Victim Blaming ~ When you are Blamed for the Core of Your Pain


EFB victim blaming

“You can accept or reject the way you are treated by other people, but until you heal the wounds of your past, you will continue to bleed. You can bandage the bleeding with food, with alcohol, with drugs, with work, with cigarettes, with sex, but eventually, it will all ooze through and stain your life. You must find the strength to open the wounds, stick your hands inside, pull out the core of the pain that is holding you in your past, the memories, and make peace with them” Iyanla Vanzant

I got a little note of “un-appreciation” in the e-mail a few weeks ago. I was told how wonderful Iyanla Vanzant is and that Iyanla ‘gets it’ and that I don’t when it comes to healing. Today one of Iyanla’s quotes came across my desk. This same quote was posted by a reader on the EFB facebook page a few weeks ago and I “liked it” but today I saw it from a different angle; perhaps from the angle of why I got reprimanded for the work that I do by that reader who says that “I don’t get it”.

I think it is a wonderful quote ~ I share this quote myself, but what struck me is that for the most part, people LOVE these kinds of quotes as long as the core of your pain isn’t rooted in the way you were treated and defined by your parents or your family in your childhood ~ because if it is rooted in family dysfunction or child abuse, then oddly enough, the “stain that oozes through and stains your life”, is often presumed to be your own dang fault. If the core of your pain has something to do with your family or having not been protected and validated by your family, the world is not so interested in hearing about it. In those cases the victim survivor is often viewed differently and possibly even blamed for causing the abuse or for bringing it on to themselves! Sometimes children of parental abuse are told they must have done ‘something’ to deserve it even if that abuse was sexual abuse! This is otherwise known as “Victim Blaming”

It’s sad but unfortunately true; people usually don’t respond the same way if the pain we are talking about is being caused by family or if that pain involves talking about injustice that happened to you at the hands of your family. (I suspect that it makes some people uncomfortable for a personal reason more than it is about them not understanding because interestingly enough, people who don’t relate seem very understanding in my experience.)

It is shocking how differently we are received by many if the pain we are talking about has to do with our own mothers and fathers. That’s when we are so often told that talking about the core of our pain is “gossip” and “malice” and that we should not air our dirty laundry in public. That is when we are directed to forgive the abuser or offender without ever having the offence validated in the first place. That is when we are informed to consider that the offender, ‘did the best they could do with what they had to work with”. Or we are told that they didn’t know any better. Or we are instructed to understand the abusive childhood that the abusive or neglectful parents came from themselves and that it was because of the injustice done to them, that they did it to us. (Which validates the abuser but not the victim and in fact is once again, victim blaming.) If your grievance is with your family, and you have been instructed to ‘get over it’ and to ‘leave the past in the past’ or to “forgive and forget”, consider this; NONE of those instructions deals with or heals “the core of your pain that is holding you in your past”

Victim blaming is abusive.

In order to get past this, I had to validate my pain and understand that nobody, not even my family, had the right to disregard or disrespect me. Nobody has the right to objectify me or assign me less value than someone else and that includes the way that my family of origin treats me. Love is only visible by its actions.

The core of my pain that was holding me in the past was stuck in the belief system that developed as a result of the damage done to me and the messages that I believed about myself that were communicated to me about me by the disrespectful and devaluing actions of others. Most of those ‘others’ were related to me by blood or were enabled by people related to me by blood. And most of those ‘actions’ were dismissed by the people related to me by blood.

The key to overcoming those messages has been in finding out what they were and where the roots of them lived and changing them the false messages back to the truth. I had to learn to validate the core of my pain and validate that my pain was understandable, justifiable, real and valid.

It was only then that the pain subsided. It was only then that I realized I was letting go and that letting go was a result of the validation. It was only then that I stopped bleeding. That was how I stitched myself back up and took my life back. That was how I took the action that proved love. That was how I shouted to the world that I was no longer a victim and learned that the blame, the fault, wasn’t mine. 

After that, I started to work on my relationship with me. I am learning to love myself in the way that no human beings love could have healed me. This is the action of love that I have learned to take in my own life in order to heal the core of the pain in my life.

Please share your thoughts about Victim Blaming and about how it feels to have your pain invalidated.

Exposing Truth, one snapshot at a time;

Darlene Ouimet

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

For related post see highlighted phrases in Bold print  ~ also see:

When Family and Friends say Mean and Hurtful things 

Forgiveness and Child abuse ~ When Suggesting Forgiveness is Abusive

The Roots of Self Blame and Blame Sharing 


Categories : Family



I was defined as a problem at a very young age; perhaps as young as three or four. My feelings were suppressed as were my inclinations to do certain things. Emotions, positive or negative, were not allowed. I was slapped, not because I did anything terrible, but because my mother was in a bad mood. Given all this, how can anyone justify what happened to me? Where does anyone get the right o tell me to forgive and forget and that my parents did the best they could? The truth is, they did what serve them, they tried to mold me into what they wanted me to be based on what would make their lives most comfortable. If I was compliant and well- behaved, they didn’t have to deal with meeting my needs because I would appear to accept whatever they wanted me to accept, and I wouldn’t get into trouble at school or anywhere else because I was forever compliant. And they called me difficult even after all the compliance because they thought I was sullen and moody. Yes. Blaming the victim. As if it could possibly be a three or four year old’s fault, a tiny person with no experience in the world.

And I believed something was the matter with me for a long long time. I figured they had a good reason, and not a self- serving one for treating me the way they did. I felt I was bad. I felt undeserving even of getting basic needs met, like having the supplies I needed for school. I felt every one else had rights that I didn’t because something was wrong with me. I was also taught I was inferior because I was female, but somehow my mother got exempted from being considered inferior for the same reason. I have two brothers. Although I got along reasonably well with them, it was obvious that my parents considered the boys to be superior to me, especially by my mother. I believed all of this to be true and didn’t question it even though my friends were treated more respectfully in their homes. And I finally know why. I believed something was dreadfully wrong with ME so that even though my friends weren’t treated inferior for being female, I thought I deserved to be because of whatever it was that was wrong with just me. That was my belief system and why I believed I deserved less than everyone else. That was the result of the way I was programmed as a child. And I believed it my whole life. Until recently. Until I started questioning it and the inconsistencies and lack of logic behind it all. And then I saw. I was MOLDED this way. And not for my own good. For someone else’s convenience and well- being. Because of someone else’s selfishness. Not with my well being in mind at all. And it makes me mad. Mad at the injustice of it all, and the lost years and the bad feelings I had about myself. But I am also seeing where it can be freeing. I am NOT the way they defined me. I am not a bad person. I am not inferior. Wow! The guilt And blame I felt was for nothing. While that makes me mad on one level, on another, I am freeing myself of the burden of carrying unwarranted guilt and shame.

Thanks for this article Darlene! It goes deep, and is very validating.


God Bless you for speaking the words that many of us want to express but cannot articulate as well as you.
Darlene, you get so deep into the reality of what we are feeling and have this amazing way of explaining it. I read this recent post and said OMG! How does she know exactly what I am thinking and feeling.
You are a blessing to many.


Hi Amber
That is exactly the thing! Why do these people have ‘the right’. and the answer is that they don’t have the right. They don’t have the knowledge, or the understanding of what happened and if they don’t want to see it through the grid of the truth, and instead, blame it on me, why do I have to accept that? and the answer is that I DON’T have to accept that. I got my life back when I saw that it couldn’t have been my fault, that I didn’t deserve that treatment, that I was the child, not the answer for them.
p.s. Anger was a necessary part of the healing process for me. It was self-validating to be angry at the injustices, and it was part of the process of moving forward.
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


Thank you Darlene and thank you Amber for the incredibly well written descriptions of the ways that we can be conditioned to believe that our experiences and sense of things are wrong and that we deserve to be treated poorly.

One memory from around the age of 4 is of my mother putting something on the stairs, forgetting about it, and then slipping on it and falling.

I went to make sure she was ok and she screamed at me and hit me and punished me physically and verbally the rest of the day.

It is just one haunting memory and example of how I was taught to believe that I didn’t deserve to be loved or hugged or respected.

My dad would take out his “bad day” at work on us when he got home in a similar way, including doing things like throwing his plate at the lamp over the table, if someone asked him to pass the potatoes, sending shards of his plate flying at the family who was already cowering, afraid to say the wrong thing.

Darlene you said above “love is only visible by its actions”.

That is SO true, and I even asked my family over and over about that and said “actions speak louder than words”, when they would say “no, we love you” but would act totally opposite.

I am done being blamed for things that are not my fault but still working on healing my wounds, and not deny that I experienced some awful stuff at the hands of my family.

But I was taught to feel unworthy of love and that everything was my fault and this has been some of the most difficult stuff to shed entirely from my sense of self as a 47 year old.

I wasn’t born hurt or angry or deserving of these feelings of being worthless and “defective”.

Thank you again Darlene, Amber and everyone here


Hi Nadia
Thank you. I became passionate about writing about my life and healing process because I started speaking in mental health seminars, and EVERYONE in the seminar had the same reaction you are expressing here. I was shocked at how many people could relate to the way I expressed myself! I figured if all those people could relate there were millions out there that would also relate… and I was right. I am passionate about sharing the hope of healing.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Dave
Yes, I can relate to what you are sharing too. I realized that my mother took her moods out on me. I thought her moods were my fault too. I had been conditioned to believe that and that is the grooming process in dysfunctional families. As a child I believed that my very life (survival) depended on pleasing my mother and not upsetting her. The only choice a child has is to try harder to ‘not upset anyone’.. it is so crazy hard to undo all that brainwashing but I am here to declare that it is in NO WAY impossible! I have undone it and I have my life back! (the life I was born to have and the original me)
Thanks for your comments and for sharing today Dave. Realizing the true definition of love as an action is one of the most important truths in the process of healing.
hugs, Darlene


Hi Darlene:
The above quote didn’t speak to me either… it blames the victims for not working hard enough at recovery. I do agree with everything that you said about working on a relationship with yourself and self love- most important. My toxic sister and her sick associates continue to stalk me and manipulate and control those around me…all behind my back. I think what bothers me most is the total disrespect and discounting that they show by their actions.They just laugh at me and continue the bullying – all under the guise of “helping me”.They need to leave me alone and they need to be stopped. I have asked for help ; they have too much money and power for me to deal with them by myself , they are dangerous people :(.Thank you for this forum. I am so happy to have found you and those who post here…it helps to know that I am not alone in this journey- at least in cyberspace:)


>>pull out the core of the pain that is holding you in your past, the memories, and make peace with them<<

Make peace with them. Make peace with them? What does that mean? If it means, "pull out the core of the pain that is holding you in your past, the memories, and with the help of an empathetic and skilled therapist– one who is your staunch advocate, never sides with your abusers, and creates a safe environment where you are safe enough to FEEL the original traumatic emotions which were suppressed in childhood as a survival mechanism– work through and process the ancient grief and sadness in you, then yes I agree with her.

If it does not mean that, if it means some bullshit evasive 'live and let live', 'forgive and forget', 'let the past be the past', 'be the bigger person', or perhaps my favorite bullshit non-advice 'you just have to choose to forgive', then no I in no way agree with this and it's drivel. Some might note a certain caustic edge to my post; lately I have been especially galvanized by bad advice masquerading as helpful and loving because it's not only not helpful, it's actually counterproductive and sets the abuse victim on a collision course with relapsing into dysfunctional recreations of the earlier trauma.


I agree with the quote “until you heal the wounds of your past, you will continue to bleed”.
I have mixed feelings about Iyanla Vanzant. I saw one of her “fix my life” shows that involved an abusive husband. She seemed to throw responsibility on the abused wife in a way that made me very uncomfortable. I’ve also seen her push the concept of understanding abusive parents.

Darlene, your message strongly states that abusers are fully responsible for their abuse, and that having been abused is no excuse to be abusive. I needed to hear those statements very loud and clear.

It also doesn’t make for good TV if you can’t solve a problem in an hour. The rush to resolution, forgiveness and reconciliation is very unrealistic to many of our situations.

Iyanla does have some valuable things to say, and her methods may work in a lot of situations. Some of it just doesn’t seem right for me.


Darlene, RE: your message #3 to me; I think that parents think they have the right to treat their kids any way they want is because they view their kids more as their possessions rather than as human beings. It’s as if they own their children rather than being separate, older human beings whose job it is to live and guide their young ones so that they can grow up to be happy, healthy and thriving people.

Yes, the anger I am feeling actually feels good. Because it is completely justified to be angry when one is wronged by others.

Another insight I got from this article is that I do have choices that for many years I never realized I had. I don’t have to accept bad treatment, and I don’t have to be a certain way because someone else wants me to be that way. I had this feeling today of splitting away. Not splitting away from myself but splitting away from others. My feelings don’t have to be their feelings or how they want me to feel. Mi don’t have to accept their viewpoints of me if I don’t want to. I have my own viewpoint. I have my own opinions which may or may not be the same as someone else’s. I feel separate from other people, in a good way. I can relate to them ( or not, if I choose not to), but I am feeling that separate sense of “self”. Did you go through feelings like this Darlene? It’s kind of like when you separate a large bubble, and two bubbles go off in separate directions. It feels good.


Hi Darlene,

I was 8 yrs old when my mother’s brother molested me.I did speak up and tell her and my mother did make him move out of her house.She did it all before my father got home because she did not want her brother to get hurt.After that it was hushed up,she never once told me that it wasn’t my fault.When I hit my teens I was constantly angry.Which led to fights between me and my mother.She told her friends that I was a bitch and wished I was like someone else.I was never able to speak,I had no rights and wasn’t allowed to have a different opinion.If I tried to speak out,my parents told me to leave their house (never our home) or they threatened to send me away to juvenile detention.I never knew what I did that was so wrong that they would want to send me to kiddie prison! Flash forward to my 30’s……I taught both of my sons that they have the right to yell or scream NO if someone tried to touch them in an inappropriate way,tell a teacher,parents,etc and they do not need to respect someone who hurts them like that.My mother got mad at me,said (to my face) that I liked what her brother did to me,I wanted it and was asking for it to happen.I started to distance myself from her but could never say anything to her about her comment.I was scared for some reason.Now I’m in my 50’s,2 yrs ago I brought it up when we were having an argument about something else.She has denied she ever blamed me,told me I am a liar,sick and crazy. Her friends believe (and have told me this) that I am to blame for everything.After all, my mother is in her 80’s,I hurt her,I made her cry so I should just let it go. I find it ironic that no one cares that my mother hurt me or that she made me cry. She pretends she wants me back in her life yet she refuses to apologize for denying and minimizing my feelings when she called me a liar. I have not spoken to her in more than 2 yrs,it was really hard at first.Now I feel lighter,she’s not accusing me,criticizing me,ridiculing me and blaming me anymore.At least not to my face,which helps me realize I’m not as bad as she had me believing my whole life.


Thank you!!!! I’m in so much peace with what happen to me from the day I found this page. And I have help my little sister to deal with our abusive mother, just because of you.Thank you again and again ????


David (#8)

I have to admit that I assumed it meant the second paragraph that you posted rather than the third.

I agree with you that otherwise it’s bull!


Yes, I see now that this is something that was ingrained if me from an early age; that if I’m talking about abuse from family (as opposed to outside of it) then the ‘burden of proof’ I’m expected to provide is inflated by one hundred degrees and I’m told that only the most extreme instances can be mentioned without my being censured, because people automatically sympathize with my parents. And it’s that way within the abusive family too, I remember many times my sister was very willing to hear if people outside the family had done something bad to me, but if I brought up our parents or my brother, she immediately looked away, changed her tone of voice and froze me out.

I’m kind of sick of people talking about ‘the past’ as if it’s actually an epoch in history from five hundred years ago, as opposed to trauma that is stored, recorded in our bodies and very much so present. For many supposedly inspirational quotes, it seems that the model, the goal of healing is to make you shut up and pretend like nothing bad ever happened to you; and do it NOW, before the healing ‘goes too far.’ They act like talking about it and feeling healthy anger at our abusers is THE problem to be solved, as opposed to actually healing the trauma. But I know that my issues are not due to the fact that I haven’t forgiven or don’t like my abusive ex-family, but because I’m still working through the trauma. Thus I don’t follow people like Iyanla or vague quotes that seem to veer off into a direction that is all about morality and willpower as opposed to actual healing.


Hi Kathy
Hang in there! Always remember that if they do anything illegal you can call the police. For all the rest, when I kept going forward with my healing, there came the day when I no longer cared about all the things that were being said about me because I finally knew deep in my heart that their behaviour is about them and how pathetic they are. It’s sad that they have to live that way in order to feel okay about themselves.
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


Hi David
Yes. I totally agree with everything you said here! Excellent comments and additions to this post!
Thanks, hugs, Darlene

Hi Hobie
I have mixed feelings about her too; I watched one episode and it was about 2 sisters and I found the whole thing okay until about the second half when it started to remind me of the whole dysfunctional relationship dynamic and then the last 10 min. was abusive and very judgemental towards one of the sisters. I never watched the show again…
Thanks for sharing.
hugs, Darlene


Hi Amber
Love your first sentence~ YES that is exactly why they do it… it is an entitlement issue and an ownership issue both of which have NOTHING to do with love. 🙁 (I am working on a few articles about both these issues!)
hugs, Darlene

Hi Diane
OH MY GOSH!! This is exactly the kind of horror that I am always talking about Diane! So even though your mother asked him to leave the house she still protected him! (didn’t tell your dad and didn’t call the police and her inaction sends a very clear message to you, the victim of this!) and then she threw the whole thing in your face and blamed you! This is a perfect example of what so many adults are trying to deal with and overcome the damage it causes!
Thank you so much for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


Hi Michal
Thank you, I am really glad that you are finding some validation and comfort here.
Welcome to Emerging from Broken!
hugs, Darlene

Hi Caden!
Great points and great examples! And you are so right that people talk/act as if the problem STILL has to do with us. This reminds me again that it was when I (finally) knew that it wasn’t me that was the problem (and this IS the process of healing, it didn’t sink in automatically the first time I thought about it through the grid of the truth because of the intense brainwashing and grooming process) that I also how deeply I the grooming goes, and with how many in the world ~ Society is groomed towards parental entitlement as well! (but if you think about it, there is always a benefit to that kind of thinking… and I will fight to expose the truth until the day I die.) I try to be very careful about which quotes that I share too!
hugs, Darlene


First off I don’t think its a good thing to compare the healing process. We’re similar but we are individuals. I appreciate your efforts here and for me, you do “get it”. It takes hard work to approach the core of pain when it derives from sexual abuse by family members. But I’ve found freedom in the process.I learn to give a deaf ear to statements like ‘that’s all my parents knew’ and other statements that made me feel guilty about them raping me. There is no excuse to harm an innocent child. With faith I take courage in letting go of dysfunctional beliefs and lies that were at the core of my pain. The process is mine and by God’s grace I will continue to heal and live a life of love and freedom.. Thank you again for all you do here. You have encouraged me in many ways. God bless


Not you Darlene, but others… I have learned, after a decade of listening to various self help gurus, that they all don’t have their heads screwed on straight! I doubt that some of them have been through any abuse to tell you the truth. They just jump on the band wagon and accrue a good following by learning the ropes and learning to say what sounds good! Some of it is ‘pure unadulterated crap’! I am so tired of hearing how ‘we’ are the ones who are ‘responsible for how we turned out’. Now, don’t get me wrong… we have to pick up the ball to heal, but until we reach a certain level of awareness of what we have been through, the impact that it has had on our lives, and the decisions that it caused us to make, we cannot move forward and heal.
The first baby step is the realization that ‘maybe, it was not my fault’! And, only after we are able to articulate our feelings and, hopefully find someone to validate that truth, can we begin the long and difficult journey to healing. The journey is made even more difficult by people saying things like, “You must find the strength to open the wounds, stick your hands inside, pull out the core of the pain that is holding you in your past, the memories, and make peace with them”. I don’t believe that we have to be rough with ourselves. We don’t have to be brutal. We were already brutalized by others. How about some gentleness, love, and compassion for ourselves? Can’t we gently love ourselves to wellness? I already beat myself up enough! I don’t need to be ripping open my wounds. My wounds aren’t healed, they are already open.
Platitudes… meaningless words… crap that sounds good to some of our ears… that is all that it is!


Hi Beth (20)

I understand what you’re saying. I have tried the “shrink” books and assorted self-help gurus and got absolutely nothing from them. I don’t care much for Iyanla’s quote or her TV show—way too pushy with people. Another one that I had issues with is that famous Dr. Laura Schlessinger (sp)? One time I was riding with a friend in her car and she had the AM talk radio station on. This Dr. Laura has her own call in radio show for advice. There was a woman caller on the show asking for advice and I can’t recall the question but Dr. Laura was extremely rough and rude with her. The woman caller sounded almost like she was crying at her end, although it was a live radio show and impossible to see her. I finally asked my friend if she wouldn’t mind changing to a music radio station.

I think what disturbs me most about these celebrity shrinks is that they really don’t care about people and their problems. It’s only about making money with their books, coffee mugs, and giftware. That Iyanla had a good business deal with the Hallmark Store selling greeting cards with her quotes. I really don’t care where these celebrity shrinks and self-help gurus went to college or why they should feel superior to others. They’re only good at packaging and promoting themselves. Maybe if you could see behind closed doors, then their lives would not be so happy with bratty kids and a horrible husband. Who knows? Then the second thing that disturbs me about these self-help gurus is their cult following. Their fans are kind of like overgrown teenagers who worship them and can’t view them simply as people. These self-help gurus creep me out, more like they should be running a religious cult! LOL!

For Dave (4):

I can clearly remember the horrors of the weeknight dinner hour in my house. My father would come home after a long day of work to the same routine. It was always sitting in his “throne” recliner chair, with a drink and a small dish of peanuts on the side table. I was never allowed to talk or disturb him in anyway. Then it was time for dinner and that’s when things went bad. My Narc mom was surprisingly a good cook and she was expected to put on a fabulous different dinner every night. My parents had the bad habit of listening to the TV news during the dinner hour. It was nothing but yelling and fighting and screaming between them. I, being a young child at the time, was blamed for truly everything going in the whole world from politicians, inflation, the economy… I was yelled at and I didn’t understand anything. I can remember being like only four years old at the time. Well, what young child can debate politics at that age. I think it was at that point that I would develop future food issues around food and not feeling safe. I wanted to eat really fast to clean up my plate and leave. Sometimes I would eat and kind of space out and daydream, not connected to the fact that I was eating. I wouldn’t dare make eye contact with them since that would set off sparks with a parent. Now, I am still learning how to handle my food issues. I have faith that I can lose weight and it’s connected to the past.

I don’t know but the only books that have helped me to heal (along with EFB and Darlene’s writings) (LOL!) are the books by Melody Beattie like “Codependent No More”. She’s very good only because here is a woman who walks her talk and she’s been there. I admire those who have overcome their tragedy and now they can guide others.

Thanks everyone!

Blessed Be,


marquis (female)
June 1st, 2014 at 7:32 pm

Thank you, thank you, thank you for this blog!! I have been searching for something like this for a long time! This is way better than how my ex-therapist phrased it. She said all of our past still matters and said it matters because I am still in the situation and haven’t left it yet.

“I share this quote myself, but what struck me is that for the most part, people LOVE these kinds of quotes as long as the core of your pain isn’t rooted in the way you were treated and defined by your parents or your family in your childhood ~ because if it is rooted in family dysfunction or child abuse, then oddly enough, the “stain that oozes through and stains your life”, is often presumed to be your own dang fault. If the core of your pain has something to do with your family or having not been protected and validated by your family, the world is not so interested in hearing about it. In those cases the victim survivor is often viewed differently and possibly even blamed for causing the abuse or for bringing it on to themselves! Sometimes children of parental abuse are told they must have done ‘something’ to deserve it even if that abuse was sexual abuse! This is otherwise known as “Victim Blaming””

True. I got told a lot by people that I caused the abuse and by “being a smart ass towards my “parents” that is the reason why they are emotionally and physically not there for me. Who makes a person become abusive? Really?!? I was told by people ‘if you were a good kid, your parents wouldn’t have to be this way.’ My ex-therapist kept yelling at me about ‘they are your parents/still your parents and it does matter,’ I told her that’s devaluing and dehumanizing keep talking! This woman is suppose to have a background in abuse/trauma and told her how is that working out for you?

Victims being viewed differently. I have been viewed differently by people that I am some messed up person, I caused it, how dare you, etc lots of people never wanted to be around me or be my friend. Gee, we wonder why people keep their abuse a secret for a long time. It’s very interesting and came to thinking when you hear celebrities who were abused sometime in their lives, you never hear about it when they were younger but you hear about it when they are older. I just read a story about the actress from 90210 who was abused by her male friend in her home, woke up to finding him inside of her, and she played a part in one episode of the show telling her friend how a male friend sexually abused her yet never told any of her crew but everybody thought her crying was fantastic little did they know those were painful tears, real tears.

It seems as though nobody cares about hearing abused victims and people have said and told me to get over it that everybody has problems you are not special. Wonder why people give up on therapy that’s exactly how most mental health professionals (MHPs) talk to their own clients yet it’s the clients who need to work on their lives and why does the MHP have such a problem about how they feel like my ex-therapist? The actress said you have a voice and use it never keep it buried. Agreed, but people out there have to be willing to hear your voice and have compassion too.

May be abused people who don’t talk about the past probably view it as it’s over and done with and others it is a trigger and find ways to beat around the subject (that’s what I do with people). I get tired of hearing ‘oh, they didn’t know any better, they didn’t have the resources back in the day, they were married young and had kids, etc.’ What does that have to do with the mistakes they made? That is basically saying you are their mistake too! I agree that is validating the abusers and blaming the victim that is something my ex-therapist failed to understand, she got hot when I said that to her! I told her you are also abusing me right now by saying oh your parents did you a favor, etc that in itself is downright abusive – period end of sentence! She got pretty mad claiming I don’t know what I am talking about yet coming from someone who is kissing a narc’s ass really has some nerve to speak!

“It is shocking how differently we are received by many if the pain we are talking about has to do with our own mothers and fathers. That’s when we are so often told that talking about the core of our pain is “gossip” and “malice” and that we should not air our dirty laundry in public. That is when we are directed to forgive the abuser or offender without ever having the offence validated in the first place. That is when we are informed to consider that the offender, ‘did the best they could do with what they had to work with”. Or we are told that they didn’t know any better. Or we are instructed to understand the abusive childhood that the abusive or neglectful parents came from themselves and that it was because of the injustice done to them, that they did it to us. (Which validates the abuser but not the victim and in fact is once again, victim blaming.) If your grievance is with your family, and you have been instructed to ‘get over it’ and to ‘leave the past in the past’ or to “forgive and forget”, consider this; NONE of those instructions deals with or heals “the core of your pain that is holding you in your past” ”

People don’t need to be blamed for something they had no control over. There’s way too much shame-blaming in today’s world and we are suppose to pick up the pieces and fix everybody a load of bs! To forgive or forget, leave it in the past, etc I agree that isn’t healing/dealing with the issues again the ex-therapist failed on that miserably and called her out on it. She said you can heal in a toxic/abusive environment. I looked at her like really?!? Surviving is one thing in a toxic/abusive/horrific environment but not healing. I told her and other people remember the Jews in the concentration camps? They said yea, what about it? I said did any of them heal while they were in those camps? I bet they prayed like no tomorrow; nobody healed in those camps and I doubt many of them actually healed after the war was over – the ones who survived there was no going back to being who they were before the Nazis came in. They just looked at me and said that’s a great example to use when it comes to abuse/horrific situations did anybody tell them back then ‘oh, the Germans are doing you a favor?’ What favor? By putting them into a camp, a lot of the Jews were elderly, sick, couldn’t keep up, raped/beaten, and those bunkers were so crammed, etc that they should have been grateful for “having a roof over their heads?” They already had a roof over their heads way before Hitler ever came into power!

My ex-therapist and I got at it on that (so did some other people too) she didn’t last 20 minutes arguing with me as I put her in her place! So, there’s no such thing as “abusers doing the victims a favor of any kind.”

“Victim blaming is abusive.”

Agreed! It’s still blaming yet my ex-therapist didn’t agree with that. Why can’t MHPs use blogs like these in their practices which is real life not the shit they were taught in school or the clinic or better yet the head honchos of the Mental Health giving them something that only “appeals to them (like a doctor do it our way not your way).” Ex-therapist said it’s still blaming your parents and I said no it’s not. How is it blaming when everything I said is exactly what happen and still is happening today? I have told people and ex-therapist that victim blaming you are still sending messages to keep the abuse going not breaking away from it saying they are still your parents is not breaking away the chain of abuse, this is why there are generation cycles of abuse still going on. Yep, she didn’t like that!

If you let your child get raped or killed whether it’s a relative or outsider, then it is your fault for allowing it to happen! Like my 1st born half sister who I don’t even know and my mom claims she could be dead as my grandma won’t tell her anything. My mom has no legal say over her first born as she abandoned her when she was 2, abandoned her again when she was a teen, molested by my dad (not her real dad), her biological family on her real dad’s side just uses her for money and abuses her, grandma raised her (don’t know anything about her childhood with my grandma), illiterate, etc she has completely lost her mind and will be 50 soon. My mom has been saying for years I need to find my daughter I am her mother, nope, you gave that up years ago all you are to her (found this out) is a stranger who didn’t want her and she hates your guts! You are no longer a parent/caretaker whatever you wanna call it when you make the decisions to not raise your kids or do such a shit job of it – doesn’t make someone a parent.

If she died by somebody (probably her bio family), then it’s my mom’s fault for not being a real parent as she hasn’t seen her mentally ill child in almost 34 years yet my ex-therapist calls that an active parent that’s shameful to say and she is a parent herself. Like everybody on here has said that our parents or whoever raised us had plenty of years to make it right and do better; but they chose not to and people out there expect us to “still be a family and embrace the abusers with open arms with hugs and kisses?” I don’t think so!

I mean, I know some things about my parents but not everything and I saw the issues from them and that direct mistreatment/abuse towards us they got the same thing back then. That still doesn’t make it right, so why do the victims have to “forgive and forget?”


This SPEAKS volumes to me. Not only in the parental angel, but also in the sexless marriage. The victim is often blamed, “that she must be doing something wrong” in order for her spouse to not be intimate with her.

Not true.

WHY is it so hard to for many to believe that there are just certain types of men out there who are not sexual beings in nature? YES, they actually do exist. WHY is the woman always blamed? WHY is she questioned when SHE is the victim? WHY is religion thrown in her face? WHY is she made to feel bad for wanting to escape her miserable marriage? So many women stay in abusive, sexless marriages thanks to the victim blaming crisis.

Victim blaming is abusive. You nailed it. But this one really stuck home with me. Thank you for writing it.

marquis (female)
June 1st, 2014 at 10:47 pm

I agree with Sariah. Look at my parents’ useless/loveless/wasteless/worthless marriage – a “marriage” filled of abuse, negativity, talking shit about one another, zero love on either side, etc. Someone mentioned about celebrity shrinks, yea, most of them don’t live everybody’s lives and for them to be so accusatory towards the guest is another victim blaming itself. I always told my ex-therapist if you don’t have eyes to see and ears to hear, then don’t speak about something you don’t know/understand. If you want to be a witness to the situation, then actually be there in person and you will see everything of what goes on.


Darlene, you totally “get it”!


Hi everyone
Dave, Hobie, I agree with #8! Darlene as always your words are the thoughts in my heart I am still finding the courage to use. This rings so true for me. My entire childhood was defined by not being allowed to feel or respond to emotion in any way. I was left alone and told be be strong when burying my mom at 13. Strong? Forgive and forget seems so contrite. It’s hard to just not be angry, to work through the anger, the deceit, the lies of years of hurt we all feel. I would love to forgive the emotional punches to gut each and every time my stepmother gaslighted her behavior, or the emotional abuse her son kept dishing out. My father feigned ignorance, even to my broken nose and bruised face. To this day she maintains her son did nothing, it was all in my mind. I would love to forget the time she accused me of lying. To this day that remains one of many triggers for me. I buried my mom and I lost my dad too. Although I find myself questioning how healthy family was before. I don’t remember, my way of dealing with the inexplicable loss of a parent as a child with no support. My mother was the last child of an alcoholic. She never finished school, and all her attention focused around my intelligence. That was all I thought I was good for, for a long time. Ironic, as I am breath away from 40 and remain clueless to what I want to do with my life. I’ve never defined myself for me.
I’m married to an addict. Forgive is possible. Forget is not. The balance in between is the line we all choose to walk in our healing. For me, some reminders are harder than others. I am getting to a place where I can forgive myself for choosing a hysterectomy at 38, in the misguided belief it would fix my marriage. It didn’t. Instead it took me to a place where i could start fixing and forgiving me along the way. My scar is my reminder of how much I was prepared to give up for love. And how much I can love.
Forget is luxury few of us will ever have.
It’s how we live with the compromises we make along the way that define us for ourselves.


”You must find the strength to open the wounds, stick your hands inside, pull out the core of the pain that is holding you in your past, the memories, and make peace with them” Iyanla Vanzant –

To me this is a beautiful quote and she is correct about how the pain is numbed by food, sex, alcohol, until the past is dealt with. The last verse of this quote to me means ‘sitting with the hurt and pain, processing it, (for me it had to be with a supportive counselor) and when i sat and felt the pain deeply, profoundly, sobbed for 2 years almost every weekly session, felt the fear, rejection, pain, re-abuse when my so called parents rejected me again by minimizing the abuse, and then had a good hard look at all the habits I had formed to ‘protect myself’ such as food addiction, abusive relationships, holding on to someday getting an acknowledgement from the people who were meant to love me, slowly letting my guard down in counselling and then letting these behaviors go (the food addiction is still there but working hard on it) and taking back responsibility for my life. For me the making peace that Iyanla talks about is working through the feelings rather than the feelings defining you. The forgiveness in her quote for me would be to forgive MYSELF for holding on to a toxic familial circle and playing my part as the victim, because I am NOT a victim. I forgive Myself for keeping those abusive people around me so much longer than I had to. I will never get the validation that I used to crave but that’s ok because now I validate myself . They call all swim in their sea of toxicity, Its almost a year now and I am free forever!

My forgiveness to myself is my freedom 🙂

I so look forward to your writings Darlene and you have a huge following on EFB who completely recognize and are validated by you speaking up about abuse. Do not let anyone ever silence you- because of you I have found a voice XXXX


May I also ad that victim blaming is so so common, I often asked my therapist why was this happening- It took so much courage for me to broach the subject of the abuse with the family but I was the one that got shunned- They knocked on his door and ‘warned him’ that I had disclosed the abuse. Where in their mind does that make sense? If it was my child I would believe my child!! The worst part about that reaction was that it felt like I had done something wrong and not the abuser. It hurts like hell when your folks know it happened but decide to smother the truth because it would ‘kill his wife if she found out!) WOW!! 🙁 Its a very lonely road to stand up to abusers but it is worth it, this site has been such a comfort for me thank you and I hope you don’t mind the extra comment xxxx


I so agree with this post. I went no contact two years ago, when I finally (because of Darlene’s work here) put all this together as what happened and continued to happen to me all of my life.
Because of the emotional damage, I lived a “less than” life continually blamed by my FOO for my defectiveness.
This Christmas I received a card from a nursing home that my mother now resides. I had no clue she had moved there. They were informing me I was on her emergency contact list. No way! So I called and politely asked to be taken off. The manager than says I know you, Ive met you. I didn’t remember her. At closing she says “well good luck to you” in a condescending way. Maybe I’m hyper vigilant but ?? It was like “shame on you! you can’t survive without your mother in your life”. That really bugged me.
So it goes on and on.

But now I can say “No!” I say no too, everyday now to shaming and blaming of my response.
I also thru reading have learned that the “no response” was taken from me as a child.
(I never realized I put up because I was taught I couldn’t speak up or say no!) WoW.
That it was safer to go along, to be small, to be a victim. I learned to be passive, to be a victim to be “safer” as a child. That I wasn’t allowed to speak back to anyone. I learned how my behavior “became” codependent.
This was an eye-opener for me…”a disorder of assertiveness”

“Codependency the inability to express rights, needs and boundaries in relationship; it is a disorder of assertiveness that causes the individual to attract and accept exploitation, abuse and/or neglect.) The dictionary defines it.. “to act servilely; cringe and flatter”, and I believe it is this response that is at the core of many codependents’ behavior. The trauma-based codependent learns to fawn very early in life in a process that might look something like this: as a toddler, she learns quickly that protesting abuse leads to even more frightening parental retaliation, and so she relinquishes the fight response, deleting “no” from her vocabulary and never developing the language skills of healthy assertiveness.(Sadly, many abusive parents reserve their most harsh punishments for “talking back”, and hence ruthlessly extinguish the fight response in the child.)

I read this at http://www.pete-walker.com There are many great articles there about how abuse changes your thought patterns and responses. I myself got caught in the loop for over 40 years forever taking the blame for my “defectiveness”. Hugs to all recovering from this Victim Blaming.


Marquis, you had me cheering at your rebuttals of that “therapist”. I feel as if I’m fine-tuned to detect this “therapeutic” BS because my mother used the very same words on me “Let it go Alice. Get over it Alice. It’s your choice to feel that way Alice.I did the best I could in the circumstances Alice. It was the done thing at the time Alice.” and many more that put the blame for the hell I lived through with her squarely on my shoulders. I also recall wondering where my house was since it was so often made clear that where I lived was “theirs”. “When you get your own house Alice you can do what you want”.

And at the same time, I sometimes see my parents as unconscious handmedowners of their own mistreatment. Why I woke up to it and they didn’t is a question I sometimes think about. It took me so long to understand that they would likely never admit to their wrongdoing and that I will never have the love I needed as a child/young adult. I don’t expect it from anyone else either. There’s something so sad about this understanding but it’s also freeing in a way I can’t explain. I suppose it stops me from trying to get love and approval from other people or even from the “parents in my head”.


Karen R, that definition of codependency really hit home with me! And it developed exactly as described. Yes, the fight response was completely extinguished in me through yelling, hitting, insults, intimidation and grooming me to believe that I am different from everyone else and don’t have the same rights. I am sitting here amazed at how accurate to my life that definition is! Karen, the “fight” was completely stomped out in me and in place of it I developed a FREEZE response where I just wouldn’t say anything when insulted, put down, accused of things I didn’t do, treated unfairly, asked or told to do something I really didn’t want to do. Even now, I still find myself freezing, but it is less often, and usually happens when so done does or says something that completely shocks me. But if I freeze with someone I know, I have learned to go back later on and assert myself. I’ve done this in work situations several times. I wrote in another post on here a couple of days ago about being in a store waiting on line for the one register that was open. I didn’t see that a woman opened a second register and that my turn was next. The man behind me poked me in the back and told me it was my turn at the new register. I froze at the surprise of being poked ( he could have just verbally communicated) and then recovered enough, not to verbalized, but atleast to give him a look of displeasure at what he did. I wish I could think of a quick verbal response when things like this happen, but the freezing from the surprise at rudeness seems to get the better of me. This is the main area in assertiveness that I still have difficulty with. Does anyone have suggestions or experience overcoming this?

You seem to have come a long way, Karen in being able to say “no”. I guess in many ways I’ve improved a lot too. I just need help with the freeze response.


Karen R, my maternal grandmother told my mother that I was “too willful” and that something should be done about it. I really relate to having the “fight” taken out of me at a young age.


Whatever blame was put on me (and it was) is nothing to what I put on myself. For everything from my own weight (yes, my fault) to a skin condition that has become debilitating and that I can’t seem to cure by “changing my thoughts.” The problem is that doctors can’t seem to cure it either. So I’m screwed. Yes, I can see how my own self-hatred, from a very VERY young age has led me to this skin condition. But I don’t see how changing my thoughts will close open wounds so that I can live for a moment without physical pain. Because I don’t think I can begin to address the emotional pain (which is considerable) until I can get beyond the physical pain (which is overwhelming).

I am at a loss. Because I go back and forth between blaming myself and being angry at others for not helping me to being angry at myself for not accepting help when it was given.

I am trying very hard not to give up. I don’t want to die. I just want to stop hurting. I am nearing the end of my rope.


Hi Will
Thanks! The only freedom I have ever found was as a result of the healing process. 🙂 I totally get that!
Thanks for your sharing and for your encouragement!
hugs, Darlene

HI Beth
I have to agree. So many people try to help others without offending anyone. Well what happened to us IS offensive and I am done with protecting the offenders! Validation was the first key and it was when my pain was validated and acknowledged that I finally had a little hope! It was just enough hope to keep me going a little farther forward and that was all I needed, just a start, just a little bit of hope.
Thank you so much for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


Hi Yvonne
I have heard dr. laura a few times and I have cringed a few times too.. I am always aware of the ‘parent defence factor’.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Marquis
I was told and have heard others told all that bull too. It really makes no logical sense at all. It is like the world is brainwashed and stuck when it comes to the difference between the stranger on the street, and parents. It is such a big root in the overall problem. WHY do people think that there is a difference? Why are parents exempt from the law? (well they aren’t actually, but so many people cover for them and other family relatives when it comes to offences against children) uggg..
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Sariah
OH YES!! This is such a good point about marriage. I was told that if a man cheated on a woman it is her fault because if she was taking care of him, he wouldn’t look elsewhere! And I BELIEVED it! ugggg. Thanks for bringing this up.. It is so very true!
hugs, Darlene


Hi Katie, Thanks!!

Hi Karina,
for me forgiveness came as a result of the healing process and forgiveness to me means that they no longer own me and my feelings. I don’t have any resentments left, but they can’t hurt me anymore either.
Thanks for sharing and yay for fixing and forgiving ourselves!
hugs, Darlene


Hi Marie
Yes, I believe it is a beautiful quote and I agree with your view on it as well. (I don’t think everyone hears it this way though.)

Thank you! yes I certainly have found my voice and the feedback I get is wonderful, supportive and validating! I know what makes sense to me today and what is someone else’s problem too. (as in the email against me, it doesn’t get to me anymore; it gives me ideas for new topics!)
and YES YES ~ it is so worth it!

Hugs, Darlene


Hi Karen
Being empowered to say NO is huge! I quaked with fear the first 50 times I did it, I am sure!
Thanks for sharing Pete Walker! He is really wonderful and his book is amazing too! I think you can order it on Amazon. (I sent directly to him for mine)
Thanks for sharing!
hugs, Darlene

Your comments to Marquis are right on. I heard all that crap too! I never had any ‘rights!’ as a person.
There is a real love that is possible but only with mutual respect and equal value. It doesn’t work any other way.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Lisa B.
I am so sorry for your pain. Have you read any of Gabor Matte’s work. His book “when the body says no” is really powerful. He is a dr. who has done some amazing work with abuse victims that have medical issues that manifested as a result of abuse.
Don’t give up!
Hugs, Darlene


Thank you for your blog. I found you when I was in the middle of the “pull out the core of the pain that is holding you in your past, the memories, and make peace with them” with my counselor (like David #8 said). I started counseling because I started to write my story and I knew going through it to write would bring up stuff that would be hard. I didn’t know what I was in for.

I had always struggled with validation in so many ways and had so many empty spaces in my memories. I always blamed myself. I struggled with your site because my abuses and traumas were not molestation or other sexual abuse. I struggled that because THAT didn’t happen to me, what did wasn’t as bad. It cannot be measured – it’s personal. I learned that from my counselor who validated things I had never imagined. Things that were discounted, normalized etc. The issues I uncovered that involved my parents are not as severe as yours (and many others) but they are not the single factor in my story.

So Darlene Thank you. You are brave and helped me be brave even though my story differs from yours. You are one of the people I gained bravery from to actually publish my book. It’s one thing to take out that core and see it and validate it in private but quite another to let others see also. It’s titled Emerging With Wings; A True Story of Lies, Pain and The Love that Heals, in case you are curious.

David #8 paragraph 1 worked for me. Maybe it won’t work for all. I believe everyone is different and has a unique path of their own (both into their darkness/pain as well as out).

Lisa B #33 my heart broke when I read your post. Don’t give up. There’s gotta be an answer somewhere. If a cyber hug has any power I am sending one.


My mom read her book, “One day my soul just opened up,” when I was a teenager. She kept it on the coffee table, among all the other self-help books kicking around the house. That quote would actually line up quite well with my family’s belief system. They are willing to allow that my core pain comes from incidents within the family dysfunction, but there’s a lot of fine print to that. There’s a difference between past “incidents” that caused damage and are maybe the flagships of my faulty belief system, that I can go in and pull out and make peace with, vs. the persistence of a family power structure that was the basis from which those incidents sprung in the first place. They can say that they never meant to communicate the messages their actions/inactions communicated, so they would be all for me, going in and pulling out the core pain and correcting those beliefs (but they would have a problem with the natural outcomes of me correcting those beliefs—i.e. the actions that would come out, the walk and not just the talk). My family is also totally okay if we disagree about the past. See, they have no problem with me being in therapy, going through my experiences, doing whatever I need to do to get healthy, thinking whatever I want to think, so actually that quote lines up completely with that. They want to see me heal from the past (in theory). It’s the vagueness of “making peace.” I can validate my experience myself (whatever I want to believe my experience was) but it’s wrong for me to want them to validate it if it’s not what they believe in. Of course I’m the one who comes off as obstinate, controlling, rigid, didactic, all-or-nothing, black-and-white… in short, abusive. I gather that they believe for me to have an empty, two-faced relationship with them would be superior to no relationship at all. Of course I cannot argue their point—it is wrong to force my way of seeing onto other people. They can’t understand why it’s so important that I’d walk away as a result of it, and I can’t explain the problem with emotional neglect to people who accept emotional neglect as a way of life.


Hello, I’ve only just found the website and haven’t ever commented before so am a bit nervous!! When I read the quote what is always a trigger for me is any use of the words ‘you must’. I’ve spent my whole life doing what I think I “must” or “should” do because I’ve felt so wrong for what’s happened to me and how I’m struggling to cope right now. So when I read another you must do I tend to lean towards feeling more wrong or somehow inadequate if it is something I’m struggling to do or be. I’m at a place now in my healing where I’m ever so gently wondering if maybe I’m not wrong, maybe it wasn’t me that was at fault, so although I agree with the concept in the quote the language in this and some other quotes I see can be difficult for me. Thank you for the website and time put into it, it has been such a light in a darkness I’m in at the moment with healing and trying to recover. Its been so helpful to read other experiences and put a sort of road map there for my journey, to know that other people have similar experiences has been so validating and helped me at the stage I’m in just now which is very shaky and with lots of fragile awarenesses happening. Thank you,jane


Alaina, my mother is also fond of saying “That’s just the way you see it Alice” as if the memories of her mistreatment of me were entirely attributable to my own twisted perception of reality and not what actually happened. At one point I didn’t even want her to be sorry, I just wanted her to say “Yes, I did this to you” and a couple of times she sort of did but then put the causes in the difficulties she was under at the time or some “done thing” of a tradition of harsh child-rearing of the day. I wanted a straight up “Yes I did this to you” with no excuses or blame on anything else apart from herself. Didn’t happen. I have to come to mistrust those slippery “psychological” aphorisms that seem so easy to repeat. Especially when they’re used by abusers.
I have also been wished “to have peace some day” and I didn’t understand what the person meant.


It is funny, I sit in therapy with a chart of faces, each with an ascribed emotion. I have to use it in my sessions because I am not yet able to identify my feelings. Even acknowledging that I am having a feeling causes me to feel immense shame and panic, my two new feelings that I had a breakthrough with today.

Alaina, your Mom sounds just like mine. There isn’t a self help book out there she hasn’t read. She considers herself somewhat of a New Age spiritual sage.

She too will acknowledge that my childhood was hard, that her second husband wasn’t good to me. But she has never once validated my experience or admitted her role in scapegoating me.

She too, loves to have me in therapy, she has taken me to several therapists over the years as a matter of fact. She supports me getting “fixed” but it seems to be more about her getting validation that there has always been something wrong with me, not with her or lack of maternal abilities.

Like your Mom, if she did something wrong, she didn’t mean too and that’s that, if I need to discuss it further, it will not be with her. She loves me, she is sure of it and she has moved on and cannot tolerate me beating her up over the past, it’s just too much for her, she isn’t going to walk on eggshells around me.

Still she feels free to talk about how I was a lost child or an out of control child or how I dug my heals in with her certifiably crazy second husband. If I disagree or object, I am simply proving that I am still digging in my heels, being out of control and there is something wrong with me.

I’ve worked diligently on letting go, at moving on. I’ve spent a lifetime doing this. I’ve done so well at it that I can only for sure know if I am hungry or tired. Those other emotions on my face chart are like a foreign language to me.

Denying my feelings, not validating my pain killed my internal compass, my radar, my instincts and my ability keep my feet on the ground and move forward. It left me in a state of purgatory, suspended over a pit of sulfur and the best way I can describe it is a perpetual state of suffering.

So all I can say is this. I don’t know much, but I am the epitome of a snapshot of the truth of what happens when you deny your feelings, when you do not validate your pain and when you let someone else tell you what you are or or not allowed to feel. Trust me, you don’t want to be here. I would not even wish this place on my worst enemy.


Amber, your first comment described my life exactly, just substitute the name and I had only one younger Golden child brother who was perfect in every way, but came out of that house as damaged as I was although in a different way.
I only recently discovered the assertiveness issue was one of the core ways I was damaged. I have always felt like two people in one body. Smart, fearless, strong, creative, fun, noisy chatterbox… then the other side obedient, compliant, doormat who never complains and is everyone’s servant.

My “no” was turned off. It was dangerous to say no, contradict, have an opinion or voice ANY displeasure about anything.
My mother made verbal warnings every day. Don’t upset your father.
Didn’t matter he came home upset or in a screaming violent rage.
I was also required to turn a deaf ear to horrible verbal abuse. My abusive father had full right to do anything to us. He held the power of life and death over us. And he was NOT to be held accountable because thats the way he is.

Last time I stayed at my mother’s apt for a week, I had to sleep in an uncomfortable sleeper bed, in a 58 degree room (Im from FL so Brrrr), not allowed to watch any TV I liked, my topics of conversation were given verbal limits, and I was given food that I disliked. I never complained.
I was 58 years old. Sad really.

Recently I spent two days and read everything on the Pete Walker site, then bought the book and read that. Big time insight into my situation.
Every single time I learn something, my picture gets clearer and I feel a little better.
Especially when you read descriptions which mirror exactly how you were treated and the different coping methods. I learned to self harm by age 9. To hold it all in and rage against myself. All my life I have slid back into that as coping because you see I felt I was the problem and I deserved it. I was told my emotional issues were “proof” of it. My mother taught me to hate myself. She herself was blameless for all the reasons Alice described so well.

My brother is her flying monkey now and had taken over the shaming and blaming. Im no contact with him now too.
Thanks again Darlene and all those who post..Karen


Kaycee! Ive never heard of a chart of faces.. Thats kind of cool. I was never allowed to “feel” or express feelings or opinions. So my feeling of choice became anger. I have always had anger since that young child of 9. The Anger management classes (I was the only woman!) were all about channeling it not finding out why I had so much of it.


Hi Jane!
Welcome to emerging from broken! It’s okay to be nervous. 🙂 I think you will find this a safe place but it’s always a little scary at first! I am triggered by the “MUST” directive too. This site is all about the truth about blame etc. and the truth that set me and so many others here, free! I had to look at how I came to believe that it was my fault, and how I was defined by the actions of others etc. in order to start to see that truth. Thanks for sharing!
hugs, Darlene


Hi Danielle
I would say that over half the people that share here are not here dealing with sexual abuse. All abuse begins with psychological abuse which is what I concentrate on most of all. You might be surprised to hear that ALL victims of ANY kind of mistreatment feel like everyone else had it worse and therefore we have ‘no right’ to complain, myself included. In fact sometimes people write me and say “my abuse was in no way as bad as yours” and I think to myself “what do you think happened to me?” The truth is that abuse is abuse and there are no levels.
Congrats on your book!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Alina
Great points! love your last line; They can’t understand why it’s so important that I’d walk away as a result of it, and I can’t explain the problem with emotional neglect to people who accept emotional neglect as a way of life. So true,
hugs, Darlene


Hi Alice,
I got the impression that my mom could admit certain puzzle pieces but to have her put it all together—forget it, that’s when the reasonings and the contextualizations come out. It was hard to be my mother. And don’t forget gender and personality type factor into it. Or my mom says she’s sorry, but then my dad has a talk with me about all the things that are upsetting my mom and how I should go about fixing it and my mom then acts like she has nothing to do with this, that my relationships with others are totally independent of her. That’s how the entire family operates, though; everything is fractured and no one looks at the system as a whole. My mom said she hoped that one day I’d find peace with my past—this hollow, superior, compassion stuff is so suffocating and crazy-making. The two-facedness, hypocrisy, that’s when I’d wish for overt abuse… but they will always find some way to slip out of their own responsibility and lay it elsewhere, e.g. at my feet.

Hi Kaycee,
Yes, our moms do sound very similar. Though I’m sure I’ve now read way more self-help books than my mom and I don’t know what her relationship to them is presently. The thing that drove me nuts about the therapy situation and my emotional problems was that at first in order to get my parents to listen, I had to really tell them how bad my emotional problems were. I had to say this is serious, there’s a problem, listen up. Nine years ago after I’d had a breakdown and first brought up the problems, my mom’s response was “I understand that you feel you had an unhappy childhood.” But then finally years later when I could finally get them to understand the depth of emotional problems, then my emotionality somehow invalidated what I was saying on an intellectual, logical level. I.e. I couldn’t possibly have more insight than them if I’m suffering from all these problems and they aren’t. A catch-22.

I think I’m getting pretty good now at registering/observing/feeling my feelings, though I’m sometimes delayed and knowing how best to take care of them is another thing entirely. I could relate to what you wrote, though. I remember almost ten years ago now saying that I was the epitome of repression and having it pointed out to me that there was pride in my voice… and it was true I was proud of my ability to repress my emotions. I was startled that someone could actually feel my feelings, never mind just acknowledging them myself. I thought it was some kind of mystical experience that a person could connect and sense and feel the feelings I was experiencing. Strangely, though, I didn’t put together the fact that I did that with my mom all the time when I was younger. I remember her once being surprised that I’d “read her mind,” but I hadn’t—I could feel her upset and knew her well enough to know what would be upsetting her and had said something to try to make her feel better. It’s a role I fall into very easily. I feel more stable feeling other people’s feelings and understanding them than figuring out what to do with my own. I was taught not to have feelings and to take care of my mom’s.

I could relate to you feeling like you have two people inside you. I was considering it and I feel like I have four. The first one is like yours: active, chatterbox, energetic, vivacious, strong-willed, wanting to take on the world. The second is the quiet, sensitive, compliant, empathetic doormat, the listener, peacemaker, putting myself in other people’s perspectives, naive, innocent, little girl. The third is a cynical, cold, unfeeling, judgmental, aloof outsider. The forth is the professor, the know-it-all, the analytical intellectual. I feel like there are actually good qualities to all of them if there was cohesion and movement back and forth. But sometimes it’s really like I’m stuck inside one. THe other week Darlene had responded to one of my comments, telling me that she treasured me and it triggered me. I was “special,” I was the pet, I was the golden child at one point in my family, so sometimes expressions of appreciation or love trigger me, like a warning that I’m being exploited, everything is phoney and fake, and that third personality comes out. In order to cope with my mom’s needy possessiveness, I needed a harshness and detachment. When I’m that “person,” though, it’s hard because I will honestly believe that everything else is a hoax, like every other aspect of me is phoney and I’m really some kind of… psychopath, basically… but I’ve gone through these cycles enough to understand them a bit more and why they happen and that who I am isn’t one or the other, etc.


Hi Kaycee,
I love your comments today. I love your honesty! I too can relate to having to break out of denial of my own feelings. It isn’t that I “Let” someone else tell me what I was or was not allowed to feel ~ it was that I was never empowered to have my own feelings. That is how the misuse of control and power works. But I made it all the way back to a full range of feelings and feeling them is amazing!
hugs, Darlene


This is really opening my eyes to the depth of child abuse. I have never heard so much sharing on this subject in my entire life. Not only that it’s making me realize the intensity of my own repressed feelings. I always wondered why I could not express any feelings about my childhood. Of course, again, I thought it was because I am so screwed up. I relate to the person that talked about being proud of their ability to repress.


Alaina, so sorry that you went/are going through this. I remember a particularly crazy-making “family meeting” where my aunt pretended to compassionately listen to my griefs about my mother and then said “So what do you suggest you can do to make things better?” I decided from then on never to trust her again.


Thanks, Alice. It’s over now (I realize I wrote that in present tense but all that is technically in the past… though I’m sure it’s all still there where I left it). I think my brother was like your aunt. Sometimes my brother was hard to figure out because of the careful way he worded things, but I got the distinct impression that he felt that I would need to step up to the plate and do something to help resolve the issues, though he tried to be sensitive toward the emotional difficulty I would have in doing this. He went to see a counsellor at my request and came back to tell me that the counsellor said that it would probably be good if one day we could all go to family counselling together. That allowed him to wipe his hands clean and wait for the day I come back and say, okay, let’s go to counselling. I won’t go through the emotional turmoil of being in a room with them talking about this stuff when they are completely in denial and putting it on me. I can’t do it. And if the counsellor my parents were seeing didn’t get through to them, given that they had my emails, etc., then what’s the difference if I’m there? I can’t compromise between truth and denial. It’s just their hope of trying to convince me to agree to disagree and make some workable phoney relationship, which I’m never going to agree to. But because I didn’t go, I gather they can sit back and wait.


I had to and still have to keep the abuse a secret with people that know my family. So my mom goes to her church and bashes her kids and asks people to pray for us. My mom neglects to tell them the fact that she divorced him because he was abusive, but then had me and let this predator back in the home. My father tells all his friends how horrible we are, but not the fact that he was a drunk and sexually and verbally abused us. However, when I tell people that I don’t get along with my dad or my mom, they can’t understand it. You must! Who doesn’t talk to their dad or mom! Actually, one of mom’s friends from church had the nerve to actually lecture me about how I am selfish because I tried to commit suicide and ended up in the hospital. He not knowing how my mom stood by idly while my father beat us or came home drunk all the time; how she let him in and out of the house even after their divorce. Currently, I went to a Psychologist for a consult to see if we are a were a good fit. With no exaggeration, everything I brought up she literally answered with “victim mentality.” Estranged from father for years (victim mentality); now estranged from mom because she told my husband that my depression is my fault as well as other toxic behaviors on her part(victim mentality); loss of job (victim mentality); hospitalized for major depressive disorder (victim mentality). She would ask me questions and when I could not remember the answer, she was very judgmental and said, I should remember such things and write everything down. Then she summarized my life in one sentence, I am getting older and my life is passing before me and I need to move on. (Move on from major depression disorder? Being raped 3 times; abandoned by family? Get over being told I was unwanted and my mom hid her pregnancy with me because she divorced my dad?) This is a PHD! I noticed that when I was younger, I would get more support from therapists, but as a 42 year-old woman, I am judged by the medical community that is supposed to help me. I have given up on the medical community and just go to my psychiatrist for medication. I feel very sad. Thank you for all your articles. I was victimized by my own family. I don’t know how else to put it. It hurts so much, people should not know this much pain.

marquis (female)
June 2nd, 2014 at 11:02 pm

Hi Alice,

My mom says that too ‘if that’s how you wanna feel, so be it – I don’t care! Remember this: I was a damn good parent to you guys and you will be sorry one day for mistreating me.’ Wow, talk about making herself look like the victim and it’s everybody else’s fault. I told her ‘your own children can’t stand you or dad, how is that a great parent? I agree that families cover up for parents – that is something my ex-therapist never understood.

If anyone heard about the story here in AZ about baby Jhesey (however that mom spelled her name) and a family member said a briefcase of the mom’s smelled like a dead body and was very heavy. The mom made up some excuse and the family didn’t question her anymore. Nah, something in that family they are covering up, the police still haven’t found the girl’s body, and the story died down no one hasn’t said a word about it this year. My idiot mom thinks “she’s innocent” since they haven’t found any evidence; that mom don’t seem to be too concern about her dead child – a guilt expression says a whole lot!

“Alice, Your comments to Marquis are right on. I heard all that crap too! I never had any ‘rights!’ as a person. There is a real love that is possible but only with mutual respect and equal value. It doesn’t work any other way. Hugs, Darlene”

Agreed. Love is not abuse, it’s not strings-attached, etc something my ex-therapist never understood from what I was trying to explain to her. There’s no ‘may be your parents wasn’t sure how to love you/their children,’ that’s just burying it under the ground.

“I don’t know how else to put it. It hurts so much, people should not know this much pain.”

Agreed. Kristina, you said you had support from therapists when you were younger. Funny, you get “support” when you’re younger, but as an older, you should have “your ducks in a row.” Everybody in life of all ages go through some kind of life changes. I got absolutely zero support from a high school counselor, college counselor, and recently an ex-therapist and I am 28 years old! My ex-therapist has this stuck up attitude that I am suppose to take her advice because she is the therapist and told her you could be a cop and would never trust you. A person in authority doesn’t mean crap nor does it mean you should automatically trust them because they are either in uniform or with a badge on.

I get support from boyfriend and his mom that’s it. Ex-therapist kept telling me I need to move on and how do you do that when you still live in the toxic environment? She said as an adult it’s time to move on blah blah and take responsibility – oh yea while my parents take absolutely zero responsibility? Responsibility works both ways not one way!

I’ve told people you don’t know how much pain we’ve suffered yet we are adults still suffering for their **** ups! The children always seem to pay for the parents’ **** ups!! People have said we should’ve stopped the crap my parents were/are doing and I said 1st off we were children, 2nd of all are we married to them? It’s their damn mess not ours! My mom had us to keep my dad except for her 1st born who isn’t my dad’s. She told my 2nd oldest sister that I had you guys to keep your father around, doesn’t surprised me but shocked she told my sister that before I was born.

I still suffer from the pain, a person can look great on the outside but what about the inside?


#33 lisa B it’s ok to be angry. Be angry. Break stuff. Do what you need to do to get anger out. The only way out of your pain is through it. Hard as that is to face. You are worth it. You deserve it.
#44 kaycee the feelings faces chart is awesome, I got mine when I did my hospice course.
You can download them. Google.

A few months back, I found out my husband was acting up again. He’s a sex addict. His way of validating himself before this was through contacting other women and getting off on it. That was hard to understand, how it could be not my fault he did that. I did everything I knew to fix it, to make him love me more. Only to find myself so broken the only voice I could hear was my inner child. Saying she is worth it. I felt the world and god had given up on me, and it didn’t make sense. It’s painful, and I cry as I type, to ask for help over and over to be ignored just s much. I asked myself where did I go so wrong, why was it so much harder for me to have the things so many other people take for granted, like job stability, happiness, honesty and respect. Where did I fail in my marriage, in my choices. In as much as I knew I couldn’t move on or let go, I also hurt too much to do anything other than breathe. We started marriage counseling, he started sex addicts anonymous, and we are both working on recovery. You see, I answered my question. What kind of person marries an addict. A broken one. Only I couldn’t see my own brokenness for what is was. A lifetime of deception, first by my family, then by my friends and loved ones. Mostly by myself. Only I cannot be angry for what I didn’t know. And I am not. I get the self help books above. What’s the point in reading something if you are not prepared to be accountable for your choices. I know now that there are choices I was not and cannot be held accountable for. I am defining the line where the world stops, and where I begin.
I do remain angry at God for not answering my pleas of help. God helps those that’s to help themselves. That’s what my mom and my Catholic church taught me. Only I learnt no one helped me as a kid. Not even prayer. And I’ve never believed I was worthy of helping myself. I’ve learnt to hide my feelings so well its tough to uncover them. At least now I know they are real, and I am not losing my mind. I tried to explain to someone the other day how foreign something’s are. Like having to sit with a feelings chart. Or allowing myself to feel angry at a friend. I so get how frustrating it is, I battled with having to do the work, sit there and try and figure out what my feelings are, and feeling so different in the process. Why is it so hard for me? Because like everyone else above I felt my feelings weren’t just irrelevant, they were wrong, and more than that, existed only in my mind. This is what i have been told since i was born. To this day I second guess everything I feel. I’m getting help, I want to be healthier emotionally. I’m exhausted being a doormat for people to walk all over. I feel I’m worth more than that.
Something Darlene said in her post is forgiveness is where they no longer own my feelings. I love that. Thank you.


I was 8 my sister 6, my brother almost 2 when he fell down the stairs, I was supposed to be watching him while my mother slept. He broke his baby face open on the front door…it was my fault. I was to call my mother by her first name from then on. My sister and I had to sit alone and panicked in the car at the emergency room. It was my fault she smashed all the dishes in the cabinets, I didn’t want tomatoes on my grill cheese. It was my fault she was poor and didn’t have a good life. She had given up everything, just to be MY mother. The mother to ungrateful, unloving children who didn’t respect her. She could not wait until we had children who “ruined” our lives, so she could get the last laugh.

This is the woman I spent the last 26 years trying to “forgive” because only forgiving would set me free…I AM NOT FREE. SHE uses the years of my work, to VALIDATE Herself as a WONDERFUL MOTHER. I just want to break things right now.


The email against you is to do nothing but try and SILENCE you Darlene, and we all know that abuse thrives on silence- keep talking- louder- stronger and never back down. Hugs xxx


Darlene thank you for your encouragement!

Kristina I feel your pain. I have had some bad encounters with counselors too. I had one that shamed me and repeated my cycle that I didn’t know I was in. I’ve had superficial not so helpful ones. And this last time around I went through 3 or 4 before I found the gem I have now. One of those accused me of lying. Some require a person to fill out pages & pages of information. I found that would only feed the pain. I looked for ones that didn’t require that and I almost gave up looking but my husband encouraged me to call this one I had been given a referral to. When I finally called her I had a meltdown on the phone with her. She is now my current counselor. To me she is worth her weight in gold. She asked me questions I had never considered. She ushered me to closure. I can’t tell you what to do – everyone is different, but please don’t give up.


OH MY GAWD! I get this from my mom all the time! That it’s “holding me back.”

NO! This is what is going on. They don’t want to look at themselves. What they are thinking is:

“Please get OVER this and go back to being what we need you to be so that our family dynamic stays the same/does not change.”


they tried to mold me into what they wanted me to be based on what would make their lives most comfortable. If I was compliant and well- behaved, they didn’t have to deal with meeting my needs because I would appear to accept whatever they wanted me to accept



I think that parents think they have the right to treat their kids any way they want is because they view their kids more as their possessions rather than as human beings.

I asked my mom why my feelings didn’t matter/weren’t important. The answer I got?

“Children were to be seen and not heard.”

I know that drivel was around in the 50’s, but I am shocked to hear that my mom actually bought into it!


My mom once told me I needed to “see somebody” (this means, a therapist) to find out why I have so many issues. well, guess what. I have, and the issues go back to HER and lack of validation! Oh no! She doesn’t want to hear that!


I think I’m getting pretty good now at registering/observing/feeling my feelings, though I’m sometimes delayed and knowing how best to take care of them is another thing entirely. I could relate to what you wrote,

Alaina, are you saying that you suffer from “delayed” reactions like I do? Someone can say something to me, I don’t react, then 48 hours later, I realize I don’t like it. But when you try to address it, the person doesn’t want to hear it because, “you should have told me at the time.” WELL, I COULDN’T! My mom doesn’t “get” this.


DXS and Alaina, could the delayed reaction of feelings be because we were not allowed to have them? When something happens such as someone insulting me, many times my first reaction is to freeze up. This was the only safe thing I could do as a child. Expressing displeasure or anger was out of the question. The problem is that I still often react in this same way today. My gut reaction is to freeze to stay safe.

marquis (female)
June 3rd, 2014 at 6:51 am

My mom said to me “your feelings does matter, but they don’t because she and dad are the parents and children shouldn’t need feelings until they are adults and when they are adults, they don’t need feelings as they are not children.” Lmao listen to that contradicting statement! I’ve told people ‘don’t you find that statement off? Your ears should be hurting after hearing it contradict itself several freakin times,” the sad part is most people didn’t find it contradicting – how could you not?!? A lot of people don’t know what the word contradict mean and notice when you catch them contradicting themselves, they call you every name in the book.


Hi Barb
Welcome to Emerging from Broken! The whole site is about this and there are over 400 articles and over 33,000 comments! You are not alone!
Glad you are here!
hugs, Darlene


Hi Kristina
I was horrified to read about your experience with the Psychologist! It is horrible to be re-abused in that way by a so called professional in the helping profession. There is so much help and validation here throughout the website. I began my real healing when I was about 43 or 44 and I realized when I finally validated the damage done to me, that AGE doesn’t matter. I was stuck in the pain that had never been validated.
Thank you for sharing your story. All the things that happened to you are brutal. I am so glad that you are here.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Lorilei
Welcome to EFB! ~ Forgiveness is so misunderstood and so often serves the people telling us to do it instead of the person who has been harmed. What happened to you is horrible and none of that was your fault. For a child to be held responsible for things like that is criminal and huge abuse on the part of the parent. I found feeedom when I stopped trying to overlook all the damage inflicted on me and when I set my struggle with forgiveness aside in order to really look at the truth. (and for me a big part of the truth was that I didn’t have a wonderful mother. I had a broken and selfish mother who wanted ME to be her love source and fix her life… and I had to quit feeling sorry for her in order to move forward and take back MY life.)
Thanks for sharing, I am really glad you are here,
hugs, Darlene


DXS and Amber,
I think it matters partly how comfortable I am around a person, how connected I can be to my emotions. Sometimes I freeze but sometimes it’s just a matter of being slow to register what’s going on (i.e. it can be a thinking problem as much as a feeling problem). I definitely think it would have something to do with not being allowed to have them, it being safer or better off not to. I can’t think or feel properly or to the same degree with other people around me. I think that might be partly normal for any person—the need to have time alone to connect with oneself. I definitely appreciate people who can accept emails after the fact, but it sometimes doesn’t work. I’ve sent emails and then I would discuss it with the person but again I’ll just be taking in what they’re saying and naturally wanting to line myself up with them, I guess, and again it won’t be till later that I go “wait a minute.” Sometimes you just can’t drag something on forever. I also think sometimes you pick up on what people are willing/wanting to hear and what they aren’t, what they want you to be thinking and feeling and not, and I will naturally fit myself to that, and it’s not the easiest to reverse that inclination… depends on the situation, though.


Hi Marie
I can only think of one thing that will silence me….. and even then my voice is well documented! 🙂
Thanks, hugs! Darlene

Exactly. There are huge ownership issues, entitlement issues, etc. and lack of understanding of human value (which is always equal) when it comes to these kind of parents. 🙁
hugs, Darlene


About Delayed Reaction:
During the first 2 years of my healing process, my reactions would be delayed sometimes for a few days! I relate it today to how unfamiliar it was for me to see things clearly and through the grid of truth. It was part of the brainwashing to be unable to react with the appropriate reactions in ‘real time’. It was also very unsafe to react to many of their actions/words as a child so it is part of how we survive childhood.
This got better over time and today I can react much more quickly and see the truth right away. It is priceless to see the shock on peoples faces when I react in the truth to whatever they are saying. 80% of the world is living in the same fog..
hugs, Darlene


Hi Darlene, This subject is huge for me and I don’t know how I could have healed, at the core of my pain, if I’d never learned how to stop blaming myself for what others did to me. We all have the natural instinct to fight to protect ourselves and when we’re taught from an early age that we are the enemy of ourselves, as the cause of others hurting us, there can’t be any deep healing; not until that twisted natural instinct (that is necessary for survival) is untwisted can there be any hope of a real cure. There is no other way other than to accept the truth about who our enemies really are. It’s sad that parents make themselves the enemies of their children but it is a reality for all too many of us. It is a hard truth to swallow but it is the only cure. Sadly, many refuse the cure because like treatment for any serious, life-threatening disease, it is long and painful. Thanks for helping me through that necessary treatment, Darlene.


Hi Darlene, Thank you for the words of compassion. I am 46, I was hospitalized for depression for the first time when I was 23. I have worked really hard for many years to set myself free from the memories and let go of the pain. Unfortunately my parents are both abusers who spent years grooming me, making sure I would keep coming back for what ever garbage they could dump on me. I just last December decided I needed a break, after 5 months I was sleeping at night for the first time in 15 years. Then just this week, my mother showed up on my doorstep. In full blown manipulation mode. She wanted to talk about her funeral arrangements. She is a healthy 67 year old woman. She has threatened me with her death, since I can remember. After all, I will be sorry when she is dead-for being such a horrible daughter. I told her in not very nice terms to leave me alone, for good. But my small slice of peace has been ruined, and once again…no sleep.

I too have delayed reactions, I also have this horribly well tuned radar for anger. I can feel it from someone literally across the street. Although logically I know, the anger is not directed at me personally-my body still reacts to it. I feel the adrenaline rush, the racing thoughts, the sinking stomach. It physically wears me out. I have been trying to just treat myself with kindness, it is hard. I constantly have to remind myself, it is okay-you don’t answer to anyone. Anyways…it is nice to read about others, to know I’m not alone.


“Please get OVER this and go back to being what we need you to be so that our family dynamic stays the same/does not change.” – See more at: http://emergingfrombroken.com/victim-blaming-when-you-are-blamed-for-the-core-of-your-pain/#comments

BINGO! DXS (#61)


From Amber:

DXS and Alaina, could the delayed reaction of feelings be because we were not allowed to have them? When something happens such as someone insulting me, many times my first reaction is to freeze up. This was the only safe thing I could do as a child. Expressing displeasure or anger was out of the question. The problem is that I still often react in this same way today. My gut reaction is to freeze to stay safe.

Amber: YOU NAILED IT! I still “freeze up” to stay safe. I knew I was doing that, but I had never tried to put into words what it was.


Hi Pam
YES ~ this is worded so well. This is the root of the why.. Not only are we groomed to the blame, as children we know that our only hope for survival is if we do take the blame and ‘try harder’ so our survival system is stuck in that child mode and we automatically blame ourselves. I love your comments here! And the hardest thing I think I have ever done is come to realize and accept that deserving better, meant drawing boundaries with my own parents.
Thanks so much for sharing today!
hugs, Darlene


From Pam:

We all have the natural instinct to fight to protect ourselves and when we’re taught from an early age that we are the enemy of ourselves, as the cause of others hurting us, there can’t be any deep healing; not until that twisted natural instinct (that is necessary for survival) is untwisted can there be any hope of a real cure.

The old, “you are your own worst enemy” defense. I get this all the time. I think my mom just regurgitates it because she heard it somewhere.


yep – I have been my own worst enemy for a long time, but I have realized that the words I beat myself up with are just the things that I was told by my parents or other abusers.

I remember my sister and I joking that “mom lives in my ear”, but that is really a big part of the problem. Sometimes I recognize the source of the words I battle, and I can reject them. The tough ones are the words I’ve adopted as my own. They are much trickier to deal with.


Thanks for the supportive words. I think I need to pay attention to both the emotional AND the physical. Not ignore ANY danger signals and be patient with myself (something I am NOT good at!)…and maybe I really can heal myself without extensive and expensive surgeries.


“they tried to mold me into what they wanted me to be based on what would make their lives most comfortable. If I was compliant and well- behaved, they didn’t have to deal with meeting my needs because I would appear to accept whatever they wanted me to accept”

HA. Exactly, and then I wonder why so many years later I balked at anything that could be possibly labelled “selfish”. AS in “my needs” = selfish, everyone else’s = not selfish.


DXS, Hobie, My husband was constantly telling me to stop beating up on myself. He never has to say that to me anymore. I hope I never take my hard-won self acceptance for granted. It changed my entire world. I owe that to emerging from broken. Of all the doctors I’ve been to, all the sermons I’ve heard, and all the well-meaning advise I’ve been given, Darlene was the only one who helped me understand that it was okay to fight for myself. Parents should help children establish personal boundaries but my parents trampled them so badly that I didn’t even understand what those boundaries should be. It was a process of taking ownership of myself and retrieving what had been taken from me long before I even knew I had it. I had changed a lot of bad, destructive habits but I could never heal without taking back that self-ownership and defending it.


Karina #57
I married a narcissist when I was 20, a man I knew less than 3 months. He had the sex obsession when I met him. I didnt think anything of it. I was taught to accept any behavior. He has had the porn addiction which I think is a coping thing for years.
Discovering what happened to me opened a door for me concerning the whys of his behavior.
Hes pathological. Theres no chance for change. He will never see it. But now I no longer punish myself for his silent treatment and other issues.
I can only fix myself and try to guide him gently.
What a beautiful name!
Im sorry your mother was so cruel.
Mine was like that too. I have been feeling such anger towards her lately with the realization that she deliberately crushed my spirit and future by her deliberate abandonment. She was busy, you see, running around with her boyfriend when my Dad was at work,
stealing money, lying and cheating people. At 10 I had better keep her secrets or she told me my Dad would kill us. I was nothing to her but a useful servant.
It was such a crazy, aweful, scary, abusive, cruel,
house but it was also a big secret.
So when I speak up now, its just
me “acting crazy again”. With them pointing their fingers at me as if I made it up.


Pam, exactly what I love about EFB. Instead of being told to forgive and be understanding of why someone mistreated me, finally I can look at what was done TO me. Finally I can put blame where it belongs rather than being forced to be understanding of and excusing the wrongs done to me. Pam, I am so glad you learned to fight for yourself; I’m learning to do this now. I like the words “self ownership”. That’s the way it should be because no one else, including our parents have the right to own us and treat us like their possessions. They should have been there to love and guide us, with part of it being helping us learn how to set boundaries. Instead we were squished and molded based on their wishes and their convenience.

Pam, I’m happy you’ve found yourself! It’s encouraging to me as I proceed on my own journey.


DXS #76, it took me a long long time to be able to put my freezing reaction into words too.

Alice, how convenient for other people to label our needs as selfish and their own needs as needs. This was my mother. This is why I shut down and stopped asking for even basic needs.


Amber, I still crack up at your thing of erasing school papers so you could reuse them. I shouldn’t laugh…. Shame on me. It was traumatic for you. What did you do when you ran out of erasers?


DXS, how in the world did you remember that? Wow! I look at it as being both creative and pathetic. As I’ve said, I became so fearful of asking my mother for basic things like more paper to use for my homework, so I came up with the creative solution at age 8 to erase any papers that I wrote on with pencil and reuse them. (Maybe I invented recycling!!) however, my teacher got mad because she thought my papers looked sloppy. But the teachers anger was preferable to my mothers because first of all she would not ever hit me and second, I must have felt that her disapproval was a less hurtful rejection than I would have gotten from my mother if I had done the horrible thing of asking her to (god forbid!) have to go to the store and buy more paper for me.

DXS, I never ran out of erasers because one of my brothers eventually ran out of paper too and he asked our mother to get some more. Somehow the boys didn’t get in as much trouble for asking for things as I did, though they did experience her wrath when she was in a bad mood. I think she eventually realized that with three kids in school she better keep a good supply of paper on hand.

I came up with plenty of creative solutions for things rather than ask my mother. Things that were basic. That’s the pathetic part. I should not have had to fear asking for these things. I should not have had to develop resourcefulness in that sort of way. I’m still amazed DXS that you remembered my story. I think I wrote about it on here many months ago.


Hi Amber, I can relate to not asking for things. For one thing, it was expressing a need, which wasn’t allowed and secondly, my father was the only one that got to have things, both material and non material. When he did buy something for me it was something for a boy not a girl or not age appropriate, and I was never asked what I wanted or needed.

I agree with you Pam, all fight and self expression was squished out of me. I didn’t know I had any rights. I was not allowed to speak up or contradict anyone. I was taught to accept any treatment and literally bow my head til it passed. My mother taught this and modeled it. In my teen years this was a dangerous behavior.
Add to that the self harm, impulsivity, and emotional instability and I became a throw-away to them.
When I finally stood up to them at 18, it was proof (to them) of how horrible I was. That I was an ungrateful daughter.
Disrespectful. Of bad character. Crazy. And I believed it!
They could be the topic (toxic) example of no less than 10 articles on this site.

“Please get OVER this and go back to being what I need you to be so that our marriage dynamic stays the same/does not change.”

This is how my husband treats me. As I began to understand emotional abuse, I began putting up a fight now when I am belittled or raged at. Boy he doesn’t like that. To him its me “acting crazy”. Gosh I HATE that label.
So although I went NC with my mother and brother, I still deal with a codependent situation in my marriage.


Karen R, I hear you! I am so familiar with the toxicity the you describe, both in the way you were forced to suppress your own needs and desires and in the way it gets twisted into you being the crazy one when you assert yourself. Believe me you are NOT crazy and you do not have to accept that label from anyone. By you asserting yourself it upsets the balance of the lofty position of power these people have managed to obtain for themselves and they do not want it to be disturbed. So they try to make us uncomfortable in order to keep their position intact. Yeah, make us feel like we are crazy, ungrateful, selfish; whatever guilt trip they can put us on to maintain their status. My mother was an expert at this. She kept me down by making me feel ugly, awkward, inferior, selfish, and she let me know how annoyed she was when I asked for things. So I just shut down, stayed out of her way and did without rather than ask. And of course she had no problem getting me to clean , cook and do other chores that, of course, the boys didn’t have to do. And from a young age too. Even in adulthood it was all about how I could be of service to her. She had no interst in her grandchildren and never offered help, but was quick to say it was a daughters duty to help her in old age. Notice, not a sons but a daughters. I rebelled against that saying there was no reason why the boys can’t help too and she told me they are busy living their lives. What?? I’m not living mine? But I held firm to my boundary that time and the help was finally divided three ways.

I think the best thing we can do is first to realize that those labels ( crazy, selfish, disrespectful etc.) are not true and were applied to us for them to maintain their power position and keep us in servitude towards them. The labels are all lies. Then we have to realize we have rights that were squished out of us and work on reclaiming them. It isn’t an easy journey, but I completely believe what Darlene often says; it will be worth it when we reach the other side of broken.


Can anyone help me with something? I have a problem with the word “forgive.” On the one hand, it means saying, “you screwed me, but that’s OK, I FORGIVE you.” I know this isn’t true. In later years, someone tried to explain that forgiveness is the ability to let it go, to no longer allow the abuser to affect my life and then I can proceed to heal. Well, this is a nice idea, but I feel that there is a step missing that is preventing me from doing this. I want to tell my mother everything that is on my mind – that I hate everything she did to me. but, let’s be realistic. She is a narcissist and if I actually went through with it, she would somehow turn it around and tell me that it wasn’t her fault and that I have anger issues. (in fact, she DID tell me this once when I tried to reclaim myself.)
So, what is the missing step? How can I get to the forgiveness stage without feeling that I was abused without any sense of regret from the abuser? If the abuser does not feel regret, then I go back into the victim mode and decide that it was something that I did.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated! 🙂


Spence, if the abuser does not feel regret, I look at it as a problem with the abuser and not with me. But this is where I am now. For the longest time I kept looking at myself and tried to figure out what was wrong with me. I was never able to find out what was wrong with me, because, in fact, it was the abuser that was wrong and at fault, not me at all. My mother was not the type to ever admit to wrongdoing. I don’t ever remember her apologizing for anything. And now there is zero chance of that happening because she is gone two years now. But I don’t need her apology anymore. I can see what she did wrong and how it impacted me. And that I do not need to take the blame for the things I took blame for earlier, because those were things I was told I was at fault for but in reality I wasn’t.

I don’t believe in forgiveness for people who have not owned up to or shown remorse for their wrongdoings. But I can still move forward as I work on undoing the false messages I got as a result of the wrongdoing. For sample, my mother never apologized for all the times she called me ugly. I truly believed that about myself because she drove that message so deeply into me. But recently, when I look in the mirror, while I don’t see a raving beauty, I realize that my mother was trying to get me to believe I looked horrible when in fact I don’t. I don’t forgive her for saying that to me, but I don’t have to accept her false message either. And I don’t have to keep dwelling on it.

What worked for me was reading Darlene’s blogs on false messages, forgiveness, belief systems etc. I have a different view of these things now and it has been very helpful.


Interestingly, I just read a book called “The Narcissistic Family” written by therapists for therapists and they say that forgiveness is more like some obscure, ill defined spiritual thing rather than a necessary component of healing or recovery. The consider it an irrelevant idea in regards to healing and totally reject it as a component of therapy.


Spence you are asking the right questions!

Assuming I read correctly, one thing Darlene said is that forgiveness came for her as a RESULT of healing, rather than the other way around that a lot of people push.

Within the dysfunctional family system I came from, to forgive means to pretend it didn’t happen. And I am absolutely certain that NEVER helps anyone heal. It only allows an abuser to keep abusing as if it’s the first time over and over again.

This blog has a lot to say about forgiveness and it all resonates for me. It helped me a lot.


From what I am reading too Spence, if you tell your mother everything that is on your mind, it needs to be at a point in your healing where the purpose is for you to say what happened to you and when your Mother’s response is not going to be an issue in terms of your healing. In other words, from what I understand it comes at a point in your restoration when you are so strong in yourself, the response is irrelevant and the act of getting it off your chest is the healing part. At least that is how I understand it.


I agree that there has been a slide in the meaning of “Forgiveness” from the religious to something else that pretends it’s not religious but “spiritual” (I don’t know what that means btw). If we’re talking about the religious version then it seems to require admission of wrongdoing and active change and reparation on the part of the wrongdoer. Only then can the wronged decide whether he or she wishes to forgive (although the impetus for doing so if the previous conditions have been fulfilled seems to be present). It also does not mean “reconciliation”. AFAIK.

The type of “Forgiveness” that is being bandied about by “therapists” and “New Age Types” is about the wronged being able to reach personal peace without depending on any action on the part of the wrongdoer. At least that’s the way I understand it. So no-one can be telling someone they MUST reach a sense of personal peace with respect to the wrongdoer and what they did. So why not just call it “Peace” then? My confrontation with my mother was a washout as far as even getting her to admit to wrongdoing without a shitload of excuse went. I’m also now NC, which is very peaceful:)


I’m doubtful that you can get to a place where their response will be irrelevant to you (when confronting). I think no matter when you do it, if you decide to, it’s going to be messy and painful and will probably knock you down if it goes bad… but you can get back up… Forcing yourself to do something you don’t want to do is bad, though, so it has to be something you want to do. I think, though, if it was really completely irrelevant, why even bother? If it was a friend who hurt you very badly on multiple occasions and you were in a place where you had been able to validate your experience and were feeling strong enough to talk to this friend about it, explaining things, if this friend turned around and blamed you for it all, I imagine that you’d still feel hurt, no matter how far along you were in healing—because ultimately you’d be going to the person to try to work things out because the friendship wasn’t meaningless to you…. On the other hand, you might feel right in just walking away from the friendship, knowing the person is never going to understand, and maybe just writing a whole bunch of letters, getting everything off your chest, and maybe never even sending them. Or maybe you do just want to get everything off your chest to the person just to do that, regardless of anything else. There’s no rulebook to life. The most important thing is to take care of yourself and hold onto the truth, however you can, whatever you choose to do in life. That’s just my opinion. I’m with Hobie and Darlene that forgiveness isn’t really the goal, healing is, and forgiveness might be the result or offshoot. I’m wary of trying to push ourselves to forgive as though it’s some big ongoing commitment that we must choose to make—if you’re putting a lot of energy into trying to forgive people, aren’t you just going to end up resenting them, and life, for having to put so much energy into that action instead of living your life? It’s just another thing then that we’re not good enough at, forever chasing what we’re “supposed” to be doing. We’re not the problem. Whatever we’re pushing ourselves to forgive—we were the ones screwed over in that equation, so wherever we are in our lives is FINE. Otherwise it just seems to feel like they, or even just our pasts, have all the power. I think a big problem is that abusers/controllers are very good at confusing you into thinking you’re being abusive to them just because you speak the truth and are angry about what happened to you. Being angry doesn’t automatically mean being destructive. It’s necessary to bring about constructive change. THink about any social movement in history toward equality. If you’re making yourself be forgiving when what’s necessary for progress (i.e. your healing) is anger, then “forgiveness” will be damaging… I gather at some point you just stop caring, your investment in having anyone them believe you lessens to nothing, because you believe you, you’re free. Maybe if they actually took responsibility, then “forgiveness” would actually be an integral part of the rebuilding process (but a natural part, ingrained not forced), but if you’re NC… well, I don’t care anymore… peace is what I’m after, like Alice said.


Alice – Yeah so it’s like now you have a new thing to forgive – you approach your abuser to discuss an incident in the past when they hurt you badly so maybe they’ll apologize and you can “forgive” them (ha). Then they say you are making it up and you’re a liar. So now you’re upset with them for not listening to you and calling you a liar. And you’re upset with yourself for trying yet again to make peace with your abuser. Ugh. There must be a joke in there somewhere.


So well said, Alaina!! I too don’t “get” forgiveness and wonder if it’s relevant in “healing.” Because I also know that even though anger is justified and real and you need to identify that anger, it also can become all-encompassing and like a creature inside you. There are times I have thought that I was born angry. But no……. once the source of anger is addressed, I really think the next job is to go forward and into that self-acceptance process.


I agree, Kathryn, anger can consume you. You can become very “other”-focussed. I think once you’ve found the source, as you say, and addressed it, validated it, and taken action to honour and care for it, anger no longer serves a purpose and it will go away. Emotions are a response either to a present reality or an unresolved past reality (or both at the same time). I think we get a lot of misdirection, thinking we can choose our emotions. We can shift how we think about things and we can make choices that can change our reality which will change how we feel but we feel however we feel. The problem is the world’s been telling us we shouldn’t make certain choices or think or feel certain things that are in fact completely appropriate to reality. It’s appropriate to stand up to mistreatment and it’s appropriate to pull away if the person will not own up to that mistreatment.


thank you for that Alaina #99- I totally agree, and the points you make are powerful.


Oh, and thanks to Spence #90 for bringing a most interesting question to the discussion. 🙂


Thanks, Kathryn! It’s good to connect and talk about this stuff! Before I found EFB, I had wanted to find some kind of group but there wasn’t anything that really fit. This community has helped so much.


I know I am not ready to confront my Mom, but I think maybe for me at some point, there is going to be a time when stating my truth will be a healing event. I don’t know that I will even wait around or care about a response. I am very early in all of this though and I know these powerful images I have may be tainted.

It is just something I do envision happening at some point in my restoration. I reserve the right to completely change my mind tomorrow though because I have no idea if this ideal will remain a stable one as I go through this process.


Hi Kaycee,
I just want to say I totally understand/respect what you’re saying. I also read that book last year that you mentioned earlier and found it helpful. I’d been encouraged to speak up to my mom about things right after I had a breakdown at 22 (I’m 32 now). Who knows if maybe it would have worked better for me to have done things differently, separating and working on myself first without saying too much…. As it was, things didn’t change with them and got worse in many ways, as my mom was upset and it was like she was the victim. Eventually I cut off contact for a couple years, then reconnected after my brother had a kid (I’d had to cut off from my brother too, as I couldn’t handle him disagreeing with my choice and believing my parents’ version of things). I needed them to take accountability, though; it was the only way I could do a relationship without it killing me. I’m glad I did it, even if I wasn’t heard. It was traumatic because of the losses and because of the dysfunctional responses I endured but for me there was really no other way forward. I was going to either stay NC or I was going to fully confront and see if we could build a new kind of relationship. I tried the best I could and it didn’t work. It’s hard and it makes me mad that I’ve spent time and energy trying to fix problems I didn’t create and problems I now know my family really had no desire to solve… but I can move on, validate myself, grieve, leave what needs to be left behind and build my life and I guess that’s all that really matters. It all takes time, though… and you’re absolutely right about reserving the right to change your mind… Everyone has to make their own choices, what’s right for them at any given moment… Take care


Hi all, I just want to say that I have done the NC thing, many times in my life with one parent or sibling…but this is my first time to go completely NC. In retrospect, I was always hanging on to at least one person-who could keep me down. Always had at least one to remind me of my “place” at the bottom of the family pyramid. My sister once told me that when I love someone I “roll over and show them my soft white underbelly, like a dog.” That it was disgusting. Not to mention the fact that if I am in contact with one, everyone knows my business…and I still get updates on their BS. So I am flying solo, and by solo I mean alone…it is okay, I have lived by myself for years and I enjoy it for the most part. But I have really, isolated myself this time…I have really very few friends and none that I can talk too about this. I have this almost strange feeling of being disoriented, almost like vertigo. Like I am in a parallel universe, where I recognize things…but it is all shaky. I was feeling much better, but then my mother showed up last week. After the argument that followed, I am proudish to say that I am not in a corner somewhere beating my head on the wall, like I was six months ago when I first decided I had enough. I am daily battling my fear, it is strange but this site has comforted me. Thank you all for that.


Spence #90 forgiveness is a destination, not a journey. You never know when you are going to get there. You’ve reached it when your positive feelings towards yourself are stronger, outweigh any negative BS anyone can throw at you. Healing is learning to accept that really really bad things happen to the nicest people and there is no reason, no logic as to why. All we can do, our biggest choice as victims, is either let the abuse dictate our future by controlling what we believe about ourselves or we can choose to believe healthier things about ourselves instead.
Because they really are true. The good things. We are stronger than we realize. We are more powerful than we admit. We are all here looking for some kind of answers to the questions we don’t even know we have. So we can believe differently about ourselves, so we can get to a place where inner child happiness is a given, not a quest.
Hang in there. We are all worth the happiness we seek.


Hi Lorilei,
I know what you’re talking about with this disorienting vertigo feeling. I pulled away from everyone, over 20 people. Some of them I didn’t intend to—cousins in particular—but it got complicated and neutrality itself is painful. I know what you mean about keeping you in your place in the pyramid… even when some of them obviously don’t know they’re doing it, they’re still doing it—it’s the family way. Things were fine the first time I cut off from my parents and brother, and still maintained contact with extended family, when I’d done so for distance, for health—the family I remained in contact with were supportive… or so it seemed anyway… This time my door is still open if my family wants to be real with me but they don’t, and it’s just different… Last fall I moved to a city where I knew no one. I had a bad job that didn’t help things but I’m finally starting to get my footing back. I’m not sure how I’d feel if my mom, or any one of them, landed at my doorstep. It would probably be awful. It would make me very jittery to say the least. I feel for you.


From Spence:

Can anyone help me with something? I have a problem with the word “forgive.”

Spence, I’m right there with you!

My mom’s issue was, “It’s in the past leave it in the past.” You know, I have become a big fan of the TV show COLD CASE (with Kathy Morris). The TV show depicts how things in the past affect people now. And I love it when the perp gets arrested after 20 years!

That’s how I feel about things in my life. I was told to “leave it in the past.” Well, I never got resolution when it happened, so I will not let it go!


From Amber:

I don’t believe in forgiveness for people who have not owned up to or shown remorse for their wrongdoings. – See more at: http://emergingfrombroken.com/victim-blaming-when-you-are-blamed-for-the-core-of-your-pain/#sthash.fFzVzWn6.dpuf

“Forgiveness” seems to mean the comment that Karen R and I are both saying:

“Please get OVER this and go back to being what I need you to be so that our dynamic stays the same/does not change.”

Nope, I’m not doing THAT kind of forgiveness. Only if the person will actually hear what I am saying.


I don’t think we are holding on to the past, the fact that the issue wasn’t resolved makes the past hold onto us. It isn’t actually IN THE PAST for us because it changed the whole course of our lives and we know we aren’t where we really need to be right here and now!

The “forgiveness” that the abusers and the bystanders DEMAND is just a smokescreen for their own unwillingness to take responsibility for their own behavior. It doesn’t do survivors any good and it doesn’t even really do the abusers any good, but they aren’t really interested in that anyway.

I believe there is an appropriate form of forgiveness that can be a part of healing, or a result of healing. But until the word is clearly defined, forgiveness is much more of an obstacle than it is a help.



Hi Spence
Like Hobie said, for me forgiveness was a result of healing and NOT a goal that I tried to reach. (and the way that I view ‘forgiveness’ for people who don’t actually admit they did anything wrong is only about the way that I no longer feel resentment or energy around the offence done to me. I find forgiveness easy when people say for example~ “I am so sorry for the way that I treated you, I know it was wrong..” and then they go on to define exactly what the offence was, because THEN I know that they ARE in fact asking for forgiveness and that there is a chance that they will not repeat it!
Something that is KEY about this issue and your question Spence is that Healing does not come from the abuser being sorry or regretting etc. Healing comes from you validating you and acknowledging the depth of the damage that was done without self-blame etc. Victim mode has nothing to do with they way ‘they’ think or act. We are talking about personal empowerment here, and in this case “YOURS”. I had to stop looking to the people who by their actions, define me as ‘unworthy’ to define me as worthy. Healing was about me realizing that I was worthy all along. hope this makes sense. There is a ton of info about this in the website.
Hugs, Darlene

~ if you google “emerging from broken forgiveness” some of my articles will come up, or use the blue key words tag cloud lower down in the right side bar and click on the word forgiveness and each post that has that tag in it will come up)


Great comments on this forgiveness issue. You are exactly right; it isn’t actually IN the past when it isn’t at all resolved. (and resolved only has to do with US and not with the abusers) Most of the stuff we are talking about in this website is abuse or neglect that was never validated in the first place by anyone! One of the first things I learned to say to people who blindly directed me to ‘forgive’ was to ask them what I was ‘forgiving’ for. This really caused ppl to hesitate because most of the abuse was invalidated by everyone which means that if nothing happened in the first place there WAS nothing TO forgive, right? SO when an abuser says “why can’t you just forgive and forget and move on” does that mean they are admitting to the offence, because in my exp. they are NOT admitting to anything they just want the whole thing dropped without any accountability. Even if it is a bystander asking you to forgive, get them to define what you are forgiving ~ that changes everything. Another thing that I noticed is that if you ask someone HOW to forgive, they can’t actually tell you HOW… which is what I call a truth leak about the whole subject. We are not talking about forgiving our mother/fathers for grounding us for smoking… nor are we talking about holding resentment when our parents (or whomever) has begged for forgiveness and admitted to their gross misconduct here and it is really important to consider all of that in this discussion.
Thanks for all your comments; I love them!
Hugs, Darlene


In therapy right now, I am working on not shaming myself or censoring or stuffing any of my feelings. I’m working on learning how to feel things again and how to identify what I am feeling and how to protect my right to have that feeling no matter what it is, even if it feels like I am never going to forgive. Somehow, I am told that anger and feeling of unforgiveness is actually going to be a powerful force in my healing and my restoration to my authentic self. At least that is what my therapist is telling me right now.

Boy, I can so relate to that vertigo feeling, it is so surreal to actually be real about what happened, separation is like a tangible act, proof that we are saying, yeah this is real. It is hugely disorienting and I can feel myself dissociating, floating away and then coming back , in an out, running away then coming back and trying to ground. I ask myself if I am dreaming, if it is for real, can I hurt this bad and feel and survive? I don’t know, it is terribly overwhelming and chaotic, but there are also brief glimpses of something else, maybe liberation, I don’t know, I’m not sure yet. This is terribly hard, but it is better then limbo, when I was in that place where I just did not know what was wrong, why I felt the way I did. I kind of figure even if I never make it out of this mess at least I have an answer now as to why I have had this dark cloud raining over me my whole life and blocking my sunshine.


I don’t think we are holding on to the past, the fact that the issue wasn’t resolved makes the past hold onto us. It isn’t actually IN THE PAST for us because it changed the whole course of our lives and we know we aren’t where we really need to be right here and now!

Quit living in the past! That’s what I get. I agree with Hobie, it’s an UNRESOLVED ISSUE!


Thank you, everyone for responding! I was afraid to admit that I was stuck not knowing the meaning of the word “forgive”. It seemed that everyone else had the definition, but I was still in the dark. I needed to take the risk and reach out because this seemed to be a roadblock in the way of my healing process. Thank you all so much for your kind words and advice. I must admit that I am not used to the support I get from this community, but I’m willing to accept it with open arms! 🙂
Amber – I, too had a mother who never apologized for anything! I love what you said – “I don’t forgive her for saying that to me, but I don’t have to accept her false message either. And I don’t have to keep dwelling on it.” I think I can do the same. It sounds better than giving her a “get out of jail free” card.
Hobie and Kasey – Thank you so much for helping me realize that I am too early for the forgiving stage. I think you are right that I must do more healing before I can let go. This way I will be much stronger and accept it if she does not acknowledge any wrongdoing. (I’m sure I can count on her for that!)
Alice – I LOVE the word “peace” as a replacement for “forgive!” This way I am totally responsible for MY feelings without depending on my mother’s “approval.”
Kathryn R and Alaina – Wow, TIMING is the key! If I face her too early with anger, I basically destroy myself! Also, I like the idea that I do NOT have to confront her in order to heal. When I get stronger, I will make the decision to confront her for myself, NOT for her!
Lorilei – good for you and your progress! I have not gone NC yet, and I fear the things that you are now going through. At the same time, you sound like you have made great strides in the last six months. Stay strong! We are here for you! 🙂
Karina – “our biggest choice as victims, is either let the abuse dictate our future by controlling what we believe about ourselves or we can choose to believe healthier things about ourselves instead.” Well said! That seems that the healthier path is much more beneficial!
DXS _ ““Please get OVER this and go back to being what I need you to be so that our dynamic stays the same/does not change.” OMG, YES!!!If they only realize that their “dynamic” hurts us, and if it continues may kill us! But, I can’t imagine these “family members” ever thinking that they are EVER wrong!
Hobie – “The “forgiveness” that the abusers and the bystanders DEMAND is just a smokescreen for their own unwillingness to take responsibility for their own behavior. It doesn’t do survivors any good and it doesn’t even really do the abusers any good, but they aren’t really interested in that anyway.” THAT is what I am talking about! You are soooo right! SO, I will concentrate on MY healing!
Darlene – ““I am so sorry for the way that I treated you, I know it was wrong..” Now, I get it! THOSE are the people who deserve my forgiveness! They are so much different and healthier than my “family.” Thank you, Darlene for this website! You are AMAZING!
Kaycee – I have been there. With a good therapist, you can explore feelings that you repressed. I can speak from experience, they are VERY SCARY at first! But, stick to it if you feel safe. It is so worth it! You will feel like a heavy weight has been lifted! 🙂
Thanks again everyone! I hope to repay this kindness!! 🙂


Keep posting Spence, it is so good to hear from people who are steps ahead, books are good, but people are better!!!!!!! I’m keeping track of everyone and watching and listening, learning and am so hoping the very best for everyone here!!!! Love, love, love having mentors and so appreciate everyone who takes the time to post what they are learning to help everyone. It is a brave, honest, raw group that is here. A rare find as I have been around the web searching for such a place. Love you guys, really I do.

marquis (female)
June 5th, 2014 at 11:57 pm

“You are exactly right; it isn’t actually IN the past when it isn’t at all resolved. (and resolved only has to do with US and not with the abusers) Most of the stuff we are talking about in this website is abuse or neglect that was never validated in the first place by anyone! One of the first things I learned to say to people who blindly directed me to ‘forgive’ was to ask them what I was ‘forgiving’ for. This really caused ppl to hesitate because most of the abuse was invalidated by everyone which means that if nothing happened in the first place there WAS nothing TO forgive, right?”

Agreed. My ex-therapist said it’s about you and forgiving them. I have asked people what exactly did I do to them? funny, nobody couldn’t answer that question! People do have forgiveness backwards and I have always said for years I have nothing to do with their mistreatment towards us. lol I had to ask my ex-therapist how do I forgive? She said that depends on you, I would start by writing a letter to your parents but never giving it to them. Really?!?

“Please get OVER this and go back to being what I need you to be so that our dynamic stays the same/does not change.” Yep, you can definitely hear that indirectly speaking towards you. My ex-therapist and other misguided fools out there felt just forgive and let things go away – I swear they live in a fantasy world! She (ex-therapist) said it takes time to forgive but expected me to rush it otherwise she “couldn’t help me.” People I have spoken to in my life had no concept on forgiveness because I saw them forgive the person and they kept doing it over and over.

Nobody in any abusive situation does anything wrong that’s the myth that people out there still believe. As people tell me ‘people make individual choices,’ and I say ‘so did my parents, where does that leave us?’


“Please get OVER this and go back to being what I need you to be so that our dynamic stays the same/does not change.”

Wow, this statement resonated with people. I’m sure Darlene has an article that kind of addresses this, I’m just too lazy to hunt it down.


DXS, yes, I was also told to “Just get over it Alice” but I never thought it might be because they didn’t want the change (or to change). Also, I noticed (thinking about it this morning) that while my mother told me that I had a “choice” in all my feelings etc, SHE was burdened by circumstance and tradition and stuff. I just thought today, “isn’t that weird?”


Alice, DXS, it was always about whatever was easiest and most convenient for them. At the expense of our feelings, well- being and self- esteem. And what a burden it is for us to untangle that bowl of emotional spaghetti.


My Mom acts like I am hurting her if i bring up the past. But she is fine, I’m the one who is a train wreck.


Also, I noticed (thinking about it this morning) that while my mother told me that I had a “choice” in all my feelings etc,

Why are YOU (we) the one(s) that has to “choose?” Why can’t they “choose” to accept OUR feelings? Like Darlene says, one sided. You are wrong, they are right. All because your feelings aren’t like theirs.


My Mom acts like I am hurting her if i bring up the past. But she is fine, I’m the one who is a train wreck.

And you are the problem because you are a train wreck. Yeppers, that’s what get. My mom does the same thing. It’s an unresolved issue. But if you bring it up, you make someone else uncomfortable. Because that person doesn’t want to own up to something.


Yep, it is a catch 22, a no win situation, damned if you do, damned if you don’t.


When I was talking to my mom about all this once and how she had a choice to behave differently like I had decided to, she asked me “why are you trying to control me????” I almost laughed. Poor, poor mom. It’s mind blowing how they accuse you of the same things they have been doing for years and years, from a position of power.


Oh I love this one, I was never allowed to voice any kind of desent about the way she treated us or spoke to us, she would slap my mouth and tell me to shut up…over and over. Now she has the nerve to say ” CAN I SAY SOMETHING PLEASE!” Oh yeah, sure…


DXS, I wonder if my shitty mother was a New Ager before her time.
I don’t know why she said that stuff, if not to screw with me so I’d do what they wanted. She seemed to recognize that having choices was possible and I guess she made some very bad ones as far as her daughter was concerned. The upshot for her is that I’m no longer in her life. Now she has other people to hold to her aging beck and call.
She would slap me in the face when she was angry with me. And especially when I stood up to her. She thought she owned me, she was wrong.


I’m still just heart broken. I want to call her names and hate her guts. I want to not care, but I would give anything to get answers. I want so bad to look her in the eye and know that she knows what she put me through. That still seems like the only answer to me and I can’t seem to see past that right now.


I also experienced victim blaming, and it’s invalidating. It multiplies your pain a million times.Blamers are narrow-minded people. They too may come from abusive families and they don’t want to be seen as victims.OR they come from normal loving families and they don;t know what hurt is.
Either way, we often can get away from them,as they are usually strangers.Once, i opened my heart to a friend and she accused me of allowing my abusers to treat me that way.But if she had lived with them, like i do, maybe she wouldn’t have been able to keep her sanity intact. Anyway, talking to her left me shattered


but I would give anything to get answers.

Kaycee, My mom says I won’t get my answers. But I find that if I back her in a corner and do a “Law and Order SVU” interrogation, I get her to “blurt out” the answer I need. My mom hates it, but I am keeping up the “interrogations” until I get answers! I have to go “one interrogation per issue.” And then just bring up “an issue” every once in awhile……


I’m not new here – just changed my screen name for privacy.

This thread has been so very enlightening!

Darlene #111 – … ‘stop looking to the people who define you as unworthy to define you as worthy’ – this is spot-on for me, and will become my mantra each time I stumble back into that mode. It is that “definition of insanity” that we do the same thing over and over, looking for a different outcome.

The old terms “Power Trip” and “Control Freak” come to mind, too, when I think about family members who refuse to discuss sensitive issues or clear the air on misunderstandings. They maintain power and control their relationships (the way THEY want them) while continuing to NOT accept any responsibility for dysfunction. I’m quite sure that in my situation they simply do not care if I am hurt. I’ll either get over it or “oh well.” Getting over it is not easy, as all of you know, but I’m on my way.


Hey Alice,
I was thinking of this “choices” thing and how unreal it really is. The last I was in contact with my mom she told me I was in the driver’s seat of my own life…. yet how long it has taken for me to be able to function halfway decently, despite having missed out on living so much of my own life because of how she treated me… and yet, yes, there are so many reasons, things we need to understand, for why they “didn’t know” or why their negative actions had been caused by this, that or the other… but in reality for us to get up off the ground and choose to fight for ourselves had to have taken so much more effort than for them to start making different choices. They were the ones in power. What pressure were they under to continue what they were doing? Did they have people staring down on them as horrible people if they didn’t continue to abuse us? What pressure are you under to abuse and to not take accountability? I understand something of how people become abusers, but no one can tell me that it isn’t about anything except using the victim as a way to balance themselves, to cope with whatever they can’t cope with, to put themselves above whatever/whoever, to be in control, etc. It’s more about release than pressure. Finding the easiest way to settle things, even if that means damaging someone innocent. My family wanted me to accept that somehow I was choosing what was happening to me, that for example if what my family was doing was harming me, I should have known they didn’t mean it, and done something to fix the situation, to stop pretending to be “okay,” that they didn’t force me to pretend. I just had to speak up…. Yeah, right. That’s why when I spoke up, the pressure tactics multiplied and started having problems wanting to cut myself and now am without any family at all. Cutting off was “Alaina’s sad choice.” And how about scapegoating the most emotionally fragile member of the family? Was that not the most disgusting, weak and pathetic choice of all? When they had no pressure to scapegoat me, whereas I had tremendous pressure to tackle just to cut off from them so I might not end up dead…? No, finding blame in me was the easiest choice available. It’s still sometimes unbelievable to me that people can do this to their own children. The key for them is to never think about it for too long… that’s why if you can get them to finally understand something, they can argue that they didn’t know. Ignorance is in their favour. How about admitting they didn’t want to know, that they made specific choices to circumvent knowing…. because knowing might mean they might have to actually DO something to change, which sucks when you’re getting something out of using/abusing the child, etc…. But that’s when my mom says something like, “I can choose to see myself as evil or as a human being who has made a few mistakes and I choose to see myself as a human being who has made a few mistakes.” When god knows I never said she was evil! Now, though, I see it. I’m not one to use the word but I can see how it flourishes in people’s weaknesses, in their willingness to exploit the goodness of others, maim and spoil the souls of innocent people, for the sake of their own self-interest and claim innocence just because those others apparently have/had “choices.” Obviously, just because you get away with hurting someone doesn’t mean it’s okay, nor does it absolve you of responsibility if your negligence allowed you to not know things you didn’t want to know.


I recently ended a relationship with a man who was very narcissistic. I changed my number and cut all contact to preserve my sanity (something I’ve never had to do in a relationship before). He contacted me a few weeks ago for reconciliation and I used that opportunity to express my feelings about how he treated me. When confronted he made himself the victim and accused me of slandering him (can you even slander to someone to their face? lol). He blamed me for my own hurt, telling me that he would never have verbally abused me had I not hurt him first. He acknowledged and apologized for nothing. It hurt, but I was not surprised; it was the reason I ended the relationship in the first place.

He did alot of damage in two years and I was forced to ask myself some tough questions as to why I stayed as long as I did. (When we weren’t fighting we were bliss and I didn’t want to give that up). He gaslighted me over time and it was so subtle that I didn’t see what was happening. I’ve learned a valuable lesson about trusting my gut and loving myself even more than I thought I already did.


Kristina post #55

I too have had my share of bad – or more often, ineffectual – therapists. My own personal theory is that the good ones are few and far between and it might take going to 7-10+ to find the gem. My two best ones were referrals from people I knew. One didn’t believe in talking about the past. One didn’t seem to understand how bad the situation was or that my sibling was abusive. One was great, but it ended badly (he never responded to a letter I wrote) and it made me question everything.

So please don’t give up. That psychologist and her “victim mentality” comments….it sounds so judgmental. What’s wrong with feeling like a victim if you ARE a victim???

Going to a bad therapist can be so retraumatizing.


Alaina, my mother has long sung the song of “It’s your life Alice” all the way. So if I didn’t do what they wanted it could be claimed that it had nothing to do with the way I was treated and everything to do with my own selfishness. If I tried to argue that I had only acted in response to mistreatment I’d get the “that’s your choice Alice” or “that’s your choice to see it that way. We have always loved you” and I couldn’t honestly make sense of how they could say they “loved” me given the way they behaved.
Alaina your post is so well-written I would like to take some more time to reflect on it, also my phone battery is not far off conking so I have to go:)


Hi Laura
Welcome to Emerging from Broken!
People have a false idea of what a victim actually is; it isn’t a judgement if you have been ‘victimized’ and it isn’t a weakness. It’s just a fact. I found so much power and freedom when I finally realized that I had been ‘victimized’ and then that it wasn’t MY fault. I didn’t do it to myself. When people say that we “allow” abuse, that is another abuse. It’s ignorant when someone says that and totally understandable that it left you shattered.
I am so glad you are here; you have found the right site!!
Hugs, Darlene
p.s. Blamers almost never come from loving families. People that grew up with real love understand that when love hurts or causes pain, it isn’t love.


Hi Eden
Welcome to EFB ~ Yes, it is extremely common for abusers and controllers to state and even to believe that they are the victim! Your example is very good! Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


Hi Lorilei
Welcome to EFB ~ thanks for sharing, glad you are here,
hugs,, Darlene


Love your points ~ they are so true!
hugs, Darlene


My family will claim love to their dying day, I’m sure. In their mind they are the people who love me the most. Like you, I can’t make sense of it. They readily admit they don’t know who I am, never really have. Whatever feeling they experience when they say they love me, it certainly doesn’t inspire them to act any differently. I guess you can love a household appliance and be upset when it breaks down and then quick it for breaking down… but can’t go blaming the “manufacturers” here this time…. no, of course not, NOW we’re our own people, now it’s our choice… we didn’t have to breakdown….


I meant “kick it for breaking down” not “quick it.” Ooops


It’s funny that refusal to discuss it. Anytime they want to discuss me, they feel free, in front of anyone at anytime, the humiliations are still extensive at times. Yet the past is taboo for me. So strange out families. Nobody in the world would ever get it either except for you guys. It’s like if it hasn’t happened to you it’s impossible to see.


I was just told by my sibling after his wife was tragically killed that I ruined our family 28 years ago when I disclosed abuse with he and my mother at my therapists office ! Once we walked out the door it was never mentioned again…he began a hatred for me and this gave him license to berate be every few years in horrible ways -most I’m front of my mother who never would say a word ! He spouts judgments and hatred against me and without any chance to defend myself. My pattern was to take as much as I could til the pain got so great and I would remove myself! There was never resolution & I have made each incident part of who they thought I was & still am! This time it was done on the heels of me caring for his baby daughter so he could heal from wounds suffered in the accident that claimed his beautiful and wonderful wife whom I loved!
He criticized my care of his baby-care that I took on as a sacred rite between his wife and I- it was the greatest time of my life-being 100 % present for her and caring for her trauma and loss of her mommy! He also claimed in front oft mother that I had fabricated my abuse-that he knows people who were sexually abused and that I am not one of them ! I was and am still shocked beyond belief-left his home after being DISMISSED and have been grieving since! I’m grieving my entire family! I came home and reported his actions to other friends and family and he had accused me of slandering him-and has chosen to ban me from the lives of his children! My only niece and nephew-1 & 3 years whom I love as my own! I have not spoken to he or my parents and dont plan to until I can set a clear boundary! I’m giving myself permission to grieve and it is not their way so I am the bad one! Not being validated that many years ago set up a pattern of self hatred, loathing, eating disorder , abusive relationships etc. I miss the kids with all my heart but have chosen to honor myself and not be a target any longer ! I know the kids love me, and if it takes until we are reunited in Heaven then so be it! I am honoringy truth for once in my life! I know i will continue to be his target unless I stop it! It’s painful to say the least ! My sister in law was my buffer in my family -her presence made it possible for me to be in my family! She never witnessed one of my brothers tirades-I knew at some point she would leave him and was shocked it was by death at 34! She showed me the unconditional love I had never gotten from THEM…I pray it carries on in her kids ! I pray for their safety and protection against his narcissm every day!


All this just breaks my heart because I know what you are talking about.We have custody of 3 of our grand kids and they have all been abused. The system wants to seperate the children from each other to keep them safe.. Lets punish them…They are only 4,6 and 7..They have seen, heard and experienced more then we’ll ever know.. The system is treating them like they are perpetrator’s. How can you possibly blame these children for acting out what happened to them.. How can they blame ANY VICTIM ?? Thanks for sharing!!


From Alice:

If I tried to argue that I had only acted in response to mistreatment I’d get the “that’s your choice Alice” or “that’s your choice to see it that way. We have always loved you”

We always loved you (fine print: “as long as you be the person we need you to be so that our family dynamic remains the same/does not change…..”)

Same rhetoric I got. YOU aren’t the one who is loved. It’s some “other” person they want to be that is what they “love.” I finally got my mom to a


DANG! Post hit before I was done. Anyway, I finally got my mom to admit this, but it took a Law and Order SVU interrogation to get it.


From Alaina:

They readily admit they don’t know who I am, never really have. Whatever feeling they experience when they say they love me, it certainly doesn’t inspire them to act any differently.

What a contradiction! Another example of “we love you as long as you pretend to be what we want you to be so as not to upset our family dynamic.”

Got mom to admit she never understood me and didn’t want to try because it was too hard. Better to sweep under the rug.


Yep, that’s pretty much it. We’re asking too much. I wanted some kind of complex answer, something that still somehow allowed me to maybe respect my parents in some capacity, to some degree. But everyday it seems like what was going on was very simple, very selfish, and there’s no attempt to fix that because what they wanted then was what they want now (regardless of whatever they say). I like to think I’m smart but more and more I think, god, I was so dumb… and that my liking to think I’m smart was used against me… i.e. the truth couldn’t possibly be the truth because that would make me so dumb… but yes, the truth was very simple (and yeah, I know it’s not really that I’m dumb but that I was a kid and didn’t know and certainly I was taught how to use my intelligence to make things more complicated than they were or to think a lot about the WRONG things from so many angles, except for the most obvious ones, that I’d get all tangled up…

Carolyn Campbell
June 9th, 2014 at 12:47 am

I have been the brunt of my mother’s abuse since I was young. The only time she ever paid attention to me was when she needed a babysitter for my siblings … at age 10 she would leave me with my two sisters and brother. I was left to my own devices the rest of the time, fortunately I was an avid reader and was quite content in my own company. When I was ill, my mother would ignore me, claiming I was just seeking attention. In Grade 3, I was quite sick, in pain day after day. She would send me to school and twice I was sent home. Naturally I was in trouble for “faking” it. The 3rd time I was sent home, I was so ill I was in bed, in extreme pain. She and my father went out none the less, leaving me with a babysitter (along with my siblings). It wasn’t long before the babysitter could see that I was seriously ill, called my parents and shortly i was in hospital. At first the doctors thought it was appendicitis but when they opened me up, it was my kidney that was threatening to explode. I was kept in the hospital for 10 days or so. I began to wonder why I wasn’t being allowed to go home .. turns out that my father had built me my own bedroom and the doctor had agreed to keep me in until it was completed. I have always felt that it was a guilt payment because my mother’s negligence could have killed me.
I was having trouble seeing the tv, and was found to be sitting too close to it … by a family friend. It wasn’t until that friend told my mother that I may need glasses, that I was found to indeed require glasses.
This negligence continued throughout my life … to this day.

I was a very intelligent little girl, curious about the world around me. Conversations with my peers did not suffice. My father had no issue conversing with me, and though he was tired most days, and drank as did most of his peers in those days … he would talk to me .. not at me. He did not speak to me as if I were a child but as an adult. I appreciated it.
On the other hand, my mother took it as a personal challenge to her position as mother of the house, to have a child like me, who did not cow tow to her abuse of power.
As I grew up, she would find ways to embarrass or belittle me in varying ways.
At 14, after attempting suicide, I ran away. I refused to go home as I knew that my mother would continue to lie and mistreat me, and because my father worked so much, and was rarely home, and when he was, he was tired .. I would think now … that he would blame my mother for whatever was happening to me. At one point, we as a family were sent to a psychiatric. He spoke to each of us. At the end of the appointment, he told my mother that he did not need to see me again, but that he would like to see her alone. You can bet … that was the end of any further attempts to make me responsible at that time.
Nothing changed, through my several returns and consequent leavings. My mother does not forgive, she used my siblings against me, as she had begun to do against my father …using my sisters and brother. At 18 she tried it on with me, and I wouldn’t bite. Again when I was a bit older .. having had to pick my Dad up from a party that we had all attended, where he had had a bit too much to drink. My mother rang me at my home and asked if I would pick him up … which I did.
The next morning, my mother told me not to say anything to my father about his behavior. Though I strongly felt this was wrong and dishonest in some way, I didn’t say anything.
Over the years, my mother has played all of us off against one another. Usually them against me. She lies through her teeth … enabling my siblings to do the same.
I have been dealing with my diability now for 6 years .. and all of the ghosts have arisen … because I began to realise how connected all of her lies and abuse have damaged me, damaged my siblings, my relationship with my father (though we were very close, my mother’s machinations caused a rift that was never repaired before my father’s death).
Because I now live in her home … her abuse has increased. She uses my siblings to further her ends, yet she is becoming increasingly frustrated because I am not making things ok, I am not making them comfortable since I call them out on their abusive ways each and every time. I will not make it ok for them. They can be angry, rude, ignorant or any other negative behavior/attitude they choose to be. I didn’t do it, didn’t cause it, and I no longer care. I hold up the mirror … No more compromises on my integrity or my value system, no more sweeping it all under the carpet … too bad if they all feel bad for my mother … while at the same time claiming they know what my mother has done, but they continue to treat my like garbage .. oh wait though … when I have money, or connections or things they want … oh well then … not until I became disabled, did my siblings begin their abusive behaviors again. My mother? as long as I had something she wanted, there might be peace … usually not though. My successes just made her angry .. jealous. Nor would I take her side in matters between my father and her … I wouldn’t take his side either but there again, my father would have and never did expect that from his children.
Sorry for the rather disconnected diatribe here, but I hope that I have sufficiently set the scene for the background of my life … sadly it continues, at great stress to me, but also to everyone else. My mother has created such an environment of distrust and disharmony … especially since the passing of my father 4 years ago now. She has told so many lies, that she can’t remember them all. Now that her cancer has returned, my siblings are here most days .. which only increases the disharmony and stress. I am made to feel the outsider, …. intellectually I know it’s all because they know they have done me wrong and can’t face up to it and why don’t I just make it easy on them and leave … in my heart … I am so deeply saddened and hurt … at the damage that one woman has done to people who might otherwise actually be nice.


I don’t know where I am at emotionally or mentally right now. I am living with my “mother” after a bad divorce and I think I reached my breaking point. For the first time in months, I felt suicidal. I won’t go into details. I tried posting on here to reach out to friends, but my computer crashed. So, the entire day, I had no support, my therapist wouldn’t answer my cries for help (I found out later that she was busy, which is OK because she is a GREAT person). I felt like that abandoned child all over again. I was utterly alone and reached my breaking point. I thought I was already broken, but it turns out that I had a few large pieces left for my “mother” to break.
I read somewhere that you had to make the decision to escape your abusive situation on your own. Well, I was officially on my own Saturday. I decided to leave her house. Now, I have not actually left, but at least I did make that decision.
Currently, I am not on speaking terms with my mother. I feel horrible about that, but I cannot deal with the narcissistic lies that come out of her mouth. I just hope that this is not considered “the silent treatment” that narcissists resort to. That means that I am no better than her, and I NEVER want to be like her. I just need some space to think. Of course, the narcissist would NEVER allow something healthy to intrude in her torture. In fact, she would take it as an affront to her “being there for me.”
Two days later, my conviction to leave does not feel so strong. It’s still there, but I am not confident in myself. I am just waiting to catch the Hell my “mother” is dying to give me right now. I’m sorry to sound so weak, but I need to know that I am doing the right thing and I would love to hear from someone on the blog. Thank you for listening!


I don’t know where I am at emotionally or mentally right now. I am living with my “mother” after a bad divorce and I think I reached my breaking point. For the first time in months, I felt suicidal. I won’t go into details. I tried posting on here to reach out to friends, but my computer crashed. So, the entire day, I had no support, my therapist wouldn’t answer my cries for help (I found out later that she was busy, which is OK because she is a GREAT person). I felt like that abandoned child all over again. I was utterly alone and reached my breaking point. I thought I was already broken, but it turns out that I had a few large pieces left for my “mother” to break.
I read somewhere that you had to make the decision to escape your abusive situation on your own. Well, I was officially on my own Saturday. I decided to leave her house. Now, I have not actually left, but at least I did make that decision.
Currently, I am not on speaking terms with my mother. I feel horrible about that, but I cannot deal with the narcissistic lies that come out of her mouth. I just hope that this is not considered “the silent treatment” that narcissists resort to. That means that I am no better than her, and I NEVER want to be like her. I just need some space to think. Of course, the narcissist would NEVER allow something healthy to intrude in her torture. In fact, she would take it as an affront to her “being there for me.”
Two days later, my conviction to leave does not feel so strong. It’s still there, but I am not confident in myself. I am just waiting to catch the Hell my “mother” is dying to give me right now. I’m sorry to sound so weak, but I need to know that I am doing the right thing and I would love to hear from someone on the blog. Thank you for listening!


P.S. The events that I described happened two days ago. MY computer finally allowed me to get back on this blog. The suicidal attempts and the feeling of being utterly alone happened on Saturday.
Two days later, I am feeling doubts about my decision. The decision is still made, I just don’t feel very strong about it. I apologize, but I am not thinking clearly right now.


That should be suicidal FEELINGS, and NOT attempts. Please don’t panic, I’m OK honest! 🙂


I was going through a “what if” situation, as in “what if I died? She wouldn’t care. She would have to find another source to suck dry. I promise, this is the last post for awhile, I’ve taken up too much of everyone’s time! 🙂


Kaycee #121 – same here. She’s fine. I can’t function and every day lose a little more will to live. But she’s fine. And I don’t want her NOT to be fine. But I wish I could learn to be fine, too. Because I’m really not. Not at all.


Alaina, DXS, I finally understood that none of their abuse was about me, I mean it was because I was the “not the person they wanted me to be” if that makes sense. But it was about them. When I asked for an apology after my aunt’s husband threatened me (for suggesting she leave him as at the time she was telling me that he was abusive, I’d also seen them hitting each other a bit) she accused me of having the intention to break them up. Well no. I wanted an apology.
Spence, I hope you have called a suicide hotline by now or been able to meet your therapist. I think you made an excellent choice to leave the abuser behind.
My mother also said a while back that she just didn’t understand me. I don’t think effort was made in that sense. I guess I still sometimes crave that they had tried. But I wasn’t worth the effort.


Thank you so much for responding!
Yes, I DID get a hold of my therapist and she was wonderful as always! A good therapist is a great person to have on your side!
I felt like I was teetering into a crisis. But, I pulled myself out of it, thankfully. It was the realization that my “mother” would never feel remorse if something happened to me. THAT is the thought that hit me like a ton of bricks. I have never felt such hurt in my entire life! And feeling that much pain scared the crap out of me! The truth really DOES hurt. Now, I have to take care of myself because she will never be the mother that I wanted. Taking care of myself is a scary and lonely thing. I hope that with time I will be stronger. In fact, after hearing stories from others like you, I’m sure of it. Thank you again!!


Spence, glad to hear you pulled yourself through. Yes the understanding that I was not loved was terrifying. My mother told me that as a child I would just scream for hours and that she “left me to it.” Why would I be screaming? You know, obviously because I didn’t “get my way” and god knows what that must have been. Was it attention and care and love I was after? Such a “selfish” child! I remember following her around to get hugged or picked up when I was upset and she would push me off. It broke my heart. And then at some point I quit seeking out her affection and she told me I was not an affectionate child. So of course it was my fault that I didn’t get the love and attention I wanted or needed. In later years I couldn’t stand to have her touch me when it was her that wanted a show of affection. On demand, just like that.
Anyway, it’s very clear to me that my mother had me for her benefit and then couldn’t deal with the fact that kids are people that need care and attention. Her claim that “I fed and clothed you and put a roof over your head” was sufficient to demand I be what they wanted and even defer to her is insane. It’s basic goddam care to feed, clothe and house your fucking child. You don’t get points for that FFS:)


I understand what it means to get all of this, it’s the healing part that seems so hard. How do you get to the point where you are not obsessed with the Mother, the family that did this? How do you get to the place it is no longer important what they think? It seems so many of us were conditioned to be dependent on these abusive families, how do we get away when we lack the confidence to stand on our own two feet, when we have lost so many years just keeping our heads above water? It seems I am so far behind everyone else, like I’ve lost too many years to ever build a real life at my age.


Kaycee – “how do we get away when we lack the confidence to stand on our own two feet, when we have lost so many years just keeping our heads above water? It seems I am so far behind everyone else, like I’ve lost too many years to ever build a real life at my age.” This is where I feel stuck OFTEN. Add to that a physical condition that makes it very difficult for me to focus on anything that isn’t pain relief related and I wonder if any of this work is worth it. I don’t think I can recover. Or I’m afraid I can’t. I suppose, if I had given up altogether, I wouldn’t be here. But my life keeps getting worse while the other people in my life, themselves victims, and in some cases, perpetrators, are able to let go and move on and gain some level of “life” for themselves.

I have not found the way. And I get more and more discouraged every day.


Kaycee, I’m still talking about it. Even after NC there is still something left to say. All the things I never told anyone about because I felt that by doing so I was inviting shame on myself or perhaps even being disloyal to them. Before this I was obsessed with getting someone to recognize what I’d been through, to validate that it was indeed “wrong” on the part of my mother (and others in the family). I wanted to be recognized as a person who had been wronged and had not “brought it upon myself”. But because every time I tried to talk about it with other people I’d get shot down, silenced and blamed I kept on wanting to be heard and validated. That was the obsession. I suppose you could say I’m still a bit obsessed because I talk about it here on EFB and I want to spend time talking about it but that’s the way it is. I’ll talk about it until I don’t have to anymore. Before that I believed the people who say “you’re overidentifying as a victim” or “you must be getting something out of remaining a victim”. To which I say seriously WTF? You’re asking someone who was actually mistreated and neglected to just what? Not talk about it? And what’s wrong with talking about it? It’s true after all.


Spence! OMG I just read your recent posts, and I feel terrible for you. I was looking for YOU yesterday on EFB because you had started a thread a couple days ago about the definition of “forgiveness.” I responded to that subject under my previous screen name which I just changed. I found the subsequent discussions re your question fascinating, and thanked you for starting the subject.

So to now know that you were in crisis at the moment I was looking for comments from you is just too sobering. I’m glad you’re getting through the crisis, and that it has given you additional insight into your situation.

And Alice, I relate to a lot of things you say as well. I also screamed and faked hysterics a lot as a kid because I wanted attention from my family, mostly “mom.” And she would often make a sarcastic remark about “oh she just didn’t get her way….” Yeah, when I didn’t “get my way” or if yet again I knew I was not being listened to, I could be a pain in the ass. But gosh, if she had just sat down and looked me in the eye and talked to me……I just wanted her to acknowledge me as something more than an Annoyance.

Spence, again, smiles to you and take care.


Hi Kaycee
It took me a few years. I was healing for 3 years before I even began this website. I have written a lot in this website about the “how” part, but it still takes time for all of it to sink in.
The nutshell version is that the truth gave me back my confidence. It was seeing that the things I believed about the ways that I was defined were LIES that helped me turn it all around. You are not so far behind everyone else ~ you just happen to be talking to others that have been here a while but there are new people like you EVERY day. 🙂
It is never too late to rebuild your life. Stick around and keep sharing, keep reading.
It will pay off!
hugs, Darlene


Hi Spence!
Glad you got back! I emailed you a response, not sure if you got it.
Don’t worry about how much you post! It takes what it takes!

About the mom stuff, setting a healthy boundary does not make you “like her”. It isn’t abusive to stand up to dysfunction. I had to always remind myself that I was NOT the one causing the problem.

hugs, Darlene


Hi Carolyn
Welcome to emerging from broken
I think you will find lots of new insights here. I had to see things through a new grid of understanding before I was able to cut through all this stuff and take my life back. Today I don’t care what any of them think or say about me. I am no longer engaged in the horrific dysfunction that was ‘my family’ and I have freedom, serenity and today I love.
hugs, Darlene


Oh, Alice!
It broke my heart too when you said “I remember following her around to get hugged or picked up when I was upset and she would push me off.” I know it’s not the same, but I’m giving you a “text hug” to replace the one you should have gotten. 🙂

Lisa B. – Hang in there! I know how you feel! I’m not a spring chicken myself. (I’m 50) I have to resist the urge to kick myself because I didn’t get it sooner. But when realize that I have lived my adult life as a hurt child still looking for approval, I cut myself a little bit of slack. Not much, but at least enough to stop my foot from hitting my ass!

Catalina, thank you SO MUCH for your kind words. I needed to vent when something went terribly wrong. I am SO GLAD I found you and everyone else on this site!

Darlene – Thank you for your email! it was a setting on my computer! As always, you are Awesome!!

Thank you everyone!


Spence, thank you for the kind words:) Yes when I remember those moments I feel so sad for the child I was. I feel sad for all of us on EFB and those who have gone through this and don’t talk about it yet. I guess I feel sad for my mother too for had she been loved as needed I’m assuming she would have loved me in her turn. It doesn’t excuse her, she won’t admit to anything other than a “wonderful childhood” anyway and also to her “duty” towards her own mother. Where does it all stop? Well, I’d like to think it stops with me. I won’t be having any children because I don’t trust that I’ve come far along enough in this process to not unconsciously hurt them. I also simply want to enjoy my life and don’t think I can do that if kids who need me are in the picture.


My mother also said a while back that she just didn’t understand me. I don’t think effort was made in that sense. I guess I still sometimes crave that they had tried. But I wasn’t worth the effort.

Yeppers, I wasn’t worth the effort, either. Easier to sweep under the rug and pretend I was just what she wanted me to be.


I understand what it means to get all of this, it’s the healing part that seems so hard. How do you get to the point where you are not obsessed with the Mother, the family that did this? How do you get to the place it is no longer important what they think?

dwelling on the past, dwelling on the past…… That’s what I get. Mom doesn’t get that I have to “move through” this, just like everyone else has to. You can’t just “get over” this.

Spence, also glad to hear you are ok.



Yes, I feel that I dwell in the past. Yes, we have to move through this. I think Darlene said in an earlier post that abuse is abuse. It wasn’t until I found this site that I realized that it wasn’t just that my family didn’t really like me or care for me. They were abusive to me. Just because it was not physical abuse does not mean it is any less painful.


DXS, my mother (god the woman’s a goldmine of BS, I hope it isn’t catching!) also told me “Just get over it Alice” as if whatever “it” was was just a minor hurdle and not what I’d call “baked in” over years of shit treatment. No, it is a “through” and not an “over” I deal with. I can say however that things have very much improved (that gets baked in too) once I was no longer subject to the abuse.


It is also painful to realize that no matter how much you do for them and help your family your place in the system always remains the same. No good deed remains unpunished in the dysfunctional family.


Andria, exactly! They feel they are entitled to having you do for them. They expect it from you. I’ve been there. My mother was never interested in helping me out, and believe me, I had a lot on my plate. But she expected the DAUGHTER to be there for her, no matter how outrageous her demands were. It was hard for me to say no because I had been groomed early on to be of service to her. But finally I did say no, and she wouldn’t speak to me for three years. Yes, my place in the system remained the same. At the bottom.


Amber and Andria, that’s what mine was gunning for too with her “After everything we’ve done for you Alice!” reproaches when I told them I would not be sticking around to look after them in their old age. And the reason I didn’t want to was because I’d already put in time looking after my mother’s mother and my younger brother while I was growing up and I didn’t want to lose part of my adult life to caregiving another aging family member just because I was “the daughter” (that’s the expectation). But my mother denied that I had done anything for her mother and my brother. But before that, when I complained about doing it she told me that it was tradition in some parts of the world so why not here too? Basically she’d say anything to get what she wanted. Including lying to me. So I am also a “bad daughter” by what is expected of me.


Alice, if my mother would have said it’s tradition in some parts of the world for “the daughter” to take care of the mother in old age, my response now would be ” hey Mom, Newsflash! It’s a tradition for a mother to take care of her daughter when she is growing up.”. Neglect, abusive words, hitting, screaming at, putting down, silent treatments, name calling, ignoring, by the way, are not part of the “tradition” of taking good care of the daughter. She was not willing to give, but certainly ready to receive, and in fact felt entitled to it. She also had moved thousands of miles away right in the middle of me planning my wedding- didn’t want to be bothered with the burden of planning it- and stayed there, but had the expectation that I would do long distance eldercare. Because I am the daughter. Never mind that one of my brothers was in the same state. He was “living his life” so nothing was expected of him. She was enraged when I told her Id come in to visit once in a while and help her with stuff while Im there but. My brothers were going to have to help too. I was not doing my ” daughter’s duty”. Again, Mom I will ask you how good were you at doing your Mother’s Duty??


I have come to the conclusion that we are all on our own…Our families will never validate our pain..it’s to ugly. So we are forced to endure the pain from the past and the pain we take currently which I have found just keeps stockpiling until it comes out physically, which for me is chronic headaches, life long depression, bad relationships and food issues…There is something special in each one of us, that made us vulnerable to abuse. I think validating that is key. The healing part is difficult, especially if you choose to have these unvalidators in your current life. I have stepped away only 5 months ago from the abusive family which began with my fathers rage against me and the torch has been passed to my brother who has become an emotional and verbal abuser to my face, but a man of GOD to all others around him…It’s hard to be the one who sees the truth. I know it’s about me living a productive, honest life, healed and whole. The person I was supposed to be, was taken…innocence lost, how does that girl get healing…you can’t go back and re-parent…We as adults can love ourselves, validate our pain, but still I carry every insult, every judgement, every look, every harsh tone…it’s all in my body, in my head reminding me every day that I don’t matter…I even married my third husband who I am separated from because of his own sick issues, and it’s just another form of reinforcing my lack of worth…He is taking over as the emotional abuser by not letting me have my feelings about his shady behavior…It seems our feelings are just not important..How do we “LET IT GO”…no one can seem to get me to that point. I’ve been in Therapy most of my life, with countless therapists…I’ve done the work…I still don’t know how to heal it…I get up every day with a new attitude and a wrong view in the mirror takes me down…Self Loathing, Hatred, all directed at me…and what the hell did I ever do…Now I’m distancing myself from my family and husband to take a long needed breather and I’m called the bad guy for trying to take care of myself…My heart and soul are so touched by this website, thank you Darlene for creating it…Maybe this is where the healing begins…breaking the isolation we have all lived in, afraid our truths will never be believed…I am proud and touched by each one of you. I learned recently that a high percentage of crime, men and women in prison are all due to childhood abuse…I can see where the acting out is a cry to stop the physical and emotional upset and pain of the past…especially when it remains unvalidated. I have gotten to the point this last month where I am starting to wonder…IS IT ME?
Did I make it up….how sick is that…? The pain is crippling…look behind suicide and you will find childhood abuse…some of us can take it longer than others…but I know it is CRAZY MAKING…I feel for each of you…keep posting….xo


Hi Rainbow girl!
Welcome to EFB ~ The way that I let it go was by validating the pain and by realizing the ways that I had been invalidated and devalued by the ways I was treated and disregarded. The key to the present freedom I have was found in looking at the past for the purpose of seeing the false belief system that had formed because of it. there is tons in this website about the ‘how’ part.

yes, I have heard all those statistics too. There is so much crime, depression, etc etc. all rooted in childhood abuses.
I am glad you are here,
thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


Amber, oh, but my mother swears (well, swore:) given she’s no longer in my life) that she took great care of me and “loved you very much”. I’ve thought of using her “arguments” right back at her:) “Hey mom, did you know it’s the “done thing” these days to call out abuse for what it is and not gloss over it in the name of some so-called “family duty”?” Wow, what a slap upside my face I’d get from the whole lot of them if I attempted that! Hell, I got shoved from a car for asking to be respected.

Rainbow girl, I feel that more than we carry the pain, we carry the truth (not just a perception) of what was done to us. And I really think that that’s the way through. I mean I don’t just think it, I know it is.


I’ve been thinking about how when we are invalidated, when people want us to get over it, even when they talk about wanting us to heal (so that we’re “over it”), they deprive us of the one good thing we could actually extract from all this (not from the abuse itself but from what could come out of our attempts to work through the abuse).

When something works, you don’t spend much time thinking about why it works (unless you have a particular type of personality, I suppose)… I don’t believe the stuff we talk about here exists in a box or that it’s just stuff we have to go through individually so that we can get to the point of joining the rest of the world. At the crux of what we’re doing here, talking through all this, finding out what was wrong with our relationships with family, denouncing abuse, are the foundations of life, love, meaning, all the things that are essential to being human, not just to surviving. We all live inside the same world. I used to believe that it was like there was this whole other world where the normal, happy people were, and I just wanted to be given access, to un-know what I’ve known, so I can be something else than I am. But there’s no other world, no doorway through which I will become them, and while there are plenty of people who want you to shut up and fall in line, actually there are people who want to hear what you know. When I read people’s stories, they are horrible and painful but I’m also very often struck at what they know—all the things we know but are taught to not know, that we learn is dangerous to know, that we are told we are wrong about in attempts to keep us in line, serving a sick system, but what you know, the truth you can speak, is a gift to all the people in your life. Connection and real communication between people about the reality of your experience as a human being is more than just valid, or acceptable, it’s profoundly good. Especially when talking about the difficult things in life, like abuse and neglect or abandonment, because it’s the tough stuff that we need the connection the most. I wish none of this ever happened, I wish I had a family, I wish I felt loved, I wish I never learned that my family was willing to sacrifice me for the sake of their own self-interest (I wish that it wasn’t the truth), but all that happened and it’s all a part of me, of what’s made me who I am. I have vulnerabilities as a result but working through this whole process is also giving me insight into life, into what works, into what I want, into what is fair and right between people, into how I work and who I am, into how human nature works, and that’s no small thing. So I keep going, and there’s so much to honour and admire about everyone here who keeps on, everyday doing the best they can, talking about what needs to be talked about, what should be talked about because, honestly, what is more important than this? What’s more important than valuing human life? That’s what we do here, that’s what Darlene encourages here. We’re not ripping apart abusers. We’re ripping apart abuse because abuse rips apart human beings. We’re talking about this stuff because it’s the foundation of the most important thing in the world—valuing each other as equals. So I hope everyone keeps talking. I’m glad to be here and am incredibly grateful to Darlene and all the commenters here.


Just like Alaina I am grateful for Darlene and everyone that posts on EFB. Your post was so eloquent Alaina as are many people’s posts here. Thank you to all.


Alaina, very excellently written:)


All I can say is – WOW! Thank you for voicing what all of us feel but cannot put into words.


Thanks Andria, Alice and Spence!


Alaina – I wish I weren’t so sleepy right now because I can tell that your comment here (#179) is pure GOLD! I just can’t take it all in at the moment. I’m trying to figure out how to come back to it in the morning so I can respond to it intelligently! I know you’ve brought out something very very important!

Thank you!



Hi, everyone
Too many bad statistics. Victims are told that people like them have gone crazy, commited suicide, became criminals and went to jail etc. What kind of message do we get? Victims might think” Maybe i’ll end up like that too. We have no chance in life.” What about victims who made it? What about those who are an inspiration? tHERE ARE victims who started blogging. Others have become therapists, like LIllian Glass or Susan Forward. Others enjoy life without looking back.They are good parents.They don’t parent like they parented. So negative nancyes are NOT right.Think about the damage these negative messages do to the victims who haven’t recovered and are still vulnerable. I am not a statistic. None of us are.Survivors are all around us.Abuse shouldn’t stop anyone from enjoying life, smelling the roses, cooking etc.Flowers still bloom even after you’ve been hit. Stop the negative and bring on the positive.

I’ll forever defend my oppinions and my sanity, even if it’s the last thing i do on this wonderful earth. No one has the right to transform me into a statistic.


I meant “they don’t parent like they were parented.Typing error


Alaina, thank you for showing me there isn’t a separate world. I had not thought of it like that before.
HONESTY AND TRUTH. And the ability to be open to them, finding a common ground where the invisibility we have all felt to some point is falling away. It’s helping me feel valuable for the first time in my life.


Hi Laura
Yes you are right about victims being labeled as the one’s who are crazy. Nobody is saying that ALL victims turn into abusers when we say that there is a cycle of abuse. All abusers were victims doesn’t mean that all victims become abusers. I didn’t parent at all in the way that I had been parented.
I have no idea what “negative messages” you think are being presented by me here.
I think that if you read more of my blog you will understand that I am not against anything that you are defending here.
Hugs, Darlene


LOVE your comments Alaina! you express yourself so well!
There is NOTHING more important than this! There is nothing more important than human life and value and I hope everyone keeps talking too.
I am grateful to each one of the readers and commenters/participants here. I had a dream when I began this website, a dream to make a difference in the world with what I had learned about the imbalance of power in relationships and how WRONG it is.
I love the line you wrote “We’re not ripping apart abusers. We’re ripping apart abuse because abuse rips apart human beings. We’re talking about this stuff because it’s the foundation of the most important thing in the world—valuing each other as equals.”
YES. Thanks so much for your voice here Aliana!
Hugs, Darlene


I would like to share some of my personal experience if I may. For many years, I had a “fuck you” attitude towards life. No matter who or what kicked me down, I got up and gave the situation the finger. I believed that no matter what happened to me that it would NOT get me down. I would survive! I got through MANY tragedies with self help books written by Susan Forward and others. But, after many fights, arguments and attempts to prove to everyone that I had a right to be happy, it finally backfired on me. At age 47, I was handed divorce papers. I was knocked down yet again. But this time, I could NOT get up. It was time to seek help from a therapist and face the REAL me.
For three years, we worked on many problems that I bottled up inside. However, the one thing that my therapist could not get me to deal with was my anger. It didn’t come out at all. I think it was because I finally felt defeated. So it ate me up inside because I turned it inwards. I ignored everyone’s advice and moved in with the source of my problems – my narcissistic mother. well, NOW I am dealing with the leftover feelings that I refused to face in therapy. I FINALLY GET IT!! But, it doesn’t mean that it does not hurt! Right now, I am dealing with the pain that my “mother” never really loved me. I am also kicking myself for not seeing it until 50 years later. So much life I wasted trying to hide my anger under that “Fuck you” attitude. Although I am using this blog to expose a very vulnerable side of me, I know that FINALLY I am on the road to REAL recovery. Yes, I am a victim at times, but I also feel a GENUINE transition happening. I am very early in the process. I love the help and advice I get from others on this blog who went through the same experiences. My fellow bloggers make me feel that I am valid and not alone. From reading the blogs, I think that Darlene had to go through these steps as well. THEN she could consider herself on the other side and NOT a statistic! So, the moral of this story is do not skip steps! Or you may fall on your face again and again until you look honestly at all of the problems. Only then can you move on and genuinely heal. (I apologize if my opinions offend anyone. I know how important this blog is to everyone and I want to retain the feeling of safety that we all have here. Lord knows, this is my ONLY form of support right now, since I have a long distance relationship with my therapist.)


Rainbowgirl, I just wanted to tell you I was sitting in my therapists office yesterday, she has asked me to journal. She wanted to know how it felt tow write these things out and I said I felt very detached like it wan’t real, like I was making it all up. She said, “Do you realize that you are doing to yourself what your family did to you? That you are not allowing yourself to have your feelings, that you are saying they are not real and that you are just making them up?” Baby step one is starting to identify feelings, baby step two is giving myself permission to have feelings.

Don’t know if this helps or not but it was an ah ha moment for me. Thanks everyone who has responded, I read everything here, I’m just barely keeping my head above water right now. It’s hard for me to move, but thank you, thank you, thank you.


Hi Lisa B
I thought I was too old to start over ~ I had to change my definitions of ‘real life’ and I was extremely afraid that I couldn’t recover. I found one seed of hope (that I was told that someone else did it, even though I didn’t actually know that someone else, I believed that just maybe I could too….) and I built on that seed. This website is a great place to find that hope and keep it lit. Just keep going. Set one positivity goal a day, do whatever it takes to keep going.
hugs, Darlene


Hi Jenny
Thanks for sharing, it is heartbreaking this world we ‘live’ in.
I will never understand, but I will keep validating the victims of these crimes.
Hugs, Darlene


Very well said Spence…it takes what it takes to get on the other side…there is no age limit…We get it when we are emotionally ready to get it…I am into my fifties as well…and am hopeful with perserverance and sticking to boundaries to keep myself emotionally safe I will see what a life of freedom can bring….I have much work to do, and at times it is daunting…I’ve spent my life keeping quiet so that others my live…I’m not going to stay quiet any longer…I’m stopping the abuse today which is continuing from my father now to my brother who uses emotional and verbal abuse of me as a platform for being a MAN OF GOD, when he really has Christianity and Narcisim sadly confused. I am not going to be the Target or Scapegoat from this moment on, so far my truth has really pissed some of them off. Not the truth about the past, but the truth of what is going on today…That is where it stops…today…we can make a choice to take it or walk away….some of us are so well conditioned that we can be assassinated in one or two words and not even realize it…It’s awareness, and at some point it will you will figure out that it isn’t you…It took me many years to see that it’s not me…This is a good place….our feelings and hearts are so misunderstood by those on the outside…referring to the abusers and their posse…Thank you all and keep sharing…Keeping it all bottled up has been keeping us from living…I am tired of isolation…I want to let it go…


thank you Kaycee…it’s the mind games we have all played with ourselves to keep coping…I am currently being mirrored many things from my family abuse by my current husband. It is showing up a lot more clearly, because I have distanced from my family and am also separated from him…It’s not even the sexual stuff anymore…It’s all that goes beyond..Its the feelings…That my feelings are denied, that they don’t matter, have no value, and in that I take it inward to been, I have no worth or value, I do not matter….thank you so much…it is so amazing to have people that GET IT, and accept me anyway….Such a journey…


Alaina –

I have been trying to put into words for myself what you expressed. I felt that as long as I had to ignore and hide what I had experienced, I was unable to reach the best that I had to offer the people in my world. It felt like my reason for being was locked up.

I copied your post to save for myself and I highlighted a few sentences.

“(people who invalidate us) deprive us of the one good thing we could actually extract from all this (not from the abuse itself but from what could come out of our attempts to work through the abuse)”

“At the crux of what we’re doing here talking through all this, finding out what was wrong with our relationships with family, denouncing abuse, are the foundations of life, love, meaning, all the things that are essential to being human, not just to surviving.”

“Connection and real communication between people about the reality of your experience as a human being is more than just valid, or acceptable, it’s profoundly good.”

Thank you for expressing yourself so well! Reading this one post in particular was a huge boost for me.



Thanks for your responses, Hobie, Karina and Darlene. When I wrote those comments, I was feeling a bit choked up but now I really am.

Hobie, this—“I felt that as long as I had to ignore and hide what I had experienced, I was unable to reach the best that I had to offer the people in my world. It felt like my reason for being was locked up”—is exactly how I’ve felt, too…. And it means a lot to know that my comments have impact. It hurts actually (not in a bad way). It’s that invisibility Karina was talking about that I’ve felt for so long and now knowing that even if my family doesn’t want to hear what I have to share, there are those who do, and that I have a kind of family here that’s made such a difference in my life. Thank you for reading my comments and thank you for seeing me.

marquis (female)
June 11th, 2014 at 11:12 pm


About tradition. I do agree with that as I’ve told people/ex-therapist that ‘I don’t care how our parents and the past generation were raised, even foreigners who came from the old country – it doesn’t give them the right to make their kids slaves or to treat them however they want.’ They shut up after I said that and told me I need to be more “open minded towards their generation,” I don’t think so! My brother can live his life no problem it’s the daughters who can’t seem to do so.


“I love the line you wrote “We’re not ripping apart abusers. We’re ripping apart abuse because abuse rips apart human beings. We’re talking about this stuff because it’s the foundation of the most important thing in the world—valuing each other as equals.” YES. Thanks so much for your voice here Aliana!” Quoted that from Darlene.

Thank so you much for saying that! That was something I’ve told a lot of people about abuse and like one documentary I watched on PBS last year where a guy was sexually abused as a kid; he said ‘abuse alters the brain.’ I’ve been saying that for years that we need to rip apart the actions the abusers do/cause to someone/somebody – life is about actions! That is something a lot of people don’t get but wait the MHF says life is about actions yet most don’t see anything wrong with what the abuser did or just fluff it off.

I feel validated on here and by my boyfriend everywhere else people sounded just like my parents nothing but invalidedness and contradictions with mixed messages!!


I understand the invisibility that is spoken of. My husband and close friends give an understanding and sympathetic ear to my story, but in sharing it here it is where I have been recognized and seen.

While my father lived with us I told him so many things that invalidated me and made me feel less than. Sometimes he would even walk away, but I made him listen. But it was to no avail. He just did not care and still does not care. It is difficult to realize that you do not matter to your family, but I am so glad that I found out when I did. Now I no longer have to go through the motions of a “fake” relationship. That is all it ever was and would ever be.


I love this quote from another post Darlene wrote when expressing her thoughts about the victim mentality:
“Positive thinking was something that came in really handy and made a positive difference AFTER I sorted out the foundation of the problem. When I understood victim mentality in this new way, I was able to sort things out from a different perspective which was a big key to overcoming the past.”

People wonder why positive affirmations feel good for about 2 seconds. Until you actually get to the root of your false beliefs…not the fact that you believe falsely, no change will be permanent or bear fruit. One thing I am regretful about regarding my periods of victimization is that I agreed with it. Granted, I was forced to agree, but God has blessed me in so many ways, it’s like I’ve had signs all over the place that the messages about doing better, it’s my fault, I make you do certain things like lose your temper like a 2 year old…were my fault. I also recognize that my mother’s unstable behavior at times were her way of controlling me and feeling a sense of control. A prison of her own making, but only she has the key. I’m getting the hell out of it and staying out 🙂


My family and my friends could never understand my pain. In fact, they can understand the pain I was living when i was still living it, but for them I’m supposed to be healed now. How can I erase 18 years of violence and abuse just like that, just because I managed to leave? I wish I had someone who understands


Hi Nikky44,

Lots of times. when we leave a situation, we think it’s over and done with. However, it sounds like you know that not to be true. I think many times people want to sweep things under the rug, because pulling it out would force them to examine their own hurts. I mean…we only have a short amount of time on this planet, and some people are better at putting things behind them than others. However, you’re hurting, then you should not condemn yourself for it.

One thing I’ve learned the hard way, is that before I can show compassion to the ones that have hurt me, I have to show compassion to myself and nurture myself first. Otherwise, i just feel resentful afterwards.

marquis (female)
June 12th, 2014 at 10:57 pm


I totally agree with ya. I have told blamers ‘are you hiding something in your life that you don’t want people to know about? By blaming, you are masquarading something making me look like the crazy one when indeed you probably went through something similar.’ Man, did a lot of them either shut up or cursed me out!

If they don’t wanna hear the truth, they should shut up as far as I am concern! I’ve open my heart out to friends and was accused of being a “child with a horrible attitude towards my parents,” which is the reason why they were abusive in the first place. I couldn’t believe what I was told like I told my ex-therapist ‘how do you expect people to be open and honest yet you keep shunning them or silencing them whenever they have/are abused?’ I notice I never got a straight, definitive answer from her (the therapist).


About choices. ” They were the ones in power. What pressure were they under to continue what they were doing? Did they have people staring down on them as horrible people if they didn’t continue to abuse us? What pressure are you under to abuse and to not take accountability? I understand something of how people become abusers, but no one can tell me that it isn’t about anything except using the victim as a way to balance themselves, to cope with whatever they can’t cope with, to put themselves above whatever/whoever, to be in control, etc. It’s more about release than pressure. Finding the easiest way to settle things, even if that means damaging someone innocent.”

Agreed. These are questions people should be asking not the usual bullshit of ‘they are your parents, love your parents, etc’ those are not answers that is just dusting it under the rug. I mean there’s a whole sleuth of questions as to why they were abusing in the first place and many of us will never get straight answers from the parents or whoever was taking care of us. I have gotten a few answers based on what my mom said about her mom and my dad’s mom that’s about it. I told people it doesn’t make it right, but why should I feel sorry for them? Why does the victim always gotta pick up the pieces, fix their lives, while the abusers can sit on a couch getting fat and wallow in their misery yet nobody isn’t making them fix their own lives? A lot of people shut up after that!

My ex-therapist said ‘your parents had bad parenting’ ok, we all agreed to that, but that’s no excuse. I told her they had all the opportunities to make it right and chose not to – ignorance is no excuse! ohh, ex-therapist didn’t like that and claimed we all make mistakes. We all make mistakes in certain situations, but abusing a person is not a mistake!

“The key for them is to never think about it for too long… that’s why if you can get them to finally understand something, they can argue that they didn’t know. Ignorance is in their favour. How about admitting they didn’t want to know, that they made specific choices to circumvent knowing…. because knowing might mean they might have to actually DO something to change, which sucks when you’re getting something out of using/abusing the child, etc…. But that’s when my mom says something like, “I can choose to see myself as evil or as a human being who has made a few mistakes and I choose to see myself as a human being who has made a few mistakes.” When god knows I never said she was evil! Now, though, I see it. I’m not one to use the word but I can see how it flourishes in people’s weaknesses, in their willingness to exploit the goodness of others, maim and spoil the souls of innocent people, for the sake of their own self-interest and claim innocence just because those others apparently have/had “choices.” Obviously, just because you get away with hurting someone doesn’t mean it’s okay, nor does it absolve you of responsibility if your negligence allowed you to not know things you didn’t want to know.”

Yep, ignorance is in their favor which is why the courts give abusers a break! He/she didn’t know I always tell people be careful when you say that about the abusers you could be helping them in their own screwed up mind and possibly they are using you as bait! My mom told me she can be however she wants, she doesn’t have to care about her kids, nor take care of them, doesn’t have to take care of them the “white people way” (whatever that means), doesn’t have any consequences to think about it, and it’s up to us if we wanted to live or die because she had other things on her plate to worry about. Wow, how does that sound like good parenting? I get people telling me she didn’t mean it or knew what she said – yea, she knew exactly what she said that was word for word!

I always say to parents out there ‘no, you’re the parents, right? Tell me, how does that sound like good parenting?’ Oh, the looks I get and some say ‘it isn’t but…’ there’s no but nothing in between! Others said ‘how dare you question me a parent, the one who knows everything about parenting and children, etc’ heard all of the baloney answers out there.

People allow my parents to be negligent and abusive because “they didn’t know better and had shitty parents” but me should “know how to survive.” I told my ex-therapist and others ‘so, this is why family court gives these idiots a slap on the wrist because of people like you saying they didn’t know any better. If that’s the case, then put an order out for them to take parenting classes to be better parents!’ Yea, I cut off from people by saying that.

“What’s wrong with feeling like a victim if you ARE a victim???

Going to a bad therapist can be so retraumatizing.”

Agreed. My ex-therapist thought she was a know it all because she is married with kids and isn’t that much older than me. We had more arguments than anything else as she knew nothing about what I know and tried to use you’re not a qualified MHP and said I don’t want to be nor do I want to be telling people dogma out there that isn’t true, what benefit am I gonna get? Ohh, she was hot when I said that!

She said you can’t stay a victim because you gotta pick up your own life and move on. I told her if you are a victim of robbery, then you’re a victim simple as that! I told my ex-therapist ‘ my mom uses my dad’s mistreatment (she doesn’t call it abuse that’s what it is) and expects women to feel sorry for her – seems like you do as my sister and I don’t! Then, you tell me I gotta fix the pieces in my life while she can use her marital abuse whenever she pleases. What is this? Married women are suppose to stick together even if something is morally wrong?’ Notice, she didn’t have anything to say.

“Darlene #111 – … ‘stop looking to the people who define you as unworthy to define you as worthy’ – this is spot-on for me, and will become my mantra each time I stumble back into that mode. It is that “definition of insanity” that we do the same thing over and over, looking for a different outcome.”

That’s the problem. I still look for unworthy people to define me as worthy since I never had a clear role model in my life to begin with! One older man at the bookstore seems to really believe in me more than my parents ever will.

” We have always loved you” and I couldn’t honestly make sense of how they could say they “loved” me given the way they behaved.”

Agreed. Parents said the same thing yet their actions speak much louder than anything else yet people don’t see that clearly, but I do.

“Welcome to Emerging from Broken!
People have a false idea of what a victim actually is; it isn’t a judgement if you have been ‘victimized’ and it isn’t a weakness. It’s just a fact. I found so much power and freedom when I finally realized that I had been ‘victimized’ and then that it wasn’t MY fault. I didn’t do it to myself. When people say that we “allow” abuse, that is another abuse. It’s ignorant when someone says that and totally understandable that it left you shattered.
I am so glad you are here; you have found the right site!!
Hugs, Darlene
p.s. Blamers almost never come from loving families. People that grew up with real love understand that when love hurts or causes pain, it isn’t love.”

Very true. Told my ex-therapist she has a false sense of a victim and got real nasty towards me! It’s sad when someone blames you then claim they understand – that’s a contradicting statement! I have never met any blamer who came from a real loving family as I’ve told them your life isn’t a hot fudge sundae like you wanna think because the crap that came out of their mouths was atrocious. However, I never met anybody who came from a real, true loving family and understood me. My bf is the only one who truly understands me while everybody else is judging me out there.

“They readily admit they don’t know who I am, never really have. Whatever feeling they experience when they say they love me, it certainly doesn’t inspire them to act any differently.

What a contradiction! Another example of “we love you as long as you pretend to be what we want you to be so as not to upset our family dynamic.””

Agreed. Nobody really understands that but oh well. My parents love to play “keeping up with appearances” makes people think they are loving people and will do anything for anybody. They wouldn’t go out of their way to save an animal, what makes people think they will save their own children?

My ex-therapist says the abuse makes up one part of you. I’m sorry, but I didn’t know that is something I should add to the table and be proud of! It’s an unfortunate part of history that happened to us but not apart of us. Growing up playing soccer all of your life is something that is apart of you not abuse.

“Anyway, it’s very clear to me that my mother had me for her benefit and then couldn’t deal with the fact that kids are people that need care and attention. Her claim that “I fed and clothed you and put a roof over your head” was sufficient to demand I be what they wanted and even defer to her is insane. It’s basic goddam care to feed, clothe and house your fucking child. You don’t get points for that FFS:)”

Agreed yet people said you are her miracle child so she won’t be lonely. Puh-lease! My parents had us for their selfish benefit for children to be their maidservants and my ex-therapist said they put a roof over your head. This woman has children herself and told her I am sorry is this some kind of points you’re looking for? Like you said, basic goddamn care to take care of your children. Told ex-therapist now you got a fuckin entitlement attitude ohh she was hot when I said that! Told me she doesn’t have a parental entitlement attitude just pointing out that I should be happy that my parents didn’t put me in the streets and told her don’t be so sure they wouldn’t sell me/us to somebody. Remember, they already said they would have been glad to turned us over to people since they didn’t want the responsibility.

“I think many times people want to sweep things under the rug, because pulling it out would force them to examine their own hurts. I mean…we only have a short amount of time on this planet, and some people are better at putting things behind them than others. However, you’re hurting, then you should not condemn yourself for it.”

Agreed. The abusers had plenty of time to make things right and chose not so that’s many more years of hurt/abuse/lies/dysfunctionality/etc yet my ex-therapist and other people said they could change on their death beds, sorry don’t wanna wait should have did that when you were younger parents. What’s with this hope a lot of people out there have? They told me my parents will never change, so why are you placing hope on something that will never change?


Hi Marquis,
Thank you for your answer.Your words mean so much to me.Friends are supposed to be there for you, not increase your hurt.There is a God, after all.I thought that hurt from my past would remain un-answered and un-validated.I was even questioning if my so-called friend was right.But now i found peace.
The law should take your ex-therapist’s licence away.Therapy is for healing, not further damaging you.Your ex-therapist was also an abuser.Why didn’t you press charges against him or her?


Hi marquis
I think we place hope in people changing for the better because that is what unconditional love is about. In as much as the love we all know to be be painful, it’s also unconditional. We have all had a love/hate battle with our abusers. Learning to break the beliefs we form in our hearts about love even harder, especially when it’s called family.


My mom resented every bit of attention she ever had to give me. I remember hearing so often how I needed so damn much attention. I still have difficulty actually receiving attention. I want to hide most of the time, just so I don’t bother anyone.

I could never make myself small enough or quiet enough. I couldn’t fade into the woodwork the way I felt was expected of me. It hurt.

I still feel the same message, though the words aren’t quite the same. There’s something sinful about wanting attention, expecting to be noticed, wishing for validation that I matter a little. I guess that’s always been the fundamental defect that made me the problem in the family.

My therapist has been telling me for a year now that the problem isn’t me. I didn’t want too much attention – my mom had no attention to give me. I was an inconvenience, a chore, a thing that interfered with her plans and her fun.

For some reason, I’m awake in the middle of the night because this is making me angry. Because I’m still treated as the problem. Because it doesn’t matter what anyone does to me, I’m supposed to take it and shut up about it so I don’t look bad – so I don’t make HER look bad. It doesn’t matter that she is shallow & selfish. It doesn’t matter if I was molested or raped or robbed. I’m supposed to keep it quiet, fade into the woodwork, don’t bother anybody. I’m making it all up or exaggerating it all just to get attention.

I think I just needed to chew on this a little and spit it out.

I’m just a human being like anybody else who wants to believe I actually exist and that my life might have meaning. Why don’t I deserve as much validation and respect as anyone would want?

I’ll “get it” soon. 🙂



Hobie, I know what it’s like to be up at night thinking about these things.
You DO deserve as much respect and validation as everyone else. Like many others on here, including me, you were probably given many messages growing up that make you believe otherwise.

You message hits home with me. I completely understand the trying to make yourself as small and as quiet as possible. I did this too. I did it by spending as much time as possible in my room with the door closed. I didn’t make noise. I just stayed away from my parents most of the time. Another way I made myself as invisible as possible was not asking for things even basic needs. I would rather forgo something I needed for school and get in trouble with the teacher than get in trouble with my mother. I always thought it was because I would get yelled at when I asked for things, but I think it goes deeper. I couldn’t handle the feeling of rejection that came from my needs being an annoyance and major inconvenience to her. Far better to deal with the teacher. If she got mad it didn’t hurt nearly as much.

It doesn’t sound to me like you needed too much attention. Every kid deserves to be paid attention to. It’s terrible that we are groomed to believe that we are a nuisance because we have a normal need for attention from our parents.

I wish I had more answers; I’m working on this issue myself. I still find myself trying not to be an inconvenience to people. I hope that atleast my message will let you know that you aren’t alone in this. You can vent to me on here anytime because I understand very well what you are going through.


Hobie, but you do deserve it as much as any other human being. Not for any other reason. Parents so often make the necessary, the critically needed for a child from the child’s point of view into a reward/punishment system as a way of making their own lives easier from their position. It’s about them knowing zip about child development. In that sense they are ignorant, definitely. And willfully avoiding what’s right there in front of them because the real thing they’re willfully avoiding is their own pain at not having received exactly what is now being asked of them. Many people don’t connect the dots until they actually have kids (if then) and by then it’s too late. Hence the “therapist married with kids” attempt to not have it out there in the open and to try to shut the “patient” up.


Now I no longer have to go through the motions of a “fake” relationship. That is all it ever was and would ever be.

BINGO! I have faked every romantic relationship I have ever had. In fact, the romantic relationships have been more about, “Gee, someone actually likes me, I should put up with whatever just so they will keep liking me.”

My mom fakes it a lot. She denies this. Heck, I learned the “faking it” from watching her!

When I was a child my Dad would take my siblings and me for root beer floats after church. And my dad would then ignore us and talk to his buddies. When I complained as a child, I was told, “put up with it, your father is spending time with you.” HA! He was not spending time with us! We were just “there.” And mom wonders why I won’t visit Dad’s grave. Because it was more important for him to talk to his buddies then to pay attention to us when we went for root beer floats. Gee, that’s like someone taking you on a date and spending the entire time on their cell phone.


and some people are better at putting things behind them than others.

Get over it and put it behind you. That’s what I’m told. Just because YOU can, doesn’t mean I can. Thank you for this comment.


My mom resented every bit of attention she ever had to give me. I remember hearing so often how I needed so damn much attention. I still have difficulty actually receiving attention. I want to hide most of the time, just so I don’t bother anyone.

I have a cat that needs attention. I’ve had this cat for 16 years. Taught me a lot! You weren’t wrong for needing attention.


DXS, wow! My earlier relationships were just that! “Gee someone actually likes me so I should put up with whatever just so they could keep liking me” ( I did this with friendships too). When I went on the first date with the guy I ended up marrying, for the first time I felt I didn’t have to put on an act to be what I thought he wanted to be. For the first time I felt genuinely liked for just being myself. I was comfortable and content for the very first time on a first date. He was and still is a keeper.

But with most people in my life I was a chameleon. I would change into whatever they wanted me to be. I agreed with their opinions. I would say what I thought they wanted to hear and do for them what I thought they wanted me to do. I sold myself out in an attempt to purchase love from others. But the cost was never having my needs and feelings acknowledged. I am much more careful about relationships now. If I have to change myself to fit in with someone then the relationship is no good.


My parents taught me not to ask them for things. Yes, I had all the necessities for school and some “extras”, but they made me think I was spoiled. I believed that into my adulthood.

I figured out a couple of years ago how I coped when I was a kid. I spent a lot of time away from my parents. When younger than 10, I stayed with my grandparents a lot. Later when we lived on a small farm, I spent my time at home out in the barn with the animals. I think I could relate more to them than to my family.


Did anyone ever get the “there are other people worse off than you are, so stop your whining” speech? I still use that against myself when I am feeling bad. It just reinforces what we have all been saying – that our pain is not validated.


Yes, Spence, I got that guilt trip too. Just because someone may have it worse, it shouldn’t be used by people to excuse themselves from not giving you what you rightfully deserved. If I was upset, my mother would never ask what was wrong. She would give me the silent treatment and tell the rest of the family to ignore me because I was ” in a mood”. How invalidating was that!

Andria, I think a lot of us found our own ways to escape as kids. I mentioned in another post how I would spend a lot of time alone in my room. I also would stay at my grandparents’ place once in a while. I felt so much more relaxed there. And it was amazing to get those little perks there. Someone would actually take the time to read me a story, take me for walks, and play board games with me.

marquis (female)
June 13th, 2014 at 8:21 am

Hi Laura,

I thought about making a complaint against her at the clinic, but I just wanted the therapy to be over. The reason why I didn’t make a complaint I felt like my voice would never be heard by her supervisor because I have been in situations in making a complaint against someone and it was never taken seriously. I was made into the bad guy or that I was wrong about that person had to tell a manager but you were not there but the manager ended up taking the employee’s side instead of my side – the customer.

I had someone tell me but so and so is a very nice employee and I said really? She/he wasn’t that way towards me, I had a snotty attitude towards me from your employee for no reason. I did tell my ex-therapist how she’s also being abusive by shoving down her dogmatic ideologies my throat and getting so snippy using projection is very abusive. I told her I’d think long and hard before you say something else to me because you don’t want me to use client rights against you, right? She just looked at me.


Yep, would get that all the time. Ex-therapist told me that and told her ‘abuse is still abuse. What do you mean there are others far worse off than me? Are we keeping score? Let’s lay our life stories down and keep score as to who had it worse off than who! I didn’t know there are different levels of abuse and which ones are bad, worse, horrible, etc – it’s terrible if you ask me.’ She shut up and so did a lot of people who used that crap against me. Long time ago, I almost believed that I was in better shape than most victims, then I really looked at my situation and said can’t believe people are wanting to brainwash me even further!


Spence and Marquis, so does this all mean that only the person with the worst story gets to be validated? How discounting is that!


If ‘they’ validate our pain, they have to acknowledge that ‘something’ wasn’t done right… they have a lot at stake if they consider validating someone they have been controlling with INVALIDATION… (when I thought this through I was totally disgusted, but that truth was a big part of me taking my power and my life back and owning/seeing the real truth.)
hugs, Darlene

marquis (female)
June 13th, 2014 at 8:34 am


My mom would do that too. She was never concerning about my feelings and any time I was pissed off about something and there’s a silent treatment, ignoring me because I was in “my moods.” She never really listened to anything you had to say if you were upset. An example would be one time a teacher made me mad and felt what she did was unfair. Instead of my mom actually going up to the school with me to speak to this teacher and hear side of the story; she told me ‘yea, that’s how white people are. You gotta learn to suck it up and say oh well until you graduate.’

WTF?!? 1st, it turned into a race issue. 2nd, what kind of teaching is that to a child to defend herself in an unjust argument with someone who is being unfair? That’s how my mom “deals with issues” and still left me even more angrier about the mistreatment of this teacher telling me to suck it up! She never went to speak to this teacher, I tried to do my own defensing towards these teachers, but a child’s word is never heard. I even did my own defensing in college against the Head Counselor a few years ago which the Admin never returned my email. I heard later on she was damaging to other students not just me.

My dad wasn’t any better he was so absent minded I was like forget it. He said to kill or blow the teacher up that’s his answer is to kill everybody surprised he hasn’t done it yet! My parents never consoled us whenever we were upset about something just the usual bullshit to suck it up, how is that comforting?




Yeah, Spence. I heard that more than once. My mother also called me Sarah Bernhardt (famous 19th century actress). Truly, I am not into making drama. Just another way to keep me quiet.


Marquis, our parents should be teaching us how to problem solve and the best way is by example. I never got help with issues with teachers. I felt that if I said there was a problem at school I would get in trouble at home as well. So I never learned how to deal with these things.

I love what Darlene wrote in message 218. It explains why our parents don’t want to deal with our pain. ” If they validate our pain they have to acknowledge that something wasn’t done right”. Wow! Finally, I understand why.


Did anyone ever get the “there are other people worse off than you are, so stop your whining” speech? – Spence

I also remember being told that I had no right to cry because I had nothing to cry about.

There weren’t that many really big things, but so so many little things that were daily reminders that I was nothing but a burden.

As an adult and I’m 58, I am fine with my family until I need something like compassion, kindness, concern, or support. I have been basically eject from the family for “sharing my problems” and I suspect the only thing that my mother actually is worried about is how it’s going to look if I don’t show up for her funeral.

I also know that the story will be that there is something wrong with me. They’ve always told me that I take everything the wrong way. I still get caught up trying to figure out and understand how I am supposed to hear something different than I heard. I can’t do that anymore without feeling like I’m losing my mind.


Right Hobie, you have nothing to cry about. Heard that one too.

I knew for many years that I would never get any kind of concern or support from my family. But I wrongly believed that if I took care of my father I would get a stamp of approval from family and I would be cared about and become a “certified” family member. Boy, was I wrong.

I made myself crazy by trying to make my father believe what he didn’t want to believe. Yes, they make you think it is you. With my father, there was always an excuse for why something I thought was wrong was not really wrong. And he could come up with really absurd excuses, but hey he believed it so it is me who doesn’t understand. I beat my head against the wall with him till he left. The saddest part for me was that he could have built a better relationship with me in the five years he lived with us, but I was not worth it to him.


I too feel guilty at times when I know there are people struggling with life threatening illness…really, we’ve been struggling with things unseen by the eyes of others..At times I think my mental/emotional issues would be better addressed if there were a physical effect…If they can’t see if, they can’t acknowledge it…I’ve said to my husband- I think if i were bald from Chemo or something visable then he would have to look at me and know I was not normal…I cannot get my emotional issues validated…they cannot see the pain we carry, but they get really upset when it comes out in anger, depression or silence and they can’t figure out what the hell is wrong with us…I have a good therapist that told me I need to find a new community of people who will validate me and love me…REALLY? How is that possible…we aren’t comfortable with our families, how do we now get comfortable with strangers…For me, Isolation has been my life for a long time…It started with climbing a big tree in my backyard as a kid. Sitting there for hours, just to be with me…Now I retreat to my own room…I’m convinced it’s safer for me and for others, because many of my reactions to many different things are NOT NORMAL…so take myself out of it. I am appreciative of the understanding of all of you who know this pain. But inside we still yearn for the people of our blood, our spouses…for love and acceptance…We all just want to be loved for who we are…Distancing from my family for the last 6 months has lead to much awareness. Now they are cutting me off, because I’ve taken time to grieve a huge family loss, and realizing IT’S MY TIME…I need to take care of ME…to hell with what they think…If they want to cut me off that is their choice…I too wake up all night long playing over the conversations, the looks, the judgements and criticisms…I am wanting to forgive not for them but for me…I want to let go and it’s such a process…I’m doing it differently and it is causing upset in the family, which is causing them to still TARGET me and make me the scapegoat…I just want to be heard…on all levels, HEAR ME, don’t judge me, just hear me…thanks you broken peeps..xo


Rainbow Girl60-

For me my family were strangers. I really never felt that close to them because they didn’t take the time to know the real me. It is hard to go out there and make a new community. And sometimes you think you have a group of people that you can hang with, but it can fall apart. This happened to me. But I will go out and try again. But I am done trying with my family.

In my experience, once the scapegoat always the scapegoat. If I went back that is where I would be.

This is such a difficult thing to go through. I don’t want to judge you. I hear you.


“Consider yourself lucky Alice that you’re not one of the poor children in Africa that doesn’t have enough to eat”.
“I’ll give you something to cry about”
“Don’t come running to me if you get hurt”
“You’re just overtired Alice, that’s all it is”
“You can come back with us once you’ve calmed down.”
“Stop sulking”
“I liked you better when you were a child, always smiling.”


Spence (#214)

“Did anyone ever get the “there are other people worse off than you are, so stop your whining” speech? I still use that against myself when I am feeling bad. It just reinforces what we have all been saying – that our pain is not validated.”

Yes! I still get it. Got it from a therapist from whom I sought help…who told me the problem was that I wasn’t dressing properly to “get a man”…couldn’t be that I had some issues around sexual abuse when I was very young. No, that was just an excuse. Because she had worked with young people who had had so much worse done to them. And it’s true. What was done to me was not the worst thing done to anyone. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t extremely harmful TO ME.

I think what makes me maddest is when I catch myself doing this to MYSELF. And that has happened as recently as last week. I can’t seem to get off this treadmill.


Thank you, everyone!
I asked because I did what LisaB said above – I caught myself saying that there are other people worse off than me this morning. I hope that this is a good sign for me. Instead of automatically beating myself up when I feel invalidated, I paid attention to my self talk. It helps to hear other people’s experiences with this!


Lisa and Spence…
Yes, there are worse things that have been done to other people…WE had the worse things done for each of us…Makes our trauma the worst it could have been for each of us…We are all unique, our abuse was tailored for that uniqueness…I think that is why it is so hard to heal…We can all band together and validate each other, but each abuse is so different to who we are and how we have held it for so long. This emotional abuse I continue to participate in with myself and the denial of those in my family is far worse than the actual act. It’s prolonged it, ripped my heart apart, made me hate myself and look at myself in disgust at least once a day…No ONE has it worse than any other…and we each uniquely try to heal the wounds…I am so ready to go check in somewhere, let them sedate me for a few weeks so I can stop processing it.


Actually, I can’t even do that without them thinking it’s all about me and a need for attention. They can’t even see I am in crisis and want to heal…They make it all about them always…wheres the compassion and empathy because I’m a human being. Not just their family, but a human being that is HURTING. Until I truly stop giving a crap about what they think of me, and what their roles were in my abuse, I can never heal.


It is always about them. I learned that about my family and some of the friends I had. My problem or my thing was always second place to their stuff.

There are a lot of people out there that don’t give a hoot about other people or animals. They might talk a good game, but when it comes down to walking the walk they can’t and won’t.

I thought I didn’t care what my family thinks of me, but when I was always in service to them that shows that I did care. Now with no contact, they don’t know about my life as I don’t know about their life.


Spence and everyone. You might also have noticed this discourse (“other people have it much worse”) in other arenas in life apart from the family. I sometimes think about how well I was prepared by mine in this respect to be a good little servant to so many others in our society.

And I’ve totally fallen into “well they seem to like me so I’d better do well to keep that liking keeping on” despite actual behavior. Done this too many times with too many. In fact it’s worse, I will strive to ensure “like” on behalf of another whether I like them or not.


She was never concerning about my feelings

I got my mom to admit that, but it took a “Law and Order SVU interrogation” to get her to admit it. Had to back her into a corner. Funny, I was not even surprised when she said it.


Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.

I have heard this on Criminal Minds and on Cold Case. Apparently, Dr. Martin Luther King said this.

we are silent no more, thanks to Darlene!


i love your story. There are times that our loved ones don’t understand us. It’s shattering to hear that our beloved pushes us instead of pulling us towards them. In fact, I experienced that too. I became addicted to drugs and alcohol because my 4-year relationship just ended in a split second and I don’t know why. I read some of healthyplace.com relationship community and I don’t know. But some fits me and others are not

marquis (female)
June 14th, 2014 at 12:17 am


I agree as I never learned how to deal with those things either and it’s embarrassing that I gotta play catch up at age 28! As a kid, I never learned how to “parent myself.” I am trying to do that on my own….


Marquis, I was thinking just before I came on this site about how, if I wasn’t suppressed from doing my own thinking, and been allowed to feel, And if I had been given some guidance on how to effectively deal with problems that I wouldn’t still be going over old stuff again and again. But a lot was just stuffed down unresolved. Another thing I never learned was how to self soothe. I know that problems are still gonna happen, and people will still be mean at times, even after I do muddle through all of this and resolve old stuff. But instead of the default being ” what did I do wrong” I would like to get yo where I can look at a situation and see the truth of it more easily. Right now it is still a struggle to get past the ” what is the matter with me” stuff and really look at things as they are. I guess that’s the fog!!

Last night on Facebook I had a huge trigger. Someone posted a picture from a fourth grade class party, and right in front was a girl who brought me back to a very hurtful childhood incident. This girl was new in school and I wanted to be her friend. At nine I felt so worthless that I would go to any length to get a friend. One day we brought Barbie dolls in and she loved one of the Barbie outfits I just got from my aunt for Christmas. She asked if she could take it home for just one night. Foolishly I said yes. She did not bring it back the next day or the next. I was painfully shy and it took a lot for me to even remind her. I never got it back. One day my brother and I went to her house and I told her mother the story. Her mother brought me and the girl up to her room and asked me to show her what outfit it was. I immediately found it. The mother then starts talking very condescendingly and telling me I lied, that she bought it herslf for her daughter. The girl was sitting on her bed smirking. And I remember getting feelings of guilt and shame even though the mother was lying! I had thought for sure she would do the right thing and tell her daughter feh needed to give it back. Since she didn’t and talked to me condescendingly I felt I must have done something wrong even though I couldn’t figure out what.

I left the house feeling defeated and stupid for having tried to stand up for myself. And guilty. The girl came outside and rallied a group of friends together who started to call me names and make fun of me. I was so humiliated. And I had no one to turn to. No adult I could trust enough to tell what happened and get help. No one to get guidance from or to reassure me that that mother was wrong and abusive. And so I stopped standing up for myself after this traumatic incident. I wAs amazed how triggered I got when I saw this girls picture last night. It’s the mother I blame. She had no right to call me a liar and humiliate me. And she could have taught her daughter a life lesson at that time. She could have said to her that when we borrow something, we have an obligation to return it. No! It didn’t happen that way and the damage to me that day was enormous.


Oh Amber! What a dreadful experience. My heart goes out to you because I know those feelings of shame and guilt after having been treated unjustly and being unable to talk about it. Before I learned not to tell my parents about injustices done to me they would always put the blame on me and/or side with the abuser. “Well, you must have done something to deserve that”, “You should just let it go”, “You should see things from their perspective.” They raised me to be a victim. When I was in preschool and got beaten up by the class bully (Tony!) I was sent back with some candy for him. Candy! For beating me up! How is that for teaching a kid to stand up for herself! I should have eaten that candy myself on the way to school (heaven knows WE never got any) but I was a good girl and handed it over to the teacher, burning with indignation and hurt and shame. Ugh!
Thanks for sharing that story Amber and hugs to you.


Elsie, thank you, thank you for your validation. That experience I described in message 236 is decades old, and you are the first outside validation I ever got relating to that. I somehow learned not to tell my parents about abuse outside the house, whether it be school abuse or by other adults or kids. And the reason was the same as yours; that I couldn’t trust them to take my side, or atleast it was that way with my mother. My father would overreact so I could not trust him to handle things right either. I believe something had to have happened before then to not trust my mother but I can’t remember a specific incident; only the fear of punishment and not being believed.

And the feeling if guilt and shame! I did nothing wrong and I still felt it because an adult put me in the wrong. An adult said I lied but even though I knew I didn’t I still felt I had done something wrong because why else would she yell at me and accuse me? What false beliefs we got as kids from dysfunctional adults.

Elsie, you experience must have been very traumatic and invalidating as well. Not only was it not acknowledged that Tony the Bully abused you, but to reward him? And to give him something that was never given to you? I can tell you it was not your fault and not your shame to bear just as I know mine wasn’t. You deserved and still deserve better.

Thanks again for the decades overdue validation! Hugs Amber

marquis (female)
June 14th, 2014 at 9:29 am


I have heard of childhood stories like that where the parents seem to award their kids for lying. That’s the problem with me when it comes to standing up for myself, how can my point be made clearly without someone else claiming I am lying or wanting to complain just for the hell of it? I don’t know I make a point and then get stuck after that not sure how to really argue the point then I get defeated.

I can really argue the points about my parents, their bad behaviors, society, etc to people and can stay strong and firm on that.


Hi Amber, hi Elsie
I’d like to take a burden off my chest, something that haunted me all my life.It’s about abuse outside the house.In school, i was bullied by a girl in my classroom.She used to call me names, and one day i was beaten.Being only a child, i ran to my parents for help.Who else if not them?My mother went to school and complained to my teachers about how i was the problem.She didn’t defend me, she didn’t say anything against the bully.The next day i was sent to school as usual and nothing changed.At home, my parents made me feel guilty for not being able to defend myself.”We had to come to school and solve your problem,because you can’t do it yourself.”I was only a child back then and i believed them.Believing them was the worst part.I felt like an orphan.
Amber, you and Darlene were the first to welcome me on this blog. My first words of encouragement came from you two.Thank you both again.


Laura, oh my. “We had to defend you because you couldn’t do it yourself.”

Translation: We don’t know how to defend you, if we should defend you, we just want to sweep it under the rug and pretend it never happened.

I’m sorry.


Laura, you’re welcome; it feels great to get those first words of encouragement. Some of us have waited decades, as I just told Elsie she was the first outside validation I ever got on the incident I described earlier today.
On to your incident, I fully understand getting bullied at school. You went to your parents after being bullied and beaten by a classmate. That is just what we should be able to do in a case like this. But the results you got by going to them turned out to be exactly what I feared would happen if I ever went to my mother. You deserved to be defended by your parents. You were a child and there are limits to how much a child can do to solve a problem. And when the problem is beyond what the child can solve that’s when parents need to step up to the plate. You had the right to be safe at school. You had the right to be respected and not mistreated. You had the right to be defended. I am very sad that the adults failed to come through for you. It was not your fault. I know we can’t undo the painful things that happened to us but I hope the validation that you did nothing wrong can bring you some peace of mind. Hugs, Amber


Amber, thanks back for your validation! You know, I used to have a recurring nightmare as a kid where I was being chased by somebody, maybe Tony! who knows, someone really bad in any case, and he was coming closer and closer and in a panic I knocked on a door and as soon as it opened I knew that it was an even worse person and that I was trapped. I could never see the face of that person, probably because I didn’t want to know that it was dear old mom!
Laura, how awful! You must have thought that she was going to get some justice for you and instead she put the blame on you. You must have felt so lost and lonely. Thanks for sharing your story. It really helps to talk about this stuff! Hugs to all.


Hi Everyone!
I just published a new post on the home page! This one is called “When Dad enables Mom in Emotionally Abusive Family Relationships” and it’s kind of a joint message this time! I write a bit and then Carrie H. shares about her relationship with her father as he defends her mother. I am looking forward to this! link ~ http://emergingfrombroken.com/when-dad-enables-mom-in-emotionally-abusive-family-relationships/
hugs, Darlene


I dropped out of the conversation here as I started a new job and work four days (10 hrs) a week… nice to have three days off but not so much energy in the evenings after work, so I’m just catching up now. (Seems like a really good work place, though, so I’m happy after the last bad experience.) Anyway…

I’m sure you’re right that abuse alters the brain. It alters who you are. You take up coping mechanisms and use them for so long it becomes a part of your personality. That’s why Darlene talks about “rewiring,” and from what I understand there’s a certain amount of neuroscience that backs up this idea. I know you can get closer and closer to your true self (and eventually live inside that self always), not that a true self is a fixed thing, but that you can be in accordance with who you are at any given moment, instead of using all the coping mechanisms that create separation from self. When I think of the abuse being a part of who I am now, I mean the history of it is a part of me. I went through this. It happened. It was real. It was bad. In working through what has happened, I learn things. What I learn shapes what I know about myself, about the world; it informs the choices I make, which in turn shape my life, which in turn shape me and the way I think about myself and others, etc. I gather you have a basic self when born and that your experiences in life shape the further development of who you are, made more complicated by the constant interaction/negotiation between all the different parts of self and world, conscious and unconscious or subconscious, whatever… I became a certain person underneath my family’s power structure, but start throwing in new variables and things can start to shift. I think this is my biggest problem with people who keep their mouths shut when they understand something is bad but realize that the person in authority, in the hierarchy, isn’t going to change, that they are in power in the situation and want what they want. If you keep your mouth shut, you are depriving the world of new variables. The more people speak up and, most importantly, stand behind their words, the more variables there are added to the mix. In dysfunctional families everything is homogenous; you don’t know there’s “another way” because, essentially, there isn’t—you fall in line or you find yourself outcast… even if it seems to be of your own choosing, it really isn’t…. Anyway, what I think is that I can integrate what happened to me into my understanding of myself and other people, not that the way I was treated defines me. I.e. I don’t have to believe that just because my family treated me as less important that it’s true that I am, but I carry the memory and what I do with that memory (consciously or not) that informs my thoughts, feelings, beliefs, choices which inevitably inform who I am… I wouldn’t say exactly that the abuse is a part of me because the language of that sentence makes it sound like then I’m taking up the abuse inside myself, abusing myself—by necessity, that it can’t be otherwise because it’s a part of me. That’s only true so long as you don’t go through this “rewiring” process (however long it takes). But the history of it still remains a part of me in some way; it’s the way I look at it, understand it, that informs how it impacts who I am now at any given moment.

I am sure that if we were to actually get through to our families, then the world would speak to the virtues of communication. But when speaking up doesn’t inspire change, then what? My story remains the same regardless of how my family reacts to it… but so much of the world seems to communicate the fact that the truth of a story matters if the family will acknowledge it. If they don’t acknowledge it, then outsiders try to shift things around, make it less important, spread responsibility, etc. If family acknowledged it and worked to change things, then outsiders would have no problem acknowledging it and allowing it to have the rightful weight of it having mattered with responsibility falling where it belongs. It’s almost arbitrary in that sense. This is true for me with extended family. It has nothing to do with the truth and everything to do with power. Even if they know the truth, they won’t fight against the power structure, instead do the “waiting game,” going along with the structure, hoping that someday something will happen that will cause the abusers to realize things (like the deathbed idea)… but as you say it’s quite possible that abusers are using them as bait. Certainly they profit off people who do nothing. No one likes to look at this ugliness. Lots of reasons for that. No one likes to think they’ve been duped, for one. No one wants it to be true (understandably). But mostly, as Darlene said, there are high stakes involved in validating a truth when they’re getting something out of the invalidation. This can have a trickle effect with outsiders… something at stake or at risk for them, too, so it’s all the same… If someone’s reaction to a truth is dependent on other people’s reaction to a truth, then they are clearly detached from reality and from themselves. They are wrong. All you can do is speak for yourself and see how things fall from there.

Like with others, your comments about attention resonated with me. Chastising myself for wanting attention. But also I can get very wary when I do get attention. It scares me. Waiting to be betrayed or shamed, I guess. Also wondering what’s the catch, what am I missing. Too good to be true kind of thing. Sometimes that turns out to be the case but even if it is good, I have to acclimatize myself to goodness in some way and it can feel tumultuous, learning to trust, when isolation and invisibility were both destructive but also protective. It’s slow rebuilding but I know it’s happening—for myself and others here. I can feel it.

marquis (female)
June 15th, 2014 at 10:43 pm


The way my ex-therapist explained it, I did not like it at all. I know the abuse happen to me/my siblings, but I felt like she was saying that it’s something to be proud of and told her not sure who would say it makes up one part of me. I told her lots of things make up one part of something for everyone out there but certainly not abuse.

Long ago, I felt something severed when my mom told me how she wanted to kill/smother me when I was a baby among other things. I lost all communication with people and I used to be so outgoing. People have told me to accept the not so outgoing anymore, wtf?!? Why would I accept something that was never true about me? The only reason why I was such a mute is because of what I was told long ago and refused to speak to anybody, I lost all social skills and now I gotta play catch up with people! That’s why I believe abuse alters the mind it sure as hell altered mind!

I mean, my story remains the same regardless of what people out there think. If they don’t like it, then they shouldn’t ask me anything!


I’m glad she’s an ex-therapist anyway. Sounds terrible every time you talk about her. I’m not sure how you dealt with that. It would shut me down.

I’m sorry your mom told you that, that’s really awful. How could something not sever when someone says that to you. It’s not as bad as that but when I was a teen, my mom said that she’d hated me when I was a kid. As a teenager, I was very compliant and quiet, kind of her pet. It was like she was telling me she hated the real me (and implying that she was glad I turned into the good daughter she wanted). She was giving my aunt parenting advice when she said this. I didn’t say anything or feel anything at the time. It was no shock to me. And generally for years I’d just take things in without reaction, until my breakdown at 22. With that, I started to feel all the stuff I’d taken in. Now, when I think of her saying that, I guess I feel like there really was and is no hope. I became someone else so she’d love me but obviously you won’t feel any love if the love isn’t really for you but a false self…. Turns out, though, she never really liked the false one either because it was hard to have such a quiet daughter, not knowing what to talk about, etc.

I understand losing social skills. I was very talkative when I was a young kid but became very quiet. When I had my breakdown, I could barely manage a conversation about the weather without feeling like I might faint. I’m definitely doing better than that now but I’m still very quiet and my social skills generally aren’t very good, especially with new people. I wonder if that will ever change because it’s been a long time. It would be nice to become more at ease because it definitely limits my life. All the stuff with my family and some negative events outside of family have made me nervous with people, which keeps me quiet… When I was young, though, I could be very talkative sometimes and other times completely happy to be on my own. I’d like to be more like my old self. I remember when I wasn’t scared of life. That was a long time ago before I knew what people were like.


I read somewhere above about chastising oneself for just wanting attention. This resonates with something happening right now in my life. I have a potentially disabling painful skin condition. I’ve dealt with it as much as possible on my own. Dermatologists are stumped and uncaring. Surgeons are more compassionate (believe it or not), but cannot offer long-term solutions. I am coming to terms with the fact that I might be in constant pain every day for the rest of my life. I am having trouble coping with that fact because I feel like I’ve been in pain (at least psychic pain) for as far back as I can remember.

I also feel that this skin condition can be healed (maybe not “cured”), but sent into remission, if I can find the right combination of diet and spiritual/emotional balance. I haven’t found it yet. And when pain is constant and severe, it’s difficult to focus on anything but that. Trying to focus on solutions becomes intolerable. But then I reach out…and I chastise myself for just “looking for attention.”

No…I’m not looking for attention. I’m looking for support. Although ATTENTION would be good, I think. The kind I get (from the family members that know about it, my mother and sister) is the wrong kind. Either super pitiful, mixed with “if only you had” messages, or my sister’s “empowering” message of “if only you would think…” Like thinking positive thoughts will somehow stitch my skin back together.

I wish it were that simple.

I have not found it to BE that simple.

So here I am again, begging for a little attention. I don’t want to die. I just want the pain to stop. So I know I’m not suicidal, in the traditional sense. But I remember having that precise thought when the only pain I had was mental. I didn’t do anything to stop the pain then, so it became physical so I couldn’t ignore it anymore.

Sorry I’m disjointed but I am finding it’s a fine line between “taking responsibility” for the actions that may have led me to this awful condition (thus empowering myself to heal) and “BLAMING” myself for it.

In pain, but willing to be out of it.


Lisa B.-

I am so sorry that you have a painful skin condition. Please don’t blame yourself. You would never want to willingly put yourself in this pain. I understand how family can give the wrong kind of attention or no attention at all. That’s why we are here on EFB.

As you know, nothing we discuss here is simple. The body reacts to stress and pressure in many different ways. Your body found a way to get your attention. Unfortunately, it has some medical professionals stumped. Keep looking for the answer because someone has the answer. You are probably not the only person who has this condition.

I send you hope and healing.


marquis (female)
June 16th, 2014 at 12:05 pm


Me too. A lot stuff ex-therapist made no sense always told her do you have unresolved issues too? Quiet as a mouse! People say my mom/parents didn’t mean what they said and told people you don’t say things you don’t mean and there should be some kind of sincere apology. Us daughters are considered whores and my sister said some woman did in mom long, long time as she has a deep hatred for women. We don’t know what that hatred means but calls us whores every time a guy cheats! My ex-therapist said maybe your mom is confusing you with the other woman or by you having a boyfriend she feels your “whoring yourself” so therefore feels you’re like the other woman/women.

Pretty odd observation. What does that have to do with us daughters? She told my sister before I was born that she only had us to keep dad around and I figured that out when I was a kid – not because she gave birth to me because I am her miracle child so she wouldn’t be lonely, nope, so she can keep dad around and have a maid servant at the same time. My ex-therapist completely didn’t agree with that her parenting kept coming into my sessions it wasn’t about her in the 1st place!! Why do people find that to be hard to believe is beyond me!


Two years ago my mother emailed me to tell me that her sister told her that I
was “saying horrible things” about her, my dad, and my childhood on facebook. She accused me of lying, making it up. She said she didn’t understand what my problem was because she had “raised me in a Christian home.” I wrote back, saying, “You did not raise me in a Christian home, you raised me in a verbally, physically and sexually abusive and alcoholic home, where I never felt safe or loved.” I never heard from her again.


Amy, how we get punished by them for telling the truth! I think they just can’t ( or won’t) face the truth, so they quickly put themselves in a victim role and say they were wronged by us. I hope you will get the same comfort and support that I do on here from reading Darlene’s articles and sharing our experiences on here. Although we each have our unique stories, there are also many commonalities. I think many of us on here have experienced having mothers that run in the other direction when we bring out the truth.


Thank you Amber. EFB (and the EFB facebook page) has been very helpful. Darlene is awesome :).


I’m just so confused! I want to heal so badly, but there’s still a huge part of me that isn’t sure if I was ever abused! My mother was and still is very emotionally manipulative, and absolutely believes children are possessions. I don’t even know if she thinks I have a right even now to be myself! I want to heal so desperately, I want to help raise this little child who got left behind inside me, but I just don’t see the point in facing it with my mother. She lives quite close to me now, she moved to be closer to her granddaughters and ‘help out’. She does a lot of babysitting and so on, but I’m always completely amazed by the fact that when she comes over she has very little interest in her grandchildren (the girls are 3 and 1). She’s more interested in telling me about how awful her students are (she’s a primary age tutor, she teaches maths and English to 10 year olds), and it shocks me every time – I always knew she only liked me if I was perfect, but I didn’t realise she felt the same way about other children! She pretends she sees what a terrible mother she was, but only in the sense that she’ll say ‘I know I wasn’t the best mother, but at least I disciplined my children’ or ‘if he was my child, hand would have met bottom’. I am torn between thinking I should face my issues with her, and thinking what on earth is the point?! I’ve tried facing them before with her, and she either goes off in the deep end lamenting that I will never forgive her, and why can’t I see how much she’s changed, and what a bitch I am, or she’ll burst into tears and say she’s so sorry, can I ever forgive her, oh, and it was all for my own good. What’s the point? I’m still too easily manipulated.

My mum has recently started saying negative things about my daughter, that she’s defiant and rude to me. She’s NOT! I’ve got a big group of friends who all have children of the same age, and are extremely supportive. They’ve all found it shocking that this little girl should be described as defiant (one of my friends burst out laughing and offered to introduce her daughter to my mum, as she’s going through the terrible threes!) My first-born has never been through the terrible anythings, I’m just lucky! But the point is, she considers things like dragging her feet when I’ve asked her to tidy up to be defiant. I do not consider that defiance, I consider it honest. I have no doubt that we will have more arguments when she hits the teenage years than I did with my mum, because I will be willing to hear her point of view. I may still disagree with it, and if I’ve made a rational decision, explained it to her, and she still doesn’t like it, she’s welcome to make that clear, but I will still expect it to be done. The only reason I never argued with my mum was because I was terrified of her! She can’t seem to see that, she just congratulates herself that my brother and I were so well behaved. She doesn’t know that we LOVED boarding school because we didn’t have to be at home for a week at a time.

I’m sorry this is dragging on so much, I’m just so confused right now. I want to deal with my past without involving her. I can’t change her, but I don’t want to completely cut her out of my life and my children’s lives. I still hold out hope that she will be a better grandmother than a mother! My grandmother (her mum) certainly was, so I don’t want to deprive my daughters of the opportunity to make their own decision. It’s a terrifying decision – I don’t want to expose them to a toxic influence, but my husband and I believe that we’ll be a positive enough influence to guide them through it. I just hope that’s the right decision. I feel like I’m younger than some of the people on this site (Please don’t take offence, I’m 29, and none is intended!!) and I was wondering if there are any other mums out there (I know Darlene is one)…what was your experience raising your children and being broken? Did your abuser play any part in the lives of your children? Do you think it affected them?


Dear Lyndsay,
I sense your confusion…you are a good mother, I feel it…Please never negate that or let what your mother tells you interfere with that. I know the pain and ache of wanting to heal it with the one that has caused the pain…I am dealing with it now at 53 and feel envious of you looking at it at age 29…It is YOUR time to HEAL and stop the cycle. I see your mother perpetuating the abuse by claiming your own daughter to be disruptive. You know she is not, and as you have said, your friends do not agree either. This is your mothers way of creating doubt in you. Doubting the abuse, doubting if you are a good mother, doubting your own daughter. You mentioned wanting to be YOURSELF…you are so on target with that, you are trying to find your way back to the girl you were, there is no coincidence with the timing of your mother babysitting, your healing, and your daughter just being a three year old. I think you are seeing the facts, just need a little reassurance that you have great instincts. Your mother is probably feeling a bit threatened that she cannot manipulate you and is targeting your mothering and your baby girl as another sick manipulation…If she creates doubt, she’s winning. It’s sick…the whole thing is sick. I’ve been in therapy off and on for 20 plus years looking for healing. Thinking I had it all under control and neatly packed away when my husband disclosed abuse in his childhood. The storm gate was opened and with a are recent tragic death in our family, I am opening the box and taking another look at why I packed it away, and what it has done since to me and my family. It has created in me a constant walking on eggshells, thinking I was born into the wrong family, yet trying to please them all just to keep my place in the “Family”. I had a child who my parents adored, and did find some healing there, that they could love and adore him in a way they never could me…Now he is 18 and can have is own relationship with them apart from me. This death of my beloved sister in law at age 34 has caused me to stop and see exactly what has been going on. It’s all untruth, manipulation and secrets held for years. I disclosed my abuse to my mother and brother 25 years ago in a therapy session. Looking for compassion for things I was dealing with, Major depression, an eating disorder, abusive relationships…Once we walked out the therapists door, it was never spoken again until my sister in laws death…when 25 years of resentment was dumped on me by my brother who claims I RUINED OUR FAMILY. He has taken many opportunities over the years to attack me out of the blue and I failed to ever understand why…now the truth is out-the last 25 years is making so much more sense to me as I disect each year…My mother has been in his back pocket since and my father in complete denial. I have chosen to not be their target any longer and know that as much as I desire healing of my family for my motherless niece and nephew who are 1 and 3…it can never happen. They will never know me, or ever have…They have never wanted to hear my truth or know my heart, only see me as a liar, and evil…I could be many things but a liar is NOT one of them. They are all hiding still behind the facade of the good family. I never had motivation to out any of it…Just wanted compassion and have learned that trying to get compassion out of narcissism is impossible. My therapist says is going to a well looking for water and finding each time that the well is dry. Sounds to me like your mother has some keen narcissistic qualities like those of my family. Read up on it to see if it resonates with you. You are where you are supposed to be…do not doubt your abuse, it will only drive you insane. It happened, just as mine did. I was thinking how could all of these people think so differently about my life that I do…bottom line is, they were not there, they created doubt for me and will continue to do so until I stop the cycle.
As i write this, my family is “happily” vacationing in Lake Tahoe for 4th of July, our yearly family trip. They are preparing to scatter my sister in laws ashes in a place she and I adored. I have been EXCLUDED for using my voice and taking a stand for honesty.
I encourage you to move forward. Is it really FREE baby sitting if the emotional safety of you and your children are jeopardized? Do not let her bully you. By protecting your own children you are standing up for your own little girl inside. It sucks, it’s painful, but when the next generation, that of our precious children is in harms way, that is what it takes sometimes for us to get angry enough on their behalf to stand and not take anymore. This site is an awesome resource and so very validating…keep writing my friend.


As you read this site, things will become more clear, and some of the answers will come as the fog clears so to speak. I was so worried about my kids not having a grandmother etc. (or any grandparents as it turns out now) but I had to look at the truth; what is a grandparent? what was I communicating by having abusive people (no matter their titles) treating me badly while my children took it all in. What did those people (and ME) communicate to my children in those exchanges? (the answer is “nothing good!”) and I made me decisions as a mother ~ A health mother who loves her kids and wants what is BEST for them..
Hope this helps a bit
hugs, Darlene
p.s. my children (2 adults now and one 17) do not question anything we did; they remember the truth about how it was!


Thank you RainbowGirl and Darlene – I’ve been thinking about this situation constantly the past few days, reading over your site, and writing down some memories, specific memories, of things she’s done that are to my mind, awful, because I still find myself doubting. About half way through the comments section of this page there’s a discussion about the idea of ‘why are you complaining when others have it so much worse?’ I feel like this so often, that my mother ‘isn’t that bad’, but clearly there’s enough bad for her to have affected me so much!

My husband is NOT a fan of my mother, but he still wants her to have a part in the girls’ lives. We had a long discussion about it last night…His maternal grandmother was a very narc person, and was not kind at all to his mother – in fact I can relate SO much to his mum, I’ve spoken to her about it a little bit, but I feel like she doesn’t want to discuss it too much. Her mum died this year, and I was surprised at how lighthearted her funeral was for the vast majority of the time! She allowed her mother to have a big part in her four children’s lives, and they all grew up mostly seeing what she was really like. They are all an incredibly tight knit family, and I’ve never met such an amazing group of people – completely mad, of course, and they sometimes fight like cat and dog, but they really do love each other. My husband really dislikes both my mother and his grandmother, but he still wants our children to be exposed to my mother – why? Because he wants them to form their own opinions as they grow up.

In some ways that’s the most beautiful thing in the world to me…I love the fact that I’ve managed to find a man so different from my own family that he already thinks of our girls as people – I was never thought of as an individual when I was a child! Only of how I related to my mother. I’m torn between letting my children climb a tall tree, and pulling them away in case they get hurt

The conclusion I’ve been leaning towards recently, for now, is that I’m going to carry on as before. I can let most of what she says wash over me, I think – but one thing I need to learn to do is to stand up to her for my children! Is it sick and crazy that I want this challenge? I left home at 18, and feel like she’s come back into my life now because I’m now strong enough to cope with her, strong enough to face my demons, re-parent the little girl inside at the same time as parenting my own little girls, and call her on all her bullshit. I’m finding it so hard, but I feel like I need to deal with this – if I can’t protect my children against something I know can be harmful, how can I protect them against something in the future that I don’t have personal experience of? (terrible grammar lol!)

Part of me wants to put myself into that fire and forge myself into something stronger, but the other part is terrified of failing…because if I fail, it’s not just my mental health that’s at stake. But I’ve seen myself improve in the last few months. I’ve been trying to get my daughter to manage money a little bit – she tidies all her clothes away and earns a coin, and she can spend that on whatever she wants. Recently she’s been sulking and refusing to do these chores, and of course because I’ve just suggested it as a way of earning money rather than telling her that’s what I need her to do, I’ve been a bit stumped as to what to do about it. I haven’t made a big deal of it, but I know that later on she’ll want to buy something, so I know she wants the money. The first thought that came to mind was my mother’s voice in my head – ‘she’s being lazy and defiant!’ I didn’t act on that, I just observed and tried to figure it out, and I think the answer is that she likes to do the jobs ALONGSIDE me – she doesn’t want me to do them for her, she does them happily enough when I’m doing a similar job in the same room, she just wants to be with me. I’m so glad I waited and didn’t act like my mother, because I found out the truth.

But at the same time, when my mother saw my eldest climbing onto my lap and being attention seeking (kissing me and squeezing me particularly hard, which made it hard to continue the conversation) she said “it’s every time I speak she gets clingy with you – she’s jealous of me!” I’m so ashamed that I didn’t call her on her bullshit! I just replied “no she’s not, she’s bored”, and turned off TV. I also pushed my little girl off my lap and went out of the room – I shouldn’t have left her in there, it’s not like my mum did anything, but I left her in that environment. I should have taken her with me, or even better, returned those crazy big cuddles, and done something with her. It was only when I was in the kitchen that I realised this, and I clawed back a bit of ground by calling her straight in to play hide and seek with me for a few minutes, as I’d promised her earlier.

So that’s my decision for the short term…whether or not that’s going to work is another matter! I’ll just have to keep reviewing it. I know it’s never going to be perfect, but if she could just be the kind of grandparent my granny was to me, I’d love it. I know her mother was emotionally abusive to her, but she’s been a rock to me all my life, and still is. If my mum could be like that to my girls, it would go one hell of the way towards fixing things


Hi Darlene, thank you for the post and thank you everyone for sharing your experiences. It somehow validates what I have gone through. I received beatings from my biological mother whenever she was in a mood. I also have memories of being hit not because I did something wrong but simply she couldn’t cope with the responsibility of having a child.

I was also told many times that I was a difficult child and she accused me of not helping her in household chores when I was around 11 years old. Really? a 11 year old should help her out in what way? I hated the way she treated me and then asked me to do the chores, so I refused to do any even into my late teens.

When children are raised with love, then they would do chores with some firmness but not when you abuse them and berate them.


Hi Everyone!
NEW post on the home page is called “When society defends Abuse and Abusers instead of the abused child” Please check it out here:

marquis (female)
July 4th, 2014 at 12:55 am

“I was also told many times that I was a difficult child and she accused me of not helping her in household chores when I was around 11 years old. Really? a 11 year old should help her out in what way? I hated the way she treated me and then asked me to do the chores, so I refused to do any even into my late teens.

When children are raised with love, then they would do chores with some firmness but not when you abuse them and berate them.”

Agreed. I hated how my parents made me do stuff yelling at me like some damn slave ‘get over here, you!’ That’s how my dad talked to me and told him my name is not you, my mom gave me this evil look like ‘that’s how he is don’t push his buttons.’ Like the police would ever agree with me, they will side with my mom which they sided with my parents before at age 16 and even age 24 when I was told to leave the house over a very nasty argument with her.

There was no kindness about doing chores and why you had to learn how to do them. There’s no such thing as negotiations on anything, rotating who’s turn is it to take the garbage out, rotating schedules, family meetings (my parents and I have sat down while it was monopolized to fit their twisted version and did absolutely nothing for me), etc. I told my ex-therapist and other people ‘a person is willing to do something if they are treated with respect,’ duh, that is common knowledge! Listen to kids as to why they refuse to do this or that for the parents/relatives, you always hear ‘my parents mistreated me for_____,’ or ‘there was no level of respect on my side,’ ‘I don’t like being talked down to 24/7 like a slave or being treated like some idiot.’ Those are good reasons to feel that way – they are genuine feelings.

It’s true, you do things for people because you love/like/respect them and nobody does something for another person if they are evil/cruel/nasty/etc. That is something my ex-therapist and others agreed but contradicted on so many different levels.


There’s no such thing as negotiations on anything

Just like the justification of “because” when you ask “why.” I never felt that was an adequate justification. My mom still thinks it is!


Thanks for writing so much good stuff.The worst thing to be told is by a support worker at a child psychiatric place that my father had a bad childhood.Like I’m responsible for his bad childhood. I was adopted so my parents should have been screened. He didn’t need to adopt.I wasn’t even his child. Then this worker told me how better off I was than the other kids there and gave me a good telling off. From then on I dismissed my feelings and repeated my mothers mantra that I should be grateful they’d adopted me. Now I realise I wasn’t better off than the other kids I just lived in a better area. We lost the house shortly after through debts. My adopted mother has denied my feelings constantly. At one point even saying well at least you weren’t caned on the legs like me. ( now I question if emotional abuse is OK but caning is not,then why did she let my brother be caned. I now realise she wasn’t interested in me,even ignored my suicide attempts in order to stay with her husband.even read in the notes she wanted me in care when I thought it was just my father. For the life of me I can’t understand this denial and wanting for herself to believe she’s some great mother. I would respect her more if she said I preferred your father to you,at least its honest. ( at same time she was carrying on with other men but puts this loyal wife act on. Her husband comes before me as though children aren’t important. ” children should be seen and not heard” she would repeat this Victorian nonsense and it suited her well. But the denial has really screwed up my head. She’s not a bright woman and says well if you told me you were emotionally abused I would have done something. I said whaat? You lived in the same house. Whenever I tried to talk about it she told me to stop carrying on. I ran away from home,attempted suicide but she says it was due go me being mentally ill!!
There’s no responsibility or feelings of remorse. None at all. In fact she thinks she’s done me a favour by adopting me. In contrast I suffer guilt terrible and constantly criticise myself for mistakes I have made.it just doesn’t make sense.


Hi Moira
Welcome to Emerging from Broken; The answer isn’t in understanding them, it is in empowering yourself with the truth. The guilt is not yours. The self-criticism comes from our desired to be accepted by them but the mistake we make is in believing that what they have told us, is true. This entire website is about how I busted through the false teachings about me, and took my life back.
I am so glad you are here!
hugs, Darlene


Thank you, Darlene, for being a voice for those who are not heard!

As someone who doesn’t like to give up, I remain estranged from most after 4 years, but still find myself attempting to salvage remnants of my broken family, while maintaining my newly-found stand on self respect. I am still struggling with the very difficult process of letting go of the bullies in my life. I recently posted “Self Love and Navigating the Waters of Grief” from the EFB website to my brother and niece who remain friends only on FB. This was yet another attempt to explain to my family how I feel, hoping they might understand someone else’s words better than mine and we could begin to heal. What follows is a counter article from my brother, once again discrediting me and dismissing any hopes of reconciliation unless I own up to “the errors of my ways!”. I don’t know where he got this article which implies so many untruths about my behavior, but it is so damaging on so many levels, I can’t begin to address them here. Talk about “Victim Blaming”!!!

“Why Does the Passive Aggressive Play the Victim Role?The passive aggressive victim feels they are treated unfairly. If you get upset because he or she is constantly late, they take offense because; in their mind, it was someone else’s fault that they were late. He/she is always the innocent victim of your unreasonable expectations, an over-bearing family member, boss or that slow clerk at the convenience store.
Why Does the Passive Aggressive Play the Victim Role?
I find human behavior fascinating. Not only human behavior but the reasons behind the behavior. There is a pay-off for all of us when it comes to the way we conduct our self in life. If we weren’t getting something out of it, we wouldn’t be doing it. Simple huh? Simple until you become involved with a passive aggressive!
What is the pay-off for the passive aggressive who plays the victim? It is a ploy they use to turn the tables and make them appear to be the injured party. The passive aggressive knows something about the person they are intimately involved with. They know that most people involved with passive aggressives are empathetic, most are co-dependent and most don’t like the idea of others suffering…in other words they are very easily manipulated. That is the pay-off, being in a relationship that enables them to manipulate or have the upper hand.
In What Ways Does Playing the Victim Pay-Off?
If you are the “victim,” you don’t have to take responsibility for any problems in the relationship.
If you are the “victim,” you don’t have to take responsibility for any bad behaviors.
A glaring example of this ploy in the need to be the victim is dismissing others and then acting as if you are the injured party. For example, refusing a request to visit them by responding, “You know where I am, you can come see me any time you wish.” In their skewed perception of reality, it was someone else’s place to maintain a relationship with them and when they did not put any effort into that, they were the victim of their abandonment.
It did not occur to them that their refusal to visit, write, call, send Christmas gifts or show any interest in their life plainly showed them to be the true victimizer, not the victim. Their only concern was rebuilding their own life and having an excuse for not including their family members. What better excuse than being the victim of your families’ abandonment? Their new circle of family and friends don’t know the issues surrounding the separation and you can bet, being passive aggressive means they once again surrounded themselves with people who didn’t like to see others suffer.
How do You Keep from Becoming the Victim of a Victimizer?
Get rid of self-doubt. If you are in a relationship with a passive aggressive the manipulation is meant to cause you to doubt what you do, what you hear, what you see and what you experience. If you give into the manipulative ploys of the passive aggressive, you will soon not know which end is up. Somewhere inside is the nagging voice that something isn’t right. Do not ignore that voice!
Don’t make excuses for bad behavior.
Don’t feel guilt if your passive aggressive doesn’t like the boundaries you’ve set.
Don’t allow anyone to disregard your emotional needs or doubt that you have a right for your needs to be met.
Don’t accept a refusal to communicate.
Don’t settle for less than you want.
Don’t make yourself responsible for his/her hurtful words and actions.”



I am sorry you experienced this bombardment from your brother. It seems he is just grasping at straws to find something to attack you. Your motive was to try to heal the relationship, but his was not. He obviously does not see you as a victim of anything but your own passive aggressiveness. What? The simple fact that you took the time to present a point of view and try to explain how you feel and reach out to family is not a passive aggressive act. You are trying to take responsibility and mend the break. According to what he sent you don’t “take responsibility.”

I dealt with my sister apologizing in an e-mail for her behavior and saying that my husband and I were important in her life, and within a few weeks bashing me verbally and making me feel one inch tall. I could not take this treatment any longer. I guess she thought if she apologized all was well and she could continue with however she wanted to treat me. She never said anything bad to my husband’s face. She has known him since she was 14 years old and always respected/feared him.

It seems as if your brother is engaging in a “tit for tat” exchange. You said this about me so I am going to say this about you. I am not sure if he wants to heal your relationship or not. Of course there is a lot of emotion coming from those involved. I wish you the best; however the relationship ends up being.


Jenny –

I agree with Andria. I got the feeling that by sending that article he was pointing the finger at YOU as the passive/aggressive victim, but actually describing himself.


And Jenny, this from the article from this EMB site that you posted to your brother is precisely what happened to you…..

“Their reaction to me revealing the dysfunction merely proved the dysfunction. Instead of looking at their own behaviors and their role in our family dynamic, they chose to point their fingers at me and to blame me for their pain”


Hi Jenny
Welcome to Emerging from Broken
They won’t hear if it means that they have to face the truth, and something I know 100% is that there IS a real truth. I stopped fighting to be heard and started to be the one that heard me. I am glad that you are here. There is so much truth and validation here!
hugs, Darlene


Andria, Hobie, Kaycee – so true! Sometimes it’s hard to sort through the lies and outsiders can see things more clearly. Thanks for the comments!


NEW post published today on the home page of Emerging from Broken ~ in two hours this post has generated 500 “likes” and has been shared over 125 times in social media, just that I am aware of!
Please join the conversation there for my new post “Spiritual Abuse ~ When the name of God is used to Guilt and Shame”

Hugs, Darlene


I am looking to free myself of the blame, guilt and shame placed on me as a child. Is it OK to confront the dysfunctional, abusive family member and give it all back to her? I feel like if I confront her with all the pain she has caused me that I will be free of it all. The family member continues to be a bully to our immediate family and it’s all I can do to bite my tongue. I just can’t watch her bully my 90 year old grandmother (her mom) and my mom (her sister) any longer. I don’t know what to do and it keeps me up at night and consumes most of my days.


Hi Allison,

I understand how you feel. Those feelings get so bottled up, it’s as if you won’t be able to move on without confronting the bully. I’ve given up on the idea of a healthy confrontation. I’m doing what I need to do to get healthy and build a healthy life and future for myself. If your mom and grandmother are being bullied by your aunt, I’m sorry. I wonder how they’ve put up with it for so long, but I guess we all know the answer to that one, or else we wouldn’t be here supporting each other.

I urge you not to let it consume so much of your days as you have said. You need to take care of yourself first.


Hi Allison,

Confronting the abuser rarely goes well, though I understand that feeling. I think whether or not it will do YOU any good depends on what you expect to get out of it.

It’s almost guaranteed that she WON’T suddenly realize she’s been a bully all her life and make amends. HOWEVER, you may have a sense of relief for just actually speaking up for yourself.

There have been times that I’ve said things to my family because I wanted to just know that I spoke up. I didn’t expect to be heard or have my thoughts or feelings acknowledged by them, but it gave me a chance to validate myself.

I don’t know how long you’ve been reading this site, but if you look around, you’ll find a lot of information that will help.



Thank you Callynt. I definitely am trying to figure out how to make myself better and happier and move past it all. I feel sorry my mom and grandma and have also learned that I cannot fight their battles for them but I can stand up against a bully…my aunt on behalf of weaker people.



I think you nailed exactly what I’ve been wanting to get “out of it” and what I’ve been trying to say out loud to anyone. I absolutely don’t expect her to suddenly realize anything about herself or make amends. She is also an addict so that creates a whole other dynamic. I feel that if I write it in a letter and unload it all then I can be done with it. I have no expectations or hopes from her. And if she were to never talk to me again then it would make my life less stressful and drama free! Like you said though I think it would give ME a sense of relief for speaking up for that little girl that no one ever spoke up for. I would give me a chance to validate myself and tell her that I’m not the person she made me feel I was. I am better than all of that and won’t ever allow her to treat me that way again. Just knowing that I haven’t allowed it any longer will give me a sense of accomplishment. (I think)



My mom blamed me for everything! I have PTSD, from early childhood due to abuse and trauma, which was undiagnosed for most of my life. Considering my affliction, with the lack of helpful therapy, it is understandable that I had a lot of issues with relationships. She was well aware of the abusive situations that I was raised in, but she did not want to own any responsibility for the fact that I had problems. Instead, she would call me crazy, and she would talk bad about me behind my back. She wanted other people to believe that I was a bad person instead of admitting to anyone that she had any responsibility for what happened to me and my behavior.
Thankfully, I survived childhood and was able to eventually acquire a diagnoses. It has been a long road to get to that point, which was a significant point in my healing journey. If I had not continued to seek healing despite all of the unhelpful counselors, I would not be able to move on in my healing process.
It is vitally important to never give up, despite all of the obstacles and dead ends that you encounter. Some day, an answer will be found that will open up the path to healing.
My mom died last year and I loved her till the day that she died. I believe that my pain and suffering was always secondary to me, and her pain and suffering was primary. How I wish that I had been able to love myself more and love her a little less. Ultimately, my own suffering was prolonged by the fact that I continued to be in a hurtful relationship with her. But, that is over now and I am free to heal.
This last year has been filled with grief and sadness, but also a lot of healing. I grieved for my mom and my entire life of our relationship. It was so painful that I wasn’t sure that I would survive. I am so thankful to have made it through.
Now the healing seems to be happening in exponential increments. I believe that the biggest impediment in my healing process was my attachment to my mom. I believe that the lack of nurturing and love from my mom, left me so wounded that I was disabled by it. Now, that she has passed away, I am free to pour the love that I had for her into my own life and self.
Things happen the way that they do and I am so thankful that I persevered! I believe that it is worth it!


Just came across this site, wow, just what I needed. I hope that I too can heal and I have tried to forgive but it just seemed wrong and felt like I was betraying myself and saying “so I was sexually abused for years as a little girl, no big deal, get over it and move on”. Yeah right, I ‘m hoping I can find a way to finally love that little girl and heal. I am tired, so very tired and feel like maybe this site can help. I also hope that that if I love myself I will be a much better parent. I also hope to stop feeling like a loser who is stupid and worthless.Yes I say hope often, I guess that was got me through my childhood and yes a pretty lousy so far adulthood. Hope.
Thank you Darlene


Nancy, I know that tired feeling, the way this stuff zaps all of our vitality and zest, leaving us so exhausted, like we have knocked on every door endlessly only to come up empty handed. This is a place where hope is renewed and where the doors actually lead somewhere real, a place where we can both rest and wake up.


Hi Nancy
Welcome to EFB
I was you a few years ago! I was exhausted, and today I have tons of energy! (and my kids are doing awesome too! I did become a better parent!)
Glad you are here
hugs, Darlene


Beth (post #277), are we related? Your story sounds just like mine. I keep on trying and it’s so hard to find a therapist who will help with this. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to find help? I was so damaged and all my life I never found a good relationship. I am now 50 and thinking I am going to be lonely and sad the rest of my life. I do not understand how to heal – I go to church, pray, read my bible, read lots of self-help books but down deep it’s all still there. I feel very empty and my joy and enthusiasm is gone. The last several months have been the worst, every conversation with my mom she tells me I don’t know how to act and it’s my attitude that is the problem and I don’t know how to get along with others etc…to the point I have isolated and for the first time in my life I have turned to food – have no idea where that came from (My brother is perfect with his police record a mile long, she thinks he can do no wrong). I don’t think I measure up enough for my friends so I avoid them. I have to “fake” having fun because down deep I am so bothered by my mom and the fact that we are not speaking (haven’t spoken for about a month)and bothered by my weight I am so self conscious that I don’t even want to leave my house and when I am out I just feel like I look horrible so I don’t go out and do anything. I really believe I am single with no children because I never learned or knew what a “relationship” is so everyone I was with treated me just like my family. I am afraid that if I don’t get help I will stay “stuck” in this misery the rest of my life – the result is depression and the quality of life is poor when depressed. The last 3 therapist just didn’t get any of this or perhaps I don’t know how to explain it all, I don’t even know what to call this — poor boundaries, co-dependent issues, PTSD, I don’t think a therapist wants you to tell them what it is, they want to determine what it is and send you on the wild goose chase they choose. When I go to a therapist I feel like tackling this in 50 minute increments once a week is a losing battle and at that rate I will never see the light at the end of the tunnel to be free. I said to my last therapist “don’t you think my mom is sick with some of the things that have happened” his response was “well, we don’t want to begin thinking she is sick because you will treat her like she is sick and that won’t work”….needless to say that was my last appointment, just exhausting trying to figure out where to go where others “get it” and will help. This site is great for “journaling” your thoughts and feelings and helps to have this site so we don’t feel so alone. This site validates us when no one will but I’ve got a lot of work to do and need some face to face help and feel lost — any suggestions from anyone who is farther along than I am? I have a feeling I will stay stuck to my mom’s emotions the rest of my life, which is really bad. She has a lot of money and always uses that to prove how good she is and how un-grateful I am…lately she has threatened to cut me out of her will and there’s a part of me that believes if she would do that she would do it no matter what (speaking or not speaking to each other)….sorry I think I am a tad bit better then I have these horrible times where I am so sad and just want to know why I am stuck and not moving on and how to make that happen


I’m going to have an opening in September – see my coaching and consult page if you are interested in working with me.
Hugs Darlene


Thank you Darlene! I just sent you a message on your consult/coaching page. I would love your help – I can’t wait to work with you and get your guidance to un-ravel all of this so I can move on and live a happy & fulfilled life. Thanks Again!


love this page. Glad someone pointed me in the right direction. Also glad it does not have religious connotations like some US pages. Not that I mind people praying etc. But this forgivness thing,where its supposed to free and transform you is hard to take. A Christian counsellor said forgiveness is the key. I read somewhere that people who tried to do this,not only did they not receive healing but were crippled with more guilt cos they weren’t succeeding. You can’t forgive someone who has no remorse and continues to abuse. You have to just separate from them. I realise that I had 35 years of abuse cos adulthood matters too. When he died I refused to accept my mothers denial and that’s when her true nasty personality came through. Although she repeats like a parrot I had the best possible adoption she then says to excuse emotional abuse “well at least you weren’t caned on the leg like me’. My life has been destroyed by it. I wasn’t strong enough to take
emotional abuse so who us she to decide that its a better form of abuse. I shouldn’t have had any. My adoptive parents should have been screened. I find it difficult to deal with the fact I’m full of guilt and spent my life not allowing myself any enjoyment,while she has no guilt and spends her life going on holiday. Once telling me well what am I supposed to do about emotional abuse. I wouldn’t see my boys seriously harmed and attempting suicide cos of a partner. I’d tell them to leave. But my mother thinks marriage( and her men she carried on with) are the important things in life. Probably from church marriage vows. This denial leaves me with such low self esteem and exacerbates the guilt. I now realise it stopped me moving onto adulthood and kept me as a scared submissive child. I suppose that’s what she likes as she has the power.


Wow. I am going to say this is one of the most empowered groups of people I have ever encountered.

I am so terrified of the work that I have decided to do… face the lies, control, brainwashing, and sexual abuse of my family. It has kept me silent (the fear I mean) for years. At age 25 I started up with massive OCD symptoms~ feeling terrified that I was going to hurt someone. It was a symptom of the control and abuse that I had suffered having no outlet in my current belief system. Thankfully my mom had “survived” abuse from my dad by “jumping ship” and leaving our house when I was 14. At the time this only added to my misery but now I am so grateful that she “found herself” and started a new path. She is in a much more empowered position to support me as I face what is still smoldering in my heart. Honestly there is still so much confusion and it is difficult to have clarity around who to trust and what is up from down. I have a step-sister who has suffered similar experiences and sadly I was not strong enough to support her at the time of her “break down” several years ago. I was so insecure in my self and in my own experience. I wanted to say, “you are so right!” “You are so right!” when she talked about her abuse from my dad. Instead I supported my dad’s position and watched as her medications for BiPolar disorder increased. Honestly it feels so threatening and terrifying to stand up to someone who is a tyrant and powerful too. He is a leader in our community…it feels like the fact that he recently retired has lifted some of my insecurity about confronting him. Someone mentioned (in a post above) that there was difficulty in saying, “no.” I can totally relate. It feels terrifying to say “no.” It feels like I am taking away something that so rightly belongs to another person when I say, “no.”


Thanks so much for being here!!! I am so grateful for all of you. ~ Naomi


Thank you, Darlene!!! ~ Naomi



I have a version of Pure O as well. I’m glad you’re here and that you realize where the fear is coming from. I struggled for too long, because there was simply no information out there when mine started. You were a victim too…don’t forget that. Hopefully your step-sister is now getting the help she needs.


Hey Holly 281,
I believe that we must be related. My mom was always telling me how bad I am at everything, putting me down about my relationships, and etc. She even told me ‘I could never live with anyone’ because I wasn’t able to live with people who were abusive to me. It was so hurtful to be told that I was so defective in relationships that I couldn’t live with anyone,,, ever. Like I am destined to be alone for the rest of my life. She ran me down about everything and I should have cut her out of my life decades ago. I wish that I had, but I was too sick to do that. I was caught up in trying to get her love. I believe that there is a special kind of bondage that happens to a child when they can’t get love from their mother, their primary relationship. I was caught up in trying to be good enough to win her love. It is a very destructive place to be.
I hope that you will be able to set up some walls of protection between you and her, so that you can begin to heal. After my mom died last year, my real healing began and it has continued throughout my mourning. I believe that while I was grieving the loss of my mother, I was also grieving for so much more; I was grieving for the lifetime of abuse that I had suffered from her.
I wish that I had loved myself more and loved her less.


Hi Callynt 288, thank you. You are right that I was a victim. Thanks for sharing about your Pure O. I am glad that we are finding support! I want to be supportive of my step-sister. I am struggling to release misplaced loyalty towards my dad. He doesn’t deserve it. Not in the way that I have given it~ putting his life ahead of my own. That sounds so toxic… as compared to the words that I am reading from Darlene and from other posters on here. It feels like there is a whole new level of taking care of myself… and living in reality… honestly looking at the truth of my life… that I can experience if I choose to stop defending people who are abusive to me and start speaking up for myself. Thanks for speaking up, Callynt. You are so right. 🙂 ~ Naomi

marquis (female)
July 31st, 2014 at 11:50 pm

“I am struggling to release misplaced loyalty towards my dad. He doesn’t deserve it. Not in the way that I have given it~ putting his life ahead of my own. That sounds so toxic”

Agreed. I don’t understand why other people out there don’t find a parent putting their own needs first before their kids and don’t find it a problem. People have told me “they put their needs 1st because they are the parents and we gotta take care of our needs!” Most of these people were parents who said this and those who weren’t agreed to it – that’s the scary part. I said ‘why bother to have children anyway?’ They said ‘I love kids’ or ‘Isn’t that what God said?’ to ‘I need someone to love me, so I had kids to keep me company.’

It’s funny out there people say ‘as a parent, your children’s needs come first and foremost as your a parent for life.’ Notice how kids speak up when they have needs and everybody shuts them down – very hypocritical of people. I can’t see how these same people say ‘I am for the children,’ but wanna “put them in their place!” It’s like saying I am for people having rights, but only “certain people who deserve” can have the rights.


Hi Marquiz,
Yes. It makes no sense and feels so hypocritical. I have seen my mom neglect me and take care of her own needs. Before finding this site I was not aware that defending my parent’s behavior was “victim blaming” and disrespectful to myself. It feels so healing to look differently at my parents’ behavior. Respecting my own experience. Are you feeling validation for your feelings now that you are sharing?


Hi Naomi,

My feelings are being validated on this site and my boyfriend, but elsewhere? That’s still a no and more shaming towards me! Also, my social worker at the women’s center is more receptive towards my feelings easy to talk too.


Marquis, it’s like the world is not comfortable acknowledging pain. I have been guilty of this so much of my life. So empowered to see the validation for my own feelings here too. So happy to hear that you have a supportive boyfriend and social worker. I walked into a women’s shelter last week for the first time~ for crisis counseling and was validated also. What do you mean by “more receptive to my feelings?” Do you feel like there is not full acceptance? I am also grateful for a supportive boyfriend in my life. I have pushed him away significantly during this process.

marquis (female)
August 2nd, 2014 at 9:49 am

I mean the social worker actually hears me is what I mean by more receptive towards my feelings unlike my ex-therapist.


I have been dealing with horrible feelings of not being worthy for my whole life. I am a victim of childhood sexual abuse, was raped in my teens, had a mother that I felt resented having me, a dad that loved me which pissed off mom. So I was always the problem, the one that could do nothing right. I have danced around her for so many years and now take care of her because she is now in a home. I was married for a short time 30 years ago and have a daughter. When I felt like her dad was treating me like my mom, I divorced him and moved back to my home state with her. As I have grown and still have feelings of worthlessness, I notice my daughter treats me the way her dad did. The 2 women in my life that are susposed to be there for me, are the 2 that fuel my feelings of worthlessness. I have been asking the Lord for help. I am glad to have found this website, am new to it. What am I hopeing for? to quit eating my pain, to find out how to give a crap about myself weather or not anyone else does. Thanks for your site.


If I may, I have learned some things in some of the reading I have done, and through the help of others. I would like to say something I have learned in response to Jenny #265 and a few others. This helped me a bit to understand why I don’t have to take ownership of the blame for my abuse. If you have a picture of yourself as a youngster, take a long look at it and ask yourself ‘could this little girl have done anything to deserve the abuse she got?’ I know I didn’t.


Hi Dee,
Thanks for sharing your story. You are not to blame for what happened to you as a child and as a teenager! I am so sorry that you have not received the validation and healing that you deserve. You have so much pain for a reason. Things were done to you that should have never happened. You have pain because someone who was an adult was irresponsible and abusive.
I have so much empathy for you. I was also sexually abused as a child. It only recently surface in my reality…through journaling. I had so much anger and confusion. Through a “morning pages” exercise that I learned through a class, a memory surface of abuse that happened when I was 3. My dad was the abuser. It infuriated me and also illuminated what was wrong with so much of my life. There had been so many wrong things with my relationship with my dad. He had said many things that controlled my sexual expression as I matured. He created lists of who I was allowed to date and who I was not allowed to date. He criticized my clothing choices and said that my breasts were ok because “all you need is a handful.” Gross, right!? It has been so healing to find this site and to feel like there is support for our experiences. I wish you the best as you continue to heal!
~ Naomi


Dee, thanks for sharing about the photo. 🙂 I look forward to trying that. It will be hard to not cry. I can feel it now. It feels amazing to have compassion for ourselves.


Naomi –

Not everyone is the same as I am, but I found a lot of healing in allowing myself to cry instead of trying not to. As soon as I was able to effectively give myself permission to cry, it became healing to shed tears, and I found that crying didn’t last that long. I had been so afraid for so long that if I started to cry, I may never stop.



Hi All,
I agree with Hobie, crying is healing! I think that if this exercise (looking at a pic of yourself as a child) makes you cry those tears will be very validating!
hugs, Darlene


Agreed! I’m all for healing tears.


Hi Everyone, I want to share an update on the healing that is dominoing in my life partly as a result of finding support here on this site. For the first time in my life I am deciding to sincerely face my father honestly and to stand up for myself in our relationship. The concept of compassion for my parents not at the expense of myself~ and the importance of not protecting someone who is abusing me~ has changed my perspective and is now shifting my behavior. For ever!!! For the first time ever I am feeling like my life makes sense and like I have freedom to feel exactly as I do. I am starting to listen to my feelings without judgment. The constant struggle to make my experience fit with lies and fantasies that I was taught~ is stopping. It’s as if stories that were crowdinf out the truth are finally losing power. A friend of mine said that it’s as if a “house of cards” has fallen. This house of cards was created by my parents. During this shift~ lots of PTSD type symptoms are manifesting. Memories of childhood sexual abuse are coming into focus~ accompanied by lots of intense emotions and feelings. Sometimes so intense that I have to stop what I am doing and often begin to sobb. As memories return physical sensations also show up and have part in the process. This is where it feels supportive to have therapy and friends to talk with who have also experienced childhood sexual abuse. It is almost easier, at times, to lie to myself and pretend that something is just wrong with my brain and this thing is not possibly a true experience or memory. Those are protective mechanisms, I guess, for when the reality seems impossible to face.

It is amazing how as those memories are witnessed other memories are also surfacing~ of enjoyable experiences that I had lost when the traumas happened. This makes me curious about the relationship between positive and traumatic memories in the brain~ around the time of trauma.

A friend of mine spoke about letting go of her trauma from sexual abuse (through hypno therapy) feeling like there was so much space that had opened up in her brain. This is exactly what is happening for me too.

On Friday (two days ago) I spoke about this in my sexual assault support group~ the MFT trainee who is leading our group said that memories from trauma are stored in the “reptilian” brain where they are sometimes difficult to access. She said this happens because during trauma the front part of the brain shuts down and we use this “reptilian brain” for the pure flight, fight, or freeze mechanisms. The memories that are stored here often feel dark and fuzzy and sometimes are inaccessible. She said that as we get back in touch with these experiences (if we have access to the memories) through sharing about them ~ the brain actually rearranges itself and those memories move up to the front part of the brain where other non-traumatic memories live. I am curious about the difference in the level of energy required to store memories in the back of the brain and the front of the brain. I feel so much more relaxed (although that is relative~ anxiety is still super pervasive in my life as I process all of this). It just feels amazing though to feel like I have found~ or am finding the “core of my pain.” It feels like I have a chance to live pain free~ at some point when all this has finished healing~ perhaps for the first time in like 29 years. Yahoooooooooo. I feel like celebrating that. Amidst moments of incredible anger and madness and sadness and grief and fear.

Plus~ with encouragement from a friend~ I shared about the childhood abuse with my women’s group . Because of that~ three other women who had similar experiences opened up and are now further on towards healing.
Love to you all for your honesty and validation.
Thank you, Darlene!! I am beconing a huge fan.


Oops~ “becoming!” not “beconing!”


Naomi, I’m happy to hear about your progress! Sounds like you are uncovering false beliefs and standing up for yourself! also talking about what happened is something I find to be very healing. I don’t have many people I can talk to about thirst things, but coming on here has been very supportive and writing about my experiences also helps. I have shared some things with a couple of trusted people.
I got Darlene’s ebook this weekend and have started reading it. I am going very very slowly so I can think about and process things as I go along. What I’ve read so far is very helpful. What I find different about EFB is that it doesn’t just work on the surface; it goes deep inside. Instead of just putting a bandaid on something it gets down to the core. I had no idea that I was walking around with so many false beliefs. I’ve been coming on here for fifteen months now and seeing some wonderful changes. Still have a ways to go but there’s nothing like a good start. It sounds like you are having a similar experience. Keep up the good work, Naomi. I am cheering for you!


Ugh spellcheck messed up my message Naomi, but I think the basic message came through.


Congrats, Naomi! You’re so brave! Awesome news!


Thank you Amber and Callynt! I do feel scared and sound more brave than I am. Still working on speaking honestly about my feelings and not pretending to have things figured out before I do. Bad patterns. Have a great day!!


Anytime babe. Today was one of those days for me. I have been mentally identifying periods of my life where I felt like I was treated as an extension as my mom as opposed to a separate person. Something as simple as her demanding that we share a soda when I was 11 and we were on vacation. I wanted my own damn soda. It seem so childish, but I realize now it’s more about the incident and how I perceived it as opposed to where it ranks on the life events scale.

While my mother has narcissistic traits, I don’t know if she is a full blown narcissists. I do know that she uses the phrase, “What happens to you happens to me” a lot. That can’t be good 🙁 On the bright side, whenever the though, “I wish I’d known back then” comes up, I counter it with, “I wasn’t supposed to know until now”. That gives me hope 🙂


Still feeling exhausted and sad. Just had a birthday yesterday and am looking at my life and I feel like such a loser. No contact with family by choice, due to their toxic ways but I still struggle daily with feelings of worthlessness. I also do a job that lends to these feelings as well. I am embarrassed by this job and tell no one for fear I would be made fun of for being a loser. Husband does not help either, always looking at other woman, you know the type, grass is always greener. I feel like I am always going to feel forever broken and terrible. I don’t know what to do to feel better, I see daily quotes how to feel positive but I guess I just can’t get past all the damage that was done to me by my siblings and terrible parents. I feel lost and I just don’t fit in anywhere. I have no friends and women seem to not like me. I have two amazing wonderful kids though !!!! I just feel that I am unworthy of things and have as of yet have not had a loving relationship with a man who lifts me up and honors me. I feel like if I could have someone in my life who loves me for who I am, so much damage could be healed. Am I wrong ?? I just don’t know what to do. Regular counselling just never helped and I was ashamed to share things. What I survived was horrible. I am the only child of four that is not drug addicted due to such a hard and abusive family. So I did something right I guess. I feel stuck in the negative, my mother is the most negative person I have ever met in my life, so I am not surprised that I am negative too. I feel like there is this great and wonderful person hiding inside me dying to get out but I just can’t seem to feel confident enough to let her out. My self talk is negative, how will I ever change that ??? What do I do ??? I’m sad and lonely and lost. Am in desperate need of just a hug, a simple gesture of care and concern.


Hi Nancy
It’s wonderful to have realized that there IS that bright and beautiful person inside you! Of course the real you is in there! I totally relate to what you are sharing and I felt so much like that when I started this journey! So close to giving up and so ‘stuck’ not knowing how to get started etc. (if you don’t have my book you might find it really helpful because I outline the whole foundation of how I got started by seeing what happened to me and how my belief system formed ~ but you can also find all of that info in these pages of the site too)

Positive quotes never helped me until I got to the root of what the issue was. Positive thinking back then was like trying to put a Band-Aid on a wound that needed surgery. It was like putting the cart before the horse. I had to validate what happened to me before my thinking began to get more positive!
Something that really helped me was realizing that the shame wasn’t MINE to carry. I too didn’t share things in counselling because I didn’t feel safe to do so. And part of that was that the therapists that I was seeing didn’t create that permission so it is key to find a safe place or person to share with.
You are not alone! Hugs and love, Darlene


Hi Nancy, I have so much compassion for you. This site has been so healing for me. You have found an awesome place to share and to heal. The folks on here are so compassionate and validating. And Darlene has such a huge heart! You are not alone in this journey! I am also so glad that you are aware of the “great and wonderful person hiding inside” of you. The more you share your true self with those who are worthy of you… the more healing you will experience. That’s been true for me. The difficulty has been finding out who is safe and who is not… and it has taken many, many experiments and struggles to discover who is my “true” self anyway. For the longest time I have worked with “positive” thinking and “law of attraction” type of stuff. It has lost me though~ and left me feeling stupid and also like a loser. It has taken meeting myself in those broken memories~ feeling so abandoned, trapped, terrified as a child~ that is lifting the veil and letting bits of light in. You are a courageous woman to want to step into your healing. It’s not an easy task. It’s so worth it though… ever ounce of validation for our own experiences is like finding a piece of gold. You are not a loser. I am not a loser. We are broken people who were hurt, abused, neglected, and made to believe that we were less than valuable.


Dave (4) and Darlene (5),
I was just reading your conversation about undoing brainwashing and listening to actions more than words. This week I have been super confused by my dad who texted and left a voicemail about how he loves me and is hoping that I will have clarity as I “sort things out.” It confuses me because so much of the abuse and confusion that I suffer is because of stuff that he said to me and ways that he behaved. I appreciate what you said, Darlene, about undoing brainwashing being so difficult. And Dave, I appreciate what you said about your conversation with your family when you said that actions show love more than words. Something that is still screwing up my head is that my dad tore me down constantly while also so totally idolizing me.
Thanks again for listening and sharing!


Is this thing about tearing down while also idolizing familiar to anyone else? It is so awful.


Hi Nancy, I just wanted to share something with you. I often have negative self talk and feel just the way you do. I’ve recently started to realize that the way I feel about myself and the way I think about myself are a result of a belief system I have about myself stemming from my childhood.

I’m not good enough, my value depends on some external factor, how much or how good my job is or what I have accomplished in the eyes of others. I am ashamed. I need validation from someone else, I have no value except that which is given to me by those around me.

I’m just starting to really be able to see where this chaos that runs like a broken record in my mind came from, I am still at the baby step of recognizing these thought processes as they come up. They are the internalized belief systems I have adopted from my parents about myself.

It’s huge step though Nancy, when you see it. Those things you learned to believe about yourself, those were not yours, they are what other’s projected onto you. They are not true.


Nancy, I’ve got to second what Kaycee just said. It is only recently that I realized that my belief system came from external messages gotten from family and acquaintances.it took a while, perhaps months to process this after I started reading Darlene’s blog. It was a brand new idea. My beliefs came from messages and brainwashing from others who molded me to be what was in THEIR best interest for me to be. I had to think long and hard about this idea. And when I thought long and hard about it and thought of many examples that fit, then I knew this to be the truth. That is how my personal process is progressing.

I also believed that I was never good enough, that something was wrong with me, that I deserved less than others, that my role was to be doing for others, serving and care taking for others. I believed that others had more rights than me; that their feelings and needs had to be taken care if and that I had to stuff mien inside.I felt inferior to other people. And it is all because these were the messages I got from other people. Like Kaycee, I felt that validation had to come from other people and never thought I could get it from within. I am still in awe of the fact that I can get validation from myself. I still have to remind myself to search within because it isn’t automatic yet.

Nancy, Happy Birthday a day late. ( I’m also an August birthday, I gave myself the gift of Darlene’s ebook for my special day) I hope your birthday can be the beginning of your journey through the fog and that you emerge happy and healthy into the sunshine on the other side. I am not quite there yet, but I must be getting closer because things are starting to look brighter .


Hi Naomi I agree with you about actions speaking louder than words, my parents said they loved me in one breath and then made nasty comments in the next breath and treated me differently from my brother. I think it is very confusing and makes you feel like you are going crazy. I think the best way is to trust your own judgment of which I struggle with due to being told I have no right to an opinion by my mother. She will then say the opposite almost as if absolving herself of any guilt from making the original nasty comment, it really drains you emotionally


It is so strange what woke me up. I thought that the reason I could not help crying was because of the injustice I felt and the feeling that I had whenever I thought how is it possible that my parents do not see how unfair they are to me. I suddenly stopped feeling this way when while confiding a recent incident to a really caring person I work with and wondering how could she do this to me – my own mum. My co-worker kept saying to me “Maria she doesn’t have love to give you – wake up” and I kept saying that I feel guilty for even saying what she has done, because she’s my mum. “…and you are her daughter” she kept saying and still I kept crying and not getting out of the fog as you say. And then I told her that sometimes if I am really patient and explain it to her – as she not very clever or well educated – she understands for a while. What if I haven’t tried hard enough and she cares but she hasn’t understood her mistakes. the conversation ended with me saying “what else do I need to see… (to understand she doesn’t care)”. Believe it or not that was the first step to feel good. Because the truth was that in fact I was crying because I accused me. I tried to convince everyone that I was not treated OK while I tried to find strong evidence to convince myself that I was not to be blamed. Shortly after that – I have said that in my first post too – I found your blog and I am sure there is no concidence there. SO very happy to have found you!!!! (English is not my native language so I hope I got you to understand how I feel).


Hi Maria!
I understand you absolutely fine!! Thank you for sharing. I went round and round about if my mom was really to blame or if it was really ‘her fault’ until I finally realized that it didn’t really matter. The damage is what mattered the most. When I saw and validated the damage, everything changed and I began to heal. (I eventually sorted out just how much was her fault, and eventually say many of the ‘truth leaks’ that she really did know better in most cases where damage was caused and I write about that here a lot)
Thanks for sharing!
hugs, Darlene


Thank you Darlene! It really is amazing how it all gets clear when you just say “ok so maybe it was not her fault or she didn’t know better and I do forgive her… This has nothing to do with the fact that I was hurt.” Then the truth leaks are a lot easier to see. You are so right. And now I do not even need others to verify that I am not wrong, I was mistreated, I didn’t deserve it and it was wrong. Thanks!
I have been reading and reading every chance I get your articles and the comments. Many thanks to the others contributing here, some comments are so insightful.


I have been reading your articles – the way you have them linked is very nice – and I need to thank you for keeping me on the path. I managed to get a glimpse of the truth on my own (some incidents that I just could not find any excuses-what else do I need to see from my parents to realise the truth), then found your blog but it is so very difficult to keep up. The doubts keep coming and it needs hard mental work to address them logically without the lies that cover it. And I am so incredibly well trained to cover it for them myself. I don’t know if I would be able to keep up without this blog. I also want to add that I strongly believe that you are so intelligent, the connections I am trying to make remind me so much of my mathematics background at university. Sorry if it sounds completely off topic, but maths is truth for me.


Hi Maria
Thank you so much for your lovely acknowledgments.
This is hard work and it does take some time and for me the amount of awareness for the first year or two was exhausting, but wow, my life is 100% better today!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi All,
I wanted to share that I recently had the opportunity to confront my childhood abuser face to face. I was so supported by some of my friends and family throughout the process. It felt so good to say what I needed to say and then to stop all contact with this person. Life feels so good all of the sudden. Without protecting the perpetrator of my suffering it feels like I could float away with lightness. There has been such a heaviness for so long. My sleep has been so much better and simple tasks have been easier to accomplish. There are still emotional and mental damage to be healed and lies to be unraveled. I am on that path though. And it feels like I am alive! Thanks Darleen for your example and so many of you for awesome support also.

Maria~ I understand about the doubts and how confusing it is to doubt your own feelings, reality, and experience. It has been so difficult to speak with one of my family members who is not supportive yet at this time. It becomes so confusing when I start to settle into the idea that there must be something wrong with me and that the lies and abuse that happened to me are likely just all my fault~ or that someone I created them in my head. Or also if I start to try to discover what could have made my dad act so horribly towards me. That also starts to mess with my head. It’s only when I accept that what happened was not my fault~ and that my experience is valid and my feelings are valid~ that I feel good and solid~ and like it all makes sense. When I place the blame where it belongs~ on my dad~ all of my life makes so much more sense and I feel like I can finally understand myself and my life and can accept who I am and move forward. It hurts sometimes to feel and to see that he made such horrible choices. He could have been a better person. Still to this day he could make a choice to change. These thoughts are not always supportive for me, though because I sometimes feel like I should somehow help him to see that he needs to change. This is sort of what has kept me quiet for so long, perhaps. I am learning that it’s not my fault that he screwed up and made those abusive choices. Those decisions are his responsibility.

Now I am becoming free to live! Like really feel alive and have a whole life ahead of me. Or at leas the rest of it. And I have more acceptance for what I have already lived.


That is wonderful!! I am so happy to read your update!
hugs, Darlene


Thank you Naomi, it feels that I am so programmed to make excuses for my parents that I am suprised I even realised that I do it. I always thought that I would be incredibly spoilt if I even thought that they were wrong. I never allowed me to think it.


Thank you for this article. I am unable to get my oldest brother to validate our shared childhood experiences partially because of his own abusive personality! According to him, his early experiences were great! Toughened him up/made him into the real man he is today. What he is today is a person who will die fairly soon from COPD or lung cancer initiated by smoking 3 packs of cigarettes per day. My other brother is very overweight. My oldest brother with COPD has very little self insight and so has inflicted lots of pain on his own children. But our childhood was “good” according to him. I am just the neurotic one! It is my fault!!! My memories of my enraged father chasing me or my brothers through the house to beat us with a razor strap are just my neurotic view of our angelic childhood?? Seriously no! I am so grateful I found a religion that supports my recovery, that I had a husband to raise children with that did not believe in beating them to get compliance…..!! Recently my oldest brother was fairly successful in wounding me & then it hit me in the middle of the night that he has patterned himself after our father. Some of my disempowerment in my early years was his fault. The world view he holds is: might is right/beat the crap out of someone or psychologically wound them to get your way. I explained to him that obviously the relationship with me is not as important to him as being “in charge & right”. Remember this. Sometimes if you have been abused you have learned to abuse others as a coping strategy. It takes energy to learn to see the world a new way and to learn new ways of communication but it can be done! Boundaries have to be erected and maintained to keep the abusive types in their own space as otherwise you will get wounded again.


Hi Eve
Welcome to emerging from broken! It takes a LOT of energy, but yes it can be done and this is what emerging from broken is about. I think you have found the right website!
hugs, Darlene


Hi Darlene,

I’ve been following your facebook posts for quite a while. Just decided to hop over here to the website tonight, as fall is a hard time (I moved out of my parents house around this time when I was 16) and I need to be careful to give myself the attention it deserves, and your words help so much.

I’m glad I did come here- I often find things on your page I can apply directly to issues which are emerging for me at the exact moment.

This post is no different. I’m beginning the long journey of writing a book about my experiences as an abused child in a family of addicts and abusers. Your words about validating my pain are very powerful for me, because I spend a lot of time worrying about how it will affect their lives once I publish what I write.

One thing I do get caught on, is that I worry about publicly talking about the sexual abuse I suffered at the hands of my brother who is 3 years older than me. It started when we were both children and so placing responsibility becomes very complicated when I think about it. I must defend even now my choice to call it sexual abuse because of the nature of it, how much older he was than me, and how long it went on before I came out about it finally. I grapple with that though. If you ever have time or resources to write about children who become involved in inappropriate relationships with each other in abusive households, I would love to read it. Or, if you could point me in the right direction to find resources in order to help me heal, it would be greatly appreciated. I’m in therapy with a wonderful counselor, but I feel like it’s hard to find information on that subject matter and I’m not sure where to look. Getting support is crucial, as I’m sure you understand!

Thank you for your words, and I look forward to reading more!


Reading this at 40 yrs old. New Years Eve. Thank you.
I will re-post this on your blog from my own personal board. Because of Mom´s OCD I was poisoned last year by medical malpractice.
I have so many mixed feelings about this End of Year 2014 .. New Year 2015. … How can you say good bye to a year that you dont know if it was last year 2013 or this year 2014 .. Where youve spent most of it bedridden withouth knowing what was coming next, if you were going to get better or not from being poisoned. What to do next, what step to take. What new limits did your brain and body have ? Will the damage stay, will it improve, will new things appear ? How will I cope with them ? And here we are, and my brain thinks its the end of 2012 !!! … Its like 2 years dissappeared from my life. My birthday was a couple weeks ago and I should have celebrated 38 years old and not 40 .. I didnt have a Happy Birthday last year, nor this year. Shoudl I be happy I survived 2014 and happy to have had the resources to make it through .. But how can I be happy if that shouldnt have even happenned .. Poisoning and almost dying doesnt happen. Its not normal. Im just not feeling happy like I was 2 days ago. It also has to do with the fact that one of my best friend´s doesnt understand my situation. Not only health, but the family violence, why I still live with my parents if it is not a good environment. How good of a job they have made to make everybody see that they are the most perfect parents ever and how dissappointing and confusing it is that people who are near you, and who know the truth, seem to just want to ignore the truth and follow along with societys perfect family game. Its hard to not have the support neither for health nor for being a violence victim. People are most helpful to those who show wounds or an illness that is physically visible. The isolation from both things: family violence and bad health. Im so dissappointed. I am.

…. Needless to say no job or clients for my small business. Its hard to work like this or keep clients. Savings are slowly being used. My own insurance company is responsible for me being poisoned. I was poisoned by their clinic. I cant even file claims for what they did to me.


Hi V.
Welcome to Emerging from Broken
I am so sorry you are going through all this. There is a ton of info in this site about healing and about seeing our way through this stuff that
happens to us.
Hugs, Darlene


For me it isn’t so much what my NM did to me, even though it was very physical for many years, it was more about what she didn’t let me do and the free things she didn’t give me(like: love, guidance, time and respect) and the way she treated me and did it…on the sly (like a snake) and by using others to get me to comply and turning everyone I loved against me. It still shocks me that I am describing my own mother.

So in my life she didn’t want me to succeed in school, to not go to Uni, to not learn to cook, to not finish anything I enjoyed, to not have any friends, to not have my own opinion, to not own my own clothes or dolls as a kid, to not learn about life and sex education, to not make small talk or have proper intelligent conversations with people, to not have confidence, to hate myself, to love others and cling onto them, to always be compared to others even if I did much better things than them, to act shy when I really am not, to not wear make-up, to not have any hobbies or go to the gym, to not have nice clothes as an adult, to not own my own car, to not own my own house, to not renovate my house, to not have my partner, to not be happy with him, to not have children, to not go out and have fun, to not go on holidays, to not speak up, to not defend myself, to not get along with my father, sister, friends, cousins, aunts and uncles, to not be good at anything, to not think for myself, to not look good, to not fix my hair, to not help people she didn’t command me to help, to not ask for help, to not ever accept anything good from anyone, to be a door mat and slave to everyone, to never say NO to anyone’s needs, to never tell anyone what I achieved, to put only her on a pedestal, to not listen to music or watch TV or movies, to not talk to my friends on the phone, to not read books, to never know anything, to smile no matter what, to bow down to my FOO and others, to just never do what I want to do, to accept abuse at any cost, to not say anything she didn’t approve of and so on…

But I was supposed to know how to do everything, or how to be good at everything, to know what she wanted me to say, I was supposed to be perfect at everything I never learnt and if I happened to succeed at anything from my persistence, she would take all credit for it. As a result, I have become so impatient with myself to get things done even when I don’t know what I am doing and when they don’t get done I get furious from all the pressure I feel to be perfect and be quick.

It has taken me many decades to get it and I am mad at NM for destroying anything good that came my way. It really just hit me that I had NO control over my life and it makes me sad. I feel like a walking zombie that just woke up. So my core pain is from a loveless mother.

Thanks Darlene and it is great to meet you on facebook.
Sorry for babbling so much and not saying anything new. I have no one to tell them how I feel and have them understand what this is all about. I know I have calmed down a lot from the anger issues but I have a lot to learn. Now I get what you are saying about breaking the cycle and validating ourselves. I say NO to victim blaming and YES to freedom.
Cheers 🙂


Hi Hope,

Please don’t apologize for your posts. This is the place to share what you need to share and you are very articulate! Your experience sounds thoroughly negating and demoralizing. Day after day with the grinding down of your being sounds incredibly difficult and it’s a testament to your spirit and strength that you made it this far. I can understand your anger and sadness.


Hi Hope
I am glad that you are sharing your heart and your story here! I appreciate your thoughts; you are certainly not alone!!
hugs, Darlene


Thank you Light and Darlene for the kind words.
I am not used to getting praise and support of any kind, I almost feel embarrassed (and a bit shy like a young girl again) 🙂

I am at the stage where I don’t let anyone hurtful, sleazy or annoying in my small bubble for the first time, I have put up a large wall and I call it “banning people” to make it a bit humorous. I almost have no one left to ban. I feel so empty yet happy. I still feel so young but also maturing faster than before. I feel smart and stupid at the same time. I am so mixed up but I feel I am very slowly getting my wings back 🙂


I totally relate to what you are saying here! I had all kinds of mixed emotions as I came out of the fog and then as I went forward in my new way of thinking, growing and changing!


Hi Everyone again,

Did anyone get “don’t say anything(or don’t open your mouth)unless you have something good to say” by your main abusers, while they said whatever they wanted? Everything that was said to me was negative while I said only positive. That’s why I was always so angry and in fight mode with everyone I knew. I was NOT allowed to be honest and it always held me back from the truth, like I had an invisible gag. What a revelation!!!

OMG! Maria #321 you write amazingly. You really touched my emotions and I get the whole maths analogy. Darlene’s words have a method just like maths does even though very complicated but the way she explains everything it makes sense in our heads and we can relate to our own situations. This is the only way I have taken my life back and now I feel a glimmer of love from my friends and partner. Goodluck to you.

To Jessica #328, your comments are so interesting as I have never read about siblings having a secret relationship but I honestly concur on how it can happen when you only have each other to turn to. It has not happened to me as I only have a sister. Goodluck with your recovery.
Cheers xx


Thanks again Darlene,
Sorry to take over this thread, I feel so elated by your words.
Cheers xx


Hi Hope,
Please feel free to share whatever you like and as often as you like.
(this post is pretty old (over 2 years) which is why the inactivity here but please feel free to share on some of the more recent posts ~ (use the home button) or join the discussions there. 🙂
Hugs, Darlene


When I was 7, my half sister came to live with us thinking that her mother wanted her. My mother put her to work caring for us, cleaning, entertaining us so that my mom could play her computer game all day. My sister went back home and never returned. Her grandparents would threaten to send her back when she misbehaved.

I always thought I was the lucky daughter because my mom kept me. I thought this was proof I was loved. And maybe I was–when I was very small and cute and absolutely unconditionally loving. Anyway, my mom was always looking for excuses not to be a mom. She talked about being tired all the time, being sick, about how we took for granted everything she did for us. I can kind of understand now, how if you hate being a parent and think you’re more important than everyone else you could justify thinking your children were spoiled and horrible. She’s the kind of person who believes that every person she has in her life has a responsibility to please her. She told me I was too boring, annoying, or hyper to spend time with as a child. She said I never talked about anything interesting as a teenager–I only ever talked about the novel I was writing and why would she want to talk to me about that?

My brothers and I were blamed for the state of the house, even when I was as young as 5. My mom said it was our fault the house had cockroaches. I grew up believing that I was a literal source of filth. She never cleaned because doing so enraged her. Why should she have to clean up after her spoiled lazy filthy ungrateful children? So she pawned off the responsibility on my older brother, brutalizing him emotionally and physically. I remember wondering why she hated him when I loved him so much. I couldn’t understand why she didn’t see what I did.

When my brother escaped to live with an aunt, it was my turn to be used. I was already being used at that point as a scapegoat. My mother blamed me for every fight, every problem that I faced with my brothers. She believed that I was selfish, cruel, entitled, so even when my little brother acted violently toward me and I stood still and did nothing, I was blamed for fighting.

As a teenager, all of my feelings and desires were written off as hormonal problems. This was purely an abuse doled on me as a female. I became so used to having my opinions and feelings habitually squashed that by the time my brother came back is developed a slurry of strange compulsions and phobias. When the family would go out to eat, I didn’t give an opinion on where I wanted to go. Not out of any conscious decision. When my brother asked me why I couldn’t really explain it. I just knew that nobody would care so there wasn’t a point in speaking up. I’d come to see my own opinions as unimportant, my own feelings as hormonal problems. I believed my mom was right about me that I was the cause of her suffering and that I was just lucky I had home and a mom who’d take me out to dinners. I believed that I was boring and that nobody would want to spend time with me and be my friend. I believed that I was disgusting and lazy and that I never helped out enough (which is true–but in my defense, it’s hard to motivate yourself to do anything when you’re trained not to care about your feelings.

My mom finally admitted a few months ago that she’d been abusive, but it didn’t last long. She’s using it as a manipulation tactic now. When I’m good and I don’t talk about it, she might work it into a conversation of how I can relate to her pain because of some of my experiences. But when I’m not good, when I talk openly about it, the excuses, gaslighting, intimidation, accusation of abuse on my part, and threats of ending our relationship come out. I guess she really needs to feel like she can do and say anything in order to feel loved. It’s funny to me now how she doles out little pellets of validation when I’m very good, like someone trying to treat-train a starving dog. Sorry mom, but that’s really not enough to keep me going here.

We fought recently. I had been trying to research information on an accusation I made about my stepfather as a kid, and she was quick to tell me how I was stupid to try to look for something to blame for my mental illnesses and dysfunctions. She told me all about how she never would have allowed me to get molested, how she had never let anyone change our diapers but her and she vetted all or baby sitters bla bla bla. It’s all about me and my opinions bla bla bla. So, she told me I was being stupid, that I have paranoia I inherited from my father, but hey, at least it didn’t turn into a screaming match. She even told me she missed me, which would have been nice to hear back when I still would have believed her.

People really don’t understand the long term effect that being blamed and emotionally shut down has on you. They have no idea the fury that builds up, the self loathing. When you’re not allowed to have your own identity for long enough you just sort if stop being a person. I stopped everything. I couldn’t do well in school, stopped writing, had no hobbies but video games. Now that I’ve been living away from her for two years, I’m finally starting to feel like a person again. I’ve been gardening and sewing. I’ve been going to therapy and making friends, and slowly, so slowly my anger is beginning to fade. Anger is the last defense of an abused person because it’s the emotion that can take a powerless situation and make your feel powerful in the moment. But when it accomplishes nothing (or worse, is harmful) to direct your anger at the actual cause, you learn to deflect it into other things. I used to get so infuriated at anything that reminded me subconsciously of my mother. I ended up saying aggressive and mean things to innocent people because when you can’t receive justice, there’s no such thing to you as innocent.

I’ve got so many regrets about how I treated others, simply because it was dangerous to address them with the one who controlled my problem. I just couldn’t get her to take my pain seriously, no matter how carefully I described it. After I turned 18 it was even worse. I knew she was no longer legally obligated to me, knew she could kick me out at any minute. I also had no will to do anything about it. When I used my college financial aid to get my teeth fixed because I hadn’t been taken to the dentist in years, she was displeased that I hadn’t given her money in rent. My mom was one of the worst person with money, and she was the only role model I had in my life thanks to all the moves and divorces, but I was exceptionally good with it because I knew I couldn’t be caught spending it on something she disapproved of.

This isn’t to say she couldn’t be loving. But her loving is usually based off what she thinks she’d want or need in your place, and she couldn’t often relate to my problems. She couldn’t relate to me feeling lonely, held back in life, or like my life had no purpose or meaning. Since she couldn’t relate, she thought I was annoying for bringing it up. When she could relate, she’d take me it out to dinner or a movie and talk to me about an experience she had that was similar and how crappy life could be.

I do wonder if it’s really my mom’s fault because she’s so insane sometimes, while so lucid, reasonable, and decent in others. She says she is turning over a new leaf these days and she has a pet cat that she actually helps take care of, so it seems to be true to some extent. But no matter how she may change, I doubt I’d ever really trust her enough to get the relationship with her I always craved–one where she hungers for my company, thinks I’m interesting and wants to validate and care for my emotions. One where she can hold me when I’m sad and I feel like I did back when I was still very young–safe and loved–and not just uncertain and awkward, like I’m playing a beloved daughter in a play but I know if I don’t act out the part perfectly I’ll get to hear all about how cruel, unforgiving, and paranoid I am.

I’m getting married next year and I always wanted my mommy to be there to cry and tell me how much she loves me and how happy she is for me, but I don’t even feel like a real person around her. I don’t think il end up inviting her… but admitting that makes me feel so mean.



I can relate to a lot of what you write about. I too had a frustrating and lonely relationship with my mother; I craved a bond and closeness that never happened.

I also was so furious, didn’t know myself or know why I felt that way or could even understand the subtleties of the dynamics. I too was walking around very angry and let it out as criticism on innocent people. Even to this day I have to be careful and I slip up. It’s the wrong way to vent, and it’s also self-destructive because there are a lot of kind people out there and it pushes them away.

I hate having that void that will NEVER be filled. While it isn’t, it feels like it should be a birthright to have a warm and caring and engaged mother who can respond with empathy. That is absolutely needed to start on a good path in life. I’m sorry your mother won’t be the mother you want for your wedding or your life.

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