Verbal Theatre; A Lecture from an Abusive Parent

helpless like a fish on a hook...

helpless like a fish on a hook…

This week I got an amazing comment on the post “The Grooming Process of Discrediting Children and the Cycle of Abuse” that caused my mouth to drop open. I said to my husband Jim “listen to this!!” and I read the comment out loud to him. As I read it, I looked up and saw his eyes open wider and I knew that he heard exactly what I had heard and that he was having the same reaction to it that I had had. This comment is so typical of the types of verbal abuse that children hear that it could have been from the verbally abusive parents play book.  It was almost painful to read it. When I was finished, Jim said “holy shit… I can HEAR it, I have heard it…I have been there.”

I read it over again and I knew that I wanted to share it with a larger audience so I have asked Tim for his permission to share it as a main article. I am thrilled that he has given me his permission along with his blessing! So many adult children of abusive parents don’t realize how common this type of ‘lecture’ is and don’t realize how many others have experienced so much of the same type of tearing down. This verbal battering goes on and on and the reader who has been there or has ever witnessed it can HEAR it in the writing.

I had the urge to highlight certain parts, make other parts bold and do a little editing, however (aside from adding a few periods and questions marks) I decided to let the reader have their own interpretation and reaction to it without my emphasis.  I am really looking forward to the comments on this one. ~ Darlene

Here is what Tim wrote;

Here is the sort of verbal theatre dis-played by my parents showing a mark getting made;

“Don’t do that, it’s horrible, you don’t do that, why did you do that? don’t pretend you don’t know, excuse me, how dare you I won’t let you try to begin telling me you don’t even know what you’ve done, because you do, don’t you, of course you do we’ve all told you about this before, haven’t we, in fact too many times, isn’t that right? How many times do I have to tell you people don’t do that, do they, how many people have you seen, none, that’s right so why do you keep doing it ~ other peoples children wouldn’t they would never do anything like it would they, no, so why do you why do you always do it you’re the only one at school like this they tell me they do, your school unless, that friend of yours…. maybe that’s where you pick it all this up from is it, it is, is it? why do you hang around people like that you know other people have been asking me why you decide to behave like this, you know that right so what are we meant to do say what do we tell them, when you won’t tell us that’s a horrible thing to do there concerned, were all concerned about you and we don’t know what to do if you won’t tell us what the problem is are you going to say something now, well, we’re waiting you know by not telling us your lying to us how could you be so selfish, my own child, lies to everybody’s face only a horrible child does that I didn’t raise any horrible children did I, no, that’s right, so why do you do it? Everyone is sick of it, we have all had enough and the lying, how could you, my child my own child lies to my face, I thought only a horrible child would do that, why do you do it? You know better, I taught you, didn’t I, so then why do you always do this? no, its past time you explained yourself people have had enough, and don’t you dare think you can stand here and lie to my face as well, no more, I just don’t know what to do with you I taught you better than this, why do you go on doing this is the sort of thing I don’t understand it you refuse to help me there’s too much going on in my life to put up with it anymore to be honest I always expected this from your sister, not you, never from you, you know better, so why do you keep putting me in this position, I raised you better, and this is how you repay me, behaving like your just some horrible child, everyone will be so disappointed, they will, remember last time, everyone was so… they were all so proud of you, weren’t they everyone was so impressed with you last time they were, and now, they’ll be so upset think about all your cousins they couldn’t wait to see you again, now do you even think about them what will they think when they find out what there cousin does we have to tell them, of course we do I won’t lie to anyone for you that’s a horrible thing to say why would you say that you do to know why,.. yes you do know why, we know you do, don’t we, yes we do, of course we do, we all know, everyone people always know why we do the things we do, don’t we but you already knew that don’t you, so you obviously do it all on purpose because there’s no other reason, is there…. you never think about anyone but yourself do you that’s your problem you’re a horrible little child aren’t you  don’t say that about yourself why would you think that about yourself how could you think that we never said that, we don’t say that, ever, do we? No we didn’t, we just don’t say those things, ..ohh its all forgotten if we said something it’s in the past and all forgotten about, forget about it, people always forget, and it doesn’t mean anything anyway, does it, anyway you know what it meant when I said it, so just give it a rest, for once in your life would you, for me, good thought I would never hear the end of it your problems, who do you think you are everyone has problems, no one complains .. but you. I’m weak, everybody leaves I obviously failed you in some way for you to need to hurt people they left us, you know that don’t you they left me with you because of what yo……. you do it all just to hurt me don’t you, we both know you do, why are you so horrible?”

 – and this goes on and on round and round until your left confused, exhausted and afraid, knowing this attack came with consequences dis-respectfully talking or not talking back afterwards any and all actions are seen as equally punishable offences.



Thank you Tim for your willingness to share your comment with everyone.

Exposing Truth, One snapshot at a time;

Darlene Ouimet

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

Categories : Family



I can resonate so much with those words! Another one is ‘it will kill her if she finds out, you cant tell’, ‘they are our friends’, ‘it would destroy them if they knew’. Eh hello! What about me? what about what I endured as a child? (this didnt seem to come into play at all, once nobody found out the dirty secret!) Words are so powerful, and as kids we believe what our caretakers say, after all they are right aren’t they!


I am about to cry after reading this. I know this dialogue all too well. Heard it all too often. I would stand there in silence not knowing what to say. I would say something or not say something, either way I was in trouble. If I did state that I “knew something” I was told to “prove it” or give names of people who felt or said those things. I was never allowed to have my own opinions until I moved out of our house at 18 and I was married. I remember my sister and I going to see the movie “Dirty Dancing” we met up in the bathroom at the theater and she said ‘you know, I really like this movie, I know mom wouldn’t, but I do!” and I said, “yea! I do too, but lets don’t tell her!” That was sad that in middle school we had already seen that our life was not normal but we tried to cope with it the best we could.


Ugh, makes me want to put both hands over my ears, or run out of the room, or most of all yell “shut up already!” Oh, but wait! Can’t do any of those things. There’d be consequences, punishments, more yelling and belittling. Safest to just stay there and try not to react. Wait! That could get me into trouble too. There’s no way out of it. Not until I grow up and get out of the crazy house.

So glad to be grown up now and out of the crazy house!


Although my mother never actually said most of this, it is how she made me feel. She always had “spies” at whatever school I went to. When I got home, she knew what I had said, who I talked to and what I had for lunch. I was beaten for infractions of rules that I did not know. All that she said was I had lied, done something wrong, etc. and deserved a beating. I was left to guess what was wrong. She grabbed me by the hair and slapped me until I couldn’t see, then turned me over to my father and told him to “finish giving her the message”. What message?

Until I met my husband I never had friends, spent the night away from home on my own, rode a bicycle, nothing. If we went to visit cousins and I was caught reading their comic books, I was beaten on the way home. Everyone thought I was odd, the way I behaved, the way I was dressed, everything about me.

Because of how well I did in school, I did have teachers who wanted to push me into skipping grades…I had an IQ of 180. My parents thought they were crazy. They had a maid for my mother and a sex toy for my father. Go to MIT? That would mean I was a real person who had value. They couldn’t have that.

I feel so badly for Tim. I think hearing it is horrible. My mother would stand me on a chair and tell people how ugly or fat I was or whatever faults she perceived. But most of it was said about me, not to me. Even now she is too cowardly to say anything directly to me. She has never criticized anyone to their face, but she will talk for days about someone to someone else.



The end is what resonated with me, that after it “goes on and on, round and round, you’re left confused, exhausted and afraid” because there is NO RESPONSE in the world that won’t prove them right and make everything worse.


Yeah, I agree with Hobie exactly… I didn’t hear all of those horrific things but many. I was accused so often of teaching my brothers things they did that got them in trouble- only problem is I STILL don’t know how to do some of them! I wonder how much self-talk is rooted in what we heard so much as kids. I can remember standing at the foot of my dad’s bed while he ripped up one side of me and down the other- I was TWENTY-TWO!!!! What I remember most was standing there and then suddenly realizing an hour had passed and I had no clue what he had said- I’d gone ‘somewhere else’ in my mind and come back an hour later. Telling this memory to a counsellor was how I learned I’d dissociated.


My father traveled all week and came home on weekends, when she had spent too much money, or done something else which would make him angry, she would sit in the kitchen and make up stories of how horrible we had been all week. Every Friday night, the beatings would come. We were told to go to our room and wait for him to beat us with his belt with no clue as to what we had done that was so very terrible. When I dared to ask why he beat us to the point of mass bruises with his belt, she would say “He doesn’t dare use his hands or he would kill you”.


Hi Darlene -this is the first time I’ve left a message – I’m not too sure how relevant it is – but this dialogue is how my ex husband would speak to me at times (We’re separated) I “heard” it – the twists and turns and spins of the “conversation” being called a liar and literally not understanding a word he was saying or how it connected to what we’d been talking about. I would have to stand there (like a child) and take it – I have identified with some of the other comments – it felt like a beating – like the life was being sucked out me – like my spirit was snuffed out – I’d be screaming inside just wanting to cover my ears. But I hi have heard him do this to my son – for being cheeky – it goes on and on and on!!! A point that could be made in a small sentence takes 30mins! Although my childhood wasn’t ideal I don’t remember “hearing” this from my mum to the same extent – although I was never allowed my own opinion or feelings – there was always criticism and disapproval and again I see this in the way she interacts with my son. When we leave he’ll say I don’t think my gran likes me – I can only try and tell him it’s not him! It’s her problem. Even writing this comment I have a terrible sense of dread that I have got it wrong – and that it’s me that’s the problem. And how could I think that let alone write this about either of them! Does this make sense to anyone else? Thank you for listening to my first ramble – and think you Tim for triggering this identification in me


Yes the words ring true but also problems with MY FACE:

Don’t look at me that way, wipe that smile off your face, LOOK AT YOUR FACE! don’t give me that dirty/hateful/ugly look, what are you looking at. Crocodile tears, go ahead feel sorry for yourself. You look so smart/smug cocky, awww cry me a river! You can lie with a straight face, I can’t stand to look at you. Keep those looks to yourself, LOOK AT ME WHEN I’M TALKING TO YOU, your face makes me sick. Don’t just stand there looking at the floor, your face says it all!


this describes my entire upbringing, im 18 and i still recieve it from them. It helps to know others know what its like.


reading this just confirmed everything I’ve ever thought about my upbringing. Too bad I will never have the courage to stand up for myself and ask why I was the only child in the house treated that way.


Well, first off – HATS OFF to Tim for letting you share this. It is in sharing these stories that we can help others. In the world of toxic mothers and toxic parenting these sort of round-n-round dialogs are a form of control. It is in gaining perspective and realizing that we have the power to rise above our upbringing that we have an opportunity to build an honest, brave and peaceful life. What particularly saddens me is the tone of some comments that they will never be able to stand up to this garbage. Why stand up when you can walk away? Why stand up when you can smile, laugh and see what a bunch of nonsense it is. AND hats off to Emerging From Broken for posting this in order to help people process what was done to them when they were children. We are big fans of yours over at Toxic Mom Toolkit!


U should have edited more cause it’s difficult to read I stopped half way through


Yes, it was always similar to this. We were such difficult children, we are so sensitive, don’t we know what other kids our age are doing? Why don’t we do a,b, or c and when we finally do a,b, or c they up the ante. It’s never enough. WE are never enough and we grow up internalizing that voice and becoming our own abuser. A parent’s job is to build her child up, not tear them down. Not only did my parents NOT build me up, they purposefully tore me down. They did the opposite of what loving parents do. There is an excellent quote that says “the way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice.” So so true. But we can also change that voice because it’s not really ours.


Hi Darlene! you know what I find difficult as I read these articles, or more so disturbing. There is a part of me that thinks, ya so, this is the way everyone gets treated, I was a problem child I probably deserved it.

It’s taken me a long time to realize that this was considered abuse. I was sure I was the problem because my parents would remind me that they did whats’ best for me. It was my job to appreciate what a great mom I had because our house was spotless and how beautiful she looked. Makes me gag now to say it all. It boggles my mind now how brainwashed I was to think so little of myself and how I gave them so much credit for being good parents that loved me so much. I’m sure in their own way they did, but how it left me feeling did not feel like love.

That’s the part I struggled with the most. Their words and actions never matched. The energy behind their words felt different than what they were saying. It was a mess to sort out. I still find myself confused on what is acceptable. Applying loving behaviour towards myself is a process in itself because it’s difficult to receive and believe.

The more I heal myself the more grateful I feel that I never had children. I would like to think I wouldn’t have treated my kids the same way but I can’t honestly say I wouldn’t because of what was ingrained in me. With all the poor choices I made in relationships, my poor child would have been dragged threw too much crap. I don’t know how people who have kids get through this healing process. It has to be so difficult. My heart goes out to them for having the courage to heal, change and grow.

I’m just so grateful that there are more resources out there to help educate people. This cycle of abuse has to stop for the sake of everyone concerned. Thank you again for all you do here! Hugs!


Oh yes, I’m very familiar with the revolving door of toxic emotional abuse that Tim describes so well here. My mother would always run down this route–saying horrible things, comparing me to other people, projecting her own views onto other people (“your father says that you better stop, you’re father thinks…your father wouldn’t like it if…”–every bit of it untrue) to make me feel bad, embarrassed, worthless, like a failure. And then when that’s done she would paint herself as the victim in the situation with all sorts of manipulative, passive aggressive comments to make me apologize. Before starting a new cycle would come the denial that any of it had ever happened. It’s such an insane prison to have to break out of and cast away that manipulation, lying, and shaming.

Kathryn, I also experienced the exact thing with my parents–my mother was always harassing me about my face–and claiming I had no ‘right’ to show that I was nervous (nervous smile) upset, sad, angry…she was always yelling at me ‘no faces!’ and to wipe this or that off my face. Then she would even use what facial expression I had as she was yelling at me to put words into my mouth and thoughts into my head. I apparently wasn’t allowed to respond verbally or non verbally according to her. Yet she practiced toxic miscommunication herself, relying on her own sneers, exasperated sighs, growls and leers to tell me how little she thought of me and how I wasn’t ‘worth’ the time that healthy, honest, kind communication takes.


Look at you. You’re so ugly. and so fat. Fat and ugly. You make me sick. I’m going to call your friend’s mother and tell her what you’re really like and she won’t want her daughter around you. You’re sickening. You’re never going to be anything. I’m not giving you a ride to school. You can flunk. eww you’re so ugly and sickening. The kids are going to all laugh. You didn’t get as many clothes because your clothes cost so much because you’re so fat. I never said any of that. I never pushed you down the stairs. I never hit you with a curtain rod. I never tortured the dog. You’re a liar. and you’re ugly. You make me sick.

I often wonder what was happening at the time of her pregnancy with me that caused so much hatred. (I don’t know what you’re talking about. I don’t hate you. I love all my kids the same.)


Wow, there are 18 comments already and I would like to respond to all of them but my family is waiting on me for movie night. 🙂

I do want to say welcome to the new commenters ~ Tina J. Elliee, Kathryn, Anonymous, Bethany, Rayne and Anon (hope I didn’t miss anyone!)

I love how people are adding the version of what they were told to this! I got told to wipe that smile off my face too! I got called ‘cheeky’ ~ I remember being so ashamed of myself when I was a kid and the truth was that I was just a kid! None of this makes sense today when I look at it through the grid of truth.

Awesome conversation here!
hugs, Darlene


I thought it was “me” my whole life until I was so depressed that I finally started to see this whole thing through the grid of the truth. I write a lot about this in this website. 🙂

Tina J
What kind of an answer is “He doesn’t dare use his hands”!!! Both would have serious legal consequences! One would be murder and the other (which you did endure) is assault. (with a weapon!)
Hugs, Darlene


I didn’t think I would ever have the courage either, but I found it. (and I have written about it here in these pages; there are over 400 articles. 🙂

I didn’t edit it on purpose. I wanted the reader to experience it in an authentic way. It wasn’t written by Tim to be a blog post, he was making a comment and I asked him if I could re-print it.
hugs, Darlene


Great points! YES we can change that voice because it isn’t and never was ours!

Great to meet a fellow advocate on the journey!


It is an insane prison to have to break out of and HAVE TO is the key! Great to have your voice here!

Everyone, it is so great to have all these comments;

~ The pain in some of these comments makes me feel sick to my stomach. Although I KNEW so many would relate, the reality of that fact still shocks me. Even after 4 years and 31,000 comments shared on this blog, it still shocks me.

But what keeps me going is the breakthroughs people have from sharing their truth, and from renouncing the false identities that were placed on them from stuff like what Tim is sharing here. 🙂

hugs, Darlene


Yes, I love your highlight about the ending.
and we were children!! When I got my bearings and the fog started to clear it became easier for me to see my way out of this whole thing. What I thought would make everything ‘worse’ as a child wasn’t the same as ‘worse’ as an adult. As an adult I had more choices about what I could do and how I could proceed. And what I thought would be worse, wasn’t!


Just heard a comment on a TV show I am watching. “The traumatized survive most things because of the trauma they have survived before.”

Perhaps that is why we survive our childhoods. Think of the Holocaust survivors and the slaves of the past and the horrible things they have gone through. What gives the people who live through that the strength to go on to relatively productive lives?

I have made the comment before to people who question my inability to forgive my my mother. I was little more than a slave to her and if I had remained under her control things would have remained the same. She is trying desperately to turn my sister-in-law into her slave. That is what I feel guilty about, that she has turned her focus onto someone else.

I have prayed about this. But I cannot go back to that way of life. If anyone here thinks I am being cowardly, please tell me. I truly do not know what to do to help. My husband and sons say that they will move us so far away that it would be impossible, but I cannot wish my mother on anyone else. But I think I would rather die than go back.

Love to all,


I heard things like this starting young. I remember one that I promised I would never use on my children. I was early elementary school when this started and it only took about until the third time before I had a return comment in my mind, but I never spoke it openly to disrespect her. No matter what I wanted she came back at me with ‘if all the other kids/girls/people jumped into the fire, would you jump in too?’ It took to that third time hearing as a young child and I thought to myself then and everytime after that, ‘yes I would jump into the fire if it meant I would be alone on earth with just you’. I did not want to be alone with my mother. I avoided her as much as I could. I have never measured up with being good enough. This mans words brought back to me, along with a headache these words of my mothers. I am sorry I could not read the entire writing. The headache was getting worse and I had to stop. I believe every word and feel badly about him being so mistreated. I worry at what a terrible mother I must have become towards my own babies. This is all I have.


I call this “parental arrogance” and everyone has it inherently…..everyone. It is very rare to see a humble parent who doesn’t have any parental arrogance. Usually the only parents who are humble are the ones who have been the target parent in parental alienation situations because their every parenting mistake has been exploited and focused on. Everyone thinks that they are perfect parents, and yet never are they. The day that we see humble parents is the day that we see improved parenting which results in a healthier society. Every parent makes crucial mistakes every day that permanently harms and damages their child(ren). Every parent. Most adults are walking around with some degree of unresolved childhood trauma. Childhood trauma is preventable. If only there was no such thing as “parental arrogance.” Millions of children are drugged every day in this country simply to pacify parents who would be appalled if there was any suggestion that it was THEY who were to blame for their child’s behavior. 90% of the time kids misbehave because of their home environment/life, which is managed by their parents.


Well Karen T, it sounds like we’re all doomed if such an overwhelming majority of parents are arrogant due to unresolved childhood trauma. are you 10% going to be able to take care of everyone’s children so well that no one will ever be traumatized again?
My kids are grown, they all have some kind of trauma and I’m to blame. How do I make it right?


My mother was a “strong” silent type who smoldered with anger then explode rather than talk me in circles, most of the time. She did demand to know what was wrong with me and why i felt a certain way (because feeling was wrong and foreign to her.) Most of the confusion for me was that she would say, “you can be anything you want to be, you are so smart, and you are so beautiful…”. But then she would tell me she couldn’t stand to look at my f$&#%Ing face, demand what I was looking at her like that for, then attack me. She would flat out ignore me most of the time which made me feel like I didn’t exist and could make no mark on her, let alone the world.


Karen T.
I want to clarify that although nobody is perfect, and perhaps every human being (or parent even) makes mistakes everyday ~ not every parent causes permanent harm. There is a big difference between a parent who makes a mistake and is willing to make amends or to listen to their child as a person and an individual with feelings and one who carelessly causes harm and then justifies it and then blames it on the child. You don’t see people posting on this blog who experienced trauma in childhood but who were then validated, heard and understood. I am a parent and although I am not perfect, I raised my children with love and understanding and when I came out of the fog that I lived in as a result of the dysfunctional family system I made amends for every thing I realized that I had done that had devalued my own children even in small ways, and I created an environment of permission for them to talk to me about any grievances they had. (and they had a few). And wow what an amazing difference that has made!
Hugs, Darlene


I heard this over and over again because as you said it never stops. Finally, when I was 16, I whipped off the leather belt I was wearing, gave it to her and told her to “beat me till I was bloody but shut the hell up!!!!” And then came more about what a horrid, hateful, nasty child I was….on and on till i walked out of the house. And she wonders why I am no contact. She is turning 84 this week and the questions are already popping up about what I am going to do for her birthday. People just won’t get that after all we have endured from years of their abuse they do not deserve a damn thing. So glad he could share that story with us.


I zoned out as I was reading it I blocked it. I found that interesting as I think that’s how I coped with the ‘nagging’ as I thought of it at the time.


To Pamela,

I would give anything to have had the gumption to say something like that to my mother, even now. I am 65 and she is 84. The last time I was alone in a room with her was in 1986. My husband had gone to the Navy base and she lost her temper, grabbed a handful of my hair and hit me in the face so hard that I had a black eye.

I was 37 and I had never told my husband about the incest or the abuse from her. She was desperate because even though she had never stopped her abuse, she had never left marks. My husband questioned my emotional meltdowns but there was no visible evidence until that day. She tried to say that because I had always been “so stupid and clumsy” I had tripped and fallen against a doorknob. “What did you expect marrying a fat dumb bitch like her?” “You could have done better.”

It was that day that after we got home I finally broke down and told him my story. My parents had always said that he would leave me and no one would ever believe me. He said that he had always known that something was wrong and everything finally made sense. He told our sons and our minister. No one ever thought I was lying.

We never stayed in their house again. After 1997, we never saw them again except at my father’s funeral. But to this day, she still says I am lying about everything. All of this in spite of the fact that my father told everyone the things that had been done to me and the things my mother said and did to me. I thought perhaps after I married and left home, she would focus on my brothers and sister, but they evidently never laid a hand on any of them.

My sister is a rabid drug addict and my brothers are at my mother’s beck and call, but they were treated totally differently. They are much younger than me, and I would not wish that they suffered what I went through, but I do not understand what made me different.



Add to the hit parade: “You never appreciate anything – nothing I do is ever enough.” “Nobody owes you anything.”

I remember an incident also in my early twenties – my mother was basically standing there talking about me in the third person, laughing about how they were going to have a party for me that I didn’t want (long, horrible story), then she expected me to let her hug me in front of the other person. The last thing I wanted at that moment was for that witch to touch me so I resisted, first subtly, then when necessary more forcefully – she eventually forced me to be hugged of course, but it was too late. As soon as the other person was out of the house it was time for her to start screaming at me for “treating her like ****.” It was one of the rare times when I spoke up a bit. “That’s because I don’t want to hug you when you’ve just been standing there laughing about making me go through with this party when you know why I don’t want anything to do with it.” She somehow turned it around and got me on the defensive and into propitiation mode again inside of two minutes. These people are complete monsters.

People still expect me to have contact with her after all this. Depending on the relationship sometimes I just say, “it’s not safe,” and other times I say, “well not to worry, I may not talk to her but she still carries on and babbles at me 24/7 from my memory even though we haven’t spoken in two years. We will never really be apart, as hard as I try. Happy now?”


Hi Linda. I suppose there will always be people on this planet who “should” you about forgiveness. I know that I completely understand why not. She was sadistic which I imagine would be extremely difficult to reconcile. I hope for you that you can come to some peace within yourself about not forgiving her. It really is OK. I read somewhere some bit of wisdom….just a snippet that said “surround yourself with the most sympathetic and understanding people”….I fall back on that when I need to assess a situation and the people in my life. Right now I’m in a phase of “clearing out” so life is calmer but lonelier. I am looking forward to expanding my circle and having more healthy, happy, fun relationships.

No, you’re not a coward. I see you as just the opposite….an INCREDIBLY strong and courageous woman. Please give yourself credit and kudos for making it this far. You are a survivor and going back would be death wouldn’t it? You are practicing self-care and self-love to stay away. It is disturbing about your sister-in-law…If it were me I would consider supporting my relative (as long as they are treating me well) through cards, notes, phone calls, visits etc. Letting them know I am there for them. Of course it would be an emotional earthquake in your family, but she DOES have the power to go NC with your mother. She does. You are entitled to lead and embrace a full, happy, healthy life and not be a martyr.

Hugs from Light


Now, put in being sworn at; every other sentence and you’ve described the first 16 years of my life.



Thank you so much. You are so kind. I do try to support my sister-in-law by listening to her, calling her and we are going to visit them in a couple of weeks. She is the one with cancer and we are very worried about what the stress of my mother calling her and demanding that she and my brother wait on her hand and foot.

My mother moved to an apartment withing two miles of their home and even though my brother is a police officer who works nights, she starts calling them from the moment she gets up in the morning. My brother is 51 and my sister-in-law is 35, younger than my son. My mother insists that they do her shopping, takes her to her doctor appointments, just about everything. My sister-in-law says it’s like having another child, although my mother is fully capable of caring for herself.

She is 85 and wants to be waited on hand and foot. I have an aunt who just lost her husband and she is 88 and lives alone and cares for herself. My maternal grandmother lived until she was 95 and lived alone. My uncles visited her once a week to see if she needed anything. Other than that, she did fine.

I am so sorry that the burden of caring for my mother has fallen onto someone who needs help herself. I have another brother who lives in the same city and could help and my drug addicted sister who does not even have a job and could just as easily live with my mother and help. But they don’t and my mother does nothing but give the two of them money.

The world is so strange. But you are right. I would not live long if I went back to that crazy world. I dearly love my little family and have been so blessed to have them. We care for those who need it, but feel that my mother has burned her bridges.

Thank you for your support. Everyone here is so kind. Blessings to you always,


March 9th, 2014 at 4:55 am

Literally from the time I was a toddler until her death, my narcissistic mother verbally abused me (along with childhood physical abuse until I was big enough to defend myself). I was the scapegoat daughter (two golden sisters and brother) and I received an endless litany of insults 24/7/365 that were tolerated as normal by my enabling adult relatives and siblings.

“No man will ever want you…you’re ugly on the inside and out…you’re lazy…you’ll never amount to anything…no man will ever want you…if everyone knew what you’re REALLY like, you’d have no friends…you’re a manipulator…no man will ever want you…no man will ever want you…no man will ever want you…no one can tell you anything…you can’t take criticism…you’re ugly and lazy…you’re spoiled, selfish, self-centered and all you care about is yourself…no man will ever want you…I never wanted you…you are full of hate…no man will ever want you…”

I am a 59-year-old woman who never woke up to the fact that I am an adult survivor of child abuse until my mother died three years ago. I made an earlier post here a few years ago that included some of the physical abuse, like when I was 3 and 4 and at least a few times, for example, my mother rammed a running garden hose down my throat while gripping my arms behind my back and I squirmed to try to get free from choking to death on the water. And finally she lets loose after I turn purple and almost pass out.

I buried such memories for decades (my mother accused me of lying and making the abuse stories up when I confronted her ate age 12). I woke up several years ago after my mother’s death and had endured 18 months of verbal abuse after coming to serve as her caregiver (trauma bonding and denial at its finest!). I never married or had a boyfriend and only dated sporadically. But I would rather be alone than be with the abusive husbands my narcissistic sisters picked. One of them physically assaulted me a few months before my mother’s death. I realize now they wanted me out of that house so they could clear out all the material goodies, which is exactly what they did after my mother’s funeral.

Now I am doing my best to heal and move forward from a dysfunctional child that, for too long, I had lived in denial about and classified as normal. Last year I had sessions with a wonderful therapist who helped very much. And Darlene’s website helps so much. We scapegoats from sick, toxic families must be a positive source of support for each other.

Thank you so much Darlene for all of your work and dedication, and thank you to everyone who posts and shares because posters offer valuable insights and perspectives that help us all to move forward and heal.

March 9th, 2014 at 5:03 am

My apologies for the typo errors in the above post:

..confronted her AT age 12..

…move forward from a dysfunctional childHOOD…


Hi Linda, I feel like I have gotten to know you over the past few months on here. I am always appalled at your mother’s horrendous treatment of you, and at the same time amazed at your strength in surviving all of it. You seem to be a very kindhearted person, and I am glad you were blessed with a wonderful family of your husband and sons and daughter in law. They sound very supportive and loving.

I agree with Light; you are NOT a coward in any way. Why would you go back now to help your mother? It would be like jumping into a fire, and by choosing not to do something that is dangerous to you, it does not make you a coward. You are exercising common sense in staying away from danger!!

I feel bad for your sister in law. It must be awful when she herself needs care to deal with your mother. But she does have a choice. She could say that she is not going to wait on her anymore. Your mother sounds capable of taking care if herself but the impression I am getting is that she has decided that she is entitled to all this care from other people. But please don’t put yourself on a guilt trip about this. You have to take care of yourself first and foremost. Perhaps at sometime your sister in law will decide to make herself a priority as well.

In one of your posts you asked what could have made your mother view you differently than your siblings. This is only a guess, I want to be very careful because I am not close to the situation, so I am just speculating. It sounds like your mother had you at a young age 18 or 19. Did she view you as some sort of competition? Or did she feel she was young and now a mother and resented giving up years where she felt she should have been carefree? No matter how she felt, there is NO excuse for what she did to you!! And NONE of it is your fault in any way! My mother felt that she had a very deprived childhood. And took a lot of it out on me. That was wrong, no matter what her background was, just like it was wrong in your case no matter what your mother felt about motherhood or anything else. We deserved better.

Stay brave and strong!



My mother did this to me all the the end she can you leave me with all this…I was 16 and pregnant on perpous so I could get out of there..I remember being set up for abuse..she didn’t care who she moved in and I payed dearly for her Im 44 and my grown children treat me like shit…they use me and cuss me out when they don’t get their way…I guess I went the other way to extreams trying not to be an heart is broken over my kids…so I let it go and let GOD be mother said being a parent is a thankless job..well shes right on that one..Im going to stay bymyself now..I cant handel this anymore..I want my world mine …


Hi Scapegoatnolonger. How horrible what you went through! I hope you are finding healing now. This is a great community and has been so helpful to me. Those words from your mother resonate so much to me. Because they are similar to the ones my mother used. “Ugly” and making me feel like I wouldn’t be able to get anyone to marry me were common themes of her verbal abuse towards me. Also, selfish and lazy! Which were far from the truth. She was grooming me to feel worthless, and to be a giver. She was grooming me to feel that my only purpose was to serve those better and prettier.

My mother would never admit to things either. I think they want to preserve their wonderful image to the outside world. I’m glad we have this community to talk about these things. You are not alone!


I had the verbal abuse from both sides. My mom used manipulation to try to motivate me (even using Jesus to guilt trip me). “How can you treat me like this and stand before Jesus?” “Why do treat your friends so well and me so poorly?” “Why can’t you be grateful for all we’ve done for you?!” My dad- ” you’re going down a bad path.” He hit me upside the head whenever I took “a tone” with my mom.
Then there was the angry spankings with the belt, the last one ending in my teenager years, complete with the belt hitting my legs (my dad was so angry, he just hit whatever was nearby on my body). I had bruises on my legs and got asked by friends how I got them (which I didn’t say). My mom told me later that the incident wasn’t physical abuse.

They wondered why I had depression in my teenage years.

My mom was and is always a victim. She was always above reproach and had the “I’m the parent” mentality.

I have two kids of my own and I’m planning (with Gods help) to break the patterns of verbal and physical abuse I grew up with. I want my kids to feel safe and not feel distant from me. I will not use manipulation to get my own way or guilt trip them either.

I’m so glad I found this site last year and can share my experiences with others. Also that I can share these articles with others as well.


As an incest survivor and who grew up with a rageholic, alcoholic dad who sexually and emotionally battered me, I heard a lot of verbal abuse in my childhood. Only in the past year have I come to realize that it is also domestic violence. It is no wonder that we grow up with little or no sense of self-worth when we are told constantly that our only value comes through our parents. Verbal abuse like this has one purpose and that is to shame the child into fitting the modal that the parent wants you to fit into as an extension of them. I am so sorry that you grew up listening to that Tim. I hope that you have been able to do the necessary healing and that you today have a better life that the one your parents gave you. Shame on them for treating you that way. You deserved better. We all do.

March 9th, 2014 at 11:59 am

Hi Amber,

Thank you for your kind words of support. It sounds like we both had mothers who took out their frustrations on innocent children, because all we really only wanted was to be loved.

I really recommend that you look into the books by the late Alice Miller. She writes with compassion about how adults are wounded by abusive parents – in our cases, our mothers.

Right now I am just trying to deal with the anger about the “what ifs” – what if I had had a more loving upbringing, then maybe I would have attracted a decent man to have married and have children with. But instead I was absolutely terrified of men due to my horribly low self esteem and put up a wall against intimacy. But looking back does no good, and the key is to make the most of now and tomorrow. At least, that’s what I am struggling to do! Again, thank you for the message and bless you as you journey forward in your healing process.


Wow! Is there a script or textbook that outlines how to talk like this? I wish there had been an antidote to this poison when I was a child, or even now – because as many know – it doesn’t end when you walk away!

As I walk through the hell of getting these wrong messages, this poison out of my mind, I am amazed and affirmed to hear the same script used repeatedly by so many people!

This script has everything!
“How dare you?” -what right do I have to speak my truth?

“Other people’s children don’t do this. You are the only one” – something is drastically wrong with me.

“You always do it” – universalizing all behavior, all-or-nothing thinking

“Other people have been asking, are concerned” – pulling in anyone who might be part of my possible support system. Causing me to question myself. This is hard to work through. I know! I’m trying to overcome this now! How can I be right if so many others in my life appear to be right? Or at least I was told they were right!

‘We’re all concerned about you and don’t know what to do…’ – feels like the whole world can see truth and I am the blind one! Of course parents, loved ones care for each other. Why wouldn’t they? There must be a flaw in my thinking! GUILT

‘How could you be so selfish? I didn’t raise you to be like this’ – pitting the love, strength, and moral compass of the parent against the child.

‘I never said that that did I?’ – gas lighting at its finest! Add in ‘that never happened’ or ‘it didn’t happen like you remember’ and the effect is devastating!

‘I’m weak, everybody leaves, I obviously failed you’ – Turning the tables. The victim becomes the abuser.

‘You are doing this just to hurt me’ – I heard this so much that I didn’t think anything about it until just now! In the end, revealing my truth has nothing to do with me – rather it is all a ploy to hurt the other person.

Speaking your opinion or thought? Disrespectful! SLAP!

Verbal and physical abuse go hand in hand. Each reinforcing the supposed validity of the other. Throw in emotional and sexual abuse for a complete package that guarantees a child’s compliance as their self-worth is stripped away on every front.

Thank you for sharing!
I am learning that it was not me! I was not flawed, I was normal. It isn’t wrong to have needs and expect that they will be met.

Reading other peoples experiences helps ease the pain of journeying to find myself. And reinforces the idea that I have a truth inside of me – and other people are not going to manipulate that truth so that I meet their needs at my expense.


Amber – Linda – Anon

I wonder too about my mom and that she was only 17 when she has me, and she supposedly loved me then but my dad couldn’t stand me. My mom is the N and my dad somewhat. I had an event at church when a friend gave me an old festival book of the town I grew up in and realized that I may not be my fathers biological child. The pieces all fit, and I think my siblings were my dad’s. I too have prayed about it so much and in many sermons found that forgiveness and reconciliation and NOT the same. In my situation it helped to know that I could do nothing about who I am or how I was born, so they’re disgust and hatred of me is not MY FAULT, it is who I am. At least they didn’t abort me and fed me. They always thought they were doing me a favor just allowing me to
Be there but now that they are old they are done. They only want to see me when they need a fix to vent their anger, but to react only escalates it. No contact not only protects me but they are getting what they always wanted – for me to leave them alone. I put them and myself in Gods hands.

It is interesting that at this time my 27 year old daughter is un married and pregnant and does not want they baby but doesn’t believe in abortion. The boyfriend is adamant he doesn’t want “it” or her. She says she is keeping the baby. I am praying so much, I don’t want to pass on this legacy! I am going back into therapy and praying she will too! ??


I was crying so hard, I could hardly read it. Only difference with me is I would be getting a beating during this lecture. The words hurt more.


I used to get beat and told what will the neighbors think, the family etc etc. All I can tell you is it made all the relationships I have had as an “adult” miserable, and you wind up in abusive relationships if you dont get some therapy. Im raising my teen daughter basically alone due to abuse and I prob will never trust another man again . Thanx for the lesson, it ruins people to put up with this shit.



Strangely, you and my husband are in complete agreement. My mother was 19 when I was born. My husband says that she has always treated me like “the other woman” not like a daughter. For years I could not believe me it was sick. But with hearing what she says to others about me, what else could it be?

The sick part is that the sex started when I was four. She was the one who set it in motion. When I finally stopped it at age sixteen, her abuse and violence toward me got worse, if that were possible. He continued to beg me to have sex with him until I was in my thirties but her verbal and physical abuse got worse and worse. The last time she hit me I was 37, but her lies and accusations have only escalated.

From others I hear that she thinks if I were out of the picture my husband and children would adore her. Is it jealousy? Does she want what I have? She doesn’t seem to get the message that they wish they had never heard of her. She thinks her behavior is beyond reproach. According to her, she is God’s favorite and I am going to Hell because I am the Antichrist.

Bless you for your support. I have read a lot of the comments from here to my husband. He is grateful that I have found the support I needed. But he said that it is so sad how many of us have gone through so much. We try very hard to give back to others in need.



We were always told “what will the neighbors think?”
or mother said”i have to live in this town”.
We had no relatives to be good children in front of for
we were not allowed contact with any family as our N dad
said they were no good trash. Of course we had no contact with
our neighbors either so it was very confusing to be held accountable
for their feelings when we werent allowed to even know them.
His control was ultimate. She controlled by lies and
manipulations. I had to be perfect but was always
lectured about my failings. ANYTHING I did said or thought
was wrong as a child or as an adult.
If the neighbors only knew… or perhaps they did for they certainly
avoided the strange Goss family.


OMG!!! My mother was always saying “What will the neighbors think?” whenever I committed some awful “sin” that went against her will. Well, considering that fact that the small town we lived in was all talking about my dad having an affair with the married wife of a state cop who was 20 years younger than him (my parents were divorced) and that my mother was having an affair with the married attorney that represented my dad during the divorce I don’t think the neighbors were thinking about or worried about my hair or my clothes or my friends. My parents were keeping them busy keeping up with their messes!!!


Hi All,

Thank you Tim for practically reading my mind. Your home drama was nearly the exact equivalent of mine. I gain strength in knowing that sadly there were others like me and these abuses are still passed down to the next generation. What disturbs me the most now is the fact that many friends and contacts in my adult life tend to brush off verbal abuse. I feel than many victims would agree with me that the verbal abuse and power issues were more frightening than the physical battering or perhaps even the sexual. I NEVER understood how abused I was until I moved out and had the courage to even read a few psych. books and materials. I can honestly say that my childhood and adolescence were like being held captive as a prisoner. It was like being a silent prisoner, like an actress, never able to break out of character and feel safe to be myself. My parents could abuse me and I got labeled shy, like there was something wrong with me.

There is so much material here that I cry just reading the post. I have said this before on this site and I will repeat: I HAVE NO LOVE FOR EITHER ONE OF MY BIOLOGICAL PARENTS! It feels so good to let it all out. I WISH THAT I COULD HAVE BEEN ADOPTED AND I COULD HAVE LOVED MY ADOPTED PARENTS AND THEY COULD HAVE LOVED ME! I wondered why if my Narc. mom hated me so much then why not give me away? I now believe that my father was also a milder version of my mom, so I also had an Narc. father. Both of them together were a lethal combination. If they only cared about buying a big, luxury house and my father’s job (living and working abroad in a foreign country making barrels of money and NOT caring about me) again why was I ever born? What they called “love” is NOT real love but some kind of pseudo-affection. To this day, I do NOT love either one of them. The past damage was so severe that I cannot even recall when I loved a parent.

There is a popular reality TV show called “Hoarders” on the Lifetime Channel. In a weird way, I enjoy watching this show because it’s interesting to see people with a severe psych. illness and rather sad.
On each show, there is a cleaning crew and a shrink to talk with the hoarder. Most hoarders are elderly persons, living alone, and there homes are piled high with junk, dead cats, and assorted filth….In their mind, they are doing nothing wrong even when the health dept. is called. I saw one show where the adult son of an elderly lady was talking to the shrink. He told this shrink that he had to live with another relative when he was a teenager. Now he has a good career and apartment in another city and state. He emphatically stated that he had no love for his mother and that they never really had a relationship. Amazingly, the shrink agreed with him and supported him saying that the only thing that this young man could do was to have NO CONTACT with his elderly hoarder mom since the emotional damage was so bad. I wanted to scream “good for you” since the world is geared toward trying to have a reconciliation between adult children and their parents no matter how horrible the story was growing up. I’d really like to believe that the public can learn more compassion for abuse victims through reality TV shows and other media. But then there’s the Mother Cult…..

Linda (4):

I loved your examples of “spies” that your parents had in your school. I thought that I was the only one with these severe power issues. There was a neighbor girl who acted as a “spy” and my mom would pump her for any “dirt” on me and bribe her with treats. The child “spy” is chillingly similar to a husband and wife domestic violence situation where the husband cannot leave the wife alone for one minute. Examples include the wife having the store clerk to write down the time she entered and left the store on the receipt. Again, you’re like a slave or a prisoner to your parent. I also had a rather over-sheltered upbringing and I was not allowed to do most things like you. My childhood and adolescence were stolen from me, but the worst part was having adults respect and praise my parents for their “discipline” and saying that the world was too dangerous for me to be with girls my own age in normal, chaperoned activities. I have very LC with both my parents now, but there have been incidents into my adult life. A few years back, (a very long story), but my parents were working with a realtor wanting to buy a rental property in my new city. I actually met with my parents and the realtor together and of course my Narc. mom had to verbally embarrass me in front of the realtor with saying that “my daughter’s face is good, but her body is ugly” and “she is too fat and needs to lose weight”. Why would this realtor even give a care about how I look and they were only trying to buy a rental house? It never really ends…

Linda (24):

You are NOT a cowardly person. I think you are one of the bravest women here on the site. I, too, have forgiveness issues with my parents. I feel like I have forgiveness issues with friends who don’t understand abuse saying, “I need to forgive my parents or I will never be at peace”. NOT! These people do not live inside me with access to my head and heart. I am more at peace now in my adult life than I have ever been. Honestly, I don’t know if I will ever reach a state of total 100% forgiveness, and I really don’t even give a care anymore! I like me and my life and that’s all that really matters. I feel that after they die it will be a lot easier to clear and release more. My problem is that we have very low contact due to living in the same state, different city. Believe me if I had had the opportunities when I was younger like early twenties, then I would have moved clear across the country to another state, almost anywhere. I was not married young or had a good career opportunity and my previous city had a rather cheap cost of living. There was no internet back then and what I’m saying is that I can’t keep forever beating myself up with, “I should have tried harder”, and “I wasn’t strong enough or brave enough to just move far away when I was younger”. I did everything right at the time and there is NO more that I could have humanly done to help myself. I was NOT a lazy person, nor cowardly. There is nothing wrong in taking small, baby steps to build up your life.

Linda (49):

My Narc. mom thinks she is perfect and above everyone else. She is very sick and my father supports her. My father has said to me, “Why do I insult his wife?” as if I as the biological daughter am only like a slave. We had screwed up roles in my home, too. I am VERY metaphysical and I have had readings with the best psychic readers, not just traditional shrinks. I remember one reading where they said that my father viewed me like his sister (sibling jealousy) and viewed his wife (my Narc. mom) more like his mother. In his mind, he was justified in having affairs for his needs since these other women played the “wife” role. My Narc. mom was also jealous of me since I’m considered to be better looking and this disturbed her to no end.

Caden (16):

I was hanging onto every word that you wrote like it was written just for me. There were moments as a kid when these battles occurred that I just couldn’t keep a brave face. I would pray that she would end so I could run into my bedroom and throw myself onto my bed and have a good cry. But there were times when I just couldn’t hold it and I would start to cry a little. Then it got worse. My Narc. mom became VERY angry and showing just a little emotion was like throwing lighter fluid onto a fire. I don’t know what it is with these Narcs. who seem to despise all honest human emotion or contact. I remember her screaming at me with, “Don’t cry and now you’re acting like a big baby who can’t grow up” and so on…Sometimes I would get bold and start screaming back. People don’t understand child victims. We were nothing more than prisoners trying to survive and when we made the “wrong” remark or had one slip, then it could have been very dangerous.

Pamela (30):

So sorry for your beatings…I, too, was repeatedly beaten with my father’s heavy leather belt. It didn’t stop when I was a teen. I can’t believe that my parents will celebrate their fiftieth wedding anniversary in April. My father has lived with fifty years of sheer hell with this B****! I almost want to laugh in a way since the jokes on him! I heard that their neighbors want to plan a surprise party for them—OMG—what are they thinking? Of course, I know nothing about this and I will not attend. It goes without saying that if you can’t divorce and get away from the monster spouse when you’re first married, then you never will! My Narc. mom is 81 years old now and my Narc. father is 86 years old. I am NOT a bad person but there are times when I wish they would just die! The only minimal contact that we have is very abusive and insulting. If I were to ever share this with any one of my best friends, they could call me a psychopath. But they have not walked in my shoes at all! I am a very caring person and I have mourned a couple of best friends’ deaths, my pets’ deaths, and I have missed a good coworker at the coffee break when they moved with more of a loss than I could ever feel for my parents. All of my chosen relationships have been good, but not what I was born into with parents.

ScapeGoatNoLonger (37):

My Narc. father called me “spoiled, selfish, self-centered and all you care about is yourself”. Funny, but that describes my Narc. mom quite well. My Narc. father never wanted to see my Narc. mom clearly so he dumped these anger labels on me. My Narc. father has yelled at me saying how I never appreciated anything that they did for me (life basics only with shelter, food, water) but of course all of their money was to show off their big, luxury house for entertainment. I have been called lazy since I’m working for a company doing projects on average of like 30 hours/week and not a high-paid FT job. Of course there is NO compassion for me, with nothing about the economy being hard. My father liked to attack me for academic performance (and I was a good student) and my mom attacked me for looks.

My mom delighted in screaming at me too that “no man would ever want you” and also “you’re ugly inside and out”. I remember once when I replied with “what man would be stupid enough to stay with you so long?” (my father) You are so very lucky that your evil mom has left the Earth plane finally. I pray for that magic day like a line from the ‘Wizard of Oz’, “Ding dong the wicked witch is dead”….

I am 45 years old now, single, never married, and no kids. I was never afraid of men or dating. My problems included poverty issues in my twenties, while working two jobs in hard customer service, just to run away from my parents. In my late twenties, I earned a BA degree as an older student. I never really had the luxuries of time and money to play the dating game when I was younger. Like I have mentioned many times here on the board, I am a VERY metaphysical person and I have had astrology readings and psychic readings by the best! If I had married young in my twenties, trust me, it would have hurt me even more. These readers have tuned into me with messages saying that I would have had an abusive husband, with even more of a mess to heal. I have NEVER wanted children and I only wanted a lasting relationship with a good man (marriage or living together). I have come far in my life and I have a degree, job, and I own my own house. I keep busy with my hobbies and good friends. My life is not over yet and I am not giving up in finding a good, caring man. I prefer to be single and take my time and not feel desperate to pick up just any man. Most people don’t lecture me on my lifestyle choices, except for the Bible thumpers, since I’m a Celtic Pagan woman.

Sorry, for writing a novel once again. I felt like I just had to let it all out. Thanks everyone for reading this. Thank you Darlene for allowing us to share our true thoughts and feelings in a safe space.

Blessed Be,



Yvonne, I am adopted and it doesn’t always work out so good! Only you get the double whammy of being rejected not once but twice! Certainly damaging! Verbal and emotional abuse -to me- is way more damaging than physical or sexual. Physical and sexual abuse is bad, it hurts, it leaves scars on all levels. BUT, the body can heal. The mind is harder to heal. Especially with the stigmatized nature of mental health issues and the work required to heal. The N family system does nothing to affirm as they fight to protect and guard themselves.

The ‘tape’ playing in my head is my mothers words. Her voice. The challenge is getting her out of my head, learning to recognize, listen to, and respect/honor my voice. My truth. Without guilt, numbing, or feeling pain. Time to care for and love ourselves – no matter what others want or need us to believe!


To Yvonne and all,

I have always tried to explain to others that even though my father raped me, it was the psychological damage that my mother caused that was the thing that has stayed with me the most. She hit me too…there are even thin spots on my head where she yanked my hair so hard it left scars on my scalp. When she hit me in the eye when I was 37, she cracked my eye socket. What she was horrified about was not the damage caused, but that it showed and there was no good explanation.

Growing up, when she finished with me and turned me over to my father, she told him to make sure the marks from his belt buckle or dowling rods (like broom handles) would show under my skirts…in those days girls were not allowed to wear long pants to cover any marks on our legs. In the fifties and sixties, there were not the same laws we have now that would have teachers calling Child Protective Services.

I am not sure my father would have gone as far as he did in punishment if it were not for her insistence that I should be “disciplined”. Beating me within an inch of my life seemed appropriate. I don’t know why the sex and rapes were appropriate to her…but she knew and provided the atmosphere and situations to make it easy for him to have access to me.

My brothers were eight and fourteen years younger than me and my sister was sixteen years younger. My father took me fishing and camping, which I actually loved to do, but he never did that with my brothers and sister.

In hindsight, the only “love” I ever got in that house was from my father. The sex part was wrong, but in some ways, he actually loved me. Between the psychological “love” from him and my grandparents enabled me to feel love for my husband and children. I know it is strange, but as Tina in #53 says, the emotional abuse from my mother was infinitely more damaging than anything physical or sexual that my father ever did.

I nearly died several times growing up with extremely high temperatures, broken bones, etc. that my mother ignored. We had pets that she thought was “funny” in the way they suffered before they died. She was not only a narcissicist, but a sociopath and my sister is a carbon copy of her. I believe they are soulless creatures who will never change.

I was never able to dissociate from the things that happened to me. I remember only the bad…all the way back to the age of three. My brothers and sister are so much younger, that their excuse is that she is the way she is because she is old. But she has always been this way. My maternal grandmother told me that my mother has always been a cold hearted “b…h”. She never knew the extent of the abuse in my life, but I think she suspected much of it. I think she and my grandfather are the reason I survived until I met my husband.

They came to my parents’ house and had a conversation alone with them. I will never know what was said, but after that and the police coming to our house, my parents stopped trying to keep us from getting married. They did not come to the wedding and forbid my brothers and sister from seeing us, but we did get married. My husband’s parents arranged the wedding.

My mother kept trying to break us up, even to the extent of hiring a girl to say that she had a date with my husband a few days after he left for Navy bootcamp. To this day, she says things that she thinks will come between us. All I can say is she is crazy!!! Why would a woman 18 years older than my husband think he would prefer her??? I am two years older than him and he proposed on our third date and we married six weeks later. Why is she so jealous?

I am trying to listen to people like my sister-in-law who are having to put up with her lies now and I hear my mother’s voice in my dreams.

You all are in my prayers every day. It does not matter what you believe in. I am not “religious” per say. Whether it is metaphysics, like Yvonne or Christian, Jewish, or Muslim…it is what is in our hearts that makes us who we are. I read books constantly, sometime a book a day and have read almost everything on beliefs.

The thing I have come to accept is Karma. What we do in this life will have an effect on our “lives” in the future. This is not the end. If we are good to others, then I believe we can have a positive effect on our future lives. If we are evil, then I believe we will be punished for those we have hurt. This may sound a little strange, but I cannot believe that when we die, it is the end.

My prayers to all of you,


“I obviously failed you in some way for you to need to hurt people” – See more at:

And then in the very next breath… “I didn’t do anything to hurt you or make you treat me this way… I don’t deserve this from you. All I ever did was love you”.


All of what Tim wrote, I grew up hearing, not only in
English but in Spanish. All of it and worse….much, much worse from both of my parents, especially my mother. My mother, up until four years ago was undiagnosed bipolar disorder patient, undiagnosed, therefore she wasn’t on any medications…therefore, she was out of control my entire childhood. No filter, so there was a lot of verbal abuse and psychological abuse and some physical abuse. Very difficult childhood….still trying to put the pieces together.


My brain couldn’t take all the reminders of similar rants. Not editing it really made it so much like it was …. on going and on going. The badgering, the poking, the wishing of brain that she would just beat me and get it over with and shut up, so we can get to her treating me like I don’t exist. At least then there was silence and some peace for awhile.


I guess I’m lucky I’ve never heard anything like this. It sounds terrible that parents could not be direct and ask a question without all the bs inbetween. As a parent i ask a question and i get an answer i believe. I trust my children. Im sure they lie but nothing ever significant. Sorry for all those ignorant parents.


this site is a lifeline for me. it’s the proverbial rope down the deep rabbit hole of a lifetime of depression and anxiety. thank you, Darlene!! i’m not sure you realize how much your openness and honesty helps so many. I feel we are MEANT to share our pain so that others will know they are not alone and you, Darlene, are the epitome humanity doing right.
my wonderful therapist recommended THE BEST BOOK that FINALLY opened my eyes after living in denial my entire adult life and being in an abusive marriage for almost 30 years now. I jumped from the pot straight into the fire, so to speak. “bad childhood – good life” by dr. laura s. (can never remember how to spell her last name)
I’ve read a library of books trying to understand what’s wrong with ME and to learn how to be happy when my unhappiness didn’t even come from me. “bad childhood – good life” has literally turned my way of thinking around, therefore, my life. one book. one amazing book. to those suffering with the darkness of the past hovering above you; please, please, please get this book ASAP and make yourself and your healing a priority by reading it immediately and thoroughly.
I am enlightened and stronger, emotionally and physically, with each day that passes. but please remember healing is not instantaneous – a memory can knock the wind out of you out of the blue but with the right coping skills, you’ll learn how to diminish its impact. although I did not dwell in the past, I did have to go backward a bit in order to move forward. that book gave me the necessary tools to do so.
another book that is helping me through are the “tiny Buddha” books.
I wish all of you healing, love, peace and light.


I agree with previous posters that all of us parents are guilty to differing degrees of this type of emotional manipulation, often unwittingly without any intention to hurt our children. What is happening is we are feeling stressed and anxious and reacting in ways that we have been taught to behave as parents. It has been the tradition in the past to parent in an authoritarian way and these types of comments is in line with that way. Changes in parenting and therefore society as a whole will happen over time as more honest dialogue gets taken up like this. Let us all learn together. I am keen to let go of the old ways and embrace new ways. I want the children in our future to grow up in a loving world not the one we grew up in. And by We I mean all those before this moment.. because that’s how it is right now.. a moment at a time, a comment at a time, a parent at a time to have a psychic change and want to raise healthier humans


Omg Kathryn! That’s exactly what my soon to be ex used to say to my sons, over and over. There was no way out. They HAD to stand there and take it. DONT WALK AWAY WHEN I’M TALKING TO YOU. But then he’d pause making it seem like he was done and I could see my son confused look on his face. He didn’t know whether he could leave or not. But then my ex would start his lecture yet again. It was horrible.


Wow, as you knew it would it triggered quite a discussion. I’ve been there myself. It is so interesting tactics of power are the same accross the board. This, I guess helpes us see that it is not us. This is from a very serious problem that these abusers have. This is what I am taking away from this… Thank GOD! It’s not me.


Now how did he get the Narc/Toxic/Abuse Mother script??


To Linda,
I think it was Linda above saying you felt why are you different to be treated like that yet not your brothers and sisters. I have myself realised that it is not actually me that is or was the problem i just had the bad luck to be born first. Or maybe I reminded one of my parents of someone maybe I reminded them of themselves at that age which subconsciously they felt compelled to destroy, or maybe or whatever the reason is it to do with them the abuser not us the scapegoat as that is what the scapegoat does take the blame for the actions or lackings or whatever thing the abuser needs to off load –
and if you look at your brothers & sisters with this realisation you might see how they are passing on in some form or anther that same subconsciouis throw off of evil & see that a drug addict is like that for a reason that they cannot have been given love in fact as that is not really possible in this situation love is not given right & control is central the sort of control that makes the rest of them run around to please to serve to get love desperate for that love. or otherwise they know what happens as you were made the one to control them by example perhaps & it’s repressed (usually well I can vouch that this really does happen it gets repressed). We are not the problem we never were although the damage done from being fooled by this mindset about ourselves that feeling all along of just not right inside that we are the fault the blame the problem is only because they said so or did yuk stuff that made us internalise it somehow as it being us that is yuk inside …… most likely has left us with problems that we have to resolve to be rid of the last of their evil remnants. So now we can actually be looking ahead with new vision of ourselves the real us that they felt compelled to extinguish – so lets not let them have that now that we realise. This site has so helped me so much if it wasn’t for all of this information and communication to realsie that it is the same for so many of us ….well then we would still be in the fog so we should be happy! Create the dream of family in our own futures family is possible in variety of conceptions it will be there when we open our eyes – or if only one person for a small time at least we will recognise real love they miss that & don’t even know it. They surrounded by ‘family’that treat their family in ways despicable to hated enemies thinking they are ‘loved’ missing out on love their whole lives. We are sad cause we know what is possible how things could be we wanted naturally for it to be with them but it was not meant to be that way they have no conception we are lucky we do so we can.


I think a big problem was the “children should be seen and not heard” mantra. Parents should never be questioned and children should always be on their best behavior (where do they think we got the behaviors from?). I feel like my parents told me to do things that they themselves didn’t do, isn’t that a huge double standard?

A lot of anger passed down through generations of lack of self control and allowing feelings to override situations where the parent should have reacted more maturely.

My dad was constantly doing things to appeal to my mom. I think he was afraid of her. She wore the pants and he just kept the peace.

I did get the blunt of the verbal abuse, as well as some physical. I am the oldest and should have “known better.” My other sister got some of the abuse too. My youngest sister did not get close to much, but she was also very sick as a child. I think my parents felt badly because of that, so she got away with lots of things.

I was a bully to my younger sisters, can’t imagine where I got that from.

I was bullied in school and when I went to private school, my mom carpooled with the children who bullied me. It was clear to me that she cared more about her friendships with the children’s parents, then about me being picked on (and having cruel things said to me).

While in depression I was told I was being lazy and selfish. Self pity is isolating. Guess what my love language is? Words of affirmation. Rejection and verbal abuse still affects me today(even in the midst of counseling).

My mom seemed to think that being critical towards me, would help me become a better person. Instead, it made me feel like I was never good enough. I never measured up.

As for my dad and his anger towards me, I still remember the last time he hit me with that belt. I even have dreams that I will say something he doesn’t like and he will physically hurt me (the incident happened when I was 16 or 17 and now I am 32).

All this makes me want to be a humble parent who expresses sadness and remorse when I mess up. Who uplifts my children, has healthy boundaries and that they feel safe going to.

I always felt like I was a burden to my parents. I never wanted to open up to my mom especially, as she always sided with the other person in the situation. Not sue if she thought she was being wise (of course I could see right through that bs) but it came off as I would always be wrong.


Tim’s very insightful…artistic words, reminds me of one simple thing on my road to healing: “Pay attention to people’s actions, not their words.”

My family loves talking up the whole, “we are such a supportive and loving family”….when in reality they are toxic, mean, unapologetic and dysfunctional, to say the least. When I started holding them accountable for thier ACTIONS and ignored the words…well, let’s just say, I have not seen any of them in over a year. I don’t miss it.


Oh….I just had another thought that would apply to Tim’s article. This is one my mother used often. She is a relentless gossip and talks badly about just about everyone she knows, including her children, grandchildren and everyone else. Whenever a names comes up in conversation she ALWAYS puts her 2 cents in with the same phrase leading into her comments:

“I’ll tell you what (insert name here)’s problem is, yadda, blah, wha, wha, wha.”

The first time I stopped her in her tracks and said “Mom, I didn’t know (insert name here) had a problem. Do they? I didn’t hear about it. What is it? She looked at me like I had punched her in the stomach. Wow did I realize alot that day about the type of “programming” I had received.


Welcome to all the people who are new to this website or to the commenting! It is great to have you all here.

Very good point!
hugs, Darlene

Mary Rose,
Yes, I think that raising awareness will help in many ways. This whole thing is such a “Cycle” and in order to break that cycle people have to see how much damage they are causing by not stopping it.

Healing is the only way that I know will make a big dent in the cycle of abuse because when we heal, we see the damage that was caused to us in a new way and realize that so much of what we learned to accept as “normal” was not right.

Hugs, Darlene


Hi Mamakat Taylor,
Thank you for your comments to me personally. I started this blog with that exact intention and wow did it ever take off! I was originally speaking in seminars and that was where I realized just how many people could relate to the clarity I had to find before I healed.
thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene

Thanks for your comments!
Hugs, Darlene

I hope everyone remembers your reminder: “Pay attention to peoples actions NOT their words”. The actions tell all!
Such a good point!
Hugs, Darlene

Breaking out
Yes and at the root of that problem is that children are not regarded as having equal value. The huge double standard is where all the confusion begins, and how we learn a false definition of love and respect in the first place.
Thanks for sharing!
hugs, Darlene


Dear Linda
I was just catching up on your comments here and wanted to give you a big virtual hug!
Thank you for your honesty and willingness to share the pain you have had to endure. None of what happened to you is right! All of it is horrific. For a child to experience (and this is common 🙂 ) an incestuous relationship with her father and have to relate that to the only love they really knew is so tragic and horrific. But that is exactly what happens and we survive by believing that someone cares… even if that care looks like what it did in your home. The truth is that BOTH your parents should have gone to prison for the abuse perpetrated on you.
Your strength is amazing and it is so wonderful to have you sharing here!
Hugs, Darlene


I heard a great deal of that one-way speak! I was and still hear (I’m 60) that; “you always have your head in the clouds.” My family thinks this, my daughter has told me this and I still feel ashamed. All the pain came rushing back when I read the words…aren’t they just heartbreaking?.


Connie #67
Yes! Character assassination was and is a part of every single conversation. Even when someone has done a gracious, thoughtful, selfless act there was always a point in the conversation when a negative thought was inserted…anything to belittle, devalue, cast aspersion. It was as if life required a professional character evaluator …and only her opinion and judgement mattered. The assassination of people outside of the family was well hidden….kept behind closed doors where only family could hear. Disagree and the knife was turned on you instantly. To this day I assume that everyone I meet does the same thing as my family. It makes trusting others almost impossible! The need to keep even a shred of me….my character…who I am alive causes me to be extremely self critical. I will find all of my faults before you can. Thus, when you go to criticize or invalidate me it won’t hurt. I recognize that this also applies to disclosing my story, my need for counseling and medications, etc. If I strike myself first….it won’t hurt when others do too.

March 10th, 2014 at 3:01 pm

Hi Yvonne (Message 52),

I have struggled financially, too, over the decades and have tried to live as frugally as possible. (The low self esteem problems from child abuse hampered all aspects if my life, including career.)

But the good news is that we are now awake to the sick, toxic dysfunctional family dynamics. I fight back every day against the evil messages that I was brainwashed with as a child. It sounds like you are doing the same. The point has been made here, and it bears repeating, that some people never come out of the fog. We did and we’re here giving support to each other. You are an amazing, strong lady and I applaud you for your feisty spirit that comes through your messages because it is proof that your narc parents did not “win.”



Thank you for your affirmation of my feelings about the incest. There have been SO many people who say I am “sick” for feeling the way I do about his form of love. A tremendous part of the reason I stopped going to “so-called professional” therapists is that they thought I was mentally ill for even thinking that the only love I felt in that family came from a pedophile.

To make it clearer to others here who might question my feelings, it was NOT the sex that made me feel loved. It was the hugs, the words “I love you”, the attention that included me in activities such as camping, hunting and fishing that made me feel loved. The sex was a separate entity completely. My mother’s parents (who we lived with the first four years of my life) and my father’s parents were gems who loved me and taught me that real love did not include sex, beatings or psychological abuse.

Now because all but my mother have since passed away, she is free to carry on with whatever tales she cares to tell with no one to refute her lies. But she cannot hit me and I have not been alone with her in over 30 years. The last time I saw her except for my father’s funeral was in 1996. I hear through the grapevine the things she says about me, but from the tales I am told, she is losing all credibility.

As I said before on a part of this website, I have found that I do not care any more. She is trying to get my sister to back her up, but I do not care about my sister any more either. We tried to help my sister when she stole my niece’s jewelry and my sister-in-law’s drugs. But she said that she was so “high” she didn’t remember doing those things. My question was “you know now, so why don’t you return them?”. Her “girlfriend” sent me a very nasty email and we told her to butt out.

My mother says that my sister is “sick” and I should take pity on her. I did. I offered to buy back the jewelry…it was stolen from a 13 year old child who was broken hearted that her aunt could do such a thing. I offered to buy it all back so that my sister could get help from rehab. Of course we knew she would only use the money for more drugs and my mother called me “cold and selfish”.

Instead of sending my sister the money, I bought some jewelry for my niece. It was sterling silver James Avery. She cried when we gave it to her. Then of course, I cried. Just as I cried when reading the posts from Amber, Mimi, Light, Yvonne, Maria Binnie, Pamela, Darlene and whomever I missed. I love you all.

You have been so kind to me. You are wonderful, giving people. When professionals talk about the “cycle of abuse” they should be required to read this website. The strength of the men and women on this site puts all so-called therapists to shame.

Thank you again. Hugs to you all,



I just wanted to let you know that I also understood right away what you were saying about feeling loved by your father and that it was clearly disconnected from the abuse.

I’m sorry to see all the insanity that has gone on all around you. You seem to be functioning quite well in spite of it all.

I love this website & Darlene too. There is wisdom here that helps so much and that very few therapists have a grasp of. It’s amazing what it brings out of wounded people! It empowers us to help each other in ways I wouldn’t have expected.

Thank you for what you have shared.


To Tina #72

you just wrote my life story. I have never been to put this all in the words you laid out. Character assassination…that is my mother to the hilt. All in peoples faces telling them how good they look or what a wonderful thing they had done then BOOM….came the bullet as soon as her back was turned. Always the snide comment. Always the put down. “Did you see her putting on airs?” was one of her favorite sayings. And the GC (my sister) would go right along with her. Like 2 dogs tearing up a piece of meat. My father and I just sat there. Mute witnesses to this demoralizing venue we were subjected to over and over. And at times forced to go along or become a walking target. The people in my family who are so quick to put me down because I am NC have been the target of her scathing comments so many times. i want so bad to let them know what she says about them when their back is turned. But, I can’t hurt people like that. That’s my TM trademark…not mine. Thank you for this look into your life as it has opened my eyes to much I had forgot but need so much to remember.


Mine was different, only more scathing! She told me I was to learn housework at the age of 11 which I refused. I didn’t refuse because I was lazy but I refused in rebellion- if you do not treat me properly, why should I help you out? She used to ask me to take away the garbage to the disposal area, I negotiated a small amount of money in return. It isn’t bad is it? This is how children learn work ethic and handling money. She said yes and I naively believed her but then she refused to pay. Liar!!! So I learnt not to like her very much and rebelled at every opportunity. She used to beat me with anything that was in her hand at the time and once I had enough physical strength, I started opposing her at the age of 11. She said the most abominable things like I looked ugly and wasn’t her child. She also said my parents threw me away because I was ugly and she picked me up. She took great pleasure in putting me down, in insulting me. I could see the evil laugh whenever she had managed to mock me. It was almost as if I was living with enemies, not parents. We all secretly hated each other. Then she started comparing me to other children and pointing out how happy they were to receive visitors like her while I showed no emotion towards her. yeah! the only emotion I had for her at the time was hatred and I was sure i didn’t have the strength to show it to her, hence, numbed my emotions all together. As I started to get older, I discovered humour that helped me deal with her. She began to mellow down, now, playing the role of a shrink, lecturing me on how to behave and change my behaviour. She told me it was for my own good but I forgot to ask her what change? The change she had in mind was total compliance to her demands and not having independent thought not wishes. So instead of being the spiteful bitch,she was now a corrosive slime. I was far too young to have grasped human psychology at the time and fell for her supposedly sweet talk. As a kid, this was better right!


Wow, this is so much of the dialogue of my childhood.
I’ve heard many of those, and I can certainly add:
“Look at ALL we’ve DONE for YOU!” “you ungrateful little wretch” “you are disgusting…no wonder nobody likes you”
My “wonderful” parents’ and all their friends would never, ever believe that THEY are capable of being like this, and treating their daughter this way. There’s obviously something VERY wrong with me. (There is, and it’s a direct reflection of having this awful, cruel, and suffocating existence!


Hi Tired of trying
I got the old “after all I’ve done for you” stuff too. ugg.
hugs, Darlene


I’m watching a show called “Crissley Knows Best” on USA Network. It’s a show about a control freak father and his family. It’s kind of a reality show. And yes, the father is a complete control freak and a bit of an A**. But I find myself wishing my father would have been involved like that. How sick is that? My father merely bought into the 50’s thing of “Dad’s make money and mothers raise children.” My Dad was nothing more than a figurehead. I had ZERO relationship with him.


I heard these same things and more. Some of the worst ones were, you will never amount to anything, you’re worthless, I should of had an abortion, I should have thrown myself down the stairs to get rid of you, why didn’t I give you up for adoption? I know why, because nobody on earth wants you. You are that worthless.


I remember being the “perfect child”.. I followed all the rules, did everything that was asked of me and was still constantly punished. When I got old enough to start applying logic to the situation and asked why I was being punished if I technically didn’t do anything wrong I was told I deserved it because I was a bad person… I was in my early thirties before I finally came to the realization that I was not a bad person and that all the crap I had been blamed for had nothing to do with me, it was entirely my mother. On one hand, it set me free. On the other hand it was absolutely devastating because I knew there was nothing I could have done to change the situation..


On one hand, it set me free. On the other hand it was absolutely devastating because I knew there was nothing I could have done to change the situation..

Charity, I feel your pain. Although my situation wasn’t as bad as yours, I do feel that the realization set me free, although it caused the biggest sadness I have ever felt. And, nothing I could do, either.


Hi Charity
Yes both were true for me too, but as time went on I have regained my strength, and my confidence. I had to do a sort of ‘re-parenting’ process that filled in the missing blanks and that helped a lot!
Thank you for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


Just Dee and everyone who heard this kind of verbal abuse

Something that I had to keep telling myself over and over in order to overcome the brainwashing hearing statements like this causes was that they are wrong. They are liars. Just because a person or people in authority in my life said stuff like this, doesn’t mean that they are right. They were not right. Nobody is worthless. I just had to believe it about me.
hugs, Darlene


Yep. My family did that to me, too.


Damn, Tim! Are you my brother? (Did I have a sister that I didn’t know about?)


Hi Everyone!
I published a New Post! “Feelings and the Trigger Connection ~ No longer a powerless child”

It’s about feelings of helplessness or powerlessness as an adult and where they have their roots and the difference between being a powerless child and owning your power as an adult!
looking forward to the conversation!

Hugs, Darlene


Wow! I have not posted in a while. This is what I hear. The problem with you is……What is wrong with you now? You need to stop being so sensitive….dramatic. I never said that. You are not right in the head…we always knew that. After all I have done for you this is how you show your appreciation….nothing I do makes you happy….everyone has problems… issues….translates to I don’t care what is going on with you or how you are feeling, you just have to listen, and let me stuff you full of shit every time I feel like making you sick in mind, body and soul. This year I have set some boundries and paid the price for it, but the nagging verbal hell has decreased. The negative voice still haunts, taunts and tries to pull me down every day. Some days I feel so confused, and I doubt the smallest decisions I have to make. But I still press on trying to get better mentally.


Any posts, websites or comments regarding the manipulated, brainwashed guilt ridden child that sacrificed to stay near, while other siblings left and moved away? The sacrificial child?


Thank you Darlene.
And thank you to everyone else.
So many of these comments are frighteningly familiar.

Here is an article that hits close to home for me and I’m guessing too many of us.

I guess we each received our own ‘special’ nurturing by families that ‘act’ out of ‘concern’. Such good intentions of loving parents, overdosed with self absorbed sadism


When I was a young girl, I heard I was fat, and ugly. I was neither. Once a family friend told me, I don’t know why “they” say you are ugly, my mom thinks you’re actually the prettiest girl in your family, you have the most beautiful eyes and hair and the best figure. Wow.

If my mom bought my three sisters and I clothing, she usually got me clothing two sizes too big because she saw me as big, even though I was usually the same size or only one size bigger than my sisters. I often hustled odd jobs, babysitting, working on farms, whatever…to earn money for clothes. When time came around to go shopping, she would give my sisters (one a year older, another a year and a half younger) money, and tell me I had to spend my own earnings on clothing.

There seemed to be rights of passage, like wearing nylon stockings, a slightly higher heel, ear piercings, going into confirmation school. My one-year older sister would get these privileges, and when I attained the same age, and asked for them, my mother would then let my sister who was younger get the same thing…she didn’t have to wait. When I wanted to go into confirmation school, I was told I was 5 weeks too young for it and I would have to wait until the next year. So when the next year came around, and I requested to go, she said she would send me along with the younger sister, so I could not even get my own confirmation.

Older sister and younger sister married before I did. I was “old” to get married, at 24…not 20, like they were. My mom bitched and moaned about having to give me a wedding. She refused to go wedding dress shopping with me, attend my fittings, etc. She said I could not “force her interest.” I felt like she didn’t want to be my mother. She worried about my weight because my wedding dress was a size 10.

When I graduated from the university, she didn’t want to attend the graduation. She only grudgingly went because I went behind her back and asked my dad if he would come without her. She complained the whole time and “wanted to get back home.”

When I had my baby, I asked her to come stay with me. I had endured a 24 hour labor and protracted 4 hour delivery process. I was weak and hurting. She told me that I looked better than my other sister, and left after four hours, with me crying and begging her to stay and help me as I was so weak and tired and felt incompetent to take care of a newborn. She drove over an hour there, and home in four hours.

When my sisters had their babies, she stayed over a week.

And yes, I heard the same. No man would ever love me. And when I found a man who loved me, “they” said that they felt sorry for him for loving me. When he left me for another woman, my mother invited him to bring his new woman and her kids around so she could “get to know them.” It was a few years later, after going through hell with the ex-husband and the new girlfriend and back, and after a period of being alone, I met a new man who had just bought me an engagement ring. We returned to show off the ring and when my ex-husband showed up to pick up the child, she invited him over so she could meet the woman who had been the other woman in my first marriage.

I don’t know why my mother disliked me so. Oh, if you asked her, she would say that she “loves” me. And that she loves all her children “the same.” But I know she never told the other children they were ugly, or fat, or worthless. She never told them that “if your friends could see what you’re really like, they would have nothing to do with you” nor “if it wasn’t for you, this family could be happy.”

There could have been a number of causes why she could not really like me. Maybe because when I was born, I looked like her mother-in-law, who didn’t like her much, and later, like her. It could have been because in the middle of her pregnancy with me, my father told me he did not love her anymore and was likely having an affair with a woman in his office. It might have been her depression about her bad marriage that made her feel resentment. But later, the same scenarios were repeated with her fifth child, another affair, and another office. Perhaps my brother was redeemed because he was a boy and the pregnancy caused my father to take her back. I suspect she projected all the feelings of rejection my father dealt out to her back on me.

Sometimes my father beat me. He was the only one he really beat, and usually because I was disrespectful to my mother. I don’t have such bad feelings about my father because he never told me I was fat, ugly, or unlovable. Perhaps that is not fair. The beatings were hard to take, but they did not leave the same scars as the verbal abuse.

I am in LC with my family and especially with my mother. She likes the thought of having a close family like the one she was raised, and having a daughter who has little to do with her makes her feel like she has failed. I don’t have much of anything to do with my sisters, either. I’m done with being the scapegoat in my family. When I see them, they sometimes get up to their old tricks, but I am distant with them. If they try to needle me, I just laugh at them. I see them blink back their disbelief. I once wholeheartedly loved them but I felt like a dog with my nose perpetually close to the windowpane trying to get in and now I embrace my identity as an outsider.


Rita, I read your story, and my heart breaks for all you’ve been through. It is such an awful position for a child to be placed in, and through absolutely no fault of your own. From what you describe, your mother may have scapegoated you for whatever was going on in her life that she was unhappy about. It is so unfair and unjust that a child ends up taking on the burden for a parents issues that are clearly none of that child’s fault.

This stuff is familiar to me, Eira. The circumstances are different, but I also feel that I paid the price for things gone wrong in my mothers life that had absolutely nothing to do with me. My mother grew up in a family where her younger brother was the King and the two daughters were just daughters. She never had much in the way of material things. My grandmothers sisters husband ran off leaving her and her two young daughters. Feeling bad for them, my grandmother took my mothers few possessions and gave them away to my mothers cousins. She spent all her time over there as well. My mother became very bitter over this and the fact that her brother was treated like royalty for being a boy. You would think my mother would have been sympathetic towards her own daughter because of this. NO! She wasn’t. I think she may have viewed me as another female who might get things she felt were hers like her cousins did. My mother gave me hand me downs, including from her sister and these were clothes 30 years out of style! She rarely bathed me and while she got her hair done every week, mine was dirty uncombed and us styled. I was told My brothers were superior because they’re the boys. They got new clothes. I was told I’m ugly. My mother also had no interest in my wedding, and when my son was born she wanted to come with her obnoxious and demanding husband to stay here. They fought all the time so I told them they can’t stay and disrupt my household with a newborn in it. I don’t think they wanted to be of any help. It was Christmastime and They were looking to be entertained by me right after I gave birth. My mother showed no interest in her grandchildren as they grew. No phone calls, too much trouble to fly in to visit, no letters,no thing. (Oh did I mention that my mother decided to move across country right in the middle of me trying to plan my wedding? I don’t think she could stand the focus being on me. Again, I think she looked at me as one of her cousins that got her stuff.

It looks like both you and I paid the price for some crap that our mothers were unable to deal with. I think my mother transferred her anger towards her mother and cousins on to me. She deprived me in order to trick herself inyo feeling she finally got something that her cousins didn’t. ( hair done, new clothes etc). In the end she lost out though. When it came time to be taken care of in old age, she said it was the daughters duty. I looked back at how well she had performed her MOTHERS duty. And nope, she had no claims on me for cross country care after her rotten performance as a mother.

She is gone now. But the messages of unworthiness, female inferiority, and being told Im ugly that she ingrained so deeply in me are what Im pounding away at to change over to the truth. A truth I only started to explore in the last year or so. So hard to change beliefs that go fiend so deeply.


Message 94 should say Eira not Rita. Hate spellcheck!


Amber, spell check is a beast! As “Eira” is not my real name, I cannot take much offence. My mother was quite the same way, preferring her boys over her girls, but among her three girls, there was certainly a pecking order. My mom’s marriage was hell. My dad was a workaholic who was depressed, and the only thing that lifted him out of his depression was to fall in love, and it was not to fall in love with his wife, but with other women he worked with or met through work, apparently. Because of our religious orientation, divorce was not an option, and my mom was obsessed with our religion (a strange offshoot of Finnish Lapland Lutheranism) and the community around it. We were not supposed to make close friends with worldly people, yet they moved us in a community about two hours’ away from any vital locality where our community existed in any viable population. We were never supposed to drink, dance, play cards, or be too involved with our community or attend other church services. We were supposed to only treasure our church community. I always wondered why my parents decided to move us out a locality where we could have developed relationships and had a community supporting us in our way of life, but they thrust us alone, out in the middle of the countryside, where we could not really belong anywhere. That was the part that was so vexing to me. My two sisters were so close and bonded to each other, often tattling on me for various infractions they committed themselves from time to time, making me the “bad” daughter in the family, though if I tattled on them, I was told “it’s not nice to tattle.” The big thing I was waiting for was to get confirmed because then I could be part of the youth network, as every month or two or three we went to church conventions, and it was an opportunity to socialize with young people from our religious community. I was denied access when my mother did not allow me to go to the confirmation and I had to wait two full years of watching my sister attend the church youth gatherings, making friends, etc. Then when it was my turn, I was told my younger sister would be going with me even though she was a full year and a half too young according to their unwritten guidelines. I put up a very big stink and told them that if she was allowed to go, I would run away from home, would refuse to get into the car, and would refuse confirmation. That scared my mom and she decided not to let her go, but she then allowed my sister to attend the youth gatherings without the confirmation anyway, which she had denied me. Younger sister, always the tattle tale, would spy on me and cast my activities there in a negative light. If I had a date with a young man, I was accused of chasing after him. If I did not get a date for a while, my mother would tell me that it was because I appeared so cowed and meek. If I earned money and dressed sharp, I was told I was a materialistic clotheshorse. When I was in college and didn’t have money for clothing and appeared shoddy, I was told my appearance was poor and once she remarked loudly (her voice is naturally loud) was this all the better clothes I had to wear to church. I could go on, and on, and on. My life with these people has been a hell on my self-esteem. I am still suffering and I still have problems with bullies, but as I get further into my 40s, I am finally learning the boundaries and self-respect that most people just naturally attain by being valued by my parents. I also realize most parents do not allow their children to verbally bash and bully a sibling in their presence but going after me was like a free-for-all. My now-husband and newer friends, and my therapist have shined a mirror back in my face, and they have let me know how truly valuable and loved I am. I’m trying to talk to myself in a new way, and tell myself that I am valued, I am respected, I am respectable. I am worthy. I am successful, I am not a failure. I am lovable. I am attractive. I am kind. I do the best I can for others. I am caring. I am good enough. Sometimes I have feelings of guilt that when my parents sicken and eventually die, I probably won’t be around much. It is not because I don’t want to be, and that I don’t care about them. I just know whatever I would do to help would be devalued and I would be scapegoated in any role I would play with it. I expect that if they have anything left over financially, it will not go to me, and I am okay with that.

marquis (female)
April 3rd, 2014 at 11:38 pm

Wow, yep the same crap my parents mostly mom said to me growing up. When I tried to explain this to people, I got the usual bullshit of “oh, she is your mother and is trying to watch out for you. Don’t be so hard on her, etc.” Really??! They always said I knew exactly what I was doing, oh really? Forget trying to make mistakes in life, it was never right for them and got the same treatment from other people who exhibit my parents’ nauseaus behavior!

Learning a lesson required being beaten down by words to the point of just wanting to die! Nobody felt that they said and HOW they said it was deeply hurting the child (me back then) and people saw nothing wrong it – just average parenting! My idiot ex therapist felt the same way yet said it is damaging, then it can’t be both! I have a hard time trying to learn a lesson about a mistake for fear of being ridiculed and being able to listen without having knots in my tummy.

According to my lousy “parents,” as children, we were “suppose to know what we are/were doing.” What does that mean? Which is why they refused to teach us anything or be a real role model – what part do people not understand about that? That went over my ex therapist’s head, a freakin nightmare! Everything what Tim said, leaves a child even an adult very afraid, exhausted, and way too many mixed messages. My mom always told me how I was gonna be a hateful person when I get older, how I won’t have friends (already there because of them), and everything is my fault. They are respected but I am not?? What’s wrong with this picture?!?

She (mom) would say I raised you better than that, better than what? I don’t see any good or real proof of raising me – very poor at it too. My sister told me how she and my brother basically raised themselves because my “parents” didn’t want to do it. I was always told I was too young for something and kept getting older, there was no going back and never a discussion on it either. There’s so much inferiority in my family, it’s sickening something people never understand and said that doesn’t exist in families.

“A parent’s job is to build her child up, not tear them down. Not only did my parents NOT build me up, they purposefully tore me down. They did the opposite of what loving parents do. There is an excellent quote that says “the way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice.” So so true. But we can also change that voice because it’s not really ours.”

I agree this is why a lot of kids committ suicide because “we are never enough for these people we call parents.” I call this slavery, it’s a type of “slave mentality” they put us in. I told my mom long ago, “I thought the purpose of slavery (the real history) was to get away from it and not be controlled. What do you think you and that idiot hubby of yours are doing to your “own children?” ” She screamed so loudly wasn’t funny. Controlling a person is slavery has nothing to do with their age either!

Anyway, I do agree how parents should be building their kids’ self esteems and not tearing them down. Mine was NEVER built growing up as I grew up with very poor self esteem. I couldn’t concentrate on anything in school, always had okay grades, homework was for white kids, spelling bees for white kids, debate classes for white kids, etc everybody was a problem for my parents couldn’t seem to mind their damn biz about other people’s lives!! I couldn’t seem to amount to anything because of that constant yelling and screaming etc. My ex therapist said your brother put his nose in the books and studied (he got the same crap that I said above).

My parents claimed they gave me good self esteem, that’s funny – not according to my teachers from school. They wanted to know what was going on at home and my mom cursed them all out yet the teachers did tell me how they don’t care but want you to succeed. OMG, another mixed message if you don’t care then you don’t want someone to succeed!

My parents and other people’s voices are still within in my head and privately, I would be arguing with them as if they are standing right there and give out nonverbal body language using gestures that I always use when I am arguing with someone in person. Nothing they did was EVER loving don’t care what anybody says…like I always told people love is not abuse and abuse is not love, two separate entities that are polar opposites of each other.


What got to me the most was my thoughts and feelings of “if my own parents can’t love me than nobody can.” Or “if I can’t trust my own parents than who can I trust?” Realistically those statements that kept going around and around in my head as I was growing up are true. Realistically most parents wholeheartedly love their children and wouldn’t purposely do anything to hurt them. Most parents have an instinct to love and protect their child and it is shocking when a parent does not love or care for their child like they should because it should come natural. Therefore when a parent doesn’t love their own child they surely have very serious mental health issues and they shouldn’t have the right to place that burden on their child and for generations to come. It is extremely difficult for a child to get over the fact that if their own parents don’t treat them right than who will. Trust goes out the window at that point and it is difficult to ever feel loved.
I know most people are adamantly against forced sterilization but it’s a total shame when known mentally ill or even mentally challenged abusers are able to have children freely. Those type of people have children every single day and there is a 100% chance that they will totally harm, damage, and probably ruin their child, another human being, and that human being will more than likely grow up to somehow become a burden to society because of the mental illness that was forced on them by parents who are KNOWN to be bad parents. Nobody does anything about it either because society is afraid of sue-happy parents who think that they have an inherent right to bear and raise children how they wish without any interference from anyone, especially our government. The reason that children in abusive/neglectful homes are not getting the help that they desperately need, and the reason that we are all failing to prevent child abuse/neglect, is because of the ridiculous theory that everyone should have a right to bear and raise a child, and that is simply wrong on many levels. I personally know of child molesters who are having children by the handful and nobody does anything about it because they cannot because their hands are tied legally. To me it’s like someone raising dangerous animals and then setting them loose into society to fend for themselves. It’s senseless and I am appalled how little the people in my country care about the welfare and best interest of children.


I was just at my parents’ house tonight. I have a brother who is graduating from high school this year and therefore still living with them. There are times when they lecture him and I get so worked up hearing it I start shaking just from witnessing their abuse of him, because it was the exact same way that they treated me.

My brother is on his spring break this week. Tonight, our parents were scolding him about not completing a “project” that he was “assigned” a few months ago (my dad likes to just tell us to do something in a way that feels like we are there to serve him), and it was especially bad that he’s not done because he’s on spring break! My mom said how it bothers her when my brother spends so much time on the computer instead of helping her and completing these “projects.” It’s ok when our dad does it instead of spending time with family, though. Who’s setting the precedent here? My mom also complained how much it bothers both her and our dad that he’s so on top of things at school, but not at home. Our dad even went as far as to say something along the lines of “we’ll see how you do when you get to college,” referring to his “lazy” behavior at home and how once he gets out and away from the family who is oh so accepting of such a sad excuse for a person and you’re welcome, he’ll be shunned. He also denied that my brother is an adult (18 as of January).

I can remember a few times, but never any specifics, when I expressed some optimism about my ability to do something and my dad replied with “well, we’ll see…” In high school, I told him about my friend who had threatened to kill herself and self-harm (I got so entwined in that situation thanks to the lack of boundaries I learned at home), looking for some support, and he came back with a minimizing “well, it happens” and then casually said something about his father trying to commit suicide once, so there’s no reason for me to be upset. I still wonder about that and have never brought it up since. It’s all foggy. In these moments where it’s so painful to not get any support, I have to numb myself to make it through. I say this in present tense because it still goes on. I would like for it to stop. I’m very scared though, and feel very alone, because the support system I thought I should have in my family is a lie.

I recently broke up with my boyfriend and in telling my mom about it, she took his side and tried to make me see his side of the situation. Makes sense, because he was just like my emotionally unavailable dad. OH. And when she met my ex-boyfriend a few months back when we were still together, she complained that he wasn’t “attentive” enough towards me. I don’t deny that looking back, but hey, that’s fresh coming from her, considering she married my dad who is one hell of an inattentive husband and father. But she refuses to see that. So if I’m with him, she doesn’t approve, if I drop him, I’m wrong.

There’s more, but it’s getting late.


L, it’s sad that so many parents try to get their kids to do certain things by shaming them. They think that if they call you lazy or a sad excuse of a person that it will jump start you ( or your brother) into doing what they want. Did they ever think that if they had a respectful conversation with your brother that they could come to some sort of agreement about the projects they want him to do? My mother was very adept at shaming and guilt tripping me into doing what she wanted. My feelings and viewpoint were not considered. It was always about her and what she wanted. This leads to feelings of worthlessness and shame as well as resentment. Nothing positive comes from it. If my mother had had a respectful conversation with me instead, we probably could have reached some agreement that considered both peoples’ needs.

I feel bad that your father behaves in such a discounting way when you go to him for support. It’s a lousy feeling when you go to someone, especially a parent, and they minimize something that is very important to you. I often think people do this so that they don’t have to get involved. But, family members and good friends should be there when you need the support. I’m sorry that you and your brother are dealing with this.

I hope that you and your brother can support each other. My brothers and I found it helpful that we could go to each other through all the dysfunction times with our parents, especially our mother and the two equally dysfunctional men she married following her divorce from my father. Do you have friends or a supportive relative you can go to?

One thing that helps me is writing about my feelings. It releases them and helps me sort things out. You can also come on this website. There are a lot of understanding and supportive people here. Hugs, Amber


L, it is quite common for parents to utilize their children to satisfy their own needs based on mental illness. I was always warned to stay away from “mommy’s boys” because it is impossible to have a healthy relationship with one. That is because the mother has turned to her son to fulfill emotional needs that her husband is not fulfilling and those types of mothers usually refuse to let go of that son because the attachment is more like a partner/spouse than a parent/child. The same can happen with a father. It doesn’t have to be sexual to be harmful and damaging. There are many parents who have a bad relationship with their spouse so they turn to and lean on their child(ren) to make themselves feel better.

I have been studying and learning about “enmeshment” and “emotional incest” and I noticed how parents in these situations sabotage their child’s successes so that they stay dependent on them. They use mind manipulation and guilt as a means to control their child and that permanently damages the child all the way through their adulthood. The dysfunctional parents so desperately need their children to “need” them that they brainwash them into thinking that they are nothing without them, or that they couldn’t possibly succeed at anything without their help or advice. They create children who never grow up and who cannot make decisions on their own. They create children who are forever dependent on their parents and those children often have absolutely no autonomy or sense of “self.” This type of “closed” family system is parallel to a cult and the brainwashing is very similar to that used by cult leaders. When someone in the group goes against the rules of the “cult” they are punished somehow or ostracized.

I know someone who came from a family like that and to this day at the age of 44 he cannot make any decisions without first consulting his parents. His parents never ask him to do something, they TELL him to do everything and they advise him every day about everything. They call him constantly and daily and his wife doesn’t even know of his plans or about his life. It’s as if he is married to his parents and he treats them more like his spouses than his parents, and they treat him more like their spouse. The reason for this behavior is because his parents appear to detest each other. They don’t have a normal loving relationship. Their relationship is very strained and always tense. They are clearly unhappy and they use their children to fulfill their happiness instead of doing it the right way by making themselves happy and not depending on their children for it.

Parents commonly use their children to help alleviate their own pain from mental illness, and while doing so they are damaging their children and placing the burden on them. It’s easier to do that than it is to work hard to get the help and knowledge that is needed to change. Families often get tied up in this cycle simply because the matriarch or patriarch doesn’t have the strength or courage to face their problems or to fix them. Also, because of our society’s unrealistic ideal that parents should always be respected, children are trapped in their dysfunctional ways of thinking and behaving and inherently obey them forever.


Amber and Karen T,

Thanks so much for your responses. I finally feel validated in what I’ve always felt. Even the therapist I saw for a year and a half didn’t help me to see the situation as much as I have in these past few days since I decided to stop seeing him and started reading this site. Something important in me was still not being addressed, and now I’m beginning to understand what it is.

I don’t think my brother realizes what’s going on, just as I didn’t when I was his age (we’re 8 years apart). I want to talk to him about it this week, and see what his thoughts are about last night. I have a feeling he’ll minimize what happened because he’s still in it. I also want to help him realize what’s really going on, but I also know that he may not be ready to see it so I don’t want to push. It would be great to have an ally in him, though. I really don’t have anyone else to talk to about it, no friends close enough, or at least not yet. I have a feeling the more I understand about my family and differentiate from them, the more loving relationships will ACTUALLY turn up in my life.

I do write in a journal and it does help. What I think helps me even more, though, is talking out loud to the universe/myself. I just pretend that somewhere out there, some force is listening. Hearing and feeling myself saying what I feel and ACCEPTING IT is very important to me, as no one else, including myself, did it before.

I’m supposed to move back in temporarily with my parents because of my financial situation, and realizing all of this is making me motivated to make my stay as short as possible, or try and find a way to avoid it altogether. At least if I do end up still staying there, I’ll be better aware of the situation and better able to stand up for myself.


Here is some great information that I got from the book “The Narcissistic Family: Diagnosis and Treatment”:
“Sorting out your family’s dysfunctional behavior helps you take charge of your own life. Parents are a mix of both positive and negative attributes. We examine family patterns not to blame our parents, but to understand how our own neurotic behaviors were formed so they can be changed. You are not your parents but you certainly learned from them. You can’t change your history, but you can change your unhealthy behaviors now as an adult to placate, manipulate, hide from, seek approval etc.”
“We do what we do as little children in order to get along in our family. With our limited resources of not having power in the family and a lack of life experiences, we resort to survival tactics that we happen on to. Virginia Satir said, “Everyone does the best they can with the resources that they have available at that moment. If they could do better, they would have.” This applies to our parents as well as ourselves. As adults, we can let go of the little child survival mechanisms, forgive ourselves for engaging in them and learn better ways of communicating and getting along with others.”


Thanks for that Karen. It actually rings true now. :)I have read many articles along those lines but there was always a voice in my head telling me “No, your family is not really like that. Stop looking for a problem where there isn’t one.” That’s my family talking. I remember my mom telling me a few times how our family is great and it could be worse because lots of other families physically abuse, and that doesn’t happen in our family. So I was supposed to be happy and grateful for that.


L, you are welcome! Glad that it helped to validate you. I have been coming to this website for almost a year. The process described in the blogs here has been more helpful to me in a year than anything else I’ve tried and any other advice I received. Just working in the here and now without looking at the past was never helpful to me, and I believe that, as Darlene says, the key is in the past. It involves a lot of digging and many layers but it has been well worth the work. I still have a ways to go but I’ve already noticed changes, all positive.
As for your brother, yes, he might minimize what happened. He probably has a lot to sort through and may or may not be ready to do it right now. If you can find support in each other it can be a wonderful thing. It was very helpful to both me and my brothers to get support from each other, like an oasis in our dysfunctional family. I’m glad you journal. I usually feel calmer and more grounded when I do that. Sending you healing thoughts, Amber.


Yes, that old saying “you weren’t physically abused so you were lucky.” Lol. Older parents still believe that is true and they have no idea what emotional, mental, or verbal abuse is. Realistically physical abuse usually leaves less scars on a child than emotional, verbal, or mental abuse does.

I recently told my Dad that he seriously abused my brother because he called him a “retard” for his entire life and even encouraged us to call him that terrible name. But my dad replied “but I didn’t hit him and I didn’t call him “retard” EVERY day!” Sometimes they don’t get it and sometimes they get it but they won’t face it. Many times with family dysfunction the main deterrent to change is simply lack of awareness or knowledge about their own dysfunctions/disorders. The key to change is first identifying the issues and most families refuse to acknowledge that anything is wrong and purposely ignore issues.

I seem to be noticing an entire generation of narcissistic parents, like the baby-boomer ages. Generations before us didn’t have the resources therefore they are accustomed to simply surviving the best they can. Now days there is online support groups, blogs, and even classes and therapy. We can easily find and read information online about every ailment or problem that we have. I think that is why there are so many more people standing up to their family dysfunctions now and there is a lot more estrangement because younger generations are learning about inappropriate behavior and trying to put a stop to it, while the parents deny and ostracize. I see a huge clash/gap in generations simply because of more education and awareness, but more education and awareness is good. 🙂 Take care.


Wow, the feelings going thru me. I just found you today and read this. Some of the lecture rang louder like ” I don’t know what I’m going to do with you” or ” I must have failed you in some way”. As I got older an into adulthood, I’ve heard my step mom apologize for being so hard on us but any tie I’d get upset an tell her how abused I get she would say I made it all up in my head. No alidationat all thankyou so much. I’m gonna write my story and I’m going to read more of what you have found because for once I feel validated…


Hi Michelle
Welcome to EFB ~ Yes I heard those too. And I heard “it’s all in your head” ~ which is such an odd thing to say when I think about it. I am glad that you feel validated here!
Hugs, Darlene


Michelle, the difference here is that Darlene speaks freely, openly, and honestly about her life as a child, and most people cannot do that without seriously offending their parent(s), which usually results in estrangement, punishment, and/or being slandered and ostracized. Most people are afraid to speak up about their childhood trauma, abuse, or neglect because they will then be further victimized by their family and by society in general. That’s the cycle that keeps us all trapped in abuse and dysfunction. Fear, ignorance, and lies is what keeps family dysfunctions/disorders alive.

marquis (female)
April 9th, 2014 at 11:03 am

“en be further victimized by their family and by society in general. That’s the cycle that keeps us all trapped in abuse and dysfunction. Fear, ignorance, and lies is what keeps family dysfunctions/disorders alive.”

Very true. Not sure why other people out there have a very hard time grasping that issue and they treat it like it’s something new! Like I always tell people, it’s not up to the victim to “fix the family,” it’s up to the entire family to stop the cycle. Remember the saying “it takes a village to raise a family?” The whole village should stop abuse if that’s the case.

I’ve already been ostracized by society and lost friends because of what I said about my parents. It’s like a damn if you do and damn if you don’t. Right now, I am being very cautious as to how I word things about my “parents.” Imagine telling people how you’re estranged from your family, guess who’s fault that is? Yours never the family! Blog sites like these, I can speak freely about those idiots who raised us. My sister tells people that our parents died, the usual feeling sorry for her, and that’s how she ends it – not that she needs their sympathy but it’s like getting off her back on asking questions about them.


Darlene Wrote “Empowering a child means living with an individual who has their own thoughts and ideas. And an individual is different from other people; more independent and to the insecure person, an individual, especially one who has a degree of self-esteem and independence is a threat. An individual has ideas that are perhaps different and perhaps better and that seems to make a controller feel ‘less than’. So the purpose of control in the first place is to make sure that no one ‘is better’ than the person in control is. Controllers want to make sure everyone is beneath them. That is where they get their own self esteem. Making sure a child never has much self-esteem makes for an easy target.
By the time I became an adult I was stuck in the cycle of believing compliance and obedience and submission were going to get me the love I longed for and every time I got close to self-validating, the fear of rejection came up right on its heels. It was a no win situation since rejection meant death, and self -validation, which meant going against how ‘they’ defined me also meant death; In other words, if my compliance to them is my survival then disagreement with them will result in rejection which by my old way of thinking will result in death.”
While reading Tim’s words the first thing that popped into my head was the information written by Darlene and reposted here…
I went from hearing those words (& So Much More) over and over all through my childhood that by the time I became an Adult I found myself in a “compliance and obedience and submission” married relationship which I could NOT FAIL At or of course it would be all my Fault. The marriage did fall apart, abuse verbal mental and physical… My MNPD still has my ex over at holidays & birthdays, she keeps finding ways to abuse me & my sister and she’s using people we discarded because they were unhealthy for us but useful for MNPD…

I also heard all of the contradictory information from Authority Figures, like principles, teachers, coaches. Brilliant, Artistic, Athletic but these words were all twisted into something by MNPD like saying you’re not ever going to University, pottery classes for an Artist, No Self Esteem to even go back to Athletics after I got a big scar on one of my knees, couldn’t wear shorts… Yeah, keeping everyone beneath them is a Major Goal for NPD’s…
I did go back to school I did go to therapy I did try to get out, I just didn’t know what I was really trying to get “Out Of”, I just knew it was unhealthy, I just didn’t know how insidious these NPD things were. Now I know!!!


marquis comment 110
I’ve been reading almost every single word I find in these posts and comments.. While I was reading yours I was struck with the thought that ‘it takes an entire village to raise a child’, & my first thought was the insidiousness of NPD’s… We CofMNPD cannot even begin to know how far reaching their webs of deceit & control are… We do not know how many of “our family members & friends” are under the thumb of an NPD or even at times cannot tell that one of them is also a NPD…
I don’t have any problems telling anyone who cares to listen about my history of abuse as far as I’m concerned “It is an Event to find out just who you need to add to your personal NC list of people”.
I listen to what other people tell me about how they are treated and that is also an Event to make healthy decisions about other people.. My Sister got caught-up in a “Cousin with NPD grid/matrix”, she got out but not before she was hurt…


This also entered my thoughts while I was reading Tim’s Words and this site is all about Child Abuse…

marquis (female)
April 15th, 2014 at 8:52 pm


Oh yes, the people who are under the control of the Narc’s thumbs. Seriously, they are such professional liars and change their tactics on a flip of a dime. This is what my lousy ex therapist couldn’t seem to understand as she doesn’t have education in narcissism but got huffy towards me because “I don’t have training in mental health.” What bothered her is that I knew more than her which is why she couldn’t convince me on a lot of things.

I told her ‘my parents aren’t even here and you are already kissing their asses. Have you ever had a friend in the past who said a lot of mean crap that it sounded true and had your friends go side with her – either a few stayed true to you or you lost all of your friends because of her manipulative lies? That’s the same thing a narc does, go hit your books and find out more!’ She didn’t like that. What I told her is basically from life experience and I have done my own studies/readings about toxic abuse etc but still mostly life experience – how can you say life experience is lying?

So yea, it is very hard to explain this type of stuff to people as they think the narcs are saints! I used to ask these people ‘have any of you ever been lied to? A narc that lies is a professional liar, it makes a simple liar look like he is always telling the truth whereas a narc, you can never tell what is truthful and what isn’t.’


Kelly – Thank you for posting (113) that link.

Darlene – I have slowly but surely been coming out of my head and have begun to see the true value of interacting with others. Thank you for supplying this website, your words of wisdom, asking, allowing and introducing a medium for purging myself. I appreciate it more than my words can express.

All – I would like to say to everyone who has read and responded, its a new and unusual feeling reading all your posts. Thank you all.


Hi Tim
Great to hear from you! I am glad that you saw all the comments on your “Verbal Theatre” post and felt good about letting me share your words!
Hugs, Darlene

Please help me change!!
May 9th, 2014 at 7:56 am

I have read some of these posts and I am a mother that has talked down to everyone in my house and I feel awful. I was not raised this way and I do not want to be this person anymore… I go to counseling but it does not help. I try everyday not to be so negative but I say bad stuff like “what are you stupid?” or retarded. NO ONE deserves this and I know but it just comes out. Please don’t yell at me but help me while my kids are still young. I do not want to damage them any more then I already have. Some of you may think it is just a matter of not saying something and it is not. It is harder then that and I realize it is a big deal for me to acknowledge this but I do want to change be more positive and make my kids feel better about themselves.


Hi Please Help me Change
Welcome to EFB
I admire your courage in admitting that you are one of these moms! The first step to change is always to realize that there is a problem and then the desire to change. There is always a root to this stuff. If you were not raised that way, you might have to look a little deeper for where your reactions come from, but perhaps this website and the articles here may shed some light on that for you. I’m glad you are here!
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


Please help me change!!
May 9th, 2014 at 7:56 am
post 117
Please read the articles on being your own mother, excellent reading. If you can grab on to one thing it would be to step back take a deep breath then consider what you would want you (as your own mother) to do in each and every situation with your child/ren. They need to be heard and validated and Loved… Please Break the cycle, you can do it!
Keep on with the reading, too, very important for your well being!


What shocked me is that I’ve heard it for as long as I can remember and that, even as an adult, I still am told these things by my parents. I still struggle to understand. I still get lost not knowing what is a thought or a feeling and how to react to either. I can’t believe I’m still hearing it. And I can’t believe I’ve heard it said to other kids, which is infuriating, but I still try to buff it away somehow, or explain it away, or just get away from it while taking it when it has to do with me.


Hi Gin
Hit the link on 113 it’s all about child abuse, the invisible kind which is probably applicable to your situation. Find out in that website what kind(s) of abuse you might have been subjected to when you were younger then you can start there with rebuilding a Free Life full of Wonder and Excitement. My most favorite saying out of my MNDP’s trap was “You need to see a shrink”, well I am completely happy to say that I was never the one who needed the shrink, she did, then, now, and always. When I had a mental breakdown I did what I was supposed to do for Myself, see a medical expert. Get Help, I did! And that all happened after a very abusive marriage, totally dysfunctional upbringing, and having my daughter separate from me at age 15, she hasn’t come back it’s been almost 15yrs, I love her but it seems as though she got the NDP gene and I can’t help her. I had to NC her a couple of months ago, right after the birth of her second daughter…
I’m starting to experience a lot of really nice feelings some I didn’t even know what they were, like the butterflies in your tummy feeling, these butterflies represent feelings and when they all get together they cause the tummy feeling…


I love that link on 113. If that page was pounded into the heads of every parent alive, and legally enforced, the world would change dramatically for the better.


In one way or another, abusers often isolate their victims, and the victims don’t get enough experiences to learn how to be normal. It is possible to become relatively free, but it takes a lot of worthwhile work inside us. I would disassociate or be in a state of confusion or depression. Exceptions were when something happened to lift my spirits, then they would soar. I was probably mildly bi-polar. Now, I am an old woman and financially strapped to a verbally abusive man. Once I said to myself, “This is chronic abuse and nobody earns abuse,” I began to learn how to be real and like myself enough. I now withhold abuse ammunition by not talking much–not providing much bait. I recognize abuse while it is occurring and am careful not to play the victim’s role–not to even be available unless it’s clearly not practical to get away physically. I couldn’t leave him without suffering for material needs, but I get better and better at preventing his abuse from making me unhappy for very long. Something to keep in mind: It may get a lot worse before it gets better but you have to keep going and not turn back once you decide it is time, at least emotionally, to stop being a willing partner in a very sick game that somebody else controls.


Hi BeAnn
Welcome to EFB
Thank you for sharing. Glad you are here,
hugs, Darlene


Thank you for your post Tim.
I too was under the tyranny of an abusive mother. Her lectures always ended with, “who have you been talking to? That’s not from you, someone has brainwashed you.” Any time that I bucked her it was someone else talking, not me. I wasn’t smart enough to think it up on my own. And when her anger raged, she beat me. So I received both verbal and physical abuse and was emotionally held hostage.


My mother was adopted as an infant. I know she did not have an easy childhood, however she will never say she was abused as she is too proud to admit it. My father left us when I was three and when I was five she married my step-father. He was pretty much hands-off except for the times he would drink and try to intimidate me. Her normal disposition was distant and moody. Her anger would show up out of the blue and I was the one she would take it out on. Now, when I look back at my childhood, all I can remember are the abusive things she did to me. It is extremely difficult as she now acts like it did not happen and puts up the façade of being a “nice” person. The issue is that the same angry person still resides underneath, no matter how much she tries to cover it up.


That is the biggest obstacle to bettering our world; acknowledging and exposing child abuse/neglect. It is taught to us and has become instinctive for us all to ignore every mistake that our parents made and to “respect our parents” at all cost, which is ridiculously counterproductive and harmful. It is a rare occasion when someone actually even acknowledges that they have problems and issues in adulthood that were caused/created from poor parenting or a dysfunctional, abusive, or neglectful upbringing/childhood. Most adults right now are living with unresolved childhood trauma that they blame themselves for. When a child acts out because of the pain of their daily life, they are drugged because the parents ALWAYS blame the child and never look at themselves. It takes immense strength and courage for someone to take a stand against abuse, neglect, and dysfunction. Most mental illness/dysfunctions are very easily passed on from generation to generation because it is impossible for a child to fight against it. Parents have way too much power and children have way too few rights. Not only that but society had conditioned people to be silent about child abuse/neglect and those who speak about it are further mistreated and abused, and usually ostracized. It’s so very clear to those who have identified it but the majority of those in our society are ignorant, blind, and outright corrupt about child abuse/neglect, especially sexual abuse.


Hi “come on”
Good points! That is the thing that strikes me as so profound ~ the point you make about how very clear it is to those of us who have identified the problem. It is actually LOGICAL when the fog clears and then the key becomes rejecting the reactions of outraged society when we are actually speaking this truth. (that part took me the longest!)
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


Hi Leslie
Welcome to EFB ~ I forgot all about that line “who have you been talking to??”
Isn’t it interesting how we are groomed to believe that we can’t think on our own, and also that if we DARE to think on our own there WiLL be consequences.
Thanks for sharing, glad you are here,
hugs, Darlene

Hi Michele
Welcome to Emerging from Broken
I wish that more parents would be willing to talk to their children (even adult children). Saying it didn’t happen or acting like it never happened, doesn’t mean it never happened!
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


Darlene, I have found that “rejecting the reactions of society” is nearly impossible, but it is totally necessary in order to help abused and neglected children. It is sad how corrupt we all really are when I see how entire communities and families stand behind offenders every single day simply because of fear of being ostracized or condemned. Our world is full of followers, not leaders. Families, society, our community, and our peers are powerful when they stand together and once they turn on you it is almost a lost cause at that point. Abusers know how to easily discredit and defame someone who may try to expose them, and then everyone ostracizes the strong one who stood up to the abuser. Abusers easily create environments where nobody believes anything that the person trying to expose the abuse says. There is power in numbers and abusers know that and pedophiles depend on that. That is why they know how to manipulate our society, the legal system, law enforcement, and social services. There are so many people right now who are being silent about their suspicions of child abuse and/or neglect and that is exactly like participating in the abuse/neglect. Silence is participation and silence is embedded into society therefore our entire society is guilty of enabling and even fueling child abuse/neglect. Law enforcement is ignorant, the courts are ignorant and corrupt and would rather look away than face the child abuse epidemic, and society is conditioned to believe the offender over the victim all day long.


Hi “come on”
Yes, again, very good comments!
Yes abusers know how to easily discredit but I know the truth about that too. They hate me for it and I don’t care. I no longer need to be believed by others, (this took a long time!~ I had a huge “proof issue” where I tried endlessly to reason with people who refused to hear the truth and one day I just stopped trying to be heard by the wrong people. I have a saying “they will say what they say, and they will believe what they believe and do what they do” Today I have built a great network of people who ARE interested in the truth and some of them are even trying to stand up for it!
Please keep speaking the way YOU are speaking! Your comments, points are excellent and insightful!
Hugs, Darlene


You are wonderful Darlene. I am thinking that one important point that we advocates need to try to start making is the fact that speaking up about child abuse/neglect will entice backlash, anger, abuse, and mistreatment. We were shocked to see how victims and reporters of child abuse/neglect are treated by EVERYONE when they speak out about it. When my sister realized what sexual abuse was she wanted to save the world from it and she tried to speak out and force change, but she was abused and mistreated by everyone, even her own family. She then gave up and is now silent again simply because she was beat into silence by the “wrong people.” There are too many “wrong people” who are running the show and that applies to everything, including politics and our government. The meek and mild mannered follow and are obedient and they become some of our biggest hurdles simply because of that. I have noticed that in dysfunctional families there is sometimes a strong link, someone who cannot take the abuse or dysfunction anymore and stands up and exposes it and fights for their right to a healthy environment. In return they are ostracized and condemned by the rest of the family and by their peers. Most of the time it is not even worth it because of the harm and damage that can come to someone who tries to fight for what is right. But most families don’t have a strong link and the parents run the show and control everyone in it. Unless the cycle is stopped by a strong link in the chain, the mental illness continues. Parents are the ones who are keeping the secrets safe. I feel that parenting is exactly like “grooming”.


Hi Come on,
It isn’t just ‘like grooming’ It IS grooming! I think that something I had to realize in my healing process was that “they” the parents had a choice if I chose either ‘love, equal value and respect”, OR goodbye that they also could say “goodbye” (and they did) and in my case the cycle has stopped, at least in my little family, the one I have with my husband and our three children. It seems to be that choice, the choice the parents have that keeps so many adult children from standing up to them. The fear of rejection is huge because in childhood, rejection is equal to death. So it is a childhood survival system mode to be afraid to stand up to our parents. I had to do a lot of work on changing that belief before I drew the whole solid boundary in my family of origin.
I love your posts.
hugs, Darlene


p.s. to “come on”
and YES this problem is a world problem at the level of government, etc. In a nut shell it is the misuse of power that is the problem but here is what I think ~ if the majority are the ones being abused and mistreated, then eventually, the more people who take their power back from the power mongers, and use it correctly, (the proper use of power is to empower) the more people will be empowered to find and use their voices against the misuse of power… ahhh that is my dream anyway! 🙂

This is also about another kind of abuse that my mnpd has developed while losing part of her supply.
My mnpd is an “Obsessed alienators have a fervent cause to destroy the targeted parent.” I am now that target and mnpd is using my child & grand children in her circus (with my ex)and bad mouthing me all over again.
This is a new approach that has been employed by the mnpd as insidious abuse, nobody knows, not even the monkeys in her circus…


I’m glad you published this. It brought back so many memories of being in the “crazy house”. I lived through it, plus physical abuse, and left home at 17.

God was merciful to me in that I found a 12 Step program to help me learn how to cope with life. I learned to set boundaries with my parents. Daddy (an alcoholic) accepted them, but it took him a long time. I was persistent. Adult Children of Alcoholics helped me so much, and I was determined to break those generational curses and hoped to have a happy family one day. It never happened because Mama wouldn’t accept the boundaries. She was nice to the grandkids, but still verbally abused me if we were alone. I learned to never be alone with her.

Daddy died, and Mama eventually went into a nursing home near me. I visited her faithfully 2-3 times a week, was her advocate, and did my duty as an only child to care for her. She had dementia, and a multitude of physical & mental problems, was blind and deaf. Every time I visited her, she browbeat me, accused me, and cursed me, just like she did for the 17 years I lived at home. I sat with her and listened for ten or fifteen minutes. Then, I would see to her needs, gather her laundry, wash her false teeth, and see that she was being taken care of physically.

She couldn’t see or hear by then, so she was in her own little, hate-filled world. It was sad to watch and hear. I forgave her every time, because holding onto hate and unforgiveness would hurt me — not her.

I never was unkind to her. I never argued with her. I watched her reap what she’d sown for the 3 1/2 long, hate-filled, bitter years that she lived in the nursing home.

When she died, I didn’t cry, and I didn’t for Daddy either. I grieved for their wasted lives, and that they’d never known peace and real love. Long ago, I came to grips with the fact that they couldn’t give what they didn’t have.

I’ve worked hard to think different, act different, and I believe those evil, twisted ways are dead, along with them.

I’m thankful that I have a whole new kind of family – all because of God showing me a new way to live. It could have turned out very different.

Bruised not bleeding
March 12th, 2016 at 7:47 pm

Thank you. I’m so moved by what you shared.


Mind boggling! Couldn’t even read it all it made my head spin so bad! Wow!


Replying to the last post by anonmyus. I think being a sinngle child of a N parent is a special hell. I lived alone with my narcissistic foster mom for 3 three yrs. No foster dad or siblings means no witnesses and really adds to u thinking ur nut as no onre ever knows. (forgive my typows, i am physically disabled)

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