Who Did I Think I Was? Discovering my True Identity




true identity

the search for identity

I had to take my life back. I had to stop believing that “they were right” about me. As I got stronger, I noticed things that I had not noticed before. Sometimes I thought that they “wanted” to love me. But something stopped them.

(I thought it was me that stopped them, my defect, my lack but that was not the truth. Always remember, this is a quest to find the truth)  

It was as though loving me, validating me and accepting me, would somehow diminish them. As though that in order to love me, or empower me, they would have to give up something of themselves. As though if they were not “above me” or more important than me, then that would indicate that they were not as valuable; as though “equality” is unacceptable and that equality is not validating enough for them.

I also saw this dynamic with my father in law, towards my husband. Sometimes I thought he “wanted to love his son” but something held him back. It was as though my father in law was afraid to love his son or regard him as an equal, because if he did, he would no longer be God in his sons life.  I also knew that my father in law did not care about me in the least. I was just one of the pawns in the kingdom he resided over.

It is a sick and dysfunctional system.  And it is built on the lie that your survival is at stake if you don’t accept the dysfunction as right and normal function. We are taught in many subtle ways that they are “God” and that they rule over us and that if we don’t like it, we risk life itself. So we try everything we can to accept the way things are.

In order for a sick and dysfunctional system to work, there is a grooming process. In this process I was systematically taught that that the success or failure of the entire relationship is for the most part, on my shoulders.  I felt responsible for the self esteem of everyone.. as though if I demanded equal value or even expected equal value, that I was somehow hurting someone else or taking something away from someone else. Did I think there was only so much “value” to go around? I felt like I was wrong to think that I had value. Deep down I was afraid that knowing my value would somehow be conceited. I didn’t believe that I had equal value in the first place so did that actually mean that I believed that they had more value than I did? I even thought that taking credit for my accomplishments was wrong because taking credit was like being “too full of myself”.  

This list of beliefs and fears went on and on containing all these little lies that were buried inside my mind. Where had I learned these things? Why did I believe them? I found so many of my answers in answering those questions.

And the answers to those questions ~ these lies ~ had become part of me. They made me who I was.  I was afraid that if I exposed them as lies, and faced the truth, that I would no longer be who I was. I would not be ME anymore.   And if I was no longer “who I was” or the way that I had come to know myself, then WHO WAS I?? Who would I be? Who would I become? I couldn’t see that having NO identity was better than keeping the false one that I had.  I didn’t realize that I could find my true identity by exposing the lies about my present identity and then letting it go. I wanted to keep my false identity while I tried on my new identity, but it didn’t quite work that way.

I didn’t like the feelings of being lost or feeling so alone. I didn’t feel comfortable with my old identity anymore but I was afraid of the new one.

It was such a dilemma but in spite of it, I had this hope for healing. I believed that I was on the right track so I went ahead and I kept looking at the causes; I kept examining the abuse and the mistreatment and the fact that I had not been emotionally taken care of; always looking for the underlying beliefs that I had adopted as truth about myself as I kept going forward with my emotional healing.

And it paid off.

AND through the willingness to face all this, epxose the lies, discover the truth and answer those life long nagging questions ~ my identity is no longer in question.

Please share your thoughts on this amazing journey.

Darlene Ouimet

Related Post ~ Emotional Healing and the Causes of Low Self Esteem

Judgement, Stigma and Depression come from Somewhere

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Categories : Family



I didn’t know who I was when I started looking for healing in 12-Step programs and counseling groups back in the early 1990’s. I had no clue. I believed the lies and thought that the real me was all of the things that my dad said I was – a whore whose only value came through my body and sex. He never outright called me a whore like he did my sister but the implications were there everytime that he talked about women, men and sex. I didn’t want anyone to see or know the real me because you would see that I was damaged goods. I didn’t want you to see who I believed I was. I didn’t let too many people get close to me for this reason.


An amazing article!

Here is a line from it:
“because if he did, he would no longer be God in his sons life.”

I thought how the concept of God can be used in a bad way and in a good way. If you believe that God is good and will save us all from the hell we live in in this world, then to be “God” in someone else’s life would be a positive, life-giving thing.

Something my 21-year-old son posted today:
“I just want to say that when people talk of justice being served, that’s not justice. Justice is not served until God has finished healing even the smallest injury involved in the injustice.”

Those are my first thoughts.

Did I not think there was enough value to go around? What a GREAT question. And we are conditioned to think this way in SO many settings!!! That there is only so much value to go around and the strongest get it to the hurt of the “weak”.


Only so much value to go around…only so many valedictorians, only so many American Idol winners, only so many pastors, only so many doctors, just not enough awards, I told my third graders when they saw who won the drawing contest in their class. Not a shortage a on hurt and disappointed people from these “values”.

I don’t mean to imply that hard work shouldn’t earn someone the right to be a doctor, or that we dont need doctors, BUT, they are not trained to recognize health; we have to know ourselves and know how to get healthy and not expect too much from doctors.


The only good thing my mother has ever said to me is that I am pretty. I know now that she objectifies me and that she loves me the same way that a little girl loves her dolls. I am her pretty, bad dolly, her evil daughter. My dad also objectifies me and sees me as a possible source of admiration…or he did long ago. I made myself as useless as possible to him as that is the only way to be safe around him. He will do anything and I mean anything just to be the center of attention. I was later objectified by the men who sexually abused me as a teenager. I learned to identify myself as an object to others and my value came from the degree of usefulness I had to others. My identity has always been that of serving others. Now I’m trying to define myself without all of the others that I have served both those who abused me and those who love me. It is tough. I am very much adrift.


When I was a kid, other kids would always say to me, “You shouldn’t put yourself down.” I didn’t even understand what they were talking about. But, now I know that I really believed I was less than everyone around me — well, almost everyone. There was enough pride in me to lash out at some people who I believed I was better than (forgive the dangle), but they were few and far between. Mostly, I felt very much second rate. Today, since the breakup of me and my mom, I now understand a lot better what that was about. Now that she has “reached out” a couple of times, mostly really stupid stuff and in no way apologies or attempts to make me feel like she gives a crap about me. I don’t want her to — don’t misunderstand — because eventually, I will have to say to her that I don’t miss a single thing about her. I know that sounds awfully harsh, but the last few months of our relationship were brutal and I was so happy when she said she was “done”. What a relief the quiet has been. I mean, I still have teens, so it’s not THAT peaceful, but you know…. I now see how much of a liar she really was. I keep remembering all these interactions where she would tell me stuff about other people and now I know it was either to make them look bad to me, or to keep us from comparing notes. Other things were just flat out manipulation, trying to make me compete for my mom’s affection. Hogwash! No more.

Anyway, I guess I just needed to vent a tad. Lord bless you, Darlene. The scales keep dropping off and I likes what I sees!



Truly a great post, Darlene. Your words, ‘We are taught in many subtle ways that they are “God” and that they rule over us and that if we don’t like it, we risk life itself.’

Yep, I can certainly relate Darlene. My abusive mother likes to be ‘God’ and loved to be worshipped – and when I didn’t do that she made my life a living hell. In essence, I think my family thought the same way to some weird degree as the ‘God’ who is our mother has control of all of them and demands worship. Because they ‘worship’ and cater to her, and I don’t, I’m seen as the evil bad guy. So glad that last August I was willing to accept the risk of being alienated by my family in telling the full truth that they’ve never asked for. I was alienated, but through that, I found great freedom.

‘I was systematically taught that that the success or failure of the entire relationship is for the most part, on my shoulders.’ And for me, it always was – even when I came forth with the full truth of my mother’s abuse, they still put it on my shoulders as though its up to me to restore relationship. I finally came to realize that what’s broken is not up to me to fix because I didn’t break it. I know longer carry that boulder that was never mine to bear.

I struggled too with the self identity and I was so, so stuck that I sought therapy and I am so glad that I have. My therapist has helped me strip the lies I was made to believe about myself that aren’t even true. Therapy has been awesome in that the process is slow, so discovering the new ME is not so scary … its like a slow-developing romance … as through this process, for the first time in my life, I am seeing a person I like and love … and it really is like a sweet romance of sorts. I am awed by the healing in the last 8 months! It makes me (I think) a more loving person, someone who loves her life … its made me a better woman, wife and mother.

Great, great post, Darlene! 🙂


They didn’t just make me THINK it was me. They told me every single day that it WAS b/c of me. I was causing arguments between my mom and dad, according to my aunt especially, and if I hadn’t had the audacity to be born w/ a physical handicap that they needed to spend money they didn’t have to fix, they would have been just like two love birds; again, according to my aunt. I don’t believe even one word of what she says, but people are always telling me I need to pray for her too.
I’ve never been able to bring myself to pray for a person w/ as much hatred and violence in her heart as THAT woman carries around.
I don’t want to so I don’t do it. My main point is that they specifically told me I was the reason and even outlined exactly what it was that caused it. Well, I thought so when I was 5; I don’t think so now, but they still try to do it now.
My aunt is a person whose death I’d celebrate.
That will sound harsh but nobody else knows all the things she’s done to verbally browbeat anyone she thought was the problem. And she was never the problem. We always were. Me in particular b/c of the stupid handicap I had to be born w/ that I didn’t try to come into the world with.
I’ve had better days than today. It’s been nothing less than bittersweet, b/c memories have been brought up about an unrelated issue that still pains me.
So I’ll just leave it at I don’t believe what they say but, for some reason, it still feels painful when they say it. Sometimes it does.


This article really hits home for me on so many levels. I have always felt inferior to everyone around me. I cannot think of an exception. Until my ‘mother dear’ passed away, I felt like the whole family was my responsibility. Her favorite thing to tell me was “All I want is peace in the family”. She expected me to keep the peace at my expense and my family’s expense. My older brother and sister were never held responsible for any transgressions. They did not have to do anything…they could be abusive, say whatever they wanted, neglect the parents, etc. Yet, I was the one that had to ‘make’ everything okay for the parents. I was the one that dedicated my life to them for 33 years…until I broke and was hospitalized for 9 months. I try so hard to change, to not believe the lies that are so ingrained in my brain. Sometimes, I just want to give up because it has been 22 years since I started therapy and while I know I have grown and changed…I am still plagued with the past. I still fall into the trap. . While I have learned so much over the years, I have trouble applying it to my life. I fall into the trap of believing that it is still all my fault. My entire fault that I no longer have my siblings in my life because they are still abusive and have not received therapy and have not changed. My entire fault because I feel depressed and isolated. My fault, that after 20 years with the same therapist, that fell apart too. My fault, that we have had to apply ‘tough love’ with our only daughter. After all these are my choices. How I hate that word, but I know it is our choices that determine our life. Sometimes I just feel like I am beyond help; beyond the ability to heal myself. I guess I need to stop rambling…it must be the depression speaking. I am sorry. I suppose I could choose not to post this comment but I just want to be heard. Thank you for listening. So now I will press ‘submit’.


~ Yes, when I first sought help I was convinced that all of it was true about me too. And the thing is that when so convinced that it is the truth, I didn’t actually tell anyone the way things actually were. It never occurred to me to do so. I needed help because I believed I was such a bad person.
Thanks for sharing.

It struck me profound too, that I thought there was not enough value to go around that even I could have some.

Great highlights on being “objectified” I can really relate to that. And I can really relate to serving everyone because that had become my identity. It is very hard to work through all this stuff. The brainwashing started young. I talk a lot about finding the lies in order to find the truth because finding the lies gives me clues to how I became falsely defined in the first place. Learning who I really was came about by learning who I was not.

I came to realize that same thing ~ I didn’t miss the way that she treated me. I don’t miss all my enthusiasm or excitement being squished out of me or the little put downs, negative implications ~ oh I could go on. I totally understand the peace you are talking about.
By the way ~ call it venting, sharing, or what ever you want to call it, if we don’t do it with someone or somewhere where we are understood, we just don’t get the same results!!

Hugs, Darlene


Hi Paulette
I like how you said “last August I was willing to accept the risk of being alienated by my family in telling the full truth that they’ve never asked for.”
Yes, isn’t it just like that?!! Thank you for sharing! It is so important to know that we are not alone in this ~ the family stuff is a huge stick point for many.

~ Vicki
And in telling you every day that it was because of you, does a lot of damage. I am so sorry this happened to you and to so many others that are also here.
Thanks for sharing,

Hi Nico
Your share reminds me of a whole bunch of other things that I haven’t written about yet! You are not beyond help, no one is. Like I said earlier, learning who I really am came about by learning who I was not. Learning my value (and applying the things I had learned, to my life and to myself) came about by exposing the false things that I believed first and why I believed them. Then I was able to start implementing the changes. I struggled for years with all of this too before I found this other way to look at things.
Hang in here with us!

Hugs, Darlene


It is like a basic lie…ok, everybody, let’s get one thing straight, because everything hinges on this one truth, there is NOT enough value to go around, so there is going to be this big game played from now on, a game of confusion/chaos, to see WHO gets any value…

All men/women are created equal, WOW


I remembered when I was a freshman in university, I was part of the “elite” group. We (or at least, THEY) were well respected, smart, outgoing – POPULAR. I thought that I had it all, and that it was up to ME to make sure that I don’t lose them.

In fact, I was so afraid of offending them that I resorted to keeping quiet. My friends did try to help me, but I guess they went to far and “babied” me. This caused a power distance in our friendship, and I didn’t feel the least equal. I was always fearful of losing them and it would be MY FAULT.

I felt like I was just a “accessory”, like tagging around like a dog – but I thought I was “fortunate”. Once, there was trouble because I wasn’t proactive with group assignment (I was afraid of making mistakes and couldn’t be proactive)…and I became suicidal. My clinical psychologist had to rush in, and when she heard what the matter was, she sighed.

She had been trying to teach me to not put all my eggs in one basket. She had even been trying to help me see that they’re not helping me, but stop short of imposing her values. But finally, I realized that staying on won’t help. I realized that my fear of not being able to find new friends is keeping me locked in my own dungeon.

Few days ago, I emailed my clinical psychologist to tell her how much fun I’m now having with my new friends. Since I “broke off” with them (yes, I made the decision), I’ve been having friends who validated me for who I am. Sure, they might not have been as “popular”, but they made me feel like a person. In fact, many of them have since revealed that they too, feel rejected by my old friends. Some even mentioned that they noticed that I was being neglected and mistreated. It was just my neurotic dependency that nearly cost me my life. When my (former)therapist realized that I had finally perceived reality for what it is, she was relieved. Today, I no longer feel the constant need to seek their approval. In fact, I hardly called on them anymore. I feel so FREE.

This was just one single incident. So often we think so lowly of ourselves that we take in whatever “good” that others give us. We forget that relationships are reciprocal, and it often takes two hands to clap. Blaming ourselves has always been so convenient.


It takes two hands to clap!! LOVE that!!


I’m new to this site. I find it so helpful to me. I can’t believe that I am here, in my 60s, with two sisters also in their 60s, talking about childish stuff. I was the oldest, very independent, always had ideas for improvement of my disfunctional family – alcohol, neglect, infidelity, etc. My mother would talk of my two younger sisters – the baby was always so cute, the middle sister was the “good” one – so easy to care for, and I was the “other” one – nothing good to say about me. I’ll always remember a time that my mother sat me down and told me that nobody liked me. It stuck with me forever! I began to try to win her approval and wanted to be an equal to my other sisters. I tried everything. As I grew into adulthood I was the one that my family could depend on for anything. I am still trying. At this point I am still working for approval. My mother is 86 years old. I am there for anything she wants or needs on a daily basis. My two sisters will visit with her occassionally and she always is so proud to tell me about how they stopped by and had such a nice visit. It’s usually at a time that I am single-handedly painting at one of her income properties, or spending the day with her at a doctor visit. I do what I do because I think it is the right thing for me to do – but I know, also, that I am still trying to win her approval and be an equal with my sisters.


I know who I was. I’m not all that sure who I am now. I’m really not sure who I’m going to be in the future. BUT I like who I’m slowly turning into because the person I’m turning into will not be silenced or take BS anymore. The person I’m turning into will be healthier than the person I was because she was all silent and shut up inside. Living with DID confuses the identity thing even more, but I’m beginning to recognise and believe that I am not the awful, defective, useless thing my abusers made out I was. I’m beginning to recognise and challenge the lies. It’s scary unfamiliar stuff but I couldn’t live with the familiar dysfunction anymore, something had to change.



Thanks for that. I know for sure now that I am not evil. I am so glad not to be living under the delusion that no matter what I do, my intent is evil. I’m also no one’s bad dolly. I no longer allow any one to do with me as they please so that I don’t starve or have no shelter. Maybe this sounds prideful but I am a good and generous person with much to give. I have other attributes rather than my looks and my ability to please with which to survive. I am glad to be uncovering the truth of who I am even if I don’t quite know what to do with her yet. :0) I do know that the truth will set me free. In the end, I want that truth above all else. Having parents and siblings and nieces and nephews is not worth playing the part of pretty, bad dolly who’s always there to fill the needs of others so that they’ll let me hang around. There rule for relationship with me is “Eat sh– and you can be part of the family”. Why did I ever think that a family like that deserved me?


Hey I would like to ask a question. It is ok if I don’t get an answer back because I know sometimes you can’t answer. My question is this, when you all talk about abuses and it sounds like there was a lot of interaction during that time. What or how do you deal with being isolated. I would go for days without talking to someone. When I started to play with a sibiling someone would pull that kid away. I was hated and my family would make it plain as day I only exsisted. This has been the longest I have ever been in communication and physical touch with family members. It is hard very hard for me to be around sister and brother.It has been a year and a half. Sometimes I want to leave, go away, or hide because they are around me. I love them they mean no harm to me I just can’t seem to adjust to being close to a family member.I don’t understand how to be a sister. I told them I was sorry the other day because I know it must be weird to them.


Hi Renee

I can’t answer your question because I’ve totally isolated all my life.

My only use as a child was to be hated, beaten and abused. I only existed to meet the needs and wants of others. I had no physical contact with family members that was not abusive. I was beaten up and left for dead by my family over 25 years ago and have been isolated ever since.

I go days without talking to anyone. Sometimes my only communications are online. I find it easier to communicate that way.

I am unclear from your question who your abusers were. I would only say that if they were family members you owe them nothing and do not have to be in touch with them or in relationship with them if you do not want to.


Hi Jasmine!
YES! great share! I went from seeking approval from my family of origin to seeking approval.. it was about validation for me. Never knowing who I was in the first place. Isn’t it great when we are free from that!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Fi
this is a great victory! YAY you! I love who you are turning into also and look so forward to getting to know you better and better.
Thank you for sharing this awesome and positive side of your journey!!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Pam,
I love your ending! I totally hear you!


Hi Barbara
~ and welcome to Emerging from Broken! Great to have you with us.
It doesn’t matter what our age is today, this stuff will get in the way for as long as it goes undiscovered; It is never too late for emotional healing! You will find lots of posts in the Mother Daughter relationship category, (click on the tab) and check out some of the other comments there too~ you will quickly realize that you are not alone in any of this! And there is so hope for healing!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Renee
What I have come to understand is that the details of each persons abuse are not where the answers are. It was in discovering what those details caused me to believe about myself where I found the healing, and the answers. The treatment and mistreatment caused me to believe lots of lies about myself, and those lies had to be exposed and then set right. I hope that helps a bit to answer your question.
Hugs, Darlene


I always felt I was defined by my achievements, accomplishments, successes…If I could just be good enough then I would feel better. But why wasn’t it working? Every achievement left me feeling just the same, or worse because it didn’t solve my problems…the ones where I just wasn’t good enough yet. How could I be so ungrateful? All that I had…all that I had been given… Of course, I know now the incorrectness of this thinking…but it is a constant battle of awareness to keep it from taking me down, especially when now I feel like I literally do and have nothing…there it goes again 🙂


Renee … post 17 … I know how you feel … because of the abuse by my mother did to me left me the same – unable to relate to people well. Since I’ve been in therapy since last August, its getting easier as I let go of a lot of stuff as my brain gets ‘rewired.’ I’m still not sure what it really means to be a friend to someone and have a hard time allowing myself to get close to someone not my kids. Even with my husband, as wonderful as he is, I have a hard time bearing my soul to the guy … but again, with therapy its getting easier even with sharing with him how my therapy sessions go. It sure is a process … and hope I learn how to be a better friend, mother and wife as the healing endures.


I remembered when I was a freshman in university, I was part of the “elite” group. We (or at least, THEY) were well respected, smart, outgoing – POPULAR. I thought that I had it all, and that it was up to ME to make sure that I don’t lose them.

In fact, I was so afraid of offending them that I resorted to keeping quiet. My friends did try to help me, but I guess they went to far and “babied” me. This caused a power distance in our friendship, and I didn’t feel the least equal. I was always fearful of losing them and it would be MY FAULT. Like my clinical psychologist said, I have finally “gained a new perspective of reality and yourself.”

Indeed, it feels so good to be FREE!

I felt like I was just a “accessory”, like tagging around like a dog – but I thought I was “fortunate”. Once, there was trouble because I wasn’t proactive with group assignment (I was afraid of making mistakes and couldn’t be proactive)…and I became suicidal. My clinical psychologist had to rush in, and when she heard what the matter was, she sighed.

She had been trying to teach me to not put all my eggs in one basket. She had even been trying to help me see that they’re not helping me, but stop short of imposing her values. But finally, I realized that staying on won’t help. I realized that my fear of not being able to find new friends is keeping me locked in my own dungeon.

Few days ago, I emailed my clinical psychologist to tell her how much fun I’m now having with my new friends. Since I “broke off” with them (yes, I made the decision), I’ve been having friends who validated me for who I am. Sure, they might not have been as “popular”, but they made me feel like a person. In fact, many of them have since revealed that they too, feel rejected by my old friends. Some even mentioned that they noticed that I was being neglected and mistreated. It was just my neurotic dependency that nearly cost me my life. When my (former)therapist realized that I had finally perceived reality for what it is, she was relieved. Today, I no longer feel the constant need to seek their approval. In fact, I hardly called on them anymore. I feel so FREE.

This was just one single incident. So often we think so lowly of ourselves that we take in whatever “good” that others give us. We forget that relationships are reciprocal, and it often takes two hands to clap. Blaming ourselves has always been so convenient.


Thank you Though I feel if I were on an island I would survive. I learned to live a lone through out my childhood and teen years, and if I needed help with something I had to do it myself. I cant relate to anyone. I take that back my oldest daughter and I are good friends and I can have a lot of involvement with her and feel fine. I am fighting with everything in me to be a round my sister and brother. They have never hurt me and I feel safe with them. They dont deserve me being at arms length but it is so ingrained into me, I accept it yet I dont want to hurt their feelings.


Hi Paulette,
What you shared is a very honest account of how this really goes along. This is how it was for me also, as I dropped the coping methods, (which were in place for survival reasons) I felt vulnerable and everything was “new” so it was like being reborn in a way and having to learn how to do everything (relational) all over again, this time the right way. Thank you so much for sharing this.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Wendi,
Thank you for your heartfelt comments too! YES you are exactly right! It is hard and it takes time to keep the NEW knowledge in place! Remember we lived in those default modes for YEARS!
You are doing great! Thanks for sharing this!
Hugs, Darlene


Great Post, Darlene. You posted it on May 2, my birthday, which makes it even more meaningful to me.

Barbara, in comment #14, you wrote: “I’ll always remember a time that my mother sat me down and told me that nobody liked me. It stuck with me forever! I began to try to win her approval and wanted to be an equal to my other sisters. I tried everything.”

I’m SO SORRY… and ANGRY…. that your mother said that to you. What a horrible thing to tell a child!

Now, your mother is 86, you are in your 60s, and you are “still trying to win her approval and be an equal with my sisters.”

…………………………I’ve been sitting here staring at my computer screen for the past several minutes, trying to figure out what to say next. What keeps going through my mind is: “It never ends, does it, with that kind of a mother?”

My mother is 76. I am 58. I am also the eldest by a good number of years. I am the one who, until my mother threw me away, was responsible for EVERYTHING.

I guess I am really very lucky, in a way, that my mother threw me away when I was 14… otherwise, I’m sure I would still be that dutiful eldest daughter, doing everything that my elderly widowed mother needs, and wants, done… “because I think it is the right thing for me to do…”

But she threw me away, and put one of my sisters in my place. Tnhat used to make me crazy with envy, but I’m glad, today. Better HER, than ME! She is so narcissistic, too, so like our mother… they are perfect for each other.

Although my mother threw me away when I was 14, I kept trying to win her approval, right up 5 years ago, when I called to tell her that my baby grandson had died, and she was such a *B* on the phone, that I was just… DONE. No More trying to kiss her A**. If she can’t even be decent to me when my precious youngest son’s only child has died… forget it.

Ever since my saintly stepfather died last year, I’ve been especially glad that my younger siblings are all there, living close by, having to do everything for the Queen Mother… instead of me. I live almost 700 miles away, and that’s just barely far enough for my comfort zone.

Barbara, my mother told me a similar thing, when I was growing up, that your mother told you. My mother used to tell me, “I love you, of course, because you are my daughter. But I just don’t LIKE you.” She would say that with a proud smile on her face, like she was feeling so saintly for managing to love someone as UNLIKEABLE as me.

One time when she said that, I got up the nerve to ask her WHY she didn’t like me, hoping to be able to change whatever it was about me that was so wrong. My mother replied, “It’s just YOU, it’s just the way you are. It’s the way you THINK.”

HOW do you fix “just you, just the way you are, the way you think” ~ ?

Today, I would sooner see my mother’s house burn to the ground, than go and paint it for her. That’s because I’m finally in touch with my well-deserved ANGER toward her, for the horrible way she treated me, my whole life long. Darlene’s great Emerging From Broken blog is helping me to get in touch with that very normal feeling. It is liberating, and healing, for me to face, and tell, the truth about my childhood. It is liberating, and healing, for me to allow myself to feel justifiably ANGRY.

My mother did not do “the right thing” by me, when I was growing up… so why should I do “the right thing” by her, now that she is growing old? There are many childless elderly widowed people, who manage to get by without that free slave labor. So even if I were the only child, I don’t think I would feel compelled to go and do ANYTHING for my mother.

But, that’s me… my life, and my mother, weren’t exactly like yours, I’m sure.

Barbara, I, too, sometimes feel foolish talking about childish things, as you put it, at my age. I know that it’s healing for me to get this stuff out though, and I realize that I’m making up for all those DECADES when I kept all the sick secrets buried inside me, like a festering cancer.

I’m glad you’re here.



“While you’re alive, LIVE!”
9-year-old Jillian said
she had lost one arm to cancer
and within 6 months she was gone
she was oh so young
but oh so wise
and her words of truth live on.

Before I die, I want to LIVE!
I need to find out who I am
I’ve been buried too long
beneath hatred and lies
now I’m finding my way
to freedom and life
MY TRUTH is the path I’m on.



HOW do you fix “just you, just the way you are, the way you think” ~ ?

You don’t. That’s why they say it that way. They might as well say, “You can never fix it.”
They don’t want it fixed.
This is a distancing technique. They don’t want the responsibility of raising you to be independent/mature and have power over yourself. They just want the distance and ability to control, manipulate, have power over you.


Lynda, your mother was a horrible person who didn’t want to take any responsibility for you, her child and the horrendous things that she did to you by throwing you away and by abusing you before that.

Guess what, that means she also can’t take any responsibility for the wonderful, gutsy, compassionate, loving woman that you are. You did all of that yourself. I commend you for the healthy, loving woman that you are today.

Your mother did you a favor by not being in your life. By not being in your life, she couldn’t continue to abuse you. That is why she send you that 50 page letter to remind you that you were better off without her. I am glad to call you my friend. You have the kind of courage and strength that she will never have.


OH Patricia! You just brought tears to my eyes. Thank you so much, and thank you, too, Sheryl.

I am rich in friends.

I am hurting right now because someone on facebook has reported me as “abusive or spammy.” WHAT? I am so NEVER abusive, so NOT spammy. WHY are some people such… JERKS? When I saw that, that I can’t send a photo now of our poor little Lady-dog with a cast on her hurt foot, fb won’t let me send that photo, to my own husband, no less, because I’ve had this bad report from someone… I tried sending other photos then, to other people, just to see if it is a fluke, and no, the same thing kept happening… then the little girl in me who wasn’t good enough to be liked, just wanted to lay down and curl up in a ball and cry. But instead, I looked here on EFB for something to lift me up… and WOW, did I find it, just when I needed it the most. Thank you so much, dear Sheryl and dear Patricia.

You women are so awesome. I love you!!!



Lynda, you are so awesome yourself. The love that flows here on EFB is awesome and so healing. If I could right now I would loan your inner little girl the panda bear that I used to sleep with for several years when I first was getting in touch with how much pain I and my inner children were in. Hugging my panda bear that I named Bandit got me through the hurt and the tears on many nights. My dear,sweet husband shared his bed with us and never complained or made fun of me.

May 5th, 2011 at 3:38 am

What always amazes me when I am on Darlene’s site or the zillion of others sites in reference to being abused and being forced to believe you are someone you are not etc… Is HOW Many of us are in this same situation !! And we are mostly woman ~ Majority of Males have been through the same thing but hide it and has made for much dysfunction in the male species.. Hiding in denial, creating fantasies ~

It is interesting our society has been set up on this predator vs prey system…No one arrives from the womb bad. Life experiences lack of love and kindness etc seems it makes a person choose at early age do you want to get eaten or do you want to be the eater ?

We who are the Prey are soft.. and could almost be called not too bright ( which has nothing to do with being smart) as we did not see through this game the Predators did and why they choose to be eater rather then the eaten..

I am working on a book about the history of cultures who settled in north america as this wacko way seems to go back in time and kept growing via generations till NOW because communication is now available and of course counseling and domestic abuse shelters, people are getting the hindsight ~ to what is actually happening to them !!

As you say Darlene you were lied to about who you are to keep you weak so you could be the prey for a predator and basically this way of operation that exists in so many families is so ” subhuman” ~ so caveman days of hand to mouth but it survived through the ages and has kept us as a society in a very backward place due to all the mental and emotional problems that come from the abuse…

In my case… the book I am working on is called ” Takes a Village Gone Twisted” as my mother’s horrendous behavior of forcing herself as GOD on everyone and lying about us was not just her but a condition of her whole family… All the females in the family do this behavior.

Of course this is all hindsight now.. Wish I had known this as a little girl…when she would attack me for no reason and call me all these horrible names… Again identifying me to be who I was not..

I worked since age 10 so I actually was able to pay for myself to go to a psychologist when I was 16 yrs in about 1967 to find out why I was so ” bad” and what I could do about it.. Amazingly this man when he heard my story of how I was treated… told me it was not me… That obviously my mother had been abused so this is the only role she knew how to be ~ and that I needed to stay away from her ~

so I was lucky to get this insight young… but staying away from this seductive za za Gabor selfish type for any lengthens of time was difficult as my need for a mother’s love was great and she was so so manipulative… dr jackel Mr hyde.. She would seduce me back especially after I single mom raising my son by myself things would be different but they never were… Even though I knew she was abusive as i got older I still put up with her hate and constant bashing ~ Striping me verbally in public ~ was her favorite… and I just took it … like others mention wanting to be the dutiful daughter and hoping the skys would part and eventually i would get love acceptance

Last year ~ I was waiting on my mother age 89 hand and foot.. she called me all day long… I was her slave at 58 yrs… ( only daughter)obligation etc.. I was so drained that a sibling ( male) who had become just like her ( again that choice do I get eaten or do I become the eater he made very young and decided predator was better then being the prey) was being his usually parasitic crazy self and I went tilt…

I said to him you have to stay out of my life.. I cannot know you anymore as your delusions and violence is out of control and you do not understand logic reasoning and though you say you will change you never do.. I am too old to be your Mommy or your pseudo wife you can control… You life is offensive and I do not want it in my life anymore… End of story…

My being firm on that ~ excluding him from feeding off of me… Had him going behind my back , taking power of attorney over my mother and lying about me to her bank, attorney and retirement home so they all excluded me from my mother’s life…

He even tried to get a fictitious restraining order saying I abused my mother etc.. and was stealing from her.. etc.. When the judge asked to see the evidence ~ there was none only this siblings ” fantasy” so she threw the case out of court.

But going through that I realized It is not worth it to be involved with my mother anymore as I was the only person in her life for a long time.. there was many witnesses at retirement home of me there with her, yet they wrote a subjective letter saying I was abusing her without any proof or documentation was very surreal..

In retrospect though this male siblings attacks and lies and all the horrible things he has done to destroy me ~ The silver lining is… I am not obligated to this woman/my mother anymore…

I have been free of her for a year now… and each day is such a ” Gift” not to have her feeding off of me… I do not miss her and for sure now that she is age 90 I am never going to get the love or acceptance that kept me hanging around hoping for a change… I do not hate her and I forgive her but It is the greatest Joy and Happiness of my life… I do not have to interact with her !!

To Barbara… Please reach out to domestic violence shelters and or all the organizations on line to get advocacy so you can get away from this woman/your mother who is feeding off of you… You will never get what you want.. you will just get more drained and eaten… You have to find her alternative resources for her care… be very definitive about your boundaries.. At 60 you deserve a wonderful life !!

I will be 60 in Nov and it is like being reborn ~ Being Free of all these abusive people as when my sibling took over my mother he wrote to all her family members what a horrible person I was and I was mentally ill etc.. all this bizarre lies… and they brought hook line and sinker as they never liked me to begin with as I was ” different” so that started a all out ” gang bang” on me… like the klu Klux Klan ~ in white robes in the middle of night.. the attacks and assaults using police and courts etc was constant but nothing came of it as all they accused was lie and fabrications ~ So they all ROT in their hate now… Very much a Lion King Story ~

It was a amazing experience ~ But only through many advocates and professional support am I on the other side of it… and for sure I will never see any of these ” relatives” again but as Oprah said… in healing from abuse… It is when you ACCEPT you never had a family to being with… that you can heal walking away from them…

Darlene It is so wonderful to know you are always here… Thank you for all the giving and love you do !


It is sad that this paradigm of giving conditional approval, under such restrictive conditions by a controlling, vindictive personality [my experience] persists against so much evidence that genuine love does not work that way. My mother is quick to ridicule, quick to condemn, slow to forgive or apologize or admit responsibility for emotional harm. I am in recovery from addiction because of her aloof neglect and many many abusers throughout my developing years. Today I am a stronger man because of a loving woman I met in 2008. And because of a mental health program I joined in 1999. It is still a hard road to travel. I was a selfish rebel for many years, and I am not proud of the hurts I have caused to loved ones. I know the reality of regressing into the past, to the ages of 5, 8, 10…. and the effort necessary to pull loose from the mire of despair, melancholy and hopelessness. I have been searching for a safe place to continue healing, and someone led me here. Hi.



Your paragraph beginning with, “In order for a sick and dysfunctional system to work…..” hit me full force in the gut because it is 100% me. It is what I have been told since I was a little girl.

I have always felt I am “less than” everyone else and do not deserve anything. I am a great friend to have because I ask for nothing and give everything. I’m fine with that because it is so much a part of me but struggle with how I can change and begin to feel an equal with the people around me, especially at work, church and my neighborhood.


I am bummed that this year will be the first Mother’s Day (US) that I will not acknowledge my mom. It’s sad to me. I see all these facebookers who really feel loved and appreciate their moms and I feel like I’m doing something wrong by not acknowledging her. But, she stabbed me in the back — big time! I don’t feel grateful. I don’t appreciate her. I now see the narcissistic system that she perpetuated all my life, and I am so happy to be free from it. This year, I acknowledge myself as a mom, because, in spite of all the things my kids have done wrong, I have tried to grow and learn to love them unconditionally. I KNOW I’m not perfect. I have so much room to grow. But, I’m really making an effort. Yesterday, my older daughter brought me a little baby rose bush and a card that she went out and bought on her own! I was so surprised and it made me feel so happy and loved and appreciated! It helps to take the sting out of losing my own mom.

🙂 Kellie


We came to the self-discovery and self-identification realization late… but we’re still trying anyway.


Kellie, my mom is a narcissist too. I hear you about not feeling grateful, and that is wonderful that your daughter got that card and rose bush for you. that helps make the journey worthwhile.


I should say, rather, that they only want to either
1) drive you away OR
2) control you if you stay, and to the degree that you stay
YES!!! Lynda’s mom (and countless others we could name) “wrote that letter” to remind you of how much better off you are without her!!


Hugging my panda bear that I named Bandit got me through the hurt and the tears on many nights. My dear,sweet husband shared his bed with us and never complained or made fun of me.

LOVE this!!



This is the first year I haven’t recoginized my mom either. I also am sad. However, I know she has the power to make things different. All she has to do is treat me with respect. It isn’t even that I don’t love her (the love of a child is incredible resiliant),( sometimes I have no feelings for her because they are numbed to the point of being dead) but I can’t allow myself to be treated with such disrespect by a person that I’m in a close relationship with. I’m sad that she is the way she is but I can’t make her whole. I can make myself better and treat myself with respect. That’s all any of us with narssicistic parents can do.


Kellie – post #35 … I know how you feel. Even though I’ve been estranged from my mother for over a decade, I always sent her a little something for Mother’s Day in hope that it would change her heart. But since I learned about Narcissistic Personality Disorder and how GREATLY my mother fits that description, I knew then that there was no hope of her changing how she treated me, abused me. It’s a sad thing to say, but she’s dead to me. This is the first mother’s day that I will not be honouring her with a gift and a very simply said card. As of last August, I see myself as orphaned, motherless (& fatherless) … because really, I always was motherless (and fatherless.)

We can take great pride though in moving forward to be better mothers, and in my case a better wife, than my mother ever was. I let my children have a voice – something else I was never permitted to have growing up – couldn’t have a voice or an opinion of my own. If we let them, children, who spot hypocrisy well – can show us our faults or discrepancies – and if we are wise, we can grow into better people through them. I learned so much about myself through my kids’ eyes.

Pam – post #40 … I feel the very same … I call having no feelings for someone as indifference – and that is what I feel for my mother. It’s not love and its not hate. Like you, I refuse to have relationship with someone who has no regard for me, and thinks that abusing me is basically her right as a mother. So demented!

This Mother’s Day is to celebrate me … to celebrate my tenacity, to celebrate my willingness to be a better person, a better wife, a way, way better mother, and all-in-all, a better woman.


It is such a tri-angulated mess, enforced, culturally enforced holidays, enforced mutual admiration society days…I hate them, WHO is REALLY benefitting from them? And remember, like it or not, MONEY IS the benefit!


~LOVE your comments to Lynda (comment #29!)
Very good points!

Thanks for sharing the fantastic poem.

Welcome Ian!
Great to have you here! This is a safe place and a great community where lots of emotional healing is going on!
Looking forward to hearing more from you!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Cassandra Rose!
Thanks for sharing your story. You highlight that even though you had help at age 16 with the fact that it wasn’t your fault, you still kept trying with your abusive mother. This really has its roots in the belief system that we CAN one day find that magic key and be loved finally, but there is no magic key. The key in my recovery has been realizing the lies and that the fact that I was not loved was not about me. Yes ~ I never had a family in the first place ~ that resonates with me too.

Hi Hold Fast
I love to hear when my words hit someone full force in the gut! You say that you are fine with your definition of yourself as asking for nothing and giving everything BUT that you don’t know how to change and begin to feel as though you are equal. I think you nailed it yourself in the statement. My equality came from learning to love myself which came from healing that false belief system. Equals don’t give everything and get nothing in return. That isn’t equality. (I am not talking about expectation here.) I had learned and believed that being a servant to all was the most sought after position, but in that position I was squished and no one ever served me…. and I was dying. Today in my new equality, I am filled with freedom, and I am able to serve more then I ever did before. BUT I am also valued and get much in return as well.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Kellie
I understand. I wrote a dear mom letter yesterday that I am thinking about posting on this blog for mothers day. One thing that I have realized though is not to judge other peoples outsides by my insides. I know so many who make a big deal out of mothers day all out of obligation. Period. All out of the search for the magic key to being loved…
I am so happy to be free from that this year!
Hugs, Darlene

Renee/A Resurrected Spirit
May 5th, 2011 at 11:40 am

Hello everyone,
My sister and I were talking about our mom yesturday. We both have different memories of her yet the abuse was the same. I miss her, though we had to deal with a selfish person, abusive to all of us, and just an all around horrible mother. Yet there were (rare)times she was nice. She absolutely loved my oldest daughter. She was to her what she couldn’t be to all her children. She taught her things, she spoke lovingly to her, she cherished my daughter. I asked her why she couldn’t be like that mostly to her own daughters she said;I took all the things I DID right with you girls and used that to care for my daughter. My daughter started to call her “MOM” I put a stop to that real fast. My daughter worshiped my mom, and that was alright with me. She spent a lot of time with my daughter and I could see the love and care she took with her. It sadden me and I told her that. I wished she would have had that love for her daughters. I can honestly say I am glad my daughter got to experience love from her. My mom made so many mistakes with us and I have hated her for it. I also love her for loving her grandchildren, she tried to change and mend fences, that takes a lot of guts. She listened as she was told what a horrible mother she was. I truely beleive she GOT IT. So this years I will celebrate her and send my love to her.
For all you mothers and if there are men out there who have to be mommy too, HAPPY MOTHERS DAY!


Mother’s Day…

I haven’t celebrated ANY holidays since my little grandson died in 2006. Maybe I will start celebrating some of them again someday, I do miss the Christmas things, but, for the most part, with all the horrible memories and the unrealistic expectations, the way I feel about holidays is.. “Gag Me With A Drumstick.”

My daughter called me today and wanted to know if she could fly in to see me this weekend. It was a lovely surprise, and just so out of the blue. I didn’t realize, until reading these last several posts, that this weekend is Mother’s Day, and maybe that is why my daughter wants to see me at this particular time.

It isn’t easy being a mother, when your own mother was so horrible at the job. If I could go back in time and re-parent my 3 children all over again, I would gladly do that. This time around I would love them better, be more accepting, LOTS more accepting, of their faults and differences. I would laugh and play with them more, and CLEAN THE HOUSE, way less.

Today, I am a mother to our little fur-baby Cattle Dog, Lady. OH how I wish I had been this loving, this relaxed and playful and joyful and gentle, with my real human children when they were growing up. I will tell my daughter that, when I see her. I worry, though, that she won’t be able to receive it in the way I mean it, because words are so meaningless, compared to deeds.

My daughter is an amazing mother. She has one daughter who is now in her first year of college, the most awesome 19-year-old on the planet, and she has a severely handicapped angelic son who is now 13. He is cognitively not expected to ever progress beyond the mental age of about 18 months old. No mother could be a better mother, than my daughter is to Erik and Samantha. I am literally in awe of her. If my daughter does get here on Mother’s Day, I am going to make it HER day, not MINE. Jackie deserves that.



Sheryl, thank you. I am blessed with a sweetheart of a husband who has patiently seen me through all of my many challenges over the years.

Darlene, thank you.

All of you beautiful, wonderful ladies here on EFB, have a glorious Mother’s Day for yourselves. I am going to be out of town for the weekend with my husband while he is playing Civil War Soldier. One day he will be a Confederate soldier. The next he will be a Union soldier. On Saturday night, I get to play Southern Belle and dance the night away with my Soldier husband. I also get to visit with my sister and neice and her family who will meet us there in East Texas. Have a glorious weekend.


That sounds like so much FUN, Pat.

In my genealogy research I have recently learned that one of my great-great-great-great grandfathers, William J. “Big Sandy” Wallen, joined the Union Army during the Civil war, when he was 47 years old! He had a wife and ELEVEN CHILDREN at home. I’m guessing that he joined the war so he could get some peace and quiet.

Renee/a Resurrected Spirit
May 6th, 2011 at 5:58 am

Dear Lynda,
What you said about your daughter is beautiful. I would show her this post. You absolutely said that so perfectly. If you chose not to then write her a letter. You both deserve to know how much you love and respect her. You said “if I could do it all again” how about today. You start today, today you reach out.Today you have today, tomarrow, the future. I had one of those days and I took advantage of it and my oldest and I have a wonderful relationship because I took a chance one day. My youngest I am waiting for THAT day to happen, I had to step away because of her choices she was making, which also meant stepping away from my grandaughter. I wont give up though, I love them to much. My grandaughter and I sneak phone calls so I speak to her every other week. I make those count, every minute I get to talk with her. You see Lynda, I chose to start a new relationship, because I was not the perfect mom, because I had no tools while they were growing up. I had only what I knew and it fell short. So as I got stronger and faced my horrible truth that I wasn’t a good mom or even close to it, I decided I still had time, I wasn’t dead yet, I still had time. I used that time for my girls to confront me, to tell me what I did wrong, I use this time for us to heal. My youngest, when she is ready she knows I will be here to listen to her truths, her memories her pain. Happy Mothers Day dear friend enjoy your visit, make the most of it with your daughter you have today dear lady.


Lynda, this day is for both of you. Very glad she turned out so well. And thank you for giving me hope. I am a better “parent” to my cat than my mom ever was or will be, but still need reminders of how much I have progressed. You deserve some credit too.


WOW that sounds awesome! I love doing stuff like that! Have a wonderful time Patricia and thank you for being such a wonderful part of this network and for all your contributions!
Hugs, Darlene


Lynda, I lost my 18 year old son in July 2008, and I hated the holidays too. People say to remember the happy times. They mean well, but that’s very misguided advice. I say do WHATEVER makes you feel peaceful and comforted. If that’s quiet, so be it. I now live about as quiet and simple a life as anyone can imagine. To some it would be very dull, but it’s just right for me. I hope and pray for your comfort in grief.

Thanks to everyone for your kind words. Life is strange sometimes and I feel very encouraged by the thoughts I receive on these forums. 🙂

Happy Mothers Day (and Fathers Day). May our peace and joy be multiplied and shared.


I am so sorry that you lost your child! I have a 19 year old son…. I can’t imagine how painful losing a child would be. People do mean well, but that doesn’t make it any easier for you. I am not so gracious anymore… sometimes I say “what exactly does that mean?” or “is that supposed to make me feel better” ….. and then I feel like a bitch becasue the world taught me that I have no right to MY feelings but everyone else can say whatever they want with no regard to anyone elses feelings….. and then I remember “OH Ya……. I am equal now and MY feelings ARE important.. We are all important!
Happy Mothers Day everyone!


Please share with us whatever blessings or otherwise comes from this weekend. Blessings to you!!


Renee~ THANK YOU! Wow you are AWESOME.

Ian ~ thank you, and you’re welcome, and isn’t your cat lucky to have a parent like you? I know that our Lady-dog is a lucky-dog for having us to parent her. And, we are so lucky to have her.

Kellie ~ OH, Kelly. The cross you have been forced to bear has to be one of the hardest, if not THE hardest. I wouldn’t even begin to know how to “advise” someone who has lost a child, and I don’t understand people who think that they can offer valid advise. ONLY YOU, can know what you need, or want, or what helps, or what doesn’t help. ONLY YOU.

Darlene ~ I like that: “what exactly does that mean?” and “is that supposed to make me feel better” YES, RIGHT?!? And then you said: “then I feel like a bitch becasue the world taught me that I have no right to MY feelings but everyone else can say whatever they want with no regard to anyone elses feelings….. and then I remember “OH Ya……. I am equal now and MY feelings ARE important.. We are all important!”

Sheryl ~ thank you for your well wishes. I hope you will have a lovely weekend too. My daughter decided to wait until Monday to fly out here, because my husband is going to accompany our neighbor Cesario on Sunday to his sister’s rosarie, and they will stay over for the funeral on Monday, then stop by the airport on the way back and get my daughter. I will be staying home, nursing our gim=py dog, who somehow tore her dewclaw off the other day. The vet took the cast off her leg today, and she has been prancing around so joyfully ever since. But she needs antibiotic put on it 3 times a day, and she has to be watched to make sure she doesn’t lick or chew on her healing wound. So, I will be busy being our Lady-dog’s mommy on Mother’s Day. But I will be sure to let you all know how it goes with my daughter’s visit.

I hope you all have a nice weekend ~


May 7th, 2011 at 1:25 pm

I found you Darlene after I started my journey via Kyle @ PEEAM ~

You got me through my first Thanksgiving alone..
and then Christmas came and went and Easter came
and went without too much problem ~
But Mother’s Day for sure takes your breath away !!
Especially with all the commercials and talk about it..

I was weakening that I might visit my mother ~
Not tomorrow but when I have a car to use on Tuesday ~
Stop by to drop stuff off as I am going out of town for month ~
But after reading all the post after my original ( #32) today ~
I realize there is no point ~ It is only ” obligation” speaking
Just leave it alone ~as it really is too painful for me ~

I have to stay true to that reality ” forgetting you ever had a family is 1st step to forgiveness and healing” ~
I am sure she does not think about me and is very happy as her oblivion and self absorption was part of the abuse…

I too change the dynamics of abuse by raising my son the complete opposite of my mother which drove her nuts !!
She tried to be mean to my son but I would not let her…
Such crazy dynamics ~ he at 21 has much to heal from via the assaults by my bio family and we get beyond it all for ever so it is a distant memory…

The point is.. the abusers want you to FEEL Bad ~
That is how they get their pleasure is to see you suffer…
so if you are suffering by not seeing your mother etc..
then you give her what she wants anyway !!
They get a rush off you feeling guilty ~ so do NOT give into it..

My son is at college and I alone so tomorrow Mom’s Day ~
I am having this man I found through word of mouth come over to redecorate my home… he is into energy placement.. beyond feng shui he said..
Which is what I really need… Use all what I have here in my condo but change the dynamics so there is a better flow… Tonight I give myself a mud bath and facial with candles and soft music…. Being able to mend yourself is Powerful for reclaiming yourself and moving on.. No one is going to do it for us…
That old put your oxygen mask on first is very true….

We have to practice the Art of Allowing.
Which means reaching for the thought that feels best,
not the thought that is the real thought.
Not the thought that is telling it like it is.

Telling it like it is only holds you where it is:
“Damn it, I’m going to tell it like it is.
I’m going to tell it like it is, because everybody wants me to tell it like it is.” Tell it like it is if you like it like it is.

But if you don’t like it like it is,
then don’t tell it like it is— “tell it like you want it to be”.

If you tell it like you want it to be long enough,
you will begin to “feel it” like you want it to be.

And when you “feel it” like you want it to be,
it WILL be in actuality like you want it to be

Have a Super MOM’s Day Everyone !! xoxo Cas


Hi Everyone,
I just published a post on the Survivor Manual Site about Mothers Day and why it is sometimes tough.

You can read it here: Survivors, Mother’s day and Mixed emotions

I will be publishing my Mothers Day post here on EFB tonight so stay tuned for that too!
Hugs, Darlene


WOW again. @ Cassandra, EXACTLY. they do want us to feel guilty. and miserable, dependent on their approval. very sad to watch, and painful to be stuck in. You are SO right on !!!

@Darlene, thanks for the mothers day article. Clarifies a lot for me. I’M NOT CRAZY !!!! All of you GET it, how dysfunctional mothers [and fathers] plant ideas in our heads that we are unworthy and burdensome. I am struggling to put this in words, still digesting it all. Stuff I can’t get in just 45 minutes per week in therapy. This place gives me hope, thank you again so much !


“All I want is x” and I’ve always felt responsible for making it happen, regardless of whether my mother’s wishes were realistic or not. And when I’d of course inevitably fail, I would feel even worse for being such a failure.

I’m still trying to figure out who I am, but I’m only just starting to understand the lifelong grooming that took place.


Take heart! The only place to start IS at the beginning! I was in my 40s when I finally realized what had happened to me. And it took some doing, and a few years of work, but I got it all sorted out and I am living MY life now as ME and not who anyone esle wanted me to be, and not emersed in a whack of lies.
Hugs, Darlene


I have just separated from my husband of thirty years. I have made my first step on a journey in finding my true identity. Having raised by a narcissist mother and married a narcissist/OCPD husband for thirty years, I no longer know who I really am. After the death of my mother in July, 2010, something broke the chain that I was in bondage of to a life of lies, manipulation, and abuse.

It is not easy to learn a life I am not used to. The pain of leaving my comfort zone, leaving my children for my sanity’s sake, they are now what is breaking me. But I am holding on, looking forward to LIVE life as how it should be. I am taking one step at a time, one day at a time.

Birthing pain is how I compare to what I am going through now. The pain is intense, but that is how Life begins.


Hi Jojie
Welcome to Emerging from Broken.
I realized at the beginning of this journey that I too had grown up not knowing who I was. Through this process that I write about in this site, I found my true identity, and finally live my life as ME. It is hard and the pain can be intense, but all of it is really worth it.
Please share as often as you wish.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Jojie,
Welcome, Of all the places you could have blogged on you picked the best. It is safe here, you can grow, totally be yourself, you can have a really bad day on here too. Your search in finding your true self will evolve in time. You have an awesome support group here. You can mend here and we will lend you our shoulders to cry on and carry you if you need it.


I have been following this blog site in Facebook for a year now, learning and preparing for the move I have just made. It did prepare me, the knowledge I gained gave me the courage to pursue the change I have been wanting to do.

I know this is just the beginning of a long journey in reclaiming my true identity. My ex is vindictive and he will not just let me go easily. But I have gone through the hardest hurdle, and that is to make the choice. I am now being condemned, which is what I expect..from my children who thinks it was selfish of me to abandon the family.

Thank you for the warm welcome and the support I shall be needing in my search for a new life.


What a beautiful note you have written to Jojie. Thank you.
Everything you say is very true!
Hugs, Darlene


Once again, welcome and I hope you share often. You have taken a major stand (and I congratulate you for your courage!) and you will need support. I hope you find it here. Congratulations on your decision to love yourself! I am not the same person that I was before, when I put up with everyone else’s definition of who I was. Realizing the truth about everything has enabled me to find my true identity and I love being me! The changes in my life have had a ripple effect for the good ~ which is a bonus!

The world is brainwashed about the whole concept of leaving abuse. I have met people who were told that they should put up with beatings and all manner of other abuse from their husbands rather then leave him. They were not even accused of lying about the abuse, just told to accept it. I don’t understand that. That is not even legal and it certainly isn’t life. I took a stand too but my husband decided to try to change and stop discounting me. My mother however disowned me but that is her problem and my victory.
Hugs, Darlene


It has been almost a month that I left home, leaving my ocpd/npd husband and three adult children. Weeks before I decided to leave my country, my ex husband refused to let me speak to my children. Triangulation. He controlled the situation, refusing me to say goodbye to my children and vice versa. My chidren blocked me from their facebook accounts and never replied to my emails. They are apparently mad with me, not hearing my side, it’s just not fair.
Loneliness is gripping me. Sometimes, I want to turn back and be where it was, suffering but still in my comfort zone, with my children around — my source of happiness all these years. Is it just a phase that I have to go through? I knew there was no turning back when I left my husband, but my adult children are the ones making me have second thoughts. I yearn for home. I don’t know if I `can make it to live a new life without them. Help. I need words of support to get through this loneliness.


Hi Jojie
There really is nothing easy about any of this. I am so sorry. The problem with drawing boundaries is that everyone else has a choice too and its awful when the abuser appears to win.. however, there is no other way to take our lives back but to take them back and draw those lines. Your children may come around and see the truth, that is my hope. The truth is a powerful thing. Hopefully they also realize that he is the one who is wrong. Men like that rarely only go after the wife. When the wife is gone, they still need someone to control and someone to restore them and their order. That would naturally be the kids in which case eventually they should see why you had to leave.
Hang in ,
Hugs, Darlene


Let me get this right, you have grown children that wont speak to you in another country? You left your soon to be ex and you are living in this country, right?
If that assumption is correct then try to facebook a friend of your children or a member of the family that hates your ex. Let them know what is going on and that you love and miss your kids. Let them know how to get a hold of you and wait. It may take some time. I have used this method when I was excommunicated and wanted a few people I respected to know how to get a hold of me. I phyc. told me something I have used every since she told me, so for about 30 years. “when the front door of life shuts in your face, go through the back door, if that is locked, go through the window, if that is shut climb a latter and go through the upstairs window, heck no one locks the upstairs window”! What this wise women meant was don’t give up. Don’t let the abusers block your path of healing and healing relationships that are worth saving, like your childrens. Keep trying,they will see your strenght and love through your efforts. Please know we are here for you. Never give up something you know is worth the effort.


Dear Darlene and Renee,
Thank you for the words of wisdom and support. You are the kind of women who inspires people like me starting on with a new life, a normal life I have longed for.

Yes, Renee, I have three children ages 30, 26 and 22. My eldest son seemed to have inherited the narcissism both in mine and my husband’s genes. (Is it inherited, by the way?) He, among the three. is given the special treatment in the family, the golden child. He is given the special privilege I as the wife never had. Behind me, my ex has devalued me, losing the respect I deserve as a mother. There was one time when my son confronted me with rage (out of a petty and trivial matter ), and when I tried to defend myself, my ex teamed up with him in the attack, instead of pacifying him. It was from then on that I realized my life is doomed knowing I will have to deal with two narcissists in my life. (I saw the red flags, having a narcissist mother and an elder sister. My mother passed away last year and I have cut ties with my sister.) It was then that I realized I did not belong in such an environment. It was a dilemma whether to stay for my children and forever be dealing with narcissists for the rest of my life.

My two younger children are not as aggressive. Somehow, I feel their sympathy whenever I am treated bad. But I understand they have to go along with their father and their eldest brother because they are still dependent financially on the both of them. My ex and my eldest son are the ones running the family business, and the art of control has been very well established. It seemed to be the natural way to live life for them. (Yes, my father in law is a narcissist, control freak himself. Amazing how I was able to live my life like this for 30 years, huh?)

Blocking me from Facebook. I am not sure whether this is my children’s decision or is it of my ex or my eldest son. I emailed them saying they can block me as facebook friend but they can never block me as a mother to them. I shall continuously email them telling them how much I love them no matter what.

I pray and hope that one day they will realize what is normal and not. I pray and hope that one day, truth will prevail. I pray and hope that one day I shall be reunited with my children.

But for the meantime, I shall heal and I know it’s not going to be easy. Thank you my dear women of strength, you inspire me to go on with life.


Thank you, Keep letting them know, write to them as if they are reading your e-mails. My oldest was angry for years and I had no idea until one day she came to apologise to me. I was surprised I had no idea she was angry. What changed her was, she went and lived with him. She realized why I had left and that was a turning point in our relationship. We made a pack that we would be honest with each other and at the end of the day we would still love each other, we have a good relationship that I wouldn’t trade for the world. She is one awesome daughter and friend. So keep in there and fight for your relationship no matter how long it takes it’s worth it.


OHMYGOSH…..I’m bawling here…..I finally get it!!


To Renee
I isolate too. My family never let me associate with other “normal” family. They were put down
as being bad people. My Friends were discouraged or frightened away. I find I isolate more now than
I use to. Its hard to go out and make hard. I have not known how to be in a good
relationship so I’m used by others and feel hurt and back away. After being on this site I see I am not different,
I am quite average, by that I mean not different except in my mind, and not “bad” and there is no reason to be afraid to go put my toe in the water. I am
going to volunteer somewhere and start there. I have stopped contact with my abusive mother. Every day
without belittling abuse I feel a little better. I believed “them” all my life and they lied.
Karen R


Hi Christine
Thanks for sharing, I am glad that you “get it!” yay.
Hugs, Darlene


My default setting seems to be self hate, worry, and anger. And that sadness and helplessness that comes from believing I am broken and the fear that I may not ever be able to get better. After I deleted all my aunts and uncles and other family that keeps in touch with my mom, I felt a huge burden of guilt and shame lift. Who new such a simple thing would seemingly untie the last little threads that were somehow holding me back. I realized that it is time to build new foundations, to really examine and take back my thoughts and reactions to the world. My mantra has been “Infinite love, clear focus, steadfast kindness, and gentleness for myself and loved ones.” I was really resisting and making excuses to not make the changes. I can admit that it is going to take a lot of effort and maybe time… But iVe spent the last majority of my life in the paradigm I grew up in, only started making active changes and working on my issues in the last 5 years. I look forward to getting to know the real me now, I’ve been afraid of the prospect in the past which is probably why I held so tightly to the defeated definition I inherited. Thanks, this was timely for me.


The more I believe in myself and stop believing the lies I was conditioned to, the more surprised and scared I am of the real me. The truth is that I am a very, very strong person who lacks the confidence and self-worth to harness my strength. I’ve been taught to doubt myself and that my attempts to better myself or be successful are pointless and arrogant. I am struggling to believe the truth because it feels too good to be true. I’m used to believing I am a subhuman who can’t handle being a real person and so I do not deserve to be a functioning member of society. When I look past the lies and see the truth about who I really am and what I have been through and accomplished it amazes me and I feel nothing but arrogance when trying to acknowledge and take responsibility for the positives in my life. How can I be such a strong, honest, compassionate, understanding, driven and persistent person? It adds up perfectly but it’s like I’m not allowed to touch it.


This is a very good description of where I feel like I am in the journey.

The choice I am trying to make is whether or not to maintain any kind of relationship with my mother. It hurts to try to continue the relationship, and it also hurts to end the relationship.

The conditions she has on our relationship include that I can’t talk about stuff that makes her uncomfortable. She doesn’t want to deal with my reality of having been molested as a child and sexually abused in my teens. She doesn’t want to know if I’m hurt or upset or struggling.

I also find that I can’t share my progress or victories or process. When I’m happy, I don’t know how to share that happiness because it is based on a reality that she doesn’t acknowledge.

The attempt to connect with her is usually painful, even though she’s not yelling or complaining at me. What she does is talk at me, so quickly I can barely get a word in. It feels obvious to me that she’s protecting herself from what she is afraid I may have to say.

It’s the subtlety of the invalidation that makes it hard to identify it as toxic. I’m always asking myself why I let it bother me, because I feel like “the bad guy” to say I just don’t want to put up with it.

If my family members can tell me that they only want me in their lives when I look happy (it doesn’t matter if I really AM happy or not, they don’t really want to know), why can’t I say that I don’t want them in my lives if we can’t be honest with each other?

I think it boils down to me being able to give myself permission to keep a safe distance from whatever is not helping me.

I’m told I have to recognize that my mother is not going to really change at this point in our lives. She won’t become the loving mother I always wanted. I guess I don’t owe it to her to be the daughter she always wanted. It really is harmful to me to try to fill that role. I can change, but it’s too much work for me to end up in worse shape than I am now.



Hi Hobie
This is the core of the issue, isn’t it? This was the crossroads that I reached when making my decision. I didn’t actually have to decide because I asked my mother for mutual respect and briefly explained what that was. She made the decision for me. In the end, it isn’t that I wanted her to change as much as I refused to put up with that kind of treatment.
It is hard. And unfortunately we don’t really see what is on the other side, until we are there. 🙁
Hugs, Darlene


At this point, I feel like I could have a tolerable relationship with my mother if she could simply believe that I have endured what I told her I’d been through, and recognize that it impacted my whole life.

I remember her saying at one point that if my boyfriend hit me, I must have done something to deserve it. She doesn’t remember saying that and claims she never would say it. I still heard her say it, and if she doesn’t want to acknowledge that she did, I would be satisfied to hear her say to me in a way I could believe. “You could not have done anything to deserve for him to hit you.”

The rift that started a little over a year ago started between my brother & me. I’m not willing to allow him to speak to me again the way he did, and have refused to attend family gatherings. Essentially, the rest of my family settled on his side. My mother even tried to convince me that he was only telling the truth and I’m not supposed to even be hurt, let alone angry or upset with him.

My oldest daughter has told me off and thrown me out of her life. My son is trying to maintain some kind of neutral ground but I can see the intensity of his discomfort. My youngest daughter is so confusing I’ve given up on her too.

So my Mom keeps calling and chatting about all the people in the family that have rejected me without a clue that it could be kinda like rubbing salt in a wound. We don’t talk about anything that’s wrong…

What do I want? What can I live with? And if my entire family from mother to youngest granddaughter blame me for everything, how do I recover from the loss. If they all died, people would see the grief as normal.

Yet I feel like the choice to make here is whether to let them go, or let myself die (metaphorically speaking).

It doesn’t feel that much like a choice still to be made, I think I know I have to let them all go. It’s taking the step forward to do the work involved with acknowledging the loss.

I appreciate your response Darlene. You’re good at what you do 🙂


Another wonderful article, Darlene. I am still stuck in some of that mindset, but I feel like at least being cognizant of that fact puts me far ahead of where I used to be. Thank you again for putting these feelings into the words that we struggle to find as we emerge from broken.

Mother’s day is next weekend, and for the first time, I will not be participating in the obligatory crap that leaves me feeling miserable and drained. These validations will keep me strong, chin up, and secure in my convictions that I deserve better.


This post reminds me of some words I decided to jot down a couple of months ago. Throughout the years, I have been called stupid and many other names by my ever so loving maternal grandmother and father dear, all of which I fell for. I could handle it if it was someone outside of the family as I could just cuss the heck out of them, but why does it have to happen in the place where solace and comfort should be abundant? *Sigh* Enough giving myself false hope. Now back to my composition which this post reminded me of:

Who am I?
I ask myself the question
When the sound of my name is what people mention

Am I obedient, as a result of being too lenient?
Am I kind-hearted by conforming to all of the things that they started?
Am I loving, as I still chose to see brightness in spite of the constant shoving?
Am I caring for all those times where I thought that the best policy was sharing?
Am I a loser for letting myself be controlled relentlessly by an abuser?

Alas I have come to an understanding
About who I really am through my journey of constant learning

I am strong for being able to distinguish between what is right and wrong
I am brave for sharing the truth instead of choosing to remain uncouth
I am a fighter for choosing to annihilate the fire
I am sensitive, for I know that bad things are the cause for some or most to lose the will to live
I am emotional, for it is better than what I once was, that being delusional
I am loving and caring to those of whom I know do not condone tearing
I am different and better, for choosing to believe that acknowledging the pain is a thing that should really matter
I am angry when needed, to those who feel that being defeated, is the key for them to be heeded
I am no longer someone who is out of sight, when I decided to abandon the darkness to cross over the light
I am full of worth, in spite of the things that people did which caused a lot of hurt
I am smart for choosing to preserve the love that is left within my heart
I am hard working, in my quest to heal all of the hurting
I am intelligent, not just for the knowledge I have gained, but also for choosing not to be like them, the word being belligerent

Who am I?
Again, now I really know
A person who has been impeded several times, yet is now slowly gaining the power to grow


Hi Carlos
Thank you for sharing your poem! Its full of truth and empowerment! 🙂
hugs, Darlene

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