‘What Goes Around Comes Around’ used as a Fear and Compliance Tactic

Abuse statement what goes around comes around

when abusers state “even God says you are wrong”

It amazes me what people think I will publish on this website. Emerging from Broken is about healing from abuse and neglect. It is about overcoming and healing from the damage after having been discounted, devalued and defined by the statements and actions of carless and for the most part unloving people. It is about having to submit to the thoughts and value system of our elders, parents, grandparents, grandparents, teachers or any others who placed their importance above ours.

I got this comment this week from Nancy on one of articles I wrote about my mother and our dysfunctional mother daughter relationship. I am highlighting it today because it is such a good example of toxic mother behaviour and attitudes. Children should “know their place” and “what goes around comes around”. This comment is so typical of what we were/are told and how we were/are treated.

Nancy is the very angry mother of a daughter who drew a boundary.  At first her comment communicates that the boundary her daughter is drawing is unfair. That she as a mother has done nothing but support her daughter and now she is being called selfish and accused of doing things with a wrong motive. She justifies her behaviour, all the while denying that she ever did anything wrong. But then her comments which I have highlighted in bold print reveal a different story. I read this comment several times and each time I saw with more clarity the depth of the manipulation and the disgusting (and false) belief system of the writer.

Nancy writes: (Note: I did not edit this comment)

To all of you young ladies who claim abuse, I am the 64 yr old mother of a 28 year old who claims she needs to stay away from me because i have so abused her. Now mind you, she’s not talking about hitting her or yelling at her, or telling her she is a worthless so and so that I don’t love her. No. She says I am selfish because I did all i could to help her pursue her interests and was right there in the front row clapping and encouraging her. Apparently according to her, I was doing all this in order to live through her and so I would look good in others peoples eyes that my daughter was such a success. What a bunch of BS!!!!! So let me get this straight, we parents are accused of being abusive no matter what we do!!! Is that right Get over yourslves. Your parents did the best they could and you just want to whine about your unhappiness and blame and it on the easiest target you can find. Your mother. What goes around comes around. Come back after your kids are grown and reject you for these rediculous “charges” because what goes around comes around. The Bible says “honor your mother and father that YOU will live long.” There’s nothing in there about honoring you children. In fact it says “spare the rod, spoil the child”. You are all spoiled and ungrateful and are cruel if you keep your children and parents estranged.


I put the most important part of her comments in BOLD print. This is where the ‘truth leaks” are about the belief system of this angry mother. Let’s take a closer look;

~”What goes around comes around” ~to warn the daughter that whatever ever she is doing to her mother now, will happen to her; that the daughters children are going to do this to her BECAUSE of what she is ‘doing’ to her mother.

~ “Come back after your kids are grown and reject you for these ridiculous “charges” because what goes around comes around”. ~ This is used as a threat to inspire FEAR. But fear of what? If I treated my children with the same disregard and disrespect that my mother treated me with, then I guess I could expect this same rejection from my kids. But it is not because I stood up to my mother that I need to have fear in my relationships with my kids.

The truth about this is that if a mother loves her daughter in the true definition of love in the first place, what went around would come back around. But what would ‘come back around’ would be LOVE, mutual respect and a desire to BE in a relationship. Children learn relationship from their parents. Why is it that people who say “what goes around, comes back around” never see it from that perspective? This is happening to HER, to Nancy and she is saying that it will come back around to the commenters who are having difficulties with their mothers when they have grown children. She says “come back and complain when this happens to you.” Her stance is that WE are going to be sorry, but at the same time she sees no fault on her part for anything she did that may have contributed to the boundary that HER daughter is drawing, as though this is NOT a two way street. This is so typical of an abusive, controlling person and once I saw this truth in a few places, many others became clear to me.  

“The Bible says “honor your mother and father that YOU will live long.” This is a directive taken out of the bible and it is used in a manipulative way.  Using the words in the bible this way is a way of saying “God is on my side here~ and no one can argue with GOD”. People say things like this in order to gain some ground; to prove they are right because “the bible even says so” but her saying that ISN’T proof and just saying it doesn’t make them right about the directive because they are taking it out of context and misusing it to manipulate people. I could answer with so much more from the bible that teaches to RUN from anyone who leads you away from Christ/God. Why would parents be exempt from those biblical teachings? What kind of God would turn a blind eye to parents, the very ones intrusted to teach children about Him? What kind of “God” would condone abuse, neglect, discounting and devaluing children? If parents were not modeling the love that God/Christ wanted to be modeled, then who would do it? How would children ever learn to love, respect, or treat others the way they would like to be treated if they were treated like objects without feelings? Someone has to be the role model here! If not the parents, then WHO?

The biggest ‘truth leak’ in Nancy’s little guilt trip about her own beliefs was this: “There’s nothing in there (in the Bible) about honoring you children. In fact it says “spare the rod, spoil the child”. She makes this statement to PROVE that the parents have all the rights and children have none. By stating the bible says nothing about honoring children, she says that the (biblical) teachings actually communicate that children don’t have ANY right to being honored! And then she backs that belief up with saying; IN FACT the bible advocates abuse.

Finally Nancy offers her personal judgement on all of us who have concluded that we have been damaged by our own mothers; that we are all spoiled and ‘ungrateful’ and that we are also cruel if we keep children and parents estranged. Typical guilt and shame stuff. She takes NO responsibility for the estrangement with her own daughter although she earlier states that what goes around comes around. She defends herself and her actions using any means she can think of including the Bible, but yet this comment leaks the truth all over the place about her one sided belief system, dysfunctional mother daughter relationship methods and her beliefs that children have no rights.

I don’t have to wonder long about what her childhood was like or where / how she learned the things that she posted.  If she goes against her own beliefs and listens to her own daughter, she may have to face her own past which is something that the majority of these toxic parents are unwilling to do.

Nancy could be anyone’s mother. She could be my mother who often said “just wait till YOU have kids Darlene, then you will see how hard it is. Then you won’t be so ungrateful. Then you will see what I have gone through.” My mother threw bible quotes at me too. My kids are now 21, 19 and 15 and although I understand my mother’s motives (using fear to control me and get me to comply to her wishes and accept her judgements and to shame me for daring to defy her) for what she said to me, I don’t have any of these dysfunctional relationship problems with my kids. I believe this is because I didn’t treat them the way I was treated in the first place. I did not place un-reasonable expectations upon them. I did not discount their needs and squish their emotions. I did not disrespect them, neglect them or define them as having lesser value than myself. I am their mother and it is my job to fill them with self-esteem and teach them self-love. I have not taught them that love is compliance and obedience to me or to other adults. I have taught them love by loving them. I do not expect them to respect what was disrespectful. I taught them respect by respecting them, their needs and their feelings. And what goes around comes around.

Please share your thoughts about this typical tirade from Nancy. Her words are so commonly used against (adult) children. They are so condemning and laced with guilt and shame. But they are not the truth. When words like that have been used and heard since childhood, they are accepted much more easily as truth, but the truth is very far from her grasp. It is so important for adult children to see this.

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 through the upper right side bar or click this link~ Emerging from Broken The Beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing


Related Posts ~Emotionally Abusive Statements designed to Control

~ Brainwashing in Dysfunctional Family Systems 

Categories : Mother Daughter



Nancy’s comments would almost be funny if they weren’t so disturbing and wrong. It really is like abusive parents are given a script they read from, since their words are so often the same. I heard most of that, minus the bible references, when I was a child too. To this day I don’t think my father gets that I have no contact with him because of his abusive behaviour. It’s always someone else’s fault. For a long time he blamed my mother, then she left him and now I have no doubt he spreads lies about what’s “wrong” with me for me cutting him out of my life, what’s “wrong” with her for leaving him, etc. Never his fault.

He liked to spout a version of ‘what goes around, comes around,’ but he won’t see that it’s actually true for him. I guess it makes sense when you realize that these parents truly believe they have done nothing wrong. Incredible.


My son is an alcoholic and wont’ have anything to do with me after I brought it up, when his wife was divorcing him. He was furious.

I didn’t speak to my own parents for 20 years – the first ten because my mother put a “ban” on me after bringing up (again) my father’s sexual abuse of me as a child, and the next ten because they all en-masse sent me cards saying “they forgave me.”

Forgave me for what? For writing to my mother and father that if my father sexually abused my niece who was going to stay with them and I found out about it I would have him put in jail? “I couldn’t then but I will now, if I hear that you laid a finger on that girl, if there is a breath of wrongdoing I will pursue this to the end.”

Now my son won’t speak to me, after I dared to say that maybe he should cut back on his drinking and treat his wife better if he didn’t want her to leave. What did I do wrong? He says “You know what you did and until you admit to it I have nothing more to say to you.”

What the heck does that mean? But I can’t help but feel that “what comes around goes around” and somehow this is STILL all my fault. I will go to my grave wondering what I did wrong and how I might have fixed it. Nothing but nothing is right with my family and of course ALL fingers are pointed straight at me, no matter how many years I’ve been gone or how many boundaries I draw.

Narcissism, Borderline Personality Disorder, OCD, Alcoholism, prescription pill addiction, you name it, it’s in my college-educated high-functioning family. And apparently it’s all my fault. I just got blasted by my niece who I made the mistake of finally coming to trust, and told that I “should have made my amends to my mother long before she died; no wonder she refused to see me on her death bed after more than 25 years.”

I should have made “amends” to them.

It never ends. This woman you wrote about is just poisonous to the extreme. But when people in my family veer back and forth nice one day and extraordinarily cruel the next, I just feel like I’m a basketball being bounced from one end to the other. I stayed away for more than 25 years. Came back only when my mother was ill and dying. And look what it got me. More pain than I know how to bear. With these people, it never ends.

It’s really as if they have no heart and no kind emotions. Empathy is completely lacking, and they are always right and you are always wrong. It’s growing up in the crazy world of black and white and if they say the sky is red, and not blue, you better agree! Or they will all come after you en-masse. And they are happy drinking the Koolaid and angry that I didn’t! That’s what I think they are maddest about.

Narcissism and Borderline and Alcoholic Rageaholics and everything in between. I find it very, very hard to live with this and know that there is no hope with any of them and that I have to let them all go. I didn’t realize I harbored a secret wish that surely at my mother’s deathbed, all would be resolved and we would be “one big happy family” all over again… even though this NEVER happened, and NEVER WILL.

I am just devastated by the turn of events: my mother’s refusal to see me on her deathbed declared “open season” on me and they have all stocked up with weapons and ammunition, and they don’t hesitate to use them. I am one by one trying to resolve things and as all my attempts have failed I am cutting them off from communication with me. I did this 25 years ago and I have to do it all over again, but this will be the last time. I’m almost 63 and I am determined to spend my remaining years in peace and solitude, not in a never-ending war with devils and demons. With people who only want to be “right” and are ruled by their hateful emotions, there is no middle ground and “peace is not an option.”

So it’s over and I tried my most painful best. Now I know why so many of my sisters have been divorced over and over. How they ever convinced anyone to marry them in the first place is beyond me. But I don’t have to be married to this family. I think I will change my name to remove their name from my own family lineage. Then I might feel more free. I know it starts within me and then without, but sometimes changing my behavior on the outside first helps change it inside.

I read somewhere on this site that “Peace is an inside job.”

I always remember this, and what a wonderful way to put it. Thanks to the person who posted it and to everyone else here. Gracias, amen.

PS: I’m cutting down on posting, so if you don’t hear back that’s why. But I still read everything and thank you all every day.


Wow. When I began reading your blogpost, I was half afraid it was going to be my own NM who wrote to you! (She has been “no contact” with me for the last 18 months because I do not meet her needs or give her the treatment she deserves. Thank goodness for that, because I wouldn’t have been brave enough to initiate it myself.)

Nancy sounds like an engulfing/enmeshing narcissistic mother. How can we truly believe she did everything for her daughter’s benefit – as a gift of maternal love – when so many strings are obviously attached to that “gift” and her daughter is reviled for not being grateful enough. I’ve read that enmeshing mothers are like tar that you can’t pick off, and Nancy sounds just like that. (My own NM is a ignoring malignant narcissist – so I had a different experience.) It doesn’t sound like Nancy gave to her child from a pure heart or pure motives, or with her child’s best interests at heart. It sounds like Nancy decided what was best for her daughter. Period. It sounds like her daughter tried and tried to make Nancy understand, and Nancy saw it as rebellion.

Darlene, you and your children have a loving, accepting, open relationship, and what goes around comes around. I have been a mother with children-at-home years and years longer than I was a child-at-home with my NM. The blinders fell off my own eyes when I realized this fact, and I also realized I had never called my children names, bullied them, raged at them, mocked them, taunted them, abused them, beat them, confined them to their rooms for hours and hours a day for years and years on end — none of the things that defined my own childhood. I realized “AHA!!” healthy, respectful, loving parenting CAN be done because I DID IT! So did you, Darlene. All that “just wait” stuff is BS. “Just wait” til you have kids… well I did. (We did.) And we did great. We did everything exactly OPPOSITE of our mothers, and we did great.

Also — Nancy is wrong about the Bible. I’m sure others will chime in on this who know more than I do, but Jesus said If anyone hurt one of these little children, it would be better that they were thrown into the sea with a stone around their necks. He said “let the little ones come to me” for they are the kingdom of heaven. He said anyone who has helped the “least of these” belongs to Him.

I think abusive parents will have a lot to answer for — not just here on Earth. Throwing bible verses at your already abused children does not make it better.


Lolo wrote: ” I realized “AHA!!” healthy, respectful, loving parenting CAN be done because I DID IT! So did you, Darlene. All that “just wait” stuff is BS. “Just wait” til you have kids… well I did. (We did.) And we did great. We did everything exactly OPPOSITE of our mothers, and we did great.”

I wish to God with everything in me that this was the case with me and my son. I belong to another website about parents estranged from their adult children. None of us know what is going on, except that the CHILDREN sound like BPD or Narcissistic abusers.

But when I read what Lolo wrote, I continue to torture myself all over again. What did I do wrong? I don’t drink due to the alcoholism in my family, and my son grew up knowing this. I never berated him and was there for him as much as possible, even as a single mother working and going to school. If Darlene and Lolo could do things right for their own children, in spite of their upbringing, why couldn’t I?

I will carry this grief with me to my grave. In a million years I never thought I would be estranged from my only child. All children love me and always say they “wish I were their mother.” And it’s all I can do to keep from crying because my only child wishes I wasn’t.


Hi Cheryl
Yes, I have come to realize that only the details change when it comes to most of this stuff.
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Lolo
Yes, that verse is so very rarely quoted though! I have noticed that the most quoted vesrses are the ones that can be used to manipulate others. So sad really.
Thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene

Soething that is important to realize about my life here is that I did make mistakes and I WAS passing on my dysfunctional belief system to my children. I may not have been the kind of abusive that my mother was but I certainly didn’t pass on a healthy belief system before I had one. It has been over 8 years since I discovered the truth though, and I have made a LOT of amends and lived up to those amends in this time. I hope that helps. Please don’t beat yourself up ~ it is so counterproductive to healing and in the beginning I had such a huge mess to sort out.
Hugs, Darlene


Dear Darlene, thank you so much for your response. I know I could not have possibly “passed on a healthy system” to my son, and even though I would not go to family reunions, I paid plane tickets for HIM to go! It was probably one of the biggest mistakes of my life.

But I thought that he should not be denied a relationship with his so-called family just because I was. I still thought at the time that there had to be something so terribly wrong with me that my mother and father hated me so, and taught my siblings to do the same…

And my son learned to disrespect me by watching my own husband disrespect me all the years we were together. I was never physically abused (I would never have stood for that) but I didn’t even recognize the mental and emotional abuse that was going on and how I was completely ignored and “zeroed out” for all of my adult life living with him. So my son never did see a 50/50 supportive relationship growing up. But I thought I was doing a good job because he wasn’t beaten physically or verbally.

We both did everything we could to support him in his activities, schoolwork, college and more. He was never verbally abused, although he learned it somewhere and repeats the same cruel things my father used to say, practically word for word.

“I don’t feel sorry for them! They did it to themselves! They brought it on themselves! They deserved it!” and so on ad nauseum. He hates everyone and everything and most of all himself. Hence the alcohol (or is it the chicken or the egg?)

From reading the comments here, it seems like all of these abusive individuals are “reading from a script.” But where do they get it? And then I hear about all the good parents who raised their children right, in spite of their own abusive upbringing, and they have children that love them and what did I do wrong? That is what I am wracking my brain over. Just like I had to accept that I had abusive parents, I now have to accept that I have an abusive son. And I did NOT do this to him.

No way and No how. But everyone always blames the mother as if I was the only person who had any influence over him, when in reality, I probably had the least. And any suggestion from me that what he was doing wasn’t right was met with great anger and hostility.

He used to come home from high school and talk about all the girls who were “sluts” in his class and “wanted it.” I actually had to ban pornographic materials from the house and one of his friends who was into all kinds of distasteful things as well as outright criminal activity.

My son is 40 years old and he still blames me for that. Ask him – he’ll tell you “how dare I have banned his best friend from the house” and made him take back a misogynistic record album talking about berating and raping women. How can he possibly think I would allow that in our house?

I am from the generation of women that made huge strides in womens rights. He consorts with prostitutes. In the old days, he would have been called a “bad seed.” But now it’s all on the mother and how the child was raised. So yes, I apparently did not give him the right kind of environment. But I don’t see what I did wrong when other friends of mine gave their children “worse” environments and their children are not estranged.

No I am so tired of hearing about how I must have done something wrong. Since when am I supposed to be the PERFECT ONE? It feels like I am getting it from both sides. The one regret that I have in life is that I became a mother. Every child alive wishes I were their mother, except my own. And then I have to face the fact that I did not give him the right kind of upbringing. It’s just impossible.


I’m amazed that I’m not held responsible for his alcoholism. I guess no one dares say that since I don’t drink and people are educated about alcoholism being “genetic.” But I am so tired of hearing that I didn’t do something right, when so many children are raised in much worse homes and they don’t act the way my son does. Not at all. He was born a very angry and unhappy child and nothing I did, despite dragging him to doctors and counselors all his life who said it was “my fault” because I was working to support us as a single mother at the time – well, I should have had an abortion or given him up for adoption. That’s what it comes down to.

I know this discussion is not about estranged children, but I am just at a loss to know what to do. It’s too much all at once and I’m not supposed to be posting so much, so I’ll give it a break again.

Thank you again for your response. But I don’t think it’s my fault that he made the choices he did. I made the choice to not drink and work on myself. He didn’t. And no one can force a grown person to do something they don’t want to do. No one holds the keys to self-will except for THEMSELVES.


Darlene. thank you for saying that you had made mistakes, which got better when you drew boundaries and asked for mutual respect. I also nticed that when I was trying to squeeze myself into the dysfunctional system, I treated my step kids with my exhusband differently.some of the ways in which I had been treated, which I always felt guilty about. I just thought that was the way it was done! I did get the chance to apologize to both of these young men. And we talked about it. It was left on good terms. With my signif others kids now,I do approach it much differently, though I dont have such a prevelent role. It helps having healthy modeling done by my guy, and all i have learned here and read helps too! It is such an important role, being part of raising a child. I try to fing the opportunities to build up and encourage. every chance I can. Its not easy being a kid these days, especially having gone through the division of their family of origin.


I have been reading your articles since I found this website shortly before Christmas. Thank you so much. What an amazing sense of pure validation I have experienced from this uninhibited truth- telling! I agree with the other comments about Nancy being an engulfing NM. It doesn’t surprise me that she is so one-sided because narcissistic people never admit to any wrongdoing. I had the unfortunate luck of having a narcissistic and physically and verbally abusive father with an ignoring NM who focused solely on the needs of her husband to the detriment of her children. I once stood up to my father after he beat me brutally at the age of 16. He was in the military and I told him that if he ever hit me again, he should just kill me because if I lived to tell about it, I would go directly to his first sargeant. I meant it and he knew it. The physical abuse stopped, but as you know, the abuse never ends! The real show stopper came when my mother and brother heard what I had said. They couldn’t believe how “disrespectful” I was. Wow. Really? As an adult, I have chased after my parents’ love to no avail. When I questioned my parents about their utter lack of involvement in my life,I was met with the “enraged peacock” response that Nancy so finely demonstrates to us all. My adult relationship with my parents did well as long as I complied with everything they wanted and expressed no needs of my own. There were a series of “falling outs” that I experienced with them due to my audacity (to have needs of any kind). Each time these occurred, the pattern was the same: my mother would become enraged over some perceived criticism then she would hang up on me and not call me back. When I eventually called, she would rage at me, explore the many ways in which I was disrespectful and ungrateful, make sure I knew she thought I was mentally unstable, and then after much deliberating out loud, I would be begrudgingly let back into the warped and wicked “circle of trust”. I had an epiphany over 2 years ago when she last hung up on me. I decided I couldn’t do it again. I finally faced the fact that I have two parents that really don’t love me because they are unable to. It was a hard pill to swallow, but I think you hit the nail on the head when you said they (like Nancy) have never faced their own parental unlovingness. I guess this makes us stronger. I have read self-help books galore and still have really rough days, but it is good to be the “real me”. I have made mistakes with my own children as well. It is hard to parent when you never had an example, but breaking the cycle is what I aim to do. Thank you for all of your encouragement, you are a blessing to all (even Nancy).


Catherine, 7 and 8, I feel your anguish over your son! It sounds like the nature vs nuture argument. Certainly, it has been proven that alcoholism has a genetic component. My own friend did exactly as you, not to drink d/t familial alcoholism, only to watch her own daughter succumb to alcohol and drugs. You can not beat yourself up about this!
As far as narcissism and abusive personality being inherited, it would be interesting what the research shows about that. Though I think that some of us received love and support from our NMs and NFs parents and siblings, our grandparents. aunts, and unclez, so where did our parents dysfunction come from?
For me, it does not matter, I just flee from the badness, so to speak. I want to feel peaceful and not let others dysfunctional, distorted thinking drfine me.
I dont know what it is like to see and feel a child behave in this way, as I have never been a real mom, so to speak. It must be very painful to feel disconnected from him. We are not supposed to give advice, but do you ever think about exploring playing a positive role in another child or childrens lives? Volunteerism, mentoring? You seem to have alot of beautiful maternal energy!



Janie, thank you so much for your understanding and compassionate words. Finally, someone who understands! I’m sorry to hear about your friend and her daughter, and it at least let’s me know “it’s not all my fault,” as so many seem to think so.

I had to laugh when you talked about “playing a positive role in another child or childrens lives? Volunteerism, mentoring?”

I work with a group of 25 to 30 indigenous Mayan women and their entire families and all the children, and we do lots and lots for everyone concerned. We sell their beautiful beadwork in the states through AtitlanArts.com and I spend all my waking hours either trying to resolve my own misery with my own miserable family, or working with the most blessed families of these very poor Indians who are “teaching me how to pray.”

I would say that the experience of being with these good people from the Lake Atitlan, Guatemala area in Central America has changed my life completely. The contrast between American life and the family I grew up in, so devoid of heart and soul, and the richest life of the poorest Guatemalan families whom I call of “The Faithful” has shown me that I had just about everything backwards.

In fact, my own young assistant and business manager, another Mayan that is educated and professional, is essentially my “daughter” now and she is even in my will. When I contrast the difference between my relationship with Delfia, who treats me like a loving daughter, and the hatred and contempt my own son shows me, and I am the VERY SAME PERSON, it just breaks my heart. But it is OPENING MY EYES.

I have actually thought about adopting Delfia (if you can adopt a 22 year old) and she is now in my will. She and her whole family have essentially “adopted” me, and my life is all to the good because of it. Anything I have done for them, they have repaid me ten fold. They are teaching me patience, pardon and prayer, which is something that I NEVER learned in my family of origin. I come from a military Catholic background, that is nothing but rigid. Being with the Mayans has opened up a whole new world and a new way of thinking. I have to remember this, and even when it doesn’t seem this way, progress IS being made. I just have to be reminded every so often, like you just did today. Gracias!

There are plenty of Americans and Europeans where I live at Lake Atitlan, due to the large ex-pat community and the 75 degree weather year round and the very inexpensive lifestyle down there, so more and more gringos (white people) are moving down there. We bring a lot of good things and a lot of bad, including our Americanized attitudes and the virus of consumerism. But I work for medical and educational expenses for the Mayans artisans I work with, and I know I am doing some small good. They say it is “big.”

I just wish my son would be a part of it and he and I would both be so happy if he did. But he never will. He has to hang on to his beer and hatred and grudges and for the moment, will never let go. How I raised a child who ended up this way is the one regret that I will always have. But the Mayans say “Pray for him. Nothing is impossible for God to do” so that is what I do.

They live by three wonderful words that all start with “P”:

Patience, Pardon and Prayer.

I have added one more for me: Practice. And with that, they say “all will be well.” And all will be well.

I have to remember this and I will. Thank you so much for reminding me of this! If you want to know more about the indigenous Mayans, you can take a look at another wonderful group that I help support: MayanFamilies.org. They are putting more than 2,000 children through school since school is NOT free in Guatemala, as it is not free in many countries in the world.

I don’t think I should really be posting info about my business or Mayan Families, but I wanted you to see just where I “volunteer.” It’s a business, but it’s volunteering all the same, since I take no salary at all. Gracias for the reminder that some things I do ARE actually good, no matter what some of my “family” says. Thank you so much.

“There is no hurt on earth that Heaven cannot heal.”

Catherine Todd

PS: I’m trying not to comment so much, since it was way out of hand and I needed to take a break. So if you don’t hear back right away, that’s why. Thanks to Darlene again for maintaining this site and everyone on it. It’s changing my life as much as moving to Lake Atitlan has. Changing EVERYTHING, inside and out!


Poodle, my whole entire family blacklisted me when I too stood up to my father for beating me and sexually molesting me. I had to go to court when I was 16 just to get out of that house as an “emancipated minor,” and no one has ever “forgiven me” for it.

Another friend said “they all drank the Koolaid” and I guess it’s true. I have to remember to practice “Patience, Pardon and Prayer.” Not that I will “pardon” them for what they have done, but I do ask God to forgive them for that is God’s job, not mine.

And I laugh when as a friend of mine said, “They are going to be outside those pearly gates, sitting in a chair, with a whole lot of explaining to do!”


wow great example of a controlling & manipulative mom! this can be my mom. Recent talk which turned into a fight with mom, involved her saying, never say I wasn’t there for you, I’m mean, & that she is the parent, so I have to visit her. I saw her comments as truth leaks about her need to control & manipulate…in the past, I would have felt guilt and shame, yet I’ m not to blame or responsible for her behavior…this was big to realize this…she was trying to keep me in line with her parent position…I’ m an adult & individual, which i did say calmly and then, it doesn’t have to be that way in response to going to her house. this was after over extending myself by inviting both my parents to my house for dinner over the holidays. Mom still holding my kids’ Christmas presents….I know she blames this on me! I’ m not a doormat & when I stand by my boundaries I’ m the mean one…not true at all…the truth is she feels entitled to say aanything to get what she wants. now I’ m getting the silent treatment. That is fine with me…I’ m appalled by her behavior & how she continues to withhold love to punish me. she takes no responsibility for hurting me. I did send her Xmas gifts in the mail not out of anger, but to let go with no strings attached, unlike her. I Don’ t want to engage with her and if & when she calls I will let it go to message. I need to protect & shield myself from the next attack. I don’ t attack & I speak my truth. I’ m not the bad guy here. I’ m done playing her games. used to stuff my thoughts & feelings to avoid conflict, then when I started speaking my truth & setting boundaries, they continue to see me as the problem…no win situation…All I want is a mutual & equal relationship. It’ s not that way and I’ m done trying harder or better. I’ m choosing me & to love from afar. My intentions is not out of hate. One thing I did say was I loved them & protected them from knowing I was molested at 12. I was ashamed of myself to the point of burying the truth even from myself. flashbacks in my 40′ s made me face it head on…even after sharing this sensitive & emotionally charged info, no comfort just why didn’t I tell her.She also told me not to blame her. She is not capable of loving me by offering support or kindness. that is rejection. I know I’ m capable because I loved her in spite of not getting it. The last thing she said to me was I hated her, how ironic that is! seeking her approval & love all my life is hate?????!!!!


I wish these controlling & mean moms would heal themselves instead of continuing to hurt their daughters!!!


One good thing about Darlene’s posting “Nancy’s” cruel, angry and abusive comment, which this whole discussion is based on:

I guess looking at the difference between her and me, both with children estranged from us, I must be on the right track. Dare I say something good about myself? I’m scared to do so, but I MUST. If it’s not true, I’m sure someone will set me straight. If it is true, then I’m on the road to recovery and will be able to one day, in this life or the next, welcome him home with open arms.

But it’s God’s job to forgive, mine is just to let go of anger and hurt. And the desire for vengeance, for that corrosive emotion is the root of so many evils. I have only the desire at this stage for PEACE. I just don’t know how to find it with people that will not and do not want peace; who still only want war. For that is all they know and that is their heart’s desire. It’s not mine.

I don’t hate my son in return, even though I too am very hurt by his words, rejection and action. I don’t blame him. I wish his life had been easier emotionally for him, and I always look(ed) for ways I could make it easier. If he ever has a real change of heart, a change of ways and a change of mind, I would welcome him back with open arms. But even then, I would not accept any abuse that might come with it. Those rules he would have to respect. And I constantly look for ways of my own for self-improvement, so as not to commit any errors as I must have done before.

This is a Gift of Estrangement. The love I have for my estranged son will make me walk through fire, even to getting to a place of peace and prayer that I also wish for him. And the estrangement we have gives me a modicum of peace, no matter how sad it is. For when he was around, it was hell on wheels almost all of the time. Everything I did made him angry in some way, or he criticized, just as the parents we are all talking about here. I am starting to believe that dysfunctional abusive parents start out as children that way, and with my own son I can see how it begins that way. I tried everything I could, and nothing “took.” Now I am reduced to distance and no contact (his decision) and I am so glad he did. I never would have had the strength to do it on my own. These people never even think that the no contact rule will come into play for them.

After reading comments here, I think his refusal to speak to me is yet another punishment or payback for not doing everything the way he wanted, when he wanted, without any consideration or responsibility towards me. But this “silence and rejection” turns out to be the gift of peace he have given me.

When it finally gets bad enough with anyone, family members or not, and they’ve crossed the line too many times, just like with an abusive husband that everyone now knows we are supposed to leave, the same response is starting to be applied to parents, siblings, adult children and anyone who is a bully or abusive. The times they are a changin’, and it can’t be too soon for me.

I thank God every day that my son has no children. I could never sit back and watch him destroy his own children the way he has destroyed his marriage, ex-wife or any girlfriends since. Alcohol and Anger are so corrosive. Nothing can survive those two, and in combination: LOOK OUT!

Grace be to God for favors large and small.

Dear God please show us The Way. Amen.


smd: I know exactly how you feel. I am reading more and more about Narcissim and Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and all the behaviors being described on this website seem to fall in this category. And it’s unlikely they will ever change. They are always right and to be damned with anyone who disagrees. Everyone who doesn’t bow down and cater to their every whim can “go to hell” as far as they are concerned, and they don’t hesitate to try and put us there.

I was very vocal about the sexual abuse when I was 15 and 16 years old (and before that) and got legally released back then, even though the judge couldn’t jail my father at the time. She even said as much, that “He was the one who belonged in jail, not me, but she didn’t have the right to do so.”

He and my mother were trying to have me put in a mental institution or in jail for juvenile offenders because I was telling what he was doing as nothing I did would make him stop. I was fighting him at every turn, locking my door until he just took the door off the hinges and left it leaning up in the hallway. Talk about jailers!

God protected me along with my three guardian angels (count ’em, three!) and I didn’t see it at the time. Not for a very long time, really.

And somehow later on I blocked it all out… how could this be? But it all came crashing down on me when I was almost 40. So you are not alone but you are in good hands!

I don’t go to church, but I believe in a spiritual world, and we are in Good hands… we are in God’s hands. Whatever and wherever that world of the Divine which gives protection and comfort and peace to all concerned. As long as we are not “consorting with the enemy.” And we all know who the “enemy” is in these cases. NO ONE HERE is writing about problems with coworkers, neighbors or friends.

Just imagine life without those negative, poisonous “family members.” Wouldn’t that spell P.E.A.C.E.?

Amen. Dear God please show us The Way.


Caatherine, I smiled as I read your response, as when my fingers typed those words, I felt in my heart that you were already volunteering. I just never dreamed your work was on such a large scale! Thats so wonderful! I will surely check out your link.


Janie, in fact it was my relationship with Delfia and her family that really showed me the difference between their family and mine. I realized that I was the same person and just maybe, the conflicts weren’t coming from me. They were coming from the Dark Side. The side I grew up in. The “family” curse side.

Now I see that it revolves around Personality Disorders and Addictions: Narcissism, Borderline Personality Disorder, Alcoholism, Prescription Pill addiction, Hoarding, OCD, Anger and Rage. High intelligence doesn’t prevent these disorders from happening; in fact, many of my family has very high intelligence and often these disorders are second nature to intelligence. Isn’t that strange?

But after years and years of negative indoctrination, especially during my “formative years,” there is so much faulty thinking in my own mind to undo. I love the expression Darlene uses: to see things now with a different perspective, through the “truth grid.” What a difference this is starting to make. What a difference in me.

Everything is being shaken up and it doesn’t necessarily feel “good” right now, but the jigsaw pieces are falling into place, after being broken out of the poor and broken patch job that was one time done on me.

I think I am finally beginning to feel “whole.” I never knew what that was before, but it has to be based on accuracy, health and love. Acceptance of who and what I am, and I don’t believe I am a bad person. It’s still hard when I’m under attack, as I am right now, but if I go “no contact” there’s really nothing they can do to me anymore. So it’s all up to me. And I will say my prayers every night and day.

Dear God please show me The Way.


My father was notorious for quoting the honor your father & mother verses from the bible. My mother’s favorite was the what comes around goes around. Fact is, the bible talks about how parents should not exasperate their children.


First, a big hug to whoever Nancy’s daughter is. Poor girl!

Darlene, not only did my mother love that saying, “what comes around goes around”, she also loved the saying your mother used “you’ll see” or “you’ll understand when you have your own children”. She also liked to pre-warn me with her comment “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”. Thus warning me, best be good to me cause you will turn out just like me and then you’re children will be just as ungrateful as you. Ah, but my all time favorite was when she flat out wished me to have children as horrible as she viewed me to be. “I hope you have a daughter just like you someday, then you’ll know how it feels”.

Anyways, her nasty little sayings worked on me. Not quite as she had anticipated, but they worked. You see, I wasn’t too scared of having a child like me. But I was way too scared I would turn into a mother like her. And so, I didn’t have children. I loved my unborn children too much to do that to them. And while, years later, with therapy and healing, I see I was wrong and would have made a good mother, her words and damage took effect all the same. At least the last time I ever saw her I told her the truth as to why I’d never had children. Didn’t seem to phase her. She probably just sat there thinking the same thing, “too bad cause I’d like to see you pay with a daughter like yourself”. . I don’t wish these people on anyone.


P.S. on re-reading Nancy’s post, I would also point out in true disgust the opening, “To all of you ladies that CLAIM abuse.”, thus invalidating every single person’s experience, of which she knows absolutely nothing! Classic.


Morning Darlene, What parents who love the use the Bible as a platform for abusing their children, neglect, are all the parts of the Bible that focus in on the parent’s responsibility in the parent/child relationship. Parents are to raise their children in nurture and the guidance of God. They are to train them to become the people God designed them to be, not live through them. Discipline is to be loving and strict enough to give a child security but never to force them into a mold of the parents design. What came around here is that Nancy’s abusive parenting provoked wrath in her daughter. Wrath is holy anger in response to grave abuses. I’m proud of Nancy’s daughter for presenting her mother with the truth of their relationship and I’m pretty sure God approves too (He knows more about the situation than I do)because God is always on the side of truth. In Nancy’s daughter, I see another who cares about the pursuit of truth.:0)I’m glad you published this comment. It is a true snap-shot into the thinking of an abusive parent. It is a picture worth at least, a million words!:0)



ALL of Nancy’s underwear is showing!! She sounds like she has a toxic support community of peers in church who all view their offspring in this destructive ways. Holiday (holy days? more like holy shit days)gatherings have more than driven this daughter where she doesn’t want to go. There is plenty that is NOT being said here.


Hi Pam
Good comments.
I always say “equal value” is not the same as “equal authority” when it comes to the parent stuff. (NO boundaries and no guidelines with young children is just as dysfunctional and damageing and is actually neglect.) And I also say that the good doesn’t cancel the bad. My mother did lots of good things. I was fed properly, clothed properly, had a warm house and good manners. But all the other things that I write about in this blog happened too. The good stuff does not change the facts about that other stuff and the whole point of healing is healing FROM the damage.
Thanks for sharing Pam
Hugs, Darlene


That is awesome! and you said something really important; you talked to them about it. Although our kids were young, (ages 7, 11 and 13) when we began this whole process of healing, we talked to them too. We apologized. We tried to make it right. And it took me a few years to completly come out of the fog so I made mistakes in the healing process too, but my kids saw that I was willing to hear them, see them, value them and our relationship. They saw love in that.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Poodle
Welcome to EFB
Wow, good for you! Your post (about your mother brother calling you ‘disrespectful’) is a good example of the belief system I am talking about. They they think YOU were disrespectful when in truth your father should have gone to prison for what he did to you. In calling you disrespectful, they are saying that he has a ‘right’ to beat you OR to do whatever the hell he wants to you. Which is not the truth at all!
Thank you for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Sonia
My fav part of your comments is when you say “I AM NOT THE BAD GUY HERE”. That is so self-validating and empowering. That was the truth (in a nutshell) that led me out of the darkness and into freedom. That truth can be a jumping off spot (to healing) in so many areas! We are dealing with the damage here. The rest of your comment backs up the statement that you are not the bad guy.
Thank you for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Catherine
Yes, dysfunctional parents start out as children that way, that is why it is called ‘the cycle of abuse’ and that is why I so often talk about healing from the damage. I used the fact that my mother had a terrible childhood as the excuse to excuse her for many years. I had to finally stop focusing on her and look at what had happened to me in order to stop the cycle.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Angela,
Welcome to EFB
Yes, and the bible also talks about equal value. (I believe that Christ taught the original message of equal value and he spoke of children all the time.)
Realizing how much people twist biblical teachings as a way to misuse power and control was a big part of my healing too. There is a ton of brainwashing in that system!
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


My experience with my mother is different. I feel for people that have to hear this garbage that Nancy said because my ex mother in law was like that (after my divorce I had to threaten a restraining order). I thank God that I had no children from my first marriage. But I don’t have to draw a line for my mother because I can’t get her to talk to me or spend time with me. Finally this year I drew a line, for myself, to stop putting myself out there for her to disappoint. The rare times she asks if I want to do something or says she wants to come over she always backs out. Then I later discover that she went somewhere else with someone else instead, typically one of my sisters. The only time I see her is at family functions where my family and I are invited by default or a function I invited her to and her absence would be noticed. So this year I will no longer be the person she makes plans with just in case something better doesn’t come along.

Of course it wasn’t always like this. It wasn’t until I moved out of the house and was free to live my own life and make my own decisions that we started drifting apart. While I lived with her I lived by her rules and rarely argued with her, even when I thought she was wrong. I couldn’t wait to move out. When I went to college (I paid my own way) I only came home for a few holiday breaks and one summer before I realized that I couldn’t have that freedom and then just come back home and give it up. So I found places to stay off-campus and got jobs so that I wouldn’t have to go home. Even though I was a good kid that became a successful adult, I think I am a disappointment to her as a person. The topics we disagree on are to fundamental to who I am. I won’t hate my father anymore for him leaving us as a child. I’m not racist and I won’t be one just to appease my parents/grandparents. My husband is of African American descent and we have a beautiful daughter together. I just won’t make decisions based on what makes my parents/grandparents happy, not embarrassed,etc. So I’ve come to the conclusion that my mother just doesn’t like me. She and her parents see me as selfish because I place what I want in my life over what they want for my life.

It is probably for the best that they make no effort to be part of my life or life of my family.


Hi Michelle
Oh yes the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree one!!! I heard that too! It is as though these people believe (and are teaching) that children are just plain bad. It is so insane to belive that! Everyone in the world was a child first! My mothers little saying worked on me too; that is what half this site is about! 🙂
I too was terrified of having a child. My first child was born when I was in my thirties.

And when I became an adult, my mother was very fond of saying “I know you don’t like to hear this Darlene, but you are a lot more like me then you care to admitt, and that would make me CRINGE mostly in FEAR that it might be true.

Great comments Michelle, thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Lea
Welcome to emerging from broken.
That is great the you drew the line for youself. This site is about healing from the damage and the only way we can ‘see and validate’ the damage is to see the truth, which is what you are expressing here! When you say they don’t like you because they see you as selfish, for me I had to find the true definition of selfish, in order to stop believing that my mother was right about me that way. I am not selfish, I am not self-centered, and her calling me those things just kept me trying harder to prove she was wrong. I gave that up when I saw the truth. Your mother didn’t show much interest and that is how it is with my father. About 2 years ago I drew that line for me with him.
Thanks for sharing!
hugs, Darlene


I came on your site today to find some information about Mind Control and manipulation, and this article is exactly right!

I was just reading S.M.A.R.T.’s pages on Mind Control including about emotional manipulation

thank you so much!


This is the kind of abuse my mother has yet to acknowledge as well—the smothering, enmeshing stuff. I believe that, like Nancy, she also sees it as love and being a good mother. It’s possible she saw it as a way to make up for having been mean to me when I was a younger kid. Nancy says, “Get over yourselves.” My mother says, “I hope one day you’ll come to peace with your past.” Abusers may all be following the same script but mine is more… bureaucratic? It’s frustrating. I’m waiting still to hear from her (and my dad) but I don’t expect anything much different than what I’ve already received. I have very much sensed that they are still dysfunctional and so it doesn’t even seem logical to imagine something different suddenly popping up out of nowhere. Yes, they can do the work, and heck maybe they will do the work, but I’m wondering lately how healthy it is for me to keep on with this dialogue. If they still don’t get it, how much more energy do I keep on giving/investing into clarifying? It’s been good for me in that I’ve come closer and closer to my truth and am getting much better at expressing it and how I feel, etc. But I’m tired and frustrated and want to move on with my life. I was never able to live properly. I missed out on the vast majority of the stuff people go through during their teens and 20s. I’ve finally realized that there was never anything wrong with me, that I wasn’t some defective character who wasn’t capable of being a part of the world (as I think my mother at least unconsciously wanted me to believe so that I would need her and not leave her) and that the problems I have had in life in the outside world were totally the result of what was done to me, how I was treated, and the isolation I took on (or that I was pushed into) as my primary means of coping. The trouble I’ve had integrating myself into the world is the trouble anybody would have in these circumstances—in fact, I’ve probably done pretty well all things considered. It has nothing to do with my personality, as my family would have me believe. I’m just so tired of being focussed on trying to deal with my family. I feel like bitterness is going to set in (more so). I’m young (31 in a few months) but I feel time slipping by and there’s only so much energy to put into things. I see people my age with careers, getting married and having kids. I have a job I enjoy but I haven’t been able to do what I’m passionate about. I have a very small amount of friends who don’t live where I do. And forget marriage and kids, I see people holding hands and wonder what that feels like. I’m capable of living. I’m capable of communicating and having real relationships with people. I know this now, so how much more time spinning my wheels in the mud for the sake of “Family” when it’s because of their dysfunction that I’ve lost out on much of life? You make peace with the past through knowledge and acknowledgement of the past. You can’t move forward otherwise. I don’t want to let my family hold me back from living the life I want to live. There are far too many Nancies in the world.


‘Nancy’ does sound like my mother. If she really wasn’t a toxic, abusive person then she wouldn’t have become so when her daughter drew a boundary. Apparently she sees no irony in her reaction, and neither did my own mother. Claiming you never hit your kids and then indicating you beat them with rods via that verse is so insane. My mother also exclaimed, “I never hit you!” when in fact she had according to many definitions of the word, and whether she believed that corporal punishment was violence or not, I know it is.

She kept saying “wait until you have kids…” as if she had no responsibility whatsoever for either choosing to have children without working through her own issues first and then sexually, physically, and emotionally abusing them while claiming that we “harassed” and “hurt” her so much. This phrase wrongly presupposes that children oppress their parents when it is the other way around. But I couldn’t have told her “wait until you have parents…” since she had already had them and chose to take their side instead of her own.

And she always said it with the plural, as in “kidS.” After having survived extreme sibling abuse (sanctioned both directly and indirectly by our parents,) I would never raise more then one child at a time. My mother also used the line that she had “made mistakes,” but ‘naturally’ they were just to be excused and she would continue dictating the status quo which would now be that she be given sympathy for her “mistakes.” Beating a child is not a mistake, sexually abusing a child, screaming at them constantly, or abandoning them to others who do those things is not a mistake, it’s a crime. I’m boiling over from such a deep wellspring of anger at her placid, self-righteous way of viewing what she did.


Caden, that’s what my mother said to the last time I saw her, “it’s not like i beat you with a belt”. What the !$*%#! ? Ummm, that was exactly what you used to hit me with, a belt!!! Oh, and a hairbrush if that was nearby. And whatever else you could get your hands on. Serious reality distortion and denial, one of many personality disorder traits. But, Caden, you forgot to add in my favorite response after sure I made ‘mistakes’, which I’m sure followed that… “But I did the best I could.”. Excuse me while I go stick my head over the toilet.


After talking to a friend about the interactions I’ve had with my mom over the Holidays, I’m bothered by a few things she said. She said, my mom may not know my intentions & I need to be direct with her. I’m confused. I was direct about my intentions over the Holidays, and my mom knew I wanted her at my house. My mom still controlled & manipulated me by telling me when to go to her house & still withholding my kids’ presents. I know that I set my boundaries by not giving into what she wanted and I do feel empowered by that! I also asked for a mutual & equal relationship with no acknowledgement. My friend says I’m cutting her off by not talking to her now. Well, with all the control & manipulation, why should I?! & I don’t have to explain myself to my mom by contacting her again. This will not resolve anything…What is there to resolve anyway???? My actions speak for themselves- invited my parents over during the holidays, mailed her gifts from her grandchildren and sent a lovely card with no strings attached. It wasn’t out of control or anger either. It was to continue a relationship then when she controlled and manipulated, I decided to let go out of self respect & love for me. I know I’ve mentioned all of this in another comment, yet why do the comments from my friend bother me so? Maybe she not really understand Narc abuse? She has a very similar family, however she says she’s been where I am in her 20’s and she is also in her 40’s now like me.
I don’t understand where she is coming from??


Yes the best ones I recall are “we did the best we could” and “we were just kids having kids”, because these explain their CONTINUED dysfunction, right? saying something enough times in an attempt to rewrite history is gaslighting, a famous ploy to manipulate the abused into thinking that they’re the crazy one!!


Your experience with your mother resonates with me. My parents are retired and live an hour away from me but have not been interested in being involved with their own grandchildren. Growing up, they were never involved in my life either but somehow I thought it would be different with their grandchildren…not so. When I was still in contact with them, they would often breeze into town and breeze out without calling so they could avoid being inconvenienced with a visit. Sometimes I would even run into them in a store. Awkward!


Oh gosh….do you know what this article reminded me of….words of “comfort” I received from my family when my husband, without warning, walked out on me the day after xmas 5 years ago and basically left me homeless, without any material possessions, but more importantly he left my soul a devoid and barren wasteland. In short, I was completely and utterly devestated. If I heard it once, I heard it 1000 times….”oh, just don’t worry dear, what goes around comes around, and he’ll get his.”
Well, as far as I know he is now remarried and doing just fine, although I have had no contact with him in over 4 years. What it makes me think about is maybe a more comforting way to approach someone going through a traumatic loss such as this might be saying something like, “You didn’t deserve what he did to you.” “He was wrong to treat you in such a dismissive and cruel manner.” “You are a kind and valuable human being who deserves much better than what he gave you.”
It just make me chuckle when I think the best my family of origin could give me was “what come around goes around….he’ll get his in the end.”
Well, I guess he did. He got a new wife and a new life. I still ain’t got squat…because I have no self worth. Still trying though. Thanks again for your support Darlene; Healing one day at a time. ‘


Smd, this was just the discussion at another forum I frequent. There are many reasons friends say these things, but none of them are ok. They are invalidating and unhelpful. When I have friends that make similar comments, I decide if it’s from a good place in their heart or not. If it’s not, they are no longer my friend. If it is, I recognize them to be psychologically wounded and unaware. I continue the friendship, but never discuss the matter with them again. They cannot help you because they are wounded themselves and handling things in an unaware way, usually denial. And they may cause you further harm. So again, if they have a good heart, they remain my friend, but the topic is off limits.


I am sorry that “Nancy’s” comment struck such a chord. I think you have handled this well, and the load of comments you got prove that you are regarded very highly in the online community. I am glad I came upon your blog…

The “cliche” most often used on me personally was, “It hurts to be pretty”. It made me never want a daughter. But what comes around does NOT go around — we have a CHOICE…! We can decide whether to break the chain of abuse or continue it. AND we can even decide whether to see ourselves as “deprived” and use the abuse as an excuse, or we can grow despite the absence of retribution.

Something beautiful… My son just graduated valedictorian from a small accelerated high school. The theme of his speech was, “We CHOOSE who we are”. As his mother and an adult survivor of severe ritualistic, physical, and sexual abuse, I think I can say it is possible to not only break the chain, but pass on GOOD things as well. Who needs for it to “come back around” when you can pay it forward?! 😀


I have to ask a question, just out of curiosity. Not sure if it relates to this post exactly, but this evening I went to a very small family gathering which consisted of my elderly mother and a sister, niece and an sister’s husband. Since gaining the awareness that I have through self reflection and this website I am finding that being around the unchecked dysfunction that is my family is extremely difficult. I feel the dysfunction as if it is a ominous, thick dark fog that hangs in the air. I can no longer even pretend that I’m a part of it, now that my blinders are falling off. I believe what really makes it feel horrible is the fact that I went to my mother when I was first making the connections between the family dysfunction and my “broken-ness.” She poo-pooed everything I said, and would just say, “you need help.” “You need a therapist.” Although, what I thought I was doing was trying to help myself, she viewed my awareness as further evidence of my “mental illness.” I really don’t know if I will ever be able to comfortably be around my family again. Has anyone else had this experience? It’s quite difficult, being that my family is all I have ever known. I really have no friends outside my adult siblings. My marriage ended long ago. It’s a creepy and difficult place to be. Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.


Trying, My experience with my mother was to attack EVERY single one of her children that went to therapy for being crazy. Factor in her belief that psychology and therapists were “all quacks”, never mind everything in our house was supposed to be “hush, hush”, so anyone who told had violated that rule was ostracized. Therefore, my oldest doctorate brother was obviously crazy, my phd psychologist brother–also crazy, my sister (well, she actually…, never mind not the point) also crazy. I was the only one who bought into mother’s “craziness” for 42 years, and didn’t seek any therapy. Hey, she never told me I was crazy. But guess who still actually needed help. (Yes, that’s me waving a big here I am sign).

What you just described is par for the course. Are you crazy? Well they are crazy making, so we certainly need help recovering. Does that make you crazy? NO!


TryingToHeal, I can relate to what you have written. I was visiting family over Christmas and it came out in a very blunt way that I am not considered to be a part of the family. I’ve been treated this way by them for awhile, but the way it was so blatant this time was stunning. I had brought a friend with me and I later told him it seemed I was so low on the family totem pole, I must be on the part that’s buried underground. He said they act like I’m actually on a different totem pole altogether.

It was a revelation that a non-family member could see them more clearly than I did. And to find out that in their eyes I am worth less than a child abuser. I have been keeping my distance from them during the last year anyway, but what they said and did made me really think about cutting them out of my life altogether. The only thing that stopped me so far is wanting to be around for my nephew, as he suffers from their emotional abuse and I want to help him. But I don’t think I really can.

However I’m absolutely not experiencing this as a creepy or difficult place to be. The day after I left them, I was busy at work when the most amazing feeling of freedom came over me. Out of the blue. Suddenly so many possibilities came to mind, of things I could do in my own life. I had never felt anything like it. It lasted for a week, until I spoke to them again. I was supposed to be talking to my nephew only, as it was his birthday, but somehow the rest of the family had to get in on it, and then they made sure to come between him & I.

I haven’t got the feeling back but they can’t take away the memory of it, or stop me from following through on new plans. I used to be worried and afraid of cutting them all out, but now it’s something I’m very much looking forward to finalizing!

I wonder if the idea of stepping away from your family will feel better as more time passes. I never thought for a moment I would feel this good about freeing myself from mine, but it’s happened.


Dear Cheryl, I really loved reading your post:

“I haven’t got the feeling back but they can’t take away the memory of it, or stop me from following through on new plans. I used to be worried and afraid of cutting them all out, but now it’s something I’m very much looking forward to finalizing!”

This is so special, and so true! I am going to keep this in mind for another relationship I am trying to separate from (at least mentally). You put it so well! I never thought about “looking forward to finalizing” the cutting of the chord, but this is just the song I needed to hear.

Gracias! Amen.


I think it is hard to go back into the darkness when you are already in the light…your blinders have fallen off, but your family still has theirs on. I like Michelle’s comment about crazy making. After trying to connect the dots with my mother in a similar fashion, she (in her famous angry peacock pose) said to me “have you gotten the mental help you need yet?” And like Michelle’s family, psychologists are considered quacks and are not trusted in our family. What she really meant was “something is wrong with you, you are crazy and defective”. This is simply one more way of avoiding any responsibility. Your discomfort about being around your family is like mine…we are no longer drinking the koolade (thank you Catharine), it feels good to be away from the exposure to TOXIC, do we really want to ruin our healing and be set back by another exposure in our fragile state? I say protect your heart and that you ARE healing.


Dear Trying to Heal,
Your comments about people saying “he will get his in the end” really reasonated with me as I have been told that also. I found it irritating to say the least. I hope on day you are able to feel, like I have come to feel, that his “punishment” is that he doesn’t get to spend his life with me.


Hi Alaina
It is frustrating when the abuse is more covert. My father in law was very very obvious in his tactics and in the fact that it was his way or the highway. When I started to come ‘out of the fog’ it was him that I saw clearly (as abusive) first. Then I began to see my mother a while after that. I saw my father clearly several years later and he was the covert, passive abuser. Much harder to get clarity with that type.

I got tired of being focused on ‘them’ and that was a new level of healing for me. I realized that I had spent way too much time trying to get them to see where I was coming from when they didn’t care about where I was coming from. They don’t think they need to do anything. I was so afraid to walk away in case that was ‘the day’ that they suddenly changed. But today I realize that they know where to find me. They have a choice. The pain that cut so deep was that they don’t want to do their work on OUR relationship and that communicates the message that I am not worth it… a message that I realized was not new to me. On an upnote, there ARE parents who DO listen, but it doesn’t depend on the child begging and pleading, it depends on the parents willingness to sort things out.

One more note: After a couple of years of going through the process as far as my marriage was concerned, I told my husband that I was done trying to explain to him the problems with the way he regarded me in our marriage; that he would have to figure it out himself or I was done. And that was when he changed. That was when he knew that I was serious.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi randominsomniac
Welcome to emerging from broken,
I am glad that you like the article.
hugs, Darlene


Hi Caden
Great connections Caden!
Your second paragraph is what I have been thinking about trying to write about lately; that the things these parents say indicate that they really have no responsibility in the way that the kids are is just the way kids are! Like kids ARE the problem no matter what. And I find that everywhere; bully programs never seem to look at where these kids learned bullying in the first place. Kids LEARN how to have relationship, they are not born bad.
Thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Sonia
Something that helped me was when I realized that most people are sharing from thier own grid of understanding and what they say to you isn’t always about you, but about them and that is where they are coming from. Perhaps she is avoiding looking at her own relationships when she tells you stuff like that.
Hugs, Darlene


And that brings me back to what we are doing; we are trying to heal from the damage. When people say “don’t worry dear, what goes around comes around; and he will get his ~ THAT is not helpful and it is dismissive. That is so unsupportive. That is like saying “oh well, get over it and lets move on now”. You needed emotional support.
hugs, Darlene

Welcome to EFB
Yes, we have a choice; I didn’t know that until I was in my 40’s because of the way that I had been raised to believe that I didn’t have a choice ~ realizing that was a big step in the healing process for me!
That is awesome about your son!!! What goes around (positive) comes back around too!!
Hugs, Darlene


Trying to heal
This is what happened to me and what happens to many and this is the fear that rules so many and keeps people stuck in dysfunction. The fear of being alone. Everything changed when I began to see the dysfunction clearly. As I grew healthier, I attracted and was attracted to healthier people. I realize how much accepting and trying to accept dysfunction as ‘normal’ interfered with my entire life. It was exhausting. But I found out that there is a whole other world out there!
Hugs, Darlene

For me things get better and better as time passes but I don’t think it is because of the distance between myself and dysfunctional family and inlaws, I think it is because the longer I live in the truth, the more free and whole that I am!
Hugs, Darlene


Why would I want to listen to my mother now that I am grown and have the power and the choice to leave? Why give her the satisfaction that she still has that power over me? Why would I want to hear those (and more) manipulative lies again? Wasn’t it enough that she stole from me what she stole in my youth? Why give her more?


Hi Kate
All those questions are answered within the pages of this website. The answers to those questions were a big part of the way I found my freedom and wholeness.
Hugs, Darlene


For me, living in the truth means I put distance between me and narcs; I am free.


Kate, I agree but there are many who would say that it is wrong for you to disconnect from your mother and destroy that relationship. However,I know from simular experience that it wasn’t me who destroy the relationship. It was my parents who destroyed it. My decisions to disconnect only made that broken relationship visible in its true state.



“When the words change and the behaviors stay the same, don’t get lost in the words.”


Darlene, thanks for your perspective. I do belief she avoids certain truths about her family. My friend was trying to be helpful & she’ s coming from a different place. I’ m not going to take her advice. I’ m sticking to my truth, which involves letting go. Thanks I feel better now 🙂


Hello, Darlene…..Wow! Just. Wow.

Sounds like a fairly typical tirade from yet another personality-disordered person. People with personality disorders never ever seem to have one tiny iota of introspective ability…..ever. All things are always someone else’s fault. And PD parents are notorious for constant blaming and shaming of their offspring. Sad, but true. I speak from personal experience.

It’s always interesting to me how God is used in such arguments to “prove” that a parent is “justified” is his/her heinous behavior. It seems that there are some people who truly do believe that anything and everything is acceptable when it comes to child-rearing, and that includes all types of physical abuse as well as emotional and verbal abuse. Actually, spiritual abuse is also quite common with disordered parents. Using God in such a way as to instill fear in a child is a form of spiritual abuse. I am familiar with the ramifications. I still to this day fear God unnaturally, and I find it difficult to trust Him at all. If he is anything at all like either of my parents (one of whom is a very self-satisfied Christian), then I really don’t want to know Him.

Isn’t it interesting how this woman is so quick to judge us? She knows none of us personally, and probably has not read much of our own personal stories. She shows no interest whatsoever in any of us as individuals, not does she have an inkling of empathy. All she does is spew out her anger and rage, blaming and shaming.

And people like her are downright frightening. They really are. A parent who acts like this probably acted this very way toward her own daughter, not once but on numerous occasions. I dare say that her daughter has seen this type of rage before, most likely whenever the daughter dared to oppose her or to speak up for herself or to establish boundaries.

Narcissistic mothers, in particular, can’t stand children who stand up to them.

I’m no clinical psychologist, and of course I can’t diagnose someone, but whenever I see comments such as this woman’s, I think about what I’ve read and I think about my own personal experience with a narcissistic mother. I think it’s extremely significant that she says that her daughter said that her mother was so wrapped up in living THROUGH her daughter and by having her daughter’s successes be a reflection of HER. Wow. That is exactly what narcissistic mothers do. Just saying……

Also interesting is the old adage she spouts, “Your parents did the best they could.” No, some parents don’t do the best they can do. In fact, some parents are so wrapped up in themselves that they give their children little to nothing of what children need in order to flourish in life. Some parents are cold-hearted, some are selfish, some are addicted, some are personality-disordered. So, no, she is wrong. Not all parents work hard to learn how to be good parents. Some don’t really love their children at all. I can attest to that personally.

Note how she uses put-downs. She says, “Get over yourselves.” What does that mean, exactly? It’s nothing more than a patronizing comment, a judgment. It’s only used by people who don’t have convincing arguments but who resort to personal attacks. I’ve never understood what “Get over yourself” is suppposed to mean. I think it means, “Shut up…..I have no interest whatsoever in your life, your feelings, your struggles.”

Then she says that we should all “stop our whining.” Who was whining? I never whined about my parents. I have talked about their cruel abusiveness, but I can’t recall ever whining. I don’t recall reading anyone’s comments here and thinking that someone was whining. I’ve seen very astute comments, very insightful. Again, this woman is simply spewing out her venom and rage. She doesn’t care what she’s saying, really. It’s all for effect.

You know, the sad fact is that there are people in the world who think exactly as this woman does. Sometimes people in our own families will say similar things to us. I don’t know what they think they’re accomplishing. All they’re doing is hurting us further. I stay away from such people now. Who needs such crap from anyone? I certainly don’t. None of us do.

This woman is unwilling to look at her own behavior. When my daughter speaks, I listen. I take what she says to heart. Were she to be critical of some aspect of my parenting, or were she to share some painful memory of something I did, I would listen…..I would care……I would sincerely apologize……I would ask what I could do make up for it, if possible (counseling together, etc.)…..and I would do all of this NATURALLY, because I love her to pieces. And I respect her. I don’t just hop into defensiveness, which is exactly what this woman is doing. Why is she so defensive? Hmmmm……

And, finally, she acts as if all children grow up to have a gigantic “AHA!” moment in which they look back upon their childhoods and now “understand” why their parents treated them like shit!

Well, I never once ever treated my children like garbage, or like possessions, or like marionettes, or like appendages. Therefore, now that they’re grown, we all have a mutually respectful and loving relationship. They can look back upon their childhoods and know that their mom loved them and that she never verbally abused them or shamed them or beat them or slapped them around.

The poor woman’s “argument” fails on all counts.

Sad. Sad for her daughter, I should say.

Darlene, what an interesting topic. I’m glad you shared it with us.



Hi Marore
Great comments and insights! I especially love your sentence; “And, finally, she acts as if all children grow up to have a gigantic “AHA!” moment in which they look back upon their childhoods and now “understand” why their parents treated them like shit!” I love this ‘take’ on it! I mean REALLY??!!
I think that this attitude (Nancy’s) is the only way that these kids of parents can reconcile themselves with the acceptance of the relationship that they have/had with thier own parents. Did you read the post I wrote about the father who shot is kids laptop to prove a point to her? More than half of the comments that supported him on the video he made, defended abusive parents. (they didn’t call it abuse they said stuff like “My parents beat the shit out of me and I needed it!) yikes. That is scary!
Hugs, Darlene


in much of the world what Marore said is exactly what adult children are TRYING to do; to have an aha moment and finally understand why their parents treated them so poorly. Not many of them are trying to do what I did which is just see the truth for what it was.
hugs, Darlene


TryingTo Heal…I had the same experience. 5 years ago, when I started to look for why I was so upset all the time and couldn’t cope day to day I discussed it with my Mom of course.
She always felt that I was “genetically bad’ having inherited my father’s families “bad emotional makeup” or that I had learned my angry emotional state from my Dad, her words “my learned behavior”. Since I am viewed as over emotional, unable to cope normally and act “crazy”, seeking treatment for my “mental illness ” was a positive step to them. When I started to see the connection to my abusive family and tried to discuss it..she said, “we didn’t know about any of this stuff in the 60’s.” Talk about denial.

In other words, I was born crazy and no one understood why I was crazy so they just coped with my defect as best they could.

Thats exactly how she explained it to me.
What? People weren’t loving towards their children in the 1960’s? Ah but when my brother (her GC) started having problems in early teen years she took him to counseling. So she understood the abuse was damaging, she just didn’t apply that to her “crazy” daughter.

Yup I was hit with a hairbrush, the fly swatter or just slapped. My Dad strapped me with a leather belt, just once, at her bidding when I was 8. He was more of a screamer than a hitter.

I was thrown out on the street at 18 when I stood up and said NO MORE quite disrespectfully. But even though I have been married 39 years, had a respectable life, with jobs and accomplishments, I am still viewed as crazy by my family.

What you said is also true and I just began to see how this also applies to me;

{{ I was never able to live properly. I missed out on the vast majority of the stuff people go through during their teens and 20s. I’ve finally realized that there was never anything wrong with me, that I wasn’t some defective character who wasn’t capable of being a part of the world (as I think my mother at least unconsciously wanted me to believe so that I would need her and not leave her) }}

They did not want me to ever move out or even have a car. I was driven when I went to work.
My mother used me as a housekeeper and servant, as she always had something (scam) going on that she needed someone to cover for her…I was as young as 8 when this started. She was always manipulating and stealing and lying and she thought she was so much smarter than everyone else. But the auditor at the bank was smarter than she was. But thats another story.


Thanks for responding to my problem with my friend. Your answer did help me to see that she is coming from a different place than me and her family dynamics are similar yet she deals with them differently. I’m going to limit sharing my family problems with her since she isn’t validating my choices. Lesson learned and I have other support here and in counseling. Mixed messages are confusing, so I’m not going to seek the validation in the wrong people/places. This is a pattern for me. I already know where I need to go for support. Thanks for your take on this. Have a Good Day 🙂


Thank you so much for your reply, Darlene! I really appreciate it. That’s the thing—that they don’t think they have to do anything, that what’s done is done and I’m supposed to just make peace with it. The power dynamic remains totally intact. My stance with my parents has been that I’ve taken all this time, energy and money to do my work to understand what happened to me, and they should have been able to do that, too. After a series of communication, they said they’d write me in the new year, so I guess in anticipation of whatever they’re going to say, I’ve been having all sorts of imaginary arguments/conversations in my head. I’m trying to focus myself but it’s easier said than done. Similar to you, I think maybe I believe that there’s some perfect combination of words that would trigger their understanding and the day I give up is the day I might have found those words. I have a feeling that my reoccurring writer’s block with my novel has a lot to do with this—fear of not being able to ever get those words, or conversely, fear that I will but it won’t matter… But I know it’s not really about words. You don’t need the perfect words. You just need a net to catch the truth and I already have… They claim to care about me and maybe they do but no, it wouldn’t be an unfamiliar feeling if they choose not to do the work because they already made that choice not to do the work many times before. When I was in my teens, my mom recognized how she had treated me as a child and in fact in at least one instance saw that it probably still affected me and she actually LAUGHED about it. It was a remark made to an outsider and I think the laugh was a cue to say “this isn’t a big deal,” (as opposed to her actually thinking it was funny). But a laugh is a laugh and it communicates a lot. It was a “truth leak” moment—that she really did understand, at least to some degree, and because there were enough other instances like this, it makes me wonder… I do feel like I am very much at the point you said you got to with your husband. I stand by the words I sent them and will accept the consequences, but I guess letting go is hard. But yes, the door will always be open if they want to meet me here. Thank you again for your words. They helped to remind me what I’m doing and why. It’s time to focus on moving forward, no matter the consequences.

I could relate to what you said to Trying to Heal but in a slightly different way. My mom did in fact recently admit that I was a victim of generational abuse and that it took her brother’s suicide (when I was 8) for her to start dealing with her issues, but the truth is she didn’t “deal” with her issues. She certainly focused on them but she dumped her emotions on me, using me as her “friend” to talk about this stuff, never stopping to wonder if maybe there was something wrong with her relationship with her daughter, who from the age of roughly 12 to 22 spent all her free time either locked up alone in her bedroom or out with her mother until she had a breakdown. Now, though, the way she spins it (or I sense that she spins it because she was quite vague so I’m not completely certain) is that everything that happened to me in my life was just an inevitable fallout of those early years before she’d understood and supposedly dealt with her issues (and the rest of the time maybe just misunderstandings, misinterpretations). When I started to sense this was her interpretation (though I’m still not 100% sure), I felt like she threw me under the bus (because it kind of makes me look like an awful, cold-hearted, begrudging person to carry anger or to have cut off from her all these years later if indeed she really did work her process all those years ago and is now a totally healthy, caring, loving, understanding person). She pointed out all the sudden, tragic deaths that happened in and around my young childhood—and it’s true… even for a totally healthy person, I know it would have been impossible to give your kids your best in those years. I totally understand that. All you could do is work at it and her story is that that’s exactly what she did and that I guess what happened to me was just the unfortunate result of that which she couldn’t control. And she apologizes for her failure as a mother… It was so tricky! At first I really thought I was getting real accountability but then I realized there was no understanding of what she’d been doing to me all through my teens and after my breakdown… If she had really worked her process and dealt with her issues when she became aware of them, addressed and corrected the issues with me from the way she treated me in my childhood, she could have averted my breakdown (and the following years of torment as I tried to break myself free from them).

Like you, they didn’t want me to ever move out. When I was 22, my mom decided I needed new furniture for my bedroom and after going to 4 different furniture stores with her, I finally got the guts—my heart beating wildly—to tell her that maybe I should wait to get new furniture till one day when I move out (I just said “one day”—I wasn’t even specific), and later she came in my room to inform me that she KNEW that I was not going to leave home for a long, long time! What?!?! I was 22!! How long is a “long, long time”? I’m glad I don’t know—that I got out instead!

I’m sorry your mom used you, too—in a different way but it’s all the same.
Xo, A


Darlene, yes! A child’s behavior doesn’t come out of nowhere; when parents bully their children at home, some will go on to bully their younger siblings and more vulnerable kids at school. There is so much blindness about how parents begin to form (and damage) their children from a very young age with the messages they send through the way they treat them. It isn’t an inevitability of nature. I also love what you said to Alaina about being afraid to end things because this might be the day that they change. I can really relate to that, but you’re right, there is no magical word you can say that will make others finally “get it,” it has to come from inside them and if they won’t do it then it’s time to move on.

Michelle, my mother also once said to me, out of the blue, “we never tried to force you to stop coloring your hair!” When in fact, after I dyed my hair green I was beaten by my father, and forced to strip out the color. Later that year my father tried to shave my head for the same reason; I had to run away and spend a night in the woods to get away from him. That’s not to mention all the screaming, insults, and putdowns from them since they apparently considered my hair to be their property.

It’s amazing how the deluded, compulsive liars will alter their own memories to make themselves look good. I don’t think my mother ever said that she did the best that she could persay, but she made a lot of speeches to that effect about how bad she had it, that she didn’t live near her extended family when she had me and my father had a minimum wage job…completely irrelevant information when we’re talking about the fact that she abused her kids by choice, and because she believed in beating, screaming at, and hyper-criticizing children.


Wow Nancy sure stepped in a big pile of garbage…one she put there herself. She’s listened to it so long that it’s become her reality. Sad that she cannot recognize abusive/toxic behavior. Thank you Darlene! You broke down all her words to make clear what was insinuated behind them. She wonders why her daughter has issues? I sure don’t…it’s a shame really because all children want is to be loved & accepted without criticism by those closest to them. She totally missed the boat.



Caden I went through something similar with my parents. I was physically attacked because I was acting out a part in a movie. Mom & dad both together beat me up, ripped my clothes (literally tore at my clothes until buttons were removed, top torn)off me, etc. I was 9 or 10 at the time. Then they’ve turned around & said stupid things like they loved me, or that they did the best they could with the knowledge they had. It was all crap. It was far easier to bully, beat up, ridicule me than it was for them to sit down & talk things out. It was like living in a home with a couple of first grade bullies since they didn’t know how to verbalize their thoughts or feelings. They could communicate quite well with other people, so it wasn’t that they were that ignorant…they even ran their own business successfully. It was just that they expected me to behave or act a certain way without any input from them what-so-ever. Last time I checked, I still couldn’t read minds. Then they wondered why I haven’t had much to do with them, & blame it on fictional ideas that I have some kind of mental illness. Truth is, if they were better parents, our relationship would be fine. The fact that they can’t even own up to their past actions of scaring the crap out of me often that makes it next to impossible to have any kind of normal relationship. Especially true since mine also have selective amnesia. Funny, my memory works perfectly fine. How is it that bullies never seem to remember the harm they’ve done to others?



Wow, there’s other people whose parents did not wish them to go out on their own. It’s good for me to hear that. Mine called my older sister who was strong enough to leave home the minute she legally could over to the house to be a “witness” against me (her word) that if I moved up to the college town where I actually had some friends that I would do nothing but “mooch” off them. My sister feebly protested that I was 21 and I should do what I wanted, but my mother screamed and bullied and raged until I said that I would stay. Then my mother was nice again. Eventually, through a very convoluted, painful series of events, I did get back to that town and GOT A JOB.

My mother once said, in response to a slight disagreement from me about something or other, “Ich bin die MAMA!” (I am the mother.) That statement seems to typify her treatment of me through my whole life. She is the mother, that justifies vilifying me, verbally abusing me, dragging me around by the hair, humiliating me, not letting me live my life. Nancy sounds so familiar. My mother couldn’t remember dragging my sister and me around by the hair until my sister also called her on it, and then she justified herself by saying that we deserved it. I wonder what things Nancy “can’t remember”?


On Selective Memory-I have found it takes a great deal of maturity and true self esteem to overcome the tendency to selectively remember. For years I remembered with excruciating detail the bullying I endured in junior high. I couldn’t wait for my 10 year class reunion to “strut my stuff and make them all jealous”. But by my 20 year reunion I had a much different outlook. I finally “remembered”, actually it was that I finally decided to take a hard look at myself, and I remembered the children that I had bullied. So while it was true that I was a victim, in regards to a few others I was the perpetrator. At that reunion I focused on appologising to the ones that I had wronged. Now that my self esteem is intact I was able to accept my flaws without it feeling devastating. I was capable of embracing the good in me even as I acknowledged the “bad”. I think good enough parents Are the ones who can acknowledge their mistakes not the mistaken idea that a good parent must be perfect. This is what seperates the abusers from the rest. Abusers never accept that what they did was wrong.



” I wonder what things Nancy “can’t remember”?”

This is what I meant (#24) when I said that there is LOT not being said, by Nancy.

The first thought that came to my mind when I read Nancy’s comments was that Nancy is being unethical in presuming to speak for her daughter. We can’t be expected to believe the daughter’s perspective by hearing it from the mother. And for SURE, she isn’t telling all the issues ever raised by that daughter.

When Nancy says: “Apparently according to her, I was doing all this in order to live through her and so I would look good in others peoples eyes that my daughter was such a success…we parents are accused of being abusive no matter what we do!!!” It seems obvious to me that there is plenty more the daughter has said about this “living through her” to the mother that we are not being told. Then to leap outside of Nancy’s relationship with her daughter (which is her own business) to making generalizations about all parents/grown kids (which is NOT her business) shows lack of discernment, intuition, and caring on her part, and reveals her own unwillingness to truly look at her own situation and respond to her own daughter. IF her daughter doesn’t want to have to keep celebrating Jesus’ b’day with toxic people, that is her daughter’s choice, and the mother should say something positive to support her daughter, as that would be the only thing that could possibly draw the daughter back to the mother in time, and would the mother NOT want that????

The next thought that came to my mind is that adults are adults. They are free to live the life they choose. Why do so many still choose to fight for their freedom (from toxic relatives) when they really don’t even have to do that? They are adults. They don’t owe anything to parents, etc. SO for Nancy to have a “case” against her daughter for not having the “right” reasons for wanting to be what she is, an independent adult, really tells about Nancy’s sick mindset, not her daughter’s.

Speaking of estrangement, where do we find it in these words?
“There’s nothing in there about honoring your children. (ESTRANGEMENT!!) In fact it says “spare the rod, spoil the child”. (ESTRANGEMENT!!) You are all spoiled and ungrateful and are cruel if you keep your children and parents estranged.”


Dawny – I’m so glad to read your comment. My mother too has selective memory. Sometimes I thought I was crazy because she denies things so convincingly. I am a terrible liar, but I have lied. I’m not sure that there is anyone that has never lied. I fear becoming her so much that now whenever I feel the need to lie I question myself. Is it to protect me or protect who I am talking to? Usually I find that it is really to protect myself (and usually from my mother’s judgement), so I will be honest or I won’t say anything at all. Now I am usually able to prevent situations where I’d want to lie altogether. I realize that she holds people, including herself, to impossible standards. My grandparents are extremely critical of her (and of me and my sisters). I grew up watching her lie to them and sometimes being part of it. I know why she is how she is, but I can’t excuse her for it. She moved us right next door to them in a rural area and my mother and grandmother worked in the schools that I attended. I always made excuses for her, but now that I have my own daughter I can’t understand how she could be that way to her daughters or let her parents treat us that way also.


“SO for Nancy to have a “case” against her daughter for not having the “right” reasons for wanting to be what she is, an independent adult, really tells about Nancy’s sick mindset, not her daughter’s.”

specifically, her sick mindset is that she is trying to control her (grown) daughter. I can only imagine the toxicity that surrounds mandatory family holidays and public performances, (sports, stage performances, religious settings) as mentioned my Nancy’s daughter. Take away those public type settings from our lifestyles and see what is left to work with in terms of healthier relationship possibilities.


Hi Dawny
Excellent comments! Very good insights ~ and I agree about parents. There is no such thing as perfection but open communication, willingness and accountability is essential to successful relationship. And NOT just on one side! I was always willing to take the blame, even when it was not my fault. Abusers never look at themselves that way.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi January
Thanks for your comments!
Hugs, Darlene


I hate that statement (I am the Mother) when used in that context! It speaks of control, entitlement and ‘rights’ which all remind me of “ownership” and not love or relationship. To me the fact that “I am the mother” carries great responsiblity to listen to my kids, to model love, to be the parent not the child!
Thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene


Darlene, I just wanted to say that I LOVE the way you always close your comments to people:

“Hugs, Darlene.”

This has made such a HUGE difference in my life! I didn’t realize it until I started closing my emails and letters to people with “Hugs” myself. Then I realized one more reason that I loved coming here every single day: to get my “hugs.” And not just ONE hug, but MANY. I don’t get many hugs in my life and I just crave it. Love it. Changes everything, doesn’t it?

That’s why I love living in Central America and the Latin countries: every greeting is with a hug and a kiss on the cheek. Sometimes both sides! Can you imagine? It’s great.

Thank you so much!

Hugs, Catherine


I shared this in both FB groups I admin for, and on my FB page. It’s very healing to see these words dissected. Any of our mother’s could have written them. So one sided and invalidating. Learning to see the real message behind the words is an art I’ve slowly been developing. Ever hyper vigilant to the REAL message, but always denying that it’s there, and diving in, for another abusive ride.


Hi, Darlene…….yes, I do remember when it was all over the news about the dad who shot his daughter’s laptop. I was so angry reading people’s comments that I simply had to stay away from reading anything more about it. People just amazed me with their harshness and their insensitivity.

You know, Alice Miller was such an incredible person. I just loved so much of what she wrote and I so agreed with her re childhood abuse and its ramifications upon adult survivors. Sadly, she died in 2010, I believe, but her website was a true source of light. In fact, her website it still available and has so many good articles, plus letters from abuse survivors all around the world. She was so caring, taking time to personally answer so many people’s questions. She was ahead of her time, that’s for sure. I’ve purchased many of her books and often refer to them. I wish the world had more people like her, a champion for the rights of abuse survivors everywhere.

You’re doing such an important thing by blogging and commenting on all of these very pertinent topics. I am loving your site so much, Darlene.



I just published a new post!!
This new post is about “Repairing Self Trust and Breaking the pattern of letting myself down!”
When our value is not set in place as children, we begin to treat ourselves the same way that we have always been treated. Realizing that is the first step in overcoming it! See you there!
Hugs Darlene


Hi, Darlene…..I forgot to say thank you for your comment to me!! So, thank you very much!

Also, I did read about the laptop incident, but I didn’t read your blog about it…..I’m going to try to locate that right now because I really want to read what you have to say about it.

Oh, I just read your new blog comment about “Repairing Self-Trust….” and I’ll go back and comment later. Such good stuff…..I relate to what you wrote in every possible way. I really need to work on following through with myself.



Hi Marore
here is the link to that laptop dad post ~ http://emergingfrombroken.com/facebook-parenting-for-the-troubled-teen-how-kids-are-devalued/
That was an interesting discussion!
Hugs, Darlene


Thanks, Darlene!…..I found it by googling, “Emerging from Broken Father Shot Laptop.” I just finished making a comment there.



Hi Brenda,
Thank you for sharing my blog post!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Catherine!
I hated to be touched for many years, even hugs were repulsive to me. When I emerged into healing, I found that human touch was really nice sometimes. I especially like the thought of ‘cyber hugs’ because they are very safe!
p.s. I spend time each year in Mexico and I LOVE that part of the culture there too!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Marore
I Love the work of Alice Miller. I found out about her when efb was over 1.5 years old, and people were asking me if I studied under her! I have 5 of her books now. I often quote her.
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


You know, I have to say this. When I first read this, I thought of my mothers relationship with her mother. My grandmother was supposedly abusive to my mother. I dont know, as I never got to know my grandmother on that side, and my mother is dramatic and exagerates. My mother still did for her mother, and enjoyed playing the martyr while she did so, in my opinion. My mother seems to despise her mother by the comments she has made about her, the bad light she has painted her in.
However, when Nancy talks about “honor your mother and father that you may live long”. I am feeling, well, my mother did treat her mother with respect, at least in front of us, and she did for her in her old age, and my mother is living a long life, while her some of her siblings died at a young age. My emotional side is wondering if there is truth to that statement?
My rational side says, no, her siblings smoked and didnt take care of themselves. This is a control tactic. But it still makes me feel a little guilty. I always felt that my mother had some kind of protection from God, as she never was made to pay the piper for how she treated me, I remember feeling that way as a child. Because she was obedient to the church God excused her behavior.
I am, incidently, named for that grand mother. My grandfather died about a month after I was born. He had cancer. I wonder, if my mother named me after her mom as a “peace offering” to her father. I wonder if my mother grew up with a mean mother like me, and her father also blindly discounted her mothers abuse. My mother always speaks highly of her father, but the stories she tells about him dont match up. He seems mean as well. Perhaps she felt her own mother tried to block her relationship with her own dad, as my mother did to me? And was more supportive of my sisters relationship with my father, as my sister is the one playing out my mothers wishes for her own younger life that she herself never fulfilled?
So much wondering today………….



Hi Janie
I am going to put it this way; so do you think that “God” would protect someone who put up with abuse? Wouldn’t God rather that people stood up to it so that the cycle could be broken? Was your mother really obedient to the church? I found that study of what the teachings of the christian church really were (I studied greek and hebrew biblical word origins for 8 years) showed me a totally different story to what I had been taught by controlling and manipulative people. I don’t think that an almight God would excuse the very behaviour that he condems just because it is a parent doing it. Who would be the role models for what the truth is if not the parents? Where would kids learn love if not from parents? Lots to think about!
Hugs, Darlene


Thank you Alaina for your insightful comments. I believe our families were and are
very similar. – Karen


Darlene, wow I was never touched or hugged or kissed or
cuddled as a child so always didnt know what to do or how to accept
a hug either. Thats interesting.


Hi Darlene, thank you for all of the thoughts and questions to counter that wrong thinking that still rears up sometimes. I guess it is conditioning. The church was used to gain compliance and control over us, and to instill feelings of guilt in us.
My mother will proudly tell you, that I could recite memorized prayers, some in Latin, at the age of 3. That is how far back it goes. I know what she did is wrong, mean, and sometimes evil and vindictive. A loving God does not condone or accept that, and other scriptures say he will avenge children who are abused.
I just needed to share the feeling that came up,and that sometimes I still think God thinks I am a bad person.Actually, most of the time. Somehow, I have twisted my mothers negative opinion of me into Gods. I really wanted someone to tell me this is not true,and it is a false belief instilled in me. Thank you for speaking to the contrary!
That is fascinating,how you studied the biblical word roots, for so long. You must have a great insight and understanding of the scriptures. It is a shame people like Nancy and our parents twist them to suit their evil purposes!



It is hilariously sad that this post is so timely as my aunt has hurled the honor thy mother and father phrase at me just a few hours ago via Facebook.
Long have my mother and I had a tumultuous relationship – the NPD is strong in that one. And yet… yet some kind of way people keep trying to jump in and fix me and tell me about myself and how I’m disrespecting myself and her by not having a relationship with her. WTF? I mean, these people know nothing of the hell, of the veritable FARCE that our m/d relationship was. They don’t know ME and they surely don’t know HER as I DO.

When I attempted to repair the relationship with my Nmom, I drew the line in the sand about mutual respect and her words VERBATIM were that we could not have a relationship.

… so I am honoring her – by honoring that request. We never have to see one another again and she will never set eyes on her now 2 month old granddaughter. And that is HER choice and her loss. Not mine. Moreover, I will NOT continue to explain this to outsiders. But I did have to check myself when I saw her message on FB. That old childhood fear of being chastised set in. I took a moment, centered myself and realized there is no chastising for me. At 33 years old I am an adult in every way. Nothing she could say or do to me could change the facts of my life and my truth. Nothing. I responded in a respectful way, closing the issue thoroughly. These relatives are soon to be collateral damage – but I don’t care. I won’t live LIES. I won’t bow and kowtow in fear of some imaginary retribution.
I am a grown a** woman.
I am somebody’s wife.
I am somebody’s mother.
… and everything I have, I worked my ass off for with little to NO help.
I will not honor those that are dishonorable. And I don’t care WHO they are.
I will not live in dysfunction. Not for anyone. Nor will I cover it up and pretend that all of the things that I’ve been through and that happened to me at her hands didn’t happen; including her denigration, devaluing and disrespect. Been there, done that, wrote the book, copped the t-shirt and got a roll of flim and postcards out of the deal. I’m good!


Dear Yasha, you finally put the last piece in place for me:

“These relatives are soon to be collateral damage”

This should ease the pain of losing all the other relatives I wanted to have relationships with. Never thought of it that way. And I too won’t live a lie for ANYONE. I have to learn to live for MY SELF. I deserve good treatment, too. Amen.


You have a right to PEACE and TRUTH in your life, chica.
And you have a right to eject those who interfere with that. Now, if others decide they want to jump into the fray on the side of your abusers, in order to keep your peace and your truth, you might have to let them go. And that’s THEIR loss.
I’ve never understood why people can’t just say, “Hey, I’m not sure what’s going on with you and XYZ, but I hope it works out and if you need me, let me know.” THE END. People put their dogs in fights that have nothing to DO with them. My mother is going to LIE HER ASS OFF in order to be the martyr and victim, and my relatives are going to side with her automatically because in their eyes she is my mother, my elder and therefore absolved of all abusive and neglectful wrong doing and shenanigans. And I, the menial, lowly daughter should just accept her version and truth as my own whether it is correct or not.
NOT GONNA HAPPEN. And because they can’t deal with me being an adult and standing up for myself, and what I believe in – because I’m no longer a willing participant in the games of denial, guilt and shame they play on a daily basis, they will disassociate with me – but somehow, it will be MY fault. LOLOLOL! Mind boggling, no?

I am content with letting them go. That is their choice. But to live free is MY choice. And YOUR choice. And, if I do say so myself Catherine, it’s a GOOD choice. ;0)


Thanks, Darlene. I excused too much for too long, too. I no longer do that because I did not do that!

Yasha’s Twin wrote: “I’ve never understood why people can’t just say, “Hey, I’m not sure what’s going on with you and XYZ, but I hope it works out and if you need me, let me know.” THE END.”

THANK YOU. I have to remember that. Life would be so much easier if people did that, and who knows? Maybe resolutions would come about much easier, if people did not always feel the need to take sides. This never happens in that miserable family of mine. I have to just walk away and stay away. It’s getting easier and easier to do, with every rejection I meet. After all these years I really thought that things would have changed, but no. Everything’s still the same only worse.

Like Darlene says, it’s a “cycle of abuse,” and I aim to break it. Starting and ending with me. I can see that they never will, and it really is only up to me. It’s so sad to have to bury them all over again, but I will. I am burying all the things that grieve me, and keening over their graves, in more ways than one.

Dear God give me the strength that I need, and show me The Way. Gracias, amen.


Yasha, I felt the same way you did for most of my life. But now that I’m almost 63 years old, I’m realizing that I also expected (hoped, dreamt) that things would one day change. When they did not, and my mother died refusing to see me on her death bed, and she declared “open season” on me by my sisters and siblings, I thought I would just die.

I really believed unconsciously that when the Wicked Witch was dead, all the flying monkeys would magically turn back into friends. Or that the Witch would turn into Glenda before she left this earth forever. I didn’t even realize I had this dream until it was gone. Shattered forever. I’m still trying to deal with this, almost 3 years later.

Losing my son who has apparently “gone over to the dark side” with drugs and alcohol and a seven year estrangement has left me bereft, looking for a place to land. It’s hard to not believe it’s “all my fault” when so many are opposed to me, even when I read that it’s an destructive family system, in a cycle of abuse. I thought I had broken it with my own child and family, but NO. I am apparently still part of it and I can do nothing at all to make any improvement.

Everything I do try is met with hostility, rejection or disbelief. The only thing that would be acceptable is for me to “admit to my crimes” and renege on the truth. This I will never do. How can I?

What do we have but truth, beauty and justice that has value in this world? I live in search of this still.

“The winds of grace blow all the time; all we need do is set our sails.

Dear God please show me The Way.


Girls grow up to be women. The best revenge…
is to be happy & successful. Do the oppositte, LOVE; do Good not evil. I reap what I sow. What comes around goes around. karma.


I used to believe comments like Nancy’s, but fortunately, I can now see the abuse and irrationality of what she is saying. Apart from what Darlene bolded, I can see other parts that smell of verbal abuse – she tells us what her daughter claims, but can we believe her? Her daughter probably claimed a lot more but we are not hearing everything, only what she wants to put forward to prove her point.

I just read a section in Dan Siegel’s book “Parenting from the inside out” about how adults often do not reflect the internal experience of a child and how this results in invalidation, even if the adult thinks he/she is doing the right thing. In the case of Nancy, what is clear is that her behavior in clapping and applauding her daughter’s performace speaks more about HER than it does about her daughter. SHE was thrilled that her daughter did well. Did she know what her daughter’s reality was? From what she says, probably not, because she certainly doesn’t get the message from her daughter and doesn’t understand what her daughter is trying to tell her.

This is the other verbally abusive statement – “We parents are told we are abusive no matter what we do!” Really??! So now parents are being told they are abusive no matter what?! When? She completed dismisses the claims of her daughter, along with the readers of this blog, with that one statement designed to tell us that we have no claim because no matter what, they are victims.

Being a parent myself, I understand how much blame we can bear, and I have come to terms with my contribution to my daughter’s pain and dysfunctions. However, given my background/conditioning and lack of understanding, there was little chance that our relationship could have thrived. I can’t undo the past, but I can mourn it, and learn from it, see how it contributed to my world view and how I can do better with my younger ones. I refuse to keep bearing the guilt and blame, even from a daughter who still holds me responsible and who is insistent on punishing me. The most respectful thing I can do for her now is have self-respect and give her the freedom to live the way she wants to, and if that is without me in her life, so be it. I don’t blame her for it, but I will not tolerate toxicity either – mutually respectful relationships are the only way to go from now on.


Thank you Krissy. You put it so well, and I know exactly what you feel and what you are saying. I love my son too, but I have had to draw the line with him too, when it comes to disrespect. He disrespected me his whole life and I blamed myself because aren’t the mother’s always to blame? – and now I’m leaving him alone, too and respecting his wish to live the way he wants and keep his secret, double life. It’s just so sad to see the family dysfunction continue on when I swore it would end with me!

I’m not perfect but as a parent, I was a million miles away from how I was raised. I wish he could appreciate the good things that he did have from us, but that is not to be. And I will always “love him from a distance.” I don’t know any other answer to this but to keep working on myself and asking God to enlighten us all. Grant peace to us all. Let us learn the true meaning of love. Gracias, amen.


Hi Aime
It is so hard to “love” before we have had an example of love. This site about overcoming the damage caused to us as children so that we can start leanring what love really is so that we can love.
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Karen
Re: hugs ~ I learned to suspect something (motive) if I was hugged and that goes same for if I was complimented. So hugs scared me a lot!
hugs, Darlene


Hi Janie
I totally understand what you are saying ~ I had to find out the truth about what is documented about God (in the NEW testament) as I came to understand how much the old testament is used to ‘back up’ abuse as ‘right’. Anything can be twisted to be what a controller wants it to be for THEIR gain. For a while I didn’t trust what ANYONE said as truth. That was okay too! I had to kind of ‘clear the slate of my belief system’ and part of that was realizing that most of the people in my life had filled my head with lies about most things. Finding out what love really is made a big difference to the way that I thought.
I don’t think that I have such great knowledge or insight to the scriptures, as much as I have great insight and knowledge about the truth itself. When the truth is twisted, (especially from a young age) that is brainwashing. And that brainwashing is what we are dealing with. There is hope in the truth!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Yashas Twin
YES! you wrote ~ “I will not honor those that are dishonorable” I love the rest of what you said too!
That is the bottom line in a nutshell! Thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Krissy
One of the hardest parts of this whole healing process is to hold ourselves to the same standards that we wish our parents had held. I love your final paragraph in your comments. I hope that one day your daughter give the relationship another chance.
Hugs, Darlene


THANKS TO ALL. Thank you all so much for your responses to my comments from Jan. 9th….really good insight and advice. I’m happy to tell you, since that post, I’ve been still moving forward, understanding more every day that keeping my family at arms length is not just what I need to do, it’s what I WANT TO DO.

I really appreciated your comment about how my family treated my husband leaving me, was DISMISSIVE…that was the perfect word to describe it. Man, when I really start digging into my past, there are endless examples of how my family DISMISSED me my entire adult life. And that’s on top of a childhood that riddled with emotional abuse and neglect. As one of 13 children, I was one of the “expendables.”


I just woke up to the realisation I am a child of a NM. Too many stories. Too much pain. Each time the use of fear. Inciting in me absolute panic of losing her. I was so engulfed then abruptly ignored I couldn’t ever make sense. Looking back – my own words were clues! I would beg her to quit squeezing me dry( emotional vampire)- I had to HAD TO sit down if she started talking,nod nod yes yes nod nod. No crossing your leg, sit absolutely still, no toilet breaks no sipping water. LISTEN WITH DEDICATION. ESTABLISH MAINTAIN SUSTAIN eye contact. Endure agonisingly long rants. All about her. Admire her. Slightest movement indicated severe disregard for her. Intrusive questioning. If I suddenly deviated from the norm I was hiding something from her indicating my total infidelity. Like my father who left her 20 yrs ago. I have his dirty blood in my veins. On. And on. Last night at 39 yrs old it dawned on me. I read your posts. She prevented me having kids( thereby making her a grandmother – old how dare I age her- and get busy without her being centre of my universe) like Nancy but different- she convinced me all my life ” you’re too weak for childbirth not like me your strong mother you lack the strength and mental capacity to give birth let alone raise a child I am worried to death you will die in childbirth your husband will abuse you dump you with kids you will be left to fend for yourself and kids on streets and resort to prostitution ” the list is long.

Finally now she cannot say ” what goes around..” So.. She’s modified it to – you’ve never experienced the joy the fortune God gives us complete women, you’ve never given birth so how would you know”…. And ; I must have committed so many sins that my own daughter is so full of poison towards me… God didn’t make you a mother, He knew better. Or- ” yes it’s easy for you to say, you didn’t give birth and have your body be ravaged by it, so it’s easy in your case, you hurt your mother so God made sure you will never experience motherhood – what you give you get”! Somehow, it just had to make sense for her to persistently remind me. And like Nancy, she says in shrill triumph – just you wait when you’re my age, NOBODY no child no daughter who will care for you!
Last night when I realised she’s not ” difficult cranky old lady” she is a NM I finally said – you’re right. I’m glad you realise that when I am 65 I will have nobody taking care of me – LIKE YOU HAVE ME CARING FOR YOU.

She has since last night ceased all communication with me. Living in my flat around my full time live in maid ( hired for her exclusively) wept loudly. Sobbed. And asked I fly her back ( first class) to her home. Which btw she left a good 18 yrs ago.
No Nancy – sometimes that crap just isn’t true. Karma isn’t about things revolving out of spite. Karma is deeds we do earning us a better value of the true selves we really are. Nobody is born bad. And yes Nancy- whatever I give – good/bad cannot come back to me. I don’t have kids who will grow up and … Whatever that fear based terror tactic you displayed of your own mind set.


Hi Simsim
Welcome to emerging from broken. These are really good examples of dysfunctional mother daughter relationship where a mother will use anything to have control over the daughter. These are great examples of extreem put-downs designed to hurt. That is not love. Her style is about communicating that your value is less than hers and getting you to comply within that belief system. The thing that set me free was realizing that I deserved better and the truth is that my mothers actions did not come from love and I have a choice about my part in the relationship now.
Thanks for sharing. I love that you drew a boundary!
Hugs, Darlene


Thanks Darlene – I need language and words – appropriate – to express myself. I’ve been deliberately kept an emotional child. Stuck at 14. So reading is liberating my expression of everything. Tumultuous. Even now, I instinctively take responsibility and nearly write( while I continue to think steady streams – still stuck in cycle)- I stayed or somehow I cooperated in my emotional immaturity and destruction. Now… I know – its all her. 20 years ago she was 45 and telling me how frail weak helpless she was, everything was age related then how ageing was truly horrible! How she took my belongings and just grandly gave to others, reminding me in words these things are just things I am shallow to attach importance to them. Or eat my food( I was only vegetarian in house and I never had food). From a wealthy background I was always made aware of sudden loss of money resulting in me being destitute could likely happen. Any minute. I was deprived of basic sanitation hygiene clothes and food. The golden child my sister had plenty and in all colours too… I fell as a 6 yr old got bit by a dog, she walked over me and when she realised she had an audience – her poor clumsy kid fell alarming the skittish dog frightened it into biting me. Wicked wicked me. After taking me to hospital for rabies vaccinations? She gave up on day 4. I never got the full 21. She says till today – you survived rabies you can survive anything. From a well off background, I am always at threats with immediate poverty dooming me to a life of prostotution. Poverty and prostitution is my doom ridden destiny.

Actually Darlene I am not drawing any boundary. I am exhausted. With the drama spanning over 35 years. I cannot even climb out of bed. I just lie here with my notebook and phone. Reading. Educating myself. Finding validation. Support here! She has threatened me with – rejection cease communication total end of a relationship. Because I said No I don’t want to go out with you and ” talk” you cry it’s distressing and I feel uncomfortable with people staring at why you’re audibly sobbing and you do it for at least 3 hours. This. Has prompted her swift extreme usual response. I am to be cast aside. I am to be cut off from.

I have no idea whst my sister thinks. We haven’t spoken for years. Mother is the conduit of all information. My brother -21 yrs. ditto.

I’ve drawn no lines. I’ve welcomed her total rejection of me. Gladly. My maid has booked her flights. She will take her to airport. Practical details like / going back to a house she locked up 18 yrs ago hasn’t sunk in… Or she’s made arrangements. I just can’t feel this bad anymore. Every month it’s like grieving a dead mother. Every month I felt orphaned. And cried like I was bereaved. Now… She issued her ultimatum. I just called her.

Ok I’m finding my emotional language here. THANK YOU. I NEED to understand. I need to fully accept. Realise what equal value means. Not relate from the derived meaning she thrust on me 35 yrs ago. Control so fully that I don’t even know any family member, no friends, no life no outlet, no food preference no knowledge of my FAV colour or style… I am this far realising – I don’t have a FAV book. Or film. I go to the toilet regulated around her needs. I have a lot to discover about me. The real me. Not the frightened extension use at convenience toy she has held to her breast to overcome her own shame. To control me gives her a sense of worth.

Darlene …. I want A Mother. She insisted on being friends. And broke that too. Her way only. I am in shock. In a place where it’s massively painful to realise I am alone. I’ve been lied to all my life.

This forum has given me strength to brush my teeth today. A Big Inprovement. Lacking in self care extended this far that I hardly should care about personal hygiene or physical needs like food water. Bec I must jump on command and rush to her side to..? Oh nothing I forgot are you going to brush your teeth ?? So late? You’re so unhealthy.

Thank you. I feel a bit of light penetrating into my dark existence. Finally 🙂


Hi Simsim
What I meant about your drawing a boundary was that you asked her to leave. That is a boundary. And welcoming her ‘rejection of you’ is also a boundry. The way that I came to understand this with my mother is that she rejected me a long long time ago when she had to have it all her way. I was not valued as an individual. (I have written so much more about this in other posts)
I wanted a mother too; I guess that is why I hung on so long. But I learned to fill that void for myself. I became the mother (to me) that I never had. I healed. (and most of the process is documented in this website!)
Yay for some light penetrating!
Hugs, Darlene


Thank you! I just smiled- that oh you understand. I see your light. I must get up and walk the path of recovery now. Part of it is reading everything here. By everyone. It’s… Filling in the gaps. Like warm layers of understanding hugs! You explain it marvellously. Thank you – I am huh. Ultimately I am doing it afterall huh. I’m not weak helpless ineffectual afterall. I’m not! I Will Learn to heal love and value myself all over again. I have started this already – can you know my relief Darlene ?
In broken music of my heart can I say this – noble people undertake journey to help others, it’s the bravest who have experienced that journey too.
Be blessed! My prayers and gratitude to you and all the brave people here! Thank you. Most sincerely most simply 🙂
Big hugs!!


Hi Everyone
I just published a new post~ This week PAM W. shares about the process of forgiveness (of child abusers) as it was for her. I look forward to the conversation!
Here is the link The Process of forgiving child abusers by Pam Witzemann http://emergingfrombroken.com/the-process-of-forgiving-child-abusers-by-pam-witzemann/


Dear Catherine,

And this is going to be hard for you here. You say that no way no how is your son’s behavior your fault. You also say that you are beating your self over the head trying to figure out what you did wrong. I have to point to this glaringly obvious paragraph you wrote:

“And my son learned to disrespect me by watching my own husband disrespect me all the years we were together. I was never physically abused (I would never have stood for that) but I didn’t even recognize the mental and emotional abuse that was going on and how I was completely ignored and “zeroed out” for all of my adult life living with him. So my son never did see a 50/50 supportive relationship growing up. But I thought I was doing a good job because he wasn’t beaten physically or verbally”.

Can you not see that it is a huge mistake to think that this relationship with your husband or is not the core of your problems with your son. I don’t disagree that you were there for your son. You are very caring it is clear, but that does not mean that it was enough not to abuse your son yourself. Can you not see that your son saw not only your family of origin have disrespectful attitudes towards you, but that what was going on in the home combined with that, shaped his ideas about disrespect for women?

You say that you would never allow misogynistic materials inside the home, and yet you allowed misogyny to prevail far more intimately by presenting a misogynistic situation with your husband. I am not trying to put you down Catherine. You still have time. You can forgive yourself. I am also a single mother of a small boy.

My own parents abandoned me at a very young Age, and throughout my life. I think you are absolutely right to cut off contact with your relatives, and should have done that earlier on. I am 42, and have only just decided in the last year to cut my parents and most relatives Out of my life, and regret not doing so permanently at 14 when they decided to throw me away. I have spent a good part of my life trying to make everyone happy… when my son was born I realized that if he saw them treating me this way, that he would see that that was an acceptable way to treat me and in fact all women.

Please do not take my comments as offensive- we all make mistakes. A truly great mother understands her faults and admits them.


RELIGION and the WORD OF GOD was used on me MERCILESSLY-FOR HOURS. Then others don’t understand WHY I have chosen to go no contact w/my mother-theNARC. Just talked to an aunt this morning who’s been calling me-HABITUALLY for the last four weeks. She finally asked me WHY am I no longer talking to my mother? Everything she said to me-was in defense of my mother. I’m done explaining & trying to justify myself. I WAS ABUSED & was still being abused by this narcissistic woman! My anxiety is so high right now. I think I’m pissed @ myself for even engaging in this conversation w/one of my mother’s MINIONS. The Bible warns parents to not cause their children to become BITTER toward them. It’s funny how abusive parents will use the word of God to threaten their children YET they NEVER mention this part of the bible that God WARNS PARENTS. Hypocrites!


Hi Buttafli
Good for you. You don’t have to justify or explain anything! This is all about self validation and self empowerment. You are your own person. When I realized it didn’t matter what I said I was not going to be heard, I gave up. And then I found my freedom.
Hugs, Darlene


Darlene wrote: “When I realized it didn’t matter what I said I was not going to be heard, I gave up. And then I found my freedom.”

This isn’t the first time Darlene has said this, but I think I’m finally figuring it out. By hard experience, and fruitlessly trying, over and over again, and seeing things only get worse. I am going to print this out and hang it on the wall, and it’s going in my quote / prayer book. Thank you Darlene! I think I’ll do a quote book about finding freedom.

~ wings ~
Gracias, amiga.


Hi Catherine
Glad this resoated with you! It came to me and I actually copied it into my ‘quote bank’ too. Giving up on being heard by the very people who never ever tried to hear me before was a huge chunk of wonderful in my healing journey!
Hugs, Darlene


Darlene, I’d love it if you posted a quote page, as I’m saving them all for a quote/prayer book too. Really wonderful.

Title: “When I Found My Freedom” and this one is the first.

Gracias, amiga!


This article is so sad and a revelation to me. Sad because it is painful to know that some mothers can be so cruel to their children. These “mothers” , do they even know the impact of what and how they treat their children? That what they say to children, especially as they grow up, are sometimes unfortunately, forever engraved in their young and impressionable heart, mind and spirit? That when they become adults they would be scarred by all these painful experiences from supposedly someone who loves them? Or do these so called “mothers” even thought and consciously decide how to “truly love” their children, how to “truly reflect the biblical love” from God to be felt and passed on to their children? I’m now thinking that maybe some mothers are not prepared to be mothers and do know the scope of thei “job description” and the accountability for the “outcome” which perhaps we can say one outcome can be the kind of relationship they have with their children. They probably didn’t think of what their goal is or how these goals can be accomplished. “begin with the end in mind” – Stephen covey wrote. If mothers did this, would they have made these painful choices and chose to “potentially” hurt their child?!

On the bible honor your mother and father – ouch! I have heard that so many times from my mother… At a very young age. But I wonder now .. At 13 years old what could I have possibly done that deserves eternal damnation? Remember folks that I was born and raised catholic in a country where authority of elders rules and the church is part of our everyday lives. If my mother then told me that I would go to hell, who else will save me? God of course in His mercy- but on earth, who else? I was devastated for a long time and even up to now, I do feel uncomfortable about it. I was worthless and evil and deserved eternal fire. That ate me up for a long time. I had to form my own bond with my God early on because I felt He alone will save me. I guess that’s the good I got from this.

I am sad for these mothers and children who have this kind of fear and manipulative relationship. Would be Mothers should pass a licensure exam, go through a battery of psychological assessments, values-based interviews and testing, references checks, etc. Before they are allowed to have children. It’s a BIG job and they should be equipped to be one and do a good job. If they are proven to be unfit then they should work on themselves first before bringing a life to the world. It will save a lot of pain and heartache. Ha! I wish … 🙂


Hi Offie
Welcome to EFB
Yes, there is a brainwashing process that is very effective in causing children to believe that they are the problem. I don’t think many people consider what messages thier words and actions communicate to their children. I originally wanted to work with parents of teenagers, and I quickly realized that these parents are not interested in changing they ways they behave! They blame things on the kids never even considering how these kids got this way in the first place.. Its pretty sad but we are here. I have completly changed my life, I have three kids (1 teen and 2 adult now) and they were not raised the way that I was and I didn’t have any trouble with them as teens! (isn’t that interesting!) They know that they are loved AND respected by us.
Thank you for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


Im shaking as I write this because I am full of rage! The bible does speak on this!! In Colossians 3:21, it reads that fathers should not provoke their children, thus it discourages them. Also, in the new testiment(Mark 9:42) Jesus himself said, that “But if you cause one of these little ones who trusts in me to fall into sin, it would be better for you to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone hung around your neck.”

POW. Way to shut ’em down baby!


Bella, I so agree with you!

Have you ever visited the Luke 17:3 web site? (I apologize if I didn’t get the verse right….but if you google Luke 17 Ministries, it should come up.) Wow! These women experienced abuse as children and they are extremely forceful in their opinions about how abusing children is against everything God stands for. They back up everything with scriptures, if that is important to you.

I learned a lot from their site. It helped me tremendously several years ago when I was struggling with the rage I felt toward my abusive parents.

I also got a different perspective re what “honoring one’s parents” actually means. What I’d been taught in my fundamentalist religious upbringing was just another form of brainwashing, really.

I get so angry, like you, whenever I hear people taking up for abusive parents!! It makes my blood boil.

You go, girl. I am right there with ya!


I”m kind of new to this whole narc issue. I knew there was a problem when I left home, but as I’m married about to start a family and in my thirties. The similarities are hard to deny between my life and those with a narc parent. There was so much gas lighting going on in my home and an enabling father it took me til my thirites to realize even though I wasn’t at home anymore. My mother was an ignoring mother, but not to the point of complete neglect. At a young age i was subjected to parentification and taking care of my younger brother. (we were both adopted). I had major feelings of responsibility. I am not able to feel some of that weight of responsibility come off, with acceptance for my mother and that she will always be this way. The low contact has worked for me because I control when and if I see her, which isn’t a huge problem cause she doesn’t care to speak to me unless there is some kind of bad news. As a child i was never hugged, held or was treated kindly by her. I never had a birthday party unless i had to organize it, and in it was a ton of manipulations. I think one thing I was scared of, is will i be this way to my children? Anyone have thoughts?


Hi Jenelle
Welcome to EFB
Don’t get caught up in the diagnosis of the abuser. Other people call my mother a narc. but I don’t believe she is one because she had control over everything she did when it came to most other people. She did not do certain controlling things in public.

About ‘complete neglect’ , my mother fed, clothed and provided for me in most things except my emotional needs, (emotional neglect) and she discounted me in other ways too. If you read more of this site you will see that the good stuff does not cancel the bad stuff and this is all about healing from the damage by acknowledging the damage. (and that there WAS damage) Accepting my mother didn’t help: I had actually always tried to do that. Validating myself is what helped. I think you will like this website. There are TONS of articles and discussions about this very thing.

Hugs, Darlene


Hi, Jenelle. No, I don’t think you will be that way with your children. Why not? Because you are aware, that’s why.

I always tried to treat my children the opposite of how I’d been treated. I was very nurturing, very caring. I listened to them. I cared. I told them I loved them and that they were special to me. I wasn’t harsh and cruel and manipulative with them, as my parents had been to me.

I knew what I’d felt like as a child, how much I’d been hurt and wounded. I never wanted my children to feel that way.

Did I make mistakes? Absolutely, I did. All parents make mistakes. But the important thing is to recognize them, to apologize for them, and to attempt to change. My children saw me be fully human. I didn’t try to pretend to be perfect, which is how my parents tried to portray themselves.

So, I don’t think you need to be scared. Parenting is tough, to be sure. But you sound like a very kind and level-headed person, Jenelle. The fact that you are concerned about how you will behave with your children is such an important, key factor. I read lots of books on parenting and child development, and I did my level best to not pass on any legacies of child abuse.

People who usually go on to abuse their children are the ones who haven’t yet recognized the damage that was perpetrated upon them when they themselves were children. They often live in denial. Because of that denial, they then go on and perpetrate upon their kids.

People like you usually do everything in their power NOT to behave as your parents behaved.

Does any of what I’ve said make sense? I feel such empathy toward you. I had those same fears once. And now, my two children are grown, and we have such a good relationship. We laugh, we share, we talk. Our relationships are so, so different than the relationships (if you even want to call them that!) that I had with my own parents.

You’re so smart to talk about this, Jenelle. I admire you.


Thanks for the encouragement Marore and Darlene! I’m going to read up as much as I can. I think I am a bit confused in the acceptance area. I guess I mean that I am just accepting the fact that she will not change. I do not find acceptance as an excuse for the behaviour. I know that I can only be in charge of me and how I want to treat her. I treated her with love and compassion to a safe extent , but I am NOW just only getting to the point of realization of not feeling RESPONSIBLE for her. It’s an amazing feeling! I do not feel responsible anymore for taking care of my parents emotional, spiritual needs. I don’t know if that is making sense.
I do however have times, especially during the holidays, that things I thought were dealt with, hashed out in my mind and resolved on my end seem to boil to the surface. It is just my husband and I right now, his family is amazing but they live over in Europe. We have also just moved out of state and had to leave friends and other family What is your suggestion or ways you cope with the holidays? What are ways you dealt with holidays in the past including birthdays, anniversaries which can stir up bad memories? Especially when you would like to keep just the low contact and not the no contact.


Darlene (#120), I STILL don’t know what “Validating myself” means.

Who am I to say “they” are wrong when there are so many of them, and only one of me? I loved what you wrote once about “the truth does not require a majority vote,” but I STILL have no concept of self-image (a decent one, anyway) and can only see my flaws.


Well, of course I can “see” my “many talents” etc. but what good does it do when you are hated by so many people in a family, on both sides, including my alcoholic son? Everyone keeps talking about how they raised their children differently, and didn’t treat them the same, and I can assure you I never hurt my child, but as a single mother I had to work three jobs and of course he had to have been affected by that, even though he had “extended family” as babysitters, but no “real family” interactions as I tried to keep him away from them to keep him from being hurt, but it’s all come back on me all over again.

No, No, No. It seems to me that so many here have some kind of answer that has eluded me all these years, and it’s impossible at this late stage to find it or reform myself. It feels like I’ve hit rock bottom and that’s all there is: ROCKS. Can’t do much with that. I may be an artist of sorts, but I’m not a stone carver.

All I know how to do is blow it up with dynamite, and I don’t work with explosives or excavations, so I just sit here at a loss. I would build a castle with these building blocks if I could, but I’m not a stone cutter or mason. All I can do is sit and stare.


Anna, in #109: I just saw your response, and I can say that I “could” describe things in our home quite differently. What I meant about “disrespecting me” was my husband not making my son clean his room and siding against me on that issue, since my husband’s mother cleaned his room for him when he was growing up!

My husband has never used bad language or misogynist language or treatment towards me or anyone else, just because he spoiled my son when it came to chores. And I might have said I “blamed myself,” but I can assure you that what was I supposed to do? I can’t control everyone and everything that goes on in a household, and I shouldn’t be held responsible. It’s enough that I blame myself. I don’t need to have more heaped on me. It’s not my fault or my responsibility that his father is not “perfect” and I am not in a position to pick and choose and discard everyone who isn’t.

Please don’t read more into what I say, and if I am saying too much then I will surely limit what I say. I’m sorry now that I posted the other things today… but I know there is no way to remove them. So I will refrain in the future. Please excuse.


Ah, re-reading Anna’s post, I see the solution!

“Please do not take my comments as offensive- we all make mistakes. A truly great mother understands her faults and admits them.”

So all I need to do is ADMIT MY MISTAKES and be a “great mother.”

Oh, yes – and ‘FORGIVE MYSELF.”

In one post, Anna has straightened it all out – and straightened me out too!

Well, I’ll be. What took me so long!


Dear Darlene, please remove my posts so as to spare me being psychoanalyzed by people here with the paragraphs I write. No one has the full story as it take a book, and I already post too much. But I do not expect to be put on the witness stand and have inferences made from a few sentences or paragraphs, preceded by “this is going to be hard for you here [sic]” by Anna in #109.

Do I have to explain and defend myself to people here? My son’s alcoholism is not my fault. My son’s behavior at 40 years of age is not my fault. My husband who has Asperger’s has “zeroed me out” for many years, but he is not a misogynist or a bad person. Yes this has been very distressing for me. But who is “Anna” to determine “what my son’s core problem is,” from reading my posts?

PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD REMOVE MY POSTS to prevent misrepresentations being made or any more “advice” that is going to be “hard for me to hear.”

I thought this was a safe place to be. Obviously it’s not. And for someone to say “I hope you are not offended” and then proceed to offend is really out of line. It’s a manipulatory practice that I don’t condone.

There is plenty more that goes into an adult person’s behavior than solely the parents from 40 years ago. My son knew full well the repercussions of drinking and he made his choice. He is exactly like his biological father, not like my husband who adopted him. And this is my fault, too? Why not list all the “bad choices” that I’ve made while you’re at it, Anna? You didn’t take this far enough!

There’s genetics and many, many, outside influences that shape people outside of mother and father. How dare anyone suggest that they know all about me from one quoted paragraph or the posts I have made? Am I supposed to point finger s at others here, or work on MYSELF? I thought this was about what I was trying to change in ME, not to give a background and life history to an armchair psychologist who is going to “straighten me out.”

They must be mind readers, or have personal knowledge of facts “not in evidence.” If this is what happens when people share on this website, I can no longer be a part of it.


Wow thanks so much for the Luke 17 website! Life changing scripture!


Hi, Jenelle. You ask some really great questions.

I am pretty low contact with my family now. Holidays and birthdays and such can be rather difficult. I often found the occasions triggering. I needed some help with my therapist to be able to establish clear boundaries, and to learn how to better protect myself. Sometimes I attend family functions, and sometimes I don’t. I know that isn’t very helpful. I wish I had some better suggestions.

I often will make my decision whether or not to attend a family function based upon just how vulnerable I am feeling. If I am feeling stressed, and I am concerned at all about how I might be affected, I stay home. If I am feeling confident and stronger, then I attend. I’m not sure that’s the best solution, though. I’m just sharing what has worked for me.

Since I am “low contact,” if I don’t attend a family function, I usually will text a “Happy Birthday” or a “Merry Christmas” (etc.) message, or give a phone call. I try to stay cordial and caring, even if I’m not really sharing much depth with my family. I have learned, the hard way, that these people can really hurt me if I don’t protect myself.

I often would say, “I wish I could come, but this year, we are celebrating with a quiet Christmas at home.” I tried to keep the topic rather light and breezy, and not get into too much discussion about deep matters.

Also, on anniversaries or on other dates when bad memories would arise, I would try to take special care to be extra compassionate and kind to myself on that day. I would plan some things, mostly small things, which gave me joy and pleasure. Having the memories crop up can really be painful. Whatever steps you can take to be on your own side and to be kind to yourself will help immensely. I had to learn how to nurture myself. I’m still not fantastic at it, but I’m learning. Setting boundaries also has helped me, too.

It’s all a learning process, I think.

Best of luck, Jenelle!


Oh, Jenelle, I just this second saw your comment #128. Yes, isn’t Luke 17 Ministries amazing?

I can’t even express how life-changing that web site was for me. It helped me so much. I had been consumed by guilt and shame my entire life, which all stemmed from so much child abuse and all of the cruel messages I had received.

I learned so much from that site. I hope you will find some answers there, too!



Catherine; I am so sorry I have obviously hurt you. I guess I just heard what you said and thought of a solution. I tend to think like what is typical for a man and ignore feelings in order to problem solve. Not that it’s an excuse, but I was raised and have spent my life with people completely disregarding my feelings. Really and truly I just wanted to help. Please don’t take me too seriously. You sound like a caring person, and I think you deserve validation. We all make mistakes.


As I have stated in the guidelines, I don’t remove comments.
I am sorry that you don’t feel safe, it is as safe as humanly possible for me to make it. I didn’t take the comment from Anna the way that you did. The problem when people talk about thier children as though the child is the abuser is that is exactly how we have all been talked to by our families. As though WE are the problem. This site is about healing from the individual side of things; whenever someone on here posts about a grown child in a netative way, we have problems. It triggers everyone.

Something that helped me was to understand that my children are allowed to be angry with me even if I wasn’t the abuser, because I was there. I was the mother that couldn’t or wouldn’t (they are entitled to feel both ways) protect them from the emotional abuse that they were around. And the (adult) children on this site are entitled to feel that way too. Everyone here is trying to grown in the truth. Anna (in my opinion) was just trying to help you see what you said in your post.

I am sorry that you are so offended by what goes on here and that you feel you must leave. In my opinion, there is no safer and more respectful place then this one.
Hugs, Darlene


I am asking again, please remove my comments so as to protect others on this site from being “triggered” and to protect my son from ever having to read them. I will not post anything else about him or about my personal relationship here. That should take care of the problem.


I do not remove comments; it is not a simple matter. I would have to go through them all again and I don’t have time to do that.


Then leave my comments and I hope everyone accepts my apology for “triggering them” by writing about my family. It won’t happen again. And I accept “my part in it.”


Thank you Catherine
hugs, Darlene


Hello, This is a nice extensive thread, on dysfunctional mother, daughters relationships. I have been reading this thread for the last two weeks. I am a recovering adult myself (four years of actual physiological care) from my childhood “spiritual/ emotional” abuse by my mother/ parents. (I believe both parents are to blame) Mothers just seems to be the culprit because fathers “are busy working” or “unavailable” and mothers by their nature are always watching, snooping, and controlling. All my siblings are all adult victims of a dysfunctional family. I would like clarification on this Luke 17 website, being agnostic I have read it and I don’t understand the correlation between it and the mother daughter dysfunctional paradigm. The Bible (respectfully here) is a collection of stories, written thousands of years ago in another language and dictated by the morals of the times. I am not finding a coping mechanism in it. But I do find the personal stories with in this blog to be validating to my cause. My own personal experience is that my dysfunctional family always blamed my father (alcohol, drugs, disillusionment, failure) but when he suddenly up in died 4 years ago we all figured out who the real culprit was, my mother. For 52 years she hid behind my father and pointed fingers at him. “He is the abuser”, “he does not go to church”, “he never loved US”. We were wrong he loved us children more than my mother ever did. My father left us children in his will with a 4.5 million dollar trust he had been planning for years. And my mother hid the will and tried to change the estate names so she could keep control of all the money, and make us beg for what was already ours. Obviously the (will) money was controlling her. I have never seen the money and I am not begging for anything.


Hi Oona
Welcome to EFB
Yes, both parents are usually to blame! Even if one of them is the major or primary abuser the other one could have done something to protect the child.
As far as luke 17, that is not related to this site so I can’t answer your question about that.
About the mother / father stuff, yes, it is very common that the wrong parent takes most of the blame. It has really helped me to face the damage they both caused to me.
I have seen money used to control (or even just the thought of money) way too often. It is so sad…
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


Nancy has clearly neglected her daughter in many important ways, and tried to cover it up so as not to take responsibility, unfortunately, in an abusive way. I generally find this a pattern most people exhibit on some level, and the intensity of it generally has to do with the degree of neglect.
Being a parent is not easy. It demands that we recognize the neglect we suffered in our own childhood (and that may not have been apparent until parenthood) deal with that neglect in a healthy way. We can’t just pretend, and expect to give to our children in a non-neglectful way, if we are walking around in a fog of self delusion.
More simply, if someone is ‘flawed’ and they can’t or won’t take responsibility and stop blaming in order to get to a healthy place about the neglect, they are just doing what they have been taught. They become blaming themselves, and they take the same road their parents took.

On the surface, my own parents were extremely neglectful because it was what they learned. Just below the surface on a subconscious level, it must me God/Love working through them, them providing me with little of my emotional needs was purposeful indeed. I had nothing, so I had nothing to lose by getting off the path they were on and onto the right one (I mess up but get back up), because they made it so unbearable, it was less painful to deal with my issues of neglect.

My own parents sacrificed me for their own selfishness, and because of it, I have been saved. Truly, it’s like God stepped in.


So Darlene and good folk from EFB I ask you this; Once you have stopped communication with the toxic individual (our mother), how do you get the rest of your family/ siblings to leave you in peace? In other words, they do not, have not, or will not, believe in the M-D paradigm. Of course, (my siblings are male) therefore I am out if control, ungrateful, and a spoiled child (to them Nancy is right). Just today one of my siblings said “Look at all the things you have…” (As if my mother bestowed on me my husband, job, and higher education <– funny, I see humor in that.) They cannot separate physical amenities, such as receiving a washer and dryer as a "gift" (which as really indebtedness) from the words "I love you". I don't know how to ingest this. Do you have a thread on this?

Hello Anna thread 139, Neglect is an excellent answer and it is a resent revelation for me. I never though of neglect until someone mentioned food and shelter are not emotionally nurturing.


Hi Oona
This subject is touched on throughout the entire website. There is no fast or easy answer but it might help if you start in the categories for family and mother daughter.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Darlene,
I just started reading your stuff. I recently have cut my mother out of my life and am lost and torn. This article almost made me die inside. Sounds like my mother. She has always been there when I needed her but has put my children in danger by her drinking and drug use. Every time I express that she has done something to hurt my feelings or disrepect my wishes for my 3 yr old and 5 yr old, she turns into the devil herself. I lived in a homeless shelter with her as a child. Then my grandma came out to care for us while my mother went to school and partied. When my grandma moved out she shipped me and my brother to live with my dad for 4 yrs. Then when he decided four yrs of paying child support for children he was caring for was enough he cut her off. She responded saying she had full custody and would make sure he never sees us. Growing up she took me to so many psychologist and had me on every drug possible. She also commited me to the mental hospital many times as a teen. In my adult life she has tried to convince other adults (families and friends) to help commit me, my assumation is so she can take my kids and receive state help for having them since their dads are not present. I grew up a cutter because I had to feel something because I was numb. I am torn because she is always there when I need her but behind my back tearing about all relationships I have with others. She also tells me that I need to either stop working and go to school or go to school and quit working at a job that I have been promoted twice in one yr. I cant understand why a mother wouldnt be proud that her previous drug addict daughter has her life together but instead she would like to put her down and stop the only things that make her feel good about herself. She has also tried to break up my relationship so that I would move back home because when I am there I pay all the bills though she make 3x the money. I have recently seeked counseling because I “had to figure out what was wrong with me”. My counselor read a conversation over text messages between me and my mom and told me I need to cut her out because she is incapable of love. I am so torn and feel weak. My biggest fear is I will give in because she loves my kids and I have ripped them from my life. I know have to go see a childhood trauma counselor and my counselor said if I want my kids to grow up healthy they need to stay away from the woman that taught me at a young age that there was something wrong with me when there is nothing wrong with me. I have changed my number but have no other family here. I am scared. She has threatened suicide before when I stopped talking to her once and I am worried sick for her and my concerns have been voiced to her parents and fell on deaf years. I dont know that I am strong enough for this jounery. I have overcome drugs, abuse pyshical, mental, and sexual but this seems harder than any of that. Reading your words helps alot. Thank you.


Hi *broken*
Welcome to emerging from broken!
I didn’t trust myself for a long time and I didn’t know if I was strong enough but I just keep trying to see the truth about the way things were and I kept believing that IF it was true that my depressions, issues etc. were all rooted in the dysfunctional relationships that I had growing up, that there was hope for me to recover if I saw the truth about it. And I did. I began to see that it was actually dangerous for MY kids to be around these toxic people too.
IT IS very hard but when I got through it I found healing, I found my identity and I began to live in a way I never imagined; in wholenss and freedom. I hope you will read more of what I have written in this website. I have shared hundreds of examples of how I came out of the fog and saved myself.
Hugs, Darlene


Ah Nancy… I think you are channeling so many of our Narcissistic Mothers, mine included.

I have wonderful relationships with my children. They are growing into bright, empathic, loving, responsible people. I encourage them to be who THEY are, not what I want them to be. It is ZERO sacrifice for me to encourage or appreciate them. ZERO.

My NMother once told me: “Make sure, when your children get older, they know how much they owe you.” (this was a huge truth-leak!)

My response: “My children owe me nothing. I brought them into this world and I owe them everything. I give it freely & gladly and will be glad when they are ready and fly away. That is what they are supposed to do and it’s my job to get them there and support them until the day I die & after.”

My NMother was not pleased and stomped off. She used to say I was going to “kill her.” Frankly, I think healing is the process of killing her negative messages. And I am glad to see them go.


Hi Barbara,
I love how you put this woman in her place. Good for you! Your mother reminds me of a comment my grandmother used on my mother and her sister.

Since I can remember, she would say in the most pious and dramatic way “the worst thing that could ever happen is if my daughters never wanted to see me again”. My grandmother used sympathy to exert control. Her daughters have spent most of their lives living within a couple of blocks of her. When my own mother and father moved 20 minutes away, she ‘punished’ them by refusing to visit or help. Best years of my young life were when we moved away. Unfortunately, we moved back within 5 years, and my parents have been living near her for over 30 years. They have lived their lives for this woman.

It’s true that every now and then a narcissist says something that reveals them for the monsters that they are.



Hi Barbara
Love your comments about “my children own me nothing!” I feel the same way about that! (and that goes for ALL children! Love is never about obligation and children who are loved, will reciprocate that love, NOT out of obligation but out of love!)
Hugs, Darlene


Thanks for posting this.

I have heard various comments from my mother over the years when I have attempted to talk with her about my childhood. One remark she made was, “We never heard the word self-esteem when you kids were growing up so we didn’t know to care about it.” Another, “We thought that if we held a baby / child we would spoil them.” Another “Some people just can’t get over the past, can they.” Another, “What is wrong with you that you would think that way?” My mother believes that there is a hierarchy and children are under the mother. No exceptions. Children are not allowed to confront their mother. The mother does not have to answer to what they say / do because they are above you. Might equals right. When I first started setting limits and boundaries with my mother it did not go over well. Like when I said, “I do not want to hear remarks / comments that are negative, critical and judgmental about me.” My mothers response was, “I am not going to monitor what I say for you!” The more I pulled away, the more cruel she became. If I told her something she did / said bothered me, she would do it more. Limiting contact / no contact meant poor, victimized mother. She would say, “Are you trying to punish me?”

Thanks for all the validation.


I have not checked your blog in days and was glad today to see you response. I have changed my number yet my mother found a way today to contact me. I was just talking to my counselor today and told her about your site. Her eyes lit up. She asked so many questions. I find myself returning to read your many stories when I start beating myself up. And others comments are nice to read as well. I was starting to feel really guilty about the kids until she contacted me demanding an apology. I got on here to see your reply and after being worked up all day your words were really calming. My counselor was wondering if you had a book or know of some good ones. My boyfriend told me i was only making things worse by going through all the messages from me and my mothers current falling out. I told him that it was just me reassuring myself that I was not wrong in my choice. I can see that being self destructive and erased all the messages as to not be tempted again. I have left so many abusive relationships with men, I was taught young that was love. The last two men my mother was married to were abusive to her and us. And since then I have never seen her with anyone healthy. I learned the hatred and psychical abuse was how you loved someone. I dealt out the violence to them as much as they gave it to me. I was not innocent to this abuse at all. I think at one time I fed off of it because of my hate inside for myself and others. When I had my son and the abuse continued I allowed it behind closed doors. When my son was about 18 months he father threw me over the couch and over my son into a wall and held me up by my throat. Seeing the fear in my son’s eyes made me walk away and never look back or tolerate such a thing. My mother has never touched me but has damaged me deeply and on several occasions but my kids in danger (which is why after I left my ex I moved out of her house) she almost hurt my son twice and could have killed him when she got drunk, overdosed on sleeping pills and crawled into his crib with him to sleep. I had thought she was better but she just hides it well. I was crying yesterday because my daughter kept saying she wanted to go to grandma’s house, then I became concerned as to what happened last time because my son (who loves his grandma to death) said “mom I don’t want to go to grandmas, I just want to stay here with you all the time”. I am rambling but it feels good to get this out someone where others understand. My boyfriend can only be so supportive when I hide it from him and refuse to let him in at all to see my pain. I am finally coming to terms with Bi-polar and getting help for months. I understand myself more than I ever had. I am in school to become a counselor and really want to keep the children off medications that make them feel they are different or that there is something wrong with them from a young age. No child should ever have to label themselves so young.

You sound like an amazing mom. Kudos for standing up to your mom. I too am a huge supporter in self esteem in children and allowing them to love themselves for who they are. It is so important in life to understand that everyone is different and different is ok. I am a very pretty girl according to others but every time I have looked in the mirror since I was about 10 or 11 I wanted to smash the mirror. I have colored me hair constantly and have gotten many piercings in my face to be the girl that I think is pretty. And your comment about them owing us nothing because we chose to bring them to this world is beyond the truth.

Hang in there. I did not realize that this was a form of abuse til my counselor explained it to me. We will struggle and we may fall but there is always a reason to get back up. My mother also is the “victim” in many of these fall outs we have. There has to be a time when we put our foot down and decide that we have had enough. My motivation is to do it for my children because Darlene is right. Surrounding your children to toxic people may damage them in the end.

I am very blessed that my siblings have come to see my mother for who she is except one (who will probably get the whip lash now that we are all gone). I want to protect her but she prefers to ignore it. I think its because she grew up watching her father pound my brother like he was nothing. They say in a home of abuse there’s the unspoken rule “do not speak, do not ask because no one will listen”.

Thank you again for the comments and blogs. Like I said they really have been my only relief through all of this. My counselor says I need a plan for when I start to feel like I am going to “give in to my guilt” and I come here when I start to feel the need to reach out.


Hi OnMyWay
Oh I hear that “are you trying to punish me?” thing too! (lots of those things!)
Something that I realized is that the thing about parents knowing or not knowing about ‘self-esteem’ as though ‘that knowledge’ would have helped them, isn’t the point. That is like saying if I knew kicking you would HURT, I wouldn’t have done it. There are so many lame excuses for treating people in ways that they would never want to be treated themselves.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Broken
The work of Alice Miller has been found to be helpful by many! I found her only a couple of years ago but her work is very validating. As for my book, I have one coming out this spring.
I am glad that my response comforted you.
Hugs, Darlene


I agree that claiming ignorance for not building self esteem is not right. Last night I took another stand to my mother in a polite way. She threatened to take me to court and take my kids, which means once again she will be calling Child Protective services as harassment to me. She immediatley called my boyfriend and tried to convince him that I was cheating on him. He took it with a grain of salt. Last night she used her famous line “I brouht you into this life, I can take you out and if I cant you will regret this and I will ruin you” which I have heard so many times before. Never before have I been so scared of my mother. She is threatening to go to daycare to take my kids out of state. I wont even take my kids to daycare right now. Thank you for the book recommendation.


Hi *Broken*
Those are serious threats. Can you speak to your therapist about a making a plan in case your mother acts on any of these threats? They should be reported somewhere for your protection.
Hugs, Darlene


I have talked to my father and the kids are not returning to daycare til I get a note there that if she shows up and tries to take the kids since I am concerned about her drinking and drug use then they are to call the police. I see my counselor again tomorrow. Once again I dont know how much more of this I can take. I have blocked her on my facebook and changed my number but dont want her to not be able to contact me through my boyfriend becuase then she can drag me to court for grandparent rights and she has a really good way of looking good and getting what she wants. Very good manipulater to those who dont know her. I do not doubt she will drag me through court to make me suffer. Every time she doesn’t get what she wants she calls CPS on me. I am use to that. I know they are serious and am scared. I am worried that I will break. I can’t take much more of this while I am trying to get healthy which is all I told her last night.


And I see my counselor again tomorrow. Who if my mom gets a partner in crime, I hope that her word and my other dr is enough to keep me out of there.


Hi Everyone ~
I just published a new post about how I was convinced that I was the problem and the ways that belief came out. My mother had a way of reminding me about how she saw me too, which of course got in the way of the truth. Lots of examples of how my mom made sure that MY focus was on MY faults in order to deflect and even justify hers hers. Here is the link;
“Toxic mother daughter relationship ~ when mom says the problem is YOU”
Looking forward to the discussion there;
hugs, Darlene


Ah yes, what goes around, comes around, and you are going to be sorry you aren’t toeing the line and supporting my fantasy world (like everyone else) about how I’m good, and kind, and loving and supportive, and profoundly wise and successful.

My mother doesn’t use Bible quotes to remind me I’m going to be sorry someday. She uses money. She has a lot (I guess, maybe one an a half million). I’m modest but comfortable and secure. And it is very clear I’ve been disowned.

I’m supposed to be sorry about it. And it would have been nice. But I don’t need it, and $700K or whatever i would have ended up with is too much to pay for spending the next 20 years dealing with her passive aggressive meanness. I’m quite satisfied with the bargain I’ve made: no inheritance, but also no anguish inflicted from her.

And I can’t help but to imagine forward her life: in a couple years my stepfather will die. This will be hard on her. For all she thinks she’s so smart and competent (and she is in some ways), she’s very dependent. I know she’s worried about him dying.

At first she’ll turn to her friends. She has a cozy little group of about 9 or 10 friends she’s close to. But my mother was is younger than most of them. Eventually they will drop away. I remember my grandmother saying about her friends how they disappeared: one day there would be an ‘incident’, then the children would sweep in, put mom in a home convenient to them, close up the house, whirlwind through whatever had to be done on the few days they could take off of work, and the friend would just be…gone.

Ten years from now, my mother will be 80. She’s smart enough to see that she will be dependant eventually on family. Yes, money will buy her a nice assisted living situation, but… money can’t do what family can–just look at Brooke Astor. Billions and died in her own filth neglected by her family.

So who’s in my mother’s family? It’s very small. Me and my brother. I’m gone–if she does not get a clue, make some concessions and amends and (horrors!) apologize, I will let her die in the mud. I won’t even know. I won’t even care to know.

There’s my brother. She thinks they are close, but the reality is they have a pleasant superficial relationship, and his wife is cordial and friendly, but my sisterinlaw doesn’t really like her. (and my mother doesn’t really like my SIL, but they get along). My brother takes my mother out for mother’s day and her bday alone. SIL, who’s own mother is dead, isn’t interested. No problems, but no affection either–and SIL was not too patient with her problematic mother when her mother was dying. She’s not going to be nurturing.

What will my brother do? He’ll do the ‘right’ thing that is expected and looks good. He’ll help her move into a nursing home, talk to doctors, visit on holidays and maybe once a month or every six weeks. Call every couple weeks, handle major crises. And do it pleasantly. But he won’t be a social outlet, he will never take her on vacation or to the movies or worry if she’s happy. She won’t be a part of their life altho he’ll tell her a bit about his vacation, etc… He’ll be dutiful.

My mother has two sisters and one sister in law. The sister in law annoys my mother and is about 10 years older. She isn’t handling life well and is semi estranged from her children and needs a lot of help to stay at home. My stepfather helps her; my mother has said: SIL need not think I’m going to do anything for her when hubby is gone. My mother has contempt that SIL is not managing her life well and is dependent. I remember thinking when mom said that: someday that very well could be you.

One sister is married and is going to move to an out of state retirement community in a year or two. This sister is nice enough but ditzy. She won’t be available to brighten mom’s final years.

The other sister is a piece of work. My aunt fucked my husband and split up our marriage–then walked away from the whole mess. We were close as sisters, but my aunt just walked away from the relationship and we never spoke again. This was about 20 years ago. My mother sided with her sister. This is a grave mistake on my mother’s part (but part of my mother’s need to devalue me; I’m not supposed to mind that my aunt screwed my husband then screwed me). My mother and my aunt email regularly and see each other once every five years or so. My aunt has NEVER lifted a finger to help anyone ever in her life. She does not put herself out for anyone or anything. She’s semi reclusive and a bit strange. She will NOT be there for my mother in her old age.

Then there are my three children, mom’s only grandchildren. My youngest son, in college to be a chemical engineer will have nothing to do with her. He does not like how she treats me, and does not like how she treats his oldest brother (her favorite grandson), and does not like how she treats him. He considers her a hypocrit. He too pretty much told her that either she apologize or he was gone and she chose the dump-grandson option. Last year she ‘loved’ him with all her heart, this year he’s invisible and worthless to her.

My middle son, a hardworking moral law student, calls her now an again. He’s been very distressed by the break up of her and me and a few weeks ago went up to visit her (we live 1200 miles away) and discuss the issue. He couldn’t believe she was as bad as I said she was and her written letters to me over the last year portrayed her and he wanted to talk to her about it. He came back stunned and sickened. He was particularly shocked by how she just threw away my youngest son when he asked for a apology. He could not believe how coldly she devalued and dismissed and cut off her grandson. And if she can do that to one grandson, she can do that to him… She took no responsibility for anything, did not want to try joint t therapy, and accused me of things he knew were not true. He was sickened by it and shocked. He had drunk the koolaid, he had thought she was a loving grandmother and kind mother. And now he thinks she’s cold and selfish and deeply disturbed for all she has this great facade that fools most people. He told me if he has any relationship with her, it will only be superficial. And I know what’s going to happen…he’s going to drift away. He will attend my stepfather’s funeral, and that’s likely to be the last time my mother ever sees him.

My son’s fiancee is appalled at her too. She’s in a ph.d program for psychology, and has no good opinion about rejecting mothers and lots of theories about what is wrong with my mother. She likes me. They will have children and a happy, successful, productive life–and my mother won’t be part of it. Oh, she might get a picture of their children, but that will be that.

My oldest son has a drinking problem, a rx pill problem, and is heavily addicted to very potent pot. Addiction runs strongly in both sides of my son’s heritage. Nobody in my family or his father’s family who were caught in addiction ever got better. Some do, but my family and my ex’s family don’t. My son barely graduated from HS and his career is mooching and hanging out in the gym. He works part time in a gym. He is very dishonest, has episodes of sudden violence (he knocked me to the ground, choked my middle son and spit on his youngest brother, and that’s just the beginning). He gets aggitated and is very anxious. He can also be charming. he was his grandmother’s favorite. She does not believe he has any substance abuse problems; she said it is just a personality conflict with me (my fault, always my fault). She’s a sitting duck. She’ll see him briefly for a couple times a year, and it’s highly possible he will exploit her. this will be one of those crises my brother will have to handle. But in the long run, my oldest will not be of any use to her.

But I would have. I would have taken good care of her, far better than what she ever did for me. If she were pleasant to me–she wouldn’t even have to love me or be close to me–just curb her passive aggressive dislike (which apparently is impossible), I’d include her in my life and my kids’ lives. She’d see her grandchildren and great grandchildren (when they come), be spend a couple days a week with me, get taken shopping and to the movies and brought on family vacations. I’d research her medical and living options and advocate and watch out for her in nursing homes, etc… I’d care if she were happy and comfortable and included. My brother won’t do that. He’ll do decent bare minimum–and no more.

She better hopes she doesn’t get the family curse of dementia. or end up blind or cripple with arthritis of have long bouts with cancer or fall prey to so many of the illnesses that make life painful, difficult and isolating for the elderly. 1/3 of all seniors die with dementia. 2/3 of all seniors have long term crippling disabilities. The odds are not in her favor.

I will never need her again. The day is going to come when she’s going to need me. A

When these crappy parents look at their kids and say, “Someday you’ll be sorry” and “what goes around comes around”, all I can do is think, “Do you really believe that your selfish unloving choices are not going to rebound on you? Do you really not see where this is going to end up for YOU.”

You hear about a lot of mothers in their sixties and early seventies who cut off their kids. They are always indignant and full of victim stories and martyrdom and justifications about how they did everything and don’t understand and how their love was unwavering but there is something wrong with their spoiled ungrateful child. It has NOTHING to do with them. There are websites devoted to these women. I look at them and roll my eyes.

They talk of karma. But don’t see that their pain and anguish and ‘not understanding’ is their own bad karma coming back to them. They have bad relationships with their children because they created bad relationships with their children.

And I always wonder what happens to these self righteous bitter unloving delusional old ladies when they are in their 80’s and 90’s, and fragile and failing and can’t drive and are dependent and needy and isolated and lonely. Do they ever reach out after ten, 15 years of silence and apologize and take responsibility for their part of the problem. Or do they go down to the death clinging to their stubborn belief that they were wonderful and did nothing wrong and it’s their children?

Those websites that cater to cut off mothers have very few old ladies in their 80’s on them. You never see threads titled, How do i fix it, My daughter hasn’t spoken to me in 12 years, I know I was wrong.

Do they ever think, “I should have just apologized 2 decades ago.” “I was not a good mother, I let you down, it must have been hard on you having me for a mother,
I am sorry. Please forgive me.”

Less than 30 words, and it would make all the difference. Everyone would win,. but they can’t do it. I can do it, and do with all three of my kids. But my mother cannot. She’s going to impoverish herself tremendously in the quality of her life because she cannot say them and cannot see me as a valuable person. Ironically I’m probably the most valuable person in her life.

Oh well, elder care is a nightmare and I’m going to be free of it. Yay me.


I so hear you! Isn’t it amazing that most folks refuse to believe that mothers can be mean, selfish, manipulative and cruel?
My mean sisters have for so long tried to fight me every step of the way, when my mother has asked for help with her health issues (what would I know? I’m just a nurse for 20 years, lol) Then I realized: my mother was using medical issues to pit one person against the other. So, the common sense solution would be, let my sisters take over to their hearts content!! They call my elderly aunt, a long retired nurse, who is showing signs of senilty, to question everyhting I say. So, I guess her input would be valuable here as well! Not worrying about it. My mother is and was mean spirited, spiteful, attention seeking, and heaps all of her hate and resentment of her own mother and sister upon my head. NOT IT!!!! I am low contact with her, and give very little information abt my persona life. Only, how well I am doing, and how wonderful my relationship is, just the good things, to irritate her, dontcha know, lol!
My sisters can repay all of the free babysitting and free college educations by looking after my mother in her final years. I know this will make me look like the “bad daughter”,to the extended family, some of them, anyway, once again, and I really dont care!!! I’m too busy living my own life, pursuing my career dreams and future, to worry about it.
Bravo to you for taking up scuba! Doesnt it feel great to follow your own interests, not those prescribed to you? I am learning to snowboard, I sudy middle eastern dance, and have also renewed my passion for knitting. I take my mother in law out to the knitting group, and out to lunch. Her, I look after, as she has not been the source of misery in my life……


I need a new mum. 🙁
I’m 26 and divorced and now feel I have to divorce my parents and NM!!
She’s never once told me she loves me or is proud of me.
Only words like ashamed, and disappointed. I feel useless, anxious, and on the edge.

Is it possible to adopt a mum? I live in New Zealand but would love an Email from someone willing to give any advice:)

Thanx for reading 🙂


Hi Buffy
Welcome to EFB
I write a lot about how I had to become “my own mom” in this recovery process. I had to learn to fill the void that my own parents left in me and it is doable! There is hope for healing!
Hugs, Darlene


I’m with you on this Anna….

‘And my son learned to disrespect me by watching my own husband disrespect me all the years we were together. I was never physically abused (I would never have stood for that) but I didn’t even recognize the mental and emotional abuse that was going on and how I was completely ignored and “zeroed out” for all of my adult life living with him. So my son never did see a 50/50 supportive relationship growing up.’

Of course children DO learn what they live..It is a fact..not a criticism..and Anna I think that you explained that very respectfully and effectively…Of course children would learn that devaluing and undermining and mental and emotional abuse was the norm…With emotional abuse the bruises and the welts are on the inside instead of the outside, and they take far longer to heal. To live with it is soul destroying. To live for years and years with your father mentally and emotionally abusing your mother…I personally know is extremely damaging…

To read and hear a mother here say that her son is ‘a bad seed’ and words like she should have had an abortion or given him up for adoption. That he is a basically a bad loser and that a she is glad that he never had children…that he is wrong for feeling how or what he feels… (also about how ridiculous it is that he still feels bad that his ‘best’ friend was banned from his home)…How a child has to be ‘dragged’ to counselling again and again…and how it changed nothing…and to hear how anyones adult child is not being supported somehow with the resulting problems he has..and to hear how he has no mother until he comes back and says that HE will change…

Sure is triggering Darlene..and I think how you responded was really great and spot on also…many thanks.


Wow! It just never ceases to amaze me how the abusive mothers make excuses and place the blame back on the children! I have posted on here before regarding the abuse I suffered from my mother from the time I was three years until now-if I had continued to allow her to.

I couldn’t read all the responses to this so if someone has already made this comment, sorry, but I think it is important enough to post again anyway!
The biggest ‘truth leak’ in Nancy’s little guilt trip about her own beliefs was this: “There’s nothing in there (in the Bible) about honoring you children. In fact it says “spare the rod, spoil the child”. She makes this statement to PROVE that the parents have all the rights and children have none. By stating the bible says nothing about honoring children, she says that the (biblical) teachings actually communicate that children don’t have ANY right to being honored! And then she backs that belief up with saying; IN FACT the bible advocates abuse. – See more at: http://emergingfrombroken.com/what-goes-around-comes-around-used-as-a-fear-and-compliance-tactic/#sthash.oWISIlrh.dpuf

My mother constantly told me how I if I did not honor her my days on earth would be shortened. I heard the scripture a million times at least through out my life.
Although I was aware of the scripture that follows it, I did not want to “Bible Fight” with her. However I shouted at her Read the scripture DIRECTLY below it!”. So many abusive parents USE the Bible towards their children and USE this scripture OVER AND OVER again. The thing that parents, who think they KNOW the Bible tend to deliberately leave out the scripture DIRECTLY below it: Colossians 3: 20 AND 21:

20 Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing to the Lord.

21 Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged

Still loving this site and the one on Facebook!



I do not know where “they” get these ideas from? My own mother was not a Christian and had no access to the Bible but she often threatened me or challenged me that when I had kids of my own, then I would understand the difficulty in raising them, when my kids blamed me then I would understand what she was going through.

She said she had not done anything wrong and insisted that I would find this out when I had kids of my own. I always felt that she competed with me and acted like a b****. Excuse my language but that describes her accurately.

She constantly compared me to her in every area including education, career, marriage. Just because she did not like her life she wanted the same for me. I don’t think she was ever happy for me unless it served her. When I made some good advances in my career, she was not happy for me. She did not encourage me nor pat me on the back as I had hoped. I was taken aback by that reaction because by then I had become an adult and knew what a normal reaction from a mother to her daughter’s success would be like. That was the beginning of my exploration of my relationship with her.

All she was concerned about was that I was still single and people were asking them questions about it. Of course, she was not concerned that I was single and alone in a different country but she was more concerned that she had to answer all those people. Again, she was only considering herself and her needs in the equation. Superficial things like pride were more important to her than her daughter’s happiness.
She did not miss any opportunity to make me responsible for her misery so to speak. I did not understand what was so upsetting about me walking away from an abusive marriage and finding my own life. I would have been proud of such a daughter but would not wish that abuse in the first place.

Apparently she “lost her face” in the community because I walked away from the marriage and brought about the stigma of a “divorced daughter” on her. She never supported me during the abusive marriage and so when I finally decided to leave, I chose to keep them out of loop as they only drained my energy and I had to invest my energy into my career. She does not care that I had been dealing with all the mess on my own. All she cares about is her reputation.

I wonder if there truly is a reputation or she just made up this thing about her in her head. I have no idea what kind of “reputation” she is on about. If that is something derived from my success then how can it be hers?. I do not know where all these abusers get this concept of feeling important in society not because of their achievements but because of their children’s? They do not respect us nor want us but they want the laurels and accolades of raising a child that had achieved some success in the world.

Well, do they then treat the child (adult by then) properly? No. They still want her/him to be a slave to them and raise their own self-image. This is such a twisted and distorted view of a parent feeling proud of their child’s achievement.


You have made me confident in raising my own children. You have given me the courage and the ground to not look at myself for problems but simply be. Be better, be better by separating my self-identity from my influences.


Hi Quintana
Thank you for your note! I had to look at the truth about why I had the issues that I had and where they came from in the first place. The damage was healed when I began to validate it. 🙂
hugs, Darlene


Reading Nancy’s post, eerily reminded me of my adoptive mother.
Thanks for highlighting this post Darlene.



You can’t lump all estrangements into the category of being caused by abuse. I am the mother of an estranged son that was not caused by abuse on my part. I don’t say that lightly or out of any sense of self righteousness. Trust me when I say that when estrangement happens to a mother that loves her child more than she loves her own life, it is the most painful and agonizing experience there is except possibly that of losing a child to death. Part of the process of coming to terms with such an estrangement is the most brutal and honest dissection of all your parenting shortcomings and mistakes as the possible cause because you want so much to find the reason for the estrangement and fix it. Sometimes, however, estrangement has nothing at all to do with the parents and that is a most painful conclusion at which to arrive because it puts it outside your own realm of control and ability to fix. As children of abuse, we may find that especially hard to fathom but it does happen more often than we expect. Let me say this: as a mother of an estranged child I came to the liberating conclusion that being the mother of this remarkable and much loved child did not guarantee me the right to be in his life. He never belonged to me. I was only given the responsibility of raising him for which I will always be grateful. There is nothing that ever gave me more joy than being a mother. If the decision to estrange yourself from your parents only belongs to those who have been abused, then it is not an inherent freedom at all. While I don’t agree with my son’s decision and I don’t think it was kind or fair – it was his decision to make and I respect his right to make it. I will always be his mother and he will always be my son – by virtue of familial relationship – not ownership. And THAT has been one of the most healing truths I’ve ever understood as a victim of parental abuse thanks to my son. None of us are possessions of our parents. We were all gifts. As I came to understand this about my son, I came to understand and embrace the same truth about myself. I have also learned the truth about a mother’s love. That truth is that the love felt for your child has nothing to do with what your child does or does not do. I love my child the same as I ever have. It is so contrary to what I have received or known as a child of an abusive mother, that I can’t help but celebrate my love even if at times it causes pain. He never had to do a single thing for me to love him – it is natural and it is glorious and it’s how it’s supposed to be and it tells me I was never the cause of the abuse and lack of love I was shown by my mother. The very love I feel for my son IS the gift he is – even in estrangement. I am blessed to have ever known that gift and I am grateful for the healing of that gift.


There is a bible verse that says parents are not to exasperate there children. There also is another that says that to hurt a child is a sin and such a one is better off with a rope tied to a stone around their neck. Sorry I don’t have my bible with me to look these up as to where they are but I assure you they are in there.


This is a really great article about what Beth is talking about. If anyone has grown up having the bible mispreached at them, this article points out the parents responsibility and what “exasperate their children” means. (thanks for sending me the link Beth)

Here is the link ~


It’s true that the Bible doesn’t talk about parents should honor their children, may be it is self-evident to honor them without it explaining that part? That could be possible. I do agree how people twist Scripture to suit their needs. My mom got the nerve to say ‘you can’t have hatred to get into God’s kingdom,’ I let her have it on that telling her ‘you don’t even believe, one minute you do and the next you don’t. You have a bunch of hatred and bitterness towards everybody and everything, it’s you who won’t get into the kingdom. So, don’t tell me something from Scripture that you can’t explain nor believe it yourself!’

She screamed like there was no tomorrow! She claims she only “went to church to get out of the house,” that’s a lie. Mom is from the South, everybody went to church whether you were a believer or not and my grandma said can’t believe she lies or lying, why is her side of the family always shocked when it comes to mom lying? People do lie!

Spare the rod, spoil the child. My boyfriend explained to me that the verse is talking about disciplining them correctly, show guidance to the children not beating the shit out of them all the time that isn’t gonna help them learn at all! I do agree how people quote that and spoil the hell out of the kids with zero discipline! Yea, I heard people say children have no rights because of the bible. So, why do people out there say ‘oh please, think of the children, spare the children they are just kids!’ If you are gonna say think of the children, stop condemning them every time they speak about the abuse/mistreatment they receive from their families or strangers!

“The truth about this is that if a mother loves her daughter in the true definition of love in the first place, what went around would come back around. But what would ‘come back around’ would be LOVE, mutual respect and a desire to BE in a relationship. Children learn relationship from their parents. Why is it that people who say “what goes around, comes back around” never see it from that perspective?”

Agreed! I told that to therapist and people we learn relationships and conflicts from parents whether it is good or bad, when it’s bad that’s when interventions need to come in! As always, the victims are the obligation to make changes and be responsible is what my therapist would say. This blog, my therapist would disagree or may be partially agree but doesn’t fit her “beliefs!”

“Her words are so commonly used against (adult) children. They are so condemning and laced with guilt and shame. But they are not the truth. When words like that have been used and heard since childhood, they are accepted much more easily as truth, but the truth is very far from her grasp. It is so important for adult children to see this.”

Agreed. My mom uses the whole what goes around comes around, I said yep, you gotta stand before God like everybody else and she blew up! She always says ‘wait until you have kids, look at the hell you’re gonna go through and the shit I had to go through with my selfish ***hole kids!’ I told her ‘I’m sorry, I didn’t realize how miserable you are/you’re life is and since children are so bad and they take you to hell 24/7, then you should’ve did yourself a favor and put us up for adoption!’ OMG, did she go off like there was no tomorrow telling me ‘you make it look like I never loved or took care of my kids,’ I said ‘Nobody needs to make it look like – that’s what it is. You never did a thing as a real mom should have done always expecting everybody else to take care of us instead of you being the adult to take care of us and you should have had a job as you have nothing to your name at all!’ That took care of that lol.

“It is about overcoming and healing from the damage after having been discounted, devalued and defined by the statements and actions of carless and for the most part unloving people. It is about having to submit to the thoughts and value system of our elders, parents, grandparents, grandparents, teachers or any others who placed their importance above ours.”

Agreed. It’s about their beliefs from their old days to our values in our (my generation) because they are always correct! Children’s feelings/values still aren’t placed in high importance today (children are seen but not heard, ring a bell?) and people seem to think that’s okay. The thinking is very dangerous and it scares me then we wonder why these kids growing up to be adults having such severe emotional issues!

“Children should “know their place” and “what goes around comes around”. This comment is so typical of what we were/are told and how we were/are treated.”

Lol I had to laugh at this because I hear this a lot and that’s the attitude my parents have! God made everybody equal including parents and children are equal to one another! Know their place, I used to ask ‘what place are you talking about?’ Never get an answer.


Note to Nasty Nancy: Ephesians 6:4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
So, the Bible does indeed have something to say about parents being abusive to their children. Although I never claimed this verse with my verbal abusive mother. From my age 12 – 66, the year of her death my mother gnawed at my self-esteem with constant criticism for both me an my children, particularly my middle child. However, I never zeroed in on this verse about children, always the “Honor your Father and Mother” because when I would talk to my Grannie about my mother she would say, “I don’t agree with what she does either, but you know what the Bible says!” With my feelings of never doing the right thing I especially wanted to honor God by honoring my father and mother.
Also, if I ever said anything to my mother she would have never spoken to me again, which meant I would not see my father and that my children would have no grandparents, since their dads’ parents were deceased.
Looking back at my life, I now know that I was certainly an imperfect parent. I truly love my children and I think they know that. However, most of their childhood I was more concerned about what other people thought about how they behaved and the reflection on me. As the saying goes, “I wish I had known then what I know now.” I have to tell myself than the past is past and I can only go forward.
Thanks for your articles. I had no idea there were so many people with this type of mother! I believe my mother DID love me, but she didn’t trust me to do the ‘right’ thing in my life, so she felt the need to control me. My brother and I had different mothers in the same person, so my story is not so much like most people on this site, but enough so that I can relate and the stories and comments enlighten my own path.


Hi Betty
Welcome to EFB ~ I can relate to what you said about your brother having different mothers in the same person, that is actually also very common. 🙂
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


Hi Darlene,

I am about to dis-connect contact with my Mum as I feel it is time in my healing journey. However, there is so much guilt about doing it as I often remember her interstate visits and the good times not the bad. The Good Mum not the others that come out only rarely. I have justified her behaviour for so long and accepted her selfish ways as just being her, but for me to move forward with my therapy i need to brake all contact.
Thank you Darlene for you blog, it has helped me in so many ways understand my inner workings.\


OMG! I just found this website for a moment I almost thought someone had been secretly righting about my experiences with my mother. I have just turned 40 and for the last 3 years have had little contact with my mother. After realizing that she had lied and manipulated me for years telling me lies about other family members to keep me isolated. She is always the victim & for years I defended her as such even though it was clear to everyone including myself (if I allowed myself to be truthful) that she didn’t like me at all and I was just there to serve her. She has also always used the ” single mother” excuse. My dad left when I was 12 and had no contact sometimes I wonder if that is true because she is the type that would lie about that kind of thing. She was always telling me that no one would ever love me because it kept me dependent on her. The hardest part for me to understand is she had the MOST WONDERFUL parents and childhood in the world!! One I could only dream of so it makes no sense. The worst of it is that she now takes care of my grandmother who has Alzheimer’s, my grandmother who was literally a mixture of June Cleaver, Glenda the Good Witch and Rose from the Golden Girls and her abuse and manipulation continues. She has isolated everyone from grandma because no one can bare to be around my mom and on top of it has drained my grandmothers bank accounts. Now it is a constant battle of doing the right thing and legally fighting for my grandmother which will mean a huge , ugly , devastating battle . Which everyone is in favor of but no one wants to help with or making sure my grandmother has the bare minimum and only seeing her on holidays when others are present (I refuse to be alone with my mother b/c of her abuse and the lies she tells others). I finally feel like I am achieving some healing when she manages to convince some distant family member or friend that I am horrible and abandoned her and my grandmother which has resulted in passive aggressive and ugly Facebook posts from those she has duped. I didn’t even have children because I was always afraid I would become my mother. She also always used the bible or her being a Christian to defend her actions. I have been blessed to have my own relationship with Christ and to know that what she is serving up is not sanctioned by him. Anyone who has been through this upbringing knows that the negative affirmations and lies that run through your head on a daily basis is a constant battle. I would suggest Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer who is also a recovered victim of abuse. Although it took me literally wearing the CDs out and revisiting from time to time it is a great way to reprogram your thoughts to mirror what Christ believes and thinks of you. She often states that those thoughts are the Devil lying to you and I do believe that. The pain and insecurity my mother caused me with her insults and lies did leave the door open for the devil to repeat those things to me or me to allow others to devalue me. . I know this may sound like some crazy church lady ramblings but call it what you will (bad energy/vibes, negativity, etc.).

What has also helped is I don’t hide anything about her or my experiences. When people ask I tell my truth. No covering up for her or being embarrassed or my experience growing up. What goes around in my experience does come around and she will spend the end of her life alone and living with her choices I hope that she finds a way to heal herself. I work and choose everyday not to be bitter or hateful towards her (some days are more successful then others). I also know that the Christ promises that for my former shame I will receive a double blessing and that is what I choose to focus on. That he has amazing things planned for my life. My mother has always told me no man would ever love me but I have the love of Christ and through that knowledge I learn to love myself more everyday and that is a huge victory that she can not tarnish (although she would say “if I hadn’t been so horrible to you , you would never have been successful). Make your own family, honor yourself and your higher power. Speak and treat yourself with the love you wished and should have been treated with and given when you were a child. I am working on forgiveness and I believe that is honoring my mother but forgiveness DOES NOT in any way mean I have to have her in my life.


Thank You for the shining example of covert narcissism.

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