When Family or Friends say Mean and Hurtful Things



overcoming low self esteem

sometimes it has to be about me…

This morning I was doing research on dealing with dysfunctional family during the holidays.  Everything that I find about this problem has to do with advice regarding ‘acceptance of others’ and how we can’t change anyone else.

I don’t get it; it seems that the solution “out there” is always about acceptance of the people who are doing the damage, and then taking responsibility for YOUR part in it. It is always assumed that each person in the relationship shares part of the blame for the difficulties in family relationships. This 50/50 responsibility for the failure in relationship thing is rarely the way it really is. Think about it this way; in your life, does your family equally share in the success of the relationship according to the way that you were taught the ‘rules of engagement?” 

Even the articles about ‘setting boundary stuff’ are about ‘not engaging’ and not expecting them to change. I never read an article that says, if your family is abusive, humiliating, harassing, degrading or devaluing you, if your family or friends disrespect you privately or publically, then “stay away from them!”

No one ever says that you are RIGHT to have issues with abusive family and that it is okay to stand up to them. They say that if your mother comments on your weight because you are having a second slice of pumpkin pie you should just “let it go”… and “well, you know how she is”… (What does that mean?) Why can’t you say “mind your own business mom, that hurts my feelings” ~ It’s all about keeping the peace and harmony; as though the message is that love is acceptance of abuse! But where does that definition of LOVE come from? Why is it so important that we don’t rock the boat when it comes to ‘family’ no matter what they say? Why is it that it is up to the victim to learn to ‘let it go’ and accept people the (abusive) way that they are?  (The message comes from people who want to live in the system where the one with the most power wins. Just because that message is the most popular message out there, that doesn’t make it a truth based message)

I tried to do this type of acceptance stuff for years and it didn’t make me feel good about myself. Looking back I always felt like I was agreeing with them when I didn’t say anything. Like my silence was consent or at the very least my silence communicated consent.

One time my mother commented that it was a shame that my boobs were not as nice as they used to be before I had 3 children! Why couldn’t I have said to her, “OUCH! What a nasty thing to say MOM”.  What would be so wrong with telling her how mean that comment was?  But I was expected to show love and respect by NOT commenting, or by just letting it go because “you can’t change other people” and the ‘bigger person thing to do’ is to just accept the mean things she says and dismiss them as ‘well, you know how she is”.

And then there are the comments from others, saying “she doesn’t mean to hurt your feelings”. 

What the hell WAS her point in saying that then? What was her motive? Why would a mother say something like that to her daughter?? Did she think I just ‘needed to know?” Did she think it would help me get on with my life if I was aware that my boobs had lost their former beauty? Was her telling me this ‘for my own good’?

She told me another time in reference to one of the grandbabies, that it was ‘too bad her eyes are too close together, and so deep set too; like her fathers eyes’. Was that ‘just a comment’ with no ill will intended? A loving observation? Was that useful information? Was it meant to enrich my life? What was her motive in saying something like that?

What about the time at a family wedding she told my cousin when we were both 19 years old, that it was okay if he slept with me because I was ‘on the pill’.  What was her motive for saying that in front of the whole family? Why would she say that? What made her think she had a right to say something like that, and to my COUSIN which made it seem even worse.

When my son was 2 years old we took him for a haircut and then met my sister-in-law and her husband for dinner. When my husband took our son to the bathroom, she informed me that they had decided that they didn’t like our sons haircut.  HE WAS 2! I wish I would have said “SO WHAT?”  I wish I would have said, “you know, I don’t know why we call you when we are in the city. You are so mean and nasty every time we get together.” What was HER motive in saying that they didn’t like our toddlers haircut? Was it love? Was it to make me feel bad as a mom? Was it just a casual observation with no ill intent?

My mother told me once that my husband had a problem with approval seeking. Where did that come from?  Because he was so nice? Because he wanted them to be comfortable and happy while visiting us? What was her intention for telling me that? If I had told him what she said he might not have served her hand and foot (like the well trained compliant son his father taught him to be) anymore when she came for a visit so I don’t think that was her motive. Was it to make me wrong about ‘who I picked to marry’. Or was it simply to remind me that I didn’t have such a special husband and that I wasn’t as lucky as I thought I was?

I had been so brainwashed with “I am doing this (punishment) for your own good” and “I am telling you this (abusive hurtful thing) for your own good” that I accepted everything anyone threw at me even when looking at certain things ‘logically’, there was no way that the intention behind saying certain things, was for any ‘good’ at all.

My brother told me that my parents were old and they weren’t going to change. I said “SO WHAT?? Does that mean that I have to accept the way they treat me?”  Why do people say things like that; that they aren’t going to change? It makes no sense to me anymore. It used to make sense when I was under the false definitions of love and respect but today I know that it isn’t about them changing. It is about me saying no. It is about me having boundaries and self-respect.   

I don’t agree that people can’t change and until we say something to them about these kinds of comments, until we stand up for ourselves they don’t have any reason or motivation to change; they can have the relationship any way that they want to have it. My silence was consent.

But I am not asking them to change, I am simply deciding that I MATTER and I am not going to put up with the way that they treat me anymore. If they can’t (which means won’t) change, then I guess it is a good thing that I am not in any kind of relationship with them.

When I decided that I mattered, I didn’t stand up to people in hopes of changing them. I stood up for me. When I ‘don’t engage’ today it means that I don’t bother trying to convince them anymore. I don’t try to prove my worth anymore. I don’t have to because I know my worth. Those are the biggest differences. I stood up for me when I no longer cared about the consequences of doing so. Their rejection of me, that rejection I had feared so long, did not originate from when I stood up to them or when they walked away from me, it started many years before that.

I didn’t stand up for myself until I realized that my self-esteem depended on me and not on them. They might have broken it, but it was up to me to fix it. I found a way to restore my own value and today I know that these kinds of comments are not about me but are little truth leaks about the people who say them.  

Recovering from mean and nasty; this is my little snap shot of truth for today; 

Please share your thoughts!

P.S. and just so you know Mom, I am in my 50’s now and my ‘boobs’ are still fantastic. 😛

There is life and laughter on the other side of broken!

Darlene Ouimet

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

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Categories : Family



This is interesting. It comes at just the right time for me too. I’ve cut ties with my neighbors recently just because of the fact that no one could respect me the way I am. I have been verbally attacked in parties at their house many times because of my nationality. Some of the attacks I let go of not being confident enough to know if it would be ok to stand up for myself or if by doing so I would be labelled the bitch of the neighborhood. With half of the people against me, including my husband (soon to be ex), I would’ve been once again rejected by everyone. However, one night, someone went WAY too far. I politely asked her to stop. She didn’t. So I asked again. She was still going at it so I finally stood up for myself and gave her a piece of my mind. I was no longer polite nor was I willing to be nice. The room cleared in a New York minute. My husband who was outside was called in to try to calm me down. Except he never tried before and he certainly wasn’t going to try that night. He did tell me though to drop it. What are you doing? Why can’t you just let it go? You love to argue and pick fights. The next day we had our block party for the 4th of July. The same woman came to me saying hi as if nothing had happened the night before. I ignored her. She sent me an email to apologize, which I accepted but I did tell her that I was born in that country, I will always be a part of it, and by insulting me, you’re also insulting my boys who happened to have dual citizenship. I know I’m going on and on about this but standing up for myself and actually letting people know about their disrespect is something I’m still working on. It’s horribly painful. Especially when no one else shares that passion to break through silence with the truth.


Darlene: I swear that all the words you speak are the words that are inside of me too. Everything you have gone through I have a similar story. I am in the very same place you are right now. Not speaking with my family has been a rebirth for me. Finally, I am number one now and now I speak my truth. I love this rant, as I completely identify with it, and it’s funny how paralleled we are with it! I am too in my 50’s and I too am living my life for me for the first time and it feels great!!! Hugs and kisses to you! <3<3<3


Darlene, this is so wonderful & insightful! Thank you so much for posting your thoughts on this touchy subject.

You wrote: “I tried to do this type of acceptance stuff for years and it didn’t make me feel good about myself. Looking back I always felt like I was agreeing with them when I didn’t say anything. Like my silence was consent or at the very least my silence communicated consent.”

I tried this too…tried holding back the hurt, just to get along, to not make any waves in my family. It always left me feeling hollow inside. It made me feel worthless too.

Why is it ok for the abuser to hurt someone’s feelings, but if that person says something back, that person is out of line, hateful, selfish, or worse? Is it to make the person who wants to have a healthy relationship look bad to others or the abusers? I would love to be able to understand the reasoning behind this…I don’t. It’s absurd, & it makes no logical sense. None of this should happen to anyone at any age.

Maybe this is why society has such a problem with accountability & being responsible for actions both good or bad, but especially bad. This could be the reason why no one is at fault except the person who happened to be on the receiving end. Seems to me that we have a huge problem with people who have narcissistic personality traits. Maybe that’s why when people go on trial for crimes for which they have been caught in the act of committing, they still will plead not guilty. In their eyes, do they really think they had nothing to do with it?


Another great post Darlene! Thank you for all of your encouraging words, especially during this difficult month when it is easy for some of us to just give in and be quiet because of our desire to be around family. But the truth is, while the desire to be around family will always be there, it is a desire to be around a healthy family. And my family of origin doesn’t fit that bill. So sorry guys, but I grew a backbone over the years. So long.

By the way, my mom gave me the boob comment when I was only 18 or 19. She looked me up and down and said “it’s a shame your breasts are sagging at such a young age”. And she also told me my elbows looked old! Crazy old wench. I felt self conscious about both for years, which I now realize was riddiculous. Neither were true then, and even now they’re pretty good for my age. The only person that had both of those things were her. Sometimes I wonder in general how often, if ever, she really saw me at all. Sometimes I feel like I was only a big mirror that she spoke out loud to. Problem is, she didn’t like herself very much, so she never said nice things to that “mirror”.


Hi Celine
I hear you! Sometimes it is really important to talk about this and it is important to ‘hear’ ourselves talk about it too. It is important that we see things through the grid of the truth. It seems that people think they can say whatever they wish (to some poeple) without consequences until we say something. (and then they are stunned). One thing for me that I always say is “the boundary is drawn in the heart” and that means that when I was practicing having a boundary, people still fought me. But now that I have it solid and cemented in my heart, very rarely does anyone say these insulting and blame shifting things to me anymore. That has been a wonderful bonus of doing this healing work!
Good for your for standing up!!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Cathy
Welcome to EFB ~ That’s awesome! I am so glad you are here!
Thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Marla
In a snap-shot it’s all about power and control and the false belief that who ever has it is worthy. People believe in the pecking order system. (certain people rank higher than others~ and that is the root of the lie.
It is much easier to understand how all this works from the ‘other side’. When I took my life and my power back, it all began to make sense. I began to understand what motivates / drives the abuser and manipulator. (all of whom have thier own abusers and minipulators before them ~ thus ‘the cycle of abuse’. But as long as I was trying to figure out the abusers before I was healed, I was held back spinning about them.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Michelle
I felt a little strange/awkward about adding the boob story. It seemed so unbelievable that my mother would say that to me. And almost trivial that I would write about it, but I know it is a typical example of the crazy and mean things that she said. So I am really glad that you posted yours! It’s validating to know that I am not alone in my hurt over that one. My mother had this way of saying things that would make me question everything about myself. And I seriously doubt that she ever saw me for me.
Thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene


Darlene, this is it EXACTLY in my family! This is the constant disagreement I have with EVERYONE else in my family!

“the message is that love is acceptance of abuse!”

And when I say “this is NOT love” they are offended and angry at me! For them to stay together (“enmeshed?”) with each other, they sit there with fozen smiles on their faces as the abuser goes off ranting and raving. When I say something about it, all fingers point to me and the anger is unleashed like a whirlwind! The tornado descends. And then I am accused of “bringing drama” to the “peaceful family gathering.”

“WE DON’T WANT YOU AROUND” is the direct message I am constantly being told. And when I don’t go around, I am “invited back” like a Trojan Horse and Greeks bearing gifts. I just re-read that story today and it makes so much sense.

I have just stayed away for most of my life. I had one “therapist” diagnose me negatively for doing just that: I “refused to accept that people had both good and bad.” And this was my refusal to speak to my father who beat me, sexually molested me, tried to kill me more than once and tried to have me put in jail or reform school when I told on him.

This so-called “therapist” was at Duke University Psychology Clinic in 1990! She determined that “I needed medication and hospitalization” at $1,400.00 per day due to MY EMOTIONAL DYSFUNCTION.*

Not one word about my abusive family. I was at fault because I would not speak to them! Can you believe it?

No wonder our “friends and family” all hold these ridiculous and damaging words. Abusers have held the purse strings and the control for far too many years. It’s time to change the rules and put them in jail, right where they belong. It’s time for THEM to “shut up” and let us live in PEACE. Amen.

* I left Duke University Psychology Clinic and brought a successful lawsyuit against them, and that horrendous experience was the biggest “trigger of my life.” But it cured me of shame because I had to talk in open court about what happened to me, and it brought incest and child abuse out into the open. The psychologists who all testified on the witness stand in defense of Ms. Schoenwald showed themselves to be complete and utter fools, as did she. And it showed me once and for all that “I was not the crazy one, or if I was, I was less crazy than they.”

Major changes had to be made after that. And finally psychiatry and pscyhology no longer aids and abets and protects these criminal abusers. Even a psychiatrist can be jailed for abusing their patients. Fancy that? And priests, too! What is the world coming to? Abusers are getting the justice they have earned. Family members who protect abusers and criminal acts will be held responsible next, as it should be. Their day has come.



Reading these articles feels like I am reading my life story! My father always has something to say and I mean always.. from telling me how I will end up on welfare for being an unwed mother even though I am a college graduate and make more than them. Then when my daughter was born nothing I did was good enough.. I did not wash her clothes good because they faded.. now I think back and I wish I had said.. dude at least her clothes are clean and that is all that matters. Who tells a new mother these things.. my father and my mother the enabler just stood by and watched. Now that he has chosen not to speak to me.. as the months go by I am totally beginning to understand this is probably the greatest thing that has happened to me in awhile!



Reading these articles feels like I am reading my life story! My father always has something to say and I mean always.. from telling me how I will end up on welfare for being an unwed mother even though I am a college graduate and make more than them. Then when my daughter was born nothing I did was good enough.. I did not wash her clothes good because they faded.. now I think back and I wish I had said.. dude at least her clothes are clean and that is all that matters. Who tells a new mother these things.. my father and my mother the enabler just stood by and watched. Now that he has chosen not to speak to me.. as the months go by I am totally beginning to understand this is probably the greatest thing that has happened to me in awhile!


Darlene, you don’t even know how I felt being validated like this. I want to cry. As being talked to with such a genuine way of care is so foreign to me it’s even hard to receive. Suddenly I wonder if I say something the wrong way or just say something wrong I’d get hurt wen more and the good treatment I just received would disappear. Boy! That’s a tough one to explain.
You said “the boundary is drawn in the heart” I LOVE THAT. I’ve been told that my heart is too sensitive though. I don’t make rational decisions because if that. I think by having a sensitive heart, I have the ability to relate to others pain on a much higher, much deeper level. So if it appears to be a curse to others, it is an absolute blessing for me.
The blame shifting thing you talked about is such a huge discovery to me. I had no idea how to call it. Darlene you’re a life savior. Literally.
Blame shifting (I’m loving this) destroyed the little tiny spec of self esteem I had.
The other day, I went back to the gym after not going there for 4 months. Exercising is very important to me. During my break I gained weight and so I was ashamed of going back in front of everybody I know there. I was on the stair master when one of my friends came up to me saying how nice it was to see me back. Then she proceeds to say “nice to see you back Celine, you have a lot of work to do” as she is looking at me from head to toe. I was devastated. As usual, I froze and couldn’t say anything back.


Darlene I want to tell you how I fell for that acceptance and bigger person stuff for many years before I realised that expecting myself (the one abused) to accept and forgive is another way of saying that it is MY problem and that is another way of saying that it is MY fault.
I had years of different counsellors and psychotherapists expecting me to ‘do the work’ ‘want to change”take power responsibility and charge’ by being the adult and accepting and forgiving . . .and I now feel that every time I listened to that stuff it was exactly the same emotionally for me as when my parents asked what I had done to bring bad stuff on myself – it is just another way to blame the victim – telling us it is because we dont think the right way (CBT etc)or believe the right things about ourselves is just a secondary attack on us and our sense of self.
I do not want to be all about shifting blame from them to me and back again.
I just want to be allowed to tell the truth about how I really feel and what effect people had on me without being told I should change it for the therapists or my parents or anyones benefit.


I’ve gotten to a point now, that it really doesn’t matter what my FOO thinks. I’ve been rejected since childhood & that has not changed. I used to try harder to get their validation by just being the better person, overlooking mean comments & doing much of the work in having a so-called relationship. My mom & dad have said many hurtful things to me. Commenting about my looks & my behavior. The message was that I had to be perfect. It never occurred to me to say, “That was hurtful!” I don’t just take it anymore & value being my own person. I now know my worth & validate my feelings. Also, what you said about hurtful comments…What are their motives? & Where are their comments coming from?…The comments speak about them.. Projection of their own negativity & insecurities. Abusers/Control Freaks know what they are doing & resent being called out on their behavior. An important step for me was realizing I can accept others for who they are, however, I don’t accept abuse. There is a big difference. Also, by choosing not to visit my parents sends the message that I don’t care what they think. I know that I’m taking care of myself by not going there! The consequences being that I’m the bad guy for ignoring them- that is how they think…The truth is my FOO has rejected me all along.


OMG this is so my family. I had a son with Aspergers and TOurettes, often I get comments about his differences and his behaviour, they are not helpful or supporting they are judgemental and often mean. Thank you for this article.


tried to delete comment but not able to. what I meant in the message was I have a son with aspergers not I had. (second message made it even more confusing)


I love this post! I was dealing with this literally just last night!! My family dynamics have always been off and going over there is always a “joy”. Literally, I would have been much more respected had I been born a boy. So, I dealt with sly offhand comments, condescending tones, and inquiries about how I was doing that were just veiled attempts at seeing where I had possibly failed.

I’ve always tried to stand up for myself and always been labeled the bitch, psycho, or feminist for it. Those same comments of “just ignore it” were always sent my way and I agree with you it puts blame on the victim. How is it that we are to stay quiet and not defend ourselves (even nicely), but they can say abusive hurtful things?? You are quite right about this being a power struggle and an attempt to keep victims down and powerless because those on top like their power.

Though reading your blogs I am seriously considering cutting off major ties.


Catherine, You are such a strong woman for fighting back against a corrupt system. That must have been so much to go against!!! Thank you for fighting for all of us =) Maybe that scared the crooked doctor’s enough that we will get more of the good ones from now on.


Hi everybody,

I’d like to thank Darlene for welcoming me aboard earlier today. Not even 24 hours ago I discovered this website and quite scarily, I quickly saw that I was seeing my own life story reflected in the stories and comments of others.

I was raised by a “family” that parented by using guilt, threats, bribes, and conditional “love” to get the results that they wanted from me. My parents needed validated, damnit, and they were going to sacrifice my dreams and happiness to get what THEY needed!

At the time it was happening, I never knew that I could refuse the demands of my parents. Because I feared they would reject me, and that would be my demise. Now at age 45 I have removed my rose colored glasses and have begun to see these people for who they really are. Controlling, selfish, and very insecure.

I’ve been exercising a lot lately. Exercising the finger between my index finger and my ring finger. Not using it, but just getting it ready for deployment. You never know when it might be necessary to tell someone that they need to mind their own business. That their “advice” is not needed or appreciated, and that I am far wiser and in a better position than they are to make the best choices for the path of MY LIFE now. I’ve begun to take my life back, and I certainly will not be living up to anyone’s expectations but MY OWN.

I’m sure you all are aware, but I maybe just need to type the following for me. BOYS AND YOUNG MEN (and even adult men) are not immune from emotional abuse. To all the ladies out there, please know that us guys get put through the meat grinder too. We understand and share your pain. But we can also share with you the joy of our journey of recovery!


My best to all of you, always!



Thank you for saying it in an easy to understand format. I have mental health dx. It means I have no emotional skin so to speak. I am raw and exposed. I couldn’t attain stability until I was able to give myself permission to walk away from people who like to verbally poke me with sharp nasty words. No one can judge me as hard as I judge myself, no one has the right to pour salt on my emotional wounds, imagine the outcry if you went to a burns ward and started throwing acid around. Yet much of my treatment model suggests that I allow that to happen to me unchallenged. I have the dx and the disability yet I am asked continually by professionals to let it go, let it pass, understand the conditions of the people who hurt me even if they make no allowances for the things that I experience. I can only play by those rules with people who choose to play by those rules too. Some people and situations are toxic and I give myself the permission to put as much distance between them and me as I can. I give myself permission to tell them why if they are important enough to me to warrant it. If not I allow myself to remove myself from thier orbit without a word of explanation. I have never been given a reasonable explanation of the way I have been treated. What was the need to let me know “You better develop your brain girly cause no one’s gonna want you for your face” or ” You’re not pretty like your sisters but we love you anyway” ” You will never be beautiful but you are vivacious ( which at 9yrs of age I thought was a cross between vicious and ugly)” Well at 54 I can tell you I am stable, connected, in a committed and loving relationship, have parented successfully, tertiary educated, assertive, articulate, funny, creative, awake, alive, joyful,sincere, honest, have my integrity intact all despite your unwelcome, uneeded and unkind words. You act surprised that i have such a full life, real friends and people I love who love me. The reality is you have become the strange, isolated, lonely and bitter person you kept reminding me I was gonna be. It wasn’t that I didn’t tell you, ask you, beseech you to change. I did and you chose not to.


This is a brilliant post Darlene. I can’t believe that your mother just announced to everyone that your cousin could sleep with you! That’s so sick and wrong.

I remember one time when I was 19 my mother actually lifted up my shirt in order to look at my stomach so that she could comment on my weight, a subject that was surely none of her business. At those last few holiday meals I spent with my “family” there were always endless comments about the fact that I didn’t eat the same food as them, on account of my allergies. My mother would usually find some moment mid-meal to loudly confront me in front of everyone about what I was eating and make derisive comments about it. My sister also had seemingly no filter to what she would say about me, always finding little in-ways to make derisive comments about my hair, my shoes, the food I eat. Things I would never have said to her.

My mother also claimed that she was too old to change, when she was just in her mid-fifties. That isn’t too old, but even if it was, that still doesn’t let her off the hook for not changing when she was younger, like before I was born. Or was she “too old to change” in her twenties as well? Whatever.


Mean and nasty. People are mean and nasty. It goes farther than that too. It makes bullying acceptable, “they’re just kids, they’ll work it out”. It makes gay bashing normal behavior. It makes racism and extremists run of the mill. I deign to say that this is how things have been for a long long time. I just question why. When we can improve our species and learn and apply and not be ridiculed or put down for being honest about things that are wrong and should be questioned and changed, why not do that?. Because other people benefit from our confusion and our limitations
“Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results.” from the author Rita Mae Brown in her book Sudden Death on Pg. 68 from 1983.
“The reason I talk to myself is because I’m the only one whose answers I accept.”
? George Carlin


Hi Catherine
I think a lot of therapists and mental health professionals, like so many other human beings, give advice through their own dysfunctional situations and denial of what is really best. I hear stories every day about pastors and therapists alike who have made the victim the problem and told the victim that he or she needs to ‘accpet’ things that in truth and by law, people should be put in prison for.
Thanks for sharing
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Amber
At least we can say these things to ourselves now. We can finally know that we were not wrong, that what had been said to us was wrong. The way we were ‘regarded and disregarded’ was wrong. Those careless statements that cause so much damage were not something we deserved.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Celine
I can relate to your first sentences where you said that you were afraid to lose what little bit of “nice” treatment that you got! That is exactly how the grroming process works. We beg for those ‘scraps’ of ‘love’ and we put up with such nasty treatment because we are afriad to lose those tiny, once in a while scraps. Then when we meet someone that actually does care, we often mistrust and freeze and fear before we can even take in a little bit of good treatment.
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Di
Great points!! It IS exactly the same. It is a ‘re-abuse’ ~ first of all the abuse itself is not validated, it is dismissed, and then you are reprimanded for not getting over something that has NEVER been validated in the first place. (same with those horrible directives to ‘forgive’ ~ when the abusive treatment has never even been acknowledged!
Thank you so much for sharing.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Sonia/ SMD
YAY that it doesn’t matter what they think anymore. (it makes no difference anyway~ they will think what ever they want) People say that I am ‘courageous’ for writing this blog but the truth is that I write it because I have nothing to lose. In other words no matter what I did I was to blame anyway; might as well live in the truth and in freedom and share it with others. Thanks for your comments!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Marg
Welcome to EFB!
Yes, these types of people will use any excuse they can to be ‘higher’ on the totem pole and ‘rule’ over others.
Thanks for your comments.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Meg
Yes isn’t it interesting how those ‘lables’ come about?? Because we stick up for ourselves or our thougths, we are called a ‘bitch’? This is so so common in dysfunctional relationship based on the pecking order system! I was taught that compliance is love and until I realized that I was not loved in the way that I was taught love was, I was stuck there.
Thanks for sharing
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Charley
Welcome (again) to emerging from broken)
You bring up a good point in highlighting that they think they know what is best for you. When I started coming out of the fog I realized what an insult it was that I wasn’t validated on any of my decisions or when I was sneered at for making my own decisions. I was frozen in the fear of making the wrong decision because I was so afraid of the rejection if I did. But I started to notice that there was no way to win anyway. The truth was that none of it made sense, which worked for them because I was always ‘off balance’ not sure of what was coming. As long as I couldn’t think straight, other people could pull me in every direction.
Thanks for sharing
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Coral
Welcome to Emerging from Broken
What was said to you were horrible things to say to a person. And when those statements begin young, they get stuck in there. They become the way a person gets ‘defined’.
I am so glad that you stood up to it and I love your list of qualities and accomplishments!
Thank you for sharing
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Caden
I thought about saying that to my brother too when he said they were too old to change. I thought about asking him, well what about when they were younger then? They had us when they were young.
I broke the cycle and I don’t think that I am all that special or different, I think that I wanted something better for MY kids. (and myself!) and I found a way to stop the cycle of abuse. Because I was determined. Because I was sick of a funky system. I searched for over 25 years to find some sort of freedom from the pain I was in before I found ‘the truth’ that I talk about here.
I say “whatever” now too. It is great not to be around such oppression anymore!
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene

Hi Bipolar Bear!
Yes, there is the message of acceptance when those statements are spoken! Those statements ‘normalize’ abuse! and Excuse it! And it is so wrong.
Thank you for sharing.
Hugs, Darlene


Wonderful article, thank you.


Hi everyone,

I want to tell you how it hurts to be rejected and hated by our family.
This Christmas period is very hard.

I ran away at 19 from my parents house because I was in danger due to my father.
I locked this pain deep in my self because it hurts so much and the damage they caused me is so huge that original pain to be rejected is a feeling that I forget.
But it hurts and everyday. There are always triggers in my present life who bring back this pain to the surface. I want to cry, for this little girl and baby who hadn’t the chance to have parents entirely for her.

I have problems to deal with the fact that I have to be on my own, to have nobody on who I could count, trust, who is truely interested by me. It hurts.

All people doesn’t suffer like that. There are people who have more chance with more normal parents and support.
It hurts.

Thank you for reading.


This is so spot on!! A lot of truth and wisdom. My mother was smart enough not to be so blatant with her put-downs, especially in front of other people, which made it even harder to stand up to. That way she could deny any wrong-doing on her part and accuse me of misinterpreting things. (For example, she would criticize my physical appearance from head to toe and suggest ways to ‘hide’ my physical flaws such as wearing long skirts to cover up my skinny legs, don’t part my hair down the middle because it draws too much attention to my nose, don’t wear my hair behind my ears since I inherited the big ears from my dad’s side of the family, etc. This, in her words, was constructive criticism designed to help me. Yes, that really helps a kid feel good about herself!) This is why it took me so long to really understand what was going on between us. We are told we are over-sensitive and over-reacting when we try to stand up for ourselves, not only by our abusive mothers but by family members, outsiders, even our so-called friends. This is why it’s so hard to fight back. This is why we get so depressed and escape the internal pain with substance abuse.


dmgo have you noticed how truly sensitive people would not describe someone else as over-sensitive. Only under-sensitive people have need of the idea.
You are precisely the amoount of sensitive that you are – that is -you feel what you feel . .and no amount of fancy labelling will confuse me anymore
in solidarity


I was a regular on the Facebook page and mentioned I wanted to start healing. Darlene suggested I might consider registering on the website for the articles. I am so glad. This is the first article I read and I must say it HIT a home run. The “they will never change” “you know how they are” are common comments” in my family regarding my parents as dismissal for humiliating me in public and private. I often have tried to emotionally detach however then they engage my 28 year old and it becomes a three way tag team…my adrenalin starts pumping and my fight or flight kicks in despite my best attempts to stay detached.
One of the most ironic things I have noticed is let an outsider of the family insult me and they are outraged anyone would hurt my feelings…what a dichotomy I live…what a mixed message, my head spins…
one thing i have some to realize through all of this is they may have broke my self identity, my abusive marriage may have not helped it but i am not dependent on their opinion of me..i will raise my value some how some way..and i believe my road may have started here with EFB..thank you Darlene. I am grateful!


Great to see some more men commenting. I haven’t commented latley but I found it was very valadating to be heard. It’s great everyone can have a voice!


Hi Aurele
Yes, this time of year was really hard for me for the first couple of years. And you articulate ‘why’ very nicely. I learned to be for me what they never were for me and that is how I was able to embrace a full and happy life. It isn’t fair that this happens, I agree, but it does happen; they broke me, but I had to fix me.
I am glad you are here
Hugs, Darlene

Hi dmgo
Great example of exactly how sneaky this whole thing is. And it starts when we are so young, so it is hard to sort it out. If I had said to my mother and kind of critical critisim, she would have freaked out and frankly I would never have dared and yet when she did it to me, it was constructive. The clarity for me came when I saw the different sets of rules. One for her, another for me. That is not love or equality. And yes, yes yes… that is exactly why we get depressed etc. That is what my work is all about. Exposing the roots of the whole thing.
Thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene


Great point Di!

Hi Jim!
Nice to hear from you! (for those of you who don’t know, Jimmy B. is my husband and he reads here frequently.
Hugs (and kisses)

37 make a very good point about a double standard.
I have always been held accountable and they have never been.

My family, usually only my family, have always said hurtful, demeaning, belittling things to me. They are very judgemental and don’t see that I have a right to be myself.
I was taught
very young by my mother to never respond to nasty, hurtful, demeaning statements because it
would cause more problems. Take it quietly no matter how hurtful and move on. Don’t question or talk back. Talking back was rude.

If a family member made fun of me they had cause because I was ‘different’. My
difference from what they approved of, was inherently “bad.” So then they were justified.
They are so far above me that they are “justified” in abusing me. Now there’s a thought.

I have never known that I had the right to speak up. I was taught not to.
I was the only one held accountable for my words or actions. They were and are not accountable for theirs.

Until I went NC, my brother would call once a month and always start a phone conversation with a derogatory remark about me. The conversation then would be him belittling anything I said I had done or enjoyed.
Politeness and never speaking up to any belittling remark has always been a norm for me.
I then resent how I was treated and depending on how bad the treatment was and my anger
about it, I would lose control of my emotions and self harm.
I did it for at least 50 years. This was just proof to me that they were right.

When last my brother visited we were heading out in the car to a new spot and I was checking the GPS on my phone for the address. I have a new app that speaks just like the dash mounted
ones and I was showing it to him.. his remark…”Does it say shut up Karen?” floored me. I sat
in silence and the conversation went on around me. I’m 58 years old, not 10 and I sat there and I never said a word. Although he is staying in our house on vacation and we are taking him to lots of fun places, he felt that that remark
was his right, because after all it was said to me. I think it was meant to belittle me. I have always been tech savvy and had the newest stuff and lets face it, his phone is just a phone.
When we showed him the new family room we built with the 58″ HD TV he looked at it and declared it “old technology” because our TV was 2 years old???
This post really hits home for me because those are the only things I hear from my family..
mean and hurtful.


I have to get this off my mind. The tragedy in England has be bothered & upset. The incident regarding the Prank call that was made to a nurse, who gave out confidential info about the Royal baby. Don’t know if you know, but what happened is that a DJ from Australia made a Prank call to this hospital & was transferred to the nurse. Whenupon, the nurse took the call seriously & gave out private info. Well, it got out & she was so ashamed/humiliated that she took her life over it. It’s heartbreaking. I’m arguing the point with my husband that the Prank was harmful & over the top. He came back that I’m always on the victims side….Yes, that’s nothing new…He knows me & I advocate for others who are victimized like I was. We can’t seem to agree on issues like this. It’s like he takes the abuser’s side. He has a point that the victim should of known better that the Queen would not call the hospital. Well, she thought it was real. A big mistake that got out of hand. It’s such a shame!…I think the DJ’s are responsible for their behavior, yet ultimately not her decision to end her life. It is a Tragedy!…I don’t know what can be done about this?…Maybe pass some laws about pranking…It overstepped the boundaries…Maybe the HIPPA laws are not strict enough in Australia like they are here. I don’t really know. All I know is that the whole incident is upsetting to me.
Thanks for listening!


Hi Darlene, What your mother said to you about your boobs wasn’t just mean and nasty, it was weird. It shows me how much she objectified you in her thinking. My dad used to make comments about my body and I still cringe inside when I remember the things he said.

We live in a culture that values power and I believe that is why people side with the abuser rather than the victim. They view the abuser as having more power. This will never change unless, the cultural view changes and victims are seen as having the same inherent value as all others. However, the idea of inherent value seems to be waning rather than waxing. There’s a lot of work to do to change people’s attitudes.



Aurele, I too find the Holiday season especially hard. If I could skip it entirely I would. It holds no
happiness only bad memories in childhood. Later when my husband and I moved far away, my parents would come for a month long visit at Christmas and bring the unhappiness with them.
It is doubly hard seeing the TV portray happy families when ours were not. I would like to give you a big hug across the miles and say that I am happy to know you.
Karen Ranes


I don’t think gender has anything to do with who gets abused. David Peltzer has written several books on his mother’s abusive behavior directed solely at him, & he was the oldest of several boys…no girls. There are plenty of boys who get abused by either or both parents. I think most just hide it for various reasons. Isn’t that unfortunate too? No child should be abused. Children deserve to be protected & guided during their early years. Not systematically dressed down because the parent (or other abuser has issues). Nor do I think that abuse only happens to children…clearly, it can go on for as long as it’s tolerated. Obviously, we all need to recognize it when it happens instead of having a delayed reaction…realizing hours, days, or even longer down the road that so & so said something rude, abusive, etc. We have to catch the perpetrator in the act to turn things make it clear bad behavior is not cool. They’re not going to like it…that’s upsetting the status quo. But too bad! We deserve to have dignity & to be respected.

I am no different. As a child, my dad called me some pretty mean names: fatty, fat ass, & even worse! Mom did too. What did I do? NOTHING! I let both of them get away with it…even though it hurt my feelings. I was just a kid, & was taught to respect my elders…even when they did not respect me. Dad still likes to call me names, & my husband too. He always comments on just how fat we both are. Those aren’t the only things he’s said that have upset me either. Funny thing is, my dad is not God’s gift to anyone…there’s nothing attractive about him…certainly not a winning personality. I’m tired of people like him making me feel powerless like a little kid all over again.

It’s like someone who gets punched in the face & then asked, “you were the one to walk into my fist…didn’t you?” There’s no apology or responsibility by the perpetrator, instead they act like it was not their fault at all & did nothing wrong. So much healing to do…to repair the damage that didn’t need to happen.

I think this time of year just brings out the absolute worst in some people. Yes, it’s a beautiful time of year for many with lots of opportunities to get together with loved ones. However, it’s also a great time for abusers who just love hitting people with verbal jabs. Why do we put up with it as adults just like we did as kids? We’re indoctrinated to accept it…brainwashed by those who should have protected us instead. If we do say something, that makes us the bad guys? Oh well then…that’s too bad. Too many of us go through life treading lightly because we don’t want to make waves or hurt someone else’s feelings, especially our abuser’s. But often times if we don’t stand up for ourselves (even if it does hurt the abuser’s feelings…it’s only because they got caught!) who will? Personally, I’ve been left on my own when it would have been nice to have someone else back me up instead of having to always go it alone. Seems like those of us who have been mistreated are our own best advocates though. Truth is if someone doesn’t want to be called out for his/her bad behavior, he/she should not have started the trouble in the first place. Too many are used to getting away making snide remarks about weight, appearance, personality, intelligence, or something else. It’s time to say enough is enough…if they don’t like it, then they shouldn’t dish out the abuse. The double standards need to stop. I

One nice thing is we may not be able to choose our family or if they’re healthy or not, but we can choose the kind of people we want to associate with. I have done quite a bit of pruning over the years & have cut off people who think I should be at their beck & call, but if I need anything, disappear until they need something again. Also gone are those who are not respectful to me. I am making healthier choices now….that doesn’t mean that dysfunction won’t rear its ugly head from now on out, but hopefully, I’ll be able to see it for what it is before I get caught up in the mess as I have in the past. I’d much rather get to the root of a problem & nip it in the bud before allowing things to get out of control which sends the wrong messages…I am okay with being used &/or abused. Maybe I can have good people surround me for the remainder of my time left on earth. I can only hope!

So thankful for this forum & subjects.


Thanks you for publishing this article. I just returned from an out-of-state court appearance that pitted me against a physical abuser, my brother, and the rest of my dysfunctional family.

I was more accepted by my family when I “accepted” the abuse and stayed silent. But the more I developed boundaries and refused to be abused, the more the fury increased.

It all came to a head a little over a year ago. I got into an argument with my brother and he grabbed me by the neck and slammed me into a brick wall. As I was on the phone with 911, my sister demanded that I hang up the phone. I was blamed immediately for what happened. They told me I “brought this on myself.” That was when I realized that no one in my family cared enough to protect me. After surgery to reset the five facial fractures and broken eye socket, I returned to my parents’ home and was left alone with my assailant. That was when I realized my family didn’t care at all about my emotional and physical needs. I filed for protection from abuse and left my family.

This past monday, my mother and brother-in-law entered the courtroom prepared to testify against me and saying that I am crazy. I prepared for court by reading this blog. Each post that I read gave me strength to stand-up against my abusers and not fear a trial. Thank you for a voice and for strength.


“I would like to give you a big hug across the miles and say that I am happy to know you”.Thank you so much Karen, a big hug from all my heart too.


Christina, I applaud your courage and self-advocacy in standing up for your rights and taking your brother to court! I was also physically abused by my older brother for a number of years, and sadly he just got away with it. Because my family, like yours, blamed me for it and took his side, tolerated the obvious signs and left me so invalidated and afraid that I couldn’t do anything back then. So, good for you! Breaking the silence and holding your own against them is so much in itself.

take care,


Aurele sweetheart, I know what you’re going through. That immense void inside that awaits to be filled. Yes, you’re right, not everybody hurts like this. And no, it isn’t fair that WE have to go through so much pain. Rejection is absolutely horrible. Trust me, I know, I live it every day :0( but you sound like such a wonderful person. I so wanna give you a hug too, hold you tight and tell you honestly that I’m here when you need to. Here on EFB I found kindness, understanding, care, honesty and the list goes on. It is such an important support. We all feel that pain. I will validate because I KNOW what it feels like. So don’t forget Aurele ok? We’re for you and each other. Much love.


Christina, I’m so proud of you. Standing up for yourself that way is an act of standing up for all abuse victims. Thanks you for not backing down and accepting your abuse.



Hi Karen
Realizing the double standard was really important for me. Although it was “obvious” it was almost shocking when I realized it. The different rules that apply to the ‘who ever is ‘on top’ or over someone else. It is so nuts! It was really hard for me to finally realize that I would NEVER be regarded as an equally valuable person ‘to them’.
Thanks for sharing Karen ! hugs, Darlene

Hi Pam
Great comments. Ya what she said WAS mean and nasty and weird too! When I came out of the fog I realized that TONS of things my mother said were weird. Not acceptable. Things that were driven by something other than love. I am glad that she can’t hurt me like that anymore. I think that many people side with who ever they are the most afraid of.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Marla
I agree that gender has nothing to do with who gets abused. Isn’t it pathetic though that these people target children who are so defenseless and powerless? I mean these people who only go after anyone weaker (physically OR emotionally) weaker than themselves~ that is so pathetic. I remember when I became aware of how pathetic they were… my father in law was first on the list for me ~ I just couldn’t stop the disgust that came in waves and waves and I kept saying “wow, he is SO pathetic”.
Thanks for sharing.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Christina
Wow, good for you! Thank you for sharing this story! This is so inspirational to hear that you drew a boundary like this and backed it up with the law. And isn’t it disgusting that your brother did that to you and your family stood with HIM and called YOU crazy? What a mixed up world!
Hugs and love, Darlene


I love this post! My mother actually said that “it takes two to tango” after my husband of 27 years decided to abandon me. I was totally blindsided by my now ex., but nobody believed me!! Especially my mother. My sister always says…well she’s old and means well. No more, I spend my Christmases now with just me and my new hubby of two years. He has had similar family experiences and totally understands . I am blessed, but still get sad this time of year for what I have gone through. Joyce Meyer’s books and teaching have helped me a lot because she went through abuse as a child. I contantly pray and try to stay positive thoughts. It really helps!
This website has also helped me to not feel like such an outcast! Thank you Darlene!!


Hi Darlene, my Mom criticised me from the moment I remember. As an adult when I finally realised it said more about her than it did about me I started to push her into an outer (boundary) circle further and further away, the final straw being a rude personal comment about me to a stranger within my hearing, till basically our contact was minimal. She is now aged and frail and I found the gap was distressing me as her death would have given me huge regret for the loss of a close relationship.
So I made another choice … she seemed softer and more open to conversation and during our chats I slowly told her how I felt re the criticisms, laced with the good stuff and acknowledging how difficult her life had been (sexually abused as a child, wars etc). I told her what I needed and started saying “I love you” to her (so difficult at first). I got to know her and bought her back, not quite to an inner circle but very close.
My siblings and children are now saying “wow, Grandma has changed she says she loves me and is proud of me”. So many relationships have changed and improved and people have healed, including me.
I was careful with my Mom’s feelings, didn’t want to become critical which is useless. Time cannot be rewound but healing can start at any stage of a relationship I found.


Great post Darlene. Can relate. I have decided sometime ago to let people know that I don’t like what they say to me at times. Before I would shut up and say nothing. I now speak up for myself and in doing so I have lost a lot of friends and family members. I won’t be bullied anymore. Cause to me that is what they are doing. Is bulling. I’m not the good and quiet one these days and I don’t care.


Darlene. Very powerful post. I have lived with guilt because many years ago I found myself growing away from my family. I have viewed it as them not wanting anything to do with me more and more over time. Now I am realizing that it had a lot to do about being judged. After being sexually abused over years by an uncle, physically, emotionally and verbally abused by my father all my life, then neglected by my mother when I really needed her and told by her to leave home 4 days after high school graduation I am amazed at how many people have told me what I need to do to make the relationships right. [[[So it is my responsibility, just like it was my fault that I was abused and neglected. I need to take responsibility for all of it. They did the best they knew how. I should forgive them.]]] Once at my grandmother’s funeral I was taken aside by an aunt and she told me it was time to put all this behind me, to let it all go, to forgive my mother. She told me what a good person she is and I need to move on and stop dwelling on the past. I did not understand at the time why her comments made me so angry, confused, guilty and full of shame. I didn’t know what to do so I held everything in and did nothing. I am nearly 60 years old now and this post and the comments have helped me immensely. Thank you Darlene. As usual you have shown me that I am not alone and the feelings I have are legitimate and I can love and value myself. Thank you Darlene!


Your story sounds so hopeful & I’m glad it worked out for you. Some parents don’t want to work it out & they would rather keep their false pride, before they would ever reconcile. I believe my FOO are the later. I sent out a message to my dad inviting him and my mom to my house for Christmas this year. Would rather have it here, than visit their house, where they can do & say whatever they want. They tend to behave at my house. Anyway, I did mention I will not be inviting my brother for he shunned my children & I last year. No card, no getting together & unfriended me on facebook. He has not tried to reconcile since then. Anyway, I’m drawing a boundary & if my dad comes back at me saying I need to reconcile (basically it’s my fault)….I will come back with the truth. I was shunned which I haven’t done that to him. He is the one who cut me out. I’m the scapegoat & I’m not going there anymore. It’s time to put shine the light on their behavior!…Sorry, this is a bit of a rant. Yet, I felt inclined to share.


sounds familiar – I was told by family members that I was fat, not as pretty as my cousins (true, but did they need to say it?), that my kid wasn’t as adVanced or Cute as the other grandkids, etc. Ugh.


Thank you Céline :)for your kinds words, it moves me deeply.

Thank you Darlene too.


Catherine Todd at comment #8 said:

“* I left Duke University Psychology Clinic and brought a successful lawsyuit against them, and that horrendous experience was the biggest “trigger of my life.” But it cured me of shame because I had to talk in open court about what happened to me, and it brought incest and child abuse out into the open. The psychologists who all testified on the witness stand in defense of Ms. Schoenwald showed themselves to be complete and utter fools, as did she. And it showed me once and for all that “I was not the crazy one, or if I was, I was less crazy than they.”

Major changes had to be made after that. And finally psychiatry and pscyhology no longer aids and abets and protects these criminal abusers. Even a psychiatrist can be jailed for abusing their patients. Fancy that? And priests, too! What is the world coming to? Abusers are getting the justice they have earned. Family members who protect abusers and criminal acts will be held responsible next, as it should be. Their day has come.”

Yes, Catherine’s strength to go after the psychologist (who behaved exactly like malignant narcissists / sociopaths do), way back in 1990, is amazing.

More need to do that, and do it quickly, for statute of limitations exist. But, the dynamics of abuse dictate that the victim is in such a fog, for so long, when they come out of the fog to realize they have rights, there’s crimes that had been perpetrated, and they are now strong enough to do something about it, the statutes of limitation have passed.

A bad circular problem.

Solution: Spreading awareness, teaching young people, and maybe fighting to change the statute of limitations laws (rape is 7 years, I believe – abuse should be the same), for a window of time which would expire, in order to enact a cultural paradigm shift to stop this rampant aiding and abetting of abuse, and instead, replace it with helping victims, instead of shifting blame to victims.


Hi Julie
Saying things like “it takes two to tango” is exactly what I am talking about! And wow, talk about a slap in the face by your own mother! It’s horrible how many of our own parents NEVER take our sides and stand for us instead of against us!
Thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Suse
Welcome to EFB!
Thank you for sharing your victory story with your mother.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Denise
Awesome, good for you! It hurt that people ‘dumped me’ because I stood up for myself but as I grew stronger in the truth about the way it was before, I realized that I didn’t miss the way it was at all!
Thanks for sharing
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Stanley
Excellent highlights! This is exactly what I am talking about! Your feelings are totally legit!
Thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Mary
Welcome to EFB ~ NO they certainly did not ‘need’ to say that. That is a horrible thing to say and who says it is true? It is a put down statement meant to hurt.
Something that I found out later is that many of the people who say such nice things about others in the family, are saying just as many nasty things about them to other people. It all depends on the motive with ‘who they are talking to”.
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Danna
Welcome to EFB
I think also that the more parents that come out of the fog and heal, the better chance that the young people and the future generations have. The more people who heal from the trauma they have suffered and are empowered to talk about it the more awareness and permission others will have.
hugs, Darlene


Update on donations;
Since posting my request for donations a few days ago, I have gratefully received 3 donations totalling $55.00. It costs me $200.00 a month to maintain this site. When I don’t get enough donations, I have to pay them out of own pocket. I spend a minimum of 6 hours a day on this website, answering comments and writing new articles. It cost me thousands of dollars for the therapy, schooling and courses that I took in order to qualify me to do this work that I freely share with all of you. Please, please, consider contributing to the maintenance of this site. I don’t think that it is fair that I contribute so freely to this community and have to pay for the expenses of it too. I understand if you are unable to donate, this is not intended to make anyone feel ‘bad’. I am just stating my needs. Please help if you can.
Hugs, Darlene


I haven’t been in any contact with my family for around two years, but I remember trying to stand up for myself, and trying to change , and a few times trying to point out things that could be changed so that holidays….and relationships might go smoother. I think now that I had such low self esteem that I caved and ended up trying harder to make things more cheerful and fun when I was around everyone, and they always took that for me being okay to be treated any old way they chose to treat me. The reality was that I always loved the holidays , but most of my family either didn’t, or they really felt they were doing their duty in the family to attend the big dinners…and that was also true of aunts and uncles. It was always a time for bragging amongst the adults…everyone was “expected” to be successful….with money, position, and possessions, so I never fit in. Being a nice person got you nowhere and wasn’t valued very highly based on my experiences. My family constantly had someone in mind to cut down and criticize for looks, low paying job, something they did that didn’t sit right with the family etc….so I tried to hide out in the kitchen and keep busy washing dishes and cleaning the kitchen for my Grandmother, who actually was the only nice person there. One year there was even more extended family and my dad said to me in front of a number of them ,”why are you so pale?! You look like you glow in the dark!” and then he turned and walked away. My aunt at the same dinner ….my dad s sister…..also said ” you look like a school teacher in that outfit!”. In front of other relatives, of course! I believe now that somehow I irritated them because I didnt make THEM look good in front of the visiting relatives AND I think that I was having a nicer time than they were because some of my cousins were ther who were my age. My cousins were horrified for me and couldn’t understand the behavior of my dad and aunt, but I think today that I made an easy “target” to project their anxiety and negative feelings onto. I will never know for sure, but what gave them that right to say those things to me? Nothing!!! I think it is so true that people CAN change if they want to, but I have found that so many people aren’t interested in stopping their unacceptable behaviors. They get away with it for too long and are blinded to anyone else’s feelings….they have little empathy! I never fully co frites my parents or brothers….or aunts and uncles for the very cruel things they did or implied about me be ause I didn’t have the courage and wasn’t in a place of healing and feeling my strength and feeling secure within myself to do so. That is all changed now! I don’t have any interest at all in ever trying with my family again, but I now don’t allow anyone else to treat me the way they did. It can be in very small, hardly discernible ways, but if I sense it is happening, I find a way to stop the person. I now am able to actually see how many people all around me that I used to believe were nice, but they just had issues I would need to overlook and put up with to remain friends with…..are actually no different towards me than my parents, except that they don’t physically abuse and neglect me. However, chronically unhappy, unchanging people want to one-up, play subtle put down games with me , and want all of the attention and praises and everything all on THEM and only them. It is so interesting to begin to see this and to stop it before I get dragged into it! It feels good to be free. Free of toxic family that didn’t appreciate me or like or love me….and to be free of being that sitting duck!


Hi Diane
Exactly! They had no ‘right’ to say those things. And yes, people can change if they want to! I have seen it even with mean and emotionally abusive people. They can change IF they want to.
I can really relate to your comments about looking back and realizing how much I overlooked in order to be ‘accepted’ in the past. Wow. it was always up to me to carry the entire burden of relationships with dysfunctional people! ugg.
YAY for being free!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Darlene,
I was thinking of you this morning…then found this post…which fits with me right now. I have been thinking about silence and just letting things go and accepting that that’s who they are. But I asked myself today if the relationship continues to hurt me why stay in it? Because they’re my parents? So what? My current beef with them is that they live in another state, they are currently 30 minutes from me at my neice’s house and have been all weekend, this happens frequently and they try not to let me find out they’ve been here. One of the last times this happened I told my dad that it hurt me when they came to town and didn’t visit me or my kids. His answer was, “Don’t start this shit.” And so I let it go. But I thought at least they know now that this bothers me so maybe next time it will be different…again, hoping they will change. So my question to you, Darlene, is when you talk about speaking your truth does that mean I need to confront my parents about the abuse as a child, and the continued neglect? I’m curious about how that process works…thanks for your bravery in consistently speaking your truth


I finally have my emotional firewall firmly in place between my mother and me. Nothing she does or says affects me emotionally. Of course, this is a little difficult when situations would normally require feeling some emotion, such as a put-down of me or a complaint of something not suiting her. In order to keep up the facade that we are having some sort of a relationship, I have to resort to a breathtaking insincerity, chirpily exclaiming about how distressed I am about the troubles she is having without actually feeling distressed. This is the ONLY way; I have tried honesty and it gets me nowhere, always being the “bad daughter” who doesn’t care about her and I have tried just ignoring her and still being the same thing. This way it keeps the peace, and we’re supposed to live at peace with all people as far as we are able, right? The sad thing is, she doesn’t notice anything’s amiss, but there it is. If she has actually gotten to me, I express my feelings about it while she’s out of earshot, on my drive home. That gets me exactly the same respect (none) I would receive from her if I were actually talking to her, but it avoids the scenes, the drama, the tears, the recriminations, the shaming. So what’s not to like?


Dear Darlene,
this is my family and my in laws, this passed week my mother in law
rembered I after 7 years have a birthday (oh wow) I’ve been married to her son 7 years and now suddling I have a birthday, well she tells everyone we was exchanging chirstmas gifts too and she want to make this a terdishion my birthday/christmas gifts giving , this brought up more of my old passed hurt and pain from my family see when i was younger if i was lucky to get a birthday gift I want worthy of having a birthday gift by its self it was always birthday/christmas gift ,when my older sister got both she got birthday gifts on her bd. in sept. and christmas gifts at christmas ,so this hurt me so bad i almost started crying I wasnt born on december 25 it was december 5th,
she just has a way of contuning my mothers abuse even if shes my mother in law , it just hurt so bad.i know i need to just get over it lol I dont know how to deal with her abuse .I am i just too sentcive? to get upset over this ? then my husband tells me she was trying . no she wasnt and i call it for what it is b/s .I dont understand why he just cant and wont stand up to his mother , I have to be the bitch standing up for us ,she has torn him down so badly he cant stand up to her . please anyone got advice? i dont know how to cope with his mother shes abusive and a controler i want my pwoer back!


Karla, I really feel for you! It must be very hurtful to have your birthday lumped in with Christmas… you aren’t special enough! I am so sorry that has happened to you over the years! I don’t have any advice, but here is how I managed to get my mother in law to respect ME and how I took back MY control. It was very difficult, but I was desperate for change because my MIL would say snide things behind whenever my husband wasn’t listening or in the room etc, so I thought he never could understand. He would tell me “she doesnt mean anything by it”…..meaning that I must have totally misunderstood his mother. After 10 years of this treatment, and being called “lazy” and many other passive-aggressive things from her….and my husband passively watched and did nothing, I realized that nothing would ever change and I couldn’t deal with the stress she was causing me. I told my husband one day that she was HIS mother and from now on HE was going to do all of the phone calling, and planning visits….to leave me out of it. What had happened is that his mother put me in the middle , and so did he….so I was “supposed” to be the one person who made the relationshipS work…but of course, there were always complaints about whenever I did try to do anything. I had taken the responsibility for THEIR relationship somehow without knowing.. So I told my husband that all gifts would come from him, any visits with our daughter and HIS mother, he was going to orchestrate, and everything was now on HIM and HER. She wasn’t MY mother, so why did I have to be in the middle? It didnt work out at all be ause his mother didn’t like me and didn’t think i was good enough for her son….and she let me know in many many ways. So…she would call, and I wouldn’t answer. He wanted to visit his mom….he went alone or with our daughter. He missed her birthday and Mothers day a few times, but I didn’t allow myself to feel guilt. That was about 8 yrs ago, and it has been wonderful. She rarely calls me, but she DID apologize to me for being less than nice, and now when I do talk with her, she is very polite and respectful. We don’t even try to be a “family” now, and I love it! My daughter always has had her in her life and that has been a good thing. my husband was absolutely furious with me when I stood up for myself….he wasn’t used to it! Now he still struggles a bit because he wanted everyone to get along and be close, but their family dynamic wasn’t all that healthy to begin with and I used to be the one buffer between them, so when I backed out, they had to make a choice to either work on their relationships or lose them. They now talk privately…which my MIL thought would make me jealous, but I could care less…..and my husband just has to deal with the fact that I am out of the picture. I feel free, I feel on control, and I know that it wasn’t ME who was the problem or not worthy or less than good enough… was THEIR issues and THEIR relationship all along. If people can’t or won’t be close to ME when I am trying to be nice, then I drop out these days and feel much healthier for it. I don’t feel I have the time, energy, or health to be able to waste on ppl who just refuse to be respectful, kind and fair.


Karla….HAPPY BIRTHDAY on the 5th!!! Hugs and best wishes to you!


Hi Kim
Great to hear from you! When I finally embraced the “so what” so much changed for me.
When I talk about speaking the truth, I am talking about TO ME. It was when I heard me that everything got better. When I stopped trying to see it through thier eyes and fix it according to the way they said it would get fixed. There is so much about this whole thing and the “how I came to these realizations” in this site.
Hugs, Darlene


I love your saying “my emotional firewall” that is awesome! Oh I could write a book about the hurt casued from the lack of notice when we draw the boundary! But take heart, I believe that is just yet another tactic change.
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Karla
Ya, thats pretty nasty and hurtful for sure! You are not too sensitive. That isn’t the issue. I agree that what she is doing is not actually ‘trying’.
About your husband; when I realized that my husband actually believed that his parents actually held his ‘life blood’ I began to understand his fear of them. BUT it was through my own understanding of how it was a lie, that NO ONE owned me or determined if I lived or died, that I began to heal and stand up for myself. He also saw the truth as he did his own work.
There is hope!
Hugs, Darlene


While I read this I cpould not stop thinking about X-Mas past….the little gabs, dry humor, gulliable, acn’t you take a joke and the cherry on the top “you’re just to senstive”. Last X-Mas was the first very, very hard X-Mas, home alone with only X-Mas past literally. I did not cry, a small gatheriung at church aqnd my apartment was given a gift spit gift a spit shine and after a long X-Mas day Jody and Quburt woke me from my deep nap for a belly rub, but I was not the joke of the family. Mom is gone X-Mas was the only time I didn’t have to stand the corner,no bloody nose. In 2010 he died, the master of sarcasm died but the sarcasm, the shame and guilt hold on, I call them everlasting haunting. Me the New Years eve child 1955 dubbed daddys little tax deduction. This X-Mas…Little sister called…what are you doing X-Mas, hey can you here my tears…damn…now what do I do…I really do not what to go…shit…I have no car…social security label…I said ok…stupid answer I just want to be alone…not in a negative way…I am not sure if I let myself fall into a trap. It is one of those times I become part of the wallpaper…I have gotten lost in my mind and so know I will finish hemming my slacks and try and figure away to stay home with Jody and Quburt to which I had planed for…Really…not out to prove anything but our X-mas was never anything but a date on the calender and mid-night service at “Church”. Go to bed so Santa will come. Our X-Mas were never about gifts…true gifts…just a day that they did not fight ands yell…I was looking forward to stay at home and watch the first verison of “The Day the Earth Stood Still” OH WELL…ISN’T THAT SWEET



@ Caden, I thought I was the only one whose mummy had a peek at her tummy. After I got home from the first semester of college, I had packed on a few “freshman pounds”. My mother made me change into every single pair of pants I had and come to her. She would lift up my shirt, look at my spare tire, and go off on a yelling, screaming, cursing rant. I don’t think she took a breath through several pairs of pants. She called me a pig and said I “fressed” (which, in German, means “eat like an animal” as contrasted to “essen” which means eat like a human). Things I would never say to my own children because I don’t want to hurt them. Did she think she was doing this for my benefit? Was she concerned about my health? No, because she is a narcissist, I am merely a reflection of her, and she didn’t like what she looked like.


If it weren’t for Darlene’s website, I would still think that the abuse I got/get was normal, that I wasn’t worth the space I took up, that I was alone in my experiences with abusive people. I’m going to be paypalling her at least $5 a month. Considering what some of my therapists have cost, that’s a bargain. I want it to be more, but we’re living on the edge (yes, thanks to people who have stolen my potential) but as I heal I will try to give more.


MZC, that’s so terrible that your mother put you through such a humiliating, hateful scene. In my case, I had put on weight due to binging on large amounts of food via my eating disorder, and she was lifting up my shirt to say that she didn’t want me to be any thinner. Because she had pried food on me as a cheap substitute for love and protection my whole life, she would try to sabotage any attempts I made to lead a healthier lifestyle and impose on me the way she felt I was supposed to look and be in my own body. She saw my body as hers, not mine. These are sick intrusions on the part of our mothers, and definitely not constructive or respectful in any way.

take care,


Dear Darelene,Daine,
thanks for your birthday wishesh and advice.
I’ve been thinking of what I should do about Christmas Eve dinner, last year that was the date we spend christmas eve exchanging gifts ,but this year we will just have the dinner sents this passed sat. ”my birthday/christmas gift givving ” and all that I am telling her to her face I am not spending my birthday /christmas with her I am telling her my husband and I have plans that week and we will see her christmas eve to give her her christmas gift , she might even get regifted things she gave me this year . oh i forgot to say while i was opening my birthday gifts ,from my sister in law (she gave me for my birthday a painting of Jesus) it was beautiful)my mother in law said while i was thanking my sister in her (her daughter) oh i want that! i said do what? she said regift it to me i want that painting. i told her i dont regift, then she said laughting oh i was just kidding Karla . I looked at her and said no you wasnt dont lie . i told her it was my birthday gift I am keeping it sorry. I know she wasnt joking .she is so rude . its like every hollyday with her she has to make drama. well shes having over her bf family her new family .so here we will go again with the icy chill in the air from people we dont even know ,god knows what shes told them .shes done this last year to us putting us on display . then her guest treat us like we are losers . I am so sick of her b/s . so bring on the christmas games .the reasion she wanted to have my birthday /christmas she said bobs family couldnt efford to get us gifts so she wanted to secperate all of us ,she thinks i cant see the mind games shes playing .then she starts talking about her furnal how shes got it all planned . I dont think I will cry when she passess. mm I might have the flu on christmas eve .why is it men cant see how mean thier mothers are to thier wifes? my husband always goes back for more pain from mummy dearest . he gets hurt from her and keep going back for more . oh she loves to tell her son how little shes payed for his gifts $3.00 . I dont think she knows what it means to love your son, i think she thinks used and mind games and controle means love . she thinks shes mother treasa .


Hi, Darlene….

OMG….is what you’ve written especially appropos for me this evening! I came here tonight, looking for a place to vent (and to seek a sense of being normal!)after a big argument with my husband. And the argument we had was exactly what you’ve written about…I’m not kidding.

My husband is often clueless, misses social cues, doesn’t listen very well, and hasn’t educated himself about parental narcissism, even though I’ve offered him my numerous books to read because his mother is definitely narcissistic (as is my own mother).

Well, I know I’m getting stronger inside because I no longer let him gaslight me and browbeat me into agreeing with him and responding the way he wants me to.

We had an evening meeting with his mother re some issues related to his future inheritance, which involves a house which will be passed on to him upon his mom’s death. I sort of feel that this is a matter between him and his mother, and that I don’t really want to play much of a role in their family business.

Well, his mother is a narcissist, so I always dread pretty much all interaction with her. She talks incessantly about herself, she never listens, she’s insensitive and rude, she’s a know-it-all, and she’s arrogant and pompous. I, for the sake of my husband, keep my mouth shut and always remain very cordial, kind, and gracious with her.

Tonight I was very proud of myself. I was as friendly and kind and open and warm as I try to be with every person. When she got to a certain topic, prefacing it by saying, “I’m not trying to be mean, but…..” I held my breath. What in the world was this going to be about? She has a terrible habit of pontificating, offering unsolicited advice, lecturing, and running on and on about subjects. So, I was steeling myself…….

She had spreadsheets and legal documents, etc. Fine. But then she handed each of us separately a document spelling out the money she had put into this house the past few months, and I’m thinking, “Okay….what has this got to do with me? I didn’t cause the sewer line to break……I don’t own this house…..I’m not responsible for the property taxes and insurance.” She owns the house; we don’t. What was the point of spelling out how she’s had to “take money out of her savings?” I wanted to say, “You own the house.”

My husband took the piece of paper and sat there with his head bowed as if studying it intently. I, however, didn’t accept the paper. I laid it on the table and said, “I’m not interested in looking at this. It has nothing to do with me.”

My husband, though, acts intimidated by his mother. He offers up all the excuses you mentioned, Darlene, about how “she’s old” and “she’s never going to change” and “you just have to be understanding” until I want to scream.

The woman has been rude and inconsiderate to me on numerous occasions and yet, for my husband’s sake, I have never retaliated. Not once. I have always been polite and kind to her. Always.

Well, we got home tonight and he seemed ticked off. Of course. All he ever does is make excuses for her. He never cuts me any slack at all. His expectations of ME far exceed any expectations he has of her, and I’m sick of it. I really am.

I told him tonight that I am entitled to my thoughts and feelings, and I’m entitled to like and not like whomever I wish. I also told him that I have always bent over backwards to be kind to her, even when she’s been an absolute bitch.

He pouts. He calls me names. He gets mad.

You know what? My husband has just enough of his own narcissistic qualities that I wish I could leave him. When I married him ten years ago, I knew nothing about narcissism, about boundaries, about emotional abuse, or about gaslighting. Well, now that I’m educated about those issues, I absolutely DESPISE narcissistic and controlling behavior……in anyone. And, I feel that it is vital to my well-being and to my healing to avoid toxic people like the plague!

He, however, doesn’t “get it.” He does nothing but make excuses for her. Also, he is clueless. He really is. He says that her behavior is “normal.” In whose universe? Maybe because he grew up with two narcissistic parents, he became narcissistic himself. I myself had one psychopathic parent and one narcissistic parent. Yet, I went the opposite direction. I am so NON-narcissistic that it’s detrimental. I need to learn more about self-care.

So, Darlene, what you’ve written about, I agree with 100%!!!!!

Why, oh why, does the world expect the victims of bullying, the victims of cruel and toxic people, to “rise above” and to “forgive” and to endure the heinous and cruel behaviors of rotten people?

Where are the people who actually take up for the victim? Where are the people who call the abuser on the carpet for what s/he does?

Listen, I could give you specific examples of the nasty and condescending things my own mother and sister have said to (and about) me. I could tell you things my mother-in-law has done and said, and even what my husband has done and said. All of it makes me so daggoned angry that I can hardly see straight.

To be honest, if I were financially in a position to leave him, I would. I would. I would flee from him and his entire narcissistic family. And from my own family, too. The trouble is, I don’t think I’d know where to go or what to do. It seems that I’ve been surrounded all of my life by toxic people and by narcissists.

To this very day, my mother will look at family photos and say, “Oh, that’s the best you’ve ever looked.” Uh, gee, thanks. I guess I look like crap now, right? My mother says things just as rotten and mean as yours does, Darlene. And I have now decided, like you, that I matter.

For that reason, I didn’t play my mother-in-law’s guilt game tonight. My husband falls for her guilt games all of the time, but I don’t. Don’t hand me a sheet of expenses that you shelled out on YOUR house and expect me to kowtow and genuflect and fall all over myself apologizing for! She wanted both of us to feel like crap, you see. She’s just great at that. Somehow, we were supposed to feel ashamed and terrible because she had to spend some of her savings to fix the sewer on a house she owns. It won’t be my husband’s house until she’s dead. I didn’t fall for it tonight.

I can’t even tell you how amazingly proud of myself I am. And I didn’t do it in a mean or snarky way, either. I was merely assertive. I am so glad that I stood up for myself. After all, my husband isn’t going to. Nor is anyone else. I am all I’ve got, I think.

Anyway, I realize that this is really loooonnnngggg, but I simply had to get my frustration and anger out. Thank you for allowing me to do so.

I do so relate, Darlene, to everything you wrote. And I absolutely agree with you. I’ve started speaking back to my mother, too, when she starts her narcissistic rambling. I bring her back on topic by saying, “I really wasn’t talking about you. I was talking about my daughter (or myself….or whatever).” I no longer just sit there and let her go on and on and on about herself, but I speak up now.

I’m learning. It’s slow, but I am learning.

Maybe someday I can get away from the narcissists. I hope so.



Hi Tlynn
Welcome to emerging from broken!
That “you are too sensitive” line is so nasty. These people jab and poke insults and then add more by saying that YOU are being too sensitive! (and there are lots of versions of that expression such as “you can’t take a joke” etc.)
Glad you are here, thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene


Thanks for considering making a donation!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Marore
Re your comment that your husband says his mothers behaviour is ‘normal’ ~ it is normal “to him”. It has become his normal. That is what I am talking about when I say that I had to see the lies at the root of the damage and how my belief system had formed full of false beliefs. My belief system was that the abuse was ‘normal’ ~ it was ‘my normal’ and everything I write in this site is about trying to show how it WASN’T right or NORMAL just because it had become normal ‘to me’. And at the root of all of it was me in my child mentality; taught to survive by accepting this as ‘normal’ and believing that if I did not comply, I would surely die. (victim mentality, which is also taught by the actions of others, and is also a survival mode)
Thanks for sharing! The more the fog cleared, the more I saw the path to freedom! Slow is better than not at all! Your comments are really very insightful!
hugs, Darlene


Dear Darlene and Marore,
this sounds just like my husband taking up for his mother too and sometimes when i try to speak up for myself my husband will twist it around making its him that was the victom ,leaving me shaking my head saying what, the heck. my husband had two toxic people and narcissists
.well after hearing the smae old same old she wont change speach and you just have to deal with it and let it go out one ear into the other ear. i told him you have lived with your family all your life and you know how to let her bother you and hurt you any more but ive only been in the family 7 years i am sick of smiling and giving her respect that she doesnt desirve .why do the moma’s boys always defend mommie dearest? i dont understand this at all ,i love my husband but his love for his mother is greater for her than me i feel .I am even wondering has he become narcissists too sometimes i feel he doesnt empthise to my hurt and pain ,its like its ok for her to hurt me ,by him not standing up for us its like he feels he dont want to cause drama hes had it all his life ,but at the same time its ok for her to hurt me and i should just smile and be kind . my give a damn for her feelings is breaking breakinggg . well something to make me smile ive got a book for her for christmas a book on forgiveness and its autografted to someone elce , yup you guessed it i bought it at good will ,only spented 25 cents on the book mmm,just might tell her what i spent on her gift . i know its stooping to her level, but it would be nice to give her a little bit of what she dishesh to us .every year she never fails to out due her self with the stupid gifts , one year i got a presidental doll bill clintion , it was a insult ,things she didnt put any love or thoughts into . this christams /my birthday , my husband got a stupid raindeer that sang i feel good! yup another stupid gift you would give a 10 year old kid not a 50 year old son. well iam starting to do the same thing, oh and when my daughter and me was still setting at the table eating my birthday cake/christmas cake ,she kepted going back and forth to set with us and back on the to the living room where her son was she couldnt stand it my daughter and i would just stop talking when she would come back in i know that drives her nuts, well chritamas eve i will wait till she goes back into the living room and then runs back to see what iam saying to my daughter i will spray purfume ,she just hates any kind of perufum, i know that will run her back to the living room to stay . i rember one christamas her grand daughter was warring purfume and she made her take a shower and get off the purfume in front of everyone she told her grand daughter take a shower get the purfume off , well this sat i went to her bath room and guess what she has 3 bottles of purfume something thats shes allergice to purfum shes always told us ,my question then why does she now have 3 bottles of it ? she was raising all kinds of sand if anyone wore any kind of perfume she would just go on how she couldnt breath and just be so full of drama, now its seems like she was using the perfume allergy to controle all of us ,why would she now ware purfume, if she was so allaergic to it ? mm just gives me a another thought , maybe i should give the grand daughter purfume for christmas gift .what do you think? i see that my husbands not going to stand up to his mother maybe hes intamadated of her , but there are things i can do to let her know i can give her what she gives me .


I’ve just heard the “Oh she doesn’t mean to say things like that, she’s just old,” line. Like being old is just an easy reason to keep doing what you are doing. I’m expecting more comments after the holidays now that I will still be NC with the family. I truly don’t believe that age is a catch all to be rude and disrespectful. Especially since these same people can get it all together and be so nice and sickening sweet to certain other people in the family. As I’ve thought about my GC brother, I’m not sure that I would want to be him either, because he’s still so connected to the parents. I would probably be claustrophobic! I fully expect my my brothers to call or email me after my Nrents talk about me during the holidays. I swear my mother will badmouth me until the day she passes, it’s ingrained and she can’t stop, or won’t. I sometimes think that maybe I am actually the favorite in the family, with as much energy the woman uses thinking of me. (Even though it is always in a negative light.)

MZC comment #66 I used to do the same thing after a conversation with my mother, having to hold my tongue until I am out of earshot. It is kind of like talking to someone who has complete hearing loss. You just don’t exist to them during conversations. I had so many times after talking to mother that a sibling would call me out of the blue after not hearing from them for a long time. Finally I put it together that after any conversation I had with her, she then made the rounds telling my sibs all that I said. Any details about me travel quickly north and south, but the problem was all the details were completely distorted and shown in a bad light! Our stories all resonate pretty similarily..Peace..


I got chills reading this because you just wrote my life. I have had the most hurtful things said to me and each and every time it killed me slowly on the inside I was supposed to suck it up and take because she was my mother. Some of the hurtful things she has said has caused me to be depressed, angry, hurt, and confused. Confused at why I still tried to have a relationship with her. My rose colored glasses are off I have moved on because I MATTER


Dear Darlene, miracles of miracles, I just received some unexpected funds. I am going to set up a recurring $10.00 per month donation via PayPal if you are set up for that. If not, I’ll send $120.00 right now. You and this site is a GODSEND and it is keeping me sane right now, when I needed it most. I swear, with what is going on all around me, I would be sucked down into the undertow and drowned for sure.

I especially need to read all the “when family says mean things.” All these things just got said to me, by “well meaning” uncle and cousins. I’m too sensitive, I can’t take a joke, jab and poke until I am bruised and bleeding, and God forbid if I say “Stop, that hurt!”

I’ve got to get away, get away, get away… but most of all I have to let go of my ridiculous dream that these people are ever going to change, or even WANT to change! I’m the only one who wants them to change. They like what they are doing!

So I’m the one who has to change ME. And my stupid, unrealistic, naive and ridiculously innocent and naive ideas that mean people “don’t really mean it” and one day they will suddenly see the light after 50 or more years and put their arms around me and say they are sorry and want to be friends after so many years of scapegoating, blacklisting and outright punishing. They are controlling, sadistic and cruel.

And all I have to do is say “No More.” Just Say No. Amen.



My father once said to me with disgust and contempt in his eyes when I was a teenager that I was dirty, that there was some sweat under my breasts as if I hadn’t washed me during several days. Son of bitch !
Or he liked to make jokes about my nose which is a bit bigger and longer than average since I am a little child.

Or he said to me when I was a little girl that later, I will have a nice body but a face less lovely.

I think that the comment from your mother toward your anatomy is insane and even incestuous.


Hi Melody
You shine the light on a whole lot of truth when you say that ‘they’ can get it all togehter and be so sweet/nice to other people. That is a realization that helped me so much in this process. To realize that they could control it!
Thanks for sharing
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Bri
Yes, it stabs like the knife that it is. In this site I write a lot about ‘why’ I continued to have relationships with people who hurt me. I am glad that I have moved on now too!
Thanks for sharing.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Catherine
Thank you so much for your thoughtfulness! (I will send you a private thank you note later)
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Aurele
There is no excuse for parents who demean their children in this way. I agree with you that this is insane and yes, many times these kinds of comments are incestuous!
Hugs, Darlene


My husband is also a narcissist. His mother was one. I have
been married 39 yrs and did not know it until a year ago. He
would say things like “95% of what you say doesnt require an answer”.
He is very entitled and has no empathy. His thoughlessness was
very hurtful. Since this site I handle my conflicts with him differently.
I am not to blame for his bad behavior and so instead of beating
myself up in anger at his bizarre responses I react in a positive way
towards myself and he has no response to that. He has his little
narcissistic rage fit over something and I use to be so hurt… now I
think how childish, walk away or speak up in an authoritative way.
I think he got a rush from my angry response. I dont let him bully or
disrespect me any more. I guess thats a boundry. Boy its hard when
you have always yelled back. Im NC with my mother and brother.
They disrespect and use me. Its all I have ever known from family.
Sounds like you’ve got it figured out too. I find it hard to keep
control of my emotions when attacked. But when I do it goes better
for me. Someone here mentioned how family had “stolen
their potential with abuse”. Thats what bothers me the most now.
What I could have been. Thanks for listening!


Hi Everyone
I have published a new post today! Please read it here; “Giving and Receiving in a Healthy Relationship” ~ I hope it will be recieved in the loving manner with which I tried to write it.
Hugs, Darlene


This was a good read. I was told to keep away from people who hurt me, including family- but they rock up to all the big events. You can choose your friends , not your family, as it is said. However it is ones choice to behave with courtesy. Family is trickier to disengage from than friends but it can be done. And those who support the abuser & who don’t acknowledge that it is mean should also be avoided. Keep your side of the street clean & walk on by. Life lessons I suppose.


Karen Ranes,
I can relate to all that you said about your husband & FOO. My husband would say hurtful things too & have fits. Since I’ve changed & told him he has to go with me to therapy, he has been behaving. I was doubting that his behavior would last, however it has and I know he loves me. He had a strange way of showing it & now he shows it. Actions speak louder than words for sure!….My husband is really trying to change his ways. A person can change, if they are willing & have the support. I’m supportive of his changes, yet i’m mindful of my boundaries & limits, which work for me. It’s the only way instead of stuffing my feelings & or reacting. I’m a lot less reactive, since I’m aware of my triggers. Although, if I’m directly attacked, my back goes up & what helps is to be aware and mindful of what I say back. Not to offend or insult the other mean person but to speak for myself. It’s really is about my self respect. It’s funny & ironic that my husband has said recently that he likes me speaking up. Never said that before. I joked & said, “If I had known, I would of done it sooner.”…..Although, not really….I wasn’t ready to & he would not have been receptive in the past. We still argue sometimes, yet we can talk too. I’m more inclined to talk issues & problems out. I’m being assertive. It does help with communication & being emotionally close. It’s been better. Yes, I agree with what could of been too. That was then, this is now & it’s much better 🙂


I’m still the same person, just a better me 🙂


Hi Darlene,
I have been struggling for years with the same exact thing. I now have daughter who is 15 months old and recently found a new voice I didn’t know I had. I will not tolerate this treatment to my daughter. I have seen the comments happening already. She is a baby! It kills me! It makes me want to cut ties with my family completely! Calling her names, refusing to change diapers, oh and she can’t spend the night until she could walk and is potty trained! (Requirements from her grandparents) and then they get mad and wonder why we don’t spend anytime overthere.
I asked my mother to watch her for me to take a class in the evenings once a week with my husband at our church and my father told me I would have to pay her for her time!!??!!
It just goes on and on! They buy gifts for her but they have to stay at their house, we are never there! So what is the point! And they are our only family here for her. Pretty sad! They can treat me as bad as they want, I’ve been damaged already. But they will NOT treat her that way!!! She will grow up with self esteem and be loved and never wonder if her family loves her!!! I promised her that the day she was born, and I will keep that promise till the day I die!
I will never let her feel the lack of love her family that I did!!


Hi Sarah
Welcome to efb ~ I was so hurt when both my husbands family and mine showed so little interest in helping out with our kids, like with babysitting once in a while and stuff like that, but today I am so glad that they didn’t! The things that you have posted in your comment are what I call ‘truth leaks’ and the truth leaks are about them. (and I would never want anyone to be in charge of my baby if they are adverse to changing diapers OR if they will not watch a child who cannot yet walk) ~ if this is how they are, then that is what they communicate to the kids too. How ever they treated me is what they communicated to the kids that I ‘deserved’ to be treated. And when I took it, I communicated something too.
YAY for you for making the decision you have that your daughter will never have to wonder about love.
Hugs, Darlene


Well said, Sarah… well said! I think a lot of our eyes are “finally opened” when we have children and we see a repeat performance of the patterns that damaged us so badly. Good for you for saying NO.

Pay grandma for babysitting? Keeping the grandchild’s “gift” at their house when you are never there? That’s a new one on me – make that TWO new ones on me!

When my own mother set up ridiculous or impossible rules for my visits with my own small son, I just stopped going there. But all these years I have felt so bad about doing that. Now I know I DID THE RIGHT THING. For my child and for myself. The less I’ve been around them all these years the more I have something to compare it to. And it is THEY who are sorely lacking.

IT IS THEY WHO ARE DAMAGED GOODS! Not you, not me, not any of use. I believe we are kind and good or we wouldn’t even be on this site trying to figure it all out and “make it better.” If we were like them, we’d be sitting at home figuring out more ways to harass the children we have.

I say get the heck out of there and the sooner the better. I’m not supposed to be giving advice, so take this as “what I did.” When I finally went back (had telephone and email contact) when my mother was dying of cancer, the toxicity and hatred and denial and conflict in my family had not only NOT abated, but I would say it had gotten worse. The wounds that they inflicted have still yet to heal.

They can go right where they belong, and I will stay right here. God give me strength and take away this pain and suffering in my heart. Heal the wounds that have not healed. Let the world shine again. Fill my heart with love for the wounded and for the sinners and saints, but let me keep give them wide berth, and “love them from a distance.”

I want to focus on the goodness that now does reside in my world. And to heck with all the rest.



Karen #19 wrote to Marore: “I think he got a rush from my angry response.”

Wow. I never thought of it that way, but I think you are right.

“Someone here mentioned how family had “stolen their potential with abuse”. Thats what bothers me the most now. What I could have been.”

The good thing about NOW is that we can ALWAYS START NOW.

And it is NEVER “too late.”

I tell myself this every single day. Thanks for listening, too!


Some people do blurt out whatever is in their mind to say. Some people are rude; unfeeling, insensitive. Some people are deliberately hurtful and say things with malicious intent. Others say the most hurtful things in almost an offhanded way.

I do not know others’ intents when they say things…although speculating about it is interesting. A good rule of thumb for me is, if someone has said something hurtful, or ‘off’, and I ask them what they meant; or if I let them know it hurts me, is- their reaction tells me almost everything.

If someone gets angry at me when I ask or confront them about what they have said- or done- then that is a red flag.

If someone refuses to discuss with me what has happened that I am concerned about; that is a red flag.

If someone lets me know they had no intention of being hurtful, and is willing to discuss the issue, then to me that is a person who isn’t necessarily bed intentioned.

If someone is sorry that what they said or did was hurtful, and wants to prevent any further hurt or midunderstandings then that person is probably a caring person I want to keep in my life.

After being confronted, a person who continues to say and do rude, hurtful, malicious, dishonest, manipultive, deceptive things; is someone I know I don’t want in my life.

Once someone who says they care about you, has been told their words and actions are hurtful to you, and they make no effort to change or stop this, then if they continue to do this- they are probably not someone who had your best interests at heart.

The formula is simple; our wishes to be loved make it complex.


Hi Maddie
Welcome to EFB ~
Thanks for sharing these thoughts! These are very good points to consider in relationship based on equal value and very much in agreement with what we talk about here!
hugs, Darlene


They teach you to put up and shut up, to not rock the boat, to gloss over it and let it go, to tolerate it etc when it’s your family precisely because they are your family. Because otherwise you would have to walk away, or standing up for yourself would cause an almighty row that would alienate you or cause endless nastiness to pour down on your head form all sides. If you are already unwell that is the absolute last thing you need. To be alone, or alone and hated and attacked by your family. Staying and putting up with snippy comments is preferable to losing your world.
My sister is a pain in the butt, bless her. Insecure, greedy, needy and nasty with it. Everything, the whole universe, is all about her. She may have some sort of mental illness or she may just be selfish, we don’t know. But we have put up and shut up for years. Since she was about 3. It hasn’t helped her grow up and out of it for certain, but my Brother’s new girlfriend confronted her last year instead of the usual family line of tolerating and pretending it isn’t happening. Now the family is split apart, half pretending the others dont exist. Be very sure of what outcome you want when you stand up for yourself.


Hi Mation Jones
Welcome to emerging from broken. I have some different ways to view these things. Being alienated from a family that treated me like crap is actually an improvement in my life. I didn’t lose anything that was ‘best’ for me in that world. It is shocking to most when the outcome for drawing a boundary or asking for mutual consideration is abandonment, But it was still the truth that set me free from a lifetime of depression and struggle with what I thought were ‘my problems’ and ‘my defects’. Staying and putting up with snippy comments was absolutly NOT preferable to me when I compare it to the wonderful joyous and full life that I have now.
Thanks for sharing.
Hugs, Darlene


I talked to my Grandmother on the 14th about me being molested by my father and telling my mother whom didn’t do anything about it. During this long conversation of hurt and pain my Grandmother tells me that I am GUILTY several times. She said I was ruining Christmas and threw other hurtful words at my face. I got drunk that night trying to release the pain of her words that still float around in my head. This Christmas has been the worst one for me. I know alcohol doesn’t help anything but this time it did help me release and cry about what she had said to me, I think. I came across this website in search for what to do with all my pain and here I am. My mother and father never paid for their crimes against me and my family knows what they did to me but still everyone talks to them. My two other sisters are going to spend Christmas with my mother. A year ago I told my mother if she didn’t leave my father I would try and send her to jail with him and that is the only reason my mother isn’t with him. Everyone tells me to just move on, get over it, let it go, and even stop picking up that pity blanket and wrapping it around yourself. I am 25 and I can still remember everything like it was yesterday. Whoever reads this please pray for me this holiday. I am very depressed and I just want to feel happy. I am not going to see my family for the first time on Christmas. I didn’t go to Thanksgiving and that was hard to do. I don’t know why I love my dysfunctional family but I do and I wish so much for those feeling to go away. I have my husband and he is supportive of me. I am glad that I have one person who cares for me.


Dearest Dawn……my heart actually breaks for you. I could have written your comment almost word for word. Please believe me when I tell you that life can get better, and it WILL get better once you are able to reach a place of knowing that YOU ARE NOT TO BLAME. What your grandmother did to you was cruel. Very cruel. She is also lying to you. You are not at fault for what was done to you. Not in any way. Not even a little bit. Your grandmother is doing what so many abusive people and enablers do: blame the victim.

Of course you were hurt. It is normal and natural to be hurt whenever we are not protected and supported by family members. You deserved protection and support, but what you received was judgment, blame, and abuse. I am so very sorry, Dawn. You certainly deserve better treatment.

My parents never paid for their crimes of abuse, either. My siblings still, in fact, maintain enmeshed relationships with our narcissistic mother. I always wanted a family, but I have to be honest with myself and acknowledge that I don’t really have one. Not a healthy one.

It is difficult when you feel isolated and rejected by family. This is your first year without being with your family at Christmas, and it is perfectly normal to feel sad about that. But you are protecting yourself, and that is honestly a GOOD thing you are doing. You are finding your voice and you are standing up for yourself. You have the right to be treated with respect. People telling you to “get over it” or “just move on” or “let it go” are very unenlightened people who are not considering your feelings. You continue to protect yourself. Treat your own self with dignity and respect and protection. Nurture yourself this holiday season.

I have had to learn the hard way that my family members will never change. Ever. I can’t discuss the abuse with them. It’s impossible to have deep, meaningful relationships with them. I used to blame myself for that. I no longer do.

You may very well feel that you can’t live through the pain of not being with your family. I’ve been there. I know it hurts. But as Darlene and so many other survivors here at this site will tell you, life gets better once we have seriously limited or gone “no contact” with our family members who continue to hurt us. Getting away from toxic people helps us to gain new perspectives so that we can begin to move forward.

You say you love your dysfunctional family. That seems quite normal to me. Have you ever read about “trauma bonding?” You can find information online to read. It does explain how abuse survivors have been trauma bonded to their abusers. Once I understood that, I began to question whether my intense feelings for my family were actually love or maybe were more related to my having been bonded traumatically in order to survive as a child. It’s something to perhaps look into.

I will pray for you, Dawn. My heart just hurts for you, dear one. Keep coming here for support during the holidays, okay? We understand your pain. We really do. You are valuable. You matter. If your family can’t or won’t give you the love you deserve, we can be here to help you through your feelings.

Try hard to enjoy the holidays, okay? Do nice things for yourself!



Hi Dawn
My heart goes out to you too. This site is about overcoming this devastation and taking our lives back. Being told to ‘get over it’ actually makes it worse. It was facing it and talking about it that were the first steps I took toward letting it go! It is very hard to ‘get over’ something that has never even been validated and that is what I learned to do; validate it myself. I learned a lot about love; what it is and what it isn’t. All of that stuff is here in this site!
Hope you will share often,
Hugs, Darlene


I’ve come to a place where I realize I can have feelings of Love for my FOO, yet I can love from afar. Setting limits around contact & boundaries when I’m with them. It is hard to do. They have not been there for me, when I needed them the most. As an adult, I can be free of any close ties with them and I do feel better when I’m seperate. It is hurtful when your own siblings side & stay enmeshed with them, like another slap/rejection. However, they chose to deal with the drama. We all have choices. Family loyalty is strong, however, I’m more important. Who protected me?…Who was there for me?…I stayed loyal & when I had problems, it was my fault….Being sick was a result of the damage done by my family. They are in denial of that & will never admit that to me. I hoped they would realize the error of their ways & apologize but that is not realistic. I still feel sadness over this, but I’m not crushed like I once was. I believe I’m worthy of love & kindness and I get that from friends,husband & children who are my family & in my life. It’s about validating ourselves & our truth….not easy at all with all the mixed messages & false beliefs we learned in our FOO. Take care of you & plan ahead to do fun things with those who like & value you.


Thank you all who are kind enough to say helpful words to me. I cried while reading them. Marore your right I am not guilty for what happened to me and yes she was very hurtful. Every word is to a ‘T’ on how I feel. I feel comforted knowing that there is someone out there who feels like I do and understands me. Darlene it does make me feel worse and I am going to try my best and validate this to myself. Sonia I do feel slapped and rejected from them and that hurts a lot. Thanks I really needed these supporting words. I am going to stand up for myself. I love myself and I don’t want them to hurt me anymore.
Hugs back and Merry Christmas


“When I ‘don’t engage’ today it means that I don’t bother trying to convince them anymore. I don’t try to prove my worth anymore. I don’t have to because I know my worth.” Darlene-I couldn’t have said this better. I am simply done with trying to prove my worth to ‘the mother.’ I am ANGRY and I’m NOT going to listen to ANYONE who simply tells me to ‘get over it.’ I tried that…it didn’t work!!!! I tried. I did. But I was the one left w/migraine headaches, stomach pains, depression, COMPLEX PTSD…ocd, mental health hospitalization and medications! Her? She walks around like she’s done NOTHING. Why? Because I’ve been playing by her rules. Well no more. Game over. I’ve let her know I’m done w/her…BY MY SILENCE toward her. And my refusal to respond to her calls, etc. We had a confrontation outside of my apartment but I spoke to her w/such clarity, that while my neighbors came and went from their apartments they never knew any confrontation was going on. I refused TO SELL MY HEAD TO HER once again and my calmness caused her to look like she’d seen a ghost. She knows…and I know what she’s done to me and allowed others to do to me. I’m mad! But you know what? Since I’ve been NO CONTACT with this woman (July ’12) I have not had a single migraine or a even a tension headache. I have blamed myself long enough. NOW-I lay the blame @ the owner’s feet. Her-theNarc. She can kick rocks for all I care. When it’s no longer meant for me to be mad-I won’t be. But until then-I am. Period.


Darlene, wow! I have a list similiar to that too! There is so much I could say about this but in truth the only thing I feel like saying right now is that I love you! Truly, your page presented the missing pieces that years of therapy and indepent searching and reading didn’t. You are so succinct. Maybe it’s because we share the same type of abuse that I have made the connection through you. Whetever the case, I am eternally grateful.

and one last thing… I read that, it hurt me to hear how you were treated, it made me cry. I am so sorry that you were subjected to that.

xoxoxo Fondly,



Hi Cat
Thank you! I appreciate your note!
Hugs, Darlene


I was told SO often that I HAVE to accept it.

Bull ****. I don’t have accept jack all. I’m a person. I was a child. I didn’t have a choice in the premarital sex my parents had. I didn’t have a choice to be born or a choice to be a part of their lives. It happened. If they were not up for the opportunity to raise me, they could have done abortion or adoption (I’m glad they chose life and do NOT devalue myself in any way).

They have NO idea what they have set in my heart. As an adult I have a choice to either get with the program and end the habits or to join in. I make choices EVERY DAY that I struggle to realize and make for the betterment of my husband, children and myself. Often I want to give into my nature and it’s so hard to not close off.

Waking up into a “normal” life is the hardest and most painful thing and even terrifying thing EVER. I have NO idea how to handle normal rejection, normal social situations nor do I really want to. I have to for my family so they do not go through what I did. Every day I feel like I fight a battle or disease. Difference is I KNOW I will make it. Cutting them all out was so hard, so painful. When I tell people that I don’t talk to my family they ask why. They assume I’m defective. I fail to realize their definitions of me and I move on. They either want to know me or they don’t. Their loss or gain….I have nothing left to lose.

People that assume because I share common genetics with people, I should be accepting and forgiving of what they have done to me. Blood is NOT thicker than water…


I am “glad” for lack of a better word to have found this connection. I am female, almost 60 and still dealing with the fact that I was not loved by my mom and older sister. She was jealous of me from my birth. I guess I was a beautiful baby, thus the trauma begins…
I can say my mom never bonded with me, my sister always had to have the attention. I was horribly abused, mentally. emotionally but not spiritually because that part is with GOD. I am accepted in the Beloved.
I was taunted by my siblings ar the young age of 8 repeated by my mom I was crazy and she was going to commit. She did for 6 months because I ran away from home for 24 hours but turned myself in. I spent 50 hours in county jail and then off to mental hospital where I spent my 15th birthday. I ended up getting legally emancipated by the courts to live on my own at age 16.
Of course this did not make my problems w/ being the family scape goat go away. I still kept contact with them and still do except my sisters who will not speak to me because I have learned to stand up for myself.. they blame me for everything, due to the slander of my mom and their deniel The latest they hate me because I left a manageble life in another state to return to my home state to be with family. It took incredible sacrifice, and has caused me more problems with loss of jobs, extreme financial issues, and decline in health only to have my family turn their backs on me again. I had a closeness to my dad as a young child, he died 4 years ago. The peace is I prayed for an anwser if I should move back and I got one loud and clear to move! That was over 13 years ago.
I have spent numerous holidays alone and this is one of them. My family’s treatment of me is now worse then ever. I still keep contact with my mom and tell her I love her. This is God!
I have learned recently due to my health to rest, and in rest I have been healed of the strife. I have and will continue to choose to forgive them.
I will never please my mom, especially now and applying for disability, she never asks about my finances, but my trust is in God. I am certain I would not be alive if it wasn’t for HIS Acceptance. I have suffered my entire life due to this, so many horrific experiences of abuse. lLeaving me in a car alone at age 3 and being sexually molested by a man in the parking lot, thank God he did not touch me or take me. This was decided by my 5 year old sister that my mom and her insisted I stay in the car alone, it was at Christmas time.

Fast forward to now and 56 Christmas later. I am still alone, physically yes. but not really I have the peace only God can give. I am not a vengefull person it does not work and only hurts me. God says to trust, he will repay. This journey has affected my entire life 2 marriages and relationship with son.
I have healed and will continue to do so, my mom is 89 and failing health, I wonder how that will work when she dies, will i attend the service when my entire set of relatives dislikes due to the slander being lazy, crazy, LIES, etc, through the years, about 40 people. I can only ask God for wisdom. I do honor my parents, thus why I have kept in touch through the years. I pray to be right with my God I will be rewarded for all the sorrow with no more tears when this life is over. In the meantime “I have peace that passes ALL understanding,”Jesus. I am still human and find it difficult to relate to others due to this burden, I have not experienced such common experiences my entire life as on this site. I have joy and peace reading about other experiences I hope for them and care! I share through my pain but with peace I have not strife. WE ARE NOT ALONE, there is light at the end of the dark,dark, tunnel for me GOD is as always was there. Thanks for reading, I have compassion for you all…I have been there and still am…but not GOD’S forgotten. Christmas truly is within. Prayers for all who post and Darlene who started this. Merry Christmas, love what God made, YOU!


Reading this post for the first time IS my Christmas present…! Thank you everyone for your experiences. We can heal while we reach out to others. I have never experienced this before, folks like me who were NOT loved by their own. I feel I am among family..The posts are not screaming hate, from what I read but love for others, understanding for exchange of always being blamed and mis-treated, denied,rejected, and mis-understood.

” Rejection is worse pain then starvation,” Mother Teresa.

We all have endured but have found each other, me just tonite or early A.M.!

God bless you all. Darlene I will support soon/able, it is worth it! So many therapies, tears more therapies, self loathing, not worthy of love years later brings me to this. God bless you all!

Please don’t give up: be better not bitter, it is the GIFT YOU give yourself! You creator does NOT make junk!


Indeed , I needed it , thnx for sharing the truth


I like your words Jessie. There is so much strenght and resulution in it.
I understand very well “When I tell people that I don’t talk to my family they ask why. They assume I’m defective”. Most of the people are jerks, they are blind ; we have to look for the ones who have a heart.
For me it’s the same, I have any job and most people just think I am lazy, they don’t even know all what I have gone through in my early life.
The same when I say that I had to escape from my family.
Few understands what that means.


Hi Jessie
Well said! Thanks for posting!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Susan,
Welcome to Emerging from Broken!
So glad to have you here with us! We are certainly not alone in this problem ~ it is shocking to realize how many people struggle with the whole dysfunctional family and how that defined us.
I have been sick this past couple of weeks and took some time off here, but I will publish something new soon!
Thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene


Thanks for your dedication Darlene and for this site!

I can hardly believe there is one like this. I googled last year yr. something like not being loved by family but did not find this; timing is everything.
Take time for you, I hope you are feeling better.
I will donate,everyone can give a little to cover your expenses and then some. Please send me your address when you are able.


Hi Susan
I just sent you a private email with my address. There is also a pay pal ‘donate’ button here on the site!
Hugs Darlene


Oh I love this one! It just hit that right nerve and started jumping up and down! My Mom has been deceased 33 years,yet this post wasas if we were getting dressed while I was there at her house before taking my Autistic Son out for a visit.He was the 1st of 4 children,and the 2nd was a baby sister who was in the stroller also. I got the “Boob” comment loud and clear an sharp asa two edged sword. “Well you don’t have much that’s perky anymore!” “Yours are very big,you don’t have much.” You ought to buy some padded bras” Then it went on to why was I wearing bikini underwear,didn’t I think my thighs were FAT? She critiqued me all the growing up years and honest to God no matter how I looked or what I did,it was never ever good enough.Not wonderful or great Job,nope just nver good enough. I walked onto stage at School”like a farmer’s assistant.” I have seen some nice looking assistants! You got a @$#^@%& run in your pantyhose!You can’t go barelegged! I was in my mid 20’s,married…She grew up without her Mom,who passed when Mine was 7. BUT,she was raised with alot of love and care and family and she wore a padded 32A! There Mom,nowI’ve told Darlene and whoever reads this comment. My Boobs at 57 are awesome!!<3


Hi everyone,

Well, Christmas and its joyfulness…

It is very hard. I told my intrusive aunt that I won’t go to christmas and she allow herself to insist through email using the argument my grandmother is all alone and needs to see her grandchildren.

But I don’t care !! did they feel pity for me when I was a terrified and alone teenager in mortal danger in her own home ?
I had to took everyone in charge when I was a kid and now, I can’t think to me for change ?

That’s makes me furious, I want to say them : go to hell !!!
So much attempt to guilt trip me makes me vomit.

Sorry for the rant.
Have a nice evening everyone.


It began in 2007 my neice who I dearly loved wouldn’t call me back, e-mail, or text. I thought that odd, then I noticed others were distancing themselves, slowly yet still feeding me little morsels of endearments. I was on facebook and I would make a nice compliment with no responce, yet others would and there would be very nice comments back to them. Then all of a sudden my youngest sister wanted to come and stay with me “to work on our relationship”. I laid down ground rules that we both could live by. Then when I gently brought up some “behind the back” comments she made to my daughter she unleashed a torrent of horrible accusations. “Im mentally ill, delusional, crazy, need sever help” I stood there stunned! I said “D” how can you be so horrible and cold! Within the same breath she immediately denied just saying those horrible things!! i had a first time sever panic attack, my daughter took me to the emergency room, they said it was a panic attack and to go home and take it easy. While we were gone my daughter asked “D” not to say anything to anyone until we find out what is wrong. While we were gone she called a bunch of family saying “I had a mental break down and that im crazy”. My daughter was furious!! Because of that I no longer could see my nephew who I dearly love, and who I knew (he was in foster care and they let my neice have him) was being abused by her (I called CPS). She told me I wasn’t allowed to be around him because I was mentally ill. Then others began blocking me from facebook. My youngest daughter refuses any contact with me and I am not allowed to see, or speak to my oldest grandaughter. which hurts with undesribable pain. Then all of a sudden an older brother who I worshiped growing up began talking to me. We began working on our family tree. yet when I asked him about why the family was black balling me from the family he would cut the conversation off, or lie. No one is talking to me, no one will give me a reason why they are doing this, no one will answer any communication from me.
Then things began fall into place with some religious questions, and I began confronting through mail and facebook how certain people hurt me or my daughters and at the end I wrote “I FORGIVE YOU” I gave it to God and released that hurt. then I felt I needed to stop begging my family for little morsels of love and attention (which I rarely got anyway) and told them I no longer want them in my life, if they didn’t truely want to work on a relationship with me, even though I am in the dark as to what offence I made against them. I felt a huge release, I got one answer back, who asked for forgiveness if he offended me, he didn’t realize he did. Then he said ” some times a person has to let go, walk away and it may take years before those that hurt you realize what a treasure they let go” I cried because that was the first time any of my family viewed me as a treasure. I made the decision I will no longer except a tiny morsel of attention or love. I feel stronger, yet it hurts, I can not get anyone to tell me what I did to deserve this. Yet when I think back my older sister who purposely distroyed any type of relationship with any family members since I was born. My mom told me from the day I was born she (my older sister) hated me. It is hard to get closure when I don’t know what I have done so horrible wrong all my life for the WHOLE family to disown me. I feel good about letting them go, yet I have this wound that can’t heal because I don’t know the WHY. Does this make any sence to anyone? I want to close this wound once and for all yet I seem to think I have to know the WHY they have done what they have and are doing.


I use to question why alot too, especially when I started my recovery from anxiety & depression. I wanted some reason why they were so mean & continued being that way. Their behavior is wrong & they will not admit any mistakes. I had to face the ugly truth that they are not normal or healthy, while I continued to look to them to get my needs met with no avail. Not until I started validating the damage & myself, my eyes opened to the dysfunction & lies. Abuse is about power & control. They don’t want to hear the truth, since it will make them have to look at themselves & make changes. It’s easier to point the finger. I’m aware of their tactics now. This has been painful & enlightening process. All the mixed messages, confusion & rejection now made sense, when I looked at the damage. I internalized their beliefs & that wasn’t my truth. I’m my own person…seperate from them…that is healthy!!…Abusive families want extentions of themselves…fitting in or else your out…Being true to yourself is not encouraged. Hope this helps. It’s just my opinion….


Sonia said it best: “Abusive families want extentions of themselves…fitting in or else your out…Being true to yourself is not encouraged. Hope this helps. It’s just my opinion….”

Explains so much, and why the rest of my family “goes along” with the mistreatment of me when they haven’t seen me in 25 or 30 years! Brainwashed or will do anything to “fit in” and continue to receive “approval.” Makes me sick. Thank God I am gone, and I intend to keep it that way. Life was so peaceful before I re-established contact. And I can’t tolerate poison from these toxic indiviuals now any better than I could before… does time and distance nullify the rattlesnake’s bite?

No. So I will give them wide berth. I will take care of myself.

Thanks to everyone sharing their story, I can see it’s not “just me” and with God’s help we will all find our way Home. With blessings from above.


Darlene, we must have had the same mother. 🙁

Mine is 93 and still capable of cutting me to the bone. I’ve moved about as far away as I can get and visit as little as possible.

These types of personalities — a mix of narcissistic and borderline personality disorder in clinical terms — are extremely hard to deal with because they have no self awareness, suffer from delusion thinking, take no responsibility for the damage they do, and put all the blame on others for the distancing we do to survive their toxicity.

When I accepted that this is not the mother I wanted or deserved, and that I really didn’t have to keep trying to make the relationship work because it would continue to be at my emotional expense, that allowed me to deal with her more as a patient than a relative.

I just hope this is the end of the karmic cycle, and I won’t have to deal with this all over again in the next lifetime!


Hey Everyone,
I published a new Chistmas post ~ you can read it here:
Hugs and happy holidays to everyone!


Hi Deah,
Welcome to Emerging from Broken
Great to have you here!
Hugs, Darlene


Sorry to hear what you have been through. Although it does sound familiar. We don’t know why we are picked but we are, to be the least favorite. The above statements about fitting in or else you are out, seem to be true. This holiday season my parents are in town for the holiday, but I have been told about only one event, an event that takes place after Christmas. (So my family and I are not invited to Christmas Eve or Christmas Day anywhere with them.) They are playing hardball with me. I’m actually so done! Again it is so sad that we try to tell the truth with people who continually hurt us by lying and not being truthful. The truth derails their plans, it is not allowed. I’ve also had the same thing happen on FB where people lavish praise on comments from one person and ignore anothers posts. (Facebook is a double edged sword.) I try to stay off of it if I am telling my truth…None of my sisters contact me at all on FB or anywhere due to what my Nmom has said about me over the years. It is their choice to believe what she says about me, I can’t control it. But they are going to have to live with her and her nasty ways, I truly hope that they can handle her. Mother is just not a happy person, I’m glad she is not my responsibility at all anymore. Happy Holidays to you all! Peace….


Hi Renee,
This makes perfect sense to me. One thing that helped me a lot was to not seek solution in understanding them but to place my energy on understanding ‘them’. It is a dysfunctional system; it won’t ever make sense. In a nut shell, it is all about the misuse of power and control. Not about love. Focusing on learning what love really is, and validating myself and seeing the truth is what set me free.
Hugs, Darlene


Dear Deah, (#126), you wrote:

“I just hope this is the end of the karmic cycle, and I won’t have to deal with this all over again in the next lifetime!”

Amen! And the part about “dealing with her as a patient instead of a relative.” So perfectly put. I’m also glad to see you here! I haven’t had time to comment much lately, but am very glad to read so many similar experiences. We are not alone and we are climbing that “spiritual ladder” even if it’s in our own mind. That’s where it counts… finding peace, patience and prayer all in the same room. The room of heart and mind.

Happy Holidays!


Meloday, you wrote: “We don’t know why we are picked but we are, to be the least favorite.”

Many people have told me I was “chosen” to be the “bad child” and the hated child because my mother was the most jealous of me. I had (and have) many talents AND her husband “liked me better” (much to my detriment!). My sisters cowtowed (sp?) to her night and day and everyone but me “bowed down.” Me, I dared to question her – and “off with her head!” So I can see now why she hated me (I guess) but since jealousy is a foreign word to me, I don’t understand it. But when I look at other jealous people (including my sisters) I can see how hatefully they act, and I have to accept the fact that this is exactly how my mother behaved. And my sisters copied her completely.

You couldn’t have a pretty young girl walk by without my mother saying “She’s going to get fat very soon and then how good will she look?” and my sisters would mimic her completely. They all would always do the same thing wherever we were. Restaurant, church, airport, anywhere my mother or sisters saw anyone that looked nice.

It was really vicious, but because it was Saint Margaret, no one batted an eye. And of course no one would dare to question ANYTHING that she said or did, sainted mother that she was! Looking back on it, it was just plain vicious and cruel. And completely acceptable in my family of origin.

It was completely accepted in my family to do and say this to any female that looked nice or had any kind of accomplishment. And put downs were often prefaced with a compliment, and then wham! in would go the knife. To this day I can’t bear to hear compliments because my whole body stiffens waiting for the blow. That’s how they all do and it’s just horrible.

When my mother would put down some unsuspecting female passing by and say her mean things, everyone would get really angry at me when I would say “Why are you putting this girl down? You don’t even know her! She’s done nothing to any of us!” but that’s how this hateful bunch was (and is). So of course they must be doing it to me. I just didn’t want to see it or accept it because I want(ed) them to LOVE ME!

But they don’t and they won’t and they never will. If we weren’t related, I wouldn’t stay in the same room with them for five minutes. So it’s back to “no-contact” and peace again. Hallelujah!

I am so glad to be gone. And this is the first Christmas I have spent alone and in New York City as a Christmas present to MY SELF and I couldn’t be happier. I stayed away from “family” for many, many years, but was always miserable wondering “why couldn’t I visit and have a good time?” and wondering what I could do differently so that I too “would be accepted” by these cold and cruel individuals, but now I know just how lucky I am. Lucky to be completely rejected by these people as now I am free!

I call this one of the many Gifts of Estrangement.

I am sure I will discover more and more as I participate on this site. We were the good children and we are the lucky ones to be away from all that. They can fight their never-ending battles with the world and I will stay with my true friends and simpatico souls.

Gracias Dios! Feliz Navidad!


Darlene wrote: “Focusing on learning what love really is, and validating myself and seeing the truth is what set me free.”

And what exactly is love? I would love to have everyone weigh in on this. “Accepting without judgment” doesn’t quite cut it for me, as that would mean that I had to “accept” what they were doing to me, without judgment, and only God has that kind of unconditional love. In fact, the best explanation of God’s Love is that God does not Forgive, because there is nothing to “forgive.” God is LOVE and that is all that God is, so this God of Love exudes nothing but love to any and all around, in endless supply.

That finally made sense to me, as I could never understand how God could love a murderer equally as an innocent child.

But there are many Gods, and my family came from a God of War.

I choose a God of Peace.

I don’t want to forgive, and I don’t want to love without judgment. But I do want peace and I can give them “wide berth” and let them go their merry way. And I will do the same.

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

Dear God, please show us The Way. Amen. Feliz Navidad!


Diane in #68: So much insightful experiences and decisions here! Wish I had known how to do this with my mother in law YEARS ago. Thanks for sharing!


Melody, I did NOT accept any “friend” requests from ANY family members on Facebook, and guess what? I am FREE there now. Why should I pretend? And there’s nothing I have to hide or for them to “report back” to the rest of them. I’ve learned recently that any overtures of friendliness or caring are really just “Greeks bearing gifts” and a Trojan Horse that will ultimately get inside and attempt to destroy my city, my life, my happy home that I’ve built for myself.

Just by ignoring them and cutting them out of my life and not asking for or wishing for anything from them at all, I am set free. It’s fabulous now.


Karla, #82 wrote: ” there are things i can do to let her know i can give her what she gives me.”

hahahahahahaa! This made me laugh out loud! Some people only learn this way, if it’s worth it to you to teach that person a (non-violent) lesson.

One question about the three bottles of perfume in her bathroom: were they opened and did she actually use them? They might have been gifts and she kept them there to look at, but didn’t use them.

I’m now allergic to perfume and I used to love it and used it all the time. But my mother used all her many allergies to control me to the nth degree so that I hardly ever went around her. She was actually ALLERGIC TO ME! She always had a “cold” so said “don’t come near her to give her a hug or a kiss when I would come to visit. Finally I said “Mom, you have had a cold for the last ten years everytime I come here” and that’s when I realized she really didn’t want me around.

The woman practically hated me, if not really hated me. It’s too bad and too sad that I didn’t understand about Narcissism and Borderline Personality before, as I went through so much misery and wondering “what was wrong with me” all of my life, and felt like a BIG FAT NOTHING for what good could I possibly be if my own mother didn’t want me?

I even said that just a couple of weeks ago, putting down all my accomplishments because they “meant nothing if your own mother didn’t love you.” When I heard myself say this outloud to my husband, I realized what a hold this person had over me, even after her death and my age at 62. That’s when I realized that she was an unhappy person who put her misery on anyone she could, and because I wanted her to love me, I was a pretty easy target.

Now I don’t care (as much) and I think I can finally “let her go.” And it’s been more than 2 years since her death. Time doesn’t necessarily “heal all wounds” but it can give perspective when we have the right kind of education that leads to understanding. And it’s websites like THIS ONE that are changing everything! Best Christmas present I could have gotten. Gracias, amigas!

Dear God please show me The Way.


Thanks Catherine and Darlene. 🙂

Many Merry good wishes to you all.


This is the best thing I have ever read on the subject!


Hi Christine
Welcome to Emerging from Broken ~ Thanks for your comment.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Everyone!
I just published a new post continuing with this topic of dysufunctional family.
Here is the link: “Dysfunctional family and holidays ~ When you feel like the bad guy”
I’m looking forward to the conversation there. This one has a focus on my in-laws instead of on my parents.
Hugs! Darlene


What floors me is the conversation is going somewhat smooth, hope is on the horizon, things are better………. butterflies and flowers are floating to the beautiful violin music in the background, radiant sunshine all around…. you are getting lulled into a sense of well-being and……then BANG! THE BULLET SLAMS INTO YOUR CHEST!!

God Forbid! If you cry,or get upset…… you are just having a tantrum, a meltdown, or just trying to be dramatic for attention or sympathy.

If you cry and/or get angry, you need to check into the psych. hospital. You are overreacting, You misunderstood, took it the wrong way, having a bad day, something else must be bothering you, PMSing, Menopause symptoms,or the I DONT REMEMBER saying/doing that. ‘What do you mean? Why are you upset? What is wrong with you?
Why don’t you call? Why don’t you visit more often? Why can’t you stay longer?

You know what is wrong with you…………I (we)know what is wrong with you………… I (we) always knew you weren’t right in the head…….even as a child.

WTF? If I am not right in the head…..maybe what you mofos have said or done has something to do with it. ( I don’t have the courage yet to say all that LOL) Peace


Well said! That is exactly how it goes too. Saying this even just to yourself is a step in the right direction.
Hugs, Darlene


DC, you could have written the script for my family interactions – I can’t believe it! Word for word – where do these people get it? They are all reading from the same script! I can’t wait to find out what you DO say when you “have the courage yet to say all that LOL)”

Peace & Amen!

PS: This list is going up on my wall, numbered and in order. That way I can just check them off and date it. Then burn it in the yard with the rest of the trash, right where it belongs!


Hi Everyone!
There is a new post on the homepage that has to do with this conversation. It is about when the phrase ‘what goes around comes around’ is used in an abusive way to foster FEAR of the future in the adult child. (a mother tried to post an abusive comment to all the readers who post here about thier mom problems)


I am so grateful to have found this site. My Mother has always been extremely Narcisstic and full of mean remarks / comments. I moved across the country in my 20’s and she visited approx. 1 x / year. I knew that she was abusive and hurtful but felt that she was my main connection to my siblings, aunts / uncles, cousins, etc. I knew if I stood up to her it would be the end to all family relations. I still allow her to visit once / year and have stopped showing any emotion or reaction. She has now moved on to telling me judgements about my childrens behavior, bodies, personalities, my parenting choices & decisions, etc. If it was anyone else I would never spend a minute in relationship with them. The thing that is keeping me a little engaged is fear. I know thst she wields that Matriarchal power and that I would be completely ostracized. I am getting better and there is more & more distance with phone calls, visits. I keep everything superficial and short winded. I thought I was the only one who had a mother who was really truly this way. I thought no one would believe me that it was possible. This site has allowed me to see that I am not alone and other people are dealing with the exact same things. Thank you for all your honesty & sharing.


Hi OnMyWay!
Welcome to emerging from broken! you are certainly not alone! This site ranks higher than amazon for this subject! The categor for mother daughter relationship stuff is the most read category every month.
There is hope for overcoming the pain and damage that this caused and that is the most important thing. I am glad that you are here.
Hugs, Darlene


OnMyWay, you wrote: “The thing that is keeping me a little engaged is fear. I know that she wields that Matriarchal power and that I would be completely ostracized.”

I know this is what happened to me when I stood up to my mother, but seeing it in black and white typed out on the page not only explained my sisters clinging to whatever edict was issued, and how she treated me. I am just stunned reading this.

And finding out that some other people have little if any connections with “the outside world,” means I am finally starting to understand what has been going on in my sick, sick, corrosive family dynamic, and why they went along with every punishment meted out to me, and no one ever came to my rescue, even though I did many times for them.

And apparently it isn’t my fault! Will wonders never cease. Here, for almost 63 years, I was told and it was forced down my throat at every opportunity that everything was MY FAULT. It’s NOT. I am just speechless.

I grew up in a concentration camp, and have been an “escaped prisoner” all my life. The more I see this, the more horrified I am. The secrets, the burdens, the grief I have been carrying around locked inside for ALL OF MY LIFE.

Now that I am peeling back the painful layers, skin by skin, layer by layer, like an archaeological dig, I have been accosted by a certain “Facebook friend.” Frenemy, is more like it. She actually had the nerve to write to me that I was “presenting myself as a victim” and I needed to “get out of victimology” and she was “just trying to help me.” And the lectures began.

I don’t write on FB like I do here, of course, but I have been posting a few of the EFB Facebook posts on my own personal page, and I made the comment that the girl who was repeatedly raped in Steubenville deserved justice and I was angry about this, and that child molesters should “burn” in the hell they created for others.

So of course the critiquing began. When I asked her to stop and said that her comments were damaging me, and why was she doing this to me, she responded that I had “asked for her opinion and if I didn’t want to hear it, I shouldn’t have asked” and more along this vein.

This is word for word the kind of c#$% I get my from my abusive biological family, that Darlene even covered in a post. I couldn’t believe it! Her defensiveness, anger at me and stubborness was incredible.

We went round and round and the more I tried to explain myself and my process for getting better and how necessary it was for me to go through the states and tell the truth about myself, the more she accused me of being a victim and “wanting to be angry and vengeful” and on and on and on. She was repeating all kinds of Buddhist sayings and excerpts from books I already have – that haven’t worked for me – and finally I just told her I couldn’t take it anymore, and that I was sorry and did not want to hurt her, but I was “between a rock and a hard place.”

I have to do what is right for me. She was very nasty and said that “we didn’t have to continue this conversation since I didn’t appreciate what she was saying and how she was trying to help me, but in her opinion I DID present myself as a victim” and blah blah blah.

I had actually removed posts I made on my own Facebook page telling her that I certainly didn’t want anyone to think that about me, and still she wouldn’t stop, and then I put up a note to tell everyone that I was closing my FB page for awhile “because I had work to do.”

I did this knowing I was letting her CHASE ME OFF OF MY OWN PAGE. She was chasing me off my own page!

This wasn’t the first time this kind of thing had happened with her, and for some reason I felt sorry for her! She told me in the past that she “didn’t have many close friends and didn’t reach out to many people and was surprised she was doing this with me,” so I felt obligated to remain “friends” with her, even though I wasn’t happy with a lot of the things she was saying to me. She is an interesting person with a lot of creative ideas, but the rest… well, I just didn’t know what to do. But this time was the last straw.

I went back on my Facebook page and told people that I was staying after all, and that I wasn’t going to be driven off my own page or “edit my posts” to keep safe from one person’s comments, and then I realized just how angry this person would become reading these comments, and even though I was afraid, I just DE-FRIENDED HER.

I didn’t tell her this, I just let my final message stand, and later on I deleted the entire conversation too. I don’t have to listen to this kind of c#$%T^Y^ and even though this person said I was “choosing to feel bad” when I told her what she was saying was hurting me, I realized AT LAST that I DON’T HAVE TO LISTEN TO ANY OF THIS, FROM ANYONE, EVER AGAIN.

And that was that. She wrote one more message to me saying she didn’t mean to say things that upset me, but she was right about me and being a victim and yadayadayada. I wrote back and asked her to stop psychoanalyzing me against my will, stop putting me under a microscope, stop trying to “fix me,” let me heal at my own pace, that I knew myself and what I needed to do… I also made sure to say that I appreciated her response and I didn’t want to leave things in a bad way or close the door on people, but I reiterated that I had learned in the 12 Step Al-Anon program about “not giving advice” but sharing one’s own experience and “what worked for them.”

Did any of this make a difference? Of course not! But I did the best I could and I won’t do anything more. I won’t waste any more time or effort on someone who is entrenched in their position which says I am somehow “wrong.” It’s just not true anymore. I don’t believe this and I won’t accept anyone else saying it to me. If they can’t respect me, they can go their merry way and find someone else to victimize. For that is what I think she was doing to me. It was the other way around.

However, this exchange held a silver lining: when I realized the gift of being brought to one’s knees and how peaking from one’s own experience and one’s own heart about one’s self really helps, and what it is that makes a real friend. Someone who really cares and is sharing. Not just telling you what to do. What an eye-opener this was!

Almost everyone I know has been in one of the programs at one time or another, and no one, and I mean no one, ever criticizes me, critiques me, tells me how I should be living my life, what I should be doing, what I should feel, how I should be … they let me live my life the way I see fit and they help me, when asked, along the way.

A friend of mine said the 12 Steps should be “required reading” and taught in the schools!

I remember that it took me awhile to get the hang of “not giving advice” when as a newcomer I of course did exactly the opposite, but I was gently told how the program worked, and it worked. I’m not necessarily recommending AA to anyone here, as the groups have their problems, but the steps and the notion of “not giving advice” and only “sharing what worked in one’s own experience” REALLY WORKS.

As painful as this exchange with a FB “friend” has been, it’s been an eye-opener for me. I felt sorry for her and didn’t want to hurt her, so I altered my own behavior and my own history to stop her from criticizing me. Then I almost let her chase me off my own page! Then with her continued defending of her own position, I finally deleted the conversation and de-friended her. For me, this was a drastic step, but I didn’t block her and if she ever alters her behavior towards me, we can resume communication. But until then, I have to be able to feel safe on my own page and I took steps to do this.

And the ONLY WAY I HAD THE COURAGE TO DO THIS was THIS PAGE and post by Darlene about “when family and friends say mean and hurtful things.”

I was safe here and with other friends, so why keep a “frenemy” in my life? Even if I felt obligated and sorry for her? That’s the manipulation at work and I don’t have to put up with it. I don’t have to twist and turn to get away from mean and hurtful comments. All I have to do is say “no more” and if it continues, hit that DELETE BUTTON.

Now if I can do this in the rest of my life, I might be home free. I think God sent this person to me to show me what my family was doing to me, as she spoke “word for word” the same abusive statements that Darlene listed on another post, and as much as I wanted to stay friends NOTHING is worth going through what she was doing to me. I started to feel ashamed of myself, after all these years of working to be REAL and AUTHENTIC. And let it all out and not keep secrets anymore and find the “real me” and the “good parts of me” and she was destroying it with just a few choice words.

I have no idea if she really meant to hurt me, but you know what? Just like Darlene said, IT DOESN’T MATTER WHAT SHE MIGHT HAVE MEANT. I don’t have to put up with anything that hurts. If I say “ouch” and the person doesn’t realize that they have stepped on my toe or slugged me in the face and doesn’t apologize and stop doing it; if they say I “did it to myself” or I “chose to be hurt” or any of that other nonsense, well guess what? I CAN CHOOSE TO BLOCK YOU, TOO.

And that’s the end of this story.

PS: I am sorry for the length of this; Darlene you don’t have to post it if you don’t want to. I’ve stayed off for awhile “working on myself” as suggested, but this just happened and then here came the new post today and it all fit together so well, at least for me, that boom! Here I am again. This site is saving my sanity and my life. Gracias to everyone here! I wish I could write with just a few words like so many people do, but I can’t. But I will try.


DC #141 gave me the best laugh of the day:

“WTF? If I am not right in the head…..maybe what you mofos have said or done has something to do with it. ( I don’t have the courage yet to say all that LOL) Peace”

THANK YOU! I needed that! ROTFL!!!


Catherine Todd – I TOTALLY agree! Thank you DC!!! (Excellent comic timing….reading right through the page…..and oh. so. true.) Laughter is the BEST medicine!


Thank you Danna… I was afraid to come back and see what someone wrote because I was sure that I had “written too much” and I would be chastised for it (even though Darlene says there’s no time or length limit). I just got another response from the person I was having problems with on FB and she says ” It’s like I say one thing and you hear another,” “this is silly,” “we’ve already discussed this,” and finally “I don’t know where to go with this, because no matter what I might say, you might hear something else… and…??? What can I do with that?”

“I might hear something else.”

I have heard this from many of my family members, who while putting me down say I am “refusing to see that they love me and are trying to help me for my own good.”

I just don’t know where to go with this myself, because I am never around people like this any more and I don’t understand what their motivation is. Are they trying to help me? Do they love me? Do they care? Is it just their opinion and I can take it or leave it?

I don’t know and you know what? At this moment, I really don’t care. I think it’s what Darlene has said, that it doesn’t matter anymore. What they do or think or say has nothing to do with me. All I have to do is work on myself. That’s a big enough job for me.

To be told that I apparently don’t understand the English language and don’t “hear right” is just so patronizing and feels like such a put-down. I can see that this person is not perhaps intentionally trying to hurt me, but that’s what she is doing none-the-less.

Saying “this is silly” regarding the discussion we are having about her hurtful words tells me that I am “silly,” and I don’t believe I am. It’s more defensiveness, and she’s still sticking to her side and her spot. I just don’t want to deal with this anymore, and I won’t.

I have never “just said No” but this time I will.

I won’t engage anymore.

I hope I’m making the right choice. With everyone else in my life, we can say “sorry” and talk a little bit about it and move on. It becomes a small bump in the road or a blip on the screen. With her or my family, it becomes a matter of life or death, of the relationship, of the friendship, of the ego, or whatever else they are clinging to in “being right.”

She’s right and I’m wrong and that’s all there is to it. Apparently I can’t read or hear or listen “correctly” in her mind. But I know how this whole interchange has made me feel: sick to my stomach, all twisted and tied up into knots. And not an apology in site, and not a cessation of the argument. Just more of the same.

I don’t need this in my life.

I won’t be judged or critiqued or “helped” in this way. I just won’t. And I have the right to say NO! And I DID! This would be a first for me, because with my shaky ego I keep thinking “maybe I did make a mistake,” but then I come here and I read the tricks and manipulations other people are pulling, and I know that for once I have to “go with my gut.” And my stomach says NO. NO MORE. It’s happened twice now, and I don’t need a third time. I hope I’m not making a mistake because this argument is what my family used against me for so many years. Ultimately I came to believe what they were saying, and that I was the crazy one. Now I’m feeling the same way again. Two steps forward and a hundred steps back!

Thank God I can come here and read through everything and “try to get my bearings back.” Right now my mooring rope’s been cut, even if accidentally, and I’m completely lost at sea. The result is the same.

* * * *

I love DC’s comments: I know just what she’s talking about.

These people always lull me into a false sense of complacency and security, and then BOOM! They let me have it! It’s as if I’m a deer in their scope and they stay quiet and still, drawing me in, then they let off the shot, straight to the heart. Their aim is silent and true. And then when I’m laying there bleeding they say “What’s your problem? You are doing this to yourself! I had nothing to do with it!”

These types of people are hunters of a different sort. Like cobras striking their victims once you draw near. I can and I will simply “give them wide berth” or go get the shovel if need be.

I don’t need to be afraid to go out into my own garden, to be able sit by the fountain with the sun and the breeze. We actually had a copperhead nest in one part of the garden that the snakes had used for years and years. I hated to kill them, but when the children that came over to play were endangered, I had to put a stop it. I moved some of the snakes to a different location, but when they came back, the Latinos just killed them. They have no problem ridding our home and property of dangerous pests. And they know the difference between “good people” and “bad.” Buena hente y malo.” They have not been taught that we have to put up with abuse, or “understand” our abusers.

I want to be more like them.

Gracias, amigos! Amen.


@ Catherine Todd,
Sorry it has taken me so long to write back. Just getting back to normal after the holidays and stuff. Yikes!!!
Thank you for your kind words! 🙂
I have never realized how I accepted “damaged” as normal. My mother actually topped her crazy this year! She bought Christmas presents for my daughter, let her open them and then demanded they stay at her house!! Why even give them to her? Why even let her open them? Are you kidding me?? Even the things we asked for like silverware (the disposable kind for the diaper bag) she bought them for us, and then took them back and said she wanted them for her house because she didn’t have anything for her to use!
Not to mention the name calling by father. Stupid, idiot, retard! Etc! She’s a BABY!!!
We have been standing strong about not going over there to see them, and I have invited my mom over 2-3 times a week. She will say yes and then the day of she will flake! At this point I am ready to just cut ties all together!
Today was the last straw. I called my mom, who lives 10 minutes away(in traffic) and asked her if she’d want to come hangout with my daughter an I so I could get a shower?? A much needed shower! She said sure no problem! She would be here around 1. @ 2:30 I called her and asked where she was, and I got the run around… She then said ill call you right back! And 1.5 hours later she text me and said she was going to help friends do something else!!!!
Really!!!???? Why doesn’t she want to see her grandchild! The one she begged for, and kept saying she was never going to get grand kids, and kept harassing my husband about when we were going to have kids!!!! It was ridiculous!
We tried for 4 years to have her, and finally we have our miracle baby! And now she wants nothing to do with her! I just don’t get it! It makes me sick to my stomach!

I just never realized how much control my parents had over my life until I had my daughter, not only did she save me by making me the happiest person alive. But she saved me by making me see the horrible pattern I was about to repeat!
I couldn’t make life decisions without calling my father first! Not my husband, my father! When I wanted to buy a couch, I would call my dad! When I needed something fixed I’d call my father! It was a sickness. I was ruining my marriage by not giving my husband the respect he needed, because I was so brainwashed into giving my father all the control of my life. When I started giving it to my husband is when my father stopped talking to me and started being mean to me. He can’t stand it!!!
At the end of the day all that matters is that me, my husband, and my daughter are happy, safe and healthy!


Sara, all I can say is OMG. Reading all this makes me so glad I cut ties completely just recently. Talk about crazy-making! I didn’t speak to anyone for more than 20 years and came back when my mother was dying and it was WORSE than before. I always envied people who were “so close” to their parents, but when I read what it’s like, I just can’t believe it.

As far as the shower goes, I used to take my child into the bath in his little plastic bassinet / chair so we could both take a bath together, or keep him right outside. I can’t believe your mother would say she was coming and then not bother to show up. That and the presents and the mean words really “says it all.”

Then you wrote:

“When I started giving it to my husband is when my father stopped talking to me and started being mean to me. He can’t stand it!!!”

This is just unbelievable. This is so true! I don’t know how any of us ever made it at all. I haven’t been on EFB for awhile, as with everyone, there’s been so much happening “after the holidays.” Mostly decompressing. But I can tell you that the best thing I ever did for myself was staying away from those crazy types as I never know what they’re going to do or say next, but just as soon as I am lulled into a sense of complacency, BOOM! They’re going to get me with their gun.

That’s the one thing that’s guaranteed.

I’m going to try not to post so much as I need to let all this settle down inside of me… but in the meantime, I wish everyone the very best that God can bring. What you said means the most:

“At the end of the day all that matters is that me, my husband, and my daughter are happy, safe and healthy!”

Amen. Good luck. Let us know what you decide to do.


I feel like I am old enough to know better, but I am dealing with feelings I am having to overcome. My mother never approved of me and I was sexually abused as a child. I thought I was adopted by the way she said things to me. Nothing I ever did was good enough. She has passed away a few years ago. Everyone outside the home thought she was wonderful.

When I went to college and later married, I was very strong and secure of my self. My husband later was diagnosed With PTSD. It has been a very hard road. His mother has blamed me for everything. I had no control over anything. He even blamed me. I had nowhere to go. It wasn’t safe for me to leave. I just endured the abuse. Even our pastor said my husband was a wonderful man and I must be lying to get attention.

After many years, my husband has recovered and only has spells once in a while. We are in counseling and that has helped. I started going to a wives group and I was so relieved that I could talk openly. I released it all over a period of weeks but now I feel like I am being treated as if I am an outsider. All of my feelings of not being wanted or accepted has hit me like a ton of bricks and it hurts.

I just decided to leave the group. Actually I thought I would reject myself from the group before they did it.

I am so glad I found this site. I prayed for an answer and I found your site.


Hi Lo
Welcome to EFB
Please feel free to share often ~ the current discussions can be found by clicking on the home button at the top.
Hugs, Darlene


Why do you think that is? I have done that all my life. I have people and family do the same and it comes back to me, but why? What makes the boomarang effect, and it never is fair nor goes away?


I am diagnosed with Aspergers Traits, Major depressive Disorder, Post traumatic Stress Disorder and Borderline Personality disorder. I participate in one to one therapy, take my meds and have completed Cognitive and Dialectical behavioural Therapy. I live long periods of time stable content and reasonably happy.
I am caring and loyal. I am aware when those around me are unhappy and I try always to respond positively. Thing is I behaved like this before any treatment. I don’t accept mental illness as an excuse for destructive and nasty behaviour. I could not control the things and people who hurt me as a child. I am not responsible for the damage that was done, I was a small child. However now I am an adult. As an adult I take responsibility for the things I choose to say or do. My child abuse was emotional, physical and sexual. I have been betrayed and hurt, but that is no excuse to harm others in anyway.
All of us are responsible for the choices we make. That includes adults who have faced trauma and difficulty. As an adult healing I would find it hypocritical to inflict the kind of damage I have experienced. I know how much it hurts and try hard not to inflict that hurt on others. People who believe the hurt they have suffered should be dished out on vulnerable people around them deserve to find themselves alone. I have a rule of thumb, and that is ” you can say whatever you want to me or about me. However, I reserve the right to reply, and you may find that response very uncomfortable.”
I have family and friends that love and support me unconditionally,a wonderful man I am proud to call my son and I have the love of a very special man. I am not lonely not even when alone, I belong somewhere and am valued and encouraged. That is enough for me, the approval of all is not relevant there will always be critics, put downs and nasty comments. I choose to shake them off, they are untruths spoken by ignorant unhappy people. No one has the automatic right to evaluate and judge any aspect of my life. Unless they have lived my life they are unqualified to understand yet alone judge why I am like I am and why I behave in the ways I do.
I think we try so hard sometimes to maintain painful relationships, we keep forgiving and turning the page, hopeful that change will occur, sometimes it does and positives happen. Sometimes no change occurs,the hard bit is working out when enough pages have been turned and it is time to close the book and walk away.
I have read all the responses, and my heart has felt the pain, anguish and rejection you have all experienced often at the hands of those who should be loving and encouraging you. I am sad for your hurts and angry at the callous and unkind words and actions. But look here on this page. Look how many of us here are that do not hurt and harm those we profess to love. You are not alone, ever. You are among a group of men and women who are to be commended for your strength and courage. Yes we are sensitive, and it makes us empathic and beautiful. We can help heal each other and ourselves because we know what counts. Love, kindness, generosity, truth, integrity and connection. Thank you Darlene for making a safe space for us all to explore together. Have you added a paypal function to the site. I am a pensioner, but I can contribute to the costs.


Hi Coral
Welcome to EFB !
Very good points! That is how I feel too; Like so many here, I was hurt and decided NOT to hurt others. Thank you for your kind words to everyone here. Thank you for sharing and I hope you will join in the discussions here often.:)
Yes, here is a donate button on the upper right hand side bar here. Thank you so much for considering making a donation to this work.
Hugs, Darlene


I’m in therapy with my mother and our therapist is saying things like this. She wants me to “accept” my mother, and “forgive” her. My mother can say cruel and hurtful things. She will apologize only after lots of effort and push to get her to do so along with not speaking to her for a period of time.

I don’t understand where the therapist is coming from. I think she is aligned with Buddhist teachings. Now I’m going to look like the “bad guy” if I don’t accept my mother’s apology and can’t forgive her for something cruel she said in therapy. For me, it may have been the last straw for me. I’m worn out from this relationship and don’t know if I can open my heart to her any more. I can still have a surface relationship with my mother, but forgiving for me would be opening my heart and I don’t think I can do it. I dislike even being put in this yes/no position of “can you forgive her?”


Oh yes, and the therapist said she “didn’t think it was deliberate”. I’m not so sure about that. She doesn’t know even 5% of what I’ve been through – how can she even come to that conclusion?


I refer to this kind of this as “being re-abused” ~ it isn’t helpful at all it causes MORE harm and once again the abuser is validated. I like what you said about her knowing nothing about your life. EXACTLY. She has no right/basis to say that it wasn’t deliberate.
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Darlene. Yes, I feel retraumatized from the therapy. It is possible that the therapist and I are misunderstanding each other, but we’ve tried for several sessions to talk it through and it doesn’t become clearer or more comfortable for me. I feel stronger about myself when I read your website and more in turmoil and angry after family therapy.

Today my mother and I decided to end the therapy.

Thank you so much for taking the time to write. You and your website are very, very valuable to so many people all over the world.


It was like you were telling my story! Just now getting out of this set of thinking… as well as other dysfunctional family characteristics.

I still find it very hard to stand up to my family and confront them then they say mean things. I’ve been this way and I’m in my 30s.

I am slowly setting boundaries and of course some of my family is not liking that. I even told a family member that they were being fearful in what they were saying… and of course they were upset I said that. They were just “concerned” about something that was none of their business.

Also been called weird for most of my life. Had family use God and scriptures against me.

I’m so glad I found this site, I have been reading through many articles this past week.

Thankfully I am in a strong church that actually teaches the Word and doesn’t manipulate it. That’s actually where I have learned that so much of my families dynamics are not healthy. Thankfully I am also seeing a counselor…


Welcome to EFB!
I was in my 40’s when I first started to stand up for myself and I shook so bad that I thought I might throw up! It isn’t easy because of the way we have been ‘convinced’ that rejection is equal to ‘death’.
I have worked with people who are in their 70’s! I am so happy to hear that you are in a supportive church that doesn’t manipulate you. That is so rare! Spiritual abuse is a very difficult abuse to overcome. (as are all abuses because of the psychological brainwashing effects!)
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


Wow, I could really identify with these post. Sometimes it sucks to be nice but its feels liberating to speak my mind and be in charge of my value and to not let anyone to make me feel like I’m nothing. They goe somewhere with that and try using their words to build not to tear down people.


Hi Tamara
Welcome to EFB ~ I like the way you say “be in charge of my value”! That is awesome
Hugs, Darlene


I have had an amazing insight/shift in thinking today after I had been on a rant on another section of this website. It occurred to me that the difficulties I have faced and still facing in regards to FOO are because of their hatred towards me. The reason they hate me so much is because they think/they know they are such losers and I come in with a winning attitude, oblivious to all this crap.

It’s not as if I have had an easy ride (especially being a child amongst these nut cases) but I persevered and attained my goals in academia. They hate me because I like to be a winner and have the attitude of a winner. I always have. I believe anything is possible if I put my mind and heart to it. They on the other hand, have never taken any risks, never come out of their comfort zones, never given their 100% to anything. All in all, they were aimless when young and hence were unable to achieve anything in their lives. This hurt them very deeply later on and they began thinking of themselves as losers.

In truth, no one is either a winner or a loser. We are all equal, divine children of God and they fail to recognise that. They are heavily stuck in their egos and they hate my guts when I talk about the things I want to do and achieve. It is beyond their imagination that I could come up with such outrageous dreams. They want me to be like them, feeling like a failure and a loser and worthless but I have been refusing to do that all my life. So they all hate me and do not want me to succeed lest the spotlight should turn on them and their failures. So they act nice to my face and give negative energy behind my back. I can feel this hatred and negativity in their minds for me.


Hi Darlene! I’m now 18 yrs old && Ive been dealing with this same abuse from my family since I was 8 yrs old. I was adopted when I was 8 along with my brothers and sisters. I really thought I was going into this loving home to my uncle and wife who cared about me but things took a turn when my uncle told me me my biological mom didn’t want me..its like what you said, Why is he saying this to me? What is his motive. As much as I wanted to cry and tell him off, his wife always said you know how he is arissa..don’t say nothing back. It was until I was about 13 yrs old when I began to stand up for myself & I felt so proud of myself to do that. Not only me but for my siblings too. I believed things got worse by doing so because my uncle & his wife told us they Never wanted us in the first place. They took us in for the Money.They didn’t have to say for the money because deep down we already knew. I remember I hated going clothes shopping because I wore a size 3 but his wife always up me 6 more sizes to where the pants where just baggy on me. This became a routine for her. she never did this to my other sister, just me. I weighed 130 at the time and I never payed attention to my weight until then. It was my olders brother birthday sep. 11 2009 and everyone went to richmond,Indiana to be with him but I couldn’t because sticking up for myself to my uncle got me in trouble so I couldn’t go. Just me and him in the house alone scared me more than I thought. I stayed in my room with my grandma who had alzheimers. I only came out to eat but when I did come out to eat I noticed my portions of food was off. usually I get a good amount of food to eat but not this time. He gave me a teaspoon of what he had made. He kept this up everyday to the point I just didn’t want to come out my room anymore to just get that tiny bit of food. I didn’t realise me staying in bed and not eating would do harm. I hadn’t ate for 3 days nd when I did get hungry I ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich rather than his food. Everyone had came back from richmond and when I had gotten up from my bed I realized my pants were to big & the clothes that I had couldn’t fit me anymore. His wife noticed instantly but she made comments like I think I’m fat so I’m losing weight or that I’m trying to be like my sister and keep a size 3. Why did she say these things? to make feel worse? what was her motive? never told anyone what had happen I was just excited to see my brother and sister. From then on my weight was up and down.. everyone talked about how skinny I was until I just went into depression and excluded everyone from my life..I wanted to be alone. Tv became my bestfriend until my uncle told me I couldn’t watch tv anymore so cutting myself became the next. My family will never know how much hurt I been through and still going through today. I would love to ask them ‘ Why’? What was your motive to treat me like this? Was I hated that much? Even though I’m 18 I learned some great values about myself..Stand up for yourself no matter what cause later in life your gonna be stuck with wondering what if you did. Today I may still be skinny but I’m learning to love this skinny and the way I am. && just reading what you said darlene was nothing but the truth. I’m glad I read it. It made a huge difference so Thank youu so much. !!


Arissa, another wow, just wow. So sorry you had to deal with this. Money? Sounds like you were fostered. But at the age of 18 you are figuring it out! I wish I had. Good for you, stand up for yourself!


There are a few statements my mother made that stay with me to this day.
I remember one time as a teenager, sitting in the living room of one of her friends. This person was asking about me and my older brother, what we were up to, since my mom and this woman had not spoken in a while. My mom went on and on about all the great things my brother was doing- grades, extracurricular activities, volunteering. Despite the fact I made better grades than my brother and had my own interests, all my mother could say was, “she is our social butterfly”. It sounds like a compliment but when compared to what she said about my brother, it left me feeling insignificant.
Since then she has told me things like, “You would be so pretty if you lost weight” and “You could be so much more”, as if being a wife, mother, and full time social worker is shameful.
I don’t think she means to be cruel but she just doesn’t understand me or my decisions.


DD Silva, sounds like your mom had some “image” she wanted you to be. That was my impression of my Mom, she wanted me to fit some “image” she had. Only my mom was more “covert.” My mom never said, “You could be so much more……” Hers was more like….. “so and so is doing this, so and so is doing that…..” (with the “message behind the message” being, “We want YOU to do that….”). And, when she knew there was something I wanted, but she didn’t want me to want it, I would get, “So and so did whatever and they are SO UNHAPPY!!!!!”

My mom was COVERT!


DD Silva
Welcome to emerging from broken.
It isn’t so much the intent as it is the damage that is caused regardless of the intent. So although she may not ‘mean’ to be cruel, those kind of comments are hurtful and cruel. For me I had to validate the damage so I could move forward and away from the pain it caused.
Thank you for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


Hi everyone

I am new here, but I am glad to have found so many people in the same boat as me.

Everything written in the article is right. I wish to affirm you, Darlene.

I come from an abusive and violent family. I also had many conpetitive and abusive friends.

I want to share with you the few ways in which I healed from this. In fact, the very areas that I overcame, have now become my calling.

1. In the last 5 years, I lived, worked and studied abroad. The opportunity of distancing myself from my abusers is no. 1 step to my healing.

2. I forgave my abusers.

3. I learnt the truth. I am a Christian, so I learn that from the Bible. From that, I learnt what the lies are. This takes time. I had to be willing to invest time in pondering what had happened to me.

4. I had tremendous support and wisdom from friends and a healing ministry that has a lot of experience dealing with my issues. I seek out people who love me and bounce ideas off them. For eg, “this happened to me. What do you make of it ?”

Over time, i learnt that people who are wise and love you are NOT the ones who :
– Judge
– Condemn
– Confuse
– Belittle

They should be able to say something that will make you feel that it “fits” or “resonates” with you ? It should be like a light bulb that has lit over your head; you are illuminated, enlightened or feel released.

5. I worked on removing abusive behaviour from myself. I realised that having been abused, I had become a victim and an abuser, too. So I changed my ways.

6. I dealt with the issues from every facet – spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically. This took courage. I had to draw boundaries. It means distancing, cutting off certain ties, saying “no”.

7. What I am currently learning is to SPEAK UP and stick to my stand in the face of opposition. This is how and why I came to this website !




Friday is my mothers 79 birthday. Two months ago she told me that I think she is a piece of s_ _ t and I don’t love her. She said No matter what I do I will never convince her I love her. Then she changed her phone number. After a life time of emotional abuse from my mother that’s what it came to…..hurtful, hateful words from her. I missed the mark. I didn’t measure up to her idea of love and so with that she has cut me off and my brother who came to my defense and 6 grown grandchildren. Words that cut to my very core. I do not deserve this nor does the rest of my family but finally the abuse has stopped. I will not be acknowledging her birthday this year nor will my brother. It’s the first time in my entire life I won’t send her a gift but I feel like she said the hurtful hateful words. There are moments like tonight when I feel like I spent my entire life trying to live up to her expectations and failing miserably. But my support system, my husband, grown children, brother, sister in law and nieces keep me sane. I’m not sure the hurt will ever heal


I sent my brother a letter two weeks ago. In it I described how dismayed I am that he would not find a way to be understanding of me in the face of my mother’s refusal to stand with me (in light of my father’s sexual abuse). I didn’t ask my brother to take sides, just to be open to me and try to understand me. I also am disheartened that he doesn’t make an effort to spend time with me, which has been going on for a long time now. We used to be much closer.

He hasn’t responded. Sometimes it feels like my whole family is against me. My other brother isn’t really “there” for me – rarely calls, nieces and nephews seem wary since my siblings (their parents) are disconnected. An especially close niece left our relationship years ago.

I’m not saying I’m perfect. But my transgressions are no worse than theirs – and some of them have done worse things than me. They are harsh. They get treated with love and affection – and I am treated like a criminal.

It is so hard to live with so little family support. My mother and I are getting along better but deep inside she has hurt me to the core.

I am not looking forward to the holidays.



I am sorry that your mother decided how you feel, and that she left you feeling like you don’t measure up. It seems like she put herself (and you) in a position where there is no room for reconciliation. It sounds like a harsh decision that she made for herself.



A big part of false shame is shifting and elusive standards. You will never quite meet the standards of an abuser and thus, “never win”.

Thus the problem is with the abuser, not you. Hurts were sustained because we are wired to want to be unconditionally loved by our parents, but it is clear that your mum was unable to give you that love.

Partof that wonderful love is being able to give healthy guidelines and discipline to you when you were a child, not elusive standards as power play.

This night you have come to the freedom of giving up on those false standards.




A big part of false shame is shifting and elusive standards. You will never quite meet the standards of an abuser and thus, “never win”.

Thus the problem is with the abuser, not you. Hurts were sustained because we are wired to want to be unconditionally loved by our parents, but it is clear that your mum was unable to give you that love.

Partof that wonderful love is being able to give healthy guidelines and discipline to you when you were a child, not elusive standards as power play.

This night you have come to the freedom of giving up on those false standards.




One more thing I have learnt from my own journey and from stories of many others who came out of it:
The hurts may not heal completely, but as you heal bit by bit, step by step, you are on the road of success and become stronger than before. It can change you to be a far more caring and sensitive individual.

It may also transform the way you look at success, as a process, as a single step you take in the right direction. Not in meeting those false standards.

Hope this helps.



ArtistB: I like your description of how love feels in the presence of another:

They should be able to say something that will make you feel that it “fits” or “resonates” with you ? It should be like a light bulb that has lit over your head; you are illuminated, enlightened or feel released.

That is it, exactly, for me…a light, released, expansive feeling.



Thank you for letting me know it helped.

I read about your circumstances and applaud you and many others for facing your challenges. You should be very proud of that.

Unfortunately, there are many counselors who are not able to help with these issues, either because they are 1) ignorant or 2) unhealed themselves. (the latter, I found to be more common) These professionals and church leaders came to their positions through circumstances unrelated to the needs on hand. Eg, they had a degree in the field.

However, I encourage you not to give up. You need to be very wise and careful with choosing the source of help. The best source would be those who have undergone the same issues and overcome them. (Why would you otherwise ?) Darlene’s coaching is thus recommended.

Forgiveness is very important because unless you do so, you are stuck. It is not about opening your heart to being hurt again. Neither is it about excusing the wrong done nor necessarily about trusting that person again. On the contrary, if that person is an abuser, he or she is unsafe and you need to draw your boundaries to create a safe environment for yourself to continue forgiving and healing.

Forgiveness is about releasing that person from judgement and letting go of the bitterness in your heart. It is one of the toughest things I had to do, and am still doing. Personally, I find forgiveness is impossible except with the grace of God.

It is a process, but it begins with a cold-blooded decision to do so. (you won’t feel like wanting to forgive when you begin that journey)

Hope this helps.



I have a question for everyone.

your insights on this will help a lot as I have a problem standing up to opposition.

My million $ question: What has standing up to abuse – done for you ?


Light and ArtistB
Thanks for the kind words. One of my fears is becoming what she is. I am very aware of how I am wired, I am very shy and quiet, I think as a result of not be allowed to talk unless spoken to and I am trying to relax and just be me.
But who am I? So much of who we are and how we think of ourselves goes back to how we are raised and treated.Now at 55, I find myself trying to undo all of that and become the person I always wanted to be. Let me tell you it’s exhausting! Lol
Everyday is a new day and I just put one foot in front of the other.
Thanks for listening!


I had the same problem. I thought – all that I am (i thought i was defective) – is defined by how I was treated in my early years.

How can I change that ?

1) I return to my Mother’s womb before the damage began; or
2) someone wrote my scenario before that.

Through my personal faith, I discovered that God determined my identity before time began (way before I was conceived). If He wrote that, He knew me better than any one else, so i found the source through which the new me can emerge and the person who has the authority to wipe away those illegitimate requirements placed on me.

I dunno if this makes sense, as you may not share the same faith. I totally respect that. I am not imposing this on you, but I just want to enjoy the freedom of being able to write freely and also share with others how I found help.



My million $ question: What has standing up to abuse – done for you ?

More denial. Up the ante on how it’s my fault. I also have trouble standing up to abusers. I was in an RV park with my RV and someone else’s kids were throwing a ball and their ball kept hitting my RV. I asked them to quit, and all they said was, “we are allowed to throw a ball.” Then their SOB father proceeded to run me down instead of making his daughters apologize to me. I backed down as I feared it would escalate further, but that is what bullies count on, you backing down. (I feared the SOB dad would slash my tires or something….)


DXS, when dealing with abusive people who always think they are right, standing up to them usually leads to them escalating, in my experience. Standing up to a neighbor several years ago when her child was being a bully to mine, she responded with “kids will be kids”. Then within days after that, her daughter started destroying my bushes (bus stop was by my house) and when I spoke to her about that she became verbally very vicious, and then proceeded to malign me to numerous people in our neighborhood.
My mother, when I stood up to her when she and her freeloading husband wanted to “borrow” a huge amount of money from me (I said no) she cut me out of her life for over three years. But I was glad I held my ground as that was my sons college fund. Abusive people always seem to be right, in their distorted world, so when you stand up to them they think they’ve been wronged. A no win situation!


I totally agree with you that standing up to them escalates them. My moms fall back comment has always been
“I’m a big girl, I will make my own mistakes and suffer the consequences.” She did and she is…..she lost 2/3 of her family. BUT she is always right….. She has a warped view of the world to be sure.


I see.

Thanks for forewarning me.



Hi All
I wanted to comment on the post from DXS about the RV park ~ There came a day in my healing when this didn’t happen anymore. The boundary is drawn in the mind first and is expressed through our words, but when it gets ‘cemented in’ to the heart, that is when people stopped pushing me and disrespecting me. That was when they knew (somehow) that I wasn’t going to put up with being treated like nothing anymore. It’s all part of the process 🙂 but I wanted to reassure that standing up to abuse is worth it! It just takes a little time!
hugs, Darlene


Hi ArtistB
Welcome to Emerging from Broken ~ Thank you for sharing some of your story!
Hugs, Darlene


Darlene, I would like to know more about boundaries getting cemented into the heart. RE, your comment number188. Is this when a boundary is so firmly entrenched that you aren’t going to backtrack on it? If so, I think some of my boundaries are there but other ones seem to be weaker where I could slip into not enforcing them. And some, I may be still testing to see exactly where I want to set them. I’m very interested in the cementing into the heart concept. Thank you. 🙂



Thanks for welcoming me !



Hi, i am so thankful for finding this site. I am 33 turning 34 soon, and i have the most dysfunctional relationship with my family. Yesterday i was told by my father that i should have had children when i was younger, and that i am “too OLD to be having kids” i should have started 10 years ago, that way i would have a better relationship with my kids!!! and that it is hard for my father to be a grandpa because he is too old! he is 56 years old/ when did that become to old??? i was no way ready 10 years ago to have kids, and me and my husband have only been married for 6 years! i am pregnant with baby #2 and we are excited. we have realized in the last 2 years that my parents are just not grandparent material. they are too selfish and mean! They act like they are amazing grandparents to other people, my 1st born has spent 1 night with them in 2 years! we live 7 miles away from eachother, and she has only spent the night once! they buy her the most amazing toys, and clothes but they cant leave their house? she is never there, why would it have to stay there??? if we dont go to their house, they wont come see us. we have tried inviting them to our house for dinner or anything and they always say no. but if we dont show up at their house we get attitude?? recently we have noticed them buying us more & more things which we dont ask for. and then a few months later they complain about it, and they arent going to do that anymore. then a few months later they do it all again! my husband has made me aware of the nasty comments and the way the treat us. when it gets to its worst, they buy us something. like a we are sorry. but then make us feel guilty for them buying us something! i have noticed that i continue to make excuses for the nasty comments and behavior because of all the things they do for us. i have tried to confront my father several times about the way he treats me and i always end up leaving in tears and us in a massive fight. there is no communicating to him that he is hurtful, i always get the ” why are u so sensitive? or you need to growup and stop crying” my father has always teased and picked on me as a child and into my adulthood.” you know if you lost weight youd be so pretty. or your husband will eventually leave you, he is too good for you” and i continue to allow this. the hardest thing i have seen is him calling my 2 year old “stupid or chunky like her mom” i feel like i am failing as her mother for allowing him to be in her life. and i don’t know why i cant just walk away and not talk to them/ my husband and i have even considered moving away, because it would be easier then having to face them. we have tried and somehow the conversation always ends up that i am ungrateful and dont respect my family. it has gotten so bad, my mother doesnt invite us to family functions with other family. because they deserve a vacation without us. they just want to our families house in idaho, i havent been there since i was 15 and my husband and child have never been there. and we didnt get invited because my mom ” cant party & have fun” when we are around?? what does that mean? sorry this is so long and i am sure i am rambling by now, but i am just so hurt to see this all now. sometimes i think i was better off when i was blind to all this. at least it didnt hurt so much. it kills me that my parents who gave us so much crap for not having kids right away, guess we are never going to be grandparents, even teasing my husband and telling him if he needs pointers on how to make kids my dad could help im. we struggled for 3 years to have our daughter, and now they want nothing to do with her? so why say all those ridiculous comments about wanting grandkids, and well maybe your barren? i could go on and on with the nasty and hurtful things they kills me when my child asks for grandma * granpa/ and i have to say “no they are busy honey” EVERYDAY!! she adores my mom & dad… and i feel like its my fault they dont spend time with her. i guess my question is does this get better>?? do u ever learn how to not take what they say personal? and is there ever a day when i can leave their house and not feel worse about myself then when i got there? and how do i make sure im not doing the same things to my family?? i catch myself all the time saying little digs at my husband. sorry this is so long, but it feels great to just get it all off my chest!


Hi Sam
Welcome to EFB ~ I totally understand your pain! It is horrible and discounting to be told the things your parents are communicating to you!
About your question “does this get better” ~ I don’t miss the crap that I put up with before. I don’t miss the putdowns, or judgements. I don’t miss the digs. I don’t miss feeling so bad about myself and constantly trying harder to be what they wanted when that ‘trying’ was never reciprocated. For me it got better than I ever imagined.
About kids ~ your kids are seeing people treat you like this ~ that isn’t in any way related to love. (and think about the message that this gives to your kids!)
In my case as the kids got older, the grandparents found things to pick on them about too and none of my kids miss any of that today either!
Thank you for sharing! Glad you are here!
hugs, Darlene


When I was your age, I did move….I had a 4,3 and 1 1/2 year old and off we went to a different state. We are now across the country. What I realized was the day to day stress of worring that the kids would act in away that would cause my parents to make negative comments was suddenly gone! So much stress living like that. Today I am
55 and have no contact with my mom and my dad has passed away. My kids are now grown and they have said “mom, you deserve better than what your getting from grandma” my one daughter likened her to cancer saying” it must be removed before it spreads” I feel much better about myself now and guess what? I’m a great person and without the day to day drama and insults I am truly happy now. I have just become a grandma for the first time. It’s a fresh start and I am now surrounded by real love.



I have my parents telling me about having kids, getting married, nobody will want you, you are ugly, and no man will want you.

I am 41-42. I was so distressed each time I hear these remarks that I contacted my doctor who helps look after my female health.
he is a wonderful and nurturing guy, and shared with me that through hormonal management, his wife is doing wonderfully and his mum had a baby at 49.

To calm me down, he referred me to another of his patient who was happy to share with me her testimony of being pregnant in mid-late 40s.

So what your parents told you wasn’t true.



Darlene, you have became inspration to us all. Everything you wrote I absolutely agree with you. I have lived with guilt for many years. I always felt i was in the wrong and was always looking for ways to change myself. I meet my husband 19 years ago and come to realize I married someone just like my family. I didnt realize how much it affect my health. I was so depressed and confused an mad at myself for letting him enter my life and control everything about me. My husband would use my family against me by saying your own family criticised you. your own family dont like you just look at you. your nothing but stupid and dont understand shit it would just brake my heart and i would start crying I couldn’t understand why or what I was doing for them to feel this way about me. I’m a mother who work everyday took care our children and made sure dinner was on the table, he couldnt attend for some reason only he knows. Homework was done and made sure the kids stayed in sports to keep active. He or my mom wouldnt help to offer or attend.. my mom never seen anything good I did and I was the one helping her out and she would give all the credit to my husband when it would cause a fight between I and him for me helping her. I could go on and on with things thats been said and done but it would only bring the pain back.. For once in my life knowing i’m not wrong for feeling the way i do.. Thank you for your inspiring words!.. its been
very difficult times for me and my children..


Hi Darlene,
I have just recently (last night) stood up to an abusive aunt. It was tremendously painful. I have been in tears since. Confronting an abuser is a very difficult thing to do as there are almost other people that will get caught in the cross hairs. I have always been taught the whole “be the bigger person, and let it roll off you you” way of life. There are times in my life where that was definitely the best way to handle a situation. However when I have been repeatedly saying that in my head after being verbally abused, I always just end up feeling defeated and lost. I would always ask myself “what do I stand for”? And I felt like the answer to that question was..NOTHING..I do not stand for anything. Last night when the confrontation occurred, frankly, I was just already tired and a little crabby. I just simply did not have the energy to “play the game”. Today, even though I feel better about standing up for myself, I am suffering from a huge bout of guilt. Maybe I shouldn’t have said anything back. Maybe I should have just let it roll off of me. I guess my question is, does this feeling ever go away? I am not feeling the great sense of relief or empowerment.


Ladies, I need help….

I am being literally blackmailed
I you have read some of my previous posts, you know that I was out of touch with my parents when I was 18-21, just with my sister, now (26) due to some horrible and eye opening events last year,I have decided I want all 3 o them out of my life for good. They are threatening me that they will notify a missing persons organisation just to emberrass me and will start contacting my ex boyfriends. (unfortunatelly they do have their addresses as I used to live with them)
It’s just I will look like an idiot now, asking or a r/o against my 60 year old mother and her ex husband.
They are officially using the word “crazy” to describe me now
They want war apparently.
I don’t. I want my life back. I do not want to deal with them anymore
Apparently I have a choice: Xmas cards and a meeting every now and than with my sister.
Since I finally saw my sister the way she as always been and discovered the game she is playing, discovered how jelous and malicious she is, I could meet her once a year perhaps. Put on my best clothes, meet her for an hour in a public place,game on! I am so pissed.
Send her a meaningless card for Xmas.
The truth is I do NOT need a show like that in my life.
What do I do?


that’s the unofficial deal: some form of contact with my sister.
N/c with all 3 of them is apparently not an option: they will ruin my reputation in exchange.
What do I do? Do I take the easy way out (“card contact” w/ my sister) or the war?
I now know her game, it would be much easier.
I finally grew up
I used to be her puppy; she kept on either ignoring me or kicking me.
I would wheep a bit and than come running back for more, wagging my tail.
Last year she kicked me so hard, I finally realized who she was.
She has been that person all along.
I just did not want to see it.
I wanted to have contact with her at least.
Maybe I would have realized all that earlier if we both lived in the same country.
Sometimes I wish I could still be delusional towards her.
But they say it’s better to know your enemy right


Hi Everyone!
I just published a NEW article. This one is about anger and how I discovered the roots of why I had difficulty expressing or even feeling anger. It is about how we learn to view emotions and can be applied to any emotion.
Here it is: “Are you having difficulty with Anger?”
Link ~
Looking forward to the new conversation!
hugs, Darlene


hi I think I needed to read this, thank you so much. I have a friend that always draws attention to my weight. Im overweight and am well awear of this. She says things like “she(another friend) would of liked having you as a friend cause everyone likes having a fat friend. OR another time I was telling her about my daughter who was depressed at the time. she said ” I wonder if she(daughter) is embbrassed cause her mothers fat”. This is starting to really get to me as I am a kind gentle person and am always shocked when it happens. I have decided to keep my distance and the next time she comments I am going to tell her how she makes me feel


Lyn, I can relate to what you are saying. I am still friends with my best friend from high school. I think she liked being in the role of the secure confident one who offered advice to me, the shy, insecure one. But as I started coming out of my shell, she felt that her role was being threatened and she started making belittling comments. One day out of the blue she said “I dated a lot more guys than you”. I answered back, of course you did! I met my husband at 19 and stopped dating others but you didn’t get married until 36. She didn’t know what to say. She would also ask nosy questions like how much I was getting paid at work. When I was 22 , I was intimidated and answered her questions. Later on I would ask “Why do you want to know?” Just because someone asks something doesn’t obligate a person to answer.
Lyn, I think anyone who makes belittling comments about a person’s weight or anything else is extremely rude and insensitive. Although I answered my friend with a snarky comment of my own about the dating thing, I like a method Darlene described in a blog about put-downs. She responds with questions like “why are you talking to me as if I have no feelings?” “Why are you speaking to me as if I am stupid?” My friend has almost completely stopped the belittling comments, but if She ever does it again, or if anyone else does Im going to try out Darlene’s question technique.


i am like a year behind, but finally someone understands and someone actually put it out there! thank you, now i dont feel so crazy. you know once you do stand up or question their motives the abusers always manage to some how still make you out to be the out of line one or the one being disrespectful. it is unreal and really makes you question your sanity. it is a horrible abusive cyclone feed by the enablers. what really got me saying “what, wait a minute” was i lost it one day just snapped and everyone was like omg you are just wrong and have issues (well no crap having you as my family) let me tell you it was not as awful as any of them act on a weekly basis and i was being disowned. after that i just saw how they could do no wrong and if i breathe it is wrong, all the reality of how abusive the whole family was hit me. how i have been deemed the bad guy, when all i have done is questioned their treatment and they dont want to own up to how they are, so it got turned on me. just like the lady who stood up to the neighbors about her nationality when you did stand up and your husband said you love to argue and pick fights, your whole story i can relate to so much. all you did was stand up for your self (which no one should have been ok with someone talking like that about your nationality) and you are the one who picked the fight,please the rude person talking couldnt have provoked it huh? anyways thank you and please more people need to be aware of this so thank you for putting it out there.


I keep getting drawn back to this site since discovering it yesterday. So many of the posts apply to me and I am so grateful to have found a site that doesn’t encourage me to feel sorry for the abusers and bullies in my family. In reading this post and some of the comments that follow, I can most definitely identify with the many hurtful comments and actions that have been delivered over the years. For example, last year I got a brand new dining table for the first time in our nearly 30 year marriage. We had inherited my husband’s grandparents’ table and it was antique and beautiful but we did an entire re-model and it was not only in danger of falling completely apart during a meal, it didn’t fit in with our new decor. The first time my family came over after the re-model was complete, I had some small, low profile tea light candles on the dining table. I set some napkins on the table and returned to the kitchen to get something else. When I returned, one of the napkins had been flipped over the top of one of the tea lights and was beginning to smoke. I quickly grabbed the napkin and said “I wonder how in the world that happened.” My oldest sister looked at me with that look I’m sure you are all familiar with and said “I think I may have done that.” She was literally trying to ruin my brand new table. That is not the only time she’s ruined or broken something of mine, not to mention all the hateful, hurtful comments. I use this just as an example. My husband’s mother is also an abuser. No wonder we were drawn to each other, I guess! She was more overt and it’s taken time to suss out the abuse from my own family, which is much worse since my Dad’s death 7 years ago. In any case, my husband and I have spent a lot of time working through to a healthier place and we’ve come to this agreement. We were discussing families a couple of years ago and he stated that he didn’t think they always intend to be hurtful. Without even thinking, I responded “The intent doesn’t matter.” And I really don’t think it does. In fact, it’s become a watchword between my husband and myself. If one of us is late and forgets to call the other person and claims that we didn’t intend to worry the other, we end up saying together “Intent doesn’t matter.” It’s what you do, it’s what you say. If you are an adult, you have to own what you say and what you do and it’s a complete cop out to claim that you didn’t “intend” to hurt someone. Thanks again for this awesome site!! Just knowing this site exists gives me faith that all of us are going to get there.


Hi Lyn
Those are extremely hurtful things to say! wow. I am so glad that you have decided to tell her how it makes you feel. When I think about this kind of thing, I can’t help but wonder what the heck her MOTIVE is to say mean and devaluing things like that to her “friend”. That is certainly not love.
Thanks for sharing
hugs, Darlene


Hi Melissa
Welcome to EFB ~ Don’t worry about how old the posts are here ~ the discussions on many of them are current even a few years later!
One of the things that is really hard about this is that the when the person who has been putting up with all the put downs etc. for years, stands up to it finally, everyone reacts like they are NUTS and how dare you infer that WE are doing or saying anything wrong. I had to keep sticking to my truth that the way they were treating me was wrong and the easiest way for me to do that was to think about how they would have reacted if someone (like a friend or neighbour) treated them the same way. Was it OK for someone to treat them that way?? of course not.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Darlene and everybody,
Thank you for 206.I have not been on EFB for awhile. Sadly my mind has thrown me into depression. This time last year I was pretty grim and then at Christmas hit on this site which was such a help.This last few weeks months whatever I have been worse than ever cry cry cry.With one thing and another I seem to have been a “personal punchbag” for friends, something that I have experienced at times all my life.That is unless it involves opening my purse and paying for them or entertaining in my home.Well the latest is that last year I helped out one day a week for a local charity for a few weeks.One of my neighbours who I thought a friend visited me the other day for some free fruit from our orchard. She told me about an evening out they had all gone to mentioning that the manageress who I know very well asks if I would help out again.I was hurt about being excluded from the evening out but thought I have not helped out recently so it must have been just the staff. Two days later a much closer friend tells me that she and umpteen others who have never worked for the charity and who never will also went.These are all people I know and would speak to in the street. That night I broke my heart crying because it was also my birthday and not one of them remembered it. The next day I was meeting up with another friend and was taking her to a local spa where I am a member using one of my complimentary passes for her. It was well enjoyed but not even a thank you or text never mind the birthday best wishes, nothing. My husband says treat them like they treat me. Well that is easier said than done.I would feel very uncomfortable not sending cards, be it birthday or Christmas but then think like my husband says,should I do like them? Now the latest is the manageress from the charity has left me a message asking if I will help out again for one day or more if possible. I have not replied. If I say anything then it will look like I am a trouble maker ,but surely I would be sticking up for myself.I find meanness nauseating.The friend who came for some free fruit came in her new car and I admired it like you would but mine is also new. WHITE instead of my other one which was BLACK.She never mentioned my car, so I did. She said QUOTE It doesn’t look any different.How different can it get from black to white.She has been in the old car enough times in the past when I have given her a lift to events. It has always been me collecting her. Never yet after living near her for 22 yrs has she invited me through her door.
This happens time and time again where people take me for granted and do not consider my feelings.Almost like I am not supposed to have any feelings.If I am not upset I am angry.My husband thinks it is jealousy but I have worked all my life like a trojan and been given nothing, not even love from my parents but plenty of ridicule, buckets full. My confidence has disappeared not in a good place at the moment.Sorry to go on but I need a hell of a long ladder to get out of this hole I am in.Any tips would be welcome. Thank you for reading Wendy am.x


Hi Wendy am
I totally hear you! I have felt the same way before I really healed. I had to see the root of this whole thing. Because of false messages that I received in childhood, my belief system formed in a very false way. I didn’t realize that deep down I believed that I was not worth the same as others. I was taken advantage of constantly by friends and family alike. Similar to what you describe here and it was so painful to realize it. It was really hard when I drew the boundary and no one cared then either but the good news is that after a pretty lonely time of healing and self validating and realizing the root of my beliefs about why it was always up to me to maintain the relationships etc. I changed so much on the inside that I started to attract and be attracted to new people! People who didn’t want me in their lives just for what I could do for them. People who actually like me and treat me with the same respect that I have for them. Healing the root of this whole thing is where the answer is Wendy!
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Darlene and everybody,
Thank you so much for your reply. It is very much appreciated.You are dot on with what you write.When you drew a boundary and then they still didnt care the same with me.
I remember some years ago when I went to my doctor with yet again depression and I told him that I wish I could go round the bend so that I wouldnt have to be upset with others treatment of me. He did make me laugh when he replied QUOTE The only trouble with going round the bend is that before you get round completely you keep coming back,and that would be more depressing.Thank you Darlene. xx


I found this article while trying to figure out why my mother felt that it was appropriate, at my baby shower today, to tell me that I shouldn’t wear this dress anymore because it isn’t flattering. I truly don’t understand why you would tell a 7.5 months pregnant woman that she looks awful while she is the center of attention, getting ready to open gifts in front of all the ladies from her church. Would you walk up to a bride moments before she walks down the aisle and tell her that her butt looks big in that dress? Your article was a breath of fresh air because you are right, I didn’t feel as though I could respond by telling her how hurtful and cruel that was. I didn’t even tell her later at my house. But I’m thinking about writing her an email just to get it off my chest because what was the point? The ladies at church threw me a beautiful shower and were so gracious and sweet but the only comment I remember now or will probably remember in the future, is my mother’s. I’m trying to rewrite the script in my head but was I glowing too much? Was I having too much fun? Was it because she wasn’t the center of attention? It was cruel and pointed and painful and completely uncalled for. But thank you for your article. I’m sorry others are subjected to these kinds of comments too but it is nice to be understood. Thanks Darlene. Katherine


Thank you so much for that Darleen! Your an inspiration. I have recently thought that I need to discover my own identity and not take my identity from what others have told me to do/be like in the past. Now it feels like I should be stripped back to the bare essentials of my identity to discover who I


sorry, computers going crazy…

so as I was saying… discover who I really am. Are there any tips? Felling a bit vulnerable to be in this state at the mo!




Hi Katherine,
I am so sorry that your mother made that comment to you at your Baby Shower. Why do people do things like this? I have a “friend” who managed to take any occasion that was joyful to me and try to drag the attention away from me and onto herself. She would also pass snarky demeaning comments which I believe were to take my joy away. I got engaged and married before her so she would put down married life.
Have you experienced this type of behavior from your mother previously? Is it when the spotlight is on you? With my “friend” I’m positive it was envy behind her behavior. Something to think about!


Thanks Amber. I did write her an email and her response was that wasn’t how she meant it and she was sorry. First apology I’ve ever had from her so I’ll take it. But if that isn’t how she meant it, I cannot figure out any scenario where that is a positive things to say. Sadly, yes, she is known for cutting remarks but we have always had to walk on eggshells because calling her on them just makes it worse. However, being pregnant has apparently made me bold so I called her out in a big way. I intend to keep calling her out. Maybe letting her get away with it for so long makes her think it is okay. But it isn’t okay and I refuse to let my child grow up in that kind of environment. So thanks for understanding. I’m sorry your friend always steals the joy because that is just so wrong. She should let you have your moment in the sun and celebrate with you.


Katherine, I’ve gotten the “I was just kidding” “You are so sensitive” “Can’t you take a joke?” Type of responses when I’ve called out people like my mother and that “friend” I told you about when they made rude remarks. I find that to be very dismissive and a way for them to avoid any accountability for their nasty words. You bring up a good point. Why would she say those words she didn’t mean to be nasty? Something to think about. It’s like the person that gets caught doing something wrong and apologizes. Ba would they have apologized if they hadn’t been caught? When I overheard some college girls talking badly about me in the dorm years ago, They apologized when I let them know I had heard them. I asked them if they would gave been sorry if I hadn’t heard them. No one knew how to respond to that.
BTW, my friend stopped stealing the joy and making snarky remarks to me several years ago when I stopped letting her get away with it. Maybe things will be different for you because you are now calling your Mom out on her cutting remarks. Good luck! 🙂


“You are so fat” aged 8 (I was a waif)

“You should be grateful I kept you instead of letting you be adopted” punctuated throughout my childhood

“I would be better off having a dog instead of a daughter, a dog is easier to discipline” constantly told this

“You should count yourself lucky that your step-father took you on, cos if he didn’t you’d be in a children’s home” regular reminder

“You should not have met your husband and got married at 18, you should have set up home with me so I could leave your stepfather” after 26 years of happy marriage and on the day I became a grandmother and congratulated her on becoming a great grandmother

At 28 my mother phoned me to tell me I needed to get my head straight, all I ever did was cause upset for her marriage and she no longer wanted anything to do with me and my 3 children.

After councilling and years if guilt I realise that it was the best thing to happen to me and I have been free to bring up my children without her constant critisms.

I recently welcomed her and her family back into our lives, and in just two years I am already being told that I am ungracious and disrespectful of my mother and I should make more of an effort.

So I will, with the upmost effort I will ensure they and that woman who does not behave like a mother, are not able to interfere or criticise or cause upset to me or mine.

Many, many thanks for the positive emotional reminder.

Barbara (47, happily still married to a fantastical supportive husband, 3 wonderful well adjusted and well loved grown up children, 2 joyful grandchildren)


Hi Darlene,

I just found this article because a friend shared it on FB.
There are so many responses to read but I wanted to add
my thoughts now, before I forget what I want to say.

You ARE practicing acceptance.

You are accepting the fact that your mother is a cruel narcissist.
You are accepting the fact that it is not your job to change her,
or to humor her for the sake of peace in the family, or to allow
her to insult your husband.

One way to deal with a narcissist or with a borderline person
(assuming you wish to deal with them at all) is to say very firmly
“I cannot continue talk to you when you address me like that.”
And then, unless they change their tone or their message, turn to
someone else and start a new conversation, or leave.

Kudos to you for taking control of your life, and of your
self-acceptance. (And I’m sure your 50 year old boobs
are wonderful!)


Amber, you are exactly right about those dismissive responses. Had I said it in person, that is exactly what she would have said. By taking the time to put it in email and craft it to say exactly what I needed to say for me to feel better, I received an appropriate response. Thanks for your responses and encouragement. May your days be blessed.


And yours too, Katherine! Think about that beautiful baby you’re going to have! 🙂 🙂 🙂


Hi Joan
Welcome to EFB ~
I smiled at your last line! LOL
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Barbara
Welcome to EFB ~ Yes, this is about love and respect. It isn’t right that parents receive the right to devalue and disrespect their children and that those children (any age) are expected to accept it. It is wrong behaviour. It isn’t love for us to let them treat us that way, not for them or for us!
Thanks for sharing! hugs, Darlene


Hi Jo
Excellent! That was the beginning for me!
hugs, Darlene


Hi Katherine
Welcome to EFB~ Yes, being a mother isn’t a licence to be cruel. There is a truth, a plain truth and when I realized that truth, (that there IS no excuse and it is just plain wrong) the healing began!
hugs, Darlene


Just a small aside. I have been following this thread for over a year now. It has provided me with encouragement, insight, material to reflect on and some laughter and humour as well. I share it with the women with a lived experience of mental illness I mentor and advocate for. I admin on two large online resources for people with mental health dx and I teach art as therapy.Today when I turned the computer on I was pleased to see there was more to read.
Then someone on this thread said something cruel and unkind and directed at myself and my peers. You see I am diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder (as a child of ten post serous suicide attempt), Post Traumatic Stress Disorder ( after being held at gunpoint and assaulted at work), Borderline Personality Disorder (after 6years of one to one psychotherapy to address sexual abuse from aged 6-15 by extended family) and finally some Asperger’s traits.
I am one of the lucky one’s. I live in a country where free public mental health treatment and subsidised medication is available. I have had access to both dialectical & cognitive therapies and live the majority of my time in recovery, I rarely have enough BPD symptoms to make the diagnosis anymore, in fact those symptoms only come up at all when I am in a depressive episode (every 12-18 months and decreasing.)
Two thirds of those with a BPD dx have had severe trauma as children, one third have a family with several or more with the dx. I copped it both ways trauma and untreated BPD in the family. But I went on to survive and then to thrive. My BPD has always been described as quiet, high functioning and atypical. This has now been disputed as new research shows how many people are affected(2-5%of the general population)I am someone with a BPD dx who has been able to access the best treatments available (the ones people with BPD like Marsha Lineham have designed and developed. Minimum of two years talk therapy and a behaviour changing therapy DBT, CBT, MBT)
Those of us who are not as visible, not in crisis or chaos tend to pass undetected. Where those acting out tend to be labelled.
Today someone on your thread made a generalisation about “Borderlines” and it hurt that in a kind and open forum it is still acceptable to BPD bash. Even sadder it is coupled with NPD in a sentence. People with BPD dx are often sought out by those with NPD dx as partners or children singled out for negative attention because we make such willing and loving victims, because we are so loyal and stay for so much more abuse. They are often the abusers that cause enough trauma to ensure we develop BPD. Yet still people with a dx of NPD are struggling themselves with a horrible set of symptoms and I must acknowledge their pain, while never condoning their actions and trying to support those being harmed or hurt.
I am not a Borderline. I am a person with a serious and difficult to beat dx. I am a daughter, wife, mother, aunt, great aunt and friend. I am not a Borderline I am a tertiary educated, consumer consultant, mentor, advocate and peer educator.
I did not choose this path, it was chosen for me by genetics and nine years of child sexual abuse. I can’t change the past but I have chosen health and insight as my present. I can and do take responsibility for my actions. I can and do share with my peers with a BPD dx every day information and resources to tackle BPD head on and make positive changes. I do stand up when stigma and generalisations are being allowed to slip past as dialogue, rather than being challenged as inaccurate and damaging.
All human beings make mistakes, poor or bad choices, cause hurt and trauma. If you have had a bad experience at the hands of another I can relate and want to help and support you if I can. Please don’t use terms that wound me. Please don’t judge my peers or myself without knowing all the facts. I could be a new best mate you haven’t met yet.


I forgot to add, I have a wonderful man as a partner and at 55 there is nothing wrong with my boobs either !


Hi Coral
So sorry that you were hurt by what someone said here. I want to address this sentence that you wrote: “Today someone on your thread made a generalisation about “Borderlines” and it hurt that in a kind and open forum it is still acceptable to BPD bash…”
It isn’t that it is acceptable ~ First of all, this website isn’t actually a forum because I can’t moderate all the comments anymore, (there are almost 1000 per month) ~ I can’t read them all. I work one on one with people a lot more now in my coaching practice and that time has replaced the time I used to spend 8 hours a day on this site.

I personally don’t advocate for diagnosis in any way because it never helps with the damage and it is the damage that I focus on here in order for recovery to take place. I never want anyone to get hurt or judged, but I can’t control it the way that I used to try to. I hope you will understand.

Thank you for your comments. They make sense and again, I am sorry that you were hurt.
hugs, Darlene


Hi Darlene,
Thank you for your kind and quick response. I understand you can’t be responsible for the content in the comments of others. Indeed I understand that the person commenting may have had a bad experience with someone diagnosed with BPD.
There is a world of difference between what is believed about BPD and what has emerged from research over the past 15 years or so. The truth is much less sensational than the media portrayal.
There are significant areas of difference in brain structure between people with BPD and those without. Organic differences measurable on a MRI. There are also differences in reaction to traumatic events. A person with BPD experiences huge surges in electrical activity in the brain in response to emotion. Some on a level comparable to epilepsy, anti epilepsy medications are now used in conjunction with other meds and therapy in about one third of those diagnosed with BPD.
Ever considered jumping in and telling someone having a seizure to stop. People living with this complex diagnosis are told to sit down, shut up, stop what they are experiencing, grow up, get over it, stop attention seeking and manipulating. Mostly they are told to leave, and they do, hurting and confused, ashamed and embarrassed, isolated and shunned.
BPD often comes with another diagnosis or more in tow. Those who have had symptoms that required inpatient treatment have a completed suicide rate of up to 22%. One in five. Can you think of the outcry such a death rate in any other illness could generate. I can. Their families and friends can.
BPD is diagnosed in 2-5% of the population. More than Bi-Polar and Schizophrenia combined. There are a lot of people impacted when you take into account loved ones, lost education and employment opportunities, as well as scarce treatment resources and research money.
BPD is a complex diagnosis with high risks. Many in their teens and twenties take their own lives. Too many.
However it is far from hopeless. People like Marsha Lineham who live with BPD have developed treatment models specific to BPD. Dialectical Behaviour Therapy has positive results for more than 85% of participants who engage in it for at least a year, alongside at least two years one to one talk based therapies. Medications developed for schizophrenia (atypical anti psychotics) and mood disorders have been useful in stabilising symptoms as well. Anti epilepsy meds can be useful as well.
So more and more people are getting to the point where they live in positive recovery from BPD over longer and longer. We are now seeing the expression recovered more often. I am one of those people who has developed the insight into my dx that saw me engage in enough treatment to be well. It’s no easy process, it requires training our minds into completely new patterns of receiving and processing information, but it does work. If I am assessed today I do not have enough of the symptoms or the intensity of emotion to meet the criteria of BPD dx. It hasn’t disappeared, I have been taught skills and strategies to minimise and extinguish the symptoms to the point where I live a healthy and stable life. I have good friendships and relationships. I have little crisis or chaos, but understand I must make sensible choices about self maintenance to keep things on an even keel.
I see parents now with teenagers who make the decision to pursue modern treatment. I see how those young people can and do turn BPD around and gain good control. I see degrees or college finished, I see families hold together. I see potential being explored and developed.
Mainly I see relief. Hope is real. Hurt can be soothed. Help can be found. If you want or need to know more. Facebook sites like “healing from BPD” “The Buddha and The Borderline” and “BPD Recovery” are helpful start points. Help and support is out there and others living with BPD are making sure the message gets out.
The work you do Darlene is important for the two thirds of people with BPD as a result of childhood trauma. The easy to access language you use is a powerful tool against that abuse continuing to impact on us as adults. The strategies you describe teach people to reclaim their personal boundaries and sense of self. I do quote you and refer people to read you.
Again thank you for taking the time to reply.


Darkened – pitch perfect. Ilast year i decided enough was enough based exactly on your reasoning here. SO I said ‘ F off ‘ basically in so many words.Family stayed away, boycotted me etc. GUESS WHAT? It was what they did in so many ways anyway all the time. ONCE I said ‘ Stop’ all that happened was I was no longer a weekly living target for their rejections, poor treatment. NOTHING has changed – they are the same. EVERYTHING has changed – I am no longer available to be abused, my life is happier, peaceful, abuse free. It’s not as painful as I had imagined – it’s a relief to no longer be hoping anything with them would improve. I rarely think of them. I just work on the life long rejection impact with my therapy but I was doing that ANYWAY! I wish I had removed myself from their rejecting dynamics years ago. Celine – I can relate to your story – when I finally say No – I get labelled as trouble maker, looking for a fight. Now I say ‘ indeed ….now F off or I will show you I win any little game you set in motion …. Get this…I DON’T CARE what you think’ and walk off. The gift for me is I don’t do this as a default – just to people who try to pull abuse dynamic with me. I don’t rage – I say it coolly calmly coldly. I don’t forgive in so far as I won’t allow the person to think I will ever be a friend again at any level BUT I don’t actually bear grudges , don’t wish the other any harm – Why? Cos once I identity an other is actually abusive, gamey, narcissistic and really is no friend – I actually DON’T care! Whether they live or die, are happy or unhappy – people think I am hard – yes I am, when it comes to making decisions to cut the rotten dynamics out of my life. Those I can call real friends know how deeply loving, kind and great humoured I am too. I love the shocked surprise of abusive, manipulative people who thought I was an easy target!! It takes a lot for me, like Celine, to finally let em have it and that in itself is evidence of what an easy going good natured person I actually am. WHERE nasty people finally realise I sometimes add ‘ so you’ve discovered I am a bitch TOO – you learn something new every day, well done- ‘ . I DON’T suffer fools gladly.My task now is to try to identify what it is that lets people think they can target me – possibly being ‘ too nice’ to begin with but I am not going to become a total random bitch to everyone just to avoid being snared by the handful of bitches that pop up in my life from time to time. I don’t blame myself or think ‘ attract’ it so muchm but I do think it’s something to do with messages from childhood, self esteem issues at very fundamental level – more how I am totally taken by surprise by unwarranted psychological attack-I have more to learn about myself but refusing to take the crap is at least 50% of my solution. Best to everyone here. x


* Darlene sorry- predictive e text got in before i saw it:-( Great site – just found it today. I Will donate via paypal too – I just read your post. ITS hard work and considerable commitment maintaining a site like this and helps so many people to make that next best small or big step in their personal healing – it’s all significant. Happy Christmas to you and Jim and family and THANKS again.


Hi Una
Welcome to EFB ~ YES everything has changed because YOU are no longer available to be abused! love that!
and yes, it was in finding the roots of my belief system, the beliefs that resulted from the messages that I received in childhood that has been the finishing touch when it came to my healing and freedom. Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


p.s. to Una
Thank you so much for considering making a donation to my work here in EFB! I will keep an eye out for it.
All help that I get in the way of donations is very much appreciated!
hugs, Darlene


Wow, I feel so much better after stumbling across this article and incredible comments.
This is me!!!!

I have been struggling for a long time in regards to my feelings and how I’ve dealt with terrible things my family have said or done to me.

Most recently my 57 year old sister said the following to me, each on the two occasions I saw here in 2013:
1) you think you’re so great, but you’re nothing to look at
2) you’re no prize
On occasion 1) I told her if I don’t think it no one else will.

However I’m still haunted by her extremely hurtful words to the degree I’ve let it impact my self worth.
This on top of my younger sister who has graduated my constantly rolling her eyes at me, or grinding her teeth and rolling her eyes at me.

I seriously believe there is something wrong with me, that I am nothing.

BUT this has instantly made me feel my old heppy self again. Wow, the power of the internet and sharing our thoughts and feelings.
I’ve book marked this page and will read it regularly.

Thanks to all…….I feel incredible today.

BTW, I have chosen to minimize the frequency of time to see my sisters to that of perhaps Christmas each year. And I feel liberated. Thanks again!!


Hi Trish
Welcome to Emerging from Broken!
Those are very nasty and hurtful things she said to you. Something that I learned along the way was pointing that out to the person saying them. The biggest and most healing thing I realized is that it isn’t ME. It isn’t that something is wrong with you and doing this work is the process that led me to understand that. I hope you will keep reading!
hugs, Darlene


Reading this article for a second or third time, I’m struck by the sense that people who may tell us to “let it go” when abusive comments are directed at us, would NOT “let it go” if it was happening to them. That would especially be true if we called them out on abusive comments they were making to us!

Another thing that comes to mind is that I’ve been told that just because someone says something unkind to me, it doesn’t mean it’s true, as if believing or not believing it is what makes the comment hurtful.

I often feel hurt by comments because I KNOW they aren’t true. And in any case, allowing anyone to speak to another human being in a cruel and contemptuous manner, doesn’t make much sense.

It seems that some of us are expected to take it, and some are allowed to get away with it. I’m not sure how that happens.


I had everything,,from your boobs are too have no waist…you need a nose job,,Ugh you look SO like your admonishing me for breastfeeding my son..(that was an insult to my mother?)…to ignoring me..invalidating me…putting me down every chance she could..

I ended up having severe panic attacks age 17..because I had no safe place to fall…Thankfully I managed to get brilliant cognitive therapy..which helps you face triggers that make you panic..and you also learn where they come from..and why…

Now I’m an adult..I’m now panic attack free..I now know that all that negative undermining was leaving me feeling like the world was unsafe..But thankfully..I learnt that it had absolutely nothing to do with me..that it was ALL about my mothers inadequacies..damage and was ALL her damage..and I learnt to refuse to own any of it..any more..

Thanks so much Darlene..for being there..and for understanding..when the people who should have been there..never could..or were..x


Reading all the comments helped me and was validating. It seems I’ve been caught up in dysfunctional, emotionally toxic or abusive relationships one way or the other all my life. My temperment is gentle and empathetic. By nature I’m not combative, and perhaps that is the problem. I embrace my personality and have framed a way to love myself for who I am, but that doesn’t mean I “fit,” because it seems all families and groups of people I encounter have some dysfunction.

My family of origin certainly was dysfunctional, and I married, but then left, an emotionally abusive man after 16 years even though it hurt me severely financially, from which I have never recovered. I have two grown daughters who initially stood by me, and now, although they heard the abuse when they were young and help me out financially today a little, they respect and love their dad dearly and seem to plan their holiday social schedules around him. (He was never abusive to them, just me, and I always had to be the “bad guy” when it came to putting my foot down to discipline them. I had tried to help them forgive their father as adults by forgiving him myself. Now I wonder if this was a big mistake. He was never held accountable for the way he treated me. Also, he has money and ability to travel, buy them nice gifts, and take them on trips, etc.)

Years ago I campaigned for he and his wife to co-celebrate my daughter’s birthdays to make it less difficult time-wise for the daughters. That worked for about 2 years, but ultimately it became too uncomfortable for me because of hurtful remarks and rudeness from his new wife, who seems to have a vendetta against me. Looking back I wasn’t taking care of myself in trying to plan co-celebrations.

More recently the wife’s daughter is planning co-family holidays for a similar reason, but it trumps my own holiday invites, and I get “invited” to hers, which seem to get 1st priority. I’ve been trying for about 5 years to have 1 or 2 quiet little celebrations in my home and realize we would need to rotate. But I never get a turn which makes me very sad. And now one of my daughters is now praising their “step sister” for doing what I tried to do years ago but had to stop because of her mother.

More recently I tried to reach out to some long lost extended family, but at the reunion dinner I was criticized several times by several of them about my parents’situation as if it was my responsibility. I had made peace with my childhood past on many levels, and I came to my mother’s defense; but it caused me to withdraw from some of them and not attend the 2nd reunion. One sent a humiliating email to me and cc’d another. Some of the others now either don’t answer my emails or stopped sending Christmas cards or both. I think it’s because I didn’t go to the 2nd reunion, although they probably don’t remember the derogatory remarks or know about the email.

So you see, there is a pattern. I withdraw from the abuse and rudeness, of a few but become resented for it by everyone. It matches the patterns in the postings above. “If you take care yourself and respond or withdraw, you will be blamed and judged, not those who were hostile in the first place.”

I’m emotionally starved for extended family and don’t know what to do about it. I’m just lost. I’m in my 60’s with limited means and need them more than ever as friends, to exchange information, as online companions,confidants, for mutual support, and to visit on occasion. And of course, I need to be close to my daughters and miss their companionship and close relationships more and more. They seem to be drifting away and are the only nuclear family I have left.


Hi Allie,
Welcome to EFB ~ you have certainly found the right ‘gathering place’ so to speak. I was emotionally starved to be heard and validated, and once I found that, I began to rebuild my life. I began to realize the ways that I discounted myself in all my efforts to make everyone else happy as I had been taught to do my entire life. Things are so much better now and it took some time but all my relationships today are co-creative. (mutually respectful, equality based on equal value for me as well as the other person) and life is completely different and really wonderful now! Thank you for sharing and I hope you will stick around. There is so much insight here.
hugs, Darlene


Thank you Darlene.

This website is going to be helpful to me, I’m sure. Thank you for hosting it. I admire the all the courage expressed here.


Awesome post!..keep standing it becomes you…thank you for sharing


Hi Allie.

I feel pain and sadness when I read your post. I, too, have complex family relationships with people that have been slowly drifting away, drifting away over the years…..

A lot of the themes you mention I am faced with as well. I don’t know if it helps you to know that you are not alone. The strained relationships, the talking about you, the hosting of gatherings (or not), the not being invited or not getting responses….all of these things are happening in my life as well.

When I first came onto this board, I thought I was the only one with a “unique” family situation, and I had trouble even identifying what the core issues were. Now after months of reading Darlene’s posts and the comments I see how many of the same themes come up over and over, right down to the random details – my situation isn’t unique at all!

I am close in age to you, and while I don’t have children, I have several nieces and nephews. One in particular I was very close to, but her mother (my sister) and I don’t get along well anymore, and my niece essentially left me. I have had to severely cut back on the relationship with her mother. I feel like I get hurt over and over again by my sister…almost like she WANTS me to leave the family and be estranged from her daughter.

I know what you mean about feeling lost. My identity was/is pretty wrapped up in my FOO, even though in retrospect most didn’t seem to care as much about me as I did about them. I’m in limbo myself and trying to evolve into a new “me” with my FOO on the periphery, and only in reciprocal relationships with those who want one. Right now there is a vacuum where I want my new family and friends to be.

I can’t imagine how hard it must be with your daughters. I wish I had words to help you. I have a therapist who helps me and gives support and she is helping me get through this. All the people on the board, and especially Darlene and her posts, are a lifeline.

Thinking of you, Light


Dear Darlene,
There are so many posts that resonate with me but this one really hit home. I never felt safe at “home”, when the opportunity appeared to escape the FOO I took it and moved oceans away. During the rare visits “home” as an adult child, my mother’s and golden sister’s hurtful comments caused recurrent depression so I visited even less. My mother pits the siblings against one another. There is no good will in nonsensical things she says. It is not even the content of her comments anymore but the motivation behind those unnecessary comments that truly wounds me because I see now that what they say ‘love’ is not love at all. True love does not hurt, not intentionally. I have been reminded many times about improved techniques of rhinoplasty when I visit, see my mother does not ‘approve’ how I look. Yet she projects her thought as if I have a body image problem and when that backfires she labels me arrogant. They don’t know what self love is! I have been criticized about my physical appearance as if I’m not in the room, that I find bizarre and demeaning. My mother would talk about my physical features to my mother first in a complementing way, she knows that will make my sister more insecure. My mother gets pleasure in this. And in the next moment she would add “but don’t worry Mittmitt’s legs are crooked and she has cellulite, disgusting really”. THIS IS ALL HAPPENING WHEN I’M SITTING NEXT TO THEM!” Its sick, they are sick. Who cares about cellulite, I’m your daughter. The disbelief about me having a relationship with someone they deem as good looking adds more to injury. I hear ” he is with YOU? out of all people, he must be really desperate” I’m done giving them excuses because the answer to the question WHY they do that is pushing me into depression. I no longer feel guilt for going low contact. I used to think I was a psychopath because I never missed my family, not even once. Thank you for giving examples from your life. They all operate the same way. Making others feel small and bad to raise themselves is a pathetic way to live. The denial of their intent is insulting to our intelligence.
Love, Mittmitt


I am glad that I have found this site. I have struggled with family relationships my whole life. At this point in my life it is the “relationship” with my sister I am finding the hardest. We have had some fun times together but those times do not make up for the nastiness I have allowed her to direct at me. She has done some very hurtful things to me in the past, and now she is going through a very nasty belittling phase with me. She puts me down frequently in front of the family and includes the childish head shaking and eye rolling. She is 40! I have tried everything. Over the last 10 years I have tried “letting it go”, being defensive, keeping quiet, looked at what I have been doing “wrong”, put boundaries in place (she ignores them) etc etc. On the rare occasion that I have lost my tolerance and reacted she seemed to be happy and satisfied that she finally got to me. The family knows that she is a cranky moody person and they just put up with it. My mother even suggested that there must be something wrong with me for her to do it!! I am the older sister and I am the only one she directs the hurtful comments at. On the advice of my doctor I am stressed and so I am seeing a psychologist. I have so far limited one on one contact with her and only see her at gatherings or in the company of other people. This still does not stop her. She just belittles me in a more subtle way. I am tired and confused. I do not understand how or why she treats me badly. I have always done my best to be a kind supportive sister. She has been all take and no give. This has all only recently surfaced for me. I have broken up with boyfriends for much less than what she has done. Because she is my sister I feel I cannot just dump her. She also has a 10 year old daughter and we are close. If I cut my sister out of my life then I will not be able to see my niece. I am reaching a point though were I feel I must get her out of my life so that I can continue to be happy.


Hi Maria
Welcome to EFB ~ This is such a hard situation. I had a few people in my life like that, but my sister in law comes to mind when I read your story. The most horrific thing for me to accept was that she didn’t actually CARE if I drew a boundary. (I think she cared when my husband, her brother drew one though, but I don’t think she expected that to ever happen)
Something that really helped me was to think about this word “family” more deeply. I concluded that family isn’t the point. The point is that I don’t deserve it. If a co-worker was doing it, I wouldn’t hang out with them after work. The point for me was that I had to draw boundaries for myself with certain people in order to flourish and grow in my own life. They have a choice as well and they could have chosen to see how destructive their behaviour was. There are consequences in this world and I decided that I wasn’t going to be the only one that had them.
Thank you so much for sharing. I hope you will share often.
hugs, Darlene


What goes around comes around… i see my relatives who have made fun of everyone are now without friends and stuck hating each other yet with each other pretending they care. Every week a different one hates and not talking to this or that one. One is only talking to them to keep foot in door for inheritance and admits it to me. Im checked out. Im never around but the topper i heard is one sister literally googled white trash and put in my mothers face to read after telling her shes white trash and not normal. Of course since then shes crawled back being sure she stays in loop for money too i am sure. Mommy dearest bails themall out. But me. Shove your money. Id eat dog food before id degrade myself like that. One even secretly recorded the other to use against the other. Nice people. There is NO LOVE in that family and ive found more love from strangers and animals. They dont know how to love. They cant give what they dont have. The only thing to get from them is pain and abuse.
See ya- wouldnt wanna be ya!


Hi Linnea
Welcome to Emerging from Broken!
This is what the website is all about, and the ways that we have found to overcome the damage.
hugs, Darlene


Thanks Darlene. I can feel you have a sweet and caring spirit. The darkness cant snuff out Gods light- with His love we are overcomers!


Is there anyone on this site who lives in the Sacramento CA area? Be nice to starta local support group.


Hello Darlene,
Thank you again for this site.When I first found you I was actually Broken but now I am soooo much better and improving every day. At first I was always crying and felt like rubbish and ending it all. How things have changed.
Last Christmas Eve was the turning point for me which I have already written about.
The latest being that I have not seen my father since then although he has tried a couple of times to wind me up without success by telephone and today when I visited my mother in her care home.
She has relatives in Austria and announced to day that she has spoken to her sister who she has not seen or heard of for 65 yrs. Mother tells me that her sister who father has invited over to England can stay at my home.Nobody has asked me if it is ok which of course it is not.I told her that I do not know her and why do they expect me to put her up. They have bad mouthed me all my life and now this.
My husband says it is my father trying to take control over me again because he thinks I will not dare to say no.The thing is it will cause us great inconvenience and expense. The sister, my aunt is in her late 70s and will need transport everywhere. To me my father is completely out of order and is probably wanting some response from me. If I say no to what he is organising once more it will look bad on me making me look mean and unloving, which of course they have held against me all my life. I can see what he is at. How do I get round it,without me contacting him which is what he wants.My husband suggests that father can arrange taxis and hotel accommodation and let him pay, he has the money. All my life any achievements have been rubbished even the size of my home, but wont it be convenient to play happy families and for me to put on a big party in our horrible big house.
Yet what is so sad is that my mother says so pleadingly please let her stay with you.
Any replies will be welcomed although I pretty much know what will be said. Thanking you all. Wendy Am


Darlene – thank you so much for your article. I googled “family told me mean things about myself” this morning and found you. I just need to write out my experience as I’ve been carrying it around for over two years now, with no where to talk about it. I am 54 and I married a man 4 years ago who has two grown kids, 30 and 34. This man’s daughter, the now-34 year old, (his son, the younger kid, does not figure in to this), carries enormous power in the family. I am his third wife and considered very low on the totem, downgraded as poor white trash against a backdrop of the perfect Italian family. The daughter exercised her considerable power over me one day when she came by for lunch because she said she had some things to say, and while she ate, she laid out for me, publicly, in front of my husband, her father, all of my sins, faults and failings.
I can’t scribe every detail, but some of her choice highlight comments included that “I did not know how to behave with family at gatherings and around the holidays, that although her father’s previous girlfriend, “Cindy”, wasn’t perfect, she was a joy to be around at the holidays. That she didn’t like the way I walked or came into a room, she felt I “had to make a big entrance,” that she didn’t like the way I took my dessert over to the coffee table and sat there when everyone else was at the table, that she was considering having holidays and gatherings at her house with her then boyfriend, (who became her fiancé but she spilt with him 6 weeks before they were to marry in Hawaii which we had spent 10k on to make sure we were there in style to support her, and instead she hooked up with a girl at a retreat, which needless to say did not last, and just FYI: she was married once before to a guy with OCD who was sending her crazy scary anonymous letters and who ended up hiding in their dark kitchen with a gun as he had some problems, so she got a divorce – I know this is all an aside but she’s not perfect and she’s caused her dad and many others significant distress) – he said when I went and sat at the coffee table with my dessert she rolled her eyes and that put her over the top with me in terms of my not being able to act appropriately, (and I only sat a little apart from the scene so I could view the pleasant – or so I thought – family picture, as I grew up in a bad situation and I love the idea of being part of a family so I enjoy watching it as a scene), that she thought I acted like an alcoholic, (although I don’t drink and I go to AlAnon to recover from a childhood scarred by alcoholism in my family), she felt that because I had to jump up and leave that made me seem like an alcoholic, but I only have to leave because I run a horse-boarding facility and I have to excuse myself and run down there, 5 minutes away, to feed thirteen horses no matter what day it is, as they always need to eat, no matter what. She said she was considering moving events to her house to control the “flow” so I couldn’t disrupt it by leaving, that now that I am married to her father I’m selfish and just interested in myself, and that she had told her boyfriend/fiancé at the time that she was coming over to set me straight and lay out all these things to me in front of her father and he said, “well good luck with that”, implying that I couldn’t take it, (the guy she was with at that time called himself The Wisdom Keeper, it was actually on his phone message and he thought he was some sort of a Métis person, whatever that is, and he had some very strange beliefs and he sort of spooked me a little with his operating style, which is why I had gradually backed off and distanced myself a little from my step-daughter, along with witnessing the disaster of her first marriage, and she and this new métis guy were into nude public bathing and public sex and hitting trees for anger management and then offering the tree tobacco which seemed a bit goofy to me), and THEN, after all this, (all the while she was casually eating her lunch, throwing chips in her mouth and looking to her dad for approval), she asked me how I felt about everything she had said and how I would like to respond. I just said “I’d like to take it in, think about it all and that at the moment I had nothing to say in response.” Then she got a little angry with me and said “well she knew how she would feel if she had just heard all that”, and then she got her dad, my husband, to try and pry me open, and my heart was racing, and my adrenaline was pumping, I felt totally unsafe, and she hung around for a couple more hours chatting casually with her dad, and we went outside in the yard and he was telling her she had to accept it if I wasn’t going to talk, like I was the failure for not catering to her feelings at that time by not responding, and before she left he asked me couldn’t I throw her a bone or something and respond, he made it clear he felt I was being cruel and unkind by not responding. The whole incident was particularly devastating to me, trying to be a wife for the first time in my life, having family, being taken apart publically at the seams, “for my own good”, etc. Ever since that day I have felt totally different in the situation I am in, I have never felt the same. Nothing was ever resolved, every time she comes over I just sort of shrink and get through it somehow, I feel what she did to me and the way she did, with no regard for who I am or my feelings, was very verbally and power abusive, and it’s just amazing how damaging it’s been for me in my budding attempts to create or have a good life in this circumstance. My husband adores her, he lives for her really, she carries tremendous power, she’s the major domo of the family, and I am just here somewhere over on the side, eeking out my happiness in little bursts in nature, with my horse, taking care of the horses, enjoying vacations and “in-between” times, meaning in between “visits”, living my life ‘on the side’ so to speak, since then. She was over yesterday, she brought yet another old boyfriend, who is now married, so she had his wife and baby over too, (whom she refers to as a “Mexican,” although the lady is lovely, well-educated, she’s a vice-principal and was super with her baby, she’s an intelligent person and a good mother, I spent time with her and enjoyed it, although I felt shy talking and wondered what the step-daughter had told them before-hand about what a social loser I am. Anyway, I am winding down here. There’s no good cure or easy way out of this one, I just wanted to write it out somewhere objectively in the hopes of starting to get it out of my system somewhat, as my husband doesn’t want to hear about it – so thank you for creating space for me to write it out here. God Bless You – Hilary


Hi Hilary
Welcome to EFB~ Your husband doesn’t want to hear about it? You are his wife. If he approves of the way that his daughter is treating you, his silence is consent. I am so sorry that this is happening to you. I could tell you what I would say to them, but it wouldn’t help..
Glad you are here, I think reading more of the articles and comments here might help you see things through new eyes.
hugs, Darlene


Darlene, I wondered how you would respond to Hilary’s comment!

Hilary, I had the same reaction as Darlene. This website has helped me to become a stronger person. Welcome to you.


Dear Hilary. God bless you. I can picture myself in your situation easily because it reminds me of mine a long time ago. I was married to someone who cared much more about pleasing his controlling and verbally abusive mother and family than he cared about me. Some people spend their entire life trying to please others, even strangers, before their loved ones. They are both 1)emotionally abusive to their loved ones by expressing contempt and 2)treat the loved ones with disregard by not standing up for them when under attack. The consent of silence in the presence of emotional abuse from other family members is emotional abuse in itself.

It’s like they don’t have a spine at all, no substance, ghost-like, like you could stick in your hand to touch their spine, but it would keep going, all the way through and exit out the other side. One wonders if they have any self-esteem at all. They may actually hate themselves, and as a result, are “toxic” to others because of a psychological defense mechanism called “projection”—to deal with one’s own perceived inadequacies that are too painful to bear; one projects them onto others without realizing it.

It sounds like that’s what the daughter is doing. And it sounds like she has plenty of material from which to draw in the way she is living her life. If someone challenged her, her display of power might vaporize or melt like the witch in Oz.

Some people spend their entire lives living for the approval of others, I mean, that’s what they are all about. They have little or no self-love or self-respect, which is really, really sad. Can you imagine? What a tragedy that they spend their lives that way only to realize in the last few hours on earth that they have never cared for their own heart and continually sold themselves out for everyone’s approval but their own? To me, that would be the epitome of despair.

Anyway, I finally got out of my marriage and am suffering from it severely financially, especially today, now that I am aging. But you know what, the person who I spend 24/7 with respects, admires and cares for me, for my heart and my emotional well-being—that would be moi—ME. It gets lonely, but if I, too, sell my own self out, I truly am alone.

I haven’t yet solved my living situation, but I have a way to keep my inner integrity intact, and that is to spend as little time as possible around toxic people, even if it puts my physical well-being at risk. Toxic people will break your heart over and over, and make you really sick inside (and physically, too) if you come to believe their verbal abuse. I may not make it, but am at least now on the right path. I pray God that I will make it.

I try to remember that if you give toxic people “enough rope, they will eventually hang themselves.” I’ve seen that happen royally with a neurotically jealous, abusive boss about 8 years ago and at other times in my life.

I think it was great that you responded calmly to the daughter, because it sounds like she was feeling challenged. You could have even gone further by standing and saying in a matter-of-fact or pleasant voice “I’ll see you later,” or not saying anything at all, and just leaving the room calmly to go outside or to tend to something, like she wasn’t even there and you hadn’t even heard her.

At that response, she may have become completely unraveled. That’s what I mean by “giving her enough rope to hang herself”—by leaving the rope she threw out to hurt you on the floor and walking away—leaving it for her to trip all over and get tangled up in.

The purpose of doing this would not be for revenge, but 1) for the other family members to really “see” the person they so admire, and 2) for her to see herself, as if in a mirror, and 3) for you to show that her disdain doesn’t matter to you. It would be the same as looking at her calmly and surprised and saying, “Do I look like I care what you think?”

Good luck to you, Hilary. Writing this helped me too.


Dear Light. I just now read your response to my post in March 29th, the post signed Allie. I don’t know why I didn’t see it before. Thank you so much for understanding and letting me know that my situation is not unique. To know that I am not alone brought me to tears. Yes, that is very important to becoming stronger.

I am thinking of you too and wishing you the best in trying to get to a new place with the FOO in the periphery. I’ve been thinking the same thing a lot lately. I know what you mean about feeling like a loved one just WANTS you to leave. I’ve had that thought quite a few times, and the vacuum as well. I don’t really believe it’s true that they really want us to leave, except momentarily they may feel that way.

I know there are several reasons my family and I are drifting apart. The grandchildren have more activities, and our political views and philosophies are shifting and changing away from mine, and the daughters are beginning to have time-consuming health problems as well as me.

Their Dad’s extended family is getting more and more involved in their lives while I am becoming less and less involved. They have the money and the means. And within the year, I will have to move out of the area because of the cost of living here, so that is what I’ll work on for awhile.

That may bring some new horizons for me. I am trying to look on hard luck also as new opportunities.

Needing to move I feel like is evidence that I haven’t taken good care of myself, but that’s beating up on myself, and THAT I will not do. There is a lot out there not in our control.

God bless you for your response and comments.

Allie S.


Heartbreaking, and heart-healing. So many responses, I wanted to cry at the thought of so much pain that is similar to mine. I could barely stand that I was scrolling past 200 responses. And this is just a sampling of what so many have experienced, or experience still.

None of us is perfect. Therefore, why does FAMILY think they have the right to judge its members and to berate them? Even after suffering so many hurtful words from my own family, I cannot imagine repeating such filth to hurt them. I won’t lie though. Sometimes I fantasize about it… about making them squirm at their own imperfections. But it just isn’t right. I would rather have nothing to do with them than to give them what they’ve given me.

And so, I applaud the bravery to love ourselves when family does not. We must become that nurturing source of love from God who provides in abundance. This is the only way that I can receive the love I need. I hope to share it with a family that finds me, or that I find, some day. (I can honestly say that I tried desperately to share it with the family I was born to.)

I’ve been emerging for years, and it feels right, if not always that good.

Love to you all.


Just by the many responses above, it is once again a proven truth that people hurt other people, people who we are supposedly “friends” with, and family members can be most hurtful in that we have privately established a false safety net about these people.

Hurtful words and behaviors should never be accepted.
The people who are the rudest and cannot deal with conflict, are almost always the ones who create it.
I have found that discussing, face to face, in an attempt to be heard and resolve feelings of hurt have never been productive, nor have I ever witnessed this so called face to face verbal resolution by anyone else. It all escalates into worse name calling and defensiveness.

When someone has said or behaved in a rude and hurtful manner, I write a letter. The letter specifically targets the behavior I am responding to, asks if there is something I have done to instigate such behavior. I cannot change the past, but by telling me what I did, if anything, to make one say or make hurtful accusations, it is important to offer them the opportunity, by telling them it will help you change the future.

I try my best to express my love and intent, and let them know I would not write a letter if I didn’t care, and I would not write a letter if I thought that I had any chance of being heard and respected in a mature way.

EVERYONE seems to say it is wrong to attempt to resolve your conflicts in a letter. Most everyone seems to be extremely threatened by the written word, but has no problem spewing nasty words and hypocritical behavior with words.

A letter serves me well: I AM HEARD for exactly what I need them to know: Do not continue to speak to me disrespectfully in the future. If did not care so much about you, you would not be getting a letter, I would simply back off, never write or call and let t e relationship fizzle out.

Sometimes people apologize and say I am happy to discus this further with you anytime, but not in an email. That “sounds” good….but I have yet to witness a mature elevated discussion by such people, and I respond back by saying, Thanks for the apology, as it was point specific I have no further need to discuss, but if YOU do, by all means feel free to do so whenever you wish. Thank you again for your apology.

Living a clean life also means learning to give up people in your life who are toxic, a word hat has been coined now for several years. I used to have a great many friends, unaware of their own agendas and perceptions of me, since I don’t think about what others think about me, unless I am treated rudely to people I treat fairly.

Most times, comments and behaviors of rudeness and abuse come from extreme self loathing and deep seated envy….nothing we can do about that except eliminate those once loved ones from your life. I would rather be more solitary than the victim of anothers’ dysfunction. Indeed, life has so much more potential, and we are not only what we think , but we are also defined and influenced by those who we choose to socialize with. People are not necessarily meant to be in our lives forever. It’s ok. The more you care about yourself, the easier it is to give up these relationships, be alone, and miss who they once were but acknowledge that they have changed and you absolutely do not miss who they are now.

So to anyone who thinks letters are wrong, think again. Think about why you think they are wrong, and more importantly, think about the people who say “face to face” is better: they are the ones who fight and scream and criticize and demean others verbally. Of course they would be intimidated by a letter. They have no control. But, you have been HEARD, uninterrupted, and they can choose to respond anyway they want. If they get out of control, you can simply say, I wrote a letter because I do not want to “hear” these kinds of words anymore from you in my life. It is up to them to change…and this is why they really think letters are wrong….because they can’t change them; the written word serves as direct evidence of what you said and meant and cannot be manipulated.


Hi Jardin
Welcome to EFB ~ Great to have you here! Something that I notice with dysfunction in family is that the rules are different for ‘them’ than the ones they teach us when it comes to them. I agree with you ~ I am not interested in treating them back the same way, I would never lower myself.
hugs, Darlene

Hi Deborah
Welcome to EFB ~
Thank you for sharing your letter writing ideas. I am glad that this works for you. I have written a lot more letters that I didn’t bother to send than one’s that I have sent. but I respect whatever ever works for each individual! I have not found that dealing with people is quite as simple as the way you have presented it, but again, I am so glad that it works for you!
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


Dear Jardin, Light, and Darlene, I am the same in that I need to nurture myself from the source of love from God. And I too try to uplift others rather than tear them down. Also that no one is perfect and it’s not my place to pass out judgement in return – to stay around and get drawn into hurting back is lowering myself to that level.


Ah. Letters.

Deborah, thank you for sharing. I’m sure others might find letters helpful. But my father didn’t.

My father dealt with the dysfunction in my family by writing boxes and boxes of letters. I’m not exaggerating. He wrote hundreds of them. Maybe even thousands. (A letter for each day of his existence in order to exist?)

What I saw happen to his letters has influenced me NOT to write them (to MY “family”). His letters were shared among the very family members he reached out to. His letters were mocked, criticized and dismissed as nothing more than evidence of his own weakness.

It is clear to me now that if someone is set on putting you down, that it doesn’t matter if you talk, write, email, scream or sing your feelings to them. They are NOT LISTENING. My family is brutal. They just don’t respect you unless you fall into line with their lies. Ironic right? Lie, and I will respect you? Damn it!!! Living in this family is like living as a trapped animal in a cage. (I’ve finally escaped. But the cage is still there.)

You can victimize yourself again and again if you reach out and no one listens or respects what you have to say. My words are honorable and precious. I will not write them down to be mocked. My father continued until his death writing letters. He died an alcoholic and heroin addict -smiling all the way to the end next to boxes that were filled to the brim with his letters.

Love to you, Daddy. I wish the letters had helped. I also wish you had been stronger. From you, I have learned the value of strength and self love.

To everyone, honor yourselves. Always.
And thank you Darlene for your kind welcome and shared work. I continue to emerge.


Oh Jardin, yes! If someone is set on putting you down, it doesn’t matter what you do- talk, email, write, argue, beg. I have been in this situation numerous times, and the thing that worked best was getting away from these people. Otherwise it is nothing but frustration, talking to an unyielding brick wall.

On the subject of letter writing ( or journaling, which I’ve done) it does help me sort out my feelings and releases some stress and helps me better understand situations. So it is helpful, even if the people I’m writing about don’t change because it helps me internally.


Jardin, I wanted to add that maybe in some way those letters did help your Dad, even though it may not have been visible to you. It may have helped him to sort out feelings and/ or help release some of the stress. If he wrote so many of them, Im thinking that he got some benefit from writing them, even if he could not change the dysfunction in the family. I’m sorry to hear that others mocked his letters. It says a lot about them.


Amber, thank you so much for your kind, thoughtful and sage words! I never took your perspective before, and if course it makes perfect sense. I don’t think he would have continued writing if there weren’t something to gain. And even though drugs finally took his life, he might not have lived as long as he did. I always wondered how he stayed alive for so long. Perhaps writing really did help. Thank you.

Namaste and all that is good (and emerging)!


Thanks Jardin! What is so helpful about this website to me is that I do get lots of new ideas on things. I was in a thinking pattern so deep ( from all the childhood grooming I received) that I never even considered other perspectives. Like thinking things were my fault. And that something was the matter with me. This website got me to question these things as well as lots of others. I also got many ideas from other peoples messages on here. So I am very happy that my message was helpful to you.
I know that writing about feelings has helped me a lot. So I figured that since your Dad wrote so much, he had to be getting some internal benefits from it even if he didn’t shard the letters with the people they were about.


I was wondering, how many of us are “overweight?” And I’ve always wondered if fat prejudice starts in the home, continues in the larger society, and contributes to continuous bullying by others, including family. Here’s a quote from a study:

“Another study showed that overweight people who get bullied are more likely to stay overweight than those who don’t. So that bullied fat kid everyone hates is going to probably stay fat and bullied and hated for the rest of his life.”

Seems to confirm what I’ve always suspected. Most people hate fat people so much that they will even attack the fat people in their own families.


I love this post! Finally someone who gets that silence can be interpreted as condonement. I love how you said that the mean person already rejected me years ago. That when you stop caring about the consequences of standing up for yourself , you stood up for yourself!!!
These have been my biggest road blocks. That my silence appears as condonement and that I am still afraid of consequences. That is the little girl in me.
Thanks so much for validating this whole idea for me because my self esteem has suffered greatly because of my lack of courage to stand up to my abusers and those that enable them. It’s like a double punishment . All messages I have gotten have suggested I overcome, rise above. Why should I have to put myself through that? I really need help to not fear the consequences. I am terrified of conflict. The manipulators in my life are pros at turning things around. My father. My estranged mother in law. Their enablers (my mother ) & (my father inlaw).


Jardin, I think people bully overweight people as well as others to change the focus from on themselves to the other person. They somehow, in a sick way feel better about themselves by lowering someone else. It’s mean and it’s sick. Overweight people seem to be a convenient target for bullies. I bet society’s adoration of thin people and it’s pressure on people, especially women to look perfect, has instilled in peoples’ minds that heavier people are not acceptable. And it seems that people use society’s impossible standards for looks as some kind of entitlement to make rude comments about weight. I think that is awful. I know some very wonderful people who are overweight, and I would be missing a lot if I rejected them because of a number on a scale. But I would never do that.

With regards to bullying of anyone got any reason,notice that the people who pick on others are not happy people. I look at the bullies from my past and a couple from my present. In elementary school the most vicious two people were a boy and a girl who both had issues about themselves. I was an easy target becauseI already felt bad about myself from my own mother, so these two kids zeroed in on me. In my current day life, I can think of two people who are less than kind to me. One is a neighbor. Another is a former classmate who used the internet to spread vicious and untrue comments about me as well as other classmates. I Had decided to defriend her on Facebook due to several incidents of drama and gameplaying and she began sending me copies of very personal private emails another classmate had sent her. I decided I couldn’t trust her and cut contact. Her response was to spread malicious lies about me via the internet to other classmates, one of whom informed me of her conduct. I know this person had been bullied in high school, she ended up becoming a bully herself. I was bullied too, but I look to healing myself and not to hurting others for that very temporary fix that bullies get when doing their thing.


Screw all these sickos and go live a good life! They arent worth the time you even talk about them!


Your comment is another form of invalidation. People here are “talking about them” as a part of finding their voices and healing. It is fine if you feel this way, but it’s actually harmful when we direct others in this way.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Social Mom. Just read your comment number 264. I wanted to let you know that you are not alone in your reaction to people who say mean things. I too always had a great fear of horrible consequences and rejection if I were to say anything at all back to the bully. As a matter of fact, I would freeze up, and I don’t think i could have said a word if my life depended on it. I know I learned this behavior as a child with my mother, and of course back then, I had to depend on my mother for everything. Talking back would have had serious physically and emotionally painful consequences in my early years.
Did my silence make it appear that I condoned the actions of kids that bullied me at school and even a few adults tha bullied me once I reached adulthood? Perhaps they did look at my silence as permission to continue. I still sometimes freeze up when someone says something mean. Other times I am able to find my voice but, wow, does it shake at times like this. Still other times I have hone back to the offending person later on and told them how I felt about their offensive behavior. Will I ever be able to stand up for myself in real time without trembling? I don’t know, but it is on my wish list, a goal that may be obtained as I sort through and rid myself of the garbage pile of false beliefs and obsolete coping methods.

Social Mom, as far as “rising above ” goes or ” be the bigger person” I too have attempted hose and it doesn’t work for me. To me it is rolling over and playing dead, giving in to the abusers, completely surrendering myself and my wishes and feelings while the abuser gets it all. People who advise this know deep down inside that the abuser is mean and irrational and that I am the more rational and easier person to deal with, so that advice is given to sweep the problem under the rug and not upset the abuser because he or she is going to fly off the no longer take that advice because it doesn’t benefit me in any way and in fact it completely invalidates me.


What a breathe of fresh air! I, too, have always struggled with the notion that hurtful people “probably don’t mean it.” And I get tired of feeling slings and arrows from one particular person who looks loving and fun on the outside. I feel like peeling back the phony exterior and revealing the mean passive-aggressive inside! Yes, there are 2 sides to every story but they’re not always equal!


I agree how disconnecting from the abuser and the abuser’s reaction being more distance and boycotting etc…As just a continuance of their chronic dismissive behavior .
It helps me to reframe and it explains a lot about my current situation.


Hi Mae,
Welcome to Emerging from Broken! I have done some of that peeling back and exposing; most of the time it doesn’t help ~ people seem to like to live in the fog and ignore the messy truth, but what does help is that I know the truth. Knowing the real truth about the way people intentionally treated me went miles towards taking my life back. I can stand up to that now, no matter who goes along with me or not.
Glad you are here, I think you are going to like this website!
hugs, Darlene


Thanks for the warm welcome! As I mentioned, I have a long history with a ‘frenemy’ who I can’t totally disengage from for several reasons (ex. We’re all part of a larger group of friends) but I’ve had to distance myself. Since the dynamics of the group have changed she’s become very passive aggressive towards me. I could cite many examples of this – and mostly I’ve tried ignoring the behavior. Recently, though, she’s managed to come between me and my good friend of many years and this really hurts. On the surface she acts warm and loving to others – and she tries to monopolize the group in these ways, sometimes being loud, talkative, and overly friendly. Sometimes I feel like the hard bitter one in her presence – like I’m left with the anger from her manipulations and she’s the original earth mother. There are times I feel so irritated I could spit! I’d appreciate any advice from members as to how to respond when she gets snarky in a group. HELP!


Hi Mae! I have a friend I have known since we were 14, and she is a very competitive person. I’m not talking about in sports; she is competitive in life! I did not pick up on this right away, and I think I know why. I was the shy one who always ran to her for advice when we were in our teens and twenties. I think that made her feel important and also gave her a feeling of superiority over me. But as time passed I have grown more sure of myself ( most especially this year!) I don’t run to her for advice, and I valued her friendship, but things shifted where I was looking for a more equal relationship with her. Then I noticed she became competitive with every aspect of our lives. Comparing our homes, who went where on vacation and where did you stay and for how many days? Even down to her asking me what, if anything I bought, if we went away. I’m not interested in playing these competitive games. All I want is an equal, respectful friendship, but she seems to have a need to try to surpass me in multiple areas, and this all started when I became less dependent on her.
You mentioned that your frenemy is passive aggressive and also gets snarky in a group. My frenemy has also become more snarky. Again, I think she is trying to level me because she gets her security ( a weird kind of security if you ask me!) from feeling she is above me in different areas of life.
A couple of times I was snarky right back to her, but lately I have really cut down on contact. I have also called her out on what she is doing by saying ” what is this, a competition??” Or ” why are you so interested in how many days I will be away for, or what house projects we are doing” She backs off when she realizes I am on to what she is doing.


Amber, I met my frenemy at 14 too! Her husband and mine are best friends which further complicates matters. This woman is all emotions and feelings hence her incredible ability to sick people in by being “nice.” But I learned long ago there’s a catch – and it’s getting good caught up in her world of BS. I’ve come to understand that she’s not genuine – the type that says one thing to one person and something different to another (depending, I think, on which emotional need she needs filling at the moment). I also now realize that at the core of all this people-pleasing is a profoundly self-centered and selfish person. Her husband and adult (?) daughter are her main defenders, blaming everyone else for her hurt feelings and interpersonal problems. It’s all so sad…… thanks so much for your input – I really really appreciate it. Not looking forward to seeing this person next week – this is something I can’t avoid…….


Amber continued… sorry spellchecker – suck people in, not sick..and not getting good caught up in her world… but just plain getting! Lol!


Amber and Mae,

I’m starting to honestly evaluate some lifelong friendships. I have gotten inklings over the years of how resentful a few of them have been with me. I was the ‘little sister’ who was socially awkward, yet when I was just my normal self, it drew people in. One friend leads her life based on her sensuality and sexuality and was so jealous once in highschool when one of the popular jocks took an interest in me, that she decided to speak with him about treating me well. This was almost 30 years ago, and I still remember at the time how pissed I was.

I see it now for what it is. Desperate women think that if you have ANY kind of edge, there is nothing left for them. Recently, I’ve pulled away from a few of them, just to get my bearings and begin this leg of my healing journey. Sometimes I miss them, then other times I’m like…they may not like the real me, because the real me is not beneath them…hope that makes sense.


Yes, it all makes sense AND rings true! Facebook has created problems too especially when this person is constantly posting ‘feeling’ messages – ex. I just love everyone, kindness is the key, I’m so grateful for loving friends, blah, blah, blah. It comes across like preaching and I suspect many are planted there to annoy me. Seems like there’s always an agenda with her and her family of defenders! I ignore these posts but wish I could respond in an way to let her know I’m onto this ridiculous game. Wish I could think of something funny to post to shut her up!!! For reasons I mentioned before unfriending or blocking her is impossible at this time.


Oh I was just talking with a friend today about Fake Facebook posts! I love the EFB facebook page, but I mainly use facebook to wish people happy birthday, and to talk to friends during college football season. Those ‘feeling loved’, ‘people don’t understand when you are trying to help them’ and ‘they will miss you when you’re gone’ posts annoy me to no end.

You know, you don’t have to unfriend her…you can ‘unfollow’ her so that her posts don’t show up in your newsfeed. Just a suggestion 🙂


Callynt and Mae, I’m enjoying this discussion. I have hidden some people on my newsfeed so I’m not continuously exposed to their posts, and they don’t know I am not reading them. The only downside is if they write something and I don’t respond because I don’t see it.
Mae, your frenemy sounds like a chameleon who changes how she acts depending upon who she is with. The problem is that no one knows who people like that really are. I’m not sure what the solution is. It is hard when you can’t easily drop someone because a spouse is friends with their spouse, or you have to work with the person. In cases like this I don’t have any more contact than I absolutely have to.
Calling, yes I noticed too that some women don’t want you to have any edge over them. The ” friend” I described in an earlier post is like that. They must be insecure if they fall apart if you surpass them in some area.

I did have a victory of sorts this weekend. I was a very socially awkward girl growing up due to the treatment I got from my mother who made sure I felt ugly and insecure. I was bullied a lot in school. I went to my high school reunion this weekend. At previous reunions some people treated me like there was still a pecking order with me at the bottom. I think I still based my value on what the annointed in crowd people thought at those earlier reunions. I think Darlene is absolutely spot on when she says that as you go through the process, break down the lies and false beliefs, and start giving yourself love and self respect and treat yourself better, that other people pick up on how you value yourself. I felt much more self assured this time around and must have given off vibes that I am not going to be shoved into any pecking order anymore. I was treated very well, and did not detect the slightest bit of disrespect or condescension. But I also now know deep down inside that my value does not come from what any of these people think of me. So I believe I could have handled it if anyone did talk down to me. Thank you Darlene for being the guiding light in the process. This weekend showed me the progress I’ve made this past year and a half. Still more work to do, but it’s good to know that the process is working! Love you Darlene!! 🙂


I get that competitiveness vibe from my sister. Lots of comparisons about how we stack up physically, with belongings, with family attention. Sometimes it’s outright and verbal, and sometimes I can just sense it and feel her seething. She’s asked me how much I spent on items, compared the number of wrinkles we both have, got involved with a boyfriend after I had a boyfriend (I was told that I spurred her on), and compared who was the “better” daughter. If I were to sit down and make a list there have been 100+ instances of comparison and competitiveness. She also attempts to undercut me, and I’ve seen her sabotage my birthday and my graduation.



Your recount of your class reunion gave me chills. Good for you! So glad things are getting better, and I agree…Darlene truly is a wonderful guide through this process.



Callynt, thank you! It is a slow process, and some days I feel almost like I slipped back to square one, but I felt at my best on Saturday night. I just have to remind myself that if I have a setback that it is just a bump in the road, because there are definite changes in the way I think and do things now, so I have gone forward, even though there will be glitches, and I definitely have more work to do in the process. For example, it is much much harder to work through the stuff that happened at home than the stuff that happened at school. The wounds from family go much deeper.

Light, your sister reminds me a lot of my competitive friend. All I can say is that if these two women felt happy and secure about themselves they would not have such a need to compete and compare.


I really appreciate everyone’s input! Most recently, my frenemy has been reaching out to many of our mutual friends in warm and friendly ways leaving me out intentionally. This makes me think her strategy is working because I feel hurt and very irritated as a result. If I express these feelings to our mutual friends I fear I’ll look petty and mean-spirited. Has anyone experienced this specific problem? How have you responded?



YES!!!! This is what happens in the world of girls and women, I’m sorry to say. I have been distant from a group of friends who I grew very fond of a couple of years ago. Part of it was because there was one frenemy who buzzed in and out and around like a bumble bee amongst us separately. She seemed to know what everyone said about another person. Once I cottoned on to her game, I got fed up. Funny thing is, she latches on to other people’s friends, but the friendships she makes on her own, she can’t maintain.

It does make you feel hurt and left out, and let’s face it…some people are cowards. I’m sure the friends you have relationships with have considered this frenemy’s mean spiritedness, but use the old excuse…I don’t want to get caught in the middle.

One thing I do know is…do NOT get down on yourself because you feel hurt and irritated. What she’d doing is hurtful and irritating. Perhaps you can extend invitations? You know…just to get a temperature gauge. That way, the ones in the middle don’t really have to choose. They can spend time with you and her individually.


Thanks Callynt! Yes, I’ve extended invitations to my friends and things between us seem fine. My frenemy managed to get between 2 close friends and me and now we don’t speak. I initiated conversations with the closest of the 2 – “have I done something to anger you, I miss you, I’m not sure what happened here” etc…
She denies anything wrong but the temperature between us is still chilly. The change came immediately after she spent some time with my frenemy alone one weekend. The coincidence is glaring and I’m sure she’s instigated bad feelings as I cannot think of any possible other explanations (nothing else had changed between us, no bad vibes, arguments, or disagreements – and I’ve done lots of honest soul searching). I feel this is the most destructive thing one person can do to another, interfere with their other relationships. Do I just grin and bear it when we’re all together – like everyone says, Be the Bigger Person, or somehow let her know through my actions what my suspicions are. The 1st feels like I’m letting her off the hook by pretending nothing has changed, and I’m not sure how to pull off the second! It feels like a no-win situation for me unfortunately…..


I have these challenges within my family. My sibling was recently able to come between me and my mother. Because my mother is indebted to this sibling, she allowed my sibling to come between us which hurts very much.

That has caused me to pull way back from my mother because I am so hurt. It feels like they are in a clique and that I can join in from time to time, but I’ll never be seen as having equal value.


Hi Mae and Light, I am very familiar with these types of situations where someone tries to divide and conquer. I believe it happened right here on my block. After I stood up to one neighbor when her son was bullying mine and she brushed it off with “Kids will be kids”, I noticed shortly after that my other neighbor was giving me the cold shoulder. Ifelt hurt and when I tried to approach neighbor number two she would not want to engage in conversation and no longer accepted any invites from me. I couldn’t reach her! I was hurt, but now that I had time to think about it some things stand out. Most profoundly, neighbor number two just blindly accepted what neighbor one said even though I was a friend too. She did not come to me to check the validity of what neighbor one said. She just threw me under the bus. I also realized that neighbor two is a follower who is easily led. She must sense that if she doesn’t cowtow to the other woman she risks being tossed out and may also fall victim to her malicious gossip and mobbing techniques.she is a weak pathetic person, and the other one is a bully. I tell this story Mae, because you may notice the same characteristics in the women you are dealing with.
I was very hurt by neighbor two not even attempting to hear my perspective; it was a grave injustice to me, but it gave me quite a truth leak about her character ( or lack of!) as I come out on the other side of the fog, I’m asking myself why I would even want someone like her for a friend.


This is a great conversation. i haven’t visited this site in a little while but I spent tons of time here last fall and I worked with Darlene one on one during a time of a lot of crises that were actually the catalyst for a lot of healing and progress in my recovery. I am visiting today as I have a little time off work this week and spent the early part of the week with a friend from high school whose behavior sometimes echoes that of my family. I have been able to recognize this and actually limited the visit to just a couple of days for this reason. I’m not sure who left the comment about a sudden distance and chilliness with another friend in the group, but that exact thing happened to me as well vis a vis the friend I just visited. I just realized that when I read the earlier post. I always gain some additional insight when visiting here!

I also had some victories similar to Amber’s experiences. I guess it is probably important to re-engage at some point with these folks in our lives so that we can prove to ourselves that we can handle it and we are stronger and more effective when it comes to dealing with them. I took my two teenage sons to visit this friend in another city which is large and has tons to offer. The friend kindly put us up and showed us around town and we had a great time. Always an undercurrent with her, though, and the supposition that I am supposed to expect is that she is superior to me. I know you all know the thousands of little and big ways that the abusers in our lives do this to us, so I won’t go into great detail, but some of the issues on this visit revolved around money. I paid for theatre tickets and she was to pay me back for her ticket. I had to ask for the money after a day had passed and I know if I had not I would never have received it. However, when I owed money after a meal out, she was very clear on how much I owed her and even stated that she didn’t think that my bank had a branch in her city. Fortunately, we rounded a corner and what do you know, there was my bank. Good karma for me. I got the money immediately because I was feeling pretty browbeaten about it all and took it straight from the bank machine and handed it to her without another word. I was planning to pay for parking and some other minor expenses that night but I just never offered after that. I know she was surprised. The best part was the opportunity to have a discussion with my sixteen year old on our car ride home regarding some of the interactions he had observed. He’s aware of my work with Darlene and of this site. He and his brother are the reasons I work so hard to get better and to persevere in this work, even when sometimes it seems like it would be easier to just roll over for the abusers in my life. Awareness of and acknowledgment of the abuse is the first step. And this site is a tremendous help!! Hi Darlene and thanks again.


This certainly is a great site and I appreciate member’s sincere contributions. I acknowledge what is happening between me and my group and know I need to accept it but I would feel better with closure either way. I don’t think I’ll get it anytime soon. You all probably know that the longer these things go on the less likely the relationship can be saved. I’m talking here about the friendship I had with the friend who my frenemy got to. I can’t do anymore than I’ve already done (3 times asking her about the problem). It really hurts to know she would take whatever the frenemy said to upset her without coming to me for clarification at some point. Have any of you had good results by pretending the frenemy didn’t get to you? I’m worried I won’t be able to pull that off! We will be getting together as a group soon and everyone is aware of the estrangement between my old friend and I – they are also all individually aware that the frenemy is probably responsible but it’s never been acknowledged when we’re all together. Dare I bring it up in front of everyone including the frenemy – ex. “gee, I haven’t talked much to my friend since you (the frenemy) spent that weekend with her – hmmmmm…”


Hi Mae, ( by the way, what a beautiful name!) one of the great things about this site is that Darlene advocates for us avoiding giving one another advice and really just wants us to provide a willing ear and support to one another. I can only speak from my own experience. My circle of friends has changed since I’ve been recovering. My relationships with the people who have stayed in my life have changed as well. I’ve learned a ton about setting limits and boundaries. A great friend who has worked in the field of Behavioral Health for over 20 years has described her own tactic for dealing with people she feels she can’t really trust. She says she envisions herself with a teflon shield covering her when she goes into these situations. She says she is very cognizant about who she can trust and who she can’t. I personally have found a great deal of value in absolutely not demonstrating in any way that anything my siblings ( my primary abusers) do bothers me. For example: I turned 50 this year. When my oldest sibling turned 50, she was 5 years free of cancer. We got her a necklace with 5 hearts to symbolize the 5 years and the 5 siblings. This became a tradition. I am the youngest by 10 years. I sort of forgot that I was going to get the necklace, to be honest, because the relationships with my sibs have been frayed this last year. We went out for a birthday lunch. I got the most absolutely hideous necklace that I would never ever wear in a million years and most likely it was obtained at the corner pharmacy. I did not show for even one second that I was hurt beyond belief by this. I cried on my husband’s shoulder, because I trust him absolutely. I never have let them know that it bothered me and I never will. You have to figure out who you can trust.


Mae, what did this woman say the three times you asked about the problem? I’m imagining that it was either a ” nothing is wrong” which doesn’t go with the cold shoulder she is giving you, or an ” I don’t want to talk about it” which leaves you out in the cold, and is very unfair to you because it gives you zero chance of coming to a resolution. The thing that bothered me the most in my similar situation with my two neighbors is that the one that listened to the frenemy neighbor refused to gave any contact with me, and wouldn’t talk to me, DID NOT GIVE ME THE COURTESY OF EVER HEARING MY SIDE. That is it. I never got yo have a say, and never got to hear what lies were said that made this person turn against me. It sounds like it is a very similar case with you.
You ask if you should bring this up when your whole group is together. Personally I would not want to do that in a group for several reasons. People are odd in group situations and while they may defend you individually, some may defer to the Queen Bee in a group situation, just like on the playground in fourth grade. Some might not want to get involved. It could be a very painful situation for you. That’s my take, but it is your decision to make.
Could you approach the friend who turned against you one more time and if she says that there is nothing wrong, you could say that her actions tell you otherwise and that you feel that the right thing is for her to tell you what happened so that you have the chance to speak your piece, and help correct any misunderstandings. A fair person would give you this chance. If she brushes you off and says she doesn’t want to talk about it, you could remind her that whatever is bothering her will only have a chance of getting resolved if she reaches out to you and talks to you. If she is completely unresponsive ( like my neighbor) and refuses to address the is due, you may have to do what I did and ask yourself if someone who refuses to address a problem is worth pursuing a friendship with. I wonder if some people just like the martyr role. Maybe they’re afraid if they talk to us they’ll discover that they were wrong, and they don’t want to find that out because they would rather be the wronged person. I suspect that is the case with my neighbor.
Good luck and let me know what you decide to do.


Amber and Jane – what wonderful and helpful comments! I really do get the advice thing and realize the purpose of the board is primarily one of support and understanding. Writing it out helps me sort out my feelings and the feedback is great. I completely like the comments about potential group responses if I brought this up in front of everone. After reflecting on what you both said I think it’s wise to leave it alone and refuse to let this person get to me in that way. I suppose if someone asked me if I’ve heard from my old friend I could say the truth – that I haven’t spoken to her and she seems upset about something….. I think the frenemy would squirm for sure. And yes, my old friend said nothing was wrong when I encouraged her on those occasions to open up. Very frustrating – and I didn’t think to say her behavior didn’t match up with no problems! I guess I was caught off guard and pretty anxious. At the time I got the distinct feeling she would have continued with wimpy excuses anyway. Maybe patience is the key, along with focusing on the people I do trust in the meanwhile. Maybe karma will come into play someday?? Thanks so much……


Mae, I am happy that my comments to you were helpful. It’s always good to get feedback from others, and in the end, you can decide what you want to do about your friend. I can never understand the ” nothing’s wrong” response when something obviously is wrong. In a way, it seems like they are saying, yeah, something is wrong but I’m not going to tell you about it because I don’t want to resolve it. And why does she not want to resolve it? Is she afraid it will upset her standing with the Frenemy? Is she afraid she will have to own up to having done you an injustice? Or does she like the power she perceives she has over you when she plays her “I’ve got a secret and I’m not telling you what it is” game.

I think it was natural that you were feeling anxious and got caught off guard when you approached your friend and asked her what was wrong. I have felt the same way when dealing with similar issues. Maybe she would have refused to address the problem no matter what you said. She seems very immature to me, and perhaps insecure if she is doing this to kiss up to the Frenemy. Perhaps one day she will see the light, but maybe not. If she doesn’t, then it is due to a flaw in her, not you.


Btw, love the Teflon strategy!!!


Dear Light. Something like this happened to me years ago. My sister-in-law was taking care of my mother since she moved across the US close to my brother and his family in a retirement home, and my mother naturally felt very dependent on my sister-in-law. At first she and I were great friends – I always wanted a sister – we were close.

I had been slowly trying to work out some issues with my mother, knowing in the end it was needed to rescue the relationship; because in spite of her neglecting me as a child in some serious ways, I still loved her very much. While all this was going on, my sister-in-law told my mother she didn’t think I cared about her or loved her! My mother had shared this with me on one of my trips to see her. I can’t remember my exact response to her, and am sure I reassured her in some way, but I do remember being shocked and horrified. As you can imagine what hurt that must have caused my mother, and it broke my heart too. I felt utterly betrayed by my sister-in-law; and she knew about seriousness of the issues we were working through.

So one day I flew out there spontaneously at a huge expense to me, but didn’t tell my sister-in-law I was coming. I was hurting so bad and wanted to show my mother how much I loved her by surprising her and taking her on a day trip, etc. After returning home, my mother called and said she found out my sister-in-law didn’t even know I was in town; and she told me how appalled she was that I hadn’t let her know I was coming. She took up for my sister-in-law saying how hurtful it probably was to her, but she never even asked why I did it. She said, “Don’t bother to visit me anymore if you’re going to be that way!”

At this point I broke down on the phone and said, “When does my pain count, Mamma? When does my pain matter? There was silence. It was like an epiphany for me to talk to her in such an authentic way for the first time really, and apparently for her to. She listened to my pain and nothing more needed to be said.

Except then she said softly, “OK, don’t worry about what I said and come out any time you can.” That was a turning point, I think. I stayed with her 24/7 the week she died about a year later, and she knew I loved her because I told her several times. I said I wanted her to come back home with me. I sat by her bed and slept on the floor at night and told her I wasn’t leaving.

I don’t know if authentic expression of pain will work for everyone, but that seemed to help a lot in our situation. Allie S.


I was googling things like ‘how to get along with family’, disrespectful in-laws, etc. I found this site! OMG, I’m NOT crazy!!!!
My problems are with my Husband’s family. (his brothers, sister, and their spouses). Even my husband is starting to realize some of these people are rude and uncaring, 2-faced idiots.
I will save those stories for later.
Now I am having a problem with my daughter-in-law. Her and my Son have lived together for 13 years. (married now) They have 1 daughter, 9.
I have always loved (D-n-law), never had really any conflicts. We ‘seemed’ to be friends and I always bragged to others about her inner and outer Beauty. They were only married for 6 months when she decided to pick a fight…but not in person…via text. She was harassing me for 2 days via text. Finally my husband called my son and said it better stop NOW!
So we don’t talk anymore, only a friendly hello at family gatherings.
The problem started with me getting fed up with my granddaughter’s rude, smart-ass mouth. Rudest child I have ever seen.

-“she’s only 8”
-If I knew her better, she wouldn’t talk back

Anyway, her rude sarcastic mouth was MY FAULT.
Then my(D-n-law) started bringing up all these things from the past in the family.
All the conflicts were my fault, we are bad grandparents, we don’t know our grandkids, we never took them on vacation, etc.
So she totally disrespected me and showed me what a 2-faced, back stabbing person she is. I would NEVER say such things to my mother-in-law, OMG. If I had talked back to my parents and/or grandparents like her and her daughter, I would have been knocked into next week!

All this less than a year that I lost my Mother. It was Christmas time when this happened, the first without my Mom. I am still depressed and on Meds.
More tales to come…
Thanks for letting me see the truth.


Hi Sandra
Welcome to EFB ~ yes this whole thing is a cycle ~.
You are not crazy and you are not alone in this either! 🙂
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


Thanks for the hugs, Darlene.
Won’t go into all the things tonight.
After reading the other posts here, I feel very lucky in the ‘Mom’
My Mom never put me down, called me names or commented on my weight.
I can’t say she was perfect…maybe I can. I only have good memories of her.
My Dad was an alcoholic. He was very verbally abusive to Mom, my older sister and me. He never hit me because I saw my sister talking back and getting hit for it, so I kept my mouth shut. My Mom also was beaten.
Horrible memories of my Dad.
On my 11th birthday, my Mom and I,(Dad out drinking) were putting the candles on the cake she made me. I made a wish and blew out the candles. I then asked her if it was true that if you tell anyone what I wished for it wouldn’t come true. She said ‘No’, it’s not true, your wish can still come true.
So I told her. I wished that she would start saving money, (she worked part time for a few years by then)she would get a divorce and we could ‘Get the Hell out of here’. She went the next day to find a lawyer and got the ball rolling. She went to full time and we ‘got the Hell out before my 12th birthday!
I was so lucky to have a great Mom. (She made up for it when she got dementia at around 85. It got worse every year and she drove me nuts!!)LOL. She passed away in February, 2013. She was 2 weeks shy of her 92nd Birthday. I miss her so much.
Add more maybe tomorrow.


Before I even read any comments, I want to write my own opinion of this article, *applauds*. YES! I have thought this for years and have been told I am wrong. By nature, I am a very loving and caring person and will do anything I can for you- hence why I have been a target for many aggressive and manipulating people. I do understand now, that this is also my fault, for not standing up for myself. I also have a family that can be abusive in their words and actions, but I was always told to be the bigger person, be the better person, ignore them, let it go, and even clouded with the idea that, “your better then them.” No. I cannot accept this any longer. I have suffered terribly by family members and friends under this belief. Here is something that hurt me very deeply, I just recently got married this summer and was picking out my bridal party. I was excited to announce we were getting married and asked a cousin of mine to be a bridesmaid. Now, I should have known better, based on the already rocky relationship I had with her, but I was excited and willing to put the past behind me and wanted her to share in my most special day with me. She accepted and said she was happy for me. I sent the invitation, nothing. I text her, nothing. I finally receive a text message from her saying she doesn’t know if she can come- granted she lives in another state. Ok, I gave her the benefit of the doubt and understood, I told her to let me know as soon as she could and I would save her spot right down to the last minute, she meant so much to me. Two weeks before the wedding, she sends me a text message she can’t make it. I understood again and told her I was sorry she couldn’t be here and we need to get together when she is back here to visit. Then the truth comes out. Our grandmother told me, in front of a bunch of other family members while putting her hand on mine and saying it with almost agreement, she didn’t want to come because she would upstage me at my own wedding. Wow. So now, not only am I extremely hurt and humiliated by that statement, my grandmother seems in agreement with her- smiling, and said it in front of other family members. Oh! and this was at a dinner for me right before the wedding, nice tone to set, huh? I had never in my life been so hurt by words before- I didn’t confront my cousin or even let her know I know she said that, because she lied to me and told me other reasons. But what am I supposed to do with that? Is that acceptable? Am I suppose to smile and say, “yeah! you know what, you’re right!” Good thing she was looking out for me. I think when it comes to confrontation and telling others how you feel you need to discern the timing. I also think you should not resort to name-calling or aggressive behavior. I think the best way to deal with things like this is to let the person know what they said or did hurt you. Put that responsibility back on them. At least you were able to express yourself instead of holding onto anger and pain and saying to yourself, oh that’s okay, I will ignore it, I will be the bigger person. It hurts you in the end to bottle your emotions up. It hurts you to feel resentful. It can manifest into rage and hatred. It can eat away at your self-esteem. It can make you snap at people who don’t deserve it. It can turn you into a person you dislike. All because you were told to swallow your pride and let it go. Sometimes, you can’t. Sometimes the way to forgiveness is as easy as- “hey, what you said/did really hurt my feelings, and I though you should know that.” No argument, no drama, no engaging. Because then you know you stood up for yourself and you had enough respect for yourself to say something- in hopefully if that other person cares at all about you, they will try to understand or apologize for their behavior. Letting things go without saying anything I do think is consent. Maybe if I said right then and there, “Grandma, what does that mean? Why would you tell me that?” she would have to explain to me why it was even necessary to repeat such a cruel thing to say. Instead, I let it hurt me, buried it, and cried about it. I feel very bad about it. I am very angry with my cousin. Which would have been the better route? At least I can forgive and let go, after I have been allowed to feel my own emotions. Another example, another cousin of mine verbally attacked me a few weeks ago. She was at my wedding, I let her house with us, I took care of her and included her in everything I did leading up to the wedding. Afterwards, my husband and I went to a music festival one weekend to see one of his groomsman play. We went at the last minute and spend the day with him having a few drinks. I had told me cousin about it a few days ago that he was playing and let her know time and day. So that night she text me at 11pm saying she saw my picture on facebook at the festival and how dare I not pick her up, she doesn’t drive, and bring her. It went something along these lines- how dare I not call her and let her know I went, how dare I not pick her up and bring her there, the picture was sure nice- she would have liked to go… and on and on it went. I was extremely upset and couldn’t believe she was attacking me like this over seeing a picture. She then went on to tell me how pathetic I was and all the things she truly thinks about me and my husband. I felt horrible. I cried all day. I backed down. Am I supposed to let someone talk to me like that? Especially someone who was just with me through my wedding and now I know how the really feel about me? Am I supposed to ignore that? There have been so many situations where I backed down, apologized when I didn’t have to, and let people walk all over me. I do believe in picking your battles and not every argument is this extreme. I do believe maybe one day someone was having a bad day, they didn’t feel good, something was bothering them, etc. But when this is a repeated pattern and one sided and almost to the point of being bullied- I do not think it is acceptable to say nothing. I agree with you. Yes we should set boundaries, especially if we have to be around these people, but I also think we have every right to walk away from someone or let them know when they have crossed a boundary or line with us, when they are being abusive or cruel. I certainly would rather let people know you cannot be abusive to me then to sit in silence. Thanks for the article.


I find that coming for an abusive fam we learned to shut out mouths so as to keep the focus of abuse off of us… so then as adults we never learned how to be honest about our feelings. We didn’t dare. Self protection. So then we have NO skills later in life. So we realize that and TODAY.. decide to STOP people in their tracks and say ‘what did you mean by that”? Hold them accountable. Otherwise we allow them to be abusive and we take abuse. Both sides lose. Plus we enable. I’m 61. Im planning on going to my grave the person I wasn’t able to be. HONEST with others. Everyone wins when we’re honest. And even if “they leave us”…. who needs them if the only way they want us is to be abused, right?
God give us each courage and strength to “take care of ourselves”… obviously others won’t.
All the best.


I may be repeating what you already said, Princessoflight, but that mention of “be the bigger person, the better person” set me off a little. I’ve gotten that advice myself and suddenly I’m wondering how letting someone get away with abusing us makes us a better person?

It doesn’t do us any good because the person who hurt us learns that they can keep hurting us without consequence, so they will continue behavior that SHOULD be unacceptable on the basis that we accepted it!

It doesn’t do THEM any good. They don’t learn anything about how their words and behavior hurt us.

It doesn’t do anyone else any good. They don’t learn to treat ANYONE with respect if all of us “better people” are letting rude and selfish people get away with being rude and selfish.

There are human errors that are best overlooked, but consistent critical and dismissive stuff is going to continue until we stop believing that we are better to ignore it. In reality – it’s a better person who has the courage to confront it.



Hi Hobie, and Princessoflght; the be a bigger person thing is a big trigger for me too. I was told that so many times growing up and through adulthood. I can tell you that I always felt shortchanged when I made myself be the bigger person, but it took me time to figure out why. I have always been a reasonable person. I have also many times sacrificed what is best for me in order to keep the peace, and many times gave something up in order to prevent a less reasonable person from getting angry at me. I associate the being a bigger person thing with me being told to give in to someone; always an unreasonable someone; so there isn’t an argument. The person who suggests this doesn’t have my best interests at heart. They figure it’s easier and less troublesome to have me give in to keep the peace since they know the other person will make trouble if I don’t. So, that is my issue with that very unfair request, and it took me many years to figure out why it bothers me so much. Bottom line: being the bigger person means I have to give in completely, and the troublemaker gets what he or she wants even if it is harmful to my well being.


Hi Princessoflight,
Welcome to Emerging from Broken! I think you have found the right website! There is so much info and sharing here!
I am sorry that you went through all that.
Thanks for sharing, I am glad you are here!
hugs, Darlene

Hi Chrismarie
EXACTLY! We were never enabled or empowered. Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


I have a ‘be the bigger person’ story too ~ and I realize today that it is a manipulative statement that has nothing to do with ‘being the bigger person’ and everything to do with just ‘letting things go’ and NOT standing up for the truth. I am not a fan of that expression. 🙂
hugs, Darlene


My mom shamed me when I spoke up, right up to the day I left when I was 45. She never protected me when I was mistreated and allowed my sister to lie and steal my money and clothes so I learned early that speaking up was fruitless. I’m assertive in business affairs, but let my needs go in interpersonal relationships, then eventually become infuriated and leave.

Recently I gave up on nine others because they either side with my abusive mother, belittle me or order me around like I’m an idiot. For instance, my cousin called from Michigan to say “CALL YOUR MOTHER!” and “YOU should be MARRIED!”. Guess what she would say if I told her “YOU should be SINGLE!”

A former friend demanded to know “WHY don’t you have a boyfriend, WHY, WHY, WHY?” and also “WHEN are you going to DO something with THAT HAIR? This genius hadn’t even seen me in two years, and what would she have said if I’d said asked her “WHEN are you going to DO something about that HELMET HAIR?”

I love men, but the comments about singleness are galling because they imply that a woman alone has a value of zero.

A college “friend” from 38 years ago came to town in January, and I busted ass picking her and her daughter up from the airport and serving them appetizers, wine, dinner, and dessert. When my back was turned, she insulted me to her daughter. She was jealous because the dinner was delicious, her daughter loved my neighborhood and apartment and I am happier than she is, she being married to a man who is drinking himself to death and has gone out on her, with her money, for 40 years. This was the topper to 38 years of belittling jabs designed to make herself feel better at my expense. I dumped her on the spot. Imagine her surprise.

I now have no relatives, one female acquaintance and two cats in my life. That’s my start.

In the book on trauma bonding, the author stresses that learning to be alone is crucial, otherwise we keep caving in to abusive behavior out of fear of aloneness. Yep, there has been a lot of aloneness in this for me, and I’m still not good at letting my needs be known, but at least I enjoy being alone. That’s also part of my start.

I’ve also read that in successful relationships, people speak up right away when they feel mistreated, thereby preventing negative patterns from taking hold. In retrospect, that is what I should have been doing instead of believing that cousin, brother, friends will see and stop their outrageously boundary-violating behavior. The relationships probably wouldn’t have lasted anyways, but at least I would have moved on sooner.

From here on out I’m going to dive in and be very assertive, even if it’s embarrassing and clumsy. With time and experience I’ll fine tune my skills, and maybe someday I’ll be as good at it as Darlene…


I can relate. You articulate it beautifully. My story very similar as indeed I can relate to many people who have commented here. Thank you all. X



Congratulations! I’m so happy for you.

And… your words inspire me because they are strong and truthful. I’m in the same boat -no family, or friends after walking away from constant abuse.

I’ve always been a loner,though when I’m around others, I enjoy celebrating their lives, and affirming their importance. I guess I enjoy giving the very thing I wish I’d receive. You have to appreciate the beauty of people wherever it’s found. Beauty is as truthful as pain- and more often that beauty belongs to others. It feels good to be happy for those who’ve found true love and happiness.

Hope to find a friend like you some day. Online friendships are too weird, but reading your words and the words of others on this site is a very friendly thing. I appreciate the generosity of all of the hearts/minds who’ve shared.


Spot on. I found myself the victim ofthis keep the peace while my mother in law was aloud to do and say whatever….until I had, had enough…I feel better. We don’t talk, and that’s OK. The negativity is removed from my life


Awesome site!!! Found this by typing “why does my mum say things to hurt” …. I’m mid 30’s happily married 2 kids. Just today I’ve had an encounter whereby I’m left feeling ” you think cos I have to work I don’t want to spend time with my kids” she thinks we’re loaded and I can afford to not work, I’m already reducing my hours enough so I don’t miss out on taking kids to school and I work from home a lot also, any more than that and I won’t earn enough. Child care is expensive. No matter how much you earn. Btw I earn average salary for my customer service job. My husband earns a lot in his job but gets taxed a lot too he also works from home to be able to see the kids more and we are both positive parents, are firm but fair, fun and educational. Everything else in my life is awesome but my mum ‘can’t help herself’ and says cutting remarks about my decisions all the time, all my life. One rant of hers was while I was breast feeding my baby with my other child in the room, I told her to leave in no uncertain terms, which she did, then I let her back in, and she kicked off again! So I told her to leave. Again. But she still ‘blows up’ every few months and it’s only me that is the target, or maybe im the only one hurt… My sibling and partner don’t get any if this, just me.

Of course I’d like to not work or reduce hours further , most parents would, but unless we are super rich which we are not then notgoing to happen. Our kids are not suffering, we spend quality time with them every day and are devoted to them growing into well rounded individuals.

Someone else posted about they now see it as their mothers inadequacies regrets and bad decisions not anything to do with them. And they are right.

My mum left us when i was 11 and sibling was 8 with an alcoholic father, I understand as an adult the reasons why, but the damage was done back then, we didn’t know the reasons, we didn’t even know dad was an alcoholic. We were just told, mum has left, not coming back, it’s just us now. Messy divorce followed. Won’t bore you with details. But needless to say we were pawns and mine and mums relationship estranged. But it’s only really been since I became a mother myself, her remarks and blow ups are more frequent. But by standing up to her, it doesn’t work. Or hasn’t so far, maybe I need to be really brutal? But I don’t want to play into her hands, and she helps with childcare so it’s difficult. I now dread the day she comes over, she questions and criticises everything I set out for kids. Food plans (one is a fussy eater) discipline, “if x was mine I would of slapped x by now” my
Child wasn’t even 3 at the time. Wasn’t being naughty just loud and uncooperative. I said it’s a good job your not then! Anyway constantly undermined and criticsised and just me, not my sibling. She says she self punishes herself mentally for leaving, we have both said. We have moved on you need to too. But she won’t. She’s toxic and resentful or jealous of me somehow. Why would you say those things and countless others to your own daughter??? I’ve tried a really have. But a different approach is required and one where I don’t end up upset fighting my corner when I shouldn’t have to. Help!


Hi Amber,
Welcome to EFB!!
There are tons of answers/solutions and information here! You might want to start with my book or with the mother daughter and family categories at the top. Thanks for sharing.
hugs, Darlene


I could have written this word for word. It perfectly describes my ex relationship witj my inlaws. It helps with my current family of origin issues. Thank you so much.


Hi Tracy
Welcome to EFB ~ Glad you are here!
hugs, Darlene


Something else that really hit home- I was always told by my mom for example, ” he didnt say that”, or “he didnt mean it that way”, or “You are too sensitive” , or “you read in to things too much” , and the all time topper — from my husband when I expressed my dismay over his mother’s covert jabs at me ( or us), ” it was subtle, so its not the same.”
Um passive aggressive sh*t is almost worse.


Holy Jumping Sheep Sh*t!
I LOVED this article! Finaly, an article that says you can stand up for yourself when your family insults you! That maybe it’s not all my fault, maybe i did NOT misunderstand the instults, and maybe some people are just plain old jerks!

I’ve read about 100 articles so far, looking for advice and tips how to handle difficults family situations ( like christmas) . Specially with my critical mom who likes to argue with every single word that comes out of my mouth.

Every time, the advice is about me having to be the bigger person and letting everyone say all the nasty things they want. Because apparently, they dont mean it , they’re old , they cant change, i misunderstood, i am too sensitive and blah blah blah…. So therefor, they are allowed to be rude to me, and i should take it with a loving and understanding smile.

I totally agree with this article. Every single word of it!

Thank you so much for writing it.


Diane, I hear you!! I too got tired of being the bigger person. There is nothing positive for oneself in being the bigger person. It basically means surrendering yourself usually because you are the more reasonable person, and giving in to the person who will make the bigger stink if they don’t get their way. And there are always excuses for the nasty person. That person is having a bad day. They were only kidding ( can’t you take a joke?) and yes, WE are too sensitive because we dare to be offended by someone’s nastiness.
I was so validated the first time I read this wonderful article by Darlene. And I reread it many many times especially when another person says something mean to me. It reminds me that I no longer have to ” be the bigger person”.


I am hurting & feeling really disheartened by some family issues as well as the guy that I have been seeing for a while now ,- having called me fat and being a nasty judgemental arsehole .Eg – he ain’t no Brad Pitt or George clooney either but I still accept him for his short comings. Am trying to pick myself up & saying to myself that I can do better than him & find a guy that loves me just the way I am feeling soooo gutted.????


Hi Wendy Annetts,

Do not put up with that sort of rubbish from some insensitive creep.You deserve better.
Years ago a much younger and far more good looking female friend came to visit my husband and me.She was going to the Gym and called by on route.
She had a leotard on leaving nothing to the imagination. MY husband looked at her amazing body and said to me in front of her “Why can’t you look like that”? My reply was “When you start growing hair on your head I will look like that”. Never had any more nonsense from him. Have a repertorie of little sayings and the like ready to use the next time someone puts you down.You hear things on the TV or read in newspapers write them down and practice saying them, so that you can be ready next time. Go for the jugular if it happens again. Good luck Wendy am


Wendy Annetts, hi, I know it hurts so much when a person we put our trust in turns around and says such mean things. I always took it to heart, and even worse, it affected how I felt about myself. It’s especially easy to think it is ” us” rather than “them” when there are multiple things going on at the same time. But no one ever has the right to put us down and it says a lot about them when they say mean things. I think it’s a control thing. Make someone feel bad and they try to please them and give them their way. Through this site I am beginning to understand how much of what they say truly is about control and not the truth about us. It says an awful lot about them.


Hi Darlene, Oh my goodness, I am so glad I found you and your website! It’s the day after Thanksgiving and once again I’m feeling hollow and incredibly sad. I’m a single woman, divorced several times, and with 4 grown daughters who have given me 11 grandchildren. I grew up in an alcoholic home with a verbally abusive mother and an emotionally absent, but sexually abusive father. I don’t remember the abuse because I was so young when it happened, but he continued his abuse on one of my daughters when she was 3 years old. I called him and told him I would kill him if he ever came near any one of my kids again. My mother always, always hated me; told me I was an ugly baby, a disappointment since birth, and later after my second divorce, a slut/whore/cold hearted bitch. My kids witnessed it all. When I told her I couldn’t take it anymore she said she never needed to see me again. That was 20 years ago. My kids sided with me at the time, but she patiently waited for them to get tired of not having their grandmother in their lives and eventually they let her back in and my relationships with them has been on the decline ever since. My first husband, who was abusive, hated my mother while we were married, but after he and I divorced, he decided to become friends with her and they both sought out to steal my kids from me. My daughters have said I’m nothing but a source of stress for them, I need to know my place, I’m crazy and should seek counseling. My youngest said she hated being the child of a single mother. I’ve been slapped, pushed, and abandoned by all of my kids and both my husbands, not to mention both of my brothers and their families. I’m a born again Christian and that was one of the biggest problems my mother and brothers had with me. I didn’t get saved until after my second husband abandoned me and my youngest daughter. My whole life changed as a result of accepting Jesus as my Savior and my family couldn’t handle it. So they all followed suit and cut me out of their lives after my mother said goodbye to me. My first husband has made friends with my youngest, who is not his daughter, and now she tells me she would rather have him as a father and in her life, even if she has to do without me. She encourages her little boy, who is the love of my life, to call my first husband Grandpa. It absolutely tears me up inside when I hear him say it. He and his wife are invited to her kids birthday parties now and that means I have no interaction with anyone because they’re all enthralled with him. She says I was an awful mother and raised her and her 3 sisters all wrong and that’s why none of them wants to be around me. When we’re all together for holidays or birthdays you would never know I was their mother. Not a one of them will engage me in conversation, nor will anyone even sit next to me at the dinner table or in the living room. It’s incredible to watch the antics. I can be sitting on the couch, all by myself, and they will either all squeeze on the love seat or sit on the floor, just to keep from sitting by me. I’ve tried to talk to all my kids about the way they treat me and talk to me and they all get in my face, shut me down like I’m hitting a brick wall, and walk away leaving me in their quake. My mother always told me I needed to keep my mouth shut and not complain about anything because no one cared what I had to say and no one cared how I felt. All my girls dissed me at their weddings and I bought their entire wedding wardrobe. I’ve been to so many counselors it makes my head spin, until I finally realized that counselors can’t help me. I have to help me. I want to say to all of my kids, “Stuff it and leave me alone!” but then I wouldn’t be able to see my grandchildren who really do love me very much. I’ve always had a hole in my heart. I’m hoping your book will help me resolve these issues and get to a place in my life where I can stand up for myself regardless of the way anyone else reacts. I did write my first husband a letter last Christmas explaining how his decisions and actions, along with his queen of the harpies wife, have affected my life and my relationships with my kids. He wrote back but I refused to read his letter because I simply couldn’t be dragged back into that black hole again. Sorry for my mouth running off so much; I just needed to say it to all those ladies out there who are suffering like I am. We are not alone in our suffering. If it wasn’t for the Lord, I would be dead right now, at my own hand for sure. And just so you know, I raised all 4 of my daughters, on my own, by cleaning other people’s housed and watching other people’s kids. I had no help from anyone. I gave them everything they needed and sometimes more than that. I know I did a good job; it’s their father and my mother that have corrupted their minds. I Can’t wait to read your book and wish you and everyone on this website blessings. Cathy


Oh, and have a wonderful and very blessed Christmas!


Hi Amber,
People do not have the right but they do say mean horrible things and yes it does hurt.My advice is just of something else pleasant. It is hard but with practise you will be able to do it in a blink.I found this site by accident it must be near three years ago this Christmas. My worst ever time. I sat here thinking the worst possible thoughts and never imagined getting better,and I have.For me I found by answering these bullies back with as good as what they gave helped my confidence grow.In a way I was the bully and it worked. It was frightening to do at first but I persevered.It doesn’t happen as often.People say I have changed as if I shouldn’t. I am no longer the mug who was the joke or bursting into tears..Yes, for the better I speak up more now and if anyone is offended,tough.They should put their mouths into gear first before speaking their offensive rubbish.I had a rough time with parents (cant be bothered going into it)but now they don’t mess with me. It was hard but they know if they behave in an appalling manner towards me then accept the consequences, which they have, horribly,I am very pleased to say. LOL .You are right,it says loads about control and putting us down.Makes them feel good.Not any more,it is behave yourself or else.
Amber and Wendy Annetts enjoy your life brushing the s..t off as you go along. Wendy AM
PS. Many thanks to Darlene for all the help and support.



What is the book on trauma bonding you are referring to? Or does anyone else know? Thanks.


Thanks to everyone whose posted their private stories. After reading this, I feel a weight has been lifted.


I have found odd things before on this site and have always found them really good. I’m also so very sick and tired of the ‘you can’t change them, you can only change yourself’, which like you say assigns some of the blame onto you.

Why should we be blamed for other people’s rudeness! Would they sit back quietly if we said the things to them that they say to us? No, they wouldn’t and they would blame us 100% too.

My mother says nasty spiteful things, my Dad will not hear anyone criticise and if we did, the fist was handy.

Unfortunately I married into a family just like mine but with my now ex sister in law being the same as my mum and her husband being the same as my dad, so there was no escape.

When my husband cheated on my with a hooker following my major surgery, a so called friend came round and told me to stop playing the victim, it was my fault he’d cheated as I was overweight. They’d just removed a tumour from my stomach that weighed nearly 18 lbs!!!

I;m in my 50’s and quite simply I have reached the end of my tether about keeping my mouth shut and just letting them say what they want. Meanwhile I’m swallowing down my anger, staying awake at night thinking of all the things I wished I’d said.

I have been so conditioned by my parents into letting people say whatever nasty thing they want and I just shut up and put up. But I’ve decided, not any more.

I know that learning to be assertive so late in life is going to be a tad difficult and that I will probably get it wrong a few times. But I am just so fed up of feeling angry inside that I have to do this – for me.


Why is it so difficult to stand up to those that simply want to do us harm? Possibly because these people that are doing us harm are the very people who should be looking after us and caring for us. Funny old thing though, they are very quick to ask for support in a time of crisis.

What I have read here is quite distressing and sadly reminds me of what I have had to go through, to the point where I am now so broken that I just want to crawl away and never engage on any level with my husbands family or his children. I have been the family verbal punch-bag for 6 years and if there have been no tit-bits of gossip to say about me then the stories are fabricated and spread with such glee.

I have endured the criticisms, comments, the stopped conversations when you walk into a room, the raised eyebrows and knowing looks to each other, the family meals where no place is set for me at the table, the mysterious forgetting of Christmas presents during the festive gatherings….it goes on and on.

It can be very subtle and appear benign to the inexperienced onlooker, but every little comment, gesture, face pulling or act of obvious neglect cuts to your very core. After an absolutely awful holiday, where the mother-in-law turned up as a ‘surprise’, I put my foot down and said enough. At this point I might add that our holidays have regularly been hijacked in the most spectacular manner, including a Caribbean cruise where we were told the day before our travels that not only was she coming on the cruise with us but she had managed to get booked into the cabin next door.

After the most recent holiday, I asked my husband to watch his mothers behaviour as she kept pulling faces at me, growling (yes like a dog) and sticking her tongue out at me. Yes I know, it is all ridiculous and childish but when you have this for two weeks it begins to become irritating at best and distressing at worst. My husband had not noticed, because in truth in front of him she was delightful, but when asked to quietly observe, he realised that what I was saying was right. He confronted her and the usual tirade of abuse about me came out. This was my opportunity and I said ‘enough’. She was packed off to the airport and told that she need never see me again if she found me so objectionable.

Now come my words of caution. The subsequent attacks then became vile and damaging. She elicited support from the entire family including the ex wife and the step children. The subsequent onslaught has brought me to my knees with every single member of the family telling lies about me to anybody who will listen. We are not talking about little things, we are talking accusations of child abuse, drug use, shoplifting, adultery, all sorts of false accusations to the police, which have all been ignored or dismissed but distressing none the less. Then breaking into my house, stealing my jewellery and then worst of all placing a listening bug in my kitchen and bedroom and in a plant pot in my living room and then sending me copies of the subsequent recordings. The police can do nothing because we are uncertain as to which family member did it.

This has completely destroyed my relationship and taken me to a place that I would want nobody to go. I Have felt completely violated and unable to believe that I will ever recover emotionally. I have of course walked away from it but I am still being pursued by reputation because the lies continue. So be warned, have the courage to stand up for yourself, maintain your dignity and self respect but do not think that you can ever change people because some people are just bad.

I have a wonderful support network amongst my family (not my husbands) and friends, they are as open mouthed as me at this because this is not normal behaviour and normal people are not equipped to deal with this kind if insanity. So moving on, life continues, I go to work, I get home and do daily tasks but in truth I don’t believe I will ever be comfortable again wondering if my home has been violated and intruded upon, I also very much doubt that I will ever put my trust in the form of relationship again.


Caroline, in their mind, they do not think they are “harming” us. But boy oh boy, if you say something THEY don’t like, you catch ****. But you aren’t allowed to have feelings about how you are treated. It’s like Darlene said, a warped definition of respect. That is what my mom is all about, a warped definition of respect. She gets to treat me any way she wants, because in her mind, I should be “ok” with it because she is my mom. I’m not allowed to be “not ok” with it.


This is so true and it’s very refreshing to read. I agree 100%. ” Let it Go”.Such horeshit. If I really let it go, no one that treats me this way would ever see or speak to me again. I’m currently going through what will soon be a divorce, my sister has some type of personality disorder which I am speculating might be Borderline with some narcissistic characteristics, like no empathy. My husband is a total narcissist , his parents are control freaks that show real narcissistic behaviour , both passive aggressively and very outwardly intentional. Devaluization, invalidation are the two key behaviours they inflict upon me. My sister knows everything about my husband, his drug use, alcohol, infidelities, impulsivity, deceit, and recently during an argument that had nothing to do with my husband or his family, she used the things I was most vulnerable about against me . That is a classic example of what our mother used to do. I have not spoken to her in months. The thing about her is that she is oblivious to her own hypocrisy which is fueled by denial . Her husband is a raging alcoholic, lost his job because of it and she condemns me every chance she gets. My father is also an alcoholic trying to recover. She has been influencing him against me and he and I have had bitter fights. But he now is realising reality. He confessed how she intimidates him by her anger and belligerence about me and the situation. He sees her misdirected anger now. He is in his 70’s and is still very broken about my mothers death. So he is difficult to reason with sometimes . She knows I’ve got her number. She knows I know what is behind her tactics. She excluded me from both Thanksgiving and Christmas , inviting my children but not me. My in laws now embrace the son they have ostracised for so long and have aligned with him despite all he has done to all of us. It’s an incredible scene to watch. These people have literally dehumanised me, devalued me and invalidated me to the point that my in laws have crossed every boundary there is regarding my kids who are now 20 and 17, by telling them they don’t have to stay home or listen to me. They gave a list of expectations to my son before they would help pay for college since my husband has been jobless for 3 years now, and he is unconcerned completely. They called my therapist, scheduled meetings with my therapist without me with my son. They verbally and emotionally abuse my kids. And now they have dragged out their expectations and lists for my son for so long , it appears he will have to reapply to the college and may have lost the scholarships. I receive no financial support at all. They condemn me for my support of my husband , who all the while was just using me. Even after he begged me to visit him in rehab and see marriage counselors who urged me to try and save my marriage because he was ” Remorseful”. Guilt ? Shame ? Hell yeah I feel it. But the guilt and shame of being tricked by someone I loved and trusted doesn’t compare to the degradation I’ve experienced for being a caring person and trying to save my family. How this will pan out, who knows, but as soon as I am able, none of his family, him and maybe even mine will ever be in my life as long as they spread this infection. I’m prepared to cut every tie. It’s come to that.


These posts make me feel angry and sad and resonate as well, especially regarding the ostracism. “It can be very subtle and appear benign to the inexperienced onlooker, but every little comment, gesture, face pulling or act of obvious neglect cuts to your very core”.

I’ve gone through much of the same.

Kay, did your therapist ask you before agreeing to see your family members? That sounds very off to me, if she went ahead without your permission. Even if you agreed, many therapists would discourage seeing family members, I think. It may even be seen as unprofessional and perhaps against professional code of conduct?


Hi Kay,
Welcome to EFB ~ I think you have found the right place!
I hope you will keep reading the articles and comments in this website. We can’t ‘save our families’ unless they want to be saved. It was when I finally realized that I had to save myself, that everything changed for me. There is hope and healing.
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


I accidentally stumbled upon this page and can’t express how glad I am for doing so. I have an aunt who, after my mother’s death, seemed to make it her life’s mission to belittle me at every turn while still making me feel as if I was in the wrong for feeling hurt by her words. (At one point, she and I were taking the same pain medication, yet she called me a junkie because I mentioned that it was no longer working very well for me.)

I totally disagree with the whole idea that no people can be changed. (Though some can’t, like my aunt, for instance.) I’ll never forget one day my mother and I were visiting my grandparents. We were watching the national news when a story came on about little Ryan White. (For those too young to remember, Ryan was around eight years old when he contracted HIV from a tainted blood transfusion.) My grandmother chimed in with a remark that chilled me to the bone about how this child was being punished according to God’s will for some sin that someone in his family had committed. I’m from the south and was raised to ALWAYS respect my elders, yet on that day, there was no holding back. I told her just how low anyone was who actually believed a “loving God” would punish anyone, let alone a child, in such a way. I laid out just how I felt, and I’ll tell you, I felt like a million bucks walking out that door. My mother, who I feared would be upset, was REALLY proud of me. And my grandmother began a total transformation, going from judgmental of others to the person who became one of my best friends in the world! It’s been so long ago that I don’t even remember what I said, but something in my words changed her. I think it changed me too. Made me into someone who was no longer afraid to stand up for myself and others. I may have briefly lost that person with the loss of my mother, but I’m finding her again. Reading what I did above has helped me regain that woman even more.


…thank you all for helping me feel like I am not alone

…being a target for chronic ill-treatment and verbal abuse can be so very isolating and repressive. It can be shame inducing. Who do you talk to about it? My sister gossips about me spreading her (imagined) horrors about me to my dear aunts (my dead father’s sisters). My sister has been a whiner and complainer all her life — always pointing her finger at me blaming me for her misery.
…How did you guess we came from an alcoholic mother (when we were very young children)? I go to Al-Anon; my sister drinks. I think she may even have black-outs bc I don’t think she knows what she says or how she behaves so irrationally. Perhaps the scariest thing is that she is a lawyer so she can really act out her hostility if she chooses to. She has started to do this, actually, so it is very troublesome for me. I have been ill and on disability for some years; that is a point of resentment for her. Her behavior only adds stress and prolongs my recovery.

…meditation, faith, — Al-Anon — Al-Anon is on facebook, btw —

take care — ic


Thanks Darlene,

I got a lot out of your message. A friend keeps talking about other deaths, even though she knows that I have a brother that died. I let her know before, that I get overwhelmed by this, as recently on the anniversary of his death, not long ago.

She started in again on Saturday night. I finally texted her yesterday, Sunday, letting her know that I would really like for her not to talk to me any more about how people have died. That my family was traumatized by my brother’s death many years ago. (It’s still difficult for my siblings and me.)

I hope she stops, now that I have been firm.


I came across your site when I was searching for answers on why my mom is the way she is. Does my mom have a personality disorder or something? She is mean, nasty and flat out cruel.

She is constantly accusing me of terrible thing and saying just down right nasty and hurtful things to me that serve as no help, just put downs. I have noticed a lot of the things she says about me actually apply to her.

She also manipulates the truth. She takes something that happened bends and twists it so much then somehow makes you believe it. It is enough to drive a person insane. If I didn’t have my dad to verify the reality of the situation, I truly believe I may have ended up institutionalized.

I hate her so much, and people don’t understand because she has a completely different personality around other people. I’m 29 right now and she has been this way my entire life. I guess part of me still wants to be around her because she is my mom. It is like I forget what she has done to me until it happens again. I wish something would change.


Hi Julie
Welcome to EFB ~ The fact that your mother is different around other people is what I call a “truth leak”. That means that she can control her behaviour when she wishes. This is a very familiar situation that is so often discussed in this website. I am sure you will find some answers and insights here.
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


Darlene, I totally agree with you. You really should stand up and that’s what I’ve done with my verbally abusive parents too. Silence is just accepting their behavior. But I think showing that you matter by saying it is just the first step. Because now when I’ve stood up and said how I feel, the other person gets mad. They immediately tell me that I shouldn’t say something like that! Which is of course outrageous and leads into a bigger fight. Fights need to happen, but at this point I’ve already fought too many fights and am tired of fighting. And yep, my parents are not gonna change. They haven’t learned to appreciate me (well maybe my mom has a bit). So how could I avoid those draining fights? I just get more hurt. This has been in my mind a lot and I finally realized the answer. If your close ones hurt you and being silent makes you feel bad, then being silent isn’t the answer. If saying something back just leads into a bigger fight and results more pain, then saying something back isn’t the answer either. The answer is not being in contact with these hurtful people at all! It doesn’t matter if it’s your mom. You do NOT have to see her and listen to her comments. She is probably brainwashed you so that you think you should be in contact with her no matter what. But that’s an illusion. Just ignore her so that you don’t even have to tolerate her nasty comments. If she truly loves you, she’ll crawl back and says she’s sorry.


“Darlene, I totally agree with you. You really should stand up and that’s what I’ve done with my verbally abusive parents too. Silence is just accepting their behavior. But I think showing that you matter by saying it is just the first step. Because now when I’ve stood up and said how I feel, the other person gets mad. They immediately tell me that I shouldn’t say something like that! Which is of course outrageous and leads into a bigger fight. Fights need to happen, but at this point I’ve already fought too many fights and am tired of fighting. And yep, my parents are not gonna change. They haven’t learned to appreciate me (well maybe my mom has a bit). So how could I avoid those draining fights? I just get more hurt. This has been in my mind a lot and I finally realized the answer. If your close ones hurt you and being silent makes you feel bad, then being silent isn’t the answer. If saying something back just leads into a bigger fight and results more pain, then saying something back isn’t the answer either. The answer is not being in contact with these hurtful people at all! It doesn’t matter if it’s your mom. You do NOT have to see her and listen to her comments. She is probably brainwashed you so that you think you should be in contact with her no matter what. But that’s an illusion. Just ignore her so that you don’t even have to tolerate her nasty comments. If she truly loves you, she’ll crawl back and says she’s sorry.”

Whoa! Took the words right out of my mouth. Very validating.


I am miserable now. I had yet another huge fight with my mother because she says things and then denies the events or how she said it. She walks away and says “I’m always alone.” “I never say the right things.” Things go fine as long as I agree with her. The minute I stand up for myself then she starts yelling. I reflected on her behavior in that she only acts this way with me. She never does it in front of other people. I read in one of the earlier reports that she probably does this because then she can say it’s me. Last night, I found an email I sent her when I was going to therapy. I asked her to go to therapy and she said no. The email was interesting in that she accepted no responsbility for anything! One of her comments was “Oh, she(Me) go so upset with me for no reason.” “I did this for her and she just started yelling at me.” She has pretty much all my life been obsessed with my weight. I’m not saying it’s the entire reason but I have bulimia and she knows this. What’s funny is when she found me throwing up when I was in my teens, she got upset. Over a year ago, I got married, I was slightly overweight. I didn’t enjoy my day as I should have. My husband, bless his heart, was so happy. I have had problems with an injury for 26 years that has progressed and I finally had surgery in 2013. I thought it would heal me but it did not. I gained more weight because my sciatic nerve gets pinched. I’m now 50lbs overweight and I’m upset but she tells me “to not believe my husband when he says he’ll love me even if fat.” So now I’m in constant fear of I’ll end up all alone! She claimed and probably still claims that she wanted me to have a relationship with my biological father who had an affair on her. But she dragged me around to his mistresses apartment. I was in 4th grade but you know what is going on. She then tried to commit suicide in front of me. Now when I listen to people talk about how they went thru bad divorces but yet they hid it from their children, I feel bitter because she didn’t do that for me. She even claimed a few years ago that it never happened. Yes, it’s all me, I have such a huge imagination that I dreamt it all up. She finally said after I stood up for myself that it did happen. When I was in love for the first time and my then boyfriend lived with a female who happened to be the daughter of his family’s friends, she told me that he was probably sleeping with his roommate. How can she be so hurtful. What type of person/mother does this? The only thing that I got out of therapy was that I’m not totally wrong in my opinion of her. What’s funny is now I reflect on when I asked her to go to therapy she wouldn’t. I feel bad that she’s 72 and she raised me but I also feel bad that I have to endure stress and not enjoy my life because I’m obsessed with my weight, worried that my husband will leave me because of my weight and learning of my issues as a result of her. He doesn’t even know I’m bulimic. I have tried to stop but when it all gets too much, I start again. I can understand why people don’t’ confront because if you do, you are labeled as being too sensitive or that you misinterpreted it. I’m trying to get surgery for what I think is an entrapped sciatic nerve. The specialist is in Wisconsin. I want to do this because everytime I start to exercise (which should make her happy b/c I’ll lose weight) I get hurt and the nerve pain is excrutiating. I needed her to possibly help me with recovery. When I told her about this, she says “you get too many surgeries” in a yelling tone. Now she claims she didn’t yell. She also claimed that she has the same thing and she controls hers with stretching. I was upset last week with her for telling me things like “don’t believe your husband when he says he loves you even if fat” and then telling me I get too many surgeries. The first surgery was for my hand which had a ganglian cyst and was tingling. The second surgery was for fibroids. The third surgery was for a torn labrum. I told someone at work who made the point that there are differing degrees of an injury. Why didn’t I think of that? Now because we fought again, I’m going to have to find my own support system. I have been with her in my childhood and my teens when she cried because of her divorces. I feel like I need her now and she’s only there for me when she agrees with what I’m doing. I’m tired and I’m tired of feeling alone. The only way I can find some peace is shut her out. But I’m racked with guilt if she dies. Her comment about “she’s always alone.” She complains about her past friends who don’t call her. They don’t call her because she tells me things she tells them (which I consider negative). I wouldn’t call her either if she was my friend and she said these things. She’ll tell me I’m smart and that I need to bring my smart back but then she’ll find fault with how I do things. I was crying last night and wishing she had had an abortion. I’m not even sure if I’ll ever be happy with my life. It was hard yesterday to watch all these families together for Easter. I’ll never have that and it hurts. Now I have to go to work put up other people who say things that are inappropriate but then act/insinuate that it’s me. I wonder how they would feel if I went around telling them what I really thought of them. Saying mean things to them. I read recently a comment from someone who said wouldn’t it be a wonderful world if people didn’t have a harsh opinion about everything. It seems that the majority of people are judgmental and that the rest of us either have to endure their pain or we have to go to their dark side to be accepted. I’m rambling now but this was for me to say just a small fraction of what I’ve endured and how I feel. I’m just so sad and hurting.


Hi Pandora
Welcome to EFB ~ you are not alone here. This whole thing is very sad and really hurtful. I am sure you will find some comfort and solution here.
hugs, Darlene


Pandora..the saddest thing is when we keep trying to get love..from mothers..who are incapable of all we get is disappointment and hurt..

You will only ever find peace..when you fully understand the incapability of giving love..from those you want love from..

When you stop engaging with your mother, as if she will love and care about you. Thats when you will get freedom from her abuse.

Just because your mother claims anything..doesnt make it true. So when she casts doubt in your your marriage..she is only doing that..out of her own narcissistic fears..and by sabotaging your life..she will feel better..

The sooner you stop accepting her world view as the real one..the better..Your self esteem does not rely on her relies on your caring marriage..and on your own sense of self..which you can learn to time goes on..

Your mother is abusive undermining and sabotaging of your joy and life..a typical abuser..

You now need to detach..get help re counselling to grow self love..and you need to realise..that sometimes who we imagine are our best friends..are in truth…our worst enemies..


Thank you for sharing your heart on this matter. It’s comforting for me to know that in the midst of my hell there are others who are here with me and those who have already walked through it and can shed some light as well!

For me, it’s not my mom, like so many of you, but rather my grandmother. She constantly invites herself over to stay for weeks on end and says hurtful things about my weight and my lifestyle. “If you weren’t so fat, you’d be married by now” “If you don’t take care of your house, how do you expect to live a good life?” “Isn’t it time you loose weight and find a man?” “If you weren’t so heavy your furniture would last longer, your weight causes a lot of wear.”

I get it! You think I’m fat!
Those comments only make me feel so much worse about myself. Thanks!

And then she buys me all this crap food and fixes dinner with lard and offers it to me as a sort of…forgiveness offering???

She acts all high and mighty, holy and untouchable in public and in front of friends or other relatives. When she’s with me, the horns come out.

I’ve stood up to her in the past and it always ends in a fight, this go around, I just chose to say nothing.
I haven’t spoke to her since she left about a month ago.
She has blown up my phone, contacted my mother and informed her of my “behavior” and contacted my place of employment to harass the secratary for information as to why I was ignoring her.

Don’t put your hand in the fire if you know you’ll get burned, right?

I made the decision to keep myself out of the “flame” but that appears to have started a wildfire in the family.

At what point , if there is one, do you explain your decision to cut ties (at least for a season)?

My concern is that opening the door to explain my decision would only cause another fight, of which I cannot currently handle.


Hi Lauren,
First of all,i think you don’t owe anyone an explanation regarding your decision to cut ties.The whole situation and your grandmother viciously attacking your self image says it all.From what you’re writing,your grandmother also abused her own daughter,your mother.Second,there are always constant fights in abusive situations.If you were not “the reason” of conflict,they’d find another one for sure.You were not the one who started the wildfire in your family.Some people are toxic,and it’s not worth you protecting them from a potential conflict,since they are the real problem,not you.You are afraid of putting your hand in the fire,but you’ll get burned your entire life if you find yourself in a panick at the mere thought of starting a discussion with them.The real thing that is impossible to handle is a lifetime of abuse.

About the fat issue.My mother also tries to attack and even destroy my body image.She doesn’t put me down like your grandmother does,but she uses a different tactic,equally cruel.She pretends she wants to caress me,she touches my chin and she says:”you plump little girl”.It leaves me screaming inside.

Lauren,what do your parents do about your grandmother? Do they defend you or do they take her side?


Hi Lauren:

Don’t explain your decision. I too feel like I should tell the people why I have shut them out. But in reality, will they get it?? We have tried many times to tell them which always end up in fights if we stand up for ourselves. If we choose to ignore it and avoid the fight then we only end up miserable too. People may look at this as not dealing with our problems, I look at it as we are shutting out the noise to keep our sanity. We need to start taking care of ourselves and if that means shutting them out, then so be it. Perhaps after they are alone and missing us, the lightbulb will turn on and they’ll realize what they have done. So I wouldn’t even explain it – it will just lead to another fight and you’ll just feel worse. I wish I could tell your grandmother off for you. Maybe if she heard it coming from an outside person, she might think twice. But know you’re not alone. And don’t let anyone tell you “you’re so sensitive.” We’re not sensitive, we just wish to be treated with a little bit of respect and mind games. We beat ourselves up enough without these ding a lings adding to our angst. I wonder if they could take it if someone walked up to them criticizing them the way they do us – aggressively or passive aggressively. You can’t tell me that they would just sit there and not be affected. A little bit of criticism would creep in. At least I would hope. And if it didn’t, I’d still rather be me and a kind person than someone like them. I pray I don’t end up like them because I’m gonna spew some nasty but truthful things. LOL. And if your grandmother calls your work again, then maybe see if the police can perhaps call her and tell her it’s unwanted and verging on harassment. Phone block family members who are going to give you a hard time and create an email folder with rules that can send email to a folder you don’t have to see if they send you stupid emails with things that will just upset you. So the very long way around, a big hug and know you’re not alone.


Hi Lauren,

I just want to agree with Pandora. I’ve blocked phone calls from my family, and avoided other kinds of communication as well. The truth is that you’ve explained yourself already if you stood up to your grandmother in the past.

The thing that makes me the saddest is that she’s calling your job.

You aren’t alone. What you’re going through it really hard.



“Perhaps after they are alone and missing us, the lightbulb will turn on and they’ll realize what they have done.”

Maybe in some cases, but in my case, even after some years away from my family and coming back, they still don’t get it, and it’s my fault for “criticizing the family and abandoning them”. Some things never change no matter how long the estrangement. At times, it’s best to cut ties for good and stop giving them chances.



With people like your grandmother I’ve said brief sentences like “When you can be civil/treat me with respect, we can have a conversation”, then leave or tell her it’s time to leave.

With my family and going low-no contact, I’ve found that 2-3 simple sentences – WHEN THEY ASK – worked best. I also said I was open for more discussion if they wanted to do so. They haven’t followed up.

Those sound like really painful exchanges with your grandmother. She is not treating you with any respect. You DESERVE respect.

Good Luck. Don’t buy her crap!!!!!!!!


I get what you’re saying. My oldest sister and baby brother are the favorite of 7 kids. My mom and I had an ok relationship until I married my husband. My sister and her husband hate my husband from what extended family members have told me boils down to jealousy when you listen to them speak. Twenty-one years ago, 2 years into our marriage, my second child was born and my sister and brother-in-law apparently filled my mothers head with horrible things about us. My mother made the choice to believe them and came at us with guns blazing about a LONG list of wrongs. It devastated me and severed the bonds between my mother and myself. It took me 6 months to go back around the family and only at my husbands encouragement for my fathers sake. I have learned to become wallpaper when around my family. The last 23 years other family members have told us of the awful things still being said and my mother continued to rally their griefs and complaints about us to me. One of my brothers said he watched us for years to see if what the said was true. This hurt too. I was her daughter,their sister too and it grieves me that they didn’t know my character any better than that. My father has since passed along with my only reason to make an effort. Where do I go from here. It’s hard to forgive and at times I do but days like today I find myself relieving all the hurtful deeds and comments done to myself, my husband, and even my children.


Hi Highroad
I decided that if my mother wasn’t willing to treat me with equal value, then I wasn’t going to be around her. This wasn’t an easy decision but I asked her to be aware of the way she treated me and she didn’t care so the way I see it I had no choice. My children and I are free from the way she treated us now. Everyone has to make their own decisions and sometimes it takes a while to see it all clearly. This website it full of articles (and there is also my book on the top right side bar) that will help you get some clarity and healing.
hugs, Darlene


Highroad also look up narcissistic mothers, and you’ll discover that they all like to gang up on one or more of their children, and they enlist the other siblings to do it. Also look up scapegoat child..thats clearly you. Sorry to hear about it. But once your eyes are opened, like Darelene says. Once you relaise that they refuse to value wont stay around to be devalued any more. Hope you choose to leave them behind for your sanity.



Mostly my mother stays out of the issues between me and my grandmother. As you pointed out, she’s simply had enough of my grandmothers crap.
This is the longest I’ve gone without so much as a single letter reply via text. It’s driving my grandmother crazy, so she contacted my mother and let her have it because Im not responding. So my mother calls me and tells me that I need to respond to her because my lack of communication only levels the playing field and proves my immaturity in the situation.

According to my mother, if I would just be direct and precise about the way she makes me feel then maybe she would stop, and would show growth and maturity(only that just ensues a fight)

But you see my mother moved 2,000 miles AWAY from my grandmother for this reason, so she really has a whole lot of room to talk!

It’s sad that the ones who we love the most are the ones who also hurt us the most.

Nonetheless, I’m standing my ground and have blocked her number, given my leasing company a notice to change my locks and removed her from my visitation list. I even left a note with the secretary to screen all calls and avoid her number(s).

I’m done letting a broken woman try to break me down to her level of destruction!!!

Thank you all for the encouragement!


Im autistic and was diagnosed in my preteens.People insult me daily.
“It must be so hard to raise an autistic child”(never mind the fact I was just talking to them and am still in the room next to them).

Nice talk society. ..

How about how hard it is to be surrounded by people cruel enough to insult you for being realistic, who enjoy invading your personal space, and being obnoxiously loud(And heaven forbid I tell them their Being rude)?

I cant Imagine being raised from a baby being told im different-it cant be good for a growing child’s mental health…

Add that schools teach that history repeats itself and that people have- historically- hurt and killed those different from them…yeah I have issues with how society works. Im insulted daily and its getting go beyond annoying-Its starting to hurt


Im autistic and was diagnosed in my preteens.People insult me daily.
“It must be so hard to raise an autistic child”(never mind the fact I was just talking to them and am still in the room next to them).

How about how hard it is to be surrounded by people cruel enough to insult you for being realistic, who enjoy invading your personal space, and being obnoxiously loud(And heaven forbid I tell them their Being rude)?

I cant Imagine being raised from a baby being told im different-it cant be good for a growing child’s mental health…

Add that schools teach that history repeats itself and that people have- historically- hurt and killed those different from them…yeah I have issues with how society works. Im insulted daily and its getting go beyond annoying-Its starting to hurt.

Nice talk society. ..Now stop labelling us-its demeaning and insulting and cruel.

You dont see us calling you ” run of the mill,mass produced,over glorrified neurotypicals”…but you all call us “difficult, immature, different, autistics”. Every one gets away with calling us synonims with “assholes” and “freaks”


Hi Darlene,

Thank you for this amazing website and article and all the comments.

I am going through a really tough time getting my head around the whole NPD situation with my mother.

All these wasted years of fighting, anxiety, stress and self-loathing from the one person I wanted to enjoy my life and successes with, but all I got was chaos as if being smarter, fun and creative was a sin.

I am sorry for each person on this site who has their own cross to bare and for any future people who will discover the ugly truth. And the worst part is that there is no easy fix. It is such a hard pill to swallow knowing that this is as good as it gets.

I have read so many articles on this issue in the last 4 months to really understand how deep it goes and I am so amazed at all the lingo that goes with it. It is like a foreign underground world, and I am the last person on earth to hear about it.

My story is all about the covert verbal abuse coming from an upper-middle class family (from rags to riches). None of my friends could understand why there was so much friction and fighting in my family when I never instigated any of it. I was so athletic, artistic and lovable and I was always slammed verbally without notice. I grew up with NO support from anyone. The saddest part is that I have given up on many things I was good at, as I just couldn’t deal with all the drama, all the time.

I don’t know why I am so unhappy to discover the truth. I have also had the flu and other immune problems since finding out, which is tough on me as I hadn’t been sick in 5 years. I am not handling it well. I used to be the strong one for everyone and now I can’t even be strong for myself. So much for being the responsible one. My biggest shame/regret is not finding out about this as a child.

Thanks for letting me write my thoughts and please continue the good work for all of us to enjoy. I hope we can all get the courage to move forward in a positive manner, the way we deserve to live. Cheers xx


Hey Darlene,

This article just touched on another not so pleasant memory (I swear for every dollar I could get per horrible memory, I think I am just that tad close of becomin a millionaire) from Daddy dearest, of which he claims was for my own good. Mind you wasn’t exactly the kind of person from whom I would expect to get such comments, especially when he himself is not even the picture perfect person that he has sold himself out to be to others outside of the family. Anyway, when I was still obese and I’ll cut to the chase he was to, I was a little heavy on the sweet side of eating (got that from my mother) and one time I was eating off from a tub of ice cream (I didn’t finish the entire tub, pinky swear), my fitness guru and health enthusiast of a father decided to blurt out the words: “Careful, another spoonful and you’re one step closer to becoming an elephant son.” Got the purpose of the message (Yeah we were taught to somehow decipher the good bits of what should really remain a bad thing, so I somewhat welcomed a bit of the concern that he was supposedly trying to convey), but did it mean that I couldn’t get hurt? Especially when an obese person is giving me advice?

What about that time when I accidentally slipped in the living room holding onto dear life from one of the sofas, and the mother-in-law and son-in-law tandem from hell in unison decide to blurt out: “Haha omg sumo wrestler” (I’ll accept the fat comments even if you yourselves were far from looking like Eva Longoria and Brad Pitt, but my body was not that of a sumo wrestler bitches).

As the years went by and I have started losing weight due to my commitment to a personal trainer’s exercise program, my sister suddenly became the target of those two. Now she’s not really physically active, but I think she looks fine. How these two could shift from one target to another is just so amazing, I can hardly find it to believe that my Mom actually came out of this vile woman. Grandma’s partnership with my father is just so perfect, which has given me the impression that perhaps he’s the son that she never had. Anyway every now and again when we see fat bodies on TV commercials or programs focusing on this particular subject, my “sexy” grandma would point out a fat person on TV and say to my sister: “Omg dear that is so you!” As for my Dad, I can’t believe he would even say something so mean about his golden child. One time when it was just him and I out on the supermarket, he was like: “Your sister really should get some exercise, as she’s starting to look like an elephant.” Seriously you and grandma are the freakin’ elephants. Fool yourselves all you want but I’ve yet to see you guys look like anything that my sister and I are supposedly not. Even if you are, well I feel bad for your so-called “perfect bodies” Why? Because the “exercise” you both did failed to melt down your sour-puss, self-righteous, narcissistic attitudes along with the fat. All right bitchin’ session over.




You’re a trip Carlos. Love how you word things. Glad you have a sense of humor over this junk because you need one in order to survive it!!! Our FOO’s really are clueless!!! Once you work through the pain of what they did to you you finally can see just how pathetic and afraid they are and that is what allowed me to have empathy for them now, despite what they did to me.

I love how you are spreading your wings.



Darlene, you just saved me a lot of heartache. I am going through this with my sister that was (I thought) so close to me. I hate feeling broken because I really did care and really loved her.
She allowed her husband to abuse us. First, years ago when my son was 2, her husband hurt my baby by pinching him on his little leg and leaving a mark all while I was helping her prepare for her daughters bday party for the next day. He also has hurt 2 of my other sister’s sons. I should have walked out of her life then but I didn’t. Over the years, he continued to do mean things like slash our tires and just evil things like at a cookout throw out the meat we brought to cook and he stole from us. I loved her so much that I looked the other way and did not see my life without her. And I didn’t want her to have problems with her husband because it was him that was mean and not her. I felt sorry for her.
There were a lot of great times, fun times too.
Her daughter was brought up thinking she was the one and only and could not ever be ignored. My niece was super needy and annoying but to not destroy my sisterly love and relationship I allowed their abuse. They could not accept NO ever. Fast forward to now, it has gotten so ugly. Her husband has cheated on her, tried stabbing her, turned her kids against her and beat my niece twice while she was in the hospital once while unconscious and so forth…the entire time I was there for her..moral support, never leaving her alone. Then one day, she decided to forgive him because she could not imagine him taking 50%. She went back to him and didn’t tell anyone for a few weeks. She finally showed up at my house with some jewelry that I thought I had left behind while on a trip (still I had a feeling he had stolen it) and I said to her “I knew he had stolen it”…she defended him. So we stopped talking. She is mad because my kids were not kind to her daughter growing up. My kids never liked them and I swear that did not come from me but from what they saw and their own conclusions. Yes, they are much smarter then me. My sister is bringing up any thing she can think of to justify her song and dance, her vindication.
Now, my daughter is getting married and sent her a save the date and I can not believe what she did. My sister took it back to the post office had a “rejected” return to sender sticker put on and sent it back. Even after all the abuse and everything I put up with I am in shock at how mean and hurtful she is. I still wanted her to be there and so did my daughter…I saw her pain and even though she didn’t like the situation, she said there was a tiny grain of wishful thinking that her aunt would show a little bit of love. But not to be. I felt that he was the mean one and she was the victim. I was just so confused and so sad. I realize that it was always her. She was always the one that allowed it and used us. I felt so bad for putting my family through all that dysfunction. I have never felt so hurt. I wished I hated her but I am not able to. Instead I feel that I am blessed. I thank God for all of my blessings. Especially for me being able to let go and forgive her. I am blessed. The best part is that I am also no longer available to them. Its hard seeing my other sisters play nice to them and pretending to show respect to this awful man and to my evil sister but I know exactly how they feel. Their availability is limited probably because deep inside they knew all along what took me years to find out.
My life without them is healthier. I no longer walk on eggshells.
So yes, there is life and laughter and it’s wonderful!


Omgosh reading this just made me realize I’m not alone. I was born with cerebral palsy and some learning disabilities and I was told at 8 I was lazy,stupid,ungrateful,lair,bitch,fat and so on. My mom had me and she has made me feel my whole life that her life was ruined because she had to exercise my legs and this time there was an older sibling and two younger siblings and she has told me that they were neglected because of me. She would yell at me call me lazy and quit being so stupid. At this time I felt so horrible about myself that i got severe migraines as kid a into my teens years. At 16 I started Rebilling and turn to get attention any where I could. I have never did drugs or gotten in trouble with law. But I was getting attention from men like no other and sometimes for all the wrong reasons. She was determined to ruine my reputation anyway she could by telling family that I was a lair,bitch,ungrateful and stupid and told people I did drugs when a hadn’t. Then I had met a guy at 17 and had a baby at 19 and at that time she told me I was going to give the baby up for adoption or else and that hurt me to my core and she didn’t even care.
After that it seemed like she could not stand me and when I met the love of my life in 1997 and she had the.gull to ask him what he sees in me. I could not believe what I was hearing. My siblings my aunts and uncles and cousins believe all this because of my parents. My dad was alcoholic and very physically emotionally mentally abusive and today at the age of 44 and 5 years of counseling it seems very hard for me to inner act with females today. I’m always thinking no likes me because of the way I walk and I’m not smart enough. I guess the scars are so deep that I’m numb.
I was told my mom is dying of lung cancer and honestly it doesn’t phase me. It’s not that I not care but she has mentally done so much damaged that I want nothing to do with my family and rather die alone then to die mentally beaten down by family that purpose to love you not hate you. Am I wrong for this? Am I selfish? Any advice would be great.


I am so happy that I finally have found someone who feels the same. One of my family members constantly does this to me. My mother told me to not answer to keep the peace but honestly there are times when I really want to say something. It even happened to me today. This person called me a piece of **** and I was shocked and outraged just because of something that wasn’t my fault and I wasn’t at fault at all. People don’t recognize that things like these are hurtful and rude. People can’t change if they don’t want to. As I’m getting older I’m beginning to find my own voice and am learning to let things go. I hope one day that this person will apologize.



That’s a sad story. I am so sorry that your sister and her husband caused such a deep chasm between you and your sister. So very sad…I can tell through your words how much you loved her. Denial can destroy relationships; it is striking how your sister decided to turn away from the truth of what her husband was doing and side with him. Hugs, Light


Hi All,
I have published a new post on the subject of being told to “let it go”. You can read it on the home page or click this link “The Truth about being told to Get Over it” and “Let it Go”
Hugs! Darlene


I am so glad you wrote this post. I felt like it was me writing it. That is exactly, exactly how I feel, and where I am at. For me to have the strength to say “no more” I need to read things like this. I need a support group!!!!
Thank You!!!!!


Marie, if you read this, I want you to know that I am horrified by the way you have been treated, and my heart hurts for you. You are loved by God, and I don’t blame you at all for not wanting anything to do with your mother. I wish I could go back in time and wrap you up in a big hug when you were a child. What she did to you was absolutely devilish. Mothers are supposed to be comforters, not abusers. Sigh. I am so sorry for your hurt!


Hi Deborah
Glad you enjoyed this article! Welcome to Emerging from Broken!
Join the conversation on the home page article (currently titled “the truth about being told to get over it and let it go”) if you are looking for support from others ~ there is always more interaction there. Introduce yourself as “new”
Hugs! Glad you are here!


Hi Darlene, I just stumbled upon this article after searching “how to stand up to a hurtful mother”. This is EXACTLY the relationship I have with my mom. The reason for the search today was a conversation that happened yesterday. My husband left yesterday for his yearly long weekend with the boys on the coast of northern California. They camp, dive for abalone, have a fire and bond. He adores me, I love him and we have a great relationship. My mom implies (she can be very subtle, or very blunt) that since he’s away from me and among all his guy friends, he will “stray”. That’s what men do. I said nothing. Later she asked if I wanted to go out to dinner. I told her I wasn’t hungry (i really just wanted to get away from her) and she suggested maybe it’s because I ate all the chocolate in her house. Huh. Ok. So, now I’m dwelling on that conversation, among all the others over the course of my childhood and lifetime with her. I just don’t know how to stand up to her. I can’t hurt her feelings and every time I’ve tried to talk to her about it, she says I’m just too sensitive and that’s she’s old and set in her ways. I just have to accept that. I’d like to cut her out of my life.

Here’s the kicker…my 3 siblings all live in other states (smart) so it’s left to me to care for her. She is 87 years old and in poor health (COPD and congestive heart failure). There is talk of her eventually living with us. (good God, no) I take her to her doctor appointments, grocery shop for her, etc. but it’s NEVER enough. I don’t do enough for my children, I don’t look right, I don’t wear the right clothes, I don’t have the right kind of friends, I should do this or I should do that, I’m not smart or successful like my brothers…it never ends.

I clearly see, by this article, that this is a common problem. Why? Why do mothers want their daughters to feel so bad about themselves? Are they jealous? resentful? regretful? I think my mom is all those things. But it doesn’t matter. It’s not my fault.

How do I survive her remaining years on earth (2 or 3 we are thinking with her health issues) without being mean and hurtful right back to her. Trust me, after the fact, I think of all sorts of things I could have said. But that’s not me. I do know, though, that it explains a lot about me and my often lack of self esteem.

I’m rambling now but I just wanted to thank you for this article. I’m going to go peruse more!


Hi Julie
Welcome to EFB! Glad you are here! I think the more you read here, the more you will come up with your own answers. (and my e-book available here is also a great way to get some great insights and clarity.
You are not alone!
hugs, Darlene


I can connect to this! I have a Family like this!! I was married by an arranged marriage to an abuser who used to act innocent in front of my parents (far relative) before our marriage and once married, he used to abuse me starting from initial months of marriage itself (which I didn’t even realize that it is abuse as he always used to show me reasons I said something wrong so he was doing that!), I told my parents & due to so called ‘society’ fear they just used to tell me ‘just adjust, he will change’ etc..had a kid (he demanded that his parents want grand kid, later who never took care of my kid even for a single day!) & his abuse increased even further (both verbal and physical), it gotten to a point where he used to throw things at me to hurt me (my daughter was toddler by then), he used to say “I (him) would have killed you (me) it’s just that going to jail that I am (he) worried about”!, he used to push me to ground, kick me, hit me, hurt me, choke me, literally I went through hell !!!…I had to plead for help with my parents and in-laws about his abuse but no help!…

Finally, after repeated raising hands my family (including my sibling) was what you want, we will support you..I had to approach law and he was proven guilty of domestic voilence, he broke protective order so got arrested for few days!(I had to fight all this in court all on my own with no major help from my Family again!)…after all this, my family still thinks I should have stayed with him for my entire life due to society fear! a single mother had been raising my kid, struggling to provide good future for my kid…and in recent years, not feeling well and hospitalized couple of times, had couple of surgeries (working so insurance covered but due to lay offs had to change jobs)…no support from Family at all! especially from my sibling or his family who stays in US.

moreover, my sibling after his marriage changed and verbally abuses me, bullies me, teases me instead of supporting/helping me and my mother supports his actions and shows same kind of bahaviour towards me!..the only question I have is..what did I do wrong?! I never interfere in my sibling life or said anything bad to them!! still like outsiders, my Family behaviour towards me suprises me!! more than that, it really hurts me when I hear rude words/comments from them!!!…today is one of those days for me, rude words by my sibling towards me when called to check how their daughter doing after a small surgery for her today! and this is what I get at the end of the day!!! why?!…my fiancee does not say anything to my family and stays neutral (playing safe?), again not sure why!

God, please be continuously fare to people like us!..atleast you give us support, health and courage to fight back this beast called ‘abuse’!

– AG

(sorry Darlene! thought I entered my comments for this topic here but posted it in a diff topic of yours by mistake earlier) so now adding here…Thanks.


I never searched for my situation before. I guess I assumed that I was in the wrong and what would I find on the internet to tell me any different? What I am suffering is not physical abuse and ive been told time again, I’m overly sensitive and it’s in my head, that’s how she is, and get over it and move on.

I have found so many statements and pieces of advice that have resonated with me on this site. Like finally I am hearing people speaking to my soul. My friends try and understand and are always supportive but they haven’t had the same.

Again, I had no physical abuse, I wasn’t locked up under the stairs but I have had years or the comments, the nit picking, cold shoulders and being frozen out, ignored on birthdays, constant criticism, mum not attending my graduation… just lot of pride issues. I was told that she wished I was never born, that I ruined her body, that im selfish and no one would ever love me and on and on throughout my life. Yet I kept going back for more. Craving the love and acceptance that I had when I was a child. When i had no choice but to listen and accept everything and told not to speak back and respect your elders. That’s what I knew.

As soon as I was able to run my own life I was frozen out and ignored under the same roof. I wouldn’t let them control my money anymore and then things got worse. And still I went back for more, for years I would run away to far off places on trips for months on end, looking for a horizon. I was away for a year and my mum refused to speak to me when I called home every week. She literally put the phone down when I was alone on the other side of the planet.

Everything I did was wrong. I was weak. I couldn’t defend myself in an argument and just broke into tears and hide. When I was told to leave, they didn’t help me move, didn’t help me find a place didn’t even get my address. This loving family I remember as a child just didn’t care anymore. I would visit the family house every weekend, sometimes they would all be gone and I would just sit outside crying. So I stopped visiting but then my mum had a heart attack and we were all at the hospital with her. None of us seeing eye to eye but keeping a united front for mum.

After a year of visiting her in hospital mum came home, I continued to do my weekly visit and continued to be hurt when they would be out altogether at the weekend and I would be out in the cold crying, they never called or made an effort to see me. They didn’t even know where I lived or worked.

After a few years I needed to move on… to reclaim my life and tried to stop crying. For a year I stopped visiting, stopped sending birthday cards and didn’t call anymore and they took this time to go on some family holidays to far off places. None of them told me they were going away, apparently as the one that stopped talking to them I didn’t deserve a text letting me know my ill mother was taking flights that the doctors advised her not to. The principles my parents taught about them treating us all equal apparently didn’t apply (no different than any other time in my life). When I found out, it was a punch in the gut. My dad eventually called and I answered. We met and cought up on whats been happening with the family. His words were ‘we went on a family trip’ not realising that there was one member of that family not present. I ran out.

Not long after, my mum was back in hospital. I put my pride behind me and visited everyday for two month hoping we could air what happened. Why she stopped caring… but nothing… I did my best but I couldn’t bring myself to address it. Then she passed away at hospital. We were all devastated but as usual my sisters and dad excluded me from the arrangements of the funeral. But apparently me cleaning the family home and serving guests and putting up the united front was ok. Other people started noticing what was happening which was the first time anyone has seen it with their own eyes and mentioned it. It was a relief… it wasn’t in my head.
For as long as I have been an adult, every time I am in that family there is tension, hatred, jealousy, pride. I am usually the victim and the one to blame.

For at least 10 years I have had no relationship with my sisters and minimal with my dad. I asked him if he would go to my wedding but apparently its all of them or none of them. My sisters have been clear that they hate my partner and he also hates them for everything they have done to me. Hate is a strong word but they have hurt me for a long time. They’ve even used my mum as a reasoning they should all be invited. I have been told that I should not make a decision I will regret for the rest of my life, to be the bigger person, to stop being sensitive to forget the past and think of what God would want me to do. It has caused a lot of anguish till I found this blog.

When parents and family programme you to do what they want for such a long time, its so hard to change the station especially when they convince you that you are wrong.

You almost need to rip your heart apart and putting it back together in a more positive and constructive way but the scars will continue to hurt me forever. Reading this blog makes me feel a little more sane. Thank you to Darlene and everyone else for sharing their stories. After every altercation with my family I used to tell my partner that im broken, he should find someone else. The title of this blog and book truly resonate.


This so deeply resonates with me. I am from an identical family. All my life I have “put up with nasty, rude, hurtful comments and suggestions on how I can improve”. From my mother, step father, ex spouse, and now sister in law (who is extremely jealous now that she is divorced and I am happily married to her brother who was her substitute significant other until recently). I have been told I am stupid, ugly, fat, have sunk in eyes, would “never get that” (concept) or be able to do that skill, I would not survive being on my own, raising two kids (did so successfully and managed to pay for private school and a portion of college for both). I was rash in deciding to marry again (because “he can’t even swing a hammer”).
I have been repeatedly told I live “in a shack” which I don’t-I own a 3 bedroom cape and like many homes it can do with some upgrades but its a lovely home that I OWN.
Recently my sister in law messaged me about a facebook posting, reprimanding me and stating “public displays of anger and bringing out the dirty laundry in a relationship or unacceptable” “this ended my marriage and should my brother-who is not on this social media see this; it will end yours”. “you are doing a grave injustice and being a bitch” followed by “I love you, hope you know where I’m coming from” and “I’ve discussed this with my mother who is not on FB and she agrees.” Yes, I’m so sure the evil B did so and twisted my words or cut, copied, pasted something horrible to show her non-media savy Mom. Sick person. BTW original post was about a comment my spouse made about his ex (“he wished he had had the money to go to her 10 years ago when she called to rekindle their relationship”) My response and post was a “hey feeling second best here”. After I discussed this all at length with my spouse (both he and I are fine with the post and fine with our discussion/relationship).
I am a good person, a caring soul, a spiritual person but I have gotten to the point I can no longer be around these toxic, evil, hurtful people who prey upon people; lie, say hurtful things and damage reputations (with “Mom”) for what purpose??? for attention? to make themselves seem more appealing? due to jealousy?

Enough already!!! Currently I have blocked this sister, intend to ignore her posts/calls/texts and will probably continue to do so. Ive been told twice by her sister and a neice that she is “so evil” there “will be serious repercussions if I confront her”. When asked the replies were “slashed tires, key scratched car, home broken into and mugging” that may have been related having occurred after being threatened and after confronting this sister.

How does one attract positive, healthy people into their life and disperse with negative, hurtful, hateful ones?

Thanks for listening


Hi there,

Wow…there are a lot of comments!

I am wondering. there a point where you have to give up and end the relationship?

My issues are with my older 44 year old sister. I lost my husband fairly recently and very unexpectantly….and at the young age of 28. I was, and am, devastated. We were in love for twelve years…it was honestly blissful.

While he was still here, my sister would sometimes say really bad things about him. I hated it but ignored it. She would say these things about pretty well everyone.

Now that hes gone, she still says things about him. I no longer can tolerate it. Ive asked her to stop…even told her that she needs to either be respectful toward usor I may need to end this relationship. But she says things to me also….like telling me to “$!#/ myself and my miserable life, put on my big girl panties and move on, (from losing my husband), and when I told her I wouldnt engage with the conversation, she said its all things I need to hear and that she wont say it all cute and nice like I want. She bashes him still and me. She claims I hate my family (because I dont pack up and move in with them) and claims that he was a bad husband.(He was not…he was wonderful).

Im tired of being cursed out, Im sick of asking her to stop only to randomly receiving these kinds of messages from her. I have literally considered moving far away just so she will no longer know where I am.

Advice? I even spoke to my mother about it and she claims its nust my sisters way of showing how much she cares.

What do I do next?


Hi Claire
Yes, unfortunately, there are times when we have to give up but only you can decide when that time is. There are tons of articles here in this site about making that decision.
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Brenda
I found that when I valued myself as much as I valued the people that were hurting me, everything changed. As I got stronger I attracted (and was attracted to) much healthier people and all my relationships changed.
Hugs, Darlene


I’m happy to find this post, because I deal with a mother like this every day. She makes insulting comments and if I tell her it’s hurtful she acts like it’s a joke and says I’m over-sensitive. She even sort of fake-laughs to herself as if she thinks it’s hilarious that I’m upset. Then I say “Why are you laughing? I just told you that what you said hurt me. So when you laugh at THAT you’re saying that you think it’s funny that I’m hurt..”, and she laughs even more. If I try to get her to actually have a conversation with me about it, she tells me no she doesn’t want to talk about it…”The conversation is over” and then starts acting like I’m not there even though I’, standing 3 feet away from here trying to have a conversation with her…


I am 48 years old and still am trying to figure out why my parents don’t accept me. My husband just says ‘let it go’. And I try to. But every time I am with them these feelings just come flooding back, especially when they say rude things trying to be ‘helpful’. I was the oldest growing up with a disabled sister. Our family revolved around her. I remember in Jr. High I had been teased at school and came home crying. My mom would say — what are you crying about — your not disabled, look at your sister. I learned to keep my feelings to myself. As I got older my mom would wonder why I never ‘talked’ with her about things. It felt very competitive in my household. And it is more than ever now, since I am grown and now there are grandchildren. I have so many hurts, stories, pent up emotions. Every time I try to talk and share my feelings it always ends up I am too sensitive and selfish and prideful. It further drives me to just want to stay in bed and never leave my house or have relationships with anyone. I just have always wanted a close loving caring relationship with my parents and am realizing now that is never going to happen. It makes me sad. I was always and still am the ‘sensitive’ one. But when you receive little put downs all while growing up they add up big. Another thing that has always bothered me is when we go out and she see someone in a store – she will look at them and seem to know their whole life story and make comments like – she looks so rude and stuck up. Or a waitress will forget to bring a hot chocolate and she starts to throw a fit about it like she is 5. All of these things drive me so crazy and I feel so defeated and depressed as I don’t really have anyone to talk with about this. My youngest sister died. My disabled sister was the middle child and is close with my mom. My mom desires us sisters to be close, but I feel like she has driven this wedge. When I try to discuss things with my sister, it all goes back to my mom –then I am in deeper troubles. My father was the passive parent. So, I have learned to keep things to myself, when I am there everything is surface level.

I am always second guessing myself. It is hard for me to make concrete decisions. I am always looking at myself and feeling like I am just a crazy person. I guess finding this blog is nice as I don’t feel so alone.


Welcome to Stephanie and Claire

I believe you will both find a lot of insight and answers here in this website. (and in my e-book if you are interested) ~ I had to focus on me for a while instead of focusing on them. When I found out where ‘the broken began’ for me, I began to see everything through a new grid of understanding. That is when the freedom came!

Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


I can relate to you so much. I’ve been going through this and now we are no longer talking such a long story but, comes down to respect and caring about my feelings. Which my parents my brother and sister don’t. I feel upset and miss them but, how can I care when they don’t care about me. They say and do the opposite. Actions speck louder then words, their actions show how much I don’t matter.
I hope things have gotten better for you.


Hi, so happy to see this. Right now I am 22 years old having 2 jobs, I am a chef and a marketing manager and I enjoy what Im doing but my mother always tells me its a job that wont get me anywhere, that Im not doing my life right, that its pure stupidity. on the other hand, I always make it to a point that I tell stories about myself with a happy tone that I am happy and I want them to know hoping theyd be happy for me too, but never did it end that way.

recently we moved to a new house I was gonna share bedrooms with my gay brother and I was totally fine with it, but my mother put some clothes that belongs to father in the 2nd closet of that room which should belong to my gay brother, so I suggested that the clothes should be removed since my mother and father has a big closet. my brother went out to tell mom and then suddenly I heard her shouting REALLY shouting to my father thay I should be disciplined that I should jusy shut up and my father is spoiling me. turns out my brother said an entirely wrong story which he always does (my mom and my brother is really close).

my nani heard them talking when my mother calmed down that I want my brother out of that bedroom because I want my girlfriend ( im bisexual) to live in there too. and I absolutely ,never thought about that! theyre always critical to me but not with my brother saying that my partner is a bad Influence, that with her there will be no future for me. But believe me shes rrally a good and hardworking girl. she’s the breadwinner of their family and pays for all their bills, shes very respinsible, why is it that with my brother being gay its okay but with me its like im some ki d of murderer!?

I started hurting myself I cant anymore, I started to loose weight I have no appetite I wanted to leave the house, everyday I feel caged with judgements with disgust, no appreciation or sowhatever im tired of trying to please them ti accept me or appreciate me.

Is moving out a good idea? please help me


I would just like to add. In situations where you cannot cut ties. Like mine for example, I am currently 28 and living with my mother because I am on disability which is not enough to live on my own, so until I get better that will not change. Our relationship is okay for the most part, my family as a whole is very dysfunctional however. Living at home means I cannot cut ties with my two younger siblings or refuse to attend family gatherings, which all take place at my house etc. My sister is the one who I have the biggest issue with. She can be very abusive and telling her how I feel about it just a) adds fuel to the fire and I feel like it gives her more to go on and its like I don’t really feel heard its more like now she knows she has gotten to me and I am weaker and/or b) she doesn’t care anyways so it just feels pointless.


Exactly. Maybe that’s why only 3% of addicts and alcoholics actually recover. Maybe those are the 3% that were not abused.


Hi Jeanne
That is a good point. 🙂
Hugs, Darlene

Hi jfk
Hang in there.
Hugs, Darlene


Great article, I’m struggling with my younger sister. She’s 15years younger and always acted strangely around my husband when I was there but normally when I wasn’t. The last straw was when she asked him for some pieces of our furniture instead of me and I have always done things for her. I told her I didn’t like it and it was wrong,six months later she’s still sulking it and raises it at every opportunity. Just the other day she told my eight year old he smelled bad in front of everyone. I told her to take her negativity somewhere else and I don’t want her in my house anymore!


I am thankful to read all this as I thought it was just me! I feel like I have tried to do as much as I can to help my family, to the point that I just silently help. I dont say a word when I pay all the grocery bills, when I am up all hours caring for their kids, when day or night they call me wanting me to do endless favors..but to them they just expect me to do it all til I am exhausted..and I sit and watch as they do nothing but think my time is worth nothing. They think it is OK if they sleep while I work at their home, doing their work, or they are on facebook while I care for their kids and home..then they get snarly with me. I baked, cooked, bought, did all I could to make this Christmas different, and all I get is “Dont stress me out Mom” or “What now?”…my husband is as bad…he does not lift a finger and acts like asking him to do a thing I will hear forever how I made him slave and ruined Christmas ( interrupted him on computer or sleeping he means)….I am ready to walk away and say forget you all… but then for the rest of my life I would hear about what a bad person I was to abandon them….


Hi Darlene and Merry Christmas,

The last part of your article is so powerful to me:
“I didn’t stand up for myself until I realized that my self-esteem
depended on me and not them.”

I hope one day I can stand up for myself like you do.


You literally could have just described my mother on her bad days- just goes to show you are never as alone as you think!


I told my mother a great many things six years ago as my daughter was being swept into an ultra orthodox religious cult. I begged my mother not to share the information I told her with my sisters who I (rightly, it turns out) would not show empathy or understanding, never mind help. Two years later I realized that she not only forwarded each and every email I sent her to my sisters, she waited for their nasty replies about me before replying to my emails. I cannot tell you how betrayed I felt. At the time I had already been low contact with her for years. I confronted my mother about this betrayal & was very angry. Rightly so, I still think. I was blown off & my sisters proceeded to “diagnose” me with everything from borderline personality disorder, manic depressive – you name it. Now we’re up to three years ago. At that time my mother decided to divide a family bracelet that belonged to my g-grandmother. Did I want a link? Sure. She gave a link to each of my sisters for Christmas but not me. She also “accidentally” forwarded me an email intended for another sister telling her to “just keep the extra diamonds.” I kept my mouth shut. At my son’s wedding two years ago one of my sisters who has been running a 20 year smear campaign against me, tearfully approached a friend of mine lamenting that she just didn’t know why I didn’t like her (my sister). My friend listened & finally said “because you treat her like shit.” My friend also said “what’s the deal with the bracelet? everyone else got a piece but (me) is being punished for calling out her mother about betraying her confidence?” My sister sat stunned & flabbergasted. The next Christmas my mother claimed she couldn’t find my address even though I’ve lived in the same home for 28 years. She wants to mail me the bracelet link. I said no thanks, there was no joy left in that bracelet for me. That was my Christmas present from my mother. A twisting of the knive & no gift. I haven’t seen my mother in two years & barely kept in touch through eamil. Last Christmas she sent me a small check for Christmas & that was fine. This Christmas she traveled 1,500 miles to visit my sister who lives fairly close to me. I could not think of a way to get out of seeing my mother so I finally agreed to coffee on the day before she was due to leave. It was the safest visit I could think of. 90 minutes. Short & sweet I hoped. My niece was in the room the entire time EXCEPT (and I should have known something bad would happen) when my niece briefly stepped outside. My mother leaned in like a puma ready to pounce, her eyes & mouth ready for the kill, & in her sweetest voice said “I brought the link of grandma’s bracelet with me, would you like it?” I did a poker face & said no, but I’ve felt ripped to shreds for three days since. That was my Christmas present from my mother this year. Another no-Christmas present of that fucking bracelet. I realize this is how she gets her jolly’s but I’m tired of being her punching bag.


You know you come from a CB family/Parent or a (Couple of) CB Steps when:
-The parents set up a Scarity Economy in which Love and Approval are strategically doled out creating a constant Gladiators-In-The-Coliseum level of conflict between the siblings for just a drop of their parent’s Approval Nectar.
-The parents nurture the most corrosive emotions including feelings of envy, competition, nasty back biting etc. between the siblings.
-The classic family roles (golden, scapegoat, lost etc.) are fostered between the siblings-which they will likely spend the rest of their lives attempting to “fix” rather than accept they are who they are and they don’t get to Identify who you are without your participation. And if one does manage to “fix” this ridiculous label by refusing to participate, there will be consequences. So what? Anything short of Death/Dismemberment will feel like a spa vacation and if you have concerns about bodily harm, you know how to contact LEO.
-When you’re an adult you’re treated as a child and when you were a child you were treated like an adult.
-Family “get togethers” are transparent “war councils” to decide who gets kicked off the island.
-Even though the siblings are adults, they are never treated as such because the “Faaammmmiiilllyyy” hierarchy must be maintained at all costs and besides, it’s fun for the CB parent(s)/sibling to wield the whip to remind all just who’s in charge here and don’t you forget it.
-None of the adult offspring are ever “allowed” to say no to anything regardless of their status as an AARP member-particularly these awful “Family Events”-without incurring the wrath of the parents and/or other siblings.
-As an adult, you are never “allowed” to develop/have your own traditions with your OWN family. Consequently, you end up dragging your kids all over creation on holidays, having to plan each Holiday as if it’s a G8 summit under the guise of “Fair and Equal” with your partner’s family. What’s glaringly absent is any consideration for your time, your resources or the best interests of your children, their allegedly beloved “graaaanndddbabies!”
-The pit of dread in your stomach coordinates with the seasons-and starts by the end of October.
-Every time you think of going back “there” for the holidays, “Highway To Hell” becomes your auto-repeat ear worm.
-Holiday meals, Get Togethers etc. are a re-creation of every last one you’ve ever experienced since your earliest memories-but on steroids. ‘Roid Rages and Road Ragers are not the kind of people you want to associate with anyway never mind on a special occasion.
-You’ve never questioned the Summons From On High that you “HAVE TO COME HOME!” Wanna bet? That hasn’t been your permanent address for years. “Home” is where you are. If they want to see you so desperately, they can make the trip to your place-and make arrangements to stay in a hotel. You’re not running a Bed and Breakfast for a bunch of miscreants who consistently behave badly because “Faaammmiiillyyyy!”

What you don’t do: Ask yourself why you’re doing this beyond you “always have.” You’ve been doing this for decades and asking yourself when it’s gonna be “your turn.” Never. Because you never thought you actually HAD a choice and/or you’re too afraid of the consequences for doing what’s best for you or your own family rather than those who clearly have no regard for you. There comes a point when you’re no longer a victim but a volunteer.

Some bridges are so unsafe, so shoddily constructed, so hazardous to your wellbeing they need to be burned, carpet bombed and naped.

The Holidays really can be a joyous, happy occasion spent in your jammies, bathrobe with a gourmet meal fit for the kids-PBJ or hot dogs are a legitimate food group when you’re a kid (or an adult)-and a take out for you and your partner-or what ever you want to have. Wanna make a “meal” of Holiday cookies? You’re “allowed.” Wanna have a movie marathon or catch up with your favorite shows? Do it. Wanna eat off paper plates or let everyone lick the beaters from the cookie mix? Why not? The health department is off too. Want to buy something special for yourself but you “can’t” because you were too stressed out trying to get them a gift they may actually LIKE and what they DEMAND is waaayyyy more than you’d ever spend on yourself. So you deprive yourself and once again, your gift falls flat.

If you make one New Years Resolution this year, make it one that honors yourself as an ADULT, equal in status to every other adult. Otherwise, you’re gonna remain the perpetually dumped on kid you’ve always been. Some things never change just as some people never change either. Holidays are fleeting in the overall picture: Character is forever-including the other 364 days a year. CBs don’t take vacations or do “Holidays.”
Maybe it’s time you did. Permanently.


What is CB, or a CB family?


I was wondering the same thing.. what does CB stand for?


Cluster B (Personality Disorders) or Crazy B**ch/Bas*turd.
Sorry for the confusion!


Or another useful term is HCP-High Confict Person/People if CB seems too mental health-ish.

Yk, you really can pick your own family. Would you associate with your DNA “family” if not for DNA? Do you actually
*like* these people? Do you love them? If you had a choice (and you know where imma going with this) would you have anything to do with them at all? Our lives are in large measure, comprised of the decisions we make. In those circumstances where we do have opportunities to choose (even if it’s between horrible and terrible) we are responsible for making those choices-or not.

These are the painful personal questions and decisions I confronted many decades ago-long before the Internet. Because we are so inculcated with the belief there is something wrong *with US,* admitting to myself I did not like or love my CB “mother” left me in a yet more heightened state of internal shame-everybody loves their mom, right? Or at least likes her amIright? So what’s wrong with me? And I do believe this is exactly where Darlene started her own personal journey-she courageously reframed the question: It was no longer “What’s wrong with me?” but instead, “Wait, how did I get here? WHY do I feel as I do?” Perspective alters EVERYTHING. Instead of viewing one’s self or their life through a pin hole lens, you instead change the view to a panoramic lens. Step back. And then step back some more: The memories and experiences we have did not occur in situ, in a vacuum. We were the KIDS. We came into this world hard wired to bond with our primary caretakers-that’s just science, Yk? This decision to accept your feelings and experiences as a result of externals involving growing up and into adulthood with a High Conflict Parent (or sibling) is IMO an excellent Starting Point. But admitting your own Truth to yourself-for better or worse, it really doesn’t matter-requires humility, compassion and courage. It’s NOT about judgement, it’s about accountability. It’s not about “a few mistakes were made” but about a pattern of behavior over decades and over which we had no control. It’s not about “what’s wrong with me?” but “What am I going to do NOW that I can admit my Truth to myself?” We are loath to use the “a” word (abuse) or the “n” word (neglect) to describe our experiences. After all, we didn’t end up in an installment of “Crimimal Minds: Special Victims Unit.” The bar we set for “good enough” parenting/”family” is set so low-and besides, “others had it worse”-and is so distorted we keep gaslighting ourselves, minimizing, rationalizing, denying our own Truth and Reality. In doing so, we attempt to erase US.<That takes a huge amount of energy and psychological/practical Shuck n Jive. It's exhausting! Any wonder we become depressed, anxious, fearful etc.? These are normal responses to an abnormal reality we did not create.

The provision of food, clothing and shelter, the bare bones minimum to sustain human life is not an indicator of a "good enough" or gold star parenting. Remember, these are ALSO provided by orphanages, jails and prisons. It's not about the typical CB parental responses when confronted with your Truth a la "I did the best I could!" NO.YOU DID WHAT YOU DID. It's not about "Well, I know I wasn't PERFECT!" That's a Strawman argument and a Diversion/Distraction tactic. It's not about "someone else had it worse" etc. because what YOU experienced, yeah, your own neglect and abuse-call things by their right names, please!-was personal to YOU. Let that sink in. Bruises fade. Broken bones mend. Burns scar over. It is the emotional/psychological effects of growing up into adult life and the continuation of those behaviors and dynamics that leave the longest Legacy. It is not about "carrying grudges /living in the past" because their on-going behavior ensures the There and Then continually plays out in the Here and Now: The CB/HCP pattern of interaction, of painful destructive family dynamics makes the Past Present.<This was in my experience the reaffirmation of my "fatally irrevocably flawed" belief that kept me from truly examining where my feelings and beliefs originated.

Darlene has created a fantastic space here for all of us-and thank you Darlene for being who you are, for your generosity, your integrity, your willingness to speak your Truth even when you scared yourself half to death when you broke the most fundamental Law of CB/HCP Families: Thou shalt not talk. This was ruthlessly inculcated in ALL of us.
Until we speak honestly to ourselves, we can not start the process of ensuring we do not pass on that same Legacy to our own families. The pain stops with us. I believe there is no greater gift we can give to our own families, loved ones and communities than this. Every one of us has the potential for Greatness, for changing our world and the world at large "one snapshot at a time."
Wishing Darlene and all of us battered and bruised-but still willin' 😉 folks a peaceful, loving New Year. Thank you all. I'm an old widow with a cat, live in the boonies and I'm being a wind bag today (yeesch, I've become a cliche!) but I want you to know, every time I read here it once again makes me so aware, gives me so much faith, leaves me feeling such deep awe in the greatness of everyday people.
And I know you don't see it.
But I do and FWIW, I'm cheering you on every step of the way as you continue on your Journey.


I got nasty emails from my brother because NM cried to him about me not going to her house for Christmas, and not wanting gifts.
After NC since March 2015, Mother and I have started talking Nov. 2016

I told her I wanted to take things slow as far as visiting, that we could talk on the phone, and see how it goes.
I told my brother to stop accusing and judging me. He persists in finding me the bad person. I ruined her Christmas and am always disrespectful.

I messaged NM on Facebook today. (Have not heard from her since I told her I was staying home for Christmas.)
This is my message to her.

Happy New Year I hope your anger hurt and disappointment in my choices for Christmas will not last long. Brother texted me about how wrong Ive been. Im sure he told you what I had to say. I told him not to text me anymore with accusations and criticism.
We all make choices that others dont like or agree with. I hope we can talk soon. Im praying you will understand my need to take time regarding us seeing each other. Call me when you want to talk.
God Bless You and Stepfather

I don’t know what the hell to do. She continues to involve my brother when she wants to bitch about me.

I thought we could work on having a new better relationship…..I don’t know if that will ever happen.


You sound just like me! My mom does the same thing. She has for years. When I was a teen, if she thought something was wrong with me, instead of asking me, she would call my best friend…”What’s wrong with —— ? “. Like my best friend wasn’t gonna tell me what she said.

Sometimes, when I’m around her, I literally don’t know what to say. It makes me sad.
I have been thru the Christmas event with her, coming to visit thing and yes I feel like everything I do that is not agreed upon by her, she tells my brother. I know for a fact she talks to my cousin about me.

Only prob is, unlike you, I haven’t gotten to the point of saying what I feel.
Actually, sitting here thinking about it, makes me sick on my stomach.

How do I get to the point of saying what I feel. I have got to fix this, for me!
I have been going thru this exact thing, I feel like for most of my adult life. I’m 55 mind you.

Replies please

April 16th, 2017 at 8:26 pm

Thank you, Darlene. I have so many issues in common as I read through your original posting and many of the comments from your readers. We all have people in life walked all over us without getting permission. You brought out a good point, forgive and let go were two different stories. Even with “let go” there are different meanings.

I came to this link as I have been searching for “Friends that are nosy and hurtful”. You spelled out the essence of relationships. Do we want to tolerate inappropriate behavior just because we were coached/consulted/advised/taught we need to let go because we can show the world we are better persons and do not behave the same level the offenders do?

I say “yes” or “no”. We live in a world of grey areas. It is not black and white as we thought it was when we were much younger. You made it crystal clear, a healthy boundary and setting tolerance limits will do us good. At the end, human beings will back off when they get the tennis ball aiming their forehead. Otherwise, it’s human nature that we keep smacking and returning the ball thinking it is “the norm” and we “are entitled” to do so in a game. We can forgive, but we cannot forget our traumas. We can grieve and heal through many years of psychotherapies but we need time and people in our lives who understand our pain and sufferings without judgment. That is very hard, almost impossible. Why? We all have our needs to meet and most of ours needs were unmet. It is almost unheard of if someone really can take your shoe. Saying “put myself in your shoes” is easy. The execution part is difficult.

You made me feel good when I told my friend she made me feel I was nothing at the end. She who flew coast to coast two days ago and stayed with me and gave me “expensive psychotherapy sessions” that I did not ask for, though she was the one who introduce a therapist to me 16 years ago. She went through 25 years of therapy herself and it’s still going. I took her to places, gourmet fine dining, shopping, sightseeing etc. and at the end of the three-day visit we had a quick bite at a diner before I dropped her off to her potential business partner for three more days in the city. I was exhausted and to begin with I was NOT in a condition that I had the energy, time, or money to entertain someone after a five-year difficult divorce marathon. I did not tell her I was not ready to “enjoy life” with a girl-friend yet as I was beaten emotionally and physically since I re-injured some muscles resuming yoga 5 weeks ago. Because she was excited about getting out a job she hated and before she began her new job, she needed to get away. She told me she loved to visit me for years and did not get a chance. I did not have the heart to tell her I was not ready to enjoy this wonderful get together yet. Basically, I need to sleep and rest while I’m looking for full-time employment after an eight-year gap. This is already stressful enough that lengthen the emotional and physical recovery process from losing a family, a son, and difficult separation from a 31 year relationship with my narcissistic ex who kept stalking me.

Long story short, I want to share with you my other learnings from Dr. Marshall Rosenberg (1934-2015), founder and speaker of The Centre for Non-violent Communication, This would give other meanings to Darlene’s coaching and consulting effort in helping those who need personal development and relationship improvements. No matter what ethnicity or language we speak, whether we sell pretzels in a truck at the corner of the street or sit in an executive leather chair in a window office, we all suffer from one common issue – our ancestors, our parents, ourselves, and our children were all taught using “violent” communication skills. You would be surprise to learn but later you would understand why these are violent communications: “You MUST do these before I can accept your work”, or “You SHOULD follow my instruction”, or “YOU ARE BAD AND SELFISH”. The centre of the root causes of our dysfunctional relationships is when we use ineffective communication (words, facial expression, body language, writing, etc.), we cannot get the other person understand our needs. Communications goes many directions and we are all in pain and we suffer from not getting our needs met if we keep using the same skills we are so used to during our entire life. For one person you identified would have a chance to improve communication and relationship with you, urge this person to watch the YouTube videos too, as a start, and go on to look for other free resources. It is worth it. Nevertheless, not everyone in our life is capable of making changes.

Remember, people don’t do what they don’t want to do. Especially, if someone you love or you hope to improve relationship with has been suffering from personality disorders may certainly not a good candidate for you to begin practicing non-violent communication skills with. Only the person has the same intention to improvement relationship with you, to being this new process with you. In addition, it is critical to know we, adults, are responsible for our own needs. We can ask/request/demand the other people to meet our needs, however, no one is obligated to do so. That includes our parents, spouses, best friends, etc. Once I acknowledged this fact 2 years ago, I finally understood and recalled the many occasions in life why I was disappointed, hurt, humiliated, and even physically injured in some cases; and it went opposite ways, don’t forget. Don’t deny we have never “hurt” others’ feelings in the past, whether intentionally or not. The YouTube videos are free and some of you will enjoy the videos as Dr. Marshall Rosenberg was a very funny educated person. His teachings have been very practical helping relationships to rebuild, whether it was marriage, parent-child, organizational, or nations in distress and at risk going in war.

Back to my story with the friend who visited me two days ago. She did not understand my needs or at least I mentioned but she did not get it. She came a long way to be a confident person. Deep down, she could still be very fragile, although after undergoing 25 years of therapies. Besides, she obviously had needs unmet. Her anger regarding her ex-boss, the job she hated and resigned from three days ago and her person matters I would not reveal here. When I picked her up at the airport, I approached her and told her I wanted to listen to her stories and would love to give her a shoulder. However, she kept poking my pain in many different ways. Not that I have never told her my difficult divorce. I ran into people in life who could find ways to get information from you without needing to ask you the question directly. Well, I tried to avoid but she opened up the Pandora box. At the end, all the comments and “teachings” she gave me made me feel crappy.

Not that I haven’t heard from my therapist, but my therapist would use a different tone and understands it takes time to heal after 31 years of investment in a relationship that I could not save and impossible to save. How many times I had to tell my friend I was not ready to achieve certain level of healing and I was not at the level yet to come out from the shell and pain? I have not gone through grieving properly from many of my traumas since childhood and now finally the dissolution of the long-term dysfunctional marriage and my ex’ extra-marital affairs shattered my heart in pieces, affected my son in many ways, and it takes time to glue the pieces back together. She had no empathy, even though she kept saying she understood. Her facial expression kept telling me she was annoyed by my snail recovery progress. I was frustrated and she was utterly upset.

I was very disappointed, not only I wasted my effort to stay positive the last few months, now I have to go through the exercise again after her comments and silent treatment. I texted her but she would not reply. I slept and I sat down a moment ago. The light bulb went on. She needed something from me but she did not say. She was testing the water, I felt strongly she did. I guess she wanted to find out if I have capital or management expertise to invest in her new business venture but she did not spit it out for some reasons. After all I completed an executive MBA during this difficult period, I just realized she never said a word to congratulate me. I felt that she came over was to observe my real situation. I believed and still wanted to believe she came over to comfort an old friend. There were other things in her mind or she was basically frustrated at me that I did not “appreciate” her free psychotherapies she offered. I didn’t know, there was no open communication what she might need from me. I cannot read mind. How do I know what’s in her mind? I can only guess and ask questions, which she turned into different subjects.

If we knew how to communicate clearly what we want from the other person to meet our needs, it would be night and day difference. It could be kindness, understanding, patience, respect, a hug, a kiss, a shoulder, whatever we are asking, but definitely not harsh judgement or cold advice when we were not ready to take action yet. Would you think we could have a better chance to get or continue a meaningful conversation and get what we requested and avoid a lot of heartaches? Remember it goes opposite directions, regardless. My two cents…


Amazing what Google searching can lead you to. I just came across this site today. I’ve been struggling for quite some time with issues from my past. Ever since I can remember my cousin (who is a year older than me) has always favored my twin brother over me. She would call me names, make fun of me, and leave me out of things. She was sneaky enough to be nice to me in front of the rest of the family. And I was too shy and afraid to speak up for myself. For forty years I have dealt with this. It shattered my self confidence, made me anxious socially and I have had to push it down. Mostly, I would be told to just get over it or deal with it or grow up. In the last few years, I have seen how her daughter is now doing the exact same thing to my daughter. She ignored my daughter and favors my twin brothers son. It’s like watching my childhood through the eyes of my daughter. Family gatherings have been awkward and uncomfortable and I just can’t take it anymore. I recently blocked my cousin and her kids from social media and from my contacts altogether. Whatever demons I may have from my past are my demons to deal with. But I can’t watch it happen to the next generation too. It hurts too much and I can’t put my child through what I went through. When it comes down to it, my cousin is and always has been a mean bitch. At forty something years old, she still makes fun of people who might be fat, or nerdy, or what she considers a loser. I cannot have my kids be around such bigotry and mean behavior. My kids get ignored by her kids especially when my brothers kids are around. As bad as I feel that we have such a small family, I can’t be around such toxic people any more. I should probably get some counseling after all these years… Who knows?
Regardless, I am so very glad I read this post today. It’s like I could have written it myself. Thank you.


My brother and my niece have both decided that my daughter is bad, and mean to other children. We used to frequent my brothers house, for barbecues on holidays and weekends during the warmish season. She’s almost niece has a 3 year old son.

My daughter has always been pretty calm. She’s the type that can play by herself, kind of introverted. Even at 3. Yes, I already know this about my child. I pray about our attention to her. She’s smart, and loves learning. She talks like a 5 year old but it’s still a bit slurred. Anyway.

My nieces son is very smart too. He’s more wild though. As boys are, sometimes. But he is. Her and I and our kids went on vacation recently and I think my daughter got fed up with him at some point and started wailing on him with my car keys. We were horrified! She’d never done anything like that before. I punished her accordingly. But since then I’ve noticed she’s picked up some bad habits.

And since then my brother and my niece have been targeting myself and my daughter. As of I don’t watch my kid, and she’s mean and bad to other children. My mom and I have both witnessed her playing nice with 3 other children since then, but when my nieces son is around she’s mean. To my mom and I it’s obvious. The summer when my daughter started waking my nephew pushed her down several times and his mother never did anything about it. She does scream at him alot. I feel like he’s taking out his anger the only way he knows how.

But last week my brother yelled at my daughter twice for some stupid shit, and then scolded me for picking her up and consoling her. He told his Grandson to throw his napkin away. My daughter picked up the napkin and was going to friggin do it for him. But my brother yelled at her and told her to put his napkin down, you don’t take other people’s stuff.

We’re so not on the same parenting page. He told her she was being bad, when she thought she s being helpful, which is what I’ve taught her.

Tomorrow is mother’s day, and he’s having a barbecue for our mom. After reading this, I’m ready to jump on him if he says anything to her or I.


What you shared totally resonates. Thanks Darlene.

My future in laws are very mean, extremely judgmental and even make up lies about me. The first red flag should have been the first time I met them and they were badmouthing their grandchildren. That’s right – their innocent grandkids! I stood up to them once when I was pregnant and that began WWIII. Now I keep my distant bc they aren’t worth the time or energy. They are the type that are always looking for a reason to be pissed off and they have something negative to say about every person they know. Yuck – they are awful.


Kasey, what you have shared really resonates. If you’re OK with talking about what you mean by keeping your distance, how you achieved this and what push back you experienced as a result it’d be great! Thanks!
And kudos for recognizing the blazing red flag so quickly: Those of us who grew up in The Crazy as I call it often may not put it together as quickly and respond effectively as it seems you have.


I was meant to find this today. As I am home caring for my mother who is recovering from surgery and has been emotionally abusive to me my entire 38 years of , today I walked in on her having a conversation about how she hated my housekeeping and a few other insults. She didn’t know I had heard her. It brought me to tears and I decided that today enough was enough. Once her doctor gives her a clean bill of health, I am politely walking away and never looking back. Not only for my emotional health, but for my daughter’s.


My mother talks s**t at my back with my siblings. I have overheard it. My siblings does not give a damn about me, they never cared about how I feel and when I get sick they bitch at me on how can I give our mother such a burden, like, wtf? I do not ask to be cared of, then, she complains on how I do not let her sleep due to my coughing. When I was fourteen I had a terrible pain in my ear, she dismissed it as a pimple, two days I had to deal with it and when she considered it was something wrong she took me to the doc; I had an infection And a ruptured ear, now that I recall it she say she never did that. Two years ago I got dengue, I woke up with fever. I told her and she got angry, I took a cold bath and accompanied her to the store. The fever did not relented and I felt worse during the day, we went to the doc that night. The next five days I couldn’t go to work because I felt terrible.

One of my siblings is specially mean, he always looked down at me, considers me as a stupid (they all do, but specially him).
When I stand up, they tell me : ” you are immature, disrespectful…” Why? Just because I want to defend myself, because I stand my ground?, there were a time I believed them, and tries to change from “bitter” to sweet, but it dies not matter they still find something wrong.

Now I stand my ground in an aggressive way(I understand it’s wrong, but I’m tired to be nice), reserved.

Sorry for the extension, just needed to write it out.


Thank you Darlene! I found you online when I Googled “what to do when friends make derogatory comments”. Your perspective is refreshing! I am an empathetic nurturer that people like to walk over – all my life. I’m in a recovery program and at almost 60 am still a work in progress. Working on my self-esteem, or lack thereof, because I was raised in a non-encouraging environment (verbally and physically abusive parents). I attract verbally and emotionally abusive men – go figure. I also learned, even in my recovery program, to “let it go”, “pray for the other person”, “be kind”. It doesn’t make me feel any better! I’m going to try your method and STAND UP for myself. Ask “my friend” why did you say that? And put it back on them. I’m sick and tired of “friends” telling me negative things that I know are not true about ME but they are projecting their crap onto me. Now is the time to start a new beginning – a newer, stronger ME! I won’t take the negativity or abuse or gossiping any longer!


Ditto! Love your words and sentiment and totally agree that after a lifetime of living around abusive people you just get to the place where enough is enough! My favorite thing you said was something I am just now learning to do after 2 divorces to abusive men and a mother who at 88 still tries to demean me and then tells me I’m too sensitive! I’m just now beginning to act on the truth in your words “I didn’t stand up for myself until I realized that my self-esteem depended on me and not on them,” to be so true. As an adult, it’s now my responsibility to refuse to accept and tolerate the abuse. Finally, I’m learning to remove myself from any situation where she starts degrading or acting disrespectful. She doesn’t like it but I feel so much better and recover my self respect so much faster than ever before. It really helps me feel better about me when I stand up to the adult bullies in my life.

Can’t wait to read your book! Thanks again for saying everything I’m currently feeling!!



@Annabeth…I feel bad for you and your daughter. Your brother has no business being so unkind to a 3-year-old child.
It is one thing to gently correct a kid; it is another to treat them the way he is treating your little one.
As for them labeling her “bad” and “mean”…have you asked them why they would say such terrible things about a small child? It sounds like you are willing to defend her at least, which is more than I can say for my own mom when my stepfather frequently attacked me.

Your brother and your niece judging a child so harshly is unfortunate, but it says much more about them than it does about you and your little girl.
You mentioned that she is smart and introverted, the type that can play by herself.
I was a lot like your daughter when I was a kid. Some people are very uncomfortable/threatened by what they don’t understand.
I remember certain teachers stating that I thought I was better than others…this wasn’t true, but they made assumptions. It sounds like based partly on the incident with your little one hitting her cousin with the car keys, they have decided that she is “bad”.

Which is unfair because she’s just a kid and you DID punish her accordingly so she won’t do it again.
I don’t blame you for wanting to protect her from harsh judgments at such a young age.


Sorry, I know I’ve been leaving too many comments lately! But I’m drawn back to this site because there is so much I can relate to.
I also find pearls of wisdom in what a lot of people here have said. The more I read, the more understood and validated I feel.

Several ladies here have talked about catty comments they have received, being made to feel ugly, other women being competitive, etc…I have come to realize that when people treat us in this way it’s because they are damaged and they try to elevate themselves by displacing their pain/shame/anger onto others.
I am a very light-skinned black woman (mixed but some people might consider me “black”).
I grew up around a lot of people who were intent on destroying my self-esteem at a young age, some of whom are in my family.
I was also bullied/abused terribly by others outside of my family.

The reason I mention being light-skinned is that (for those who are unaware) there is a perception among darker-skinned people that women with lighter skin and women of mixed ancestry (like myself) are “stuck up” and must be taken down.
So unfortunately, I learned that there were people who would hate me simply for being me.
I also learned at an early age that some women (including a few in my own family) could be VERY mean and competitive when it came to beauty, male attention, etc.
I was around 12 the first time I figured this out and it hurt because I wasn’t that type of girl. I wasn’t catty or focused on being “better” than anyone.
Yet I was accused of thinking/acting like I was, and I was often the target of some disgusting behavior from others.

I remember the earliest incident of it, where a cousin and a friend of hers decided to attack me one day.
Both were older than me but they were like “we’ve never heard you call anyone pretty” as if that were some sort of crime.
I thought that was weird, because who cares? I am more interested in whether a person is kind than what they look like.
They would also accuse me of being vain if I dared to look in a mirror for even a second.
There were also comments about how my hair wasn’t long, only shoulder-length…my hair was in fact nearly waist-length at the time.
This same cousin “confronted” me one night and threatened to beat me up because she claimed that somebody said I called her fat.
Imagine a very tall, large girl towering over a much smaller girl making her cry.
I NEVER said anything bad about her but she had a nasty habit of cornering me and accusing me of things I didn’t do.

Now as an adult, I see it for what it was. The nonsense about how I supposedly never called others pretty?
I think they were both jealous because they were a bit older than me (14 and 16) and they wanted me to look up to them as some little sister type, kind of like what Amber said about her “friend” feeling insecure that Amber started coming into her own as a more confident person.
And I didn’t look up to them at all…they were vapid, shallow bullies. I also received male attention despite being short and flat-chested and somewhat dorky, so I think that pissed them off even more because we all know how some self-proclaimed “pretty” girls can be if a so-called “plainer” woman gets attention.
So I was frequently the target of hate from certain females who felt threatened. This same relative also has a history of gossiping about me and trying to make my sex life her business, under the pretense of caring about me.

One of my aunts also became turned vicious when I hit puberty. There were often attacks on my looks, my femininity, and my sexuality.
It was always something about my small boobs or how “ridiculous” my lipstick was or that my skin was too light or that my hair was ugly or that I had no style or that my cousin was prettier/better than me, etc…this was an aunt whom I loved very much so it hurt to have her saying these things.
I couldn’t understand saying these things to a child. So you ladies aren’t alone.
My radar is now finely tuned to people who display this nasty behavior and I try to stay FAR away from them.
My ex’s mother was like this too, always making some racist or catty comment.
People like that have SERIOUS issues and we need to eliminate them from our lives or limit contact if going completely NC isn’t possible.

I can’t be friends with anyone who feels that they are above me, because that is not a friend.
That is a person who is looking at me as an inferior, not as an equal, and it WILL show in how they treat us.
People have revealed ugly racism towards me…people I once considered friends.
There is no room for competitive behavior in a friendship. As to family? I’ve learned to accept that there is a “golden child” in my family. She is the star, I’m not, and that is OK. But I still have the right to insist on respectful treatment.
I’m supposed to visit them soon and I’m trying to brace myself for the snarky comments about my weight, my looks, etc.


Also, here are some other ways you’ll know that a “friend”/relative feels superior to you or is jealous of you:

-constantly puts you down whenever possible

-attributes motives and actions to you that aren’t true

-has a competitive attitude towards you; always tries to “one-up” you somehow

-slanders you to others

-humiliates you in front of others, esp. if there is a member of the opposite sex present who likes you

-calls attention to your flaws

-brings up things you are sensitive about to hurt you, then plays dumb when confronted

-accuses you of being jealous/envious of others despite evidence to the contrary

-them being offended if somebody is nice to you in their presence…especially true if it’s an abusive partner or a catty woman who feels that she should be the one receiving all the compliments

-racist remarks aimed at you; comments attacking your looks, weight, religious beliefs, sexuality, etc.

-people who try to “remind” you that you are unworthy and undeserving of good things in life.
People who want to see you fail. People who question why our husbands/partners (for those of us in good relationships) are with us, esp. if the guy is attractive or kind or has a good career.


The comments about weight…I find that people, esp. women who attack other women for being either very thin or fat, have their own issues with body image much of the time.

I started hearing the “fat” comments at about 11 or 12 when I would visit my extended family.
It was bizarre, because I was a scrawny little girl. I remained thin until I was in my mid to late 20’s.
But they would praise a much larger (obese) relative…it was weird. And I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with seeing beauty in a “full-figured” person, not at all.
But it always bothered me how I was called “fat” sometimes for having hips on a slender frame and legs that were muscular, yet she was praised.

In my teens and early to mid-twenties, my body type ranged from stick-thin (in high school when I wore a size 0) to slim but shapely (more like a size 4 or 6 or even 8, but still healthy with nice curves when I filled out…that was my ideal weight).
There was NOTHING remotely fat about me. Yet there were often people who would say that I was, in a way that was clearly intended to hurt me. I remember a grown woman saying that my legs were “big and ugly”…who says this to another person, esp. a 12-year-old CHILD?

I also remember a particularly nasty friend of my cousin saying out of the blue that because my legs weren’t skinny, that I would have a weight problem by the time I was older.
This girl was a horrible person and I knew she had her own issues since she’d been adopted as a child, but it hurt deeply because I never did anything to her.
Women who lash out at other women with appearance-based insults are definitely not people you want to associate with.
The funny part is also that in most cases, the ones being so mean and hateful aren’t even attractive themselves! So they have no room to call somebody else names.


My final comment (for now, anyway)…I am now 34 years old. I now wear a size 12, a far cry from what I looked like about ten years ago.
So maybe I am “fat” now. I can admit it. I don’t like it, I wish I were still thin, but you know what?

I’m still a kind person. I’m still smart. I still wake up every day and try to carry on with life despite mental/emotional scars.
We are worthy…all of us. Our worth is not defined by the opinions of others.
I was often called a “n*gger” and told that my hair was ugly because it’s kinky. So much racism and abuse aimed at me because I was different.
I am learning to see that I have NOTHING to be ashamed of. We are who we are, and no one has the right to make us feel that we don’t matter.


One more comment…beware of “friends” who secretly hate/envy you if you have something they don’t.
Jealous people can be dangerous. Also, be careful of female “friends” who are only friends with you because they perceive themselves as being more attractive than you.
Such people are using you to feel better about themselves, esp. if a man talks to them and doesn’t acknowledge you or worse, puts you down and your “friend” doesn’t defend you.
And also if she gets mad because heaven forbid a cute guy actually flirted with you instead of her, or somebody is nice to you instead of immediately fawning over her…some catty women don’t like that AT ALL and they will try to put you back in your “place”.

I got wise to the games that people play and I’m much more careful now.

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