making friends, and she lacks self-confidence. After reading this, I wonder, is it something that I did or is it just her nature? Things went OK up until about 7th grade. My daughter did not like the school she was in (a Christian school) as she felt she was being bullied there, so I switched her to the local public school in 8th grade. She had great difficulty adjusting to the new school, and got involved with an abusive boy. I wanted so badly to forbid the “relationship”, but I knew my daughter would just defy me if I did, so I allowed her to learn her own lesson, and needless to say, it was a horrible and rough year, but she finally broke up with him. During the relationship, she would say things to me such as “I would rather be with him than have no friends at all.” I would try to encourage her and tell her that she can have other better friends, but her response would always be, “no I can’t”. Sometime during the 8th grade year, my daughter decided she wanted to get facial piercings. I refused to allow it, and she got very angry with me, telling me that I never “let her” doing anything. This was three years ago, but she continues to tell me that I am “too overprotective”, “too controlling”, “never give her any freedom”. When 9th grade came, she was in the principle’s office at least 6 times throughout the course of the year, getting in trouble for possession of marijuana, skipping school, and at one point, she even left campus with a 21-year old man, and got herself into a very scary and dangerous situation. She has lied to me on numerous occasions, so I am unable to trust whether or not she is telling me the truth about what she is doing whenever she wants to hang out with friends. My daughter is being required to do some community service for school, and she is really stressing out over this. Whenever I mention to her that she needs to get it scheduled, she gets angry and tells me that the thought of doing work of any kind stresses her out, and she can’t do it. She is a few days away from 17 now. I keep telling her she CAN do it, and I give her examples of other kids that face far more adversity and are able to overcome obstacles, but she tells me when I do that, it just makes her feel like a “piece of shit”, because I’m always, “pointing out things about kids who I think are better than her”. So basically, she thinks that I think she is a “piece of shit”, and that I think other kids are better than her. As a result, she cuts herself. She cuts the back of her arms up like crazy by scratching them with a blunt object such as paperclip. It seems to be some sort of self punishment, that I am powerless to stop her from doing. We’ve tried counseling, but when I put her there, she gets even angrier and the behavior gets worse. She always tells me she wishes she were never born. Have I done this to my daughter? I do have to admit that I have said things that I regret, probably in anger over some of the defiance, but I love my daughter unconditionally. How can I repair this relationship, so my daughter doesn’t choose no contact with me after she moves away? I don’t ever want it to get to that point. I love her so much; more than words can say.


Hi Lynne
Welcome to EFB ~ I hope you will seek professional help again for yourself and for your daughter. There is a lot going on in her life and she needs some assistance. Try a different therapist; keep trying to get some help.
Hugs, Darlene


This article brings back so many memories. A lot changed when I turned 13. It was the first time that I allowed myself to see that I was treated differently. She really ramped up the intensity then, as well. My sister who she did love, was moving out. So the onslaught of how that was my fault for being born, compounded the already overwhelming amount of insults she hurled my way. It was so bad that year, that once I turned 14 (and my sister actually moved out) I couldn’t take anymore. She poisoned my whole family who accused me of everything from being a drug addict to being a slut. I had never even had my first kiss. My family stopped speaking to me. When they would come from out of town, they walked passed me to hug everyone else. I was completely broken. So, I stopped speaking. I only answered, with as few words as possible, if I were asked a question. That didn’t work, because they were happy to not have to talk to me. Then, when I turned 15, I stopped eating. I would walk to the park with my friends, hang out all day, and come home really late in the evening. This didn’t work, since they would have company over for dinner, who ate all that was left. When I did go into the kitchen, there was none left for me anyway. I became anemic that year, and lost quite a bit of weight. After crying out so much, to no avail, I made a suicide attempt. Fortunately I had an amazing spiritual experience that stopped that desire and allowed me to know that I didn’t need her acceptance. I was already loved and accepted. Her attacks continued to hurt. Somehow I am still learning what it is and how to heal from it. Lots of work left to do. I live with my parents right now, but I ignore the statements, and it ticks her off. So she reverts to her illnesses and feigns a back ache or swollen tongue. Enough. My next step is to cut off contact.


Well, I took a step toward “Standing up for myself” today. I’m in my RV in a campground. Some girls started playing with a volleyball in the grass behind my RV and the volleyball hit my RV. (Didn’t do any damage, but that’s not the point.) I went outside, and the girls looked all guilty. I asked them to please move their game to the area with the net, further down. The girls said “no, there are rocks in the net area.” (they were barefoot) I suggested they put on shoes. They still refused. So, I told them if their ball hit my RV, they would not get the ball back.

Then their (two machismo fathers who have the type of attitude that is obviously meant to compensate for some “shortcomings”) started to play with them. I sat outside and watched. The fathers became annoyed that I was watching. They came over and cussed me out, to include using four letter words in front of their daughters. (Oh, they are setting a wonderful example!) They said I was out of line and that I had “attacked” their daughters. Didn’t touch them. All I did was politely ask them to take their game elsewhere. I replied that they were out of line for talking to me in that tone of voice.

Eventually they “out machismo’d” me and I walked away, but I’m proud for how long I continued to make my point.

I walked to the campground office and made a verbal report. The manager said that the area they were playing in was technically a “play area” in the park and there wasn’t much they could do. The manager also said that a volleyball wouldn’t likely damage my RV. But still….. they should not play where a ball can hit an RV.

This is one of those times where…. If I had a husband I’m sure the outcome would be different…… But of course, I come across as the “b**** that obviously hasn’t been ****** in awhile…..”

The whole time I was thinking…. “I am not going to let those jerks define me as a small woman who just needs to back down and let someone walk all over her…..”

I also prepared a written report and took it to the office to supplement my verbal report. Not that the park will do anything, but I wanted my side to be known before they could complain about me.


Your statement about ignoring your mother’s comments is so true in my case as well. You said it angered your mom. It does mine too. I have finally realized, although it’s tough not to defend myself in some way, that this is what she wants. She desires to throw me off course, to tick me off, to stir up crap and make me crumble. She’s not happy unless she’s defining me, and this seems like an indirect way of doing that. I’m happy to hear a spiritual awakening saved you. I try to hang on to that identity, rather than the one my mother issued. It’s not easy to retrain my thinking.

GOOD for you!! Our world is becoming more and more aggressive, and it seems people seek out the weaker variety. Congrats for standing up for yourself. There’s no excuse for downplaying a ball hitting your RV. If it didn’t do damage, it easily could have. KUDOS!!



During the verbal exchange with the daughters, I could tell that the daughters feared their fathers, but were meekly trying to be just like their fathers in the “excuses” they used for refusing to move their game. Hmmmm……. will Darlene’s blog still be around 15 years from now????


Haha…. that’s funny DXS. They are going to need it! Or, if they’re like me, it will take 30 or more to realize the truth!! I hope the blog is still here for them. 🙂


My mother is a controller. my sons now teens are aware of this now…they speak up for me now (yay) as she DOES treat me different and favors BOYS or sons.. my brother (who molested me ) she STILL associates with him .. and although HIS kids NEVER see her nor his wife.(they hate her)

I have always told her off I am not afraid to speak my mind. But she uses MONEY as a control tactic ..i won;t leave you anything etc… sick of it all
I recently noticed my KIDS have been ignoring her or standing up to her for me to let her know that they are not fooled …..” you treat mom different and your rude at times to her.” So now, she is IGNORING them and treating them as if they can not have an opinion or say in how someone treats their mother.
BY the way…i was never as a child nor still not able to even make a sandwich at her house as an adult=- isn;t this a control thing? she will let my kids get drinks at her house – but i can not and she always must serve me… lol stupid bitch go ahead and serve me. Ohh and by the way, I can not even clean my plates either!
i am 46 years old and now going to a counselor to get this all straight in my head. so miss my dad – he wanted out of the marriage at the end but got sick and died – that was his way out i guess.


Hi ljoie
Welcome to EFB ~ yes there are so many ways that controlling people do things!
Thanks for sharing, you are not alone here.
hugs, Darlene


Ljoie, when it comes to M-O-N-E-Y, I feel for you. I know what you are dealing with. The only way around it is…. set up your life to NOT need it. I know it might be hard, but this is the only way I see. My mom is still alive, but I am preparing myself to be cut out of the will. This control tactic has no effect if you don’t need it.


I am independent – but going through a hurdle in life now ….J O B
thing that I can not grasp is that if she is being
“distant” from me- why take it out on the grandkids?
Is THIS normal??
she will NOT call them at all.
It’s like a test that she wants to see if they call HER.
and if we are not on speaking terms at the moment..and my children feel that she caused it,
they DONT want to contact her – they simply don’t. But here’s the darn thing, she will ACCUSE ME of turning THEM against her.
well, am i?
This is their opinion. And they have recently began to speak up, which makes her mad and she gets nastier with me then!
any suggestions?
I am sure she;s not going to be here forever and I feel BAD that the kids are “wasting precious time.”
Is this my children’s choice to call her? Or do I have a responsibility to MAKE them call. They do enjoy time with her but realize that she IS in fact, quite RUDE and not emotional available to me at times.



mimi i agree with something you said, she;s not happy unless she is defining you.

also, I failed to mention that she had a HORRIBLE relationship with HER mother – MY grandmother whom I didn;t really know…in fact,
my mother is a SEPARATOR.. she likes the family members to be separate. As an example, if I try to call my UNCLE – she gets mad… at me.. because
THEY don;t get along.
She often “keeps people” at odds with eachother it seems.
She is often jealous it seems when I don;t give her their undivided attention, yet when I call her to get an opinion – she will rudely say ” i am busy” and hang up.. call back tomm and click. ..


sherrie heartbreaking — hope you are strong now girl


Ljoie, my mom plays that same game. See who will call HER. It doesn’t occur to her that she can call.

My sister complains that Mom never wants to see the grandchildren.

My mom complains that my sister never “invites” her. (Sister claims she can come over any time she wants!)


My mother always makes me feel like a sad little girl after any conversation with her, yet I have always tried to call her at least twice a week to keep a relationship going with my mother. Sometimes, it’s really nice talking to her, other times – she just tears me down and screams at me, then yells at me for getting upset. I just had the conversation that may end my relationship with my mother forever, which is devastating to me. My underage brother wanted me to buy him cigarettes so that he can start smoking. I told him that I would not do that. He kept asking, over and over and over. When I called my mom today, I told her what was going on. She, in an instant, decided that I was bad for not buying him cigarettes, and even more so for telling him absolutely not. She started screaming at me about how much of a hypocrite I am because I am a smoker, and when I tried to defend myself telling her that I thought I was making the right choice and that I didn’t need to be yelled at for that, she got even angrier and essentially said that all I make is BAD choices – then continued yelling at me and told me that I was acting “hoity-toity and high and mighty”. I decided that I did not need to be yelled at anymore and told her that I would talk to her later. She screamed “F#&* You!” at me and then “Don’t even bother!” She was still yelling things at me that I couldn’t make out as I took the phone away from my ear and hung up. Maybe I shouldn’t have tried to cut her off from yelling at me, maybe the conversation wouldn’t have ended with her telling me not to call her, but I am done getting yelled at for everything. I feel as though half the time I call her, I am being self destructive. By the way, she admitted that she would not have been any less angry had I bought the cigarettes for my brother, so there was no way for me to win. This is how half of our conversations go. This is just so devastating to me because not only has my mother been more sick than normal lately(she has a heart problem), but I’m also planning on moving further away. We already live three hours apart, and we will be moving another 10 hours away. So now she’s going to be sick, 13 hours away, and wants no relationship with me. I want my mommy =( Hence – SadLittleGirl.


I always saw this spark in my mum’s face and eyes when she humiliated me or “won” over me. It was some kind of a game where there were winners and losers. She was so pleased with herself whenever she “nailed” me. She had to prove her dominance over me by controlling money, controlling whether I go out or not, controlling what I could buy for my birthday.

I remember that she absolutely loved getting the better of me. I think she hated me, hated my guts, hated my feisty nature, hated my ability to make my own life. How dare I do that when she was a loser?


Hi Sadlittlegirl, I am sorry you are going through all of this. You do not deserve verbal and emotional abuse from your mother. Her behavig in that way, approx half of the time, sounds like her way of keeping you in the fog. Why would you want to deal with someone who is mean to you,even half of the time? When you said ” I want my mother” I could relate. However, in my case it as really. ” I want a real mother”. Not some narcissistic game player, who lives to manipulate others, to keep hersrlf at the center of the melee. Just remember, you are in control. You can choosr not to speak to het until she apologizes, or, see what it feels like to choose to take space. Maybe youcwould like to address her abusive behavior straight on, and set specific boundaries for yor communication. Such as, if you choose to yell at me, curse at me, or speak to me in a desrepectful manner, these will be your consequences. Its too bad she is having health problems, that is sad. However, she may reap the consequences of a life time of bad behavior. Maybe everyone wont be fussing and fawning around her sick bed, a narcissistic manipulator’s dream!
Only you can decide what is right for you. I have just given different ideas of responding, so you can see that your wounded child does not have to be thecone to respond to this abusive woman. Also, have you thought of trying to establish some sort of healthy relationship with your little brother?


Sahitha, my mother also plays this game. Isnt it sick, that they chose to match wits with a child? It angered my mother that she could not program me as she did with my sisters and brother. So she always tried to make sure I paid dearly, and painted me as the crazy one. I know the evill gleam you speak of! Now, she is just a sick old woman,still playing her manipulative games of guilt. Fortunately for me, mylife doesnt revolve around her, and her list of what have you done for me lately? Sadly, for her, she chose to villanize and alienate the daughter who has been a nurse for twenty yrs. So, when she does get sick, she had my two, dopey, know nothing sisters to look after her. Oh, she constantly bad mouths my cousin, who is a nurse, pointing to what rotten care she takes of her mother (a lie). She is attempting to condition me, See what will happen if you dont look after me if I am sick? But the beautiful part of this is, hey! Im already the villian!How far can I fall? : )


Haha, Janie! I like that……”how far can I fall?” Sooo true!!



Hi Everyone!
I just published a new post after a long and lovely break from writing!
This new post is related to this one in that it is about those people who ‘don’t understand’ how we can consider standing up to our parents and even defend our parents and the reasons behind those judgements and statements.
You can read the post here: “Why People Discount the Adult Child and Defend the Abuser”
hugs Darlene


Hi SadLittleGirl
Welcome to EFB ~ I am so sorry that your mother treats you this way; you have found the right website and you are certainly not alone here. As you said, and she even admitted that no matter what you would have chosen the wrong action. That tells quite a tale about the way she treats you and about the relationship itself.
Thank you for sharing.
hugs, Darlene


Hi Janie, thanks for the comment. It makes sense now that it angered your mother when she could not program you like your siblings. I do not have nay siblings to compare with but yes! I will look into this aspect too.

Maybe she won’t ever like me (has never liked me) because she could not program me aka control me.


Gee, I found your post tonight after my mom told me our whole family was a bunch of LOSERS! and she began listing all of us… She has done this once or twice before…evidently I am the only one she honors with this judgment as she does not dare burden her other children with her rage, bitterness and guilt.
Mom makes “A Long Day’s Journey Into Night” scenario look like the Waltons…
What’s really, really sad is I loved and respected her so much before the bitterness and hatred twisted her into a spectre who cannot punish me enough for the entire world disappointing her. This is so painful.


Hi mdqxxx
welcome to EFB !
From what you have shared I think you are going to find a lot of encouragement and support here in this site. There is tons to read! It is so painful, yes, but there is hope for healing and it doesn’t depend on ‘them’ or what ‘they’ do. 🙂
hugs, Darlene


Hi Darlene and everyone else..

Thanks so much for having the courage to write about this and share it. I’ve always felt so alone in regards to my mother!! My sister and I BOTH say that we can’t talk about it to other people because no one would believe the insanity.

I’ve spent over 40 years listening to my mother’s rants of how selfish and ungrateful I am, how I never do anything for her, how everyone else’s kids are so much nicer to their mothers than hers are… years letting my mother ruin holidays (being hours late for celebrations then getting angry no one waited to eat and/or having tantrums if we didn’t do what she wanted), letting her hang up the phone while I’m talking, saying sorry when she doesn’t showing up for planned events (my kids games, concerts etc…) then saying it was my fault for not reminding her and I AM TIRED OF IT.

Her last “thing” was to tell me to forget I had a mother and that she was dead to me. All because I said the problems in our relationship (why I never go around and help her or call) are not ALL me. Honest-to-God – that was ALL I said. That and that we can’t work anything out if she keeps hanging up on me (to which she said those things to me then hung up).

What kind of person says something like that to their children???? And why do I feel GUILTY for not calling her back to apologize???

I have to stop here because I am sounding insane too. I just want to thank you very much.


Hi Ginger
Welcome to EFB ~ you are not alone! Who wouldn’t be tired of all that? You don’t sound insane AT ALL! You are going to enjoy this website. 🙂
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Darlene,

Just want to say that your site has been a godsend to me in this lonely journey moving on without a mother. I am 42 and have had no contact with my mum for almost 2 years. Even when I was a little girl, my mum was emotionally unavailable (although she catered towards my practical needs) and I grew up a very insecure, nervous child. I tolerated my mother until 2 years ago – even though we have never got on all my adult life and she has always been very cold and critical of me (she has criticised me to many people and it has got back to me). Still, I welcomed her into my home 3 times a week to see her granddaughters (now 20 & 12) – I have always, for some crazy reason, encouraged my daughters to have a close relationship with my mum, but I do really regret this now…

My mum has a thing for favourites and, as the eldest child, I have always been the black sheep of my family – she dotes on my 2 younger brothers and they are very much a tight family unit (my brothers have both recently become fathers). This causes me such pain and sadness. Thankfully, my brothers are somewhat understanding of my estrangement from my mum and have said that they will not take sides (that said, I don’t see very much of them). The really hard thing about my situation, however, is my mum and my eldest daughter’s relationship. Two years ago, my daughter met a guy I felt was no good for her and our relationship was strained – I suffer from depression and the whole situation really affected my health. I could not stop crying and tried to make amends with my daughter, but once she turned 18, she just didn’t want to know. I was confiding in my mum at this time and I believe she was using the situation to undermine me and to encourage my daughter to leave home – she has always overrode my parenting skills with my eldest daughter and once even said that I left my daughter out! (My husband is not her father and her little sister only her half sister). I would NEVER do this, as my mother did with me. I love my daughters equally and always strive to demonstrate this. Anyway, me & my daughter could not get along, or she didn’t want to get along, and she left home suddenly at the age of 18 and a half. She was halfway through her A-levels at the time and had plans for university and I was beside myself. I remember ringing my mum hysterical and sobbing that Amy was leaving and I can’t believe I didn’t consider at that time that she already knew and probably encouraged it (she has a pathological fear of living alone and my youngest brother left home about 3 years ago, so I believe she thought my daughter might move in with her)

Following my daughter leaving home, I went through the darkest period of my entire life. My daughter did not really speak to me for over a year, even though I kept ringing and texting, begging her to talk to me – I really felt like a stalker and felt so desperate. I remember one night, I felt that desperate that my husband went to my mum’s in a panic, telling her he was scared of what I might do. She coldly replied ‘I’ve been there myself’ (depression). My daughter was also there and appeared a little upset. Not long after our estrangement, I saw my daughter in town with my mum and they both just walked past me as if I were invisible – I was that cut up, I thought I would die.

Fast forward to the future and things between my daughter and I have improved somewhat. We have been in regular contact for 5 months and see each other at least once a week (she is still living with the boyfriend). However, I cannot seem to move on – my daughter still sees a lot of my mum and I am resentful of both of them – my mum for encouraging my daughter to leave home and my daughter for creating this situation and bringing about my estrangement from my mum (although I don’t show her my feelings). When I asked my daughter why she was estranged from me for so long, she just said that the circumstances were beyond my control and her control, but I don’t think she even realises the hurt she has caused me. My relationship with my mother is gone forever – something died inside me when she was so cold when I was so desperate for love and support when my daughter left home and I will never feel the same way about her again. I have had talking therapies and CBT therapy over the past year, but am having trouble moving on. I cry every day and wonder how two of the people I love the most could have disregarded me so easily. I feel like my childhood role of scapegoat and black sheep has affected the next generation (my daughter)and I don’t know how to break the cycle. Thank God, my husband and younger daughter have been very supportive – however, I still suffer the indignity of my youngest daughter going for tea to my mum’s each week (my hubby wanted her to stop seeing my mum, but I didn’t feel this was fair, as my daughter has always had her in her life).

How do I move on in such a complicated situation? I feel that I am forever reminded of how my family are close, with the exception of me. I have never caused my mum any trouble, not even as a teenager. I always did as I was told and helped with my brothers. I was quiet and shy and always loved my mum – why does she hate me so much? I did ask her when my daughter left home why she treated me the way she did and she just said ‘why are you bringing the past up?’ and ‘it wasn’t easy bringing you all up’. So, no answers for me. What a surprise eh?

Sorry for the long post, but thanks for reading,



Hi Louise
Welcome to EFB ~ I understand how difficult this is; sometimes I had to look at things through a new set of eyes in order to see how to handle them; your mother and your daughter are two different situations. Your daughter may have been brainwashed ~ who knows what she has been told or convinced of; I had to look at things this way when dealing with controllers and manipulators and some of their other victims. Can you separate the two? In order to heal I had to look at the abusers separately and break down situations into smaller parts of one whole ~ that is how I was able to see and comprehend the actual truth.
hugs, Darlene


Wow, thanks for your prompt reply Darlene! Your advice means a lot and your Facebook posts help me keep
the faith 🙂


So I am just 25, married and with my 3rd child on the way. I have a very happy life, except when if comes to my mother.
My dad left when I was 4 and I never saw him, so I grew up loving my mom unconditionally and she remarried when I was 12. I was good in school, went to church, but in my teens there were always fights and I always was the one appologizing. I got pregnant my senior year and decided to raise the baby myself since the dad made it very clear he never planned to grow up (i still feel this is the best choice I could have made) I lived with mom & stepdad for about 8 months and was going to school and working but there were just these little things that always were there that let me know she was in charge. One day I said that I was taking my son out to dinner with a new guy I was dating. She told me I couldn’t leave the house, so I took my son and his diaper bag and said yes I am. She called 911 and basically made such a scene that the female officer told me to just go and that her mother was controlling just like mine, that there was no hope for me. I moved out that night.
My son is 7 now, I got married when he was 2.5 since the was born I have been in court with my mother several times for custody of my son. She has lied so much that she was facing fraud charges.
But over time I let my guard down and it just keeps on happening, she will not like when I disagree with her and just become so crazy (lying to my stepdad and anyone who will listen, my husband describes her as a 14 yr old girl because she is just vicious)
She has cut off 2 of her brothers, and her own father. As of right now she is upset with me because I won’t sign over my savings acct that was created when I was a little kid. She says she put all the money in there so it wouldn’t be found in divorce court when I was little. I really don’t care about the money becausemyself and my children are wanting for nothing, I just want her to be truthful which she can’t ever be (in my opinion).
I know I have issues, “daddy issues”, emotional abuse issues, I have a severe flight mentality which happens anytime something gets hectic I just want love, peace, and for everyone to walk away happy.
But I want to know if anyone can give me advice on how to just walk away emotionally, she was my everything and now I can’t see a healthy outcome.
How do I mourn a loss of the only person I have ever really had, how do I mourn the loss of someone who is supposed to love me unconditionally?


Hi K.M.
Welcome to EFB ~ This takes time. I think from what you have shared here that you are going to find lots of info in this site! There are hundreds of articles and thousands and thousands of comments/stories from others who have also been here/there.
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


The toxicity of a narcissistic mother. No child can truly develop with one. I am grieving the mother I never really had now. I’m exhausted by being manipulated that I am the problem when my family talks behind her back about how to push her poor, abusive behavior under the rug. It’s Labor Day and because I have taken a stance I am alone and the rest of my immediate family is eating her food and taking her crap. I feel like they probably aren’t missing me. But who knows. I’m at the early stages of recovery and I have a lot of hurt and abuse to get through.


Hi E
Welcome to EFB ~ The beginning is really hard, really hurtful. Realizing the truth really hurts but at the same time the truth heals in the end. There is a grieving process through out the healing for sure. For me it has been worth the pain because now I am free and I live my life with joy. When I got through all this I realized that there wasn’t much to miss about those “family” times.
Glad you are here; you are not alone!
hugs, Darlene


The begining is really hard. Thank you for validating that. Today I heard about how yesterday went from my brother. To hear about her drinking and hiding her saddness in drinking that I’m not speaking to her and taking time for myself is hard. My initial response is to save her but it’s just not my place. I’m the child in the relationship. I have come to realize how much I have tried to save her for the last 39 years. I’m glad I’m am now strong enough not to expose my own son to “family” times where her behavior manipulates. Grieving is very painful, with so many different faces and different times.


My mother is the worst human being I know. When my father passed away she took my heritage away from me. She was so manipulative while I was greivng my father, I cant beleive I didnt see through her games. But I was in pain then. I stopped talking to her and decided to take her to court once I came back to my senses. It was a year later that I decided to go to the police about the sexual abuse I went through as a child at my grandfathers hands (my mothers father). My mom took this as an opportunity to say I was crazy qnd just trying to cause trouble in the family. I went to court with my whole family against me, telling me im the worse daughter a parent could have. My grandfather plead guilty to his actions. Still tto this day, they say he only plead guilty because he was getting old and the stress I was causing him would have killed him.


Hi Isabelle
Welcome to Emerging from Broken.
Because of the way we are ‘trained/taught’ when we are children, we don’t see through any of it at the time it is happening. It disgusts me how many men (and women too) have confessed to child abuse and people STILL stick up for them! What the heck!! This is so devaluing and it is a re-abuse to the victim.
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


I know that I am better off without my Mother in my life. She has not been a Mother or Grandmother to my family. She pretends to be these things when it suits her or benefits her but that is all. My Dad has dementia now and I believe it’s a blessing in disguise for him. He liked to drink to hide from his feelings. We asked him to stop drinking for the kids sake and he said no because it numbs the pain of living with her. I kind of didn’t blame him because living with her was difficult. You always had to be available to her….it was literally dizzying. .. To the point that you couldn’t think for yourself or concentrate on anything because she had you under her spell. My brother didn’t get affected by it but he was like her in some ways so they would and still do lock horns. My Dad and I are very sensitive and more loving and affectionate…it was her that destroyed our sense of self. I feel bad for my Dad but hubby says I need to fight for myself now. He had a chance to say NO to her and didn’t have the courage. When I left to get married and then my brother, he was left alone, with her and then things got worse. My story continues but I’m sure you know,the pattern. I just want to be happy and I want my family to be happy too. Her behaviour almost cost me my marriage, and that is when I decided that enough was enough. I really thought that this time would be different. She did it again and this time she couldn’t hang up and she couldn’t run away. I was at her home where she was accusing me and I stayed until I defended myself and my family, It was powerful. This was last month. I left her home when I was 22 . I am 50 now and I am still dealing with her nonsense . My wonderful husband and beautiful children have had to endure her and also the effects of her abuse on me. I just wanted to be a wife and mother …that’s all I ever wanted. I got that chance and I am so blessed, but I was not the wife and mother I wanted to be. Thankfully, my children and I are close and they know what I have been thru and unfortunately they have had to witness it too. They have also been verbally attacked by their grandmother which to me should have been the last straw. So, I let it go and let it go again, and again and again…until now…what do I do? I am 50 years old and her wrath of emotional and verbal abuse has taken its toll. It robbed me of a life I deserved. I tried to be a good wife despite my past and I tried to be a good Mother despite my past…I may have made some mistakes but I always said sorry. She never said sorry…
I’m still struggling and probably always will but I love my life, I love my wonderful husband and my beautiful kids, and I am so blessed to have them in my life. They are my rock. They love me unconditionally and I love them the same, no matter what !


My mother was the cause of my depression. She constantly criticizes, and feels me with such anxiety, i sometimes have this “freeze” reaction when she is nearby. When I expressed my feelings, she would either mock me or make light of it. Standing up to her was suck a task, that at school I’d become overly pliant. It felt like it took too much energy to do anything I wanted. She was a whirl of anxious energy, full of suffering that I couldn’t settle down at home. And home I stayed a lot, for she had eroded my ability to be as I am. I couldn’t make friends. Didn’t have the energy to lift a finger to fully engage in social activities. Not to mention my room was the hallway to the bathroom so I had nooooo privacy whatsoever. I often broke down because of the continuous stress. I’d wake up screaming from dreams of my mother’s criticism. and when I was truly depressed and said I wanted to kill myself, all she’d do was make fun of me or say “Ay yah. What’s wrong with you?! You want to KILL yourself?!!!!” She’d say it with such disgust that I’d feel like I was continuously trying and pushing and no matter how much I did, no matter how much I tried my best, I would never get validation. Never get even recognition for who I was. It’s sad. And I’m still a teen. But I have to keep moving, because I know this experience made me strong and I will have prosperity one day. Just gotta keep moving.


Hi Teresa
Welcome to EFB! It’s wonderful that you are looking for info like this when you are still a teenager! I talk a lot about how I learned to validate myself and your comments show that you are already doing that by seeing and defining the dysfunction!
Thank you for sharing
hugs, Darlene


Hello Darlene,
Everything you wrote is true for me also. I am 50 and felt through out life I was damaged goods. Knowing the truth about it now does not make the hurt, anger, and the pure hell go away. Issues with her always have and still affect my life negatively.
I been to therapy and I am a no longer an alcoholic, but after 3 years I have began to take prescription medications to cope.
In attempt to make her happy and have a relationship with her I invited her to move her mobile home on to my property 2 years ago. There is no communication and I have tried to evict her, but cannot because I did not have her sign some type of lease agreement. Now I am smacked in the face each day with her rejection only a 100 feet away from me.
I can’t leave here, due to finances.
I wish I could run like hell to get away from her. Toxic. She is just toxic to me….


This could have been written by me down to the two kids and age. I can’t thank you enough for sharing. This is helping me get past the finding the truth phase. My mother too has chosen, which I feared she would, not to have a relationship with me. I am still sad about this and probably always will be but you know what? On a day to day basis I am so much happier.


Hi Mrs. LG
Welcome to Emerging from Broken
That is what I found out too. 🙂 It hurts but it’s good also and ultimately I have found that this ‘good’ far outweighs the hurt or sadness.
hugs, Darlene


Hi Mrs L.G,

Was your message for me? I didn’t know whether you are called Mrs LG or you were referring to me 🙂


I am going through the “divorce” phase right now with my mom. I just don’t see any other way to figure out who I am and what makes me happy. I want to fix me and I can’t do that with my mom’s influence. She was abused as a child and has let me and my sister know that all our lives. She has seen therapists, she has read countless books on all kinds of psych issues and for many years, she seemed to be OK. She seemed to be mentally healthy. But, starting when I was age 13 or so, during her second divorce, my mom began to tuck into herself and withdraw from our family. She seemed to get more and more volatile, more verbally and emotionally abusive and more depressed. I always wanted to fix her, but at the same time I wanted to be nothing like her. I am 35 years old now and I feel like I lost my mom when I was 13. She wasn’t there for me in my teen years, she didn’t guide us. My sister dropped out of school, got into drugs and took off. I tried to be a “good girl” and no one noticed. It shaped me into who I am today. Insecure, guilt-ridden when I stand up for myself or make a decision and lost emotionally. I try to talk to my mom about our issues and she gets defensive and blames me by saying I’m crazy, I need therapy, I have issues we will never be able to resolve, etc. etc. She refuses responsibility in her part and just makes it so damn hard to have a relationship with her. She manipulates me and tries to push her desires on my life (like saying she won’t spend anymore holidays with my husband and I until we have a kid), etc. I have spent the last 9 months in complete silnce with my mom. I stopped communicating with her and got some distance. A few days ago, I reached out in email and she responded. Once again, we started to make headway and then it turned sour. In her eyes, I am to blame and she will not humble herself to work things out. I give up. I just can’t do it anymore. I have to think of me and my husband first. I don’t know what else to do. Any ideas?


KS, I love the term “divorce” phase. I’m going through that too. I’ve been told that I’ll know I’m through it when I’m ambivalent to her. That seems huge. My mother takes no accountability to her role in our relationship or lack thereof. I truly believe now she is just not capable. That’s where the sadness and mourning comes in. I find that once I give her an “in” to my life, she”ll run with it and eventually ruin it. She can’t help herself. It’s pathetic actually. I just have to be more protective of the wonderful life I’ve built without her.


Hi Darlene- yes, I’m in the “fog”. I am trying to grapple with my mother rejecting me after giving that ultimatum of “either you stop disrespecting and emotionally abusing or I don’t have a relationship with you”.
I have written to my mother – but she has not responded.
Verbal communication is very hard with a self centred mother as your identity and feelings are constantly invalidated and questioned- criticised and blamed. Mine is very smoothe, calm and calculated – making me feel like its all me. I’m trying to bring up the issues and she just twists it around to make me out as “Typical victim daughter- blaming the previous generation… Oh, darling – it’s getting Sooo boring – just grow up and get over yourself”.

It’s the loss of the hope that we could actually “make it” as mother-daughter- as I need her & yearn for her so much. But it’s only one way. And that hurts. That’s why I have been in this toxic bind with her far longer than what I should have.

It’s a devastating loss…. How does a daughter heal from that?


Hi Molly
I know the pain and devastation that the reality of all this causes. Keep reading. The healing takes time and for me it took really seeing that what I had been taught was love, was really one sided and was never love in the first place. Telling a hurting adult child to ‘get over yourself’ is more of that same abuse. They all insist that it isn’t them, that is why looking at the details was important for me so that I could validate the truth ‘to myself’.
hugs, Darlene


Molly, my mom hasn’t said the “words” but her actions have said it. She doesn’t even fight to have a relationship with me. She did send me a “thinking of you” card. I wish I hadn’t opened it, then I could have “returned to sender” it.

Someone on here (I can’t find it) recommended reading IN SHEEP’S CLOTHING. I got it on Kindle version ($12 for an E-book is still pricey!). I’m enjoying it!

However, the recommended ways to deal with the people only work if you spot it right off the bat. The book says “You know you will be manipulated, so expect it.” Ok, but as soon as I thwart my Mom, she just finds another “trick” and I fall for it, and then I kick myself. I usually fall for it twice. On the third time, I see a pattern and then I thwart it.

This basically means I have to put up with “getting had twice” before I can thwart it.


[…] mother always said a lot of things that indicated that I was the problem ~ her problem. Those types of things that she said were a big part of the grooming process in the cycle of abuse. […]


Hi Everyone,
I just published a new post about the grooming process in this whole mother daughter dysfunctional family mess!
Hope you will start the discussion there! Here is the link! “The Grooming Process of Discrediting Children and the Cycle of Abuse”
hugs, Darlene


Thank you for this article. It actually brought tears to my eyes because these very words printed here have come out of my own mother’s mouth toward me, verbatim for the entire 35 years I have spent on this earth. I too recognized her shortcomings and faults and I too, gave her the ultimatum that the relationship will not continue as it is and has always been or I will leave. And just like the author, she let me. The issue is further compounded that she’s found an ally in my sister, who is only 15 months younger than I am and as equally unhappy as my mother in her own way. Classic codependents, my sister acquiesces by allowing my mother to take care of her; she requires it because she is immature and manipulative herself. I’m sure that my bringing my mother’s toxic behavior towards me to light is somehow seen as a threat to my sister because if mom changes, my sister loses the cushy life of privilege she gets and the control she has over it. I am comforted in knowing I am not alone.


Hi Kelly A
Welcome to EFB
The truth hurts, but it was so important for me to see that it was the truth about her, not the truth about me that was at the root of all this.
Thank you so much for sharing.
hugs, Darlene
(the author of this blog)


I am the youngest and only girl of 3 kids and for a long time thought my mom and I were really close. Sure I knew from early on she had issues, was a control freak, never liked any guy I dated for one reason or another, always warned me not to get married but I figured that was because she had a bad marriage herself and never wanted the same for me. Now I’m 47 and I see things so differently now. She wants to keep me single, with no boyfriend, no female friends to hang out with so I can take care of her . Wants to alienate everyone from me. Now as I age, and our fights get more frequent, the name calling gets meaner (she has actually called me a hysterectomy b-tch during an argument 2 months after I had a full hysterectomy) that she probably resents me more than she actually likes me. Sometimes I wonder if she even likes me? She puts me down every chance she gets, tells me I’m lazy, (yet I work 50 hours a week, and support the home we live in). She hasn’t worked in over 50 years and gets very little money to live on, spends most of her day watching TV. Can’t support herself, doesn’t drive, isn’t independent. I do so much for her, take her everywhere, buy her everything, yet she won’t give me once of credit and loves to put me down. My boyfriend who is actually in the middle of divorce (who does everything for her also), she told me one day that and I quote “A married man is all I can get” and then after she says these hateful things to me, denies them. And my brothers who don’t live with her and do very little for her and would last about 10 minutes living with her get all the credit. I don’t get it? And the minute you fight back and stand up for yourself it’s your fault? You like to fight.. When I turned 16 I couldn’t wait to drive. She caused a big issue at home with my dad. Didn’t want me driving, I resisted and learned to drive. Wanted to keep me down like her, unable to fend for myself. Control freak. Why do mothers do this do daughters they supposedly love? I don’t understand? Doesn’t she know the more she does it the more feelings get chipped away? Why do mothers give so much credit to sons who do nothing yet daughters who do everything they treat like this. She tells me I am crazy, everybody hates me, even my brothers. Yet she has no friends at all, the only ones that even bother with her are her kids. Is this what’s called a narcissist?


Oh jeez. I have heard a good portion of these statements from my mom. Even, ” I didn’t plan on caring for a sick child at this’re too sensitive, you don’t know, you are all wrong, you aren’t getting my point, you’re arguing with me (when in defense I AM just defending my pov), because most of us dont even like to argue but maybe just tune them out, and probably the most common is why did you do..(she enters in my mistake of the hour here.) She doesn’t end it with hey, next time just do this… No that would be too easy on me.
I have a lot to thank her for, but I can’t just drive away, or even take a walk. I may not be smart and my memory is bad (thanks to my epilepsy, hah) but I try to always make wise decisions which will never be pleasing to her and I know I won’t have an awesome doctorate like my brother but I certainly have come to terms with that his success has more than put a smile to my face and she rubs it with salt. If it isn’t my dad, a store clerk, it’s me. I have taken criticism for years you kinda have to when majoring in art you do get the good with the bad. She claims that she is teaching me the real world and I’m going to hear it somewhere so I shouldn’t get offended. Most of the time I am not quick to jump (in a verbal or physical response, like catching the dog) She hates getting criticism from others, but doesn’t acknowledge that she’s just as hard on me. I’ve asked for her to listen to herself and please lower her voice, but it only gets louder and faster, hah. She was a teacher for years, so she not only asks why I did something “that way” also needs to give me a lesson on “why I’m wrong” and the way I should have done it and again why her way is better.
“i’m just not getting her point” when our POVs don’t match up she feels the need to repeat. I tell her pleas stop (when it doesn’t stop and I want to shut her up (like a 16 year old) my eye rolling, sighing, passive aggressive reactions kick in:(
She’s a smart educated woman, but she’s so critical and I am so dependent on her to pick me up when I fall from a seizure and all that come with it. I spend a good portion of my day in my bedroom and have grown quiet over the years because I don’t want to hear it. Both my dad and I are passive aggressive but there’s only so much you can take.
I’ve already decided that I don’t want to have children…why? I know she will be correcting every step I make and not the helpful mother way but something more along the lines of “you aren’t even holding it right! May I show you how?!? I asked a cousin if she would let me hold her child when we next visited and she said of course! My mom on the other hand said she wouldn’t let me even if I were a close friend!
I feel I am at an age when she can ease the negativity or end the arguments sooner but she always feels the need to critique, correct, and control (another example is the order groceries are put on the counter and in the car.)


Oh jeez. I have heard a good portion of these statements from my mom. Even, ” I didn’t plan on caring for a sick child at this’re too sensitive, you don’t know, you are all wrong, you aren’t getting my point, you’re arguing with me (when in defense I AM just defending my pov), because most of us dont even like to argue but maybe just tune them out, and probably the most common is why did you do..(she enters in my mistake of the hour here.) She doesn’t end it with hey, next time just do this… No that would be too easy on me.
I have a lot to thank her for, but I can’t just drive away, or even take a walk. I may not be smart and my memory is bad (thanks to my epilepsy, hah) but I try to always make wise decisions which will never be pleasing to her and I know I won’t have an awesome doctorate like my brother but I certainly have come to terms with that his success has more than put a smile to my face and she rubs it with salt. If it isn’t my dad, a store clerk, it’s me. I have taken criticism for years you kinda have to when majoring in art you do get the good with the bad. She claims that she is teaching me the real world and I’m going to hear it somewhere so I shouldn’t get offended. Most of the time I am not quick to jump (in a verbal or physical response, like catching the dog) She hates getting criticism from others, but doesn’t acknowledge that she’s just as hard on me. I’ve asked for her to listen to herself and please lower her voice, but it only gets louder and faster, hah. She was a teacher for years, so she not only asks why I did something “that way” also needs to give me a lesson on “why I’m wrong” and the way I should have done it and again why her way is better.
“i’m just not getting her point” when our POVs don’t match up she feels the need to repeat. I tell her pleas stop (when it doesn’t stop and I want to shut her up (like a 16 year old) my eye rolling, sighing, passive aggressive reactions kick in:(
She’s a smart educated woman, but she’s so critical and I am so dependent on her to pick me up when I fall from a seizure and all that come with it. I spend a good portion of my day in my bedroom and have grown quiet over the years because I don’t want to hear it. Both my dad and I are passive aggressive but there’s only so much you can take.
I’ve already decided that I don’t want to have children…why? I know she will be correcting every step I make and not the helpful mother way but something more along the lines of “you aren’t even holding it right! May I show you how?!? I asked a cousin if she would let me hold her child when we next visited and she said of course! My mom on the other hand said she wouldn’t let me even if I were a close friend!
I feel I am at an age when she can ease the negativity or end the arguments sooner but she always feels the need to critique, correct, and control (another example is the order groceries are put on the counter and in the car.)


Hi Lilly, I wish I knew the answer to people who think their point of view is the one and only point of view. And Im sure that being dependent on your mother makes it even harder. Pushy people have always made me uncomfortable. The other day at the gym, a woman (not a worker there) kept going up to people and telling them they were doing the machines wrong. She told me I had my feet in the wrong place. At first I said that I do the machine that way because it is easier on my knee that is hurting. You’d think she’d walk away but she persisted. I just said thanks for your advice but Im going to do it this way and I turned away from her. At that point she walked away and went right to someone else. I can change pushy people but I don’t have to do things their way, which I probably would have done six months ago.
The other comment you made that I found interesting was your mother saying that she is teaching you the real world. Yes, the real world can be tough, but your home should be the oasis where you can go for relief and relaxation. It should be the place where people love and accept you. My current home with my family of marriage is that way, but the one I grew up with was full of tension, criticism, put downs, ridiculous rules, females were inferior and had additional restrictive rules and you felt you had to walk on eggshells. No one soothed or comforted you and if you had a problem you were an annoyance and usually ignored until your mood “improved”
Lastly, I have always admired people who were good at art. My brother is, and actually my mother was too, but I can barely draw a stick figure. You have a talent that many don’t have. Be proud of yourself! 🙂


I meant to say “I CAN’T change pushy people.


Hi Lilly
Welcome to EFB
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our mothers could model ‘the real world’ as a loving and safe place? Wouldn’t it make a huge difference in the way that we see and respond to the world in the first place? I love your comments, thank you for sharing. You make wonderful points in the ways that you offer alternative ways that she could communicate with you.
Thank you for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


Hi Marcia
What you are describing is ‘ownership’ and not relationship. Understanding the ‘why’ part never helped me recover from the devastation but empowering myself with the truth that it was about her and not about me did!
Glad you are here, thanks for your comments,
hugs, Darlene


Thank you, Darlene…I needed advise today & put the longest sentence in search bar and your article caught my eye. I so much needed to read that someone else knows my pain & what I’m going through. I love my Mom..she just don’t get me. She always crushes my happiness or happy days, ect. She has good Mom days too. Heaven forbid for her to buy me something or help…the wrath comes after. I can’t take the verbal abuse any more. I’ve reached the ultimate limit. I don’t want her out of my life..but I guess a long time apart in communication has to be. I have my own life to build happy..I can’t help that she is 70 now & gives up on evetything. She always brings me down..I can never be my happy self around her. She has been a good mom besides all the drama, ect. I’m 45 now & tired. I can’t help it I’m more out going & have passion for many things. She is not passionate about anything but her dogs. Anyway…thank you!:)


Hi Dawn
Welcome to EFB ~ When someone crushes your dreams, you have a right to say “enough” no matter who that person is. Thanks for sharing. You have a right to life!
hugs, Darlene


I am 47 and JUST had my mother decide that I was no longer worth it for her. I can remember being maybe 3 and crawling up to her as she sat on the couch, and begging her to just TALK to me – because ‘the silent treatment’ was one of her most often used forms of mental abuse when I was a little girl. Now, nothing about me is good enough. I am not a good enough mother. I’m not good enough at managing our finances (because the bank screwed us over on a loan modification that really affected us – and the back DID lose a class action suit, btw), I supposedly DO things to hurt her that either makes no sense to me, or is just ridiculous. And now she expects that she is going to have great relationships with my kids, while pretending that I do not exist. What she failed to realize is that she also treated my kids in many of the same ways…and that they are old enough and smart enough to just KNOW what is going on. I told them they should not let what my mother said to me, affect their relationships with her. Reading this, I realized that I should have told them to walk away from her and save themselves from the same pain. And oddly, it helps, to know that SO MANY OTHERS have the same pain from their mothers.


Hi Ann
Welcome to EFB ~ yes, it is comforting to realize just how many others there are who have lived this. Even more comforting is to know that there is a way to overcome!! Glad you are here, thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


It is very hard to not have that perfect mother daughter relationship. I look at my friends and see how close they are to their mothers, and honestly I am very jealous of that. I wish that my mom and I could have that bond. That closeness. My mom has always been hard to love, she gets mad over everything. I don’t remember her much from my childhood, my aunt was the one who took me to my dance recitals, cheer leading games, and volleyball games. I practically grew up at my cousins house. Bc things at home were horrible. My siblings are all at least 10 years older than I am and were never home. My dad has always had an alcohol problem, so when I was at home when I was little I would hear my parents fighting, and screaming. I guess I never really paid attention to it. As I got older I realized that my dad was more like a mother and father figure to me, I didn’t go to my mom when my heart was broken, or if anything bothered me bc she would tell me to suck it up. My dad was always the one who would let me cry on his shoulder. After I had my daughter things got much worse with my mom. I was going through a lot anyway, my pregnancy wasn’t exactly the easiest, but she didn’t care. When I first had my daughter I had no help, my mom would take my daughter for a few minutes, which I would try to sleep in those few minutes, but she would constantly wake me up to get a bottle or to change her diaper, I had no break. Which was fine, bc I love my baby more than anything in the world, the real problem began when my mom started telling me that I was a bad mother and I didn’t deserve a baby. Since I have had my daughter, I grew up a lot. My daughter had the flu when she was 6 months old and my mother came to the hospital and told me that my daughter was going to die and that her eyes were glazed over which was the look of death. She constantly puts me down in everything that I do. When I talk to my dad about going back to college my mom says what for you’ll just quit. I got a job, which the only time I’ve ever really been away from my daughter was/is to go to work, and then I became a horrible mother for working, and not spending all my time with my child. I can’t afford not to work. I would much rather spend all day every day with my baby. Last night she told me what a bad mother I was and I ended up going off on her, I’ve finally had enough, I told her if she wants to see a bad mother so bad to look in the mirror bc she wasn’t worth a shit raising me. That all she ever does is yell and bitch at everyone, and she said look bitch I wish you’d just move out… If I could afford to move out I would. I hate that I am stuck around her, I hate the fact that my babys grandma is such a nasty person. I can never imagine saying the things that she says to me to my daughter, I would never ever hurt her like that. So it just leads me to believe that my mother really doesn’t love me at all.. b/c if she did, how could she say such cruel things to me? She tells me I am hateful and selfish.. Why am I so hateful and selfish?? Hateful bc I finally had enough and finally told her the truth? Selfish bc I know that she is mentally abusing me and I know I don’t deserve that in my life?? It’s hard bc she is my mother, and I wish that she could be a part of my life that I’d actually enjoy. I see now that it will never be that way. When I move out I plan on cutting all contact with her. I think I will be a lot happier without her.


@ Amanda – I truly feel for you because your relationship with your mom sounds a lot like mine (or how it WAS. Your description of the way your mom is treating you after having a baby has been one of the reasons I was terrified to have one. My mother has been so emotionally abusive in my life and basically told me that if I DIDN’T have a baby she would no longer spend holidays with my husband and I. What?? That’s just the kind of crazy manipulation that these mothers inflict upon us constantly! They are never satisfied unless they can control everything, they act jealous, petty and paranoid about everything and then they wonder why their kids want nothing to do with them. I hope you find the courage to walk away from her. I finally made that decision almost a year ago and now that I am away from her, I am learning who I am without her constant negativity in my ear. Yes, it’s sad and you mourn for the mother you wish she was. You will always want a close mother-daughter relationship. But, there has to come a point in life that you face reality and know you’ll sadly never have one. So, love yourself, love you daughter and focus on the wonderful, kind people in your life. Surround yourself with positive people and things and you will start to see that you are not a selfish, hateful person after all (as decided by a crazy person). You are a great mom and you get a chance to make a better life for yourself and your child! Good luck!


It is amazing how many commonalities I found between your life and mine when reading your blog, with one difference that I hope you can understand. While I know, as the adult I am now, that my relationship with my mother is very dysfunctional, I truly think she does not mean it to be, everything she does is based on love for me, but a love that can cause tremendous damage, and has.

The basis of the issue is exactly what you pointed out. She wants to be right more than anything, but she is convinced that everything she does is simply based on love, the greatest love she has ever had, which is her love for me as her only child. That is what hurts me more, to know that she is really coming from a good place; just she cannot see it is really wrong.

Our situation is beyond sad. My mom is fighting breast cancer, lives overseas, alone. I cannot bring her to the US and she does not want to live here anyway. This is just making the dysfunction of our relationship secondary, as my main concern is her well-being, while I really cannot do much about.

I feel I am being selfish, I feel I should drop everything off and just move overseas and take care of her. But I am 41, what about me? What about my life after my mother, which is the reality of life. She makes sure to remind me that she is alone, that she has nobody that cares about her, no home, and no nest. That she has a sad and empty life…but that she does not complain! She just accepts it. Meanwhile I am seating miles away listening to all of that and feeling like the worst person in the world. I go to see her every three months or so, which has been financially draining, but I know it is not enough; it is not the care and love she needs, I just do not understand why she throws it in my face. Maybe it is silly of me, maybe I am just afraid of the truth, but if I was a mother I would not say those things to my daughter.

I guess I am not even in the process to get to the other side of the tunnel where my guilt is not as heavy. It is actually getting heavier as time goes by. I just know that in the middle of all this tragedy, because it is a tragedy not to have a healthy relationship with your mother (it is a bigger tragedy than cancer) but I know, I am aware that there is a lot of dysfunction going on. As long as I am aware, I have hope. And anyone reading this blog has hope; looking for information means we are aware and THAT is the beginning of healing.


Hi Rosa
Welcome to Efb. About the difference you mention; I think that perhaps we don’t share the same definition of love.
Hugs Darlene


[…] This post was inspired by – Toxic Mother Daughter Relationships when Mom says You are the Problem. […]


Hello again,

I wrote a post further up about my relationship with my mother (post 262). As Xmas is fast approaching, I am very depressed about my family situation and, over the last few days, my ‘mother’ has been leaving messages on my voicemail, asking if we could talk as Christmas is approaching and it is my daughters 13th birthday on Wednesday. I have ignored my mother and have no wish to meet up with her, as she has really hurt me over and over. I am 43 yrs old and my mother’s poor treatment of me has lasted my whole life, so she is not sorry at all – sorry is not disrespecting your daughter in the first place.

Tomorrow, my daughter has a drama show. My mother usually picks my daughter up from drama class, but as she has a show straight after, my husband called my mum today and said that we would drop her off in town after the show (I still allow my daughter to see my mother, as I did not want my daughter to be hurt by this estrangement). Anyway, my mother got all awkward and disrespectful on the phone to my husband, saying was she not family and that my daughter had invited her to the show. My husband reminded her of why we had to make such difficult decisions and her attitude then changed and she said that she had been trying to ring me to sort things out and I had not responded.

This type of scenario is what I really struggle with, in trying to live without my mother. I have been as fair as I can – both my daughters (20 & 12) see my mother, as she has always had a good relationship with them & I was keen to protect them from any hurt. Since I have been estranged from my mother, I have seen little of
my 2 brothers and my baby nephew and niece (despite my brothers saying they would not take sides). Of course, this hurts very much, especially when they both see a lot of our mother (she is only cold towards myself & I have no idea why).

Back to the drama class – I am now worried about my daughter being hurt if her nanna is not at her drama show tomorrow and so am considering inviting her, but asking her to sit separately from me and my husband. I am also worried my elder daughter will fall out with me, if my mum tells her she was asked to stay away from the drama show ( myself and my daughter fell out a while back, and my mum played a big part in this. I suppose I am just feeling sorry for myself – no matter how much I try to move on from this painful situation, my mother is there creating more drama, with not a care for my pain. Harder still, it is my husband and I who have been cast out of the family through no fault of our own. How do I deal with this and move on?


Hello Louise G,
I am really sorry that you are feeling so low.Your relationship with your mother I certainly am able to relate with. Sometimes I feel sorry for myself,why not.Tears, tears and more tears is what I had last Christmas never thinking I could feel better but I did.Tears do still pop out when I let them.
Perhaps with your older daughter who is old enough to decide who she sees should be left to see your mother when she wishes.You can still invite your mother to the drama show and not sit with her.Maybe get there early.What works for me best is keeping my mind occupied so that there is no time to dwell on the past upsets. Of course easier said than done,but it works. Try it.I mentioned only the other day that I have started to put Christmas decorations up. For me it has been really cheering. Every time my mind wanders off to the past I start another chore.I have also planned some things for the New Year like booked tickets to the theatre for March and October 14.It is something to look forward to.I now go swimming, something I have only this year learned to do.
For me going to the spa is difficult because of low confidence, plus wearing a swimming costume but I have done it and smiled at people who now say hello.All these different little interests keep me busy as well as tired!!
Please do not think I am trying to tell you what to do.That is something I did a while ago and it is not what Darlene encourages.
My sister who is my parents favourite has arrived home from Middle East this evening and a meal out has been arranged excluding me. Now tears could really pop out I am really upset.Tomorrow I am going to visit my late friends husband who is taking me up the hills where she spent her last days painting. We will sprinkle her ashes. Again there will be more tears but a different kind.I hope this reply is of comfort to you. Wendy am. xx


Hi Wendy am,

Thank you so much for taking the time to reply to my post and for your kind words. Yes, it is very difficult when you do not get on with your mother. My mother has a tendency to be very self-centred and I do not think she is sorry for her actions towards me over the years – she is only thinking of herself and is worried about what she will miss out on over Xmas

My husband called her this evening to say she can attend the drama show as long as she doesn’t try to talk to me and she has said she will respect that, but she wishes things were different. Unfortunately, I know that what she means is she just wants to resume our rekationship, with no accountability on her part.

What is upsetting,, as the ‘black sheep’ of the family, is how this term is used to label someone from generation to generation, so that they are never free from the abuse. This is what has happened with me – it is my mother who gets all the sympathy, even from my own daughter (Darlene has wriiten some excellent articles on how abusers manage to get others to side with them).

Anyway Wendy, thank you very much for all your suggestions. I do keep busy, but it is hard… I was looking forward to Christmas, but that seens to have gone…. going to a Christmas market this weekend, so that may get me into the festive spirit

Good luck for tomorrow!

Louise x


oh wow, Louise. I went back to read your earlier post and my heart is hurting for you. I also agree that Wendy is a very kind soul!!

I am so sorry about your situation with your daughter and about the only thing I can offer is that it is very complicated. I shared in another post that I am working with Darlene and that I told her that the thing with my kids is a big sticking point for me. We went NC with my husband’s family about 7 years ago and now things with my family are very difficult. Darlene asked me how good I think it is for my kids to see my siblings disrespecting me the way that they do. All I could reply was “not very good.” This is so difficult. I understand completely. I really do not know how to navigate this and I am trying currently to maintain some semblance of a relationship with my family. As you said in your earlier post, sometimes you just know that things are never going to be the same again. And I think you have to grieve for that. Your husband sounds like a nice man, standing up for you like that!! I know you are strong enough to stand up for your own truth, also.

Wendy, swimming is awesome!! You get in the water and nobody can get to you. I try to swim 3 or 4 times a week and it is the best therapy I can think of. Plus good for your health. I am sure I am not that easy on the eyes in my swimsuit, but who cares? Some of my fellow swimmers aren’t either, and I’m just happy they are out there doing something so good for themselves.

I am so grateful for this community. It is so hard to see for sure sometimes how insidious “they” are and how much they discount you and make you feel like you don’t even really exist. My Mom called me earlier and I was still at work. She left a message, all concerned, to see if my husband was “in off the roads” as the weather is kind of bad where we live right now. This new, healthier me thought, “What about me, Mom? do you care if I’m in off the roads?” The false concern for everyone in your family except for you. The play on your emotions if you fail to maintain a relationship with at least one FOO. Boy, we have to be strong to withstand all of this. Just last night, I asked my oldest son if he had ever noticed that when we go to my siblings’ homes, they kiss and hug my boys and my husband and they completely ignore me. He nodded and said, “yep, Mom, I have noticed.” Call them out on their little “tells”. Why should you protect them at your own expense?

Take care everyone and stay strong:)


Hi Jane, wow! I just wanted to thank you for sharing your insight. It is encouraging to see someone who can analyse the familiar situation and call it out for what it is. I can so identify w that type of mother, with the fake concern in her voice,when it is all really about her. Ans calling your family out to your children, address ing the dysfunction for what it us, marvelous. Your children r learning how to spot selfishness and inauthicity
Your post shows a lot of insight and health. Please keep posting!e
I don’t post much on here. I think my dysfunctional bean
sisters have actually found this site, and track what I say. But, so what. What I say is the truth. I have low contact with FOO, particularly for my Dads sake. Otherwise, I would totally cut ties wit sime of them.
However, I mostly lurk and read. It is sti ll very empowering.
Isn’t it interesting that ur mother had no concern for you on the icy unsafe roads? That’s ny mother two a tee. I one time asked to sleep at her house when I did my feel safe driving a ling distance after meeting with my SIL, and drinking a little too much(rare occurance). She said, nope, sorry, I have two of the grandkids sleeping here ( which my sister told ne was a lie, later). This is the woman who used to get so drunk I would gave to hold her head up to vomit, in my childhood


She just really did not give a darn! Many,many incidences of this in my childhood.
Well, keep on with what u are doing, and please post some more. I am beginning to think I am just going to post as I please, and to heck with the sister spies….


Hello Louise G,
I know exactly how you must be feeling when you say about not looking forward to Christmas. Please sit quietly on your own and think who will miss out on the pleasures. You will first of all, along with your husband and no doubt beautiful daughters who could throw it back into your face a few days later, especially the younger one if you allow your mother to spoil things. Then you will feel even worse. Your mother will not be to blame for you giving up for Christmas.Your youngest probably will cry if you do not bother. Do not let your mothers past awfulness spoil things for what is going to be lovely. Put the girls and your husband first and then if you still feel down after Christmas pass it off for tiredness. All this is easier said than done but you wont be sorry when you do your bit.Wear yourself out Louise with laughter. Plus you have got no end of invisible friends who will help you over that few days.US here on this site.
I would like to add how obnoxious it is with parents +++ who can be rubbish all year but at Christmas want everything to be bliss and then afterwards back to normal. My own much younger beautiful fillers botex sister ++( she thinks I cant see )has created a living hell for a family with children and all she says is she does not know what to do and cries.My parents have taught her to be ME ME ME .Unfortunately she is now in her late 40s and still behaves the same. There is something very nauseating about an older person behaving like a child and getting away with it. Yet my parents never allowed my childhood.I used to be given a pair of stinging legs for just waking up in a morning. Even now I get blamed just like you Louise.If I lived on Mars they would find a way to blacken my name. Actually I could do with a rocket to put behind my sister with me sitting in it. LOL.
Lets all think tinsel to them at least for the next few weeks. How did today go I bet it cheered you up going to the market. Take care.Wendy am xx


Janie, Thanks for your kindness I don’t want anybody here to think that I have this all figured out, though, because most of the time I feel like I’m on some big roller coaster ride. One hour of the day I think I completely have things under control and two hours later I’m a total wreck, but i guess that’s just part of fighting through all this. I applaud you for posting on this site and I think everyone who does so is very brave. I go by “Janie” in my FOO so if your siblings and my siblings are reading this site it’s very likely they don’t know who is who because our stories are so similar. That should make you smile!! At this point, I sort of feel like, “What more can they do to me?” It is so powerful to get on this site and get the validation that I receive each and every time I visit. We all know that any abuser wants us all to question what we know to be true and keep us in that horrible state where we feel completely off balance and unsure of ourselves. Take that away from them and they aren’t so big and scary any more.

I’m learning that if I do choose to re-engage with my siblings after about three months of very little contact, that they are going to constantly be jabbing at me. A recent example: I got an e mail from one sibling saying that everyone else is contributing toward gifts for the staff at the assisted living facility where our mom is now living but that I didn’t need to be a part of it, “because we know how busy you are.” All sorts of underlying messages including that they think I can’t afford to contribute which is really really ridiculous. We do not have unlimited resources and we are very budget conscious with two high schoolers who will be headed to college before we know it. I responded and said that I’m happy to contribute. I then received an e-mail stating I will be partnered with the most spendthrift sister that we have to get gifts for 20-25 of the staff members. So even if we spend only five dollars on each staff member you can see that’s quite a bit and now I know I’m going to have to set a financial limit on this sibling and i will be the bad guy and I won’t appreciate all the staff is doing and blah, blah, blah. No win with these people, unfortunately. But it does become rather boring when you know exactly how the story is going to end. You are always the bad guy! Maybe I should ask for a black cowboy hat for Christmas:) To show I know my role:)

Louise, thinking of you this weekend. I hope you are doing OK!


Your story is so similar to mines. I’m 19 years old and I’ve been through crap with my mom. Ever since I was like a toddler, I remember my dad hurting my mom and them arguing all the time and now that’s the reason why my mom is so mean. My mom would both mentally and physically abuse my siblings and I. Also to mention my brother is autistic.

My mom would always put me down on my physical appearance to me being the poison to the family, and then telling me she should’ve killed me when I was in her womb. I felt so afraid of her sometimes I would just lose it and go insane. I’ve never felt happy throughout middle school and high school and even now. Iv thought of hurting and even killing myself. I couldn’t join sports, hang out with my friends or my cousins. I remember when my cousins would try to pick me up and have a sleep over at her place and they were waiting outside, I was getting my stuff ready and all of a sudden my mom locked the door and started threatening me to leave and she started hurting me….so I eventually just left crying and my cousins were sad to learn what happened.

I tried telling my mom but it seems like she hasn’t processed it. Even my aunties tried telling her but she doesn’t listen. I’m currently living with my boyfriend but I sometimes visit my parents and siblings. Im scared she will do the same to my sister. I don’t know what to do to make her feel safe. I need to change my mom because she might destroy the small joy that my little sister has.

I thank God my boyfriend is sooo sweet and understanding and always comforts me when I’m just losing it. Without him and his family I probably wouldn’t be here today.

I hope you stay strong!


I’m 21 years old and I don’t know how to deal with my dysfunctional parents. I live in a different city to go to university so I don’t have to deal with their BS but every time I come back; even just for a couple of days-they would try to control me. We would have these -talks- where I would be forced to endure hours of them condemning, cricizing, and belittling everything I do. i would endure hours and hours of verbal abuse and harassment-personal attacks on my personality, lifestyle, choices, everything. If I walk away or stand up for myself; they see that as a form of disrespect or would just twist it around as them trying to solve my problems and making me into a better person. They would use my past failures and weaknesses as justification for their need to control-that I screw up my life because there is something -wrong- with me and they’re simply helping me by pointing it out. -.- Even though I see what they are doing and the absurdity of it, I don’t know how to deal with it.

Since I am still a student, I am still in part reliant on them for financial support. I don’t really understand how to set boundaries and clear/specific ones and what consequences I can enforce if they don’t follow through. Any advice on that would help.




I am a single parent who managed to get out of an abusive marriage and moved to another state with my daughter who is now in college with a child but still at home with me. She has become increasingly disrespectful and even calls the police on me if she does not agree with my house rules. She has no money and raising a beautiful son without a dad. My concern is she continues to say everything I have done for her is wrong. She revisits pasts times of discipline and arguments and even blamed me for her getting pregnant. I am not a perfect mom but have raised her in a decent home and worked hard to provide a good living for her and her new son. How do we mend the fences because her actions are going to land her into an adult situation I don’t believe she is ready to handle. I’m tired of the arguing and the police showing up at my door. I don’t want my grandson living on the streets and I need help!

Thank you for your feedback!


Welcome to emerging from broken
I am glad that you are willing to seek help for this situation. I don’t know if this is the right place to get it but I am glad you are seeking it. I can’t answer your question about how can you mend fences ~ I don’t know enough about your situation, but perhaps you can talk to your daughter about it? Perhaps you can listen to her? Perhaps you can seek an outside party together?
Thank you for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


You have told my story!
Growing up I saw my mum quarrel allot with my grandmother, and I promised myself never to do the same with my mum. My mother would accuse my grandmother of favouring her brothers over her and that she never felt loved.
My dad died when I was 6 years old, so there was only my mum and my brother left. As a child my mother was not a person to discus with, if she said “jump” I could only ask “how high”, I never knew what mood she was in, NEVER. My brother and I were the most well behaved kids because we knew that she meant business when she was angry, so we didn’t rock the boat.
I could never do much right in her eyes but to other people she would brag about me. All I wanted growing up was to make her proud but it would never happen, every time I do something right she would find something else to be unhappy about. As an adult our problems came in the form of the men I dated (3 men) and none of them were ever good enough, she cursed me out and called me cheap for dating them. One of them, I dated for 9 years and she never acknowledged him (never ad him over for dinner or talked with). To make her happy I kept him as a secret, I would talk about him (although we lived together). I always told myself that when she got a boyfriend things would change, but boy was I wrong. When she finally got a boyfriend, I suggested that I also bring my boyfriend for dinner. She got very angry and said that I’m the most selfish person EVER and didn’t want to talk about it anymore. So I didn’t talk about it anymore, because I feared her and her anger. I never what she could or would do. In hindsight, what could she do, beat me? But I still feared her more than death itself, I feared losing her it is as if I’d rather have the toxic relationship than not to have her, because she is what I deserved (SO I told myself).
I finally chose to choose me in March 2013 and we have not talked since, this period was very difficult for me because she didn’t raise me up to stand up against her. My fears for pissing her off would manifest in horrible nightmares. I have just turned 30 years and I know that my kids are not going to be a part of her life because she no longer sees me as a daughter; I’m a disappointment to her… But that is okay because I love me, and the Toxic relationship stops with me and her, because I will do better with my family.


Hi Noelina
Welcome to emerging from broken!
Good for you! It was great to read your story!
hugs, Darlene


Fragile? My mom is in her 80’s and is using the “I’m old” excuse as to why she won’t talk to me.


Thank you for sharing this story Darlene.

This sounds quite similar to my mother’s behavior, though her codependent tendencies toward her children means she would never willingly opt out of a relationship with us. Instead, she copes with boundary setting by deepening her own sense of martyrdom, self-loathing, and anxiety.

Personally, I struggle the most with knowing that my mother herself is an extremely unhappy person. While I don’t grant her licence to abuse me based on this fact, it is challenging to reconcile the hurt and the hatred with the pity and compassion I feel for someone whose worldview has been as sadly distorted as hers. She emotionally abuses her children based on her need to mollify her own anxieties and fears of abandonment, which I believe she comes by honestly from parents she idolizes in an unhealthy way, and from the untimely death of her favorite sibling.

Having struggled with mental illness from her critical and judgmental parenting, it feels hypocritical to blame her too personally for the mental illness she paraded through my upbringing. While I made a more responsible choice than she did by seeking counselling in order to break the cycle with my own future children, I have also had the good fortune to live in an era where therapy is much more destigmatized. it’s challenging for me to discern what exactly one owes their children if the best one has to offer is still as damaging as her parenting. i genuinely believe my mother to have tried her best, but unfortunately her best was a destructive mess. now i feel stuck attempting to decide whether or not it is constructive to forgive her shortcomings, despite my ability to reject ownership of them.


Hi Becky
Welcome to EFB ~ it isn’t about the blame stuff. It doesn’t matter if they could have done better or not. My freedom came when I finally validated the damage that was done to me instead of always excusing it because of things like “they did the best they could” and because I had learned to accept that “I” was the problem. As you say, unfortunately, her best was a destructive mess and for me, that caused some damage that had to be validated before I could move on to any sort of real understanding of forgiveness.
Thanks for sharing
hugs, Darlene


Thank you for posting this story. I am currently dealing with a very similar situation with my mother and its comforting, in some sick way, to know that I’m not the only one who has this kind of dysfunctional relationship with my mother. I am getting married next month, much to my mother’s disatisfaction, I believe her exact words were, “Whatever, you’ll do what you want.” And I’ve always wanted my mother to just be happy with me. In fact, all I ever wanted as a child was to make her happy. Now as an adult, I’m faced with the probability that she will not be attending my wedding and I’m hurt. I’m also afraid to react to her, because it always seems as though I’m to blame (something that really struck me about your blog). I asked her about a year ago to go to a family counselor with me, and she flat out refused, saying I was the only one who needed therapy. When I continued to tell her I wanted us to have a healthy relationship, she said there was nothing wrong with HER! I’m hoping to not need to cut her off the way you have done with your mother, but I’m worried that’s all I can do to have peace in my life.
Again, thank you for sharing your story. I was looking for something from someone who might know what it is like to have this kind of painful blame game with their mother. It’s hard to see the person who has abused you your entire life as the person they really are, because as a child, we idolize them through the pain. I hope to find my courage and stand up for myself one day soon.


Wow. I just cannot express my gratitude to you for taking the time to write this. It is exactly my story, and so to the T that it could actually be “my story”. I also had my second child when I was 33, and have a mother who has always been negative through her words and actions (the way she looks at me). She has always shouted and said extremely nasty things. We have had an awful turbulent relationship since I was a very young girl. She’s always put me down and made me feel bad for things, even for things that were out of my control. I don’t remember snuggling up to my mother or getting hugs and kisses from her. She was always a closed book to some respect and always stand-off when I leant in for a cuddle or hug. She could watch me cry tears of real pain, and tell me “oh here you go with your water works again”. I’m not going to say that she has never ever done anything kind – that would be untrue. She did many kind things – because her heart is good. She lost her parents when she was very young and never experienced the love of a parent. Instead she learnt to fend for herself and to be strong. I think this made her put up guards so that she would not get hurt. Emotionally she became so hard. Inside she is soft but her exterior is so hard and she learnt not to let her inside emotions through. She kept this up even with her three children. So we really only know a strong hard and tough mother. Not a soft, kind, loving and caring one. When she was loving and caring it was rare but nice. She made sure that we knew it wasn’t indefinite. Her words were never positive. She always referred back to her childhood and her struggles and even sad why if she struggled then we should to. After all she made it through her hell and her job was not to make things easy for us but to teach us the hard way. I never understood this. It was almost scary. Shouldn’t her job have been to protect us more from everything and to make things easier? She was a single mother – raising 3 children is no easy job. But one thing she did was get us doing chores from a very early age. We helped in the house – we made things easy for her. I know that people would be surprised – how well behaved were we? But she would say we could do more. Other children do more than what we are doing. She always compared me – told me how amazing other girls were and why couldn’t I be like them? She told me that I was a pain how she wished I was a better daughter. This was emotional abuse. I was smacked – not as much as my brother though. He was smacked a lot. I hated her growing up. I never stopped trying with her. Things got a little better when I married particularly because we didn’t live together. Regardless we kept trying. But after my first child we stopped talking for a while – managed to figure things out and the. Again stopped taking after my second child but this time it was worse. I was fed up. Also she is free from having to work and could easily help me look after the children – but she complains, she’s tired. She’s only early 50’s. She does not work. She’s married to a man – but we do not get on with him because of a lot of the things he says and the way he behaves – that’s another story. I only needed my mum to help me max 2 days per week. This would still leave her with 5 days to herself. She doesn’t want to do it – so something else has been arranged. When she comes to my house, she has a tired angry face like she can’t be bothered. I’ve taken her out of the equation now. My worry is repeating this behaviour with my daughters.
I want to get away from her – so that I can re-evaluate myself and my parenting. I do not want to make my children feel bad for no reason. I want them to feel strong and confident to speak up to me – not answer back but to tell me what they feel, even something about me / without feeling I will crack because I can’t handle it. I always want to be in control of my emotions – not make everyone else feel bad for me. I don’t like my mum. This may change but for now this is how I feel. Angry hurt betrayed unloved forgotten and unworthy. Mothers aren’t supposed to make their offspring feel like this. Time to re evaluate, fix and move forward.


I am somehow glad that I finally “diagnosed” my mother: she is 110 percent Narcisst.
In the past I knew she must have been mentally ill, but I was suspecting bi polar. So i would give in to my sister’s “she doesn’t it really mean that”, “she does love you”. After all people with bi polar are not bad people, some of them really love their kids, they just can’t help the outburts or the mood swings etc PLUS most of the bi polar parents can actually function normally if they decide to take their meds at least for the sake of their kids. My friend’s dad is bi polar, he is on meds and he has always been a great dad to my friend. It is him who suffers (he claims that if he could he would want the high of mania forever but b/c he chose to be “sane”, well no more mania episodes for him as he is on mood stabilizers).
Anyhow a bi polar person is capable of feelings, very much so.
A Narcisstic mother will never love you, she cannot. Simple as that.
A final diagnosis is a bit of a relief although sad because you realize that she will never ever change.
Also the more I read the more disgusted I am….
An N is a devil in a human body.


Well, I have always thought of the relationship between my mother and I as kind of disturbing. She always wanted to push undue amounts of responsibility on me and ask me to clean up after her. One time I was extra concerned when she bitched at me for not getting her flowers on Valentines day. She also asked me to try and convince a guy to marry her.

Today I found it outright disgusting. In having a conversation with her that I (in my mid twenties) wanted to live a life that didn’t constantly revolved around her (in my mind this is a perfectly reasonable request) and asked for space and resources to go live my own life, she basically went on a rant about how I was being unreasonable and how she didn’t understand why I wanted things like a career and education.

Apparently, I should just listen to her and do whatever she says so we could become the “ideal family”. Also, I’m a snotty bitch for “denying her the privilege of helping me” and that “if I went my own way” she would cut me out from inheriting anything (I honestly don’t care about the money, but threatening me for wanting to live a normal life is what got me). Oh yes, “children” (hello? did you forget I’m twenty-six) may have more freedom, but look at how they live (you mean they have jobs and act like real adults instead of being at the beck and call of their parents?) and that I should cut them off and make “real friends” (your friends are not real friends unless they meet the “Mom seal of approval”. Requirements include being a doctor and owning a yacht. Oh wait, you have nothing in common with those people or don’t know anyone like that? Then you shouldn’t have friends.)

I was torn between screaming or vomiting right then, but I decided to just tune her out until she got tired of talking to herself. It’s absofuckinglutely horrifying. I have no other way to describe it. Does this mean all the times I was beaten in grade school for not getting perfect grades solely for the sake of padding her own ego? Yes. Yes it was. Only thing she truly cares about is herself. There’s no other way to feasibly explain it.

I asked her what she was going to do in the future should I move somewhere far away or get my own family, etc. She was like “Of course!” and I could practically hear the “you’ll help me anyway”.

I’m considering taking what money I have saved up and fleeing the state.


I will add that other terrifying things are that she’s pressuring me to marry, but only people who she approves of, and I think she wants it for financial benefits for herself. Which is pretty hilarious because she criticized my friend’s mom for jokingly telling her that the way to go was marrying a rich man and how I was much better than that.

[screams internally]


Hi Anonymous,
Welcome to Emerging from broken.
This stuff is not easy. You have found the right place to talk about it!
hugs, Darlene


When I was an only child and my wonderful warm dad died when I was 5
I had no idea that all the love in the world would disappear.
My mum is religious, hypocritical, depressive, narcissistic and has on
many occasions not cared whether I lived or died. Yet, I am supposed to
be dedicated, devoted and suffer her neglect and abuse whilst solving
her unsolvable problems. As an adult I know that her problems are not
mine to solve, her burdens not mine to carry and her bottomless need
to tear me down are her failure. Her failure.
I must deal with the hurt in the adult way she is incapable of. I must not
fail my loved ones.


Hi Jennie
Welcome to EFB ~ Thanks for sharing!
hugs, Darlene


Thank You for sharing your story! You made me feel so relieved to know that I am not alone. My story is much like yours. It is freeing to know were they stand. She did not want a relationship with me and I could finally stop wanting one with her and then thinking it was my fault that she wouldn’t spend time me. I gave it one lost shot and point blank asked if she wanted a relationship with me. She did not answer so I tried to break down the question “what do you want from me” she replied “just to know how you and the kids are” WOW what a blow to the gut. Thats it, thats all she wants. Is basically that I am breathing and we have not died yet? Nothing more nothing deeper its all superficial crap it always has and always will be to her. What kind of jewlery do you have and how much money do you make. Nothing that looks inside your heart nothing that wants to know who you are deep inside like what are your dreams goals desires What makes you happy. It hurts to know it will never be more. I have let go but I would be lying if I said I don’t still want her to want me.


I have always been the problem . My birth caused my brother to become a psychopath (diagnosed). My mother give up potential high- flying career ,she claimed, to raise me ‘an inadequate’. When she looked at us as adults , she felt her life had been a waste. I was we’ll punished for it though and to this days she makes sure others know of her horrible daughter . At 100 years old she still has the power to mess with my emotions and life, but that is my fault too as I’m too sensitive and have a great imagination ,she says. Now , I have decided to really live up to the horrible daughter image and never see her again. I still have to cut off the doctors, social workers etc. and those who look to me to deal with all her business .


Oh wow, you are really nailing this. Thank you so much for sharing this. Even now reading those first sentences, I was blaming myself because that is what she says every time we have any conversation “You criticize me all the time.” Whenever I try to be assertive with either my husband or mom, they always say “you don’t like me.” which has nothing to do whatsoever with whatever I was talking about. Mom communicates with me by coming into my bedroom (I am not to close the door; If I do, she will find some urgent reason to come and bang on the door and make me open it. At 40 years of age, my mom still feels I have no right to close the door when I go to the bathroom.) shouting whatever she wants to say and then running back when I start to open my mouth. Any request I have ever asked of her (like not making me cook for the bully who injured my son when my father was dying or drawing the curtains of the hospital room window when I was coming out of the bedroom, half naked, bleeding and in pain) has always not only been rejected but she would always make sure that she goes the extra mile to do the opposite. For a long time until about age 35, I never asked anybody for anything because this is what I had been taught – not to have any needs of my own. I feel guilty all the time even though I know that factually I have no done anything wrong. In every relationship that I have, from the casual acquaintance to best friend, I feel responsible for everything, that I have to give and give and should never receive anything. It is so bad that when I go to see my psych, he ends up discussing his problems with me and I am counseling him. I am not getting any help from anyone because I believe that I must help everyone and not burden anyone with my problems. Talking about my problems here is so helpful. Thank you so much. I already feel guilty for not contributing anything to you.


Hi Kadeeja
I am glad my work is resonating so well with you! About guilt, I realized that it was something that was taught to me, something that if I were made to feel it, I could be more easily controlled.
As far as contributing to this site, please don’t feel bad about. I usually manage to get enough donations to cover the expenses, and when I don’t I ask and that usually works. I would never want anyone to contribute out of feeling guilty. I started this site to inspire hope!
hugs, Darlene


Oh boy I sure wish I could have talked to all of you years ago. For me, the realization came when I started working. Why is it I get along with everyone at work? Why do I make friends easy if I’m such a bad person?
Why doesn’t she have any friends? Why are there no photos of her hugging her children? One sibling left for the hills at 18 and has never looked back. Sometimes I think he was the smart one. I started and tried to fix it. I became a nurse… You know we feel can “fix”
anything lol. Spent 20 adult years trying to fix it. She was diagnosed with severe bipolar disorder but of course denies she has it and won’t take meds for it. My advice is to walk away.. You only live once.
By staying in her life and taking the abuse, I enabled her to continue.
Sometimes I feel that she’s jealous of me.. jealous that people speak highly of me.. That I have a husband who loves me. And that makes her so mean toward me. But she was that way when I wasa little girl so i don’t what it is. I just know that life is too short and precious to let someone treat me badly. Thank you all for sharing. BIG HUG to each one of you. I’m typing this on my phone so please excuse any typos.


I found this online.. So true.
One of the trademark symptoms of narcissism is that the sufferer generally cannot perceive other people as individuals with needs of their own. Narcissistic mothers usually view their children as extended parts of themselves, rather than as separate human beings. They normally value their children only on a limited basis as long as the children can be beneficial to their narcissistic parent in some specific manner


Great blog! Sounds like my mom, we the daughters, could never do anything right. We were “whores” according to my mom and my 2 sisters’ generation, and my generation – we all came from a “whorish generation of women.” What does that mean?!? My 2nd oldest sister told me ‘what woman screwed mom over so badly to the point she hates women to a T?’

We know my grandma (mom’s mom) treated her like crap like the rest of her daughters. She is so stupid she doesn’t even see the pattern that she inherited from her own mother! She (mom) always wondered why I always had a self-esteem problem. As mothers, they should be helping their daughters with their self-esteem issues not degrade them and make them feel like crap even more! My mom claims she has so much pride about herself and would never dare do the things that today’s women are doing. Oh really?! You argue like a teenager, compete towards me about who can get a man, stands in front of the glass door advertising to everybody (especially women) about how much dad used to make at his ex employer, how much money he has, how your the “legal wife” and the whores ain’t getting a dime, etc!

my “mother” flip flops her so called parental teachings. When she finds fault, I ask my mom ‘are you sure you’re not talking about yourself? Try looking in the mirror when you say that, but I feel the mirror will break after you say that garbage.’ She screamed so loud you could hear it outside!

“There was no accountability on the part of the adults!”

Exactly, never is.

“There was NO communication when I tried to sort any of this out. She had no intention of actually discussing any of it with me. She used statements to deflect whatever it was that I had to say causing me to look at me again, instead of at her. She was very efficient at getting me to see how I caused the problem for her and never the other way around.”

Same with my parents, zero communication which I can’t understand why people don’t get it! ‘oh, you’re parents are not sure how to communicate, oh they had a bad day, oh let bygones be bygones, etc.’ That’s the crap I’ve gotten from people. My therapist said, ‘it seems communication wasn’t part of the family norm when you’re parents were growing up.’ Nah, ya think! I knew that long ago, but why is it MY job to understand that? I told my therapist ‘I’m sorry, aren’t they grown? Don’t they have a responsibility to not be like their parents?’ She agreed with that and cut her off saying ‘then don’t feel sorry for them, they know exactly what they are doing!!’ She didn’t like that answer too much.

This is funny, it’s never my brother’s fault. Then my mom says how she can’t stand her selfish ***hole children! Everything that went wrong in her life was our fault how she just had kids for the wrong reasons and never wanted us, see folks, that’s proof right there she never wanted kids only to keep a man around!


Thank you for this website. It’s very interesting to see that others in this world have similar problems like I do. I think my bad mother-daughter relationship started before I was even born. She had told me SHE wanted me and my day never did (my dad died when I was four or five). She said that she just HAD to have a third child and he absolutely was repulsed be this. After I was born, the argued about me. After he died, I knew my mother blamed me for his death (he killed himself). Another thing I would like to add, after she had me, her brain bled, resulting her into having brain surgery and seizures to this day. She openly blames me for this, as well.

Throughout my life, she always been harsh to me and never to my brother (16 now. I am 15) and my sister (who is 24). She treated my sister like a god until she got pregnant at 16, dropped out of school, and is now struggling with three kids. She doesn’t blame me for this, however, but she does say I’m going to end up just like her, even though I go on and on about my plans for my future and how sex seems…. not interesting, to me, at my age. I wouldn’t say she is physical ‘abusive’, but she does hit me and pull my hair whenever we have a skirmish. Now, you, maybe, think I yell at her back. I don’t. She does most of the yelling and the cursing and the hitting. Recently, (yesterday) she said, “I hope you die, bitch!” and I felt tired of her crap (plus I do have suicidal thoughts) so I replied with, “Okay, fine! Because you’re the one whose going to be at my funeral, crying and feeling guilty!” and she proceeded to slap me before her boyfriend had to stop her for doing more.

The smallest things set her off. What set her off yesterday (2/14/2014) I had a bad day at school and I wanted to talk about it. She saw me with a depressed face on and said “come on, it’s the day of love” to which I replied, “I never liked Valentine’s day, (mind you, I wasn’t upset over a guy or anything) and Today sucked.” she the started pushing me out her room and said stuff like, “I’m sick of you. Get out, I don’t want you to ruin my mood.” Which started the whole incident.

Even after a fight, she would come out of her room just to say hit like, “You really hurt me,” or “I can’t wait until you move out and get the fuck out my life,” She would say these types of thing throughout the week, after the actual fight. Another thing I would like to add is I’m not the type of girl who shouts “I HATE YOU” and runs upstairs and slams the door. Never have been. My mum, however, never hesitates to be the first and only one to shout I hate you in my face, without apologising later. She doesn’t give me room to talk or explain or anything. An excuse she uses during a fight is usually something to do with her buying me something(s) prior to everything. She says in such a way as she might as well be saying, “I know you’ll never love me with way I act, here, let me but your love,” which she doesn’t need to do because I do love her.

She not there for me, as a “typical mother” would be. Meaning, asking me what’s wrong, not cursing and physical and emotional hurting me, actually have some sort of communication with me, instead of harshness. I’ve never told her anything personal, because it seems like if I do, she’s going to say deal with it or she doesn’t care, etc. She treats me like I’m just a random person she’s trying to get off her back. Another thing I would like to add is that I’m empathic. I feel the emotions of others and put their emotions on top of mine, almost overwhelming. I feel almost nothing from my mother. Like, it’s just…. Not…. There.

I often contemplate what I did/do, because it looks like I’m blaming all the problems on my mother. I don’t think I am. I’m pretty sure I’m doing a lot stuff wrong, as well, but I just can’t see it, yet. Hopefully, it will be better one day. I’m sorry for my language, but I’m not one to blur out letters with stars (*).


I love this post… So many of us don’t realize that we are in a toxic relationship… Like you Darlene, I was always taught to look at my actions… Instead of my mother being the parent and taking accountability … It has happened all my childhood… When I was 17 and told my mom I was going to kill myself she laughed with my sister and they continued to watch T.V. They made it seem as though I am such a dramatic person and that I have issues.

As an adult I have tried to fix our broken relationship, but all I end up is hurt again. At my dinner party she attended she had the nerve to tell my boyfriend ” I feel sorry for you, I know my daughter.” Life is just better without her in my life.


Hi Ty
Welcome to EFB ~ This is exactly the kind of thing I am talking about. When a parent says something like that (” I feel sorry for you, I know my daughter.”) it’s such a horrific ‘truth leak’ ~ meaning that that is what she wants you to believe. And of course we want to tell ourselves that ‘she doesn’t mean it’ but eventually we can’t keep telling ourselves that.
Thanks for sharing this example!
hugs, Darlene


By the age of 7 I understood there was something bad or wrong about me. But I didn’t know what it was or what happened to make me bad or wrong. I didn’t understand why my mom couldn’t love me the way I saw other moms love their children. I began making decisions to stay away from my own mother because I felt I was bad. I learned that out of her sight meant out of her mind and she didn’t want to think about me or my life because she had her own agenda, her work and her marriage and I wasn’t a part of her daily life. I joined Girlscouts and my elementary cheerleading squad as well as my school’s soccer team and softball team so I could begin staying after school every single day of the week an weekends I would be at games or events where I could have my own life that I decided on how to live on my own. I had the most wonderful teachers and coaches and my church family became a wonderful haven for me to learn and grow up decently with good role models who wanted to teach me and see me be successful. When I was in high school I met my best friend and she become a new lifeline that I depended on, and then I made two other new friends who also became lifelines for me and those three women have changed my life forever. They are my soul sisters, and they will always be a part of my life. I am so grateful for them because their families became my “adoptive” families and to this day I refer to their parents and siblings as my parents and siblings. I was so lucky to find families willing to love me and appreciate me. I have so many wonderful memories just being part of a family where I felt included. All of you out there dealing with a biological parent that is emotionally and verbally abusive, PLEASE do what I did and try to make new relationships that are positive and will motivate you to be successful. DON’T allow your biological parent to drag you down and ruin YOUR LIFE. I still struggle every day with my mother, and so far my best advice is get away and stay away, find something positive to do with your life, follow your dreams, don’t let life hold you back, and don’t get stuck in a rut. If you are stuck in a rut, find a local community activity or event to participate in that will open a new avenue to you. Join local community service groups that teach you about loving service and tender care of others, it will be your salvation. I became a teacher’s aide in a local elementary school so I could experience what other kids might go through at young ages and try to stop or minimize any problems for them-that helped me feel like I saved myself.That’s what you have to decide-SAVE YOURSELF. Don’t wait. Do it today. I find sometimes that I am comforted when I find a quiet place to pray and think and cry. It is a type of grieving when you realize you’ll never ever be loved without the twisted betrayal of emotional abuse and verbal abuse by someone you are supposed to love and trust. You MUST find a way to set yourself apart from hatred and anger and you MUST LET GO OF THAT ANGER because it will eat you alive and you’ll never get past it or go on with a more successful and free life. I like to write it down on paper, everything I feel and then make a campfire and burn the notes and papers, it makes me feel like I have given my thoughts to God and I no longer have to carry them in my heart. Don’t think you’re alone in this, because you’re not. There is a God, He does love you because He created you for HIS PURPOSE ON EARTH. He made you to be his special gift to the world, so go give of yourself, go be a beacon of hope and light and love to others. Who your MATTERS!!! What you love and enjoy MATTERS!! Your special gifts are inside you and YOU HAVE TO DECIDE TO REALLY SET YOURSELF FREE to FIND YOURSELF. You need to FIND OUT WHO YOU ARE ASIDE FROM YOUR CONFLICTS and BUILD ON WHO YOU REALLY ARE to find new ways to live and really, honestly learn what real love is and what it is not.
Anyway what I learned is that I am able to LEARN. That was my first clue that I don’t have to stay the way I have always been. Because I can LEARN new ideas and skills. No one is going to keep me where they want me, because my mind and heart can take me anywhere I choose to go. I can do anything. IMAGINE THAT! So MAKE A PLAN TO CHANGE YOUR LIFE then DO IT. DREAM BIG.


I forgot to mention, FIND NEW HOBBIES- it will help you learn and meet new people and gain new skills. I learned to knit, sew and bake because those are feminine things my mother should have taught me but never thought was important I guess, so I taught myself. Now I can handmake blankets and afghans, curtains, clothing, bedding and pillows. I can make just about any kind of food and have figured out how to manage catering services. So I can make aprons, bedding, clothing, curtains, I can bake anything and cook anything and I can take these skills and use them to create new lines of income for myself, or just simply make homemade gifts for people I do love and care about. I went back to college and am within one year of graduating with seven Bachelor’s degrees. I’m telling you, IT IS POSSIBLE TO CHANGE YOUR LIFE. You just have to want it bad enough. My dad used to take me out to the airport, at the end of the runway there is a parking lot with speakers that transmit communications between air traffic control and pilots in airplanes. That experience with my dad was just about the most wonderful thing I can remember with him. He became my rock, he loved me and cared about me and I knew it all my life. I joined Exploring Scouts when I was 13 years old and my dad took me to my first meeting and helped me join. I firmly believe he was proud of me for trying something so outside of my normal lifestyle. He helped me learn how to build model rockets and launch them with the other Scouts, he allowed me to travel out of state with them for weeks on end which helped me see and experience the world, and let me tell you, the world is BIG. In Exploring Scouts there are so many different types of Scouting to choose from, but since my dad took me to the airport as a kid I chose aviation. I learned how to fly airplanes and helicopters. WOW. I stayed in Exploring until I was an adult and I still go back to my local airport and watch the airplanes and helicopters land and take off again. It comforts me sometimes to stand in the same place where I stood as a child learning to explore the world alone and realize I ended up ok because I decided at a young age to take charge of my life and actually LIVE IT! All of you out there, please try to LIVE LIFE. Don’t keep dwelling on the burdens of life. Find ways to SURVIVE.

Hurting and Stuck
March 5th, 2014 at 5:03 pm

Never understood why my mom didn’t love me like the rest. Never understood why she would hurt me rather than protect me. Never will understand why she allowed others to hurt me. I just can’t seem to get past the years of abuse. Set up a time to meet her and talk to her. She died within hours of when we were going to meet. I just wanted answers. I may have never got them even if she was here. But now I know for sure I never will. What was wrong with me that a mother couldn’t love? Why was I never enough?


I too was a “victim” of my mother’s abuse and neglect. I was one of those “trophy” children. just something to show off, along with my older brother. somehow he managed to escape her; guess he just sucked up to her alot. Nevertheless, we both found other avenues of escapism, especially in our teens and 20’s. I was never good enough, always in trouble with her. Always accused of things i never did and punished.I remember some of her words like stop being a martyr,crybaby, you’re too sensitive or introducing my brother and i to her friends. He was her number one son and i was just a daughter. Taken to adult parties(cocktails) and left alone to watch tv. I suppose being left alone and not being exposed to the adults drinking was a good thing but why take a child to this in the first place? We always had “nannys” and house keepers. Dress her up, take her out and show her off and then shove her to the side. I was never taught the finer things in life nor was i taught hair and makeup and i never had that mother/daughter talk– just learn on your own. No one to talk to about boys or what boys were after or what to do when a boy broke up with you. The spankings with hangars and hairbrushes and even the bare hand; i’m not against spanking at all except the hangers and hairbrushes; there wasn’t any love there; no hugging and kissing. I was groomed to be someone’s wife i think;albeit not a very good one. LOL. I wasn’t allowed to take typing or any skills class. I didn’t know how to cope and deal with the local bullies in the neighborhood who made fun of me. As a 56 y/o woman, I’ve been called passive aggressive and unable to stand up for myself from time to time. I can’t handle other people in authority and have no way to speak up for myself without getting my words all twisted up. Even typing this out makes me nervous. I now have a teacher who s unrelentingly critical of me, always finds fault, can never be pleased, and blames me for everything that goes wrong – She says its my fault that I am not learning what i need to in anatomy class. she says that everytime i say i can’t, i won’t, i don’t understand etc, that I’m shutting myself down, that its my fault. The easy thing to do would be to quit school, but what does that prove?? and how the hell am i supposed to be self sufficient if i can’t complete this program in 2 more months? This is just another female authority figure who has found my buttons and is pushing them all. I could type forever on this subject, but i won’t. I won’t tell you how both my mom and my brother beat me up in the kitchen floor accusing me of stealing money that i hadn’t. I won’t tell you how much i hate her.


Thank you for writing this. By the end of my reading, I was in tears. It has taken me a lot to come to the same realizations that you have written about. Unfortunately, I have lost my father and sisters in my decision to lay that boundary down. They still continue to follow in her manipulative ways and cow to her every whim. That loss hurts very much and is still so fresh but the relief I feel from being free from all that negativity is worth it. I can now start to build me, be stronger, be better for my husband and my children. Thank you again for writing what apparently so many of us needed to have spoken aloud.


I am on the other side of the fog now, finally. I was so deluded, so bought into the relationship and hero worship of my mother that our entire family bought into. It was very difficult to dig into the truth of my situation. I spent most of my life in relationships with people who, at best, were at odds with me and at worst were just using me because I didn’t get those signals that most people understand as being time to move on. I didn’t get it because that’s what I grew up with. A mother that didn’t like me. And yet would give lip service to a lie, all the while abusing me. Someone from a 12 step group that I was working with saw what I couldn’t wrap my head around from the outside…”she didn’t want you, but she didn’t want anyone else to have you.” This was validation, it was a jumping off point for me. I finally understood the feelings I’d always had but couldn’t logically understand. I had felt ashamed to even exist my entire life.
I started laying down boundaries. I started trying to get to the truth of some of the situations from my very early childhood. I was given no help with that. My mother did, however, offer an apology, claiming she took full responsibility for her behavior. This was somewhat vindicating, but I knew it didn’t change anything. There was still a gulf between us that cannot be surmounted by me alone. And I knew I was tired of trying. I stuck around for a while, going through the motions, knowing not to expect a real connection because she is incapable. I also knew she didn’t want a realationship with me, she wanted my children. She wanted her role as grandma. She wanted to lay claim over her possessions… “her” grandchildren. It was always about getting what she wanted from me and discarding the rest. And besides, she could have a new crop of naive, trusting creatures to be worshiped by. After she insulted my dignity and my truth in spite of her “apology” once gain, I finally layed down some very stern boundaries. I received no acknowledgement. It was an email. But it’s all I had left for her. As you said, Darlene, I was tired of the relationship being my responsibility. I was tired of trying. And I had lost any hope or expectation I had ever had. She made no effort. She wanted to drop christmas presents off for my kids after the incident. I refused. I will not let her by my children’s affection. Which is all she really has ever done with them.
It was really hard for me the first few months. I worried about how hurt she might feel, as I was trained to do. I worried about what she was saying to other family members. I knew, from our first trial run, that I would lose my entire family if I broke ties with her. I was prepared and resigned, even though it hurt. I’m still sort of floating in the abyss sometimes, feeling like a being that has burst forth without parents (biodad was never there, step dad died a few years back). But, if I focus on the freedom that it imbues me with rather than the frightening groundlessness, I feel good. I have come out of depression. I have finally become someone who accomplishes things. I am taking care of myself. I don’t make excuses for my behavior anymore, I take responsibility. I don’t get so scared when my heart rate goes up when I’m exercising. I feel free. I don’t have to live with the burden of being a burden anymore. I don’t have to care whether she can validate me anymore. And I don’t live in fear of what others are going to think of me like I used to. It’s the best thing I have ever done for myself. I have more self awareness. I can see things more clearly. Thanks for sharing your story, it helps clarify things and it helps me to feel validated in my own journey. And I know I’m not alone.


Hurting and stuck,
It wasn’t your fault. There is no answer to why she treated you that way, accept that maybe it was a reflection of how she felt about herself and she targeted you. You aren’t alone. Lots of us feel this way. I’m sorry her death left so many unanswered questions. I have many unanswered questions, myself. Some I’ve asked and could not be answered. Just excuses. I don’t think they know why they do these things, if they did truly know, they would be too emotionally intelligent to treat us that way.


Hi Arwyn
Welcome to EFB
Those loses do hurt! People all have to make their own decisions in all of this and I had to make the one that was best for me and my family (husband and children). I agree, the relief is worth it!
Hugs, Darlene

I think you will find a lot of validation here in the pages of this website.
Welcome to EFB ~ hugs, Darlene


Hi Jamie
Awesome comments! Thanks for sharing your freedom!
hugs, Darlene

Hurt and Stuck
It’s all about power and control and the misuse of power and control when it comes to these people. It isn’t that you were never enough, this is all about her. I am sure you will find comfort and validation within the pages of this website,
hugs, Darlene


I’m turning 22 this year, currently finishing up my fial year in university doing a biotechnology degree and have a part time job with no real money issues for a college student. i dont smoke and wouldnt be considered as the wild type at all even through my teenage years. i liked spending time with friends and that was it. sounds pretty normal right. but my mam is never satisfied with me. she tells me that im mean, i don’t listen to her and do as she pleases to make her happy. relationship has gotten worse recently. i can’t ever tell her anything without her making an insulting remark or a fight starting between us. if i dont respond and just listen she keeps going and says im not listening to her ad if i do respond she starts to get worse. im not the perfect daughter and i know i have some faults that need to be rectified. ive tried talkig it out with her but she just doesnt want to talk to me anymore. i dont know what else i can do to make her happy. she doesnt want me to be with my current boyfriend even though there is nothing bad about him at all hes in the same college and treats me with respect and cares for me. my mom is the only one in the family that is raging about it and wont leave me alone. she says why cant i find someone who is smarter looking etc etc. i love her and care about her. i dont want our relationship to become toxic but she just wont respect my normal wishes. i never do anything bad so im just confused and sad about the whole situation. she tells that i dont like her even though im the one trying to sort things out with her. i don’t think im a failure, im the smartest but im a hardworker. all she cares about is money, intelligence and being high up in the ranks. she doesnt understand why im crying because of her. this is the first time that ive actually posted something up on a forum. after i tried to talk things through and been apologizing for some stupd small silly mistakes ive made in the past (like small white lies, never major just to save going into an argument) she still says she so disappointed in me and doesnt want to talk to me. i feel alone at home excluded. yesterday my brother (13) asked if i wanted to go for food with them and i thought it would be good to go so that i could try talk to my mom again, i said id go and wait while i showered. i came out and my mom drove off in a huff because i agreed to go. family outing was cancelled because of this and my dad ad brother had to go somewhere else. i broke down when this happened. dont know what else i can do anymore really.


Hi Vivien
Welcome to EFB ~ You have found the right website ~ there is so much info and insight in these pages. Reading through some of it will help you find the clarity you are looking for. (there are over 400 articles all with discussions)
I’m glad you are here, thank you for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


I grew up with a spiteful bitch who always stepped over me deliberately trying to prove her supremacy over a child!!! She would say the meanest of things, do the cruelest of things by beating me with anything that was in her hand at the time. It was as if we were enemies in a previous life.


Your stories, in one way or another are all so much like my story. What an ironic and sad, reality, that we all share this pain of this twisted existence.
I have lived with this belittling and emotional and physical abuse my entire life. I’m an only child, and much was put on my shoulders in terms of success and becoming a being that “they” could be proud of… a reflection of their parenting success and of them as successful people themselves.
Well, I wasn’t that kid. I struggled with friendships, I was emotionally very sensitive, and the butt of bullying, and teasing at school. I would come home crying (and the end result, criticism “is it any wonder you don’t have any friends?” “why would anyone want to be your friend?”) More often than not, I would be told to grow up, shut up, and leave them alone with these kiddie problems. I would retreat to my room, where I had tons of books, toys etc… to keep me company. I stayed there a lot, because my attempts to do something with either of them was always to “get lost, leave us alone” and “we don’t want to see you/we don’t want you around”
Fast forward to high school and university. The people-pleaser was valiantly trying to get the approval of teachers and professors by doing my best at school… only to be told that “well, if you tried harder, that could have been an A” (instead of a B) They would deny me help with subjects I couldn’t understand, or didn’t have time to finish at school (“you need to go to the teacher for that, leave us alone, we aren’t the teacher”) I since think that I had/have ADD, because my difficulties in school and in life in general are so bang-on (my daughter has been diagnosed with it almost 4 yrs. ago, and researching symptoms, etc. was eye-opening ‘that’s me, yup, check, yup, that’s me too’ I wish I had gotten help for it, but they never suspected there was anything going on, just that I was stubborn, and wouldn’t listen, didn’t try hard enough, was too sensitive, and whatever else they could pin on me.
I was such an underachiever, because I just got tired of the never being good enough or doing enough to impress them. If something good happened, it was met with a tepid or flat “oh good” “See, we knew you could do it”
I was married and divorced (that’s a whole ‘nother very difficult story), and lived on my own after that time in ’95. Met my now-husband in 2001, and have 2 great kids –our daughter is 10, our son is 7. For years my parents lived almost 2 hrs. away, so every visit was an excursion, a drive up on a Friday, returning on Sunday. Now, 6 yrs. ago, they moved within 30 minutes from us. I can count on literally one hand how many times they have ever done anything with our kids voluntarily. We have now not seen them since Christmas, so going on 2.5 months… I have never, ever, said you can’t see the kids –they just don’t make any effort whatsoever to do anything with them, unless it involves us all going there. I work crazy hours, with not much time off on a weekend. My husband is extremely busy with work and coaching sports, so his time is limited also. They get put off when we decline their “invitation” to see them on my or my husband’s free time on a weekend. I’m sorry, but I’ve been working every weekend since October, and 2 weeks ago, I got a Saturday off. She was offended that I said I don’t think so to coming for a visit that day?? There are 6 other days in the week to do something with/for these kids, including on a school night. I see grandparents all the time, picking kids up from school, taking them out for breakfast, lunch or dinner, going to their sporting events, going to a movie, out shopping… These guys get nothing, not even the scraps of my parents’ time! To top it off, they entertain constantly, having their countless friends over for get-togethers, and going out for dinner, or to outdoor concerts, and the like. I’m pissed that everything has to be on their fuc<ing terms, and that the kids are missing out on what so many other kids get to do. The kids told me a few months ago, that they're so bored when we go to grandma & grandpa's house… that there's nothing fun for them to do, and that they can't put their feet on the couch, or watch TV or anything. I asked my mother over a year ago, if they could have the kids over to stay for a night, or if they could take them out for dinner "sometime"… she said "okay, let's make a time" I said, "no, let's leave that to you to tell me when you'd like to do that, or can" Like I said, that was over a year ago. When my mother phones, she talks to the kids like she doesn't even know them, like small talk with strangers. It's really shitty, and it feels awful to me. I had the most amazing, warm, generous grandparents (both sides) that were all to happy to spend time with me. My maternal grandparents had me nearly every weekend, and that included sleeping over. I loved it, and I never felt like it was a burden for them. I've given up hoping that they could take our kids so my husband and I could go out for an evening, or for a holiday –I never ask, because I know there would be excuses or that it's not convenient. It really hurts. I've stopped a great deal of the communication with them these last 2 or 3 weeks. My mother has phoned and left messages, but today I disabled the voice mail so she can't leave any now. They're not cruel, but they're sounding very "you've hurt us" in their tone, and again, like small talk that I don't want to listen to. I have often thought that it feels like I've been cheated out of having parents who know how to be good parents or grandparents, and I've paid the price terribly. My mother also has a key to our house, and I'm wanting to change the locks, or just say to not come around unannounced. We were estranged last year around my son's birthday, and she came by, and left a present for him that he didn't even want. I never thanked her, but had him tell her thank you.

I SO feel like I'm damned if I do anything, and really damned if I don't.


Hi Tired of Trying
Welcome to EFB ~ I think you are going to like it here. 🙂
From what you have shared your kids are not ‘missing out on” anything. If these people treat you this way this is the communication that they give to your kids. I agonized over this part of my recovery process when it came to my kids and their grandparents lack of interest. But eventually I realized that they had the same lack of interest in me! I am glad that I didn’t let it continue with the kids. 🙂
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


hello fellow sisters,
my mother has been gone for-in may-11 years. I can say truthfully-i got my life back that day. I did the therapy sessions twice, vented with closest friends, cried, prayed to god to die as a teen as my begging to her to not be so mean never worked…luckily I have a wonderful husband and had a dad that was there for me all the time-but-she destroyed his ego also. i will never know what a mom’s love is, i cannot grasp this kind of love—mother’s day is and always very tough-the card and the gift-so phony. to this day-i stay in the background on mother’s day as i can not shake her and how she treated me. it is how i cope, oh-i get the cards, and out for brunch and all-but-inside when i look at adult daughters with their moms-kills me. yes-i know it wasn’t me..yes-i know other moms really liked me…still…i wish i could send angel wings to all of you for hugs and strength. i am better know and simply think-she was ill and her illness was shared with me and there are no meds to fix it. put your energy into yourselves and not her.


Firstly I’d like to thankyou so much for your wisdom.

My relationship with my mother is horrible and my sister is just as toxic towards me as well.

I am in tears reading your article and amazed.

Thankyou for giving me insight into damaging mother/daughter toxic relationships are. I realised that I have tried everything to please her at my own detriment. I believe that everything she has done from saying things like “you will never amount to anything,” “look in the mirror and say i stupid,” “if you’re so smart, why don’t you have a job,” “you should have been drowned at birth,” “when he saw you, he only saw the $$$ and if there wasnt $$ he wouldn’t of looked at you,” and the constant nagging, criticism, undermining, meddling, “I’m right, you’re wrong” attitude has left me feeling worthless, depressed, fearful, and at times suicidal.

Yet she sees nothing wrong in what she says and even feels a sense of entitlement or right because she gave birth to me and i should be grateful.

I don’t feel grateful. I feel lost.

I’m now a single mother and because of her meddling (she knew she was and even said she doesn’t ever want to be blamed for the break up of my relationship) i feel so alone and even ashamed of myself. I feel like i am trapped and because my child loves his grandmother, (she manipulates him by saying things, buying him gifts, questioning him, showing affection denied to me) i feel it would be cruel to sever contact because my that’s what i would have to do to break free.

It’s abuse. Simple emotional neglect.

I’m in tears but relieved to hear that i am not crazy or alone.




Hi Kat
Welcome to EFB ~ I had to look at the whole picture when it came to my kids. As they grew up they watched their grandparents (etc.) treat their mother (me) like she was ‘less worthy’ and so they got the message… and I didn’t stand up to it, so guess what was communicated to my kids about MY value? Kids pick up on everything. (even if they are in a different room, etc. they ‘know’ how we are regarded. I had to look at what I want my kids to learn. (Today 2 of my children are grown adults and the youngest is 16) My oldest was only 12 when he started to treat me like ‘they’ did and it was like getting punched. I had to look at what love really is.
Thank you for sharing. There is tons more info on this site.
hugs, Darlene


I have been close to suicide many times over the relationship I have with my mother. I am now 32 and still struggle as I had to move home as I was made redundant having left home at 17. My mother is a depressive and conducted an incredibly volatile relationship with me, one minute being incredibly affectionate, the next ignoring me and being hyper-critical. I was encouraged at school but not at home and was a very gifted violinist (my teacher entered me in State competitions). Unfortunately, my mother used to close the door on my playing and tell me to stop practicing as it was annoying her. This is a long time ago and I wish I could forget the hundreds upon thousands of stories I have about my mother reacting to something I was doing at any given time. My mother has a v.bad relationship with my father and used to tell me in the middle of the night as a child that she may not come back to our home. She also told me when I was 12 that she was raped. I have lived in constant fear of making her upset and to live through her moods (she slams doors, throws things, stares catatonically into space) I am having nearly daily panic attacks. When I was 15, I tried to take my own life but I had such poor self esteem and did not feel comfortable in my home environment. My mother brought me straight to a psychiatrist who put me on incredibly strong anti-depressants, which made me completely listless. My mother encouraged me not to ever come off them and when I did she also encouraged me to go back on them. I finally came off them 2 years ago and the reality of my childhood hit me- which was not physically or sexually harmful but was one of the most extensively abusive psychological experiences I have endured. I explained to my mother that I can no longer survive our relationship if she does not address her behaviour. She says she has done nothing wrong. Can you please help me in deciding whether I need to remove my mother from my life?


Hi Rhonda
Welcome to EFB ~ I can’t help you decide, but there is tons of info here about what I decided and how I decided it and how I healed from the damage. I hope you will read more of the work here.
hugs, Darlene


I am glad to know I’m not alone. I have been trying to figure out why my relationship with my mother is so difficult. Like someone else said, the relationship with my father was pretty obvious, he was a type A personality, seemed to actively seek out stress, and often tried to bring others down with him. Yes, he was physically and emotionally abusive to my mother, and us. Most of us have come to grips with it in our adulthood.
Of six surviving kids (a brother passed away in 2001), I have pretty much been the one to be around to help my mom, now that my dad has Alzheimer’s. I have grown to be outspoken from the shy girl I used to be, but I am nothing like my father. I do not call her stupid, I do not always tell her she’s wrong about things, I do not constantly disrespect her. But, according to her, I do. For all the faults my brothers have, I’m the one that she expects more of, and acts disappointed that I don’t meet those expectations.
I would say I am well out of the fog or spin, because I know all the things she accuses me of are not true. I am teaching myself not to get sucked in to her attempts to spark an argument just so she can play the victim once more. I have to teach myself this because I live in her home. I started out here because of divorce, stayed to care for her when she was injured, developed my own health problems, and still manage my parents finances.
I believe she views me as a sort of surrogate for my dad, since she’s told me many times I am like him. I think that is why she accuses me of the things my father used to do. I figured it out, at least to this point, and am working on how to cope moving forward.



I really felt alone, knowing that nobody in my social circle had a mother who was so emotionally dysfunctional.
I was blessed with an amazing auntie, who showed me love and respect. This has been a major part of my healing process. I knew from a young age, my mother never really bonded with me. Constant name calling to this date, we do not speak much, I have tried. However as I have always spoken from the heart, when my mother asked me if I would have her as a friend. I told her, “No”.

I would never allow a friend to treat me so badly. The amount of lies she has told, when confronted with it, the water works. Then the ” nobody knows what I have been through”. However she is reluctant to talk to me. However she has an amazing relationship with my siblings.

My mother dislikes me so much, she never attended wedding, yet wants to have a relationship with my children who are all adults. I refuse to involve the children, they need to assess situations for themselves.
The bottom line… This site has helped me close a chapter of my life that caused me heartache and pain, through fear and embarrassment.

I will never look back, I just wish my mother all the best. I do not need to pretend to like her ways anymore!


Hi Kat B
Welcome to EFB ~ It’s great that you are figuring it all out! Coming out of the fog is so liberating!
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene

Hi Mel
Welcome to EFB ~ Wow, love your comments! You sum it up so well.
Thank you for sharing.
hugs, Darlene


Hi Darlene. my friend found this article for me and I have to say its like it was written anout my mother and i. I am in the slow process of healing after a long atagomising relationship with my . Im adopeted so weve never had that proper bond nd manipulation is definatelt her strongest flaw. Recently she said a few ‘home truths’ tpo me and it hurt deeper than i caee to admit. I was so stressed.and hurt amd in typical fashion blamed myself and my childhof problems for her behaviour. it got to thw ppikt whwre i just decided on rhe spot to do what shes always wanted and ‘let ir go’ and ‘move on’ – the trouble is although shes feeling great im left anxious and confused to say rhe least. Shes off the hook.ismt ahe?! Shes got what she wanted and i jist dont feel like i made rhe rigt choice by drawing a line. I know its unhealrhy to carry on but i dont have the closure i need and it doesnt help matters thar i have a daughter and shes rhe the filling to our sandwich. Somethig we both fight over even though ky daughter is mine. Im mot aure what mt next move should be . X


Just reading the first article of this made me think hard and know that I’m basically in the same boat.
I live with my mother and my youngest daughter now 12 years old. The reason why I moved back with my parents was because I was in an abusive relationship.
Once I moved back my youngest was only 3 months old and I had a nervous breakdown of some other problem from an ex that ruined my oldest daughter.
Over the years living with my parents were good..but times my Dad was abusive to my mother, verbally and physically. We did however move to a different area as they couldn’t walk up the stairs or do much of the outside gardening. We moved and I thought of moving out myself as I knew I could try and do it on my own.
So I did find a nice place and my daughter at the time was 3 or. 4 yrs old, it was great but then I lost my job, and moved back to my mom and dads back in 2009.
I didn’t have a problem finding work as I think It was 3 months later that I found work again.
My daughter was 7 or. 8 when we moved back to my parents .
I was told by my mother to only bring my clothes and to sell my furniture. I apparently gave my furniture to my son and his wife and my oldest daughter.
I really didn’t think it was a problem. So that’s what I did .
I had to pay them room and board (but to them It was Rent)
I was paying them 850.00 like I was paying at my rental apartment.
To be a helpful daughter..and when I for some reason couldn’t pay example car repairs , I never heard the end of it .
We then agreed to a lower amount, as I had to find another job..because I was working temp to perm and it didn’t quite work out that way. I found another job 1 month later.
Then I found a lump on my breast…went for a biopsy and was diagnosed with breast cancer. Had a mastectomy,
Having chemo every other week for 4 months, then Radiation every day for 25 days .,,and then 2 months later my father goes in the hospital and doesn’t come home.
My Dad eventually died 3 months later. I am told you better find a job cuz there isn’t Dads income anymore…I was to be still in recovery mode..but pushed myself to find a job. I was lucky to find one .i really liked working again .
My mom, my daughter and I move to downsize to an area closer to my brother..
Thinking that this move will be good for all of us.
During the years with my parents..,with my Dad and my Mother..there were many times where there was friction that no matter what I did for them ..,wasn’t good enough!
I used to think that maybe my mother had dementia or something..cuz I didn’t understand why she would act the way she did around me…mostly when my Dad went to bed and/or my daughter was sleeping.
She would walk by my room and call me a good for nothing bitch.
I have no brains..,I’m a liar…a sneak and a stealer .

I could never understand why she would say these things.
Because I am not any of what she says I am.
If I would call my brother or sister about this..they wouldn’t help but would say…no fighting and that we both need to work it out..they wouldn’t believe me.
I also get the phrases… Like if I was dating a guy .,she would tell me oh you better not be calling that guy anymore..,.you don’t need a man !!
I could never understand why she never liked my girlfriends either.
I am 54 years old…a mom of 3 and a grandmother of 3 as well.
I feel I am being used and abused and my mother accuses me of being that..
I know that my mother is a unhappy person, because why would she treat me so disrespectful and make up stories to my kids and siblings. I just can’t believe this!!
I’m a strong woman…but sometimes her meanness is hard to ignore.
I always wish that would find someone special to be with and be a dad for my daughter..I hope one day I’ll find one .


I just want to thank you for this article. I’m an 18 year old girl and all I found myself doing was nodding along in agreement as I read this. I’ll admit that I go a little teary simply because this article helped me to realize that the problems I’m having and have had with my mother are not completely my fault. I’ve been feeling so trapped lately, breaking down and crying when friends and professionals speak to me about my mother. I have this tension in my stomach and head, and this article validates the fact that I’m right to feel the way I do about her.
Thank you so very much.


I vented that last post…I think that my mother over the years became the person she is because of the bullying and disrespect from my Dad..when you go through that you only know that. A person can’t change unless they read about it, or know that this is not right and change it to be a better person than what you’ve been through. I know for a fact that my mother was always caring, loving and a happy mother..but when my Dad was around..he had a problem of being in control and manipulating to the point.. He used to say..I’m the boss and no ifs ands or buts, to us as kids, but he was a great Dad too. Unhappiness and /or some sort of upbringing that they both endured as kids had some sort of bearing on their life as they were in their 40’s or later in life.
I think that the more positive we feel and believe in yourself that you are not that person our parent or parents set out to scare us, torment, disrespect etc etc.. Is their way of being in control but really not but yes in their eyes and thinking.
At times…it bothers me…but most of the time..I pick myself up and carry on.
Forget what they say..,you are special and say that to yourself and believe in yourself and do what’s in your heart.
Just be positive..,I know that’s easier said than done…but as being feeling in a rut…get it out post it, and learn from it.
I went thru it for a week…feeling down of what I felt after my mother put me thru..,but then things calmed down…
And it was all better..but I wanted it to be better earlier than that.., people take different time in healing with their emotions..I found out that my mothers pills needed to be adjusted..,so before we all jump to conclusions…think about it…is it her medications that are out of whack? Maybe there’s another underlying problem?
Just like children when their aging..,same thing…maybe they feel hopeless and it’s the only way they can cope with it.
I’m still learning…but at the same time ..,healing from it.
I just hope that others out there are doing okay..,and try to think positive about yourself.


I do agree that’s all the person knows when they live/go through those situations. My ex therapist made it sound like my parents will change yet told me they will never change. She said ‘it’s my job to help my mom,’ I said ‘didn’t you say she is a grown adult who can make her own decisions? Okay then, she made her bed and now she has to lie in it.’

My mom kisses my dad’s ass left and right when he is here, still does when he is not here but it’s even more sickening when he is here. That is something people never understood about that – not that hard!

“I think that the more positive we feel and believe in yourself that you are not that person our parent or parents set out to scare us, torment, disrespect etc etc.. Is their way of being in control but really not but yes in their eyes and thinking.”

Agreed. People out there would call that “tough love.” Tough love isn’t suppose to make you feel like crap and sad as it is, I’ve had people tell me that “they are not torturing you, no parent does that.’ Wow, that’s really watering it down and dusting it under the rug!


Hi Jess
Welcome to EFB! I am so glad that you are finding validation here; that is certainly one of the keys to healing! Hugs, Darlene


You nailed MY mother perfectly, not only in her behaviors, mine as well and the feelings of doubt and inadequacy that goes along with it.
I bought property and thought by inviting her to move her mobile home onto it would finally make her happy. For the first two years of living practically next door to her I cried and accept blame. Then went through anger and now I am just sick of living next to her as it is a reminder everyday and challenges my ability to “move on”..
Last year I even went so far as to take her to eviction court where I was told that I could not evict her because I initially did not have a rental agreement set with her when she moved here.
No one can seem to grasp the damage I feel from my relationship with her. My father (they are divorced) brother (he can’t stand me) AND son (I shouldn’t be treating her this way).
I am at a loss…
Been through therapy, there is nothing really else to say, it all has been said before.
I should just suck it up and ignore her. Yes, like she does me.
I can only read you blog and comments in doses.
It is just too hard.
But thank you for sharing your experience.

marquis (female)
April 15th, 2014 at 8:43 pm

“Been through therapy, there is nothing really else to say, it all has been said before. I should just suck it up and ignore her. Yes, like she does me.”

I finished therapy two months and was glad. Some people have said I should find a new therapist and told them ‘what is there to talk about now? I have said everything I could possibly say and I still get a seed of people who believe everything my parents did was absolutely wrong under the sun while I still have a world of people against me and blame me for everything. I have gone through enough of speaking to people about my past – they ask me and then condemn when it isn’t what they want to hear – their fictional white picket fence American family tradition! So, what more do I need to say now?’

I think I am just gonna study/read blogs like these to help me (besides my bf helping me) since I don’t have anybody close to me who can get me through this. I don’t care about talking about my parents to other people in person because it opens the door for them to ask more questions as I don’t wanna get into a dark history – who wants to hear that? I listen to other people’s stories, but like I told my lousy ex therapist ‘you gotta be careful when you ask someone about their past, doesn’t mean they came to terms with it or want to talk about it. Not everybody has it good in their lives like you want to believe.’ She never liked when I said that!


As a child I lived a pretty lonely life mom might of lived in the house but she was not there we never went out together the word I love you was never said I don’t even remember ever getting a hug. at 15 she threw me out of the house because her husband wanted me more than her as in sex. then all hell broke out it has been my fault ever since for destroying her marriage. of course he lied about it! but mom said she hated me she wished she never had me she wished I was dead. my mom never supported me. I am 37 now and I still fight for her “love” I am so trying to let go. I get the happy side of her then bam its my fault again its my fault she feels depressed its my fault that lies were told and she adopted my 4 kids “I don’t know how she got away with that” its my fault my older sister has a life and does not spend every waking hour with my mom and every Holliday its my fault because I ruin it! and the best one its my fault I feel sad all the time my mom when mad will often tell me to kill myself because if I do the family will be stress free I can go on but I think in my mind no one might be where I am at I feel like the bad person all the time mom tells me that I will be the one who kills her and if she died it would be totally my fault


Hi T.M.
Welcome to Emerging from Broken
So you were being pursued by her husband, and you were a kid, and YOU got the blame??!! This is what makes me crazy; that he was a grown man and he lied, but even if he said that YOU were pursuing him, YOU were a child and you were HER child ~ a loving mother would have had a huge red flag about the adult mans story!!! How could a 15 year old be at fault! That man should have been charged with child abuse! YOU didn’t destroy her marriage, HE did. My heart goes out to you my dear. This isn’t your fault. All those things that you have been told are the things that I looked at in order to see the real truth about me, and that the way they had defined me was a huge lie. Overcoming that lie set me free.
Glad you are here, and thank you for sharing.
hugs, Darlene


Hello TM. 370
My heart goes out to you. Your mum I believe was jealous because her husband your dad preferred you for sex rather than her. Just like my parents.How I see it she could control you with her nastiness but if he had another woman not related to the family mum wouldnt be able to take control over dads lover.Yet still you want her love just like me only I am a millions times better since finding this site 15 months ago.So your mum knew what was going on and sacrificed you just to keep her husband. My mum used to dye my natural blond hair red trying to make me less attractive but at the same time wanted to keep the sex secret in our house so that the father was at home and not with another woman.It didnt in our case stop my father he just spread it around other woman at the same time he used me.My mother is 88 now and he is 92. Both of them have their minds and I hope they live for ever with their memories to torture them, and I believe it does every time I visit her. I see it in her eyes.
You will get loads of support from this site. I hope my rant has been of help to you.Sorry if not. Take care. Wendy AM x


Dad prefer sex over you. My sister told me our 1st born half sister (whom I don’t know) was molested by my dad (not her real dad), told my mom and said she was lying about it. It’s always the daughters fault for everything and my ex therapist said ‘may be your mom sees these other women as competition thinking all women are whores/sluts thus combining that with you and your sisters that you’re the same way as the other women.’ How can a child be combined with other women wanting your hubby is beyond me! He never touched us, he got a peek at me in the shower last month as I thought he officially left the house going back to Cali and didn’t realize he came back to tell me something (I was washing my hair eyes were closed). My mom doesn’t find it to be a problem, I heard her say what are you doing? Wasn’t sure what was going on until she told me.

However, it’s the daughters fault for everything – everything that goes wrong with the mom and the husband since when is the child the mediator of their parents’ marriage?


Thank you everyone for your support I have been fighting alone for so long I truly now believe that I can get threw this it might take a little bit of time because at first I feel relief that I am not talking to her but then I feel like a addict that I need her love and approval I know it sounds strange. My step father well I was never allowed to tell anybody because again mom threated not to love me but, threw me out on the street anyway so I could not tell. and to this day I can not call him by his name I have to call him dad. my real father died when I was 18 I never knew him. I know all of my sisters moved out before or at the age of 15 but he only attacked me mom said since he was in Vietnam war he used to chock me until I turned blue say he would snap my head off and if I died no one would care my mom defended his actions even though there was never any proof that he was in any war also if I did not do the dishes like If one thing was not clean enough she would take every dish out of everywhere and I had to do them all over again until I got them right even though I would have school in the morning I am so sorry for the story book I held it in for so long and I am trying to seek a therapist but its not easy finding one. and I have to lol because they wonder why I have PTSD and sometime pee my pants when confronted and scream in defense


What you said doesn’t sound strange to me (about feeling like an addict that needs your mom’s love and approval) ~ this is the heart of the issue for so many of us. I remember talking to a therapist about my husband and his relationship with his father ~ and I said “it’s like hi father is his life blood ~ like he will DIE without his father” and the therapist said “that is exactly how it feels for your husband, like he will die without his father”. and although I didn’t see the similarities in myself with my own parents at the time I do now. I believed that because they defined me as ‘not enough’ that they had to be the ones to redefine me as ‘enough’. and I believed that it was up to me to “try harder”. But the truth is that what happened to me was not my fault and I was FALSELY defined by the actions of others.
Thanks for sharing, hugs, Darlene

I have an opening coming up if anyone is interested in doing some one on one coaching work with me. Please see my consult info page. I work internationally on Skype or on the phone. ~ Darlene
hugs, Darlene
(please use the contact form on this page to contact me)


Because of being “told how to feel” all my life by my mom, I do not connect very well with my feelings. I have “delayed” reactions of from 48 hours to up to two weeks. This has been frustrating for me because when I try to address an issue with someone, they don’t remember (or claim not to). And my mom kept telling me, “If you can’t deal with it at the time it happened, it’s not worth dealing with.” Well, it took me years to figure out I have “delayed” reactions. During my last visit with her (after one year of N/C), she told me she “understood” about the delayed reactions. Well, it just NOW occurred to me that she said two things during our visit that made me realize she didn’t hear a word I said, or didn’t connect the dots.

“Can you put this behind you now?”

“Can you just let things go now?”

At the time she said this, the comments went over my head, but I did manage to resist the urge to say “yes.” Usually when she would say things like this, I would say “yes” because it’s what she wanted to hear and I wanted to please her. But I did manage to resist saying “yes” but at the time, I didn’t know why I had to resist.

well, I’m glad I resisted, because those two comments show me she didn’t connect the dots and she still wants me to be this “other” person. I have decided to name this other person, “Blanche.” There is a reason I picked that name, it’s a humorous story from my childhood.

So, the message I take now is that she is saying, “Yes, yes, I understand, but will you now please be this other person I want you to be because I don’t like the person you are.”

Of course, she will deny that she is sending this message…. I prepared a letter, will send it to her.


At first I didn’t think I could relate to this article, but after delving further into it, images of my childhood and adulthood were conjured. My mother was and continues to be an artist at turning the tables and deflecting her hurtful, careless words and ways onto me. Ever since I was young, she was quite adept at parentifying me and making me responsible for the health and well being of our relationship. She would often put on a pained look and cry and tell me how could I do and say the things that I do, that I was so hurtful to her and those around me. Needless to say, her words and actions burned into my brain, heart, and psyche. My sense of self was battered and beaten throughout the years. With the help of therapy, and someone who will offer me a safe space to explore my childhood and adult selves, I feel that I am slowly but surely on the path to recovery. When thoughts of doubt and negativity creep into my mind every day, I try hard to turn them on their heads and say that’s not true. I engage in self-talk, I breathe, and I try to take one day at a time.


Hi Darlene! I would also like to say thank you for this article. It’s incredible how extremely similar our situations are. Thankfully I was able to spot my mothers toxic behavior at an early age. I just turned 22 and I’ve decided to cut my mother out of my life. I’m still living in her house, but as soon as I get back into college I am going to slowly cut of all communications with her. My mother was very neglectful of my brother and I, and I did some very reckless things as a child as a result of it. She was a single mother and my father wasn’t around. I had no emotional or social support all my life. Now is the time that I’m finally beginning to realize that I was simply seeking support elsewhere and none of it was my fault. To this day she blames me for my reckless behavior but I finally realized it was because I lacked a healthy support system. Very rarely did i hear encouraging words. It was always extreme criticism and as a result I suffer from low self confidence and depression. I was severely depressed and in my bed for days at a time and she thought it was because I was lazy and ungrateful and those words sunk me deeper and deeper into depression. She would tell all my relatives the things I did to her as a child only because she was absent throughout my teenage years. My counselor was in shock that I did as well as I did for myself. All in all knowing that none of this is my fault has given me even more strength to forgive myself for things I’ve done in the past. She would also turn violent on me when I would stand up for myself. Right now I’m looking for a psychiatrist and working on boosting my self-esteem. I love my mom but it’s safe to say that I have developed a small hate towards her, though I want to cure this hate and not let it run my life any longer. Thank you so much for reassuring me in this article because it makes me think twice about letting her back in my life. I have to think about my mental and physical well-being.


Hi everyone, I just discovered this site and am very new to this world and way of thinking.
I have been ‘very close’ with my Mom for most of my life, and after a recent falling out am really struggling with feelings of guilt and low self esteem. She has said that if I do certain things or don’t do certain things, she will never speak to me again. I have been told that my mom is abusive, controlling, manipulative and narcissistic, but I thought she wasn’t that way with me, just other people. I’m sort of lost now, as she has recently said some very terrible and untrue things about me, to me and to be siblings, etc. and I just don’t know how to decide if this problem really is my fault or if I am justified in being angry and not want to continue a relationship with her until she treats me better. I realize this is pretty vague, but I guess reading all your stories will help me figure out if my Mom is actually toxic or if I’m just overreacting.
Thank you all for sharing.


Hi Vanessa
Welcome to EFB
There is tons of info here for you to take in on your quest for the truth. Just some food for thought;
If your friend told you that if you ‘did certain things’ she would never speak to you again, how would that make you feel? Perhaps your mom can shed some light for you on that question. You could ask her how she would feel if her friend said that to her.
hugs, Darlene


Saying anything about my experiences with my mother is… rather complicated for me. There are things that I know about my past relationship with her, but a lot of it is lost or coated in a thick haze due to the fact that I lost basically all of my memories some years ago and have been slowly regaining them through recognition and reminders.

I will go ahead and say that a lot of what you said felt very familiar to me. I already remembered how I often used to try to sit my mother down and talk things out with her so we could be closer to one another, and how she would always “Turn it back around on me.” I didn’t remember any of the specific things she said, but some of the quotes you gave from your mother immediately had me feeling like I’ve heard those very words a million times. “I can never please you,” in particular spiked some memories.

But there have been a few differences that I know of. For one, yes part of me did believe her words and yes, I did tend to attack myself with the notion that she was right. But that was only half of the story. As much as I wanted to believe her, as much as I wanted to trust my mother, I knew she was wrong from a very young age. I saw what she was doing, and I put every ounce of my being into rejecting it. I can’t say exactly how successful I was with that – I only remember how contrasted my emotions on the subject have always been.

I’ve already mentioned that I’ve put forth attempts to talk things out with her. Having had some understanding of the toxicity of your relationship from a very young age, I’ve tried time and time again to get our relationship to work, taking every angle I could think of.

Maybe that’s why the result is different. I’ve spent so much time and effort trying to achieve happiness for both of us, particularly both of us together, that I’ve worn her down. She doesn’t want to fight anymore, and neither do I. For her that means she’s gotten lazy with her criticisms. For me, that means that I just don’t care to try making things right with her much anymore. I still want to, but I can’t bring myself to trust her. Especially not since I can tell that she hasn’t actually changed, that she would still tear me down just like she used to if I actually had the energy to do it.

Just to make this clear, my mother doesn’t exactly “not care”. It’s just that she herself grew up in a rather hostile family environment, hated by her own mother, and it’s the way she learned to be. I don’t think she really knows anything else. Of course my mind goes immediately to what you’ve said about always excusing your mother and turning the blame on yourself, but in this case I have no intentions of completely excusing her. I’m merely saying that this is why she is the way she is. I remember trying a million times to help her out of that, and she rejected it and made it out like I was attacking her, or treated me like I was a child who didn’t know my place. THAT is her fault, and that is exactly why I’m sick of trying to help her. Granted, yes, after I while I feel it did turn into me just trying to be heard, but I don’t think that’s how it started out.

And please, don’t ask how I could have lost most of my memory and still know this much. It’s taken me a long time to remember these things, and I probably wouldn’t have remembered a lot of it if I didn’t have my old art to remind me of some of the things I used to feel.


Hi Rain
Welcome to Emerging from Broken!
Sounds like you have found the right community! There is tons of info here about what you are sharing. My Mom grew up in that same system (as you noted) but it was when I realized that wasn’t the point, that my life and my healing WERE the point, that I began to get some real clarity. I think you are going to find some of that clarity here!
Thanks for sharing
hugs, Darlene


There is a new post in honor of the “Mother’s day Season’ on the home page! Inspired by how many of us had or have difficulty with the issue of buying a card ~ the post is titled “The Dreaded Mother’s Day Card Purchase” ~ it has an awesome discussion going already!
Hope to hear your thoughts there!!
hugs, Darlene


Darlene, reading that felt like I had written most of it. It pains me immensely . Unfortunately I have plunged head first into the pain of my reality ever since I had kids of my own ten yrs ago. Somehow moving away and falling in love gave me back my security and self esteem. The year my first son was born as I gazed into his tiny eyes I wondered how it was possible for a mother and father to treat their daughter as they had me… This intensified with each birth and here I am three children later with my heart in my hand wondering. My self esteem is rock bottom and the on going behaviour of my parents (no real communicative positive relationship) saddens me immensely…I tried a few months ago to open up and tell my mother how I felt only to be told I was rude and how dare I talk to her like that!!! After this I am trying to accept them for how they are but my biggest problem is I really did need a mom and dad to love me unconditionally.. And although I’ve never had it I miss it so much. Knowing they don’t care enough to say sorry or face the situation, or don’t think I’m worth it, hurts beyond belief. Now we see each other but I’m usually in a bad/quiet mood and there’s never a decent conversation. My mum never listens to what I say and never comments. The hurtful thing is that she’s a completely different person with her daughter in law. They have a great relationship and I don’t blame my sister in law but it’s not right is it!!!!


My mother recently told me that no one wants to be around me. After this she proceded to tell me in a conversation that first, everyone accepted me for who I am and then at at the end of the conversation that “she wishes I was different.” Both my parents have been highly critical of me my whole life. My father has been physically abusive but for me the worst has been the emotional and at times mental abuse. Which I believe gets pushed onto my mom who doesn’t know how to set boundaries and therefore doesn’t respect boundaries either. Sad to see my brother doesn’t see this and on top of discriminating me as well, might be developing the same pattern. When I have something good or positive they are not happy for me what so ever and condemn my choices. They have no interest in my personal life or me as a person and what I have to offer. My husband finally gets it and if it wasn’t for him I would not know that I need to love and be true to myself. Unfortunatley that means moving forward without much of a relationship with my parents or brother. It’s hard and a piece of me feels like I am grieving but I also have much peace in knowing that because they don’t understand me…..or because I may have a mental illness, does not make me wrong. Realistically they most likely passed the mental illness on to me…..I am the only one however accepting and getting help for it. Love to all of you with the same struggles! <3


I pretty much grew up feeling I was worthless by actually both parents. I did have a very strained relationship with my Mom. There were 4 children in our family, and I was used as the example for the rest. If they did something it was my fault, I should have known better even though they all were only 2 years to 3 years apart from me. I never talked much to my Mom and she never talked to me, I was always deemed the ‘Stupid one’ , was never invited to play board games ect… I didn’t know anything that was my Mom’s favorite . And I don’t believe she knew any of my favorite things. I soon learned to live in my own world , away from their words about me. I proved to myself that I was smart, I went to college, I married , I raised 2 wonderful children. It wasn’t an easy road because I had to learn everything myself, made lots of mistakes along the way . When my Mom died in 1996 I did cry , sorry to say I didn’t grieve very long, I had already had a lifetime to get over parents that were there , but were not there , I was the invisible child. My Dad passed in 2003 and I felt a tremendous relief from his words and everything he felt about me. I am moving forward everyday and learning to try and let it all go , not easy at all.


Your mother sounds like a flaming Borderline personality. I had one to, you have my sympathies.


My mother pulled the same sort of behavior, right down to choosing no relationship with me over a mutually respectful one.

I have always wondered why I have a nearly endless fountain of hope and encouragement and good words in support of everyone on the face of the earth except for myself; all I seem to get from myself is grief. This article gives me a good idea as to why that may very well be.


Hi Everyone!
Welcome to the new people and Happy Mothers day to all! I am so sorry I can’t answer all the comments. There are so many new ones all over the whole website! I want to validate each person’s pain. It isn’t you! It was never you! This website is about taking your life back from the prison of the past. It’s possible; I did it! Thanks for all your comments!
hugs, Darlene


My mom does this to me. She lies and makes up stuff about everyone in our family to make herself seem like the victim. I have been groomed my whole life to take the blame. For example, she ran off and got married. She did not tell her children, nor did she leave any food money at home. I was 15, my brother sixteen and my younger brother 13. Many years after this, someone I work with said, don’t you see how selfish I was being. “It was her honeymoon” and how dare I affront her by asking for food money. Wow. That blew my mind. I am much older now and things have not changed much. She is now trying to do this to the next generation. I could never figure out why I was so angry at her but completely see clearly now with greater clarity than ever. The above is just a minor example of many, many things she has pulled over the years. I sent her flowers for mother’s day which I had to make sure my family knew about because I was afraid she would “play the victim” again for all of her friends who don’t know squat about her that her children were so horrible. That is pathetic. I am not even sure why I still care. Anyway, just going through this and reading this article was greatly informative and helpful. Thank you.


I can relate to at least one thing in everyone’s post if not several; it makes me wonder just how common it is to have mother’s that deflect, dont own up or take responsibility for themselves and can’t ever reconsile a single issue and always make it out like the “battle” was your fault, your insecurities, your messed up thinking, your “too sensitive-ness.” I am a quiet, brilliant, smart, talented woman in my 20s. I am not a type “A” personallity like my mother, who is outgoing, ‘go-getter’. So we clash because if I’m not like her, I’m living/doing/thinking right. My mom also never doted on me- kisses, tickles, hugs. When I asked later in my early 20s ( I was in therapy because I was misserable, had low self esteem and wanted to confront her) she said, like another post I read, that I was “unhuggable.” she said, I didnt want hugs, would coil away. I told her that that doesnt mean she should have stopped; I was 3. I was always a grummpy child after that and labeled as such. What was really going on is that I was unloved and I felt it at 3. My parents where both only children and completely self obsorbed people. I try to have compassion for That so I can better understand them, rather than feeling like a victim. My mom always pointed out what a “vivtim” I was of her which is just wierd. Not as an apology put as a finger pointing statement. This enrages me. Speaking of rage, I have flown off the handle a couple times in my adult hood to which she attacked me saying, I need help/ counciling with my anger. She envokes anger with the way she treats me- deflects, never owns up to hurtful comments/ isolates me/ bitter/snappy comments/ jelous comments ( she can never be happy for me..she is either jelous or brushes off my excitement at something or tells me where I am wrong/could do better when I just want to share my joy. ) When I was younge, 15, I got into a fight about me going into her closet and trying on a dress…I was bored and had no dresses of my own. I did it out of joy for finding something pretty to put on ( at 15 I was suddenly interested in that.) Instead of taking it as a precious moment with her growing daughter, she became inferiorated, and got right in my face and yelled at me like a bully. She heaved into my personal space and was so mad that she scared me ( I though she was going to hit me ) and I kept backing away and telling her to back off. I was wincing and scared and finally I slapped her in the face out of fear/defense. She calmed down and later gave me the dress. Still. She is good at giving things, items, buying stuff. She thinks she is being selfless and giving/loving. But she never shows it. At christmas/holidays she wont let herself have quality time. Whn she does finally sit down after running around and doing everything herself, being completely absent from any real eye contact, she will sit there with a glass of wine and laugh and talk and be the center of attention…to all of her kids. Several times I called asking for help when I was abandoned by my baby’s father and living alone with a child for the first time. She didnt come by once to help with cleaning, only glouted over the cute baby and left. When I showed distress and asked for her support she was nasty, told me how bad she had it with all of us kids, and to toughen up. Another time, when my daughter was older I was working, without a car and walked several miles a day from daycare/work/home/grocerystore. I did this for 6 months or longer, broke down and called her crying asking for the help she never offered. She told me she felt sorry for my daughter and that I was needed to toughen up even though what I was going through made me feel like I was so strong and capable and I was amazed at myself in some ways, even though I was crying now. I could go on and on about her. I am sorry and feel a kingship for anyone who else who just needed someone who would look them in the eye, tell them they are a wonderful little girl, full of life ..that their mom would always love them. I intend to be and am that kind of mom with my daughter now, so not all is lost.


My mom always told me I was a mistake. She would buy me things that were torn and or broken for Christmas etc… Then she would try to make me look as though I didn’t appreciate what she had given me. She let me know that the house I was growing up in was not my home, but her home. If my brother took something of mine or broke something, I was not allowed to say any thing to him… I tried so hard to please her, even to the point of reading her mind and bring her what ever it was she wanted before she even asked.. She sent me to live with my cousins in another state and that is where I finished school. She did not want me around. Later on, I had a boyfriend who would take his bad days out on me and hit me. When I told my mom about this, she told me I deserved it for the way I behaved while growing up. When I had my first miscarriage, she was the first to call me in the hospital to let me know, it was all for the best because I wouldn’t have made a good mom anyway. Over the years she would find ways to crush me even though I moved 1,200 miles away. Finally after tell me to dumpster dive if I wanted to feed my kids, when I was struggling financially… I stopped talking to her. That year I received a blank BD card. I am not sure what happened that would have caused her to despise me so much. I ended up in relationships that were very much like the one I had with my mom. It was familiar .

I wrote this when I was about 21 years old
I am just a little girl

I am just a little girl; I am not so threatening, as you see.
I want to please you If you’ll let me.
Why do you say such things to me?
Do you really feel this way?
I am so sorry for being such trouble,
but there doesn’t seem to be a way
Out of this bubble.
Though I try to make you happy,
it always seems to end so badly.

Though I am older, things remain the same.
I am still the little girl who wants to please you,
while you still feel I was a mistake . 
I Wouldn’t send me back
I am glad I was able to experience life.
and know I was Meant to be.
I know I can make someone happy…..
  maybe even ME.


Thank you so much for posting this on the Toxic Mom Toolkit Facebook page. It’s nice to see that real people can relate, on a day when everyone seems to be spending times with their loving moms. This is the first Mothers Day that I haven’t been in contact with my mom. I can’t help but feel guilty today, but six weeks ago I put my foot down and said enough is enough. She doesn’t realize how rude she’s been to me, calling me several unpleasant names for no reason. I know she won’t change but can’t help but hope that the lightbulb will go off one day and she’ll want to spend positive mother-daughter time together. 🙁

marquis (female)
May 11th, 2014 at 7:34 pm

Hi Allyson,

Your mom sounds like my mom. My sister was preggo and her first hubby kicked her out not like my mom was much help. She was 29 back then, had a job, and still took care of her daughter who is almost 18. There was one time my sister needed help with a bill and would pay my parents back, they refused! Mom cursed her out, eventually, my sister did find a way to pay that bill long ago. My dad sneered at her on the phone saying ‘you should have had the money, why do you need my help?’ All nasty, she was so mad she hung up on him.

My sister told my mom you refused me to help me, so you will reap what you sow and mom screamed so damn loud in the phone. Mom alienated ehr own family what did she expect? My parents told her and me to toughen it up, life sucks, and you will get over it stop whining that you need help. Mom said our ancestors did everything for themselves and did it look like they stayed a slave? i said to her apparently, you’re still a slave you haven’t left Jim Crow yet! Got called every name in the book!

They don’t believe in helping anybody but themselves as their needs always come first and foremost. My sister is going through marital problems with her 2nd hubby, making her stay stuck in Japan on Naval Base while she is still looking for a job, and she hasn’t worked in 8 years because she was raising her daughters (2nd daughter is her 2nd hubby’s). They don’t know she is going through marital problems and if they knew, my parents would gloat! When parents say I hope you have a daughter who was just as terrible as you so you know what’s like to have tough kids. I hear that from parents like mothers and always say why did you have them? if it was so tough, then it’s called putting them up for adoption! do the children a favor and relinquish your parental rights so someone who loves children and can offer them a better life, why not? Why keep your kids for your own selfish gain is beyond me.


Welcome to Allyson, Susie, Sarah and Katie!
Welcome to Emerging from Broken! This is a great place to find healing and support ~ there are over 400 articles all with discussions in this site. This is the story of how I found freedom and wholeness after abuse and trauma and how I overcame the depressions associated with those traumas. This site generates about 1000 comments per month (some posts from 3 years ago are still active!) and I regret to say that I am unable to answer all of them but I do read them.
You are not alone!
hugs, Darlene


Maybe my problem is a little different with my Mom. She cuts me down with little under handed comments that are hurtful but she does it quite so professionally – she just insults me and then keeps on talking about what she was talking about. She insults my children and my husband (not to their faces, to my face) the same way.

The other day she had this old photo of our family. My husband was badly sunburned and his face looked red and swollen. It was quite a horrible photo of him, probably one of the worst I have ever seen of him. Mom calls my youngest child in the room and says “here look at this picture of your daddy, this is what you look like” You have to know that that my youngest is a bit overweight, like my husband, but they really don’t look alike at all in the face. My youngest favors me almost completely. Mom said that to be ugly and then blew it off as “Well I think he looks like his daddy” Mom has tons of pictures of my husband she could have chosen to do that with, instead she pulls out probably the worst photo possible and has it ready for a our arrival when we visit.

She constantly does and says little things that are hurtful like that but almost always things that if you confront her, which I have on numerous occasions, she blows it off and says I am too sensitive and she doesn’t mean it that way. She does mean it that way! She is mean. Mean is such a way that it is hard to put your finger on – always making you wonder if it is you or her.

Okay I am done venting now. I am supposed to visit her today for a birthday celebration for five people in our family. 🙁



Hi Melony
Welcome to EFB ~ thank you for sharing. You have found the right place! Lots of mothers/(and other abusive people) do it this way. You have defined the problem really well. Something that really helped me is that I decided I didn’t have to prove it to “them” that they were in fact being really hurtful, I just had to finally listen to me and that changed everything. That was when I was able to draw a boundary for myself.
please share often.
hugs, Darlene


Hi Darlene

Mothers Day card purchase was a tough one.

I picked one out for her of everything that I “wanted her to be”
(Even though I didn’t feel it) but bought it for her…and her response was..,oh everything is perfect just like me…she replied.

But..,not the way I felt really…
It’s hard to want to please her and hope she accepts me for who I am..but for the moment of opening the card…but then it all changes after a few weeks…back to the norm..
I block out her meanness trying to cope with it…
Ignore…or try to..and she gets more mean as if she hates that I’m not mean I try to change my ways not to have her continue her ways…and she yells…so I’m not sure on why she still enjoys the controlling…ways..
I notice that if I leave..or go out…she’s pissed and expects me to me with her all the time..and if I am tired like to go to sleep…she demands that before I leave in the morning to wash the bathroom floors or whatever..

Don’t understand her ways..
I feel like a slave…


Just venting again
I don’t get it..she’s on the couch day in and day out..and I do all the clothes, wash floors, vacuuming, wash dishes load and unload dishwasher..cook…go out when I can with my daughter, go visit my son’s family, daughters family.
Yet in her eyes I have no brains, I’m a slob, and when I do take a rest here and there she says I only rest to rest my brains because I don’t have much (brains)
She blames me for everything.
My siblings when I tell them what she does, they contact her and tell them what I say and believe whatever she tells them.


Hi Andrea
Getting someone else to ‘jump through hoops’ such as demanding you do some chore before you go, is a big part of the dysfunction; in this way the controlling person can assure themselves that you “love” them. Of course, this isn’t love but it’s the false definition of love that they have been taught and that they pass down to us. The only way to not be a slave is to not be a slave.
hugs, Darlene


It is amazing how similar it is to my situation. For years I was angry at her and resented her. She is more covert in her method than your mother because she never outright criticized me but insinuated and used double-speak. She also tries to be the nucleus of my family and gets in between me and my husband. In other words, she controls and dominates every aspect of my life. eg I have to take her with me at every family vacation or trips. And when I take her with me the whole trip becomes about her getting all the attention. She enjoyed seeing me angry infront of people so she would look like the abused mother etc.. The problem with talking to her was she was better with talking at me than me so i wrote her an email. She called and said lets talk it out, Im your mother etc…I refused and just stood up to her on email. Then she used same trick your mother did like she will die of heart attack, she is an old lady now and she doesn’t have time. I didn’t back down this time and so she went to the next trick which is fauxpology. I then told her no need to apologize just try to see my side and she agreed but I know she is just buying time until she comes up with new strategy. (I recommend reading Dr PHil’s LIfe code about Baiters.) Once in a while she tries to get to me but now that my flag is up with her I nip it in the bud. I never relax with her anymore. Always on alert and thats ok with me because it is better than walking on egg shells.


Wow just, wow. Exactly what I needed to read right at this very moment. I have never been able to get close, emotionally, to my mother. Lord knows I’ve tried for 40 years. It took me giving up everything, my job and security, to help her because she was ill to see the light. Six months later she’s yelling at me and accusing me of fraud. I am back to square one with her. She has absolutely no empathy for what I went through in all of this. Today was the last straw. We’re, my two teenage children and I, are getting out of here and I have no intentions of keeping contact with her. She is so toxic to me. The sad part is that if I hadn’t stepped in to help her she’d be dead right now. She can’t even say thank you! I don’t want an award for helping her, but a little appreciation would have been nice. But, that’s my old behavior kicking in, just how she raised me. Always trying to get her approval and love. It’s never going to happen, and I’m finally ok with that. Growing up with her I drank for 17 years. 10 years ago I got sober and I’m not giving it up for her. I wasn’t my children to learn that this is NOT ok and that I love them with all my heart and will never treat them the way she treats me. Thankfully they tell me I’m nothing like her. Thank you for this blog. It’s comforting to know I’m not alone.


When i was 4 years old my mother told me that i wasnt her daughter and she didnt want me anymore because she was upset with my father for marry another woman while she was pregnant with me. I didnt find out that was why she said it until now i am 29 years old and this has been a problem for me for the last 25 years . I have never had a great relationship with my mother because of that but i would love to move past it and try to work it out . I have told her i forgive her but she doesnt know how to move forward , what should i do


Hi S. Jones
Welcome to EFB ~ You have found the right website. This site is full of info about overcoming the damage from this kind of stuff. I hope you will keep reading especially in the mother daughter category or family category. (buttons at the top of the page under the header graphic with my picture.
hugs, Darlene


Hi A.S. and K.S ~ Welcome to emerging from broken
I think you are going to like it here in this community!
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


WHEW…this is probably the most difficult, painful experience ever. I am 50 and resent/regret that it has taken me this long to figure out how rejected I have been. My self esteem cannot get any lower. I have felt suicidal because I am in so much pain from my mom rejecting me. I cannot understand how I could be that bad of a person. My dad was a drunk and beat me and my brother is the same. She left my dad when I was in High School. I have nothing to do with my brother and she tells me it’s because I am not subservient enough to him and if I knew how to “get along with him and not upset him all the time he would not threaten to kill me” this was years ago that I cut my brother off. My mom has talked bad about me to everyone saying I am impossible to get along with. Her boyfriend threw me out of her house and she is not allowed to talk to me if her is there and she tells me that’s because of me because I don’t know how to treat him?? I had cancer in 2007 and mom’s BF told her she was not allowed to pick me up from the hospital, I could take a cab home. I am single and have never learned how to be in a relationship because of a lifetime of abuse. It’s really sad and depressing that I am this old and don’t know what it’s like to be loved and don’t know how to be in a relationship. I am afraid because I know it will be a disaster and I will get hurt so I just sit by myself…..I am so depressed I just don’t know what to do!! Thanks for reading this!


Hi Holly
Welcome to Emerging from broken
OMGosh! The comment by your mother about you not being subservient enough is exactly the kind of dysfunctional belief and thinking processes that we are talking about here and BUSTING out of! When I came out of the fog, I realized that I had been subservient all my life and it never got me a thing! It never got me love or acceptance. It has only been since I took my life back and became ME (with rights and value) that I have real relationships. I am so glad you are here Holly! You have found the right website. It is in seeing all this stuff that we can take our lives back and overcome the damage caused by the abuse and dysfunction we suffered. This is an old article, but if you want to join the current discussions, check the home button for the current post.
hugs, Darlene

Melodie Schmidt
June 7th, 2014 at 1:20 pm

I just wanted to say thank you for having this website. For 65 years I have had a really difficult relationship with my mother. We separated for about ten years when I was in my 30’s…at that point she was trying to control my spiritual beliefs and I just couldn’t take it. I went back after one of her friends told me she needed me. I stayed in the relationship for about 20 years – traveling once a month to do her grocery shopping, take her to doctors, etc. Then two and three times a week after I moved her to a town closer to me. I traveled with her to family reunions, to weddings, took her to Red Hat luncheons, out shopping, to all doctor appointments…I even planned two surprise birthday parties for her. Consider this… I was raised with the “children will be seen and not heard” doctrine, so there was never any talking back – never voicing my opinion. And believe me my mother is opinionated about EVERYTHING and blames me for “not wanting to be educated” if I disagree or refuse to talk about her latest rant. Like I say, it has been difficult, to say the least, but I feel like I did the best I could for as long as I could. My mother has also moved over 35 times…that should tell you something. She equated happiness with moving – always looking for happiness somewhere else. The problem was that she always found herself in a new location and she was then unhappy again. She had numerous fights with neighbors, apartment managers, and actually had her life threatened at least four times that I know of. In October, she finally wanted to go into a nursing home. (She has been legally blind for years and is now 92) I thought “at last”…she will be safe, I can get some peace. I worked tirelessly for three months to find the place that would take her dog and Medicaid and getting all the paperwork in order; as it turned out it was close to home. Then I helped her sell most of her stuff, and hauled things that she wanted to save to my storage closet. As usual, the first couple of weeks were great – she loved it. Then it all went to hell over her not getting a cup of coffee one morning. She started demanding that I pick her up and take her back to the apartment. I would say things like “I will come and we will talk about finding another place, or changing your room; you cannot live by yourself anymore – we will talk to the director, but I cannot pick you up because you need to qualify for Medicaid and it takes 45 days.” She said “I’M NOT TALKING TO ANYONE, I’M WALKING OUT OF HERE… YOU WILL NEVER HEAR FROM ME AGAIN” I would talk to the director and he said, don’t do anything. If she walks out, she’ll owe $10,000; we’ll keep an eye on her. I could not call her without her hanging up on me and screaming at me. She then told me that she wanted to take me off as her Power of Attorney. I said okay, that is your decision…she hung up. Nearly blind, she then proceeded to walk out of the nursing home over two streets of traffic to accomplish her mission to get to the bank where she thought she needed to go to cancel the power of attorney. I was publicly humiliated, I could not believe that she would just throw away her only family member who cared enough to be there for her. I walked away and I have not seen her again since. I wouldn’t even pick her up from the nursing home and take her to the apartment. She got other people to move her. I returned all the stuff I had stored for her and more because I don’t want to even think about her anymore. And of course, now I feel guilty because she is having to get strangers and friends to do all her errands and I know she is making this all into my fault. Like some of the other letters on here, my mom always bragged about me to others, but would say things like “if you weren’t my daughter, I would have nothing to do with you”. If I could attribute this all to her dimentia, I could understand it, but she has been like this her entire life. If she is ever in any situation that she doesn’t like, she does whatever she needs to do no matter who it hurts or who is standing in her way. I have never known anyone like her. I feel really bad that I can’t be there to hold her hand in her last days. I still long for the mother that I never had. I guess I have done enough spilling of my emotional baggage – just felt good to put it down in words and out of swirling thoughts that plague my head! I think to myself, who in the world cannot love their mother – at least I see here that about 400 people are having some of the same problems. Really…thanks for having this forum. It has helped.

marquis (female)
June 7th, 2014 at 11:04 pm

I noticed something how a lot of people grew up with the “children are seen and not heard” bullshit. I am 28 years old and was always told that it only happened in that direction. It still happens in today’s generation as children are still being silenced and not allowed to have a voice. In my household, we weren’t allowed to have a voice or any rights and for me at my age; still feels like I grew up with the children are seen and not heard crap!

Like I told other people/ex-therapist that it still applies today whether we wanna admit it or not. You can bury it in the sand, to the bottom of the earth, to the core – as long as you silence children (or anybody) then it is still happening. A lot of people had nothing to say when I said that lol.


Itotally relate to your pain.Whenever i made a mistake, it was only my fault.Once my father told me i was worthless.When i said that nobody is perfect,that we all have qualities and flaws,he replied:’But you only have flaws.How is that possible?”I quoted him exactly because his words are still echoing in my mind.
One evening, my father hit me.Ilooked into his eyes and they were injected with rage.Icouldn’t sleep that night.The next day, my mother defended him.She said it was my fault.I MADE HIM behave that way.Do you want to know the reason why he hit me at 33 yearsold? I asked them what i meant for them and i got an answer.
My heart is bleeding with rage.Anyone up there hearing me? I HAVE commented on many sites on the topic of toxic parents, and i got no answer.


Hi Laura,
I am hearing you! And can relate to what you are describing. The thing I like about Darlene’s website is that she and the people who comment on here are very very supportive. And it is really helpful when you talk ( write) about what is on your mind and get encouraging and supportive feedback. I first came to this site thirteen months ago. Reading the articles is very helpful in getting to understand family dynamics such as you describe. It will be time consuming but well worth it. Start with the ones that you think would most closely relate to your situation, then read other ones too, because you can pick up important ideas from every one of them. And you will learn that there is a process that you go through to overcome the damage and regain your self esteem. You will learn about how we are groomed by our parents to be compliant and keep trying harder to gain their approval. And how we are fed a huge amount of lies during and after the grooming to get us to be and stay compliant and keep trying harder. You will learn to look at statements like “but you only have flaws” and being told that it is your fault and that you made your father behave that way, and question their validity.

A year ago I would never have even thought of questioning the things my parents told me about myself. My mother told me many times that I am ugly. And a difficult, moody selfish child. And she taught me I was worthless, and inferior because I am a girl and that my purpose was to serve the other family members. Like I said, I never questioned these things until a year ago, but when I started to examine each of these things I said, Darlene is spot on! I was fed a whole bunch of false beliefs, and none of the above are actually true! I was molded into being what was best for them with NO regard for me as a person and my well- being. Right now I am at the stage where I am discovering what is actually true about me and I still need a lot of work on setting boundaries and standing up for myself. The point is, I am making progress and although it is a long road to healing it has been worth it so far. And you can do it too Laura.
I think you actually have begun, because you questioned how it could be possible to only have flaws. You already see that there is something wrong with that statement.
Sending you hugs,


As a childless by choice person, I really think a lot of people have children “because they are expected to” and never really think about NOT having them. And thus, they resent the intrusion on their lives and the result is the dysfunction a lot of you got.

I don’t think my mom knows herself. She SAYS she wanted children, but it’s phrased as…. “your father wanted them” (and thusly, she wanted them). My father was basically (what the Childfree By Choice forum calls….) a “dad for the Kodak moments.”


Dear Amber,thank you so much for being there for me.I’ll save your message and re-read it whenever i feel upset.I’d like to keep writing to you and to all these wonderful people on this site.Ifinally feel i belong to a comunity,to a positive virtual family.For now,I’LL write only on this site and not contact you by mail, as i’m not good with computers.Can’t wait to hear from you soon.You brightened my day.


Hello Melodie 408,
Oh how I feel for you,having had similar treatment from my parents all my life. I never cease to be amazed by how many people suffer from cruel mean parents.Mine even now keep sticking the knife in. My father probably at this moment in time is worse than my mother.He seems to get some sort of evil pleasure from excluding me from the family, but I have found by not playing by his rules and doing what I want and when it seems to be making him worse.So worse it will be.This time I am stronger it has been hard but I am getting better at pleasing me first.
Take care Wendy AM


One of these posts, someone said something about “not being subservient enough” and how, in these times, it’s still happening. Well, what I am surprised at is…. “You are scared like a girl” or “You cry like a girl” or “you run like a girl.” Like, it’s wrong to do anything like a girl! These comments are insulting! But people still say them!


Hi Laura, I’m glad I was helpful to you. Please do come on here often. I have the feeling you will benefit a lot, just as I have.
One very important thing I learned on here is that just because someone says something about you or gives you a certain label it doesn’t make it true. I always believed what people said about me in the past and didn’t question it. That’s another thing I got from my parents; not questioning things like bad treatment and false labels. I was groomed to be compliant, and reading Darlene put that into words on here was so eye opening. As I read more and more, I found that I had acquired many similar ( false) beliefs as a result of my upbringing which was a difficult one. So I felt I finally found the right place. And I got direction and many good ideas on here. And support. I can see the progress I made this year. I can now see a lot of the false beliefs I accepted as true. I am trying now to replace them with the truth, which is easy at times and hard at others. I sometimes find myself slipping into the old doubts, but hoping it gets better with time. I guess we have to expect some bumps in the road as we go through the process, but overall things are getting better. So please have faith that things can get better!


Hi Laura
Welcome to EFB ~ Your father should have been charged with assault and put in jail! That is horrible that he did that! I am really glad you are here. There is so much information and healing here.
hugs, Darlene


Hi Melodie
Welcome to Emerging from Broken!
This is a whole healing process; at first I felt guilty too but looking at the truth of why I had to draw a boundary and actually validating that my worth was important, just as important as any other person, helped me let go of that false guilt. I had nothing to be guilty for. Like I often say when my family is upset about my website and my writing; if they had not done anything wrong, I would have nothing to write about. I had to look at WHO had actually brought this on themselves. It wasn’t me.
Hugs, Darlene


Good evening everyone! I would like you guys to help me with something. How do you “let go” of this. It seems like I dwell on it and it just takes over and I feel so sad. Then I get anxiety about how or what will happen in the future and how I will have the strength to deal with it. My mom will just ignore everything and go on like nothing is wrong. It’s always me wanting “answers” and all that does it start a fight…when I say “why” or “what have I done to deserve this”. I get stuck on “why” and it ruins my day to day life. What are the “steps” to help the healing process? What are things I can do to feel better and get stronger? I am seeing a therapist and going to church but still so very very lonely and sad!!


Hi Everyone,

Reading these posts just breaks my heart. I had a childhood where I was often put down and criticized. I feel like a hypocrite coming here because my childhood also had many loving and caring moments…more that than extremes I suppose. However, I still suffer from low self esteem, because I was raised by a mother with low self esteem. You can’t give your children what you don’t have. I think parents would do better to stand back than to try to compensate for things they lack. It gets twisted. My mom was VERY invested in my behavior..grades, clothes, etc. She was also a very fearful woman, so if you challenged her, she felt caged and could be vicious with her words. I grew up in a family where physical punishment was the norm, but my 94 year old grandfather often says now, I got whipped too much. It damaged me. I have friends, I’ve gotten a wonderful education, and I have a great career. However, I hid from intimacy. I dated sporadically, but I really didn’t invest, because I felt that the right man would scale my wall, so that I wouldn’t get hurt again. At 44 I’m now able to exchange the lies for truth so to speak. I now know the high expectations and punishments were her baggage and not mine. Years ago, I tried to talk to my mom to get resolution and closure, but she just wanted to bury it. Now I get all these cards, emails, verbal compliments of how proud she is of me, etc. I think it’s genuine. I also think its guilt, because at her age now, she’s probably starting to see how much she hurt me.

However, I’m committed to learning to honestly love myself outside of what I can do, because that’s the only way to be and to live. Sometimes I wish I had really understood this earlier, and feel that I may be too late. However, sometimes I feel that the wisdom I’ve gained over time, is going to make this a short journey and I’ll get there sooner than I think.

I’d like to recommend a book to you all called Born Only Once by Conrad Baars. I found this gem over a decade ago, and it set me on the path to healing. He was a Catholic Psychiatrist. I’m not Catholic, so obviously you don’t have to be to understand this book.

I’d also recommend There Is Nothing Wrong with You by Cheri Hubert.

Blessings to you all.


Hi Callynt,
Welcome to EFB ~ I used to feel bad about the things that still hurt me from my childhood and then one day I realized that the good didn’t cancel the bad and it was the ‘bad’ that caused the damage. I can acknowledge the good, but I also had to acknowledge the bad and the harm/damage it caused in order for my self-esteem to heal. Yes, this was about them, and their baggage, but I had to find a way to unload what was offloaded on to me.
Learning to love ourselves is the most worthy goal! The improvements in my relationship with me causes the most positive changes in the world around me!
Glad you are here ! hugs, Darlene



Thanks so much for responding! Hugs back 🙂 You’re absolutely right. All the good in my childhood doesn’t negate the bad simply because it taught me to hide my feelings and impaired my emotional development. I guess, in my quest to heal, I want to focus on the many good things in my life as a way of balancing myself out. I just had a rage fest in my home and it felt great! I can’t believe how much anger is underneath the sadness, low self esteem and FEAR!!!!!!

I guess allowing myself to get it out is part of the loving myself process? I used to let it build up and then let people have it, but the truth of it is, I just was not happy with me. I was not happy with me for no valid reason. To have to write that is really sad. My mom was given away by her mom. She still carries that. When I think back on the times when she would just lose it…I know she was operating from her abandoned child. Sometimes I get angry that the other adults didn’t always step in, but then I have to remember that they were dealing with their own crap too. For those of you who are parents, please know that you are not doomed to repeat the mistakes of your parents. Most of my girlfriends are parents, and we all have our stuff so to speak. I get elated when I see them handling issues differently, and LISTENING to their children. Can you imagine how much differently we would have experienced life had we been encouraged to ALWAYS express our feelings and taught how to manage them?

It’s not fair, but it IS what happened. So no use arguing with reality. I just want to stay committed to being the person I was meant to be. I’ve even purchased a few children’s books to recapture that youthful feeling of being safe and okay as who I am.


Hi Callynt, I just ordered both books you recommended. I cannot even have a civil conversation with my mother at this point. It’s all too much for me….I am barely hanging on folks!!!! I am not dealing at all and don’t know where to turn, I pray every moment that some kind of break-thru will happen to stop the pain!!! I am desperate to feel better! Mom has been with a “man” since she was 19 years old. She worships men and I am the “problem” because I don’t know how to get along. I am the top producer Real Estate Agent in my company and always ask her how I am able to sell so much and get so much referral and repeat business if I am “so hard to get along with and don’t know how to treat people” her reply is “you hate your family so you are fine with everyone else”….her boyfriend who she worships told her she was not allowed to pick my up from the hospital in 2007 when I had surgery from cancer, her boyfriend threw me out of her house and I am not allowed to go there or call there and it’s ME who hates the family? My brother tried to kill me and she told me that I must have done something to “set him off because you know how he is” and “why do you antagonize him into making him so mad” then she ends it with “why do you hate this family so much”. I can’t win, I tell her how much I am hurting and she ignores me or then she will tell me I am being ridiculous. As a last resort she will call to tell me she loves me and cares about me…..that just makes it worse really because then I think she wants to know how I feel so I tell her and the comments start all over. Then she yells at me telling me she can’t “take anymore of the way I am acting” and that “no one else talks to her this way” and my point is she doesn’t treat anyone else like this either so what is she comparing this to??? I am rambling!


Hi Holly,

I really think you will enjoy both books. With Born only Once, I found it helpful to digest it slowly..bit by bit. I think you aren’t giving yourself enough credit for actually recognizing you deserve better. You obviously do realize you deserve better and that’s awesome! I think Darlene has it spot on when she says it is our belief system that has to change. This can happen whether our families change or not. It seems to me that you are off to a good start. When your mom starts throwing accusations at you, she’s just wanting you to cooperate with her sick belief system. You don’t have to do that. Always remember that.

Before we knew better, we believed about ourselves what we were told. Now I think this is natural and part of God’s plan. Unfortunately, people sometimes don’t think much of themselves and therefore don’t think much of us. I am sorry that you’re having to go through this, but hangin there. We’re all going to make it through this and come out better on the other side.


I can not thank you enough for this website. I used the term “fog” to describe to my friends what was going on with me. The only description I could think of…a very thick chaotic fog. I could write book but I won’t. 🙂 I have had a very distant relationship with my parents for the past twenty years, kept my children away most of the time. My children are adults now. 3 yrs ago my mother called, they wanted us to go dinner with them. I was leery, my husband said it would be ok. At dinner, my parents told us they had decided to give all their kids their inheritance. (During the downturn of the economy, my husband lost his job, our daughter a senior in college. We almost lost our house, but we scraped by.) My mother had been in an accident years before, and was getting a huge settlement. She did not make this known to us, we found out after the fact. My parents also stated at dinner, they wanted us to turn the gas on in our house. We use wood for heat. I had had an accident with the wood splitter, crushed my hand, it was still splinted and bandaged at dinner. We had no health insurance at the time. I told her no we would not turn the gas back on, we heat with wood. She went on and on about how they were worried about me, and didn’t want me to handle the wood, etc. Our house is big, I have rheumatoid arthritis, winters are long and I suffer. Burning wood, keeps me comfortable, and our house is toasty warm. But I let her believe she had won the argument, for the sake of dinner. We were to turn the gas on, turn up the heat, be warm, and they would pay our bill. We thanked them for the generosity. When we were walking to the car I told my husband “We are not turning the gas on, and don’t wait for the inheritance check in the mail. It will never come.” That was November. Christmas came, we went to my parents to exchange gifts, with our children, and new grandson. We don’t do family Christmas dinners any longer at my parents. We stayed about an hour, all was well. They left for Florida, end of December. Mid January my grandson had health issues, was being rushed to Children’s Hospital, for possible brain surgery, my son was frantic. He asked me to call her, so she didn’t hear it from someone else, he was too upset to call her. So I called her from my cell phone. I got a recording, my number had been blocked. I thought I dialed the wrong number, so I tried again. Same thing. I tried our house phone. Same thing. I called my daughter, and asked her to call her gramma. Same thing. Mothers cell phone is on the golden child’s plan, our eldest sister, blocked all siblings numbers, block all grand children’s numbers, cell and landlines. I didn’t tell my son until I knew my grandson was going to be ok. I had an emotional break down, I sobbed like I have never sobbed before. I told my husband I was done, I can not do this anymore. She did this type of things for no reason, it was a game to her. My husband, the most loving caring man, the peacemaker, just held me and let me cry. He respected my decision this time. I had said it before thru the years, and I gave in b/c he told me it’s “family”. This time, he listened. He came from a loving family. He could not understand WHY these things kept happening. He knew this time…they asked us to go to dinner. We were there for Christmas. and then this. For no reason. He said he would do whatever I needed, and if staying away was that option, he respected that. Months after returning from Florida, my mother called out of the blue. I answered b/c I was strong enough. She started telling me how her and my dad wanted to to visit my daughter, who lived on the other side of the state, on and on and on. I let her finish. Then I told her my daughter no longer lived “there”. She was LIVID! “Well isn’t that NICE. OUR grand daughter moved and NO ONE TOLD US! ISN’T THAT NICE!! WHEN did she MOVE?? Where did she move to??” I calmly told my mother where my daughter moved to. and added “She moved when you were in Florida. How would I tell you she got a new job and was moving? HOW would SHE call you and tell you she was moving Mom, you blocked our phone numbers?” Silence. Then she said in a happy voice “I have to go now. Goodbye.” It was the last time I spoke to my mother. Three years ago. We live in the same small town. Two year ago my MIL of 25 years passed away. My mother left a message on our phone for my husband, and our daughter who was very close to this gramma. She repeatedly said my husbands name with emphasis, and my daughters name. But not mine. And added “b/c of the circumstances we will not be attending the funeral.” I thought…thank god! Right before my MIL passed away, she told me “I hope you know you do not deserve the way your mother has treated you. You have been a wonderful wife to my son. You are a loving and caring mother to your children. You are a wonderful person. You do not deserve her treatment. I am so sorry she is your mother.” After her passing, my daughter revealed she had spoken to her too. My MIL apologized to my daughter for having such horrific grand parents. And wanted to be sure my daughter understood what a great mother she had, in me. My daughter said she did. At the funeral, my daughter, who was standing beside me, starting sobbing..and whispered “oh god…no oh god no.” As I was looking at my daughter to find out what was wrong, my husband silently held my hand. When i looked up, there was my father. My husband whispered “are you going to be ok?” I took a deep breath and said “yes”, and stared at the floor. My daughter looked the floor, and wept. When my Dad got to my husband, he bear hugged him and wouldn’t let go. He started talking about all the family problems, he has no control over them and he wished it was different..on and on and on. My husband started to struggle, to pull away. My Dad hung on harder. They started to actually sway, my husband started pushing against my dad. I didn’t know what to do. I finally went to reach for them and my dad let go. He then said he was sorry for the loss to my husband. then stood in front of me. shook my hand, and said “i hope god can bless you some day.” I looked him straight in the eyes…and rolled my eyes, as I let go of his hand. When he got to my daughter, her chin was on her chest, she wept. He asked how her knew jobs was? She said fine. He asked if she liked her new job. Se said yes. So your job is going well? she said yes. You got a really good job, good for you. so you like it?? She said yes. He finally said “I am sorry about your gramma, I know you loved her a LOT.” my daughter just shook her head, crying. After visitation we were supposed to go to my SIL for dinner. I asked if we just go home for a minute, I needed a break. We sat on our porch, drank some water, I started to cry. The crying went to sobbing. I told them I was sorry. sorry for my family. Sorry for my parents. So sorry. My daughter came over and held me. She said “how you were ever able to be such a wonderful loving supportive Mom, I don’t know. I am sorry Mom. I am so sorry you had such pieces of shits for parents. You have nothing to be sorry for. I love you so much, you are the best Mom I could ever have dreamed of having.” My husband sat staring off, quietly. Then “the peacemaker” finally spoke. “I am done with your family. I am done. At my mother’s funeral? It is unconscionable.” He then went on to tell me he was sorry. All the times I had tried to break away from them, and he thought that would not be healthy for me. He said he was wrong. Any woman, who is such a great Mom, who wants to severe ties with her family, should have told him how bad it was for me. He apologized to me. From then on, we had a no contact rule. They stayed away so it wasn’t hard. 6 months ago my eldest sister called, I didn’t answer it. She left a message. Our dad was in bad health. If I wanted, SHE could make arrangements for us to see him. She would set everything up and she would not be there if we did not want her there. If we could just put the past behind us. put the past behind us, forgive and forget. for our ailing father. and please tell your kids. She never said he wanted to see “us”, his three children and 3 grand children, and 4 great grand children. she never mentioned our mother. I didn’t return her call. Within hours, my eldest sister posted on FB that she had reached out to her siblings, for our father’s sake, and none of us had made arrangements to see him. how our parents hadn’t seen their grandchildren in years. (all adults, She forgot to mention she blocked their phone numbers. shocking, i know.) One person asked, Why do your siblings have to make arrangements with you to see their parents, can’t they see them whenever they want? She took the post down. Since that time, we have no had contact. We have been disinherited. My mother did not want us to know. We are probably names in the will, so we would go to the reading of the will, for them to take their last slap at us. We will not attend, if we are named, that much I do know. I could care less. Their money can’t buy my loyalty, and I won’t keep their secrets any longer. They are not capable of love. My parents, sister, golden grandson (at almost 40, does not work, is an alcoholic drug user, the life of the pool parties at my parents house. They should be so proud! ) are doing a huge smear campaign now. It bothered me at first. But now I am resolved to focus on my continued recovery. People who believe them, don’t know me or my husband. My children are responsible, educated, happy adults, with good lives. My grandson is the joy of our lives. I am not getting caught up in the spiders web. No matter what they say about me. I am moving on with my family. I am fixing what they broke. The fog has lifted. I can see clearly now. (my new theme song:) Thank you so much for this website. I read an article a day… spend some time on going back, taking care of me, figuring out what is good for me, and moving forward, with each and every day. and NO Contact. Thank YOU!!!!


Hi Connie
Welcome to Emerging from Broken
Thank you for sharing your story! YAY for focusing on your own recovery. It bothered me at first when I finally stopped defending myself to realize that they were never going to listen to me but I stopped long enough to realize that they NEVER listened to me. I realized that they were NOT going to change. (that was really depressing for me at first, it was like the dream was dying and that everything I had worked for in my life (which was their love and approval) was never going to happen.) But then I started getting stronger. I started to realize that even those people who believed them (the ones they lied about me to) had a choice and that if those people believed them, then I didn’t need those people either. There was so much energy that came back to me when I stopped fighting the people who were keeping me underwater. I was free to live and to find myself and be myself. Thanks again for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


Yes, getting it out is part of the healing, and that IS self-love. I had to see the truth, without excusing it because my mother (and others) were also raised in dysfunction. Every time I excused it, I invalidated what happened to me. When I was able to validate the damage and validate my right to the pain, that was when I could heal and let that pain go. I run this huge website and work with clients 3 days a week and I also have a FB page for Emerging from Broken, but I NEVER live in that pain anymore. I feel sorry for my mom now, but not at MY expense anymore where as I used to feel sorry for her and excuse the damage she did to me.
YAY for being committed to the person you are meant to be! That is huge!
hugs, Darlene


Good analogy “keeping me underwater”. Finally, in my 50’s I started to explore and read. I had to do something, for me. Even though we had no contact, it was always there bubbling…under the surface. Shortly before the no contact rule, my friends had encouraged me to enter an art contest. oh boy the feelings of fear that brought up. I would be made fun, humiliated, in my own family. I finally entered, my friends would not give up. My art was featured in the ads for the show, at the gallery. My art sold, to someone out of town, who did not know me. I was shocked and overwhelmed. When I told my parents. crickets. They can not accept that I would be successful at anything. I was their horrible child. I have gained some self esteem, self love, and the knowledge that is was not me, I was a child. Their child. Their daughter. That voice of my mother, is now a whisper, it can no longer freeze me into a state of fear. My voice speaks louder than hers now. I have been putting more energy into my art. I just sold another piece. She will not stop me from being who I am, any longer. I found ME! 🙂
A million thanks to you, for sharing your story and wisdom on the path to recovery.


Callynt, I relate to what you say. I supposedly had “good” parents, but my mom, too had low self esteem due to being bashful (her words).

Also, my mom told me as a child that when I grew up I could make my OWN decisions. But that’s not what she meant. What she meant was…. “Those decisions had better be what your mom and dad would want.” I got criticized for wanting something different.

Mom tended to assume that all of my decisions be somehow about her. I was either making a decision that benefitted her or one that would lead me to avoiding her somehow. SHEESH! My decisions were about ME!!!! I got lambasted by her because I refused to attend a class reunion! (I lived 3,000 miles away at the time, I was not interested in going.) She said I would regret this decision! Ten years later, nope, not regretting it…… I have another “milestone” class reunion this year, still not attending……


Reading some of the comments and somehow I am saddened but at the same time comforted knowing I am not alone. My mother was that same way. I felt like some of you took the words right out of my head. My mother manipulated us with guilt and so we kept our mouths shut. When we voiced our displeasure on her criticism and just destructive habits she played the pity card like she has done so much for us. My mother loved playing the part of pious mother. She would have others know she is such a perfect mother and people would believe her. No one realize that everyday as a kid she would call me horrible names. Other people complimented me and some even proud of me for my accomplishments but not my mother. She would boast to other people all the while throw us kids under the bus. She has this twisted relationship with my half brother. Nothing her did could be wrong in her eyes. He is eternally in debt and making trouble (in jail right now). Even after all this he will always be loved more than us. My brothers and I are at the point where we don’t really extend our feelings or try. One hides away in his room. One hides away at work. I choose to just ignore her. It is hard for me to bite my tongue when she spouts out such nonsense and lies. She has used us to fulfill her own desires. She wanted us to always be the scapegoat for her problem marriage and her oldest son acting like a royal fuck up. I have a lot of resentment for her. As a child, there will always be this wanting to have a mother, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve realized that there are some things you cannot change and to protect yourself you must get away. For those of you who have experienced what I have, one day you will find the freedom away from these patterns of toxicity. One day you will find the happiness and esteem you are worthy of. Everyday is a fight against such psychological barriers. It doesn’t stop me. I will continue to get better. Stay strong.


Hi Rin
Welcome to Emerging from Broken!
Yes, I have freedom from all of this now and that is why I developed this website. To share hope and to share HOW I found that freedom.
So glad that you have joined us!
Thank you for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


Hi Everyone! New post in honor of ‘Fathers Day’

I just published a new post on the home page! This one is called “When Dad enables Mom in Emotionally Abusive Family Relationships” and it’s kind of a joint message this time! I write a bit and then Carrie H. shares about her relationship with her father as he defends her mother. I am looking forward to this! link ~
hugs, Darlene


I have avery toxic relationship with my mother she says she will call and does not, then when she does call she might be mean or not and she is hard on me and I can’t take it . So I no longer expect to get a call.


I have realized through this that I don’t have to put up with this and it makes me feel like hell so I will not put up with it.


Hi, ,, wow you described my mother to a T. She is always talking about her feeling and how rude and selfish i am. im her only daughter only child im 34 now. I was kicked out at 18 her mentality is she did her job she done. It tore my world up i didnt understand. I understand now your mother can be your worst enemy. Wow she has talked so bad about me to my family then when they talk to me they have this tainted idea of me and are rude to me. She has affected my life so much. The self esrem the confusion. One bad choice on my behalf wouldmturn into years of grief. I hit hard time in my life in the last 2 years. I let my momther take my son till i got back on my feet. Man she turned that on me fought me in court almost lost my parental rights. Finally in march 3 i went to court didnt loose my parental rights but i have to try to get custody ofmy 3 year old. She moved doesnt tell me where tk make it impossible for me to visit and she has control of ghe time and place. She sayi shouldmbe gdatful she letsmme visit at the park. I dont get it. She alienates my child from me and i dont have any advocacy. Ive learned its not me im a very loving compationate person and im not going to even try tk figure out why. I just need to focus on fixing my situation and never trusfing her again. I love her from a distance because. She is my mother but she doesnt want this to work she doesnt even try.


Thank you for this! I’m 26 years old with a 9 month old son & have no relationship with my mom. Now that I’m an adult, I can see all the low, hypocritical & wrong things she has done in my life. She too blamed me for everything, used passive aggressiveness to get her way and make me feel bad & even told me that she would choose my stepdad over me because I was “ruining” their relationship by getting in trouble as a kid/teenager. Thankfully my stepdad never saw me in that light. My mother has ran away to California with my 10 year old sister to be with the man that she had an affair with. Her life revolves around this man & she rarely acknowledges my achievements (I was recently accepted into nursing school) nor that of my son’s milestones. She doesn’t call & ask how we are doing. She says that I’m grown and that I don’t need her. The mother-daughter toxic relationship is rampant with the women on that side of the family & I refuse to feed it into the relationship with my son.

marquis (female)
June 22nd, 2014 at 4:35 pm


My mom said that to me that you are an adult, you don’t need us yet won’t even let me be an adult. My sister has two teen daughters that my parents don’t care about but my mom got the nerve to pretend she is sadden by this as my sister told me she will not sit here and lie to them about shit thinking she is gonna turn my daughters against me.

My sister and my nieces don’t exist in my parents’ world they don’t even ask. My mom got to ask what my oldest niece is gonna do after high school, why does she care? She said her granddaughters weren’t being taken care of (that’s a lie) and they have a selfish mother – they heard all of that when my sister put mom on speaker phone without her knowing it. My mom chose my dead beat whore of a “father” yet claims I chose my children – since when?!? His lies seems to overpower anything she says or what I say and so does her lies overpower everything he says or what I say. Her life revolves around his drama, his professional lying, her mistreatment, etc her whole world is about him!


This was a great article, I have had similar experiences with my mother.


I’m 45 and have reached my breaking point. My mother is just mean, bitter and angry all of the time anymore and I can’t take any more of it. If my head weren’t spinning so much I’d just copy and paste some of the emails between us here; but to boil it down, I’m done responding to her, and just sent the sternest email I had ever sent…….with major repercussions of course. I love my dad to death and he has Alzheimer and I want to continue to see him, but without her constant drama. Hard spot to be in. I don’t want to leave him, and want to be around him while he still remembers me and his 16 year old grandson. Dang, she is just so delusional, I don’t understand how or where she comes up with half her stuff; all the while she is carrying on about how I am out there and don’t know what end is up. She has beat me down to the point of always being stuck submissive and careful with my own opinions. Good Lord, I’m just fed up, too old for this crap, and confused something fierce.


My dad doesn’t have to defend what he says because he doesn’t love me. He only says offensive things to me. I can’t threat him therefore he doesn’t have to love me. He’s often mad at me for what he does around the house, and he wants me to do whatever he tells me to. Even my mother often complains about me, and think I am their problem.


Welcome to Blue, Erika, Cecilly, Storm, DivaB, and Eugenia!
Great to have you with us!
Hugs, Darlene


Many toxic mothers say they were abused themselves and that’s why they do it to you.I saw a video about a woman who was raped and got pregnant.She gave birth to the child.When asked if she didn’t hate the child, she said she loved him more than anything in the world.What’s essential is that she said the child was not guilty and had nothing to do with her trauma.
In conclusion, past abuse does not justify continuing the cycle and harming your child.If a child born from such a horrible experience as rape is worth loving, how can you not adore a child born in normal circumstances?

I grew up hearing that i was a mistake.This morning, i woke up to my father calling me stupid.What a cruel start for my day.How sick is that?

marquis (female)
June 30th, 2014 at 12:01 pm

“I grew up hearing that i was a mistake.This morning, i woke up to my father calling me stupid.What a cruel start for my day.How sick is that? ”

I too grew up being told I should have been aborted yet claimed I was my mom’s miracle baby so she wouldn’t be lonely. My sister told me I wasn’t suppose to been born as it was born enough she and the other 2 siblings were born to such dumbasses with an IQ of 0 for parents!! Everyday, something goes wrong with my mom, the start of the day is an argument between us over something stupid. Then, I leave and pissed for most of the day. However, nobody seems to care about her rampages. My ex-therapist said this is her way of “trying to get close to me as mom and daughter” I said ‘that is such a poor way of doing it and you know better than to say that to me.’

My sister told me I was planned and the story of my mom saying she was gonna abort me is a lie she never said that. My parents sure can’t keep their lies straight like a needle! Everybody else is lying, but them.


Hi guys, Everytime I get an email alert that someone has posted on this site I open that email and read the heartfelt posts and realize that I am not alone.

For what it’s worth and if I can help one person I will share that I was so terribly low I considered suicide. I had to make a choice and what I chose was to pray, go to church and there are 2 books that have helped me more than any therapist ever. They are “Start Your New Life Today” by Joyce Meyer (all her books are great and she was abused and speaks freely of it and relates to people based on her life experiences) and the other book is “Boundaries” by Dr Henry Cloud & Dr John Townsend. Cloud/Townsend have other books too, which I look forward to reading. This “Boundaries” book is great at making you realize that you cannot change anyone else and teaches you how to be strong and what to allow and not allow while maintaining your “cool” so you don’t reel out with sadness. I’ve found it an excellent source to guide me on how to become stronger. We have allowed others to go deep into our core and shape our personality – we have to take that power back and these books show you how to do that.

It’s not easy but each time your mind goes to all the negative – you must feed it something positive if you don’t you will deal with lots of depression and anxiety. I am not there yet, but heard that what your mind dwells on most is what you become so as we focus on the negative the larger we are making that negative. I am trying so hard to put my mind in a positive place.

I hope this helps someone out there! I read my bible every morning and turn this over to God and ask for strength and protection to get me through and at night I read one of the two books.


Hi Marquis,
Thanks for your validation.Surround yourself with positive people.That’s how i cope.I’m an orphan,although my parents are alive.I’m nobody’s daughter because they took that identity away from me. The negative feelings stop when you realize you have no parents.I go to the park and i observe correct parenting models.In every social situation, i see an opportunity for me to watch how good parents behave:in the park,at church,on the street etc.I learned people-skills from strangers outside the house.I had no other choice.I taught myself what love is,what real parenting is.Life isn’t just biology,life is also about love and validated feelings.Parenting doesn’t stop at giving birth and financial support:food,shelter etc.
Abuse is not a life-sentence.Recovery is possible.Forget spending money on false therapists.Self-therapy really worked for me.Rewire your heart.Give it a try.

HI Holly,if you believe in GOD,you’ll never be alone.Faith is the best medicine.Stay away from pills that alter the brain.

marquis (female)
July 1st, 2014 at 12:03 am

Hi Laura,

Agreed. For years, I have/still tell people that I am orphan and no one’s daughter. OMG, you know the crap they say? ‘How could you be an orphan or no one’s daughter? You were created somehow, right? You have a roof over your head, etc.’ That’s not what I mean and had to explain to them what I meant, still went over their heads! Tried to explain this to my ex-therapist, ohh her mommy instincts had to come out and tell me “your wrong, you have a set of parents who gave birth to you and care for you.” However, I still have the negative feelings even though I say I have no parents – guess leftover bitterness. I won’t be able to see real change/progress until I move out hopefully soon.

I see how it’s interesting that some of these observed at public places are so active in their kids’ lives and seen the ones who resemble my parents. People skills? Hmm, learning that too from the outside but I seem to be still stuck under a rock and at times still aren’t sure how to act/react in certain situations. What I mean by stuck under a rock is I can be talkative and then back away being a mute for a long time. People wonder why I do a lot of listening and not enough talking; I was told to shut up because “I didn’t have a voice and I wasn’t needed in life.”

My speech is off (comes from my mom her lousy English and it’s our primary language). I still have issues with eye contact because eye contact from my mom has been very evil towards me and always had to look away from people as my stomach cringes when I have to give them direct eye contact. Hmm, I was thinking of may be observing more positive parents in action – maybe this could help heal my inner child and gain new skills./insights. I wouldn’t talk to a parent about how they raise their kids and certainly don’t want to say anything about mine then they tell me something off the wall!

Yea, I get tired of speaking to MHPs done nothing but made me madder as hell instead of helping me. I am still looking for certain blog articles that can help me with certain things. So, using sites like this one to do my own self-therapy so I don’t have to ever step foot into an MHP’s office!


Someone just tried to comment on this thread saying that perhaps my mother wasn’t wrong. (I LOVE Moderation ~ I have hundreds of unpublished abusive comments held there where they can’t hurt anyone!)
It always makes me wonder what people are doing on MY blog if they are on the side of the abuser?!
hugs everyone!
p.s speaking of the above comment ~ there is a new post this week called “when society defends abuse and abusers instead of the abused child” ~ Check it out!!


Thanks Darlene! I appreciate you holding those as to not do more damage than what we have already been exposed to!


Does anyone have advice, or experience for when a daughter has picked up the same traits as the narcissistic controlling mother making it impossible to try to raise her in a loving way? How do you throw in the towel and choose not to engage when it’s your own daughter. My husband and I are trying to coparent my stepdaughter, 16. I am 53, have 3 adult children who are emotionally balanced and I feel like I am living in the twilight zone. It took me years to truly “get” what this was all about and I am not equipped to handle this. My husband (her father) has been living in this “constant spin of reality” for almost 20 years (10 years married, 10 years divorced). As she has gotten older we realize that she is carrying the same traits and we are trying to give her a healthy relationship foundation. We are worried about her future. She is totally controlling us and our home and we can never seem to win. She is brilliant at it. Our goal is to get her to have empathy for others, to take responsibility for her actions and to apologize when she has hurt someone. It never, ever happens. When we try to stick to our ethic and parental power she trumps us by going home to her mother and then doesn’t speak to us. (her mother has alienated half of her family and friends for years so our stepdaughter could easily do the same). My husband loves her more than anything and not having a relationship with her would kill him. Yet, having to live in a home where a child controls everyone AND more importantly knowing you are allowing your daughter to perpetuate such damaging traits seems unacceptable. So the question is, how do we parent the way we need to when we have a narcissistic evil woman coparenting. She is stronger willed than us. I feel sorry for my step-daughter for it’s all she knows and it’s got to be so confusing for her to ping pong back from one extreme parenting to another. Any advice? Thank you for your help!


Barb; you can only do the best parenting and guiding that you can. Love and give alternative ideas. You are battling Inherited traits and also learned behavior. Do the best that you can do, stick with your house rules and don’t budge on those, and ask your higher power to help guide her in the hopes when she is an adult she will see her problems and change her ways. It’s hard for a 16 year to separate two different household values, and also fight what she has been taught, along with inherited or innate traits.

My son and I are extremely close, and I’m a very involved active parent, but he did recently get into trouble sneaking out and going to parties. I never would have imagined the double life he was living. Luckily not in legal trouble but I still took him down to the police station to put some fear in him, and he did test positive for marijuana. He kept his “night friends” separate from his “day friends”, a complete separate altered life that entailed lying and manipulating in order to keep those words separate. It is a huge concern of mine, as it is his biological father coming though even though his biologically father lost rights to him when he was only 3. At 16 he can not be dx with a personality disorder, but it does scare me.

Of course my mother is attempting to blame me for not hearing him, but we live in a two story large house, and at 16 he knew right from wrong and the blame belongs with him. We now have a security system in place with cameras, and I am randomly pee testing him. I’m not only pee testing him so that I know what is going on, but so that he has an excuse to tell people, ie; “I can’t because my mom piss tests me randomly”. I guess this is extremely common when living in town with teens sneaking out, (I grew up in the country). The police captain informed me that he tells parents to always assume their kids are sneaking out, because they will at one point or another, every single one of them. The first time I caught him was an innocent time to swim with some buddies at 14. I thought and felt that he would not do that again, let alone go to parties.

You just do what you can, and deal with what you can at the time, and make clear your household rules and what is expected while she is there. You can’t do anything about her not talking to you guys, or how her mother behaves, you have no control over that. Sorry.


Hi Barb,
Welcome to emerging from broken. I applaud you for your search for an answer and I wish there were an easy one. This is an extremely difficult situation, and the answer depends on so many factors, but perhaps reading more of the articles in this site will help. 🙂
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


My mother told my son that I was faking being sick. I just scanned and emailed her a copy of the antibiotic from last week, and the one they changed me to this week. Has dates and everything on the darn sheets from Walmart pharmacy. I shouldn’t even have to do that with my own mother. I’ve been on 3 antibiotics in 30 days, you can’t just get that these days unless you have visual signs a temperature, positive blood work. Good God!

I know I probably shouldn’t be even be responding to that nonsense but because she is telling my son this crap and claiming that I’m avoiding her, and not seeing my dad. She knows how much I love my dad and how much it kills me to see the alzheimers getting a hold of him, so she is just being mean. Heck I took care of him 2 weeks ago while she was on vacation, she can handle it while I try to get better.


ok, that didn’t take long and I guess I messed up again. Here is her response back and keep in mind I’m 45 and she talks like I’m 8:



….if anyone has been reading my posts, you know that our own household is in crises mode with my son and such. She is the last person on this earth who should be causing even more problems. It’s just a lot to take. Plus being sick ontop of it all. It’s just a lot. Just too much. Yes my son, husband, and I are in counseling….but I still feel like I could seriously loose my mind.


….isn’t “tuff love” supposed to be used on addicts and criminals? I’m non of those. I don’t even drink, except a glass of wine at Christmas and Easter, and I quite smoking cigarettes 3 years ago and use an electronic one now. No drugs, no legal issues, nothing like that. Not even when I was a kid. Is “tuff love” what she is calling the only way she knows how to love me????

Defiant?? Can you call an adult woman of 45 years with her own family and household defiant? Is it because I have my own opinions and priorities and she is not a part of that and can’t control our household.

I just don’t get her mind frame at all. Sorry, I’m taking up peoples posting space here, due to my own frustrations and confusions. I’m done.


About tuff love : YES ~ Tough love came about when parents were having problems with older teens and young adults who were breaking the law and stealing money etc. and these parents were advised not to give them money, not to bail them out, and in some cases not to let them live in their homes anymore. It was all about not enabling the kids and like most other teachings it got taken way out of context and empowered abusers to misuse their power. That is why I always say “my blog isn’t about a little resentment I have towards my mother because I got grounded for smoking” ~ (which actually happened, but I get why my mom grounded me, it isn’t one of the examples that I use in this site to illustrate disrespectful and devaluing treatment)

When adults call their grown children ‘defiant’ that is about control and how dare you defy (disrespect) me by disagreeing with me etc. That is about parental entitlement.
Please share as often as you wish. 🙂
hugs, Darlene


p.s. Divab
You don’t have to prove anything to anyone, except perhaps your son if you choose or if he believes her. Her behaviour is the behaviour that should be exposed.
I had HUGE proof issues and once I realized how much energy I spent proving (trying to prove) to them that they were wrong about me, and used that energy on healing me, everything changed.
Hugs, Darlene


My mother used tuff love on me too, and even to this day likes to brag about it. Nowadays, I say yep, it was tuff indeed. But, there was no love. She forgot that part. I wasn’t a criminal or addict either. I never was I trouble with the law aside from some speeding tickets. She was a shy young adult, and I was anything but. I think she just wanted to stifle me. The way your mom spoke to you in that email was HORRIFIC!! There’s no excuse for that……period! Maybe she could use a dose of tuff love. I hope things improve for you!!


Mimi and DivaB
In the ‘true sense” of tuff love, I think that is what this whole site is about. It’s tough to say to your parent, “Stop being disrespectful to me and treat me with the same respect that you expect from me. And if you cannot, then I cannot go on with this relationship the way it is” but that is LOVE!
It certainly isn’t LOVE to accept that kind of treatment from someone. It isn’t love for them or for you.
hugs, Darlene


Thanks so much Darlene and Mimi; just feels good to be heard. She is on a blasting email kick today. I’ve handed my computer over to my husband each time now and he moves them to a folder and tells me not to read them that they are just to terrible and worse than the one I shared here, but to keep them should we ever need them. I’m not sure what I’d ever need them for, but ok. The last one I read today before handing my computer over to my husband was: (keep in mind my son is 16/will be 17 in November and has drawn his own conclusions regarding her and she just doesn’t understand that the more she talks bad about me…his mother, the madder he gets at her. She has ruined their own relationship yet blames me. She clearly loves her caps too.



Honestly; I’m just going to take a nap at this point while my son is in drivers class. I suppose I should start sending those emails back to her with a bunch of made up codes and say “undeliverable” like I did before and at least she stopped for a while.

Hind sight; I wish I never sent those proof of scripts over to her. Here my quilt starts again. Darlene, you are right. I need to stop trying to proof anything to her. That was stupid on my part.

Crap!!……..she just texted my phone and said “I hope by the time you start feeling better your dad still remembers who you are, he loves you so much and you are just disrespecting his love for you”.

As I mentioned, I took care of him 2 weeks ago, for a week, while she was still on vacation. Ridiculous. If my dad could comprehend what was going on he would be so mad at her. She sure knows how to push my buttons, and using dad is one of the big buttons, and she uses it entirely too much. Dang, wish I had some siblings!

Ok nap time, I can’t even think anymore.


Your mothers emails are such typical examples of what we are talking about; guilt and manipulation! And it isn’t YOUR guilt! You are NOT disrespecting your father at all; clearly your mother is using tactics that have worked for her before. Only you can make her see that they will not work anymore. Why bother with the made up codes? (this is just food for thought, I am not asking you to answer that question)
hugs, Darlene

marquis (female)
July 5th, 2014 at 12:40 pm

“It certainly isn’t LOVE to accept that kind of treatment from someone. It isn’t love for them or for you.”

Agreed. Love works both ways.


My mom used my old email addy to send my sister a nasty email saying how selfish my sister and that her daughters will never receive a damn from their grandmother. My nieces heard the entire conversations on speaker phone and my mom told me your sister is a selfish bitch, refuses to help her own mother blah blah blah. My sister told me recently that her daughters don’t care about their grandparents anymore, now they know the truth they don’t even ask about them. One time my nieces asked my mom for 40 bucks, 40 bucks for each other them.

My mom said that has always been my sister’s way of using her daughters so she can extract money from me and use it for herself. WTF?!? Not even true and asked my sister about that she said that’s not true, my kids wanted 40 bucks a piece to do something with it can’t remember for that. My mom sent them 20 bucks, 10 for one niece and 10 for the other niece – that’s not what they asked!

My mom asked me today what does her granddaughters like to eat, why does she care? My ex-therapist would say she is feeling guilty by mistreating them that way. No, she isn’t. Has she tried to contact them apologizing and saying she will try to be a better grandma? No! She puts on a great act and expects people to feel sorry for her which people partially agree with me then say I don’t know what it’s like to be a misguided parent, there’s nothing misguided about my parents!

My mom would have me send blasting emails to my sister, she read and deleted them. My mom had to make the effort to call and curse her out which my sister refused to listen to by putting the phone down on speaker phone, recorded her, and walked away while she was yelling at whoever lol. Told my mom my sister has you on speakerphone and walks away, got irate with that statement and asked my brother the same thing and he told her the same thing I said cursed him out and hung up.

My sister and her family are in Japan yet my mom still complains about what she’s doing. On the other side of the world, still complains that bitch (mom) really has nothing better to do with her time always complaining about everybody else’s business but hers!


Funny….I use the fake codes so that she “thinks” it’s a computer bug or failure and not be mad at me. I know you didn’t ask me to answer, but that is the reason. She is really off this time. Seems to happen in extremes about once a year, sometimes twice, but when it does it’s really just crazy, no rhyme or reason for it, it lasts a very long time, and it’s always because of me. Her birthday is in a few days, hmmm, makes it difficult to call and be all nice when I’m not feeling it. She didn’t call me on my B-day 2 years ago, so I guess what goes around comes around, because I just cant call someone behaving like this.

Thing is, with my personality, I don’t like to hurt people, especially knowingly hurt them. Now she wouldn’t agree that this is how I am, but she has never taken the time to get to know me either. Oh well. Thanks. I have my phone turned off, and my husband is still filtering my emails. We have had another from her for about an hour now, so hopefully she has just stopped. My husband thinks she is mental.


what do you do when you have toxic siblings also? My only brother was incarcerated for 10 years and is very angry and abusive to my mother and my only sister is schizophrenic. Both siblings are high school drop outs and have no insurance or work history and are 50 + years old. They live with my Mom and she pays both of their expenses, I think she is making up for neglect during our early years..( Thank God I got Away) I really don’t won’t to deal with any of them, however I feel guilty.


Well; good morning…lol. Here is my latest. I think she has the wrong person as being the stomping post! Those are just favorite phrases of hers to use over and over again. Good Lord help me.



I did finally text her back this morning and said “if you would like to talk, it will include dad, my husband, my son and myself” She said “your dad mind is too ill for this shit” I said “fine, it will include the rest of us”. She then said “over my dead body you avoiding brat all you want to do is avoid avoid avoid and I have nothing to say to you anymore”.

I know what that really means….it means she’ll wait for how ever long it takes in order to get me alone and then she will strike when know one else is around to hear. Been through this too many times.


I texted “ok, then we won’t talk, whatever you want” She said “you think your better than me don’t you? You always think your better than me and your not, your messed up in the head.” I said “ok, whatever, were done with this conversation as it’s not going anywhere and resolving won’t happen”. She texted “I guess you’ll never know how much care”.

Dang… back and forth, and yes I’m done texting her today. I didn’t feel real comfortable even offering to talk anyways.


Oh DivaB,

She is obviously desperate to gain control over you. If anything, this is a clear warning to us all of the dangers of building your life based on your ability to force people to do what you want. I think your last text to her was calm and mature. Good for you!

marquis (female)
July 6th, 2014 at 11:57 am

I would block her number and email(s) and if you have to change your number. Sounds like my mom telling my sister and I the same crap either on the phone or in person. She (my mom) did that to my sister on the phone “you think you’re all of that, I am your mother and I care, my granddaughters have such a selfish bitch for a mother, etc” and she didn’t know they were listening to all of that!

My parents can’t get a hold of my sister by phone, but my brother and I can!


Callynt; Thanks bunches. I do for the most part keep my cool with her, her wrath is so darn bad without me loosing me cool, I don’t need it being worse when she is in this state of mind. It’s just gotten so old and exhausting though.
Marquis; I can’t really block her. I’m very close to my father who has early and fast moving Alzheimers (or what the doctors are still calling dementia) and I don’t want to miss emergency calls or anything having to do with him. I want to still be there for him, and he has now recently reached the point where he cant use the phone for himself.


…sorry gang, and I see over and over again the stress, along with lack of sleep and being sick has caused my grammar and spelling to just go to complete hell. Just glad and thankful to have you all here while in some crazy crises mode.


I’m sorry you’re going through all of this. It’s so frustrating to withstand hateful words that are actually describing their OWN behavior. And no amount of talking will ever convince them that they’re projecting. Such nonsense.
Love to you,


Maybe something is wrong with me? My mom just keeps it very distant with me – we don’t do anything together, we don’t share our worlds and if I ask why I am told because I don’t know how to act. Now we are not speaking (first time in my life and I’m 50 years old I always call her and often she can’t talk because her boyfriend is there and he doesn’t want her to talk to me so in honor of him she has nothing to do with me.

marquis (female)
July 6th, 2014 at 6:16 pm


Oh, I see. Sad that you gotta through your mom in order to know how you’re dad is doing. Reminds me when I was underage and my sister would call wanting to speak with me, she had to go through my mom in order to talk to me and that was always a huge battle between them.



If you are 50, I assume your mom is in her 60s or 70s? There is nothing wrong with you. If her boyfriend has that much influence over her about anything, then she has some growing to do…along with the rest of us I suppose. In any relationship, it the problems can’t always rest on one person’s shoulders. Perhaps your mom is jealous of you, so to cover for being threatened, she puts you down. Whatever her issues are, I urge you to please stop asking yourself what’s wrong with you. The answer is nothing….end of story. As part of my healing, I am learning to mourn the mother I didn’t have. We all carry an internalized version of our parents within us. It’s a natural part of life. Unfortunately we have to re-parent ourselves to fix the broken internalized parent. It’s hard as a b_tch some days, but perseverance is the key.



Holly; clearly her priorities revolve around her boyfriend for one. I’ve never understood women who put their boyfriends ahead of their children, no matter the age, but they are everywhere. Sorry for your pain and confusion.


Here is a funny one. My son was just telling me another part of his time with my mother the other day. First a quick history, my son was sneaking out at 2am and going across the street to party. I pee tested him and it was positive for marijuana…..of course I was livid and there were consequences. Anyways, my mother was giving him hell for that the other day too, and admitted that she and my dad had smoked it back in the day a few times, but it’s not good. My son then says to her, “so my mom is the only person in our entire family that has never smoked pot?” My mom says “Yes, only because she is so damn uptight that she squeaks when ever she moves.”

You’d think she would have used that time as a teaching skill while talking to my son about why I never smoked pot (which is because I took to smoking cigarettes so easily, at age 13, while my friends coughed and hacked trying to learn to inhale, and I took right too it, and that it scared me how easily it came to me and how I got hooked, so I never did the pot thing due to fear.) Or she could have been proud of me, but instead of taking it as a teaching skill she came off to my son disappointed in me….for actually doing the right thing.

Now that’s freaking funny!!! In a very sad, yet funny way!! What a confused person she is.


Thanks for your reply Callynt & DivaB. It helps to have the encouraging words. Some days I feel strong and like I am dealing and then other days I feel sad, confused, stressed about this. Just wish I could move forward and accept all of this without being brokenhearted and sad. Not sure how to act and the future scares me because some day I will have to face her or deal with her and I often think the more time that goes on without speaking the harder that time will be. Is it possible to heal so much that your not fazed by all of this? Seems like there are women on here that have closure and have healed living without that relationship – what’s the secret how did you get to that point and what did you do to not fall back into all the old “ways”?


Holly; I wish I could answer that one, but I’m sorry, I can’t. I’m still right dab in the middle of the storm. So I have no words of wisdom to share or experience on that portion. I do know what you mean though, and when the day comes when we have to then care for our mothers, it’s going to be interesting to say the least.


I am an adopted 42 year old black woman who struggles with understanding why my adoptive mother always sides with anyone who bothers or hurts me. She will either dismiss what I’m saying as being untrue or unimportant, blame me for whatever the issue is, make excuses for the person, or justify their actions. No one is perfect, but I’m always the wrong one. She has always put everyone ahead of me, my brother, my dad now deceased, and anyone else. She even faulted me for feeding my son at daycare because other kids parents didn’t stay to feed them. My son didn’t like to eat and I was afraid he would just throw the food away if I didn’t make sure he ate a little before I left for work. She was more worried about how it made the other kids feel and whether it was what other parents did. I was one of the highest achievers in school, but all I got was frowns and reminders that others still mattered more than me. Then when I didn’t meet expectations, she told me how I could have been this and that. When I try to talk to her about how I was trained by she and dad to take a back seat to others, she says I should have wanted it for myself. I’m so confused about myself. I’m a single mom with two kids in an abusive relationship with a married man. I don’t know how to expect better because I don’t know how to stop thinking that everything is my fault. I don’t know how to stop being last. I want to find my real mom. They say she never wanted to give me up but she was only a teenager. I wonder if she would finally give me the acceptance and emotional support I have sought all my life. I can’t write it all here it would take too long. I hope I didn’t make a mistake by posting here. I have been so damaged by the constant pressure of blame and I’m always responsible no matter what anyone else does.


Hi Nessie
Welcome to Emerging from Broken!
I have found it close to impossible to understand abusive people in the way that I had always tried in the past. You mentioned that you don’t know how to expect better because you don’t know how to stop thinking that everything is your fault. THAT is exactly why I started this whole website because that was me. It was when I found out HOW I came to believe that everything was my fault that I saw all the lies about me that I believed and was able to set them (and myself) straight.
You have found a wonderful supportive place here. Thank you for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


I have stumbled across this while once agin being baffled by my mothers erratic behavior. My mother is an emotionally fragile person but in the same a heartless manipulator, she pins my brother and I against each other, and has recently started using the same tactics on her grandchildren. She will tell one she loves them the most and bad mouth the other, make spectacular promices she never keeps and encourages rivalry. I am livid to find out from my children that a trip to their grandmother’s with their cousin was more like a punishment in their eyes, and mine now too. I thought that childish hate and manipulation was exclusive to my brother and I, but I guess as we have gotten older and more callus to her crazy bursts of evil, she needs to set her fangs into a more tender prey. I will no longer allow this monster to terrorize me or my family any longer. I don’t care if she gets help, we’ve been through that before. The mere suggestion that her fits and guilt trips are not normal only adds to her spite and viciousness, followed by her shutting everyone out for a year at a time. I thought that if I could proctor her relationship with my kids that they could have a healthier relationship than I ever did with this woman….wrong agin. She manipulates for her own entertainment and once she feels any kind of guilt she swoops back in only to play the part as savior, but somehow demanding apologies from everyone involved as if she was hurt from the circus SHE created. Ughhhhh….I am done with this cycle, I always resented the fact that no one stuck up for me or my brother when we were too little to go anywhere else and I’ll be damned if I will allow anyone, mother included, to make my children question their worth or distort their feelings to stroke her ego. I’m not even concerned with why or what if anymore. My mom is sick she will never get help, and frankly I don’t care if she does. My kids hurt and confusion was a reflection of me before becoming numb to her, no one was there for my brother and I, my kids won’t feel that from anyone.


Hi Darlene,

I figured out that guilt wrapped in shame has been a core toxic issue for me. In your upcoming book, will you include certain scenarios that show how you were able to release the false sense of responsibility that comes with this?




You know, lately, I have had conversations about difficult mother/daughter relationships with so many of my girlfriends. We are all dealing with something in a different way. I don’t see severing all ties with my mother as critical to my emotional development….although I have rehearsed that in my head a few times. I basically see putting emotional distance between us when needed and moving on from there.

I know from my own experience that if you focus on the what ifs related to your mom, you give her more power than she actually has.


Hi Callynt
My (first) book is a collection of the articles in the first two years of this website ~ edited, tweaked and re-ordered. I have tried to communicate through a series of articles how I overcame ‘everything’ all of the oppression that comes with that false sense of responsibility. It is my hope that having a downloadable document, where everything is in one place, that it will be easier for readers to understand how I overcame. (the second book will be the second two years worth of EFB)
hugs, Darlene


Hi Jame lee
Welcome to EFB ~Thanks for sharing some of your story! You have certainly found the right website! I love your passion when it comes to your own kids! Thank you for sharing your conviction!
hugs, Darlene


Thank you for your post. This seems like a carbon copy of my relationship with my mother except I have decided to cut ties with her. Many a psychologist has told me to do this, that I would be better off cutting ties, after trying many different techniques to get her to ‘listen’, but now I am finally ready. At eight she told me I was a mistake, an accident, a trick perpetrated by my father, she never wanted me, and when I asked her if she loved me she said, “of course, I have to, you are my daughter” but never could she give a reason other than genetics for her to care, and she certainly couldn’t show it. I was always the reason why she couldn’t leave my father and this was the reason she was so miserable.
I grew up to be a most studious, hardworking person, an academic and a multi-award winner in my field. But she still treats me with disgust and disappointment. I have a twenty year relationship with my partner which is still strong.
Yes- I know we can’t keep on blaming our mothers for our emotional health, but right now I deserve respect and no bullying. So that is the place I deserve and want to be in. I hope I can stay as detached as possible and the guilt lifts. Its a shame that my emotions can’t reflect my rational understanding of the situation, but I hope it will. Thanks again for your story.


Hi Darlene,

I may be a little slow on the uptake, but how do we order your new book? 🙂
I would really like to read that. It would be great to have, to turn to, when we need support.



Hi Janie
It isn’t out yet, I am just adjusting a few pages and sending it to the editor for final edits today. There will be notices here, and through the email updates (and on the facebook page) when it is available for download!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Penny
Welcome to Emerging from Broken
I no longer see my mother either ~ it isn’t a case of blame though. I could not heal my emotional health until I saw where it got so damaged, and it wasn’t going to get better by putting up with such blatant disrespect. It was in realizing that I deserved respect, that I was able to take the necessary steps to respect myself and in so doing, I had some boundaries to draw. And that proved to be the answer that I had searched for all my life.
Glad you are here,
hugs, Darlene


I went out this evening to visit with my dad for a bit. I was outside with him for a couple of hours, and mom never once came out or around. When she said in her email that “she’d make herself scarce as hell”, she certainly did. I found it to be uncomfortable and self serving on her part. What’s wrong with me? Am I a glutton for punishment? It’s crazy that I don’t want anything to do with her right now, while she is so out of control, yet find it just as crazy that she hid from me, her only child the entire time.

What I’m also upset about is that my dad had a fall the other day….his dementia isn’t able to tell me for sure when, but his replaced shoulder is terribly black and blue, and his hip is too….along with the fact that I can now really see his hernia coming through his shirt. She always wants full attention on her, but my dad needs attention and I’m worried that his needs are being ignored!!! My dad clearly wasn’t moving well and I’m not used to seeing that too. I just came home and cried and cried to see him that way. I just don’t know what to do.

To those of you that read some of her lovely text and emails; yes there were more, I didn’t read them, my husband read them to himself and then moved them all over to a folder. There hasn’t been any emails or text for a couple of days now. She’s probably building up to a real doozy. Heck, she’ll probably blame me for not making an effort to see her tonight. ….Yep, that’ll be her next direction. Blah!!!


……ever have a day where you just want to cuss up a storm, like at anything and everything, could be at the fridge, doesn’t really matter? Well, I’m there today……just saying. Guess I’m done crying over this crap, for now.


This Blog came into my life at just the right time. I am 28 years old and i have always had this abusive relationship with my mother. I am the youngest of 4 boys and the only girl. so i guess as anyone would think we should be close, But thats not the case here. My mom is more of a guys girl. where as my brothers can do NO wrong I am the bad egg. It very hard for me even till this day because of al the put downs and abuse. I can now say that all these years this was abuse. and just like in your story my mom always says things like ill always be wrong and ill never be right in your eyes and her favorite one theres no pleasing you. i wish that we could have that mother daughter bond that i see in so many. i wish i could talk to her and express how i feel without the twisting of words and the pointing of fingers and misplacing the blame. maybe one day but not today. Thanks i really needed to read this.


Evelyn, You are very wise at 28 yrs old. I wish I had not overlooked a lot of what I did at your age, perhaps I would have established healthy boundaries and created a life that didn’t depend on the approval of the “family of origin”. Please take a word of advice from someone who is 50 yrs old – see it for what it is, don’t hang onto it and let it define you, don’t get stuck on “why”, go out and create a life with friends. a church and a significant other (if your not already with someone or married). My mom thinks my brother does no wrong, I hear all the time it’s my fault or if I knew “how to act and/or how to get along”. I even told my mom that everyone else likes me and I am the top (#1 agent) in sales in our company and get lots of referral business – so how can I get along with everyone except those around her — her reply “because you hate your family” she blames me, if I don’t tolerate the abuse then “I don’t know how to get along and/or I hate my family”. There’s no winning — you can try to defend your position all day long and it won’t get you anywhere. Stay on here Evelyn, there is healing in knowing you are not alone. Read as many self-esteem books or boundary books (I really like the “Boundary” book by Cloud & Townsend). God get’s me through a lot, without my church I am not sure I would still be here. I’ve allowed this to steal all my joy and went into some pretty dark depression — it takes a lot of work and time to come out of that state. Right now my mom and I are not talking – she may disown me and she does have money…but I had to decide that the money isn’t worth my sanity if she does disown me I will deal with it when it happens. What’s hard for me is how we will talk again and how awkward that will be – it scares me and I should be farther along to not care and learn to just be myself and not fearful…Glad you are here and Hang in There!!


Hi Evelyn!
Welcome to EFB ~ great to have you here! There is so much info and support here in this site that will help you see this whole thing through new eyes and enable you to validate the truth about what is happening.
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


This article is the truth for me, I NEVER FELT good enough. She evan told me after I had my first child I would never come back from this. She also said to me that you think you are really something now don`t you. I have learned to try an ignore what horrible rude things she says to me out of her own problems. I have had misscariages and she says you can not get pregnant she is no help and I bought a musical instrument and she looked and me with hate in her eyes and said what is that and then says ooh it pretty ,then tells me my singing is stupid… I have been told I have a beautiful voice. She wants to make me look bad. I just say I will be me and do what I want so I will not be her perfect I will be myself to love me and those who love me.


Narcissistic mothers. Period. I don’t understand this need to control other people. Isn’t it sad enough that we raise them to leave them in this world all by themselves to take care of their own problems and we are not there to help any more/??? why oh why keep saying they are not able to understand things or do well by themselves??? Why take away their self-esteem??? It’s an illusion of grandeur… and then later these mothers get old and start whining about it… Now they are victims because they are getting older… as if this is our fault too. It’s just a natural process. Deal with it for God’s sake… All I can say is that I will make so much effort to NOT be like her… and to love my kids for who they are.

Ah, and Evelyn… narcissistic mothers ALWAYS choose a golden child. And you were not chosen. WoW are you disappointed, aren’t you. Makes me feel so sad for all they miss when they reject their own children. I feel like crying and laughing at the same time, because we know this, and they won’t ever know.


Just a note to clarify especially for the new readers, ~ Not ALL abusive mothers are narcissistic. My own mother is a huge victim and only shows narcissistic tendencies with a select few. She didn’t pick a golden child although each of her children experienced her differently. The bottom line is knowing that no matter what ‘these people’ are diagnosed with we can overcome the damage they caused.

I totally get what you are saying here about “crying and laughing” at the same time! I have had that same experience!
hugs, and thanks for sharing!


Just want to share with you something i found on the internet.In the school cafeteria,a teacher did not allow a little girl to have a second slice of pizza,being told she was fat.Returning home,the girl complained to her mother,who comforted her.Later,the girl found out it was her own mother who asked the teacher for that ‘favor’.What a betrayal!Why couldn’t the mother confess to her daughter that she was behind it and the teacher acted on HER request?A sheep in wolf’s clothes.Instead of sincerity,honesty and compassion,the child got a backstab.How will she learn to be an adult and assume responsibility,if not from her own mother? A simple ‘i did this to you’ would have been enough.


Darlene; Total agree that not all abusive mothers are narcissist. Mine doesn’t fit into any category of my old DMS IV…..except on several occasions Paranoid with delusional tendancies 🙂 For real on that one and I often wonder, and it scares me to death, as mental illness runs on her side of the family. Her biological mother did time in the Women’s reformatory too, one of the times for trying to burn the house down with my mother (as in infant at the time) in it, to collect on insurances. Then there were “accident’s” to a couple of husbands. Add the mental health aspect to the fact that Graves Disease runs in the family……I sometimes feel like I’m DNA doomed as I grow older. All I can do is hope and pray for the best and do everything possible to not be her mean, bitter, angry self.


My mom and dad surely fit in as toxic parents. My mother used to keep telling me to study when I was in school….I was severely depressed. The shocking thing is …one day in severely suicidal state of mind I told her that if she tells me to study again I will jump out of the window. We lived on 3rd floor. To my horror she responded poisonously and saracastically by saying ” oh no dont jump from here you , you will only break your leg ….go on a big building and then jump.Then you will surely die. ” I heard something sacarstic and mean from her everyday…..but this was too much…..PLs let me know your view on this how can a mother say that to her child? Why she said ? What is her mental state ? could she be having a mental illness ?

marquis (female)
July 30th, 2014 at 10:27 am

My mom would say ‘Fine, go kill yourself, see if I care! Nobody cares about those who kills themselves. You have an attention seeking problem, good, be glad when you leave this earth so I can have peace of mind!’ Funny, nobody whom I spoken to about this found this to be disturbing and I was told ‘she didn’t mean it, a lot of parents say this to their kids.’ No, they don’t – what parents do these people know that would say this shit to their kids?

I was told by a small number it is disturbing ‘but remember to love your parents anyway.’ That spoiled it for me! It didn’t make me feel any better or validated for that matter that is just dusting it under the rug yet they felt it wasn’t. Then, my mom would say ‘I hope a guy rapes and kills you then throws your body in a ditch/creek. Don’t expect me to feel sorry for you as you should’ve listened to your mother. I am just gonna throw the dirt in your face and move on with my life.’

All because I am going out with friends somewhere this shit would come out of her mouth all the time. Everybody was out to rape me and I remember my ex-therapist said ‘maybe your mom was raped possibly by her dad’ what does that have to do with me? If that’s true, which it sounds like it by the way she yells, that’s no excuse to say that to your child especially your daughter. Mom didn’t fix her issues she told us she is fine and a happy person….NOT!! Nowhere near happy never been a happy person but puts on a great show.

My mom said ‘If you put yourself out there to be raped, then it’s your fault!’ I have told people for years “I am sorry, does anybody see this as great parenting? Nobody finds that statement very disturbing? What exactly is great parenting? It seems like nobody knows for sure as people say how other parents are gonna do their parenting and it’s not my business to say anything. Somebody should question why a parent does this or that, we don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings or what?!?”

I remember a guy told me long ago how ‘you never question a mom’s parenting.’ I said ‘that’s the problem as nobody wants to question anything anymore these days and just leaves it up to the parents to do whatever. Are you really helping the parent or the child? I see you seem to be on the parents’ side of things so if they beat a kid with a whip is that ok?’ The guy said ‘it’s not my place to say anything but I guess that is extreme as long as the mom don’t kill the kids.’

Omg, felt like I was talking to a stupidass!


Hi Adi
Welcome to Emerging from Broken,
That is such a horrible thing for a person to say to another person, nevermind if that person saying such a horrific thing is the mother! I think you will find a lot of information here on this topic but keep in mind that there is no solution to understand the “why they say it” ~ all the solution is in validating the damage it causes or caused to you.
hugs, Darlene


I have been hurt by the very people who where suppose to help me. I was once closed of told it was me and all my fault. No it is not all my fault, I will not take the blame anymore, you may not like me and if you can’t respect me and stop telling me to be someone I will not be. Be true to thy ownself.


I have been hurt by the very people who where suppose to help me. I was once closed of told it was me and all my fault. No it is not all my fault, I will not take the blame anymore, you may not like me and if you can’t respect me , Be true to thy ownself.


I no longer tell my mother I love her, she has stopped saying it,so why say it if your own Mother wouldn’t.


I life by Latterday people, so called the Latterday day saints. I go outside to wash my car and I see Ladys walking and they turn around and walk the other way. So be it if everytime you seem me and you turn your backs you are not Christians.They can do what they want I will do what I want and they can act like 2yr olds.


Hi Darlene & Everyone,
I found this page as I was browsing the web looking for more insight on a problematic relationship that I have experienced with my grandmother for about 30+ years. I am 46 years old and what one might consider by today’s social standards a ‘late bloomer’. a lot of my late blooming is directly connected to my rapidly disintegrating relationship with my grandmother. As I have often perused the net looking for those that have similar experiences and possible suggestions on how to resolve this. I’m unfortunately not finding much. I feel as though mine is a unique case and often makes me feel lonely that there are no others going through similar experiences.

A brief history of myself, I am the offspring of divorced parents, this happening when I was 3 years old. My father being young and the product of a broken home himself, he treated his children as though they were burdens, the latest toy but soon the novelty wears off and he never bothered with them again. so needless to say, I didn’t have a strong relationship with him. He is now deceased, unfortunately never willing to create a bond with his kids, even though my half brother and I earnestly made an effort to reach out to him. his response was “I’ll think about it.” My mother was my best friend, however she passed away when I was eight years old from brain cancer. Because at the time my father did not want the financial responsibility of supporting his young daughter and being held accountable by his ex-wife’s family. He decided that it was best to uproot me from the family I was most comfortable with and dump me in the lap and home of his mother. His relationship with his mother was estranged at the time I did not understand why, but I realize now that it was because she treated him much the way she treats me. So he distanced himself from her, however he was fully aware at the time he dropped me off with her that she would not turn away her grandchild and she would not hold him accountable for his lack of support.

Now the problem is that my grandmother is a functioning illiterate. I don’t say this to be cruel or talk bad about her, but the fact that she only has a 4th grade education has played a major role in her personality development. She has always regarded her lack of education like a scarlet letter on her chest and thinks everyone looks down on her because of it. She has a devalued her own worth yet tries to overcompensate for the lack of self esteem, which is reflected in her behavior, as she is a compulsive shopper, and hoarder. She is a mean gossip and has through the years has become a person with borderline narcissistic tendencies.

Regardless of the topic in any conversation, she will definitely try to redirect the focus back to her. If she does something nice for you, it’s always before hand she will tell you how much she has to ‘sacrifice’ in order to do it, then after she does it, she then reminds you and often that she did it in the first place. She once loaned my cousin $50 dollars. in return, she demanded she come over to her house and help to organize one of the many rooms she has managed to fill up with useless items that she manages to hoard on a regular basis. She will tell anyone that listens that she did this one ‘great thing’ for a person without any regard to that person’s privacy.

I appreciate my grandparents for raising me when my father so selfishly dumped me in their laps. However I think it is wrong that she seems to expect I should forfeit my life’s freedom as an individual with personal goals, dreams and aspirations so that she can live vicariously through me and have a second chance at the things she was too fearful to do in her own life. She is constantly telling others as well as myself, that when my mother died she was asked by mommy to take care of me and that she thought God had given her the daughter she always wanted. But she doesn’t acknowledge that my mom was on her deathbed and had asked everyone around her to look after my well being as she was most worried what would happen to me after she passed away. perhaps my grandmother did desperately desire a daughter, and my coming to her fulfilled that want. Even so, her apparent motivation for wanting a daughter seems to be in order to have a clone of her and to live vicariously through that daughter. But through all of her sacrifices for me, I still am not her daughter but her granddaughter, with my own dreams and goals. Throughout my life spent in her household, she would block me from pursuing those things I so wanted to experience. Small things and large things, it didn’t matter. If it was not what she would have chosen to do, or she had no interests in, then she decided it wasn’t for me and would stop me from doing it. From going on school trips to going to the guest list at my birthday party, for her it was all the same; if she wouldn’t have it for herself, she refused to let me experience it. I mastered the art of diplomacy because it honestly felt like political war growing up. I had to petition and rally for even the slightest thing I wanted to do.

When I got married at 25, she seemed to like my new husband at first, but because he did not establish himself as quickly as she thought, because he was not financially well off and able to immediately purchase that American dream scenario, she began to despise him. She would do little passive aggressive things such as at Christmas the second year we were married, she gave me a gift but gave him nothing but a card. He was laid off once and she called my house, nastily asking why he was answering the phone and demanding that I answer while he’s standing right next to me. My ex-husband was immature and irresponsible with much the same narcissistic controlling tendencies that my grandmother exhibits. So after 4 years I divorced. Even with my divorce, my grandmother tried to insinuate herself into the proceedings by disregarding my feelings and ordering me to do certain things which would only lead to a prolonged messy divorce which I did not want to endure.

When I was laid off from a 19 year career, she had already made plans for what I was going to do in the aftermath. Everyone would be inconvenienced in the situation except her. Demanding that I move into their home instead of considering my wishes. I didn’t follow her demands because I was fully aware of the dysfunctional and often hostile relationship and refused to put myself in close proximity to more stress.

There is no limit to her self absorption. Last year my grandfather passed away after a long illness, and before he was even gone, while in the hospital she was already broaching the subject about moving back into her home. She even told my grandfather who at the time was in and out of lucidity from all of the medication he was on, that he needed to snap out of it because ‘he didn’t realize how ‘hard it was on her.’

She, being a diabetic, would dismiss her need to follow a strict dietary regimen just so she could garnish the attention of those around her. I carefully watched her behavior, in the company of my grandfather’s friends, she becomes this helpless fragile senior citizen. But often times will forget her act and suddenly she’s perfectly agile, quick tempered and strong. She had a niece move in with her to keep her company. however that lasted only 3 months. Each day she would call her sister with a new complaint about the niece. From she stays in her room too much talking on the phone and doesn’t come out to chat with me to she uses too much toilet paper, to she goes out and doesn’t tell me where she’s going or when she is returning. Even after her niece moved out, she continued to call her sisters and talk badly about her. This finally came to a point that her niece threatened to sue her for defamation if she continued doing so to which she responded in being appalled and redirecting her comments to others instead of the lady’s sisters. A year has past and she still goes on talking about her as though she is being stalked by her. If the phone rings and no one is on the line or they hang up, she instantly attributes it to her niece putting someone up to harassing her. She will even go as far as calling me to demand I trace the phone number on the internet. she paid to have her locks changed when the niece left even though she returned her keys. She will go to the supermarket in the same neighborhood that the lady lives in and is instantly on guard that she will approach her in the store. It is exhausting.

Just as she badmouthed that niece, she has no filter and badmouths me to family and friends as well. so that when I come around her, and any of them are there, they give me dirty looks and speak to me in nasty tones. One such instance one of her friends felt comfortable enough to confront me as though I was this evil person deliberately trying to abuse or neglect my poor pitiful grandmother in some way.

I am at the point that I can no longer cope with her incessant attempts to control me, insinuate herself into my life and manipulate those around me in order to force me to bend to her will. I feel as though I am suffocating and going crazy all at once because she is so masterful at doing this to the point that her family has through the years enabled her behavior by turning a blind eye to it or excusing it away for various reasons.

She has disowned my half brother because he was not ‘grateful’ enough that she doted on him when he was a child. When you mention his name to her, that is the only thing she can offer as her reasoning for excommunicating him. “I used to go get him and bought him clothes and toys when he was a kid but he now doesn’t even call.” (he’s in his early 50s having gone through some serious ordeals in his life) but he’s supposed to remain beholding to her because she sacrificed her time and money when he was a child. exhausting.

Now that she won’t accept him back into the fold she zeros in on me. And if I don’t comply to her demands I am painted the ungrateful demon seed. She even has family members call me to tell me off that I am neglecting my grandmother that NEEDS my help. I just do not feel as though I should be responsible for her happiness. I do not feel that it is fair or correct for her to expect me to give up my freedom and life because she ‘sacrificed’ for me when I was young. I did not ask to be uprooted from family I felt most comfortable with in order to live with her. So then why should I be the one forever beholding to her simply because she chose to accept the request of her son? My father was the one that asked her to take me so he could avoid his responsibility. But in her mind I am to show my eternal gratitude.

I’m so exhausted and stressed out. I have chosen to disconnect from this toxic relationship because I anticipate that should I continue to engage, I will end up absorbing even more toxicity and remain in a state of depressed oppression. The resentment is there, but I don’t want to nurture hatred towards her. So I feel I have to disconnect. Am I wrong for feeling this way? I don’t think I am but as I previously stated I have yet to find anyone that has experienced the toxic grandmother – granddaughter relationship.

Thank you for allowing me to speak on this site. I do appreciate it.


Hi Fre2BMe (509)– You are in the right place. Your grandmother was in effect your mother and has the same role as a mother/daughter relationship.


Thank you Holly for the welcome. =D
I am so accustomed from second guessing myself and simply living in fear of failure that now at my age, having endured this mental/emotional stress that I honestly feel drained. I had caught her in another set of manipulative deceptions 3 weeks ago. And after leaving to escape that negative atmosphere, I found myself to not have the desire to even speak to her. So it had been three weeks. When family members would call they would never fail to bring her up in conversation, saying that she will NEED me. Thus that very word is beginning to make my skin crawl. Because her style of neediness seems to be one of scheming, manipulation and a relentless attempt to regain control over me. She recently spent 2500 to ‘renovate’ the backyard storage building, which entailed replacing everything but the foundation. Her superficial claim was so she could store old file boxes. However I later discover through my aunt that it was just another attempt to scheme a way to move me into her house. As I have a secured facility which I keep my things in. Now today after 3 weeks of not talking with her and peacefulness, she calls only to pick up the hateful manipulative conversation she attempted three weeks prior. This time invoking my deceased uncle claiming he told her something negative about me, which I know was a total fabrication because while he was alive I had very little contact with him and even then is was through other family members. She did this thinking I would be unable to call and verify her words to be false. When she realized once again that her tactics to regain control weren’t working she ends the call by repeatedly saying “I’ll pray for you to find peace.” As if I am some demon he’ll bent on tormenting her. When I haven’t even called because I can no longer handle her drama.
I know this too was lengthy and I apologize. I’ve just held this in for so long to find a place that understands and doesn’t think me evil selfish or crazy is a relief. Thank you again.


Fre2BMe, I don’t think you are evil, selfish or crazy. You are another one of us that had stuff happen to you, and you’ve found a safe and supportive place to talk about it. I’ve found a lot of healing here and hope you do too.


Thank you so much Amber for the compassionate welcome. I look forward to learning, sharing and hopefully joining the empowering healing efforts for others going through emotional and paradymanic shifts of awareness. =D


Hi Fre
Welcome to EFB! You are in the right place if you are looking for insight about all this. The relationship you describe is very similar to the one many here describe with their mothers, fathers and even spouses or friends. It doesn’t matter who the person is or what title they have in your life, the point is about HOW that person treats you. The whole “eternal gratitude” thing is HUGE in these types of relationships and so very common but that is about “obligation” and has nothing to do with love. There is lots to read here, check out the category about mother daughter stuff. (and just replace the mother word for grandmother.)
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


Thank you so much Darlene for the welcome and for the insightful wisdom through experience that you offer the visitors of this site. I am glad I found it as a lot of the writings I have read here so far have been a relief to say the least. *^?^*


Thank you for this post. I have had a rough relationship with my mom also. She has always told me the things I did wrong but never complimented me or told me about what I was doing right. She is critical and judgmental and has hurt me over the years. As I have gotten older I have realized that I am not the problem but she has issues that she needs to work on. She is so good at giving advice and telling everyone what they are doing wrong but she needs to check herself.


Hi Robin
Welcome to EFB ~ Your comments are exactly what we are talking about throughout the entire website. We are overcoming the damage that this kind of relationship causes, by acknowledging it and then seeing that it wasn’t our fault.
Thanks for sharing!
hugs, Darlene



From your name, it sounds like you are taking back your life already. Good for you! Your comment about your grandmother saying she prays you find peace. OMG. My paternal grandmother, whom I adored and the feeling was mutual, was quite controlling in a lot of ways. My relationship with my mother brought me to this site, but in seeing your comments, it reminded me of the times, when I would argue back with my grandmother and she’d say things like, “I hope you luck.” Which was her way of saying, well, I hope things go well with you, but I doubt it, since I’m not involved.

Thank you for sharing. You’ve made me think a lot of some of my own experiences with this type of behavior.

When I think of how freeing it is to call a spade a spade, i can only imagine how wonderful it will be to have my mind transformed and out from under this horrible thinking that was imposed upon me.


Hi Callynt,

I am a firm believer that one should live as though they are already there and before you know it you will be. As above so below. So as I seek to fully liberate myself from the emotional/mental chains that have bound me over the years, I am also determined to take the proactive initiative to no matter how painful it may be. I believe that in most cases, the reason we have dreams deferred is due to fear. and that fear is a conditioning tool that people like my grandmother have so ingrained in their being that they can’t help but to pass it on to others. Since as a child this conditioning began, I realized that if I did not develop the courage to break free of it, I would end up like her in my senior years, fearful, angry and bitter because there were so many experiences I regretted not having. Because she has become such a person, her personality has alienated those around her and she feels lonely, not realizing that it was by her own design that she feels that loneliness. Life is about choices and we have the right as individuals to choose how we will live our own lives. It is that old fear that lies at the root of every situation that stops us from making those choices that will liberate and benefit us in the run. Fear is the root of all evil. So in my mind courage is key to overcome that persistent nagging fear and of course faith. Everyone refers to the “leap of faith” but what we sometimes fail to realize is that it’s not so much the leap of faith that’s important. What’s important is that faith is in the leap and we must have to courage to do seek that faith. =D


I love the posts I am reading, and I do relate so much with alot of what I have read here. My biggest problem is yes my mom and I didn’t get along, but the damage from her negative words are what are keeping me bound to a life of sabotage, feeling inferior, people pleasing, and just being a door mat. I am excellent at telling other people how to get out of their jungles, but live in one with high walls myself. I don’t have the self worth to stand up for myself. I just hit a brick wall when I feel like I want to stand up for myself. Self worth is just not in my vocabulary. I am still reading, hoping to find answers.


I am in a state of shock right now.
I have been trying to figure out why my mother seeks out to destroy me for the last 25 of my 40 years.I accidentally found this site yesterday and it was as if I was writing it myself.
After reading about the narcissism I went to the link you gave and it all came together.As I went through the paragraphs I started to go into a panic.All 24 of them were as if I wrote them myself.
My mother has ruined me.She has beat me down.She has made it so none of my family will talk to me.Her 3 sisters have been told lies after lies and she plays the victim every time.When I confront her she says I’m psychotic.My family has not been invited to Christmas or Thanksgiving for 3 years at my Aunts house and my daughter cries wondering why we couldn’t go.She did this too!
My other Aunt stopped talking to me saying the problems with my mother was too much.She only calls for information and she immediately gets on the phone to her whole family.
3 months ago we were asked by my brother to move my mom and stepdad in with us to help them and we agreed.It has been a nightmare.The latest thing she did was tell my stepdad that my husband said he was a pedophile.There was a huge argument and my Autistic son was in the middle just crying.They were almost going to kill each other but I got my husband outside.
My kids can’t be here anymore in this environment.
Right now I want to run and not look back.I know once she’s gone I will never speak to her again and I’ve tried before.The games she plays are pure evil.She will get everyone to call me saying that I’m hurting her yet again.
Now that I know the truth what do I do?


Hi Barbara,
Welcome to emerging from broken.
Only you can decide what action steps to take, but ‘seeing the truth’ this way will help you to make some of those decisions. (and reading some more of the articles here might also help) It certainly sounds like you ARE living in a nightmare.
I am glad you are here, thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene