When People Treat you Like you are Crazy, Stupid or Frustrating


poster centerd rightWhen people treat you as if you are crazy, it isn’t because they think you are crazy, it is because they want YOU to think you are crazy.

When people treat you as if you are stupid, it isn’t because they think you are stupid, it is because they want YOU to think you are stupid.

Their purpose or motive for the way that they treat you is actually about what serves them much more than it is the way that they see you. These people have a motive and it isn’t a motive driven by love, it is a motive driven by the desire to have control.

Understanding this made all the difference in the world in my recovery and in overcoming the false definitions of “me” that had been put on me by abusive, uncaring, controllers and manipulators who felt entitled to treat me like I didn’t matter. The ways that I was treated by these people communicated to me that they were more important than I was. Part of the way that they convinced me of my lesser value was through the subtle or obvious messages that something was ‘missing’ or ‘wrong’ with me and with my reactions to life.

When I was a child and my teacher yelled at me saying that I wasn’t paying attention because I didn’t have the right answer, and then she rolled her eyes and added that I was such a frustrating child, I reacted by trying harder.

I didn’t like being shamed in front of the entire class. I didn’t like the disapproval that was communicated to me. I didn’t like the feeling that I was such a disappointment; as long as I was trying harder, the teacher felt like she was in control.

And as long as I was trying harder, she was in control…

Remember the kids in school who ignored the teacher and didn’t seem to be affected by the reprimands and just kept doing the things that made the teachers angry but kept the rest of the class giggling? Those kids seemed fearless. I remember being afraid for them! I didn’t even consider being one of those kids.

I hated the way she defined me as “a daydreamer” and “lazy student” and how she would say “oh what am I going to DO with you Darlene?” I would never risk being even more of a disappointment by continuing to frustrate her.

As long as I was trying harder, her actions against me were validated; if I was trying harder it proved to her that she was right. It served her purpose to define me as frustrating and difficult or lazy and exhausting. As long as I was feeling shamed and trying to please her, she knew she had the power.

People like that have their power mixed up with their worth.

It served her purpose to make me feel guilty. When I felt bad, I tried harder to please her; when I tried harder, she felt better about herself. It served her purpose to define me in ways that hurt my self-esteem because I would focus on HER and on pleasing her.

If my teacher had ever validated me (like a confident, healthy, teacher who was secure in her own self-esteem might have done) I could have relaxed and flourished in the warmth of her approval. In a healthy and functional relationship this is a wonderful thing! But in her world, I was the object of her self-esteem.

In her mind, if she had enough power to make me feel guilt or shame, then she felt better about herself.

If she could cause me to ‘try harder’ she felt worthy. She felt better by tearing me down.

And because my trying harder didn’t give her ‘real’ worth, the abuse tactics never ended. She needed a little more of this false self-esteem booster, all the time. She had to keep me in the spin of always getting me to keep looking at myself to see why I was such a disappointment to her so that she could keep feeling the little buzz she got from having that power over me.

That teacher had her power mixed up with her worth. She could only feel her own worth when she overpowered other people.

When people treat you like you are crazy, lazy or stupid think about what their motive might be. Slow down long enough to think about why they are reacting to you that way. Why would a healthy person be responding to you as though you are crazy or stupid? Think about what I have shared here and notice what tearing you down can do for them.

Do these people that constantly ask you to jump through their hoops want to empower you to be who you really are or do they want to overpower you because getting you to do what they want, be who they want and act how they want you to makes them feel some sense of worth?

Is the way that they regard you, or define you, really about you or is it about how they want YOU to feel about you?

Think about this. Oftentimes realizing the motive provides the most clarity when someone is talking down to you.

We all have power however there is a proper use of power and the proper use of power is to empower ~ NOT to overpower or disempower. The sad truth is that a lot of people who have low to no self-esteem have been taught that power IS worth and they can’t seem to let go of the need to overpower as a means to ‘proving’ to themselves that they have worth.

My mother had her power mixed up with her worth too. It would never serve her purpose to tell me how wonderful that I was. If I ever stepped out of the spin of trying to figure out how to make her love me and approve of me, I would have seen her for who SHE was and I think she knew it. I think that was her biggest fear.

Her biggest fear was that SHE would be exposed so she kept the finger of blame, shame, guilt and failure always pointed at me. As long as I was spinning around in fear, shame, guilt and failure, I would never see her for who and what she really was.

As long as I didn’t know my true value I would never see that her treatment of me was wrong and that her treatment of me only proved HER lack of self-worth.

When people treat me as if I am stupid, crazy, frustrating or as though I am less important than they are it isn’t because they think I am stupid, crazy, frustrating or less important than they are ~ it is because they want ME to think I am. As long as I am looking at me I will never look at them and as long as I am not looking at them I won’t see the pathetic person behind the abusive, controlling belittling and self-important attitude. As long as I am busy trying to prove that I am worthy, and that MY motive is NOT for harm, they have me right where they want me; under their spell.

This is one of the most important concepts to cement into your new belief system going forward in the healing journey. Please feel free to share your thoughts and discoveries or your struggles and frustrations in the comments.

Exposing Truth; one snapshot at a time,

Darlene Ouimet

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

Related posts ~ “Why People discount the Adult Child and Defend the Abuser”

“Dealing with People who Talk Down to Me”

Categories : Self Esteem



Motive. I haven’t thought nearly enough about this in regards to my emotional abusers. I will say though that the harder I try to be acceptable or to be what they think I should be –the more disappointment I set up for myself because what I do or say is NEVER enough.

Back to motive. It makes so much sense that the abuser wants us to think we are stupid. That way we can’t challenge them because well, we are stupid! I can’t say how many times I have felt stupid in front of my dad. Too many to count. It’s because I accepted somewhere down the line that I am not the smart, talented, sensitive etc person I really an in his presence. My mother was no role model in this department. My dad was always allowed to make us feel stupid. Even to this day, when I spill something, break something, can’t figure a “simple” thing out (ie) like how to fix the remote, I always see his face, and hear his voice telling me in no uncertain terms, I AM STUPID.

But I know I’m not stupid! I know this rationally. I can spill the same milk in front of my sister or close friend, and not feel stupid. The same remote can be broken, and I don’t feel stupid for not being able to fix it. I can actually laugh at myself.

I don’t see my dad more than a couple times a year, and for this reason. I like being smart and kind and talented. I don’t like being “stupid”.


Whenever I thought or did something she did not approve of. If I didn’t feel well, (not able to do for her, or tend to her ever present problems)

I was called Stupid, Crazy, or Lazy, faking illness, doing something “risky dangerous” (like riding to the beach with a friend to take pics during a storm, joining public rally, walking at 10pm, being a Security Guard, etc.)

If she didnt like it or was not included…….
I could write 200 pages on this!


It’s even more confusing if a parent contradicts themselves. Sometimes I wonder if my mother can make sense of her own contradictions.

She would pay lip service to me being smart, but go into conniptions when I question her or refuse unsolicited advice. Why praise me for being smart, but treat me as if I’m not allowed to use my gray cells? I don’t get it.


Yes, I think motive is the most important thing to look at. It’s interesting you saying that it would never serve your mom’s purpose to tell you how wonderful you were. It most definitely served my mom’s (and others’) purpose to tell me how wonderful I was.

I’m in another dysfunctional workplace and again my boss “loves” me and I feel like I’m in a chinese finger trap. It’s complicated. I suppose he saw me as being like him, someone from a dysfunctional childhood who fought to make his own life—proud of me and wanting to help me. But he isn’t healthy and the environment isn’t healthy. He isn’t often in the bakery anymore but he has set up the system, so even if he isn’t there, it doesn’t matter. I also am fully aware of how easily it could flip over to me being treated like I’m crazy, etc., if I say/do/reveal too much against my role. I am aware of certain leeway and the power I have within the system (in that he doesn’t want to lose me) but it’s a very false, empty kind of power. It’s the illusion of power. I turned down a management position because I just didn’t want to be in that role. My boss really wants the bakery to be a kind of family but if it’s a family, it’s a dysfunctional family (far from the worst but still dysfunctional). The system is set up so that I could not in anyway be a healthy manager. I’d have to denounce so much that’s going on and ask for changes (including having the boss apologize to all his employees for yelling at them, etc.). I gather he’s hoping I’ll eventually change my mind and he seems to be doing things to try to show change but it’s very surface level and what we’re talking about is major emotional issues that need to be worked through and the situation makes me very wary. I passed through the stage of feeling affinity and connection to him (and that was real—he affected me quite profoundly when he and his wife came to visit me after the sexual assault; every way that they related to me was exactly what I needed at the time and at other times as well). Now I’m entering into the false-friend zone… with all those undercurrents of what you know but you don’t say and what the other knows you know but doesn’t want to be real, wants shortcuts and to cut deals. When I think of quitting, I feel his possessiveness. It’s my family all over again—again. I’m presently in an apprenticeship program and supposed to be getting my diploma so I’ll be official or whatever… but I’ve also been a baker for 6-7 years so do I really need a piece of paper? After asking me if I wanted to do this program about a year ago, he finally had the government official come in to meet me and have me sign papers in the spring. Because I already had a lot of experience, my boss said I just needed a couple months intensive training with the oven work and then I’d have my diploma. But I just kept waiting. I recently put some pressure on him to finally put me on the ovens, so that’s supposed to start next week. He really shouldn’t have offered me the opportunity if he felt it wouldn’t work for his business (there’s this deal about it being really physically demanding—and of course I’m not likely to be as capable as some of the guys who are twice my size—but I think that perhaps it might be slightly exaggerated, as the job that I now do is also very physical but I’m capable of it). I think it’s going to get dragged out, though—the idea was two, three months of everyday on the ovens but now it’s going to be twice a week. (also to note, the guy’s been collecting money from the government as part of this program since the spring time even though I haven’t been doing what it is I’m supposed to be doing)… In general I have this feeling like I’m just getting myself in deeper and why don’t I just jump ship? I’m not happy and I feel imprisoned. I also feel demoralized. It’s really icky when you get to the false friend zone. It’s scary, too, when you start to see the person and the spell of authority is wearing off and they can feel it. I’m about ready to bow out. I don’t really care about standing up to him about anything when he knows anyway. He knows everything. It’s all purposeful. It all serves his motives. What’s the point? It’s his responsibility. I’ve spoken out about a few things that directly concerned me when they happened. He knows. Things are already set up as me being a sensitive person with emotional difficulties (which they are sympathetic to). I can take that on. It’s true but it’s also not the truth of the situation but does it really matter? It’s the easiest way to get myself out of here. I used to care about being cast in that light. Now I don’t. I am not the crazy one. It’s just convenient for them to think so (even if they know that I’m not, they seem to convince themselves or try to) and also of course to have other people think so. I can’t control anything anybody thinks. Just try to figure out what’s best for me, what I want to do.


One of the worst moments of my childhood was walking by my parents’ bedroom at 15 and hearing my father say, “She’s sick”, my Mom saying, “I know”, and my father then saying, “She’s got to solve her own problems”. That “sick” label instantly struck deep even though I was angry to hear it at the same time. I knew it was an utter betrayal of me, but because it was coming from them I felt it must also be true. They said that mainly because I had begun to drink excessively. They never got me help or talked to me in a loving way about it. It was more important for them to use my drinking and increasing depressions as proof that I was the problem that they were saddled with.

I was also called weak, when in fact I was left on my own emotionally for many years and had to do for myself what should have been their task in nurturing me. I am still working on freeing myself from those two labels. It was hideous of them to do that to the child they were supposed to protect. It was motivated by saving their own asses from any impunity or responsibility. They somehow convinced one of my high school teachers, in one meeting, that they were good parents and that I was, in the teacher’s view, “making them out to be monsters”. This twisting of the truth from my teacher, completely invalidating my lived experience, caused deeper insecurities in me and weakened my trust in others as well as in myself.

I’ve come to see that my sister never questioned my parents’ view of me. She too has treated me all along as immature and mentally unstable. It serves her purpose to see me that way because she cannot bear facing her own pain or truly acknowledging we were abused. Again, something’s “wrong” with me because I won’t maturely “let it go”, like she thinks she has.

With time, I see more and more how messed up my parents were. I was the strong one who spoke out but there was no way either parent would own up to their actions. THEY were too sick, and too weak to do that. They didn’t care what damage they caused their children, it only mattered that we always respected them, that they were always top of the heap. They couldn’t face their pasts, they couldn’t face themselves, they couldn’t face the truth I spoke, so they did everything to convince me I was totally damaged and deficient as a person, and it plainly worked. They saw my broken self-esteem and years of sadness and alcohol abuse and did nothing. The only thing they truly cared about was their supremacy in the family order. And today my sister is resentful I didn’t attend Mom’s funeral or want a lock of her hair. It’s a system meant to protect the parents at all cost, and you are to suck it up and not fight back.


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Hi Darlene

Great post – and really wonderful to read this articulated – I find it hard to navigate these waters – it’s definitely getting easier. There are situations when this has occurred with me professionally – not being labelled crazy – but my self esteem allows me to be taken advantage of – I’ll work harder, suck it up to prove to everyone my worth – and it just feels like I’m being taken for granted – and I am… Anytime in the past when I have actually stood up to people in that situation – because drawing the line never happens I have been reprimanded and actually shamed.

It’s like the position of low self-esteem has allowed treatment that I know is not right – it’s like they realise they can get away with it. It’s quite challenging to own up to the fact that I also help create this dynamic by being the martyr about things – “I’ll do it” ” no problems” and not actually standing up for myself. When I do try to I am absolutely wracked with guilt – it’s the guilt of saying what I want – whether it be setting boundaries around family get togethers/ or meeting with friends or at work – actually feeling comfortable enough to take control of one’s own actions in a way.

There is cold comfort in blaming other people in this situation too – it’s their fault I hate my job (and it is because they take advantage of me) – or it’s my partner’s fault I am sitting here listening to his ridiculous father talk shit about himself…it’s like the basic level of self care and self worth – when it’s not very strong creates such a vicious cycle.

People treat you like crap – you think you are crap – and if someone treats you with respect – you immediately assume something is wrong with them – and they will see through the illusion – because it must be lies…look at how people interact with you – look at how I interact with myself.

Another situation that arises for me – with the bar being set so low – is I find myself behaving in ways that fulfil that idea ( too emotional, crazy, dysfunctional, neurotic) because I have got no yard stick for how I deserve to be treated – I feel like a mad dog in a corner – misbehaving and frothing – and the cycle continues…it’s a bad spiral.

But it does feel quite good to be learning to set some boundaries – and actually figure out I can trust myself – and my own abilities and judgement. The other person is not automatically correct. I am not automatically wrong – I am not automatically to blame for the situation. Rolling over is not the solution. I’m slowly learning to respect my own judgement and how to manage that gut wrenching feeling of unworthiness…started by how I was treated as a child – and the belief I was no good. I worked hard to get it fully entrenched – that’s one thing I can say – is I’ve worked so hard to fulfil that belief system – I’m a bloody excellent worker – sure have displayed some perseverance with that old idea – and if I can manage to do that for 40 years – even channeling some of that energy into a positive direction – to adjusting this imposed notion of emotional bullies I know I’ll do an excellent job of it.

Thanks so much Darlene for all the EFB work – it is really helping to shake out some of these horrible ways of operating – and feel much more authentic and strong and (egad) self empowered….not dependent on others for my feelings of self worth.



I really feel for you. I hate when they talk like that in earshot or even right in front of you, knowingly, as though you aren’t even a person and they know everything about everything—you’re the problem, and there’s no recognition of source. And you just take it in, adjust yourself to another pain, another betrayal. And yes, you believe it because it seems true. YOu have to see context to understand the whole truth of the matter and they do everything to keep you from seeing and understanding that context because it’s just not in their interest. It’s shameful. Of course it’s we who end up feeling full of shame but it’s their actions which are truly shameful.


Hi Tracy
Great comments. I love the freedom of knowing that I am not stupid and that I never was. They don’t get to define me that way anymore.
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene

Hi D ch
Feel free to write!!
hugs, Darlene


Hi S1988
They all contradict themselves ~ because they are not coming from truth. Their actions serve THEIR purpose.
Thanks for sharing!
hugs, Darlene

Hi Alaina
My Mom told me that I was wonderful when I was cooking every meal for the family after school ~ but she told me that because her motive was to get the dinner made. (not because I was wonderful.) I might need to write the other side of this new post!

As for the rest of your post, I understand how difficult that is. Dysfunction dominates in this world. 🙁
Thanks for sharing, hugs, Darlene


Hi Doren
I know what you speak of all too well. My depressions were used as proof against me too. Today I say “where do you think those depressions started!” Knowing that I am not the nasty one is such a freedom today. Knowing that I wasn’t ‘sick’ and mean and selfish and a storyteller etc. knowing I was never crazy, (depressed, yes.. but I understand why now) I was NEVER stupid, and I was also never allowed to be me! Today I embrace ME and I embrace the truth.
Thanks so much for sharing, hugs, Darlene


Hi Elle!
You sound great! I love your comments and your discoveries! I love your self-esteem and the obvious growth and personal strength you are sharing here. Thank you so much for sharing all of this with us here today!
Hugs, Darlene


Thanks, Darlene! Also forgot to say thanks for this article. I definitely appreciated it. Looking at motive changes everything! As for my situation, I’m pretty sure I’m going to give in my notice. I’d rather have my self-respect, self-esteem and emotional health than stick around for a piece of paper. I’ll take my chances on the world, even if healthy workplaces are the minority. Hugs, Alaina


I was trained to believe I was worthless, ugly, awkward and stupid and socially inept. I was brainwashed to believe something was wrong with me and that I didn’t deserve what other people did. Yes, my mother had motives for this. If I felt ” ugly”, she felt prettier and superior to me, and she could ignore the fact that aging bothered her so much. If I felt stupid and useless and worthless, but was praised when I cooked or ironed or cleaned then she had a little servant in the house who would take over the mundane drudgery of chores she couldn’t stand doing. I’m still untangling all of this brainwashing now. I know all those horrible things she taught me to believe about myself are lies, but I still struggle at times if a person treats me as if I were stupid or unlovable. I am vulnerable to backsliding and falling back into seeing myself that way. I am going to try to look at any new situations where someone tries to “gaslight” me into believing something false and look for their motives. Thanks Darlene for another great article!


I’m very familiar with the tactics of being treated as if I’m lazy, crazy or stupid, so this whole article makes sense.

What I’m wondering is if we can be similarly controlled by being flattered in such a way that we feel compelled to maintain that “good reputation”. I’m feeling manipulated that way in a situation I’m currently dealing with.

The other thing running through my mind is how often I’ve been told that I can’t judge someone’s motives. People DO reveal themselves. We NEED to know when to walk away or lock the doors and draw the curtains.


The flawed logic that often accompanies this always blows my mind. When parents treat children horribly with verbal or physical or emotional abuse and then justify it as being done for the good of the child. For example, it’s to toughen the child up because the world is tough or to make the child stronger. How does tearing someone down make them stronger??


There is something that resonates with me in the post and all comments and I thank you all for that. At age 57, I have just been made aware by my therapist of emotional child abuse and am now being treated for childhood trauma – trauma incurred at the hands of a malignant narcissist father and an enabling, invalidating, narcissist mother. Just to know that alone, to suddenly see what all this has been about, all your life, is decimating.

I had a liver transplant in 2011 that failed. When complications set in in 2013, when specific medical evidence was documented, still no one believed me. Doctors weren’t being honest. Something was wrong. Liver function tests have sky-rocketed (not good) since then. I found out the truth on Monday. I was dignified with an honest answer, at last, from a doctor outside the transplant team. The organ was bad when they put it in me. My transplant surgeon had been fired recently. Up til now, no one told me the truth. The doctors offered to re-transplant, saying it was critical, then retracted the offer without reason. All I wanted was the truth.

But more problematic than the illness is the response from my malignant narcissistic (I think sadistic, quite frankly) and his enabling, emotionally unavailable wife, my mother. Since the moment I left the womb, it took no specific words – sometimes only a certain look – alot of verbal criticism – I was brainwashed into believing that before a word came out of my mouth, I was inherently a liar. I had to have a documented substantiation for everything I said. I was on trial 24/7 with no defense attorney. Even after Monday, my father calls the doctor’s diagnosis “speculation.” My mother has managed to force up a few tears but soon asks if she can call my siblings (who are very distant) and tell them what was determined. I don’t feel the need to call and tell anyone anything…the physical situation hasn’t changed. I felt relief that I was dignified with an honest response. My father, upon hearing what the doc said (which was based on an ERCP procedure and all my records), called it the doc’s result “speculation.” Dad too then asked for my permission to call the sibs and tell them. He also asked, within minutes, if he could come into the follow-up visit with the doc, for “further elaboration.” He has interfered before in my medical care, claiming altruistic motives, but has ended up threatening doctors and jeopardizing any medical care at all, because I know that he wants my mother’s attention all to himself. He always has. My mother gets off on that and it sickens me to watch them play off on each other at my expense. Since I am single, have to depend on them for transportation to life-sustaining appointments, I feel not hopeless, but would prefer death to living with their convolutions, their contrivations and their invalidations created only to fulfill this “ideal love” they have for each other. I know there is a certain level of emotional incest from my father who calls me crying when he needs spousal attention, when he calls me to tell me how “Mom didn’t sleep last night,” or she’s just not in the house communicating with him. She tends to leave the house, and me, and always has, to escape him. Their “love” never had enough room to include us, their own children. My mother benefits from my dad’s narcissistic abuse. She knowingly leaves me in situations where he will spend hours interrogating me, or talking about himself, because that frees her up to go play tennis, or go to luncheons, or yoga. I have attempted many times to establish boundaries, to communicate to them how I feel, always met with a dismissive hand flip or outright rage (rage that to anyone looking in would seem insane, wild screaming, etc.) and the pre-established boundaries are always broken.

That being said, I will not allow them to continue to run off doctors or control me or denigrate me or make me provide the burden of proof for something they will never believe anyway. I think I can get through this…the physical situation I can handle. The transportation problem, the family dynamics, I cannot. That will kill me before anything else does. This abnegation of my very soul does incredible damage physically. However, I will go no contact (its limited now, but sometimes necessary) if need be. If I could get transportation on my own, I would go no contact definitely. All my sibs have. I am exploring alternatives, however, being physically ill and living on disability income quickly rules out options.

It is so helpful, I am so much strengthened by your posts Darlene and by all those who comment and whose story I share.

Thank you all.


“My mother was no role model in this department”– I need to clarify what I said here about my mother– what I meant was she was no role model for how to stand up to him, my dad. As a kid however, I did what she did- let him rule the roost- it wasn’t until very recently–40 years later– that I realized this is not the way it is supposed to be….



I can’t comprehend that mindset, either. The only thing that offspring learn from such parents is to fear their parents as children and be like them when they are adults. Continuing poisonous cycles isn’t good for anyone.


I also like to add that sounds just like my mother. Even at 65, she glorifies and fears her abusive grandmother even though she died about 25 years ago. My great-grandmother raised her and her half-siblings after their mother died. Fearing someone who can no longer hurt you doesn’t make any sense and doesn’t help her at all.


OMG Alaina,
I could have written that same post about work and my boss. I hate mine like a bad disease. I often asked him why he hired me. He says it’s because of my credentials and that I am mature and professional. Well, if that’s the case, then he needs to remind himself of that fact. He discredits and devalues everything I say or do. I don’t take it though, I just won’t. He has settled down a bit but that monster keeps coming back to test me. Grrrrr.

Thanks Darlene for another insightful and knowledgeable post. Hugs to all of you.


S1988, although my mother is gone three years I still feel the fear that she instilled in me. It’s not actually a fear of her any longer, but the fear she put in me has generalized into fear of people or situations that resemble her or experiences with her. I know she can no longer harm me as she is not here, but the effects of her treatment have definitely lived beyond the grave. It goes to show just how deep the wounds from her go.


Hi Amber,
I had to look at the truth. My mother said I was a sullen ~ and that was true but WHY was I sullen. In the past I just felt bad because I was quiet and sullen but it was when I looked at WHY that I realized it was because I was unhappy, unprotected and really scared. I had a reason to withdraw and my mother was very much to do with that reason. There were many labels that were put on me that were NOT true and I looked at those differently.
Thanks for sharing,
hugs Darlene

Hi Hobie
I need to write another article! I was totally controlled by the opposite labels too; I was manipulated many ways with compliments which also had their roots in motives that only served one person ~ NOT me.
Hugs, Darlene


That is exactly right. Tearing a person down doesn’t make them stronger. My strength has come from rejecting the ways that abuse and devaluing treatment defined me and embracing the truth about who I really am.
Hugs, Darlene

Welcome to EFB ~ I am sorry to hear of this difficult medical issue. Perhaps you can talk to you dr. about making other arrangements for transportation to medical appointments. I know here there is a special bus for people who are unable to drive themselves.
You have found the right place! You are not alone here,
Thanks for sharing
hugs, Darlene


Darlene, message 23, I see the difference between labels that are outright lies, and labels that are true, but with a reason behind it. When my mother called me ugly it was a lie. When my mother called me unhappy and moody, it was true. But why was it true? I was being mistreated, put down, hit, required to do much more work around the house than my brothers. I was also fearful and felt that things weren’t going to get better. So, yes, unhappy and moody, but that could have been prevented if she was a different kind of mother.



I think I see what you mean. I know that I won’t miss my mother when the time comes for her to pass on, but I’m not sure if her demons will still affect me or not. At least you don’t act as if your mother’s ghost will come from the grave and get you if you speak against her like my mother does with her grandmother.


This was a brilliant post. Thank you so much for your insight.


Hi Ethel
Welcome to EFB!! Thanks for your comment!
hugs, Darlene

Amber ~
EXACTLY! hugs! Darlene


Thank you Alaina (#8) Yes, it’s shameful and so weak of parents to choose crippling the gift that is their children over taking responsibility for their actions. I know that they were broken themselves and full of pain but if anything that should have motivated them more to spare their children that damage. But they couldn’t face the shit they’d gone through, and didn’t want to do the work to stop the cycle. It’s next to impossible as a child and adolescent to not believe your parents are right about you. With all my insight and years of therapy there’s still a part of me fighting what I intellectually know is the truth, that nothing was ever wrong with me.

Of course, they even used that against me, that I took myself to therapy starting at 16. More “proof” to them that I was messed up and a burden to them. When I was suicidal as a teenager my mother was angry at what I was “doing” to them. Never a connection as to why I was like that. My father refused to see my therapist when asked to. It’s appalling to just shirk your responsibility to your children like that, because you can’t be bothered, or because you don’t want to hear something you don’t want to hear. All my life I’ve thought I was a piece of shit, I even asked my high school principal if he thought I was human, I was so crushed inside. That’s changing now, finally and thank God. I’m so glad I’ve made it through all the addictions, depressions, suicide attempts to realize today I am a great person. This site has helped me quite a bit in that regard, thanks Darlene 🙂


Darlene: Thank you for your post. Yes, this is where I belong.

Doren: I so totally understand. You’ve helped me today. Thank you.


When I was a child I was also considered sullen, but the word used was usually just “unhappy”. When I was working with a therapist, she suggested that it was likely that I’d emotionally shut down, because I’d been traumatized. I wasn’t unhappy as much as I was numb.

I remember simply walking through the hall of my elementary school and a teacher smacked the side of my head and angrily said “Smile!” I really don’t understand what that was supposed to accomplish.



I can relate to committing the “crime” of being down, too. It wasn’t just how my mother treated me, it was also the bullying I experienced at school. My mother knew that was going on, but she’d just said “Snap out of it!” or said that I would burn in hellfire for looking sad. (I come from a fundamentalist Baptist background.)

As recently as several months ago, when I told her how hurt I was, I was told to get therapy, which was slightly less mean than “Snap out of it!”, but I think she just wanted me to get out of her face and be someone else’s problem so I could be “fixed” and stop condemning my “wonderful” family. And she wonders why she’s not in my life. (Again!)


S1988 #3
My mother does the same thing. Contradicts, inflates stories, lies.
She will tell me one thing and my brothers something else.
My mother left my home after visiting for 8 (very long) days. We were both on edge by the time she was getting ready to leave. She would make comments about me to other family members while I stood right there (“Michelle can’t wait until I leave.”), everyone looking at me like I was crazy.
So as she is walking out the door, crying because she’s leaving she says “You have spent a lifetime hating me.” Immediately I said “That is a mean thing to say to me.” She wasn’t expecting that, she stopped crying her eyes wide and said “What” I would never react to my mother’s nasty emotionally damaging comments. I was expected to let them roll off me. She couldn’t comprehend what she had said to me. I went on to explain she was in my house, making comments about me and my family to others, she rearranged my cabinets and threw out kitchen items. She has no boundries. That was in July and I haven’t heard from her. I just wrote her a letter explaining she pushed my feelings, thoughts and self worth to the side when she made the comment about hating her. I never said I hated her I just wanted her to acknowledge how she treated me in the past, as a child, teenager, and she knew there was abuse happening to me and my brother and she did nothing about it. She did however help the abuser, hired an attorney and tried to cover up the abuse charges. I explained in my letter she never comforted me, supported me or helped me after the abuse was reported. Instead she takes me and my siblings to visit him in jail, a mental institute, and makes me ride in the same car on our way to the courthouse where I testify against him. (who does that?)

She would not attend my graduation, she would only watch it on closed circiut TV in a classroom
She would not attend my bridal shower, baby shower.
She threw a fit when my engagement was in the paper and it listed her as my mother. Wide eyed she said “Don’t you ever use my name again without my permission”

Darlene–as with all your articles this one is a great one and helps me understand. Thank you.


S1988, RE: your message 26; I’ve gotta say, I smiled at the image of my mother’s ghost coming up from the grave to ” get” me if I say anything against her! All I can say in response to that is that anything negative I say about her is the truth. So if she didn’t want to be thought of in a negative way, she should have been kinder to me, not hit me, not insulted me and made me feel worthless. Had she been a good mother I would be saying a lot of positive things and in all fairness, I do acknowledge the positive traits she did have. I speak the truth on both the positive and negative!


Hobie #15: “…how often I’ve been told that I can’t judge someone’s motives. People DO reveal themselves. We NEED to know when to walk away or lock the doors and draw the curtains.”

Thank you for boiling this down to three sentences. It is SO important.

I have to come to realize that I grew up with this. My parents, especially my dad, seemed to have their self-worth tied up in believing no wrong of people who had PROVEN themselves selfish, malicious, and dangerous. (“I’m sure they didn’t mean it,” which meant “therefore you may not do anything about it.”) Emotional neglect was bad enough but being told by authority figures that one cannot react to the bad things done/said to one BECAUSE IT DIDN’T REALLY HAPPEN… it robs a young person of any ability to fight mistreatment, and there were plenty of vultures at church/work ready to capitalize on that inability.

I specifically remember an incident where a fellow church member we had worked with wrote something terrible in an email to us. Dad wouldn’t believe it; we said “Look at the email, here it is, he did say it.” DAD STILL WOULDN’T BELIEVE IT. He refused to look at the email.

So, yes, people do reveal themselves, and often they document it, and it is VITAL to know when to walk away.



Oh, you’re right about that. One has to put their foot down and walk away after being hurt over and over.

In the past, I always held on to the belief that those with vicious motives would see the light and change their ways. Even today I do, but the belief isn’t as strong as it used to be. I’m just jaded from giving repeated chances to those who take advantage of me. How many times do I have to be used before I say “enough is enough”?

I still hope that all the abusers in my life would find peace and healing, but it doesn’t mean I have to let them off the hook or make up for what they’re missing. That’s their job, not mine.


Dear Darlene, whenever i hear someone mock someone vulnerable, the stench of rotten fruit assaults my nostrils. i am no Scripture scholar, but somewhere in the New Testament there’s something about knowing a tree by it’s fruit. It’s really sad when such people are members of your own family – needless to say, i don’t visit.


This essay accurately describes my mother’s tactics. After many years of trying to make our relationship work I cut off from her 14 years ago and more recently, from two friends and a cousin who were severely putting me down to make themselves feel better.

I used to think that most people were good and that just a small percentage were ill-intentioned, mean, dangerous, damaging, evil, etc. But I was naïve, and now see that in my experience, it’s the reverse. I’m being much more cautious in order not to waste any more of myself and my resources.

Shahida Arabi’s You Tube videos and Self Care Haven website give insightful advice on leaving and staying away from abusive people and on flourishing anyways. She’s a graduate student in psychology at Columbia University, looks to be in her 20s, yet very wise. For me, this site and Shahida’s have been the two most helpful resources.

ACON, I’m thinking of you and wishing you the best!



Whoa, Darlene, I feel the emotion in this post! The first thing that came to my mind was “Flowers Are Red” by the late Harry Chapin.

As for the “why could other people get away with it,” well, whenever *I* tried to rebel like others did, I WOULD get in trouble. It’s like…. if everyone is speeding, I will be the one that is “caught.”

My mom kept telling me that when I was a child, I was happy to play by myself. She said it like a compliment that I wasn’t a “difficult” baby. But I think in her mind, she needed me to be something else, so she started trying to “get” me to be what she wanted and “telling” me how to feel. That’s the “feeling” I always got from her: “Be what everyone wants you to be or you don’t get loved…..” No wonder I faked it with every romantic relationship I ever had. I find it easier to be “unattached” even if it’s lonely at times.


When I was a child, I “knew” things that most people didn’t know. When my mom would say, “Why did you do/say such and such?” and I attempted a rationale answer, I would get, “That’s the STUPIDEST/DUMBEST/CRAZIEST/MOST IDIOTIC (pick one) thing I have ever heard.” And when I started dating, if my “Feelings” weren’t what the guy wanted, I would get called crazy and psychotic. (When HE was the crazy and psychotic one.)

I was one of those kids that always said “Why?” This annoyed my mom. I really did want to know why. I wanted my Mom to justify to me why she was requiring certain things of me. She didn’t feel she had to.

There is a movie called Lady Jane (Helena Bonham Carter), about the queen who ruled for, what, nine days, then was executed for treason. When the child King Edward died, Jane’s mom wanted Lady Jane to get on the throne (for her own political reasons). Lady Jane wanted no part of it. So her mom took her up to the “Spanking chamber” (and I think this scene was more about audience titalation…) and punished her. My favorite scene: Lady Jane is seen crying, and screaming out, “BUT I JUST DON’T SEE WHY!!!!!” That scene is my entire life!

S1988 regarding contradictions, my mom never said what she meant or meant what she said. Her three big LIES:

1. “Do what you want to do” (translation – as long as Dad and Mom approve of it.)

2. “When you grow up you can make your OWN decisions” (translation – as long as it’s what Dad and Mom would do)

S1988 (post 26) I feel the same way.

Doren (#29), I finally got my mom to admit she didn’t want to be held accountable for what she did or said. I don’t get this. Why does she think she deserves a “pass?” As a child, I kept trying to MAKE her be accountable (by asking WHY) and she didn’t like this.

3. “To thine own self be true” (translation – be true to what Dad and Mom want you to be)

I grew up in a small town and didn’t even fit in there.

Whenever I questioned Mom’s motives, she would get mad. She would tell me I needed to “see somebody” because of all of my issues. My issues were about HER!

ACON, all you wanted was the truth. I can relate to that! I hate it when people “make up stuff” because they can’t or won’t give the real reason. ANd I have learned to spot it when that is happening. My mom won’t tell the truth, she justifies her hidden agenda, which to her, is “truth.” It’s not truth!

And Darlene (#23), speaking of SULLEN, when I had to have the OB/GYN exam at age 12, mom CHASTISED me for being “Rude and sullen” to the doctor. Ahem, mom FAILED to tell me what was to happen, I felt raped, and SHE gets mad because I was rude to HER doctor?

M (#33), I feel the opposite. I don’t WANT my mom to attend anything in my life. When I turned 50 (years ago), I specifically told her I DID NOT WANT ANY TYPE OF PARTY! I was then told I “had” to have a party, “Because we want to give you a party.” I then said, “Who is the party REALLY for???” When she said it was me, I then said, “How can a party be FOR me, when I DON’T WANT IT?!?!?!?” That’s when she had to face the truth that everything is always about her even if the appearance is for me…..


Hobie ~
YES I was numb too. That is also why I was always accused of “daydreaming” ~ I learned to dissociate young. It was survival!
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene

Hi M
Wow, I can really relate to what you shared. Isn’t it interesting that the minute YOU said anything that she wasn’t expecting she stopped talking to you!
Thanks for sharing.
hugs, Darlene


Hi Sue
Yes it is sad that people have to ‘prove’ their own worth by overpowering or dismissing someone elses worth. Especially when it is family. ugg
Hugs, Darlene

Thanks for sharing Davina!

That is why I realized that i had to make a new decision. If I couldn’t win either way, then I may as well think about what was best for me.
Hugs Darlene


It’s one of those issues where we have to–again–assume the role of self-parenting. When the realization comes that we have not been parented well (and that it was not JUST US THAT IS THE PROBLEM), this is one of the most crucial things to navigate about life.

A good parent would help their child to navigate problem people. Bad parents, like mine were, ARE problem people. This dynamic of constant shaming and blaming is seen by the child as the way things are. The child knows no other way of living.

It’s just so sad to me. I feel like crying as I think about this. I’m mid-40’s and am still self-parenting myself through all these learned behaviors. It’s really tough sometimes to let go. When I find myself acting like (or much more often, treating myself like) my mother did, I just get so frustrated. I am slowly learning to let that insane behavior go for good.


Thank you for another wonderful post Darlene. I could see that the people making these belittling actions and remarks were actually the ones that felt lesser than and had to strike out to make themselves feel better. But there came a time when enough was enough and you have to disengage and leave these people behind. When you can’t win you have to just fold it up and go.


“A good parent would help their child to navigate problem people. Bad parents, like mine were, ARE problem people.”

You can say that again! I also would like to add as the case with my family, truly good parents aren’t obsessed with comparing themselves to other families. I was constantly reminded how lucky I was to be born in a good family and toxicity happened in “other” families, not ours. If healthy love really existed in my family, then why are you trying to prove how loving you are? Genuine families don’t need to convince others and themselves that they are healthy.


Danielle hit the nail on the head! A good parent would help their child to navigate problem people!
My mother was a problem person for sure. She did nothing to help me navigate the world of childhood bullies, mean adults who pick on a young child ( she was among those!) or the world of dating, cliques and other teenage issues. Yet she would yell at me for not knowing these things! When I was four and my brother was five some neighborhood kids bullied us. We ran into the house. My mother punished us for not standing up to them! We were four and five years old!! And she failed tidi her job if teaching us how to deal with this. Instead of punishing, I would have sat my kids down and talked about this: why kids bully and some ideas of what to do. I learned at a very early age it was not safe to go to my mother with problems like this. Something that was not of our doing had lead to punishment insteAd of a loving session on how to deal with this.
It goes without say that as an adult I just bumbled through life not knowing how to handle problem people. I got taken advantage of and bullied way into adulthood. Even now the thought of a confrontation makes me fearful and I spend hours ruminating on what to do. I still don’t know. I was never taught. So I just guess, and many times mishandle situations with problem people and guess who usually comes out on the losing end? Thanks, Mom for failing to do your job.


It goes without say that as an adult I just bumbled through life not knowing how to handle problem people. I got taken advantage of and bullied way into adulthood. Even now the thought of a confrontation makes me fearful and I spend hours ruminating on what to do.

And that is why I can SOOOO relate to your posts! I was just told to “stand up to them” but never given a way to do so. Plus, Mom squashed all disagreements. We were never allowed to “fight it out.” How can I stand up to someone if I’m not allowed to fight it out?


DXS ours mothers meant ” Stand up to everyone else, but not to me!” And ” Magically know how to stand up to others without a roadmap from me” Ugh!

And as you know from way back, I relate so much to your posts too!


I absolutely love this blog article, Darlene! It is so important for each of us to remove ourselves from 1st person thinking and step back and get curious about what is happening with and around us. I spent years just being a 1st person receiver of all of the criticism and negative labels thrown at me. I spent years wondering HOW can I be different? HOW can I be better? And whom-ever or what-ever I needed to be so that I could not be on the receiving end of criticism and labeling . . . I wanted and was willing to be. However, the problem with that logic was that after years of wanting to please everyone and walking on eggshells- not only was I absolutely drained, miserable & even suicidal- but enough was NEVER good enough. It truly wasn’t until I understand the basic principle from this article that things changed for me- people don’t treat me the way they do because of ME–they treat me the way they do because of a personal agenda and need they have for themselves!! As always, well done, Darlene! Love this. xo.


S1988 and Amber:


S1988: You are so correct. “You had a good childhood!” (yelled with anger) “You were never happy!” (also yelled with anger) You this, and you that. A lot of convincing going on, but the only ones they are convincing are themselves.

Amber: I still get that panicky, itchy feeling in the small of my back when I think someone disagrees with me or disapproves of me. It makes me feel like someone is going to come up behind me and smack me, or yell at me because I am stupid. I hope that goes away over the next decade, that’s my goal 🙂

I was bullied terribly as a child and I NEVER told my mother. I knew she would not care. Someone pulled a pair of long, sharp scissors and threatened to stab me with them on the school bus. I still didn’t tell anyone. What kind of child does that? Someone who knows she is not loved.

I am trying to get over that freeze-when-confronted response. I am getting better at it, but it still takes me a minute or two, sometimes, to respond.

It’s so great to comment on this site and have other people who went through the same thing also commenting.


”Stand up to everyone else, but not to me!”

Wow! That really “translates” my mother’s contradictions. Now that I know this, I can be less hesitant about assertiveness, even though that’s easier said than done.

“Plus, Mom squashed all disagreements.”

Sounds a bit like my mother. When my older sister and I would fight, she would scold us, and tell us to literally kiss and make up. When my nephews (my older brother’s kids) were younger and would visit for the summer and they fought, she would threaten to beat them. I’m not sure how they get along now since I haven’t seen them for a year, but they probably know little about conflict resolution thanks to the sick adults in their family.


Danielle, I too get the freeze when confronted response. I think that’s one of the reasons I fear confrontations. I feel like I am going to botch it up and also look like a fool. I also get very triggered by being yelled at because of my mother who was easily and irrationally angered over just about anything. I had a scary confrontation a few months ago. I have a woman who watches my special needs daughter a few hours a week. She has been doing this for quite a few years and is well compensated. But lately she has become unreasonable and demanding things like more hours, which I don’t need and more pay ( she is already well paid). She called me and left me a message with an unreasonable demand and I planned out my ” no” response and called her back. Both she and her husband became very nasty. I was shaking, but held my ground against both of them. I felt so much fear but told myself I have to do this. And I did. I held on to my ” no”! I also let her know that she and her husband were way out of line and that if they ever behave this way again the relationship us over.
Now, this wasn’t an on the spot confrontation, because there was a time lapse between the message ( I deliberately didn’t answer the phone as I suspected it was some kind of demand) and my response. I probably would have froze if I had picked up the phone and had this thrown on me. But I’ve been learning to use delaying tactics. I could have said ” I’ll get back to you”. My goal is to be able to handle on the spot confrontations.

I am so sorry that you had those horrible bullying experiences as a child. The incident with the scissors gives me shivers thinking about how scary that must have been. I too was bulled a lot as a kid, mainly verbally but I remember the fear, the terrifying fear I felt when a nasty girl in my class threatened to beat me up in the girls bathroom just because I beat her at a game during recess. I never told my mother about being bullied by kids or being bullied by adults. I once was accused by a salesclerk of trying to steal something at a store. I was trying to decide about buying a pretty handkerchief for Mothers Day, and was just holding it in my hand looking at it and thinking. The saleswoman somehow decided that this meant I was stealing it and started telling accusations at me. I was nine years old. I was terrified! I should have been able to go home and tell my mother and have her come back to the store with me to confront her. But I feared she would not believe me and punish me! What a frightening experience for a nine year old!



That took a lot of courage! Wow, good for you. I know the sickly, physical feeling it engenders. When I was a child I was taught that asserting myself was wrong. I went through a period in my teens and early twenties when I rebelled, and didn’t listen to ANYONE’S advice. Haha. But that wasn’t healing, it was just replacing the freeze response with the fight response. But then the pendulum swung back. Now I’m back to the panicky feeling.

I’m trying to find that balance, that type of response that normal people must have when confronted with bullies. Also, I tend to play back scenarios in my head where people have been rude to me, over and over and over. It’s just gotten so tiresome, my poor brain is worn out by all this! It just wants to be happy and concentrate on healthy pursuits. I have started, in the last few years, to really just try to let go of my anxiety. It’s a long slow process.

I sometimes imagine standing behind myself as a child in one of those terrifying and humiliating situations I faced, and just enfolding my earlier self in a great big hug. That seems to help me to process the bad times and just begin to let them go, let go of the hurt feelings and the suffering. I don’t want that anymore!


Hi Danielle. Your comment about imagining standing behind yourself as a child and enfolding your earlier self in a big hug really struck me. My very first thought was that is what our mothers should have been doing for us. That is whatI would have done for my kids. You gave yourself what should have been given to you by a loving mother.
I too was taught that I shouldn’t assert myself. But what my parents really meant was don’t assert myself with them, but I am supposed to know to do it with other people even though they didn’t teach me how. Sigh. Like magic I should just know something I wasn’t taught.
I’m still working on that freeze response. The one time it didn’t kick in ( because I was so mad!) was when my son was being bullied by his soccer teammates. I walk over to pick him up and the team is laughing at him. The coach is standing there doing nothing. He is all of seven and the youngest on the team. I ran up to the coach and laced into her. How could she stand there and let these kids do that?? Her response? How come you don’t help more at practices? She knew I have a special needs child that I couldn’t have out on the soccer field every day. Mean woman! Then she kept calling me to return his soccer socks ( he had decided to leave the team ). I told her no way and we kept the socks as a symbol for standing up to a bully.


I had this my whole childhood, being told I wasn’t good enough or too much trouble because of physical illnesses. As a child I had to learn that if I went to my parents with an issue they would tell me to get on with it, not to bother them or shouted at for not being able to do it myself. I remember getting chicken pox when I was 10 years old and cried all the way home because my mother was going out that night and now she wouldn’t be able to and would be mad with me. Got told I was being stupid by her when my school friends delivered me home and told her why I was sobbing. only now am I learning that it is ok to ask for help and change how I look at not only my mental health but my physical health. As my asthma worsens it is causing me to second guess how ill I really am against what I think I am, which leads me to delay getting professional help, not cool.
Another brilliant blog Darlene


Hi Carol Derry, it seems like your parents put expectations and responsibility on you that were way beyond the age that you were. Of course there were many things you could not yet do for yourself.. You were a young child! That’s why we live with our parents all those years. They are supposed to be teaching us how to be independent and how to navigate the world, but this also has to take I to consideration the age of the child and whether they have the capabilities to do or be responsible for certain things at the age that they are. I feel bad that your parents didn’t help you through all of this. Perhaps I feel it so strongly because I was left on my own a lot to figure things out and solve problems too big for me because my mother didn’t want to be bothered.
That’s horrible that you were made to feel bad for getting sick. Yes, as a parent I understand the disappointment of having to cancel something to stay home with a sick child, but this is what I signed up for when I had children and it is my job to be there when they need me, including canceling fun activities because they are sick. And I certainly never blamed them for getting sick the way some parents do.
I am happy that you are now learning to ask for help when you need it. They shamed us for doing that when we were kids but we had every right to ask for help then, as well as now, when we need it.


Have you noticed that employers are very good at this manipulation too? If you’re not constantly working until burn out and doing exorbitant amounts of overtime or can’t constantly keep the cheerful façade (if you’re in customer service especially!) then you’re made to feel like you are lazy, incompetent or not a ‘team player’ or like you’re completely selfish (as if you owe them anything besides what’s in your contract!)
And the worst thing is that it’s done so implicitly and subtly so it’s hard to see the fog, as Darlene calls it 🙂 It’s more like a culture in the workplace than any explicit comments. A culture which rewards people who live to work, a culture of constant competition, a culture where you get dirty looks for leaving at your contracted time… the list goes on.



Your post reminded me of what it was like working for a former employer of mine. A true narcissist at heart!! It was almost comical how she would half kill herself to feel like she was a part of our group yet she had no problem treating us like crap along the way. Now I see just how insecure she really was and how none of use knew our own self worth both contributing to the sick toxic work environment that we were a part of.

I believe society as a whole is becoming more self centered and selfish and with that comes a sense of entitlement that is at the expense of other people but only if we let them. I will never work for anyone like my former employer ever again. Won’t happen because I am no longer willing to sell my soul for all the narcissists of the world because I don’t know my own self worth because now I do and with that may come some sacrifices but one of them won’t be at the expense of me being me!! I may need to learn to live with less monetarily but I have my peace of mind which is worth much more to me then anything any narcissist could ever offer me. Becoming self employed is looking better and better all the time!!



Yes, the above comments concerning the workplace are absolutely correct! I had jobs where if I didn’t work a certain speed or meet a quota, then I was met with a lot of criticism and threatened with termination. Thank goodness I don’t work at those jobs anymore.

About age appropriateness: I experienced something similar in my childhood, too, but it was more contradicting. As a child, I was scolded or punished for not being old enough to know or do certain things, yet now that I’m an adult, when I was staying with my mother several months ago, I was scolded for not asking for her help. How weird! As a child, I was expected to know better about certain things, but now I’m treated like I’m 10 or younger?! Did she get my ages confused or something?!

I do have one cool memory of independence. When I was 7, my mother drove us to a restaurant and gave me some money to pay for food. After I ordered, one of the workers asked where my mother was. I pointed out the window at my mother’s car and said, “She’s out there.” That was one of the few non-abusive memories I had of her and it made me feel so grownup. But that was 20 years ago. Why does she view me as a child now in spite of her speeches on independence?


They are supposed to be teaching us how to be independent and how to navigate the world,

This company called Carters made baby clothes and their slogan was “If they could just stay little til their Carters wore out….” I swear my mom had that attitude, it’s like she didn’t want us to grow up. I was the eldest and I had to fight her for the right to leave and move out on my own! I would think parents want their kids to move out so they can have the house back!

But I also got my mom to say that she didn’t like babies. Um…… you have to go through baby stage to have kids….. I wonder when she discovered that about herself. I always knew I didn’t like babies, and it contributed to why I chose not to have kids (among other reasons…).

Regarding S1988’s comments about independence….. When I went to summer camp, I NEVER “missed” home. In fact, I HATED the day I had to go home. Mom would get mad because I didn’t “miss” her. Yep, everythng was always about her……


“Why does she view me as a child now in spite of her speeches on independence?”

I thought about this regarding my own mother. The truth is my mother never wanted me to know how to do things on my own despite acting like she did. Looking back I see how she crippled me due to her own fears and insecurities getting in the way. Ultimately I think that my mother is afraid of losing me and that’s why she never taught me how to stand up on my own two feet. My mother has been squashing the life out of me from the day I was born. She would always say how her kids never had any broken bones as if all the mother’s out there who did were bad mothers when the truth is my mother didn’t let me breath and by doing so she squashed the thrill and excitement of discovering something new right out of me starting at 2 years old and then it progressed into never allowing me to make my own mistakes without her always being the one to bail me out that never allowed me to build up my own self confidence and then the perfectionistic attitude set in and that was the beginning of the end for me because now I was alienating everyone away from me never letting anyone get close and that is just what her goal was so that way she would feel safe and know that I would never leave her but in the process it made for one lonely life for me.

She will never see me as an adult because to her it is a death sentence. In her mind it means being all alone and unfortunately because she refuses to give me mutual respect and honor the adult that I am she did the very thing that she was so afraid of. She no longer has her little girl to squash the life out of anymore because I learned how to stand up on my own two feet despite her crippling me. The truth is I don’t need her anymore and the only difference now is I know it.


That’s true. I don’t get that at all. Why have children if you expect them to be babies forever? After all, they left their families of origin and started their own, so why do they balk when we become adults?

As you see in many animal species, once the young reach adulthood (and in some species, they’re still adolescents), they leave their parents and never see them again. You don’t see enmeshment among them like in most human families.


Wow, I got that attitude too, all the time! Made to feel like a complete fool for not knowing what I was too young to understand.

Before I banished my mother from my life, one of her favorite things was to treat me like a child that she was disappointed it.

To me, it makes sense, as a lot of you have pointed out. It’s driven by the perpetual need to treat us as a disappointment. As a child, one way to treat us as a disappointment was to hold us to unreal expectations. As an adult, it is easiest to mock our adulthood and project childish behaviors upon us. They are tricky.

Perhaps they all got the same instruction booklet when we were born.


Carol Derry, I had a similar experience with chicken pox! I caught it in high school, which is much more serious than if caught earlier. I remember my mother looking at me with a look of disgusted incredulity when I was sent home. Um, yes, I caught it on purpose :-/


Danielle and Carol Derry,

When I was in kindergarten I got bronchitis and my mother had to take off from work for a week to be home with me. I remember the look of disgust on her face that stuck with me for a lifetime. I just realized this is why I hardly ever called off from work even though I was half dead. I wasn’t going to allow my self to relive those feelings of guilt and shame that my mother projected on to me for nothing and it just hit me that this is why I didn’t have gallbladder surgery after experiencing attacks for over 20 years. How could I have surgery and be off from work at the same time without feeling guilty and ashamed for doing it??? I had surgery when I could no longer eat and then I went back to work too early and had more complications!! WOW. It all makes sense to me now. Sorry your mother’s made you feel like that too. SOooo senseless and hurtful.


Kris: sending you a little Friday evening mojo! I hope that you and I and Carol will take care of ourselves in the future the way our mothers failed to do.


Thnx Danielle!!


@Cherry (#57)

“Have you noticed that employers are very good at this manipulation too? If you’re not constantly working until burn out and doing exorbitant amounts of overtime or can’t constantly keep the cheerful façade (if you’re in customer service especially!) then you’re made to feel like you are lazy, incompetent or not a ‘team player’ or like you’re completely selfish (as if you owe them anything besides what’s in your contract!)”

Oh yes!

At my workplace I was told that I needed to wait until all the staff was ready to leave so we could walk out together because of the crime in the neighborhood. Oh, but it often took my boss 20 minutes after PAY CUTOFF TIME to get her act together and out the door. (This was okay for her I guess because she was almost always late.) So not only was I supposed to wait around, I was supposed to help “bodyguard” for free! I usually had a ride waiting at the curb and there was no risk in me walking twenty feet to get there. Eventually I bucked up and said I wouldn’t stay late unless they let me put it on my time card. That was one of my first “assertiveness” moments; I did it badly and I was scared, but it was a start and starting is half the battle!

Later, after I had worked hard and cheerfully under difficult circumstances for a lazy, selfish woman (and tried to like her for years because I had been taught to respect my boss), I began distancing because I finally realized that she was always ready to turn on and criticize me (insert what you said about being made to feel incompetent); she wanted all the benefits of a friendship, but none of the obligations such as mutual respect. She soon pulled me into the office and told me angrily that she “didn’t like this attitude.” Mind, my attitude had been specifically complimented by customers and co-workers over the years. I went home and thought about it and, with support from my siblings, quit the next day. (I knew better than to ask my dad! He would have said “That’s just how life is, I’m sorry but get used to it.”) I wish I’d quit on the spot, but I didn’t fully trust my own judgement back then.



I will try to type fast since my computer is doing strange things lately. I may send this email in parts.

Doren (5)

I also did not attend my parent’s funeral service (my father). I felt like I did the right thing and made excuses about my car needing new tires. I am single and living on a tight budget. The truth is that I felt nothing toward my father. My father was a perfect stranger and not involved in my life, although we lived in the same house. (I have mourned a few friends’ deaths which hurt me greatly). He was never my friend and saw me as a robot who performed in school and later the PT jobs and school. He never cared if I was happy or had friends or dating. He never protected me from my crazy Narc mom and always sided with her. I was gaslighted by him to make me look like the crazy one! At times, I even questioned my own sanity. How come my father could NEVER love me? He chose his wife over me when I was very little.

I could write an entire book on my abusive parents and how they treated me. They were both very sick people and labeled me as the problem. My parents were easily influenced by other people. I,too, tried counseling as a teenager and it resolved nothing. I was hurt and angry that my parents could slander my reputation and get away with so much. They would label me and these distant cousins and neighbors believed them. It was very painful and gut-wrenching to become a victim twice. My parents could privately abuse me behind closed doors and then publicly abuse me with strangers. Since my parents were old and these people did not know me, my reputation was destroyed by them.

Doren (29)

I was also suicidal as a teenager. I later almost died from a serious attempt at age 20. My parents were both too sick and crazy to see that they were the problem. They told others, “We just don’t know what to do with our daughter.”
“She is so moody and depressed.” I wonder why? People like gossip and they like to believe what they hear. They like labels without knowing the other side of the story. It’s funny how I was so well behaved, no drug/alcohol addiction, no teen pregnancy, no criminal behavior, and was an honors student. Maybe, just maybe, others could see that their gossip did not match the description of me. I feel that nasty and angry people enjoy gossip and verbally destroying these scapegoats.


Hi Again,

@ Amber #22

I have read most of your previous messages here on EFB and I wanted to say that you are not alone. It’s like so much of my life has been an ongoing constant battle with nasty Narcs in schools, work, and social life. I am very sensitive and called an empath according to the how-to psychic books. I have always been very psychic and tuned into the spirit world. (I have talked about my real religion, Wicca/Druids—not to convert others but to know my back story). I really do feel for you. I am an introvert and I like people very much if they’re the right kind of people for me—kind, caring, understanding, good talkers and listeners. Most of my true-blue friends come from my spiritual groups. I had one BFF who was like the sister I never had and my friends became like my family.

I will never understand the nasty, aggressive Narc people. If I am quiet, polite, and basically minding my own business such as reading a book alone on the school bus, or lunch table why should I be abused? I think that many extroverts have an over-inflated ego and superiority complex. I think that society views the extroverts as having a “good” personality because they are a “good” talker. They do reveal a lot of their surface personality, but they can be dishonest, abusive, and a terrible person underneath. It’s sick but others have called my mom “vivacious, charming”, and so on. If they could run a hidden camera in my parent’s house like they do on the reality TV shows, they could see what a monster this woman truly is.

Why are these extroverts such controlling people that they feel like it’s their moral duty to “change” an introvert into one of them? I like being me and it’s not my job to change to please them. Maybe they’re the ones who need to grow up and accept differences in others. These Narcs are emotionally immature and morally bankrupt people.

I have been on the same level with you dealing with nasty, frightening Narc people situations. I learned how to turn around the situation. My Narc mom was a screamer, yelling curse words at me, and accusing me of being “the devil”. No, my parents were not Bible thumpers and my mom was not an alcoholic/drug user, just insane. When Narc people call you these kinds of names, it’s like a description of how they feel about themselves. My Narc mom was screaming at me calling me “the devil” and this would be a more appropriate label for her! LOL!

I learned how to practice in front of a mirror using self-help books on assertiveness. I learned how to let myself go and give myself permission to raise my voice and challenge these Narcs. I have dealt with Narcs in schools, jobs, and even customer service situations over the phone. I told myself that I was merely an actress and that my job was to deliver my lines with the best facial expression, body language, voice, words, timing, and that I could not fail. And you know what? I believe that I have become a great actress. I learned to enjoy these Narc incidents because I can visualize my Narc mom’s face and give her back all that she gave me with pleasure!

Once, there was a Narc incident with an incredibly nasty and rude woman doctor. So, I got into my actress mode and gave her one helluva performance! This woman doctor looked like she was shaking and then to top it off, I insulted her again, as I stormed into the waiting room and her patients were now thinking twice about seeing this woman doctor! No lie!

But seriously, if I could do it all over again as a kid, I would have joined a local community theater group for children. You don’t have to be especially good looking or talented. They say that there are no small roles for actors, and there is a need for different character roles for any age, race, weight. looks, and so on. I have found the Toastmasters group to be rather snooty and humiliating with people—can’t stand their piggy-bank jar exercise—where they take your money out for not pleasing them. Just an idea for the so-called shy kids and not silly “girl-power” karate—yeah, like I will use karate chops on my future employer and social situations! It’s funny but I have heard many times during interviews by the most esteemed actors who always say the same thing, “But I’m really such a shy person in my real life.” Interesting…

Also, if you care to, buy the Amazon Kindle books on “psychic vampires”—the metaphysical way of protecting yourself from Narc people.

Blessed Be,



@ Kris(58) and s1988(59):

I am going through a major life transition regarding career. I am still trying to “find myself” in my 40’s. I don’t beat myself up, while reminding myself of how far that I have come in my life. There are the non-abused adults who have never earned a college degree or worked at all.

There were major problems at my job and they constantly gave me the hardest projects. I began to seriously hate my job and the company. It wasn’t always like this and I once liked their projects. I do seasonal work for a major company and it was a big struggle daily. I began not eating, or sleeping right and making myself sick with worry. My supervisor was after me for the slow rate—due to difficult work.

I’ts hard since I’m single and live alone. I have struggled with money all of my adult life, but I have had enough to get by. I own a decent car and surprisingly own a house—(small house in model home community—from family inheritance).

I believe in everything that you’re saying about the workplace. It seems as if people have become more nasty and selfish. The thought has crossed my mind about starting my own business. I would love to buy a franchise if I could—(maybe someday after both my parents’ deaths inheritance—don’t know—or even a future marriage?) I am not worried. I need to get a survival job soon, like in a temp agency. It’s funny but I’m not even one bit stressed over the job. I’m more concerned about dealing with Narc mom until she dies.

I have one story about a friend’s daughter (age 30s) who was a school teacher for five years. This daughter saved her money and bought a brand new townhouse from her salary, apparently with a good down payment. Then she just quit her job. Now she has an alternative lifestyle with buying items from the Goodwill and other thrift stores to sell on ebay. She also became a paid, online, free lance writer. Her mom chides her for not having a “real” job. She earns very little money but gets by OK, and continues living in her house alone. I think that she gave up on the real world a long time ago.

I don’t know what to do. You seem to read my mind and I am seriously thinking about business and self-employment. Maybe it’s my past child abuse issues or simply that the economy and people are not that good! I don’t care and I don’t need to analyze this to death, but I am changing my life. Hope this leads to a better place.

Blessed Be,



Yvonne #71,

If your friend’s daughter has found a way to escape the rat race, good for her! Many people with “real” jobs go through each paycheck so quickly that at the end of the day they have no more “real” money than she does, just a wad of credit cards and a house/apt full of things that don’t make them happy. Why should other people get to judge her?

I hope you find a good solution to your current work situation.


This was every teacher at that fascist Christian school I went to.


Hi Nena
Welcome to EFB ~ some of the worst abuse of is dealt out by ppl who claim to be followers of a leader that teaches only love. I am not sure why they believe they are following the message of love because they are not. :/
Hugs, Darlene



This is such an eye opening article! A lot of this criticism comes with others around us sanctioning with comments like: “They just want you to do your best”, “They know you have potential”, “You’re going to fall behind the other kids”, etc…the list goes on.

I NEVER questioned the motives of teachers. I deferred to them the same as I deferred to my mother. They were the ‘leaders’ so they must have been right about me. It never even occurred to me that their harsh judgments said more about who THEY were and what they were looking for to make themselves feel worthy.

I become immediately defensive when I think someone is treating me in a condescending manner. Perhaps it is overkill, and now I’m working on slowing down my response and question the person to find out more.

For those that intend to hold me down as some false self esteem payoff…well they can kick rocks. LOL


I ran across a quote of mine just now, right before I read your comment and it fit so well I thought I would share it here. Here is the quote.

“There were consequences if I questioned my mother. I learned to try and avoid those consequences when I was very young. The worst consequence that I feared was of being rejected by her. I was afraid that if I didn’t prove my love in the way that she wanted, that she would withdraw her love from me. That seems a strange fear to me now; all of the ways that my mother regarded me and disregarded me were a rejection all along. All of the ways that she taught me to love her were withheld from me. All of the ways that I tried to show her how much I cared were not reciprocated.”

YAY for never being held down again! hugs, Darlene


When I look back at high school I see how my teachers left me down. I was a straight “A” student up until 10th grade and then everything went to pot. I became addicted to drugs and alcohol along with compulsive eating and weight gain. Anyone with half a brain would see the decline in me. I fell asleep in class… when I went, and I had a case of beer in my locker walking the halls stoned and drunk yet not one teacher said boo to me about it. Physically I looked a hot mess. I had to work through their betrayal of me just like I had to work through my mother’s. I see how no adult was ever there to help me through any of it. So disappointing and both of my parents were school teachers to boot just adding more insult to injury.


Hi Kris
Yes it’s pretty tragic isn’t it. Sometimes I just shake my head in astonishment.
Thanks for sharing. hugs, Darlene


Kris and Darlene, yes it is astonishing how teachers could either not notice something, or more likely, they notice and can’t be bothered stepping in to help a child. It brought to mind a girl who bullied me relentlessly in sixth grade. She threatened on more than one occasion to beat me up in the girls bathroom, and constantly made fun of me, my clothing and anything else about me she could think of, right there in the classroom. One day I borrowed a pencil from her. I misplaced her pencil but offered her a new one the next day to replace it. She refused it, saying in a threatening tone, ” I want MY pencil” Her desk and mine were in a group of four with hers directly across from mine. She shoved mine back about four feet, away from the group. I pushed it back and she did it again saying I can’t rejoin the group until I find HER pencil. She continued to push my desk away for several days. Tell me that the teacher did not notice this going on!! ( or any of her other abuses that went on the whole year ) he did not say a word or intervene in any way. None of my classmates stuck up for me either. My teacher failed me horribly that year.


Kris and Amber,

That sounds similar to my schooldays. The bullying I suffered wasn’t physical, but it was still painful. The kind I endured included being picked on for my homely appearance and rumor spreading.

I tried to get help from counselors and teachers at school, but there wasn’t much that they could do. Not trying to sound hopeless, but what could someone do for a kid that was being picked on by many students? I didn’t have just one bully. I had many of them, most of them being the “cool kids”. I’m sorry to say that if I were a school employee, I wouldn’t know how to defend one girl from several bullies either. The only solution I can think of is homeschooling. But my mother would have a conniption fit if I told her I wanted to quit school, and read books at home. (That would’ve been heaven for me, but I probably be punished for suggesting that to her.) At least now as an adult, I can leave a sick situation. Sadly, minors can’t do that.


Thanks Amber, that means a lot to me. I have healed alone and grown into a better parent by learning what a child could do at each stage so I didn’t react like my mother. Still have days where my mother escapes from my mouth but luckily for me I’ve built a good relationship with my child and she understands that sometimes I do things because of my childhood and not her behaviour. Has been hard not to pass on the need for independence at too early a stage but I have been determined that the heirloom of abuse wouldn’t get passed down by me like it was to me. learning what is deemed normal behaviour in a child helped me see it wasn’t defiance or disobedience but the way children learn about the world around them. Hasn’t helped me stop feeling guilty for being ill or feeling lazy if I don’t do housework because I haven’t the energy but I’m still working it out.
There was so many things I should have been able to go to my parents with but was more afraid of their reaction to the problem than the outsider causing my problems. Was bullied my whole senior school years and never told anyone until I was beaten up and got my nose broke, couldn’t hide that one. Never spoke about the babysitter as we shouldn’t have been downstairs and we wouldn’t have been beaten for being out of bed, won’t remember what both my grandfathers did as I didnt want my father to go to prison for stabbing or killing his own father and was so grateful to my mothers father for not telling my parents he caught me smoking at 8 years old because it saved me another punishment. Secrets and no communication are the abusers tools that we carry with us for the rest of our lives, unfortunately



That teacher new what was going on just like mine did when I roamed the hallways drunk!! It was so difficult for me to work through the pain of their betrayal. I viewed them like my mother. She could have done something to stop my abusive father but she CHOSE to do nothing just like those teachers did by ignoring the whole situation when it was going on right in front of their faces. I hear testimonies at church all the time about how these “rebellious” teenagers got drunk disrespecting their mother and fathers. Not once did anyone say “Hey, WHY is that 14 year old over there getting drunk every day????” …always giving the parents the benefit of the doubt as the child sits alone and suffers and I think to myself that kid “ain’t” never going to be free still believing all of their lies as they go on and tell us how it was all their fault to boot! Makes me sick.


I am sorry that you had to endure all of that abuse. I think the days of being able to protect our children from the bullies at school are gone unless you are willing to do just what you mentioned and home school your child in order to protect them. My parents never would have went for that idea either because in their minds it reflected poorly on them. Who cares that your child is suffering every day as long as they looked good!!! My parents looked down at anyone who thought outside the box and who didn’t think just like they did just like sick dysfunctional parents do!!


I was thinking as I was reading through this post. I am a competitive person. It’s not something I’m proud of and, to most people, it would seem counter to my personality as I am relatively shy, try to keep to myself, worry about offending people and their judgments all the time. What I wondered, though, was whether this competitiveness is birthed from that need to prove myself…still holding out that maybe, just maybe, if I fight hard enough and try harder and harder still, that possibly, just possibly, I’ll do something that in some way makes me worthy of some kind of crumb. And it really feels like I search for a crumb from every person…even though I feel guilty for wishing for even the crumb and when something in me feels like the crumb isn’t enough, I feel guilty for that too. It is all that spin you speak of.

I recently realized that when something that is difficult to accept– when I encounter some truth that is hard to digest– I literally get dizzy. I’ve tried to write about this recently. I can’t begin to fathom as I start to see things sequence and add up, how much I’ve missed or been unable to see for whatever reason. It’s staggering. And it makes me feel dumb. It’s frustrating. I know that’s probably part of the spin too. I don’t know. I hope I haven’t mumbled my way through too much of this. It’s hard when I’m so tired…when I feel like I’ve spent and continue to spend so much energy to think and figure out and process this, that, and the next thing.


“As long as I was trying harder, her actions against me were validated”
That’s a great statement. It reminds me of a recent revelation of my own, along the same lines.
The way I try to express it is this: whenever, in life, we respond to something with a true and strong Emotion – we are in fact validating it. For example, if someone is abusive, and we respond with fear – the very act of permitting ourselves an emotional response to them (of fear for example): validates their behaviour. When we feel a strong emotion – we are actually validating the thing we are responding to.
Imagine if people you don’t know get into an argument in front of you, about something that has nothing to do with you whatsoever – for instance of minor car bumping incident on the road – well you don’t bother responding to it emotionally or even at all – if anything it’s an irritation – you may perhaps wish they take their argument somewhere else. But if a family member – even one you are no longer in relationship with – attacks you about something – you may out of habit find yourself feeling a strong emotion. This emotion validates that family member’s behaviour. In my opinion to respond with emotion in this context would be: misplaced. When we are triggered, the very act of being triggered validates the thing that triggered us. The solution perhaps? to go within, and heal the inner wound that is at the root of being triggered in the first place. Alternatively? to recognize in ourselves that we are responding with emotion and to question whether the situation really deserves to be honoured with our honest emotion.
Darlene, thank you for your wonderful and insightful work.


2 days ago, I met a long time “friend” at a wake. When she saw me sitting quietly alone, she walked up to me saying, “I need to talk to you” she was pointing her finger at me. She said, I saw your mother, she goes to the same church, she told me how she was not invited to your wedding, not included in any plans” “And you don’t see or call her”

I said, this is not the place to discuss this. She continued about me moving, how upset my mother is. I said do you want to step outside to hear the voicemails from her? Oh no, she said, I believe you. I said I do not appreciate you approaching me the way you did, don’t do it again. She said sorry.

Afterwards at the restaurant, she started telling me how my mother can’t rent the apartment I rented from her because of all the cleaning and repairs needed and she wants no less than $1000.00 a month for rent.

I made a few comments and the other woman chimed in a few times.

Anyway she says why would your mother treat you like that? I said to sum it up Mental Illness, she can’t stand to see her daughter happy and doing well, when you go back and tell her all we talked about, make sure you truthfully repeat all that i said. She says, oh no I won’t be telling her anything.

I said yes you will because you love to talk about other people, and this isn’t the 1st time you have told me about my mother filling you in on what is going on with me, you did the same thing years ago.

I was feeling a flood of anger, then later at home alone some anger guilt and much sadness.

To sum it up, I told them both to believe what they want, and if we get together again, I don’t want to discuss my mother, it is my business, not theirs.
We left the restaurant……I wonder will they want to “get together soon” as promised. Lol


Hi everyone!
Love this last post (as I do all others!! You are a Hod send, Darlene! Following in FB now).

Ok, I have off subject question.
I am completely no contact with all of my family even my mom to whom we have financial ties. Because of these ties my husband keeps his text open as line of communication. I’d like him to delete and block everyone but because he is not so emotional enmeshed in situation as I once was I can trust his judgement on this issue.

He has respected my wishes to not hear anything of my family, even if they text him directly. Well, we recently had a huge fire in our area and my husband told my mom had called and texted to see if we were safe. She said, “Mary won’t return my calls…!”

Well, I have her blocked. I don’t return her calls because I never receive them! The problem is she still can hear my voicemail message like a normal call, so she actually thinks I’m getting her calls and just not responding. Not so.

So I am wanting to know one of two things
1) is there a msg where it tells those who are blocked on my phone that they are, indeed, blocked?
2) should I communicate with her in some way telling her I have her blocked and please don’t bother calling my number any more?

I’m not sure which is worse. Actually telling her I’m not avoiding her calls or telling her not to bother calling anymore because I have her blocked.

The thing is, I’m not angry, with her, and not not answering to nurse a grudge. She’s been out of my life for a year and I’m just done.



A GOD send, Darlene!! Lol 😀


d ch

You are correct. If this “friend” will talk to you about your mom, she most certainly talk to your mom about you.
Good for you for communicating directly with her. Most people are floored by honesty. Kudos!


Mary Grace, Thanks!
I was thinking of going to the church Sunday and observing Mom and my “friend” then saying hello after the service, then walking out.
I won’t though, that is looking for trouble! I can imagine the scene that NMom would cause!



Your post reminded me of a situation that I had with my own mother. Last year she wanted to give me Christmas gifts but I did not want to see her because she never acknowledged one thing that I said from our face to face meeting the year before.Despite that I didn’t want to hurt my mother’s feelings either. My therapist told me that I was trying to find a way to do both things and it was never going to work because if I don’t allow my mother to give me those gifts her feelings WILL BE hurt. He said just because I view things differently then my mother does now that doesn’t mean that she gets what is all entailed with that. Ultimately what happened is my brother who told me that he wanted to give me his gift ended up bringing along all of her stuff too. I refused to use my brother as the go between so I stuck what I got them in their mailbox because I wasn’t going to contribute to that same sick dynamic anymore.

This year will be different. There won’t be any go between and there won’t be me putting anything in their mailbox. If I want to give them something I will put a gift card in a Christmas card and send it to her and if she wants to give me something she can do the same thing or stick it on my front porch but I am not going to answer the door!!! Last year I ended up getting in a big ta-do with my brother telling me what an ungrateful daughter I am after all my parents did for me. That’s all I needed to hear to get the message that he is one of them which means that he can’t be around me either!!!

What I am saying is a lot has changed over the past two years regarding where I am at in my own recovery. I no longer feel guilty because my mother refuses to address her own issues. This year I am not worried about hurting my mother’s feelings because now I see that she isn’t worried about hurting mine. Now it is equal but that doesn’t mean I can’t have empathy for her because I do. I just no longer blame myself for her unwillingness to address her own issues that would lead us to have a mutually respectful relationship and unfortunately she isn’t willing to do that at this point and time.

I am at a point in my recovery that any time my mother wants to call me up and discuss the truth I am more then willing to do it but anything other then that I am no longer interested in and she made it that way not me. What I am trying to say is I think that you are trying to do the same thing as me. You can’t tell your mother that you don’t want to receive her phone calls without it hurting her feelings in some way. Won’t happen!!! She doesn’t get it just like my mother doesn’t get it but that isn’t my problem anymore because now I know she could get it if she wanted to just like me and she has an advantage over me because I did all the leg work!! I told her right to her face what the problem is here but she continues to choose to stay in her denial pile just where she has been her whole entire life and I don’t predict that will change any time soon.

Hope that helps!!! As far as getting a message on your phone to tell your mother that she is blocked I would call the phone company to see if that is available if that is the route you want to go.



To d ch #84

Good for you for speaking up to these nosey people–you had great presence of mind! Can’t imagine walking up to someone like that and butting into their sensitive business. And if they knew you at all or thought for a second before spewing, they’d realize that you must have a good reason for staying away from your mother.


Mary Grace (85)

Your phone company can tell you if there’s a message available telling people that they’re blocked. You could also Google the question and see what comes up on internet blogs but it probably mainly depends on your provider.

Since your husband communicates some with your mom, he could mention in an offhand way that you don’t hear her messages because she’s blocked. (I imagine that hearing this will piss her off.)

How nice that you have a dependable, supportive husband!


Davina, this person has acted ignorant before.

She has gone behind my back, gossiped to my NM.
As teenagers she was always running her mouth.
And wonders why I don’t keep in touch.


Really informative , well written article thank you Darelene and I hope you are keeping well. It has been a while since I posted anything as I have been doing serious work on myself through weekly counseling sessions and working through trauma and pain.

What you just described about the teacher and your mother are very similar to shaming and attempts to dis-empower me as a child. I still remember her screaming at me when I stood trembling at the blackboard in school crying unable to do maths as I did not understand it. She screamed at me, humiliated me and then I went home to get more of the same.

I always thought there was ‘something wrong with me’. And even now I am having great difficulty to get through job interviews because of the power that comes with being in a room questioned by 2-4 people and feeling vulnerable. i mess up each time, dont get the job and am left frustrated and feeling worse about myself. It is all linked to the child and the abuse endured by adults who got a kick out of abusing their power.

I am sorry the same happened to you, it sticks, consciously and subconsciously. I never thought about it from the perspective that you describe. And i did try harder, at home, at school, in abusive relationships when I was called stupid, fat, ugly. I put on more makeup, lost more weight etc, did whatever it took to ‘keep him happy’.

Looking back on it all, after reading this piece it WAS about control. Thank you for highlighting that.



Hi Marie
I am happy to know that you just picked up what I laid down!j It’s great to be understood and to have impact!
The people we are speaking about here (in my article and in your childhood) loved to have impact as well but unfortunately for us, they liked disempowering us instead of having an positive impact.
Thanks for sharing, hugs, Darlene


d ch (93)

I know the type! Sounds like you all live in the same town and that’s hard, but you are handling things well by being direct and honest! Yes, yes, yes!

I have a cousin who’d order me to “call your mother” and boom “you need to be married”. There’s no suitable man in sight, but any man would make me better than me alone. (I scare them.)

I’d describe the sadistic things my mom did to me over the years, figuring that since we’d known each other since babyhood my cousin would care but nope. She’s 59 and in a world of medical and financial problems due to ignorance–never read a book, gotten even a little training or education or taken care of her health, yet she tells me how to live my life. Our 90 year old mommies, sisters, tell her what to do and believe and she obeys.

Whew–venting feels so good!


I, too, live in the same town as my mother. It’s makes me paranoid sometimes when I go out because I live in a twin-city area of about 130,000 people, but since I don’t leave my home often (I make a living remotely.) running into her hasn’t been an issue so far. When I last spoke to her several months ago, she said that she was going to move, but I don’t know when. I hope it’s very soon.

What’s ironic is the people who worship her (my older siblings) live in different cities and states, yet I don’t speak or visit her in spite of living in the same town. Maybe she can move in with one of them since they meet her superficial requirements better than I do.


It really hurts to see so many not in touch with family
members for years and even decades. My mom has done some
things to hurt me, but I don’t think they were deliberate.
She grew up in a family of seven girls and three boys. They
lived on farms most of their youth, and my mom says she had
the most idyllic childhood. They all got along, until the
girls became teenagers and started “borrowing” each others
clothes, makeup, boyfriends, etc…But even then they basically
got along. That’s why its hard for me to understand why she
favored my younger sister and even younger brother. I am the
oldest and always felt like I didn’t fit in. Since my sister
was born less than a year after me I have always felt like her
protector. I feel the same about my brother I guess because he’s
the “baby”. We are all married with grandchildren now. And I still
feel numb sometimes when I think of all the unfeeling things my
mom has said to me over the years. What’s worse was that when
I tried to tell her how I felt she downplayed my feelings and
made me look like it was my fault she said what she did. Or
that I was too sensitive. I forgive her, though, and will
continue to see her and visit her and my Dad because no matter
what they are my parents. I try not to stay too long. I know
how she can be before I get there so I talk myself into
not responding to one of her digs. But a 15 minute visit is not
too much and I always have a good reason for leaving so soon.
If she starts to say something insulting, I pretend not to
notice and change the subject. I can see that a physically
abusive parent should be loved from a distance, but I can’t see
a parent being ignored forever for simply being insensitive.
Many people will go to work every day with abusive people,
narcissist, or grumpy bosses and learn to turn the other
cheek in order to keep their jobs. But when it comes to their
parents they have no problem forgetting they exist.


I was wondering if anyone here has had the experience that once you’ve gone no or low contact with your family, if your mother/siblings/family have started to
“court” your friends. I have found out that one of my friends has been invited to barbeques at my siblings, she and all of her children have been facebook-friended by my parents and siblings. Her ex-husband died and my parents and siblings showed up at the funeral. Now, they knew her to be someone I hung out with but she was never friends with them, but now they seem to be trying to move her into their inner circle. It feels really icky. I had another friend who had never met my mother, just I mentioned her a couple of times in conversations with my mother, and I found out that my parents dropped by her family-owned business looking for her and left her a letter behind to contact them. I am really creeped out by this behavior.


Eira, (98)

Yes, I’ve experienced this.

When my narcissist boyfriend and I were breaking up he began working on stealing my friends. When we were first together he criticized the friends I had and encouraged me to get rid of them. Being young and dumb, I did; he then put me down for not having friends. I made new friends, and these are the ones he tried to take away from me when we split. One was an attorney, which he thought was cool and he wanted her and her husband in his orbit. He did succeed in making friends with them. By that time I’d moved away but when I found out I felt a bit betrayed by her on top of the break-up pain.

My mother has also done a smear campaign on me to my cousin and brother who are the only two relatives that I had left and whom I wanted to keep in my life. They started acting suspicious of me and both used my mother’s exact words to criticize me. She brainwashed them and they’ve became extensions of this sadistic woman.

After many years of trying to keep some family relationships intact while staying away from my mother, I’ve found it most comfortable to stay away from anyone who interacts with her because she gets to all of them and poisons the water. It is infuriating and it is evil.

Maybe as you stop letting your mom know anything about you, she won’t be able to get to your associates.


Hi Sue,

My heart goes out to you. You sound so much like me when I was still “gearing” myself up to visit my parents a few years ago. I am at a different place now. I don’t believe it is my job to accommodate other people’s poor behavior anymore. I deserve to be respected just as much as the next guy does. The only difference now is I see it!! I don’t tolerate abuse at the work place and I certainly don’t tolerate it at home. I feel bad for you because what I am hearing is that you somehow believe that you aren’t worth as much as your mother and father just because they are your parents. No one deserves to be put down period. Especially from the two people who should be uplifting and encouraging their own daughter instead of tearing her down when she visits.

I don’t think it’s that any one on this site is trying to ignore their parents. I will speak for my self. I am more then willing to talk with my mother at any time. The problem seems to lie within just exactly what that conversation should entail. She isn’t interested in discussing the truth. She rather sit in her denial pile of lies then have a real relationship with her own daughter. I am the one who gets to grieve the loss of my mother in the process because once again I fall at the bottom of the barrel when it comes down to my mother acknowledging any of my pain just like its always been.

It’s not up to me to appease my mother and continue to join in with all of her denial. That isn’t helping either one of us. That’s just perpetuating her same sick dysfunctional behavior. It’s not that I am ignoring my parents and pretending that they don’t exist. It’s just that I no longer choose to be a part of their chaos anymore because them disrespecting me is just that. All I am interested in is peace but they don’t want any parts of that.

I think about my mother every day. I would love to see her again but it’s not me getting in the way from having a mutually respectful relationship it is her unwillingness to face the truth that keeps on getting in the way not anything that I am doing wrong. The only difference now is I see my own worth which doesn’t allow for me to be treated poorly by her anymore.

My hope is to give you a different perspective on this whole thing. I got the feeling that you were still under the belief system that it is your job to “put up and shut up”. I used to believe that lie too until I realized that I am a grown woman who now has choices instead of that trapped little girl anymore.There is a difference between putting up with each others idiosyncrasies and being down right disrespectful. We get to choose how we want to handle either one of them. My hope is that you choose to be respected and know your own self worth because that’s where all of your freedom lies. It comes down to loving your self so you can love others in a healthy way too.



How can I pretend my mother doesn’t exist? She lives on the other side of town and it’s been seven months since I had contact with her. I don’t want to see her again unless she shows true remorse instead of so-called apologies that blame me. Every time I go out, I have to look around and make sure I don’t run into her. Speaking of forgetting, a few months ago, she mailed a card to my P.O. box saying that I’ll be missed and to not forget my family. Why she thinks that I would forget her and her cowardly followers (aka my older siblings) is beyond me.

I don’t know how long it would take for her demons to stop haunting me. I hope they end, or at least lessen when she dies. Sadly, I would feel some relief when that happens.


I suspect there’s more to Sue’s mother’s childhood than what she’s saying. A hallmark of abusers is when they make light of their dysfunctional childhoods. I don’t think there’s a single person who exists that had a truly healthy past, and grew up to be mean. My mother’s the same way. She would tell about how her grandmother would make her and her half-sibling iron bed sheets and kept the refrigerator locked until scheduled mealtimes, and other cruel things. Her grandmother even cut contact from her for a while when she got married and had her first child, my brother. But, she’s a flawless saint in her eyes. I guess she’s grateful for her because she took them in when they were almost sent to separate foster homes. I wonder how healthier she would’ve been if she was sent to a foster home and how I would’ve turned out, even if it meant never seeing her siblings again.



When I read your post it was like déjà vu!! Last year my mother emailed me a similar message like you got from your mother.One would think after 2 ½ years my mother would learn how to pick up the phone and call if she was that worried about me forgetting about her but that isn’t going to happen and we both know the reason why!!! My parents literally live 3 minutes away from my house. Too bad for me. I hate having to worry about running into them too. It only happened one time at Wal-Mart but I am paranoid every time I go anyplace. Sucks to say the least. I just want it to be over with too. I don’t see any way of coming back from all of this. I am still trying to overcome DID that their abuse caused me and not one word of acknowledgment about any of this. I get it but it still blows me away!!


So, glad I found this site as I was searching for answers and yes support. Just recently, while my Dad was in the hospital (which I can go into later about that) basically after me and one of my brothers spending day and night with him, told us that we didn’t do anything for him, never did and that I shouldn’t have taken him to the hospital that I should have left him alone to die – and, believe me there are a lot more said, but that was most hurtful at that time. But, my brother and I both said fine if that is what you want and this is how you are going talk and treat us we we’re done and telling our Mom and other brother later that only an apology from him will make us come back around – because, if and when (and I am not holding my breath for that to happen) things would never be the same. It has happened too many times – and he never apologizes, and the other thing with him is if you are doing what he wants he is ok with you, but if you aren’t – he doesn’t want to have anything to do with you. If it had not been for our Mom, I probably would have quit a long time ago trying to have a relationship with him,

Short time after this I started hearing from other relatives that we shouldn’t have tried to force our Dad into signing everything over (to us) and when I started hearing this, I am like where did this come from – my Dad is telling lies now. He told people that we were trying to take over his life, and take everything from him and the only thing mentioned to him was getting one of us on the checking to make sure bills would continue to be paid especially insurance premiums – so, this all went down the same time – I had no clue that this is what he had in his mind. (I didn’t mention, my mother had had a stroke in April this year and we were still getting her back on recovery – which has been good considering the severity of her stroke). I had been making out their bills and balancing check book for months, some days she was able to sign her name and the other days Dad would sign it. The social worker suggested that someone get on the account so that there wouldn’t be any reason premiums weren’t being made because, even with their insurance with both events it was going to add up to medical bills. But, my Dad in his inability to communicate to us this decided to lash out and push us away – a lot of people said it was the medicine or ICU dementia, but my brother and I didn’t feel it was. And, the complications my Dad had were a lot too, but it was like he was in denial – he would not listen to us, it was like he was paranoid – but, like my brother said if he feels he can’t trust anyone not even his own kids what are you suppose to do.

Throughout our life my Dad has been cold and bitter and just says hurtful things and thinks we should accept it – after I was married, which I know was a way to leave the house at 17 – my brother was still home and Dad kicked him out, his senior year over stupid stuff, luckily we had loving family nearby or else I don’t know how we could have beared it -my whole life I always trying to be better, to please him – I thought then I would get that affection from him — now I know I was never going to get it, but I kept trying, I am 52 years old and like so many I have read, it is like a death of the father you always thought you could have and the cruel realization it is never going to be that way. I can’t ever remember getting any I love you or when I would try to hug him nothing returned and never a hug from him.

So anyway now after a month he was released and we didn’t get a call – and at this time I was being told from my younger brother that he doesn’t remember saying anything to us, and I told him he must have selected memory because now I hear he is telling people lies about what happened, my brother then tells me that he told Dad you need to apologize. Then a couple of weeks ago he went into another hospital for the same thing – he has heart disease, kidney disease and what happens is he is building up fluid on the lungs because of his kidneys which in turn is bad for the heart, one of the things my brother who is a RN tried to talk to Dad about was what to expect – he didn’t want to hear that, told us that he wasn’t have dyalisis, so my brother told him you will die, because this will continue til something happens again – the last time he coded was when they were tying to ventilate him because he couldn’t breath and had to have a chest tube in him. He was in the hospital 18 days, 7 days in ICU. Well, that is all happening again and now we have heard the Dr. wants to do bypass surgery because the main artery is severely closed.
But, now we are getting the attitudes from others that we are the bad ones because we haven’t went to see him and “get over it” all the things so many of you have written about – I know and my brother knows the truth, and my Mom knows — but, still won’t stand up for her kids or acts like she can’t do anything – now, even my youngest brother and my own son is saying we are wrong to treat our parents this way (staying away)

I appreciate this forum, this is actually my first to join – and, I know it is hard trying to type a short description of events that would take a book to go into all the details. I just feel like there is support here and I am struggling with all my feelings of am I right or am wrong – I just detest the judgement from others who have never walked in my shoes or my brother – and, I really could say so much more that I haven’t and I think it is 1. Still new and I am trying to find my way through this 2. I never thought it would ever get this crazy and happen to us – I accepted we were a family that didn’t deal with things – always dismissed and never talked about, but I thought we were close enough to withstand but it seems like when a crisis comes along, it just magnifies things. Again, Thank you, for this forum and I know I need help, I have been praying, but I know my faith is being tested and I don’t want to fail and become the same bitter and cold person my Dad has been. And, I don’t know how sometimes to feel – my emotions are all over the place.


I’m the Sue that commented that we should not simply give
up on our parents because they are insensitive. (It seems
there is another Sue commenting on this article also) Some replied
that I was wrong to say such a thing. Maybe I didn’t clarify
my feelings well enough to make my point. There are some that
have been sexually abused, physically abused, etc…You know
who you are. You were not the ones I was addressing. Of course
there will be times when it is appropriate to walk away from
those relationships where your parents were destructive to you.
Sometimes its a father that molested his daughter and sometimes
its a mother that closed her eyes to the abuse. What I meant
was that even though my mother failed in so many ways as far as
not providing affirmation to me I’m determined to not be like her.
I treat my children, who are grown now, with respect and encouragement. I treat my grandchildren the same. With God’s help
I respect my husband and neither one of us is a control freak
so that helps a lot. We have a good marriage even though we had
problems in the beginning. I am determined to give my children
wings (and my grandchildren too) so they can live out their potential
to the fullest. My mother did not do that for me. And to the
one that doubted her “idyllic childhood”. I can vouch for her that
she really did have a good childhood. I see her and her sisters
and (only living) brother and they thrive in each others company.
They laugh together and love to see each other. Sometimes they’ll
have a sibling get-together and have a great time. They are all
different in their own way, but still enjoy each others company.
(Both of their parents are dead, but they all loved each other.
My grandfather was gentle and kind and so was my grandmother, though
she was the most feisty of the two)…Still, my Mom did not
encourage me to go far and neither did my Dad. I was only speaking
to those that simply thought it was a bother to visit parents that
are not and will never be perfect. If your parents are alive and
they simply were not model parents to you please don’t push them
out of your lives. Just determine to be a better parent than they
were. My mother and father both hardly ever hugged me. In fact,
I’m not sure they ever did since I was a baby. My mom never told
me I was pretty. I’m not kidding. She told me my best friend was
pretty, strangers on the street were pretty, even a woman who
became an enemy to me was pretty. Imagine what that did to a
young girl and later a teen. I carry that with me all the time and
it affects everything I do. If someone else ever told me I was
pretty through all my growing up years, it seemed hollow because
I wanted my mom to think I was beautiful.I will never do that to
those I love. I will give encouragement every step of the way. So
in many ways my Mom taught me what NOT to do, and for that I am



I find your post rather irksome. My own mother would say those exact things to me such as, “You weren’t abused. Those were just spankings. Now what goes on in the news and movies, that’s REAL abuse.” And I believed her, too. After all, I wasn’t a victim of sexual abuse nor was I left to starve, so I tended to trivialize my treatment. No wonder I was such an easy target for bullies and abusive bosses. I convinced myself it was “tough management” and it took until I left those jobs to realize I was being mistreated. During K-12, I was hesitant to stand up for myself because I was taught that showing anger or disagreement was “naughty”. And she blamed me for being bullied thanks to those mixed messages.

I was foolish to give her and other family members another chance by moving in with her after falling on hard times. She paid lip service to being sorry, but constantly scolded me for leaving the family. When my older siblings visited her, they would rub my nose in my estrangement, too, even though they claim to love me. During my stay with her, she would treat me like a bad child to discipline, a therapist, and a live-in personal assistant depending on her volatile moods, but never like an adult daughter. If I disagreed with her or refused unsolicited advice, she’d go plumb loco. I knew I had to leave since she wasn’t going to change and said that me not understanding her is what caused her to abuse me. Why on Earth would I continue to have a relationship with someone who blamed me for their treatment towards me? After a year and three months, I finally moved out. She did try to contact me many times, but I gave her the silent treatment. It looks like she has given up.

About prettiness: Why put so much emphasis on appearance to begin with? That’s very superficial, and doesn’t tell how a person is on the inside. My mother is also hung up on looks, even asking me how she looked before she went out practically every week. I have inner scars from being picked on as the “ugly girl” during K-12, and even my mother insulted my appearance, though I inherited some of her features. (She blamed her meanness on being tired, which is her excuse for practically everything.) I’m no Miss America, but I’m intelligent and humble. I want to be liked for my inner qualities, not my looks.

Maybe you’re okay with your relationship with your parents, but I refuse to associate with toxic people no matter how “mild” their treatment is. Being their scapegoat helps them, not me.


I have to agree with S1988 on this one. I, too, find it irksome/difficult to read what you’ve written. My first reaction is who are you to decide who is right and who is wrong in their decision to cut ties. You don’t know anyone here. You don’t know their experience. You haven’t lived their lives. You give those who have experienced sexual or physical abuse your approval but decide that the others are wrong (without explicitly stating who those others are; of course that would cause conflict to do so but it also causes conflict to suggest it in the ambiguous way that you have, though clearly you are speaking to people here on this website).

Did you ever try speaking to your parents about the pain you suffered due to their insensitivity? It may have helped. Understanding that you deserved better treatment and that whatever reason they were insensitive does not alter the truth that you deserved better and that you were harmed by their mistreatment/abuse/incapacities is very important. Each of us has a choice how we want to respond to what has happened to us in our lives. I don’t believe anyone cuts off from their parents as though it were nothing at all. It comes with enormous pain. Why should a person have to maintain a relationship with another human being when it comes at the expense of their well-being? (and as though that other person is completely incapable of understanding the detriment they are causing when in most cases the detriment seems to exist for an underlying selfish purpose).

I don’t think people misunderstood your point. I think your point was insulting. Emotional abuse causes real damage. You can spend your entire life trying to crawl out from under that bolder and die before you ever do… I don’t mean any harm to you and in the end you are free to believe whatever you want but I do think that opinions such as yours often contribute to people’s difficulties in healing. Everyone’s lives count. Parents who harm children (by whatever means) are not more important than the children they’ve harmed, such that those children must simply bear the pain and learn to be better. They have a right to stand up for themselves, to ask for better treatment, to know they deserve real love, and to make their own choice as to whether they want to continue to have a relationship with their parents if those parents do not want to be honest and caring, etc. Everyone has a right and it’s not for an outsider to come in and judge another for their decisions.

I’m sorry that you never got hugs. It must hurt to carry that. I’m sorry your mom called so many people around you pretty but never made you feel that you were. That’s mean. I’m glad you’ve chosen to be different with your children and grandchildren. But I hope that you will refrain from judging the lives of people you don’t know who simply responded to abuse in a different manner than you have. It is the abuser who is wrong, who has failed to take responsibility, and it is the victim’s right to choose his or her future relationship or non-relationship with their abuser—not for anyone else to say what is right or wrong. That is my opinion.


Sue (98),

my heart goes out to you for the pain you’ve been, and continue to be through. However, what you describe as “insensitivity” is emotional abuse. It is abuse just as damaging as being hit or physically violated. Abuse doesn’t hinge on whether you were inappropriately touched or not, it’s that you were diminished and given the message time and again that your feelings didn’t matter, that you weren’t worth loving respectful treatment. Emotional abuse underscores all types of abuse, because even if one experienced physical violence, the emotional damage of that remains long after bodily wounds heal. Emotional abuse is a form of violence, and has long been minimized by society, though today we are making inroads in acknowledging its devastating impact.

My childhood abuse was mostly emotional, and even the sexual abuse was non-contact (exposure), though I suspect I’ve blocked out at least one experience of physical sexual abuse. Too much emphasis has historically been placed on whether one was hit or had contact sexual abuse. It is the message one receives about oneself that defines behviour as abusive. You can treat a person like a piece of shit without any touch, obviously. Violence is not just about blood and hitting, it’s about what is happening to your heart and soul.

It was both freeing and devastating for me to realize I was a survivor of child abuse. Freeing that I could begin to see that I wasn’t a “bad” evil person after all. Devastating in realizing the magnitude of the lies and shucked responsibility, and that I had been betrayed for no good reason, meaning I didn’t deserve it. That abuse fucked my life up, and I am the one who must do the hard work to break the cycle when the abuse was never acknowledged by either parent in life, nor by my sister. Parents are NOT more important human beings than their children. That is a lie. Every life matters. Please don’t minimize this form of abuse. You have obviously suffered greatly, but you cannot speak for how others choose to deal with THEIR long history of pain.

You know who spoiled the bond and the closeness one could have had with their abusive parents? The parents. They dropped the ball, for whatever reason, and today as adults it is our utmost duty to protect ourselves from further abuse, however that may play out contact wise. Best wishes to you, and I hope you stay.


Sue, I have to chime in here. Some people are actually treating you like you are crazy. They are a perfect illustratin of what this article was about. “Crazy Making” behavior. You are a good person who values family. Your perspective is every bit as valid as these others who call you insulting. I find your post rather sensitive and sincere. I had a very verbally and emotionally abusive mother. Until the day she died I continued to try to win her love even though I knew intellectually it was impossible, the emotional part is so deeply ingrained. The anger that is expressed by many is the secondary emotion of pain and hurt. Learning to communicate and function in a family is the most important task we can do here on earth. Whether that family be biological or not.
I am 60 and have decided to end a relationship with a 42 year old daughter who texts absolutely unspeakable things to me and my husband. Ironically, when any of my children need anything it is always me and my husband they turn to. My ex and my mother worked very hard at villainizing me to my children. My mother admitted it a few months before her death.
But this post has validated exactly what my thoughts were when after a blitz of horrible text messages I told my daughter I would end our relationship if she continued. She just answered with, “who cares! I won’t miss you for one minute you crazy b**ch.”
I value family too, Sue, and it appears that your mother is not intentionally or will fully abusive, just insensitive. We all are that at least sometimes, and not one person commenting can deny that.


Doren, I think you said things better than I did, with more care. I’m a bit uppity. I was probably too brusque. It’s hard to know how to handle these situations. Yes, what Sue was describing was more than just insensitivity. It was abuse. I hope she stays, too, as this website has a lot to offer, and I don’t want to push someone away. It’s just important to respect people’s lives and decisions…. I do remember when I first came here and my impression of what was going on here was so different than it is now. I had a lot of that “understanding” the abuser stuff, making room for the way they are, and just knowing better, etc. at the expense of myself and at the expense of fully understanding what had happened to me and what was continuing to happen, at the expense of really knowing my own pain and grieving and healing…. It’s frustrating/difficult when people minimize the experiences of others, yet one needs to balance it with the knowledge that it’s likely coming from the minimization of their own experience, and yet it’s not fair to allow that minimization to the others because it does harm… Thanks for being the softer voice to my perhaps too blunt voice (?). You are entirely right about violence not just being about blood and hitting but what is happening to your heart and soul.


What I found insulting was the minimization of people’s experiences, as though our experiences were not “bad enough” to warrant cutting ties with our parents, as though we needed to have been sexually or physically abused in order to do what’s best for our health, and that she is in any position to be able to decide that when she doesn’t know the lives of people here. My experience caused a tremendous amount of mental health problems and nearly killed me but it was “only” emotional abuse. I don’t believe that it was Sue’s intention to insult of experiences. I believe her words came more from a lack of understanding. Everyone has a right to make their own decisions (which is why it wasn’t right for her to tell us that we should not be “ignoring” our parents). But yes, everyone is entitled to their opinion and perspective.


Alaina I just got done writing about how I thought you and Doren worded things wonderfully in your posts and how I didn’t!!! Your post popped up before I could get mine out. It made me laugh. I think it is all telling. None of us want to hurt anyone else’s feelings but we can’t let other people disrespect us just because they aren’t where we are at in their recovery process and my tendency is to still let people off the hook for their poor behavior still eating their crap by never really coming right and telling them that I don’t like what you just said out of my own fears and insecurities surfacing so thanks for the great post.


Wow Judith,

I feel for you too. You are caught in the same deceptive web that Sue is. I read your post and I thought to myself that is what I used to sound like too…brainwashed into believing that my parent’s could do no wrong when all they did was wrong. We aren’t talking about being insensitive here. That Sue’s mother couldn’t manage to hug her own daughter or tell her that she was beautiful is down right mean and nasty and it qualifies as emotional ABUSE not just being insensitive and it affected Sue her whole entire life and we can tell this by reading her post full of excuses for her mother’s poor behavior just like you do. Nobody here is calling Sue or anybody else here crazy. You are. Own your own crap. We want her to see her own self worth unlike you or her mother. That’s the difference between you and me.


Hi Fay,

I’m glad you found this site too!! You will get the support that you need and I have learned so many truths by reading what other people post here. So many AHA moments!! It’s good that you are standing up for your self when it comes to your father. You don’t deserve to be treated this way. What I have learned is nothing will change unless I do. It works. I have found the people who genuinely care about me are willing to adjust and the one’s who aren’t never had my best interest at heart to begin with and unfortunately that is the category where both of my parents fall into right now but that’s on them not me.



Thank you guys so much for input.
Sorry for delay…we are evacuees from fire. Crazy stuff.
I remained NC and still the drama in family continues around me, with or without me!!
I hear from distant cousin that my insane sister posting her concern about us on FB.

We are estranged. What does she care? We are fine, but several friends and neighbors lost everything.



Good to hear that you and your family made it out okay. I’m sorry to hear that others weren’t so lucky.

I can’t stand such hypocrisy, either. I rather that someone was mean to me all the time than to be mean one moment, then suddenly nice the next.

@Everyone Else

I like that Sue stopped the poisonous cycle, but why would she let her parents off the hook? Why is she rightly responsible for how she treats her children, but her parents are not? I don’t get it.


hah, yeah, my heart felt a little topsy turvy, particularly after reading Judith’s comments. Tough when someone accuses me of being an abuser, using crazy-making behaviour. It’s stressful, even when I know I’m following logic and in fact trying to uphold boundaries—that each of us has the right to make our own choices in our own lives and that, yes, it is rude to insinuate that some people’s experiences aren’t bad enough to merit the choices we’ve made, that we need to have been physically or sexually abused.

S1988, I don’t get it either. Maybe she sees her mother as being less capable of being a good/nice/responsible mother, like some kind of mental/emotional defect that prohibits her. That doesn’t change the impact of course. And the reason why that doesn’t hold much weight for me in my own life in regards to my mom is because of what Darlene was talking about in this article—motive—and also how things work in the larger family system. I just don’t see a true mental/emotional defect always working in one’s own favour to protect oneself. It seems highly suspect to me.


To EveryoneElse:If I allow myself to
feel responsible for my mother
or fathers bad behavior towards me, then I become
a victim twice. I can only be responsible for my
own behavior. Someone said how can I judge you
when I don’t know you? Well, guess what? You don’t
know me either. What you don’t know is that I
have suffered emotional abuse but chose to forgive
since forgiveness is never for the abusers sake, it’s
for my own. There have been times when I haven’t
seen my parents for weeks at a time. I’m sure they
wonder why, and they’ll call after a few weeks.
When I talk to them on the phone I’ve found ways to
hang up quickly without getting into all the drama.
When I visit I cut my visits short, unless someone
else is there. Usually having someone else there helps.
Of course I know others have been treated worse than
I have, but I DON’T minimize my own feelings about
what happened. I was truthful in my comment. I
told you guys what my parents did that hurt me. And
yes, I did tell my parents also. My Dad was better
about things than my Mom. I had a long talk with her
and it ended up like talking to a wall. So I’ve chosen
to be a better mother to my own children. And if
it’s up to me, they’ll never have a reason to not want
to be around me. If you feel not being around your
family is best for you, only you know the depth of what
happened to you. I’m not in denial. I’ve worked through
all the pain with God’s help. I’m not 100% yet,
but I’m making progress. Are you angry with me
because I’m managing to get past this and move on?
I would wish the same for all, but some have been terribly
abused, not just physically, or sexually but also
emotionally. To those I say do what ever you feel
you must do but I know I could not have done any of this
without God. I hurt for you that have endured terrible
things at the hands of those who were supposed to love you
unconditionally. I pray for your complete healing.Some
people really do make bad parents.


To Judith:
A child abusing a parent is just as bad as a parent
abusing a child. I know you are in pain and I am so
sorry. You said your children run to you when they
need help but treat you like dirt otherwise.
So many families seem so screwed up these days.
Its like an epidemic of narcissistic, self-centered
behavior. Don’t be so available when they come
to you for favors or finances. Tell them if they
need something they can go to each other.
I’ll be praying for you. Your daughter at 42 should
be past that behavior by now, since she is the
abusive one in this relationship.


“If I allow myself to feel responsible for my mother or father’s bad behavior towards me…”

Who said that? Of course it’s not your responsibility, it’s theirs. My mother loves to use this tactic as a way to manipulate me into doing her bidding. I have to understand her, but she doesn’t have to understand me. It’s getting to the point where I’m getting sick of hearing the “U” word.

If you want to forgive them, that’s your choice, but I can’t find myself doing that. At the same time, it doesn’t mean getting revenge. Life’s too short for that, and I’m not lowering myself to their level or be worse than they are. My “revenge” is being the person who they condemned me for.


I’ve been a reader of this beautiful validating blog for a long time but this is my first comment.

Darlene THANK YOU for taking the time to share your writing with all of us. Many times on my healing journey when I doubted myself & my “right” to go NC with my whole family of origin (both parents are still living and my only sibling as well, who was once scapegoat to my golden child but since I stood up to my parents our roles have switched & he is enjoying his new role after nearly 50 years as The Bad One).
Ive been NC with th all for a year now, but mostly estranged for 2 yrs, have done intensive individual therapy & can now say that I’ve gained so much ore than I’ve lost (truly I’ve only lost the fantasy that I was loved by them, their love was never real). I am free & it feels wonderful. Lots of love & support to all who are struggling to live themselves. Blessings to all!


I meant to say “struggling to LOVE themselves” ????


Speaking for myself—no, I’m not angry with you for any reason. I was, however, frustrated that you felt okay with telling people that they ought to behave differently vis a vis their abusive parents (I don’t know of a single commenter on this site who is simply being petty, for example—everyone is going through a lot of pain and difficulty). It’s their choice what they choose to do and not for anyone to judge or tell them to do differently. No one comes to these choices easily. and not a single person on this website deserved to have it insinuated that they were wrong to make their choice (the thing is you didn’t stipulate exactly who you thought was wrong to be no contact but you certainly were addressing people here—you made reference to that fact in your comment—and that was wrong of you because it isn’t for you to say that to other people).

As for me, I understand my parents and feel for them and I suppose I forgive them, though the word is so overused and over-thought that I’m not even sure what it means, other than a combination of acceptance and understanding of reality and I do have that. But I won’t have a relationship with them unless they can feel for me—because I’m important too. Healthy relationships are based in equality and I simply can’t/won’t do anything except equality. I nearly died and lost so many years of my life, though I am positive some people (myself included) would label the actual abuse as “not that bad.” It’s about self-respect and self-love. My parents are capable of taking responsibility for themselves but choose not to. I just don’t want to have a relationship with parents who can’t/won’t feel for me—even if I could handle it emotionally. Why would I want to?



I see truth leaks all over your posts. Forgiving someone doesn’t have anything to do with reconciling with them. When someone treats YOU like crap it is up to THEM to make amends with you not the other way around. It has nothing to do with forgiveness but everything to do with knowing your own self worth and that is the piece of the puzzle that you are missing and it is the hub of everything that you do in life. I am not judging you. I am only going by what YOU have written in your posts. It’s a big mistake to compare your self with other people and who was abused more then the other and how it all affected you. The truth is people have it worse then you do AND people have it better then you do. So what does that mean? You don’t count???? From what I have seen the outcome is all pretty much the same no matter what the abuse… low self esteem and no self worth that just about kills everything that you want to do in life because you don’t believe that you are good enough to deserve anything better then being abused. And no I am not angry with you by a long shot. From where I am sitting it looks to me that YOU are the one who is angry. Just go back and read your post. We hit a nerve and you don’t like it but we are only trying to help. Sweeping things under the rug isn’t moving on. It is just sweeping it under the rug. I pray for complete healing for you too.


It’s also worth noting that we weren’t off-base in coming to the conclusion of minimization when in previous posts what you, Sue, could have labeled as abuse, you labeled as insensitivity—so it’s not like we were jumping to conclusions. You were in fact minimizing abuse by calling it insensitivity, so therefore it’s quite understandable that we would come to the conclusion of denial/minimization of your own experience when you were telling people not to ignore parents who were just insensitive. It was sort of a deduction process that seemed quite logical given what you had written. Your latest post presents your story in a slightly different light (as abuse) but makes out as if you’d always been presenting yourself in that light—which is simply not true. In my experience this is often how people avoid apologizing for things that they actually did/said—by shifting their words to show what they “really meant” but you are responsible for what you really said, not for what you really meant. What I’m wondering is who you were actually talking to when you were advising people not to cut off from their parents if they were simply not model parents… do you know that this is a website for abuse victims?


Thnx for saying that Alaina. I felt like I was just being gaslighted be Sue. I’m not imagining squat. I know what I read and so does she because she did the exact thing that you are talking about in your post. Just own up to your own junk Sue and call it a day and stop treating me like I am an idiot because I am not. Bullcrap on that. I had enough of that to last me my whole life time!! Do you want help or not??? It starts from with inside of yourself. Stop trying to blame us for your mistakes. Believe me we can see right through you. We had lots of practice.


You may be wrong….. I may be right
she said he said
I may be wrong…….you may be right

just ignore those that seem to want to fight.

Wasted words, Use your time to help and heal
You may never change how the other one may feel!


Hi, Kris, yes, I agree, there’s gaslighting going on… It’s difficult because it makes it seem as though we were unreasonable when our responses were entirely rational and based on exact things she said. If someone calls abuse “insensitivity” and then suggests that we shouldn’t “ignore” our parents if they’re only being “insensitive”… well of course we are going to come to the conclusions we came to… My impression is that she is not looking for help, that she wrote here to advise others of what she feels works for her and what she feels would be good practice for others here to adopt. I’m not in agreement with her and feel that the inconsistencies in her writing (the gaslighting), the unwillingness to see that she was wrong to tell people how they should respond to their own experiences and her lack of apology, are reflective of dysfunction. I hope that she takes a closer look at herself and how she has dealt with her parents’ abuse and whether or not it’s really working for her. Something I’ve realized is that everyone I have ever met on this board or in life who has adopted the kind of approach to their parents that she has ends up doing these kinds of things—disrespecting other people’s boundaries, gaslighting, or just something dysfunctional and unfair to others. It’s why I don’t believe their approach works. At any rate, what’s happening here isn’t personal. It’s just a reflection. I hope you don’t take too much to heart—the stress of it. I felt your upset, certainly understand it—the slipperiness of gaslighting can set a person off, for sure. The biggest thing I think has to do with Darlene’s rule here not to give advice, to stick to our own experience. It was at the very least misguided to tell a group of people on a website for overcoming the effects of childhood abuse that a certain ambiguously-defined portion of us should have relationships with our parents when we have chosen not to. Of course that will set things off down a road of conflict. Giving advice is so common in the world outside EFB but our sensitivities here and how much we’ve been controlled and manipulated and had our sense of agency taken away from us seem to make it so that advice in general is pretty much always a problem.



Sue’s gas lighting triggered me and my DID and when that happens I cannot separate now from my abusive past and that is why you sensed my agitation. I know it’s nothing personal and thank you so much for supporting me. I was feeling down after being triggered but maybe that was a good thing. I “switch” trying to avoid those feelings associated with being abused as a way to protect my self but in the end it only prolongs my agony because I am constantly reliving different aspects of being abused because I cannot link these thoughts and feelings with an actual event due to dissociating out the traumatic event when I was a child so hence I relive being abused on a daily basis. This is why it is so hard for me to hear anyone telling me what I should be doing regarding my parents when they did me so much damage to me and I am still paying the price for their abuse with absolutely not one iota of acknowledgment from any one of them.

I know you get it. Thank you again.


Hi Kris,
Yeah, I get it, and I definitely figured you were being triggered, as your reaction seemed bigger than what I think was happening here. It’s tough. You were being triggered by something real happening and I wanted you to feel validated about that (that it was happening) but I was also wanting to pull you out of the trigger (didn’t know how, though). For me, what Sue did was annoying/frustrating, yet there’s no doubting these things cause problems and the whole reason why we should try to stick our own lives. And yes, I acknowledge that in response to her breaking of boundaries by saying what people should be doing, we pushed back in coming to conclusions about her own life—accurate or not—and what maybe she needed to be doing… it’s how conflict tends to go. How productive this is for anybody, I don’t know. I feel like I’m getting better at riding the triggers out but they still happen and can be very hard. I had a tough week, was triggered a couple times, as I left a dysfunctional job. One thing I try to do is pull away when I’m being triggered, if possible, go through whatever I’m going to go through, then later come back to try to explain things to the person who has triggered me. It helps to avoid possible escalation of the trigger (and/or escalation of the conflict). But I totally understand Kris. Your experience was real and what happened here was real. And I feel for you and hope you’re feeling better.


This is to S1988 who sent me a reply that me saying I’m
not responsible for my parents being good parents I’m
only responsible for myself and what kind of parent I am.
You seemed to think I was saying something so obvious
and then put me down for saying it. If you had read all the
comments before you would have known that I was
addressing someone specific that identified herself
with the screenname “EveryoneElse”. I was not sending the
comment to “everyone else” only to that specific person.
And only in reply to what she said to me.
She had said how come you are responsible for how you parent
your kids but (in essense) your parents are let off the
hook for how they parented you? So I was not attempting to
say the obvious to make a point. I was simply answering her
question directed at me. I didn’t realize that I had to
think and act like everyone else on here to make you happy.
I’m entitled just like you are to say what I feel.
I respect that you have a reason to walk away and that’s fine.
But you must admit that there are some on here, maybe
just a couple, who have walked away without good cause.
The majority of you have been hurt deeply by those that should
have loved you. And there is no excuse for that! I will never
defend someone that was purposely deliberately abusive in any form.
Some are so blind to what they are doing they wouldn’t know
it if it hit them in the face. To those I have pity. But I
won’t defend them. I know my mother enough to know that
she was pretty much sheltered as a child and had an ideal childhood.
I think that led her to feel entitled in some ways and because
of that she was insensitive, and still is. But to me abusive means
willful intention to hurt or harm. Please don’t send me any more
hostile replies. I think I touched a hot button in some without
meaning to. The woman that said why was I so preoccupied with
looks just because my mom never told me I was pretty. There is
more to that than what she knows. The fact that my mom always
complimented friends and even my enemies hurt me because the same
words of blessing she gave them she never gave to me. It’s not
about being obsessed about my appearance. It’s about her withholding
that blessing from me. She seemed to be so generous in compliments
to everyone else, even my little sister, but stingy as could
be with compliments to me. That’s what hurt. Not that I felt
“not pretty” but that she seemed to not notice. Maybe the one
who commented to me that I was too concerned with my appearance
struggles with that too and doesn’t even realize it.
This is not about vanity, this is about being withheld something
from our mother who we look up to, or at least want to be able
to look up to.


Here is your original comment that started this whole thing it was comment 98 on September 14th

September 14th, 2015 at 4:31 pm
It really hurts to see so many not in touch with family
members for years and even decades. My mom has done some
things to hurt me, but I don’t think they were deliberate.
She grew up in a family of seven girls and three boys. They
lived on farms most of their youth, and my mom says she had
the most idyllic childhood. They all got along, until the
girls became teenagers and started “borrowing” each others
clothes, makeup, boyfriends, etc…But even then they basically
got along. That’s why its hard for me to understand why she
favored my younger sister and even younger brother. I am the
oldest and always felt like I didn’t fit in. Since my sister
was born less than a year after me I have always felt like her
protector. I feel the same about my brother I guess because he’s
the “baby”. We are all married with grandchildren now. And I still
feel numb sometimes when I think of all the unfeeling things my
mom has said to me over the years. What’s worse was that when
I tried to tell her how I felt she downplayed my feelings and
made me look like it was my fault she said what she did. Or
that I was too sensitive. I forgive her, though, and will
continue to see her and visit her and my Dad because no matter
what they are my parents. I try not to stay too long. I know
how she can be before I get there so I talk myself into
not responding to one of her digs. But a 15 minute visit is not
too much and I always have a good reason for leaving so soon.
If she starts to say something insulting, I pretend not to
notice and change the subject. I can see that a physically
abusive parent should be loved from a distance, but I can’t see
a parent being ignored forever for simply being insensitive.
Many people will go to work every day with abusive people,
narcissist, or grumpy bosses and learn to turn the other
cheek in order to keep their jobs. But when it comes to their
parents they have no problem forgetting they exist.
– See more at:

This is what caused the reaction.


Alaina and Kris (and a few others I am sure)
Thank you for the way you have handled this difficult conversation. I applaud your willingness to stand up for the truth, to defend the truth and yourselves and others here.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Into the Light
Welcome to Emerging from Broken and high five for your first comment!
What a wonderful victory you have shared with us!
hugs, Darlene


Re your comment that you were responding to someone with screen name “Everyone Else” there is no one here commenting with that name. In comment 117 S1988 addressed @everyone else and I am sure she is referring to “the rest of the readers” when she did.

I hope that you will read your original comment and try to understand what happened here as you read through the responses. You are welcome to be here and share your exp. and feelings but please don’t advise others in how they should act, feel or respond to people who discount them and treat them with disregard.

Thanks, Darlene


Doren (comment 119)
I appreciate your loving response as well.
hugs, Darlene


“But you must admit that there are some on here, maybe
just a couple, who have walked away without good cause.”

This makes me think of when I was younger, when I thought that I had to fit everything my mom wanted because I believed she was a good mom and only children of bad moms were allowed to rebel. You were property of your parents unless they were horrible enough for you to be allowed emancipation. And I truly believed that I was my mom’s possession and that that was correct—she gave birth to me, therefore unless she was intentionally setting out to hurt/harm me, I must always simply understand why she was the way she was and try to work myself around her, yet still manage to please her…. which is what resulted in my breakdown essentially. Then when I was encouraged to be my own person, I was ripped a part between still trying to hold allegiance to parents and trying to live my own life (because essentially it was impossible).

I’m not sure on what authority anybody can tell another person they don’t have good cause. Even if it seems like that on the outside, how do you know they simply haven’t been able to articulate the full problem? I remember in the first years after my breakdown being at a therapist’s office completely unable to grasp the real problem and speaking about issues that I had with my mother that weren’t so different than kind of average mother-daughter difficulties. It didn’t mean that there wasn’t a heck ton under the surface. Sometimes all you see is the top of the iceberg. Who is anybody to judge anyone here, particularly without spending a significant amount of time talking and trying to understand?

HI Darlene, thanks for your voice here!


Re: Sue’s comment (98)

I got the impression that Sue had just hopped on the site and made a knee-jerk observation about our estrangements without having read other strings and comments.

People don’t dump workable families–they leave families that are unbearable in order to protect themselves. Anyone who’d read the site or taken the trouble to think even a little deeply should realize that.

Sue’s comment was a blanket invalidation but y’all spoke right up–yes!

As Darlene has noted, everything on here is triggering. That’s why I devour these comments but take breaks from them too.



I want to be able to pull back when I am triggered but I am not always co-conscious when this happens and that is where the problem lies. In those moments I don’t have the capacity to reflectively think. My alters are not flexible. They have a one track mind!! They were each created to handle a certain aspect of the trauma that happened to me and that is all they know!! Becoming “self” aware goes against everything that they were created to do…to keep what happened to me out of my conscious awareness and to break it down into littler bits and pieces so I wouldn’t be so overwhelmed so I could continue to function while still being abused but I am working very hard to overcome this aspect of this disorder so I can stop myself from making the fool out of my self! Sad but true!! It’s just a reality of having this disorder. No I am not beating my self up!!

Thanks again for all of your support. You did a great job of “pulling” me back and d ch. Your comment helped me too.


For me one of the best qualities about your site is your ability to protect the one’s that were abused from being re-traumatized without getting in the way of us learning how to stand up on our own two feet. Such a wonderful quality to have. Thank you for that.



You still didn’t answer my question about why you’re rightfully responsible for stopping the cycle, but your parents are exculpated for some reason.

Of course I’m still traumatized for being picked on for my homely appearance. Being called the “ugly girl” from 5th grade until the end of high school isn’t something that I can heal from overnight. (Especially when my own mother would add insult to injury by condemning me for my overbite and heavy eyebrows, and she knew I was being bullied in school.) K-12 ended almost a decade ago for me, so you can see it wasn’t all that long ago. In spite of the insecurities I have, I cope with this by “rebelling”, meaning that I refuse to make myself over to appease shallow values and concentrate on my inner qualities.

What’s “without good cause” anyway? That’s a rather vague phrase. To me, leaving someone who’s hurtful and unrepentant is a good enough reason, even if they’re “mild” with their cruelty.


Big hugs, Kris!
I’m glad you’re not beating yourself up because you have no reason to whatsoever! You weren’t wrong in anything here and I was glad for your voice here. You called shit out and that’s cool—just worried about you because I could feel the trigger. I don’t think you made a fool of yourself. I think it’s definitely worse to be the person who made the mistake, refused to see or acknowledge it, and triggered a group of sensitive people who are just trying to heal and still refuse to see that. You have no shame to carry here. Sue does so long as she refuses to see what she did wrong (even if what she did “wasn’t so bad”—she’s still the one in the wrong and refusing to acknowledge it).

I really like what you said and agree completely, S1988—“What’s “without good cause” anyway? That’s a rather vague phrase. To me, leaving someone who’s hurtful and unrepentant is a good enough reason, even if they’re “mild” with their cruelty.”


Hugs right back to ya Alaina!!

As far as this whole conversation regarding Sue I feel like it could go on forever. I feel like I got to voice my own opinion and I know that my intentions were only good. At this point it is too reminiscent of how it feels to talk with my own parents so I am choosing to retreat because I know just how futile having that conversation really is. Kind of feels like talking to someone who is drunk… going around in circles getting no where fast because they really don’t want to hear what you have to say, they just want to tell you how to think and feel so I am choosing to join d ch because that is what will bring me peace!! I need to realize that not everyone wants to be helped. They need to figure out things on their own just like I do. Just because I want the best for them doesn’t mean that they are ready for it. Sometimes it is best to let sleeping dogs lie alone and I think that this is one of those times.


p.s. Kris, I have my own issues with always needing to be in control of myself. I’ve had opposite issues of holding stuff in and imploding when I ought to have called people out but for fear of the explosive feelings and being unreasonable or wrong or too emotional, I breakdown instead and never say what I need to say. This is particularly true outside of EFB. Then, what I hold inside festers and causes problems, anxiety, triggers for self-harming, suicide ideation, etc. This is all seems to happen from my need to control my words. I’m getting better at speaking up and EFB has helped me (it’s also easier because writing is easier for me).

…just read your next comment… I agree, I’m also at that same point to walk away from this, but it was a good thing to say all that we said. It’s good to tell the truth and stand up for it, even if the other doesn’t want to hear it. Doing so is what takes me away from that world of self-harming… Letting go of trying to prove oneself when it becomes pointless is important too, though.


The discussion about name calling by abusers is making me think about how my mom repeatedly called me selfish & ungrateful when I was a kid. Even as a teenager I saw the truth leak…I remember saying once in my defense “I’m a teenager, we’re supposed to be selfish & ungrateful!”
As I’ve gotten more clarity in seeing my “wonderful, loving, giving” mother (this is how she described herself to me repeatedly, and told me how lucky I was to have such loving giving parents) as she really is, i realize that she called me selfish whenever I made any move towards caring for myself that went against what she wanted me to do. Any move towards figuring out who I was apart from her was met with accusations of selfishness. I wanted her love & validation so desperately I put aside my own needs for identity formation. Now I’ve got teenagers of my own & it’s such a revelation to witness their beautiful growth into who they truly are. It’s health by for me to encourage their uniqueness, does that make sense? There’s an old post here I think by Alaina which is so beautiful and poignant to me, in which she describes her ideal mom…I’m trying to be that mom for my own kids now & so many times (at least twice a week these days) I think “I never had this”…true unconditional love & support. It’s sad & happy to give what I never got. I guess I still am grieving that



I totally agree with you. I need to learn how to speak up when someone is doing me wrong and that was what I was able to accomplish with this whole conversation with Sue so I am happy about that. I don’t regret any of what I said and it was freeing to finally be able to speak my mind without feeling guilty when I did it. I am overcoming that sick mind set that my mother planted inside of my head and it feels good. I am happy that you are doing the same thing. This site has helped me in so many ways and it is because people like you are willing to share your narratives that allows for me to see where I am going wrong in my way of thinking so I can change how I do things for the better that I can carry out in my every day life. I feel so blessed to be a part of this site.


Hi Into the Light,

Everything that you said makes sense. My parents totally decimated who I was out of their own fears and insecurities. It wasn’t safe for them for me to be me so they squashed the life right out of me never encouraging me to do anything on my own. I had to be just like them. That sick enmeshment ensued because of it and I could not separate my self from them without feeling guilty for wanting to do it. What a sick toxic thing to do to your own child. Overcoming that sick enmeshment took 2 ½ years but I did it. Now I get to be me without feeling guilty. For the most part anyway!!! Still have DID but I am getting there!!


Its a great article Darlene! Thanks a lot.


Hi Everyone 😉

The flurry of activity due to Sue’s comments had me overwhelmed for a while. I definitely understand and appreciate the responses and the comments that prompted those responses. I also think that people made reasonable statements that had more to do with the issue than with the person.

I noticed something in some of Sue’s comments that made me feel a little different about her than the typical troll. I’m not sure that I’m right about it, but maybe someone else saw it too.

I somehow got the sense that Sue was trying to convince herself she was doing the right thing to maintain a very strained relationship with her “insensitive” parents. If she’s heard a lot of that stuff that we’ve all dealt with and is seeing that most of us here have apparently valid reasons to disconnect from our parents, I suspect it just hasn’t hit her yet how toxic that relationship has been for her.

I’ve been there. I think I was past that point when I started reading this blog and I was ready to welcome everything that allowed me to confront the lies I’d been living with. I still have a hard time fully embracing the truth because the lies were a part of my life for so long.

As I said, I’m not sure that I’m right, and I’m not saying that anyone has said anything wrong. I think points have been well-made with a lot more respect than I’ve seen in other forums. I’m hoping that the light comes on for Sue because I suspect she’s almost ready to see it.



@Kris and Alaina,

Ditto about assertiveness. I’m working on doing that as well without the “help” from the mixed messages I received from my family. It’s easier for me to do it on the Web since it’s “faceless” and I find eye contact intimidating at times. I hope to improve on that offline like I am online.



As invalidating as Sue’s comments were, I can’t help but feel a bit sorry for her. She refuses to hold her parents responsible and she trivializes her own suffering. At least I can give her points for not repeating the cycle with her own offspring. Most people who protect their abusive caretakers and make light of their abusive pasts couldn’t care less about stopping the cycle. (My family members happen to fit in that category.)


Hi Hobie,

I agree with you that it hasn’t hit her (Sue) yet. As I stated I have a lot of empathy for her. It is in no way easy to change your perspective and see that what you experienced was abuse. I can only speak for myself…child abuse happened “out there”, it was something I knew about for a long time but it was removed from me, an unfortunate sociological phenomenon. I could not bear for that reality, that horribleness to be so close to me that yes, I was in the midst of it, I was experiencing it. I could not place myself in such a helpless, vulnerable position.

Sue has obviously suffered a great deal, and to my mind, continues to…if you cannot stand more than 15 minutes of exposure to a parent before you must bail out, there are major problems and major hurt being triggered. Like all of us, she went through a lot. What she said about not being called pretty touched me, because my sister was called ugly by our mother when she was 14 years old, and that in my view effects her to this day.

This is a hard road to be on. I was more offended by Judith telling Sue how she valued family, as if we do not. Oh, I value family. That’s why I stood so much horseshit for so long, because it came from family, my blood. I took more from them then I’d ever would from anyone else. But valuing family does not mean you bury your feelings and become a doormat. At the end of the day, my feelings of self worth am more important than my family’s agenda.


S1988 & Doren,

Thanks for your comments. You are validating what I felt. And you’re helping me believe I managed to say how I felt without being offensive to others who KNOW they’ve been stuck in toxic relationships. I really didn’t want to do that!


Loved what you said about valuing family! Exactly. One of the points that I am making here is that WHY is it okay to take nasty treatment from ‘family?” Why would family have any more rights than non family? Where does love fit into this? Love does not mean accepting any kind of abusive treatment.

Judith ~ I am not advocating for parents to take abuse from their children here either. I am advocating for healing, truth and the action of love. Many of us here have experienced a one way street; e.g.; my mother could treat me any way that she wanted but if I ever tried to speak to her about it I was told that I was a disrespectful and ungrateful daughter and was going to cause and be responsible for her next breakdown. Love doesn’t treat people that way. Sometimes parents DO have to draw boundaries with adult children ~ absolutely. 🙂

Hugs, Darlene


Thank You, Kris for your kind words and support.

Thank You, Darlene for all your insight, for having a forum where you feel able to open up and share your experiences. I think that is comforting in itself – we are not alone. I am NOT crazy for having these feelings and I think from only my perspective it is as you grow older and figure out things for yourself you realize more — I am the sane one to see the dysfunction — I think because growing up we are trying to find our way and the support system that should have been there helping wasn’t. But, it was all we knew and breaking from that is hard, even now as I have this realization it doesn’t make things easier. But, one of the quotes I have lived by is “I never said it would be easy, but that it would be worth it.” I know I have a long way to go, but I really feel I am on the right track.


Hi Into the Light,
I was reading your comments, relating to them, and then there was my name about an old post I wrote. It brought tears to my eyes a little to think something I wrote a while back that I’d forgotten about meant something to someone I don’t even know. It’s always nice when something I’ve said meant something to someone but you got me at one of those moments where it just struck me deeply—a reminder that I exist and have impact.

Is that maybe the difficulty of someone taking a parent’s side and seeing it as us ignoring them (for those of us who have gone no contact)? I think the hardest part of being without family (or of being in a family that discounts your experience) is the intense feeling of being alone, invisible and insignificant vs. the intense need to feel that you exist and what happens to you matters and the desire to mean something and be something of value to others.

Hi Hobie,
I actually feel that way with most confrontations that happen here. Sometimes they’re closer to truth than other times. But I always feel it as a kind of projection of an internal confrontation, something trying to get in and the desire to push it out. I think I’ve gone through so many confrontations with people who seemed so close to getting it (even family members) but then also so far away that…. I don’t know… it’s great if they come around but I suppose I’ve lost my belief that anybody will—at least not through conflict/confrontation (perhaps through their own searching, yes, but even that, holding any belief that a particular person will come around is way beyond me). I act in openness that they can—because that’s what I believe—but I guess I don’t believe that they will, not anymore. Maybe that’s sad? That I’ve lost hope in humanity to some degree? Ultimately I think people will come to the truth when/if they’re ready. And maybe we’re a rare breed? Most, if not all, of us had to skirt death for a while before we even got here to this openness. We had to see the truth or we were going to die or be emotionally dead for the rest of our lives. The stakes seem to have to be really dire. Otherwise people will trade in the truth for comfortable lies, ways of dealing, busy lives, coping mechanisms. This is how it seems to me. And it is sad. For all my life is/has been extraordinarily hard, going through all this, I feel that it has a meaning and truth that other people’s lives lack. They make due, find ways to be comfortable in compromises to their essential selves and that is enormously sad. Though we also face other kinds of costs for the choices we’ve made. Still, I wouldn’t trade in my life for the other way. I wouldn’t go back for the life of me. In terms of what happened here, I spoke up this time out of a pure feeling of protection. Sometimes I will speak up trying to get through to the person. This time it wasn’t about that for me. I just felt protective against what she was saying. All the love, understanding, knowledge and truth to get through to anyone already exists here on every page of this website. I think maybe people will either get it or they won’t. I hope they will. But I also throw my hands up, I guess. Anyhow… take care everyone


To Darlene Ouimet: Actually, the reason I did address
my comment to “everyone else” is that is the
only name she had up there and that was the only
way I knew to address her specifically. My comment
was meant for her and no one else. Therefore, I
was only explaining why I sent it to that particular
name; whether it was her screen name or just her way
of making sure “every one else” read her comment,
I had no way of knowing. I just wonder why my comment,
which really was not meant to hurt anyone’s feelings
has touched off such a firestorm.
I mean no harm to anyone. I’m NOT in denial. I know
I was mistreated. I know my parents have issues. I’ve
been through all of the crying, all of the talking,
all of the counseling and I’ve survived. And not only
that I’m thriving. The reason I’ve done that, with
God’s help, is because I’ve allowed myself to be healed
from deep hurt. It was no easier for me than for any of
you. I’ve also been honest with people I felt I could
trust. All I’m saying is I wasn’t happy about cutting my
parents out of my life. But I can understand if you,
whoever is reading this, decide to do that. You probably
have good reason. But don’t get mad at me because this
is the path I chose. Not everyone will agree with you
all the time, just as not everyone agrees with me. I’m
not mad at any one of you for coming against me.
Why are you so mad at me for being honest about my own


And now you are lying. Please remember that everything in this blog and in the comments is IN writing. In your first comment you state that you see your mother etc. In this new comment you state that all you are saying is that you were not happy about cutting your parents out of your life. Which is it???

Then you end your comment asking why people are mad at you for being honest about your situation. (but clearly you are NOT being honest)

This is a serious site and everyone here is working on a serious issue and I am wondering what your motive for being here actually is. I find the fact that you are completely changing your story now really weird and personally I have had enough.

Darlene Ouimet


Hi Alaina,

Yeah – I think I was wrong now. Now I’m disappointed in myself.

Sue (I am addressing you not claiming to be you),
You ask “Why are you so mad at me for being honest about my own situation?” The answer is that we aren’t mad at you for being honest about your own situation. We are defensive (which is a little different than angry) because you stated in your first post:

“It really hurts to see so many not in touch with family
members for years and even decades. I can see that a physically
abusive parent should be loved from a distance, but I can’t see
a parent being ignored forever for simply being insensitive.
Many people will go to work every day with abusive people,
narcissist, or grumpy bosses and learn to turn the other
cheek in order to keep their jobs. But when it comes to their
parents they have no problem forgetting they exist.”

I “snipped” the middle of your post to make the really insensitive comments stand out. Why should it really hurt you that some of us are not in touch with family members for years? How is that not a backhanded way of telling us we are somehow inferior to you because you “turn the other cheek” in spite of all the pain they continue to cause you? And all that stuff that I snipped sure made it sound like you were still having some difficulty with that.

But you are all healed and forgiving and want to make sure we know that if we weren’t sexually or physically abused, we have nothing to complain about.

Many of us have tried to very calmly tell you exactly what you are doing that expresses a serious lack of kindness, understanding, and compassion. What you see is that we are coming against you and that we are mad at you, but you’re not mad at us. I guess it doesn’t really feel like your mad at us, just like you’re better than us, well at least some of us, because it is inconceivable to you that ALL of the people posting here really had it THAT bad, like maybe worse than you did. If you can put up with your parents for 15 minutes once in a while, what’s wrong with us?

I don’t know if I can really put my finger on it without quoting everything you said back to you and somehow I doubt that you would see your phrases and sentences the way they really do.

Since you claim that you are NOT in denial, it must be us.

Enjoy all that healing and forgiveness you got there. Thanks for being honest with us.




I read this on-line about why we avoid eye contact and it makes sense:

For those who suffer deep guilt, shame or anxiety, eye contact feels dangerous—if you can see deep inside you’ll certainly reject me.

I think that is where my problem stems from. There is still shame lurking beneath that I still haven’t been able to work through yet and that same old underlying theme of fear of being rejected. That’s why I am afraid to speak up to begin with!! I catch my self looking away. I think the key is to make your self do it and see what happens to ya!!! It’s scary!!! The last time I caught my self looking down I was still too afraid to look afterwards. I don’t know what it is going to take. I guess building up our self confidence to the point where we are no longer afraid of these things. I never get how all of this stuff works anyway. I just keep on trying to do what I think will help. Read a lot of books, use this site and go to therapy twice a week and journal a lot.



I was the one who said “everyone else” to refer to those here. My screen name is S1988.

Anyway, I’m uncertain why you continue to exculpate your parents while trivializing your own feelings. I find that very sad, and hope you find true healing.

I do want to comment on what you said about the workplace. If you’re fed up with how you’re treated, you quit. You don’t have to endure bullying to keep your job. You find another one to your liking, then leave. I think that’s what abuse at home did to me. I would get an uncomfortable feeling about a manager, but shrug it off and tell myself, “That’s the way they are. I have to respect different styles.” But, there’s a difference between a quirk and toxic behavior. (A quirk doesn’t demean you.) It took months after I left those jobs to realize it was bullying I was experiencing, not “tough management”. Sometimes, I’m slow to pick up that I’m being abused until much later. I hope you don’t have a job where you’re treated like an omega wolf.



Sometimes they push you to it!!! lol

I think that there are also misconceptions about God’s role in all of this that are getting in the way of her being able to see things clearly.


In your comment #158 in reply to my comment #157 you
clearly misunderstood when I said I was not happy
about cutting my parents out of my life. That was
my fault…I did not make clear what I meant and
If you read between the lines, which you would not
have had to do if I had worded it the way I meant
to, was I was not happy at the THOUGHT of cutting
my parents out of my life. That was presented as
an option to me too. However, I, like every one here
had to make a choice. I could go one way or another.
I was wrong to think everyone could have or should
have chosen that way. I apologize to you for that.
No one should be abused for any reason. But I felt
the backlash that came from these hurting women towards
me when I was telling my own story was not warranted.
For those that claim I must be lying because I say
I no longer hold unforgiveness in my heart towards
my parents, or that I’m in “denial”, are doing the
same things some of your parents do to you that you hate.
You are telling me that I don’t know myself. You
are telling me what I am thinking is not valid or I
must have “ulterior” motives. Some of your
problems are with parents that
made you think you could not think for yourself. And
Darlene, I promise you I have NO ulterior motives in
my comments. Did you ever stop to think that maybe
somewhere in all of this, there is one person who
wants to keep a relationship with her mom or dad, or
both, but thinks there is no hope to do so. I am saying
it worked for me. I love my parents just as WE ALL DO.
It’s not that we don’t love them. It hurts because we
do love them. Whoever says I think I’m better than you,
believe me, that’s not what I think. I think you are
braver than me in some ways. It would take a lot of
courage to separate from parents when necessary.
Some of you did the harder thing just to keep your sanity.
If there is one person who would like to reconcile with
their parents and willing to take that route, I’ll bet she’ll
be too afraid to say anything on here. If she does, she
might get the same backlash I did. If this is truly about
helping hurting women, maybe you should be offering more
options to those that may not want to cut off relationships
with their families. Don’t assume someone is “lying” about
their true feelings because you don’t feel exactly the same.
Some of you are doing the same things you accused me of doing
in my first comment. And Hobie, if God’s role in all of
this is getting “in the way” of me being able to see
things clearly, what you really meant is because I don’t see
it like you do, I must be wrong and you must be right. However,
because of Him, I can see this clearly, I’m not overlooking
anything they have done to me, and yet I am no longer angry
about it. Would I be a better person if I was angry all the time?
Because I’m not it makes it easier to label me a “liar”
and in “denial” when I see things more clearly now than I
ever did, and yet I will not let it keep me in its grasp.
If you feel you must separate from family that refuses to
change, then do so. You have that right. But don’t get mad
because I chose another way.



so much of what you write, I can relate to. When you speak in #147 of your parents decimating who you were out of their own fears, yes that’s how I feel too about my parents. My self esteem was crushed before I was 10 years old and 40+ years later I’m still working on getting it back. They had two beautiful bright girls and they mangled them inside because they could not, would not deal with their own trauma. I understand they came from a time and place that heavily stigmatized mental health treatment but still, how do you sit there and watch your children decline and not move heaven and earth to help them? Well, when you throw them under the bus because it’s that or deal with yourself, that is cowardly and a crime.

So, my parents’ behaviour had to be “normal” at all times because now THEY were top of the pecking order and too bad so sad if their girls got angry at their treatment or were clearly becoming broken people like they were. At least they were THE PARENTS now and untouchable. When I spoke my mind to my narcissistic mother—not realizing as a teenager how futile that was—well that meant I was disrespectful and undermining and sick in the head and a problem, because I was somehow questioning their glorious “normalcy”. Yes as you say, we had to be just like them or else we were trouble. So I got called weak for having an eating disorder when my father had one too and pretty much groomed me to have it, doing things like throwing me a bag of chips when I came to him and told him I had no friends and was lonely. They laughed and rolled their eyes when I was 14 and said I’d be out of the house by 20, like sure kid, but when I did move out at 19 my father got mad and said I was giving money to a stranger. Just crazy-making.

Like you I was top of the class until high school and then it turned to shit and I discovered alcohol and my Dad’s pills along with the food. I became really withdrawn by then and a couple of times I caught a teacher staring at me wondering what was up with me, but they never approached me. And those looks too made me feel like something must be wrong with me, they must see how gross and wrong I am. There wasn’t anybody advocating for me and though I was so hurt and angry by their treatment I also internalized it as the truth. It takes so much work to overcome this brainwashing. I’m still struggling with the truth that who I am is day to the night my parents and sister saw. Still struggling with the idea that people like me and that I am a competent person. That is why I don’t trust when people like my sister say, “Oh, I’ve let it go, I’m past it, I’ve forgiven”, when meanwhile they can’t bear to go there, or have never gotten help, or in my case continue to treat me like shit, as if I had done worse to my sister than they had. It’s an insult to those who’ve done so much work to FACE things and I am not fooled.

I’ve got the angries right now and had to get that off of me! Just want to say I can relate to much of what you post Kris, and thanks for helping me.


I called you a liar because your story (the way you wrote it) so drastically changed. You yourself apologized and admitted that was your fault.
It isn’t that you are choosing another way from people here that is offensive, it is the way that you look down on the choices others have had. Read your comments.
I would like for you to read a lot more of this blog and the comments here before you continue making the kinds of comments you are making as you continue to offend with comments full of assumptions and false conclusions. Here are a few points;
~ There is a huge difference between angry and hurt.
~Going no contact with parents is NOT the goal in healing and I have never presented it in such a way.
~There are many many people here who have relationship with their parents and are supported in doing so. My work supports people in making their own choices and having permission to think for themselves. No one is upset that you have a relationship with your parents and this has nothing to do with the way you ‘see it’ or because you ‘chose another way’. This has to do with your attitude towards the way other people see it.
~my mother stopped talking to me when I asked for mutual respect.
~We are talking about saying NO to abuse of any kind here.


Hi Fay
Yes you are on the right track!
It was huge for me to realize that I was not crazy. Today I see things 1000 times more clearly. I see so clearly how logical, courageous, difficult and brilliant it is to be able to stand up to the dysfunction.
Thank you for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


I totally get what you shared about eye contact. I had to really think about where my guilt and shame ca=me from and it came from the way that I was taught to think about myself through the ways I was treated and regarded but it wasn’t the truth about me. My self confidence came from seeing the lies and rejecting the definition of me that was put on me by other people.
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


“I love my parents just as WE ALL DO…”

But what if you don’t love them? For me, it’s difficult to love a mother who contradicts herself and blames me for hurting her. I also don’t feel anything for my father because I haven’t seen him much because of my parents’ separation and divorce, plus he’s only interested in getting me on his side with his grudge war against my mother.

I wish I could love them, but their dysfunctions make it impossible. I can’t make myself feel something that isn’t there. It may sound harsh to some, but at least I’m being honest. I don’t hate them, but I don’t feel love either.


I don’t know why I am all of a sudden remembering all the cruel names my mother called me, but here is a partial list:

Little witch
Little b*$ch
Grumpy (and she always used to say when I came into the room, ‘Here comes Grumpy!’)
Ungrateful witch
Ungrateful b*$ch

I’m sure there are more but I have tried to block them out. 🙁 Those things take such a long time to ‘unremember’, but I am succeeding more each day. Meaning, not that I don’t remember that she called me those names, but I’m trying to disassociate myself from their effect and their meaning.

As for the eye contact, that’s so strange that many of you brought it up because I was JUST THIS WEEK realizing how much I never give eye contact to men. It’s even difficult for me to look my husband in the eye. So strange. I JUST THIS WEEK determined that I would try to change that.

I am once again thankful for this site.


Sue (163)

There are many people on this blog who are in touch with their parents or would like to be, and who love their parents or wish they could. No one is criticized for that or for their choices. You say otherwise–so cite which topic and comment numbers support your accusations.

I’ve spent hundreds of hours reading EFB topics and comments and never found hypocrisy in Darlene’s writings–she is consistent, stable and fair. If anyone criticizes or orders around another commenter, Darlene stops it. She threw one bully off the site and warmly congratulated another who left because she found that her mother meant well and loved her.

You mistakenly spoke for all of us when you say “We all love our parents”. We do not have to love people who consistently and purposefully hurt us–it can be as self destructive as walking into a fire or jumping off a cliff.

Your comments seem disordered. At least please stop pulling accusations out of the air and base what you say on supportable facts.


I’m just stepping into this conversation, I haven’t read all comments because of time limits. What I can say to encourage all of us here seeking validation, healing and peace is this is a safe place to express feelings, and I need to remember that we all have our own experiences. I would love it if my family was normal and respected all it’s members but it doesn’t. It’s toxic especially to me, it’s scape goat. I believe we all are carrying a pain in our hearts for those we love, or at least want to love, but aren’t able to because of the unhethy nature of the relationship. Because we are all in some level of discomfort (which comes and goes) we as a group respect that and speak to (or write) as we would want to be spoken to.

I will say I was stunned to hear you, our “moderater”, use the strong and very emotionally charged words “lying” and “liar” when addressing Sue. There really was no need for that. Addressing her statements as being inconsistent would perhaps be a better way to address someone who might be in tremendous pain and experiencing “the spin”.

We aren’t therapists here. Even Darlene is just one in the group (or we would be paying her). Sharing experience, strength and hope; receiving validation is what I seek and find here. Trying to “fix” each other…this isn’t the place.


Hi Sue,
Here are the words you wrote that I believed caused all the upset:

First, what Hobie pointed out.

“It really hurts to see so many not in touch with family
members for years and even decades. I can see that a physically
abusive parent should be loved from a distance, but I can’t see
a parent being ignored forever for simply being insensitive.
Many people will go to work every day with abusive people,
narcissist, or grumpy bosses and learn to turn the other
cheek in order to keep their jobs. But when it comes to their
parents they have no problem forgetting they exist.” – See more at:


There are some that have been sexually abused, physically abused, etc…You know who you are. You were not the ones I was addressing. Of course there will be times when it is appropriate to walk away from those relationships where your parents were destructive to you. Sometimes its a father that molested his daughter and sometimes its a mother that closed her eyes to the abuse. – See more at:


But you must admit that there are some on here, maybe just a couple, who have walked away without good cause. – See more at:

You changed your words later to also include emotional abuse being good enough cause in certain scenarios… You keep changing your words in fact.

Obviously when you’re telling people they don’t have good enough cause for the choices they’ve made, you’re picking a fight with them. When I read that, a part of me thought, “well, at least have the guts to name names then if you’re going to say that” because otherwise anyone who wasn’t physically or sexually abused or anyone whose emotional abuse seemed somewhat on par with what you went through (but has no contact now with their parents) would feel accused by you.

It’s not about us having a problem with your choice. It’s about you having a problem with ours.

Then people came up with theories as to why you would project this onto us, why you would accuse us of not having good cause. They made what you felt to be wrongful assumptions about your emotional/psychological state. Fair enough. Nobody likes to have others make psychological assessments about them as if others know the truth of your life. But do you understand how you started this?

You did apologize here in the midst of your comments, stating, However, I, like every one here had to make a choice. I could go one way or another. I was wrong to think everyone could have or should have chosen that way. I apologize to you for that. – See more at:

The only problem is that it was an apology couched around so much other stuff that did not recognize the chronology of your comments and how they have changed from your first comments to your last comments, that seemed to not understand that nobody here started to question your choices and ways of dealing in life just out of nowhere. It came as a result of you minimizing and invalidating other people’s experiences and choices, and them (us) feeling that that was perhaps likely a reflection of the ineffectiveness of how you’ve dealt with things, which is not really about cutting off or not cutting off. It’s important to understand that distinction. I’m not sure but I believe that most people who have cut off did so after holding their parents responsible, trying to make things work (for years), trying to address and solve the problems, and the parents’ choice to disrespect all that, making it impossible to move forward. A lot of us kept the door open for our parents. I chose to close the door after they continued to disrespect my boundaries, I was having other problems in my life and could not cope with their intrusions.

Anyway, that’s all. Take care,


Mary Grace
~ you better read ALL the comments if you are going to reprimand me.

and by the way, I might do this blog for free (free to you but I pay all the costs to run it and believe me some days I have to remind myself of the bigger picture) but I do this work for a living.



Hi Davina
Thank you for your validation. I really appreciate it.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Danielle
Sometimes we remember when we are strong enough to remember. Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


I understand you do this for living.
We are are all equal HERE, though…right??

Using the words liar and lying in a group where we are recovering from the abusive use of these words seems counter productive.
I am not “reprimanding” you, Darlene. I am expressing the feelings that came up for me, one of your readers.
If I were new to this blog and saw that I might not come back.


Of course we are all equally valuable here, that is not the point. My mother is equally valuable too but that doesn’t mean that she tells the truth.
This is about the truth. I have had unbelievable things happen on this blog. Just like in the ‘real world’ there have been abusers, predators, bullies etc. here stirring up trouble for kicks. There have been parents here who’s only purpose is to shame and guilt the people here sharing about our pain and struggle to find freedom and wholeness.

I understand your reaction to my strong comments ~ please read ALL the comments so that you are able to make an informed decision and so that your feelings come from the truth about the situation.

Thanks, hugs, Darlene


Thank you, I understand.
Will do.




Thanks Mary-Grace

I just realized what ‘got to me’ about your post. When you said that you had not read all the comments, but then you made a judgement, it reminded me of all the times that people say “but that is your mother” and how I was told to ‘pray for the abuser’ before I was even permitted to tell the story. I was always told that I was wrong, that my actions were wrong and that my response was wrong. Articulating (to Mary-Grace) what my higher purpose here is helped me realize a few things at a deeper level and now I will be able to communicate even better about this whole message. And that is really awesome!

Thanks everyone. I am taking the rest of the day off! Time for a little self-care. 🙂
Hugs, Darlene



You said: “And Hobie, if God’s role in all of
this is getting “in the way” of me being able to see
things clearly, what you really meant is because I don’t see
it like you do, I must be wrong and you must be right. However,
because of Him, I can see this clearly, I’m not overlooking
anything they have done to me, and yet I am no longer angry
about it. Would I be a better person if I was angry all the time?
Because I’m not it makes it easier to label me a “liar”
and in “denial” when I see things more clearly now than I
ever did, and yet I will not let it keep me in its grasp.
If you feel you must separate from family that refuses to
change, then do so. You have that right. But don’t get mad
because I chose another way.” – See more at:

Just for the record Kris made the statement about God’s role in this in comment #162. I’ve also avoided addressing the “God issue” because I don’t like the way those discussions usually turn out.

Now the really offensive thing that you did besides addressing the wrong person again, is that you said, “what you really meant is…”

Now it actually is kind of handy that I didn’t make the statement because I don’t KNOW what Kris really meant, so how can you know?

The rest of that statement is interesting “…because I don’t see it like you do, I must be wrong and you must be right.”

Then you go on to explain that because God made it clear to you…well it comes across to me that you are saying that I must be wrong and you must be right.

You also seem to assume that I’m angry all the time and I’m mad at you.

You are doing to me personally in the quoted excerpt of your comment EXACTLY what you DO NOT LIKE anyone doing to you.

In all honesty, I believe that hypocrisy makes God angry, especially if you involve His Name in it.

“Do to others as you’d have them do to you.” (Luke 6:31)


That is a great observation, and I can totally see the parallel.
I will most certainly pay attention to my “jumping-in” in life and on the blog.
I learned something new about me today–I have blind spots. Lol
I apologize for not hearing whole story before chiming in.

I got nothing but HUGE love for you, Ms Darlene!



Darlene Quimet….
thank you for being honest and straight forward.

If someone twists the truth or outright states an untruth, They are lying, thus a liar.

If someone steals they are a thief.
Drinking problem, an Alcoholic
Drug problem, a substance abuser, or Drug Addict.

If it quacks like a duck, looks like a duck…….

No need to sugarcoat the truth!
The truth will set some of us free, if we face the truth.

I’ve faced truths about myself, and know I am stronger wiser and less broken because I am not in denial regarding my weaknesses, thoughts, and attitudes –

My being human-no longer striving to be perfect or ” better” than others to satisfy my ego.

Thank you again.



I read your comment. Well said.

To anyone else not A.K.A “Everyone Else”!!!! lol lol lol

Regarding my name being thrown into this mix. I stand by what I said. My only regret is that I didn’t keep my mouth shut like I first said I was going to do when it came to continuing to comment when Sue spoke. Sorry for that… believe me!!! Old habits die hard. If I want the chaos in my life to stop I can’t feed into it either. And another mistake I made was not going directly to the source of my contention. So this message is for you Sue.

I wish you well but I can no longer comment with you until I feel like you are being honest here because without that there is no way of making any progress and that’s not going to help you or me to heal and I refuse to subject my self to being lied to because it is disrespectful to me and I am no longer allowing my self to be treated that way.

It really is ok to agree to disagree!!! You just have to be accountable when you are the one who did something wrong and all will be good.


I get what you are saying about not “loving” your parents. I wouldn’t call what I feel for my parents love anymore either. I think it is more pity then anything else at this point. Once I broke through the fantasy worlds that I had to put both of them in when I was a child in order to survive their abuse I think that’s when things changed for me. I finally saw them for “who” they really were instead of the way that I wanted them to be and with that came the reality that they never really did love me to begin with. I think once I accepted that reality that is when things started to change inside of me. I just don’t see them the same way anymore and that is a hard reality to accept because I think that there will always be a part of me that will still want their love no matter what they did to me and that is what I think still hurts because I know that I will never be able to get it now because now I am no longer lying to my self.



Hi everyone! Since Darlene’s blog post is about labelling I would like to ask you if you have experienced your intentions being (wrongly) labelled.
For example, if your family asked you to do something but you forgot to do it for whatever innocent reason but they tell you that it wasn’t because you forgot but because you’re selfish and only think of yourself. Or if they ask you to do something and you say no because you can’t (not enough time, already made other plans or maybe it’s just something that you don’t feel comfortable doing etc.) but they act as if you’re saying no on purpose just to make their lives difficult. They assign a motive/intention that just isn’t there and no matter how much you try to explain to them that your choice/decision has nothing to do with harming them they won’t hear of it.
It then makes it extremely difficult to say no to people or to accept yourself or practice self-care because you keep thinking that maybe they’re right… maybe you are just really selfish and uncaring underneath it all…


Hi Cherry,

Wow! I am so familiar with exactly what you’re talking about. If I didn’t just do the wrong thing, or a bad job at the right thing, (if I actually did something good or right), I did it for the wrong reason! I still struggle with that a lot.

I lived for so long under a code of silence that once I found my voice, I found myself babbling on and on. I am afraid that I’m going to drive people absolutely bonkers, and all the people who’ve shown up in my life and mean so much to me now are going to run off covering their ears. Those words you mention – selfish and uncaring – that’s what I hear in the back of my head. I hope that this running at the mouth thing is going to slow down soon! I really don’t want to push people away, well a few maybe, but not everyone!

I’m guessing that the fact that it bothers you to think you may be selfish and uncaring points to it being unlikely that you actually are uncaring. I think they say things like that because they know you’ll try harder, and often, they just want that control over you.



It’s even worse when you’re living with them. That how it was when I was living with my mother seven months ago. She would constantly ask for favors, and if I said no or encouraged her to find a solution on her own, I would catch it faster than a cold with guilt trips or scolding, and then give in. I’m glad that’s over.

That’s part of the reason why I’m a loner. I’m able to do what I want, when I want without someone constantly wanting to take advantage of me someway or invading my space. I prefer a semi-hermit lifestyle to a toxic relationship.


I was thinking… I appreciated what you wrote there… but I was also thinking how everything we did/said here was what we needed to do in order to deal with the situation and ultimately we should be proud of ourselves for standing up for ourselves and having the courage to not let ourselves be oppressed by her—to keep talking if we needed to keep talking. If there was another venue where we could go to talk amongst ourselves without her around to read, where we could vent our frustration, validate each other’s feelings and impressions and come to conclusions and decisions on how to approach the problem, yes, that would be cool, but I also think it’s cool that we had the courage to go through all this as we did, through the difficulties, through the triggers. And sometimes people need to be humbled. I thought about myself if I was in Sue’s shoes and if at the end of it all I came to understand what I did wrong. Ideally, I’d put my bruised ego aside. However much it sucks to be talked about, I’d realize there might also be truth in what people are saying. I think when you take responsibility for yourself, you recognize what you did wrong, you apologize, you change your behaviour and you also look into yourself to figure out why you behaved the way you did. I think that last part is completely crucial, so I do think that a lot of our conversation here, while it obviously provoked her (thereby causing us even more problems/stress and expending more of our energy), still had value. Some of what we said might have been wrong and some might have been right. A healthier, secure person would be able to dismiss what they knew was wrong (without being reactionary) and also consider what might be right and perhaps even go further to be more specific in figuring out what was at the heart of the matter in terms of motivation—what propelled her to invalidate and disrespect other people…. Someone who could see that none of this is really personal and that the point is growth and resolution and all of us counting as equals…. For such a person there’d be value in everything that happened in this conversation, in taking a look at it, learning from it, finding the truth and seeing it for what it is and what it’s worth, even if it’s ugly… And for us, I think we probably needed to talk and try to figure out what was going on with her (to the best of our abilities) so we could have a handle on things, and to push her out of the boundaries she broke into, so we could say it’s her, not us, and that’ important—because it was her, not us. We shouldn’t have to censor ourselves if we need to get stuff out of our system when someone has disrespected us just because of the threat that it might set her off again. I mean, we have to take care of ourselves and walk away when it’s what we need to do for ourselves, but we shouldn’t let the threat of her reaction stop us from speaking the truth… Anyway, that’s that… I’m on board with exactly what you said to Sue in your last comments. Totally. It’s up to her what she wants to do.


Cherry, yes, the good old guilt trip! My mother excelled at this. It is a manipulative method that almost guarantees that she gets her way. She knew I was very sensitive to approval and that labels really hurt me, so all she had to do was label me as selfish and then throw in some blame too because she knew I always accepted the blame. ” if you don’t do this for me then I have no one else to count on!” Bingo! I would feel really rotten if I said ” no”! One of the first times I mustered up the courage to say NO was when my first baby was due. My mother wanted to come in, with her crazy third husband and stay with me for a week. It was also Christmas time. So she said, we’ll be having Christmas at your house, right? She was asking the impossible of me. I would have a newborn and be getting up in the middle of the night to feed him,plus entertaining, doing Christmas AND putting up with their drama. They fought all the time and tried to drag others in to take sides. I knew I couldn’t handle this so I said no. Then out came guilt trips. I’m depriving her of her first grandchild, I’m spoiling Christmas, I’m selfish! But I held my ground! My husband and brothers backed me up. She finally decided to stay with one of her husbands relatives….hello! Couldn’t she have thought if that earlier? No, because she never had my best interests in mind, only hers.



Good for you for standing your ground! You are also very lucky to have other family members who defend you. In my family, I’m on my own since members either side with my mother, or want me as an ally in a feud.

You mentioned one of the reasons why I remain childless. I can picture my mother saying, “I don’t care if you don’t want to see me, but don’t deprive your son/daughter from a grandmother.” (Shudder!) Sends shivers down my spine. They put so much emphasis on family it’s creepy. That’s something I don’t want to worry about, especially since she’s in the same town as me for the time being.



I was constantly talking about me and my recovery to my best friend all the time but at that time this was what my life was all about and I remember my one therapist saying to me that there will be times when your friends will go through something too. Where you will hear the same thing over and over again too. She asked me do you feel like they are a burden or do you just want to help them?? I said I don’t think anything of it. I want to help them and she said how come it is different when you are the person who needs help???

I had to get over the sick mind set that told me “what is happening to me doesn’t count” and “who wants to hear about me and my problems” along with “I should be able to figure this out on my own and never ask anyone for help!!” … because I can tell you it wasn’t my friend complaining about hearing me talk it was me! She was just happy to be there and help. I was the one who had to break through those sick mind sets and part of what Cherry wrote about fed into that too. I was supposed to drop everything that I wanted to do for them at the drop of a dime but when it came time for them to pick me up from being in the hospital they said I will see ya after dinner later tonight!!! They weren’t worried about me and how I felt. All they worried about was shutting dad up and not interfering with his 6 o’clock dinner time. Now I see just how sick it all is and how little I counted when it came down to dealing with them.

The fact that you recognize that “maybe” you are talking too much tells me that you are a considerate person. You are thinking about them. Eventually it will all even out and if you think that you are talking to much maybe you want to mention that to them and see what they say. They have a voice too!! I suspect that they are just like my friend who understands when I am going through a hard time and makes allowances for me just like I do for her!! It’s nice being around someone who genuinely cares about me and my best interest instead of it always being about them like it was with my parents. There is an even reciprocation now. A balance to it. Love and caring instead of it always being about “me me me” like it was with my parents.


Thank you Kris!

My fear that I talk to much is definitely fueled by my family’s response to me. The outright refused to listen to me unless I was saying what they wanted to hear. My mom actually called once and said “how are you?” out of habit, and immediately followed it by saying, “just tell me that you’re fine.”

One woman that I talk with the most, apologizes when she talks a lot too. We probably take turns and hopefully support each other through our struggles.




I look at this site as a learning tool and a support system for me and everyone else. I wouldn’t change one thing that went down regarding our conversations with Sue. I felt like we all did what we needed to do and there was no right or wrong answer to it because at the end of the day we are all learning a new healthier way of dealing with things and that takes time to develop. It wasn’t personal to me. It was about me learning how to set up my own boundaries and do what I thought was right for me and for Sue even though she might not look at it this way but that’s ok too.

I want to share what I learned from all of this in hopes that it will help someone else out. There were a lot of sick mind sets that got in the way of me seeing things for how they really were. Before I go on please note that I am not trying to point any fingers here. It is a generalization that the events on this site brought to my conscious awareness that I am very thankful for!! My intention is that sharing this might help someone else.

As I read back through all the posts it hit me that I was enabling poor behavior that was staring me right in the face yet I still tried to make umpteen excuses in my head for it and I had to ask my self why I felt the need to keep on doing this throughout my life and what I found out is it all stemmed from my mother telling me to just “ignore it” when my father and brother were abusing me that didn’t allow for me to be able to recognize it when other people did it to me too… setting me up for a lifetime of being everyone else’s doormat because I couldn’t see what was staring me right in the face due to my mother’s brainwashing of me. I was also taught to “put up and shut up” or that person was going to leave me if I didn’t so I kept my mouth shut because who wants to be alone and my self worth and self esteem went right down the proverbial toilet by holding onto these sick mind sets.

Then the realization hit me that if I really want to help someone out I need to call them out on their crap or I am just enabling their poor behavior like my own mother did and that isn’t helping anyone out but being able to do this involved going against all the sick mind sets that my mother taught me so it felt uncomfortable to me and I felt like I was doing something wrong and the truth is sometimes it does mean losing someone but if they aren’t willing to respect you to begin with you are better off without having them in your life…at least I maintain my self worth in the end.

Last night I took a step towards changing that sick mind set into a healthier way of communicating. I flubbed up along the way and I apologized for it but now maybe the next time something like this happens I will be better equipped to handle it. Replacing a sick way of thinking with a new healthier one takes time and some practice. This site allows me to be able to do this because for the majority of people here they know how I was affected by being abused because they are struggling with the same warped belief systems too and that provides for a safe environment to test out the waters so to speak which allows for us to forgive one another when we admit when we did something wrong because most likely we did it ourselves too!! That is how you keep the peace by being understanding and caring not criticizing and accusatory and I have been guilty of all of this so no judgment here!!!

Alaina, I remember how you anguished over whether or not you were being to harsh with someone on this site before and that tells me you have a big heart and it matters to you if you hurt someone else’s feelings. I feel the same way but that doesn’t mean anyone gets to take advantage of my kindness and lie to me without owning up to it and I felt like that was what was being done to me by Sue but due to my own issues getting in the way I wasn’t able to piece this whole thing together until now.

I am happy with how I finally handled this situation with Sue and if you are reading my post Sue, I welcome the day when we can have a mutually respectful conversation that involves accountability and love where we can accept each others opinion without feeling threatened in some way due to some aspect of abuse stemming from our childhoods getting in the way because in the end that is what happened here and we have the opportunity on this site to change that around so I hope that you are willing to try and do this by being accountable for your own role in all of this because in the end that is the only way that you will ever progress. I have moved on feeling good. My wish is that you can do the same thing because I don’t think you feel that way right now and you are missing out and I want you to feel the same freedom that I do and I don’t care whether or not you see your mother!!! It has no bearing on any of this. Like I said before. It is about knowing your own self worth. That is my opinion. Take it or leave it because now it no longer offends me if you don’t!! I want that same thing for you too.




I can relate to what you are saying just this morning I had a message from my youngest brother who said I had a choice and I chose hate – after talking to him before and telling him I don’t hate my Dad, but that I was hurt and disappointed – I do think it is a way of manipulating me either by provoking me to argue with him, but it is like everything I say to him is not being heard and I told him I just expected understanding from him not his judgements.

It does make me angry and I don’t want that in my life — that is the reason I went NC with my Dad, because if I kept accepting his behavior it would have been a constant battle, and I read that is exactly what they want (a narcissist) they will never apologize. But, not only is he a narcissist I think he is schizophrenic. I can accept that and continue NC with him, but now family members want to blame me for not “reconciling” with him they want me to doubt my feelings and cause me to feel guilty it just makes me think I will be having no contact with my entire family and that does hurt and angers me all the same time – when I thought they would understand I think it is because they are ashamed and don’t want the world to know how messed up things really are, oh and by the way my younger brother is also a pastor so I think his motives are this and more.

How do you deal with this? I have them all on FB still and have thought about airing it there but I don’t want that or thought about deleting them and I don’t want to do that either, because then they will say it is all me — I have been doing fine but, now it is getting harder.


Thank you, Kris, I liked what you wrote and relate totally. I often feel my heart torn apart between my sense of morality and what I know is right and true, what needs to be said, what needs to be done, and then the knowledge that the other person is not going to get it, that their own issues are going to make it so the truth, no matter how compassionate you try to be, no matter where your heart, becomes an attack on their very being. And no matter how well I try to articulate myself and no matter how much intelligence the person may seem to have at other moments, I’m often faced with this feeling of them having some kind of strange and serious comprehension problems. YOu can say something over and over and it’s very logical and straight forward. You can expand on it or reduce it to the essential but it doesn’t matter. In my family, I was always waiting. It tends to be the way I deal with dysfunction a lot of the time—observe, wait and see, maybe in time they’ll change or there will be an opening finally when I’ll know they’ll be ready to hear it (because you kind of have a sense when people are not open to hearing you and when they might be). But then I’d wait and wait and I lose my life and I get sicker and the time when they were ready never came. In essence, why would it? If it works for them, why would they ever want to face the harder way (than getting to have things the way they want, behave the way they want)? So now I know you just have to do what’s right by you, what you know is good and true, no matter what. Keep trying, even if you get things wrong, you keep adjusting and you know ultimately that you’re aiming in the right direction or at least intending to, so that when you become aware that you’ve gone off, you try to right yourself. That’s about as best as any of us can do and like you said, there’s no perfect way. I have no doubt that our hearts are in the right place. We’re good people… I have quite a bit of pain and a hard time because of my dad making me out to be an uncaring, terrible person, terrible sister, aunt. It was such a lie because I gave all of myself up to them. They taught me to give myself over to them (and in essence to anyone, particularly anyone who replicated their form of dysfunction). Because I cut off contact from my parents for two and a half years and my brother, a year, before reconnecting trying to work things out, my cutting off was seen as me being uncaring as opposed to me trying to save my life… They really do a number on us, getting us to believe that we’re the problem, we’re the abusers, the controllers, the mean ones, the people who have no compassion, no morality. It’s sick

I’m not sure what all I learned from all this for the next time. I wasn’t a part of the conversation at first. I read her first comments when they showed up in my inbox, didn’t like them, but I didn’t respond. I had my life and it wasn’t important to me that some person would say some stupid things, although I don’t like when people come on here and say these unhelpful things. But then she reiterated herself and S1988 spoke up against it and I wanted to back her up. I wanted there to be more voices against this kind of crap because it affects people and hinders healing. When I get involved, though, of course emotions get involved, too. It’s impossible for this to be a completely intellectual endeavour. Sometimes I think the more I do this, the better I’ll get at it, the less affected I’ll be. But my heart isn’t going to callous over. I’d like to keep things shorter and to the point because I usually end up resenting all the time and effort I’ve gone into saying things to a person who isn’t hearing anything anyway, when I’d rather put my energy into communicating with people where real communication happens. And certainly the more time/energy I put into these things the more my heart is affected. Sometimes I feel like my brain is an inattentive adult who is walking too fast, holding the hand of a little girl (my heart) that’s trying to keep up, skidding her shoes and getting tired, asking me to let her rest a while, please.


Reading over everything I’m wondering if the real heart of the problem has to do with how consistently some people refuse to hear us.

Sometimes harsh things need to be said and I don’t want to expect people to tiptoe around me. But sometimes the harsh things people say are way off base and they insist on their viewpoint without any willingness to consider the possibility that they may be wrong. I think that’s where I start getting really hurt, and where relationships need to end.

I’ve had the disappointing experience of possibly ending a relationship with someone that I still don’t consider a narcissist or empathy-less person at heart, but has reached such a point of learned helplessness that she can’t hear anything. While she actually does have needs that she can’t meet by herself, she has become totally dependent on others without even seeming to attempt to take care of herself.

She posts everything she needs to Facebook at her crisis points, which are frequent. “I need food for dinner tonight because the local food pantry can’t help me until tomorrow.” And this happens a few days after she asks someone to pick up mums for her yard and someone to plant them and mulch for her, and it appears she is able to afford those items. I can’t help wondering why did didn’t notice that she needed food to last more than 3 days when she was asking for mums. She has been in medical facilities for 5 months and has not yet been able to walk on her own, so I understand what she is genuinely unable to do.

I’ve now known her long enough to have seen her spend whatever money happens to be available to her on what she wants at the moment, such as collectibles, knick-knacks, high end personal care products, and expensive housewares. When she then cries that she can’t afford more basic needs like food, she thinks people should come running to help her or they don’t care and they are “judging her”. And by the way, “could you please bring fresh fruit and vegetables because I’m trying to eat healthy!” She weighs well over 300 lbs. Please keep in mind I don’t want to list EVERYTHING that she has bought to prove my point.

I got angry enough to tell her directly that I did not have enough money myself to help her because I had to do without flowers for the yard and the list of things that she has around HER house to make sure we could pay our mortgage, taxes, and groceries. I’m not willing to think about what I can do without to bail her out when she isn’t willing to consider her priorities.

She didn’t get it. She doesn’t understand why I’m mad at her for asking for help for her needs because if she doesn’t tell anyone how will they know? She cries, says that she’s sorry, that she’s a horrible person, then asks me why I’m being so mean to her. Then she starts saying “I’m sorry” to my friends that helped her or that she asked to help her as if THEY had complained about her. And she posts about why do people judge her and why are they offended that she says what she needs when she’s only asking for prayer. But she isn’t asking for prayer. She is asking for hand outs, or failing miserably to make it clear that she just wants prayer.

Anyway, it’s driving me crazy. It’s the last thing I wanted to do, but I couldn’t stand hearing one more request for help or one more apology followed by some justification.


Thanks everyone for your responses! You try to live your own life in peace, not hurting anyone… all you want is to do decide for yourself what to do with your time and energy but you’re made to feel like that’s awful and selfish. That unless you’re at their beck and call, emotionally and physically, then you’re a terrible person. Like Darlene says, we are taught that love is obedience, that our goodness is dependent on how much we do for others… and not surprisingly it’s never enough!!
The other thing I realised is that they don’t actually want you to improve even if they insist they do. So if you’ve been told that you’re selfish or lazy or incompetent or needy (or anything else) and how much happier they would be if you were more helpful, smarter, capable, independent they don’t actually mean it. Because if we do they will no longer be able to use you to boost their own self-esteem. I think it’s mostly subconscious… so while they go on about how weak and stupid you are and can you just stop, really they don’t want you to because then they wont be able to feel superior by comparison and that’s why any ‘improvements’ we make are never good enough. Or they just find another thing to complain about.
But the truth is, there was never anything to fix with us in the first place!! Whatever they called us… it was all lies. We are all wonderful, capable human beings!
One resource I found very helpful in realising and believing this is the practice of self-compassion (part of self-validation). Please check out this site if you’re interested There are lots of resources there and I have found it extremely useful.



Wow! I never thought of it that way, that they pay lip service for us to improve, but secretly enjoy giving constant criticism. I guess that’s why no matter how hard I try to win my mother’s approval, I could never reach my older siblings’ level. But what about those who seem to barely get picked on? My brother is a hateful bully to his wife and three sons, but my mother sees him as Father of the Year. My sister is in school working towards her Ph.D., and my mother praises her for it because she didn’t accomplish that while looking down on me for dropping out of college because it wasn’t to my liking. I suppose some abusive parents like to have some offspring that are trophies and other offspring that they could kick around whenever it suits them.

Maybe it’s best to teach this “friend” of yours a hard lesson by not giving into her demands. She needs to find solutions on her own instead of leeching off of others. Sounds a bit like my mother. When she’s not a narcissistic control freak, she acts as if she wants me to be her substitute parent. She’s volatile that way.



This “friend” earned the privilege of being blocked on Facebook. She is essentially phobic about talking on the telephone so she won’t call me, and she hasn’t tried to text me, so I’m out of range of her demands. I told her as clearly as I could what upset me. She just kept hearing something different. A lot of work might get her to behave better with me, but if her attitude doesn’t change, I’ll be battling her behavior as long as I know her.

I’m giving up on relationships with people who don’t have a cooperative attitude, because the only thing left to do with a person with a bad attitude is attempt to manage their behavior in my presence. That’s a lot of work for very little reward. I’d rather let them keep their attitude and behavior someplace else.




Your post reminded me when last year my brother told me that I still had some axe to grind with my father regarding him being an alcoholic when we grew up. The only thing I said to my brother is you aren’t going to treat me and my Dissociative Identity Disorder like the white elephant in the room like we did dad’s alcoholism because none of my FOO have acknowledged anything and it turned into this whole song and dance as to how our father was a functioning alcoholic and I should be glad that I had a nice roof over my head as if I didn’t already know what a functioning alcoholic was. I thought to my self…HELLOOOOO you idiot I was one of them. lol

Needless to say I don’t communicate with him anymore either because I know just how futile it is and like you mentioned it will just turn into an argument anyway and I am no longer willing to live this way just because they refuse to acknowledge the truth.

The sooner I stopped worrying about what they had to say and who they said it to the better off my life became.



What I am realizing is the more I emerge to the other side of broken the more people that I used to know get left behind and that is just the sheer reality of this type of situation because we just no longer see eye to eye on anything anymore and we never will unless they are willing to get help to see the truth. I’m not willing to go back to their sick toxic way of living and they refuse to see any of it so what else is there to do about it other then both of us moving on with our lives without the other one in it. To me it is no different then when I became sober and clean and I no longer could hang out with the people who were still using. It just doesn’t work if I want to remain clean and sober just like it doesn’t work being around my FOO because all they are interested in is keeping up the chaos and all I want is peace. The two just don’t mix.


My dad knew I had surgery (mastectomy) on August 18. was busy that day …. No phone call, no visit when I came home,. so I sent him a text..
Dad, I was hoping you would call to see how I was doing after surgery. im ok. Very sorry you did not think to call. Hope all is well with you. I know I have disappointed you in many ways..
It is what it is. right? ?
His reply ….
Hi D
I had many thoughts to call you, but no excuses.
You have never disappointed me, I know
a lot of what you have been through and I will love you. no
matter what! I am very interested and concerned in what you are experiencing now!
Please update me soon.

And I feel hurt, angry that he has not bothered to reach out to me.
He lives 5 mins from me. His church where he is so dedicated, is 2 mins from my house.


Hobie, that ” friend” sounds like a User. Some people whine about all their woe is me stuff; to me it’s very manipulative. They see who will do for them and what they can get away with. But how much concern do these people have for anyone else? Is it okay in her mind for you to do without so she can purchase flowers and high end skin products? Selfish people don’t consider the impact that their demands have on others. Or maybe they just don’t care. Please take care of yourself Hobie. This whiner needs to stand on her own two feet and learn to obtain things by earning them, not by using others.


D ch so sorry about the way your Dad treated you when you had your surgery. I hope you are healing nicely and will have many healthy years ahead. You deserve so much better. Sending you many healing hugs.


Kris, yes, we do have to reevaluate relationships once we come out of the fog. So many of them were unbalanced and we were not on the receiving end of them either. I have had to reevaluate many friendships. The ” friend” who would deliver sharp out downs in order to make herself temporarily feel superior. I called her out on this and she has adjusted her ways. The friends who think it’s okay to come to my home and have a meal prepared and served to them….and then I realized they have been here several times but no return invitation. I told my husband that I will not be inviting two couples over anymore unless there is reciprocity. I am not their Saturday evening servant. Then other friendships I just had to let go. The woman from high school I reunited with. She would complain about other classmates and ( you guessed it!) I soon found out she was spreading nasty gossip about me. That was an immediate deal breaker and I dropped her on Facebook and went no contact. The people who are willing to adjust to our emergence from broken and have an equal value relationship are the keepers. You can tell b how they react to your new boundaries. But the manipulators and users have to go.



Your post #199 is EXACTLY what I needed! Thank you so much!

I realize that I’m not worried about what she thinks of me or what she says about me or what anyone she talks to thinks about me. I am trying to understand what is the honest and appropriate way to deal with this situation. What am a really able to do? What is really in her best interest AND mine?




@d ch

Not to sound insensitive, but if I had to go to the hospital, I wouldn’t want my family to visit me. I think that would make things worse. Their phoniness would bother me too much. I can’t speak for you, though.


Same here concerning relationships. I can’t be myself and try to get along with toxic people, too. I don’t want a relationship where it can be half-decent as long as I don’t forget my place at the bottom of the totem pole. I can’t even say, “I don’t agree.” or “I’m not a fan of that.” without being attacked for it in some way by my mother. She’s allowed to express her views since she’s right about everything in spite of not being perfect, but if I do, I’m wrong or not allowed to use my brain. Yet, she expects me to want to associate with her.

Two days ago, I got news from her via email that my great aunt died. I never spoken to her for about a decade nor were we close to begin with. I have a few memories of sleeping over her house as a child, but that was during occasional times of the year. In the email was my great aunt’s address. Her daughter lives there alone now, plus she’s someone I haven’t spoken to in years as well. I’m not sure what use I’ll have with the address since I’m not planning to visit anytime soon. I suspect it’s just a slick tactic to attempt to get me to respond. It’s funny that she pretends we have a relationship when we don’t.


Amber, Thanks. And I start feeling I shouldn’t be upset, guilty cuz I’m angry at him?

He has never attempted to have a decent relationship w me. I said some things about NM and I think he feels guilty about the past.
Not being there for me…..They divorced when I was 13.

Sad huh? He has his own demons to deal with.
I don’t think he wants to hear heartfelt feelings from me, or have a close relationship.


d ch (#200),

I’m sorry you went through major surgery and didn’t get the support from Dad you hoped for. You do deserve better and in my view you have very good reason to be upset. To me, his reply is an attempt to sound caring but there are some tells. The big one for me is his saying “Please update me soon”. So the ball’s got to be in your court, right? You just had major surgery and it’s up to YOU to do the reaching out to HIM. Why doesn’t he play an active role in knowing what’s going on with you? Him going to you, contacting you on his own initiative.

I don’t want to make you feel bad, I hope I’m not doing that…I’m just saying I understand why you would feel upset, even though on the surface he seems to be expressing concern.

It takes little effort to type a few words. My sister has said nice words via email, and she likes the exclamation marks too. But in my experience typey typey comes off very hollow when that’s all you’re getting. AND you’re getting it at your own instigation, you doing the reaching out, as if they have to be courted.

It is sad but I hope you have people in your life who see you and appreciate you and show you their love. You deserve that reciprocity of care and effort. I hope you are healing and taking good care of yourself…


Doren, so true, his “keep me updated, keep in touch, keep me posted.”
Then he can appear to be in contact with me when he talks to others, or is asked.

Thank you for your support!


d ch,

I am sorry that your father wasn’t there for you. Unfortunately I think you hit the nail right on the head with your last post. Showing someone that you care about them involves some form of action whether it be calling them up or knocking on their door to say hello and unfortunately your father didn’t do anything. His loss. I think a lot of it comes down to learning how to set up our own boundaries. Your situation with your father reminded me of my husband and me. When my husband was being inconsiderate of me I used to tell him how much I didn’t like it but I never told him what would happen to HIM if he continued to treat me this way and because I didn’t take it to the next level he knew that once again all he would ever get from me was a little lip service so he didn’t feel the need to change anything!!

When I finally got up the courage to tell him “the next time you pull this crap on me I am going to do the exact same thing right back to you so that way you can finally see what it feels like to be me”…that is when his poor behavior stopped because this time it was going to affect him and not just me.

It took me gaining back my self worth and self esteem in order to be able to do this because now my self worth was more important to me then my fear of him leaving me if I spoke up to him. I changed how I handled things. I am learning that I really do hold all the power and it feels nice!! I am sorry that your father refuses to address his own issues that doesn’t allow for him to think about anyone but himself especially when his own daughter was having major surgery. I hate to see you being hurt and disappointed by him but what I guess I am trying to say is you really do hold all the power!! You still condemning yourself by saying how you know that you were a disappointment to him isn’t helping your situation. You have to believe that you are worth it or how is anyone else going to???

I can’t imagine how difficult having that surgery was. My heart goes out to you. Know that I am thinking of you.




I didn’t want my family coming to see me in the hospital either. My husband threw me under the bus!! They ran over an hour late to do my surgery. I literally was lying on the hospital gurney waiting to be wheeled into surgery when I called my husband to tell him they are running over an hour behind so he wouldn’t worry!!!…and that’s when he told me that he already called my mother and father to come pick me up because he wanted to get some sleep in. That is when the fiasco ensued just like I knew that it would because any time you had to involve my father with anything it ended up being one big headache for you!! Like you don’t have enough on your mind going through surgery to begin with. To me it is all telling. I rather be in there all by my self then have any one of them in there with me now.


Well, I’m lucky to say that in all my 27 years of existence that I never had to go to a hospital. But, that may happen in the future, and if it does, I wouldn’t want any visitors so that I can cut down the risk of my toxic family members visiting me.



I am glad what I wrote helped. I was so conditioned into believing that it was always up to me to find a way to make things work out between me and other people and I was taught that if I didn’t then that meant there was something wrong with me and hence the guilt would set in when they didn’t.

It took me developing a mutually respectful friendship in order for me to tell the difference between what it felt like to be loved and cared for and what it felt like before and it all revolved around me developing my own self worth. I don’t want to throw away someone just because they have issues because we all have issues but if they aren’t willing to work on their own junk and be accountable I now know that they can’t be a part of my life because I can’t have them in it and still respect my self all at the same time.

That was so hard for me to be able to see because this sick warped belief system always played in the back of my mind that kept on telling me if I did try to leave someone who was abusive towards me that somehow I would find out that I really was the problem and it was all my fault and how would I live with my self in the end when the real truth was it was all just a pack of lies that my parents brainwashed me into believing to keep me I would never leave them stemming from their own fear of being rejected and abandoned because their parents emotionally rejected and abandoned them too just like mine did to me.


Alaina (193),

Your comment:
“Sometimes I feel like my brain is an inattentive adult who is walking too fast, holding the hand of a little girl (my heart) that’s trying to keep up, skidding her shoes and getting tired, asking me to let her rest a while, please.”

I SO LOVE THIS! I feel the exact same way at times in different situations. It’s like, my adult self knows there is so much I need to learn and recover, yet, my child self is saying slow down so that I can actually integrate the truth with every day living.

I feel like I’m so far behind from where I want to be, because I’ve lived in the fog for so long. I’m having trouble with my expectations for my future at this point. I had a friend make a comment the other day to me that I thought was rather rude, and I didn’t call her on it. However, I didn’t poo poo it to myself after we parted. I made a promise to myself that I’d tell her the next time that I saw her, that I’d confront her about her ‘mean girl’ attitude.

I so wish to God that people who didn’t know what to say in social situations just kept their damn mouths shut LOL. I know that’s exactly what that is, but it was also a comment to try and impress another person in our company that I did not know.

I just hate that I don’t always have enough vinegar in me to kick a little of it back to them…to narc back at them so to speak.


Kris (212), I know exactly what you mean. I worded it a bit differently, I feel like I am responsible for people’s feelings in a relationship, but our idea is the same. For the longest time I felt that if the other person is upset I had to fix it, even if meant sacrificing my self-worth and denigrating myself, because if I didn’t I was a horrible person for not making them better. I am finally realising that I am not responsible for other people’s happiness, especially if it means that I have to put myself down. I like to help others but I no longer want to look after others by taking on blame and guilt that aren’t mine.

Callynt (213) and Alaina (193) , this may not be directly relevant but your posts reminded me of how sometimes I wish my brain would just slow down and relax and how there’s a part in me also that just wants to rest and I wanted to suggest diaphragmatic breathing. I had this racing brain for sooo long and I just thought that’s how I am. Then I was at a specialist one day and she pointed out to me that I was hyperventilating and referred me to a breathing physiotherapist. I thought it was a load of crock at first because I had never had a hyperventilation attack in my life but I went along anyway and did some of my own research and turns out hyperventilation syndrome is very common in people who have been abused or traumatised. It’s not the extreme type where you’re gasping and breathing into a paper bag… it’s a subtle shift from normal belly breathing to a bit faster chest breathing and most people who have it don’t notice it themselves. (There’s a biological explanation for it, which I won’t go into here because I’m trying to keep to the point though will be happy to explain if anyone’s interested.)
Long story short, I have found it has been immensely helpful in improving the racing brain and overall mood. You don’t even need to go to a physio if you can’t, just YouTube ‘diaphragmatic breathing’ and go from there. Two times 10 mins each day. You want this to become your normal breathing pattern, so that’s why the regular practice. Only one important note, all breathing should be done through the nose, some videos say breathe out through the mouth but this is incorrect, otherwise it’s very straight forward.


I am brand new to this site. I would stay exactly because Darlene was willing to say the truth. When Darlene explained why she used the word liar my stomach started hurting, I have ulcerative colitis and systemic lupus–the auto immune symptoms directly coincide with places I have been denied expression or been humiliated or compromised myself for approval or love or obsessed analyzed and over explained in desperate attempts for clarity and connection all wrapped up in a terror of abandonment. I contacted Darlene recently because I am in a fight for my life to emerge from the tyranny of deception, a family and culture who twist words into warfare and continue to deny the truth until my body starts to take on the job itself and I must stop this to save my life. I wanted to share what a new person reading this site actually did feel. Also hello and respect to all of you–expressing myself and not deleting is new and scary. Thank you.


Clarification: See, now I will obsess because I said anything at all. I was uncomfortable when Darlene was confronted for using the word, not her clarification to Sue. It was the exchange between Darlene and Mary Grace but I don’t have history here and they seem to have worked it out fine. It made my guts hurt when Darlene saw how Mary Grace felt–first I projected because I will back peddle and think I should be explaining and defending after or if I say the truth. And because I have always had to to intuit the other persons pain and feel their’s and mine while my experience is denied. Hope that made any sense.


Hi Lavender
Welcome to Emerging from Broken ~ you are making perfect sense and it sounds like you have found the right place to read and share. Expressing ourselves IS scary at first. I used to feel sick to my stomach every time I hit the “publish button” in this website. It gets better!
Thanks for sharing.
hugs, Darlene


Lavender, welcome and I wanted to let you know I am proud of you for coming here and expressing yourself. As a person who learned to hold everything in, I know how much courage it takes to speak out. It did get easier for me; I just had to keep on doing it to reach a more comfortable level. I also want to add that you came to a great group. Darlene and many of the commenters have helped me so much! I keep reading the articles which have helped enormously, and I love the support that Darlene and the friends I’ve made on here give. Yay for you, Lavender!! Sounds like you took a giant step today!


Welcome Lavender!!

You are safe here. I used to be afraid to post too but not anymore!!! I have learned so many great new skills by being on this site and now I am not so afraid anymore. I hope that you stay and learn and grow too!! Truth = freedom and that’s what you will get here.



absolutely spot on with this article Darlene, you have summed up exactly the ‘look she is crazy’ tactic used by a controlling abusive parent who is so lacking in their own belief of self worth from their own abusive upbringing that they are desperate to keep control over their offspring having no comprehension that love does not require control in fact its the opposite. The harm from this devaluation of self to a child can take so much of a lifetime to heal from many don’t and may continue on this pattern of abuse to their own children. Thank you for increasing awareness of this emotional abuse you say it exactly as it is which is so helpful to hear.


At the risk of sounding like the drunk guy…I love you guys! I’ve been away for a while and haven’t seen any of this blog in ages. It’s so good to be reminded that there are people fighting with this all the time.

But sometimes, like today, I just hope you’re all here when my little girls grow up. It’s my worst fear but I’m afraid they might need a group like this. I’m trying so hard to choose love as much as I can, but I end up yelling and screaming and even belittling my precious girls. Sometimes I think it would be better all round if I wasn’t here and their daddy and his family raised them, but I would never do anything about it because I know kids grow up to blame themselves if their parent leaves or kills themselves, and then I’ve damaged them irreperably in the process of trying to avoid damaging them. My husband says my mistakes aren’t as bad as I think they are, but as humans we’re really good at remembering the bad in our lives-it’s one of my Mum’s favourite lines about me, that I only remember the bad things. Am I creating too many bad things for my girls? They deserve an angel to look after them, not me! Please let me know…did you guys make any awful mistakes with your babies, those of you who have them? And how did you and they cope?


this site has helped me so much in my healing journey. it is so good to be validated. i admire darlene and her bravery in sharing her story. she has inspired me to start a website of my own and i am amazed by how much sharing my story frees me spiritually. i just wanted to say thank you and let you know your work is appreciated.


Yes Lyndsay I did make mistakes with my own child that damaged her and things will be OK if you can acknowledge your mistakes and take steps to change this treatment of your children. It is the parent that will not validate and is not sorry for the harm they have done that the adult child has to walk away from


I find it frustrating how hard emotional/psychological abuse is to prove or show to others. The vast majority of the time when you try to describe what’s happening to you you’re met with ‘You must have misunderstood them’ or ‘It’s probably not as bad as you say it is’ or ‘They’re trying their best’ or whatever. It’s all turned back on you and how you must have totally misinterpreted what’s happening, there are no physical injuries to show. Eventually you stop trying to communicate about it.
Did any of you have the situation where people outside your family thought your parents were really awesome? It’s painful when your friends, teachers, whoever tell you how lucky you are to have your parents when the reality is very different.



I had that happen. It was when I was staying at a homeless shelter a few years ago. This was during estrangement #1. My time at the shelter was running up, and I needed to be transferred to another place to stay. Some of the staff told me maybe I should work things out with my mother. I had mixed feelings. On one hand I hoped she changed, but on the other hand, I was unsure that she changed. That time, I went to another shelter instead. I didn’t predict that two years later, I ended up moving in with my mother only to realize that I made a big mistake. Good thing I escaped after a year and three months. It’s sad when people think they know your family better than you do.


I had an incident yesterday where an abuse survivor I met online invalidated me. A few days ago, some people and I were discussing something in an work at home forum. Then, there was a ruckus because of my ignorance. I apologized for it, and the thread went off-topic because I revealed my abusive past.

The next day, one of the forum participants sent me a private message apologizing for her rudeness about my mistake. Then she said:

“Don’t let parents or a bad childhood control your life. You’re 27 now. You’re too old to use that as an excuse now. I’m not saying that as someone who is trying to be mean to you. I’m saying it as someone who has been there and moved on.”

But, I felt it was mean, and on the arrogant side. Here’s my response:

“I appreciate your help, but no one should be given a deadline with healing. That is an individual process, which should be done on one’s own time, not on someone else’s. It’s like expecting people to learn a subject or skill that the same time. It’s impossible because some things are harder for some people than others. I like that you moved on so fast, but for some it isn’t that easy, and no one can or should heal on command.

I’m not using my past as an excuse. As a matter of fact, that’s a tactic that abusers tend to use: they hurt their victims and blame them for not understanding them. I may be haunted by the demons, but at least I’m not seeking out scapegoats.

It’s harder for me, but I’m taking baby steps toward healing. One thing I’m doing is not trivializing my hurtful treatment, which I tended to do since what I suffered wasn’t extreme enough to warrant CPS intervention. I’m admitting that it’s wrong to be treated in hurtful ways even if it’s “mild” compared to others. I’m also working on assertiveness, and telling myself I’m not bad for setting boundaries.I’m also less willing to exculpate abusers, and believe that they should hold themselves accountable for what they do instead of hurting their victims. I’m also living the lifestyle that I was told was wrong. (Being a loner.) It’s tough, but I’m getting there.”

Now that I think about it, I’m highly dubious about the integrity of her healing. If she truly healed, why did she shame me for not healing fast enough? And how is being hurt by abuse immature? Since when did feeling emotional pain from family have an age limit? There are people here in their 40’s, 50’s, and older who are still hurting. Are they immature, too? Plus, she said I was using it as an excuse. An excuse for what, exactly? It’s abusers who usually hide behind excuses anyway.

I wouldn’t want to meet her in person if that’s her opinion towards coping as an abuse victim, but I hope she seeks true healing. Healing is not a race or contest, and no one is inferior for healing slower than others.


S1988 yes I agree it is individual process that person who said that to you does not have right to say that to you. Re minimization. The loss or the never of having had a parent who has care of child as priority over own needs is the same and as deep regardless of the particular method of devaluation that occurred. I focus on how far I have come yet St times still have periods of grief and issues or reactions that are not as baseline as should be as per norm ie those that were valued as children by their parents. What an advantage that would be but still we survivors are strong people indeed. Then now and in the future regardless if where we are at this time


Hi Jane!
Welcome to EFB! I appreciate your comment. 🙂 Thank you.
hugs, Darlene


S1988 – you say…but no one should be given a deadline with healing. That is an individual process, which should be done on one’s own time, not on someone else’s.

You are right. Healing for me is daily……wounded, hurt, healing, maybe wounded again by the same or different person.

Flashbacks, fear, anxiety, sadness, doubting myself…..

If there was a magic formula, or a pill for our healing it would be easy right?

People who tell us how or when we should be “OK” need to check themselves.
and take a pill and chill, and STFU! LOL


Hi I’m an avid follower and in the process of seeing, working through and trying to heal from my mother. I’m not at no contact yet … She keeps crossing the line (in tears right now) I’m stuck in SCBU – special care baby unit .. She started on me here last night with so many nasty things whilst holding my 10 (now 11) day old daughter … I’m breaking about it all.. I don’t know where the stop button is. A while ago I wrote a lot on Facebook, I shamed my mum as a narcissistic mother which she’s not forgiven me for since. Last night she said I could get in serious trouble for that, I think she’s leaning on the slander side of things to warn me from making my blog public.. Which I’ve said I will do to raise awareness on this hell.

The worst part is she’s got my sister on her side.. And she wants to make me look crazy… She hates that I’m no longer poorly regarding mental health. I’ve got my label of BPD off of my medical records, I will always have PTSD but hey go. She hates that I’m not her carer anymore and since I’ve had a family she’s become impossible when I’ve had to say no to her about things. She doesn’t like that I’m assertive and putting my family before her.. There’s a lot more to this story about it all but your writing helps me a lot, I will be reading more x

My main question to you. How do you do this blog without legal proceedings made against you? How do you keep away from being accused of slander ? I told her I never mentioned names – she said you said your mother and everyone you know hates me now, I told her no they’ve made their own minds up with what they themselves have witnessed – only you can make the effort to change that. I can’t make that happen- if it’s that important maybe you will get some help with all of this and try to repair the damage. She can’t accept any responsibility at all though – it’s all about what she looks like x


I think I lost my first message to you 🙁 — trying again but less said this time
My mother has said with what I’ve written about her (not saying her actual name, just my mother and enabling sister) that I can get into trouble. I’m wondering how you manage to do your awesome blog Hun without legal proceedings hanging over you… She’s saying I can be done for slander .. Any advice would be fabulous as I’m at a serious breaking point now … She turned up at SCBU special care baby unit last night and said some terrible god awful things to me in the parents room whilst holding my 10 day old (now 11) and upsetting both of us. She hated that I’d switched my emotion off. I was cold, matter of fact with her… And not giving her the reaction she wanted. On three occasions she hit my triggers that usually get a BIG reaction.. I left the room. The staff saw that I was upset and kept a listen out. They even caught a few bits of the conversations, not sure what yet. I’ve put a ban on her visiting again. I’ve told them she’s trying and been trying for the past two years to make me look crazy…they were aware of what happened and witnessed it – a bit. They said I would not be believed to be crazy which reassured me 🙂

I just can’t get out of my head that she’d rather see me lose my kids If I go no contact with her – she’s building up a lot of people apparently who all think I’ve changed. Not that she can name them – of course. And yes I’ve changed – I’m a mother of two and step daughter 😀 and I’m now an adult, not her little baby daughter ..

Any advice would be great, Thankyou xxx


I am very sad today. There is a family party for an ex brother-in-law and I (once again) was not invited. My other siblings were invited. I am angry and hurt.

It leaves me feeling like a terrible person to be so excluded, yet I know my siblings and I’m not any worse than they are.

I want to move away and leave most all of them, yet one of my deepest desires is to be loved and accepted by my family. So, I have to leave the people that I loved because they don’t love me.


Hi Kaz
Welcome to emerging from broken. (First time comments are held in moderation so that is why you didn’t see the first one right away.)

I have a really busy weekend so I have to be quick here but here goes.

My mother threatened to sue me if I wrote anything she didn’t like before I published this blog. (and I use my real name, in fact I use my birth name and my whole family reads my blog.)

I called a lawyer about this whole ‘slander thing’ (I wrote a post about it if you google “emerging from broken my mother threatened to sue me”. It isn’t against the law to talk about my life and to tell my story.

One thing that concerns me about your story is that if you think your mother is building a case against you, you need to start documenting things like what just happened in the hospital. Get the names of the nurses who overheard the yelling and write down the dates and times it happened as well as a bit about what was said. Lots of adults lose their kids because they don’t believe their parents would ever go that far. Most controlling people will try to discredit YOU before you have a chance to discredit them. My mother started discrediting me when I was very young in case I ever talked about her. If you feel you need to protect yourself and your kids, you can have your statement documented with the police or legal aid as well.

You have choices today. This entire website is about how I took mine back and got my life back.
hugs, Darlene


The idea that a toxic family member could pursue litigation against someone never crossed my mind until now.

Darlene, you are very brave to talk about your family while using your real name and knowing that your family reads your blog.

I do most things anonymously online because I’m very protective of my privacy. I guess an upside about this is my mother doesn’t own a computer and is somewhat technology illiterate, and my siblings aren’t on the Web very much because they’re more extroverted.


Light (232)

I feel your pain and go through the same feelings, and I live close by and I really want to move away. But, there is a side of me that doesn’t want to have anything to do with them because of what has happened – the only thing I would suggest if this someone you want to see, invite them to your house and exclude all who don’t want to see.

But, I know the hurt and just want you to know you are not alone, take care.


I found this website just a couple of days ago and I’m working through it.

It’s surprising to me that I’ve taken certain actions without having much of an overview of what to do. I suppose I thought I had muddled through but in fact my choices have been clear until now.

For example, I cut off my parents and brother several years ago, although I did not really know why I was doing it, so I couldn’t explain properly, I just knew I had to do it.

I thought it was all my problem. I have always been told as much, ever since I fell out with my parents as a teenager. In my twenties, I had one session of counselling after a terrible episode at work. The counsellor didn’t deny my version of events but he told me I didn’t need to see him because I had obviously found ways to cope. In recent years, good friends have given me a safe place but I still dissociate a lot (a fact I have only recently begun to recognise) and only now have some of their words and advice started to actually make sense: it’s like the penny is only just dropping.

One of the biggest issues for me today is memory loss. It is hard to accept for oneself that one has been emotionally abused when the parental and sibling denial is compounded by a lack of evidence in terms of memories. I have gaps all over the place until the age of about sixteen. I remember so little. What I do remember is piecemeal and lacks the persuasiveness of some of the more outrageous behaviour I have read on this website.

My diaries (or ‘journals’ for US readers ;-D) from those years offer little to enlighten me now because I knew that both my parents and my brother read them and thus wrote nothing that would incriminate me. My father even told me off once, without a hint of irony, for using curse words in my diary. He claimed it had fallen off the shelf while he was vacuuming and opened at the offending page …

So I have known about my problems for years without the sort of useful, illustrated definitions that this website provides. Seemingly every article and the comments below ring a bell with me. Surely I can’t be lying. This really happened, if only I could remember enough to say what that was …

What has brought me here is that six weeks or so ago I broke up with a wonderful woman who loves me. She was shocked when I told her in a rather haphazard way that I was running on empty and I just felt flat. It seemed that I had lost the enthusiasm of our earlier days and I felt like I had no energy left for myself.

I met her again for the first time just a few days ago. We agreed to talk with the aim of helping her understand, but the truth which I did not share was that I didn’t really understand myself. I thought I did but the logic just wasn’t there.

She had obviously been suffering so much and did so during that time, while I was fully composed and apparently calm. It was surreal because although I hadn’t seen or talked to her for six weeks, I didn’t notice any difference in her or myself in that passage of time. Surely I should have felt sad or withdrawn or angry or something like that but instead I just enjoyed being with her again, even though she was so upset.

I wish I could have empathised better but I dissociate it away without thinking. It’s hard to remain mindful in those difficult moments.

So my explanation, such as it was, turned out to be slightly better but still inaccurate. It was only afterwards in the safety of my own car that an incredible stream of realities burst out, a reinterpretation of events that started with our meeting but worked rapidly backwards through almost my whole adult life with old narratives suddenly getting rewritten. And all of this before I found this website.

I came to realise that I was ‘flat’ because I had worshipped her instead of loved her and I had tried to be perfect whilst never revealing my vulnerabilities, fears or terrible emotional confusion. The stuff that I have basically lived with all my life and which I learned first to deny and then to ignore.

I read the article about not knowing what one feels and that’s my situation: I’m so emotionally confused and full of false logic that I don’t even know if I love this woman or not. I think so and maybe I should let myself try to trust and to love her but I am too afraid to break her heart again while I try to learn to heal myself. I couldn’t do that to her.

Thanks to all for sharing. We are indeed fortunate to live in times where it is possible.


Thank you, ladies, for all the good information.

Mary Grace #86

Abusers HATE to give up control & will do practically anything to re-gain control. My Mom, for example, has tried every trick in the book to re-establish phone contact. That’s tempting—except it is fairy-tale thinking (nothing has really changed). Our only contact now is by mail. Hers is forwarded to me by a friend of mine, because my family does not have my address or phone #. (Mom is not abusive in writing, because of course there would be a record.) IF we had more contact, in short order her abuse would re-start. Mom wants to put one foot in the door & then gradually try to get back in a position of control. This is a common scenario in the lives of abusers/abused. For safety reasons, my boundaries must remain firm.

I’m sure you have good reasons for no contact. Only one brief contact with your Mom could potentially re-open the door with her. You’ve worked so hard. It would be sad (& stressful!) if you had a major setback in your relationship with her. As far as your husband having contact with your family, this could be a recipe for trouble. It’s one thing to not be emotionally involved, but quite another to have the expertise to deal with an abuser. (Even professionals find it challenging.) Your Mom could try to come between you & your spouse OR pry information about you from your spouse (to use against you) OR use your spouse to hurt you, etc. (I speak from personal experience.) You are wise to be cautious with her.

You do not need to explain to your Mom if you are receiving her calls or why you are not returning her calls. After a full year of no contact, she is CHOOSING to not understand. She hopes she can get you to explain, so she will “win” (be back in contact, re-gain some control). Your no contact decision & follow-through show that you have great courage & strength. I’m glad you took those healthy steps.

Eira #98

My experience in similar situations is that the abuser was looking for information to use against me OR this was yet another attempt to get back into relationship with me OR he wanted to turn friends against me to isolate me further. ANYTHING to re-gain control & try to destroy me. Yes, it’s creepy! Yet I think feelings like this are our body’s way of warning us to BE CAREFUL!

In your situation, you might be wise to go completely no contact with your family. Not sure if this would work for you, but I let “everyone” know that I have limited contact with my family, because they are abusive. Sometimes I give brief examples of their abusive behavior. That way, most people aren’t sucked in.

I don’t think it’s safe to continue a friendship with anyone who is charmed into relationship with your family.

You made a wise decision to limit contact with your family.


Fay #105

You are right! I think you & your brother are making healthy decisions. You are dealing with current issues AND many past issues–which others don’t understand. I’m glad your brother supports you.

I understood when you said, “it is like a death of the father you always thought you could have and the cruel realization it is never going to be that way.” My Mom “died” in 2008, when she CHOSE to take the side of my husband, an abuser (psychopath). That was the final straw. Some people are incapable of loving their children—or anyone.

I’m sorry your father did not love you & did not provide a safe, healthy home life for you. That was a very difficult way for you to start your life.

You said, “But, my Dad in his inability to communicate to us this decided to lash out and push us away – a lot of people said it was the medicine or ICU dementia, but my brother and I didn’t feel it was.” You can trust your gut instinct, because both you & your brother know your Dad’s true character, & because our gut instincts are reliable.

Do you think your Dad lashed out & pushed you away because he can’t communicate–or because he is abusive? He seems able to communicate when he wants to.

Abuse does seem to worsen in crisis. I wonder if it’s because the abuser feels like he’s losing control.

I’m glad you CHOSE to not be an abuser. Instead you are patiently & kindly taking care of both your parents.

Please take good care of yourself, because your long-term stress must be through the roof!

Mary-Grace #116

I’m glad you are fine after the fire.

Your sister may be “concerned” about you—to impress others or to try to re-establish contact with you. NC is often taken as a challenge. (How can I crush this boundary? How can I get back in control? How can I continue to hurt when there is NC?) You could ask your distant cousin to not tell you about your family—if it bothers you.

Congratulations on your NC decision & follow-through. I know how difficult it is.


S1988 #168, #188, #226

I appreciate your honesty. I’m sorry you have no support within your family. I know what that’s like.

Some people seem to do everything possible to kill our love for them. And some people are just plain unlovable.

Yet we’re taught to love our parents (& if we don’t, there must be something wrong with us). Perhaps you are saying that you’ve come to accept the truth of who your parents really are. I hope you are at peace with your position. I love my abusive, dysfunctional Mom, but accept the truth that she is incapable of loving me.

When I fled after 19 years with my psychopath spouse, I struggled with whether or not I loved him. This is what I decided… My spouse was not abusive in the +2 years before marriage; this “good guy” was the man I fell in love with. My personality is that I never stop loving a person, even if I lose all trust & respect for that person. He was incapable of loving me or anyone else.

I feel sad that you are childless because of your mother. I chose to be childless because I was sexually abused as a child, & I wanted to ensure that I could never do that to my own child. Later, during times of strong maternal instincts, I felt very sad. I hope you are at peace about your decision. If not, perhaps there is another option?

I agree with you: the abuse survivor doesn’t really seem to have healed. If she had truly experienced healing, she would have shown some compassion, rather than judgement. I hope she was able to actually hear some of what you said & that she keeps your messages confidential. Maybe safer to mention your abusive past only to trusted family/friends, abuse support groups & websites like this one.

Kaz #230, #231

You’re making lots of positive changes. Good for you!

I wonder if your sister is protecting herself by being on your mother’s side. (While Mom is attacking you, your sister is not receiving your Mom’s wrath.)

You could go no contact in stages, if you think that might be easier. On the other hand, from what you’ve written, you may be ready to take the plunge & go directly to no contact. Big step!

You’re a brave lady to stand up to your Mom & protect your children from her! When you think of the damage she did to you, do you wonder what she is capable of doing to her own grandchildren?

I hope your spouse is supportive.


Light #232

I’m sorry you are hurting. Your family may not be capable of true love, which is no reflection on you. My biological family is like that, so I have a new family (my friends) who loves me unconditionally. It was important for me to separate feelings from truth. (While I FELT unlovable, the TRUTH is that my family is incapable of loving me, & they don’t even know the real me. The “problem” is with them.)

You may be excluded because you are the family scapegoat. My family made me the scapegoat. That way, they can pick on me (& gossip about me)—rather than deal with their own issues. I suppose it makes them feel superior. It’s fairly common for toxic families to choose a scapegoat.

Would it help to ease your hurt a little if you had a pet? Some people talk to their pets, love their pets & are loved by their pets. And a pet’s love is unconditional! I know a lady who can’t have a pet, so she volunteers where there are pets.

Cherry #183

Yes, I’ve experienced this! Talk about manipulation! Is it projection?
6. Projection
Projection is the misattribution of a person’s undesired thoughts, feelings or impulses onto another person who does not have those thoughts, feelings or impulses. Projection is used especially when the thoughts are considered unacceptable for the person to express, or they feel completely ill at ease with having them. For example, a spouse may be angry at their significant other for not listening, when in fact it is the angry spouse who does not listen. Projection is often the result of a lack of insight and acknowledgement of one’s own motivations and feelings. //

In the type of situation you describe, I ask myself “What am I feeling & what is the truth?” Sometimes I’ll discuss with a friend. I try to listen to my gut reaction, too. In the past, I agonized for days or weeks. And often blamed myself. Whereas it’s the other person who has the problem (& hasn’t dealt with it).


Kris #182, #199, #212

Like you, I did not have loving parents. I don’t think they were capable of loving their children. After finally accepting that, I was gradually able to let go of wanting their love. My new chosen family (friends) now provide me with that love.

Congratulations on becoming clean & sober. That’s a huge accomplishment. Do you celebrate the anniversary of your decision?

This really spoke to me:
“It took me developing a mutually respectful friendship in order for me to tell the difference between what it felt like to be loved and cared for and what it felt like before and it all revolved around me developing my own self worth. I don’t want to throw away someone just because they have issues because we all have issues but if they aren’t willing to work on their own junk and be accountable I now know that they can’t be a part of my life because I can’t have them in it and still respect my self all at the same time.”

Hobie #194, #197

Your acquaintance sounds very manipulative, maybe unappreciative & definitely an energy drainer. A user. Some of us need most of our energy for healing. Is her apology worth anything if there’s no change? I believe she CHOOSES to hear something different from what you say. And she CHOOSES to not get it.

Seems like she’s trying to lay a guilt trip on you. This would be false guilt (you are innocent, yet you might feel guilty). Unless I saw positive change, I would probably cut her out of my life, while saving my time/energy/money for someone who is actually trying to improve his/her circumstances. With her manipulation skills, she’ll soon be taking advantage of someone else. Another thing you might do is refer her to the church office. They are usually in a good position to decide what is reasonable & to refer if necessary. Boundaries!

Congratulations on taking action!


Sue #119, #132

I think you are saying that, after forgiving your parents, you found a way to have safe contact with them. I’m glad for you.

I, too, forgave my family MANY times. The problem was, their abuse continued as long as we had verbal contact. I was continually “bleeding.” With other serious issues in my life, it was healthier for me to limit contact to emails & letters to/from a friend’s address. It’s nice to live in peace & safety. And by limiting contact, I no longer enable my family to be abusive to me.

After years of counseling, I now believe that most people who abuse do it willfully & intentionally. Consider a man who is emotionally abusing his wife, & then the phone rings. He immediately switches to a pleasant demeanor. And he is not abusive at work, because he knows there will be consequences.

I attended a 1-year support group for spousal abuse. One lady in our group always let on that the abuse in her marriage wasn’t anywhere near as bad as the rest of ours. For the first few months of the group, she was in denial about her abuse. How severe was her abuse? A better question might be, “How severely was she affected by the abuse?” Sadly, some women in that group were unable to come out of denial.

Probably everyone who is abused goes into denial. Who wants to believe her “father” is sexually abusing her as a child? Who wants to believe her “loving” husband is willfully, intentionally trying to destroy her? Who wants to believe her mother is trying to harm her? Without denial, I would not have survived these until I could safely remove myself from the abuse years later.

Childhood abuse is devastating, because the child is not equipped to handle abuse, often believes the child is responsible for the abuse, has few supports & begins to believe abuse is normal. This stew of unresolved emotions, unmet needs, self-esteem issues, etc. is left to simmer until adulthood or sometimes a lifetime. The relationship you described with your mother is called emotionally abusive. There are many signs/symptoms of psychological/emotional abuse. You might find it helpful to do a Google search.

Your participation here indicates that you want to continue your healing journey, which is great. I’m praying for you.


Fay and Joy,

Thank you for responding and saying caring things to me. It did help me not feel so alone. THANK YOU. Joy, I have a pet who is wonderful – one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Today was another crap day. A friend was supposed to call at a certain time she suggested..she ended up calling much later – no initiated apology. I could have easily let it go if she had been sorry about it, but instead she was put out and annoyed that it was a problem for me that her apology wasn’t forthcoming and sincere. I am confused about this interaction and irritated too. I am being seen as in the wrong with my response when she didn’t follow through with what she said she’d do. Yes, stuff happens, but it deserves a simple sincere apology, not “I’m sorry but…” after I bring it up. She wants me to forgive her and let it go, but I am realizing that she isn’t interested in hearing me. Am I off on this interaction?


P.S. That last comment was for anyone who feels inclined to respond. Tks.


Light #243, #244

Your friend did not apologize without being prompted—Red Flag #1. Her apology was insincere—Red Flag #2. She isn’t interested in hearing you—Red Flag #3.

Possibly she doesn’t have good social skills. She might be controlling (e.g. she will call when SHE wants). Maybe a combination of both. Who knows why she responded disrespectfully.

If this happened to me, I would ask myself, “Is this the 1st incident—or has she done this kind of thing before? Is she a true friend—or an acquaintance?” A friend would be interested in hearing you. A friend would be concerned about your feelings & sorry that she hurt or upset you.

I had a close friend who pulled the insincere-apology-stunt twice. She’s now an acquaintance. That means we can chat by phone occasionally, but I will never again share my heart with her because I don’t trust her.

The good news is you were aware of the red flags, you acted with integrity & you now know a little more about your friend. Time to set some new boundaries with her??


Joy, thanks for your comments. Did you try to talk with your former close friend about the insincere apologies and the changeover to acquaintance? How did you transition?


She was definitely talking to me like I was frustrating (Darlene’s topic of this blog entry). She sounded mad at me because I wasn’t letting it go, but her apologies all sounded the same way: frustrated with me … it was in the tone. She was put out with me and felt reprimanded. It did feel off to me that she called well over an hour after the time she suggested without a forthcoming apology – I don’t know how to say that without her feeling like she’s being reprimanded. It seems to me like I had a normal response.

She also said that she felt “reluctant to make plans” with me (that hurt) and brought up another time a year ago when she suggested that we go on a mini-trip, I agreed, and then she ended up going on a trip with her husband around that time and our tentative plans never happened. She was put off that I had feelings about that and said she was “just throwing out an idea”. I thought we had worked that out by agreeing to make plans differently, so I was surprised that she brought that up.



This last time she hurt me, she admitted it was INTENTIONAL, then gave an INSINCERE apology. I didn’t discuss changing from friends to acquaintances. A friend doesn’t intentionally hurt; a friend wants to resolve any problems. I’m not friends with people I don’t respect or with people I don’t trust. I don’t set myself up for further emotional wounding.

I call only to occasionally return her call—NEW. She calls about 1x/week, but sometimes every day or two. Very lonely. I answer when I feel like it & usually keep the calls short–NEW. She wants to talk about distant people/stuff. I try to steer the conversation to her, to me, to present day–NEW. She may be unaware our relationship changed, unaware I don’t share my heart with her. I will probably set a boundary about how often she calls. She sucks energy from me, whereas friends energize. I continue contact, because I remember what it’s like to be very lonely.

One of my artsy/creative friends is spontaneous & doesn’t have a schedule. She is a delight, & we never know what to expect from her. I need to be flexible when planning with her. It can be challenging to make plans with a married person; their lives are more complex.

A true friend does her very best to resolve problems. Sounds like you didn’t get a real apology from her. I look for patterns (e.g. the same look, the same attitude, similar experiences, how she apologizes). If that that same tone was used previously, I can probably expect more of the same. Sounds like she’s allowed to be “frustrated” (angry?), but you’re not allowed to have feelings. I wonder how she’d respond if you asked why she isn’t interested in hearing you. I’m guessing more frustration (anger?). How can a friend not be interested in hearing you? A person can say “sorry,” but (by tone) really be saying it’s your fault. Sometimes “sorry” means: I’ll say the word, & you promise to shut up & forget what happened. My mother!

I’m sorry you are hurting.


Mike #236

Welcome! I’ve been reading this site for a short time; just started commenting. Congrats on NC with your family. Your emotions may be “muddled,” but you’ve made wise decisions. You seem to trust & act on your gut instincts. How many of us (all?) were taught that we were the problem? How many of us (all?) were basically told that we were stupid? And treated like we were stupid.

“Evidence” of abuse? You found it necessary to go NC + your dissociation + your father lied (about the diary) + your private diary was not private (you weren’t free to write what you wanted/needed to, your parents snooped, your parents allowed your brother to snoop, you were told off). Your family’s reaction to NC probably holds some clues as well.

Most of us suffered about 18 years of childhood abuse–a long time. We were too young to know how to handle abuse & probably had no support. (During times of trauma, I go on autopilot, existing but not really living like other people.) In order to be healthy, when I moved out of the family “home” I needed to de-program from the toxic & re-program with the truth. That included grieving the family I wish I had, while not wanting to believe my family was comprised of monsters. And I needed to learn all the things my parents should have taught me, including how to set boundaries, how to have healthy relationships, how to communicate, how to deal with abusers.

How to recognize & stop participating in all those sick games (e.g. it never happened; fake apologies; no one would believe you; it didn’t happen the way you described; cruelty disguised as humor; you MUST keep the family secrets; OK for them to express negative feelings but mine should be stuffed; it was for your own good; this hurts me more than it’s going to hurt you; get over it; withholding love; lies & contradictions; defending abuse & abusers; you shouldn’t feel that way; you’re too sensitive; being put down for long-term depression caused by them; being shut down & told you were ungrateful when you spoke up; ETC.). We need to learn a completely new way of doing things—with no textbook, little helpful support & no road map. We learned unhealthy coping mechanisms; some have addictions. Meantime the winds of toxicity continue to blow from our family. All this saps energy & is confusing; few people understand. At the same time, we have all the adjustments of starting a new life on our own.

I have memory loss, too. Who wants to believe/remember we were treated horribly by our “loving” parents? If I had accepted the truth while having to live in their house, I may have gone mad. Denial &/or memory loss can be a good thing, a protective mechanism. Intellectually I remember some incidents, but often not the details & not how the emotions felt. Then I wonder if that is my memory—or someone told me about that incident or I saw a photo or it was a dream. For me, it’s not that important to remember details of my childhood; maybe it’s healthier for me. (I’ve also experienced severe adult trauma.) What is important for me is knowing my family was & is abusive, setting healthy boundaries & being safe. Memories surface when I’m strong enough (& have energy) to handle them, & when I feel safe.

I dissociated while being sexually abused at age 11. It was like I was watching that happen to another little girl, but I don’t really remember my feelings. I must have dissociated when sexually abused at age 4. After that, my personality changed completely. Often we remember one type of abuse, yet there was more than one type. Sexual abuse is terribly difficult for most people to deal with, so we frequently go into denial about it. As kids, we want to believe our parents. Abusers can be very persuasive, too. I wonder if you believed your Dad when he said your diary fell off the shelf & opened at the offending page.

Something I learned from other people who have been abused is that they are usually the nicest, kindest people. Makes sense, because while being abused in childhood, we constantly tried to be “good enough.” Also makes sense that abusers are attracted to the nicest, kindest people & people who have been abused—because they will most likely to do the abusers’ bidding.

I love living in peace & safety. Thank you for sharing.


Mike #236 (continued)

After 18 years of rejection, being blamed for everything & basically being told that you are unlovable, it’s not too surprising you would worship this woman who loves you. It must have been extremely difficult trying to explain to her what you don’t understand.

Sometimes it’s hard for me to recognize abusive behavior. One key from a psychologist: “The actions must match the words.” (Example: My spouse would say he loved me, but then do something horrible to me. The action was the truth; what he said was a lie.) In abuse, we get lots of conflicting messages.

I learned that I am the ONLY one who knows the appropriate healing journey for me—what is safe, timing, depth of my trauma, current life circumstances, stress level, addictions, current relationships, health, support systems. Grief & healing cannot be hurried. A wise social worker told me, “It takes as long as it takes”; I had to learn that the hard way. Grief from childhood trauma is complicated. Completely different from the sadness, memories & goodbyes for someone we loved & who loved us. Sometimes grief/healing needs to be set aside for a time, because it is overwhelming or there are urgent matters.

Sometimes if we show empathy, our own emotions/memories can overwhelm us (it’s not safe). Unraveling the mysteries of our childhood can take all our energy. I think of unresolved emotional issues as baggage, like carrying a 100-pound sack of potatoes on my back all day, every day. Or I can expend a little more energy to work through those issues.

Journaling & writing poetry can be helpful. The good news is you’re now free to write whatever you want/need in your diary. Yippee! I write some silly limericks to vent:

There was once a girl named [my name];
Her goal in life was to please.
She did it so well, her life became hell,
But now she pleases [my name].

When I left home at 18, counseling by a specialist in childhood abuse would have been beneficial—except it wasn’t available. I prefer social workers or psychologists. I had bad experiences with psychiatrists. I’m comfortable with a male or female counselor, as long as he/she is caring, supportive & experienced in the relevant subject. Local support groups have been helpful when led by a professional. If a group does not feel comfortable & safe, I exit. I’ve made some good friends from groups. It helps to make time to feel my feelings as they arise—when safe to do so. At one time, I was pressured by mental health professionals that I had to “feel the feelings.” Inwardly I knew it wasn’t safe right then, but I did what they said. Overriding my gut instinct nearly cost me my life. Another lesson learned the hard way.

I was loved by a man when I was 20-30. Yet I never FELT loved until 30, so those 10 years of love didn’t exist for me. I looked for love in all the wrong places when I was younger. I tried to be perfect, so I would be lovable. During 18 years of a horrible childhood devoid of love, vulnerabilities were used against me, so I learned to protect my vulnerabilities. The truth is we are lovable, but our families are not capable of loving. I have dear friends now who love & accept me just as I am. And it sounds like you have dear friends like mine. What a blessing!

The men I know with abusive relationships have difficulty seeking help & healing, so I think you are brave. I’m surprised you’ve accomplished so much without counseling, Mike. You are resilient. Please take good care of yourself; healing can take a lot of energy.


“Something I learned from other people who have been abused is that they are usually the nicest, kindest people. Makes sense, because while being abused in childhood, we constantly tried to be “good enough.” Also makes sense that abusers are attracted to the nicest, kindest people & people who have been abused—because they will most likely to do the abusers’ bidding.”

There are exceptions to that rule, at least with how it relates to my family. My mother was abused by her grandmother who raised her and her half-siblings when they lost their mother. But, she denies it, and worships her as a saint though her grandmother died years ago. Same with my older brother. He was abused by our father when he was a kid. I learned about this from my mother and him because I didn’t exist when my brother was a child. (We are 18 years apart.) He’s a monster with his wife and sons, but doesn’t see his behavior as abusive, and neither do my mother or older sister. After all, it’s discipline, not abuse as they would say. They hate our father, but protect my brother. I’m really sick of the cycle of defending abusers and abusive behavior in my family, and I feel that I’m the only one who can stop it as least partially.

I’m not sure if my sister will have children or not since she’s currently in a Ph.D. program. If she does, I’m scared for her child.


I also want to comment on your statement that abused people are usually the nicest, kindest people; It isn’t true at all. My mother was horribly abused as was her mother. Hitler was abused as a child as well and in fact there have been studies on most high end criminally abusive mass murderers and serial killers ~ ALL of them were abused as children. That is why this is called ‘the cycle of abuse’. Some kids grow up and remain victims. Some grow up and become abusers and some go both ways. (this would be my mother) She was a victim to most people but an abuser to me. Some kids flip the power and start abusing their parents. There are all kinds of scenarios but for me I decided that I was not going to excuse abuse anymore and I was not going to accept it either. I strive for mutually respectful relationships in ALL my relationships. (personal, business, and even when at a restaurant or store).
Abusers are attracted to people who they feel can restore their self-esteem. They have their power mixed up with their worth. They usually have entitlement issues too. So they target people who are trying to be good enough yes, but if you look closer, abusers have no self-esteem either. They are not strong in fact they are usually pathetic.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Mike
Sorry for my late response and Welcome to Emerging from Broken!
I didn’t have all my memories and this whole thing didn’t make sense when I started this journey 11 or 12 years ago. I started writing about 6 years after I started on my journey to wholeness. I thought long and hard for a way to communicate HOW the fog lifted for me so that others could have that same experience on their own with me just ‘preaching at them’.
It was overwhelming for me when I began to realize all of this and it seemed to come so fast as soon as I started to see the truth about the way that I coped and the way that I did relationship as a result of the ways that I myself had been treated. I second guessed myself constantly, but eventually I got stronger in what was the real truth and what was the b.s. that I had been fed was truth. Take your time.
Thanks for sharing.
hugs, Darlene


Re your comment that I am brave to talk about this publicly using my real name;
The first 4 months or so I experienced a gripping fear every time I hit the publish button. I had to keep asking myself what I was afraid of. There were some weird answers to that question and some answers that seemed as though they came from logical fear. But when I went deeper I had to ask myself if I was wrong to talk about my life, my feeling or to tell MY story. I had been brainwashed to believe that I was making things up, but I wasn’t. I had been groomed to stay quiet and never ‘tell’ ~ never bring shame on them but I carried their shame. It wasn’t mine. All these things helped me to realize that their secrets had made me sick.
Thank you for your comments.
hugs, Darlene


I remember being in a conversation with a group of people and the discussion turned to education. It seems that every generation laments how the quality of education is going down in schools. There was an elderly gentleman in the group who completely disagreed. He said, sure kids did their homework better but it was because of fear. He told us how he knew all his Latin conjugations and could still remember them after all these years. How? Because one time when he was called upon in class he didn’t know the answer and got the strap. So “Oh yes,” he said. “I know my Latin well but I also hate Latin.”
And what this made me think of is parent/child relationships. If a parent uses humiliation/shame or harsh punishment with their kids (especially in situations which warrant no correction, such as being sad or scared) the relationship can never be based on love. The child will quickly learn to do as they’re told, whatever that may be, but it will be out of fear. Where there is fear there cannot be love, just like the elderly man and his Latin.
Most parents I don’t think realise this. They punish and shame and berate their kids and then wonder why their kids are emotionally, if not physically, distant or why their kids don’t open up to them or whatever. The sad part is when kids start to feel guilty for not being closer or more open or more loving towards their parents and beat themselves up for it.
But I think it’s absolutely normal to not want to get close to people whose actions impacted on your emotional or physical safety. It seems like common sense.



Thnx for the congrats on my sobriety. I celebrate internally and the more I heal from the devastating affects from being abused the more I see just what an accomplishment this really was!!! I have come a long way. It is setting in just how sick my life really was and I am making great strides to change it. I read all of your comments and experienced the same things. Our parents didn’t want us to stand up on our own two feet and we suffered immensely because of it. I think of all the arguments my husband and I got in when I was learning how to set my own boundaries but now it is paying off. We really do teach other people how to treat us. It is all up to us. Being able to gain back my self worth is making all the difference. Congrats on all you have achieved too. I can tell by what you wrote that you have come along way too. Sorry that you had to go through all of this junk too.



Darlene, I am so frustrated about our legal system. I am not sure that this is the appropriate place to vent this frustration. Have you ever faced the legal system when looking for justice in your life? Our system seems set up to protect perpetrators of abuse. Last week I spoke with a detective about a report that I had made of child abuse. It was frustrating to talk with her. She was supportive of me and my case and said that she and the sheriff’s department would support me 100% if I wanted to move forward with the case. She also said that I looked fragile and shew as worried about how a court case would effect my health. It was validating and discouraging at the same time. I am angry that justice is not more readily accessible. Of course it’s important for us to not convict innocent people… but right now it seems like our system is protecting perpetrators. This happens almost by default… because the victim is responsible to fight for justice… and in the process of fighting for justice the victim is sometimes revictimized and/or retraumatized.


oh yes Naomi I have been fighting this for years for justice for people to stop leaving children with my abuser, it is crazy these things happened i sit polygraph even but whole family in denial they leave their children there and the justice system all of the systems its enough to drive you crazy the lack of action on this im in my like third time now complaint to child protection ive had to go to their complaints now at least i have some small evidence but i look crazy presenting these recordings but the evidence is there at least i hope finally to get some protection for my nieces, it is enough to make one crazy, we can heal without justice we have often no choice but to but we deserve justice and recognition of damages by society to acknowledge harm of child abuse not just say it in adverts but to back us up the ones who make complaints by doing their jobs properly actually collating the info i mean they don’t collate anything they get fooled by the bullshit which comes out so good from the abusers mouths even my councilor i feel like she things im obsessing on this like im what over reacting to child being left with my abuser so she is trying to get me to stop fighting and heal but now finally i have made some headway with what i have recorded . i recommend a recorder when in conversation with anyone family on the abusers side they slip up with what they say, so many lies actually from their own mouths different versions ive resorted to sending to my abusers facebook contacts who have children copies of these files and if there is something wrong with me doing this …well bring it on is what i say


Maria, you’re not crazy.


It’s like all the horrible connotations (not sure if that’s the word) in people’s minds associated with abuse esp sexual abuse get directed toward the victim for speaking of the abuse. Society really does not want to know. I’ve come up against this from the majority. But if someone I cared about or even a stranger was abused I would want to know about it and do whatever I could to make sure justice occurred acknowledgement reparation rehabilitation. But majority will say abuse wrong but shhhh don’t talk about it and still communicate with abusers as if nothing terrible happened. I am at a loss to understand this. But that’s the way many are.


I believe that if someone abuses a child but sees no wrong in that and or denies doing it has no rehabilitation that they have no rights to be left in sole charge of any child. For safety of child and out of respect in recognition of the damage already caused it’s like degrading to the victim as if their valueless to have been damaged as such only to just let another child be put at risk. The belief is that the person won’t do that again that’s the mindset. Would they? Some yes some no is my guess and it’s a guess but they should not get that chance full when justice system fails what is happening is that there are now social media options in current times to use to try to protect and to remind society’s members particularly those in the abusers community of the crimes that have occurred. Yet most pretend they have not heard even when they cannot doubt it as true. They just pretend they never heard that info and carry on as if nothing happened. Hopefully though they may not leave their children there with abuser not that the victim is likly to know they have at least protected by their actions of self taken justice as all communication lines are quickly closed without any qyery of concern of care or thank you for protecting. The victim sits again alone wondering if justice occurred.


thanks Naomi yes much to my abusers disappointment her lifetime of programming me as the crazy 1 has failed as I do realize she has distorted thinking. But having to grow up in family with both parents having distorted thinking which they distort to avoid self reflection of their own wrong doings can cause various degrees of mental and emotional harm to the victim such as problems with emotional regulation hyper sensitivity etc… Which can be managed and reduced in awareness. Unlike the distorted thinker who is far closer to the label crazy as they really fool themselves


Maria, What you are saying makes lots of sense to me. I agree that it is so confusing and frustrating to want to protect children from perpetrators of abuse. It is frustrating and confusing to receive resistance from parents of children who are spending time with the perpetrator. You said it very well when you said that the focus of disgust and repulsion that people feel about sexual abuse sometimes gets projected at the wrong person… at the victim. I am certain that I am not alone in saying that I have done plenty of self blame and don’t need other people to take up blaming me also. Sometimes I think that “victim blaming” is so rampant and people don’t even realize that they are doing it. But you are right, when folks choose to continue to interact with perpetrators as if nothing has happened it is “victim blaming.” Unfortunately many people are more afraid of confronting abusers than of standing up for victims.


I didn’t mean that the desire to protect children from abuse is confusing. I was trying to agree that it’s confusing when our siblings (or whoever) resist the urge to protect their kids, it’s confusing. Sometimes I think that it’s because they (in my case it’s my brother) are wanting to make sure that I respect that they are the parent and not me. Of course, I am not the parent. I just want to make sure that they understand the threat. And I want to hear them say that they understand. That’s it.


I have also wanted this acknowledgment from my siblings. For them to care . or them to even meet me. By discounting the threat as valid is rubbishing us as not relevant human in we don’t care that happened because they refuse to even meet to even listen they are that terrified because subconsciously it’s known. They care more about keeping their family perfect in their mind. It’s sad wrong They are not strong enough I have written so many emails explaining etc they replied once only saying I’m not welcome for the rest of my living days unless I apologise recant. They actually expect me to pretend our parents are saints and that I’m delusional. So I have no family of origin and I’m finally starting to feel ok with that. Denial is so desperately needed by many people they will sacrifice the safety of their children for it these are intelligent qualified professional adults that still are running my mother’s Programe of me being the problem. They are religious they actually believe I’m demon possessed well that’s what they have told my nieces. And there’s not a Damm thing I can do except make the truth available any which way I can and I have. The recordings have the truth there I hope 1 day in the future my nieces will hear the truth or even just hear of me as the person I am and realise. As time passes so does my need to have them care. They don’t. Families to some are their everything. To others like me they are the unseen enemy most of life wondering why all that time and trying for their love that was never even real. My family now is small but I wouldn’t trade 1 smallest bit of genuine love for that so called family now. Even though it’s been and still is at times still a shock to me that my family of origin have actually thrown me away for speaking truth without a backward glance the hurt has been huge it’s changed me but I never noticed before what I notice now. Genuine love.


I’m scared at the moment. I’ve just had an essay accepted for publication in a book about parenting when you’re a victim of abuse, and I’ve agreed to put my real name and my twitter handle on it (they asked for online resources to help as well, and I mentioned this site, I hope that’s OK, Darlene?) I’m now completely paranoid that my family will read it – which is ridiculous! My mother in particular knows how I feel, I’ve told her enough times, and the rest of my family is pretty supportive, actually, but there is this underlying thing of ‘OK, we know, now can you shut up about it?’ Maybe that’s just me projecting my mother’s response onto everyone else! Either way, I’m definitely leaving my real name on it, because (a) I’m trying to make a bit of a career of writing and (b) I deserve to tell my story my own way. So what if she finds it? So what if she loses her shit and tears me into shreds for airing our family laundry in public? You know what? If people don’t want to be spoken of badly, maybe they should behave themselves appropriately. Still doesn’t stop the anxiety disorder…


Hi Lyndsay,

Congratulations on your essay being published!!! When I read your post I thought to myself all you should have to worry about is how you are going to celebrate this wonderful accomplishment and instead you are stuck worrying about any fallout from sharing the truth about your life. Just another pathetic situation that we abused have to deal with but I am glad that you decided to share your journey and your truth because our experiences aren’t meant to be kept just for ourselves. They are meant to be shared with other people in hopes of helping them out and that is what you will be doing by sharing your essay.

I am proud of you for having the strength and courage to put yourself out there. We can’t get back what our parents stole away from us but we sure can help out other people who are in the same situation to know that they are not alone and that is huge and by keeping quiet about what happened to us isn’t helping anyone especially ourselves because then we are only perpetuating the same sick set of warped belief systems that our abusive parents taught us to do…put up and shut up. No more for you and that spells freedom!!!

I think it will be just what the anxiety disorder needed!!! Watch it disappear each time you share your truth.




I have to congratulate your bravery as well. My mother was (and still is) a big proponent of “keeping people out of her business”. It makes me wonder if her discipline styles are so great, why hide them?

Well, I’ve been talking about it on the Web for a while now. (Anonymously, but it’s better than keeping silent.) My mother doesn’t own a computer and is somewhat technology illiterate anyway. Don’t let anyone stop you from publishing your essay.


Maria, <3. I admire your courage and commitment to genuine love. You deserve that!

I have family members who are supportive part of the time. It is so important to surround ourselves with supportive people… even if they aren't family. This is a great place to be!


Congratulations! Support yourself in lots of ways while you put yourself out there.


This reminded me of a couple of years ago, I got married to the most amazing man two years ago but didnt invite my parents as they had walked out of my life 3 years previous all to do with gc sister, they choose not to contact me I tried reaching out maybe once a year everytime they were so hurtful I felt like I was starting to have a breakdown so withdrew contact till the next time.

Anyway I digress after my wedding they found out and contacted me to tell me what an awful daughter I was and lots of verbal abuse, this shook me up and I got really ill with kidney issues to the point if I hadnt gone to hospital I could of died of blood poisoning anyway they found out I was in hospital and visited and you know what they proceeded to tell me after I got out of hospital wag an awful daughter I was for ignoring them whilst I was in hospital, err you put me there. I have gone nc now I just cant do with the continual put downs, for so long I didn’t know my self worth now I do and they hate it they cant control me and it freaks them out, I
Shouldnt have had to live looking after myself from since a kid, bullied badly at school with no guidance from them amongst even worse stuff they werent there to help me with. They should be ashamed sad they are not really. I refused to be their verbal punchbung, sg anymore.


response ability is the ability to respond
to know how you feel
accept those feelings
and take action based on those feelings
if you do not feel, you cannot respond to your feelings
you cannot be responsible, response able
you do not know or accept your will
you are filled with doubt, doubt of the self, doubt about what to feel
this creates a lack of motive, motivation, motion
you are then a puppet
dependent on those outside of you to tell you how to respond
they tell you how they feel and you respond based on their feelings
you are then absolved of responsibility, someone else is in control…..
for me this experience was instigated by the devaluing of my feelings/emotions both positive and negative, all off my expressions of emotion were critiqued….a constant barrage of wrong, stupid, ugly…..and selfish….everything related to the self, to my true feelings was classified as selfish, hence bad and evil….because all feelings were classified as bad and evil, then having no feelings was the only safe option, because being bad and evil meant I would deserve suffering and if I could go neutral, have no feelings, and suffer/sacrifice then I was being love, I was loving, and if I took my turn at loving maybe I could then get love, but probably not because “I don’t love you, you don’t need my love” and “life is not fair” stupid
at the core of this was my existence as a separate being, with the ability to exist for my self, with experiences and motives related to my self
independent, being dependent on the self, on understanding the self as an active living being motivated by my ability to say yes and no (this does not prevent relating or interacting but actually makes it possible because you then exist and take part in the relationship or interaction, you can also love, even love “selflessly” ,which is not necessarily suffering by the way, but honoring the beauty and value which exists outside of the self)
by having my independence devalued and combined with the message that I would only get love by needing it, I was constantly begging, beseeching, proving I was incapable of meeting my own needs…and in an odd little twist because at my core I was evil and bad, then anybody who acted loving was making a mistake, this covered all positive attention…turning into a weird please don’t notice me, or this good thing is not my fault, or this is not me but merely circumstantial….and lastly, because by golly, life is not fair and I was apparently stupid for hoping it could be, which was actually a secret wish that it was pleasant, nice, or that there could be some balance….because life is not fair this was my allotment, this was not how it was for others but for me, just in case I were to look around and notice the programming did not apply to others
of course I was and am “selfish”
I have a self, I have feelings, they are there to guide me, to help me know what actions to take to bring pleasure and avoid pain, to motivate me, to give me vitality, to give me vital action
I am selfish, and I love my self, I honor my self through my actions
when someone tells you what to feel they are trying to disconnect you from your self, from your motives, to turn you in to a puppet
when someone tells you how bad, wrong, stupid, repulsive, ugly, or evil you are they are trying to destroy your ability to recognize and accept your self, to destroy your independence so that you will become dependent…so that your value depends on their judgement
and though it does not actually help the conversation
when someone tells you life is not fair, with the expectation that they win and you loose..that the game is stacked on their side and that you are fated to suffer….remember you do not need to play with them, hey…indeed, life is not fair….sometimes without any excuse, without any justification, without suffering…sometimes you win! reminds me of that AA thing…grant me the wisdom to accept the things I can’t control….what if acceptance is not just for misery but for joy too


Jojo, I am happy you went NC. It’s not worth having your health be so bad (as well as your self-esteem) because of your so-called family.

I’m sorry about your parents only being interested in yelling at you when you got married and when you were in the hospital. Geez. They don’t deserve to have you in their lives, and you don’t deserve taking on the role of the peacemaker and getting abused for it!!

I hope you are happier now. Congratulations.


I love reading all of the posts on this site. I am home!

Mike welcome! You are in the right place.

5joy7 thank you for feedback.:-)

Lyndsay–I use my real name HERE. I’m concerned about my fam too, but I feel safe here. If my fam commented, it would be more interesting now than scary like it once was.

I have changed my number and my husband has blocked everyone from contacting us, including my mother. We are liquidating property we were given to maintain for my mom—the $$ amount of the car we bought her a few years ago.

My family again, en masse, acted in a way that was so disrespectful that even my patient husband said, “That’s it.”
Their actions added insult to natural disaster injury.

I think the hardest thing for me is…I guess all of it.
Admitting I am suffering from long term abuse and the personality traits I’ve developed because of it.
Seeing myself act to my children the way I was raised and stopping myself–apologizing to them and myself, then going a different direction.
Facing dysfunction I brought into my marriage, and confronting some behavior of my spouse which I once thought were acceptable BEFORE emerged from fog and began in my recover.
Trying to know and act out on what is “normal”. I don’t ant to be paranoid suspecting everyone of motives I alone attribute to them, because that state of hyper-vigilance is how I was “groomed”.
I don’t ant the pendulum to swing so far I’m worse only in the opposite way.

It’s here I find so much validation through reading your experiences. I know I’m not alone in this experience but I am alone in my beautiful house –which my family will never see. I grieve the family I thought I have and abhor my FoO which really exists.

I’m just getting back on level ground after the Valley Fire–and that was almost 2 mos ago.
Starting to cook & bake again. Thinking about my art. Healing slowly.

This fire brought all the pain of family, lack of family and the grief of losing those I loved (I don’t love them any more) back up to the surface. It’s been an amazing experience.

AND–I’m glad I am where I am to walk through it.

As far as friends. If I see one or two red flags, I’m out. I have too many wonderful people in my life to have to try so hard (again) to be friends with people who don’t respect who I am. Not gunna play that any more.

I too can accept love, compliments today from those in my life. I know it’s real.
I know I’m worth it.

Thank you Darlene for being here for us all.


I am nc with my mom and sibs. I have been for a year now.
When we were dealing with the aftermath of fire in our area my stepbrother and my nephew, by marriage, came to help us. It was totally sweet of them to come, but they know what REAL family does at times like that: they show up.
My oldest (abuser) sister told my nephew (ironically her ex-son in law) who came to help us that it was so disrespectful of me not to AT LEAST call my mother to let her know that we were alive. So much drama.

So, 1,000 homes in my area were burnt to the ground, I’m living in what looks like a war zone and they still expect something FROM me.

This sister told this nephew that the entire family was DESPERATE to find out how we were…yet no one called our home number or my husbands cel, or even contact him through fb.

During the fire and our evacuation my estranged brother had broken his leg (unrelated accident).
My mom texted my husband and talked about my brother…never once asking about our safety.

So much more was done which all lead to us cutting final thread of connection.


I really like what someone said to remind me that going nc can be seen as a challange.
Yup. They tried it all.
I texted briefly two “neutral” nieces after the event but it’s clear…the general consensus of family is that I’m the one who needs to rejoin the fold.

Not going to happen.

Those nieces are now blocked as well.


After a pretty big break from writing on the blog I have published a new post!! Check it out on the home page or at this link ~

“How abusers and Perpetrators Get Away with It.”
hugs, Darlene


Thank you Darlene for your healing messages.


The black sheep blog and the victim mentality and this blog are my story with my family of origin minus my mom. I have basically cut off all contact with my family. I’m the youngest of the family by many years and the only female. All of my brothers in varying degree’s have an intense jealousy and hatred toward me. And I have an ex SIL who has stayed in the family she just moved onto another brother she too has an intense focus of hatred toward me too. At this age after many years of trying to “earn” acceptance and love I’ve come to the realization that there is no acceptance or love for me to be found in my family.
My parents divorced so I was spared growing up with my alcoholic abusive wealthy father. However, there were other challenges that I grew up under such as a single poor mother who sadly was manipulated into joining a fundamentalist Christian cult. The choice of my mother’s life partners were terrible.
My dad didn’t parent but did send money for clothes and other normal things that my brothers did not have growing up.
So the story was for many years that I was spoiled and lazy. The real kicker for all of them was that my dad did pay for my college. It always seems to be left out that I had to earn that college degree. When my dad wrote that last tuition check I haven’t asked or received a dime from him. However, all of them have been bailed out many times over (thousands and thousands) In fact given houses that they let fall down around them. Substance abuse and very unhealthy dysfunctional behavior is rampant.
I married a good man and we have a happy family. We’ve earned everything we have by ourselves.
In fact, I just completed a very grueling master’s degree program paid for by myself with student debt and hard work. I worked a full time job and went to school full time and had a family to take care of.
The story now is that I’m RICH. Its called working hard,budgeting and financial responsibility. And no I’m not rich by any stretch of a normal person’s imagination.
I remain a focus of their hatred. I just received a letter from this same ex sil (who has a relationship with another one of my brothers but is not married to him) detailing the needs of my mother’s financial situation. I’m close to my mom and help her out which this ex sil is aware of. I know my mom’s financial situation. Its just a way to attempting to create conflict She is very angry because her and this brother were renting from us and after 3 months of unpaid rent( and no phone calls to explain anything) we told them to move out.
So the next chapter in the big story of lies is that I’m not supportive of the family and am money hungry.
Now when this shite comes my way, I get the fire flamed but now it gets put out quickly because I remind myself of who I am and what they truly are.
My life is good and I’m going to mentally live that goodness through happiness and joy.
“Their purpose or motive for the way that they treat you is actually about what serves them much more than it is the way that they see you. These people have a motive and it isn’t a motive driven by love, it is a motive driven by the desire to have control.

Understanding this made all the difference in the world in my recovery and in overcoming the false definitions of “me” that had been put on me by abusive, uncaring, controllers and manipulators who felt entitled to treat me like I didn’t matter. The ways that I was treated by these people communicated to me that they were more important than I was. Part of the way that they convinced me of my lesser value was through the subtle or obvious messages that something was ‘missing’ or ‘wrong’ with me and with my reactions to life.”

That sums it up perfectly.
Darlene thank you for creating this blog. It truly is a life line for me.
I read this poem on the internet today.

You are not your abuse.
You are not what they did to you.
You are not your trauma.

You are the cleverness that survived.
You are the courage that escaped.
You are the power that hid & protected a tiny spark of your light.

You will fan that spark into a bonfire of rage and love,
and with it you will burn all their lies to ash.


I have worked hard on setting boundaries for a couple of years now and life is so much better. I think I might have gotten lulled into complacency and I recently shared something with my golden child sister. Not sharing personal information about myself or my immediate family with my family of origin has been a goal of my therapy and I have done so well at it. But I slipped, it was actually rather inadvertently.

Having removed myself from being the recipient of the treatment I get when I share information that my family can use to manipulate, demean, shame or control me for so long, it was like getting hit over the head by a two by four.

I am a little angry at myself for slipping, yet I am absolutely fascinated by the fact that I actually used to live this way all of the time. This was the kind of thing I experienced daily not that long ago.

This time, when my sister started to act like I had done something wrong and went screaming through the halls that the sky was falling so to speak, I stopped her in her tracks. I still did not feel good emotionally and have felt traumatized for the last two days, but I am proud that despite this fact, I was able to automatically respond by setting clear boundaries.

Interestingly, I did nothing wrong. I had been talking to my son’s school about having him moved up a level in a class he was doing exceptionally well in at the teacher’s suggestion. I ran into a brick wall and ended up writing a very effective, respectful letter that resulted in him being advanced.

In my letter I mentioned an experience my sister’s child had in the same school district, but not the same school, over 14 years ago. I used no names and gave so little information, there was no way her or her son who is an adult now could ever be identified. (Incidentally, when this incident occurred with her child, she was raving at the school, threatened to get a lawyer and removed him from the school district permanently. He was only in early elementary school and I am certain nobody remembers him even if there are people still working in the district that were there well over a decade ago when this happened). It was all of maybe two sentences in a two page letter and I simply briefly mentioned it to illustrate a point. I made the mistake of letting her see my letter and the response, feeling good about the fact I was able to get my son moved.

Suddenly my sister went into a paranoid frenzy, demanding to know everyone in the school district who the counselor forwarded my letter too. I explained to her that everyone on the forwarding email address were people in my son’s school, not in the higher administration of the school district. She proceeded to list off the names one by one demanding to know their titles an positions.

The whole gist was I had somehow shared secret information about her son in my letter that could hurt him or my sister. It is so crazy it is bizarre. There was no way they could identify him from my letter. Furthermore, she was so vocal when this happened with her son 14 years ago, demanding meetings with everyone in the district ect… that what happened was never a secret.

Sighs. So in working through this I have some interesting thoughts. I stood up for my son, my family never allowed me to stand up for myself. It was as if I were hurting them whenever I stood up for myself, I was infringing upon their happiness. When I stood up for myself I was being selfish. I was looked down upon if I got angry, made to feel there was something wrong with me.

When the counselors in my school tried to intervene because I was completely shut down and isolating myself in school, it wasn’t about me, it was about them, I was the embarrassment of the family. And in the end, they were the martyrs, forced to rescue me from myself, wasting resources that could have been used by them to get me help with my school work ect…

So I am thinking my sister viewed me standing up for my son as threatening, perhaps as an extension of me standing up for myself. She tried to twist it into something that was hurting her. She tried to make it all about her son.

She tried, unsuccessfully, to manipulate me into thinking I somehow was embarrassing her for standing up. Then she went into high drama mode, listing off the names of people my letter was forwarded to as if the fear of God were inside of her. My family always way overreacted to everything I did and they tried to scare me all of the time. Any mistake I ever made was exaggerated and made to have extreme consequences.

She actually tried to scare me over this letter, she tried to shame me, she tried to make it about her, she tried to twist it into something it wasn’t. It’s almost laughable, but when it is happening, it is so hard not to get caught up in it. I felt that dread starting in the pit of my stomach, that panic that I had done something terrible. Then the self loathing, the shame….

What is different now is I recognize it, I know what it is, I know why it’s there and I know that I am crushing those old beliefs and bad feelings one at a time. I know too, that even though they still pop up and even though I still have to work on them, I don’t live in that place anymore and for that I am extremely grateful.

I also know that it was a darn good letter, that I was well within my rights and actually required as a Mother to advocate for my child. I know that the letter was about my child, not her and not even in the Land of Oz could it possibly hurt her or anyone else.

I know healing doesn’t happen overnight, that it is a journey. I am grateful that I am not living in the storm anymore and when I do have to weather a storm, each time I handle it better, each time I am stronger and the storms are shorter and further apart now.


I just felt the need to leave a comment as reading the articles and comments on this site has made such a difference to me and I feel blessed for finding you all. I have been connecting the dots of my childhood and seeing how it has shaped me too but never felt I knew what to do with the dreaded anger inside so doused it down with trying to look and forgive all that has been done, which is great but I needed to own and feel my pain. I see I was feisty all along, I’m so proud of my spirit for being the * problem * as no one could snuff out my voice even though I too defined my core beliefs to fit with my disfunctional family and ex. I’m started to peel the layers off and am on the first rung of the ladder to self love, we are all unique and worthy, we all have flaws and I’m owning my qualities whether they good or bad with pride.


Hi Julie
Welcome to EFB!! Love your comments. I too found that when I finally validated my pain, and that it actually came from somewhere, I was able to move forward and emerge into the authentic person (me) that I am today! Yay for celebrating who YOU are!
hugs, Darlene


I’m so angry today, I’ve been exploring my feelings from a distance for so long and woke up today furious that I’ve being made to feel so bad for being me my whole life. I should of guessed my emotions would eventually surface since I’ve been exploring my past. I’ve tried for so many years to be passive as believed it made me a better person but it was another way of suppressing my feelings, I was such an angry child/ teen and used to scare myself with my emotions but didn’t realise I have to process this feeling and learn from it rather than blow a gasket and apologise. I can feel grief is coming soon but it will be a release for me as I won’t be fighting to hold it all in.


We are all on a healing journey and we need to be gentle with ourselves. We have all been thru so much negativity from the people who were supposed to be our foundation and our support system. They weresupposed to guide us and love us unconditionally. They were not supposed to be doing any of these things for their own benefit or because they wanted to mood us into their own Personal Servants.
I tired and tried for over 30 years to tend to her every need and demand and it was never enough.
Even after finding the love of my life and the one who loved me and still loves me “no matter what”. Things got worse because he took away her “servant” ( couldn’t think of another word). 30 years of confrontations and temper tantrums because of jealousy, and things no going her way, and also because it wasn’t about her anymore. I had a husband and children and friends and extended family. The attention was not about her anymore. I was learning how to give my love and attention to other people and she could not handle it. She was no happy and she wanted me to be just as miserable as her and sit with her forever in that world of negativity. The last phone call was the worst. It was the worst meltdown of my life and my kids were afraid, my husband was DONE and that was all I could take. Enough.
We are not crazy…don’t let anyone make you feel like that… No one knows what you have been thru but you…take care of you….walk away…it’s okay…mother father brother sister…it doesn’t matter…I thought it was a sine until I realized that it what they were doing to me was the SIN! Take care of You.


Darlene thank you for giving us the opportunity to try and heal and learn. By writing, I have discovered some things about my NM and myself that I wouldn’t have, if I didn’t have this forum to express myself. It’s our safe place and I thank you for that.


Hey Darlene! well I’ve called you a super hero and now I’m calling you my guardian angel. I’m having this exact issue at work right now and I feel like your message is to remind me that it’s not me that’s crazy or stupid.

I just had a performance review at work and one of my issues I brought up was that I am having a tough time handling the personality of a women that I work with in our HR Department. She’s not my boss but she acts like she is and she behaves exactly how you are describing in your article. I’m in the payroll department and sometimes our worlds collide. She points out my mistakes in a belittling way and i walk away feeling like shit and then I end up beating myself up because my boss doesn’t want me to rock the boat.

My boss is just like my dad and the women is like my mom, how is this for a powerful trigger? My boss told me not to let my mistakes define my self worth and that I need to have more confidence in my abilities. he’s happy with my work but not to let her get to me. He acknowledges that she’s been this way for 15 years and a lot of people have the same issue with her. She makes the company money because she deals with WCB and keeps the claims down. she treats employees like crap but no one stands up to her.

The theme of keep the peace at all cost seems to be coming up for me and at least I am aware how my pattern is to stay small so she can stay superior to me. It’s clear to me that if I stay in my job my self esteem will suffer. I feel sad and disappointed that my own boss doesn’t even want to rock the boat because he doesn’t like conflict.

Our mission statement at work is about how they value their employees blah, blah, blah and yet they have a tyrant in the HR department. Once again it’s all about power, control and the old mighty dollar and us little peons have to suffer. I guess the Universe is trying to gently me guide me out of my job and into something that will serve me better.

Just wanted to thank you for this post because I really needed it right now and I need to remind myself that I have value even those around me would be more comfortable if I just stayed quiet and small. Sorry for the language but Fuck That! I’ve worked too hard on myself to put up with this crap, I’m so glad I’ve come so far in my own healing journey to recognize this dysfunctional pattern and the only person that can change this situation is “me”. You always say what I need to hear at the right time, thank you for being so good at what you do, hugs!


Lora, you say….I’ve worked too hard on myself to put up with this crap, I’m so glad I’ve come so far in my own healing journey to recognize this dysfunctional pattern and the only person that can change this situation is “me”.

Working with people that trigger the Abusive Parent crap is sucky. If you want to keep your job and earn a paycheck, you MUST “play along (in your defined role) to get along”

Add to that racist attitudes towards you and really head towards the deep end! Stand up to them, or question…..Suddenly you are not capable or cut out to do that job anymore.

Bullshit! Narcasstic people/parents pull their demon role crap at work, if they can’t get to their kids enough. Or they reall get off with torture of family and employees.

If nothing changes, what to do? Silently suffer, or speak up, document the incidents, file formal complaints, then wonder about consequences?
Sad we are constantly worrying will our actions “Cause Punishment for us”

Try to Stay strong, easier said than done sometimes. 🙂


Hi Lora, I hope you don’t mind me putting in my two cents. I’ve quit my last two jobs because of dysfunction and something I’ve been thinking about is what you said about there being multiple people having a problem with this woman. I imagine that if there are multiple people fed up, if you all gathered together as a group and made it clear to the boss that this was an issue important to all of you and you wanted the boss to do something about it, then it might be effective (i.e. if he felt the threat of losing multiple people—even if it wasn’t directly stated—that might jolt him to take some action). That is, if you wanted to stay working there. Sometimes understanding what you have to do just to get respect is embittering because you shouldn’t have to do it.


Great comments Alaina. And Lora, I wanted to add that if you don’t want to take any action, ask yourself why not. (not as a judgement against yourself, but for an opportunity to digg a little deeper into the belief system) ask your self what you are afraid will happen if you take a stand. (sometimes the fear itself if identified is enough to give us that validation we need to act or decide not to act.)
Hugs, Darlene



Also keep this in mind: Unlike minors, adults can take steps to leave toxic situations. It’s not always easy, but it can be done. Remember, you’re an adult, not a powerless child.


Well, I survived Thanksgiving with a little bit of sadness. I chose NC in March 2015. (with Nmother and stepfather)

My husband and I went to his mom’s house, then to friends home. I met new people and felt so good being accepted, talking, giving my opinion, laughing, feeling good, not on edge, not hearing depressing family stories from the past. No bitching about relatives, neighbors, etc. No pretending to enjoy myself. No guilt trip when we chose to leave.

I also have a few new female friends, and don’t feel I have to be “nice and good” to make them like me. I have had to set a few boundries with one.
Just being myself is so liberating!

I may feel a bit sad at Christmas, but I have so much to be thankful for.
My husband said he admires how I have endured A Mastectomy and Radiation treatments, still having a positive attitude, my sense of humor, and caring about others.

2015 Family trouble, marriage,having to move at NMothers request, health issues….And I am still here! Stronger, freer , and so much wiser!


Hi d ch
All the ‘firsts’ were hard for me. (first christmas, first birthday etc) You sound great though! Yay for being stronger, freer and so much wiser!!!
Hugs, Darlene


Thank you Darlene. Happy Safe Holidays, and continued success in 2016!


From Julie:

I’m so angry today, I’ve been exploring my feelings from a distance for so long and woke up today furious that I’ve being made to feel so bad for being me my whole life. I should of guessed my emotions would eventually surface since I’ve been exploring my past. I’ve tried for so many years to be passive as believed it made me a better person but it was another way of suppressing my feelings, I was such an angry child/ teen and used to scare myself with my emotions but didn’t realise I have to process this feeling and learn from it rather than blow a gasket and apologise. I can feel grief is coming soon but it will be a release for me as I won’t be fighting to hold it all in.

And when your emotions DO surface and you want to talk about it, all you get is DENIAL DENIAL DENIAL or “quit living in the past.” My experience is that people who give you the “quit living in the past” are hiding something. Yes, persecuted for being “you.” Did you grow up in a small town? I did. I didn’t “fit” in the small town society.

I’m doing like you, exploring my past. I’m trying to get Mom to share hers, as I did force her into revealing a “tip of the iceberg” and I think this “tip” colored how she treated me. Plus, I was a bit of a “precocious” kid and Mom didn’t know how to deal with “precocious.” In fact I begged to go to a boarding school as a kid. I got Mom to admit her reason for not letting me do this was “what would the neighbors say? (And never mind that a family that practiced the Adventist religion in this same small town sent ALL of their kids to an Advent boarding school….That didn’t seem to matter! It was “ok” because of their religion.)

Mom never says what she means, nor does she mean what she says.

I feel for you, Julie.



The process of trying to mold a person into someone they’re not isn’t just limited to small towns. I spent the first half of my childhood in a big city, then the other half in a medium-sized twin city area where I’m residing now (and doing my best to hope I don’t run into my mother when I go out). In both areas, my mother indoctrinated my siblings and I with many narrow-minded ideas and threatened to hurt us if we told any “family secrets”. Plus, adults at my schools saw my introverted behavior as something to fix rather than just my way of being. Thank goodness my K-12 days are over. Sick parenting can happen anywhere.


People that think I’m Crazy, Stupid or Frustrating, would not appreciate my creative writing, so I share it with you, my fellow emergers!










Hi d ch
Bravo!!! Thanks for sharing your writing with us! I realized while reading your post that this is what I have been (and to some extent have accomplished!) creating for myself this past 8 or 10 years or so. I have created a better world for myself, and that is what we are all trying to do here.
And that is pretty awesome!!
Hugs, Darlene


I just published my Christmas post!
For years people have been asking me to address the issue of going no contact and how to decide what to do when it comes to our children; here is the article: ” Do my parents have a Right to See my Children if They don’t Love me?”
Hope you like it!
hugs, Darlene


I’m new to this site, found it by accident. I have read many of the posts. I was a battered wife and didn’t even know it until I received inner healing and counseling I’m sure now I looked it too. Denial…I took classes on Codependency and that helped. I agree, children learn what they see modeled. I can see the generational abuse filtering through my kids now and I’m beside myself with grief. He was abusive, a womanizer, and a drunk. They say he doesn’t drink as much now and seem to idolize him, 3 of them. People wonder why i don’t want to live near my children and my grandchildren. It’s like the years go by and people forget how awful things were. Sometimes I would like to contact his girlfriends and tell them I knew. They all said I was not a loving Christian when I started to confront. I lost my family home, my community, my friends, and now my children.


Hi Jo M
Welcome to EFB ~ I am so glad that you are helming now. It’s sad how people use “he’s not as bad now” as if that makes it all go away. And it is sad that people mistakenly think that “christians” put up with crap as thought crap is related to love. How quickly everyone forgets the actually message of Christ.
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


I have been broken for over 40 years and struggling with trying to figure out what was wrong with me. My family has been mentally/emotionally abusing me since I can remember and for just as long I have been trying to figure out a way to make them see/appreciate who I really am.

I left home when I was 14 because no matter what I did (or didn’t do) I was blamed for any problems going on in my families life. I couldn’t deal with it and had no support from anyone inside or outside the family. My parents chose to live/raise four children in horrendous squalor in an unfinished basement. When I was pushed through the court system and charged by my parents with being unstable and a child in need of services, not one person cared to explore the root of the issues. So that left me unable to defend myself and left with the insurmountable task of learning how to BE in the world.

Needless to say, it has been an extremely difficult uphill battle to overcome seemingly simple life/social skills. I managed to find my path to continue my education (after having to drop out of high school) and have had a great professional career for the last 20 years, which has been my only saving grace to realizing my true worth and ability to live to my highest potential.

The past few years I have been solely taking care of my grandmother who suffers from Alzheimer’s. I became her legal guardian to help with making medical decisions, financial management, assisted living arrangements, etc. and during this trying time for me, my family has refused to help out in any way. Their war cry against me is “you wanted to take 100% control of everything”, but yet they are very adamant to get their hands on things in her estate.

I’ve been juggling many aspects of my life (marriage, self-employment, studying toward Masters Degree, overseeing my grandmothers life) alone with no support except from my wonderful husband. I “fall down” sometimes into depression, but seem to have a super resilient spirit and am gratefully able to pick myself up.

I have decided to cut ties with selfish, abusive family members, because I have finally realized that their only motive is to bring me down to their miserable level.

I am ecstatic to have stumbled across this community of other broken people on the mend. Its very comforting to know there are people who understand. Thank you!!


Welcome to EFB! I can certainly relate to your statement “I have been trying to figure out a way to make them see/appreciate who I really am.” Freedom for me came when I stopped trying to convince ‘them’ and to prove my worth to them. It was when I finally heard me, and saw me and appreciated myself for who I really am, that the definitions they put on me, fell away.
Glad you are here! Thanks for sharing!
hugs, Darlene


OMGoodness! This is exactly what I’ve experienced for so long. I was raised by an emotionally abusive Aunt who to this day attempts to make me feel as though I’m insane. She even had me put on medications I DO NOT (and a psychologist evaluated me as being normal) need. I got a huge welt on my skin and had to stop taking it. She needed to be in a straight jacket herself.

Every time some Twitter or Disqus troll goes on a tangent, the first thing that comes out of their mouth is “you’re a nutjob” or an idiot. I used to get offended enough to close my accounts down. Now instead I let them know that I’m not crazy. They just don’t possess the intelligence it requires to understand me.

I’m a fearfully, wonderfully designed, marvelously complex, yet amazing human being. And God didn’t make one mistake on me! I love being me. 😉


I am so glad to have run across this article. I have struggled with these same issues my whole life. Starting with my teachers. And being bullied as a child. They formed me into who I would be my whole life. I have forgiven all in the passed. But I continue to be belittled especially in the work place. And am constantly asking myself and others what is wrong me. I search myself and find that I’m not stupid. And kind and considerate to others. I am now 52. And I want to take control of who is really me.


I might have just landed myself a job in a restaurant (I might start tomorrow, opening day yikes). When my Dad found out about this a few weeks ago the words of wisdom were: “Careful those jobs can be hypnotising, you might find yourself there for a long time.” Carlos’ rebuttal? “Dad it’s not the be all or end all of my.. Dad: “Son the job is hypnotising”

As to why I am pissed? One he cut off my rebuttal to regain control of the conversation and two I really can’t help but feel that what he was trying to say, is that he thinks that I am not capable of steering out of this particular job to venture for bigger opportunities in the future. Sorry but this is just the starting point of greater things, not a be all or end all Dad. (On a side note, if I get the job I am actually scared!)



I think you’re showing great initiative in what you’re doing. You’re paying for school by taking on jobs. That’s very responsible. I don’t know why your father and grandmother are giving you flak for it. Besides, a “lowly” job is better than being unemployed. (I don’t believe in “respectable” and “lowly” jobs because all jobs are important.) It’s not like you’re like some adults who live with their parents, and do nothing except watch television and play video games while mooching off their parents’ money. Would they prefer that?

Have you ever thought of getting a roommate since it seems expensive to live on your own? You can scan your local classifieds or the Internet for roommate ads. Be careful with this option, though. You never know who you might end up living with. It’s risky, but it may turn out better than staying with your father and grandmother.


I only just come across this article but better late than never.
You’ve put into words something I’ve battled with from a young age yet been struggling to find the words in order for me to be able to explain it all this time.
To say it hit an emotional chord in me would be an understatement.
This is the answer I needed to a question I had no idea of even how to begin to ask.
You not only summed it up perfectly & exact,
You’ve helped set me free. Thank You.


Hi Lee
Welcome to Emerging from Broken,
I am so glad that you are here and that this article resonated with you. Please share often,
Hugs, Darlene


It’s taken me some time to find your blog, and it’s a pity I didn’t discover it sooner… Still, I’m now finding it VERY interesting reading.

With personal experience in mind, I must confess that there are many points on which I agree with you. This issue – the need for some people to make others believe they are stupid, or crazy, lazy, frustrating, or ugly – is one of them.

I’ve lived much (indeed, most) of my life hearing comments such as these. Being told I am any one of the things I’ve listed above – stupid, ugly, crazy, lazy, frustrating… These comments began as far back as I can remember, around the time that I commenced Infant School. I feel doubly hurt, in that I was bullied both at home, and at School. At home, my parents would compare me negatively to other family members (usually my cousins), saying things like “Why can’t you be more like… she’s the pretty one?”. They also began to put a lot of emphasis upon my getting high grades at school, and this felt like I had to “jump through hoops” to please them. The bullies at school attacked me for my good grades. I was told that “I must have a Tutor”, or “I must be cheating”. Other kids made comments like “Oh, everyone got those grades in the exam”, even though we ALL knew this was NOT the case.

As I got older, and moved to High School, it got worse. My parents endlessly argued with me over what career I wanted, and whether I would go on to further education, and what I might study. I was good at English, and English Literature, it was my favourite subject, and I got “A” grades in it. I hoped to study it at University. My father told me that it was “piss assed”, and “would not get me a proper job” (whatever a proper job is?!). I had become somewhat withdrawn and lacking in confidence because of the bullying at school – which my parents gave me NO support for. I began to dress a lot in black, baggy clothes because I thought I was unattractive. Girls at my new school were very much into forming cliques, and unless you were blonde and busty, you NEVER got to be one of the “popular” girls. I was NOT blonde and busty – I was brown-haired and flat-chested! So, I got told I was “plain”, “ugly”; people called me names “fried-egg tits”, “witchy” (because of my long dark hair), “swot” or “teacher’s pet”, or “nerd” (because of my good grades).

It does NOT feel at all good, being bullied simultaneously at school, and at home. It really strips you of all your confidence, and even if you are doing well in life, you start to question yourself and your abilities and achievements. I have noted that the bullying often followed a patterns – that it was triggered by particular incidents. You might guess what such incidents were… They were times when I DID SOMETHING SUCCESSFUL, times when I ACHIEVED. I have noted, throughout my life, that the people making the nasty comments (including my own parents) were people who had NEVER achieved the things that they bullied me for achieving.

The kids who bullied me at school were ALL in lower academic groups than me, and did NOT get good grades. NONE of them got good enough grades to go to University. When I look back on my time at school, I also realise that these girls who bullied me (they were all girls, no boys) were no prettier than I was – they just THOUGHT they were. Indeed, later life has shown that what they tried to have me believe at school was nonsense. Of the girls who bullied me at school, telling me I was “ugly and nerdy”, NONE got a place at University. I am now doing POSTGRADUATE study, and already have 2 University degrees. THREE are divorced (TWO of them have had multiple divorces, being dumped each time by the bloke). I am married, and have been with my husband over 20 years. THEIR marriages lasted on average no more than 3-5 years! ONE of them has had THREE broken engagements behind her (and now cannot get the man she is with to marry her). ONE was married at 18 and divorced at 20. At least TWO of these girls (now women) are very overweight…

Yet these are the girls who thought they could bully me at school, and tell me what “rubbish” I was! As to my parents… MY father left school with NO formal qualifications. The “great man” who thought he could pick on his own daughter!

I cannot help but agree that it serves a bully’s, or abuser’s purpose to try to make the victim believe awful things about him- or herself. I do believe that sometimes this is because the bully or abuser has low-self-esteem. In such cases, however, the bully/abuser CANNOT admit to having low-self-esteem, and instead seeks to feel better about him/herself by picking on other people. This is the power game you rightly describe. My brother- and sister-in-law are excellent examples of people who pick on others to make themselves feel better. My sister-in-law is morbidly obese, and has always picked on me for being thinner than her. My brother- and sister-in-law are also incredibly materialistic, and constantly compare their possessions to other people’s, always trying to infer that they have “the best”.

Still, I do not think that this need for “one-upmanship”, and desire to put others down, always comes from a lack of self-confidence. I believe that sometimes it is a symptom of NARCISSISM. That the bully or abuser is a full-blown NARCISSIST, who inherently sees him- or herself as better than anyone else. You’ve talked in other posts about ENTITLEMENT, this is a symptom of narcissism. The narcissist does NOT see other people as people, but merely as “things”. Narcissists have no empathy, and are self-absorbed to the point of expecting that others will always put them first. They CANNOT understand other people’s needs, so relationships with narcissists are generally one-sided. THEY expect something of YOU, but YOU need not expect anything of THEM. They make “fair weather friends” at best; at worst, they are complete “users”. They “use” people, and then discard them.

I think it’s likely that people who try to make you feel bad about yourself fit into one of these two categories. They are either lacking self-confidence, but cannot admit it, and so project all their failings onto somebody they envy, trying to tear that person down, in order to make themselves feel better. Or else they are narcissists, to whom de-valuing other people comes naturally.


Thank you so much for this. Someone who I really care about just made me feel like I’m a real stupid and moronic person. I was even looking up “how to be smarter” on Google when I came across your article. Made my day!


This was so very refreshing to read. Awhile back I read a book that a therapist recommended to me. Its called the Four Agreements. It really helped me get through some tough times and over some of the negative things that various people were saying about me. The most powerful thing it did was to allow me to stop being so hard on myself. I followed the teachings in the book and it worked like a charm.

After sometime I got a new job. it was in a fast paced stressful environment. At first I was able to meet the “new Negative” people head on and shrug off the poison they were spreading about one another and eventually about me.It wasn’t long before I became overwhelmed. My assignment here is ending in June. I can’t wait! But over the past few weeks I have started coming to some conclusions on why these people behave they way they do toward me and I was able to see with unclouded eyes again that they are in fact hiding their own pettyness by redirecting/refocusing attention on others/me.

of course it didn’t start with them. I had a father who was a very harsh person when I was growing up. He suggested a lot of negative things to me which became strongholds in my mind. I wrestle with them still. its a lot less than it was years ago before I read the Four Agreements but its still here. I still doubt myself and hesitate. I still sometimes feel unworthy. The worst part of it is that the preditors like my father out there can sense it on me. and thats when they take their shots.

Thanks for your article it buttresses everything that I have learned regarding self esteem and self efficacy over the last few years.

Best regards!


I am so glad I read this. In my life, my entire family experience has been about control and people manipulating each other. I have struggled so much trying to understand others and love and what it is supposed to feel like. I am constantly used and have had my emotions torn apart by those I am supposed to consider close. My parents got divorced when I was 5. The way it happened is my dad one Sunday just got up and left, saying “You won’t be seeing me anymore” and he walked out the door. I personally was crushed by this. I have always been a smart individual the kid who would get all the homework done at school, and move up 2 grades cause I was smart. I come from a Mormon family and all my life I have been taught that family is important and must be upheld, with me becoming a priesthood holder and having to look after my sister. I foolishly at my age took it upon myself to try and fix our family. My Grandma gave her life and health for my family. She literally said “Let me have children and raise them right, and I will give anything” She gave her whole life to become bedridden, and have horrible diseases, mainly being Lupus. I was at this point raised at her house with my mom and sister, father having abandoned the Church. I thought that I could be smart enough and brave enough to give everything to fix everything else. My childhood life was committed to trying to fix others. I did this for age 5-14…. It crushed me. I had no friends, the entire time being rejected over and over, being used over and over. I let people do whatever and whenever. I gave everything I could to make them happy. They spat in my face so many times, praise really given, comfort none. I broke at age fourteen… I cannot remember almost all my 14-18 years. I am now almost 18 years old, my birthday is in 2 months… I became crushed and I still am. I cannot bring myself to trust anyone, and I only have one friend, by pure them being persistent enough to dig to where I hide. I now lie so easily and bury everyone far far away underneath lie upon lie. I am still smart and all my brain power changed from goodness for others to me setting up a net so deep it drives me mad. Even now, my family still does it. No comfort, no one to say good job. They still use me, and manipulate me. I am glad that I learned of this site and this post…. I am still struggling but the fact that people are out there that can sympathize is all I want… So thanks and I hope to read more soon…


Hi Connor
Welcome to EFB!
This website is about to undergo a major update ~ The Server is being migrated to a whole new server this morning and the site is going to go down in about 10 min from now, so I have to make this a quick comment (and hope it all gets saved before the transfer today) You are not alone! Keep reading ~ there are about 450 articles all with discussions and I am sure you will find lots of insights and hope here!
Hugs, Darlene


Thank ypu darlene your words really is the truth and what i needed in my lige. People are cruel to use this tactic. Even my own fam use this. Friends my school days at jobs… gonna do my best not to believe them they want us to suffer. And yes i believe their words are constant it is like spells and you did mention that word. They curse us unknowingly but they believe it that why it can cause havoc in our lives. These people are driven by evil. I walked down the road two people was gossiping abt me sayin ooo looks like he is going crazy. With no tests or any research. They are idiotic satans little helpers


Hi Gabriel
Welcome to Emerging from Broken
Yes this is horrible! Thanks for sharing, glad you are here!
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


This totally resonated with me regarding a controlling, hypercritical parent I have. I am 45 years old and no decision I have ever made has ever been good enough for him. he can’t just say congratulations when I buy a house or get a good job. He has to point out the flaws and ask if I have done my research, trying to get me to question my own judgment and provide answers to him. I recently got in an email battle with him and just gave up. Let him think he won,he is a narcissist and I am never going to talk to him again. It’s just not worth it.


Hi Sara,
Not engaging actually makes them crazy ~ it makes them feel like they are losing the object of their control and it is a great way to begin to get our lives back.
Hugs, Darlene


The saying in the picture, “It took years vomiting up all the filth I’d been taught about myself and half believed, before I was able to walk on the earth as if I belonged here” is so good.

This article tears away the confusion about exactly what happens to people when those they are vulnerable to those who mix power and worth.

I have dealt with generational power and worth problems in my family. I tried to define that issue to my mother and family over the last sixty years and they don’t want to hear about it.

I have concerns for myself and my child who keeps me at a distance because she thinks I am a covert narcissist and has treated me accordingly for many years. I can see the potential for that with the incredible harm that happened to me as a child. It also eventually affected her, though it is not in my core personality to be hurtful, though she believes I am and enjoyed hurting her.

It is how she defines a problem. She wants to keep from being wounded just like all of us do. I accept what she says because I know how this happened. I would never shove it back down her throat and tell her to shut up. That’s what happened to me and I won’t hurt her that way.

After many years of therapy, it is very well established I am not a narcissist. My current therapist wrote her thesis on “Ordinary People” a story that is all about maternal covert narcissism. She say, no. I am definitely not a narcissist. For one thing, narcissists generally don’t go to therapy, and if they do it is for a short period of time. Fifteen years is highly unlikely. Plus, I have now become a mental health care worker helping people recover from things like narcissistic injury.

But my child has hurts and I accept her complaints because to not do that would cause her pain. I was assured by a counselor she saw for a while that I had done a wonderful job raising her. I know there were issues. I cling to that. I believe I did a very good job, though I have shed a lot of tears due to the estrangements. I accept them as part of the growth process in my child.

I had cognitive difficulties after I had taken a very hard blow to the head in a car accident when she was a baby. It was hard in ways to gauge if people understood me, how long I had talked to her, if she understood me. I had amnesia and aphasia and other typical manifestations of brain injury. Every noise, distraction, flashing light, etc can be agonizing at times. I had a migraine headache for many years. All of this caused me distress. TBI can make you impatient and revert to what you knew as a child as coping mechanisms because you cannot tap into your natural self. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that is what caused me to guilt trip her and be very inconsistent and irritable at times. It was out of my control.

But when you are a child none of that matters. And it didn’t help that some of my siblings claimed I was faking brain injury. My physical therapist I go to now, thirty years later, can tell the exact path of impact to my brain, skull, and neck and the compression path down my spine. This was not a small injury. I came very close to dying.

But for some reason she won’t assimilate this information into the story. It hurts that every word that comes out of my mouth is seen as narc talk by my adult child. I have no control over that.

I only got an inkling one day she told me I made her feel guilty. And a different day when she said I was dysfunctional. I was in a perpetual fog. I wish I had known to take us to family therapy, but I couldn’t come to that conclusion. She had retreated into a different life by then that didn’t include me. She was about fourteen.

I am a completely different person now. Narcissist do not grow. My life has been nothing but growth the last twenty years. Not perfection, but growth, and now I help others to grow.

So, I am very heartbroken over my child thinking I am too toxic to be close to. I had struggles with my mother, but I never estranged from her or snapped at her. I always treated her with respect. I call her several times a week. I have forgiven her. She loves me. I love her. I accept her limitations and the things she did that hurt me.

I wish I could get a second chance to be a mom. The way I am today it would be so much better. But you don’t get to do those things.


All I’ve ever wanted from anyone is to be a friend without having to be a doormat or a punching bag, yet these are the only kind of relationships I have ever known, friends and family alike! If I show any sign of having a backbone, rejection is guaranteed. Should I ever attempt to defend myself or stand up for myself, rest assured, rejection again! On those occasions when I would confront anyone who said or did anything inappropriate, all I ever received were excuses, but not a word of acknowledgement! Excuses such as:
“I was only joking!” (Provided you consider trampling on someone’s feelings as humorous!)
“I didn’t mean anything by it!” (You meant something by it or you wouldn’t have said it!)
“You’re just making a big deal out of nothing!” (And you’re just making nothing out of a big deal!)
“You’re just taking it out of context!” (Define “context”!)
“You’re just blowing it out of proportion!” (Define “proportion”!)
“You’re just – you’re just – you’re just….” (Yes, and you’re just trivializing a knife in the back!)
If I were to share this situation with anyone in the counseling field, experience has taught me that since I am the common denominator in these relationships, this automatically makes me at fault for causing these rejections! By this way of thinking, I suppose if someone were to take out a gun, take aim, and shoot me dead, I would be held to blame for standing in the line of fire!
Heaven forbid I should ever have the gall to want to be treated as an equal! It’s almost as if there is some unwritten law that I absolutely must consider myself an inferior, a lesser being than everyone else. Otherwise the rejections will continue, and the holier-than-thou will never “grace me with their acceptance”! Well, I am now sixty years old and not in the best of health, so my bowing, kneeling, bending over backwards, and jumping through hoops days are pretty much over!
You know, it’s pretty sad when people would rather have nothing to do with you than to show you the same courtesy and consideration that you freely show them! Let’s hear it for double standards! To people like this, I can only say: If you’re looking for friends, I’m available. If you’re looking for disciples, go to hell!


Hi there. Thank you Darlene for this article. I’m 53 years old and endured years of emotional abuse until I left home at 18. My Dad was an angry alcoholic that emotionally and physically abused my Mom. My brother is now perpetuating the cycle of abuse and his wife is a narcissist as well. My Mom is also a narcissist. I am now on medical leave due to my abusive manager. Sadly I work in HR and filed a complaint about my manager . Upon completing their investigation HR /Employee Relations concluded “we have interviewed your peers and all have expressed similar examples of his abuse however unfortunately there is nothing we will do as you just have a bad manager” . I sucked it up and endured 4 more months of his abuse if demeaning comments unsustainable workload and unrealistic expectations…u see now he had me right where he wanted me …trying trying trying to gain his approval…yup flashback from my childhood aka “trigger”
My childhood was horrible…nobody would ever had suspected it was as my parents deserve an academy award for acting like the perfect family to the outside world…yes I was reminded NOBODY will believe you…you are too sensitive, too selfish, too shy, why can’t you be more like so and so, you are not good enough at whatever it was that hour or day, no apologies yet expected apologies from me for not being who they wanted me to be. Through years of therapy I have developed healthy boundaries which has resulted in going NC with my family 6 years ago. My brother pushed me against a wall and screamed at me and raised his hand at me for having boundaries. I left and went home. He proceeded via text to threaten to break into my house “to settle this” I replied “think long and hard before hitting me or breaking into my home as I will press charges and not drop them. Fast forward my Mom tells me “your brother says your Dad and I have to choose u or him. If we choose u then we will never see our grandkids again. Since you embarrassed us by never having kids we choose to continue our relationship with your brother and not you”. Due to my lack of healthy parental role models I decided I never wanted kids.

It was de ecstatic to me as I had recently relocated from Califorrnia to Charlotte North Carolina to be closer to my brother and his family. Having little contact with my brother over 20 years I didn’t realize he was perpetuating the cycle of abuse. When I would visit for a few days he held it together so I had no idea the truth. We had been very close growing up until I left home at 18.

So I had moved to Charlotte and 6 months later my family implodes and I decide its best to go NC. It was deceststinf to hear my parents “chose” my brother over me but looking back 6 years later it’s their dysfunction not mine.

During the 6 months I was told ” why do u have more friends than we do…we have lived in Charlotte 30 years, who do u think u are , you think you are better than us because you lived in California, don’t expect any help from us to get settled into your new home as we have a life too, then after I get settled with help from my neighbors and church friends I’m scolded for not asking them for help. Seriously dysfunctional which led up to the final episode described above. Looking back they expected me to “need” them in an unhealthy way. As a 48 year old at the time, I developed healthy behaviors and started volunteering, working out at Ymca and going to church. That did not align with my bro and SIL plan of power and control as I wouldn’t be isolated.

My SIL was very concerned about “how much her inheritance would be when my parents pass away” seriously…..she is all about money buys happiness. Sickening to me as she doesn’t care about anyone else and is also part of the problem. Their kids have been diagnosed with anger issues so the cycle continues.

I miss my life in California although I’m thankful for my wonderful friends in Charlotte. I’ve bloomed where I’ve been replanted and without the family dysfunction. I intentionally stay away from areas which my family may shop drive etc . I never want to see them again. Thanks for reading as ice been rambling here.


I had a 4th grade teacher who treated me much the same way. I was often daydreaming or not paying much attention. ( I was 9 years old, duh!) I would scribble or draw pictures too, and she told me how much she hated it when I did that. One day however, her favorite student drew a picture, (exactly the same as I always did) and she held it up for everyone to see. “Isn’t this a nice picture _____ drew?” I was so angry at her for that, that I stopped paying attention to her attempts to shame me into being different. There is really something wrong with people who treat children like that.


Thank you for your honesty. I say honesty, because I can truly relate. You hit it on the nail, for something I have been trying to understand and figure out my whole life; tormenting me my whole life.


very true

had this goin on for a while, in hospitals and in home situation with carers –

thought it must be me, they said it was me – I was too hard – too demanding – too … whatever…

a lot of things have come to light now – a lot of gosspip – realising that I actually never asked too much – just basic needs – if anything I had not asked enough –

but here we are now – they say I took the energy out of the team by being demanding – even tho it s all set straightnow –

it s left me very tired –

but too – as you say – I stopped trying to please the carers by making the list as low management as possible, it didn t change anything cause I made them feel they were right – I did ask too much – well they would teach me a lesson – good now the list was a lot less to the point they at times would to nothing at all for a while – just sit there – refuse too to do something else –

and I realised this is getting ridiculous –

I can t please them, it s not even about pleasing, I never did anything wrong to begin with – misunderstandings happened and then the dynamics that were already present in the team that I had noc lue about at that time – began to work their mojo – so here we are now –

and I can t solve their self esteem nor is it my job – I m at the recieving end asking for care – as once I did as a child – and as a child just as well – I could not please my mother ever – and I never will be able too –

seems however that admitting that brings up all the pain and makes me cry wchich still feels so unsafe, to express emotions – there are times I check the place if no one has come in family member wise to see me – and to act upon what they see – still – to this day –


I had an incident when I was a child and discovered I can draw, my teacher and NM got really angry at me and it never made any sense to me (why was I getting into so much trouble when I was good at something? why would that bring anger to the closest people in my life?). I also had many more people tell me I am hopeless for other things and I believed them, which made me become a dreamer too. That made me give up on so many things I loved, imagine being told you are crap when you have natural talents and a passion for life? No wonder I gave up on everything, even on myself. Thankfully the fog is lifting.
Cheers, Hope xx


I also had an other incident with my sister when I was still single, when she was getting married and I was running around like crazy to set everything up for her happy day. We were chatting about life in general and then she got to a question that stunned me for life. She asked me: “Have you ever been paid for sex?”
This was how low my FOO thought of me. That I was not educated or talented enough to be anything other than a hooker. This was the life-long accomplishment of my NM. The discerning hurt and abuse she spread.

To #320 Michael Mills
OMG! You sound like me. I have been in the same boat as you for most of my life. I am going through a phase of meeting new people and smelling the abusive ones from a mile away. I cannot believe that only just a year ago I would have begged those same people for their love and attention. I am still with no friends but I can honestly say I am so much more happier this way than being a doormat to any user.
Cheers to your words!


I kept attracting abusive behaviour – I thought if I could just explain to them what they are doing and that I know what they are doing and present a solution to do things differently

I would create a safe world for us –

I guess in the end I started to believe the world was only filled with abusive behaviour – so it was best to try ot deal with it tha tway –

which actually just meant abusers would say that if I understood what they were doing, it meant I wanted it – and they kept dragging me into their story making me a victim or a saviour or a victim or a perpetrator in their eyes as well – justifying why they would continue their thing and blaming me once more

Ihoped that if this occurredonce more and I d tell people about it – they now would believe me – but it didn t happen – they kept dismissing whatever I had to say – it could never be that bad – I just liked to exaggerate – whatever I did to prove these things exist – it never worked – I remained the problem, the crazy one – and they still got away with anything and everything –

it didn t make my world safer – and I still was not heard –
it was familiar that was it –

it s still an eye opener to open up to the possibility people without abusive behaviour do exist – and that people who can hear me and my story for what it really is – do exist too – without needing to prove anything –

but for now – I don t have friends – only online – as it s become too painful to see what people I kept attracting – and what situations – and too how powerless I still can feel after all this time – as I cannot change other people – I guess in the end all I can do is take myself seriously and practice self care and self trust – maybe that s enough on it s own to create safety for real


“Too Busy”
Years ago, when I attended church, I noticed a disturbing pattern forming. During the service everyone was all kissy / huggy / smiley, but as soon as the service was over, everyone reverted back to dog eat dog! On more occasions than I can even count, I have had these “kissy / huggy / smiley” people toss me aside like so much trash without even giving it a second thought. Time and time again I would run into these people at the grocery store, so I would go up to them and say hello. But surprisingly the first thing out of their mouths was never a return hello, but simply “Oh, I don’t have time to talk to you now, I’m just too busy”. The “too busy” routine took a total of maybe ten seconds, while a simple “hello” would have taken only two seconds! (So much for “too busy”!)
On one very infamous occasion I saw a church member at the local Albertsons, and, as you may have already guessed, it was the same old “too busy” routine again. Then, seconds after she informed me she didn’t have time to talk, another church member happened to walk in the store. The two met, greeted each other, and standing in the middle of the aisle, chatted for over ten minutes! (Gee lady, I seem to recall you saying you were too busy to talk!)
One evening, after a Bible study, we took a few minutes for coffee and refreshments. During this time, a lady from the group walked up to me and asked me a question. While responding to her, as I was in mid-sentence, she turned, walked away, and began chatting with someone else!
Years ago, I went to Wal-Mart and used my tax refund to buy a new TV. This TV was rather large and rather heavy, so I asked if I could get help out to my car. I was informed that they were too busy to help me! They weren’t “too busy” to take my money! (So, helping a customer interferes with your job? Oh, I’m sorry, I thought helping the customer WAS your job!)
After a ten-year stretch as an employee of the local Jack In The Box, health issues forced me to leave in 1995. A few years later I decided to drop by for a bite to eat. As I entered the door I noticed an employee tidying up the dining room. A co-worker I knew from my years of employment. But, surprise, surprise; the first thing out of her mouth was not a “hello” or “how have you been?” Oh no, her first (and last) words to me were: “Oh, I don’t have time to talk to you now.” And in a nasty tone of voice, I might add! Not even a simple hello, mind you! So I turned around and left. (Well, just for the record, lady, your rude attitude cost your restaurant a sale! I was there as a paying customer, not as an old acquaintance!)
Recently, while shopping at the Grocery Outlet, a member of the cancer support group I used to attend walked up to me and said hello. She mentioned the group and some of the members’ situations, and asked me how I was doing. This was all well and good, until I attempted to respond. As soon as I opened my mouth, I was interrupted with “Oh, I don’t have time to talk to you now, my husband’s waiting for me. I have to go.” Gee, that’s funny; she seemed to have all the time in the world while she was the one doing the talking! It’s only when I enter the picture that the “too busy” routine kicks in. Evidently this routine applies to me and me alone. There always seems to be time for everyone else!!! For crying out loud, people. It’s not like I’m asking you to “sacrifice your first-born”! All I want is to be shown the same courtesy and consideration that you expect from me! My goodness, what was I thinking?
There is a quotation, which reads, “You get treated the way you teach people to treat you.” What on earth am I doing to teach people to treat me like I don’t even exist?
I think the late Robin Williams said it best:
“I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up all alone, it’s not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people that make you feel all alone.”
Michael A. Mills


I remember when my sister finished University with High Distinction and my parents told us NOT to tell anyone as it would make them too jealous. I was so confused why we had to do that, while praising others for absolute minor things. A few years later I had finished High School (and hated it because my Mother forced me to hate it, even though I really didn’t), so she and my Grandmother (who came to live with us for 2 years and literally ruined my life) were praising me for throwing my bag on the floor and saying how much I hated School, there was NO celebrating the event of me finishing school (since they both didn’t even finish forth grade in primary) or even a congratulations for getting to that milestone (being the second person on my NM’s side to finish school). I have lived my WHOLE life in misery with no personal celebrations. It has been such a cold existence. No wonder I have NEVER felt happy in my life, I was NOT allowed to be. I was put down instead and called stupid for finishing, even though NM wanted me to quit that too (amongst other things I did).

No wonder I NEVER felt deserving of anything good, that it was unreachable for me due to the rotten foundations I had from a baby until I broke the loop. What a shame it took me this long. I am not getting any younger and the best years of my life have been ruined my my own FOO. It truly depresses me.

Another big issue I had was “jumping high” to get their approval and the rules changed every minute. They really did know what they were doing as they would exploit me for free labor my whole life and then after I got upset for doing too much for them, they would dangle some money to “forget” their abuse and to shut me up after they called me “crazy”. This is how my anger issues manifested. I still wish I had the loving supportive family I always longed for. Every time I speak to them on the phone I realize how much they still want to hurt me. I am sad they are the way they are. I’m not sure I have accepted the reality in my head yet.


I always felt like I had no ‘real’ issues as I was never sexually abused. Even though I have seen a lot of violence and have been physically abused through stages in my life and then there is the alcohol abuse as my father is a functioning alcoholic. I could deal with those issues and never knew why I was so screwed up. I had no idea emotional and psychological abuse came from home. I thought “the whole world was against me” for an unknown reason, NOT anything to do with my awful upbringing. How scary to think that I have been carrying the abuse on my shoulders my whole life and I didn’t even know it.

I have also been ignored by everyone in my life. Even when I would have people sleep over my house for 5 days and I would pamper them the whole time they were good to talk as much as they wanted but, as soon as I would, they were literally not interested.


I also remember my NM never answering or talking to me in a calm voice. It was either really sarcastic, cocky, put downs, degrading or plain rude. Any time I talked or questioned anything in my life or in general, she would just scream and scream until she got me into tears or had a massive verbal fight with me. Her hostility became so normal I only realized this just now, just how bad her attitude really was to me. I knew she was taking her problems out on me as she and my father were never happy together. I also remember thinking, and I always wished my parents would have split up. It was such a burden on my sister and I, they kept saying they stayed together for us, but I know now it was just a power trip for them both as they tore us apart. If they knew how we felt they wouldn’t still be together. Their lies never end and their excuses are unnecessary. No wonder there was so much anger and violence around me always. I am glad to be calmer now and finding myself ever so slowly. I no longer have to scream and fight to have my opinion heard. Thank you Darlene.


I can relate to the calmth –

no matter how heard I started to scream etc – I still was not heard –

if someone doesn t want to hearyou – it seems it does not matter how hard you try –

since going no contact, rest appeared – a rest that I never found in the pills I was given or in drinks even – it didn t numb, it rather energised and awoke me in a way – and I started to breathe again –

my parents had an unhappy marriage, they did divorce, but it made things worse – I had hoped it would make it better- that the mother would be happier etc – but she was not – and neither was he –

it became quite clear they both had wished us off their hands and had not found a way to do so – so they had to put up with us, and we with them – tryin to avoid the mines in the minefiled that had become more complex, more confusing and more harmind then it had been before –

it turned out not to have been the solution I had hoped it would be –

they just had no clue how to parent – and this didn t change with their marital issues being less on the front – it just made it more clear that this was a problem just as well –


Hi Alex,
Thanks for sharing and welcome to EFB ~ yes, I totally relate!
hugs, Darlene


Hi Everyone!
Welcome to the new people and thanks everyone for all the new shares here! I have enjoyed catching up!
hugs, Darlene


As a child (and maybe even as an adult) I always believed the grass was always greener on the other side. The fantasy of my parents breaking up was always my excuse to why I was never happy, why my parents were never happy and why my sister was never happy. I knew deep down things would probably have been worse if they did (split up), but in my mind this was another way to dream that MY life would miraculously be perfect. I always looked at the quick solutions that would ‘fix’ our situation and our lives. The stress of living with two NPD parents was too high for us. I was so sheltered, this was my outlet.


I compared my life often with others – I felt the divorce was the problem at that ime if they only had remained a couple – cause most kids had married parents still and seemed happier –

I found out they were too struggling in one way or the other –

still seemed better then my struggles often but it seemed the rest and peace I longed for was not by just wishin for greener grass that was not there

took quite some time tho to realise there was nothing that would ve made it better

cause I did want that so bad – to fix it – I tried all I could think off to fix it – kept looking for solutions –

just recently that I can see I can actually just leave them behind – and that can be done too- and that they are responsible for themselves and I am for me – and that I m worth to go away to find people who can appreciate or hear me without yelling I m crazy or weird or demanding –

was hard letting go of the fantasy that it would change if only this or such or os – quite hard indeed –


I hated seeing everyone around me happy (not in a malicious way and even if they really weren’t and even if they had divorced parents or not), the illusion that others were doing great and I wasn’t made me hurt. The fact that people would rub it in my face when I told them the truth about my family problems, would hurt me even more. I just couldn’t get a break until now. Of course the grass is never greener, but who knew? My parents brainwashed me to be the most pessimistic person (for myself only) and I am finding it extremely hard to get out of that mentality all of a sudden. I have gone LC with my FOO and it has made a huge difference in my life. The problem is that the damage has been done and now I find it super hard to put myself and the pieces back together in a totally new mentality. Not impossible I know.


Hope I can relate to your posts 330, 331. My “normal” was a little different in that I often was responded to with a subtle animosity, as if I was challenging my mother or father. It was like they had a chip on their shoulder, and were defensive. I came to believe that the world was against me, I became very guarded and defensive and didn’t realize that not everyone was out to hurt me. I never really experienced “joining” with others, and trusting. This may be why I haven’t been able to sustain a long-term intimate relationship.

I’m also on the outside of my family, looking in. It depresses me too, and I feel robbed as well. I lost so many of my years to depression and pain and rejection. I’m just starting to claim what’s mine now — at middle age. I also have difficulty treating myself and living a comfortable life…I make it difficult for myself. I’m so sad to continue to be rejected and feel so misunderstood; it hurts so much. I’ve gone low low contact. It’s not the sharp pain and agony of rejection anymore, now it’s more of a dull cloud that follows me everywhere.


Oh my I feel terrible for you. They have painted the wrong picture of what true love really is. I have 5 wonderful children and no I haven’t been the perfect mom but I have loved them with all I have had the power too and tho they are all grown adults now I am still pouring love into the I lives. We have never had a falling out spat even when truth ,rebukes and chastening was put into action. That all comes with the territory of parenthing. Because they recognized that I loved them enough to Empower them still through love rather than Overpower because of my own self worth.
wish I could stand as a acting parent in your life to just manifest what and how love covers our children from a lot of unnecceassry pitfalls. The bible says love covers a multitude of faults.
Your parents are hurting and needs to be healed .They are living in fear and have missed out on many years of what the power of love brings .and the very purpose that Jesus died for.
For God so LOVED the world that he gave his only begotten son. I will pray for them that the Holy Spirit will convict their hearts.and usher in a broken and contrite Spirit which will encourage them to cry out to God for their freedom. If you too can cry out to God for your healing for the damage done to you .You will be good to go. Because Free people Free people.?


I was not allowed to go to kindergarten. Mom decided. It wasn’t law then like it is now required for children to attend kindergarten. So small. So tiny. So sheltered, I was. The first day of school. First day of first grade. I dont remember getting ready or feeling frightened or scared. But as soon as we stepped into the classroom, my mom and I, there was all this noise and lights and movements and kids crying and it terrified me and all of a sudden, this thing called school was confusing and scary. And then it happened. Not loudly like some were. Some were screaming actually. But I do remember trembling and I thought I was hiding the crying part. I was trying to be strong! So she takes me into the restroom. At this school they had a restroom in each classroom for grades 1 thru 3. My mother politely asks if she could use this restroom. This safehaven in my mind to get me away from all this chaos. To gently say it will be ok. I really think that was all i would have needed cos i would have wanted to please her so. So we go in, she closes the door. Turns me around and smacks the bottom of both legs on my calves and says you better quit crying and not embarrass me.


Where’s my safety pin? Everyone feeling sorry for themselves please stand up!

First of all Darlene, upon reading your article I wondered; “Did she have any other teachers or was this one the only one she obsessed over? What was her relationship with other teachers? And, what’s the deal with her mother?”

Your article places emphasis on the authority figures in your life that had a negative influence on you, thereby implying they were the cause for your emotional stress and insecurities.

You see, I’m the guy your article is targeting. I’m the asshole, narcissist, control freak that wants everything done the right way. Not for me, but because it’s the right way. Or at least, that’s what I was taught. I was screamed at as a child myself. I had a 4th grade teacher that once hit me with a yard stick in the middle of class because she didn’t like the way I answered a question. Another teacher nicknamed me “head” because he thought mine was larger than other students in the class. I used to be the recipient of much “bullying” from other students as a younger child because I was taught not to fight back because it could result in my getting in trouble in school. And my mother and step father (that’s right – I’m from a divorced family) told me that if I got in trouble at school, it would be twice as hard on me when I got home. So what happened? I swallowed a lot of pride at school because the true trouble making kids knew they could have their way with me. That was, until I said enough was enough and would fight back. But when I retaliated, it was I who was always caught and punished. I also had a much older verbally and physically abusive brother (16 years older) who for some screwed up reason I seemed to admire and beg for respect as a child all the way up into my early adulthood years. I simply didn’t know any better. As much as I despised this behavior, it was all I knew. Wanting so much for him to recognize me, I began emulating him. I witnessed people cling to him, respect him, honor him. Or was it that people feared him so much they appeased him? I couldn’t tell the difference. Perhaps had my biological father not pussied out, I would have had the father figure I was in so much need for. People grow up to become the people they were influenced by. It’s that simple. And many of us are f’ed up!

Your article only touches on a small factor in a very large and dynamic composite of emotional challenges influenced over years and years of interaction and struggle. Some behavioral traits are genetically inherited. Others are influenced. And another fact is two like forces seem to attract. In other words, people attract people like them. It’s the universal path of least resistance. But in the end, one is always the stronger of the two. Life is a battle of will and determination. Everyone desires and in some reasonable way, requires acceptance and validation. Today’s society however is focused on pity. That asshole you described also needs validation. He just doesn’t know how to go about getting it.


Hi, “Disengaged”
Yes of course this only touches on a small factor ~ this is ONE article of over 450 articles.
And in response to your comment about “everyone requires acceptance and validation” YES of course, but there is a way to go about it and a way to say no to it and a way to communicate acceptance of it. When we just accept it and feel sorry for the perpetrator of it, we communicate to them that their behaviour is acceptable when in truth it isn’t acceptable. This entire website is about some of the points you raise in your earlier paragraph regarding how people are conditioned. And how we can do something about it.
Hugs, Darlene


Great article!
Can’t tell you how much pain suffering and violence I have endured. But they are still doing it , if not the worst they ever have. And I just lost the love of my life. Your well written article helps a lot and I have done years of hard work looking for things like this.
I am literally surrounded by vicious hostile zombie monsters that have zero zilch clue of their words and actions. It HAS BEEN PURE HELLLLL LIVING LIFE. Always reminding me how there is no relationship or validation only fake false ones where what they think about me is unbelievably cruel and small. While I have always been able to see that the truth about who they are is NASTY. Which is my only saving grace.


To Disengaged:

“First of all Darlene, upon reading your article I wondered; “Did she have any other teachers or was this one the only one she obsessed over? What was her relationship with other teachers? And, what’s the deal with her mother?””

Well, that’s the thing. The negative experiences we had growing up and the shame and guilt we felt due to them, will of course make a lot more impact when that’s our norm. If it comes from family, and it also comes form some other sources as well, even if those sources are in the minority, of course we will take in those messages more so than the positive or neutral ones. We did not know better as children. That’s the whole point of being a child… you are highly susceptible to what goes on around you and absorb everything. It is our parents/family we most look up to, so when that experience is terrible, then the damage has already been done, and that’s what will make us “obsess” (bad choice of wording there on your part) over other experiences that are a match to it, because they serve to strengthen our negative beliefs.

“Your article places emphasis on the authority figures in your life that had a negative influence on you, thereby implying they were the cause for your emotional stress and insecurities.”

That is an indisputable fact. The messages we receive growing up ARE the cause of emotional stress and insecurities. It’s contradictory that you imply it’s not but then go on to tell us your own childhood story and how it caused you a lot emotional pain.

“You see, I’m the guy your article is targeting. I’m the asshole, narcissist, control freak that wants everything done the right way. Not for me, but because it’s the right way. Or at least, that’s what I was taught.”

It’s not surprising you would be, considering your response. But if you have to attach ‘asshole,’ ‘narcissist,’ and ‘control freak’ to what you do, then it’s obviously not “the right way” as you claim. You were taught wrong. Living your truth does not, in any way, mean forcing it upon others or being an asshole, narcissist, or control freak.

“People grow up to become the people they were influenced by. It’s that simple. And many of us are f’ed up!”

A few paragraphs ago you told Darlene that she places emphasis on the authority figures that had a negative influence on her, yet you are indirectly admitting to the same thing.

And after your personal story, I wonder if it is not you who is “obsessing” over this.

There’s a lot of projection in your response.

“Some behavioral traits are genetically inherited.”

This isn’t true. Citation needed. It also sounds like you want to absolve yourself of the responsibility to change your behavior.

“And another fact is two like forces seem to attract.”

This only applies after the development stage. You will attract negative if you’ve already been fed lies by your family AND you do nothing to unlearn those faulty beliefs later in life. You will attract positive if you either grew up in a healthy household OR you didn’t but worked on yourself and built good self esteem and emotional resilience.

“Life is a battle of will and determination”

It is not and it should not have to be. This is your opinion and a limitation you are placing on yourself. Do not state it as fact.

“Everyone desires and in some reasonable way, requires acceptance and validation. Today’s society however is focused on pity. That asshole you described also needs validation. He just doesn’t know how to go about getting it.”

Yes, we do require it, more so in childhood than anything, because that’s when we first develop our inner dialogue. “Society is focused on pity” is yet another opinion you state as fact. I don’t see pity here, I see support and understanding. Yes, that asshole needed validation in childhood, but as a grown person, they have the responsibility to validate themselves, otherwise… as you acknowledge, they will keep creating experiences that are less than desirable due to their entitled behavior. The difference between the asshole and the healed person regarding validation, is the way in which their need for validation manifests. The asshole harms others and tries to fill a void through force and control and no matter how much validation he/she gets, he/she will never be happy until they take a good long look at themselves and heal from the past, while the healed person validates themselves and thus attracts more validation in their life, because they don’t interact or behave in ways with validation as a goal, rather validation and love are a part of them.


“Too Busy”
Years ago, when I attended church, I noticed a disturbing pattern forming. During the service, everyone was all kissy / huggy / smiley, but as soon as the service was over, everyone reverted back to dog eat dog! On more occasions than I can even count, I have had this “kissy / huggy / smiley” crowd toss me aside like so much trash without even giving it a second thought. Time and time again I would run into these people at the grocery store. So, as a friendly gesture, I would make an effort to go up to them and say hello. But surprisingly the first thing out of their mouths was never a return hello, but simply “Oh, I don’t have time to talk to you now, I’m just too busy”. The “too busy” routine took a total of maybe ten seconds, while a simple “hello” would have taken only two seconds! (So much for “too busy”!)
On one very infamous occasion I saw a church member at the local Albertsons, and, as you may have already guessed, it was the same old “too busy” routine again. Then, seconds after she informed me she didn’t have time to talk, another church member happened to walk in the store. The two met, greeted each other, and standing in the middle of the aisle, chatted for over ten minutes! (Gee lady, I seem to recall you saying you were “too busy” to talk!)
One evening, after a Bible study, we took a few minutes for coffee and refreshments. During this time, a lady from the group walked up to me and asked me a question. While responding to her, as I was in mid-sentence, she turned, walked away, and began chatting with someone else!
Years ago, I went to Wal-Mart and used my tax refund to buy a new TV. This TV was rather large and rather heavy, so I asked if I could get help out to my car. I was informed that they were too busy to help me! They weren’t “too busy” to take my money! (So, helping a customer “interferes” with your job? Oh, I’m sorry, I thought helping the customer WAS your job!)
After a ten-year stretch as an employee of the local Jack In The Box, health issues forced me to leave in 1995. A few years later I decided to drop by for a bite to eat. As I entered the door I noticed an employee tidying up the dining room. A co-worker I knew from my years of employment. But, surprise, surprise; the first thing out of her mouth was not a “hello” or “how have you been?” Oh no, her first (and last) words to me were: “Oh, I don’t have time to talk to you now.” And in a very nasty tone of voice, I might add! Truth be known, she practically bit my head off! Not even a simple hello, mind you! So I turned around and left. (Well, just for the record, lady, your rude attitude cost your restaurant a sale! I was there as a paying customer, not as an old acquaintance!) In the majority of these cases, we aren’t talking about people I see every day. Many times they are people I haven’t seen in years. And yet, even after years of being out of touch, still the “too busy” routine remains alive and well! Evidently, while absence was making my heart grow fonder, it made everyone else’s heart grow colder!
Recently, while shopping at the Grocery Outlet, a member of the cancer support group I used to attend walked up to me and said hello. She mentioned the group and some of the members’ situations, and asked me how I was doing. Now this was all well and good. That is, of course, until I attempted to respond. As soon as I opened my mouth, I was interrupted with “Oh, I don’t have time to talk to you now, my husband’s waiting for me. I have to go.” Gee, that’s funny; she seemed to have all the time in the world while she was the one doing the talking! It’s only when I enter the picture that the “too busy” routine kicks in. Evidently this excuse applies to me and me alone. There always seems to be time for everyone else!!! For crying out loud, people. It’s not like I’m asking you to “sacrifice your first-born”! All I want is to be shown the same courtesy and consideration that you expect from me! My goodness, what was I thinking?
There is a quotation, which reads, “You get treated the way you teach people to treat you.” What on earth am I doing to teach people to treat me like I don’t even exist?
I think the late comedian Robin Williams said it best:
“I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up all alone, it’s not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people that make you feel all alone.”


My apologies for re-submitting the previous “Too Busy” blog, but for people like us, this is a subject that bears repeating! Unfortunately I don’t keep track of which blogs I’ve written, and which ones I have submitted. Hopefully this time it might catch someone’s eye who missed it previously!

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