Why People Discount the (Adult) Child and Defend the Abuser

Poster creation by Judy Baxter

Poster creation by Judy Baxter

“They say “But she is your Mother!” and I respond “Yes, and I am her Daughter”.  Darlene Ouimet

I have found so much freedom in realizing that I don’t have to explain or justify my decision to draw boundaries with my parents or with anyone else, to anyone. I don’t have to help people ‘understand it’. I don’t have to defend myself or prove myself. There is a reason that some people don’t accept my decision to disengage from my parents and family. There is a reason that this offends certain people but the reason may not be what you think it is. It certainly isn’t what I originally thought it was.

Throughout the comments in this website, and on the Emerging from Broken Facebook page, people often share the belief that people who haven’t ‘been there’ or haven’t walked a mile in these shoes don’t understand what we are talking about when it comes to having parents who are unsupportive, disrespectful abusive or dysfunctional. For a long time I agreed but I have come to realize that this conclusion isn’t as accurate as I used to think it was.

I have discovered that people who have or have had loving parents actually do understand what I am talking about; it is the people still stuck in defending their own abusive /discounting parents that fight the hardest against what I am saying. It’s actually makes sense that it is that way too; People who KNOW what love really is don’t think my mother and her actions regarding me were very loving; they don’t think that the way she treated me had any foundation in her love for me. People who had parents who modeled real love, recognize the truth about what love is. And they don’t stand up for neglect, disrespectful actions, discounting actions, corporal punishment, emotional abuse, verbal abuse or any other type of communication from parents that is less than love.

People who know what love really is and experienced that love from their parents, don’t think my father’s neglect and disinterest in me was loving OR normal. They don’t think he did the best he could. The reaction that I get from people who actually WERE loved by their parents is understanding and empathy rather than the judgment and criticism that we so often hear. Statements such as “but they are your parents” or “I’m sure your parents did the best they could” are not flung in my face by people who know what loving parents really are.  Since I have come out of the fog about the whole dysfunctional family system I have met people who have a whole different reaction to my story; I have met people who say things like “OH MY GOSH, No wonder you don’t have a relationship with them anymore”.  People who learned love from being loved say things like “HOW can parents treat their children like that?” and they don’t understand why or how these parents could communicate such rejection towards their own children.

People who know what love is don’t defend people that communicate so much less than love.

The people that have a need to stick up for the dysfunctional family system are the ones that have judged me the hardest. The hate mail I get always leaks the truth about the writers own abusive childhood and the need to defend their own parents. These comments/emails contain statements such as “my parents beat me but I deserved it”. Sometimes I get a huge paragraph describing the offences that they endured at the hands of mean hateful parents and the final sentence is “but I know my parents loved me”. (I want to ask “HOW do you know that they loved you?”)

There are truth leaks in some of that correspondence about what kind of parent the writer is as well. Many parents are afraid that if they see the truth about the way their own parents treated them, then they will have to give up the control they exert over their own children and treat them with equal value. When the adult child has grown up with the belief that the one with the most power wins, and that compliance and obedience ‘proves’ love, they are not so willing to give up power over their own children because they believe that when children ‘jump’ it means that they ‘love’.

There are a lot of parents that really hate that I am suggesting children of all ages have equal value to parents because of their belief in parental rights and entitlement. Many parents believe that they “own’ their children and that their children “owe” them for the fact that they were even born but these beliefs have NOTHING to do with actual LOVE.

My mother used to say to me that no matter how nasty and mean her own mother was, she still ‘loved her’. I say “what does any of that have to do with love?” Her mother didn’t show love. She didn’t act in a loving way. She was not loving. She was mean and nasty and selfish. I never saw one action initiated by my grandmother that was related to love. And I have to conclude that my mother thought she ‘loved her mother’ because she went along with the way her mother treated her and never questioned it.

I have a choice about what I accept and what I don’t accept and what I accept or don’t accept is based on the fact that today I know what love is and I know what love isn’t and it isn’t compliance and obedience to dysfunctional rules. Choosing love meant that I chose to reject anything less than love. When I chose love, I chose life, I chose truth and I chose ME. 

When a parent denies their child a voice, blames the child for any traumatic events they experienced growing up while still denying that there even were any traumatic events, and continues to paint that child as “a problem”, “unforgiving”, or any other negative blaming descriptive phrases, ~ There IS NO real relationship between that child and their parents. There IS no love lost when there was no love in the first place.

So when someone approaches me with judgment for the decisions that I have made or for my work here in Emerging from Broken, I consider where they are coming from. This judgment ultimately is about them, I mean think about it; why would someone argue that abuse from parents is ‘not abuse’ because it is an action delivered by a parent, or that parents have special rights just because they are parents? Why would  people react with anger or judgment towards someone who expresses freedom from walking away from abusive people just because those abusive people were their parents?  What could possibly be the motivation behind sticking up for abuse and abusers? When I understood the truth about the answer to that question, I no longer felt defensive about my actions. I was able to let go of the need to defend my choices when I realized that the way people react to my choices is about them and not about me; people who have had loving parents do not defend abusive parents.

Not everyone is ready to face the truth about their own past. Please share your thoughts about this topic. I look forward to the conversation.  Please accept my apologies if I don’t respond to all the comments. This blog has active conversations on a minimum of 5 posts all the time and generates close to 1000 comments per month. I have been accepting more clients (Yes, I work on the phone and on Skype) and I am unable to spend as much time responding to all those comments the way that I used to. 

Exposing Truth; one snapshot at a time,

Darlene Ouimet

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

Categories : Mother Daughter



This is powerful! This goes also for all kinds of abuse not just family abuse but church abuse ,and relationship abuse, all kinds of abuse. The people who are still caught up in it make it about you so they can justify in their own minds why they are still there if it is a church or abusive relationship. If it is a family people who as adults put up with it are not thinking straight, the same goes for all other abuses. I have to let those who judge and think wrongly about this go from my life! It is validating to find others who value the truth like I do! And @ Darlene if people are on your blog judging you , they are on your blog because they are broken and deep down they are frustrated that they are not free. But the choice to be free is a choice! You are a good example of that! Keep up the good work!


Thanks Pinky!
Yes you make very good points. I chose to highlight judgement against people standing up to parents but this does apply to all judgement against people who stand up for themselves and for truth and who stand AGAINST abuse.
Hugs, Darlene



i am so sorry you got hate mail re. this. you’ve been through enough. this is such a charged topic. i have heard he did the best he could from someone who has written about what his dad did–no, he really didnt.
if that was the best, it was pretty pathetic! thank you for your much needed site and articles. i meet the kindest people here. isn’t that ironic.


Thank you so much for this refreshing post! It really clarifies a lot for me 🙂

In my distancing myself from abusers I’ve dealt with a lot of fear of ‘what if someone asks me WHY I don’t do things with those people anymore?!?!?” and then I have a fear of being judged harshly for it. But your post really helped alleviate that fear for me!

Looking at the reactions I’ve gotten thus far (from my decision to separate myself from abusers) – I can see, in each individual’s response, the truthfulness of what was said in your post. The ones who are judging me the most harshly, are the ones who were, or are still very much entrenched in a dysfunctional family system. The ones who are loving and supportive, are ones who themselves are loving people (though some MAY have had a rough upbringing, the ones who’ve responded with love are ones that have moved past their upbringing in order to break the cycle) … Loving people love people. (by the true definition of love)

Their reactions are revealing about them as a person. Thank you for such an insightful post! This will truly help me as I face any further reactions from my choice.

(Also, side note: I’m happy you are setting a good example in being balanced with your time! -you’ve got a LOT on your plate- But, not gonna lie, I was SUPER excited to see you had a new post! “yay! Darlene’s back!” haha)

Thanks again! Hugs n stuff!



Hi Sue!
Thanks for sharing ~ re; the people who comment here being nice…it is interesting isn’t it!
hugs, Darlene

Hi Kera
Thank you so much for your honesty, support and encouragement! I appreciate it! And love your comments too!
hugs, Darlene


Well said Darlene. Since walking away from the abuse of my family several months ago, I have thought that there would come a day that I might try and make my siblings “understand” just how abused I was and they were too! However, maybe not so much now. They need to learn in their own time and their own way.
It’s completely understandable that people who were loved by their parents would be the first ones to understand the need to walk away from a toxic family. As for me, I’m trying to learn, at middle age, just what love is and how I can foster loving relationships with the few people who remain in my life. Thanks!


Darlene I just want to say Thankyou Well done! Your voice has helped me heal and for that I am truly Grateful 🙂


I can so relate to this Darlene. It sounds like we have the same mother and grandmother, both of mine are dead and had horrible lives and they both projected their pain onto others. My mother never learnt what love was because she never received any as a child. She was just severely abused, especially by her father. After losing my mother and father to alcohol, (my mom abused the crap out of my father), then my brother, to suicide,( mom turned him into a monster), I have completely disowned all the rest of my mother’s side of the family. They are all so sick, addictions, mental illnesses, autoimmune diseases, and they are all still in denial, hiding the secret of what their lives were like. Some have totally disassociated. I’m done with them. Best decision I’ve ever made. The only time I ever saw my mom truly happy was during her final breath. She finally looked at peace and out of pain. You know what they say, “some people come into our lives as blessings, others as lessons. “Well I am learning a lot. Thanks for giving my a forum to vent.<3


Dang, turn off my computer for an entire morning, and come back to a NEW POST from Darlene! Shockers! Ok, I guess we knew one was forthcoming, glad to see it!

Darlene, you have hit the nail. I’m thinking my Mom didn’t feel love from Grandma for whatever reason. Mom has never used the word “love” when talking about Grandma. Mom uses the word “duty.” I’m thinking Mom felt some “duty” and now she expects “duty” because of it.

And, I read everyone’s horrifying stories and I still think, “Wow, my mom isn’t as bad as that……” But Mom couldn’t handle being “different” from her small town friends and if I showed signs of being “different” in front of her friends, it would be squashed in a manipulative way.

I have never married or had children, and Mom has never hassled me about this. I thought it was great, until I found out that Mom made my choice be about her somehow. (A certain level of “devotion to her” was expected because of my choices….)

My mom said that she didn’t like babies one time. On the other hand, she had problems seeing me as an adult. I had this feeling of… “She wanted me to stay little til our Carters wore out.” (jingle from a baby clothes ad….)

When I tried to point out how some of her actions didn’t make logical sense, she would get mad and yell at me for “disrespecting” her. So…… “respect” must mean, “I’m not allowed to find anything wrong with her.”

I was a bit of a precocious child, and mom didn’t know how to deal with precocious so instead of nurturing it, she tried to squash it. One time my mom said to me, “I tried to make you be a kid and you refused to be one.” A light bulb went off in my head when she said that!

Good post!


Hi Cheryl!
Welcome to EFB ~ Thanks for sharing!!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Lauren!
Thank you and welcome to EFB!
hugs, Darlene


Hey Darlene! Just want to say you rock! I am moving through a lot of anger right now and everything you expressed reaches my core. Thank God for your courage and strength. Everyday I am learning who I really am and facing what was done to me. The more I learn about love the more gratitude I feel for leaving my family. Wished I would have left them sooner but that’s how powerful the sick ties are. Forgiving myself is my best friend right now! Bless you for all you do! Love you all! Keep fighting the fight. We are all worth it!


Hi Connie!
Yes, exactly, thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

Yes exactly. Great comments. Being different is somehow communicated as “wrong and we learn the false definitions of love and respect especially and it is so damaging. (and hard to rewire back to the true definitions, but that is what we talk about here!
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


It’s so great to read this right now after all I’ve been going through with extended family lately. With my aunt who recently turned on me—I can see what happened there. She could identify much that was wrong with my childhood, she could understand my need to stand up for myself, and she remained supportive of me cutting off contact and going on my own way to forge my own life, my own identity, etc. (after some explaining, anyway). I got the message from her, “You do whatever you need to do to take care of you,” which was a very supportive message. But what caused so much trouble were the conclusions I’d come to about my family. It was the notion that they could have and ought to have done better, (not so much about the past situations but the present) in taking accountability for the past and recognizing the truth. It was my suggestion that they didn’t love me, that if they did love me, they’d choose to take responsibility for the past, lay down their need to be right, and commit to doing whatever to becoming healthy (even if they didn’t understand; they could still commit). That if they’d love me, they’d give up that power, etc… She has no problem in me taking individual action to do what I need to do to overcome the past within the sphere of my own personal life, but to suggest that they ought to be and could be behaving differently now and the fact that they aren’t behaving differently communicates something pretty huge about how (not) important I am to my family, how (not) loved, was too much for her. And I see how that mirrors her own life—-in her position with her parents and in her position as a mother. It was when that stuff was up on the table, that she’d say all sorts of invalidating, discounting things, defending my family (even while stating that she wasn’t trying to defend/excuse them BUT….). What I know is that it is not enough just to tell off an abusive parent (as she had done when she was younger), and walk away to substitute the past with a new reality, without first disentangling the whole mess, understanding what it was all about, understanding the messages, validating the pain, validating the person you were and realizing that yes, indeed, our parents could’ve done better, chosen better, and that that says something about them. Even if you’re in the fog, are un-enlightened, there are choices that can be made based on the bits of awareness that you do have, that can move you further and further ahead, and yes, they always have a certain amount of awareness—and that’s why I think we here are a threat to them. We come up against their own awareness that they work so hard to bury or sweep aside. I’m sure to some degree (whether they admit it or not) it will be a relief to have me go away; of course, it will be spun as me doing what I need to do to heal and overcome my past (that will indeed be the same type of spin my mom I’m sure will put on it, as if she is being a good and understanding mother, respectful of my needs to cut off, to find myself, my peace, etc.)…. I think that’s what sometimes drives me crazier than anything else—the family’s need to position themselves as so enlightened. God forbid they should admit, present tense right here right now, that they’ve really messed up and if they don’t do something about it, they’re going to remain messed up and mess up again. Anyway, that’s their life. What can I do but move on? Do whatever I need to do to heal, so that I know that I’ve broken the cycle, so that I know that I am healthy…. So, I’m busy packing up my life (literally) to head out toward my future. I’d be excited if I wasn’t also stressed and anxious about things like finding a new job and a place to live and hoping that my French is passable (as I’m moving to Montreal and likely will have to communicate in French at a new job and it’s been 10 years since I last used the language, which I just took school). And then there’s trying to figure out how to navigate my relationships with my cousins. I kind of smoothed things over with my aunt to a degree and had asked about being able to see everyone before I left, so I could say goodbye, but when I got a response (perfectly kind), I felt so sick. I understood that I was swallowing myself. My aunt and uncle I am certain wish me well. They want me to be happy. But they have their version of my truth and they care about me in so far as it fits into their version (care as an action verb, I mean, as opposed to just a feeling). My version is not wanted or cared about. To them, I am no doubt misguided about certain things, though they’ll “respect” my need to do what I need to do. I felt like throwing up when I read my aunt’s email and imagined being there for a goodbye BBQ, having to swallow myself just to be there, to say goodbye. I know that I won’t be able to do it, that I will have to retract my idea, but I’m not sure what to do about my six cousins. I’m not sure there’s much I can do. The relationships seem to fall like dominoes… I’ll be glad when I’m on the train out of here come Sept. 1st… and then even more glad when I’m settled in with a place to live and a job. Then I think the excitement of my life being my very own will really come to me…. Despite all the crap, the difficulties of this past year, all the losses, boy, am I glad that I’m at this point, grateful that I know I deserve to have a different life, that I am enough as I am, that I deserve(d) better and am capable and deserving of giving myself better, without guilt because I have done nothing wrong and without shame because there is nothing wrong with me. I am free to live my life and to be myself. No one can hold me down now but me, and lucky for me, I am actually someone I can work with. 😉

Anyway, thanks for sharing this! It’s so great to read! xo, A


Well said! Thanks!


This is so true Darlene. People that put themselves down and put their own feelings, rights, and health aside in order to maintain an abusive family system are the ones who will attack anyone trying to leave that system and be open about what happened to them. And that is the basis of what they say, there is nothing more sophisticated or deep behind it. I don’t really have anyone in my present life saying things like that, but I have an abundance of memories of people who judged me and gave a blanket defense to my criminally abusive family. I’m finally reaching the place where those memories of judgement aren’t constantly swirling back into my mind, and when they do I don’t feel a need to frantically defend myself each time. I’m more confident in my truth, I know what I did was right and it’s not anyone else’s business.

That’s one of the reasons why I’m so glad to be out of my family actually, because of all the drama and gossip and the lack of personal, private space. My family was this parasitic hive where everyone was monitoring and feeling jealous, possessive, and angry about everything you did and said (or didn’t do and didn’t say) to another family member. No one particularly cared that my siblings horrifically abused me when we were children, but there was endless pressure if I didn’t put up a facade of nicety to them in front of others. I’m glad that now my personal relationships are something I own myself, and not the stomping ground of any intrusive person that walks by.


Well done, well said! First, I love the term “truth leaks.” Just LOVE it.

Second, love is a verb. Just saying, or thinking a four letter word, has nothing to do with actualizing it. I’m glad you teased out so many different strands of the illusion of “love” so that more people can experience the truth of love.

I grew up in a home where the word “Parental Rights” was used more often than any semblance of “I see who you are and love you for who you are. I value you.” I never defended that system of thinking and i never will. I appreciate you exposing the invested interest of those who do. It makes so much sense.

So glad to have you in the world!

You rock



WOW!!! As I was reading this, I was remembering an exchange I had with a few dear girlfriends just 10 days ago. They, having grown up in loving homes, agreed that my NM has issues, BIG issues. So amazing what you’ve discovered Darlene. It is true. People who really know loving families, are empathetic to those who haven’t experienced it. I didn’t even make the connection…. that my friends had loving homes, until I read this. Awesome insight as always!!



YES! Most of the people I share my stories of no contact with are supportive. And I’ve said for a very long time, that I have to beware of those who want the right to abuse their own children, because they will disagree with me.

People who know me, know that I’m as good of a mother as I can be. I’m not perfect, and I do spend some time apologizing to my kids for that. I love my kids (and all children) too much to intentionally hurt them. And I think because of the fact that I strive to be a better mother than the one I was yesterday, made me wake up to the abuse in my family of origin. And then, when my FOO decided they could abuse MY children—all bets were off. I’m very in touch with my kids, and when they show hurt, I’m a mama bear. So, no contact is not just about me, it’s about keeping my entire family (husband included) safe from abusive people.

I always have to shake my head at those people who insist they deserved to be beaten. They are a sad lot, in much denial, and usually miserable or have a drinking problem. I would not want for my children to “turn out” they way they think is good—they way they turned out.


After 42 year my birth mother finally gave me up for “adoption. This year she directly and outright said she never LIKED me. I have heard from my friends from over the years about the fabrications about me trying to sabotage my life. She succeeded in driving HER flesh and blood family away and still holds me accountable for everything that has happened in my life since birth. She has always been extremely negative about the people in her life. She would complain about her ex-husband being the extremely selfish person, when it was herself that is.

My birth father was not a fit parent and absolutely HATED children. The first 8 years of him in my life really messed me up. He finally left my birth mother for another woman, who he violently abused too. He has shown no interest in my life and has moved on with his life. His current wife no tells me that my birth father considers me to be the biggest disappointment in his life. I am not in contact with them cause they end up treating me like I’m third class scum and I deserve better than that.

A while ago, I had mentioned an observation to my birth mother about there is no family around for me (My full brother refuses to acknowledge I exist and wishes that I was dead – half sister is like that too. My step siblings have me on complete ignore, if I am ever near them.) When ever there was some kind of conflict with the birth mother – she would get extremely overbearing, invalidating and highly abusive towards me. She would try to diagnosed whatever kind of “mental disorder” she believed I had. She would allow her husband to treat me poorly and berate me and didn’t care. Those were the times, I would tell her to take a hike and then I would not contact her for months. Only to get a phone call, begging me to come back or she send some sort of “sorry” card.

This week will mark seven months of having no contact with them. Two months ago the birth mother threatened to take me to court so she can have visitation with “her” granddaughters who she never ever bothers with at all. Her excuse was putting the blame back on to me.

Every single issue that I had with her, she went and told all of her “family”. Other family members would use her to communicate to me. For nearly 30 years she has talked extremely bad about me and stabbed me in the back so many times, when I wasn’t looking. Feedback from my friends over time.

I must admit that with the nasty things that happened to me from my birth family still hurts deeply. I have often wondered why would she even keep me around and why wasn’t I ever given a better chance in life and given up for adoption. I do have a very huge regret and it is completely out of my hands was to ever being born into that woman’s life. Every child needs and deserves a parent who will care, nurture, support and love them.

I appreciate and I am deeply thankful that they are no longer in my life to do harm and to be vengeful. It appears to me that they don’t have the capacity to be civil or forgive.

I am thankful that the shallow relatives are no longer in my life as well. I am thankful that I have more self respect for me than to stick around hell.

Thank you for this post.


Thanks Darlene!!! This blog is so timely and exactly where I am in my decision to
Not have any contact with my mother. I have worried about others judgement on my actions but
I am coming to realize all that you stated and giving myself a pat on the back for sticking up for me, making a decision
for me! I had to stop looking for others validation when I wasn’t sticking up for me! My self affirmation is
God knows the real truth and He is shedding light on my truth daily and He is the only true judge.
Darlene, I am not sure what or if you believe in God but I feel you are
An instrument of healing for me and others. May God bless you!!


A couple years ago, I tried to date this guy who was very “pure.” I’m not kidding! He said what he meant and he meant what he said. What a concept! He loved me so purely. I couldn’t return that love. He definitely knew what love was. I had to break it off with him because I couldn’t deal with it. Sad….. he was a nice guy and really loved me. I met his family, and I could tell there


flying fingers again. Anyway, to finish, I could tell there was real love in his family.


So true! I had been afraid of defending my decision of having N/C with birth parents but now I can see that I get minimal support from extended family because they too are in it.

To someone else outside of family, they think it entirely appropriate for me to break with parents.


You are such a blessing, this was very timely indeed! Thanks for writing all of this… most of it was dead on for me… though I am around my parents still, but they aren’t like they used to be. I have had other family members say “they did their best” even siblings… and while it sounds nice… it really doesn’t cover up what happened in the past.


This has really helped me put things in perspective. I actually said to my daughter “my friend Joy who is the most loving person I know, when I told her about my mom, her response was “there is nothing you can do but move on and have no contact with her”. So to read that loving people understand this behavior as abusive and wrong. And those who have their own issues are the ones who are critical is very very helpful! I have been one who said my mother did the best she could with the skills she had but she did not.
Such a timely post!


Another thought here is that I have not really got any flack from anybody about leaving my birth family. People can not understand all the mean and nasty things that were done to me. My spouse has witnessed a lot of things go on between my birth family and I and the birth mother has tried so desperately to break us up. The birth mother’s husband would continually shoot me down whenever he would speak to my spouse.

I have had a few friends, who were in the same boat as me.

Social workers who would help me with various things would often comment how disgusted they were with my family and couldn’t understand why they refused to help me at all.


I swear I could have written this myself! I have heard those lines from people (mainly family members). Up until I broke free and estranged myself and my children from my family, I would also make the excuses. Knowing my mother was cruelly abused as a child, I kept telling myself, “She did the best she could with what she had… which wasn’t much.” And I found myself wanting to give her the benefit of the doubt. The truth is that it didn’t matter how many excuses I made for her, how many ways I tried to make things better, or how many people who tried to vouch for her, her actions and behaviors were abusive, and they were wrong. When confronted, she was even more cruel and a little bit crazy.

After I broke free about 11 years ago, I could see the abusive tendencies in my own parenting (angry outbursts to create fear and “obedience”). I realized I would never want my children saying that about me. I don’t want them to have to use excuses for my awful behavior and try to explain to their friends, “She’s not always like that.” If I am wrong, I want them to confront me. I want there to be honest communication without my children fearing my reaction. It was time for me to grow up and stop trying to blame my abusive past for my present failures. Yes, it helps to bring understanding, but it should never be an excuse or a “get out of jail free” card.

Thankfully, my children speak up if I slip into any old patterns. I appreciate that, and I have asked them to help me become a better parent. Accepting responsibility and not trying to blame them or anyone else is the key to breaking the cycle.


I have been “painted as unforgiving” by my brother. At the time my mother would not stand by me and admit that there had been sexual abuse by my father. So she wasn’t even offering an apology for me to consider and then forgive her! Other family members also saw me as “the problem”.

I am heartbroken that he was loyal to my mother at the expense of our relationship. I wasn’t even asking him to side with me/not her. I was asking him to find a way to be understanding of both of us. But he has no words of understanding for me. He avoids the subject.

In the past he has been a good brother to me, even helped me deal with my parents. But he has drawn the line over this.

I feel like I have to leave him emotionally. It’s tough at family gatherings because there are people I want to see and spend time with, and a few that it would be best to avoid because they hurt me. I don’t want to be laughing and lighthearted and have him think everything is OK between us because it most definitely is not.

It’s a horrible experience to not have the support of family members. My experience is a little different than some of you on here because my siblings loved me very much when I was young. But it all changed when I could not tolerate the neglect, abuse, alcohol. I had a lot of difficulty expressing my feelings. There was anger, aloofness, irritability, and long periods of silence. I think I was seen as putting a lot of stress on the family….but my experience started with my parents and THEY put a lot of stress on ME.


Well said Darlene! The very things you just talked about, l can relate to. I am in my late 30’s and lm still afraid to stand up to my adopted mum. Sitting here imagining her reading your post, yes, she would give me a mouthful, and again, nothing would change as she is still stuck in her way of thinking. Again, l would walk away feeling guilty for the hell l put her through. Like you said, no love is lost, when there was no love in the first place! And if love is conditional, that being, obedient and subservient, then l guess, it was not love in the first place. Its like lve always known this. It just you remind me, and validate the feelings lve experienced my whole life.

When l began to speak up, opening up to others outside the family, is when she got worse. This whole idea of pretending that our family had no problems, and using me as her scapegoat, to justify any issues. Not once did she ever think, that maybe, just maybe, she contributed to me acting out.

Felt like sharing my story. Sometimes you hit the nail right on the head. The validation l feel, is beyond words. Thank you.


I think I had a breakthrough yesterday. My whole life when someone would act in an abusive way, I would have doubts about myself and even have feelings of shame and guilt, as if I had done something wrong. Maybe part of it came from others siding with the abuser, where I felt that they can’t all be wrong. For the first time, I trusted MY feelings and said without a doubt, that person is wrong in the way she acted, no matter who else sticks by her. I think this is a breakthrough because I wasn’t intimidated by numbers. If a whole group is wrong in how they treat someone, they are just plain wrong and I will stand up to them even if I have to do it by myself. I am trusting my judgement for the first time.


Another great post, and very timely for me. Just yesterday I was speaking with someone who I’d confided in about my sexual abuse. This person grew up with an alcoholic father. She told me, I’m sure meaning well, that since my Dad was addicted to pornography his actions exposing me to it weren’t intentional—being under the grip of addiction and all. And then she takes my own addiction as an example: “For example, your drinking has been a bad choice, yet you still did it”.

She told me that she’s let go of the anger she had against her father…suggesting of course that I should “let go” of my anger too. Because I’m new to validating my own perceptions I struggled inside with thinking she must be right. But I was really angry inside too. I told her, when you have children, it’s different. I never had children who would be messed up by my drinking. And my parents were the reason I began drinking in the first place, not that I’m not responsible for it now.

Am I supposed to care that he was in the mighty grip of addiction and therefore just couldn’t help but keep porn in the dining room? How far do we have to go to excuse our parents? His responsibility was to his children. He made his choices. This person brought up his “addiction” when I told her I believed his actions were intentional. It happens far too much that people question the perceptions of survivors. When I tell someone it was intentional, that’s it, end of story. I was there, he was my Dad, if there’s one thing I know, it’s my experience.

But reading this post, I can understand better that her response had to do with how she was handling her past. But it makes me very cautious now who I will open up to, because more invalidation I do not need.


Let go, let go, let go….. GRRRRRRR!!!!! You can’t just waive a magic wand and “it’s all better.” It has to be felt in your soul. Why do people just think you can just turn a switch off and it’s all better?


Hi Lora
Everyday that I look at the truth is a day I live in freedom!
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene

Hi Alaina
great comments; yes it always comes down to the message that we receive about ourselves and for me has become about overcoming the way that those messages define me. Realizing that the reactions that I get from people is about THEM and not about me was a whole other level of freedom!
Thanks for sharing, hugs, Darlene


Hi Caden
Excellent insights and comments! Thanks for sharing!
hugs, Darlene

Hi Kylie
YES love is a verb!
hugs and thanks for your encouragement!


Hi Mimi
When I realized this ‘fact’ it hit me like a ton of bricks too!
hugs, Darlene

Hi Brenda H
I like that kind of ‘striving’ and I feel the same way about no contact.
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


Hi Becky
it’s devastating when a parent says things like that and some parents just ‘show that’ in their actions and inactions. It is so hurtful! It was so freeing when I was finally able to realize (inside my heart) that it wasn’t about me! This whole website is really about “HOW” I finally was able to do that by looking at the facts. Thanks for sharing some of yours.
hugs, Darlene

Hi Mpact
Yay for sticking up for YOU! (yes I believe in God and I believe that God is behind all of my healing and in all that I share with others. )
hugs, Darlene


Yes, real love exists and it is recognizable through relationship dynamics!
hugs, Darlene

Hi Sahitha
Hugs, Darlene

Exactly ~ it ‘sounds good’ but it’s invalidating.
hugs, Darlene


Hi Kathleen
Great insights!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Becky
Yes, often we do get affirmation and support which is really great! In my case I defended my mother/family to the therapists and professionals I saw and they left it at that. I didn’t get any help and my denial was profoundly important to my survival at that time.
hugs, Darlene


Hi PlekaKat
That is very similar to my story too. Thanks for sharing and welcome to EFB
hugs, Darlene

Hi Light,
WOW! this kind of thing makes me angry! (that YOU were painted as unforgiving and you were denied the validation and help that you needed and deserved!) Thanks for sharing. My heart reaches out to yours.
hugs, Darlene


Hi Kylie
Thanks for sharing this. It is empowering for others to know so many people have this same exp. and feel this same way. I feel validated by your validation too!
hugs, Darlene

Hi Amber
This is awesome! Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


Hi Doren
Excellent insights! Thanks for sharing this story too. It is a great example of what goes on out there!
Hugs, Darlene

Because they don’t want to shine any kind of light on any of it in their own lives…
hugs, Darlene


Thanks Darlene!

Light #28: I’m so sorry. I have always been the family “problem” too.
I understand this heartbreak, my sister has basically thrown away our relationship and is more angry at me than our abusive mother. It’s funny how what our parents did gets a pass but what I’ve done is unacceptable.

It is a great loss to lose family support. I have confidence that it will get easier in time, as many have stated. I’m in the process of letting go of my sister emotionally. It’s taken me over 40 years, but I now see unequivocally that she left me emotionally a long time ago. You can look back on the good memories you have with your brother, and while it presently hurts so much, know that YOU are stronger for facing the truth.


Hi Darlene!
Loved this post! It was very affirming. As I take back my power, and disassociate from these hurtful, spiteful, destructive people who were my family, it helps to know that I don’t need to explain myself. I had often suspected there was something wrong with those who tried to minimalize the abuse and give the “that’s your mother” response. It did seem like some of these folks came from abusive, unhealthy backgrounds as well. It is still painful, as they continue their smear campaign throughout the extended family. Especially hurtful is my niece. She was also smeared and trash talked by the 3 witches (2 sisters and nmom), when she was just a child. I always stood up for her, and developed a very nice relationship with her as she became a young adult. However, they can not stand this, and are attempting to drive a wedge between us, and now just cant treat her nice enough and just “love her to death”. And of course, I am painted as the enemy.I don’t know how to deal with this. It is very painful.
As an aside, the last time I saw my younger sister, at a family event, I told her I was beginning my masters degree. Oh? What are you studying? Me: to be a psychiatric nurse practitioner. So I can help other victims of abusive families…..Oh! Her face could have been chiseled out of stone,at that moment!! (in truth, I dont know exactly where my degree will take me, i may end up going into research, but those words just flew out of my mouth).
Anyways, thanks for the post! Just what I needed to hear today.


This hurts my heart. Why? Because in parental alienation there is a parent who loves their child but their child has been pressured into rejecting him or her. This is happening in over 25% of divorce cases, sadly. There is a lot of research on this type of emotional abuse, yet few want to hear about it because #1, They have behaved like this in their divorce situation, or #2, they do not want to learn anything new, for they have they positions in society and are getting their paychecks…..
Our organization has a lot of expert information to share. But the proof is in the behavior of the alienated children and the broken hearts of the parents who refused to use their kids as weapons of revenge.


I just corrected website punctuation.


@ Janie # 43

Your telling your sister that you were going “to be a psychiatric nurse practitioner. So I can help other victims of abusive families ” made me laugh out loud! I can only imagine the response my FOO would have if I were to ever say something like that to them! Go you!

I can really relate to what you’re going through with your niece, as I am going through kind of the same thing with my younger sister. I was sort of like a mom to her (still am – since anytime she ever needs help, or has questions she is more comfortable coming to me than to her own parents – my birth parents.) … my NM even told me (back when I was a teenager and my little sister was only 2 years old) that NM did not like how close we were because NM brought my little sister into this world so that NM could feel ‘needed’ – but since my little sister leaned on me, instead of NM, it was upsetting NM that NM didn’t get that emotional support from her little child. (so … twisted …) Anyway …

Now that I’ve finally grown strong enough to stand my ground on personal boundaries – there is a serious smear campaign against me going on behind the scenes … trying to convince my little sister that I am ‘bad, slanderous, liar, untrustworthy … etc.” even claiming I’ve said things that I didn’t (thankfully I had written proof that they were wrong.) They have now resorted to using my relationship with my little sister as leverage. As in: “”Of COURSE she can come see you … that’d be fine … and We’d love to come visit too.”” (and, when I say no to them, but yes to her, they go back on their word and say ‘ohhh, it’s not going to work out for her to come over.”) … OR they’ll use her as leverage to try and have time with my children … “I see no reason why she shouldn’t be able to come visit. Your mother and I would also love to get to see our grandkids … maybe we could work something out …” Like its a hostage exchange. lol – I am not dumb. As much as I love my baby sister, I will NOT buy time with her by throwing my own children into the ring of abusers.

Right now the only consolation I have is that she is now old enough, and aware enough, to sense the hypocrisy of the family system she is now in. And has seen enough of everyone’s track records to know what is the truth about me, and what is the truth about the situation – despite what lies are being spewed in her direction. And, once she’s old enough to do anything about it for her own sake – she’ll know who will support her. (me and my husband) It sucks that we can’t spend more time together … but, there’s not much more I can do about it now. I hope your situation with your niece gets better soon!




Hey KR, Sorry you are going through that with your little sister. I hope that since it sounds like she bonded with you, and not nm, she will come around when she gets older.
I think the reason they inject themselves into the visit, is b/c they don’t want you to be alone with your sister, to be able to speak the truth! To continue bonding, without their dysfunctional supervision.
This is the same thing my nm does. At last family event, when nsisters kids sat at the table w me, she sat alone at another table, and loudly announced, sigh, “Grandma is over here all alone! Wouldn’t you come keep me company?” to the kids. Which they did. I saw right through that. When my younger niece, wanted to ride in the car with me, after a family event, nm RAN to my car, FLEW to it, and jumped in the back. There was NO WAY I was going to be alone with these kids, and have them get to know me! Not on her F’ed up watch!!
So sick, so so so sick!
Hang in there!



Dear Darlene
I just found this on my Facebook and am so glad I did! I am 50 years old and have walked away from my family almost 14 years ago now for a number of reasons. My childhood was dysfunctional and scarey. My mother became what I term a right sayer that never owned any of her behaviors. My father was nonexistent and an alcoholic and couldn’t understand why in my forties I did not want to speak to him. He is dead now and I did not attend his funeral as I was told to stay away by his sister. Recently, my step-father passed away and as he was a definite contributor to the dysfunction in my life as child, I have chosen to still not attend his memorial nor contact my mother. I have been on the receiving end of a lot of criticism for my stand, including from my two siblings who knew and know the abuses we suffered. They pretend all is well while I am no longer welcome in their homes. My mother is very toxic and takes my very breath away when she is near. I don’t feel guilty because I do not have a lot of empathy for her right now and frankly I can show no amount of love for her or the family. My family has been the friends I have cultivated in the many years since I left or escaped from my childhood home at the early age of seventeen. However, in the wee hours of the morning I feel wrong somehow because as the people in your story have told you that she is your mother and you have to love your mother. After all, she did the bet she could. I too have heard that many times from many people. Thank you for your article and this blog. I am able to still stand firmly on my convictions because of brave people like you! I know how hard your decision was and is. It is more difficult still though because I do have children and they have never met my mother. I just feel that they should not have to be exposed to the same dysfunction I did.
Thank you again!


Hi Janie
Yay for taking our power back from those who disempowered us.
hugs, Darlene

Hi Cindy
Welcome to EFB ~ Thanks for sharing


Hi Maureen
Welcome to EFB ~ How does one love when one was never shown how? When love isn’t modeled by a parent, a child learns something different than love. I am glad that my children have been rescued from the dysfunction and toxicity they were exposed to when I did have contact with my parents. The truth set me free in that department too. I am sorry that my children do not have loving grandparents, but that is a whole different thing than the truth is about the grandparents that they actually had.
I am glad you are here and thank you for sharing!
hugs, Darlene


Excellent post, and I agree with everything you say….I am so fortunate to have grown up in a loving home and can’t begin to comprehend how parents could mistreat their children and try to pass it off as love………


I stopped talking to my father many years ago. Also a long time ago I stopped hating him because it was hurting me. My father was abused as a child but never got help for himself. the life he gave us was in part of his history but a lot of the present at the time. He died alone and he lived alone. I say “Blood is not thicker than water when the blood is bad”. I made the decision for me and I was lucky to have a loving Mother whom I share a close relationship. My family is in the dictionary for the word of dysfunction and is not just the immediate family, but includes from me of Uncles, Aunts, Cousins, Son and Daughter. I have hope that it will stop somewhere and someone will have a normal happy family.


To: Maureen

My daughter is now 13 yo now and disconnecting from my mother was
Hard at first because it just seem like we were suppose to have a mom and/grandma.
Unfortunately my daughter saw some of the verbal abuse directed at me
but I am proud that she has seen me take that step to that says you shouldn’t
Accept abuse. When my child was 6 or 7 she asked me ” does Granny love you?”
That was an eye opener for me. It showed me that my daughter had a view of love from me
and knew in someway that Granny was not showing love. Right before the big “break up”
My daughter also said about a year ago with Granny it is all about her is’nt it.
Out of the mouth of babes.


Hi Janet,
Welcome to EFB
Thank you for your comments in support of what we are saying here.. hugs, Darlene

Hi Sandra B
Welcome to EFB ~ this site is about how I stopped the cycle. Glad you are here,
hugs, Darlene


Hi Darlene:
I just wanted to thank you for your posts…they always resonate so strongly with me. I too have met with great criticism and relentless abuse from a group of people because I have drawn boundaries with a sibling who is the most abusive, toxic person that I have ever met in my life.I am trying to protect myself and feel utterly powerless .I feel very alone right now and have no one to help me.


Hi Kathy
Welcome to EFB! You are not alone here. I know this is very hard.
hugs, Darlene


Hi Darlene,
I’ve been trying to sort this whole situation out for years now. You highlighted many things I’ve been struggling with: 1) where does forgiveness begin and end? Meaning: is leaving my abusive family & cutting all ties forgiving them and moving forward? Or are we to forgive them and set boundaries then give them another shot? 2) if my boundaries are catalysts for change, where do I go from there? Can they ever accept me for who am with my boundaries?

I’ve found that setting boundaries does cause some intense reactions from my abusers and their supporting family. When some of the supporters actually wake up from the denial, their journey starts for the real truth. I’ve also encountered that my boundaries have caused them to take a look at who they are and see a need for change. They have started to accept that I’m doing and saying things to help them not hurt them. That its not a competition at all, but me expecting acceptance for being an adult, not a child.

The past three years I’ve been treated like the black sheep of the family because I set boundaries. I’ve been the rock that my other family members leaned on for support when setting their boundaries with our abusers. It’s been a rough, but worthwhile journey. I’m praying every day that my boundaries have given not just me some freedom to discover who i truly am when treated with love, but also the challenge to find a better way to parent that shows love. My husband helps me with that. I’ve found true love with him. God gave me the wisdom to see that even though I didn’t know what I really needed or desired. I thank God for my blessings and challenges. It’s true, challenging people are lessons. Those lessons are necessary to find as well as live a normal and abundant life.

If my abusers cross my boundaries, their shot is gone. They know it now. My actions have shown them I’m capable of doing it. Maybe I’m still in denial that they won’t go there. I pray that some good will come of my struggles and help others too.


Hello Darlene,

This is so, so timely for me.. Thank you so much for your bravery and making a clear path for those of us behind you. I am so thankful for hearing about your journey.

The truth is so tricky at times and healing is multi-layered. I am finally coming to the cut off point with my family but, have been really hindered/plagued by the comments i’ve heard from well meaning friends about choosing to love our parents when they’ve hurt us because they really ‘love’ us.. This article really helped me to look at it differently. THANK YOU.


Again, very tricky..



Hi Sarah,
Welcome to EFB!
Yes, the truth is tricky! love that statement! At the end of the day there is a ‘real truth’ but we have to cut through so much of the brainwashing that we grew up with in order to find it and embrace it. Glad you are here!
hugs, Darlene

Hi Mjd
Welcome to EFB!
Forgiveness for me was a result of the healing process rather than a goal. I had to put it on the shelf so to speak while I sought the plain truth about the relationships I was in.
As for the results of setting boundaries, each person has to decide for themselves how to proceed and that includes the family members who don’t like it when they and their actions are being stood up to. They might not accept your new boundaries but does that mean that your boundaries are wrong?
For me I decided that it wasn’t love for me to accept abuse from them. not for me and not for them. Communicating that it is okay or that I will accept their disrespectful treatment of me isn’t healthy for anyone and when I thought about the ripple effect my lack of action had on the other people around me (like my kids) I really had food for thought.
This whole site is about how I took my life back. Glad you are here!
Hugs, Darlene


Re the “Mommy mommy doesn’t grandma love you?” honesty question. It struck a nerve in me. I remember asking, “Mommy mommy why does….” honesty questions. I don’t even remember how my Mom responded, except to call it “a series of nonsensical syllables.” Something like…. “ah ah ah ah ah uh oh ah….” The “message behind the message” that I got from this series of nonsensical syllables was….. “You didn’t see what you saw and this isn’t what it looks like.” So, I learned never to question things that made no sense to me. It’s no wonder that I spent my career as an Auditor. Being an Auditor gave me the “outlet” to question things legitimately, since I was never allowed to question things that made no sense to me.

But because I was “frozen” with Mom, I couldn’t question her. When I finally got the courage to question her, I got the “I don’t remember, leave the past alone, why are you asking these things……” I have come to the conclusion that Mom has a secret so bad that she would rather not have a relationship with me than to reveal that secret. But I have managed to get Mom to reveal things when I press her with, what I have referred to in other posts as…. “Law and Order SVU interrogations.” Being an Auditor helped with that!

MJD, regarding your question of “cutting ties, is that moving forward?” I’m going to say, “no.” Because….. I have a history of….. whenever I break up with a boyfriend, I get a new job and move across the country. There is a strong correlation between my boyfriend changes and job changes involving relocations. The relocation was always cathartic. It got the guy out of my system. But then I would make the same mistake and get into yet another toxic relationship. So, I left the problem, but didn’t solve it. Right now, I’m NC with my Mom. I don’t like it. The problems aren’t being addressed. But, from reading the blog, it looks like the problems will never be solved and that is what I have to accept. Books I have read on this recommend getting a “second chance” family. Well, I’m a confirmed never married (by choice) so that’s a bit hard. And then you say “set boundaries and give them another shot.” Well, my experience has been that setting boundaries and giving them another shot doesn’t work either. Mom takes the attitude of…. “Well, we had this lovely conversation so now my daughter is finally going to act like I want her to act.” Funny….. I’ve done the same thing with toxic boyfriends. I talked to them, and then ASSUMED that since we had a conversation that they would start being acting the way I wanted them to act. Wow. That was revealing….. Now I know where that came from….. But I’m glad that the boundaries are working for you! Any tips?



I think for each person, there’s a different journey with different choices. I’m not sure what that is for me still. Trying to explore my options and how they will work for me and my family. Your insights have given me something to think about. As for boundaries, you have a lot to consider. The only tip I can share is: be sure it will keep you and your family safe.


Your question about boundaries was interesting. After thinking about it, I can honestly say, I’m glad their opinions don’t determine if my boundaries are right or wrong. I started to listen to my sister who thought some of my boundaries were too tough. But i decided to keep the boundaries where they were. After some time, she came to see they were necessary even for her. She’s been learning what they do and how they think. I’m glad I am sticking to my guns. It’s your blog/website I am encouraged by. It shows me that I’m not the only one being treated like the black sheep and its not necessary to justify my boundary choices. Thanks for telling us how you took your life back! It helps me understand that many things I’ve done wont be liked by my family. I’m starting to learn that’s only the beginning.


Darlene, your posts always speak deep into my heart and speak the truth. I hear my own truth echoed in your words. Thank you so much for sharing so honestly and openly with all of us. You are voicing the shadows that we have hidden in our own hearts.

In the beginning of my own recovery, my higher power spoke this one word to me regarding my family: disengage. I find it interesting that this is the same word that was given to you.

Although it was very, very difficult, I did disengage. For about a year the wagging tongues of my siblings shouted at me in my head. Eventually, their voices quieted and I began to find my “true” family who loved me with real love. I found my family in my recovery group.

My parents said they loved me, but their actions NEVER backed up their words. I truly believe that they don’t know what real love is.

Thank you so much for your words. They validate and affirm the truth that I know in my heart.


Today I made a decision not to side with some a users. It was on a Facebook forum, but I was not in any way anonymous because its with my old High School. These alleged adults were picking on a woman for something she posted that they interpreted in the worst possible way. She kept defending herself but they wouldn’t listen and kept on making nasty comments to her. I finally posted a comment that they have assumed the worst possible scenario about her and that only she could say what she really meant and they should give her the chance. It felt good on a couple of levels. First I always wished someone would have done that for me, and also I felt that I did something for someone else. No one else had the guts not to side with the abusers.


It’s so nice to have a new article by Darlene! When I read this one, I can recall many people and incidents in my past who come from what I call the school of “how dare you say that about your biological parent or family member?” It’s not about defending your side of the story since these people really do not want to hear it. They are living in their own “bubble” and how dare you destroy their own fantasy world.

There was a particular incident in my life with a woman neighbor named Mary Ann, from my childhood neighborhood and she passed away several years ago. Well, Mary Ann became my mom’s best friend if you can believe it and her boys and me were roughly the same age. It takes a long time to grow up and mature. Of course I did grow up and after high school and moving to a new state, I called her and began to develop a more mature friendship. We would call a lot, since I was lonely in the new state. It seems like old habits die hard. She never wanted to “hear” the truth of what I was saying about my mom. It wasn’t arguing exactly, but she had the attitude of “how dare you say that about your own biological mother?” This went on for some time, and I would give her more and more detailed true stories about my mom and abusive childhood. (There were too many true facts and details to not believe me.)

To get to the point, I felt like I was a partner going through a “divorce” in a way. My adult friend, Mary Ann, would constantly say that she cared about both my mom and me, and did not want to choose sides. She really did not want to hear any negativity. I believe that It was more about the fact that she did not want to hear anything negative about my mom, her “hero”, and this image that she had created in her mind. My mom had previously been her friend and confidante and now I became more of a closer friend. It took a few months, but finally it was like my new friend saw the light.

My friend, Mary Ann, also had some hidden family issues. I know that she had tried traditional talk therapy which really didn’t work. I kind of touched a deep chord within her but then the fog cleared. Before her death, Mary Ann had NO contact with my mom, her former close friend. So, people can change and not side with abusers.

Presently in my life, all that I care about is being happy. I gave up on the idea of having extended family members,former neighbors, and acquaintances to try to understand me. They never lived in my house with my parents and they will never get it. It’s been a hard and long journey. I have healed and cleared most of my past. I think about all the good that I do have in my life, and not the things that I still don’t have. I am still learning how to be kind to myself and take care of me. I enjoy reading everyone’s posts–THX for sharing!

Please keep writing Darlene!


Yvonne 🙂


This post is so helpful. It really explain’s my aunt (mother’s younger sister’s) horrible invalidating reaction to me when I listed one by one the things my parents had done. At first I thought she had no empathy because she didn’t know.
But she pretty much said that because I was sad and that was ‘scary’ (villifiying me for being sad?) I deserved all I got. She even went to far as to suggest that because my father was abusive it was my ‘job’ to ‘teach’ him how to be nice. Oh that infuriated me! I am suicidal when I speak with him, he ‘doesn’t remember’ doesn’t apologize, blames, insults and lies during every conversation. He doesn’t want to change and thinks hes fabulous. And that is MY responsibility? As his CHILD he didn’t care for?

Then she went on to justify his meanness, and how ‘her daughter was annoying too’ blah blah blah.
I think she felt guilty that maybe she was abusive to her daughter, otherwise why would she be such good friends with my mother and have such a verbally abusive husband?
It makes sense that she would not like to see her daughter as equal she is very jealous and insecure like her husband and they like to insult people a lot – so because they see themselves as crap, I think they must see others, kids included, that way? I don’t know. I mean, the biggest clue for me, is that she would put up with my mother. Apparently a lot of people in my hometown think she’s nuts, according to a friend of mine in the town who is her age. They don’t say it to her face because she’s, well, nuts, and rich so she has no one to answer to she just sort of lives like a spoiled trust fund kid causing trouble, blaming others, and my father is like ‘daddy’ who sweeps away the problems with his money. I know that sounds harsh, right? But she has caused so much pain and sorrow, one would not believe it.

OH! It all makes me so angry. Why is my family so hateful.

I too have gotten reactions, gosh maybe 15-20 this year of absolute HORROR regarding my father. Before this, I never got a single one, mostly because I kept quiet from guilt/shame and I thought I was insane and evil. The truth is it WAS horror. and my FATHER was insane and evil.


Yvonne, I suspect that Mary Ann was only shown a certain side of your mother and therefore it would be hard to convince her unless she came face to face with some direct evidence. Sounds like she eventually did, but I think this is the exception to the rule. Most people don’t want to get involved. It’s like the bully on the playground. How often does anyone take the side of the kid being bullied? Usually the bystanders are afraid that the bully will turn on them if they offer any support to the bullied. Even worse, some join in to be on the good side of the bully.

Back to your story Yvonne. Your friend did eventually see the light, but I don’t think this happens often. I am getting better at sensing if a person is going to listen and be supportive, or if they will just blow me off. So I won’t waste too much time trying to convince someone who doesn’t want to listen to me.

Be good to yourself!!


My mother not only neglected me she did all she could to turn me against my dad and his family. My dad was very ill and became a different person as a result of that illness. He killed himself when I was eight and we did not get to go to his funeral.
long story there. when I was 17 I left home and of course married a man who not only like my mom, but even worse. Most of my childhood I blacked out, but when I started dealing with the issues all the abuse, I had suffered came back to me. As I dealt with it I cut off ties to most of my family. I realized you can not control anyone and/or make them change. either you have to deal with them as they are and put up with the abuse or move on.
As I moved on, I realized my marriage was a major factor in me not getting better. The man I had married was not only abusive but had no conscience and was and is totally self serving. The second time I filed for divorce he was treated me ok, tell I got with someone else. then all gloves were off and the court cases started. church action, child protective agency, schools, and my own family. Even though he could not prove me unfit, he took me to court and used the system to control me. 13 times or so. this over a 12 year period. I got my freedom papers as I call them when all my kids left home.the last court papers..
I had full custody but he did all he could to turn the kids against me. I confronted him once about it and asked him if he wanted the kids. He said “oh no I am having the time of my life being single. I just do not want you to have them.” shortly after that he married but his behavior toward me continued.
The kids are grown and have left home. My older daughter has kids of her own. My middle son has told me mom, “you are just an obligation to me.” he shuts me out of his life and has since he was eight, when his dad told him since you talk to your mom you are no longer my son.
when he was young he and I where very close. He does not put me down. but he refuses to have me as his friend list on facebook and he never calls or contacts me. when he used to come for Christmas he would lay on the couch and sleep he would not talk to me or be a part of the family.
my older daughter now she openly down grades me and has said things like the female who gave birth to me, she did not even realize I was following her. she puts this on her “on facebook” she also puts things on her facebook like my mom took me away from my dad when we moved 800 miles away. a bold face lie. when I confronted her she said well you did mom. she tells her kids what a witch I am and disrespects me to them. I have heard her do this.
I put up boundaries with both my son and her, they did not change their behavior. I did not contact them for a year and I relented and smoothed things over. they came back in my life. things did not change at all. nor did they ever say their where sorry or take any responsibility for their part of the problems in our relationship or argument. The relationship was worse after this with my daughter. I could not talk to her about her kids or give an opionion on anything about her life or her kids.
Yet my younger daughter who is four. who, my non-abusive hubby and mself, have adopted. my older daughter resents her younger sister and who feels her right to do whatever she wants with my younger daughter. very one sided and a different set of rules.
Because of her example and because of the fear I have she will turn my younger daughter against me. I made the choice that until my older daughter and my son change, they would not be in my life. As a result I can not see my grandkids.
a few years ago I found the PAS site, a friend of mine told me about it. and everything fit except I had full custody of the kids. and retained it for the most part. “except my oldest son,” he choose to live with his dad, for ten months and who I was not aloud to see or talk to on the phone during that time. we have a great relationship now. he got in a huge amount of trouble will with is dad and it was either bring him back to me or he go to juvinal hall tell he was 19 years old. his dad has turned his back on him because my oldest son stood up to his dad and said dad do not talk bad about mom to me. 🙁 I tell my son all the time no matter what that is his dad but I no longer try to encourage him to see his dad or contact him I just shut up about it.
As I read about PAS and the more I read the more, the nightmare I had for many years hit me like, oh my word there is a name for this. it does happen to other people. he had so much control over my kids, me having full custody did not matter. I never could figure out why he did the things he did or for what reason. control of me I guess.
I am not saying I did not do many things wrong with my kids. when it started I would say bad things about their dad, trying to explain my side of things to my kids, I felt like I had too defend myself cause no one else would. but five or so years after the divorce I quit it.I felt bad about my behavior, and tried to not only to never say a bad thing about him, but I reminded my kids to call him and have a relationship with him. I even tried to defend him many times to them.
I let go of the war, so to speak, but my kids continued to throw things up in my face. like mom now at my wedding you can not come unless you promise you will not start anything. no matter what I said or did it was always my fault never his. he had money and when the kids where with him they got to do things and go places. me I had to be the bad guy and make them go to school and church and the money I had went for things that were needed.
what I am trying to say is this, even though it hurts me deeply, more, than many people will ever know. even though it hurts me deeply that the situation has not changed. My life is better without them being in it, I hurt less because their behavior is just a continuation of my ex husbands behavior toward me. my son not caring enough for me to be a part of his life. and my older daughter because he is abusive toward me and down grades me. along with her dad’s family and actively takes part in it.
the sad part is my kids all have issues and relationship problems. also my older daughter when she turned 15 or so she started having night tares and migraine’s and weight issues. I could not for the life of me figure it out. then I realized as I studied the PAS site the kids do show signs of the syndrome and effects of it. when she was 15 or so she not only had not only started turning against me, she would help her dad to attack me openly. deep down I think it is her guilt and pain at doing what she does toward me that cause thing things. I have tried to educate then by telling them about PAS and posting things to my facebook, but I realize their mental health is up to them and I can not help with this.
When I read your article it hit home, so many people say how could you do that toward your kids. how could you ever not want them in your life. how could you turn your back on them. simple they are adults they are responsible for their behavior toward me. when they where kids and they treated me bad I dealt with it because they where better off with me then their dad. and I know it.
But now that they are adults it is their behavior that is the problem. My older kids dad continues to put me down but that is his problem not mine. His behavior does not hurt me now. it hasn’t for along time. I so agree with you about strong boundaries. and how you have to deal with abusive people who refuse to change or see that their behavior is wrong.


I want to share a “mess with people” story that I just love to do. Back when I actually DID spend Christmas with FOO (I no longer do), people would ask me if I’m “going home” for Christmas. My reply: “No, I’m going to visit my parents.” To which I would then get a quizzical look from the asking person. So, I would “clarify” as: “I am XX years old, ‘home’ is where *I* live. I no longer reside at my parent’s house.”

Now that I don’t spend Christmas with FOO, my response is: “As a matter of fact, yes I am. I am spending Christmas at MY home. The home *I* live in.”

I just love messing with people on this.


YAY ~ thanks for sharing! This is great!
hugs, Darlene

Hi Amy T
This is awesome too! Thank for sharing. Yes, I believe that God/higher power was behind me and still is. I have felt the presence of something much greater cheering me on the whole time.
hugs, Darlene


Hi Amber
Good for you!! That is fantastic!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Yvonne
Thanks for your comments and for sharing this story!
hugs, Darlene

Thanks for sharing ~ isn’t it interesting how ‘talking’ can cause such a reaction!
hugs, Darlene


Hi Ginger
Welcome to EFB
Yes this is what happens and that is why I use the term “controllers and manipulators” just as frequently as ‘abusers’. The tactic you are referring to is called “divide and conquer” and really it is pretty pathetic. (but it works to keep a person isolated and only listening to the controller in the situation) AND when the only example we have is that kind of mistreatment and disrespect, it is no wonder we end up in more abusive relationships! That is all we know. And then very often the kids will side with the abuser which is horrific but also common! They feel ‘safer’ with the one in control no matter how abusive he is! I am sorry that this is the situation you are in with your kids. My heart goes out to you.
p.s. I am more of an expert in the self recovery area since that seems to be the only solution ~ the ripple effect from healing is the only thing that seems to work in these situation. I have healed my relationships with my kids (but they were younger when we started healing) but my husband also did his own work to heal from the damage from his parents and then to make amends and heal the damage he did in our family and stopped making me appear to be the ‘bad guy’ so that helped a ton.
Thank you for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


Thank you Darlene and Doren for your words of support. Kind words go very far – I appreciate them.

I have a memory of my other brother sticking up for my father in a sense. He said “Yes, he can be a pain in the ass sometimes…so can I”. As if sexual abuse is garden-variety pain in the ass behavior.

This other brother has since been more understanding of me, but we never talk about it directly and it doesn’t feel solid. Long ago this brother and I had a conversation where he was very “verbally violent” as my therapist characterized it.


I don’t know if anyone else is thinking about this, but I am already feeling anxious about “the holidays”. I am torn because there are people I want to see, and others I want to avoid. Typically what happens is that most family members treat me with “polite distance” (which actually hurts a lot), and/or I am excluded or overlooked in some way. One plus is that typically the festivities happen close to where I live.

Here’s an example: last year a few of us went shopping in a store. I noticed everyone talked with everyone else about what they were looking at, chatting over the racks of clothes, laughing, being inclusive with each other, etc. No one approached me at all. This has happened before.

I have considered going on a trip somewhere, but I don’t want to be away on a vacation having spent all that money, feeling sad. Seems risky. Maybe though it would be the right thing to do – to go away and have fun somewhere! Has anyone else gone away on a vacation for the holiday?


Light! YES! I have been doing that for a few years since I stopped spending Christmas with FOO. I have also spent Christmas alone in my own home. I was fine with it, but I understand others may not be. If spending it alone is not to your liking, consider a vacation! Maybe go on some “group” thing where you can meet people?

It helps me! Hopefully it can help you out.


Alaina wrote:
“it will be a relief to have me go away; of course, it will be spun as me doing what I need to do to heal and overcome my past (that will indeed be the same type of spin my mom I’m sure will put on it, as if she is being a good and understanding mother, respectful of my needs to cut off, to find myself, my peace, etc.)…. I think that’s what sometimes drives me crazier than anything else—the family’s need to position themselves as so enlightened.”

Alaina, every time I read your comments I have the sense we came from the same family. I keep threatening to write a book about the incredible difficulty of recognizing abuse when it comes from such a family you were taught to believe (and did believe) was exceptionally “enlightened” and “supportive.” One day…



Darlene, you said it right. My mother treated me horribly all of my life..Before she died, she told me that she can’t believe that I was the one who stood by her to take care of her. I know she practiced witchcraft on my father and was mean toward us her entire life. Yet she claimed that she loved me…


Bravo, Amber, for your comment (#30) about doubting yourself because “they can’t all be wrong” and then realizing, “Yes, then can—and they are!” I’m finding that the voice that I believed was my strong conscience guiding me to view a situation fairly rather than only from my perspective is often tainted with the voice of my abuser, compelling me to think that I *must* be wrong because someone I trusted thinks I am. This belief is especially difficult to defeat if more than one person is saying the same thing because I do not want to dismiss valuable-but-painful-to-hear input from others out-of-hand. I’m still struggling with this, but my understanding is growing that whole groups—in fact, an entire culture—can be in denial and their criticisms not accurate or helpful. I still value my conscience and do not want to swing to the other side where I dismiss all negative input as invalid (and I don’t think I’m capable of doing that), but I do want to strengthen my ability to discern between information that deserves my consideration and information that is, consciously or otherwise, biased by the unhealed wounds and fears of the speaker.


Hello Darlene,
Thank you for writing a new article, you are always dot on with what you say.Also I am glad that you have mentioned that you speak to people on the telephone and Skype.I am not up to speaking yet because I would be crying instead. Did I read that you accept donations?

Hello Yvonne,64
I relate so much to what you have written.People just do not want to know it makes them uncomfortable when we speak the truth. My mothers relatives, all from another country have NC with me since I wrote the truth at Christmas.My mother has always told everybody that I romance (lie),her words to cover up what went on in our home,so it has been a constant battle because they think my parents are so lovely.
What is so funny is that since my Princess sisters halo has fallen my parents are now turning to me.Tomorrow is my fathers birthday and he has asked if my mother and him can come here for a visit.My mother is in a home so will come with a carer along with my father. I will cook Sunday lunch for all of us, but tomorrow will be different (no sister).I do always ask them to come but he has refused for some years,up until now.If my mother says anything out of order I will defend myself and that is what I thank this site for. At my sad age I WILL speak up for myself.Tomorrow any nasty or snide comments will be dealt with, by me in front of the carer. Infact I almost hope they are nasty so that the carer can be witness.Maybe I should put a zip in my mouth instead and not rise to the bait.
Take care xx


Hello Light,
Yes I have been away on my own.I live in the UK and went to New York after 9/11.Everybody was horrified.It is what you make it. For me I found making conversations with different people in a strange country so so interesting.It was so exciting.Taking a trip somewhere different can only be good.For me it takes my mind off things and then I feel refreshed and am able to make better decisions.A change of scene I think is a good idea.I liked it that much that I got married in Central Park on that hump back bridge and wrote to Yoko Ono who wrote back(well she sent me a card)!!! Yes a holiday is good.Good luck xx


You need to have a 2 or 3 day retreat. I bet you could get at least 50 people. I would be the first to go.


Hi Wendy
I do accept and appreciate donations very much. (there is a donate button on the right side bar). It costs me 200.00 per month to run this site. I have to pay for hosting and for someone to do the security and to do back ups so that I don’t lose any content so if I don’t get donations, it comes out of my own pocket. Thank you for considering making a donation. 🙂
Hugs, Darlene

Welcome Betty to EFB

Light ~ why would it be ‘wrong’ to do what YOU want to do for once?


Hi T.
Welcome to EFB ~ yes I have considered one day doing something like that.
Hugs, Darlene


Isn’t it sad that these people think that their behaviour is “love”.
hugs, Darlene


Hi Darlene! I had already made a comment and felt the need to express another thought.

I totally agree with everything you said here and it has really helped me see more clearly how abusers will make excuses for their behavour and defend their position.

As I educate myself more on the cycle of abuse and put in the time to heal myself and uncover the layers, I realize that my parents too could have made these same choices. They could have sought out counselling for our family and I do remember once going as a family but that was it. I have come to realize that the reason it stopped was because the counselor made them accountable for “their” behavour. They could no longer place the blame on me and my sister.

How that must of shattered their world that “we” were not the problem but it was them that needed to cope better with how they parented. I’ve been working through so much anger lately and I finally realize it comes from a place of knowing they didn’t want to face or take responsibility for their part. I took on their part because I believed it was mine to take. They placed such heavy burdens on my sister and I. I learned so much from watching Dr. Phil and it broke my heart when I discovered that our family could have been saved if my family would have just asked for help. Our family was in big trouble and my parents wouldn’t own it. I guess it was easier for them to see us kids as the problem instead of having to look at themselves. I totally understand where my deep rooted anger comes from and why I suffered from depression.

As more truths are revealed I feel a sadness and compassion for myself that I was buried in lies all my life and that’s what I am working with now. I had no idea who I was as a person because of all these lies and I finally understand why I allowed so much abuse to happen to me as an adult. I was programmed to have compassion for my parents most of my life by other adults who would tell me that they are doing their best. The message to me was their best equals how I feel really doesn’t matter. I was brought into a complete mess of dysfunction the day I was born and it’s at 50 years of age that I am realizing none of it was my fault. My birth had nothing to do with me being a bad person or not worthy of love. It was all about two people who came together and made poor choices and they discovered after the fact that neither one of them had any desire to raise children.

This is the nice mess I get to sort out now and I can only hope that I can re create a fullfilling life for myself moving forward. I was trained to abuse myself by the way I was treated, it’s all I knew. My sister has been a powerful mirror for me because when I listen to how she defends her behavour I hear my parents all over again. She refuses counselling because she doesn’t want to go digging in the past and face the real issues. This is a choice and it didn’t matter that I placed the support right in front of her, she still chose not to take it.

When I was told by my counsellor that I am my biggest abuser it was like someone lit me on fire. This is not the person I want to be and I was willing to face whatever I had too in order to discover the real me. I had no idea I would be opening up what I did but I can honestly say today that I am grateful to discover that I am not this horrible person I believed I was. All of us have these same choices, I am not special. I made a choice to be healed and break the cycle of abuse. I think it is pretty clear that abuse is growing more and more because people keep giving abusers too much power and making excuses for them.

I can feel compassion for my sister and my family for their histories of abuse, but that doesn’t mean I have to engage in their dysfunction. They still try to make excuses for themselves and it just shows me how far I have come away from it all. It really does come down to choices and a belief in yourself that you are worthy of being treated with love and respect.

I’m learning to use my anger as a way to help me fight this battle I find myself in. The memories are painful to re visit but they also have beliefs about myself in them and it’s those beliefs that I need to rid myself of. I’ve never felt so vulnerable because I am literally re creating myself. My sense of self was based on a lie and now I am learning the truth. There is no way I could have come this far without support. I am incredibly grateful that I had the courage to ask for help and take responsibility for healing myself. My family has/had the same choice and that’s what gives me the freedom to let them go.

If they ever choose to get help and are serious about stepping up and working with me, I will be there but until then I let them go and let God deal with them. I felt so responsible for all my family problems because of all the false beliefs I carried. Today my load is lighter and I trust as time goes on I will be making new, positive discoveries about myself. I have so much to learn about love and this has become my new path for myself. Thank you all so much for sharing your stories and for inspiring me to continue my journey towards healing.

Love to all, Namaste!


Hi Lora
Thank you for sharing this part of your story. It is so true that we must embrace our own healing in order to move forward. Although it ticked me off big time that I had to fix what I had not broken, no one else was going to do the work it took to get where I am today. It was my life to save. 🙂
hugs, Darlene


Thank you so much for responding to me I do so appreciate it. After my dad killed himself everyone would say I am so sorry.. I would want to yell at the top of my lungs why, now he can no longer hurt us anymore. Instead I kept it all in. Even though I loved him deeply it was better with him dead.

I have spent years in counseling with different counselors at different times in my life. working on one issue after another. group counseling helped me allot but one thing I found over and over is so many people are stuck in the abuse, I never wanted to be stuck in the cycle. I wanted to have a life beyond my early life. I wanted to break the cycle of abuse and reach beyond that in myself and be with people who were mentally healthy. the only way one can do that is to never lie to yourself and be able to see your strengths as well as your faults. and also be able to change if need be I have come to that place in my life and I am so grateful to be were I am at.

I came across your web site and have been reading the posts. I am glad to be here. I am also glad that you have come as far as you have in your journey. One post/ article I read I think it was you who wrote and talked about being 40 pounds over weight. How the weight was about punishing yourself for all the wrongs you had done. How awesome it is that you could look deep within yourself and know yourself well enough to know why you had a problem.
thank you for the insite..just me ging



I think you are channeling me! This morning I had a rare ‘can’t get out of bed’ mornings.
I wrote a really long post but didn’t submit (might later, but it’s so freakin long lol) about the holidays among other things.
I was thinking about the holidays. After a day of lying around, walking, processing, I decided that as painful as it was to admit, I really would rather be alone on the holidays than with any of my family members (boy has it been a journey to admit that all of them are abusive and unsafe- it was almost like I had to face reality admitting to one abuser at a time).

I had to ask myself questions like: is sacrificing my happiness, health, sobriety, dignity, even the ability to look someone in the eye, is that worth it to be invited (or have to invite myself) to something once a year? I wavered, but the truth is, dignity is my goal and I just cannot maintain my dignity until I cut ties with all of them. Because looking back, they all have used put downs, shaming, and blaming that I have internalized. Things that are not true, that others do not say to me.

I am scared, terrified. But they have taken everything and now I have to start with me. Even if it’s lonely, poor, whatever, as my therapist said, “NOTHING is worth being under someone’s thumb”. And it’s true.
I asked her, “Even homelessness?” she didn’t answer, and next session I said, “Well, when I was under my parents and then aunt’s thumb, they both threatened homelessness anyways, so yeah, I guess I’d rather be begging and not under their thumb than doing that with them still having a hold on me.” I know that’s a lot to say, but I mean, she was right. Nothing is worth having someone own you.

I’ve been listening to this song The Power of Goodbye by Madonna. It’s really a great song about leaving abuse and getting stronger. 🙂


Me too! I think it’s so funny we are like channeling each other! I mean these comments were this morning and I was thinking about the holidays this morning not other mornings for months!? We’re pretty far from Christmas too….strange.
I think everything I said above to DXS totally was in response to your post as well. I mean, for me, attending the holidays is like being thrown in the lion’s den. There is so much hatred and jealousy flying around, I’d rather watch Netflix. I am ignored or ‘tolerated’. Whatever happened to love-?

I actually read a pretty good article about it this morning, which was slightly uplifting- got me out of bed at 1 how embarrassing, but these days happen I guess. I hope it helps some others who are struggling with these holiday anxieties- a lot of people seem to have ‘backup plans’ like a safety net- friends, work, etc which helped me relax a bit. I wish we could have an EFB Christmas! Sometimes it does feel a bit like a family.

Here it is:

Darlene- Yes, it is amazing. And like you mentioned in your post it seems to me much of the reaction is about the person and their history. (Also I read earlier these links are ok as long as they don’t seem damaging, so hopefully this one is ok!)


Hi Darlene,
Thank you for your time in posting these blogs and responding to people’s comments as I so appreciate it. Defending the abuser astounds me, even after 5 years of having no contact with my mother. I am unable to grasp how people around her can defend her actions toward me (kicking me and then denying it happened and then saying “I barely touched you!”) and encouraging family members to then not have anything to do with me, sadly, she even kept her beloved dog away from me – all this while living in my own house yet, in front of my teenage son. However, I recently learned something that had been hidden or certainly never discussed and I am 52 years old – it is the fact that my mother actually gave me up as a newborn to my dad who loved me very much but, unfortunately, had to work out in logging camps. Therefore, I, as a newborn, was left with a babysitter most of the time until I was at least 2 years old. At that time there was talk that I was being abused by the husband of the sitter (an alcoholic) and my grandma (my mother’s mother) took me in with her. I loved her very much and now understand why I loved her and felt affection toward her and not my mother. My father then was having to move to another town for work, much further away from me, and wanted to take me with him. My mother said, “sure” but my grandma said, “no”, that she wanted to keep me with her as she had become very attached to me. My mother then got pregnant again by another man and gave that baby up for adoption (thankfully from what I heard from my grandma). I then ended up with my mother again (in a different town from my grandma) after my mother got pregnant for a third time but wanted this baby (my sister) and to try again with my dad and give my sister his name. My dad agreed but this was very short-lived. Sadly, I ended up staying with my mother after they split for the second time. Now, my point here is this, I now understand that my mother never wanted me in the first place but the pain is still great. I had contacted my sister via email, almost a year ago, but she still defends our mother stating “how hurt” my mother is… Really?? And what about my pain and hurt? It has never mattered. “That is your mother, you should respect her”. I now understand that my mother never earned my respect. She was out for gain from a daughter that she never loved or wanted in the first place. To defend my abuser (in this case my own mother) is very difficult for me to comprehend. Therefore, I so appreciate your blog, Darlene, as I am coming to terms with what this whole issue actually means for me and how my belief system is so negative and how much I feel I am a burden to others. I am having a lot of trouble coming to terms with what I have learned recently, although it explains so much and helps me to understand where I am coming from in my beliefs about myself and my interactions with relationships of all kinds. Thanks once again Darlene!


RE comment 77, thank you Betty! Yes, it is hard not to doubt yourself when more than one person is affirming what an abusive person says/does. If you look at the situation, there is usually a ringleader and a bunch of followers. I like to compare it to playground situations when we were little, because I don’t think it’s much different. A bully starts picking on a kid. The bully does this because there is something the matter with him or her (the bully), and he/she feels powerful when doing this. Others either stand back and don’t want to be involved, or they take a more active role and join in with the bully, most likely because they don’t want to chance having the bully turn on them.
So looking at the whole picture, there are now several kids ganging up on one person. Could they all be “wrong”? The answer is a resounding YES! They are all wrong. Adult tactics may be more subtle and sneaky, but very similar things are at play. People don’t want to risk being on the wrong side of the abuser. I see it on my block. One woman picks fights with people in the neighborhood. Whenever she does this she actively recruits others to join in and there are some very malleable people who she can always count on to join in with her and ostracize others. And sometimes when she picks a new fight, she attempts to get on the good side of her previous victim. I think she finally understands that I am not going to join in any of her arguments. But there are many weak mind people that just fall into joining in.
It is because of these dynamics in my opinion, that, yes,with more than one person saying something about a person
It is possible that they are all wrong.


Hi Betty,
Thanks for your comments. It is so hard and frustrating. There are moments, when you catch them off guard, when you’ve exerted some level of free will, when the mask will slip, but it’s never long before the mask is right back in place and if you question that moment, they will always have some “enlightened” explanation to make you at fault for what happened and responsible for never doing again what made their mask slip because you of course are being the unenlightened, unreasonable one who ought to know better. If I don’t step aside and validate myself, I get to the point where I end up wishing for overt abuse, just to have “proof” but you know what? I think no matter what, they’ll always have their response. If they want to wear their mask, they’ll always have it there for them, adjusting it to the circumstances. I could die, and they’d be at my gravesite saying “poor Alaina.” They could even talk about their failures (or rather, their particular version of their failures) but somehow their superiority and enlightenment would remain perfectly intact—because it would always be about “the past” and how “they didn’t know then what they know now.” And it works so well for them because what exactly is “the present”? Society these days is all about “living in the now” but the present slips into the past the second it arrives and if you’re not supposed to base yourself, your life and your truth on the past, then you really are figuratively losing the ground beneath your feet. (I do understand the healthy conception of living in the now, but it’s got nothing to do with how “they” want you to interpret it. The healthy conception, as far as I can tell, is about being fully committed to the moment at hand, which, if you interpret it that way, does not exclude the possibility of addressing the past. It just means that when you are in the moment of addressing the past, you are fully committed to giving it the attention it deserves.)… Anyway, yes, a book! I like to write fiction and hope to write a book that would expose this kind of stuff. I brought this up with one of my aunts recently, but the response I’d get from the family would be either something along the lines of “good for you for doing what you need to do to get over your past” or a kind of tolerance/acceptance for my doing what I need to do to get over my past. It would never be about what I was actually offering people, the insight I might have that might actually be of some use. No, let me correct that—they’d think it was wonderful that I was helping others. But the notion that actually I might have something to offer THEM in particular, that I could be an inspiration to them for showing THEM a better way, that I might be more enlightened than them in this particular instance, that they could be proud and grateful for the process I have found through hard work and the help of many others who have come before me, is just so heinous an idea…. It would not be seen as a gift, what I have to offer them, but rather my attempt at control and superiority over them, to force things to go “my way”. (I wonder if this is how it is felt by Darlene’s family re: this website….?) But… whatever. About my mom, this aunt of mine once said “you can bring a horse to water but you can’t make it drink” but that statement could apply just as easily to her. Coming from a family like this, though, you end up questioning yourself all the time, too, wondering are you like this, too? And then you hold back your own knowledge and expertise on your own experience for fear of the possibility of your own blindness to your own possible hypocrisy. It’s a trap, though. What you don’t know yet is just what you don’t know yet. The truth is solid, the steps of a ladder you can climb one rung at a time. Nuances and details might come into better focus as you go along, with new revelations as well, but denying an exposed truth is a different beast entirely. It can definitely feel like quicksand, though, if I don’t stop and say, “Wait a minute,” forget about all this philosophizing on the nature of knowledge and just pull out the bare facts here—this happened and then this and then this…..

And hugs to you too!


This is amazing. Thank you, Darlene.

This post reminds me most of that confusing time when I first let go of my mother. Around that time, I had a new friendship with another woman who seemed to be in a very similar situation as I was. Our mothers, who had already been friends for a while, had so much in common: were the same ethnicity, were controlling, both even hired detectives against our squeaky clean boyfriends! They egged each other one with that last one.

My new friend and I didn’t see each other often, but whenever we did, the conversations were sincere and hilarious as we made light of our crazy mothers. Both of us were in complete co-dependent relationships with our mothers in the past and we had referred to them as our “best friends,” but we were in different stages regarding figuring out our truths.

At a certain point, I began to notice that this new friend didn’t treat me much better than my mother did. I didn’t think too hard about, though, because I only saw her rarely and also I was extra forgiving, assuming she was simply acting as a vessel for her mother or mine. The words were so familiar, I didn’t think they originated from her. They were subtle things such as referring to my neighborhood as poor and dangerous, though it’s not.

The timing wasn’t intentional, but we met some time soon after my breaking off with my mother. I don’t think I even planned on talking about it, but I tend to be an open or closed faucet when I speak. In my explanation, I was likely defensive, describing in detail some of the more horrific things my mother had said to me about me immediately following my father’s death. I spoke about my confusion, anger, guilt. My new friend wasn’t the warm, compassionate, relating person I thought she was. She turned very cold and then proceeded to tell me how awesome her relationship with her own mother is and how they were planning a trip. What?!

If it is that awesome, why are you rubbing it in now? But I know it isn’t awesome. I know we have similar problems. Why are you turning on me? At the time, I couldn’t decide if she was under the influence of her own mother or if she really was a clone of her mother. It didn’t matter. It was much easier to cut out a new friend from my life than it was to cut out my own mother. I didn’t waste my time considering the friendship any further. I felt the priority was to protect myself during my time of mourning (for both my mother and father).

Since, I’ve come to understand how offensive honesty can be. I realize that my brute honesty got me in trouble at home, though I didn’t recognize this cause-effect scenario back then. Darlene writes about this so clearly. It is now easier to feel compassion when someone attacks, without taking it in.



Hi Ginger,
When I read your first post here, my heart broke for you, too. Your story reminded me of one of my aunts, my great aunt, who is AMAZING. She is the one who got me on this path in the first place. I’d probably be dead today if not for her. When I was 22 and had a nervous breakdown, she swept in to introduce all this stuff to me. I would never have even imagined that I had been abused. (I thought she was exaggerating at the time when she told me that I had been abused). I’m 31 now and I can tell you that even if I survived, I’m sure I’d never be where I am today. I would never have found Darlene’s website because I would not have known the words to put into a google search. So even if I eventually did find my way to understanding, I’m sure it would have been many, many years from now. She no doubt skimmed years and years of torment at the very least because of what she was able to give me. I write this to talk about the “ripple effects” Darlene spoke of.

My great aunt is the daughter of a violent alcoholic. She grew up to marry an alcoholic. In her early forties, she had a breakdown. She lost both her daughters in a nasty divorce. It’s been almost 20 years since then. (She since married my great uncle, whom she had known since childhood, which is how she is in my life now.) She did all her work that Darlene speaks of here, grieved all her losses, including that of her children. She is a marvel of strength and knowledge. I love her to pieces, so much it hurts. She has shown me real love like no one before ever had. I have so much of my life to thank her for, but I never feel like I owe her anything, because all that she wants from me is for me to find my freedom, my self, and my life. My own heart has been so closed up and mistrustful that it has definitely been its own process to allow myself to acknowledge and open up to the degree of love that I do feel for her (I guess because people have always taken advantage of my love and/or because the more you recognize the love you feel, the more vulnerable you are to its loss, which in a way is always guaranteed because we’re mortal and you will always lose the ones you love at some point, even if it’s only through your own death).

Anyway, it’s so true that you can’t do anything to force anybody else’s process; you can only be true to your own process, your own truth, stay the course, and the positive ripple effects will happen. You can never know what they will be exactly, but they will be. That is certain.

When I was a teen, I remember my mom making a comment to me about how she couldn’t believe that my great aunt’s children would ever do that to her, but recently my aunt told me about how my mom had made comments to her in the past about my aunt “abandoning” her family, and I think that is SO telling, that my mom would vilify the children to ME but to my aunt, make such judgmental insinuations. The fact that my aunt is so strong that she could keep herself cool, knowing that such statements from my mom were a reflection of my mom and where she is at in her own life, vis-a-vis her own dysfunctional family issues, is such a testament to the process my aunt went through and the tenacity to stay the course no matter what.

The problem is the system, the dysfunctional behaviours and ways of relating, not the individuals (not their core selves), but the system exists through the individuals. In essence, everyone in the system is a victim of the system, even the worst perpetrators, in my belief. But everyone has choices and all you can really do is make the choices that will help you to heal and break out of the system yourself so that you can become a part of the positive forces in life. The ripple effects will be there, even if they are not the ideal ones that we’d hoped for.

Much love and respect to the path you are following.


Darlene, Your article is so authentic and much needed. I cut off my mother, stepfather ( abuser ) step-sisters ( they blamed me ) and it was the BEST THING I COULD EVER DO FOR MYSELF. I moved away to another state and I am making a new life and career for myself. My girlfriends are like my family and it feels good that I can choose to be around positive people. I am no longer bound by family ties. I encourage people to do this. It is so liberating. I did get alot of flack about cutting yourself off from your family. I know people who had loving families and they have no clue as to what it is like not growing up in one. They judged me but now I no longer talk about the past with them. It did happen and it is over. I want to focus on my new life and my new career. Thank you for writing this article. Also thank you for the courage you have to write about these painful topics. It is not easy but you have amazing strength. God Bless.


Hello Darlene,

I haven’t commented in quite awhile, but I still follow your posts! It has really helped me toward my mental healing. I haven’t gone no contact with my mother, but my husband and I have moved at least 120 miles (his job) away and I now have very little contact and I wait for her to call. My previous experience is that, if I called I was intruding on her life and the conversation would turn emotionally abusive and I would have to hang up quickly. Surprisingly with a mother of narcissistic/abusive tendencies, I feel our relationship is the best that it can be at this point and alot of it had to do with boundaries you have talked about. I feel good about what I’ve set up as boundaries and do not feel any guilt or remorse. I do however from time to time grieve the relationship especially when it has been months of no contact or phone calls, but at the same time I have a since of peace that it is what is best for me and my family.
However, because of all past abuses this defense mechanisms I have built around myself and my constant need to defend myself whenever I feel I’m being questioned or drilled. I’ve had to really evaluate because I am in a healthy loving relationship with my husband. I can’t tell you how many times he has said, I’m on your side, my questions are not meant in that way. I’m still living in some ways under the same defense mechanisms I had with my mother in my maritial relationship. I now have to catch my thought process to make sure when my husband asks me a questions about something not to go in defense mode. I was not allowed to ask questions as a child either. The “shut up do as your told” was the motto. It is really crazy to think how I was even still so “stubborn” according to my parents because I always to this day questioned them, their motives, their ideas, their decisions. It wasn’t to have an argument, but to figure out the logic behind it. (teaching purposes) It was always seen argumentative and because of that I always felt I had to defend myself.
All of this bring me now to a question for you Darlene. I am in my early thirties. I seem to attract or I am attracted to friendships/bosses of controlling/manipulative/lying/narcs. It has come to the point where I have very few friends and now not working. I’m very afraid to get into a job situation again because I don’t want to be under another person who reminds me of my mother. I have had some great bosses, but recently I’m having a hard time applying or doing anything and feel stuck because I feel I can’t be a good judge of character. Do you have the same issues with not trusting others? I know we shouldn’t just hand a stranger our baby, but I don’t even trust someone enough to work for them/with them. Is this a common problem with former abused people? Thanks


@GDW: I “read between lines” on a couple of your posts, and I think you and I have something in common that Darlene has not yet written about. Loved your jezebel article. That was me and holidays. I dreaded them every year. I managed to only stay 2 nights, and this became a bone of contention with my Mom, who felt it necessary to attempt to mandate “minimum required stays.” Thank god for airline rules about “cost a lot of money to change flights.” When I lived within driving distance, then the “minimum required stay” fights escalated. Oh, and one of the years when I flew from a long distance and decided to rent a car instead of letting mom pick me up, WOW, that caused a BIG problem. Me having a car meant I could walk out any time I wanted! Mom hated that! But she won’t admit that was the issue. She points to, “you spent money to rent a car, I could have picked you up.” Nope, it was NOT about the money!

Pauline: That’s a heartbreaking story.

Alaina: What you call “the mask slipped” I call it the “Law and Order Interrogations” which I get my mom to “blurt” out something and now I know a truth! But of course, later my mom finds some “justification” for what she blurted out, but I know better….

Malina: Oh my, you got sucked in…..

Alaina: Be true to your own process? My mom quoted that “to thine own self be true” stuff over and over in my childhood. (Get out the Universal Decoder book….) What she really meant was… “Be true to what Dad and Mom want you to be.” My mom was always full of hidden agenda like that.


Darlene, I am not surprised at all by the response you have gotten to this article. Over the past few days,I have had a similar conversation with several people about setting boundaries with their still abusive parents. A friend once told me, “Yes, your parents may have done the best that they could and it wasn’t good enough.” No one had ever told me the last part, “and it wasn’t good enough.” I called in to a radio program earlier in the week and shared the letter I wrote and read to my father over the telephone about 30 years ago telling him he was not allowed in my life or the lives of my children any longer. Setting boundaries can be difficult and often necessary, especially with our dysfunctional families. They don’t like it when we change and get healthy. They want to continue to see us as we were as children with no control over our own lives. Don’t let them. As an adult, you are responsible for your own life, decisions and boundaries. Be strong. Be safe. You deserve both.


DXS, yeah a lot of people just talk the talk but really they want you to live by something else entirely. The truth will always slip out sometime. But just because the words are hollow coming from one person doesn’t mean you/we can’t take back the real meaning and live by them, taking words into action. I’m sorry your mom had to go spoil such a great maxim about living an authentic and meaningful life.


Hello Patricia,
I agree with what you have written. My father calls me a trouble maker when I answer back.His opinion on everything is important and correct.Today I was a trouble maker!! LOL Take care Wendy am.



You really hit the nail on the head with this article! I had to print it out and reread it several times as I found it to be so incredibly therapeutic and healing. When I read your article, I kept telling myself – “YES, YES and YES, this is SO TRUE!!” There is something healing about bringing clarity regarding a difficult situation, we can’t explain. It’s so frustrating to have to go through further invalidation when people just don’t get why don’t want to keep contact with our abusive family. And next time, anyone doesn’t understand why I’m distanced from my abusive family, I won’t need to get upset or even try to make them understand, but realize that the reason is exactly as you describe in your article. It’s because they weren’t loved and are defending their own dysfunctional dynamics. This explanation is the answer we have all been looking for! You are brilliant!!!!!


Darlene, thank you for your post and for giving a place for healing to begin. I come from a family of alcohol abuse so I do have compassion and understanding for victims. Currently I’m in a situation with two teenagers who’s parents are narcissistic/antisocial and I’m just amazed at the blind eye that even community resources turn when a child is in need. Within the last 2 yrs I became close to my daughters friend who confided how “crazy” his parents were, little things that made me know he was right and was just hanging on till his 18th – just before he turned 17 he told me he needed help saving his sister 14 from father sexual abuse. I did the right thing by making the call – sister removed from house and they placed the boy back with mother – he told as many people as possible about his fear of going back home, and know body listened. He was removed from school for 8 weeks brain washed while mother defended father. I know the fog has lifted because i received silent emails from him and I know he’s just living in hell for the next 3 months but it breaks my heart that know body listened to his cry, so he has given mother what she wants by being part of the houses furniture so it looks pretty to the child authorities. I truely hope he is able to break free from the abuse he is living. Thank you to you and your followers I will need as much guidance as possible when he shows up and needs a place to heal. I guess the best part is knowing he knew the real people behind those doors before all this began. I’m literally sick to know that know body helped support the truth teller in all of this, not the school, CPS, a therapist, the police did but couldn’t do anything without CPS, so I’m sure he feels let down and failed by all….


Hi Alaina! I read your comments and I just felt pulled to thank you for what you shared. It touched me in such a way that something felt healed within me.

I am almost 50 years old and I chose not to have children because I feared I would treat my child the way I was treated. I struggled a big part of life with drug and alcohol addictions to give me pain relief. I’ve been on a spiritual journey since about 30 years old and it’s taken me this long to get to the abuse I have endured. I can’t tell you the number or resources I have been through to get here. I sometimes believe if my family would have been into this work they could have spared me so much time.

My sister has 2 beautiful girls who are now 18 and 26, I’ve done my best to give them some family information and let them know that I am here for them if they ever need support. I’ve tried to get my sister to join this web site but unfortunately she shares my parents beliefs about parenting and is locked in the cycle. I don’t see her anymore and she sees me as a problem and that I have caused a rift with her and her girls. I’ve backed off completely and realize that my help is not welcome and I just focus on myself now.

I trust in divine timing that if they want to face the truth they will come to me. Like you I thought I had something to offer and yet I feel those same ugly feelings like I am not valued so I have come to realize that it’s best I be on my own path. I see lots of talent in your writing and I know you will go far if you continue with it.

I really believe that survivors of abuse have the potential to shine the brightest if they choose too. Anyone that can come out of all this with love in their hearts is truly a diamond.

I hope you use your journey to shine your light as bright as you can and blind all those sick mother F@#@# who mess with beautiful souls.

Sending you lots of love and encouragement on your journey! Namaste!


“I chose not to have children because I feared I would treat my child the way I was treated.”

Me too. On top of that, I feared they would “gang up” with my family against me. How sad is that?


I thank you for that post it put emphasis on why it was so important for me to do what I did which was put boundaries on my interaction with dysfunctional parents. I also hear people say you only have one mother and to that I have been saying, and she only has one daughter!. you only have one father and again I say and he only has one daughter! people who are lost thinking parents can abuse their children simply because they are parents are in need of help. I use to think it was me with the problem but I can confidently say I know I am not the problem I just no longer will accept it. everyday I point to the mirror and say u are no longer broken! U are right to feel the way you do and set the boundaries that you have set you have a right to be happy.


Thank You for your comment. Many people do not understand but as I tell people I am just to old to be having all the drama and pain in my life anymore. I love my children, all of them, but that does not mean I have to stand by and let them walk all over me or continue to hurt me.
It is one thing being born in a dysfunctional family, that was not your choice. But it is your choice to stay in that in that situation.
thanks for your response just me Ging


I trust in divine timing that if they want to face the truth they will come to me.

Lora, will you come over to my house and pound that in my head? I think that is what I have to wait for, too. I have this “want to resolve it now” thing. But I guess I have to wait and see if Mom will come to me. Mom chooses to hide some deep dark secret (which she denies having) than to have a relationship, an HONEST relationship, with me.


I didn’t marry or have children because of low confidence. I couldn’t “see” myself in those roles. I also was concerned that I wouldn’t be a good parent and I would take out my own anger on children. Also, I think a part of me deep inside kept wanting to fix my FOO and continue to try to connect with family members, especially my mother. So all that inner turmoil and distancing and pain and tears was actually because I wanted to connect in a healthy way and was being denied.

Now I can see myself being married, and I would like that! It’s taken me over fifty years to have more peace with all of this…..


It is ironic that (for me, and maybe for others) sometimes individuals from the most abusive families are the ones that have the most difficulty separating. For me, it was a deep-seated need to fix my experience and achieve the bonding and connection I so deeply craved from a young age.

From the outside it looks the solution would be “just leave” but I have found it to not be so easy. I never blamed women in domestic violence situations, but I have even more understanding now of some of the dynamics.

There is something called “trauma bonding” which comes into play.


Parents who “own” their children and children who “owe” them… That describes my mother to a t.. I was raised that all parents hated their children because they were an interruption to their lives. “Love” was just a technicality because.you biologically belonged to them and therefore they were required to love you. It took me talking to co-workers who had kids to realize that some people did really love their children and truly had their best interests at heart instead of trying to make them who they wanted them to be and then punishing them because they could never be that person.


whoa Charity! Did you have my Mom? I’ve always felt that way about my mom, she only loved me if I “pretended” to be what she wanted me to be.


In response to your “hate mail”, I feel compelled to tell you that you are extremely inciteful and well-versed in the cycle of parental abuse and how it creates a damaged person. The reaon I know is because it is only now, at 58 years of age, that I, too, have finally been able to say goodbye to them. Suffice to say, that I was so profoundly damaged, upon my parents attending a counselling session (years back), I witnessed a veteran MSW (social worker) with 25 years experience, lose control and engage in a fighting match with my parents. She was so shocked that, after they left, I was asked to leave, too, in order for her to regain control. I should add that this MSW had worked for Children’s Aid for 25 years and had never lost her composure much less entered the fray with anyone, irate parents, hateful kids, etc.!! Anyways, I jst want to add that your site is fantastic … good for you!! With all that you suffered, kudos to you for the compassion that resonates throughout it!! And thank you from me, personally. Take care!


Hi Lora, Thanks for your comments! They made me cry (in a good way!) My gosh, it’s good when there are people who want to hear you! As I’ve been in the process of figuring out which relationships I can keep and which ones I have to dump, I’ve unfortunately had a few too many people lately who do not appreciate my voice. But it’s alright. It’s a reflection on them, not me. The grief has been intense and overwhelming at times but it does subside. It’s amazing how much easier grief is to move through once you know that what’s happening is not your fault and with each process of grief, that knowledge becomes more and more real. It’s not my fault. I am not the problem. I’m glad you, too, have learned to disconnect from those who do not want to hear you, so that you can focus on your own path. I read an interview once that one of my old profs had done about a novel he’d written. The interviewer was asking him about a particular piece of criticism a critic had had about the novel. I remember the essential part of his response was that the novel wasn’t written for that critic, that the critic didn’t find value in whatever aspect of the novel because, simply, it wasn’t “meant” for him. There were others for whom the novel did mean something and those were the people for whom the novel was written. I thought that was a very simple and precise answer. There are those in this world who want to hear what we have to say, for whom our words have value and meaning, and those are the people our words are meant for…. And you never know either—-even those people who send Darlene hate mail, twenty years from now, they might end up having a breakthrough. Her words struck such a nerve that they felt the need to denigrate her—a total stranger to them. Such words might then stay with them reverberating in their subconscious until something happens one day and the truth of those words will ring loud and clear. Perhaps not likely but it’s not impossible.

Hi Ginger,
I really do hope that your kids are able to find their way to wellness and healing, as well, and that one day a reconciliation might be possible for the sake of all. In the meantime, I wish you all the best in your own process.

For whatever it’s worth, in my opinion, at the centre of it all, everyone’s deep dark secret is essentially the same. I think that to abuse/control people is just another coping mechanism to avoid dealing with the same stuff we’re trying to deal with here. We all come from vastly different abuse backgrounds and yet we all connect and though everyone’s process is unique, it’s also essentially the same. That’s because it’s about the belief system. I’m not loveable, something is wrong with me, I’m bad, I deserved XYZ… I wanted to know what in my mom’s history was so bad, so hard, for my mom to face that she’d rather stay in denial than face the truth and have a daughter. Perhaps there’s this idea that if it’s really, really, really bad, then maybe it’s excusable or “not so bad” that she chose to stay in her dysfunction rather than recognize me because of how horrifically scary and painful it would be to face the truth of whatever. But as far as those messages that are being sent, the idea that I’m not worth it to her to face her issues…. well, the particulars don’t actually matter so much to me anymore because I know I’m worth whatever it takes. What I believe is that whatever stuff she is hiding from herself and others (and I could take some guesses on a few things) are simply things that she fears would expose her as being bad, unloveable, etc. and the intrinsic pain of facing this stuff. To go by Darlene’s posts, it seems like maybe the number one fear everyone has is the idea that maybe our parents don’t love us. That might be the core of it all, and every other secret that people hide are events that in some way they believe reflect the idea that they don’t deserve to be loved. If you grow up truly loved by your parents, then I think you could probably face up to any shameful event that would seem to expose you as being unloveable because you’d have such a strong foundation to understand that your core self/spirit remains forever worthy of love and understanding and forgiveness, that you are not doomed to be defined by whatever shameful thing, that you can acknowledge it and do whatever it takes to turn it around because you are capable and you are worthy. This whole process we go through is to reparent ourselves so that we can have that foundation even though our actual parents did not give it to us. My belief is that our parents aren’t that different and there really isn’t any deep dark secret that’s any much deeper and darker than any other secret. The particulars of my parents’ secrets, as much as I sometimes have really wanted to understand what the heck was going on with them inside their minds/hearts, are really their business, not mine, unless they’d like to share and, yes, start having an honest relationship, but that’s up to them and I’ve let it go now, I think, for the most part. (It’s kind of new so I’m hesitant to make such claims.) It’s no reflection on me if they are never able to face themselves. It’s sad but it’s the way it is…. Anyway, I think I went off on a bit of a tangent from your words but I thought I’d share my thoughts.


I completely agree with this post. Of course. the person I hear comments like this from most often are my own mother, who was abusive and abuses. Naturally, she is in denial about both. The situation is currently complicated by the facts that her mother is dying and I have a sibling who has been abusive to her son, My mother does not choose to see that abuse going on either. It is awful. I think your point is one that will help clarify things for many people. – sorry, entered my email incorrectly.


Having been cast out of family for voicing my willingness to forgive even rejected, labeled mad, the problem etc…. going through all that grief even before I remembered the sexual abuse…..to not be believed….told I’m not welcome for the rest of my living days by siblings…..where does that leave a person. It has totally changed me. I understand now the me I am. The path my life took so far. I treasure for the first time I treasure feel love. Yet I thought all the time when I was still in with family that I had a loving family …. we really were duped. To even have my memory kept from me until my subconcious decided I was allowed to remember is in a way duped. The world was not what I thought it was for half my life For all the damage abuse has caused to me, the emotional negative programming by far the worst and hardest to get over, I still am glad to now know the reality of my family. There is still sadness but grief is lessening. I am still sensitive, reactive fighting to break the old thought patterns my family instilled in me….its not easy and I do get bouts of depression but it is lessening and I’m getting stronger. So glad to have Darlene’s information & everyones comments to draw strength from thank you to all of you and wishing everyone who knows what it is to feel this the best. We do have control of who we allow and therefore the experiences we will share with the people that we choose to let into our life on a personal level. I say to myself well just imagine if I had just been plonked here on earth just arrived with no memory of anything just here I am…so well look at this place…the beauty of nature, animals… look at the opportunities to meet people to experience the beauty of a person’s goodness to discover their specialness, to laugh with them …to help to be helped and to feel it. And the more I focus on all this world that I am discovering the more I forget about them the ones who treated me terrible and weren’t sorry arn’t sorry.


Hey…GREAT comments. I get so much out of reading these. I want to see if I can help anyone understand that the biggest lie at the core of a dysfunctional/toxic/narcissistic family is:

“My parents weren’t perfect, but they did the best with what they had.”

HA! I cannot believe how many people who commented here say this is what they always believed. I DID TOO! Actually, it was dispelling this myth that led me to walk away and understand just how severe the abuse was in my family. It was a fairly simple, straightforward understanding. I can’t believe it took me 50 years to understand what a lie it was:

My mother had 13 children and was married to my dad who had a severe gambling addition. Little did I ever know that having so many children was my NM’s way to elicit sympathy, and to be heralded as “such a strong woman.” When in reality she had these children to ensure she would keep my father in her bed. Everything she ever did was to make sure her narcissistic supply was fed. Because me and my siblings were raised to believe the “lie” about her doing the best she could with what she had, we not only believed it wholeheartedly, but would defend and protect our mother as if she were a saint. I can’t wait till someone tries to use that lie with me again, because this is what I will tell them:

“I don’t believe my mother did the best with what she had/knew, because there is one simple thing she knew about, did not cost any money, and could have meant raising children who had at least a little self worth and a shot at some happiness (instead my adult siblings are screwed up beyond belief. From drug addiction, severe mental disorders, depression, severe relationship problems, etc). She could have taken 2 minutes out of her day to tell each one of her children that she loved them and they were special. For Example (If she tucked us into bed at night):
“Connie, I love you very much and you are a very special little girl.”

Instead, I don’t remember my mother EVER telling me she loved me, or even my name crossing her lips. She normally referred to her children as “you goddamn kids,” or “you dirty rotten bastards.” My older siblings have told me that our mother NEVER tucked the babies and toddlers into bed at night, and the babies used to scream and cry till they cried themselves to sleep (what a selfish woman). Personally, I brought home straight A report cards throughout my school years. In those days, your parent signed the report card and you brought it back to school. I can remember standing in line to get my report card back from my mom as she signed each one and handed them to us, not uttering a word….I suppose it’s possible she never even looked at them. I suspect she was jealous of her daughters and did not want to admit that they were possibly “more special than her.”

So, in the end, do you understand how I dispelled the BIG toxic family lie which is at the core of most dysfunctional families?
1. My mother had to know children required love and nurturing (it’s almost instinctual for most people).
2. Telling each and every one of her 13 children that she loved them and they were special, by my calculations, would have taken about 2 minutes out of her day.
3. It was FREE.

So you see how simple it is. How can anyone say that this is representative of someone “Doing the best with what they had/knew,” is not someone I’d be interested in spending any time with because the denial and toxic factor would surely be high level, which it was in my family. I do have 2 sisters who walked away from the family years ago, so the 3 of us try and support one and other as we uncover, (in the words of Darlene), the “TRUTH” one snapshot at a time.”


Alaina, you just said exactly what I have been feeling/thinking, but I could not put it into words. And the process you explained for “letting it go” has helped me move forward a bit. I just don’t know if I can ever talk to my Mom again. Because I will still have to “pretend” and “act a certain way.” She can’t handle it if I don’t.


Dear Darlene
First off i missed u! Second… This is a brilliantly accurate insight and the story of my my life. I have been in situations explaining and defending my beliefs about parents. I have felt bad about my choices and felt like a cold hearted b… For my choices. I felt misunderstood, betrayed , dissapointed that the person somehow chose the abuser side with the subtle invalidation of my perception of what is safe and lovig for me. In essence they like abusers told me wht they think is best for me. They also claim to know my experience better then me whe they havent spent a nite at my parents. It is so illogical. The one simple explanation is that they r defending toxic love to support their walls of denial and warped definition of love. Basically they r part of the abuse gang.
Thank u for making thi so clear and irrefutable for me!! Outtta the fog!!!!


Please give any advice you might have! My sister is suffering from Stockholm syndrome. She is going to get married at the end of this month and I am freaking out because she has helped paint a good picture of the man she is marrying but we have seen some severe abuse. Is there anything I can do? Police have been called but no one is willing to file charges. Anything the family can do? We feel stuck. Our father is a Narc. Growing up she always stuffed stuff inside. Now she does not know what freedom truly is. We are talking to her church, and to whoever will listen, but it seems as though that is getting us nowhere. Please give any advice. Is there anything we can say to her, do for her? Thanks!



Hello Dee, loved your post. You hit on a subject that has become a focal point for me as I go through recovery. Child Abuse. CHILD ABUSE!

I feel like I have to scream those words because it appears our society is not talking about it. They are not addressing it in any way that is making a difference. I dare say it is going on in the majority of homes. Child Abuse has become a “taboo” subject because to talk about it honestly and openly would mean we risk facing the hard “truths” about our own abuse, either as victims or perpetrators.

I feel our government is way too intrusive into our lives with the rules and regulations they impose on our freedoms. For example, look at the costs and requirements associated with driving (license, registration, expensive insurance policies, plates, and having to do these things every couple years for LIFE)! The government also requires the public to have a permit to do any of the following:
driving a motor vehicle;
providing health care services;
practicing law;
engaging in commerce;
operating a business;
providing commercial services;
providing public services;
Special Recreation Permits;
…..DANG, you even need government approval and license to own a cat or a dog! Have you ever tried to adopt a cat from a rescue agency? They put you through MAJOR CHANGES to prove you are “fit” to own a cat.

All this regulation, but not ONE thing requiring PARENTS to prove they know something about parenting before they give birth to children they are completely incapable to raising into well adjusted, contributing members of society. I would not agree with government trying to regulate who gets pregnant or how many children anyone can have, that would be totalitarian and intolerable. HOWEVER, how about “the government gone wild” attach a few regulations to the act of becoming a parent? For example:
OB/GYN Doctors would be required to provide newly pregnant couples with multi-media related to correct and incorrect parenting techniques, some of which would be viewed while they are in the office and signing off to the fact they have seen and understand the material.
How about requiring parents to take “parenting classes” on a regular basis, and to have the ability become certified as a “parental specialist” (sort of like being CPR certified, only more important). The incentive on this could be doubling the tax exemption, or just requiring the parenting classes be necessary to claim ANY exemption at all for having children (want an exemption, prove to me you know something about being a parent).
Right now, I guess I’m too busy healing, but someday I hope to create substantial multi-media that could bring attention to the total lack of child protection in our society, and how we (as a society) can change that.
I believe the fact that many of us who come to this site are in our 40’s, 50’s and 60’s and just starting to understand abuse and how it wreaked havoc in our lives. I believe this mass realization is directly linked to the advance of technology and access to never ending sources of data (like this wonderful website). This leads me to believe that someday in the near future, parents will no longer be able to say, “Well I did the best with what I knew,” because the (adult) child will instantly know the parent could have known whatever they wanted to know about parenting….it is essentially “at their fingertips.” In the future, adult children, who are survivors of abuse and neglect will ask their parents….”Did you ever even google it?”

Think about your facebook account. We all have friends of all ages and at different stages of life. Now, think about your FB friends who are parents of school aged or younger children. Now think about what these people post on facebook. Do they ever share parenting advice? Do they ever post a parenting question? Do they post cute little sayings and pictures of their children pointing to how cute they are, or how smart they are, but never about how LOVED they are. I find the fact that the subject of “parenting” is almost completely ignored by our society unless it is to PROMOTE child abuse (i.e. the “cute little sayings” on Facebook…read them with care, as most of them are highly abusive in nature). I challenge anyone who might read this post. Try dissecting one of those cute little sayings today and see if you can find the hidden abusive nature in the words, and then post something “truthful” about parenting…see if anyone “likes” it…Post back if you can.

Sorry I got off on such a tangent Dee, but I was just so glad to see you bringing up something that is very important. Thanks!


I have to again mention that when the abusive parent(s) are still alive, many will support them and defend them, and healing for the victim child is relatively impossible because abusive parents will never admit that they are/were abusive nor will they change. Abusive parents keep their adult children under their control and if they cannot control them they will then defame and discredit them. Abusive parents often have “followers” who they have manipulated for decades to defend them. My mother has a sister who has always bullied everyone into treating my mother with the respect that she never deserved. There is power in numbers and abusers know that. That is why pedophiles “groom” entire families and communities; so that they have more support against the victim if the victim ever decides to speak up about the sexual abuse. It is the same type of manipulation and control with abusive parents. The old saying “you should always respect your parents” should be thrown out the window. That phrase does nothing but suppress and silence abused and neglected children.


I totally agree with this blog post. It is sad that responses like that leave a victim alone. That explains how other relatives or friends saw it happen and did nothing, said nothing. Sometimes I look back and say “if only one person from my family told me that I coudl do anything, be anything, what would I have become? What mistakes would I have avoided trying to be loved and accepted?” My sister is the worst one. She will not let me say anything negative about our mother. The outside world, friends, teachers, even my dentist saw me as a wealth of intelligence. They would all tell me how they felt. But the good did not outweigh the bad. I have read a few books on this subject, trying to figure myself out. It was suggested that our childhoods caused post traumatic stress syndrome. If that is possible, perhaps those that respond negatively have a type of Stockholm syndrome, in which they feel empathy and sympathy for their abusive, dysfunctional parents. Or it could certainly be that crabs in a barrel thing. You are getting out of the darkness and they are trying to drag yo back down with them. Sometimes our own lights can be blinding to those whose lights are dim. Does that mean you cannot share what you learn, or what you have come to know. No, of course not. Be that mirror. Let them see similarity in their reflections. It is hard to accept that my mother would ever love me. I still struggle with this, after knowing it for about a year now. When she says I love you, it’s empty, because there will be criticism to follow. I try not to blame her, since she has no idea what love even is. I know I cannot teach her in words. She gets jealous of my love for my son. I tell him everyday how much I love him. I thank him for being born. I am excited to see him come into the room. We play together constantly, because there is no sweeter sound than his laughter. She hates it, so I know that I am doing things right. I always will. He taught what unconditional love really is. He taught me patience and understanding. I spanked him once, when he was little. I cried for about two hours afterward. This wasn’t me. He didn’t deserve that. I kept apologizing and have never done it since. I will never be her. Finally, over forty, I can accept myself, my desires, my needs. I actually want to be married for the first time in my life. I didn’t want the life my parents had, but I can see that it wasn’t real. It wasn’t love. I want that and it will be hard. She will combat it as much as she always has, but this time my priority is me, my happiness, my life. I feel surprisingly powerful today.


I totally agree with this blog post. It is sad that responses like that leave a victim alone. That explains how other relatives or friends saw it happen and did nothing, said nothing. Sometimes I look back and say “if only one person from my family told me that I coudl do anything, be anything, what would I have become? What mistakes would I have avoided trying to be loved and accepted?” My sister is the worst one. She will not let me say anything negative about our mother. The outside world, friends, teachers, even my dentist saw me as a wealth of intelligence. They would all tell me how they felt. But the good did not outweigh the bad. I have read a few books on this subject, trying to figure myself out. It was suggested that our childhoods caused post traumatic stress syndrome. If that is possible, perhaps those that respond negatively have a type of Stockholm syndrome, in which they feel empathy and sympathy for their abusive, dysfunctional parents. Or it could certainly be that crabs in a barrel thing. You are getting out of the darkness and they are trying to drag yo back down with them. Sometimes our own lights can be blinding to those whose lights are dim. Does that mean you cannot share what you learn, or what you have come to know. No, of course not. Be that mirror. Let them see similarity in their reflections. It is hard to accept that my mother would ever love me. I still struggle with this, after knowing it for about a year now. When she says I love you, it’s empty, because there will be criticism to follow. I try not to blame her, since she has no idea what love even is. I know I cannot teach her in words. She gets jealous of my love for my son. I tell him everyday how much I love him. I thank him for being born. I am excited to see him come into the room. We play together constantly, because there is no sweeter sound than his laughter. She hates it, so I know that I am doing things right. I always will. He taught what unconditional love really is. He taught me patience and understanding. I spanked him once, when he was little. I cried for about two hours afterward. This wasn’t me. He didn’t deserve that. I kept apologizing and have never done it since. I will never be her. Finally, over forty, I can accept myself, my desires, my needs. I actually want to be married for the first time in my life. I didn’t want the life my parents had, but I can see that it wasn’t real. It wasn’t love. I want that and it will be hard. She will combat it as much as she always has, but this time my priority is me, my happiness, my life. I feel surprisingly powerful today.


TO BETTY, LORA and LIGHT (Post # 101, 102, 106).

Your fears and instincts about having children was absolutely correct. I wish I could have had the same insight. I did have a daughter, out of wedlock, and raised her alone in poverty and ignorance to my own abuse and how it had negatively and severely it impacted my life. I was carried rage and anger with me that I directed to my daughter as she was growing up.
I never physically abused my daughter in anyway, but the pain of me constantly yelling because I had no ability to handle even the slightest amount of stress was just as, if not more painful than physical abuse. I can remember when I was in my 30’s my daughter was about 13 yrs old and I had a rage episode where I yelled, and yelled about really nothing. As always, when the rage subsided, I was remorseful and apologetic (something my mother would know nothing about), and I told my daughter that I knew the “rage behavior” was not normal, and I did not know what was causing it or how to get rid of it. I suggested to her that maybe it was PMS????!!!!! Just makes me laugh to think I never once thought my abusive behavior might have been cause by me being abused.
You three women were RIGHT by not having children and I admire and respect your compassion and forethought. I can offer you that today my daughter is 30 years old, she is an R.N., and has a happy family of her own. Things are not perfect in her life, but I know with time she will deal with the “demons” put inside her by her mother. We have open dialogue about the abuse she suffered at my hands, I have profoundly, emphatically and sincerely apologized and accepted responsibility for being a perpetrator or abuse, and she has forgiven me. In fact, it is almost a non issue for her. People under-estimate the value of “reparation.” Notice the root of this word is “Repair.”
It’s funny, in an effort to run from the wrongs they have committed as parents, people deny, deny, deny. Why do we deny? Denial and guilt go hand in hand. Guilt and shame are painful. By acknowledging, apologizing and rectifying (to whatever tent possible) we heal.


It’s good to see you here. I have thought of you and the recent events in your life. I can’t remember where it was we were talking about your aunt(s), etc.

Just wanted to say I hope things are going well….. as well as can be expected.



Connie: Glad to see you be open and realize what you did to your daughter. That is what I want from my mom. Maybe there is hope.


DXS, that’s great! I’m glad my words could help!! I can’t talk to my mom anymore unless she recognizes that she knew something was going wrong with me for years but chose to sweep the signs under the carpet and do nothing instead, which ultimately led to my breakdown. That was my boundary and I can’t back down from there. I know she knows it’s true because I have a bunch of examples to back it up, many of which I presented to her (after a while it gets redundant—-she knows the truth; I shouldn’t have to keep going on and on). And that would have to be only the beginning. From there she’d have to be able to recognize her reasons for choosing to sweep things under the carpet, the core of which I also presented to her (she was depressed and using me as an emotional crutch and essentially needed me broken and dependent to continue to do so). Etc. I can’t do much of the pretending game anymore to any degree, it seems, with anyone. And that’s a good thing! There are a lot of losses and it’s painful, but I’m getting myself back and that’s what really counts. Being loved for pretending isn’t being loved at all! I want to be able to be myself in every facet of my life and I deserve love as the person that I am, the person she broke and didn’t want to help, who had to learn how to help herself and has! You deserve to be loved for who you are and it’s your mom’s failure if she can’t. I thought my mom might kill herself in a car “accident” when I presented the full truth of what had happened to me in our relationship, what she had put on me, because I thought she wouldn’t be able to handle it, either, but she didn’t. She continued with her denial and there’s no way I’m going to be a part of that…. It is really great to read posts like Connie’s, to know that there are mothers out there who are willing and wanting to break the cycle. Even if it isn’t my mom, I’m glad there are moms like that out there. I hope that your mom can come around but beyond that, if she doesn’t, I hope that you can find your freedom regardless, and I’m positive, if you’re here at this point, that you do indeed have everything you need inside yourself, like I’m sure I do, too, to get there, one step at a time. Hugs, A

It’s great to see you here too! And I’ve been thinking about you, too! Did you do anything with those darn bowls????!!!! 😉 How are you doing? Any more drama or are you laying low?

I’m doing alright. Things are a bit crazy. I never did hear back from aunt #1. I guess my email was pretty blunt and there was nothing to say, though I am going to try to save my relationship with her 19 y/o daughter, so it will be interesting to see how that works. The 2nd aunt I tried to smooth things over with so that I could see the family (my 6 cousins) for a BBQ to say goodbye before I move but in the end, even though she was also trying to be nice, I felt so sick because I felt like I was swallowing myself and having to pretend, I cancelled out of that. So now I’m trying to figure out how to deal with the cousins on their own. I live in the apartment above the oldest one’s restaurant. I emailed her to tell her what’s going on, a short synopsis, and I think we’re going to meet to talk, but her response was so to the point, so completely without a hint of sympathy, that I am dreading it. I really hope that she will cancel. If I’m right about how she feels about the situation, for her to cancel would be the “authentic” thing to do. If she feels the way I think she does, meeting with me will be about being the “superior, understanding person” who knows better than I. It’ll be about Alaina, the misguided victim that she’s willing to placate or something like that. I could be wrong, I’d be happy to be wrong, but I’m a little too used to this now… I do wonder if maybe I can get through to one of the youngest. She’s just finishing high school and during that 7 hour fiasco of a conversation with my aunt, my aunt was talking about issues she was having with her. My cousin was actually there in the house at the time her mom and I were having this conversation and I wondered if she heard any of this conversation. (I was a serious snoop at that age and would’ve listened in.) I felt really uncomfortable when my aunt was bringing up her own dysfunctional parenting into the conversation (as a way to defend/minimize my parents’ behaviour), and for the most part I was just placating her. I don’t want to disappear without giving it a shot to reach out. I would love to have/keep a relationship with her and I feel like I have something to offer. But she still lives at home and she’s likely going to have the entire family painting an entirely inaccurate picture of me. That first cousin I talked about, the 19 y/o, I figured the way to go would be softly. She already has a (healthy) rebellious streak with her parents and is not living at home and lives in another city than I, so I can go a little more subtly and slowly. With this other cousin, I’m all of a sudden leaving town. When I saw her last with her mom that night, she was telling me I should come out to their cottage with her. I feel like I can’t do things slowly at all. I almost feel like if there’s any shot at all (so that she’ll have the strength to go against believing in her family’s conception of me), it’s if she gets a good taste of just how strong I am and just what exactly I know and what I’m willing to put down, as well as how caring I am, of course. I’m thinking if I send an email to her jointly with her older sister (24 y/o) that will be better than just to her alone. I’m also sure if I sent the 24 y/o one alone, her eyes might glaze over (if I’m not being too cynical here) but if she sees it’s also sent to her younger 18 y/o sister, she might want to pay more attention. I’d have to send it with enough time before I skip town because otherwise it won’t carry as much strength, but what with living where I do, if this creates a ruckus, it’s going to be crappy for me, but then again, what can they really do? I’m leaving, so whatever. I have to be sensitive here, though—this is a girl living at home, still under her parents’ rules and I don’t want to make things hard for her, but I can’t live with myself unless I extend a hand. I have to watch to say just enough but not too much…. Anyway, outside of that, I have to get on with my own life!!! Finish cleaning out crap and sorting what I’m taking along with me. It seemed like I was going to have a “house sit” situation for me when I got into Montreal, but I think that’s fallen through, so I have to find somewhere else. Then there’s fixing up my resume and translating it into french! Lots to do… and here I am rambling on and on! But I am still somehow feeling on top of things. Maybe in two weeks my head will explode, though! haha. I’m kidding…. I hope. (I leave Sept. 1st)

Anyway, thanks for saying hi! I hope you are well and I’d love to hear how things are going for you. I hope you’re taking care of you!
xoxo, A


Ahh again you put things into a perspective I resonate with and understand. I was an abused child and there is a definite expectation that I will at 55 yrs old continue to be an abused adult. I have made all the excuses but the truth is what my father put myself and my two sisters through was horrific. Yes he was a depressed man, and he worked hard, and he has OCD, and his mum died when he was three, and he came to Australia as a 19yr and had no family support, and his life was tough. But love me, the truth is he has never even liked me. I have the tags Major depressive disorder, PTSD, BPD and Aspergers traits. My father hated my intelligence, my creativity, my ability to interact with others, my ability to empathise and love, my curiosity, my wonder. My older sister used to sing a song on the way to school about the babies heads hitting the wall. Those heads belonged to my younger sister and I and we were being knocked out of our high chairs.
My father had tattooed VICTIM on my head before I could walk or talk and he has hated and resented my ability to give and receive real love without strings and expectations all y life. My mother oozes love and warmth. She has adopted dozens of people as pseudo children and they think she is above reproach. When I was 11 my 9 year sister was raped in the bed next to mine by an adult cousin, my mother put her back into bed with her rapist and told her to be quiet and go to sleep. I have gutted myself with guilt at not being big enough or old enough to protect her, but lets face it I was living in a war zone and had no power. But I had courage and I told the truth and have been belted to the point of passing out for it.
My FOO sucks, my older sister despises me and has done so since birth. she is enmeshed in the role of the good clean and quiet child. I don’t deserve a place in her perfect family and her picture perfect family. She believes that preserving that myth is paramount. My younger sister is so damaged as to be an empty shell and just wants silence, complete silence. She is too hurt, too abused, too trampled to take a step in the direction of health. She is dependent on her myth of perfection too. People talk about the elephant in the room. Hahahaha we have a migratory great herd of elephants parading through any room we find ourselves together in.
Both my sisters have married violent and abusive men. They are clones of my father. It’s like if any suggestion of the truth was allowed to manifest it would bring the whole house of cards down. I kept telling the truth about the sexual predators that were half of my male cousins to my mother and she kept refusing to believe me, then even when she did have to believe me she refused to tell my father as he may have done something that could have seen him jailed (as he had been once for a violent assault on a man) and my mum couldn’t face life without her “rock” who didn’t physically abuse her just beat her middle daughter to the ground again and again. She didn’t want her favourite brother to know what his son had done to her children.
I got out went 1500 kilometres away and my parents followed me. They told me they hated their son in laws and couldn’t manage their relationships with my sisters who were either “Too needy” or “too demanding” Blaming victims is an Olympic event in my FOO. They told my sisers that they felt I need more support and supervision and were making the shift north to give me what I needed. My sisters blame me for them being two states away. They are 83 and 80 now and getting very frail. My mother has had a series of strokes and now has much less impulse control. So she says things that sometimes show me the real truth. she tells me she is sorry I led my younger sister astray and I am responsible for that sisters too early entry into sexuality. WTF does that mean, that something about me polluted my sisters purity, nah mum that would have been her being raped at nine and being exposed to all sorts of very adult concepts way ahead of maturity. She tells me I was difficult and not easy to love, pushed out of embraces, rocked incessantly and couldn’t cope with change. Nah mum that would be having aspergers traits and being traumatised and belted to attempt to correct the behaviours that emerged. I caused them too much pain and angst as a child, why mum because I was so depressed that I tried to kill myself at 10 years old and our family GP had the insight enough to ask why and refused to see it as an issue not related to my perfect family life. How embarrassing.
What is tragic is that this adult with the broken child inside has been nominated by the FOO that didn’t want or love her but refused to be honest and give her up, to be the one to take full responsibility for her aged parents.I am the closest geographically and of course being so unworthy I should be thrilled to be re offered some entry into the inner circle that is desperate to keep the truth from being observed by their grandchildren and great grandchildren. We must perpetuate the myth at all costs. I am the chosen gatekeeper.
So this adult broken child tries to take care of and parent her parents who are broken children and never grew up. It is an irony that leaves such a taste in my mouth, ashes that’s what it is. The ash of my robbed childhood and burned trust. Those that love me see it for what it is and are outraged at the grinding force that is applied daily to get me to comply. Sometimes it is the easier path to just knuckle down and get done what is asked for. But my frustration grows and the fine line stretches to superfine. Can I manage to do this and hold my core self intact. Sometimes I can. My psychologist and psychiatrist know exactly what cost this dichotomy extracts. My partner tries to take on an unfair share of the care of my parents to shield me from the worst of the unkindness and bitterness. My mum rails at the unkind hand life has given her and weighs love as how many times someone visits her. And I wonder how long I can continue to juggle expectations of FOO and my need for honesty and transparency. I know ultimately I will choose health and happiness. I have done so all my life from an infant. I have learned to self soothe and self nurture. I wish there was an alternative but I know my FOO is not where I am valued and validated. Their judgement of me is always harsh, but I know it is unimportant. Few of them even saw me as a child, let alone took the time to get to know me. I will be their “ungrateful person” ” selfish daughter” “Black sheep” “disrespectful sibling” “troublemaker” and “wayward aunty”.
I will be free and I will thrive because I know what love looks like and I won’t settle for second best ever again.
Thank you for continuing to post your truth. It helps me immensely in focusing and formatting mine.xxx


After my aunt’s husband physically threatened me I refused to see him again unless he apologized. My aunt told me it was either “both of us or nothing” after I said I would still appreciate seeing her but one-on-one without him because he hadn’t apologized.

My mother used every opportunity to trick me into falling face-to-face with them both – reassuring me they wouldn’t be somewhere and then whoops there they were, making my only option turning on my heels. Maybe it was her idea of orchestrating some kind of reconciliation or perhaps she couldn’t give a crap how scared I was but each time this happened I was deemed ‘rude’ for not staying or avoiding’ them by staying in another room while they were there.

Late last year my aunt wrote to me that she wouldn’t tolerate threats to her relationship and told me flat out that my intentions were bad. I wrote back and told her I didn’t see how my request for an apology after having been physically threatened was either a threat to her relationship or significant of bad intentions but told her I’d respect her wishes and not expect to see either of them any more. Whether the real threat was having it more widely known that he had a loose temper and violent tendencies is up for grabs, or maybe she wanted to continue denying it to herself?

Whatever, what was clear was that neither she nor he had enough consideration for me to offer an apology. So they’re also on the NC.


Alice – I am so impressed with how you handled such a difficult and rejecting situation. Good for you – you really took care of yourself.



OMG,I think we had the same family. I had the very same situation as you. When I was a teenager, I made the same mistake of going to “family counseling”. I really wanted to believe that my parents would change for the better. There was one session when this woman therapist told me that she just wanted to talk for like ten minutes with my parents and then I could come in and we would have a family session all together. So, I kept waiting and waiting until the time was up. At the end, this woman therapist ran out of the room red-faced, crying, angry and shaking and told me, “get away from these people and never come back!” Apparently, she had never had such an angry session with such mean and weird people like my parents!

Another incident was with my mom and me together for a counseling session. Another woman therapist wanted to talk with me for a few minutes alone and then bring in my mom. We went like five minutes over the time, and of course my crazy mom was pounding on her office door and making a scene outside. This woman therapist asked me, “is your mom always this intrusive and controlling?” I wanted to tell her that this was actually only a minor incident and one of her better days….LOL!


I’m also in the same boat with all of you and I too CHOSE never to have a biological child beginning when I was a teenager. It’s funny since I NEVER pictured myself with a child, but I saw myself married (and child-free with a successful career) but that picture was always in the back of my mind. Of course, I was abused and did not want to take it out on a child but there’s more….I feared my parents taking control of my child and my child being brainwashed by them and thinking what wonderful people they are! I don’t believe that my mom would have spoiled the child as some sort of revenge against me, but I would want the child to have the truth. It’s especially confusing when you grow up in a nice, big house in a nice neighborhood, and others see your parents as “nice” people on the surface. I feared that the child would take their side…

I am working hard on issues in my life with both career(wanting to go back to school)and dating a good man for a lasting relationship(yes, marriage if possible or else living together.) I’m in my forties now and don’t regret my lifestyle. I’m blessed to practice my wonderful religion–(Celtic Pagan)–and I’m not a traditional Christian woman where you’re pushed to get married and have kids really young and that your only value and worth comes from fitting into their traditional mold!

I believe that the only difficulties that I have had are dealing with a few rude and nasty people who have challenged me. According to their beliefs, (and I have been told this directly to my face), “I’m not so bad looking but simply too FAT and that’s why I can’t get a husband!” Yes, I kid you not! I have also been labeled a “Lesbian” and I’m just a straight, single woman(with nothing against the LGBT community). Sure, I would rather take the time to find a good man, than being a needy and desperate woman who just has to marry the first man she sees! Anyway, in my life I have earned a B.A. degree as an older student and managed to buy my first house. Plus, I do have the extra time and money for my hobbies! My house is clean, well-decorated, peaceful and quiet!

I think that these rude and nasty people give me such a bad time because they can’t stand my independence and secretly behind “closed doors” their own homes and kids are such a mess! They are all such angry people who wished they had made different life choices. Truly, I do support good parenting skills since I was a victim of child abuse myself, but sometimes there are cases when the biological or adopted child is a Narc with serious anti-social issues. It’s sad because sometimes these “good” parents end up with a sociopathic kid and they did everything right! Then these “good” parents with the anti-social kids wish that they could have been a couple only and NEVER have had a kid! Some beautiful marriages have been destroyed by having such a ‘monster’ kid! I want to believe that these rude people envy my strength, independence, honesty, and being in control of my finances. NO ONE tells me what to do at my age! It’s like living out the most grand adolescent daydreaming fantasy of total and complete freedom from any parents or even husband telling me what to do!
THX for reading!


I was glad to see that Church Abuse was mentioned here. After being married to a very violent man for 30 years who was also a Pastor, I was slandered & terrorized by the church leaders then finally kicked out of church. My unwillingness to continue to suffer in silence at home cost me my reputation, friends, community and financial stability. The Assemblies of God didn’t care – most people believe those who lie (the abusive husband & the church leaders who are wielding their abuse of power). Re-building after this has been horrendous. Family court failed me & left me financially devastated. Civil Court seems to be a possibility if I can endure the stress of going that route.


Hi Light,

Thank you for your kind comment. What I’ve noticed though is that each time I’ve stood up for myself it has resulted in the relationship ending. So while I’m glad I did stand up it comes at a cost. Every single time.
It’s lead me to think or to believe that any relationship potentially has this as an ending and it will be my “fault” for not putting up with them. How dare I expect better? The voice inside says “Ha! You don’t deserve an apology” and yesterday was the first time I asked it back “Why not?”. There was literally no answer.
It’s just a belief with nothing to back it up.


Here I am at 63, still not making sense of who I am. I did not have a relationship with my mother. It was always about projection of that perfect family image, but behind closed doors I would scream as Mother came toward me with the switch, for reasons I will never understand. Nothing I ever did wad good enough. But as I am remembering things, I am not sure what role my father played in my childhood. I was “Daddy’s little girl.” I not sure what that means now. I was molested, not only by him but others and I allowed it because I thought it was part of love. Now I am realizing that there was nothing special about my childhood except being used.

I married my husband and everything was perfect, then he started having flashbacks from Viet Nam. Everything began to be my fault. he gave me a concusion the only time he actually hit me, and his mother wanted to know what I did to provoke him. I was dumbfounded and confused. Nothing I did was ever good enough and she still has problems with me but yet she tries to be me according to my grandchildren. So how does that work? I have never understand it.

Today my marriage is okay as long as I see the PTSD starting to sprout its ugly head and I just remove myself mentally and physically. I am still trying to understand why I was the chosen one to be abused. My sister didn’t have the same experiences in her child hood, but the other 3 did. The boys were physically and mentally abused. What made her so special? She portrays her family as perfect so I knows she does have some effects from our childhood but will never admit it.

As for me right now, this moment, I realize I am just numb to many things. I do have traits of my mother, but only the good ones, such as cooking. I do stress to my grandchildren the importance of love within the family unit. Their mother is bipolar and inconsistence with teaching them. She sends them to me to get them on a schedule, which she never follows.

Even though it sounds as if I have been rambling about many things, I know I am ok and a lot stronger than I give myself credit for.

I am not my mother or my father, I am a survivor. And for my husband, he has made progress and life is easier because I took a stand for myself. I guess I wanted to say, I get it. Those things that happened to me, no longer define who I am and I do have a voice and have the right to be heard.


LOL, that’s hilarious. NO, I haven’t done anything with the bowls. They’re still sitting on my buffet, UGH!! My mom sent me a laminated obituary from my step brother’s service. It came in the mail when I was gone on vacation. I texted her when I got home and told her thanks for the obit, and I’ll get her bowls back to her one of these days. She replied, “okay”. So, I’m still sitting on them. I might run them by her work when she’s not there. I don’t know what I’ll do still. Isn’t that crazy?? It’s just bowls for pete’s sake!! Why am I stressing?? Sheesh!! To answer your question, no more drama. I am laying low. I just got back from girl’s trip 2013. High school girls getting together for about a week. FUN, and therapeutic!!

I understand what you mean about your one aunt with the 6 kids, being nice, trying to smooth things over. It is like Darlene says ~ pretending there’s no elephant in the room. That is very uncomfortable for me also. I just don’t operate well in those conditions.

The cousin you’re going to meet with….. since you have some gut feelings about that, I bet you’re exactly right. Our guts don’t often lead us astray do they? Unfortunately, it usually makes my gut hurt simultaneously when things like this arise. 🙁
I hope it goes well for your sake.

I’m thinking your have your move planned way ahead of schedule. Am I remembering incorrectly? I was thinking you were going to ride it out for a little while. Will you have any family in Montreal? Best of luck in your job search, and new living arrangement. How exciting to be moving….. away from family, haha!! If I could move across the planet, you know I would. Although I hear that distance doesn’t make much difference, I feel like it would. I think there would be freedom from all the people my mother poisons, freedom to go out without fear of running into her, or her flying monkeys. And, possibly the biggest thorn is in the idea that people know I live in the same town, yet, I don’t do anything to see her. I know that’s me being hung up on what people think and say still. For the most part, I am over that, but, you know how some of the toughest battles can still creep back in if you’re not careful. Anyhow, I still think somewhere inside, that moving would be a huge blessing. I wish you the very best of everything in your new adventure.

Peace and Love to you,


Thanks, Mimi!
I’m glad you’ve been able to relax and have a good time lately!

I totally get the stress of the bowls, even though they’re just bowls… because they’re not just bowls. It’s what they symbolize, the whole thing of having to return them to her, given the state of the relationship—-or non-relationship, rather.

Yeah, I’m leaving much earlier than I originally thought. I decided I didn’t want to be here for Xmas because it would be really unpleasant, so I’d want to leave before winter starts. The bakery where I work is closing for two weeks at the beginning of september, so it’d be 2-weeks unpaid vacation anyway, and it’s generally uncomfortable living in the apartment above my cousin’s restaurant, paying rent to my aunt. So I decided to get out sooner. It’s a bit stressful but I can do it.

I do think I’m probably right about my cousin, but I can’t cancel out. I mean I could but I don’t want to. She has to cancel if she wants to cancel. I know things that I know she doesn’t know. I understand the dysfunction (or a lot of it anyway) and she doesn’t. She’s 25 and in the system, maybe not so badly affected, probably not, but still in the system. I.e. she’s a victim, too, even if she doesn’t know it. Her mom said all sorts of things that make my heart hurt for her and her siblings. I can’t walk away without giving the opportunity for a healthy relationship or without reaching out in some way, even if she is in the fog. I wouldn’t feel right with myself. If she tries to walk on me, discount me, or whatever, I’ll do what I can to protect myself. I love her and want to do right by her. As they say, sometimes you lose the battle but win the war. I can’t not try. She’s worth it, just like I was worth it. If she can’t hear me, well, it’s just one meeting; it won’t kill me, and I’ll do my best to protect myself.

Soon, I’ll be living in another world, any which way. I’ll reach the other side.
Lots of love to you, Mimi. I so appreciate you. Everyone here has such warm hearts!


Hi Everyone~!
I have been away for a few days and judging by the massive amount of comments EFB has generated over the past few days I already know I won’t be able to answer them all. Please accept my sincere apologies. I do read them all and I know that ‘being heard’ was the first step for me in my healing, but I have run out of time!

I would like to extend a warm welcome to all the new commenters! (I hope I don’t miss anyone!)
Welcome to Jade, Susan, Dee N., Karen, Angie, Tins, Coral and “L” ~ I am so glad you are all here.

Keep talking everyone! Talking all this out was the second major key for me as I fought my way out of that old dysfunctional system and into the amazing truth that I live in today!
love and hugs, Darlene


On my Father’s side of the family, I could see even as a child that “love” was love just by the way people acted towards us children, and that very last moment I had with my Grandmother before she passed a week later. She said. “I will always love you.” I felt that statement to be true then, and I can still feel the love she had for me.

On the other hand…on my Mother’s side, Everything was dysfunctional, I remember my Grandmother stating that I was not her Granddaughter, all because of an argument the narcissistic mother had with her. Narcissism runs on that side of the family. Complete difference, when you look at how people “love” you.

I love each and every one of your posts :} Everyday helping me reflect upon what is right, what is wrong, and how alone..we all ARE NOT.

Thank you!


WoW! Such a healing post! And I couldn’t agree with you more Darlene! All I can say about this post is… I Agree!
In my own healing and research, I have found we just accept what we think is love as… Love. One of the very core teachings I have is that we are addicted to fear. So we stay stuck in this never ending cycle that feel all too comfortable and familiar. What it actually is, is certainty. We are certain we will receive the same behavior over and over again. And growing up in an abusive house hold, if I knew Where the next pin was going to drop, it meant I was that much safer…. Certainty meant safety to me.

Thank you so much for your amazing work! I just love it! So insightful and healing!

Heal Peeps!


Hi Everyone,

Today was a huge step for me in the healing process, but it was also an ugly day. I’ve noticed there are not a lot of people out there who support disengaging from family (learned this the hard way) so I’m looking for support from the one place where I don’t feel judged for standing up for my rights, and protecting myself.

Today in class we watched a film about ‘the art of being human’. I thought it would just be some silly movie requirement, I don’t usually get much out of film clips, but it moved me.
A lot of talk about dignity, invalidation, valuing almost everything over human life (education, money etc).
I don’t remember what it was exactly that made me get up and leave class, but I did and I told my aunt exactly what I wanted to do for a living (be a pilates instructor- which she shames me for like other things for being a ‘low class’ type thing instead of doctor/lawyer etc). I realized, I love pilates, it’s what I want to do and I should not be ashamed of wanting to or doing that.
I also realized that if I don’t stop jumping through hoops now, I never will.

I got up left class called her, and told her THE TRUTH. I told her what I wanted to do, that I hadn’t felt respected by her, not as a waitress, not when she talked me out of going to state school. When she defended herself (because her ‘support’ is a backhanded compliment, a guised put down much like my father), I told her the ways in which she also put me down. Finally I said, I thought she was controlling and “You can take care of you and I need to take care of me. I need to go. I’m saying goodbye.”
She never really cared about my health, goals, etc, it was her agenda.

I decided if I can’t live in integrity, I can’t live at all. I have to be me and I am done being what everyone wants me to be, and realizing they still don’t care about me.

It was a very lonely day. Lonely, because I have been in such denial. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced what love is, what it is like for someone to care about all of you and not expect and require you change even after you have done more and better and more and better and more and better. At some point, you realize, it’s never enough and that’s the point at which you realize, “this person never loved me”.
My whole family is that way.

My therapist talked to me about this for about a half an hour today, and was mostly real helpful. Talked to me about how it sounded like now I loved me. It doesn’t change the fact that I feel totally alone though.

I have never felt so alone. I want so badly to call my mother, who jumps at the chance to abuse me. I bounce from abuser to abuser when I feel this bad. I haven’t ‘made my own family’ as they say, yet. My therapist says this is because I need to love me first. I need to be strong.

I am writing this comment because I need support at least enough to not call my mother. I’ve been so appreciative of the comments because there is so much judgement in saying goodbye. Mostly though, there is loneliness. A lot of Darlene’s posts mention “I thought if my family rejected me, I would die”
I used to read that and think, “Well, I have my aunt”. Turns out I don’t.
I feel so scared. I know I need me, but now I know what that feels like. Is it better to be alone than to submit to abuse? I think so, but its times like these when I have my doubts, and want to call the very people who will hurt me for sure, that I need to be around supportive people who will not make me feel like a villain for running from the evil that has surrounded me my whole life.
I am trying so hard.

Any helpful comments would be appreciated. Does anyone relate to this utter loneliness of standing your ground, and the final realization there was never any love from anyone, and the very strong temptation to go back to the abuse?



DXS- Glad you liked the article. I would be curious to see what you meant by what we had in common exactly? I’m sure there is a lot.
It is sad the avoidance strategies we have to resort to when we are around the very people who were supposed to love us unconditionally, nurture, and protect us.



—correction! in above comment I meant to say “there is so much judgement from the outside world in saying goodbye”—–


GDW, you mentioned your mom and a “fund.”

Oh man, you are channeling ME now regarding the pilates thing. When I went to college, I quit after two years. I worked in a department store at minimum wage, and lived in an apartment with a roommate. Those were the best years of my life! I eventually went back to college. But I’m sure I was a disappointment to my parents for quitting. And when I got my degree I worked for the Government instead of some “big name ABC letters” company. Yep, I’m a disappointment. Didn’t give my parents “bragging” things.



I completely relate to what you have said and hope my comments here help you in some way.

The realisation that that my own mother preferred to stay loyal to people who had abused me was shocking. The realisation that I am only loved on condition that I “do as I am told and be who I am told to be” was also really upsetting. To finally speak up for myself and have my truth twisted around, lies told about me and my truth turned back on me was traumatising. To have not one person stand up for me or protect me or show any loyalty or love to me and stop me from being re-abused was such a rejection and total let down. To then be accused of having too much baggage and of having mental health issues was so shameful and embarrasing for me (and so untrue).

I spent my whole life trying to reach out to my family and I became addicted to trying to earn love from them, and do whatever it took to receive their approval and acceptance, which of course I never got back from them.

This addiction to needing their loved kept me hooked in and I kept reaching out to make contact and try to resolve things (not realising that they had no desire or intention to want to resolve the issues as it suited them to have all of the power, I just needed to get back in line in their eyes).

I have felt lonely in my life, but also really excited that I am finally free. I have walked away from every single member of my family this past couple of years and I believe its the best decision I have ever made in my whole life.

My life is functional (I’m no longer trying to survive within a dysfunctional system) and happy and I believe that if we can have one really good friend that is loyal and genuinely cares for us and supports us through our decisions then I do feel blessed.

I believe Darlene speaks the truth when she says there is freedom on the other side. I’m on the other side and I do feel free.

No longer being re-traumatised over and over by putting myself in an environment of abuse and allowing controllers and manipulators to take my life and dreams away from me. I have no depressions. My brain feels strong.

I have the best mother in the world – ME!!

GDW I wish you lots of strength and happiness in your life and I am proud that you had the strength to stand up for you no matter what the price. That takes guts and a lot of wisdom to see through the fog!!



Hi Emma:

You feel like I did my entire life.



Its so good to be able to have our experiences believed and validated.

Even though I’m not happy that people have been abused it does make me feel happier knowing I am not alone in this, and having people agree with me that it was abuse. Thanks.


Hi gdw,

You are not alone in loneliness! It’s lonely setting boundaries too. I’ve been setting boundaries for nearly 10 years and can say my family is adjusting, but their silence between visits is nearly deafening. Finding the strength to disengage, set boundaries, stand up for yourself comes from loving ourselves. Some of us are strong enough to disengage completely, I’m not one of them. I admire those who are. I’m a slow learner. I’m still not confident that I can handle the grieving process.

We’re our own family and can find strength from others’ journeys. Stay strong and we’ll create our own families that want us and want to be with us. It takes time, but it will happen.


GDW, I can relate well to what you said about drawing boundaries and then being rejected. I have experienced this too. Having been an eager-to-please pushover most of my life, I managed to attract “friends” that felt safe with me because they knew I would say yes and not argue or make waves, and also that I could be taken advantage of. When I finally started speaking up and setting boundaries, these people opulent handle it. They would try to put me in the wrong and say vicious things as well as attempt o get others to side against me. But I’ve stood my ground with people like this. I realize that deep down inside I must have known that certain friendships were toxic. There was always a feeling of walking on eggshells around certain people and feeling that they were always in control. With healthy friendships, I have always felt comfortable, equal, and there was give and take.
Toxic people want to maintain their control. When a boundary is set with them they must feel they are losing control, and I feel it is very. Very manipulative of them when they withdraw when they don’t get their way. With these my way or the highway type people, I feel I am better off without their drama and the stress hat goes along with relating to them. So long, farewell, don’t let the door hit you on the way out!


Ugh, spellcheck again! Opulent should be Couldnt in my post 147.


Emma, sorry for all you’ve been through. It s easy for dysfunctional people to push the blame back on the person they mistreated, then they don’t have to face their shortcomings. And it amazes me how they manage to recruit others o their camp of lies. I wish you the best!


I am grateful that I made it into this world. No one said on the way in that I would be guaranteed anything.
The blood of abuse flows through the veins of all people.
We act it out in various degrees.
Life is glorious and horrifying.
Men women and children suffer at the hands of each other.
We must watch out for each other without blame.
A parent is vulnerable to the abuse of blame,reproachment and criticism of their title …they are held in contempt, ridiculed,
resented, shamed, and reminded of their failures by the world a large. They are then abandoned. The children justify it and say they deserve it for their wicked ways
All of it may very well be true…but your condemnation mimics the way say you were condemned and the abuse continues in the veins of all people.
You are here on this earth..it is more than enough. We are here to learn to love and protect one another. We all fall short. Find your healing without blaming your makers. Then You really will be contributing to ending the cycle of abuse.


Hi Maria
Welcome to EFB ~

About your comments; This site is about breaking the cycle of abuse by seeing the truth about it. It is about validating the damage and healing from it. Blame is a necessary part of that healing process and the articles presented in this website explain that quite well. You have not said why or how it works to leave blame out of the equation but I on the other hand have great success and amazing results with the work that I do and the way that I do it and this is the only way that I have ever seen that in fact does break the cycle of abuse.
I have been asked to consult with therapists and many mental health professionals who find my work refreshing and recommend it to their clients.
You are free to live your life the way that you wish and have the opinions that you wish to have, and I have the same privilege.

Hugs, Darlene



Your question reminded me of a poem I wrote a handful of years ago. I thought I’d share the opening (I don’t remember the rest of it).

There are times before skin heals
when the bruise looks for the fist
to match knuckles with their prints.

You’re doing well. I’m sending you lots of love and strength.

I’m quite shaky today. Lots of standing up for myself, lots of feeling pushed down. But just one foot in front of the other and keep breathing. We’re doing this and we’re doing it well.

I wish there were less opinions like Maria’s flying around in this world. What we condemn is not the person but the abusive actions. That’s why we try to put up boundaries against such actions, but when the person refuses to respect the boundaries, we are left with very little option but to “abandon” our abusers because we value our life and do not wish to abandon ourselves to emotional, spiritual and potentially physical death. Our makers, one would think, ideally, would want the same for us. But their actions seem to say otherwise, sadly.


RE Maria’s post, I tended to take the blame for just about everything from childhood on. Somehow it always fell on me. It is only in realizing that lots of what happened was not actually my fault that healing began. People should be accountable for their actions. Lets not forget that for a child dealing with an adult is not a level playing field. The adult holds the power.that position of power should be handled carefully, and should not be used for mistreatment. Maria, it is in giving the responsibility for certain incidents back to those who should be accountable that has allowed healing to begin. And no, I do not blame others for everything that goes or has gone wrong. I take responsibility for anything I have done wrong. At the same time, I now expect others to take responsibility for the things they have done.


A parent is vulnerable to the abuse of blame….. Interesting. Yes I believe my parents are to blame for the abuse they inflicted upon me and my siblings. Who else should I hold accountable? Children are not to be blamed for cruel abusive treatment from any adult including parents. So years go on and no one steps in to help and children grow into adults and the parents age. This does not make things better or make the pain any less. What helps me is realizing I am an adult now and no longer need to be at the receiving end of abusive behavior. Walking on egg shells trying not to misstep is not a great way to live and it bleeds over into every relationship I have. I am healthier now and have healthy loving relationships. It’s continues to be a work in progress. I am proud of myself for realizing I have the ability to be a loving caring person.


GDW, you’re not alone! See my comment #132 and it’ll go some ways to telling you where I am in terms of FOO today. None. I don’t have anyone. I’ve also ended a lot of bad for me relationships (per Amber’s post) And still I can literally feel what feels like a dependency on my friends and I don’t want to feel that about anyone anymore.

I could relate especially well to Emma’s and Amber’s posts on this topic.

“…not a level playing field”. Totally! When I told my mother that she had this power over me that I did not have and that I was not her equal as a child she sort of laughed in response. It seemed like a self-satisfied laugh to me. Like a *finally* I’d recognized her.

Maria, to me the kind of blame I’m referring to is about saying ‘where to assign the responsibility for something that was wrongly assigned in the first place’. If I could put ‘wrongly assigned in the first place’ in bold here I would:-)

It takes very aware people to start sorting this stuff out and AFAIK and in my experience it doesn’t mean shirking for personal responsibility in the present.


Amber: Re your comment about taking blame. During my working career, if something went wrong with some project I was working with as part of a TEAM, I always immediately jumped to the conclusion that it was MY fault. How stupid is that?


DXS I did things like that too, sometimes at work but also with friends and in the neighborhood. Reading Darlene’s blogs has helped me go a long way in rethinking things, including who is responsible for certain things. I had taken on way too heavy a load all my life in blaming myself for so much while exempting others of accountability.I really feel I am on the right path now.

Alice very good point about assigning the responsibility to the right person. I know that if I do something wrong I accept responsibility, therefore others should be doing the same when they are wrong. I like the way you explain “wrongly assigned” responsibility. Reassigning it to where it belongs is not equivalent to when people toss the blame for everything on others. I suspect that Maria may not be seeing the distinction.

Kathleen, good post. I’m trying to remove people from my life that I would have to walk on eggshells to please. Those are always toxic, do as I say not as I do, unequal relationships and I’m not interested!


If I mess up, I always take responsibility, to the point that some people say I’m obsessive about it. My Mom is a “do as I say not as I do” person. I always thought that was illogical but when I called her on it as a child, she would get angry with me. During one of my “interrogations” with her, I got her to admit she did not want to be held accountable for things. What gives her the right to “exempt” herself from accountability? I don’t get this. My mom was horribly illogical like this. She would phrase things as “optional” but you got punished for saying “no.” That is why my relationship with her was horribly PHONY! I learned to say what she wanted to hear. To the point of…. when I moved 3,000 miles away (and should have STAYED there!), I lead a “double” life, where I would be myself until I had to spend the dreaded two days at Christmas, where I would “pretend” to be a different person. Oh, and the two days was a bone of contention with her. “How come I won’t stay longer?” “Hey, had to get around blackout dates to get cheap fares.” (about 50% true….)

One time my mom said to me, “Why are you so sensitive, why do I have to walk on eggshells around you?” My reply? “BECAUSE I SPENT MY WHOLE LIFE WALKING ON EGGSHELLS AROUND YOU!!!!!” Which, she of course, denied………

My mom wears rose colored glasses and sees the world as she wants it to be, not what is…… And it took me years before I could believe myself when I made observations like this. I’m learning….. if I sense it, that is what is!


Since reading your informative posts Darlene and sticking with my decision of ‘no contact’ with most of my blood family, I have gotten past most of the anger and hurt. Most days I now feel sorry for the toxic lives and decisions that they have and continue to make. Fortunately, now I can stand back with a newer sense of value and inner peace knowing that, in the end, it was inevitably up to me to free myself from all of the wasted time and negative energy I spent in trying to prove my value and worth to them! I’ve been so much happier and appreciative of where I am and what I’ve accomplished on my own since I’ve now begun to see clearer where I came from.


Hi Everyone,

Thank you Amber for your lovely comment, it is much appreciated.

In response to Maria’s comment I would say it is not about placing blame, but rather acknowledging the truth about what happened.

Discounting other people’s pain does make people feel re abused. Validating people’s pain to me, is a powerful medicine which goes a long long way in healing people. Love, support, being believed really are powerful energies which go a long way to healing someone who has been used as a dumping ground by toxic people.

Many years ago the first time I had counselling and told my counsellor of my experiences the overwhelming feeling that hit me was Oh my god, I am being believed. I was expecting my counsellor to start arguing and twisting my statements around every time I opened my mouth to talk about my experiences. I was aged 35 and it was the first time in my life anyone had believed me and supported me. One day, I will never forget she actually got angry and said your mother shit on you all of your life. She couldn’t contain herself!!! Even her showing anger at my mother’s treatment of me, helped me to see that I was telling the truth and needed to heal from the damage.

Maria, I believe that it is not blame but the truth. I believe it is this truth that sets us free from the lies of our abusers. Abusers cannot face the truth of their actions which is why they twist it around and refuse to accept responsibility/accountability for their own dysfunctional behaviour. They damage everyone around them and create hell for those trying to please them.

If every abuser faced up to the lies they told and to the abuse they dish out to everyone, there would be less and less children growing up in terror and fear and stress and anxiety and that is not blame, that is an actual fact of life.


DXS @ comment 142
I have also talked to someone else on this board who left school and is doing very well healing and —
Well, you just inspired me to go and talk to my school about how withdrawing and reinstating works. You can always go back to school. People act like you can’t, like you’re a ‘loser’. But who are those judgemental people anyways. As you say, those were the happiest years of your life. I bet you have no regrets. I want to be happy. I am not happy here. I even recently experienced a teacher insulting my pilates choice. I think that when people see my face light up with life, many are happy for me, but lots of people can’t stand to see others happy. I don’t really want to be a part of that. I see that a lot at university. I think a lot of people go because they think they ‘have to’. But me, I ‘have to’ live my life. That’s all.

I so appreciate your words.

When I look back on my community college years, and in general years where I was more focused on what I wanted and not ‘impressing’ with ‘success’ (maybe this is the topic you were referring to- I can totally relate).
I really admire your strength. And by strength I mean the strength to be happy. It’s actually really difficult especially when people are gunning for you to do what they want, and by virtue of that be unhappy.
I am going to try to do what you are doing.

It’s funny, my aunt is manipulating me much more than my mother right now. But it all comes down to shaming and judgement. I wish I could have support and love and they would be proud of me for being Gillian, not some item (a way to look, a salary). People who objectify like that have no sense of what it is to be human and being around that really hurts me to the core honestly.

Emma- Your words did help, immensely. One question for you: were you able to ‘build your own family’? I think this is what keeps me coming back to them. Last winter when I found this site, I broke off from all but aunt and uncle, whom I was financially dependent on and in denial about their definition of ‘love’. Now that I have broken off from them…I can’t say I am totally free from FOO, just other unhealthy FOO (though I am more careful, less trusting and more ‘businesslike’ than begging for love- I just hate hearing the demeaning comments they slip into literally every sentence).

Mjd- “we are our own family” I don’t know what I think about this. It terrifies me, yet is a bit comforting too?

Really all of these thoughts are so helpful. I am in contact with FOO and it is painful. I keep waiting for that inevitable moment when they push me off the ledge. Resources- money, friends, etc are low so I feel like they are the ‘only’ ones I can go to. But really, I can’t. It’s just when I get desperate, I convince myself they care.

I am really realizing so much writing and reading here- that I am not happy where I am (college) that what I want to do is what I want to do and I should not be ashamed of it (even if sometimes I feel that) and that following your own happiness…is such a risk. But I feel so dead inside, and I want to wake up. Taking care of myself has always been a challenge and I think this is not me being ‘flawed’ but BELIEF SYSTEM that has become a self-fulfilling prophecy causing dependency and abuse from so many around me! So taking care of myself has been a challenge, but really, isn’t having others take care of me MORE of one? Still struggling with that, as I have been in some pretty low horrible places where ‘family’ and ‘being rescued’ sounds so attractive.

Alania- Thank you- your words are very kind. Kindness is such a special quality isn’t it?

Really all of these comments are so fantastic and helpful. I will respond to the rest when I can, i.e. when I have the energy, but please know that all these words mean so much.



Great comments everyone! Love the feedback to Maria as well.

That is awesome! Thank you for sharing!
hugs, Darlene

Hi Emma!
That was exactly how it started for me too; finally someone heard me and agreed that my life had been filled with dysfunction.
Thanks for sharing, hugs, Darlene


general years where I was more focused on what I wanted and not ‘impressing’ with ‘success’ (maybe this is the topic you were referring to- I can totally relate).

Yeah, that’s the “reading between lines” I meant……


In reply to Maria (by the way not the same Maria as me)
You say we mus find healing without blame. It is this misguided view of ‘forgiveness’ without making the perpretator accountable that causes the cycle of abuse to continue. Your pain was not relieved by the person who inflicted it on you being that person was not made accountable. So your pain remained and was released in part by passing on to your children – on a subconcious level perhaps as because you did not know that it was important to make your abuser accountable because you tried to handle your pain without that accountablility – because of that you abused your own child/ren.


@ DXS comment #158:

“One time my mom said to me, “Why are you so sensitive, why do I have to walk on eggshells around you?” My reply? “BECAUSE I SPENT MY WHOLE LIFE WALKING ON EGGSHELLS AROUND YOU!!!!!” ”

I’m so proud of you! I don’t know if I would have been able to react that way. After hearing something so mean, I crumble, which is why I try to avoid them and their blame. Whenever I bring up what they have done, it’s always somehow my fault….it sounds like you are really growing.
I feel a bit as if I am going backwards. I don’t ‘stand up’ (I need their help at the time) but in the back of my head I am trying to be aware of reality, the past, and most of all the fact that put downs and lies are not ok, that actions speak louder than words….



I am happy for you – you sound like you have found your passion with the Pilates. I support you wholeheartedly! I think it’s a wonderful gift to have. It strikes me as so rigid for parents or any others to make a negative judgement about teaching Pilates as a profession. And once you’re doing something that makes you happy and you feel alive – you’ll probably make more friends.

I also am noticing your process of thinking through your school choice/options…..you are so far ahead of where I was when I was your age. I had such a weak sense of self I didn’t even entertain the idea of leaving school. It was just something to endure even though I was miserable. I didn’t even think of leaving as a choice!

I’ve been detaching from many family members over the last few years. One thing that helped me immensely was getting a cat. He is affectionate and funny and it is comforting to have another living being consistently in the household. Made a huge difference. Before that, some days the pain of loneliness was almost unbearable.

I sent a letter to a sibling a few days ago. It doesn’t come across as a “goodbye” letter, but in a way it is. Mostly it was a way to express coming to terms with our lack of relationship. It was a big deal to send it and he is one more family member that I am disengaging from.


My 92 year old father died just recently. He had sexually violated (raped) me from the age of four until sixteen. He continued to try daily until I married at 22 and even tried for years after that. I told my husband after we had been married for 15 years. My brother was going to have twin girls in 1986 and I could not keep my secret any longer.

My darling husband has stayed by my side and fully supported me for the 42 years we have been married. But I found out that my mother has been telling everyone that I am a liar, that we owe them money and that she had been a wonderful grandmother and kept my sons over the years. She has told so many lies about me, my husband and sons that it is just unbelievable. I supposedly stole drugs from my grandparents, etc. etc. etc. We have not seen my parents since 1997 when I almost died from a heart problem brought on by the stress caused by my parents, especially my mother. We would never have left our sons with my parents at any time.

I found out in 1986 that my sister, who is 16 years younger than me, was molested by my father after I left home. Not full blown sex but in its own way is just as destructive. My mother had moved her into their bedroom at the age of 8 because “she missed her big sister”. She is a lesbian and a drug addict. She stole jewelry from our 13 year old niece and my sister-in-law and drugs from my sister-in-law (who has cancer) during the funeral.

Now my mother says either “that the sex was a long time ago, why are you bringing it up now?”or “I am just flat out lying”. She is doing and saying anything to make the rest of my family not want to be around me and is constantly asking my sister-in-law, who has cancer, to do everything for her and take her everywhere. She fits the description of a Narcissistic Personality Disorder to a “T” and is trying to trash my reputation and that of my husband and sons with every breath in her body.

About 10 years ago, my father called and told me that he was so sorry for the things he had done. He told my sister-in-law that he could never apologize enough for the damage he had caused. My mother seems to blame me for everything and is making up things saying she has “proof” of what a liar I am. There is no proof. I would say she is demented, but she has always been this way, divide and conquer.

My husband was in the Navy for 36 years and she is telling everyone that he only re-enlisted to get away from me and “my bullshit lies”. He went to therapy with me for years. Now my husband and sons are furious and says that her name is to never be mentioned in our house ever again.

Why do mothers do this? I never knew how much she hated me. The only reason I am half way normal is that we lived with my grandparents for the first 3 years of my life and they were wonderful people and the closest thing to loving parents I had. How they could raise someone like my mother is amazing. My two uncles are loving and seem normal. I know my mother was not abused so how has she become more damaging psychologically than my father ever was?

She even told my high school counselor that I didn’t need a full scholarship to MIT that was offered. I was supposedly needed too badly at home. I did become a registered nurse at the local junior college, but only because it would have looked odd if I didn’t go to some kind of school after I graduated with honors from my high school. She took every dollar I ever made while I lived at home and resented the fact that I married and left her with my brothers and sister. I had raised them and kept house for her until I married and left. My parents tried everything they could think of to break up my marriage so that I would come back home.

I am 64 going on 94 healthwise with PTSD and this all sounds so crazy when I write it down. But I truly think God blessed me with my husband because of the house of insanity I came from. I feel more betrayed by my mother than by anything my father ever did to me. The daily sex I could deal with. The psychological and emotional abuse are infinitely harder to overcome.

She is 83 and is playing the poor innocent victim to the hilt. She tossed everything of my father’s away within the first week after the funeral and is now demanding to move in with my brother and his wife who has cancer so that they can take care of my mother. She paid nothing for the funeral. My brother paid for it. I did contribute because it was not fair that they should be stuck with everything. My mother has hocked everything else to give money to my sister who in turn buys drugs.

I did get my 13 year old niece and my sister-in-law back after the funeral. I had been told that they wanted nothing to do with me after I told about my father’s proclivities when my niece was born. It has all been lies to keep me away from other members of my family.

My sister is not speaking to me because we backed up my brother for pressing charges for the theft. But she has been forbidden to be in our home for years because of the drugs.

I am so glad to find this website. This plus overcomingsexualabuse.com have helped me more than years of therapists.

Thanks and prayers to all for listening to me,


OMG! After trying to compose letter after letter after letter, you said exactly what I would like for my mother to hear.

2 years ago I got a birthday card. “Happy Birthday, the sorority girls miss you (I stopped taking her to her meetings and I missed them too) (and) you were never put into bed with a strange man, the only strange man in our family was your father.”

That was my 53rd birtday. Who would write something like that on a birthday card????

Last August my mother sent a card with an obituary of someone I once knew and added, “You were right. I was wrong. Karen told me.”
If she was talking about my past abuse, of course I was right. But it had NOTHING to do with being right or wrong. What WAS missing from that note was, “I’m so very sorry I didn’t believe or support you.”

A few months ago, she sent me a “Thinking of You” card and a news paper clipping from Ann Landers on how one should forgive. (Obviously it would fix everything if only I would do just that). At first I just cried that she could still be so insensitive and then I got angry. In the meantime, I have not answered back.

I am still working on the forgiveness part, but to her and the rest of my family it would mean that I accept their dysfunctional ways and would like to rejoin them in that environment. I don’t think so. I have no family support, as what is left of my family is living with her. Go figure.

I had a short phone conversation with her this last March about my son and she commented, “I thought you didn’t want our help.” I told her that I did, but what they had to offer wasn’t healthy. She said nothing to that.

I am continuously looking for healthy ways to survive and heal. Your article was just so darn insightful! Yeah! Thank you for being able to spell it out so articulately!


Hi Linda
Welcome To EFB ~
Thank you for sharing your story. I am so sorry that happened to you and my heart goes out to you. It is crazy when people reject the victims of abuse, but it helps to keep in mind that it is “THEIR CRAZY” and not YOUR crazy. 🙂
Glad you are here!
hugs, Darlene

Hi Stacey
Welcome to EFB~
Thank you for sharing. Forgiveness for me was more of a result of the healing process rather than something I worked on. I had to validate the abuse and damage that I had been subject to (the damage that had never been validated before) before I was even able to look at the whole concept of forgiveness through the lens of truth. I ‘put the whole forgiveness issue on the back burner’ in order to focus on me for once and it worked! That is what this whole site is about; the HOW I overcame and healed, stuff.
Glad you are here,
hugs, Darlene


Linda: All I can say is…. wow. Awful.

Stacey: The way I see it is…. them wanting you to forgive is not about YOU. It’s about “them wanting off the hook.” “They” have to show empathy and remorse before forgiveness is possible. It’s just words and jibber jabber.


This is so very True! I have felt guilty & sought to accept or minimize things that are horrible & unacceptable! How I wish I had either always remembered or remembered my Truth sooner, when there was still time to get far away & not leave other children to suffer & feel as if no one cares & that they’ve been abandoned! But I didn’t & couldn’t & can’t now! I must stay & continue to fight for my Granddaughter now! I don’t bother to form friendships or even consider going on a date or having any kind of relationship because I KNOW what has & would happen & I know I must stay focused on doing what I can to protect & deprogram my Granddaughter after she’s spent time around certain people & started to get confused or forgets what she knows! I Love how you put the Truth out there without worrying that others will get offended because I absolutely agree, those who get upset are either in denial or they are protecting the wrong people/person or they, themselves are a predator 7 often seeking to justify what the are Not doing to protect a child!



Just wanted to answer your question regarding did I create my own family. I have a rewarding career which gives me lots of joy and also have cats, both were strays who needed a home and it felt good getting them to good health and spoiling them! Having good friends I can trust is so important too and making time to do things which are fun and enjoyable and taking care of my emotional needs and parenting myself has been a big priority for me.

I did not have children through choice as I was terrified I would either have a child that is genetically a psychopath and devoid of empathy like some of my FOO.

Hope that helps.

Linda, I am so sorry to hear your story and so happy that you have such a wonderful loving husband and a wonderful relationship with your own children.



Soo husband says to me “your mom isn’t a monster, there were good things in there as well” Seriously!?! I never saw that one coming……..grrrrrrr


Your article resonates so much with me. I have heard so many of those comments whenever I talked about my parents and why I decided to have nothing to do with them. I made the decision to cease contact with my parents and this has resulted in them never seeing my oldest child since age two, now 25 and my youngest never seen or met (age 21).
I suffered at the hands of both my parents and I made a decision that I would not have the same happen to my children. I put them first and felt the only way I could protect them was to cease contact. I still get the reactions from people who are horrified that I made that choice and it seems that the parental bond should stop all common sense for the sake that we should honour our parents on the one day of the year where it seems you have to excuse them for their dysfunction. I am talking about mothers and fathers day where I sometimes feel the most pressure to conform. I have lived without my maternal family most of my adult life and although I can find empathy for the abuse my mother and father suffered I cannot excuse the fact that they continued this on for their own children rather than stop the cycle. This was their choice and whatever the circumstances for them, my life has been affected tremendously by their behaviour. I wish I could say that I had a loving family but I know I do not. I choose to put my energy into my own children and give to them the love that I dreamed of for myself. That comes with kindness, compassion, individuality, understanding, acceptance of who they are and non judgemental. That to me means love. Parents have to earn the right to be loved not just presume it through ownership. I felt liked I was owned and an emotional puppet to be pulled and tugged at the whim of my mother. I wish for the best for my children and when I hear them say, thanks mum, I love you at their own free will it takes away the loss I feel for the family I lost. I am proud of myself for taking a stand against abuse disguised as love. Out of the words of babes ‘my daughter at a tender age said to me…..how many more chances are you going to give your mother’ This was a pivotal moment in my decision making.
I wrote my story to help others with the after affects of a dysfunctional family and the poor self worth it left me with. Never Good Enough…UNTIL NOW!!!. All I can pass on is Do WHAT IS RIGHT FOR YOU!


Forgiving my parents and family has nothing to do with excusing their years of abuse. There is no excuse for the damage it caused me nearly my entire life or any way to justify it.

Forgiving has nothing to do with them and everything to do with me. Their actions no longer stick and ruin me! Forgiveness is a gift I give myself and I am over due.

I have been no contact with them for several months; not out of past anger but for healthy survival. It is time to move on and I have. I pray for them but also know I am not accountable for their mis- treatment or behavior.

I find it unusual to meet people who were raised in a loving home to understand my family abuse. I have rarely met them, contrary to you’re experiences and this article, Darlene.
Thanks for reading, best to all in your healing journey.


I have a question. I really need some help/perspective. Is it wrong if you’re angry at a support person within the family who doesn’t speak up to your abusers and defenders of your abusers? Like if you’ve been scapegoated by your family. They deny everything, put it back on you. And your support knows this is true, tells you that your assessment of things is accurate, and even has personal info that might do something. For example, my brother has a very narrow view of the dysfunction in the family but my great aunt, my support, has years of my mom’s confiding, believes my story, knows it to be true, could perhaps have influence on my brother… Several months ago, when I was going through the confrontation process with my mom and she was dismissing and denying things and my great aunt was privy to all this, my mom called my great aunt up and they talked for a long time, my mom telling her about everything under the sun except what was going on with me, before my aunt felt that my mom was on the verge of something, as she said. She felt that my mom was about to talk about me, so my aunt quickly found a way to hang up, because she couldn’t listen to my mom’s angst, as she put it.

I suddenly went from feeling all this love for her to absolute burning hatred. I was thinking about when I was a teenager. Before my breakdown, my great aunt and my mom were friends. My great aunt and mom would talk a lot. Basically it was like counselling sessions to do with my mom’s issues with her own mother, her childhood, etc. My great aunt would talk about her own experiences from her own dysfunctional background before she broke free. I was usually just sitting around listening. When I was in gr. 12, a friend of mine was scared that I was suicidal and talked to the guidance counselor. I had to go talk to him. I tried and failed to convince him not to call my mom. I was scared and denying my depression. He called my mom, my mom called a whole bunch of family members. Home from school, when I had to talk to my parents, I convinced them everything was fine, and basically the whole thing was packed away. Apparently, my great aunt at the time had found referrals and recommendations, which she gave to my mom and when my aunt asked her about it, my mom said “Alaina says she’s fine.” Recently, my aunt said, “No, you were not fine. You were in dire need of help.” Several months after this episode, my two aunts, my mom and I went to New York. My aunt has also said within the last year that that was when she first noticed something with me. She noticed how every time I had an opportunity to speak, my mom would answer for me and she noticed how I would kind of walk beside/behind her, “At my mom’s skirts,” she said, with hunched shoulders. Another time visiting my great aunt with my mom, in another counseling type conversation, my mom said how she would take her anger out on me for no reason. I said, “Really?” and whatever and then conversation continued on about my mom and her issues. I believe this also happened after the suicide scare. Also, at the end of that year, I really didn’t want to go to university. I wanted to work and travel, but when I told my mom and I saw the look on her face, I started to cry because I knew she didn’t want me to. She told me to at least register and try the first week or something, so of course I continued to live at home and did my B.A. I remember one visit over at my aunt’s, when I’d gone to bed and could hear my mom and aunt talking again, my mom was telling her how with my dad, she could anticipate what he’d say, but with me, she couldn’t control what I’d say or come up with (I don’t remember exact phrasing). When I had my breakdown at 22, the thing that saved my life, that allowed me to fall apart and admit that I wasn’t okay was when this guy I was falling in love with asked me if I was okay. That’s all it took for me to fall apart.

What has bubbled up has been this intense rage basically for those years of being privy to those conversations, where much talk was about healing the inner child sort of stuff, dealing with one’s childhood issues, focus on my mom, the unheard, unseen child, and realizing how much I hated them, my mom and my great aunt, that I thought they were hypocrites and phonies (in these sessions my mom often spoke as if she, too, was an expert on the family dysfunction and her past, etc). When I was 20 or so, I wrote a short story that I understood had its origins in this experience, of being around them, and how for a second they saw something but looked away and focused back on their own conversation. All this anger that she could see this stuff, that she knew I was in “dire need of help” but that everything remained focused entirely on my mom and my mom’s issues.

Ever since after my breakdown, though, my aunt has been here for me constantly, so much support and guidance, like insane amounts. I think I’d be dead without her. But then all this anger came out and the dependency I have felt on her for her support, and how because I hated her and my mom and thought they were phonies, that I never actually would have had a relationship with my great aunt by choice, that I was desperate and needy and she was the only one around helping me. I was really sorry about this and we’ve developed a relationship and I thought I loved her. I said I loved her to pieces and I thought that was real. But I think now it wasn’t maybe? I don’t know. Anyway, I spewed all this anger at her and she’s now very disappointed in me. She says she has nothing to defend, that she gave my mom recommendations and my mom didn’t take them. She said I’ve thrown her under the bus, that I used her (and yes, I see that I did, but it wasn’t really super conscious or anything), that she won’t stand and take this character assassination, that she walks the walk, doesn’t just talk the talk, both in her real life and her professional experience as a counselor.

Am I totally unjustified in feeling anger? She said that she was sorry I was privy to dysfunctional family talks. She said that it took her a long time to figure out how the dysfunction in the family worked (she entered our family when I was in my mid-teens or maybe early, I can’t quite remember). She thinks my timeline is skewed and that she didn’t know what happened to me, she thought maybe I had been sexually molested or something (I think she means that’s what she thought after my breakdown in counseling me then and not that that’s what she thought before I had a breakdown).

I’m just so angry at the entire family system that just let that be. That there was this knowledge (the guidance counselor calling) and it took me maybe 20 min. to convince my parents I was fine and then life went on just as always until I had a breakdown and I could have died, if not for this guy who seemed to care about me, asking me if I was okay. My great aunt obviously feels like she’s taking the fall for what’s gone on, when she’s been the only one helping and supporting me from the goodness of her own heart. And that’s true and I do feel so guilty for the feelings I have but I am angry and I can’t help it. If I am entirely wrong to be angry, and I’ve used her (as I have), I’ll take all the shame of that. Here, in public, I’ll take that. Back during my confrontation with my mom earlier this year, my aunt asked me who I was protecting and why. My immediate thought was “everyone.” Every time I asked myself the answer was “everyone.” I didn’t know why. I didn’t tell her that, though. I told her about my fears around my mom getting herself into a car “accident,” which were my fears specific to my mom but actually I have fears of my entire family system and the system of secrets, which I feel my great aunt protects, although it’s that people have given her their confidence, you know, as a counselor type person.

She tells me she thinks I should go back to talk to the therapist I used to see a couple years ago. She knows about this website, how much it’s helped me and that I’ve had a phone session before with Darlene, and I shared this post with her actually, so she could read this, which freaks me out, but again, like I said I’ll take on the shame if I’m totally off-base and scapegoating her for my parents’ failure…. She’s done so much for me, including most recently finding me somewhere to stay when I move to Montreal, so on one hand I feel like the biggest a**hole alive and yet on the other hand I feel angry and trapped in a cage. I had this moment after I released all my anger, where I told her the stuff about how I’d hated her as a teenager and why and how after all this relationship we’ve had, I love her but I hate her, too, etc. I was sobbing my eyes out when I wrote that email to her. I cried and cried and was mad and cried afterwards, and then I felt this switch in my head, something that said, it’s over, I’m done, and I was in a good mood and yesterday at work I was feeling so good, so much like I had perspective, but I came home to this email from her that just dragged me under, shamed me, etc. Is it so bad that I was angry that I sat around listening to those conversations all about the concern for the inner child and doing one’s personal work to heal from the damage, meanwhile I was sitting there quietly, with all that damage inside that would eventually lead me to my breakdown and that she knew I was in “dire need of help” but didn’t really reach out to me in any significant way until I had a breakdown a handful of years later? Even if she’s the only one who has helped me and helped me a TON… but in terms of dealing with “the family” and their false idea of me and what’s happened, I feel like I’m on my own. She has said it’s about enlightenment, not right and wrong. The rest of the family just aren’t enlightened. She said it was a waste of my time to try to convince people of what I know if they’re not enlightened, that my focus should be on my own healing and making my own life. I know that I do need to focus on my own healing and making my own life, but there’s something here that’s making me feel really caged.

I’m sorry this post is so incredibly long. I hope someone’s reading. I’m feeling very isolated. I don’t know what to do.


I read it Alaina and the following ideas came to mind. Some of them are mine, some are ideas I’ve read and thought about.Anger is a feeling that alerts to “something” being wrong whether that something is external (e.g other people doing stuff) or internal (thoughts and feelings). I’d say without a doubt that knowing someone potentially could have helped more did not is a definite “something wrong”. I don’t know if she could have done more but from where I’m sitting it looks like she was your mother’s counsel before yours. Maybe not such a great counsellor in that she neglected to understand the conflict inherent in also counselling you. Some approaches also favor the relationships more than the individuals. I never really understood why.
I’m also wary about anyone talking about “Enlightenment”. I wonder what she means by it?

I’ve had a couple of experiences with family members (and more recently family friends) who patiently sat and listened to me tell them everything about my relationship with my mother and then either blatantly took her side telling me I should make amends or (and I think this was the worst one) asked me what MY solution was. What I could do to improve things.

I don’t have any better suggestions but i know how tangled this stuff gets. I think having one’s own counsel is a good idea.


Hi Alaina,
I agree with Alice, that having our own counselor is best. I speak from experience, and I know that perhaps this isn’t always the case, but, I also saw my mother’s counselor for a brief time. It was a disaster and she spent the hours lecturing me about forgiveness. NOT a well rounded solution in my opinion. I feel like Darlene in that the forgiveness comes as a result, not a forced issue, before there’s even a chance to sort things out. I feel like our identities are stolen by our mothers or other abusers. It takes a heap of work to sort through that. Anyhow, that’s my experience with counsel who has conflicting interests.

I’m really sorry you’re having pain and anger with these revelations. Did you ask your aunt why she did nothing back when she was suspicious? Something that occurred to me when I was reading your post is that, if I try to apply it to my family, the very same thing would have happened. My mother trained people to be concerned for her. We were in very dysfunctional situation, my dad was an alcoholic, and although it’s not exactly the same as what you experienced, my mother DID have everyone near us trained to weep with her, and ignore her three kids. No one ever asked if we were okay. I wonder if it’s essentially the same scenario in your family? I can imagine people turning their heads and telling themselves not to get involved if they’d seen that one of my siblings or myself were needing help. Not that it’s acceptable, but just that’s the way it is. I think in our culture, we don’t really protect children wholly. We think the parents have it under control, or, perhaps we’d be interfering if we reached out to someone else’s kids.

I don’t know Alaina, I’m sorry I don’t have better answers for you. I’m sort of reaching because some of this stuff is unexplainable.

It angers me sometimes that my middle sister knows everything, yet, offers no support really. Right after my step brother died, I asked her to tell me what her “thank you” card from my mother was like, because mine was absolutely COLD hearted. I wanted to see if it was my imagination, or if it really was that bad. My sister said these words exactly, “I’m not playing that game.” As if it was ME who was playing a game. I was infuriated. It was my MOTHER who’d made a game of it not ME!! It’s things like this that I’ve had to realize there will never be support from my siblings. I think we will end up estranged eventually, and I’ve had to swallow that. It was painful as hell, but, I’m still standing. Yes, it’s very hard to not feel slighted when someone who knows the TRUTH doesn’t do anything but sit on their butt and watch everything fall apart. Or even worse, they have double standards and WE get cheated by them. Ultimately, I’ve had to realize that no one in my immediate family cares to be supportive of me. Such a lonely feeling at first, and the knowledge that people would rather cower to an abuser, than offer support to someone who’s even had their back….. heartbreaking.

I truly wish there was something more I could offer. The whole thing just stinks doesn’t it? I’m sorry you’re hurting.

Love to you Alaina!!

ps ~ did you meet with your cousin?

I’d like to address Marie’s comment #150.

Marie, you wrote this about parents….”They are then abandoned. The children justify it and say they deserve it for their wicked ways”. I think you’ve totally missed the point of the process Marie. It is not my intention to make my mother suffer. If she does suffer, it’s her problem not mine, and she should have thought things through a little more before she verbally beat me down to nothing, and inflicted suffering on ME…. when I was just a child, and she was an ADULT. I still deal with those hateful words in my head daily. Are you saying that I don’t deserve a break, in order to protect my sanity and to work on healing?? If that is what you’re saying, I’d like to know WHY I don’t deserve it. What you’re essentially saying is that if I were in an abusive romantic relationship, I should find a way to overlook it and STAY in the relationship?? You said, “All of it may very well be true…but your condemnation mimics the way say you were condemned and the abuse continues in the veins of all people”. Well, if I applied this to abuse at the hands of someone OTHER than my mother, you’re saying I shouldn’t condemn that person? I shouldn’t find fault or justify my feelings of being wronged?? Exactly what should I do in your opinion??

Marie, my mother used to accuse my dad of sweeping in unexpectedly, stirring up a bunch of crap, then walking out. She said this made him HAPPY….. to keep people in upheaval while he walked away unscathed. I’ve never forgotten that because it really is HER way, rather than my dads. Now, I find myself observing this in others. I hate to say it Marie, but, when I first saw your post, I knew you’d get replies and I made a mental bet to myself that you’d make one comment, then never come back with something substantial to justify it. Wow, I think I was right. I only hope you’re reading this. It seems like you’re one of those people my mother would describe. Happy to swoop in, make unsupported comments, stir people up, then disappear. I wonder what it was that urged you to comment in the first place.

Peace to you,


Thanks, Alice. I am very confused. It’s been 9 years of her counselling. Her view of things has been more or less up to par with what’s on this website, I think. Although I’ve been on here for over a year and just shared it with her this past week; there was always something that made me feel slightly wary. One difference I know between what I’ve had with her and what I’ve had here is that here there’s that guideline of no advice giving; whereas my aunt gives me a lot of advice. Lots of times I’ve asked for it but then regretted afterward, even if the advice was fine… The other difference is that Darlene speaks publicly about all this stuff and doesn’t have any relationship with the dysfunctional system that she came from at all, whereas my great aunt, she’s married in and there’s all the connections. I feel you’re right about the inherent problems, although I don’t think she really could have known or anticipated. This is a very ugly and hurtful situation. I know I’m hurting the crap out of her. Her words now, though, feel so much like she’s trying to get me in line. I’ve written her a few too many emails about this lately and then I was apologizing and she said,

“Alaina STOP THIS!

Be accountable for your actions. Take control of yourself and respond in an adult manner. Now you are blaming the “rage” is because you were angry at me for your “teenage” experience. It is not, it is not something “out there”. It comes from you, right now and you need to “own” that and not blame the choice you made, the words you chose.

I am one who does not stop loving and caring because I have been dumped on. I am not angry, I am very disappointed. Your long email will take time for me to respond to. It is something I do not take lightly and deserve to have opportunity to answer to, which I will at a later date. Today I am painting the outside of our house. Tonight we are going to a dance.

There is absolutely no need to cancel out of the Montreal house sit. It is a wonderful gift that can possibly give you a good Montreal start.”

I feel like I’m being whipped into shape. I also feel like I have no conception of who I am anymore. Maybe it’s not healthy to have a family member more or less be a therapist to you (though I have had separate therapists). Most of our relationship has been based on this. I don’t know who I am without her. I feel like I’ve been living a lot of my life for the last 9 years, thinking about what she will think is healthy and what will make her proud of me, getting her approval for the choices I make. In some ways, I think there was this competition in my head because she was my mom’s counsel first. My aunt said that she tried to help my mom for years, to get her into counselling for her own issues and whatnot but that my mom wouldn’t take her recommendations. My aunt would always say “no change is no change” and I’ve had this thing of not wanting her to say that about me, of wanting her to look at me and see I’m better than my mom, that I’m doing the process that my mom never could do, all those years both my aunt was her confidante/counsellor, as well as I was on my own time (I spent my life with my mom when I was younger and my mom was always talking about her childhood, family stuff, etc. It’s been about 18 years of being embedded in “the past,” either my mom’s or mine and I’m only 31)… I think I’ve been defining myself by her conception of healthy and “the work,” and “walking the walk,” etc. We’ve had such an intense relationship, like thousands of emails all about my issues and what I’m doing in my life to become a healthy, independent person. And yes, I’ve used her, but it almost feels inevitable that I would have to break away from her because first I got my identity all mixed up in my mom and then I got my identity all mixed up in her. I mean, I think that’s what happened. I feel so gross right now, just really “yucky” and “get me out of here” and lost because I really have no idea who I am or what’s happened, what’s reality, etc. I guess I’ve always depended on her to either define that for me or to agree with what I’m saying. It’s such a mess….

Anyway, thank you for your response. About enlightenment, I think she means like when you understand the abuse and how it formed your belief system, and if you don’t do the work, you can’t “get it”. I don’t really know. I always think it’s more about logic and you can explain these things such that others can understand, but they just don’t want to because the system of denial works for them, so they don’t want to give too much consideration to your words.

ugh!… I really appreciate that you responded. I imagine even if she and I can reconcile, a break is needed, although I also feel like there might be no going back at this point. I have no idea. I feel like I’m a terrible person that I did this but also, I wonder why would I feel anger at her for no reason? I feel like a reconciliation would depend on saying that I’m all wrong about my anger… Even her apology, “I’m sorry you were privy to dysfunctional family talks,” gets me angry. Why not, “I’m sorry I engaged in dysfunctional family talks with your mother, without consideration to your own experience”? Like there’s this very subtle difference about personal agency. When I’m frustrated by people who won’t listen to me, she responded with that enlightenment thing, and sometimes she says things like “Shit happens to everyone.” And I just want to say, So what? She says that it’s often when life goes sideways that it opens up the opportunity to do this healing work. So you just keep your mouth shut, and do your own thing, until something goes haywire, like someone has a breakdown? I don’t understand. The cycle continues around us, but they’re just unenlightened, so you keep your mouth shut? I mean, I’ve spoken up, fine, nobody listens to me, so I’m going. But she doesn’t speak up, she keeps it to herself, knowing that the others are unenlightened and maybe down the road one day, there will be a crisis that opens up the opportunity for them to become enlightened. But what if the crisis is a suicide and not a breakdown?


Oh Alaina….. this makes me angry for you!! That whole comment about responding in an adult manner. Grrrr!! It’s so common for people to say we aren’t being adults if we disengage. It’s so easy for them to jump to the conclusion that we’re pouting, or seething with anger, etc. Much of that conclusion is based on things the abuser has covertly implanted into their heads. At least that’s my experience. I want to know what is immature about walking away?? I’d like for anyone to explain that to me with any meaningful justifiable answer.

I don’t know how your aunt came to the conclusion that you’re not being an adult, but, I’m guessing it’s as unfounded as any other joe blow saying it. And, what is it you’re not “owning” according to her?? I don’t understand what she’s saying in the quote. Just curious, and I understand if you don’t want to put it all out here in public.



Thanks, Mimi! I just finished ranting again, so I think I’m spilled out but I really appreciate your words. I think I’m going to meet with my cousin next week. She’s really busy right now. I feel a bit better now about it. After having that crazy 7 hour conversation with my aunt, I was feeling really bogged down by things she said that seemed to me to reflect dysfunction within her own family. My aunt didn’t want to work things out but I actually wrote my uncle the other day and related my concern to him about the dysfunction and things she said, urging him to not take my own story in vain. After I sent it, I decided to also send it to my great aunt, wanting her to go to bat for me, to fight against the dysfunction. I guess I feel like it’s a family system; it should be a family matter. My uncle wrote me back, very nicely but obviously pooh-poohing everything. In a way, though, because he was very civil and caring toward me, and because I got to say what I needed to say, it released some of the weight I was feeling and I feel like I’m capable of actually maybe seeing them before I go so I can see my cousins to say goodbye. I feel like I could handle being around my aunt, just because I had the courage to tell my uncle…. One thing, though, in my uncle’s email, he told me that he didn’t mind but to next time use the “cc” option if I’m going to send a copy of an email to him to anyone else…. I think it’s another situation of a secret supporter, that my great aunt goes along with the dysfunction because, you know, they’re not enlightened yet, even though it was like she really understood everything before. It’s like keep your enlightenment to yourself until someone wants to hear you but how many generations have to go down the tubes? I just don’t know that she’s ever said to anyone, I think Alaina is absolutely correct in her assessments and is doing exactly the right thing, even though that is what she has communicated to me personally in private.


Just read your 2nd post Mimi. Her words were in reference to the fact that I was apologizing to her for not owning up for my anger, saying that my anger was from my teenage years bubbling up. She was right about that. I am angry for NOW, not just for those years, though it did come bubbling up from the teenage years too, though it was in relation. I was turning into a little girl, meek and apologizing and making excuses for my anger. The difference is she thinks my anger is totally unjustifiable and I’m not so sure. I hate it when people tell you to be an adult like that, too, because you feel so beaten down by it that it feels impossible to reach a point of equality.


Alaina, i think that if she is a professional counsellor her ethics are more than a bit shoddy. What she’s not doing is admitting her own mistakes in this scenario. I’m not a fan of “therapist-speak” such as “own it” and “be an adult”. It ought to be clear to her (if she is a therapist) that the path to emotional maturity is frought and even more so for people who have grown up with families like this.
I don’t like the sound of her consistent engagement with you ONLY about dysfunction. I can’t put my finger on it exactly but it sounds like she was getting something out of that. Perhaps she could look at her own desire to be in the “helping”‘profession. A lot of therapists go into it because of their own issues and/or because they get satisfaction from being in a position to influence and have someone follow their advice. This is my personal opinion obviously and I’ve come to it because at one point I really did want to become one. Thinking about that now I see how insane and potentially damaging that would be to someone who really needed help.


Ahhh, it’s a part of those double standards I was talking about, where we ultimately get cheated. Folks with two faces. They want to support us, and they might get it done to our face, yet, they also don’t want to rock the boat, to cause a threat to their OWN status within the system. I don’t agree with it. I have defended both my sisters many times to my mother. The loyalty of a scapegoat. I can more readily defend someone else to her, over defending myself. Somewhere along the line, she convinced me that’s wrong, and others too. Anyhow, I know where you’re coming from on it. It sucks and it is angering. I struggled with identity in my oldest sister for quite a while. She was like a surrogate mother to me. When that collapsed, it was heartbreaking. I felt like I was floundering all alone. No idea who I was. I am thankful for the events that led me out of that identity though, because I am more self reliant than ever. Ultimately, that is where we land….. self reliance, and it’s painful and rewarding all at the same time. I rarely think about that sister now days, and I am sooooo thankful. I remember days when someone would text me, and I’d rush to the phone hoping it was her, wanting to talk things over and repair our relationship. It never happened. She disengaged, so I followed suit. Now, we hardly ever text, and I’m good with that. I don’t WANT any false hope that things could ever go back to the way they were. It wasn’t healthy. I was very reliant on her.

Something I fall back on a lot is the phrase that says this….”you get what you give”. Instead of hashing over in my head if I’ve done the right thing, or if I should reach out more, or less, or not at all, etc. I go back to this same saying. They ALL get what they give. If they give nothing, they get nothing. This approach relieves me from stressing over what they think, if I’ve done the right thing, etc. Not that I never stress, because I certainly do. But, this little phrase helps me in times when I don’t know what to do for sure. In my family, there isn’t a lot of talking. Silence is the big “go to”. There have been times when I emailed a group, and got nothing in response. That’s painful when you put yourself out there and nobody even cares to respond.

Thanks for listening to me too today Alaina. I think I needed to write also.



Thanks, Alice,
I did already think about what you wrote in your 2nd paragraph and I more or less suggested it in one of my angry emails to my great aunt, which was probably one of the things that got to her, because I obviously am slandering her saying that, and I can’t know and she helped me and from her position, I used her and I did, so I don’t know. I know when she gave up on my mom, she told me that my mom said she missed their talks, and my aunt said to me, “No, she missed using me.” There was another friendship of that sort as well. I had a friendship like that, a guy who was always depressed and I told him about my own experiences, encouraging him to go into counselling. Our friendship didn’t start that way, but it went there. He never did anything about it and I got tired of hearing the same response when I’d say, “Hi, how’s it going?”

Our relationship has been about more than just this; we have gotten to know each other as people and spent time together. She shares what she’s up to, and there is the normal relationship stuff. It’s just this has been at the forefront. After she opened up communication with me about this stuff, I just went to her all the time, you know? But I was so broken, so needy, and she was helping me.


Alaina, you apologized to her and her response was that you’re not owning up to your actions, and not being an adult?? In my world, apologies generally mean you ARE owning your words/actions. Unless it comes from a Narc of course. I wonder how these scenarios get so one sided. How is it she’s the authority?? How would it end if you assumed the authority position and told her the same things she’s told you…. she’s not being an adult, and she needs to own her words/actions?? That always stumps me.


Thanks, Mimi. I agree about two faces and double standards. It’s hard, though, about this “get what you give,” because on a personal level, the therapy work she did with me, she gave me endless amounts. It’s just devastating now that I’m being thrown aside by my family (though everyone thinks it’s my choice, but it’s not much of a choice!) and she understands that but there are no actions amongst others, as far as I can tell, to match her private words to me.

I appreciate what you shared about your sister. My great aunt talks about my need for individuation, something she thought I ought to relate to others who don’t answer this scenario, but she was looking at it from the point of view of me and my family, whereas I can see now my need for individuation from her.

Oh… well, my apology was more like grovelling and side-stepping what she wanted me to say but I don’t think I can say what she wants me to say.

Something that also bothered me lately was, you know when I was thinking about smoothing things over with my other aunt. I asked my great aunt what she thought. In the end I wrote my aunt before I heard back from my great aunt, but my great aunt sent all sorts of stuff that I should say, expressing all my gratitude for this, that and the other that my aunt and uncle had given me, and how my aunt needs to hear how much pain I’m in and the need for individuation. I.e. she was really encouraging me to show myself as the grateful victim, such that it was pulling me down, making me think that I was the problem and that I don’t know what’s really going on in the family. I had to spend a bunch of time validating myself and my experience to get myself back up from that. It was my own idea to begin with, just because I wanted to try to smooth things over so I could see my cousins, but my great aunt really seemed gung-ho about it. I could barely read those emails. They made me feel sick, even though they were just a slightly longer version of what I actually did write my aunt on my own, which also made me feel sick (to which the 2nd aunt I actually wrote to, told me I had nothing to apologize for). I think maybe it’s skeptical to encourage someone in that way, particularly because at the same time, she’s also always telling me that I’m not the problem, that I’ve done nothing wrong, that I’m the result of the problem. So, if I’ve done nothing wrong and I’m not the problem, why would she encourage me to apologize and go on and on about how grateful I am to my aunt and uncle for all they have given me, etc.? Even if it was my own idea….. Boy, my head hurts. I think maybe Alice is write that maybe her ethics are shoddy and it’s super scary to write this when I’ve shared this post and she could be reading and yet our relationship up to this point has been “brutal honesty” she said. But it’s like I could be totally and completely honest about every inch of my life and she’d be receptive and considerate towards what I’m saying. But not so now. Even when I was spewing out my anger, I was also apologizing for it and acknowledging the positive I’ve felt and I felt terrible that I had this anger, but I wanted the truth out. I do love her. I mean, I thought I did. I was really sorry that I was thinking and feeling the things I was but I was putting them out to her as this “brutal honesty” about what I was experiencing. I suppose I wanted her to step out of her own shoes and respond to this situation as she would a counsellor but that’s not at all how it’s gone down… Crap. Anyway, I so appreciate getting other voices. This has been going on the last few days and I felt so caged and incapable. I wanted to write on here but I knew she could read it maybe. She told me I should go see my old therapist but it’s been two years and I wanted to talk to you guys not do what she tells me to do. So, here I am, regardless of whether or not she will read this.

Thank you so, so, so much Mimi and Alice. Big, huge hugs. A


oops, when I wrote in paragraph 2 “answer this scenario” I meant agree with this scenario. I.e. agree with my take on things, my parents, etc… Just focus on my need to individuate, as opposed to what my parents are doing wrong, I guess…


Hi Alaina,

I recently was involved with 2 family members who had issues and both were asking my advice. All I could say to both of them was I don’t want to come between you both because one of you will feel betrayed if I side with the other one and all I can say is I will tell the truth so if you both are ok to hear my opinion on how I see it I will give it to you but I don’t think you will like it as I am not going to ignore abusive behaviour. (I am NC, they didnt want the truth but that is really ok). They were forcing me to accept their dysfunction and I wouldn’t do it.

If I had a mother and a daughter talk to me about their issues and felt that I was in the middle and I saw that the daughter was suicidal and the mother was not dealing with the issue or helping her daughter, I would 100% intervene for two reasons, I could not watch someone suffer and secondly I would never be able to forgive myself for not helping a vulnerable person and if that poor teenager killed herself I would find it very hard to forgive myself for my “lack of involvement”. To sit back and watch someone knowing there is dysfunction going on to me seems like enabling and acting like an enabler and I would have to step out of that role. To me it is morally wrong, when you have knowledge and use your free will to decide not to get involved. If we know better I believe we should do better.

My own mother told all of my extended family that I was mentally ill and screwed up and suicidal for years. Not one of them ever contacted me to see if I was ok or even alive. My mother had not contacted me for over 2 years at that time. The irony was I was running a business, having fun, moved into my own home, I had never felt so strong. But shame on those people for not picking up the phone. My mother groomed everyone into believing that she is the victim and I am horrible to her with my rages and my anger and they all feel sorry for her. She is in control of them all and they believe her as she is the perfect victim, the perfect actress, the charismatic diva, the queen of lies.

You have such wisdom Alaina and I wish you strength. Sometimes I am so freaking angry myself and I have learned to express it.

Ive read a lot of your writings over the past year and to me there is no child like communication from you so sounds like you were being patronised if you don’t mind me saying that.

I hope you manage to resolve this situation and feel better soon. EFB is a godsend.



Thank you so much, Emma. Your words are so helpful. EFB IS a godsend. A little over a year ago, my great aunt remarked to me that I “broke through the wall.” Why? Because I started posting on EFB, reading Darlene’s articles. I was disappointed when I shared this post with her because her response was that she was going to spend some more time with it, reading Darlene’s bio, etc., recognizing how it was a place for me to be open and vulnerable and get the courage and encouragement to move forward… It was kind of a let down because it felt like she was holding herself up as superior to it, giving a nod, and saying she’ll check it out some more, when I’d hoped she’d see how awesome this place is and how amazing the work Darlene is doing, all the people she’s reaching and bringing together and empowering… Anyway, thank you so much for your thoughts and validations. I appreciate it. I feel the same way, if I knew that a call from a guidance counsellor had been brushed aside. I would want to reach out and not keep focus on working through the mother’s issues with the grandmother, etc, instead of really addressing the probably more urgent reality at hand. All the years up to my cut-off with my parents, she was guiding me about standing up to my parents and I’d tell her how I was being invalidated and everything, but she kept up a relationship with my parents, not speaking to any of that, except to stand up to any kind of anger/jealousy my mom was putting on her for the relationship that my great aunt and I now had. I.e. it was about not letting my mom walk over her, but again it was for me to learn how to deal with my mom myself. As long as my mom wasn’t walking over her, then everything remained fine. The thing of it is I was very broken, very, very quiet, so I only stood up to abuse in emails, and the abuse was so much emotional neglect. That’s what it’s mostly about in my family—emotional needs being brushed aside. It’s not like seeing someone hit another person and you get in the middle of it. But there’s so much damage all the same.


To everyone, I say thank you for this site and for the support you have given. I have been unable to forgive myself for letting the abuse happen, especially the abuse that my mother has bestowed on me for 64 years. The only way I can survive is to stay from the toxic atmosphere that surrounds my mother and my sister.

I also wanted to mention that my daughter-in-law is one of the kindest most loving people I have ever known. My son told her my story before they married and she listens to me without saying the usual “Honor Thy Father and Mother” or “To Err is Human, To Forgive Divine”. I have heard these comments from other family members and therapists (who should know better).

My husband, sons, daughter-in-law and grandchildren are my salvation. I feel that God has blessed me with my little family because of the house of insanity I came from. Plus I have gotten my sister-in-law and niece back after my father’s funeral. My husband and I went to my father’s funeral for my two brothers and because my father seemed to feel remorse for his actions…the last time I saw either of my parents was in 1997. He at least apologized but she has done nothing but try to destroy me completely. My husband says her name is no longer to be mentioned and the only reason he would go to her funeral is to see her dead. Does this make us wicked? I don’t know and after hearing the things she has said about us makes me not care.

The damage is done and cannot be undone. My doctors say that if I do not completely get away from my mother and my sister, I will die before they do.

I want to thank everyone again for listening.


hi Alaina.

yes the abuse you have described sounds very much like emotional neglect. i learned that none of the adults in my family were prepared to validate me and listen to my truth without twisting it all around and trying to get in my head. i admit i have lost all sense of trust around them and i knew i would forevver be looking for signs of abuse in all future interractions with them now i was an adultwith a heightened need for self protection, which is understandable given my past experiencesof abuse from these people. if the trust is gone it is because they broke me and my trust and that is why i believe it is important that we believe ourselves and validate ourselves.

peace to all of us here at efb.



Welcome to the new commenters!

I have had a busy weekend and today I have to run to the city for a dentist appointment. I am way behind on the comments but will try to catch up later on today.

Hugs, Darlene


Hi All and to Alice #(183):

I have had horrendous experiences when I was younger with many of these “therapists.” One in particular, Julie, mentioned that her family background had several siblings and that money was tight. This Julie seemed to be jealous of me due to the fact that I had been an only child and my parent’s house was in an upper middle-class neighborhood. She had the opinion that my child abuse was the “price” that I had to pay for living in a nicer neighborhood. She was also extremely liberal regarding several social and economic issues. Actually, I tend toward the conservative views (no, I’m not a Christian but Celtic Pagan) I think that a big part of her problem was that she did not want to be challenged or “wrong”, even if I had the stats. to prove my side. Strange since I wasn’t prepared to go to a political debate with the “therapist.” I can remember during one session that she yelled at me, “you’re not that pretty” and so I snapped back, “neither are you!” I think that during my last session with her, she made a comment that she had an expensive house, good husband and kids and that I was some sort of “loser” and that I would NEVER have anything good in life! Well, wrong! She was at least ten years older than me, and not as disadvantaged as I was. I moved to a major city, got hired by a decent company, and have had a couple of serious, major men relationships. (No, I don’t have kids, but I never wanted any!)My biggest accomplishment being that I became a first time homebuyer three years ago.

I can remember another time with a younger man in his thirties, when I had another bad experience. Apparently, he had been trained to analyze people based on their television shows and movie preferences. At the time, I was working like two part-time jobs, renting a roommates place, and really was not a big TV watcher. (I was still doing the family counseling back then.)My parents came out and this “therapist” had the nerve to tell me that “your daughter belongs in a psychiatric hospital” since I could not name TV shows that I watched. I started screaming back at him, “that he had majored in such a “dumb” college major and that if he were actually intelligent that he would have studied a more substantial career to make his parents proud!” Then, he really got angry and we had a shouting match in his office and I stormed out! Looking back I should have said, “Frazier”—(1990’s TV sitcom about a Shrink with many personal issues–quite humorous!)

Then there was a “therapist” named Nancy, from the Catholic Social Services. (There are too many stories to go into here and I basically tried everything.) I really tried when I was younger with family counseling with my mom–(yes, BIG mistake!) Of course, my mom ended up lying to this “therapist” and twisted my words around. My mom wanted sympathy and compassion from this woman. My mom told this woman that I was calling her names like “ugly.” Give me a break and it was the other way around. This “therapist” who was an older, middle-aged woman, took my mom’s side since they are both closer in age. Then Nancy, the “therapist”, never believed a word I said. I could go on and on all day with examples from these “therapists.”

There is a great movie called, ‘The Good Son’, starring child actor Macaulay Culkin. A big part of the movie features a boy talking to a therapist dealing with serious issues in the home. His mother dies and he is taken to his relative’s house to spend the summer. His male cousin is a complete child Sociopath and serial murderer. Nobody believes his story, including his aunt. So, the plot thickens and the boy visits a “therapist”, saying that his cousin is a murderer. However, the evil cousin was clever and visited the “therapist” first, saying that his cousin was depressed and crazy due to his own mother’s recent death. (Sorry, but I won’t give away the ending for those who want to rent the movie- 🙂 ) The point being is that in real life, it seems to be whoever gets to the “therapist” first with their side of the story wins! I have noticed quite a few times this being the case with past acquaintances of mine and their therapy stories.

In my opinion, psychology and social workers, are very easy college majors. It’s NOT like studying a harder major like nursing, accounting, engineering, and so on and there is not much math or science involved. Basically, these students do no more than reading textbooks and few other supplements, taking exams, writing a few papers, and spending some time in social services agencies. I think that they dream of kicking back in a chair and just talking like being on one of those morning women’s talk shows. LOL! Plus, they erroneously believe that they’re ‘helping’ others, when they’re the ones who need the most help!

I truly feel sorry for those who create a dependency relationship with these “therapists.” These people were so lousy and abusive towards me, that they hurt me more than helped me. So, I learned to heal myself through repeatedly going home to my apartment and having a good cry every night. Reading a few of the better self-esteem books and assertiveness books also helped me. But what helped me the most was practicing my true religion of Wicca/Druidry. No, I’m not a Christian and I respect all positive Faiths. I do get very annoyed when people think that Christianity is the only religious choice out there and the only way to heal. Yes, I tried the Baptist Church years ago, after moving to my new state, right out of high school. It was a situation of being ‘out of the frying pan, into the fire’, after being verbally abused by nuns in a Catholic high school. But, I’m not attacking them, it’s just not my spiritual path!

I can remember times when I felt so alone and unwanted in my life. I would read my spiritual book that I carried with me in my purse, and wear a long chain around my neck with a pentacle pendant! and I still do everyday…The most love and support that I have ever received consistently in my life was from my spiritual groups. It was my reason for rolling out of bed in the morning to face another day and was the spiritual glue that holds me altogether–and still is!

Also–Just wanted to give the name of a great author and youtube video person, Daniel Mackler. Daniel was a professional NYC therapist for ten years. He earned a Master’s degree and now his career is talking about the psychology field and the general idiocy of the entire field—very good!

Hugs, Yvonne


Hi Darlene, I agree and I also, believe that people who aren’t ready to fact the truth about their own childhood have adopted the actions of their parents and would be forced to recognize themselves as abusive if they acknoledged the truth about their parents. It’s sad but many survivors choose denial over the truth.



I have found that therapists are often worse than having no help at all. They tend to stereotype us and try to tell us how to respond to our abusers. I find thet very few of us fall into stereotypes and their judgment on how we should behave becomes even more destructive.

Hugs to all…


Thank you Linda! I am healing more from this website after finally being heard and validated. It’s safe here. Have a good night!

Hugs, Yvonne


It is so unfair that people discount the person who was hurt, leaving that person feeling even further invalidated. So what is the best way to deal with the feeling of unfairness, and the desire for your side to be heard? Even though I recognize when someone has done something wrong or unfair to me and that I am not to blame for it, many times the desire to have the other person see and admit they did wrong is a strong factor. I have alot of trouble getting past this and it is frustrating. So any ideas on how to get beyond this? Is there a particular blog on here that would be helpful in dealing with this? It is a major “stuck” point for me.


@ Amber # 198

While, on EFB, people don’t typically give outright “advice” on the comments (as in ‘you SHOULD do this or that”) … we are absolutely encouraged to share our personal experience of how we dealt with things … And you can kind of take from that what would work in your own unique situation …

So, 🙂 on that note … :

I struggled with that feeling of injustice as well … feeling like I needed to prove my case to my FOO – to SHOW that I was right for being hurt by their actions. To prove that I was justified to step away from their craziness. And it endlessly frustrated me that they never ever EVER just ‘got it’ – when it seemed so plain and obvious. (i.e. If you’re mean to people, they won’t want to be around you … duh.) But, one of the greatest ‘aha’ moments I’ve had on my recovery journey thus far has been when I read here on EFB:

Why do we look for validation from the very ones who have been invalidating our feelings our entire life? (not an exact quote, but still …)

… That rung true with me – so very much. I realized that, even in standing up for myself to them (in the way that I had been doing it), was based on this core feeling of wanting them to ‘hear’ me. I realized, if they haven’t ‘heard’ me in 30 years, why would they all of a sudden start? THAT’S what was making me so frustrated … begging for honest love from people who can’t give it to me … people who really don’t even know what it truly means.

Because of this realization I began drawing boundaries with individuals who show the negative traits of my FOO. And, in turn, I filled that empty spot with ones who are supportive and non-judgmental. That has gone a LONG way toward relieving that terrible gut feeling of unfairness … because truly loving individuals will NOT discount or invalidate ones they care about (even if they may not agree, they still respect how YOU feel about your situation). And having the association of genuine, loving friends – is SO very healing.

I don’t know if that has helped any … I hope so. I’ve found that the more I keep reading the articles on EFB – and keep on working on the difficult ‘re-training’ and ‘re-wiring’ of the negative belief system I was raised with … the more whole I feel as a person, the more healthy and stable and happy I feel. I wish you (and everyone else on here) the best!



After years of therapy and searching for someone “official” to validate my experiences I found one. He helped me just by saying that my experiences we valid and that no one should be treated in that way. The one member of my (childhood) family that truly loved me died nearly 3 years ago and it still pains me. I think I would have walked away then if it were not for my family having my children. It pains me to see them experience the same trauma but there is no one to help me. Child services still sides with them. I have to deal with them so that I can be a part of my children’s lives and show them what love and respect really are. I am trying to build my strength so that when my children are free of them I can assist them in taking care of themselves and protect myself by removing these people from my life. This site and your words are helping me. Thank you.


Hi Christina,
Welcome to EFB ~ I hope you will read lots here. There is so much eye opening information and sharing. It was when I saw things through different eyes, and saw the truth that I found so many solutions. 🙂 I share a ton of that here along with so many of the readers/commenters.
hugs, Darlene


I have written so much on this very subject I can’t think about where to even direct you! I let this go by focusing on what actually happened to me and the truth about the damage it caused. It was by validating the damage FOR ME that I was able to realize that I would NEVER prove to them anything other than what they wanted to believe. Their warped version of the truth is how they survive; freedom for me means that their survival isn’t at MY expense anymore.
hugs, Darlene


What I have realized, for me, is that everyone does have a right to their own perspective, position, and how much they want to put themselves out. However much you may yearn for the support and solidarity of others around you, it is entirely their choice how much they want to give to the situation, and as such, to put anger down at their doorstep is most probably misguided, though to walk away without explanation would also be unfair (the latter of which my great aunt has said/acknowledged). I know what I need to do for me and that’s where my focus will be. It’s disappointing to be out on my own now but it is what it is. While I wished for more, I can also look back and be grateful for the level of support that I did receive. My great aunt in particular put up with a lot of wrath coming from my mom, just for having a relationship with me, and she gave a lot of her time, energy, care, love and expertise to help get me up on my feet once I did have my breakdown. She tried to get me to see other counsellors, and while I did, I also came back again and again to her. That she couldn’t go to the “end of the line” with me just is what it is. I understand where my anger at her (and my other aunt, as well) came from but again, they have every right to their own stance. I don’t want to waste my time judging whether or not so-and-so could have done this, that or the other differently, when ultimately it doesn’t help me heal and it’s probably not so black and white, anyway. They are not my parents. All I know is what I have to do for me and that’s all there is to it. I did heap anger on my aunts and said some cruel things to my great aunt in particular, which she didn’t deserve, and for that I’m sorry. I just so badly wanted her to be able to “come with me,” so to speak. But I’m out on my own. And that’s okay. I’ll be alright. I love all my family, and while disappointed, I won’t spend my time judging them for XYZ. They are the way they are for a reason. It doesn’t make it right, nor does it mean I want any part of it; it just means that it’s about them, where they are in their lives, and how much they are able or willing/wanting to do. Whether I may have done something differently is somewhat beside the point; they are themselves, not me. It may anger the crap out of me that my mom just can’t admit the truth and out of that I am losing my entire family, and it may hurt me like crazy to know that I’m not worth it to them to acknowledge and stand by the truth, but that is their decision, and I can’t know what’s going on with and inside them. I’ve hurt people. I’ve made mistakes. I didn’t always understand reality. All you can do is make decisions in your own life once you do know the truth and perhaps one day others will come around, too. (That said, I do understand the need to feel angry and to come to decisions of what you think is right and wrong and what you would do in any given scenario. Being able to feel one’s feelings without shame is vital.) And so I’m going to let go. Other people’s business is other people’s business. I can only do what’s right for me. I may not agree with what other people think, do, say in whatever situation, but that does not mean they don’t have the right to their position. In a way, I feel that you just have to surrender. This is reality. I know the truth of what has happened to me and I don’t need to prove it to others for me to know it. All I can do is accept what is and make decisions based on that. It hurts but it is what it is. I don’t mean to say that abuse is okay, nor protecting abuse, just that I’m not interested in living my life with my fists up, fighting to prove myself or looking down with superiority, defining myself by what I’m not, instead of moving on and defining myself by what I am. To get stuck in this position would probably guarantee that somehow in at least some area of my life, unbeknownst to myself, I’d probably be continuing the dysfunction myself in some other way. At some point you have to let go. Let life be what it is. Choose your own steps… That’s just what I think, anyway…. and it might well be that tomorrow my ideas will change and grow to something else, something more. But this is where I’m at today. I do hope that none of these words come off as discounting or invalidating because that’s not what I mean, not at all. What we’ve experience is real and worthy of validation. It just becomes a waste of time to look for it on the outside (be it via words or actions) if/when it’s not going to come. Love, strength and courage to all. Alaina


I so understand the fight desire for being heard by family – I fought and fought tried everything from pleas to listen to reason to hear actual proof I even tried to blackmail them into a family meeting but they blocked shut me out all of them brothers sisters I am the oldest. It hurt so bad I almost was unable to work. It nearly destroyed me and that thought in the end that that is what they wanted so that they could be viewed as clean image and me as ‘mental’ and imagining stuff etc that motivated me to not let them do that to me too.

So I studied up on how to change this process that would start in the morning and wear at me all day & others like my partner suffered from my pain & huge frustration at the injustice. I was letting them hurt me but I still kept coming up with possible ways to let them see the truth such as offering to pay for polygraph testing (abuser cannot sit polygraph very quick exit with family ranks closed off immediately). The fact is they already know on a subconscious level I mean it sounds ridiculous as they are educated but they simply do not want to know the truth that they already know you are banging your head against a brick wall and they have already sacrificed you for that wall. You however are now free. I mean what sort of an idiot lives behind a wall knowing deep down that that is what they are doing what sort of real life is that in fact.

So seeing them as the fools they are & accepting that they have sacrificed me to keep themselves deluded, repeating and knowing now finally that I am not the problem that they should not have treated me that way and knowing that we can on a physical level with positive affirmations change our mental & physical state from negative to positive…… we are a super computer we are also the controllers of the program we run now that we are adults. So I actually now feel myself jumping in to my thoughts upon waking up and setting the right program – and for how much of a mess I was suicidal at one point and having tried useless therapists etc,,, I have turned the situation around saved my business, my relationship with my partner and myself. They have had too much of my life already no more. I still have a petition online for polygraph testing to reduce sexual abuse of children but my driving force now is more balanced towards saving children rather than justice for me. Belief in myself is replacing my desire for justice and it was necessary to remove myself from those that didn’t believe in me wrapping myself in cotton wool for a while until the new program set in more. I’m actually finding myself feeling happy again its been the most terrible most shocking of years but finally things are looking up and I so wish that for everyone of us who is going through this to know it can happen you just need to take control of your thoughts the second the negative program starts.

Oh and it is by the way now,. here is a link to a really worthwhile petition to consider signing. I don’t need your signature for my personal justice but today’s children at risk do.


Kera #199, thank you for your response and yes it did help! I did have some tears in my eyes as I was reading because the reality is sinking in. Expecting things to work out in the “fair” way is a fairy tale that isn’t going to happen. But I also felt hope, that maybe I could be okay even without that ending.

Darlene, #202, thank you for your insights. The reason I think I can be okay without the fairy tale ending of people realizing that they acted unfairly is because, as you stated, their version of the truth is warped. It is because of their dysfunction that they can’t understand things from my perspective and I’d be beating my head against a brick wall if I kept trying under these conditions. Yes, it hurts to realize this and to start accepting it for what it is. “If I never had it in the first place, I never lost it to begin with” Thanks, Dorothy fom the Wizard of Oz for that one.


I have a problem with the idea of ‘their truth’ or ‘my truth’ as if there are no objective facts of the matter. It feels twisty to me whether “philosophically correct” or not. E.g. If someone gets hit, they get hit.

I’d like to suggest the facts are just that, the feelings or the thoughts about them are where the subjectivity comes in and where the abusers often find a way in to distort the facts and confuse them in their victim’s mind with opinions and feelings. Of course they’re not above changing the facts (otherwise known as ‘lying’) either.


Something that really helped me was to realize that there is ‘THE TRUTH’ as well. There was a time when I doubted that I knew what I knew because I had been convinced that I was wrong ~ not that it hadn’t happened, but that their action was best, or right etc ad that I was wrong to think what they had done was wrong. Deciding that it WAS wrong without them having to agree with me set my feet on a much more solid path. Then I was able to see the actual truth about the definitions of neglect, child abuse, respect, and love. (etc.) and the actual truth is that I had not been loved or respected. YES ~ There is a true truth and as you say, the facts help us to see the truth and cut through the brainwashing. 🙂
Thanks for your comments! hugs, Darlene


The part of this that gets kind of grey for me is this: if I stand up for what happened in the past, knowing that getting acknowledgment is the only way I can possibly move forward in a relationship, but it gets denied, then what of all the other people around me within the family? The ones who see me as the problem, and think I need to come around, who harbour (even just silent) resentment around me— I can’t deal with them, they’re wrong and it’s too painful. But then what about the ones who just sort of shrug their shoulders, it is what it is, and keep living life the way it is? That becomes really painful, too, when you’re losing so much and being scapegoated by others. You just feel like you’re grasping at thin air. When the abuse was emotional neglect, it just leaves the wound wide open. I can say that my mom was wrong to deny the truth and that those who blame me and think I need to fix things are wrong, too, but what about the rest? There’s just this vacuum there I need to get away from, but I don’t know if you can actually talk about them being “wrong”….??


Amber and all,

I am having the hardest time getting past my relationship with my mother. If you read my other posts, I have tried to explain now destructive she has been to all of us and has totally focused her attention to bringing me down. I am the oldest at 64 and was raped by my father from age 4 until 16. He continued to try for years.

My mother walked in on some occasions (the violations were on a daily basis) and has admitted she knew, “but what could she have done? poor litte me”. That is her story to everyone now.

But I think because I have a wonderful little family of my own, she is maybe jealous? that she could not destroy my? I don’t know. I don’t understand that kind of hate. I don’t know why I can love, because she certainly didn’t and doesn’t love me now. I did live with my grandparents (her parents) for the first three years of my life, so maybe I learned to love from them. My brothers have an extremely hard time being close to anyone. My little sister is a Lesbian and has been through so many relationships that we all have lost count. For some reason she backs up my mother in the anger and attempts to destroy me and mine. Maybe because she was only six when I left home, she thinks I deserted her.

But my marriage is the only one that has lasted (42 years) and we married after only knowing each other for six weeks. It was a leap of faith for me. I would rather have died than live with my parents any longer.

Except for my father’s funeral, I have not seen them since 1997. I am close to my brothers, but haven’t seen my sister since 1998. She is a drug addict, alcoholic and thief.

When I talk about stereotypes, I feel like my little sister fits the pattern of the abuse victim. My mother moved her into their bedroom at age six after I married and left. She told a friend at school after my father touched her inappropriately the first time at age eight and the counselor was notified. Nothing else was done, but evidently he never bothered her again. She did not know about me until I told my husband 15 years after we were married. When we told everyone (my younger brother was going to have twin girls) my sister told me her story. She said that she didn’t understand why herself and not me.

From that day on, she has used what happened to me as her excuse for her behaviour. I don’t understand this either. Somehow she blames my for what my dad did to her and doesn’t understand why I can’t forgive my mother.

It is all so complicated. We should all write books! But going back, it seems like when all is said and done, my mother is the main factor in all of our inability to heal. Her motto is “divide and conquer”. She does not ever want to be out of the center of attention. The term “Drama Queen” comes to mind. She cannot stand for anyone to rise above her level. She was rabidly jealous of everything her two older brothers and their wives ever accomplished.

I was an honor graduate and found out later I had been offered a complete scholarship to MIT (this was 1967). My mother told the counselor that I didn’t “need” one and that it would have been too big a hardship for me to leave home.

I did manage to become a RN. But only because it would have looked odd for me to not do something. The school was in our hometown. But she never went to any of my graduations and until the day I got married, my paychecks went to her. She tried everything after I got married to make me come home and is trying to break us up after 42 years! What she does not seem to realize is that everything she says pushes my husband, sons and daughter-in-law further and further away.

She has not seen us since 1997 and has never seen my daughter-in-law or my grandchildren. My father called me several times over the last 10 years to apologize and ask our forgiveness for everything. He died in May and we went to his funeral for my brothers.

It is forbidden by my husband and sons to speak or hear my mother’s name ever again.

Therapists and many others have told me over the years that I will regret not forgiving her. I find this all very judgmental. If they have not walked a mile in my shoes, how can they understand the toxic influence that my mother has had over me for 64 years?

I hope that some of you can understand. We have seen no evidence from my grandparents or her two older brothers of where her narcissistic behaviour comes from. And my sister seems to be the same way, although that may be the drug addiction talking.

I didn’t mean to make this so long. Although as I said, I think we could all write books about out lives and not be able to include everything.

Prayers and hugs to all.


I think that the bystanders in our family that shrug their shoulders or in some warped way blame us when we are the victim – I think it comes down to how we reacted responded to abuse of us. Did it turn us against abuse and give us empathy or did we repress it to the point that it is denied and all must go into that denial including rejecting and abondoning us. The experts say that this is how the cycle continues down through generations almost subconciously maybe the grass really is so much greener where we are and it is them we should feel sorry for. If we have even just 1 person that shows us sometime in our life true love not selfish weak love – then are we not better off. So no I don’t see them as evil I see them as fools not saying that in a mean way. I recommend Daniel Mackler – Denial in the family system http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yL7XFVYLbR8


Thank you for sharing that, Maria.


My mom know about the my dad and what he was doing to us also. Many times she said to me well, I am so glad he messed with other women cause than he left her alone. She too had walked in on my dad raping my sister of course at age 12 it was my sisters fault..I think allot of people do not understand the one person who should have protected her children not only didn’t she did nothing to admit what was going on and just flat felt like it was her kids job to deal with their fathers abuse.
those of us who had this happen not only have had to forgive the dad and deal with the pain of this. we had to forgive the one person who could have helped us our mothers who turned a blind eye to the abuse. I ended up being the last person to take care of my mom. she had a massive stroke.
she had to be in a nursing home five days a week or so I drove by the turn off. tears would stream down my face. I would pray and ask for help to turn the car to see her. I made the trip about once a week to see her. of course out of obligation. I hated it everyday I had to do it.
oneday as I was driving and going through the pain while driving past, I felt the Lord say ginger be a better daughter to her than she was a mother to her. I did after that and it got easier. anything you choose to do. do it for yourself not her.
she died in 2008 I had her buried in a cemetery about 1/4 miles from my house. I have gone by a couple of times once, broke down and really told her off and cried.. it is getting easier now that she is dead..
I fully understand how you feel not forgiving her, it hurts you not her, but being able to forgive is huge and I think it will take along time for you it has for me.. also I always thought ok if I forgive I will let my walls down, no matter how bad you have been hurt or the amount of abuse that you have gone through some part of you still loves her. and your dad. and I think you are afraid if you forgive you will allow them to hurt you again…I fully understand why you can not allow yourself to forgive her at this time. it is called emotional survival…you are protecting yourself & your kids like she did not do for you…..hugs been there done that and no matter what no other person say you have right to who you are and how you feel..:)


I agree about the cycle of abuse in general. In my case, no one seems to know where it came from with my father and especially my mother. I did not know his parents well as he was much older than my mother and myself, so I do not know his history that well. He appeared to have the ability to love, but showed it inappropriately. He was not an alcoholic, so I can see no reason for the sexual abuse other than perhaps having only a juvenile way to show it as with most pedophiles, which begs the question of why he stayed focused on me for so long.

In my mother’s case, her parents and two older brothers were very loving and emotionally and psychologically supportive. Where did her narcissism and emotional and psychological cruelty come from? My sister is sixteen years younger than me and I can only see the drug addiction and alcoholism as an excuse for the things she says. But the true hate comes from my mother and seems more directed toward me. But as far as the cycle of abuse in regards to sexual, emotional and psychological, that seems to have began with my parents and ended with my brothers and especially myself. We seem to be more directed toward our own emotional neglect and do not abuse others. Both of my brothers are more cut off emotionally.

I know all of this is very confusing. Unlike many, my memory of things goes back to almost age two. I have never been able to block about abuse and it comes back to haunt me as I get older. I have had PTSD for years and after seeing my mother at the funeral and especially hearing her voice, the nightmares and panic attacks came back. Everything was down to a dull roar since I had last seen her 16 years ago.

Does it ever completely stop?

Hugs and prayers to all.


Wow, lots of new people and new stuff. I’m reading all of it, if I don’t reply, just know I’m reading and thinking WOW, just WOW! Shaking my head.


Hi There-

I am finding that I am becoming more and more grateful for this blog as time (and life) progresses.
The past few days have been crazy to say the least, lots of challenges to my still shaky newly forming belief system, the one I battle with daily, often from moment to moment, like I’m sure we all do.

I realize that what I’ve learned on here is what so many people decades older than me never learn. I realize that I’ve already been saved so much anguish because I see myself voicing my opinioins to certain people instead of taking the blame— a common question that used to make me see red (now I just see….pink?) was “Well, how is your parents relationship with your sister? Your brother? You, you, you?”

Today I had a frank conversation with a woman, and I realized, she literally doesn’t know what scapegoating is. Just doesn’t understand it. But I think I really almost totally do (? do i really?) so I didn’t feel that rage, that shame, that fear, that guilt (ok, I did but the level was soooo much more tolerable).

I’ve gotten some other good reactions to my ‘explanation’ of my sitation too- some people, whether they’ve been through it or not, understand it.

But if I can in any way relate my post to the entry above, well, all I can say is, it takes a lot of bravery, and I think even more a STRONG STRONG belief system to say what is really up when explaining your situation if you are a victim. Because when people defend the abuser, it hurts like a #$%^&. And there is always that risk. But there are amazing surprising risks too.

It’s funny, I came here to vent about this interaction with this woman, but I am actually finding out how proud I am about how much I’ve learned, how I’m able to let certain discounting comments hurt me so much less, and have the courage to explain.

I think it’s a long hard tough painful road, where we encounter evil NOT ONLY FROM FOO BUT FROM THESE PPL WHO DEFEND THE ABUSERS. We feel like we don’t just have to stand up to our abusers, but to all of the ones who defend them (at least I do-ish/did), so it’s like fighting against a world of people, not an immeadiate family. That can be surprising, and hard, but I am getting stronger!


Thank you so much for your comments. They are really helping me on my journey towards independence -DXS too- (it’s good to have positive support, it makes such a difference)!

Looks like I’ve missed a lot of reading- I haven’t read past Light’s last comment to me. I will catch up, but I am off to pilates training! 🙂

Love to all on EFB,



Maria, thank you for your hopeful post. I like how you took action to alleviate your pain and it worked for you. I like the idea of “reprogramming” thoughts in the morning to have a good day.

Yvonne and Linda – I too had a therapist recently (went to counseling with my mother). My mother said something outrageous, very damaging, and the therapist wanted me to “accept” her and said her comment was “human”. While she had clear boundaries about physical abuse, her boundaries and verbal abuse were fuzzy. While she did validate that I was had been abused in my younger years, I was crying a lot after therapy and finally ended it. Thankfully I have an excellent individual therapist who is very, very supportive. There are some good ones out there.

Pam (and others) – I think I’ve been verbally abusive toward my mother and some others. The anger was/is so intense sometimes – the denial, distortion and blame on me (dealing with sexual abuse, neglect, alcohol) – that I would lash out at my mother. I carried this bad mood around and would be crabby with random clerks, etc. Not proud of this and I don’t like to admit it but we are here for truth, right? Had no outlet with my rage within the family that would be validated.

Linda – I understand. Your story really resonates with me. I wish I could meet you (and others here on the board!).

To all: So so much that you say feels familiar. Most stories have many aspects that I myself have experienced too. This place feels like “home”. I come here for strength.


To Light and all,

I am 64 and never talked back to my mother until the weeks since my father’s funeral. I knew the awful things she said to me and about me all of my life but I never spoke up until now. I emailed four letters to her denying things she had said. She chose to send them with her answers to everyone in the family. Of course, I am wrong and cruel and unChristian and on and on and on. The poor widow who tossed everything reminding anyone of her husband away within three days of the funeral has now seen fit to shout her hate from the rooftops. She is the poor little wronged woman who desperately needs her two sons and her daughter-in-law who has cancer to take care of her.

I am the one who wronged her.


Maria, thanks for posting that. I was thinking along the same lines recently that everyone goes through something like that but I think the degree to which the parents have their eyes open to it makes all the difference.

Reading through some of the other posts by older women is so inspiring to see you come to the understanding of the truth of what went on or was done to you. My mother and grandmother apparently did not have an easy relationship but I don’t remember much of it. My mother told me more than I observed. I remember asking her why if they didn’t get on had my mother invited her to live with us and she answered it was about “duty” and that she owed her so much because her mother had supported her through difficult times. My mother also told me that she had “always supported you Alice” and I just couldn’t see what she meant. I felt absolutely none. It was more like neglect and sometimes worse than that but she insisted. And more recently I asked for examples and she couldn’t give me any.
It’s as if my mother thinks that if she believes something it has to be true whether it is or not.

Per Darlene’s response to my post above, it’s not a question of each of us having “a truth” and reality being somewhere in the middle.

When I asked my mother about her childhood she said it was wonderful.


The information here has been of great help to me. Notable that regardless of if low level or high level abuse not to say that low level is mild I mean say in terms of frequency duration …. but regardless of that the feelings are the same the betrayal is betrayal abuse is abuse even if it only happened once even if non contact…..from sexual to emotional with the latter being harder to identify. So this information helps identify abuse which helps us validate so we can start to heal. So I’m happy to share any information I can that helps as that is what you all have done for me already.


I feel like my post #203 was not helpful for anybody reading this blog and I want to apologize. I feel like I’m being torn apart and I want everything to be “okay” in all directions when it can’t be. I have to choose where I stand and I already have and trying to cushion things doesn’t help. I’m sorry.


What didn’t help me at the worst of all of this was over focus. It is important to accept realise the abuse the damages from it and anger and injustice feelings will follow this realisation and fighting for them the family to see this looking back was part of the process but doing stuff I enjoyed saved me – like photography I get lost in for hours or painting anything that when you do it you get lost doing it my mind stopped,. Exercise also helped a lot as a release. It was like my body missed the chemicals of the depression the abuse caused so I would tell my own mind off for starting off on that whole repeat thing again. I wrote down the conclusions I had come to after hours of inner turmoil so could skip the turmoil & go straight to the conclusions which were that it wasn’t my fault. i was not the problem, no matter what way I had minimised it as not being that bad that simply I would never do such to any child it is them that are wrong not me it is them all of them yes that is how it goes,,,,once my mind grasped this belief firmly (& it is a bit up and down for some time 1 comment from a bystander in denial can set you backwards so aim to keep a circle of only those that believe in you )that’s when I realsied that my life was starting over as the real me I was meant to be now being possible and that was very exciting. It helped to then shift the focus of my statements away from them and onto me of what I deserved the goodness in me that needed to be protected nurtured the stuff that we missed out on or was done wrong conveyed wrong to us about ourselves as children. So yeah positive affirmations even if you don’t believe them say them is what I was told & belief sets in along with enjoyment activity time outs – put them into a daily routine & once recognize cause effect the power we really have once that connection is realized the good stuff for me actually snowballed. Even that horrible emptiness that rejection loss of family feels like – a horrible sinking feeling to remember upon waking up seems to have disappeared i forced it out now its just not there. I mean I remember the feeling but don’t have that feeling & to be honest i can now remember times playing with my brothers and sisters and remember in happiness not sadness at what is no more. Cause that time is no more but I am here for them if they wish to create more good times in truth of course but why why why should we miss out on our own future good times mourning them forever. I may still have set backs but I know how to take control back now. anyone of us that can write a positive sentence can do this or get a support person to help you write some – I know it sounds too ridiculously easy but it worked for me. Pretty much everyone here seems to know the same pain those that are in the midst of it feel and seeing how they got out the other side of this horrible process encouraged me this website is the best Darlene thank you


My mother and grandmother apparently did not have an easy relationship but I don’t remember much of it. My mother told me more than I observed. I remember asking her why if they didn’t get on had my mother invited her to live with us and she answered it was about “duty” and that she owed her so much because her mother had supported her through difficult times. My mother also told me that she had “always supported you Alice” and I just couldn’t see what she meant.

ALICE! I swear you and I have the same mom! I’ve never heard my mom say she “loved” her mother. I’ve always heard the word “duty.” I’ve never felt “love” from my mom, only “obligation.” Anything she did for me was more….. “other people are doing this for their kids, so thusly I must….” My mom made a big deal about things I didn’t care about (other people care about these things so thusly she must act accordingly…) but failed to notice what I *DID* care about.

My grandma loved having grand kids and loved taking us down to her favorite “gossip place.” But I really feel that if birth control would have been more widely available in my Grandma’s time (30’s/40’s), grandma would have been childfree. Just my feeling.


Alice, my mom also says “great childhood, my mother did the best she could….” stuff. But if I do a “Law and Order SVU” interrogation, I get bits and pieces of stuff that doesn’t “fit.” I forced some things out of her that now she is “back pedaling” on…..


Alaina, VALIDATION VALIDATION! Regarding your post #203….. Even if nobody directly commented on it, I’m sure most of us read it and we are probably thinking, “wow, just wow…..” Please don’t worry about whether or not it was helpful to anyone else, sometimes our experiences are unique to us. But it’s helpful for us to read what you posted, even if we can’t relate to it personally.


Hi Alaina
Re – comment 203 ~ I thought it was very clear, very well stated. It was like reading a review of the process of drawing a boundary and what it feels like and it was very much the truth about the whole situation. (mine too). I think what you wrote was very helpful ~ especially to others who are in that situation or who are facing the prospect of being in that situation. It was a tough reality when I realized that preserving the dysfunction was more important to them than I was. But when I became more important to me and stood up to it no matter what, my whole life changed. Through that fire I emerged, whole, healthy and free. I found myself ~ my gifts and my beauty. I owned my own worth and I live it with my face up to the sun. I have real love in my life today. I live!
Thank you for your comments! They fed me. 🙂
Hugs and love, Darlene


DXS, I just kind of sigh when I hear “best I could”, “was just the done thing”, “always loved you”, “supported you in whatever you wanted to do”, “you always pushed me away as a child”,..

I think I have that list down I’ve heard them all so often. I think it’s possible that she does believe these things. She does believe that locking crying kids outside in the rain and the dark was “the done thing”. She does think that a daughter’s will ought to be “broken” in order to make her into a “good” daughter for the family.

It’s at that point that, I am told, we should have “compassion” in the realisation that there’s a reason she believes these things and the reason is likely because she herself was subjected to them. I think that’s likely and if it’s possible to carry both compassion for her (and not in spite of myself) and everything else I feel towards her then why not? It doesn’t however give her a free pass to keep doing it. Which is why I’m currently NC.

I do remember pushing her away after mistreatment and that really annoyed her. I remember her getting hysterical at me because I’d dared throw away a stuffed toy she’d given me (she suddenly claimed it was hers and that I didn’t have the right to do what I wanted with it). I do remember being encouraged in complying with whatever choices they’d made for me but that it would turn to rage if I decided I didn’t in fact want to do those things.


Darlene #225, I am very glad for your happy ending, or maybe I should be saying happy beginning of a new, whole, fulfilling life. Your message gives lots of hope.
One thing I’ve realized is that for practically everything I thought or did, I would run to others to run it past them to see if it was okay. Again, this was not only or actions I wanted to take, but even for thoughts I was thinking! Never did I stop and think that my thoughts should stand on their own, and that I myself could validate what I think and do. This just occurred to me when reading this blog.
I had flashbacks of being hit as a child, but instead of running to someone else to get permission to be upset and angry about this I had a “conversation” with my deceased mother telling her to stop hurting me, I’m little and can’t defend myself. And a little later I told myself I didn’t deserve any of that treatment and nothing I could have done at age four should have resulted in hands flying at my face and a belt to my bottom ending in numerous welts. I was experiencing my right to feel, and say what I felt giving a voice to that four year old. And not asking permission to do it.


Hi Amber!
This is awesome! Thank you so much for sharing! hugs, Darlene


Thanks DXS and Darlene! I’ve been in this state of questioning everything I say and do lately, not to mention think and feel….. I can’t wait to get out of here. I mean literally out of town and also figuratively. I’m done.


That is a normal part of the healing process! It’s a good sign! In my case I did that for a couple of years but it got better all the time. I had to put things/thoughts through my new grid of understanding based on the truth I learned and I always concluded that ‘the alternative’ was worse, and the alternative is always returning to ‘the way it was’. 🙂
hugs, Darlene


Amber, your post #227 really hit home in describing the degree to which our authentic selves have been suppressed through the process of neglect and abuse. In most areas of my life until very recently, when faced with ANY decision, I would find myself thinking ” what would so and so do in this position?’ or I would look around me at a person whose life seemed successful and try to imagine what that person would decide! In desperation for role models I would sometimes think of a tv character who emanated strength and self composure as a source of referencing. It seems Incredible to imagine how one makes it through life with such a compromised sense of self. Recently, through the process of being validated in therapy and through reading these posts, I find myself very quietly making decisions, small ones, without mentally referring to anyone else imaginary or real. It feels amazing, such a small change yet at the same time HUGE for me, it leaves me feeling quietly confident and stress free not feeling I have to justify my self to anyone, as the depth of surety is now coming from within. I am going to say again how grateful I am for this support blog, knowing how others deal with their damage is illuminating, encouraging and validating. Thank you everyone.


Even though I posted on my earlier post, that I am improving (and on some level I am) I am realizing that even though I did explain myself to this women who is a nurse for a mental health care program I am thinking about entering, and did not blow up or keep silent, I am actually very angry. I really need treatment right now, but after what happened, I am afraid and while I know most nurses are not like her at all, I am afraid I will get worse if I enter treatment. I am very wary about the mental health care system and have been told by so many therapists that what happened within family is my fault, sometimes pretty explicitly. THAT is damaging.

I am surprised at how deep my belief system runs and how easily I believe it when people say that kinds of things she said that were very hurtful. Basically she said that whenever anything bad happens (especially in my family it is all my fault). I know that I am in need of treatment right now, I really am, but it’s so hard when the ‘treatment’ feels damaging.

When I talked her her about scapegoating and the doubted me, I asked her, “Don’t you know I’ve tried everything? That when I call them, they hurt me?”
she responded with “All I know is I’ve witnessed miracles” (re: families getting back together) in a way that completely discounted the possiblity that my family is abusive. Like it was up to me to forgive and heal the family- even though their terrifying behavior is neither acknowledged or changed. I worked really hard to keep myself safe from my family and she is shaming me. That hurts, so deep.

It was an outpatient ‘intake’ session, and she was supposed to ask questions. One question, “People are always mad at me” she didn’t ask, just checked the box. I asked her, “Just because you don’t like me and my family is abusive, you think that people are always mad at me (another blaming situation).” Then she said, “Well, you said you didn’t get along with your family”. That too, was really harmful and I don’t think I was ready to hear something so generalizing harsh and cruel. An abusive family does not mean it’ts the scapegoats fault and that everyone hates them or is mad at them (or that the abusive family who is mad at them for NO REASON is mad for a legitimate reason).

Lastly was just how she kept getting all ‘suspicious’ that my family gets along with my sister and brother but not me. “Why why why?”

I do feel really hurt. It’s like I know she’s wrong, but not really. The guilt and self-hate came later, and surprised me, especially because I was able to handle myself so much better than in the past, and she seemed to really feel entitled to insulting me, and not ok with my statement that “we just don’t agree/have the same beliefs on this” which frankly, most rational people are totally ok with when I say! No one agrees on everything, but to get mad at me for not agreeing…..
She also told me I was ‘not normal’- so I’m getting back into this “I’m crazy, bad and ITS ALL MY FAULT” because that is what she is telling me.

I hate this. It feels terrible. Am I getting better, if I just end up right back here? I’m kind of scared. Of her? Maybe, maybe not. Maybe I’m most scared that I’ll end up always believing people who say such hurtful things, and then harming myself (not literally, but not living life which is damaging) as a result of this low self esteem.

Any thoughts would be so appreciated. I am kind of shocked that this reaction came to me so late.
Thanks. Sorry for rambling….


Just another note a lot of what I’m going through looks a lot like Alania’s situation in terms of not feeling validated and almost feeling ‘punished’ by the therapist.

Alania, my heart goes out to you and I hope that you do not take blame for something you didn’t do wrong.
I am in total agreement with Alice in why some therapists (and in my case it was more of a mental health nurse but close enough honestly) go into the profession- makes me think perhaps this woman’s anger at me came from not being able to infulence my beliefs (since truth is what I’d much prefer, not crazy-making and blame for being a victim! 🙁

I am sorry about your experience. There has got to be someone out there who can validate you because that is what you deserve.


Just read Maria’s post- yowza! I know I am opinionated but wow I too wish that there were less ppl who believed these things. When people say these things in person, it’s even worse- they say it with some nice look on their face, like they are intending well, but still very pushy about how you are ‘wrong’. Its meaner to be mean while you’re nice sometimes, because you don’t realize it, or you fall for it.

To Emma’s comment #160 I wanted to share something really valuable I heard someone say recently after I was insulted for wearing shorts (gasp, what whore would do that?!). I was told, the more you know the truth, the less you believe the lies. That is why I am sooo committed to finding the truth, and validating it, believing it myself, knowing it. Comments that are mean can wreck my day, but once healed, I know they will just sound like what they are- lies. Silly, forgettable, in one ear, out the other.

I so agree with everything on that post- thank you so much for it.

Sorry to everyone for so much writing. Life has been just so difficult and this site is helping me a lot- also I am finally getting to read/catch up and respond/react a bit to all the comments after some more than insane days, and reading all your comments is always a gift. 🙂


GDW I read it over very quickly but this doesn’t seem to me like the right therapist for this stuff. Sounds like a “family systems” type. I don’t personally agree with that approach in abuse situations. You said “validation”. I think that is so needed in this situation (at least that is what I have understood).. Plus, when I hear ‘miracle’ my ears perk up. There’s no free lunch with this stuff. I wonder how she accomplishes those miracles? Can you ask questions about what system/approach she uses?


Johanna, post 231, what happens is we stop trusting in our ability to make a good decision, so we look to others to do it for us, or when we run something past someone else, we are looking for them to validate what we are thinking of doing. It sounds like you are taking the I rest steps to overcome this by making some small decisions on your own. We need to get the confidence back that we have the right to make decisions and can make good ones.


Maria, post 221. So well said. Yes overfocus is a big issue for me too. An incredible amount of energy goes into trying to process what is happening and feeling turmoil. They’ve taken up a lot of “head space”. Thank you for sharing how you became healthier. Do you still have contact with your family?

Everyone: about my post 216. Does anyone else have the experience of lashing out at others in anger? Anger from the denial, distortion, and blame. I feel bad about it, and yet it seems understandable too.


Light, I told my mother to F off (after many years).
I think it’s legitimate to feel angry if your boundaries have been walked all over and you have been mistreated. Or of you haven’t been allowed to have boundaries.

What’s different is that in the past I was punished further for getting angry at the way I was treated. But it didn’t change the way things were. My mother considered (and still does) that she had the right to treat me the way she wanted and that I should be obedient (= good daughter) and not get angry (she told me my anger was so extreme that I could really hurt someone – this was not true)
I think there’s a good difference between healthy anger to defend yourself against abuses and the kind that leaks out because you can’t suppress it any more. Or that gets directed at people who are not responsable.
In this process I’ve gone through a lot of anger that should have been directed at my mother and others in the family but instead I had to cow. It’s lessened in intensity with time and learning to self-validate.


Over a year ago I stopped talking to my family except my brother. My family is like Darlene’s…. they let me go in a heartbeat.

Last Christmas I met up with my brother and his family and my son for a meal… My brother was so unbelievably abusive and acted like I was a complete pain in the neck apparently for even existing or taking up any space (I won’t go into details most everyone here can imagine what abuse looks like). Anyway I noticed that when I pulled away from my mother and father that he pulled away also from me…so recently I just stopped calling and guess what? You guessed it—absolutely nothing! I have been there for my brother throughout and as a single mom with a little boy and no family he cannot find it in his heart to be a part of our lives at all.

About a month ago I also confronted a friend who as it appears now, has the same qualities my family has—Willing to drop me in a heartbeat. She has been very sloppy about meeting me on time or at all and often stands me up. I simply left her a message saying (after she stood me up twice in a weekend) to her that she is not very reliable. Guess what? She has not contacted me in a month. Good riddance I say. Healthy relationships conflict now and then and resolutions occur. I have become sick of people I am supposed to smile and pretend with an who consider any conflict (in the slightest) a deal breaker. I guess I have just decided that conflict in the context of a loving relationship is normal an healthy, and the resolution of conflict is an opportunity to strengthen relationships. I will never again have a friend so easily willing to turn their back on me. She was also always excusing my family and telling me for the same of my son that I should speak to them.

As for my FOO, I spent my life devoted to them and there is a void in my life. I have NO family except a 5 year old boy who knows I love him. Still, I am incredibly hurt and worn down from trying SOooooooo hard, for so long, only to be rejected carelessly.


Light, re your post 216 about unleashing anger, whilst I didnt exactly lash out with the anger, mine was expressed through more of a low grade vibration tainting most interactions through the tone of my voice or impatience or trying to assert myself when it felt justified ( ie when there was poor service in a grocery store etc) I took the opportunity to feel the years of pent up anger that had never had a safe outlet. When I finally saw how I was behaving I managed to stop this and instead go deeper into the real feelings that the anger was suppressing, the grief over the abuse and neglect. And I still think awareness is the key for my recovery, seeing when emotional flashbacks are triggered, UNDERSTANDING why, and seeing how I manage those feelings, instead of automatically unconsciously reacting and just perpetuating a sort of abuse in my treatment of others.


Anna #239, I am feeling that emptiness/loneliness too, of having no family. It took me 20+ years to get to this place, since it was first brought up in therapy. At the time I was a new mother, and believed it was wrong to deprive my child of grandparents and they of her. (It has helped tremendously in my daily reading of EFB that I’m not alone in feeling that way – the unconscious, denial based keeping those abusive people in our lives because that was all I knew.) It’s only been weeks since I’m able to see through all of the denial, and I’m pretty raw for the same reasons, knowing that I’ve “lost” my FOO even though they emotionally discarded me from birth, and taught my younger brother to scapegoat me as well. My poor daughter had to grow up watching mom & brother treat me like crap, and she had to endure psychological/emotional abuse and neglect from my dysfunctional inlaws as well. It makes me wish I’d been strong/healed enough to have cut those ties way back then. Even though we’re LC with most and NC with one, a bully who treats us just the way your brother treated you, I know there won’t be a peep out of anyone once I’ve made my new boundaries known (not even ready to think about that move yet, lol). I am with you about being exhausted, having to deal with so many people who need to make us the wrong or “bad” ones. Strength and hugs.


In response to Light – No I do not have contact with any of my family other than my daughter. This time its final unless they are able to be truthful. I had in the past been outcast from family and after the last time I thought we had resolved the physical abuse issues as I had a meeting with them and I thought it was resolved, I had not remembered the sexual abuse at that point. I was dealing with parent abuse from my teenager and wondered where her anger came from although she had bad thing happen which was I thought the reason she took it out on me. Well to cut a long story short this last time I was outcast was initially for a stupid reason I was accused of sending a tx to my mother which I didn’t send (it was from my partner to my mother objecting to what he saw as my mother causing conflict between my child & I & I didn’t even see this nor know about this tx). So the family didn’t believe me (shocked me as I don’t lie) but you see to not believe me the one who imagines things, the one who causes all the problems etc – well that has been programmed into the whole family our whole lives and it was this minor tx incident which identified my mother not just as a liar but also the main abuser & my God she blatently lied saying it was from me yet no one in the family would even meet with us so we could show them it was a lie. So I was out. My partner made a fatal mistake you do not confront or object to ‘mother’ or your out. More of her lies came to light around this time. I saw her in a different light yet all this anger I had for her I din’t know I had came out but other than the lies I didn’t know why. Then I remembered the sexual abuse. It was her my mother. Not anyone can get their head around that I feel kinda alone even amongst the abused. That alone well say people it’s in the past. No it wasn’t because her abuse of me was ongoing in present times as well in terms of emotional the lies the way I confided in her all these years yet how she was communicating as such to rest of family she systmatically sabotaged my relationships within the family & I had finally identified where a lot of the issues I had with my child her anger where a lot of it came from.

The understanding I have come to is that as my mother was abused as a child lost her father at age 5 in the war and from her mother suffered physical abuse confirmed and I suspect sexual abuse – when she had me and my father loved me I think she felt threatened. It’s a shock to realsie my mother is jealous of me her child. Jealous I had a father that had love for me although himself not a healthy ability to love. From age 2 when I was badly physically abused by my father I see now my mother’s part in this She never tried to defend me I recall from attacks I suffered at older age of 5years upward. She did however defend my siblings when he attacked them. Jealous I also suspect of the close relationhsip I have with my child. Turns out she has been lying all these years to my child saying my arm was broken cause I attacked her yet my arm was broken cause I was thrown against a wall by my father for refusing to put down spoon on command at age 5. The lies they told the doctor the school she also told my child making me out to be the problem the cause of what I got – hence my daughter saw no problem with her abuse of me she punched me when I was pregnant and I miscarried.

I went to family for meeting to get support for the abuse she was displaying and also so as a family we could help her by taking a part of things for her such as the factors our end that contributed to her abusiveness from our side such as my choice of partners etc…abuse she witnessed to me from violent partners (side effect of physical abuse I suffered as child), my inability to discipline her as scared would be like my father so she had really no discipline etc… There was also the bad incidient that she suffered that is not our families fault and he is in jail for 8 years. I just wanted to help my child deal with what she had done it will weigh on her she has blocked it for now but she has to take responsibiiity for what she did and forgive herself. I just thought we our family could help her with this but it turns out my mother was so insulted that I had dared to even bring up past stuff at this meeting that she upped the anti against me since then unbeknown to me I never saw it my partner saw it (an typical unobservant male even!) he is 1 person I’m so lucky to have.

The key for me was remembering the sexual abuse. There is no getting around that like with the emotional abuse calling me a liar my mother can get round that using her pity poor old me memory or I don’t feel well don’t upset your mother its all an act. I too used to do anything to protect my mother I loved her as fiercely as any child loves their mother. I’m passed hating her now I’m past grieving her after the hate went. I feel almost nothing now luckily the grief is now minimal for me. You see what I have now is the truth and what I gained from the truth was ME. I am not the problem I can treat myself and be treated with the respect and love I deserve. So I demand it and won’t allow in my space anyone who treats me otherwise even my own child and she knows it. From the truth I have also helped her.

So to Aliana I think it was the one on her own with young child. Keep your boundaries strong your expectations as they should be ..,… high in as how you deserve to be treated as you do and you will I”m sure meet at some point a friend that is deserving of you. It is lonely and it does feel like why am I alone what is wrong with me ,,,, its not you the majority can and often are wrong. It is also so good that your child will be free of negative abusvie influences from your family.


Hi Stitch,
Thank you for the ‘strength and hugs’…makes me feel supported.

Strength and hugs back at ya!



What’s different is that in the past I was punished further for getting angry at the way I was treated. But it didn’t change the way things were. My mother considered (and still does) that she had the right to treat me the way she wanted and that I should be obedient (= good daughter) and not get angry (she told me my anger was so extreme that I could really hurt someone – this was not true)

Just like my mom! I’m not “allowed” to get angry at her. If I tell her I don’t like being treated like X, somehow it’s MY fault…. After all, she IS my mother, I’m “Supposed” to “respect” her. PPPPTTTTHTHHHHHHHHHHH

* ^ .” ;
* ^ ‘ ” <—— that's my PTTTTHHHHH on the screen…
, . * "
. ,


DXS, well they both seem to pull the same BS anyway.
Mine has the go-to “that’s your choice Alice” if I tell her (or rather “told” since that’s now in the past since NC) I was hurt or upset by something she did or said. Or there’s the variant “that’s just the way you see it Alice”. I can’t say which I dislike more. Then there’s the “nonapology” which goes “I’m sorry if you feel that way Alice” (then pick one of the previous two as a punchline.)
To think that today I was thinking to myself, “Ah well perhaps she wasn’t all that bad, maybe I could stay in touch with this newfound strength”. But you know, I’m feeling good and strong because of NC. So I think I’d be able to take it.
No, I did this for a reason, if not several.


My mother died tonight, it has finally happened, she is gone, never to abuse and hate me again.

I am not numb or sad or anything. I have prepared for this time since she has been ill in Dec.
I forgive her, I have posted many times.

*I have such an incredible peace. I have suffered…

I don’t think I will attend her service, out of town; my siblings have NC with me for some time except my bro, calling me just recently to tell me the time is near; he refused to have a truth full conversation regarding the abuse by mom and siblings. I said I knew I was left out of the will, he did not deny. All my relatives have listened to her lies of me throughout my life, especially these last 3 yrs.
I ponder, do I want to be among people who loathe me? My mom has not wanted to see me for 3 nearly years, now she is gone. I am not one to put on airs, I cannot fake, and yes I grieve very, very deep when people, animals I love & have loved me have died.

When he called tonight, I could not answer the call. I was writing and then came to this blog to write my truth.

I “have” let go of the expectation of mother love I never had.

I am in awe of my peace, I have deep compassion for others, get very emotional; my past make up for 60 years! Mom would always say why are you so sensitive, so different?
Now it is over, the pain, grief, trauma, abuse, rejection, criticism, comparison, slander, etc.
I have had this peace but now it is what it is freeing, very!

Many are in different places here in their journey from broken. I have started reading and posting in early Dec. it has helped me. God bless you Darlene for this site.

I hope I receive a comment from someone on my post, if compelled. So many are interacting and it is good.

God grant me the wisdom to follow your will and not the expectations of man. I really don’t want to attend her service, no part of me does. I pray for wisdom.


Follow your heart when deciding wether or not to attend your mum’s funeral, as long as you are NOT staying away because of others, and as long as you know you will not regret the opportunity to possibly finalise the closure of the tormented relationship. I too went through this decision making when my abusive mother died. thinking of you


Hi Le’ah,

You seem to have reached some forgiveness…I am happy for you.

Sometimes death is a blessing.

Strength to you. Hugs



Le’ah, my condolences and glad to hear you are finding peace in her passing. Thinking about whether to attend the funerals of my aunt and my mother, I’m thinking of the time when I will also be confronted with the decision to go or not. At this time I consider there will be no-one there to support me (why would they then if they have not ever?) and no-one to whom my support will be of value. I might wish to go for myself but that’s all. The dead are dead.


My thoughts are with you today. I feel as though I have grieved for the ‘death of my fantasy about having loving parents’ already, but I know that the reality of a death will be a new thing for me. I have often wondered what my reaction and feelings will be when my mother or father dies. I don’t imagine that I will attend the services either since none of my family talks to me. I don’t feel any obligation to go at this point. Nobody in my family is a fan of what I am doing here in this site and I have chosen the bigger picture regardless and I have no regrets!
I am so happy to hear that you feel peace.
Hugs and love,


Leah, I’m sorry for your loss, and by “loss” I mean…… the loss of what you should have had. You are doing better than I would do. I don’t know if I can forgive.


I have been catching up on your conversation with Alice and others and I am reminded of the same process that I came through. That is what I refer to when I talk about ‘coming out of the fog’. Seeing how every action (of mine such as anger or even just saying I didn’t think something was fair) was met with a worse consequence and worse reaction from my mother. She lied about me even to me as well, in order to keep me in the spin of always looking at ME instead of seeing the truth about the relationship that she had with me. j
hugs, Darlene


DXS about forgiveness;
forgiveness was a result of the process for me. It wasn’t something I ‘did’ but rather something that resulted from the healing. It wasn’t at all what I ‘thought’ it would be. In a nut shell, forgiveness to me means that I don’t carry the anger or negative energy anymore. That I can talk about my past without the old pain coming up. That I *I* am free of that crap! It isn’t about them at all. I feel sorry for them, but not at my expense anymore. I don’t feel that I have to be in any sort of relationship with people who insist that they are right. I don’t miss anything about the way it was because I see the truth about the way it was and that they had every chance to try, but they didn’t. I live my life forward today even though my work is so involved in the backwards of the past!
hugs, Darlene


Darlene, RE post 251, WE are your family of fans of this blog, which has been so helpful in so many ways. Thank you so much for the wonderful work you do!


Dear ones,
Thank you for your heart felt comments. I will read them again and cherish your kindness.


Dear ones,
Thank you for all your heart felt comments. I will read them again and cherish your kindness.

I totally agree with you Darlene regarding forgiveness; it is a process and lifelong. We go through so many stages, as I posted earlier & as you said it is about not letting their rejection stick to us; we are free. Forgiveness is for us. It does mean we are wanting to be in the bull ring again to be torn asunder. I have entered back into many times through out my life, hoping they would somehow love me.

My bro left me a message telling me when the service is, of course it is when I am scheduled to work. I have had a health decline these last 3 years and able to only work part time just recently and seasonal;the reason for the family deciding I was not worthy.? So much for that. It is so silly ridiculous: ah, humor is a good thing.

I don’t see myself attending, I could not make the drive alone, my finances are strapped, I need to work now I know I don’t want to go; they do not want me there, all righty, so be it!
I will send cards to my siblings and her 2 sisters, end of story.

I am very tired, will rest and see all it all clearer each moment, still have peace, haven’t cried, but am guarding my heart; you know people insisting I will regret it, or again making me out to be in the wrong. I have not talked to anyone about her death yet, except on this site.

I so much appreciate your support and hope I can contribute financially some day; my initial intention, Bless you so much Darlene.

My bro said on the message today, she looked so peace full dead, this was a reality check; how could she be? Almighty God knows for sure,

I know am in a better place.
The scripture comes to mind; Jesus said, “let the dead bury the dead.”
HE knows and understands and loves. WOW,it is enough for me.
Love and continued healing to all.


Correction: last paragraph,
I know I am in a better place. 🙂


I understand you not attending even if you had the money to go. Seeing the dislike anger at me in the eyes of my siblings (when I love them and don’t deserve their anger) hurts and that would be what I would face when & if I went to my mother’s funeral. And for my mother for what reason would I attend? Unless she had asked forgiveness of course then things could be different. No holding my breath on that outcome.That will be the thing to grieve of course for me when my mother dies will be that there will be no chance then for her to be sorry and love me properly – think I have accepted that already but at the time who knows it will probably still be so disappointing to have death without any chance of reconcillation. Their choice to have it that way denial to the end.


Thank you Maria,
Healing has been a long journey for me to get to this place of peace and finality. I have no family, )except my loving animal family, they love so unconditional) and it is ok.
The torment of experiencing rejection my entire life has come to this, yet I have moved on, we all can.
I cannot look back and regret I was powerless and devoid of love until these last several months, a process. This blog is healing.

My siblings and mother have plotted against me since childhood I was bullied and taunting by them. This is the outcome. No they do not say they are sorry in any way, I am inferior to them, this I now longer believe.


I have gone through much therapy working toward a better me. With that said, a relative of mine who has gone through the same anguish with her family turned to me and for several years we have been each others support or least I thought so. I trusted her, confided in her and believed what she told me. I was duped! She is skilled at playing the sympathy card for her own best interest. I am stressed and so sad that she felt the need to lie/deceive me, with no thought to what she has done to me. There is no respect and never has been. I have since told her I am done. Be careful whom you trust because you never know who really has your back.


Yes, Maria It is the rejection of all family relatives finalizing my decision to not make a Real effort and sacrifice to attend her service. I just started having some curiosity.
I too love my siblings, especially my bro. No one will support me, if

As Darlene posted the more she would reach out to family to attempt to bring uncomfortable truth to light, the more they would slash her; this has been my experience. I only wanted to receive real love. I had enough of we “will pretend we love you” then slander you behind your back.
This has set the stage for her service and why I won’t attend.

Family reunions were most always uncomfortable for me due to this, I have family of social drinkers, this will be no different Let the good times roll!

I don’t want to hog the blog, just need to write now and process. Glad you are here to listen I learn from reading too.
Could use the interaction if you are compelled. Regardless, I will be ok. Some have already experienced, “death of the abuser.” here. some are preparing, all most will experience. Sounds like a best seller! Maybe Darlene will write an article on it.

My mom died at hospice. I was a hospice volunteer for 2 years, until last fall, had to stop, due to health. They heavily medicate to ease the dying process, glad she died there; a direct reason why she “looked” peace full;contrary to her character. My bro said she died alone, we all do really.

I can no longer re-live the “killing” pain of this foundational rejection; mother love/family protection; likely in these next few days, I will have my moments, my body is very exhausted.
It is just not a reality for us, unless we are well enough and fortunate to create it with others. Many years I fought back or succumbed to belong.

Profound: Alice, dead is dead.


I so know your experience.
On top of it all from my mom’s death; the person I trusted the most and have known since 15 has turned her back on me. She was my high school counselor. My mom brought into her office when I began my Sophomore year midterm, due to her putting me in mental institution for 6 months (mom’s greatest feat, to commit me, I actually found much support.)
She was my mentor, friend, trusted her;she testified in court against my parents when I was legally emancipated, age 16. Stood up for me at my first wedding and attended my second. We have been in deep contact all these years, I am 60. Forty five years!
I am a bit anxious she will show up for me mom’s service; she lives near, yes betrayed!

She now only emails me just to snoop, still acts as the counselor, corrects my feelings constantly and apparently is siding with my family because of her comments compounding through the years to present. Contrary to mine, she had a very loving childhood. It is her pride, she has many worldly accomplishments, still the plays counselor with me. I confronted her years ago, she controlled the whole scenario and has. I was too needy to walk.
She has betrayed me. I will not contact her about my mom’s death anytime soon, if ever.
I so understand, don’t blame yourself betrayal is common, especially for those like us who are open to share from the heart> truth.


Hi KateE
I am really sorry that this happened to you.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Linda:
I stopped contact 18 months ago with my abusive ailing mother and my golden child brother. There is nothing that would cause me to see them again, dead or alive. I was a good daughter and sister constantly put down, invalidated, considered “the problem”. Nothing I did as their faithful servant was good or enough. And I better not speak up for myself or talk back or hold them accountable, that was a sign of my craziness. Oh no, there is nothing they or anyone else could say to shame or guilt me back into abusive slavery to them.

As you can see I am still angry. As of yet they are still in my thoughts, their previous actions riling me up now that I see the truth.. that there is nothing wrong with me, its about what happened to me to cause the emotional issues Ive suffered all my life.
Bottom line: Abusive, dysfunctional family pretending they are so wonderful and everyone else is the problem.
We all seem to have the same story, different players. Its amazing and very validating to me to realize its not me! it was never me!
I was SO convinced. So trained to obedience, to never question.
Thank you all for sharing these most private and sensitive things, you have made a difference in my life!!
I have a new job now after 38 months at home, in a community outreach. Very fulfilling. I would not be there if not for this site. -Karen


Hi Karen!
Thanks for the update! It is so great to hear from you and to hear that your new job is fulfilling!
hugs, Darlene


Accountability. Accountability. Accountability. Where does ANYONE get the idea that they are above this? My mom, on the surface, is a nice lady. But when I was a child, a lot of things just didn’t “add up” about her. When I tried to question her, I was told I was imagining things. No…… she wasn’t trying to hurt me (ipso facto, I’m not “allowed” to feel “hurt”) What she doesn’t understand is that even if she was NOT trying to hurt me, I was still hurt. And she calls me “too sensitive.” BUT! Put the shoe on the other foot, if I inadvertently say something that hurts HER……. CRAP HITS THE FAN! And no, she isn’t sensitive…….



I just wanted to say thanks for this great website and the facebook page. Emerging From Broken is a huge help in my recovery. I have suffered with depression, addictions, uncontrollable anger, fear, anxiety, and more for the past three decades, due to my upbringing. I have distanced myself from my family as much as possible, because to be around them brings back all those familiar feelings and memories of the abuse. I suddenly turn into that fearful 12-year old child again when I am in their presence.

It’s just good to know that I’m not alone in my feelings, and that I’m not crazy after all! Yes, material needs were met, but emotional and spiritual ones were not even addressed. No one talked about their emotions, and I was always told that I “was overreacting.” The problem is that no attempt whatsoever was made to ask me how I felt; my feelings were just discounted immediately. I still hold bitterness and resentment towards them for this.

Learning to let go of the pain and take the reins of my life has been the hardest thing that I have ever done. I struggle with black-and-white thinking, assertiveness, and panic attacks on a daily basis. I put up a good front to protect myself from further harm, but it also has hurt me in the process.

I am now involved in twelve step work and it has helped me leaps and bounds. My sponsor is very much like me, coming from a badly broken home as well. I spent so many years on the outside looking in, and now I’m starting to realize it was the programming I was subject to, inadvertent and deliberate. Some days I’m able to catch this right away, while others I struggle endlessly.

I am healing slowly, and these “programs” realize that they are “under attack,” doing their best to keep their foothold in my life. I’m afraid, confused, and angry. I just want them to go away; the sooner the better. This is truly a lesson in patience (something else that is sorely lacking within my life.)

Thank you for all that you do, and to everyone who participates in their own healing, sharing what they have learned. Take care!


DXS we do have (if not the same) eerily similar mothers.
I’ve been digging around in the personality disorder literature and online to try to figure it out. The most glaring characteristic of hers is lack of empathy. A few disorders seem to have it at their core including narcissism. What I also found incredible was when I told her I needed space she was unable to respect that. It’s as if she wants me to know that I have no rights as far as she is concerned, including the right to not have a relationship with her.

It was good to read Karen’s post. I also want to recommend that book on forgiveness, it explains quite well the ways therapists have been pushing it on their patients as well as the ways in which the burden of it is so often placed on the victims and why that might be.


Hi Darlene, I haven’t posted in some time but I still read your blogs. Today I am so sad and down on myself. I walked away from my dysfunctional parents over two years ago, but I at times I see my parents and siblings in pictures on social media sites. My siblings have stayed in touch and on good terms with my parents and recently both my sister and brother were married. I did not attend and I believe it would have done more harm than good for me had I been there. My parents lavish so much money and attention on the remaining siblings. It hurts to see pictures of my mother being loving to them playing the traditional mother role when she abused me in every way possible. Fortune smiles on them, they are all growing quite wealthy and have lavish vacations with each other. I was not given the same opportunities as my younger siblings and sometimes, like today, I feel like it’s unfair that I was the one my mother did not want. What would my life had been like had my mom wanted me? Like my sister’s who is happy and full of security, family and financially? Like my brother’s who was always wanted and given chances and is wealthy, married and happy? Why do I feel like a failure because I am not married at 34, I don’t have the career or location my siblings do in their twenties, and I don’t have a real family of my own? I know the truth, I understand longterm that I saved my life and sanity, and I know I could never go back to that life again. I just feel like the universe is punishing me and raining fortune on my abusers. I just wish I could get a break sometimes. And I feel even worse for writing this pity party.


I told everyone in our family what happened and they either don’t believe me or they don’t care or worse they believe me, but still remain in my family’s life. Why did they all stick with my former family? What are we supposed to do at funerals and weddings when you estrange yourself? How do you explain to innocents why you cannot and do not attend? And it’s usually these occasions where I hear the comments such as, “They were just kids, they didn’t know any better” or “The oldest is the guinea pig” and the “They did the best they could” ” I never saw your mom act like that” etc, etc. I am glad I didn’t attend and yet there was this pain, a new kind that I did not foresee. I forgot that we will have ongoing life events and I will get invitations for weddings, funerals, birthdays and births. I just don’t go, but I miss out seeing my brother or sister in big life events. I’m sad that I won’t have anyone who will attend my life events. Will I even be fortunate to have a big life event? How do I celebrate it with very little people in my life if it does happen? I don’t have a husband. I don’t have children. I don’t speak to my siblings very often. Today I feel I walk alone.



I could have easily written your post.  Not to discount you though.  I can totally empathize.  My family got every opportunity but I was run into the ground.  they did absolutely everything possible to ensure that I was unsuccessful in every way.  Not that I don’t take responsibility for myself, but I have had to accept a life that is less rich financially.  although my family is not smiling and happy on Facebook,  they have everything that they need and want, and somehow seem justified in this regardless of the fact that they did it on my back.  The joke is that the one person who was good to me died in 2008 -my maternal grandfather.  After decades of giving money and property and vacations to my mother and father,  a cultural tradition, at 87 years old he recognized that if he did not do something that I would be left out and get nothing.  My father worked every day, but he also thought he was incredibly smart and gambled hundreds of thousands of dollars on the stock market which he knew nothing about.  When I was growing up I never had new clothes, but my mother and father were very well-dressed.  They went on vacation all the time, had new cars,  and purposely put me down so that not only were they not sharing any of that with me, but so that I was always running in circles trying to get their approval and unable to make my own way.  

So after giving my parents I huge piece of property worth close to $1 million, put me, my brother and two cousins in his will.  My father freaked out and got angry about this… that I was left in the will.  Of course he is also the same man that threw me out as a young teenager and told me that I was going to find out what the world was like implying that I should become a prostitute… 14 years old growing up in the suburbs.one other friend in even remotely a similar position as myself.  

I never became a prostitute.  But, I have been poor my entire life.  My narcissistic grandmother full is the source of all this, now lives in a five bedroom house with two basement apartment rentable, at 93 years old my mother and aunt at her beck and call as they have always been.  She refuses to let go as she has always refused to let go.  The house is my inheritance and I must wait for this evil selfish woman to break down and die.

Please don’t take this the wrong way,  certainly I can earn money… But poverty is not something easily overcome.  Meanwhile this woman, acting pious and humble , has had everything she has ever wanted , and at 93 years old, lives in the lap of luxury .  Meanwhile I’m a single mother struggling to put food on the table with no family support whatsoever . Yes evil is alive and well in the world. Like everyone else here I have given and given and given and given to people who couldn’t care less about me. I’m exhausted.


Hi Coffee
My heart goes out to you ~ I have had this discussion a few times myself about how to celebrate those ‘big events’ and we have had two of our children graduate without any extended family at the events. At the end of the day I had to ask myself what the alternative was… and the alternative was that I put up with things the way that they were, which wasn’t an option anymore. (I know that doesn’t make it any happier or easier)

I also realized that I was judging the big holidays and events like weddings etc. through a false belief system; I believed that lots of people meant lots of love or success in my life, when in truth, our family celebrations however small in attendance, have been really wonderful and full of love and not stressful in the ways they were when the dysfunction was in our lives.

My new relationships are successful because my belief system isn’t full of lies anymore. My relationship with myself has healed which made the biggest difference of all. There is hope!
hang in there!

Love Darlene


Welcome to EFB!
You are certainly not crazy and you are not alone! Glad you are here,
Thanks for sharing!
hugs, Darlene


. The most glaring characteristic of hers is lack of empathy. A few disorders seem to have it at their core including narcissism. What I also found incredible was when I told her I needed space she was unable to respect that. It’s as if she wants me to know that I have no rights as far as she is concerned, including the right to not have a relationship with her.

All my life it was pounded into my head, “Think of how OTHER people might feel…..” It’s only recently I have realized she doesn’t hold herself to this standard. I’ve been doing the same as you, digging in the personality disorder things. I don’t think my mom is narcissistic, but she does display some characteristics.


Here’s a wee jingle poem

Those times are no more
For the good times we are sad
For the bad times we are glad
that they are no more

The times to come
Be times for which we are glad
Not perhaps vast in numbers
But with recognition, feeling and appreciation
true solid safe love
looking back to those old good times
feeling happy not sad


Hi Everyone-

(and in response to Alice’s comment)
The therapist I was speaking of was really more of a nurse/RN who works with a lot of mental health people- she wasn’t working at the place I’m at she was just ‘there for the day’. Phew. I am currently in an intensive outpatient program.

But yeah, it hurt to be invalidated on so many levels. She had told me that when I told her thinking about having literally no one in my life made me feel like life wasn’t worth living, she said that that ‘that wasn’t normal and there are tons of people who just go up into the mountains and don’t talk to any people and they’re fine”. I guess it just hurts to be told that there is ‘something wrong with me’ when so much of what I’ve learned here, and has helped is that the only thing wrong is the abuse- that OUR reactions are appropriate (to the abuse at least, maybe not ideal…!

What set her off was I was explaining my behavior instead of blaming myself. I told her people are social creatures, something I’ve heard from many people and agree with!, and she flat out denied it. So really saying that I was being crazy and nothing about my situation or my life contributed to it. Really pretty damaging things to say, especially in an outpatient facility (I had just been inpatient for three days due to the isolation feelsings and the terror frankly that goes with that- talk about loneliness making your own family!).

I was taking an EFB approach to explaining my feelings (well, when we are a certain way, it’s normal to feel a certain way, and human to react abnormally to unhealthy circumstances) and she wasn’t having any of it. She really was bent on making me seem crazy. IMO a lot of the things she was telling me were really dangerous. Oddly, another nurse said the opposite- her family was mean too, others agreed my reactions were normal, or at least listened. Some told me to just not talk to them.

While there, I called my mother (which was stupid!!!!!) and she said, “You know I just have a lot of things going on right now that are important. This isn’t a good time. Sorry.” She was out to breakfast with my brother, who is doing well it sounds like, and she always has time for him. That was like a shot to the chest, and frankly I was glad I was inpatient when she called.
When I first started on this website I had a lot to say. I remember Darlene explaining to me my mother’s behavior as a way of demonstrating that I had less value than her through actions. I remember the relief I felt reading that, like I finally understood the SICK game she had been playing with me for so long! I was on the train, and I felt like I was able to breathe for the first time in so long. I had a reason to fear her. I still do.

What was said about demonstrating value resonated with me then just as much as it does now.

Anyways, now I am doing outpatient work now, called partial hospitalization program. It’s pretty intensive, but I can tell it is helping me managing my emotions which is really good. Also I can still sort of have a life. And I need it, I need some clarity and sanity. I was just concerned, frankly that it would make me worse (I can tell I”m not alone in this re: therapists!).
I can still do pilates, have my own place, etc. It’s just…that woman really got to me. At EFB we are all about treating eachother like the normal sane human beings that we are who are reacting to horrific treatment in ways that are quite often in my opinion amazing. How is it any of us function after the things we’ve been subjected to? But we do. That to me is the real miracle.

I hope everyone keeps healing- it looks like we have a lot of new members so hi to all of you 🙂


DXS, above all I was taught to defer, to not be *selfish*, to not “boast” of any of my achievements, to speak when spoken to and not otherwise, to curb my “sharp” tongue and to see “the family” as something I had a duty to, despite any mistreatment (denied of course) I’ve been heavily criticized for not complying with all this willingly. Because seriously, who would willingly accept any of it? I still don’t and will not ever.

I have been disinherited and scapegoated when it suits and hailed when it suits (puts them in a good light) and I’m thouroughly fed up with all of that BS and the society that enables it. The society that holds up mothers to less scrutiny than someone who wants to adopt an animal and which assumes only men abuse and that women *must* be personality-disordered to do so.


Alice…. duty duty duty…… I have never heard my mom say she loved her own mother. Everything was, “duty duty duty.” When my own mom did things for me, I never felt love in them, just, “I’m SUPPOSED to do this for you (i.e., what would the neighbors say if I didn’t…..).” That’s why “love” to me feels like an OB-LI-GA-TION and why I “faked it” when I had relationships with guys.

Love isn’t supposed to be “duty.” Mom calls it “love” when it’s really…… “I’m doing this because it’s what everyone else does.” Nothing ever felt “real” on my mom.


DXS, me neither, I never heard my mom say she loved her mother.
And I never said it to mine either. I didn’t love her, beyond the adoration I had for her as a child. I did love my father and my grandmother. I have loved other people. My mother would say that my dislike fell upon her because she was the only person to discipline me. I don’t believe that. I dislike her because of the way she treated me.


Hi Everyone and Anna 272,

All of these recent posts hit me so very close. I don’t feel so bad anymore. I too am in the same boat with all of you women. I am in my 40’s now, single, and for all of my adult life I have been living at a very low-income level. I try to view my finances as being like “the half-full glass.” There are certainly women at my age who have less financially than me. I was held back in my college and career plans due to my Narc. mother and abusers. It’s a miracle that I turned out as well as I have. I earned a B.A. degree like ten years ago, and it’s not the most commercial degree out there, so yes I do work but not at a very high-paid job. I bought my first house three years ago—(from a family inheritance), a one-story, 3/2 combo. in a model home community. I live in suburbia of a major southwest city. Basically, I’m OK. I have learned to economize and live within my means from ‘frugal living’ type websites. My luxuries are mainly used books and yarn for knitting…..but I’m happy. I don’t NEED a man to take care of me—although a long-term relationship would be most welcome–and I’m NOT giving up. I come home at night and it’s peaceful and quiet. It’s my home and I can decorate the way I want and do anything! I have to remind myself all those years ago as a teenager when I would dream of being free and not waking up to another day in the “nightmare” house.

About the hardest thing to deal with has been the constant gossip and criticism behind my back from former neighbors, distant relations, and other past family friends. I get a lot of “she was such an honors student in high school and how come she doesn’t have a high paid profession?” It makes me want to scream my head off and yell that I was a victim. The point is that I turned out well despite my disadvantaged background! I still have dreams of going back to school in a couple of years….and I may consider renting out a bedroom in my house and I can use the company and the extra income….
But all of us here must stop being so hard on ourselves from listening to other’s criticisms. I am happy in my own way and not worrying about what I could have had/should have done/ etc. in the past. I like myself and my life now! Let’s all stay strong! 🙂


Hi Anna 272,

All of these recent posts hit me so very close. I don’t feel so bad anymore. I too am in the same boat with all of you women. I am in my 40’s now, single, and for all of my adult life I have been living at a very low-income level. I try to view my finances as being like “the half-full glass.” There are certainly women at my age who have less financially than me. I was held back in my college and career plans due to my Narc. mother and abusers. It’s a miracle that I turned out as well as I have. I earned a B.A. degree like ten years ago, and it’s not the most commercial degree out there, so yes I do work but not at a very high-paid job. I bought my first house three years ago—(from a family inheritance), a one-story, 3/2 combo. in a model home community. I live in suburbia of a major southwest city. Basically, I’m OK. I have learned to economize and live within my means from ‘frugal living’ type websites. My luxuries are mainly used books and yarn for knitting…..but I’m happy. I don’t NEED a man to take care of me—although a long-term relationship would be most welcome–and I’m NOT giving up. I come home at night and it’s peaceful and quiet. It’s my home and I can decorate the way I want and do anything! I have to remind myself all those years ago as a teenager when I would dream of being free and not waking up to another day in the “nightmare” house.

About the hardest thing to deal with has been the constant gossip and criticism behind my back from former neighbors, distant relations, and other past family friends. I get a lot of “she was such an honors student in high school and how come she doesn’t have a high paid profession?” It makes me want to scream my head off and yell that I was a victim. The point is that I turned out well despite my disadvantaged background! I still have dreams of going back to school in a couple of years….and I may consider renting out a bedroom in my house and I can use the company and the extra income….
But all of us here must stop being so hard on ourselves from listening to other’s criticisms. I am happy in my own way and not worrying about what I could have had/should have done/ etc. in the past. I like myself and my life now! Let’s all stay strong! 🙂


Everyone and Darlene,

I am so thankful for your insights and openness in sharing. It has given me so much more confidence and courage to stand up for myself. I am not alone.

One great thing I observe from the many other successful stories of those who came out of these struggles.

The very areas in which they overcame became their “authority” to help others. It is like pay back time.

Many of these people found their calling and identity through these crisis. It is as if they would not have otherwise
Many thanks !


I’ve always been a bit of a loner, and I guess this chagrined my Mom. She did admit that she wanted me to “Go outside of myself.” I’ve never had a problem being alone, but ever since I went NC with Mom five months ago, I really felt “alone.”

A month ago, I found an article on estrangement of parents by kids, and how parents can try to get their kids back. I sent the article to Mom with a letter asking her to read it, and that if she doesn’t want me in her life, SHE is making that choice, not me. The article basically said, “If your kid cuts you off, there is a reason. You as the parent need to apologize for that reason, even if you think the reason is minor. It may be MAJOR to the kid.”

I doubt Mom will ever apologize to me.


DXS, exactly why parents as well as others should be careful about remarks they pass. What they may consider minor, or a joke, could really be hurting someone. I remember getting glasses and my mother told me I looked ugly. That comment resonates with me decades later. She probably thought it was no big deal. You were wrong Mom.


DXS, I am sorry to hear about your loneliness. I dun really know what to say…

Some months ago, when I decided to let go of the various relationships that were harmful to me, I felt very lonely. I did not intend to cut off the ties; it happened naturally.

But when I had the opportunity of meeting some of these people again, I realise I dun miss them at all nor want to be around the strife.

It shows me that I had deluded myself all these years about having a relationship with them. Actually, I never really did. I now rather have relationships based on love rather my need for frequent human contact. Looking back, I have been selfish in this regard. I want to change that…


i just had this happen. my Aunt came and cornered my husband and I at a family function, to call me out and say i need to stop being angry and accept my mom for who she is. that if i continue to show my anger for her all i am doing is hurting everyone else. and i need to just let it go, because i will never change her and all i am doing is making myself ugly with hate! Back story. my mom was supposed to watch my daughter for my husband and i. so my husband called my mom when we left the house to drop of my daughter, (this is a normal occurrence, so we have to call before we leave) and she played dumb on the phone. what? im not watching her tonight? and we had confirmed with her the night before. so my husband and i knew that she knew. but no one else was there when she said she could watch her. so we said fine we wont bring her over, i called my friend and told her we could not attend her birthday thing, and we went home. then my mom called 2 hours later and her and my aunt and grandma are all out shopping and they had just got done with pedicures. so the truth was pedicures and shopping was more important! and we were supposed to go to my moms for dinner that night and it took all i had to go, we had family visiting (my aunt and grandpa) so i didn’t want to not go and see them. i was very angry and I’m sure it showed, but why is that wrong? so that is when my aunt cornered my husband and i in the kitchen and gave us a talking to! saying that she had to accept her alcoholic family, and she couldn’t be angry anymore. and all im doing is hurting my family by treating my poor mother this way! and that she doesn’t remember telling us she would watch our daughter. i was in tears and felt attacked, my mother walked in saw what was happening smirked and walked out! why am i always the bad guy?? my entire family on my mothers side hates me, because of the nasty things she has told them. we don’t get invited to thanksgiving or xmas. but my mom does, and goes without us.?? it hurts so much to know that my own family doesn’t want me and my family there. it is so hurtful & mean. and then to see photos and messages about their ENTIRE family being there for the holidays. why is it that family can hurt you so much more?



I am sorry that your family is hurting you so much. It sounds very painful. I can relate to some of your experiences, having so many family members against you, and being excluded. The details are different, but I have experienced a fair amount of it myself. I am also seen as “the bad guy”. My therapist says I’m the whistleblower.

It sounds like your aunt was telling you what her experience was (“she had to accept her alcoholic family, and she couldn’t be angry anymore”)…. and therefore you are supposed to do and feel the exact same thing? I don’t understand that line of thinking……you are her? Sounds very judgmental to me; perhaps when you stand up to your family it only highlights to her that she did not and that makes her angry.

There is nothing wrong with feeling angry or with anything you did. Your mother’s smirk sounds awful.


Amber (285), what a thing for your mom to say to you! My mom always pounded into me, “Think of how OTHER people might FEEL before you say something.” Or, I would get the “how do you think that makes me feel?” when I would say something not really intending to hurt her feelings. But, of course, she doesn’t hold herself to those standards. I don’t get it.

AtristB, love versus “just need human contact.” I like it!

Sam, I got a little lost following your story, but bottom line, I really don’t get that line you were told, about, “[you] need to stop being angry and accept [your] mom for who she is. that if [you] continue to show [your] anger for her all [you are] doing is hurting everyone else. and [you] need to just let it go, because [you] will never change her and all [you are] doing is making [yourself] ugly with hate!” I DON’T GET THIS! This is nothing more than “I’m your mother, thou must bow down and respect me” crap that has been passed down and is the subject of a lot of Darlene’s posts.


I hope no one minds but I need to write out my feelings on a few things that are happening in my life. I have a difficult relationship with my parents, I have tried throughout my life (I’m 52) to work through this, I’ve tried talking to them but that doesn’t help and I leave feeling like crap. Recently my mom asked if we could talk she needed to clear the air with me. I have to say I was curious. So I met with her. She explained after much thought that she really had done nothing wrong. I am still numb. I spent eight years “trying” to re-establish a relationship with her. There are no words. I did tell her she is not taking accountability for anything. Thus began looking at other aspects of my life, I let two friends go, I realized that they too were not good for me. I have a better vision for my life and this heavy load I have been carrying is just too much. All I can say is DONE! DONE! DONE!


Reading so many of your earlier posts, I relate so much to what each of you said; me wanna scream “Stop!”.

Alice, DXS (278, 279):

– being called selfish
– not to boast of achievements
– curb my sharp tongue
– see family as something I had a duty

SAM, Light (278, 288):
– family members against you
– being excluded
– being the bad guy
– called whistleblower

All these treatment is like them trying to
– “push us beneath the water” – to suffocate and annihilate our personhood.
– mislabel, falsely accuse, teach us lies, put false guilt and shame, victimise, etc – to confound and belittle us.

As long as we
– feel small
– are confused

we are “on the leash”. we won’t have the courage to stand up to them nor fulfill our dreams.

I recently did a test on my family members by having NC with most of them. They looked for a new scapegoat. :->>>)



This site has helped me and hurt me. It helped me see I am not alone, but unless I within myself forgive the hurt and move on I will never heal. I choose peace it feels better.


ArtistB interesting post. Really like your descriptors of what it feels like – really resonates with me. What was your test and how did it play out?

KateE – I am not sure what you mean by forgiving the hurt. I’ve seen people on this site forgive or not forgive (and grey area in between) and it sounds like there can be healing. For me, with my growth, I needed to forgive me first and stop taking on the bad guy persona.


Apparently my mother’s mental illness, whatever it is, has her blaming, and I mean literally says that her and my father, and my grandmother and granfather have done nothing to me. They are blameless , and our estrangement is entirely my fault 200%

What kind of fool believes crap like that! A woman and a man have children and they are entirely at odds and it is completely the offspringd fault on every level. That’s a joke really.

I guess it’s a case of abuser blaming the victim. They defend themsrlves as good people, married people, religious. Possibly even, every time someone defends the abuser and/or blames the victim, it’s more abuse? Seems like it.


I went through a similar experience; redefining my relationship with my mother even though it meant I would no longer be able to contact my father and siblings with whom I did have loving relationships. I went to LCSW therapy to manage the heartache and the confusion even though in my mom’s eyes, this constituted familial betrayal (i.e. tattletaling). One of the bravest and best decisions I ever made. My mom did relent three years later, and open the relationship door again. She still isn’t good at self-love but she is getting better. She doesn’t belittle me any more, and is trying hard to love me even though love is admittedly a foreign concept for her. More importantly, I am finally able to love her. I tried to love her before, but my “love” was merely the suppression of pain and hurt–and full of self-hatred. Once I got help and healed, found peace with my life, I was finally able to see my mom clearly–without resentment or fear, I was able to see how broken she was and I felt a spontaneous surge of compassion. I think this is the truth that we must discover in order to heal fully: forgiveness doesn’t mean forgetting, letting the abuse continue, but it does mean love. The number one victim of abuse is the abuser–only great source pain can provoke someone to hurt another, and, moreover, to inflict is more damaging to the soul than to be inflicted upon. My mom, herself a victim initially (daughter of an abusive alcoholic mother), now has to live with the guilt of a child abuser as well. I get to live with the joy of someone who broke the cycle, who triumphed over the darkness. I am no longer a victim, but I can offer my light and strength to those who need it–my mother included–with sincere love. In the end, Love is everything.


Congratulations Ana but please be careful… I do not want to sound pessimistic but I learned the hard way that abusers do not change. I think we should focus on ourselves more, on our life, our needs, our self- development. Let’s stop trying to gain respect and love from abusers, let’s stop trying to understand them, to give them another chance, to rebuilt etc. It is a waste of our life. The time for building such bond was in our childhood, they blew it big time. Most of us keep on giving them chances instead of focusing on our recovery. I do wish you all the best naturally and hopefully your case will be different.


Ana, I want to get to where you are. I want to see that my mom has issues. I believe this in my head, but not my heart. I won’t believe it in my heart until SHE admits it. I’m at the point where I want to help her, but only if SHE admits it. She will probably never admit it.

When I started N/C with her, I felt so alone. I’m not feeling that as much.

I am starting to think that Mom saw parts of herself in me that she didn’t like and wanted me to NOT have those traits. That’s why she tried to force me to be this “other” person. On the surface she SAYS she loves me, but I’ve never “felt” it.


Hey, Everyone! Here is something a little different. I’ve discovered that my nsis’s husband is cheating on her. Quite by accident. I do not have really any relationship with her, nor do I wish to. I have decided to keep my mouth shut. I know we are not supposed to give advice here, but I guess I just wanted some support in the situation?


Oh my!!! What a piece of information to have. I don’t know what I would do in that case. I’m imagining it with my own golden child, Nsis. I have no idea what I’d do. I would probably do just what you’ve decided. With my nsis, I think perhaps she wouldn’t even believe me and it would end up causing more rifts between us. WOW!! I would be alarmed for sure!



Janie, I’m with Mimi. She would not believe you and would accuse you of …… ‘something’ if you told her.


Hi Janie. Does he know that you know?


I am with DXS on that one


I had to divorce from my family or it would have killed me. I was too blind to see it for a long time. I thought my mother loved me because she told me she did and she told me that she would never lie to me. I never questioned her because when my sister questioned her, she got the living crap beaten out of her. So I never questioned my mother. She lied to me, manipulated me, controlled me and drove our family apart through all of her lies and controlling behavior and her narcissism. I learned some very hard and painful lessons. I didn’t know my family was messed up. No one ever said “hey your mother is messed up. Or – your mother shouldn’t treat you the way she does.” I had no idea. I was naïve and trusting. I believed everything she said. She even lied to me about being born on mothers day. She told me I was her special gift and was born on mothers day. That was a lie too. I was born the Saturday before and barely at that – at 3 in the morning. I was like Darlene’s mom. I went along with how my mother treated me and never questioned it. No one else ever questioned it. She told me she loved me all the time but she also cursed at me, called me names, told me I was stupid and that I would never amount to anything and could never do anything write. I truly thought that was what love was. There was no one else around to counter all her lies and abuse. My father was “checked out” emotionally – not engaged at all. He bought her everything she wanted to keep her happy. It took 40 years for me to see the truth. I was devastated. All those years I believed that my mother loved me when the truth is that she used me and lied to me and ended up trying to destroy my marriage. The pain of being betrayed after all those years has almost destroyed me. I loved and trusted my parents because I thought that is what a good son was supposed to do. I obeyed. I didn’t question. I complied. I tried to do everything right. I basically gave up my life to love and support them and in return they ruined my childhood and a big part of my adult life and tried to destroy my marriage. Nice parents huh ? We didn’t live near any family when I was a child so no one else knew what was going on. No one had any idea. No one ever questioned why I kept going to the nurses office at school with stomach aches all the time. They would just let me lay there till school ended and then I would go home. Discovering the real truth has been devastating for me. I believed so many lies for so long that I cant believe my life has turned out like this. I have lost my job, almost all my friends, spent thousands of dollars in therapy and on medication and have had very little support in trying to untangle this nightmare of lies and deceit, other than my wife. Sometimes I just shake my head and cant believe what I had to live with for so many years. I cant believe people can be so sick, so demented, so unwilling to face the truth and deal with it. My mother never took responsibility for anything. it was always someone else’s fault. I believed her. I never questioned her. She had me in a spell. I didn’t know how deceived I was until I caught her in a lie and then she began backpedaling and telling more lies…that’s when the truth started to sink in…I have been in recovery ever since. The depression and sadness have been so overwhelming this year there have been many times I wanted to die. I would cry for hours and hours from the pain. I don’t know if I will ever fully recover. I needed to share this. I need to share my story. I want to get well. I want to get my life back. I deserve it. I have been to hell and back. I just want to heal so I can be not in pain all the time and perhaps help others one day.


Light (293)

Without going into details:

When I detect what I think is abuse, I test them.

2 possibilities. Either I misconstrued (because I am a recovering victim) or it is genuine abuse.

For a recovering victim, it is easy to misconstrue the intentions of someone who loves you unconditionally because perception is skewed.

Eg. I had a wonderful, nurturing boyfriend. But very often, I find myself falsely accusing him. He ends up being hurt, apologising or he explains his intention. Then I realised i misunderstood him and say sorry.

What had happened is: I, the rejected, end up rejecting others (him) in close relationships.

In cases of genuine abuse, the response is different. Nasty, dismissive, excuses.

Abusers gang up against the scapegoat. It is part of the power trip.
If you, the scapegoat, disappears from the scene, they have to find a new scapegoat.

This happens until the team splits. When you see the gang split, you know there is likely a change of the scapegoat.

That is why Abusers can’t work or live with each other. Much less with themselves.

Eg. Of struggling to live with or not being able to live with oneself:

As a victim, I struggle with thoughts of picking on others when they might not have done anything wrong. Because the abuse had been internalised.

(with healing, this becomes less frequent)

Hope this helps.



@Artist B: thank you for this post. I just got up thinking that maybe I should not get rid of my sister just my mother….but it is not true it is a gang. And my sister is just as guilty as mother, I just see her less often and she does not use the sreaming voice that often.

Excellent test! Simple yet….so smart 😉


I used to wonder what my sister and my mother feel when they do and say all these hurtful things to me? Do they feel better about themselves?
I cannot imagine myself ever using that tone of voice, saying such things, with or let alone without a reason. I now know it makes no sense to make any excuses (“she did not mean that” oh yes she did…., it is hard to express emotions for her….well apparently not.she has no problems with being abusive and that’s a hell of a lot of emotions right there)



My penny’s thought:

My own experience tells me that the victim very often becomes an abuser as well.

I used to think that I cannot ever imagine myself using that tone of voice with others, hurt others, too. But I was wrong.
The realisation comes when I am no longer “scapegoated” or where I am in a “stronger” or higher position.

Several examples:
1. I am among many more loving / reasonable people now.
2. I had a very efficient, humble secretary assigned to me at work.
3. I had an excellent ex-boyfriend. He is a humble person.

In 1. I find myself constantly criticising them, fantasising about what they had meant by not doing / doing this & that, and how I can protect myself, confront etc.

Many times, I found out I am wrong about them.

In 2. and 3. I was tyrannical, oerfectionistic, sarcastic, nit picking … you name it !

When authority or power was given to me, I abused it.

Power exposes the abuser inside.



Just want to say to Dave – 26th August comment, that my siblings have all suffered at the hands of my mother. I can understand everything you said and I know what it is like to be depressed and not wanting to live because of the toxic effects of a so called parent. I have not seen my mother in many years because she cannot be trusted. I found toxic parents to be a good book.
It really is not about you but the exertion of her power on you to make herself feel better and feed her needs. We take it on as if we are failures as children and not good enough. We are meant to be loved and because of the media portrayal of motherhood we feel even more worthless. I wrote a book to help myself heal and i think it would really help you. It is called Never Good Enough Until Now. I speak very openly about my childhood and ongoing addiction to getting my mothers approval. It never happened. I just kept getting lower in life, until I realised it was my own thoughts that were stopping me from loving me. I allowed her to ruin my life even though I had not seen her for well over 20 years. I am free now and very happy. I do not see her or my siblings. Please just keep being strong! You are not alone.


Dave, wow and wow. I find it interesting that you say you loved your parents. I have never “felt” love, not for them or from them. Didn’t feel hate, just felt ZERO. NEUTRAL. Since you loved your parents, this must really be devastating. For me, I’m just going from zero to down.

I tried to tell my parents that I felt no love from/to them (and this was a “cry for help”, only to get screamed at and told, “how do you think that makes me feel?” Thus, I learned that “love” was not anything you “felt” but was something that you “demonstrated” or maybe I should say “acted, put on a show.”

When I was a child, I did feel what I believe to be genuine love for my pets. Didn’t feel it for my family. I have a cat now, I feel genuine love for it.


WoW Dave…that’s a tough thing to come to terms with.
Something very similar has happened to me for the past 50 years. I was always the bad one. The crazy emotional one that my family had to put up with.
Oh my gosh in the past 18 months of no contact it has be upsetting to figure it all out. That there was never anything wrong with me. I was emotionally used and abused from the time I was a small child. They had me coping by self abusing by age 10. That was used as proof that they were right about me, that I was defective, crazy etc.
It was very painful to realize that my mother was my chief abuser.
But when I looked at the facts, it was true as far back as I could remember..incident after incident.
Being raised in that isolated abusive system, I knew it wasn’t right but there was no choice, no one to tell, no one to help. You just learn to survive and get away any way you can. I did finally.
Again more proof of my badness.
My parents were sick dysfunctional abusers.
I did nothing to deserve that treatment except be a child in that house.
I know that now. I wish I’d realized all his sooner. I mean I really understand it in my heart now.
Most of the emotional internal stress has gone away too.
I broke away in 1994 because of the bad treatment. I just couldn’t stand it any more. But I still let them use/abuse me until I saw
what was going on.
They are tricky and turn it all around where they are blameless victims and I am crazy.
I still think about them. But I have stopped my bad coping when triggered because I see the thought process behind it. I still feel badly sometimes. But I am not “bad” and I don’t think of myself that way anymore. It takes time but it does get better.


I feel sorry for you, Dave. Sorry that you had to deal with the pain and the shock of finding out the truth.

I spent decades believing in the lies of my family, swallowing all their lies and accusation. I also loved my parents dearly, especially my mum. But I recently discovered she was part of it all.

But bravo that you decided to go for consultation to break free. It is such a big step to realise what’s happening.

You are at the right place. There are many people here who would be able to identify with you.

Hope this helps.



Dave I am sorry about your situation. I hope you find strength here and elsewhere.

My brother has not written back. I guess he has nothing to say after I told him I didn’t feel love or understanding from him.

I had another outburst at my mother. Deep inside I am so hurt and furious with her – due to her invalidation of me, of the sexual abuse and neglect, and the gradual alignment of my brothers with her – I am the one in the wrong in their eyes.

I think I have lost my brother and this feels terrible. And I feel like a terrible person because I yelled at my mother.


I have “divorced” my mom recently and my dad 10 years ago. I get reactions from people who have met them and do not know anything about our family. As we all know, friends may not see the crazy because people are normally on their best behavior when just meeting someone or just shooting the breeze on a superficial level. A mutual friend of the family knew my dad a little bit and just could not believe that I do not talk to him. My dad projects this “funny guy” personality when people are around. He complains about his kids to the neighbor, and friends, and they all believe him. They have no idea that he molested his own kids. People think they know him, but they don’t. The same goes for my mom and step-dad. Everyone at their church thinks they are the greatest, but they are only around them at functions, dinners etc…I actually got lectured from one of their friends, because they talk about me and “pray for me” in their Sunday school class. It’s such a joke. These are ignorant people. If they only knew my mom turned a blind eye to my dad who molested his own kids, and still turns a blind eye to my step-dad who is emotionally abusive. My husband comes from a loving family and saw first-hand how my step-dad treats me even at 40 years-old and can’t believe it. He called my mother up before I finally cut it off.


Good on you, KC.

They are a bunch of hypocrites.

As for the people who criticise you for not having contact with your family, they probably wish they have the same courage to stand up or feel guilty about not standing up for themselves.

I learnt this when I was studying very hard for a subject I love. I studied hard because I was pursuing my dreams. Many laughed and mocked at me. They were the very ones who drowned their sorrows of unemployment every other day in drinking and cheap parties.


You are not alone.

I return home next week and would have to face the ridicule of others who disapproves of standing up to abuse in my family.

But I believe with abuse being so rampant, many people are inwardly crying out for relief.


Just to clarify and sorry for the confusion,

ArtistB with blue logo is the same as ArtistB with the green logo !!?!!

I will try to stick to one !



I am testing which logo comes up next to my nickname !

Please ignore this post. :—->>>>>


Hi ArtistB
The logo is associated with the email address that you use to comment with.(Only I see the email addresses and the reason that the blog requires them is to identify spam vs. real people)
Because you used 2 different ones, a different logo came up. That is how that works. 🙂
hugs, Darlene


I see !


ArtistB: I figured out the logos are keyed to your email address. It doesn’t matter what you put in “name.”


Thanks, mate.

I like the blue logo better n got it back.
I am happy !


Thank you to those who responded to my post. I really appreciate it ! Thank you Sharon for the book recommendation. I will definitely look into it. All I feel now is shame and pain. I have been ashamed my whole life. Ashamed of who I was, how I looked, ashamed of what I did. I lived in constant fear of being made to feel shame because of something I supposedly did that was “wrong”. Shame has been my constant companion my whole life. I didn’t know what it was for a long time. I just called it depression. I didn’t know it wasn’t normal to feel ashamed all the time. I don’t remember a time when I have not felt shame. That has been my normal. Whenever I have felt joy or happiness, shame always brought me back down to earth with a crashing thud. I have struggled with bulimia for a long time because I was so ashamed of my body as a child and I suppose also because of the sexual abuse I experienced as a child. I don’t know how not to feel ashamed. I don’t know how to get rid of the shame. In my head I can say that its a lie and that its not who I am but in my heart I still feel shame and pain. 50 years of shame inside. I was ashamed that I was born because my father didn’t want me and I was a burden to him. I thought it was my fault that I was born so I became ashamed of being born. then my mother poured on the shame by calling me stupid and a fool and that I could never do anything right. so I strived to be perfect, believing that if I didn’t make a mistake then I would not be yelled at and would not be made to feel ashamed. It didn’t matter. I was blamed for stuff that wasn’t even my fault. In fact, most of the time I didn’t do anything wrong but was made to feel shame because my mother was so judgemental and so critical of everyone that if she thought it was wrong then it was wrong and you were going to hear about it loud and clear. She made sure of that. She judged everyone so harshly that all of us felt like we could never do anything right. She was the judge, the jury and the executioner all the time. For the least little thing – like forgetting to put something away or leaving a lid off a jar or not rinsing your plate properly before you put it in the dishwasher – suddenly she would lash out – “What the bloody hell is wrong with you ??? Cant you see that’s not done properly ??? Why cant you do it right the first time ??? I may as well do everything myself. Your friggin hopeless.” – that’s what I would get for not rinsing my plate properly. God forbid I actually did something wrong, which was rare. I was crucified for it. It felt like knives or daggers going through my heart. It was pretty much like that every day. that was my existence at home. I could not get away from it. I had nowhere to turn for help. No one to turn to. It was a living hell. Now I live with the mountain of shame every day that I have no idea how to overcome. Its overwhelming. I talk about it in counseling but it doesn’t seem to help much. I feel so lost much of the time and so empty. My dignity and my self respect was torn to shreds. I was a constant target for her verbal tirades of abuse. And that is what she called “love” because she told me she loved me and how much I meant to her and how she would be lost without me. She destroyed my sense of self and sense of being. How will I ever recover ?



I wander if it would help if you changed your perception and started to think that what happened to you was not actually about you at all, it was about them. I say this from my own experience..It might be time that you started to change your story. I watched tonyrobbins/rieka on youtube about blame and it gave me a different perspective on things.

I kept to my story for such a long time and nothing improved until I started to change it and really worked hard to figure out how narcisistic and toxic parents affect us. Then once i understood them, I worked on me. My writing healed a great part of me and made me realise that I made the right decision not to have anything to do with my parents but it still hurts. I don’t know if you ever fully recover but I sure as hell know that I was not going to give them one more minute of my life. They took enough of it and I let them. My father has since gone, my mother is elderly but I don’t ever intend reconnecting. That would be the end of me! Good Luck and I admire your courage to speak out. I am the happiest i have ever been but it takes work everyday, can be exhausting but worth it. I laugh at the hype around fathers day as we know that there are abusers all over the world that will be receiving the standard ‘happy fathers day’ because thats the way society lives in denial. mothers day is the same. we put them on a pedestal where in reality they need to be behind bars.
Mean everything to yourself because it is when you find the love for yourself you will recover from anything and can then enrich your life further by helping others. Sharon


IS being naive at the age of 25 is the same as being stupid?
It is funny…..people who know me, would have never believed if the saw the manner my mother or sister speak to me. It makes me sick. Why did I put up with it for so long?
My problem was my sister. She never stood up for me. But I thought she could be trusted…..how naive of me. She is a s jelous and evil as my mom and they play in the same team.
Someone would say: you do not have to cut them off from your life, just do not let them mistreat you like that and do not tell them anything about your life. Well, the abuse never stops as the victim’s position is given to him /her very early in childhood.

Besides I just feel so much better not having them in my life. I feel as if even my potential has been entirely blocked. It is almost as if I got rid of cancer. If you have cancer, it does not affect just the sick organ, it ruins your entire body.


I am reeling with the pain from dinner with those friends myself.

I declined Friend #2 many times to the idea of a farewell dinner, knowing somehow it is insincere, but he won’t take no for his favours. He imposes help on me, insisting that I take them, even when I say no. He wanted somehow to have more company and invited Friend #1 along.

Friend #1 came to dinner angry, because I had previously turned her down when she wanted to freeload on my resources (printing 100s CVs, write her CV almost entirely, pass her my job search info. for the region and city centre, use my envelopes, printer, conqueror paper). I politely said no, explained my reasons and offered her other help through the books, web resources I read instead.
She cut me off after that.

So on my way to dinner in the car with 2 of them, the hostility in the car I had from Friend #1 was so intense that I asked to be dropped at a wine merchant and bought Friend #1 a bottle of wine to appease her. Her digs went on at dinner but reduced significantly.

Friend #2 set up the whole dinner idea in the guise of bidding farewell to me. But when I turned up, there was no dinner. he didn’t cook and said he doesn’t really cook. He prefers a woman to cook instead.
I realised he was lonely so he set this up to gain some company for the evening.

I bought half of dinner, Friend #1 bought other half but declared loudly that what she was doing was ALL for Friend #1, and transferred best portion of dinner to his plate !

I thought they wanted to have dinner with me to say good bye to me ?

Dinner was all about them, not me. I was used.

Friend #1 really showed down on me, competed with me throughout the dinner. Her face fell each time in anger and jealousy when conversation leaked of good news for me (much as I want to say as little as possible when Friend #2 asked).

Yesterday, I got an email from Friend #2: saying what a lovely time he had for dinner !
— I wrote him an email back to put up my boundaries.

That bottle of wine I bought for her was a mistake (I am conditioned to please people). She now wants to reconcile and fish for favours.
— It is now my turn. I am cutting her off.

In fact, last night there was an event at a little group where I might see the 2 of them. The other people from the group do not care about me also, but they would have expected me to turn up to say goodbye.
— I did not turn up. I had a good time at some woodlands walks by myself.



What?? Who “invites” people to dinner then expects them to buy and cook it themselves??
Oh yeah, all kinds of people do this and I’ve fallen for it many times. ArtistB your account reminds me of a very difficult period where I was still in relationships with people who mistreated me at the point I didn’t want to be mistreated any more. It was a total mismatch. It began with me just seeing all the ways they’d one-up or put me down or not share the conversation. It got so I didn’t enjoy their company.

And then my “suddenly” standing up for myself only brought me grief and (for the most part) the end of those relationships. The lengths some people will go to to keep things the way they want…I don’t miss them. For some people I was the “go-to” to take their problems to, for others the convenient butt of jokes. Still others, the girl who could always be counted on to bring a nice bottle of wine, help prepare before dinner snacks, if not actual dinner and then do the washing up. Hell, who wouldn’t want help like that:-)?

I was brought up to know how to do these things and it was drummed into my head that being a good “guest” meant I had to do them. For me it became another “bargaining chip” in the drive to get people to like me.

So good for you for seeing things as they are. It’s hard but I think it’s worth it.


Thank you, Alice.

I will write more when I can. I can’t believe how humiliated I felt – the whole pain sank in only days after. I must have FROZE through out dinner.

I am in a lot of pain at the moment because I have to deal with another person at home who is equally bad !

I think this is all going to be target practice for standing up to abuse – my very objective for being here.

I am doing it whilst shaking in my pants.

Sandra : sorry I dun mean to ignore your previous post. I am 41-42, but I look 26 ! (that is the more important part)


Haha until the last year I looked 15-18 🙂 Which I think….as ridiculous as it may sound, is another reason why my abusers kept bullying me the same way as if I was a kid.
Now I look 20-something (I “aged” tremendously the last 12 months. It is incredible what sorrow and stress can do to you but I am hoping to recover).
Good for you for looking so young! 🙂 (your “Friends” must hate it)
The worst part for me is the fact that I discovered that the only person who I thought was the least harmful to me (my sister) turned out to be my biggest enemy. I still am devastated but I guess it is better to find out later than keep on living not nowing the truth


Haha until the last year I looked 15-18 🙂 Which I think….as ridiculous as it may sound, is another reason why my abusers kept bullying me the same way as if I was a kid.
Now I look 20-something (I “aged” tremendously the last 12 months. It is incredible what sorrow and stress can do to you but I am hoping to recover).
Good for you for looking so young! 🙂 (your “Friends” must hate it)
The worst part for me is the fact that I discovered that the only person who I thought was the least harmful to me (my sister) turned out to be my biggest enemy. I still am devastated but I guess it is better to find out later than keep on living not knowing the truth


Hi Dave,
What you said about feeling joy and having it all come crashing down has been my whole life. When I think about it, I would go out into the world while growing up and adopt healthy ideas and direction, and be immediately ridiculed when I returned to family. They squelched everything healthy, and I just kept getting back up again.

Recently though, at 43 with having recently broken my shoulder in a bicycle accident, as well as continued bullying by my ex in family court (no family support) and etc.. I have been asking myself the same thing-How do I recover? I do My parents established a pattern in my life of anticipation followed by let down. They did not love me. …and that’s not my fault.

I think, IMHO, that the answer lies in acceptance and forgiveness.


Hi Sharon,
Thank you for your reference to criminality. If I knew then what I knew now I would have charged my parents with abandonment and failing to provide the necessities if life. They tried to have me adopted out at 14… When that didn’t work, they told me not to come home on a school night with no notification and no money or transportation (living in the burbs) and nowhere to go. I was a beautiful 14 year old girl.

Sometimes I still think about charging them after all of these years.

Criminals? Indeed!!!


Hi Sharon,
Thank you for your comments and welcome to EFB. (I think you are one of the new commenters that I missed saying ‘welcome here’ to.)
Yes, changing my perception is exactly how I recovered. I had to look at the past ~ and see the truth about it. None of this was about me ~ and yet all of it was perpetrated upon me. It was so confusing and had to be sorted out in order for me to finally move forward in my life.
Thank you for sharing.
Hugs, Darlene



I hate it when people say to just not let them treat my badly. As if!!! Their entire approach to me is abusive!!!

I don’t talk to mine ever. Let me put it this way. If I had a conversation with my mother is could be pleasant, but definitely superficial. No problem some people might say, they are still my parents and I should speak to them. Except that after getting off the phone with my mother, she would immediately start some drama about me with the rest of the family, judge and ridicule me. Furthermore, I would be saying to my son that it is acceptable to engage with ‘close’ family members on a superficial level only, and since everything eventually comes out in the wash, that it is close family members are two faced and untrustworthy.

I refuse to present that to my child as acceptable. They can keep it!


I went through this whole thing where when someone said a sentence like that (don’t LET them treat you…..) I would say “let?” just like that. I would state the word let, with a question mark and wait for a response. Of course I never got one.. LOL

We don’t LET people do this stuff. We are conditioned and trained to ‘accept’ that kind of treatment as normal. We are taught that our value is less than theirs. This is part of the grooming process in childhood that I had to see for what it was in order to move forward and take my life back!

hugs, Darlene


Thanks Darlene,

Blame to the victim seems sometimes endless.

People just don’t understand that the only way not to ‘let’ them treat me abusively, is to simply not let them into my life.


Darlene and Anna…so right
Oh I have tried on numerous times to not “LET” my sister disrespect me.
Every time she would roll her eyes on me and say “Oh coooome on”, “You are so sensitive”.
I would never poke fun at anyone but sometimes I would just do the same in response to her to show her how it feels. She would always get very upset.
It is just frustrating.


I should have never turned up for dinner !!!L!!!!!!L!!!!???

I am cancelling Monday’s tea, TOO. Another abuser !


Damn it.


I was living with my absive HFA bf and called my mother (no1 and biggest abuser with whom I renewed my contact this past year) crying for help.
(I know rdiculous). She said: “Calm down. No one can hurt you if you don’t let them…”


this note is re; Dave,
Dave, your mother sounds like my late mother. Her favorite describing words of me were, “lazy”, “stupid” and “useless.” She was a perfectionist and nothing was ever good enough for her or done properly, up to her standards. For years, anytime I heard those words, especially if they were directed at me, I would absolutely lose it and lash out like a mad woman! They are called triggers and once you can define your triggers, it’s easier. As children, we weren’t aloud to have emotions in our family. If I was happy she would angrily reply, “why are you happy, why are you smiling?” Or if I cried, she would say, “Stop crying or I’ll give you something to cry about.” My mother was severely abused by her parents, physically, mentally, emotionally and sexually. She never tried to get help for her many problems, PTSD, alcoholism, etc. I for many years also felt shame and guilt. It was HER shame and guilt I was feeling. Shame that she never healed. I called her out on her abusive behaviour when I became an “adult child,” and I spent my life trying to convince her to help herself. She died at 67. My father is dead as well. He was never aloud to even hug my brother or myself because my mother was so afraid that he would sexually abuse us. My mother made his life a living hell and he took it and lived in a world of depression and alcoholism. A few months after my father died my brother shot himself to death. My younger brother had been deeply effected by the way my parents behaved and he too got into mind numbing drugs. My brother never tried to come to grips to what had “happened” to him. My brother and I were both adopted from different families. I always thought, geez I’m glad I’m not biologically related to these mad people. I’ve been working on myself and re-parenting myself for 25 years. It’s an ongoing struggle but I’m worth it. Dave, the fact that you can put your thoughts out there means there is hope for you to be happy. Read all you can. John Bradshaw does great work on healing shame. I also read Toxic Parents. Every self-help book out there. When I read the posts from this blog, I can relate sometimes so much to what people have to say, that I feel it in the pit of my stomach. It really does make a difference knowing we are not alone. Keep working on yourself Dave, you are so worth it.<3


I was doing pretty well age 18-24. I let my mother to my life for a year and she nearly ruined it: my job, my reputation and my health. When I look back i cannot believe how I allowed this to happen. I became a little girl again vulnerable and not able to defend myself. I allowed a 60 year old woman abuse me and obey her “orders”. I am now back to 0. Which means I am starting again just as I was when I was 18 with getting out of depression, learning my self esteem again. The thing is it did not happend overnight for me the last time and at 24 I was at my best, I finally healed….and now it is all over again. I do not know if I can make it again this time.
The only thing different that time was that I stopped being delusional about my sister. She is now out of my life for good also


It is amazing that all of us were assigned a certain “position” in hierarchy in childhood and it never changes.

To all of you here…..how do you stop yourself from dwelling on the past?
I mean you first had the Eureka moment, than you made your decision about certain people in your life, and than you began working on yourself, correct? So my question is how do you not regret all those years? How do you stop feeling angry at them for ruining so many “could- have-been” beautiful moments in your life?

I keep torturing myself for the fact that I let my “family” mistreat me as an adult person for so long, that even when I was not in touch with my “mother”, I still let my sister treat me like nothing.


I meant a position in hierarchy of our families.


Well, if we are going to talk about age and how we look….. When I was in my early 50’s, I did some substitute teaching. Loved it!

One time a high school boy tried to flirt with me. (I’m sure it was because I was a sub, they try to play “tricks” on subs to get out of whatever…..) I told him I was old enough to be his grandmother. He said, “I’m 19, so it’s legal.” I said, “if you’re 19 and still in high school…… Um………” He slunk away……

I’m starting to get the wrinkles and gray hair, late 50’s….. And the middle aged weight gain…..


Anna, superficiality. I HATE IT. But that’s what I get with my mom. SUPERFICIAL. Why can’t she be real? I learned “superficiality” from her, but hope I have stopped that.


I have regrets too of the past and how I let others treat me and I think that is normal but it will eat you up if you don’t let it go. I did a lot of research into my parents past and realised that they had a screwed up childhood. I am certainly not condoning their behaviour but it made me realise that they did not have any better skills and they made the choice to continue the legacy where as I vowed to stop it in its tracks when i had my children. That is what has got me through. I concentrate on the lessons I have learned from my parents, which was HOW NOT TO TREAT PEOPLE. My sisters in some way have struggled to be who they are but they have spent a lot more time with my parents and therefore I don’t have contact with them. It is sad, it is not right, it is not meant to be that way but you have to do what is right for you. Concentrate on how courageous you have been by deciding NO MORE, that is so brave and you should recognise that. What was the defining moment for me? when my mother said something really nasty that I new was not true and I decided enough was enough and I am better off without her in my life. It is hard to let go but I had to or her nastiness and contempt was going to destroy me. Never Look Back. I remind myself every day that I do not have to deal with that stuff anymore and that makes me happy. We make mistakes and the one I made was to keep going back for more pain, time and time again, I kept trying until I had run out of steam. I did the best I could at the time with the resources that I had. I am human and humans make mistakes and besides families are meant to be forgiving, unconditional love and all that jazz….mine was the opposite. Thats not my fault, thats theirs. I released them from my past and seek only positive relationships. I wish you well. Educate yourself, that is the greatest gift, find books on the shelf that call to you, search youtube for motivational stuff like. I love Louise Hay and Tony Robbins. The DVD You Can Heal Your Life saved me.x I hope this helps you


Sandra, I don’t stop myself because the past is in each moment where I catch myself with a bias or something sets off anxiety or whatever. I’ve become the subject of my own research into “how in hell did it get to this?”
One of the things I find very hard is to understand the extent to which I bent myself to fit the abuse, or rather grew with it, like a vine gets trained but follows anyway, and then spent time running in the opposite direction, only to sit up one morning (or several, and this still happens but less) and go “wait, which of all of these reactive behaviours is actually me?” Unfortunately they all are. What my mother did to me I find akin to murder. I realise that sounds dramatic but I don’t have a better word for it at present.
I question so many of my choices, from the profession I’m in to my thing about clothes and why I can’t commit to anyone romantically. I’m currently of the opinion that since it took a while to get this way it’s going to take a while to do otherwise, but I train hard:-)


@Alice: thanks for your reply
No I was a “rebel” 🙂
I meant I laugh about it now because all I was doing was just avoiding or escaping. But I had a healthy relationship, I was confident (on the outside), positive, definitely had my own taste in fashion.
Now last year I went crazy. I do not know what got into me. I moved in for 3 weeks to my mother’s place, I broke up with my bf (which started causing me panic attacks, today I know that it was an understandable reaction, my mother and sister drugged me instead! I knew that I had no one normal and close around me, I wanted to come back to him because we only had a minor fight, but my sister and mother would not “let” me), I quit my dream job, I could not think straight, I was for the first time in life following my mother’s insane orders and demands. If people I work with heard my story, no one would have believed nobody. My ex (now back again) bf was trying to contact me and I would not let him cause “my sister and she did not want me to”. I cannot believe when I look back…and trust me I go back to these events every F day. It caused me a few premature wrinkles and even some first gray hair! It all stopped when I finally contacted my ex, it saved my life, I got my life back. I cannot explain this. I fell mysef again. We might not stay together forever but we definitely will remain friends for life. It started with me losing him and started feeling incredibly restless, and the panic attacks….my sister and my mother used it so well. They have been waiting for that moment since forever, they finally got a chance to control “the rebel”, as they call me.
(I was the best kid you could imagine having…far from being a rebel. The only person I had to rebel at least a bit was my mother, otherwise she would have killed me).
Stephen King would not have got the ideas that my mother has… I swear. What happened to me is a mix of “Seven”/ “Misery” and some other personal screen play written by my family.

They are out of my life for good now. My career and reputation is ruined, I look like shit, I am starting all over again. This time also without my sister in my life (I found out things I had no idea about…naturally it is all about money)

I chuckle when I write “rebel” because yes since the age of 18 they had no influence on my life and my choices (apart from the last year) but the abuse would not stop. Whenever I spoke with my sister, I would neve be able to object, I would try naturally but she would never change. And with my moment I would hang up on her or leave and slam the door.


@Alice: thanks for your reply
No I was a “rebel” 🙂
I meant I laugh about it now because all I was doing was just avoiding or escaping. But I had a healthy relationship, I was confident (on the outside), positive, definitely had my own taste in fashion.
Now last year I went crazy. I do not know what got into me. I moved in for 3 weeks to my mother’s place, I broke up with my bf (which started causing me panic attacks, today I know that it was an understandable reaction, my mother and sister drugged me instead! I knew that I had no one normal and close around me, I wanted to come back to him because we only had a minor fight, but my sister and mother would not “let” me), I quit my dream job, I could not think straight, I was for the first time in life following my mother’s insane orders and demands. If people I work with heard my story, no one would have believed nobody. My ex (now back again) bf was trying to contact me and I would not let him cause “my sister and she did not want me to”. I cannot believe when I look back…and trust me I go back to these events every F day. It caused me a few premature wrinkles and even some first gray hair! It all stopped when I finally contacted my ex, it saved my life, I got my life back. I cannot explain this. I fell mysef again. We might not stay together forever but we definitely will remain friends for life. It started with me losing him and started feeling incredibly restless, and the panic attacks….my sister and my mother used it so well. They have been waiting for that moment since forever, they finally got a chance to control “the rebel”, as they call me.
(I was the best kid you could imagine having…far from being a rebel. The only person I had to rebel at least a bit was my mother, otherwise she would have killed me).
Stephen King would not have got the ideas that my mother has… I swear. What happened to me is a mix of “Seven”/ “Misery”/ “Monte Christo” and some other personal screen play written by my family.

They are out of my life for good now. My career and reputation is ruined, I look like shit, I am starting all over again. This time also without my sister in my life (I found out things I had no idea about…naturally it is all about money)

I chuckle when I write “rebel” because yes since the age of 18 they had no influence on my life and my choices (apart from the last year) but the abuse would not stop. Whenever I spoke with my sister, I would neve be able to object, I would try naturally but she would never change. And with my moment I would hang up on her or leave and slam the door.


Why does always have to be like that: they have to drive us to the very edge and than we finally start thinking that we just cannot take it anymore? Why not earlier? I mean because what we have been doing to ourselves is a lack of respect too.


With my sister I finally realized what the deal was with her: JELOUSY
To me this is crazy
How could I be so blind? I was sensing it but I was pushing away that thought.
You cannot treat your sister like another woman (and on top of that you have to be the jelous, mean kind) just like you can’t be treating your brother as a potential boyfriend. To me this is equally sick!!



I might be wrong but I don’t think you will ever be able to object the abusers. Do not get upset, hear me out 🙂

If you have the kind of personality I do, and I assume you must have since you were a victim and not an abuser and definitely not a “neutral” as I call it (A neutral is a lucky person and a rare gem who has never been abused but who does not have any abusive tendencies either).
The only thing you can do is to get rid of people who are or might be potential abusers. That’s what I do because I know myself and I know that if I introduce an abuser to my life, I am screwed, I cannot help it. I freeze. The only thing that can save me is an escape. (they are easy to spot, maybe you think you do not know someone well yet but if someone does or says something that is a red flag to you, it is a sign. Things like that are not a coincidence. You either say and do certain things or you don’t). Now…someone might tell me: ok, but by doing that you are not trusting people bla blah blah, you might be missing out a lot. NOT TRUE. I am not sitting in my cave, I am a very sociable person. but I am also a good observant and I trust my intuition ( the only time my intuition was numb was whenever I was around my sister and mother but that’s a different story. As long as they are out of my life I am safe).

I believe that since people like us have certain traits that make us easy victims (abusers can sense au from a mile away also), we have excellent intuition. You just have to use it. Never ever feel ridiculous for following your gut, you will thank yourself later or you might never find out but be assured that smetimes not ever having to find out is way better.

I know it sounds cheezy but your heart already knows what your brain has not yet processed. Think about all the situations you acted against your intuition (because “it can’t be” because “we should stick to the facts”). I am sure that later on you were like: “I knew it! I knew it! Grrr”.

DO not get wrapped up in fighting in becoming one of them. It will not serve you any good. be yourself and if someone does not deserve you to be around, well it is their loss, don’t waste time on getting angry and teaching them a lesson.

Just my 2 cents. Hope I don’t sound like an old lady with a handful of unwanted advice 🙂


Sharon, wow, at least you are researching your parents. My mom refuses to talk. I think I have figured out something, and she doesn’t like it, so she is denial and clam up. If my mom would talk, tell me something, I could forgive her, I would have a “rationale” for why she treated me as she did.

Sandra, my mom “Defends” herself by saying, “I haven’t had influence on you since you left home” but she denies the covert manipulation stuff she does to get me to do things a certain way.

And Sandra, what you say about abusers being able to spot “marks” like us, I was pondering this last night. How can someone else say “no” to us, and we give them great power for doing so, yet when someone else asks us, we don’t have the courage to say no? And, when someone “fights back” to us, we shrink, but we don’t have the courage to fight back ourselves? For me, when I try to shrink back, things escalate.


DXS and Sandra
Re spotting marks…
There is a ‘pecking order’ system in dysfunctional relationships. (in most of our society) It’s all about the misuse of power and control and how most children are taught to believe that the one with the most power wins. (That is why bullies bully)
We learn a false definition of love and then we seek love the false way that it has been taught to us. (either compliance or power over) I wrote about this in my early articles here.
Hugs Darlene


Sandra and a reminder to all about comments
re your comment to ArtistB ~ you say “The only thing you can do is to get rid of people who are or might be potential abusers.” ~ Please be careful about how you advise others here. Not everyone has to ‘get rid of their families’ I have worked with people who have actually found that when they drew their boundaries, their parents were willing to listen and change. My own husband was one of these people.
Everyone sharing here has to feel safe in sharing. It takes time for each person to come up with a plan or made a decision about how or when to draw that boundary. It’s okay to be IN the process.
It works much better when people come up with their own solutions. You can share anything you want about what YOU did as a solution. (ie; write that same statement in a way that is only about what YOU did or what you have found works for you.)
Thanks! Hugs, Darlene


On “spotting marks” – I think it must be easy. Just as easy for me to tell a kitten from a tiger. The only person so often left scratching their head about this is me. As in “Why me?” or “What am I doing *exactly* to have this as an outcome?”

Of course I would like to know so I can stop doing whatever the thing or things are to “make” these other people behave towards me the way they do. But that’s exactly the wrong thinking that I was taught in the first place (or that I came up with by myself, perhaps both)?

It’s as if the “cure” for this is to “let” people be the way they are and behave as they wish but then follow through with whatever consequences are appropriate. And that might mean distancing from them or calling them out on something or asking questions or telling the truth about what they did or calling the police or going NC or fighting back.

I can do distance very well, not as good as calling stuff out because of the way I was punished for doing so. For me to stand up for myself takes more (I suppose) than someone who was never discouraged or actively punished for doing so. If only mother hadn’t clipped off my claws I’d be a tiger. Thankfully claws can grow/grow back:-)


Does anyone here have nightmares about their parents? Last night I had a dream I was in a hotel and when I went down to the breakfast bar I couldn’t find them. There was just some nice old lady, who didn’t get it, or maybe she did. I guess I’ve always looked for mother figures in my life.

Anyway, I think it was because I went to bed remembering my 22nd birthday, and how awful it was (this part actually happened). My parents had traveled to the state I live in but were visiting and staying with ‘friends’ and other family. They told me “we can only spend an hour with you” (am I remembering that right?). They told me they wanted to get me a bike and even drove past the bike shop, but of course, as usual, that promise was an empty one. My father grumbled about the lunch bill which wasn’t expensive, and he is well off anyway.

On the way home my mother started telling me what a mean person I was and my father agreed. And once she saw I was distressed she showed the most appalling lack of empathy, I think this is the part that really stayed with me— she said, “you know, I have trauma too”. So here I am, a mess, triggered by her, and instead of comforting me like a mother should espeically after bullying them, she takes the time to pity herself and make it my responsibility to take care of her. It was like my pain was right in front of her, and she coudn’t see it, coudln’t see me, not matter how much I shake or cry or anything she only sees her.

Then I realized I’d locked myself out of my house and when I called them about an hour later they didn’t offer any advice or to turn around so I stayed outside in the backyard for about gosh 8-10 hours. On my birthday.

It just seems like her empathy is so blunted. How can a person see someone terrorized and then make it about themselves, especially when that person is their DAUGHTER?



I guess I should add that my mother has no idea what it is like to experience being locked up, homeless, hungry, sexually abused, etc. and so while I totally agree that abuse is abuse and no one’s is ‘worse’ in HER case, she’s had a pretty cushy life. Always been taken care of and adored, so I guess she feels like she is entitled to hate whomever? I don’t know. I don’t really think she knows what it feels like to suffer because while we were trying to get our basic needs met she was always living out her fantasies (e.g. buying the overpriced house of her dreams even though it meant my brother had to sleep at the foot of their bed as a pre teen).


We learn a false definition of love and then we seek love the false way that it has been taught to us. (either compliance or power over)

The website baggagereclaim.com (which is about relationships and how we pick partners) picks up on this exact definition. The author of that blog says that we pick partners based on our own family dynamics. Reading this blog helped me after I dated a “passive aggressive self absorbed insecure narcissist.” Then I started to make the connection to the guy and my Mom. (Although the guy was TEN TIMES worse than my mom…..)

(By the way, if anyone wants to know how to put “boxes” around a quoted thing from another post, you have to enclose it like this:

You put a at the beginning, then at the end it’s . )


Oh crap. I wrote out the instructions to put a “box” around a quoted thing, and the instructions got blown off my post and didn’t post.


Alice, in my family, fighting was NOT ALLOWED! Dad was passive around mom and me and my siblings (but not around other people), and mom was passive, so neither parent was really “dominant.”

I have this wonderful guy friend who told me that his family gets into shouting matches! Since i didn’t grow up with that, I’d probably be uncomfortable if I met his family. But I applaud that he is allowed to express emotions. I think his family has healthy emotions. I tried to explain to my mom that “good families can have fights and disagree” but she doesn’t like that. So basically, in my family, expression of emotion was not allowed, or maybe I should rephrase that: I was only “allowed” to feel what mom “allowed” (or expected) me to feel, not what *I* felt……


On the way home my mother started telling me what a mean person I was and my father agreed. And once she saw I was distressed she showed the most appalling lack of empathy, I think this is the part that really stayed with me— she said, “you know, I have trauma too”.

I was looking for the post Darlene wrote about “my issues weren’t as bad as his” to post this comment, but I’ll post it here. All my life, my mom kept saying, “other people have it worse than you.” She said this so much, that now I’m wondering if she was talking about herself! And the bad stuff that I got her to admit to about her childhood, but that she refuses to provide the details on. Clam up. Denial. And the way she refers to her own mother as “my duty.”


About her saying “you know I have trauma too”… I ask the question “SO WHAT?”! Is she saying that her trauma justifies her causing trauma to someone else? What do they mean when they say stuff like that? I know my mother had an extremely traumatic childhood. She told me all kinds of horrific stories and my heart went out (and still goes out to her) but the difference today is that I can’t let that stuff excuse her anymore. I can’t let her childhood discount mine (and ME). what happened to her doesn’t cancel out what happened to me nor does it justify what happened to me. That is the cycle and what we are doing is stopping the cycle by exposing it for what it is. 🙂
hugs, Darlene


DXS, very similar to mine – except my mom ruled the emotions I ‘got’ to have and displaying any other (like how I was actually feeling for example) got me a slap or a remark or some other kind of punishment or talking to. Basic idea is that I wasn’t allowed any emotion that didn’t line up with whatever she wanted. And we call these people “parents”.

Sarcasm and irony became my firm friends:-) And we’re still on pretty good terms:-) Because they allowed me to smile in her face and fake whatever I was “supposed” to be expressing at any given moment but with an edge that said what I “really” thought or felt.

Because it’s so ambiguous, you have plausible deniability on your side. I can certainly see how people can become abusive sh*ts by doing that (and other things) and to some extent I do see it as some kind of adaptive process but it takes a decision to not do that, or to stop doing it. Per Darlene’s “So what?” I decided a while back that I wouldn’t do this stuff to others but I keep my sarcasm for “da man” and any aspect of society that I feel deserves my acerbic wit and criticism.

I used to laugh and say I preferred the male way of punching each other out and then being over it and back to best buddies than the female way of simmering grudges and long drawn-out revenge. But that wasn’t ‘female’ per se. It was just her.


@Darlene & Artist B: (#354)

I do apologize for my post, I did not mean to come across as pushy. I actually even hesitated before pressing “Enter” 🙂

You are right Darlene, and I truly do hope that there will be more happy endings. In my case- I did not speak to my mother for almost 3 years, I was hoping she would change, at least from fear of losing me again. Nope. But as you said, me is me and every case is different. I hate the fact that I used directly phrases I despise myself, such as: “you cannot” and “you will never”…. Grrr


GDW, my mother has been in my nightmares yes and in some more helpful dreams as this process continues.

You asked “How can a person see someone terrorized and then make it about themselves, especially when that person is their DAUGHTER?” and I don’t know but can only imagine it has to be some kind of attempt at defense. Or control?

You also said ” I guess I’ve always looked for mother figures in my life.” Me too and it has so often landed me in a bunch of trouble for I imagine no-one would want to be a mother to someone they didn’t choose to be a mother to. Especially if you are both adults (technically) Hell, mine even *chose* to have kids and wasn’t a mother to me! Yet it happens without me being very conscious of it – except now I’m trying to be more conscious. So anyway, I can imagine some poor woman see me turn up and start subtly or not so subtly doing stuff that says “please be my mom”. What does anyone do with that? The abusive types would be into it I guess.

I have no idea how people go about being mothers or whether some people might enjoy having daughter-figures in their lives for any healthy reason. Seems to me no-one wants that. Maybe because no-one wanted me. At least not the real me. I turned down an offer of “adoption” a while back because I thought it couldn’t possibly come from anywhere good. I’m almost 40 and I’m trying to grow my claws back.


GDW I am sorry you had such a horrible 22nd birthday. What a nightmare. I can hardly get over your stories about your parents.


Hi GDW(357)

I’m so sorry for all your past stuff with family but we’re all in the same boat here. I am keeping myself busy from past recent minor trauma after finding my former guy on that dating site…Just wanted to say that I think we had the same family! LOL!

My mother actually lived in three luxury houses in her married life, (two states) custom built and designed by architects. My mother pushed my father nearly to the breaking point of money. I know that these NARCS have issues about showing off and being admired. Who cares about what goes on behind closed doors with the kids? It’s all a big act with these kinds of people. Growing up as a kid, I can recall so many incidents both big and small which reveal my mother’s character. All these incidents prove how incredibly vain and selfish the woman was. I remember when we first moved into the first house that they built, it was late fall in a northern state where it gets cold early morning. My mother would sleep in and not wake up until late morning. So it was my father and me who would both wake up early for work and school. There was NO heat turned on in the house and it was freezing outside with cold and rain. I was always so clever when I was younger finding ways to outsmart her. I remember that I strategically learned how to get dressed in bed. I had a very simple style wardrobe back then, consisting of jeans and tee shirts, and it was easy to pull clothing over me in bed. Then I would wear a heavy coat inside the house to have breakfast and leave. I looked forward to riding the bus, since it was heated! I always had less than the average girl in my neighborhood with toys, clothing, sports, activities, and other treats. Interesting since my father called me “spoiled brat” all the time! She would do anything to save money and be quite frugal with us, but of course it was a different story when it came to spending money on entertaining company, having expensive foods, fancy appetizers, wines, and desserts…

My poor father who worked in engineering/architecture had to take a job offer abroad in a foreign country and I had to follow him six months later and live with my parents in the American community there. It was all about getting ahead financially and taking trips to Europe for R&R and shopping with my mom. She always got what she wanted. NOTE: She NEVER worked a day in her married life and it’s almost like being on a fifty year vacation! She destroyed my life in many ways over and over again, especially with living abroad. Of course if she were a semi-normal mother who cared about the happiness of her child, then she could have actually worked and we would have never lived abroad.

Fast forward to my new life in my second state years ago. I am an only child and tried to get away from my parents very young. I tried being a traditional-aged college student and my father paid for it, but I quit since I hated the major–of course I had no choice in the college major! So, I took off and ended up for awhile in a women’s shelter. Yes, it was a bad and frightening experience. I later found a housemate place, worked at very low-level customer service jobs–(like two fast food restaurant jobs at the same time) and bought a VERY used car, while taking the city bus to get to work. I am not asking for sympathy, but I demonstrate how ‘soft’ my mother’s adult life has been compared to mine. I have had times in my past where I have had to collect food from a local Christian church food pantry, when I was living alone in apartments for many years.
(I have no guilt doing this since I have also contributed to community food banks and shelters since I have been working.)

I’m older and doing better now and earned a B.A. degree as an older student and bought a fixer-upper house in a model home community. I live about a two and a half hour drive away from my parents with very low contact. I refused to move far away to a new state, since I have long time friends and connections here. I have a right to my happiness, too. I was hitting a very low depression over the last week, but I’m getting better. This site always makes my day. Thanks everyone for your terrific posts!


Yvonne 🙂


I found recently you could actually have a choice when it comes to your major 🙂 I dropped out too and took off also also because of financial reasons. My mother has also been very good with spending my father’s money on real estate, paintings etc (she made a huge mistake, never came across her mind my dad could actually dare to leave her). When I went to college, already suffering from depression I was not given a choice either. Not only that, the real reason was because I could not afford living itself. The money she was giving to me was below poverty line. ( I meant it was already including the child support my father was sending) It was paying the room and not really good quality food. Forget about any clothes or cosmetics a college girl would want. Or any person really. She still owns 3 lands, 2 of them with summer cottages and lives by herself in a 4bed room apartment.(a prenup was not popular when my parents were getting married. My father just got his own car and a tiny apartment where he had his private practice). It never came across her mind that maybe she should have sold one of the properties or the apartment and buy a smaller one instead. That way she could afford paying my tuition and living expenses while in college. No, she told me she had no money because our father dicorced her. Ok, you say you have no money and you do not have a choice when you do not own anything worth selling.


….which is why I am so angry at myself for getting back in touch with my mom and falling for her tricks ( I thought she changed because she said 2 nice words to me and became a grandmother. If she really did change, she would have tried to support me in my goals. Just the contrary, I do not know why but I totally, for the first time in life at the age of 24, stopped objecting her. She managed to make me feel guilty for the years I was not speaking to her, selfish etc etc. I cannot explain how come I got fooled. I mean it is ok to get fooled but you do not have to become her puppet. Which is what I did in terms of my career. How come I did not have a F de ja vu???
My mom is 60 now, my sister 32 and resembles her more and more. I hope my mother lives 15-20 more years with her mind and toungue as sharp as now, miserable as the only person she has is my sister who visits her twice a year just for financial gains (she is very generous with her: I get as a gift a cheap disgusting plastic bag I have to accept with dignity or a set from a drugstore, she gets a necklace or a ring plus I 5 pound- bags of clothes for her kid. My sister is a copy of her and resembles her more and more, selfish, greedy and a lier. I have been very delusional about my sister for a very long time until this year. I feel like a fool. I could stand her bullying, it was not harmless, I still had uncoditional love for her, she was the only “normal” out of the whole clan. I found out things that make me want to cry at night. You don’t care when someone who has been hurting you all your life hurts you yet again. You are like “oh well, my bad. I got fooled”. But if you do not suspect sb and it turns out the person has been lying all those years, it is heart breaking.

You know what is the worst- that both my mother and my sister- if they were my neighbors, collegues from work, I would not want to be around them at all!


Yvonne, it never occurred to me that my parents were supposed to help me during college. When it came to the process of choosing to go to college I wanted to take a year off and travel before I went. They told me that if I did go they wouldn’t help me financially for college so I didn’t go travelling and went straight to college. Ends up they didn’t help me financially the first 3 years anyway. I felt so cheated. They did help me out in my final year by paying half my apparent but if you asked them they would say they paid for me throughout college. Of course I must be eternally grateful for that help. It never occurred to me that other people’s parents paid their college entirely. I couldn’t imagine the guilt had they done that for me. I’m glad I got off with so little. I think the less I “owe” them the better. It means they have no say in my life.


Alice, “the less you owe….” that’s the key in my opinion. I kind of had the opposite issue. My parents told me if I quit college I was on my own. Ok, I did quit, after my sophomore year. Then, when I went back, I got student loans and grants. My parents were SHOCKED! Why should I put myself in debt when they could pay? Um….. cuz you told me if I quit I was on my own…… (I’m not sure which way the “threat” was going, whether it was to motivate me to stay in college, or whether it was to prove I couldn’t do it without them…..) But in the end it was about the same issue as you. I didn’t want to “owe” them.


I did not get a chance to go to college. I have been doing various jobs and finally got to the right industry last year (most ppl don’t need a degree for that). However my mother was sending me some money when I was 23 and 24, not much though, it was not my “be or not to be”. She made me feel guilty about that and forever grateful. The whole thing makes me sick.


When I told my mom it was not true that she has been supporting me all my life she said: “If you really wanted to graduate from college, you would have found a way. There are kids from slums

A doctor’s wifey, who owns several real estates is putting an equal sign between me and children from unpriviledged families living in total poverty


DXS, it makes me wonder WHY they have (or had) to resort to threats to get me (or you) to do anything. They must have imagined there was no other way? What, they couldn’t sit down and discuss? Well actually that last one was rhetorical. It was their way or the highway. Any “discussion” was me attempting to make my case and justify and them resorting to pressure to force my hand. It shows me just how little they saw or valued me as a distinct person who may or may not wish to do things that they see valid. As if to have their own validation *I* had to be the one doing something. I can’t work that one out. How does the fact I went to college validate them? (neither of them did). I mean theoretically I can “get it” but a vicarious life is not a life of one’s own. At my father’s funeral, the only thing said about my brother and I was that we went to college. Aside from that being irrelevant to our relationship with my father it was just downright embarrassing that my mom would take a funeral speech as an opportunity to say we went to college.
It also showed everyone how little she actually knows about me. Aside from where I live and that I went to college haha.

Sandra your mother sounds like a silly naive child with no idea of how life works. I don’t mean to insult by saying that.


Money = CONTROL.

“As long as you live under our roof, you will follow our rules.” That’s reasonable. But when money is used to “Extend” those “boundaries” to outside the roof……..

“As long as you live under our roof, you will follow our rules.”

(Universal Decoder Book Translation: “We want to keep you living under our roof, so we will extend the boundaries of our “roof” as far as we can so we can continue to control your life and force you to be the person we want you to be and not the person you actually are…..”)


DXS, I think you’re on to it for them. I remember a couple of times family members getting really angry or upset when I refused “gifts” of money.
On the “under my roof” thing, I never understood why it was not also my roof. Yes it was clearly communicated to me that I was living in THEIR house (what, when you’re 3 you can just go and buy your own??) And that “when you have your own house Alice you can do what you want” and so of course I made that a goal. But WHY don’t (some) parents have enough whatever it is to accept their kids are living in their (the kids’) house as well? Sure I didn’t pay rent there but until I was financially able I didn’t have the choice anyway. So I was always making houses and dens, garden-shed, under the thorn-bushes. The bushes in the local park. The cupboard in my bedroom (mom hated me doing that, I thought it was quite a nice place to hang out).


Oh, I wanted to add, when I did a lot of introspecting on what money meant to me I discovered that what it meant for me was diametrically opposed to what I understood they used it for. To me money means freedom and security. I mean I’ve invested it with those.
So it doesn’t matter if they don’t give me anything and it doesn’t matter if I am disinherited. They can’t use money to make me do anything. That’s the goal of money for me.


Alice, I did not get insulted 🙂 I know that. And it would be fine if she was naive and silly if she was not a screamer, a pushy my or way or no way kind of person.

As for the money, I’m with you on that as well.
My mother thinks I am going to be in touch with her so that I can inherit one of the lands. I do not give a damn about it. I could not care less.



How does the fact I went to college validate them? (neither of them did).

It’s about “bragging rights.” Neither of my parents went to college, either. Living vicariously….. as you say……

Alice, I have refused money gifts from Mom, and she has gotten upset. “But I want to see you do something for yourself.” (Universal Decoder Book Translation: “I want you to increase your standard of living to a point where you depend on the money and have to suck up to mom……”)

My mom’s issues are….. covert. They aren’t real obvious. It takes YEARS of dealing with her to recognize it.

Alice, I SWEAR you and I have the same Mom. I’m at that point, too, I don’t care if I’m dis-inherited.

Speaking of the “have your own house,” one of my Mom’s “lies” was: “When you grow up you can make your OWN choices.” (Universal Decoder Book Translation: “As long as those choices are what Mom and Dad would have made……”)

i.e. Live in the same state you grew up in, don’t move away (I did move away!)

i.e., “we have a close knit family and don’t you dare do anything to show the world anything other than this. ” (What a joke! My siblings and I don’t ever talk to each other unless we have to! Doesn’t bother me, we are all different. This bothers my mom.)

I don’t want to get into it, but one time my mom did something that showed me she has “queen bee” mentality……


DXS, I guess I realized that, the braggiing rights thing. It started very young when I was hailed as this “brilliant” kid, intellectually. Look, I can’t think myself out of a paper bag. I’m not one of those brilliant minds that can do all that lateral-thinking stuff. What I was good at was following teachers’ orders and memorizing things for tests and exams. I used the exam archives to estimate what would in all probability come up and then studied and memorized the right material. For a history exam I memorized entire passages of a book and was able to spit it out on the day. Ask me today about how WW1 started and I will have to take myself off to Wikipedia. So my great grades and reports were really only about how obedient I was, yay me! And for a while I did think I was good academicallly. Hahahaha.

Anyway, when it came time for me to graduate from college I could tell my mom was getting so charged about going to the ceremony and getting to have one of those stupid pictures of daughter dear in a square hat that I decided not to go to it myself. Yep, I didn’t go to my OWN graduation ceremony just so I could prevent mommy from taking the credit, or at least puffing herself up about it. When I told her this she freaked out on me in this incredible rage that did indeed confirm what I had suspected “It’s not a ceremony for you Alice, it’s for us”. She actually said it!


At least your mom admitted it! The year I graduated, my last quarter was in December, things were so busy with Christmas nobody noticed. No problem, I also didn’t attend. I was living on my own at the time.

And yes, sometimes the party isn’t actually for you…………

At least you were good at memorizing. I can’t take a test. I either over think it or under think it. I can’t get it right…..


Sandra and Alice,

I just wanted to clarify things, NO,I am NOT a poor person! My big financial picture is actually quite good! I was trying to explain actually how far I have come in my life since I was 18 and now I’m 45 years old! This site is NOT about telling others how to live, nor about what you should have or could have done in the past given your situation, but rather sharing your own personal life stories to help us all heal. I have been very personally hurt too many times by others regarding remarks about ‘college’ and what parents owe or do not owe their son/daughter. I do not have any kids (and I do not want any future kids) and I get annoyed when people say that I don’t understand anything about being a parent or raising kids. In my humble opinion, I believe that it’s a parent’s job to FINISH their job in raising their own kid. If you bring a child into this world, then it’s your job to provide protection and love and basic financial needs including food, housing, and medical. Nor do I believe that kids ‘owe’ their parents and must pay them back. Also, I do believe if the family is more upper-middle class and can certainly AFFORD to pay for their son/daughter’s college, then by all means certainly yes take their help. I have had “strings” attached from gifts since I was five, ten, and fifteen, etc. years old. What’s so bad about taking a little bit more financial help as a traditional student in order to become an independent adult if it’s the last thing that you ‘take’ from them? I don’t believe that it makes you any more noble or superior that you perhaps were living out of your car, eating Top Ramen noodles, taking a shower at the gym, etc. and living like a semi-homeless person, in order to be a traditional student without your parent’s financial help.

When I was younger, right out of high school, I was much more naïve and trusting like I’m sure many here on this site were. I still wanted very much to believe in goodness and naively believed that my parents could follow through on their promises. Sure, I thought that my family had some problems, but my parents weren’t all that bad. My father paid the college expenses, but there were some strings attached, including the lack of choice of the college major. I wanted to believe that if only I worked hard enough, I could make it and graduate. Then in the distant future, I could back to school and become what I want. Nothing worked out for me when I was younger. Ten years later, I became an older, ‘non-traditional’ student and put myself through college mainly from loans and grants.

I am NOT a poor person and I have been working several years for a large, major company. The problem is the economy is not good and my hours have been cut down to where I need to find a new job. But I’m not worried.

Studying the frugal living websites is like a hobby of mine. I pride myself on being frugal and cutting corners with all household expenses, from making my own homemade cleaning products, and shopping for bargains in thrift stores. I enjoy trading books at a big, local, large “U-trade it” type book store. I learned to economize when I was younger living in my first apartment and I continue to this day. I enjoy the challenge and excitement of bargain hunting and actually having a savings account!

I am also quite lucky that I have NO MORTGAGE on my house! I bought a one-story, 3/2 house, slight fixer-upper, in a model home community three years ago. (I bought the house through a family inheritance–and yes, NOT all my extended family members are evil, only my parents!) It’s been fun decorating and furnishing my house on a budget starting with a few pieces of the apartment furniture, and decorating with updated flea market furniture pieces. I have had a lot of fun and it’s my home with my energy! Since I am a crafter, I like to knit, crochet, and sew decorations. My house is also filled with my Pagan décor (Druid and Wicca statues, pictures, kitchen magnets, Lol)and lots and lots of metaphysical and assorted subjects books–really, quite cozy!

My house is located in a major, Southwestern city, and the climate is good here and the costs of living are not too bad. I live in suburbia of large city where there are jobs, even if you’re willing to drive across town. If I really had to, I could easily sell my house and take a new job in another city/state, but I like where I live now and I’m not moving. I have had a lot of FOO abuse and many past obstacles to my success when I was younger. I keep telling myself that there are women my age who have not accomplished as much as me, and guess what? They were NOT abused like me! Then there are couples who make a whole lot of money, but they spend way too much money! To share a quick story:

I was watching a TV show called “Nightline” on Friday evening and the show featured a family losing their house to foreclosure. The husband once had a successful business and the wife had been a housewife who never worked. Apparently, the husband lost his business, had serious health problems and they lost their house. The husband, wife, and two sons ended up living in a one-bedroom apartment together and they were both looking for jobs. When I look at that story, I realize how very lucky I am.

In my past, I have been very hurt and insulted by others making rude comments about my lifestyle. According to them, I “should” be married by now and have a kid. Also, “if she was such an honors student at a private high school, then how come she’s not a high-paid professional person?” The answer lies with my past FOO abuse! I have learned to shut out these kind of people with their rude remarks. I don’t need to explain or justify anything to these people.

I do have dreams about going back to school in a couple of more years because that’s what I want to do! I do want to move into an entirely different career field. What I have observed with MOST abused women is that worldly success, in terms of education, career, and lasting romantic relationships do not come easily as a young adult. I have come far since I was a younger woman and I am so much happier now. I am in control of my life! My life is NOT over yet and I may own property in the future. If I choose to get married someday, then I will go to a Paralegal and sign a Prenuptial with my partner or no marriage! In the future, I may buy a a small, fixer-upper house as a rental property for extra income. I believe that the only good investments these days is rental property. So, my life is not over, yet, far from it!

I am proud of my hard work that brought me to this point in my life. If I had to do it all over again, then I wouldn’t change a thing! I have turned out better than some non-abused women. I am wise, brave, resourceful, and strong. The past is in the past, and I look forward to my new and wonderful future. Stay strong all!


Yvonne 🙂


Yvonne, I agree with you that parents should, if they can afford it, contribute significantly towards their kids’ education. What I disagree with is the degree to which that contribution affords them choices OVER their child’s own choices and abilities. Especially by the time we reach college. It’s not great for the wider society either if people are forced into professions they neither care nor have real talent for while missing out on the opportunity to make their better contributions to the world.

I didn’t mean for my comments about not accepting money from them to be a statement about any kind of noble poverty on my part. There’s nothing noble about not being able to feed yourself. I do derive satisfaction and a degree of pride from being able to take care of myself financially without having to compromise with people who would prefer my choices reflect their own self-image rather than consider what I need and want and have to offer (this to me is the failing of the kinds of parents we discuss here).

You do sound like you are doing well 🙂


Yvonne, “Reading between lines” on your posts, I see similarities between you and me. I can also relate to Alice and Amber’s posts.

without having to compromise with people who would prefer my choices reflect their own self-image rather than consider what I need and want and have to offer (this to me is the failing of the kinds of parents we discuss here).

Yvonne, that is where I am. My mom wanted me to be this “other” person, so I spent my childhood “faking it.” In my 20’s, I moved 3,000 miles away, and then slowly discovered who *I* really was. But then that started the “double life.” Where I fly back at Christmas and go back to “pretending” then go back to where *I* live and be “real.” My mom refuses to take blame for me “faking it.” That’s why I’m NC right now.

I did become a “professional” but I worked for the Federal Government instead of some “ABC Letters” big name company. And I kept hearing from my mom how “so and so is working for ‘ABC Letters’ whoop de do company.”

I’m not who my mom wants me to be.

But Yvonne, I’m also unmarried by choice and childless by choice. My mom has never hassled me about those choices which I thought was GREAT until I found out that somehow she made MY choices be somehow about HER. (I found out from a sister that Mom doesn’t like me having a boyfriend because then I don’t pay as much attention to her.)

And, unlike most women, I don’t get hassled by people about being unmarried and childless. I think it’s because I have been adamant about these choices since I was 12.

Right now I’m not dating, but that’s by choice. I am hoping to get myself feeling more confident about these current family events and the choices I am making.


DXS, I also had to listen to her repetitive “news” of such and such married, such and such now working for Y corp and made partner, whatsherface married a millionnaire and whatsisname got a promotion. They weren’t people I was friends with either, often sons and daughters of her friends. It seemed to me that she was trying to communicate the types of things she found admirable or approved of. None of them were things that I was doing (single, self-employed, no kids, I’m not Y corp material, nor the type to marry rich, nor do I desire some firm status) and I couldn’t help but feel inadequate and that our values were so different, so opposed (if she even knew what mine were in the first place, I don’t think she has a clue).

I feel like marriage and family is a huge insane joke but I would like to meet someone to have a relationship with. I’m ‘out there dating’ but honestly not having much fun with it.


My parents paid for college in full for my older siblings but only 1/2 for me. I had to pay the other half. They were burnt by two of my siblings who dropped out of college after they paid for 1-3 years enrollment. I worked two jobs, and also double majored. Before my final year I asked my parents for a little more, and my father said my request was “formidable”. I had a boyfriend at the time who suggested I not accept any money from them, and in my senior year I declined the money and got loans. My father asked me why and I didn’t have the communication skills to tell him. Years later (after my father passed away) I asked my mother to make up this money and she did.



Thanks for sharing! Very inspirational! I did not want to come across as someone who is whining and blaming parents for all their failures.I am hoping the best is yet to come.
I am however working on a letter that I will send to my sister, my father and my mother as a final step. Same version to everyone. Calm and very matter- of- fact. I want my father ot realize what kind of person he left me with all alone. I know he knows but I believe he thought “well at least the kid is safe financially”. Also, he has no idea about certain things my sister is doing (and she is in touch with him for the sole purpose of money). Do not get me wrong; it is not going to be something like “and she said and I said and did that and that”, a bit more subtle 🙂


I feel the same way. I am back with my ex bf now. Sometimes I wonder what has been keeping us all these years. I know the huge factor is trust and friendship. I think all of us here might be a bit skewed…. I do not want to sound like a TV life couch but there is something about it: Deep inside we are afraid that we will become our fathers/ mothers etc (either as victims again or as abusers) or, that someone will break our heart etc. I personally do want to have a kid (yes just 1) one day but for some reasons, I want to adopt. No, not because of selfish reasons that I want to do “Something good” or because I am afraid my kid will inherit a weird combination of genes and I will end up rising a copy of my mother (maybe that too, a bit), but because for some reasons I will see myself in that abandonded kid. And F***! Everyone deserves to be loved and to have a normal family.


@ Alice:

I also hate when anyone dares to critisize my choices. It is always the same kind of people who are capable of bullying or abusing, haven’t you noticed?

How come it would never cross my mind to tell someone what to do or what no to do? Who are you to tell me how to live? Besides, any unwanted advice I could consider should be coming from a person who can set some kind of example. For instance, if I know that my sister is miserable, she should not be giving me any unwanted advice on any subject because apparently she cannot help herself. Very logic, isn’t it? 🙂

The worst thing is that just as I am uncapable of bullying, I am also uncapable of talking back. That’s the worst part. I would npt be able to snap at my sister and say :”look at your life, why don’t you start applying your advices to your own life?”. So I would take the crap from her and say nothing, try to change the subject.

As for relationships in general: I am aware that there is no such thing as RELATIONSHIP FOR LIFE. It makes me angry when I hear women who split with someone after several years keep complaining “he WASTED my time, what a shame” etc. He did NOT waste anything! They did not waste anything! Did she forget about all the nice moments they had? It was a relationship for that very moment for that period of her life, that chapter. There is probably another chapter coming up and another relationship, or maybe not and that’s ok too. How can you call e.g. a 5 year old relationship a wasted time??
Anyways a bit off the subject I know 🙂


Sandra, all stuff that I feel I’ve dealt with over years. There’s this desire I have to be “right” and that stems directly from the ways in which I was controlled and invalidated. Not all criticism is unconstructive but like you I am picky about who get to deal it out to me. It’s also a sane approach as I wouldn’t take financial advice from someone who is unable to fend for themselves. Or dating suggestions from the multi-divorced.

I often fear others see something about me that I don’t and that that thing is the thing that causes them to mistreat me or lack respect or whatever happens to be the thing I’m preoccupied by in our relationship. When I was a kid it was worse, I imagined I was transparent but it turns out I confused how I really felt with the ways I was told I felt. I guess that’s why I withdrew and cultivated my own secrets that she could never find out about. And I have some doozies:-)

Yes I also think my views on relationships are skewed and this has been the part that has saddened me the most. For not only did she not love me, she screwed with my views and feelings about love reducing my ability to love and receive love.



Sorry I am commenting on your post just now.(#345)
thank you for that, really. I appreciate it.

What is so hard for me is that fact that I need to start all over again.
It is easy to forget, leave it all behind as you said…but when you are 18.
Easy breezy. Forget, erase, move on, live your life.
I was joyfyl, positive, adapted normal behavior and have come across a bunch of great people. I left my sister in my life (who is a younger copy of my mother) but because are contact was not so frequent, it did not bother me. Plus I was used ot her behavior.
Than at 24/25 I sort of “came back to them”. They ruined my life for a year; they created distress, pain, got me in trouble (as I now know purposely) so that they could show later how “helpful and supportive” thy are, just to turn their backs on me when shit really hit the fan.I got fooled and become their servant, stopped caring about my own life, was intoxicated with the fairy tale I built about our “renewed relationship”, forgetting who I was, who I became years earlier. I came to my senses.It is unbeliable what our brain is capable of convincing us!! You look back and you are like: what was I thinking???

I finally see not just the abuse and bullying from their side but unbelievable jelousy, their evil spirit. I could deal with bullying, I got used to that, I had my life and I was happy, but I never thought my sister and my mother would purposely hurt me, create my life out of rage, jelousy, I do not know what else. It is actually frieghtening a person can be capable of such things, not to mention your own sister and mother. They play in the same team. I wanted to believe my sister was someone she was not.
I am angry at myself because of the childhood memories coming back to me. That I did not need at all. I cannot help it. Now they will both be out of my life for good (my bf laughs that at least I will avoid “feeling guilty” at the age of 50, supposedly it happens to a lot of people who cut themselves off from their families, they start thinking “it was not so bad”. Ha says I got a lesson I will never ever forget)

SO anyways, at 24/25 it is not so easy to move on and forget because all of a sudden there is this chapter that totally makes no sense, is not compatible with the rest of the book. I really want to forget. Once I realized what the deal was, I analyzed every single situation from the past. The results were scary because I discovered who my sister really was. There is nothing else to analyze. I really want to forget that entire year, send my letter to them and move on. But it so bloody difficult!!! I wake up and fall asleep thinking about them. I cannot get them out of my head, it is ridiculous.



It’s interesting that your mother equates financial well being with school and career success. My family also had these kinds of ideas and it is beyond ignorance. Very shallow.

About her equating you to a kid in the slums. I have a beautiful 5 year old son, and I can’t imagine thinking of him that way how cruel. My parents were similar to yours, and really upsets me to come from a place with absolutely NO understanding or warmth.

So a kid from the slums works hard and gets a career to get out of poverty- so what? It’s nice and everything, and we are inspired by people who overcome tremendous odds- but what about your own uniqueness. How does any parent not see that it is right and good to help their children devon their talents in life. WTF does a poor child elsewhere in the world have to do with that as a yardstick?
Yes I am sensitive, and thank god for it. Although my parents rolled their eyes and laughed and talked behind my back about ‘how I was’, I think they are the stupid ones. Children should be raised with kindness and understanding, and be able to use that richness of spirit to shape them as they grow in life and career. I guess I found it intolerable to be a workhorse, without sympathy or warmth. Thank god they didn’t break my soul.

Your life IS special Sandra.


DXS, I also had to listen to her repetitive “news” of such and such married, such and such now working for Y corp and made partner, whatsherface married a millionnaire and whatsisname got a promotion.

Like you, it was people I “knew” (children of my parent’s friends) but didn’t talk to. Not anyone I cared about. It’s not so much WHAT was said, but HOW it was said. With a “voice inflection.” Which my mom denies she has……. “I’m just making a statement……” NOPE! You are sending a completely different message. My mom is the QUEEN of “hidden agenda” and “metamessages” (a term Deborah Tannen uses in her books).


Sandra WOW, I applaud your choice to adopt one child instead of having a child.


Sandra: When someone “makes someone sick on purpose so they can get attention for caring for them” it’s called Munchausen Syndrome By Proxy. “Ruining your life in order to show how much they want to help you” sounds like a form of Munchausen.


DXS “I’m just making a statement” or “I’m just giving you some news” or “I’m just making conversation Alice” were EXACTLY the things she’d say when I would ask her “Why are you telling me this?” or when I would say “It hurts to be compared to such and such every year” (this after my mother did her annual torture move of reading me a Christmas “round robin” from parents of kids I went to high-school with and had been somewhat friends with but had since come to decide were too “goody two” for my liking. I’m sure my mother’s annual reading didn’t help.
One year it got to me so much I cried. She laughed and said “Haha, I just love to set you off”. What a bitch!
I should go check out that book author you mention.


Ahhhh…. I’m sorry you are thinking of them when you go to sleep, and wake up. I have been there and it seemed like months upon months!! I was so sick of it, yet I knew I wasn’t done until I was done. Just no way around it but through it. I have bad dreams too….. So technically, I could go to sleep thinking about them, think about them WHILE I’m sleeping, and have them firmly planted in my mind when I wake up. It got sooooo stinkin OLD!!

Sandra, you might think I’m whacked for even bringing this up again, but honestly, writing this crap down does miracles. There was a time when it wasn’t quite as miraculous because I just had to process so much…. in my thought life, it was a full time job. I had to be present to process, but even then, the writing helped express it all. I don’t like spending time on it, but, the reward reminds me that it is worth it. I hate to think of people who have already suffered, then to be overwhelmed with thoughts that don’t seem to ever stop. Maybe writing won’t make it stop, but, perhaps give you a little peace? It’s not as though you’d be causing yourself damage …… As if you were stuffing or trying to ignore it.

You’re young, and my heart just goes out to you because you seem to be right in the thick of processing, and it’s so so painful. I had a ton of anger to contend with. It HAD to go somewhere because I was ready to explode. I feel calmer after writing, and I can at least think about what’s for dinner and what the day is going to bring, etc. it is healing to express….. Whether here, to friends, a counselor, whatever….. Writing is just one of my healing ways. I don’t trust many people, my husband has heard it all a gazillion times, I saw a counselor earlier this year who really didn’t help, my friends are of the age where it’s a very busy time with teenagers at home, etc. meeting new people is difficult because I don’t trust their agendas, and it takes a really long time to develop trust for new people. Anyhow, the writing is helpful to me.

I will get off my soapbox now. I wish you a fantastic day!
Peace and hope,


Most of Deborah Tannen’s books are on male/female communication. But she wrote a book about her struggles communicating with her mom. The book is called, “You’re Wearing THAT?”

That one statement, spoken with a voice inflection, sends all kinds of “metamessages.”


Yvonne- 367

Thank you so much for your helpful comments. I too continue to be surprised at how ALIKE our families are. I remember being very cold in the mornings for school too. My mother didn’t work (and we had a maid, and she didn’t cook so she wasn’t really a ‘mom’ by profession either) but she slept in as well. Oregon is freezing cold and my sister and I would walk to wait for the unheated bus, in our inadequate winter clothing. But I do remember being freezing to the bone. Your story about getting dressed- too funny (not actually funny but you know what I mean I hope?) because my sister did the exact same thing.
It got to the point where we weren’t getting help in school, transportation, warm clothing, and even food was becoming an issue because they would eat most meals out at fancy restaurants and take my brother (a pattern that clearly exists to this day as evidenced by my last phone call I wrote about). We’d wait for the leftovers but usually just have apples and swiss cheese I remember eating that all the time???

I was 16, offered a car, but then during an argument my mother and father told me ‘this’ is why we won’t get you a car! Because you are like this! We were going to….

I don’t fall for that anymore. They used to go on vaca with everyone but me and always say when I was ‘good’ i.e. never because I wasn’t bad in the first place, they’d invite me. That was just one of a string of empty promises.
Only now do I see it as abuse! Back then….I was numb and sad. Of course I was ‘the problem’ for being ‘depressed’. My father stands by that story to this very day and it infuriates me that as many people buy his story as do.

My mother is the same too! I think she’s earned about $100 since she was 19 (mid 50s now) and yeah, its a vacation, because she doens’t have to take care of us! I don’t get a) why they had kids if they wanted to live like celebrities or b) why my father’s financial troubles were our fault from the time before we could provide for ourselves, NOT my non-working, shopping, 5 star hotel, salon-going mother????

I picture her visually like a horse. You know how they can’t see anything in their peripheral vision, they don’t see anyone but them, and they just end up kicking people because they don’t see them. Maybe that’s bad metaphor…but that’s how she is. She sees her, her needs, and plunges ahead. But everyone loves her, adores her, she is so cute and pretty and nice. I suspect it will always be this way. She really is a child though, others’ suffering doesn’t bother her and she just finds reasons to hate everyone. As many problems as I admit to struggling with, I must say that since ceasing contact, I am a far less hateful person, because I don’t have a constant narrative of hateful comments coming into my ear. I realize most people just don’t hate like her. I have the anger, which I am working on, but she is to the point where she enjoys to watch others suffer. I don’t get that.

I remember when my parents randomly cut me off (no warning just my father yelling ‘you took all my money’) back when I had deluded myself into thinking that they loved me and would help me as needed, like I have realized most parents do… 🙁
Anyways, I can relate to having to use community services. For me it was a struggle because my family hates poor people. And I was one. My father, once cutting me off and insisting I could not use any of his connections in a small town to get a job, said I was ‘stealing from the government’ when I got on food stamps. His own daughter! I was working while I was on food stamps. My mother wasn’t working, but apparently she wasn’t stealing from anyone. My worst memory was hobbling around in a flip flop that had broken when it started raining. They were $3 and I couldn’t afford to replace them. I can’t believe any doctor’s daughter would go through that, and now I know why some therapists don’t believe it either – not in a horrified way, just literally think I’m not telling the truth.

Gosh the messages our parents sent seem to be, “We are gods, you are nothing”.
I have felt so forgotten my whole life.

Another part that is so painful for me, is that my father divided our whole family and my sibs, who I know are deep down good, just sided with them. I miss them, I miss being able to call my sister and feel so happy and loved. Somewhere along the line, she took their side, and I think she really lost her soul. They weren’t good to her either, but I’ll make no bones about it I was the scapegoat, oh yes. She’s being helped by them right now. It’s like my father and mother spent so much time actively stealing love and happiness. I don’t know if you heal from that.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how I feel day to day now, since I faced the truth vs. denial. It’s so hard to admit that really, you aren’t loved. I mean, my aunt/her bf love me in their own way (I finally realized she is controlling, which is tough, but not abusive and there is a difference- I spent some time questioning that…). How does anyone ever just heal from a lack to love?
To me, love is like a vitamin, you’ll die without it. I feel like my life has been so saturated with hate. And the worst part is, it didn’t have to be that way. They could have loved me. My mother could have worked, hugged me, my father could have said goodbye when I went off to school, asked me how my day was.
How hard would that be? But it was that they’d RATHER not. It would be EASIER to not care, and more satisfying to bully. How does anyone EVER recover from that? I don’t see it. I’ve been in therapy all my life. I love being able to relate to others, but I look around and I’m not like them.

Thanks again, great to have you on this board.



I also realize how triggering all of this college stuff is for me. I am in college right now and questioning it and I wonder how many others at my school deal with this too. The whole money is power and basically witholding a major tool for financial independence (which they’d hate).? Just a thought.


Sandra I have been naive all my life concerning my family. Its not stupid although it feels that way when you finally see the truth which I did at age 58. Good for you if you see it now.

The obedience and compliance was so drilled into me in childhood, it was all I knew.
Nothing else was taught or explained concerning life or relationships.
Abuse and victim mentality were modeled daily.

All I was ever taught: be obedient to authority.
Do what you are told and never question.
And you ARE (and always have been) the problem.

How do you go in in life and become successful when that’s all
you have been taught? Its a setup for failure. Then THEY are the ones who judge you to be a failure.

My mother just sent me one of her “friendly” postcards. How are you she says? and
blah, blah blah about my golden child brother.
I am no contact for 18 months now.
That card was a hook. It could have said: I miss talking to you. Why
don’t we discuss the problem and try to solve it.
But it didn’t and never will. I’m not fooled by her anymore.
I’m Still no contact. Much happier too.-Karen


Sandra my brother jumped on board with my mother and has not spoken to me in 14 months. He and I never even had any disagreement???
No bad words of any kind. Til I finally stood up to her.
Then he shamed me to my husband on the phone.
In their dysfunctional system he is the golden child who is in denial and who can do no wrong. She adores him and he goes along with her for money.
I was very hurt but not surprised by his reaction to my no contact with my abusive mother.
He’d rather have no relationship with me that take a chance at displeasing her.
He has always been abusive to me. He discounts everything I say. Makes fun of anything I do. Sad too because we are a small family. There are only the 3 of us. So sorry to hear about how you are treated byyour sister. I would have liked a sister.


Karen R, the “why don’t we discuss the problem and try to solve it” was what I waited for, every time. So far hasn’t happened and I’ve given up on it happening.


Karen R, Mimi, Anna, DXS: wow guys thank you so much for your comments! It means so much for me especially that you are older, you give me strenght and courage. Also, I am sorry for what you have been through.

@Karen R: Your brother sounds exactly like my sister!! My “family” is also small: just me, my sister, our Mommy Dearest and Daddy the Eggshell,with whom I have been enstranged since I turned 18 (no extended family, my mother forbid my father to take us to see his brothers and his kids, his mom etc, she hated them and vice versa. I guess I must have known deep inside that nothing good will ever come out my contact with my sister, I did not want to be an orphan). I used to be daddy’s girl when I was little, I mean it was me and him and the Monster against the two of us, than my father left and I guess he must have decided that in order to move on he needs to get rid of his kids too, otherwise his ex psycho wife will never leave him alone. I asked him for child support just once when I was on my own and not talking to both of my parents, in a form of a letter. Guess what I got back: an empty Xmas card with stripes cut out of child support regulations, which said that a parent is no longer obligated to support the child financially if he or she is acting “scandalously” or for any reason unappropriately,including LACK OF CONTACT. Anyways that was enough for me.I could not believe. He never tried to get back in touch with me himself, I did that last year and it was a mistake. If I already posted a comment somewhere on EFB ncluding that information about the card, apologies in advance 🙂 I would hate to repeat myself.

Karen, I also have a problem with authority, just like you do. I can’t object a certain kind of people, assertiveness is definitely not my strong side 🙂 Actually even though strangers have always been praising me for being “so mature”, I think my ways of dealing with difficult people are quite childish, even until now- I freeze and escape basically.


Don’t you know? You’re not supposed to disagree with your parents, push back, have a different opinion…….. They don’t want to discuss any “problems” because you aren’t allowed to have any.


no clue where to start on this one, just brought up a lot of different issues. but, I know how all this feels, mom told me she didn’t want another kid when she was drunk. she doesn’t want any us blaming her for anything. I could write a book. but, her mom was very mean to me also. and her step-dad was a creep and well tired things. I always had to give up my room when they came to visit or anyone else, had to sleep on the couch. dad his parents were not any better, hid dad was a drunk, gambler, his mom, she was depressed and I think also drank. one time the dad dropped me off and either they slipped booze or a drug in my drink I passed out, they owned a bar, not a place for a kid. dad is not any better, he won’t talk to me, what ever. that is a problem in that family, they have no room to forgive someone or just move on.
I got blamed for everything, including when a neighbor raped me, mom beat me for it, she denies it. when I came out to her she blew up, in a moment of anger I told her what the golden son did to me. another brother has stopped talking to me. and one other brother well it doesn’t seem like he wants to bother with me either.
I used to think she did a good with us, but came to realize I did a good job for myself, because I raised myself and turned me into a person I wanted, very radical, free thinker, yes I still have issues, but working on this one at a time. I couldn’t wait to be free of them. not one person in my family called me on my last birthday.
I live in the same state but no one comes to visit, I had to go up there, not any more. one brother was just in my area and didn’t call to say let’s meet up or anything, that hurts… and he called the older brother for his birthday…
I rather just keep to myself, than pretend. just because it says family doesn’t mean they are. thanks for writing this, have a lot to think about….


DXS, well I have to admit I didn’t know, I’m guessing this is how I determined that I was the problem. I mean they helped me to see that too. Thanks folks 🙂 (did you hear the sarcasm in there?)
Aside from me joking about it, I’ve been doing a lot of looking into human development depending on ages and whatnot and I had to jump up and down when I read that most (if not all, but I’ll leave a margin of benefit of doubt for the good faith of my parents) human children go through a number of ‘normal’ stages – including pushback and holding different opinions – as part of their human growth and that such stages are necessary for the maturation and individuation (considered to be a positive thing) of a human person.
I do like my Jung on toast in the morning:-)


@Mimi: I am writing a letter to my “family” and want to send the same version to all 3 of them. It is way too long for now and I will definitely cut it. I am doing it for myself mostly. The thing is, as you said it is like a full time job: very time consuming and draining I’d say. But once I start, I can’t help it. The thing is, it brings no relief, just the contrary, it is like reliving the past, it brings up memories I thought were long forgotten. I also talk to my bf A LOT. He has a great sense of humor and laughing at my mother actually does make it easier a bit. He said he wished I told him more details earlier, he would have never ever let me visit her and definitely not alone. The thing is that because he can laugh it off (he is not diminishing my feelings by any means though! Don’t get me wrong), I sometimes feel even worse; I feel I could have been stronger, less naive and sensitive, I should have cut myself once and for good from all of them and treat them like a bunch of clowns.
I am angry at myself also because I took the wrong path; as I mentioned many times before, when I stopped talking to my mom at 18-21 and limited the contact with my sister, I managed to LITERALLY forget almost my entire childhood. I threw out a majority of pictures, only took several of myself and my sister when we were kids, and than spent 2,5 years abroad. I thought I was SO STRONG: I bounced back from depression and everything was just fine. I kept one big red sign in my head saying: “AS long as you stay away from that woman you are safe” but all the memories were out, my childhood was one big fog. I did not know a human brain was capable of doing things like that. Now I do know as I started doing some research on trauma etc. So right now my brain has been basically suffering from everyday diarrhea 😀 I can laugh it off but it is just tiring: everyday my brain is recovering a few new memories, all of them outrageous and painful, I am telling my bf about them, I don’t feel embarrassed any more. Once he started crying he was so moved. Sometimes as I said he’d joke about my mom to make me feel better.
I really wish sometimes I was physically abused by her, not so severely verbally and psychologically. If I had at least one visible scar on my body I would have remebered better that there is no way in hell a person like her could ever change.

DXS: Munchausen….possibly…but I think my mother is in general a psycho. I did spend lots of time in hospital when I was a kid though, getting checked all the time, getting physical therapy I did not need, etc. (2 years ago I got hit by a car and when they Xrayed me it turned out I had no scoliosis whatsoever. All my childhood my mother was telling me I was going to end up like Quasimodo! Can you imagine? This is like a Forrest Gump thing with his legs). Last year my mother wanted to make me feel like I was getting crazy/ depressed and basically DRUGGED me with Hydroxizine when I was at her house for 3 weeks (first time in 7 years). Now I don’t talk to her anymore and she is sending me text messages saying she is WORRIED about my mental health, why do I not want to speak with her again.(after my last visit when she basically called me a loser) By the way, I might be wrong but I have a reason to believe that hydroxizine which was completely unecessary in my case ( I split with my bf and could not make a decision in regards to my career, I WAS NOT depressed) and way too much for my body caused some side/ adverse effects (several panic attacks). I knew my mom was abusive but I did not know she was manipulative, evil and dangerous. I thought as an adult there was no way she could hurt me.


@Mimi: I am writing a letter to my “family” and want to send the same version to all 3 of them. It is way too long for now and I will definitely cut it. I am doing it for myself mostly. The thing is, as you said it is like a full time job: very time consuming and draining I’d say. But once I start, I can’t help it. The thing is, it brings no relief, just the contrary, it is like reliving the past, it brings up memories I thought were long forgotten. I also talk to my bf A LOT. He has a great sense of humor and laughing at my mother actually does make it easier a bit. He said he wished I told him more details earlier, he would have never ever let me visit her and definitely not alone. The thing is that because he can laugh it off (he is not diminishing my feelings by any means though! Don’t get me wrong), I sometimes feel even worse; I feel I could have been stronger, less naive and sensitive, I should have cut myself once and for good from all of them and treat them like a bunch of clowns.
I am angry at myself also because I took the wrong path; as I mentioned many times before, when I stopped talking to my mom at 18-21 and limited the contact with my sister, I managed to LITERALLY forget almost my entire childhood. I threw out a majority of pictures, only took several of myself and my sister when we were kids, and than spent 2,5 years abroad. I thought I was SO STRONG: I bounced back from depression and everything was just fine. I kept one big red sign in my head saying: “AS long as you stay away from that woman you are safe” but all the memories were out, my childhood was one big fog. I did not know a human brain was capable of doing things like that. Now I do know as I started doing some research on trauma etc. So right now my brain has been basically suffering from everyday diarrhea 😀 I can laugh it off but it is just tiring: everyday my brain is recovering a few new memories, all of them outrageous and painful, I am telling my bf about them, I don’t feel embarrassed any more. Once he started crying he was so moved. Sometimes as I said he’d joke about my mom to make me feel better.
I really wish sometimes I was physically abused by her, not so severely verbally and psychologically. If I had at least one visible scar on my body I would have remebered better that there is no way in hell a person like her could ever change.

DXS: Munchausen….possibly…but I think my mother is in general a psycho. I did spend lots of time in hospital when I was a kid though, getting checked all the time, getting physical therapy I did not need, etc. (2 years ago I got hit by a car and when they Xrayed me it turned out I had no scoliosis whatsoever. All my childhood my mother was telling me I was going to end up like Quasimodo! Can you imagine? This is like Forrest Gump and his legs). Last year my mother wanted to make me feel like I was getting crazy/ depressed and basically DRUGGED me with Hydroxizine when I was at her house for 3 weeks (first time in 7 years). Now I don’t talk to her anymore and she is sending me text messages saying she is WORRIED about my mental health, why do I not want to speak with her again.(after my last visit when she basically called me a loser) By the way, I might be wrong but I have a reason to believe that hydroxizine which was completely unecessary in my case ( I split with my bf and could not make a decision in regards to my career, I WAS NOT depressed) and way too much for my body caused some side/ adverse effects (several panic attacks). I knew my mom was abusive but I did not know she was manipulative, evil and dangerous. I thought as an adult there was no way she could hurt me. Together with my sister they did everything in their power to prevent me from getting back with my bf, and I believed in their good intention (we did eventually anyways, ha ha!). They wanted to be on my own because that way there was no one to protect me, no one to say “what the F are you doing?”. My problem was,at that time I did not know my sister was on her side completely.


Hi everyone. I can very much relate to the stories of how one’s family can split apart after so much dysfunction. That is what happened in my family. My niece whom I was close to left our relationship ten years ago. I think other people bad-mouthed about me to her and told her lies. I have asked her to join me in counseling, tried to approach her to talk, but she will have none of it. So I have let go as best I can.

My brothers sided with my mother and are loyal to her, even though she emotionally abandoned me and did not stand up for me in the face of sexual abuse by my father. They even were loyal to my father. I recently wrote my brother a letter telling him I did not feel love and understanding from him. He did not respond. And my nephew (his son) did not respond to an email I sent him a week earlier, and he usually answers back. So there is a painful ripple effect. It is humiliating to have people simply not respond.

I don’t have any answers on how to get through this. I wish I did. Some days are better than others. I am apprehensive about the holidays and whether to participate. I live very near my mother, and the family seems to revolve around her, so for me to not join in will be obvious. But maybe they won’t care anyway. Maybe if I don’t go it will be hard this year but get easier over time. They’ve been slowly excluding me anyway.

Regarding those people who commented about parents who enjoy watching you suffer. Sadism.

I did come across an inspiring thought about dealing with rejection:

“To overcome feeling rejected, you must detach yourself from these memories of your experience and instead attach yourself to the reality of your unknown potential.

Focus on your potential, not on the condemning messages of what you did or did not do. Be empowered today, knowing that you deserved that chance to evolve, to work on your potential, and you deserved the chance to do it a non-judgmental environment.”


I’m so sorry to read all that Sandra. It does remind me when I first left too. I did go back but they didn’t pull anything as bad (well, I guess unless you leave out the suicidal emails from my father, but those weren’t intentional I don’t think, and the other stuff I’ve talked about at length) and I also remember thinking if I had something to show, like a scar, maybe people would take me seriously. But I don’t think kids who were taken out of their homes due to physical or sexual abuse fared well either. Probably much worse.

I really just wanted for SOMEONE to recognise what I was going through and take it seriously and not just respond with that “But it’s your mother” stuff. In that respect this website is a gift and I’ve also met two or three other people offline who believe me (without that being to their advantage either) One of them knows my mother and knew my father before he met her. For some reason it’s incredibly important to me. My parents’ other friends either can’t see it or are too caught in their own cycles of mistreatment.

I also want to add, how in hell’s name are you supposed to “know” that your mother, father, siblings or whatever don’t have your best interests in mind? I don’t think it’s naïve at all to have that as an expectation of your immediate family.


Hi GDW (398)

So sorry that you too went through so much! I can’t believe that we both grew up in the Northwest. I was born and raised in Seattle, WA and now live in the Southwest. Your words and talking about your past situation really touched me. I can recall my father being pushed to the limit by my mom with his career. According to my mom, whatever she had was never enough and she has never understood the concept of having to earn anything in this life. When I was a little girl, I used to pray that my father would be promoted at work and make an even bigger salary, and then maybe my mom would calm down and the abuse would stop. We did live abroad for a few years in the American community of a Mid-Eastern country and there was more money. Surprisingly, my mom seemed to calm down a bit living abroad,since she could take trips to Europe often and go shopping for gold jewelry. I was busy with being an honors student in the private school for Americans. Then we returned to the States and I graduated from a Catholic High School.

When I got into my twenties, I would think of my past and begin to realize just how abused I was. It was like a reversal of fortune from being a girl in a nice house, in a nice neighborhood, including spending time in school in Europe. I never in my dreams believed that I would end up alone and poor in a women’s shelter in my twenties, in my second state. It was after I quit college as a traditional student, that I really had nowhere to go. I have no family to speak of (only child) and I could NOT go back to my parent’s house. I remember going to the women’s domestic violence shelter and the intake person claimed that my abuse was about equal to these women with their husbands, except for the sexual. (I also carried with me my hospital records when I almost died from a SERIOUS suicide attempt a couple of years back right after we moved to the second state.)(It’s a long story, but I was depressed and felt like I was a pawn with no control over my life.) I had no job at the time and not much cash in my purse. I told the director that I needed to buy a prescription and the director got angry and said that they couldn’t give me any money at all, only food! Luckily, I could sell all of my gold jewelry (kept in a small lock box in my car–my only valuables) from shopping in the past foreign country, at a local pawn shop for money. They put me into a women’s job program and later transitional housing. I rode the city bus to my job and somehow got by on almost nothing! I was also shamed for being a year on food stamps. Back then like twenty years ago, they were in the form of a book that looked like Monopoly money and it was embarrassing at the grocery store! Now, I know that people get an EBT debit card and it’s not quite so bad. It’s a long story but I built myself up.

I don’t know what is going on with your college situation. I don’t tell people how to live, but if I had to do it all over again, the one thing that I would change is how I handled college as a traditional student. I was too naïve and believed that my parents were not that controlling. When I was starting to get low grades in my classes, then I knew that I had to quit. (I did earn a BA degree like over ten years later through grants/loans) What I should have done is stayed with a friend or roommate and just worked at low-level customer service jobs. Then I could have looked into some kind of vocational training…..I actually had a fantasy of becoming a flight attendant and back then I was younger and more slender! I know that I could work through my twenties and thirties and maybe then seriously deal with college and studying a “good” profession. I’m Ok now, but I do have student loans over my head maybe until I retire, but I can accept that. What worries me is seeing these traditional students and their parents pay for a traditional university degree and then these young adults can’t find jobs! Then they’re all trapped living at home in their parent’s house basement owing way too much money! Not good! Oh, well……

I agree that being a traditional student is a confusing place for a young adult. You’re not a child but you’re still kind of financially dependent on parents for your basic needs. I don’t know what to say. Everyone’s family is a bit different. I remember reading a recent internet news story about a traditional female college student who got a restraining order against her parents. The college actually gave her a FT scholarship and she was living cheaply with friends. Her parents were fighting with the college staff and they were not allowed to come back to the campus without being arrested! They are called ‘helicopter’ parents and they could not let go of her!

I also saw a very sad case on a news program, like “20/20”? or “Nightline”, regarding a traditional college student who came home on the break and murdered his biological mother. The family lived in Michigan and the son was an honors student, great athlete, and well-liked by teachers and peers. Apparently, his mother was on psych. meds and decided that she didn’t need to take them since she was a ‘Christian’ and she should just pray and make her illness go away. The son had actually called the police six months earlier to come over to their house because the mother was attacking him. Anyway, the son came home from college and got into a serious fight and stabbed the mother many times. Talk about temporary insanity! Now this young man has gone to court and may spend life in prison. Very sad!

I think I’m on a roll here…now I do recall a famous person also having issues with being a traditional college student. Her family was RICH and FAMOUS but she wanted to run away from them. She wrote a book about her famous father and how terribly hurt she was. No, I have not read the book but her autobiography sounds interesting. She also said in an interview that she stayed with different friends–(now called couchsurfing)–and they gave her some soup to eat. Who was she? Patty Davis, President Ronald Reagan and Nancy Reagan’s daughter!

Stay strong! Trust your intuition to make the right choices!

Yvonne 🙂


Hi Sandra (387)

I’m so sorry about your writing letters to break off contact. I have been so criticized and misunderstand by too many people in the past. I really don’t tell people how to live or what to do. I understand that different families have their own ideas on how much to give their child growing up, in both big and small issues, including college.

I was just talking about my past to demonstrate how far I’ve come. I am not asking for sympathy but it’s hard to talk about the past. I am a woman who actually had a few suicide attempts as a teenager and almost died at age 20 in the hospital. I spent time in a women’s shelter. I used to feel so ashamed of my past but I’m better now. NONE of it was ever my fault. I only talk about myself where I am now, because I have to “pinch” myself that I’m not dreaming! My life is good now, but it took me many years to get here. I hope this helps the younger women on the site. Please don’t give up hope! You can create the life of your dreams!

Yvonne 🙂


Hi Alice (383)

Yes, I think we both share the same basic ideas. I was very hurt by parents regarding traditional college. I was nothing more than a kind of ‘robot’ to them. It took me many years to become my own person and create the life that I want. Back then, I believed that I had NO future and that my life was completely destroyed by my parents. It does get a whole lot better with age.

Yvonne 🙂


Hi DXS (384)

I wanted to say that if you are happy with your life, then you have made the right choices. I don’t know why but I have connected with so many rude and critical people in my past. They criticized me for being single and childfree. I know that I’m a sensitive person and quiet and I don’t directly provoke others. It seems to disturb them that I don’t “need” a man to be happy and I’m quite content with my hobbies and friends. I think that some people envy me since I live alone and my house is peaceful and quiet. I have my freedom and they don’t. I believe that these women who marry quite young simply because “all their girlfriends are getting married by a certain age” feel pushed into that life because they have to. I know that half of all marriages end in divorce–not good. I made the choice never to have a biological child in this life as a teenager due to my family craziness and bad genetics and I don’t regret it. I wanted to have good finances and give my inner child the childhood that I never had with friends and sports lessons and shopping. Yes, I kept that promise. I really do believe in love in spite of everything. I have had a few past men relationships who could not make a commitment. I am more confident and assertive now in my adult life in meeting people. My standards in men are high, but not impossible! Most importantly, I don’t hate these past men and I forgive them. So, when I do meet a good man in the future, I am truly ready for a long-term relationship. Don’t give up!

Yvonne 🙂


How do I take the first step in the “divorce” of my parents and family that treat me so badly? How do I not have guilt and know what I did was best for me and my family? How do u not dwell on the past? How do I get past all these “what ifs”? I keep telling myself its for the best and then I talk myself out of it somehow! Why do I still worry what my father thinks? Why can’t I just be strong and walk away? Why do I keep making excuses for my family and allow them to treat me like garbage? How do I get self esteem??
I am very thankfull for this site, I no longer feel alone in my struggles. Thank you all for sharing and being so open. It truly is an amazing feeling to feel like your not crazy like your family tells you, you are!


Apologogies for any typos and errors in my last few posts. I was really tired when I was writing all that ( I am in a different time zone that most of you here are, I assume) but I could not help it! 🙂 I was so happy there were so many responses to my posts…. I guess I am not used to being listened 🙂

@Alice: thanks for reading my comments. Posting here is also a part of my healing I guess (Darlene I can’t thank you enough for creating EMF, it is one of its kind!). First off, I never even expected anyone of you guys would read my stuff, I feared my posts were too long plus everyone must be occupied with their own problems. It does help that there are people who read it, acknowledge my abuse instead of saying “it could have been worse” (sure it could have! I hate when people make comparisons which make no sense. It is like saying: you could have been born in an orphanage in Africa. Or you are dealing with a substantial issue and you get: “oh be grateful you are not living in the streets. Gee, thanks!).

Anyways, I am not looking for pity here either, don’t get me wrong. I also read other members’ posts, they give me a sense of normality, sometimes ideas on how to cope, sometimes hope. It’s just I am now supposed to be having the best time of my life. I don’t want to look back when I am 60 (no offense to anyone who is 60 here) and think: damn I wasted my youth on dealing with those idiots instead of moving on and living my life. I already look back sometimes and think: wow, my “mother” was a master, I truly had no idea I was pretty (even though I was getting lots of attention from men) until I was 23. I considered myself “alright” but nothing more than that (thank God! If I had an even weaker personality and believed the s*** my mother was telling me, I would have been hiding in corners, or I would end up like the guy from that movie “Red Dragon”, have you seen it? 🙂 ). I actually remember when I was 20 and someone told me: “you are different than other pretty girls. …you act as if you were totally unaware of your looks, and you are nice to everyone” 🙂 The nicest and most original compliment I ever received 🙂 (besides, I do not see a reason why should I be nice only to a selected group of people, but anyways, it’s off the topic)

As for not having the best interest in my mind: I should have known! She always objects what you want and need. Also the things she was “making” me do (she literally made me quit my job! I do not know how the hell she forced me to do that, I was 24, I had work experience, work ethics, I would never ever do that), she knew all the facts and she made me make the worse choice, the thing I did not want to do. Listen, I was blind, but the are certain things you just don’t do when you are an adult. I cannot explain my behavior from the last year. For the first time in my life she had power over me and I was doing everything she was telling (or yelling rather) me to do, like a puppet! IT is unbelievable….I just can’t believe. Plus for the first time in my life I did not care about my life at all, I just wanted to please her. It is so sick how we function. This is why I am so angry with myself. What if she wanted me to kill a person? Would I do that too? I mean she was testing how far she could go as she has no limits. She must have been astonished and excited … LEt’s see how far we can go, let’s ruin the reputation she has built for herself, let’s make her life miserable. This is something I cannot understand. YOu need to know I was not a 20-something loser, living and listening to her mommy. If people who know me heard my story, they would have thought I was drugged …..which was partially true, again she MADE me take anti depressants I did not need when I was at her house for 3 weeks, I was a walking zombie after each pill for 3 days, a vegetable, I am very petite and the dose she was giving me must have been for a big guy plus I am very sensitive to any meds I can not even take birth control pills. Also I suspect that when I refused to take them, she might have added something to my food. I know it sounds crazy but for the first time in 10 years I ate a meal prepared by her, she stopped cooking when I was in high school than I moved out. I was so moved that she prepared a meal for me! Se did not even touch it herself. She knows am picky when it comes to food which would always aggravate her, I am a vegetarian and I eat very healthy, she even swallowed that and cooked something I really liked… I know it sounds crazy but I am willing to believe anything now. If you do not do what she wants you to do, she will force it on you. Regardless how petty the thing is.). Also when I was there she forbid me to contact my sister (“She is sick of listenign to your problems. She cannot be upset now she has diabetes, blah blah blah”) There I said it. I think I might have been drugged my my psycho- mother aka Misery. Do you think I’ve lost my mind??


What happened to me is that at 24 I think I got tired for the first time in my life. Even strong women need once in their life time to hear “don’t worry, feel the fear and do it anyway, it will be ok, I GOT YOUR BACK in case…”. I just needed that support, to know that there is someone behind me who will catch me when I fall.

I have been on my own (literally) since I turned 18. At 24 I split with my bf who was that cushion for me (I was still very independent but I had that person I could rely on, trust). We split (he is a good guy, but we had rough 3 months and I could not recognize him, he humiliated me in front of his sister, there was some money issues involved and when we were fighting he said: “What are you going to do now? Why don’t you go to your mom’s? You have got no one but me”. That hurt the most because I truly did not have anyone but him, and he knew that. He was my best friend, my family and my bf. I never had any girlfriends, guys – they come and go, they don’t want to be “just buddies” with you if sex is not involved, obviously). Anyways, I started having panic attacks which was super scary. So I went straight to the “base”….my mother’s house. I think I did it subconciously, because this is the place where you are supposed to go when s*** hits the fan. I wanted to get back with my bf but as I mentioned my sister and my mother put a lot of effort to enable me that, they were also saying I was doing it out of fear(which was probably true but guess what, we are back together now). My bf was so astonished when he found out what happened. He said: “But you were always so unavailable, so untrusting, I thought you were safe because I know how you are with other people…I never thought she would hurt you cause I know you barely talk to her and how she pisses you off, I thought at least I did not have to worry about your safety”.

So I can understand that something happened to my brain 2 months before my 25th B-day, that I got fed up bla blah blah. But I just turned 26 and I am suffering the consequenses of those events: I am still unemployed, I ended up at EMF because I am having those f**** flashbacks, I am penniless, my life has never been like that I always had it together, I have never felt so drained mentally and physically, all those things took a toll on my entire body I guess. I have never felt so …sad. Yeah sorrow is the best word here. I am not angry, I am just so so so sad. I am crying inside, I used to be so positive and happy, cracking jokes all the time. I fear I will never get my old self back. I wake up sad and I fall asleep sad. I am walking around in a fog of sorrow. I know I need to pull myself together because I have an important interview coming up on Fri (keep your fingers crosses) and I need to look confident, pretty, all smiles etc. and most importantly I can’t be sitting there deattached from reality, cause they are going to think I am retarded (can you guys imagine? 🙂 Picture an interview and a girl totally not paying attention.. “Excuse me, what were you saying?” 5 minutes after an interviewer asked the question…:) ok this is not funny)


You need to understand that I was literally on my own, no friends other than my bf (I am not a weirdo I swear!), no extended family.
My sort of a female friendly acquaintance stood me up when I needed her the most.
It is true that ever since my realtionship with my bf started, I was getting softer and softer, less cautious, more and more relying on him emotionally. When I was 18-21 I had virtually a mentality of a hunter…and I loved it. I felt like a super woman. I did not want to get attached to anyone, I did not want anyone to interfere and mess up with my plans, I was self- sufficient entirely. Sure, I would go to a party with some again “friendly acquaintances” I knew at a time (wherever you end up in the world you are always going to meet someone to have lunch with, obviously), but it was just me, no one knew any facts about me or my past, I trusted no one but myself, I revealed my plans to no one, I became a master of small talks, (I am until now actually), people would enjoy having a chat with me without realizing that they still have not found out ANYTHING specific about me, ZERO. Besides, I have always been good with simply spending time by myself, I would never get bored, I enjoyed it, had nothing against it. And there I was, getting panic attacks and unable to make decisions, unable to think rationally, come up with simple solutions (e.g. going to a hotel and than renting my own apartment, I had money at a time, my bf and I split while living abroad, I had no business in staying there any longer and I came back), shutting off my phone to think clearly, not telling anyone about my plans, basically I was acting like a child lost in a park. And it would be ok if I had a normal mother or a sister. But I could not afford myself to feel vulnerable and this is why I am so furious with myself. IT was the worst moment possible to feel vulnerable because all of a sudden I got a call from a company where I applied for a job some time ago, and I totally forgot about it. It was my dream job, my break through and I blew it. I know it is destructive what I am doing to myself, that I should forgive myself etc etc but I can’t.
I realized recently that there are not many people out there, and I am talking about the strong, independent individuals, who literally have no one to rely on emotionally. Still, that does not help.


I realized I got off the topic entirely 🙂 Apologies…

TO answer the question: because they have not walked a mile in their shoes, they have no imagination or compassion in general or, because they look at those aging parents and they are so short- sighted in their views, they think: “how come this middle aged/ older/ aging lady could have ever done anything evil?”…

And the truth is, people do not change. When someone is dying and whispering to me: “oh forgive me” because they are all of a sudden scared. Screw that! That does not count.

Besides, how can you believe that someone who crossed the line so many times will ever change? YOu either do and say certain things or you don’t.

As you know from my previous posts, I come from a so-called “good family”.
In reality though, my mother was acting at home as if she was a standard abusive low -class woman you see in the movies.
-she would yell how much she hates cooking and would call us “pigs” and the dinner for us “the trough”
-she would curse on a daily basis
-she stabbed my father in his palm (he never reported it)
-since I have always been thin especially while a teenager she would call me “a lanky chimpanzee”
-I do not resemble anyone in my family and I guess due to some weird combination of genes (I am not adopted, my eyes are slightly squinty, she would call me ” a Vietnamese boy crawling out of his tent”.She was very creative, you can’t take that from her, can you?
-my dad has never done anything inappropriate towards me. And she knows that. But once he saw me changing when I was a teenager, he opened the door and closed it, he did not know I was in the room, it was a simple mistake, he wanted to make me feel better and just said “your back is really nicely tan”. She started yelling to him “I see how you are looking at her!!!” It was so ridiculous
-she would call me names, she never used a normal tone of voice, she was constantly yelling, it was just her talking and talking, never anything pleasant, always negative, he would yell :”what a kid! Whose genes do you have? Blind (I wear contact lenses, nothing unusual in that), bandy legs (it is a lie, I realized that when I was 23, I actualy have great legs!), crooked teeth,crooked jaw (untrue). Why am I sufferin so much? what did I do to get a kid like that?”
– even recently when I was at her house (I mean it was 6 motnhs ago) she would not be able to control herself which is a proof that abusers do NOT change with age. She knows that I am now aware of my true looks and she can do nothing to hurt me but there is no way in trying right? (“Stop looking at me with those cow’s eyes. You look like a scared cow with those eyes, you are never going to get a job looking like that”. ” You have lips like a duck” (I actually have nice lips).
-my dad has been a diabetic for many years. She would often eat chocolate ice cream in front of him saying “you wish you could have it,don’t you?” or “what a guy! It is all about the food for you and the insulin (duh). How are we supposed to travel when you have to eat all the time.”, “You are so skinny. What kind of man are you? A bone rack, a skeleton, bany legs, I can’t stand looking at you”

Now what I blame my father for is: why didn’t he divorce her earlier, why didn’t he ever object her? Was he afraid he would never see us again? Was he afraid she would make an abusive husband or a pedophile out of him? this is what I blame him for. That he was letting her abusing me and would never defend me.


Wow Sandra, what a piece of work! I can really relate to this certain transformation from independent 20-something to the depressed person I became. I mean depression affected me throughout my life from very young (oh, I wonder why…”chemical imbalance” my ass) but it wasn’t until I started wanting “love” in my life and trying to be a better person that the shit really hit the fan.

I think saying to someone that they don’t have anyone else is cruel. I was also told by an abusive ex-friend that I would end up alone. And so what? It no longer scares me anymore. Not in this defiant manner either. There’s a difference again between the defiant ‘independent’ me and what’s going on now. I think being NC is helping.

SAM, there are a few books and websites that deal with how to go no contact or “divorce” your parents and whether writing them is a good idea. I initially started out with a request for space after my father died but my mother was unable or unwilling to respect my request so I took it further. And she pushed further. I found writing down all the reasons for doing it was a good idea when I started thinking “well, it wasn’t THAT bad was it?” No, it really WAS that bad. The only reason I was feeling better was NC.

The only person I feared disappointing in the family is now dead so I didn’t fear that, and we don’t have much of an extended family either (unless I count the narc aunt who I have other problems with) so I didn’t fear trouble or missing them either (I do wonder though why we weren’t more involved with the cousins etc)

I did feel guilt at doing it and I did feel I’d be judged by others for doing it (and I have been). This post is good on that.
I have felt sad and depressed since doing it. So it doesn’t on the whole sound like a positive thing to do but I can only assure it has been.


These comments are really valuable to so many that are struggling with getting over their crazy toxic families. I wish I had found this post many years ago when I was really depressed and wanting my mother to be part of my life. I felt so rejected. I can relate to all the difficulties we share when you finally make the decision to cut all ties. It is far from easy and I too went through the seconds thoughts about how bad it actually was. This doubt put me in a rebound position sometimes where i would contact my family hoping i would hear what my mother was up to. It back fired and made things worse. To all of those who want to write a letter, I say if it feels right for you then do it. I did write a letter to my mother years ago and now all she does is take it out and use it to get at me even more. I finally realised that my mother will never understand, she is incapable. I have taken the view that she feels any contact even negative is better than no contact, so I give her no contact. I wrote a book about my life and in that I wrote a letter to my mother. This was a pivitol moment for me. I never felt good enough my whole life because I wanted her approval. At the age of 53 I named my book Never Good Enough…Until Now. There is hope for everyone, that one day you can severe the magnet that draws you toward them. Parents are a powerful force but if I can break away after a tormented life then anyone can. Just have faith, keep taking small steps and get support.


Alice: My mom apparently didn’t read that book. I’m glad you recognized the sarcasm. I forgot to indicate the sarcasm in my last post.

Light, I love what you said about de-taching yourself from the memories. I have trouble thinking of my mom as an “abuser.” My mom was “covert” with me. So covert, even she didn’t know what she was doing. I have to get to a point where I can mesh what you said with what I feel on my Mom. Not to mention, I read horror stories like yours and I think, “What am *I* doing here?” Your story, wow!

Alice, yes, how ARE you supposed to know? I didn’t figure this out until I was in my 50’s! I started rebelling in my 30’s, took me until my 50’s to figure this out. Like someone else said, all I get from mom is “the done thing.” But it affected me. Why can’t she take responsibility?

From Yvonne:

I wanted to say that if you are happy with your life, then you have made the right choices. I don’t know why but I have connected with so many rude and critical people in my past. They criticized me for being single and childfree.

I’m happy, but I’m unhappy that my mom isn’t happy for me and I’m not what SHE wanted me to be. Glad to see you use the term “childfree” I was hesitant to use that word (so I used “childless”) but both words imply different things.

There is a great forum called THE CHILDFREE LIFE. However, for some reason, the moderators on that forum do NOT like singles being on that forum. Let me rephrase that. They do NOT like singles who are happy being single. They are ok with you if you are single but looking to get married.

Yeppers, the people who criticize your singledom are jealous. I don’t get criticized that much, but I find it’s the MEN who are more “weird” about my never married status at my age.

Alice, the “you will end up alone” does not scare me either. Big whoop. I’ve been alone. I have spent major holidays alone. LOVED IT!

To anyone I haven’t addressed: I’m reading all your stories and saying, WOW WOW WOW to myself. Usually someone else has addressed, so I would only repeat what they said.


Hi la today
Welcome to EFB! ~ From what you have shared here I can certainly understand why you would need to keep to yourself when it comes to your family. You are not alone here.
Thanks for sharing ~ there is tons of info and thousands of stories shared by others comments in this site. Please feel free to share often.
Hugs, Darlene


Sharon – there is something called “trauma bonding” and “The Stockholm Syndrome”….have you heard of those? It is possible to actually bond with our abusers and empathize with them. There are a lot of factors that go into it such as exposure at what age and for how long, how significant the people are in one’s life, etc. I just learned about it this year. It may be one of the reasons why you went back and followed their commands. I don’t know much about this, but perhaps there was some type of brainwashing going on. It also sounds like you were on medication and perhaps very suggestible?

DXS: I’m glad you liked that paragraph about dealing with rejection and attaching oneself to unknown potential. I find that a very freeing, powerful and healthy concept. It helps me to not think about or focus on rejection. I can really start ruminating about it and sometimes have difficulty getting out of the loop. Now I am trying to focus on me and my potential every day. Attach to my potential.

It is encouraging to hear you say you have spent holidays alone and loved it. I hope they go OK for me this year.

To all: I am reading all of your stories and going Wow Wow as well. Very moving.


HI DXS(422)

I still don’t understand the rude and critical people. I think that the people who are disturbed by me are the ones who are terribly unhappy behind closed doors with their spouse and kids. I once had a major relationship with a man who told me that, “I was a beautiful woman both inside and out!” Wow, what a compliment. But then he went on to say that he couldn’t believe that I wasn’t married with kids by my age. I explained that I have very high standards and that it’s hard to find a good man (like him) who also shares my high metaphysical and magical path! Believe it or not I have been called “Lesbian” by a few nasty people in my past, both men and women. I reply back to these sort of people, “No, I’m a Republican and a Tea-Partyist” and that usually shuts them up! LOL! Then these same rude, weird people keep trying to find logical excuses to put me down. I would also get, “such a pretty face if only she could lose the weight she could get married!”

I made the choice as a teenager to NOT have children due to my past child abuse, bad genetics, and so on. However, I always saw myself as a ‘DINK’—double income, no kids couple—very professional couple. I’m doing well in my life and I hold no grudges against any past men I’ve been with. Sure, I’ve had the usual breakup pain like most women have been through but that’s life.

I just wanted to say that we are both NOT the ‘weirdos’ in society. I read that in the last U.S. census that the majority of Americans aged eighteen and over are single adults living alone. Think about that…the majority are single parent moms or dads living alone with kids, divorced singles, singles never married, and NOT couples or that mythical idealized family of four. So, yes the MAJORITY in the U.S. are single adults as the head of the household. Also, another statistic is that half of all marriages end in divorce. Thus, most “normal” people will have more than one marriage and usually more than one sexual partner in their lifetime. I also read that in another twenty years, the norm in the U.S. will be couples living together only and NOT married. Marriage is expensive and divorce is even MORE expensive.

I think because I am a Pagan woman and not a Christian that I hold different values than the mainstream culture. I frankly couldn’t care less what other folks do in the privacy of their home. For me, a long-term relationship living together is the equivalent of marriage. But then I look at the financial picture, and how society is more geared toward marriage through health care plans, long-term life insurance coverage and so forth.

I believe that the Christians are the ones who have the most issues with my lifestyle. The good Christian lady must be married really young, have kids, and become a housewife. The Christians push chastity on young adults and they wear their “purity” ring to save themselves before marriage. Again, I couldn’t care less but the point being is that they are still the dominant culture. There is a book titled, “And the Bride Wore White”, by Dannah Gresh. She is a famous preacher’s daughter, Dr. Dobson, of ‘Focus on the Family.’ I couldn’t care less what color dress the bride wore like white, light blue, purple, and of course white means purity. This Christian author later writes in a book sequel that she actually had sex with a boy on Christian trip when she was fifteen years old! The point being is that these Christians who point the moral finger at others are normally a bunch of hypocrites themselves. If I choose to be living together with a good man before marriage, then I’m branded an evil woman equal to Hitler or Stalin. I think not!

I hold no grudges against my past men relationships. My problem being is that I don’t seem to find any attractive and compatible men on the dating websites. They can’t read my profile and understand that we have nothing in common. But I’m a Pagan woman and I know that I can attract a good compatible man who is also Pagan/metaphysical most likely from my spiritual groups. I have something that the Christian ladies don’t have and that is my knowledge of divination and magick. In the future, I may “jump the broom” with a good man in a Celtic Handfasting ceremony—(in a Renaissance dress and NOT WHITE—for Christian purity)—LOL! So, I’m not desperate and I’m not giving up in finding a long-term commitment. There’s my rant….Thanks for being on this site.

Yvonne 🙂


I couldn’t care less what color dress the bride wore like white, light blue, purple, and of course white means purity.

I never wanted to marry, but if I ever DID marry, I imagine myself wearing a BLACK wedding dress or a SCARLET RED wedding dress, cut very sexy, just to mess with people!

When I was a kid (Maybe 12 or 13), my family went to a wedding where the bride wore a lime green wedding dress. No, it wasn’t white with lime green tinges. It was LIME GREEN! At the reception, I went up to the bride and admired her for choosing something different from white! I told her I loved it! She seemed embarrassed in a bad way for my “compliment.” My mom pulled me aside and explained that the bride had been “married before” so she wasn’t “allowed” to wear white. That just ruined it for me.

Yvonne, I hope you find a good man. And the handfasting, COOL!


Hi everyone!
I don’t always find a moment to comment, but, I do read all the entries as they come in.

For the ladies who are single and childless, I want to share that I had determined that fate also. I was fed up with unworthy men and at 29 I bought a condo which was previously owned by an aging lady. It needed cosmetic updates in the worst way. I saw the potential though, and I bought it and completely renovated the inside. I was as content doing that as I’ve ever been in life. I had determined I was to spend life alone, working on my home, and continuing my education for as long as I saw fit. I too have no children. There were a few moments in life where I had maternal desires, but, not that often. I have never really understood the women whose lives seem shattered because they’re unable to conceive. I don’t judge them, but, I don’t really understand it. I have always been so unsure of myself, that conception was very scary. It’s one of those things where after the seed is planted, there’s no turning back. I could never really take that leap. In addition, there was never a man who deserved to father a child with me. My husband came along about the time I’d settled so comfortably in single life. Just before our wedding it was determined that I needed a hysterectomy. Of course my decision was made for me then. I have never really mourned the loss of the possibility to have kids. It is what it is. It’s kind of funny the looks I get when I tell people I can’t have kids. Always this drawn sad face. In retrospect, I might have ruined a child, because until age 42, I thought my mother’s way of childrearing was the only way. PFT!!

I have spent an immeasurable amount of time writing to my mother. I have so many drafts saved in a variety of places. When I was in the thick of that time period, where I wanted to put my facts out on paper to her, I would spend little blocks of time, like 3-4 days where I did nothing else. It was incredibly stressful and exhausting trying to make sure every little thing was stated the right way so as to get the message across, trying to be sure nothing was left out, include every memory and the effects of every event, etc. That is so very stressful. While I was absorbed in that writing, I got nothing else done. I was hyperfocused on that and I imagine it’s like an author whose completely absorbed in his work. There was nothing at all pleasant, or refreshing, or healing about it.

I have those drafts saved, but, after my step brother’s suicide in June, and the events surrounding that with my mother, I had a huge revelation that nothing will impact her. If her stepson’s suicide won’t get her to realize the preciousness of life, the possibility that life is fragile, that her own daughter could die anytime, that even in the midst of a horrible tragedy, all she could think of in my presence was her own self created dramas, her own existence, her own need to be right, then NOTHING can touch her. I’m not trying to discourage you from writing to your family. Each person has their own personal experience, and I encourage anything that is your hearts desire. I really just wanted to reiterate that it’s true…. writing these letters of accountability is incredibly stressful and can leave you unable to function, or eat, sleep, etc. If anything, it magnifies every unsavory thought or feeling. I understand that. Those letters are nothing like my journal. If I decided to mail my journal to my mom, I have no doubt she would probably hunt me down and kill me. It is ugly….. I mean UGLY!!!

BTW, your mom was a piece of work saying all those things to you. The first thing that crossed my mind when I was reading all those horrible things was ENVY. To me, it wreaks of envy. And, it stands to reason since envy is one of the cornerstones of these ridiculous momsters. My mother’s envy is in the form of material things. If I buy something, she gets something bigger and better within a few months. It happened with our boat, with my car, with our home, and even on smaller ticket items. Of course all that is deniable, and my mother operates on deniability. She’s very crafty and sneaky and nearly everything she does is deniable. I sometimes wish she had came out and said she hated me, or beat me or something. The elusive momster types make it very hard to stay convicted in holding them accountable. She did whip me with a flyswatter once, leaving welts. But, that’s simple to address. She just completely denied it ever happened. It didn’t happen at all, no questions. Anything she ever did that was obvious, she just lies about it, thinking she’s so crafty and slick she can convince people, even the victim. Funny, she used to tell me I was so manipulative I could make people think black is white. Hahahaha!! I was the CHILD…and it was her who flat out lied about the obvious things. She even thought she could make ME believe it didn’t happen. I guess if you tell yourself something long enough, you start to believe it, and then the lies are even more believable.

My mother, one day after burying my stepbrother, sent me a thank you card in the mail. I got it 48 hours after he was laid to rest. It takes one day to receive mail from her because we’re in the same city. So, the day after burying him, she couldn’t find anything else to think about except making sure I was in my place. My sister hadn’t even received a thank you card an entire week later. Just goes to show she beat a path to the stack of cards to write mine and make sure I knew I was in trouble, or what the eff ever. Like the card your sister gave you, which might have even been a little more obvious, the card could be denied of any intent. BUT, I have known this witch for 45 years. I KNOW the intent. There’s nothing benign about it, in fact it’s very malignant to me. Here is what she wrote, (and forgive me, I think I posted this already somewhere)….. Thank you for coming, for reading, and for Kevin’s help. The Gary Ray family. First off, she didn’t address me or my husband at all. She used as few words as possible, she didn’t put any salutation, as in Love, or Blessings, or anything at all. And, finally, she signed it the “Gary Ray Family” pointing out I’m not family. It could be mistaken as a nice gesture, but, for 45 years, this is not the way she’s signed cards. To me, it is cold and purposeful, and angry. It was very hard not to address this with her, but, I’m so glad I held my tongue. I got good revelations during this time. One is, she will do anything in her power to stir me up and hurt me. If she knows she succeeded, she is happy. It feeds her. My best defense is to let her know she has no impact…. I’m still happy. I’m still thriving and she has no power to steal my joy. I also realized that all the writing I did to her back a few years ago is futile. I always thought I would complete the letter to her and send it….. until that day. I knew then, it would feed her. Any attention whatsoever feeds her. My very best course is to live and live well. I am so thankful for this revelation before I wrote her. It does mean I will never get my say, I won’t be able to be heard, or at least tell my story to her, to let her know the jig is up. In that pivotal moment I realized my outlet must be elsewhere. I made a promise to myself that I will never react to her again. I hate to say never, but, in this case, never is a firm word I really want to stick to. Each step of the process brings new things. Each person’s process is different in my belief. Each outcome is its own. I say this only to drive home the point that I’m not discouraging you from writing to your family. I believe that no matter who or what is chirping in our ear, ultimately, we must do what is in our heart. My path is not yours, and yours is no one elses. I simply felt like sharing today, and I wish the very best outcome for you, and everyone else here.

Peace and Hope,


Mimi, I don’t understand the desire to go through pregnancy! Why? Yuck! But to those who did and love it, GREAT!

However, my reason for not wanting kids was more about the “it takes a village” thing. (This was kind of my reasoning before Hillary C wrote the book…..) I figured….. kids will listen to people who aren’t their parents, and I wanted to be that person. Had no desire to have my own.

Mimi, I also have LOADS of drafts of letters that I WANTED to send to Mom. Only actually sent a few…… Even though I’ve been N/C for six months, I recently sent her a letter saying, “If YOU want to see me YOU have to invite me and YOU have to be willing to discuss issues.” This way, it puts it on her. Of course, she will still “put it on me” to her friends, or will concoct some “lie to make it look like things are still ok…..”


I do have kids, a son and a daughter and I am happy about my decision to have them. In some ways it was scary. My parents weren’t the role models for the kind of parenting I wanted to do. I winged it a lot just doing what I thought was the right thing, I remember my son saying to me that he thought I did a good job raising him, and knowing the way my parents were, he asked me how I did it without any role models. My answer was that I raised my kids on love.
Anyway, I do understand why some of you have decided not to have children. I think it’s an enormous and sometimes scary job even under the best of circumstances. And with poor role models it’s like starting from scratch and writing your own guidelines for raising kids, and all the while hoping that you are getting it right.


Hand up for another childless/childfree here!
I knew when I was very young that I didn’t want kids. It’s also in part what split my ex and myself up. We hadn’t discussed it prior to getting together. He was very upset that I didn’t want (his) kids.

I also have this feeling I wouldn’t be a good mother. I certainly don’t want to become MY mother and I also feel that I didn’t get a childhood as such since I was looking after a family member and there was also this “dependent” feeling I got from my mom, like the roles were reversed or something. So it does feel quite selfish me not opting to go the mariage and kids route but I feel like I deserve some time to enjoy my life. I’m sure that lots of people enjoy their lives with kids and a husband in them but for whatever reason I don”t think I’d be able to. I’ve also seen the way some wives end up getting treated or the way they end up treating their husbands and it just seems awful to me. I’m sure this is skewed as an idea of mariage but there it is.


I got a smile out of your comment. (the yuck part, lol). I have wondered out of simple curiosity, (not because I wanted the end result so much), what it’s like to have a little human living inside my body. Sometime before my hysterectomy, before I was married and I was in that blissful state of engagement, I thought I was pregnant once. During that time, I think I was okay either way. I mention the bliss part because I’m not in that phase anymore!!! I am content with my husband’s kids, and view them as my family. I have had several years now to observe my husband in a parental role, and I’m pretty sure if I’d conceived a child with him, I would have left him by now. On a much less serious level, we got a puppy together 3 years ago. This dog is so out of control, and while I do love him so much, it frustrates me that my husband will encourage him to bark, then get mad at other times when he barks. And, he can’t figure out what causes him to bark. He’s the kind of guy that gets the dog all charged up purely for his own entertainment. He once got really angry at his 2 yr old son for wandering out into the street. PALEEZ!! That isn’t the child’s fault, it’s the adult’s. But, that son is 26 now, so he did survive childhood. Anyhow, it’s all ended up well for me without children of my own.

I agree it’s a really tough job…. at least I always heard and agreed that it is. Particularly without the guidelines you speak of. I can’t even imagine how badly I would have screwed up a child. I have a God child that I’ve made mistakes with in retrospect. I intend to talk with her about that one day.

Peace and Love,


I forgot to address the letters to mothers. My mom doesn’t want anything from me, she only pretends she does. In my heart of hearts, I feel like she is happier without me in her life. I haven’t ever considered writing a letter that suggested we could somehow talk it out or work through it. I am convinced with my mother, that there’s no way. It’s been 45 years of her behavior, and my step brother’s burial proved she hadn’t changed, and is perhaps even more angry than ever. If I sent a letter that put things in her court so to speak, I feel 99.9% positive she wouldn’t even respond. I did address her several times in the past when she sent emails asking what is wrong. I told her. Then one weekend she couldn’t get me to cave, so she sent her counselor and her husband after me via email. It felt like I was getting it from all directions. In that weekend, I did respond a few times, but, I also think it was a game in which she wanted me to get angry and then she’d have something else to blame me for. I’m angry and unreasonable. I held her very accountable in that correspondence, and I told her I expected explanations for certain events, the biggest one being some blatant lies she’d recently told. With that, her husband explained he had sat down and wrote out a list of lies I’d told and it only took him 30 minutes. I knew…. I will never get anywhere with either of them. I was not abusive in those emails, but, I was very firm, and direct. I never got any real answers, and it just escalated into more and more drama. I know this is to be expected now. I won’t engage again, and I know she doesn’t WANT to get together and talk about things. It would mean she didn’t get off scott free. She prefers to avoid me now, I’m fairly certain. I’m the only one of her offspring that has stuck to my guns, and I know that makes her viciously angry. The only rule I hope to always adhere to, even above the rule of no contact (if I ever deem that necessary) is to never let her stir me or dictate my joy in any way shape or form. I hope to always stick to the rule of smiling if I must be in her presence, ie, the next funeral. And, I hope to always make sure to not engage her in literally anything. A mother who WANTS her child to hurt inside is something I can’t wrap my brain around, but, that is my mother. If it hurts her to see me happy, which I feel sure it does, I intend to be that much happier. This mindset makes me finally feel victorious.



Mimi, at least you KNOW your mom’s game. I can’t figure my mom’s game out. It’s just “covert.” She pretends to be a duck when she is really a goose. Neither is better than the other, but she feels she has to convince people she’s a duck when she is really a goose. And, since she refuses to “fight” for a relationship with me, I have exposed her for what she is. I guess I’m not worth fighting for. She is right, I am wrong (which was always her attitude toward me).


Alice, Mimi, and DXS,

Great posts! I agree with all your thoughts. I don’t regret having a biological child and I made that choice as a teenager. My reasons were: 1. Past child abuse–not confident about raising a child, 2. Money—again past child abuse where I had “nothing” while “Mommie Dearest” had everything–the big luxury house, shopping, etc. and I had clothing from the boys dept. and a lack of toys, treats, sports lessons like the other girls from more normal families—and now it’s my turn to treat myself 3. Bad genetics—fear of passing down bad genes and creating a “monster” child

All that I wanted to be was happy, really, really happy. I know that I’m not a sexual predator, nor am I a violent, or an alcoholic person. I believe that I could have been a good parent but it never interested me. I am lucky because at my age, men find me even MORE attractive because I don’t have a kid to support! It’s so rare to not find a single parent divorced mom these days. The man does NOT have to pay for my kid’s college tuition or anything.

I’m glad for the women who had their kids and the kids turned out “normal”. It’s NOT about poor parenting skills, or a lack of self-confidence without having had good role models, it’s all about genetics! Let’s face it, for women like us with abusive and/or mentally ill parents and family it’s dangerous for us to get pregnant! It’s like playing a game of Russian Roulette and you don’t know what you’re having and it’s like giving birth to a serial killer or some kind of monster! I am intelligent and a sane person and even with a good man, there is still a good chance of giving birth to a child with serious problems.

There is an older, school teacher woman friend of mine who is old enough to be my mother, Joan. My friend, Joan, is a wonderful human being who healed her child abuse issues from both her Narc. mother and brother. She grew up in Florida and her father was a doctor, always a workaholic and not much time for the kids. Her mother was a nurse and a Munchausen–sp? by Proxy type. She told me that along with all the devious behavior by her mother, that there was an incident once where Joan was left alone in the house with her mother, and her mother came into her bedroom waving a knife above her bed. Her mother didn’t kill her but wanted to show her daughter who’s boss. Fast forward: Joan drops out of college and marries a military man. Her military man husband is just as abusive and violent as her mother. Joan has three kids with her husband. The problem being her bad genetics through her mother’s side of the family.

The first daughter, called “the nice daughter” by Joan turned out basically “normal”. The first daughter got married, kids, job and basically just a nice, average person. The second son, called “the crazy son”, by Joan lives in an adult care home for the severely retarded and mentally ill people. This son is essentially a “vegetable” for life and nothing can be done for him. Apparently, he developed the mental illness as a teenager and his life went downhill from there. An example: he threw out the heirloom family silverware forks into the ocean in S.California, and later threw out the spoons into the ocean, because the forks were “lonely” without the spoons. He cannot live on his own and even on his psych.meds., he is severely mental. The only joy that these group home people get is going out to an occasional movie in a group, very chaperoned, or sometimes out to a fast food restaurant. Very, sad, not much of a life! Then there’ more, her mean, evil Narc. daughter…

The third daughter is the evil Narc., perhaps with assorted Borderline Personality disorders attached to her. This daughter became the evil businesswoman and VERY successful. My friend calls her the “millionaire daughter with the Midas touch”. The rich Narc. daughter earned an MBA and owns a few businesses and rental properties. She earns an easy few million dollars a year income. She is divorced with a daughter. My friend, Joan, has tried unsuccessfully to win her Narc. daughters’ love. To make a long story short, Joan sold her house (not too bright) and moved to S.California to have a relationship with her daughter. The costs of living are like three times as high as our Southwestern city. She could not financially make it there on a teacher’s salary and realized that she had to move back after all her savings were gone. She told me that she has NEVER asked her adult children for money. So she asked her “millionaire daughter” for $1000 only to move back home. Her evil rich Narc. daughter replied, “Sure mom, I can give you the money but you’ll have to pay me back with interest!” My friend went through a personal bankruptcy when she came back home and she did manage to pay back her daughter, plus interest, in installment payments. Her evil daughter is incapable of love and any normal human empathy! So, her evil daughter is a carbon copy of her grandmother, Joan’s Narc. mother! It’s passed down to the next generation…..

I believe that abused woman like us should NOT be giving birth to biological children. We should have stepchildren and adopted children only. I feel that it’s extremely selfish to create another generation of “problem” people. It’s not very nice to give birth and throw all caution to the wind when there is a good chance of having an insane or “problem” child like Joan’s son and he even knows that he’s NOT normal. Very sad!

On a more positive note, I am a Pagan woman and not a Christian woman. We believe in honoring the land spirits, Celtic gods/goddesses, and our ancestors. I do rituals to honor my ancestors, father’s side of the family which can be traced back to a few hundred years ago in Scotland. I believe that they help me in my Druid studies, and they were–I hope—normal and decent. The problems mainly come from my mother and my father who never protected me and let it go on. I often wonder that if my father had divorced my mom when I was a child, if I could have had a closer relationship with my dad and possibly a step-mom. Who knows? Well, like President Roosevelt, “the buck stops here!” I have no bio. child and I want to believe that I have even helped the family karma.

Blessed Be,



Yvonne, I read your story with interest. There hasn’t to my knowledge been a firm consensus established on the proportions of genetic vs nurture vs social in terms of the cause of any given disorder. I believe the only thing that has been established in genetic terms is a predisposition to a wide variety of potential disorders that may or may not find their full expression depending on the social and environmental conditions the person grows up in. Of course the factors all interact with each other.


i dont understand something…. just an example. my mother didnt like me speaking back to her, so for “arguing” she thrown tea in my face- full cup.

wheni was trying to tell my relatives that story right after in my defence (when they said why i get on her nerve by talking back)
i said she spilled a cup of tea at my face

they asked “was it hot”

i said no

so they discounted it all sinse it couldnt burn me therefor its not an abuse…

i was trying to justify for myself that it was still an abuse that i was talking to her and she threw full cup of tea at me,
but couldnt because i cant answer a question “why is that wrong- whats wrong about it?”

Does anyone know???


i dont understand something…. just an example. my mother didnt like me speaking back to her, so for “arguing” she thrown tea in my face- full cup.
wheni was trying to tell my relatives that story right after in my defence (when they said why i get on her nerve by talking back)
i said she spilled a cup of tea at my face
they asked “was it hot”
i said no
so they discounted it all sinse it couldnt burn me therefor its not an abuse…
i was trying to justify for myself that it was still an abuse that i was talking to her and she threw full cup of tea at me,
but couldnt because i cant answer a question “why is that wrong- whats wrong about it?”
Does anyone know???
– See more at: http://emergingfrombroken.com/why-people-discount-the-adult-child-and-defend-the-abuser/comment-page-8/#comment-441011


please someone comment on that, I asked teh above question on Yahoo and thats what I got:

“That’s what you get for talking back to your mother –
if you provoke someone enough you only really have yourself to blame for the consequences. All children try and push the boundaries with their parents to test the limits, clearly you have found hers.

I doubt very much your mother’s actions were premeditated –
unless she made a cup specially with the express intention of throwing it at you.
Neverthless you would be ill-advised to go round doing it yourself.

Maybe instead of trying to justify yourself, you should
learn a lesson not to wind her (or indeed anyone else) up.”

“Next time don’t make her so mad that she throws things at you. Sometimes in life it is better to shut it and just accept that parents are never going to see it from your point of view.”


Dear Mimi,

I totally agree with your comment about mothers. I had not seen mine for 16 years until my father’s funeral. I am an incest survivor (I have told my story in earlier posts). She knew it was happening and enabled it to happen. My father told others it had happened and how sorry he was. Now I find she is calling me a liar and is accusing me of so many things that never happened it amazes me that any one believes her.

I have two younger brothers and a much younger sister. For some reason I have the only stable marriage, two great sons and two beautiful grandchildren. My sister is a rabid drug addict and steals from her own family. But for some reason, I am the evil child. I do not fall down at my mother’s feet and fall for her mind games. I had them played on me for 64 years.

One brother invited us to the yearly family reunion. My mother told him to disinvite us. She did not want me telling my “lies” at the reunion. Everyone was telling me the things she had been saying and wanted to hear my side. They believe me but seem caught up in mother’s game that she is never wrong. I believe that she is terrified that she will be proven wrong and is jealous that in spite of being raped almost daily from age four to sixteen and with all of the psychological torture by both of my parents, I seem to have been able to have lead a relatively normal life.

She keeps telling people she “loves” me, but wants nothing to do with me. I went to my father’s funeral. He told others that he realized that what they did was unforgiveable. He even called me and my husband to tell us that and we had made our peace at the end. I will not go to my mother’s funeral except to bear witness that she can no longer hurt anyone. I was the peacekeeper and protector for far too many years. She cannot stand the fact that she could not destroy me. Once I am able to accept that, I will finally be at peace.

Thank youall for listening,


Nara, I think Yahoo is a terrible place to ask questions! Nobody should be throwing cups of anything at each other, hot or cold, and the commentator you cite obviously has bought into the idea that it must immediately be the kid’s fault.
Sadly it’s an opinion that is widely held. There’s a lot of info on this website about it. Advice-giving in the comments is not something Darlene is in favor of and I don’t really know where I’d start anyway (i have enough trouble advising myself haha) but people are encouraged to share their experiences so perhaps you could write more about what happened and more about your relationship with your mom? That’s something that I’ve found helpful. Of course if you’re in immediate danger, all bets are off and you should find an adult you trust (like at school) and tell them.


Nara, in my opinion throwing something in someone else’s face is extremely disrespectful, potentially physically dangerous, and it’s an act of aggression. In my book it would absolutely qualify as abusive. The person who answered you on Yahoo is probably trying to justify some of his or her own miserable behavior by putting the parent in the right automatically, thereby making it a parental free- for- all for any kind of bad behavior on their part.. I agree that Yahoo is not the best place to go for answers to your question. This website is wonderful and I think you’ll find alot a great info pertaining to your situation.

I am amazed at how the respondents to your Yahoo question completely disregarded the rights and feelings of the (adult) child. Guess their belief is the parent is always right even when they are not right, and when their is blame and guilt to distribute, it always lands in the lap of the offspring.


Dear Karen,

I meant to direct my last comment about mothers to you also, but I guess it was meant for everyone. I had felt so guilty over the years that perhaps I was wrong to not forgive her, that maybe something had happened to make her so narcissistic as to not be able to feel love for anyone but herself.

But her parents were the most loving people in the world. Her two brothers and their families are loving and giving. What happened to make my mother the person she is? I heard a comment in a movie that a girl felt her mother had abandoned her in the womb. That is how I felt as I grew older and realized that she let my father violate me sexually from age four and I was traded off to become the surrogate wife to him.

I took care of my brothers and sister and felt so guilty for abandoning them in that house of insanity when I met my husband and married him six weeks later. We have been married for 42 years. He literally saved my life and my sanity.

But I am evil, the antiChrist, the gossiper, greedy, a liar, a thief etc. etc. ad nauseum. I kept my sons from loving her with my lies…they witnessed her in action and were told about the incest when I was able to tell my husband. I could not say the words for 15 years after were married until my brother was going to have twin girls. I could not let that happen to them.

My sister was six years old when I married and my mother moved her into their bedroom because “she cried for her big sister”. According to my sister, my father didn’t touch her until she was eight. He exposed himself and she told the school counselor. It was reported to Social Services but my parents said it was all just a big mistake. But it did stop my father from doing anything else to her.

But my mother did everything she could to keep me from leaving home. I found out years later that I had been offered a full scholarship to MIT, but my mother told the counselor that it would have been too much of a hardship to leave home. I did go to the local school for Registered Nursing. I believe now that I would have never met my husband if I had gone away, so perhaps God was watching over me. Without my husband, I would not be alive today.

But my mother did crazy things to try to break up my marriage and force me to come back home. She even hired a girl to say he was supposed to meet her for a date two days after he went to Navy boot camp. She has tried many ways to split us up over the years and even wrote him a couple of weeks after my father’s funeral to try to get him to agree with her that everything she was saying about me was true.

She seems so envious that someone could actually love me enough to tell her to f…off and leave me alone or he would press charges for harassment. He is a retired Navy Captain and is a federal agent and reserve deputy sheriff.
When I told him about the incest, I was terrified that what my parents had always told me was true, that he would leave me if I told. He not only didn’t leave, he cradled me in his arms and said that he had always suspected something was wrong. He even went with me to therapy. My mother cannot stand any of this. If it does not benefit her in some way or if she cannot control the situation in some way she makes up another lie.

My sister is a drug addict, divorced and has lived with more women than we can count. at the funeral, she stole our 13 year old niece’s jewelry, my sister-in-law’s jewelry and all of my sister-in-law’s drugs…she has cancer and is on heavy pain medications. Their marriage is rocky because my mother keeps pressuring them to let her move in. My sister-in-law was in ICU and my mother called her and said that when she got home, she had a list of things she wanted my sistet-in-law to do. This is not unusual for my mother. She always comes first, no matter what else is going on. In 1997, I was in the hospital with a heart problem. I had nearly died. She was mad because we weren’t coming for Christmas. We never saw her after that until the funeral.

My other brother is divorced and an alcoholic. His three children are so messed up, but my mother had a lot of influence on how they were raised. I never left my sons alone with my parents and they have never met my daughter-in-law or my grandchildren. My sons and my daughter-in-law told us they could never thank us enough for keeping my parents away from them. My mother thinks she is a wonderful mother and grandmother and can’t stand it that my little family is wonderful or that me and my husband, sons and daughter-in-law are so successful.

I don’t understand mothers who hate their children. I had difficulty believing someone could hate me that much. But I have finally accepted that fact. Except for my birth certificate, which she gave me when I married, there is not a picture, record of anything I accomplished in school or anything in my mother’s house to say I ever existed.

But I am too old to play her games any more. Even my brothers say that the wrong parent died first. As far as writing her and disputing the lies she is telling about me, I don’t think it would make any difference. Somewhere deep inside, she has to know what she is doing. Or am I so naive to believe so? She is trying to destroy me. My husband loves me, my little family loves me. I just have to accept the fact that I have never had a mother who loved me.

God bless you all,


Nara! What if it HAD been hot? Ok, that’s your point. It was still wrong! And what was up with the “Talking back” thing? Why were parents SO AGAINST it? My mom was all about the “talking back” thing. Um….. if I don’t talk back, how in the HELL are you supposed to know what I feel or how I feel about things? (That’s my contention, and my mom has no clue what I’m about, but she says it’s MY fault that I never made my feelings known…….)

Accept that parents are never going to see it from my point of view? THEY SHOULD TRY!!!!!!


@Linda: That is how I have always felt. I definititely felt no love coming from my mother, no “neutral feelings”, just pure hatred and jelousy. Period.
Her actions and behavior never had anything to do with any kind of love.
She has been trying to ruin me, make me feel miserable. She must have been pissed she was not succeeding.
One think I do not understand: how come if you cannot stand someone you don’t want to just let them leave you, how come you want to have control over that person so much?



That is something I have never understood. I do believe that I learned to love from her parents, my grandparents. We lived with them until I was four. They loved me, hugged me, praised me, got the only decent clothes I ever had and bought toys and dolls for me.

When we were no longer living with them, my clothes came from Goodwill and my mother only took my toys out when my grandparents were there. If I ever said anything I was beaten when they left. If we went to my parents’ friends house for them to play dominoes, I had to sit very still on the couch. If I spoke or moved, I was beaten on the way home. My mother overfed me by putting as much food on my plate as an adult. If I couldn’t eat it, I was beaten. Once I threw up and she made me eat it anyway. I was overweight and she stood me on a chair and pointed out how fat I was to whoever was around. According to mother I was fat, ugly, had big feet (size 6 when I grew up), and went to school with belt buckle marks on my legs for all to see.

At every school, my parents had a teacher keep track of what I ate, what I said, who I played with, etc. no matter what, I was always wrong and beaten for whatever they perceived was wrong. If I reused my father’s sexual advances, I was beaten. The smell was always on me. I could never understand why my mother never seemed to notice.

She cut my hair short and put a permanent in it called Tonette in the 50’s making it kinked up. My grandmother cried because she had always loved my long hair. Of course, my mother was always dressed to the nines and bragged about her tiny waist and feet.

My one pleasure was school. I was reading the second week. I read Moby Dick when I was eight. I was tested and found to have an IQ of 180. I belonged to MENSA and graduated with honors. As I said in another post, my mother had a full scholarship to MIT denied to me. If she hated me so much, why did she want me to never leave home?

I will never understand such hatred from someone who wants you around only to totally control your life. I am 64 and she only wants to control me enough to destroy me. This is the part of incest and abuse I will never understand. Of the things he did, strangely my father seemed to love me. My brother’s wife said he told her that he was glad I had done so well. My mother uses the word love, but in spite of church every Sunday and bragging about how great a mother and grandmother she is does not know the meaning of the word.

She never hugged her children and never held my father’s hand. There is something lacking in her personality, but the only reason she finally stopped trying to talk to me was my husband threatening her. But she is still tearing my reputation apart with everyone she talks to. I can’t control how much they believe.



I am an adult child, and i stopped all comunication with my abusive mother. he would make me cry every single day (teh days when i saw her) of my teen years – well not quite teen, when i was 10, 11, 12 basically the age when i started asking for basic freedom and had an opinion on things… she would question me about every little thing that comes to her mind, even when i cry and say “i dont know!” because i dont know still did, in the end if she wasnt happy she would beat me up. as i got older her demands became more serious she would acuse me in things i never done. getting b instead of a at school was subject for a critisism that I am “so-so”. i got hit accross the face fopr things like wearing eyeliner (she didnt like make up) and then beaten with legs for defending myself.

i recently told my friend that story which i dont tell may people, and today when we had an argument with that friend she decided to use my mother issue to fight an argument (which had no relevance!)
just by saying “oh I think you have anice mother!”

i dont know what to do, i live with that mate how do i confront her i didnt like her cheap way of fighting!


Linda I have tears in my eyes after reading your story in comment 445. You have endured so much. And it sounds like she is still grasping at ways to exert control even though you don’t have contact with her. All of our stories have their uniqueness, but when I read yours or Alice’s, Sandra’s DXS’s , I find common threads in these stories. With yours, I know the feeling of wearing hand me downs while my mother had closets overflowing with clothes. She hit the beauty salon every Thursday while my hair was often stringy, u styled and unwashed. I only remember her kissing me once on New Years Eve when we all stayed up til midnight, but it felt so cold and as if she found it distasteful. And according to my mother, I was awkward, plain, and the day I got braces for my teeth and was feeling miserable she told me I looked ugly with them, and years later when I got glasses she also called me ugly. And many times in between. I was compared to her friends daughters and always fell short. I had no self confidence whatsoever and became a withdrawn child who other kids loved to pick on. I felt different from others and completely unworthy.
I got the idea that my mother used me to feel better about herself. Making me feel awkward and ugly somehow made her feel better.I also got slapped around and she used the belt often to the point f giving me welts on my behind.My brothers got some of her anger but most of her wrath was directed towards the inferior daughter. She had no interest in any event important to me. She hightailed it out of the house the night of m Junior Prom before I got dressed up. She moved away a few months before I got married, leaving me to do mos of the wedding planning, and I was a young bride and not experienced with arranging something as involved as a wedding. She showed no interest in her grandchildren. And to top it off she thought I was going to run back and forth cross country to help her out in her old age because that’s the daughter’s job. We had. Huge fight over that becaus I stood up to her.
Now am trying to undo the damage.This website has been more helpful than any book I’ve read on this topic. I am finally seeing the lies and that it is not my fault. I’m actually starting to feel ” worthy”!


Amber, you are so sweet. I told my husband that this website and one called overcomingsexualabuse.com have been more helpful than any therapist or book has been.

It has been so hard for me to overcome the lack of self esteem. Mothers like ours destroy us so completely that it takes years to feel good about ourselves. Amazingly nothing my father ever did to me compared remotely to the emotional damage done by my mother.

When I found that she had destroyed every picture, every record except my birth certificate, everything about me, I stopped trying to do anything to gain her love. I had focused 22 years of my life protecting her marriage, my brothers and sister by being a surrogate wife.

I married my husband six weeks after we met. There was no wedding per se, just a service in the church foyer after Wednesday night services. My parents refused to come and would not let my brothers and sister come. My. future in-laws gave a party after. But we have been married for 42 years and my husband and I are more in love now than the day we married. He wakes me up from my nightmares, comforts me when I cry and defends me against my mother, which infuriates her. She hates me so absolutely that it is amazing. I don’t have a relationship with my sister and barely with my brothers. Mother has basically emasculated them to come to her every beck and call, which of course has just about destroyed their relationships with anyone.

While writing this down, it seems so unbelievable. But in reality it is all even worse than I can explain.

But thank you for your kindness. I don’t feel so alone. But it makes me so sad that so many others have suffered in similar ways. Nietzsche said that what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. There has to be some truth in that statement.



Linda, I am glad to hear that you have been happily married for many years. You’ve been through so much, and it just makes me feel happy that you have a great guy by your side. I’ve been fortunate in that area of my life too. I’m glad to have found someone who lives me and sees me as a worthy person.

My mother was married three times but never seemed happy. I know she felt resentful about my marriage and would make snide comments about things like if he put his arm around me. Me being happy wasn’t part of her plan.

As far as self esteem goes, mine was very low for a long time. It helped having found someone who cares about me, but deep down inside there were still feelings of being unworthy and that I somehow don’t measure up to others. I also ave issues about making decisions, like I can’t trust myself to make the right one. Speaking up has always been hard for me. This all stems from how I was treated, and the lack of confidence I have because of it

Like I said in my last post, this website has the most helpful approach to dealing with these things than anything else I’ve seen. Previously I tried positive affirmations, and reliving hurtful experiences, and many other approaches, but I was not going far enough. I wasn’t looking for the causes, and where things originated. And I never even considered that so much of what I was told were lies! Realizing the various lies has actually lifted a huge burden fom me. I’m starting to feel that I was not to blame and tht I am good enough, and that I deserve good treatment fom people. I’m starting to feel my feelings. I have a long long way to go but I feel I’ve gotten started and that Im on the right path this time, thanks to Darlene and this wonderful website.

Hugs back to you Linda,


Linda, all I can say is….. OH MY GAWD! Your mom couldn’t handle you being smart. (MENSA? LOVE IT!) I don’t have the 180 IQ you have, but I was a bit precocious for my age and for the small town I lived in. My mom couldn’t handle “precocious.”



Small towns are funny, aren’t they? I was born on the back porch of my grandfather’s farmhouse. No electricity, no telephone, no indoor plumbing. My mother to this day tells people how dumb I am. Her parents went through the sixth grade and her brothers had university degrees. My mother barely made it out of high school. So did my father. But whereas he always bragged about how well I did in school…I took college math and physics in high school, plus every science you could take back then…my mother told everyone I was too stupid to amount to anything. Then I aced nursing school.

Somehow my mother never wanted anyone to rise above her level of mediocrity. Most parents want their kids to do better. My teachers couldn’t understand why I didn’t go to MIT…they told me later what she had done. By then it was too late. I don’t think my grandparents ever forgave my mother for what she did on that score. i couldn’t tell them about all the rest. But it becomes frustrating when doctors ask why you didn’t go to medical school. How do you tell them that your mother controlled your life so much that you didn’t have the self esteem to go against her wishes. It took years to overcome the damage done. With all of the physical pain inflicted by my parents, the psychological pain is infinitely worse.

But I can still pass the MENSA exam and qualify. And I read a new book every couple of days. I’m getting older and the brain cells are fading but I can still hold my own on most things…just to aggravate my mother if for no other reason. lol

Sometimes if you don’t laugh you will go completely nuts!

All my best and thanks to everyone,


It wasn’t until my brother was buried, and the events surrounding it, that I had a huge revelation. It hit me like a load of bricks, that it really is a game to her. And, above all, it pains her to see me thriving without her. I’ve often read the best revenge is to live well. Its is SOOO true with my mom. Perhaps you will have revelations along the way. Until that event, I was a little in the dark about what my next steps should be. I had determined a firm no contact, and, I always knew I would write her. That changed on a dime, and, I don’t think that’s the absolute best way for me right now….. UNLESS it becomes painful in any way. Then, of course I’ll go no contact. I know absolutely for certain, that if I did send any of the letters I’ve written, it would be cause for her to construct an enormous drama, in which she involves anyone who will listen, and there will definitely be lies, and who will likely suffer the most?? ME! If I did send a letter, it would not be properly addressed anyway, so what’s the point? I have felt victorious and liberated since this realization has settled in my heart. When I was in my 20s I had horrible panic attacks. I had to move home with her until I could get it together. She brow beat me whenever possible, and that made it much harder to overcome. She told others that she was “saving” me. I look back on that time and realize that she needed me to be suppressed and broken. I think it brought her much pleasure to see me so weak and simultaneously viewing herself as so strong and in control, and literally dictating to me how I should handle panic disorder. She was like a huge monster to be reckoned with. It was HELL!! She thrived on talking about it with everyone and painting herself as the savior. YUCK!! That sickens me now. If I can help it, she will NEVER get the opportunity to suppress me in any way again. In the midst of all the fear that goes with panic attacks, I had her literally in my face, yelling that I need to get my shit together, and pull myself up by my bootstraps, that I was doing it all for attention, etc. I believed her on such an instinctual level, about everything. I believed her on this subject too. It hurt because I knew I wasn’t doing it for attention, and I knew it was hell to live with, but she said I was doing it for attention so it must be true. She was crying to others and telling people how awful it was, that I was in the worst state of panic disorder and barely functioning, taking a maximum dose of xanax just to continue working, and how bad it was for HER, how much she is saving me. Behind the scenes she was cruel. I realize now that what caused so much fear in me was her. She saw me in my worst states, and she thrived on that. She told me the last email correspondence how ungrateful I am, and stated, “We’re not going to live forever, who’s going to rescue you from all your problems then?” So indicative of how she views herself. I have a husband, stepkids, my bio dad, and good friends. What the hell is she talking about?? She’s talking about her inflated sense of self importance. I wish you revelations DXS. Painful and rewarding all at the same time.

Your story is heartbreaking. I was never sexually abused, but, I have wondered why emotional abuse has been so difficult to overcome. My dad just wasn’t around, and left for good when I was 11. After that is when the most of the damage was done by my mom, from what I can remember. I have little memory of time before he left. I hate that you were sexually abused, but, I feel validated when someone such as yourself says that the emotional abuse has been harder to overcome than the sexual abuse. Because emotional abuse is often very hard to pinpoint, I still question at times if it was that bad. I don’t have sexual abuse to blame it on, and really I don’t even have physical abuse to blame it on. My mom did whip me a few times, and smacked me in the face 3 times in a row one day before school when I was a senior. She likes to tell that story that she smacked my face because I had cursed. Any physical contact she made with me seems insignificant honestly. I don’t dwell on it ever. It is the things she said about/to me that I have struggled to overcome. Thank you for being so candid about your struggles. I’m happy that you have a great little family supporting you. I don’t know how people do it if they have no support whatsoever.

Peace to everyone,


Hi Elle
Welcome to emerging from broken,
It’s terrible that your friend said that to you after you shared. I hope you will keep reading the material here ~ there are lots of insights that may give you some answers.
I am glad you are here.
hugs, Darlene



I have horrible PTSD. I kept thinking over the years it would get better. But strangely, the nightmares, panic attacks, heart problems, etc. never involve memories of the sex or the beatings. I always hear my mother’s voice putting me down. When someone tells me the latest lie she tells about me, I hear her voice.

Unlike those that block memories, I am cursed with a clear memory of my life back to age three and a couple of things before. I cannot forget. My doctors say that this will never go away. I have read Marilyn Van Derbur’s book on her history of incest. She was Miss America 1958 and is 76 years old. She still has panic attacks to the point of paralysis.

Even with medication and the moral support of my husband, I still scream in my sleep and have such nervous attacks that I start vomiting for no reason. The emotional damage becomes absolute. I am blessed with an understanding husband and sons. I feel so blessed but it never completely goes away. Something in our psyche becomes damaged beyond repair.

I feel great sympathy for those who have no one. I am so embarrassed to complain. I ask everyone to please forgive me if it sounds like I am complaining. I am only trying to explain what has happened and that in spite of everything some things will never change.

You all have been so kind. I truly understand that each of us deals with all of this in their own way. I can only pray that somehow we will all survive and endure.

Hugs and prayers to everyone,


Hi Mimi, my damage was primarily emotional. And some physical ( getting smacked and whipped with a belt until I got welts on my behind. I can relate to your getting smacked story. At about 14 our family was out at a fair. I must have expressed that I was tired and my mother smacked me in the face righ in public! I was both shocked and humiliated and didn’t understand what I had done to deserve that. And I felt guilty too that I must have done something wrong even though I had no idea what it could have been. Of course, now I know that expressing fatigue is not wrong and I didn’t deserve what she did to me.
Mimi, most of what I went though ranged from being ignored to put downs and being called ugly and constantly being told I was inferior for being a girl. I did not feel loved or wantd by my mother. She told me I was an accident. I wore hand me downs and my mother didn’t care if I was clean or not. I got made fun of at school for my clothes and lack of grooming. Like you, when I read Linda’s and others stories I feel that what I went though wasn’t as severe. But it is still mistreatment and it still did a lot of damage. So I am not going to minimize it.

My mother claims she had a deprive childhood with awful clothes and her mother would throw out the few possessions she had. She gave my mothers things away to her sister’s kids. And my mother was treated as inferior to her brother. Does this story sound familiar? You would think she would not want her daughter to go through the same that she did. No, not with her! I wonder if in some sick way she felt better by making sure I had less than she had and she was punishing me for her cousins being given her possessions. She always tried to make me feel uglier, more unwanted, dressed atrociously, inferior etc. she complained that she watched her friends getting new loathes and gifts fom their mothers and how it bothered her that her mother never did it for her. So was she making up for it by buying herself loads of things while keeping me in hand me downs? Was she trying to be her privileged friend by putting me in the role of herself as a girl? It sure looks that way.

Elle, I am sorry that your friend turned the tables on you by making that statement about our mother. That was a rotten thing to do. I have had people do hings like that and I felt that my trust was betrayed. I don’t trust people like tht again. I also know the feeling of getting hit for ridiculous things. One time was the incident I described to Mimi above.



I can so relate!
I was born to be an artist.
Absolutely unable to learn math, physics etc
So what do you do with your daughter who loves Art, is actually very good at drawing, wants to study graphics? You force her to study things she hates and than tells her what an idiot she is.

When I was 14, my Art teacher thought it was obvious I would pursue my career in that field, he asked me to stay after class one day and initiated a conversation about my future. He offered his help (even though according to him I would not need it) with getting into a local Arts High School. It was indeed an obvious choice for me. He saw my face and said: “Would you like me to speak with your parents about it? Do they support your choice?”. My mom did not have a choice and made an appointment with him, naturally he did not convince her. I do not know what she told him but he never brought that up again.

I ended up in a high school where I struggled with science severely. It was a school with excellent reputation but….for kids who intent to study mechanical engineering.
After 6 months, my mother was scared out of her mind that I’d flunk, so she decided to move me (without my permission naturally) to another school….it was a school with horrible reputation, mostly kids with wealthy parents but who were thrown out of other schools for bad behavior, doing drugs etc. So from one extreme into another…
I had to learn how to survive among those kids, that became my primary concern for a while. Also, at the same time my father divorced my mother, and there was no one left to defend me (not that my father ever would but at least there was a witness in the house). HS was a nightmate to me- I was severely depressed.
So my mother’s official reason for not sending me to the school of my choice: all artists are junkies, I do not want you to end up on the street. Maanwhile she sending me to a school full of future criminals.
I think the real reasons were 1. The arts school was a boarding school so she would have no control over me 2. Art was something I loved and could be sucessful at.

Ok, time to choose college: my mother is standing in my room asking me what I would like to study (imagine?). I go: you know what and you know where I wanted to go to school, now I have no portfolio.
Mom: If you really wanted to study Art, if you really loved it, if you were truly good at it, you would have made a portfolio yourself. Sure you do not need to go to an arts HS to get into an arts college, but everyone is working on their portfolio at least with a tutor, has extra classes etc.
So she made me choose “English Studies” (it was a fight to study in the city, she wanted to send me off to a hole in the wall) and than dropped out (can you tell? 🙂 sorry for any spelling/grammar errors) as the money she was giving to me plus the child support from my father would not cover more than room and board (and 2 weeks of food maybe. As you know from my previous posts, my mom was not living in poverty, that’s for sure.

I also do not understand why in the world, if you cannot stand your own kid so much, for any sick reasons, why do you want to control his/her life so much?



I did not mean to compare myself to you. You are obviously a genious, MENSA this is just wow! And you got accepted to MIT!

But I guess I felt that in a way I could relate to you in that matter.
The way we make our living, often times affect much more than just our income: our mood, our self- esteem etc.
There will always be people who are less sensitive and do not really care where they work, money is all that matters. But not everyone is like that and than there are obviously people with talent in one specific field and to waste that, to take that away from them, that is just cruel.


Hi Linda,
I don’t ever view people’s posts as “complaining”. If it’s complaining, then I’m in big trouble, haha!! I’ve been coming here for about 2 years!! (thank you Darlene)

I have bad dreams also, but not really nightmares. I don’t scream, but, my husband will wake me up sometimes because I’m wimpering, or weeping in my sleep. The dreams are generally the same kind of scenario each time. My mother is always involved, and it is always in some form of belttling in front of others, or laughing at me with others, or whispering about me to others within ear shot. It only was my mom for years, but, about a year ago, my oldest sister began to appear, doing the same kinds of things. Her and I are fairly estranged now, so, I feel like the dreams are generally usually a heads up in a strange sort of way. I started having them about my sister before we became distant. It seems like they were almost a warning to me. I always hear my mother’s voice too Linda. In dreams and I used to even while awake. Writing has helped me overcome much of the dreams. It;s like poking a hole in my subconscious, and letting all the crap drain out onto paper. Of course, the understanding and support found here has been immeasurable as well. I think I might be dead right now if I hadn’t found EFB when I did.

I think because of my genes, I have a pretty fierce fighter deep inside. I have always been a determined person. It has gotten me in trouble in life, but, it has rewarded me equally. It’s that part of me that says, I will overcome. It was by my own fierce refusal, that I ever overcame panic attacks. I had enough anger inside me at my mother, although I didn’t know it at the time, that I was fighting tooth and nail to get out of agoraphobia, and to llive a normal life again. One of the toughest things I’ve ever done in life. I know there are people who suffer their whole lives, and it is heartbreaking. I do have lingering issues from it, but, I dont have panic attacks and havent for many years, It just changes a person. It is a very sneaky phenomena, and I must be on guard to make sure I’m not being taken over without even knowing it. Being without my mother for the past two years has helped a lot. I actually got on an airplane for the very first time in July. I was terrified to fly. I didn’t want to miss annual girl’s trip, so I did it. I did it very afraid. 🙂

I fully understood why my moher smacked me at the time….. because i had cursed. It wasn’t like your scenario where your mom left you wondering what you’d done. (althought that happened a few times too). I was a vibrant young adult before the panic attacks set in. I went to school for the social interaction. I remember always saying I loved school. It was the interaction with others…. not so much the education. In retrospect, I think my mother hated that in me. She described herself as painfully shy as a young child, and even somewhat into high school. I never had that problem. My childhood was a little different than yours in that we usually had fairly nice clothes because we had to keep up with the Jones’s. My mother got them for us whenever it was possible, because we were also from a very small community, and if her girls didn’t’ have what everyone else had, it would be a reflection of her….. that perhaps we were poor. And, we basically were poor. We ate at school for free after my dad left. She would have been mortified if anyone had ever known that. Her emphasis is, and always has been on money, and appearing wealthy. When my sisters and I were old enough to begin working (11 for me) we had to detassle corn and mow lawns for money to get any name brand clothes, etc. And, we all three had to save as well to buy our first cars. I don’t really begrudge her for that, except that I was allergic to corn and grass both. I did buy my first car, and always paid the insurance and gas. Then she tried to take it away from me as punishment once. I was spicy enough that I put up a fight. It was not her car, and I still feel the same way today. It was MINE’!!! I worked hard and earned it.

My mother was mistreated I believe, as you said yours claims to be. I didn’t ever get a lot of details about it, but, her older sister was the obvious star in the family, and that was well known by literally everyone. I don’t care how her childhood was very much. I am sorry she was hurt and/or mistreated, but, that isn’t a reason to mistreat me. It also isn’t a reason to deny ever treating me poorly. I once saw a video on youtube, and I cant remember the guys name, but he said the problem with mothers like ours is, they have a hole from their own childhood. They have kids mistakenliy thinking they will fill that hole. When it is impossible for the child to do, the anger comes out, and it’s anger at their OWN parents. It becomes misdirected onto their children. I’ve always felt this guy was really onto something,

Hope and Love,


Also, I am pissed because last year I had a deja vu. I have been independent since I dropped out of college, I have worked in a number of places and I liked all of them (a publishing house, an NGO, various places), but I never got a chance to do something different than being someone’s PA. Not that there is anything wrong with being someone’s PA, it is just not something that I wanted to do forever, I had my plans and goals even though I did not have any formal education and guess what: I made it! I made it last year and allowed her to ruin it. For F***’s sake I will be forever angry with myself for getting back in touch with her during those key moments of my life, and letting her manipulate me. I am hoping for a second chance this year, if there is any justice in this world, I will succeed anyways.
It is funny because for the first time she is not trying to be in touch with me(it’s been on and off for the last 4 years but whenever I stop answering her calls, my sister would be forcing me to talk to her. She cannot stand not having any control over me!!!). I think she’ s like: “mission accomplished, I can sit back and relax now, she is done” 🙂
The consequenses I am suffering now are indeed horrible but I guess she thinks there is no way for me to bounce back any more 🙂 She is sooo wrong, this game is not over yet!:)



Wow….just read your post.I started having panic attacks in April 2012.
(that was when I got back in touch with my mom).
The last one was in May this year but it was not as scary as the ones from the last year.
I hope they will never come back as I am definitely not ever getting back in touch with my mother.
I do fear sometimes that once I bounce back, return to work etc, they might come back….out of nowhere… and than what? How did you learn to overcome them?
I remember the first episode, that was so frightening….I did not know what it was. I thought I was either suffocating or going insane. The funny thing is, it was my mother informed me what “that” was. Later on she used that knowledge against me…now together with my sister they have a solid “proof” that I am “highly emotional”, “oversensitive”, “hysterical”.
I know that yoga helps me, and the healthy kind of routine, going to bed early etc, and definitely….staying away from my toxic “family”
What about you?


Sandra, Mimi….

I am so sorry you were not allowed to follow your dream. I would give anything for some artistic talent. I don’t know why our mothers are so grasping that they do not want us to succeed at what we do best. I did not mean to sound like I was bragging about MENSA. I was just using that as an example of how far my mother went to try to defeat me. In that one respect, she could not take away my love of learning, but I will always wonder what I could have done, given the chance to go to MIT, medical school, anything that would have made use of the talents God gave me. I loved nursing but always felt I could have done so much more.

I also wonder what would have happened if I had been allowed any independence. When I started working as a nurse, my mother took all of my paychecks. Except for my uniforms, she still controlled what I wore and my clothes were always 30 years out of date with ten cent shoes painted black from Goodwill. I never had friends in school. My books were my friends. I didn’t leave home until I married at 22. The only reason for everything that I let both my parents do to me that I can think of was a form of Stockholm Syndrome.

I am so glad I met my husband. I don’t know what he saw in me, especially to propose three days later and marry me six weeks after that. Some days I still don’t see what he loves about me. I feel so unloveable. But who knows? With a childhood that did not include mental torture I might have been able to do anything. That is something the PTSD does to you. You forever wonder, what if?

But it also makes me agoraphobic. I never go anywhere alone. I have such bad panic attacks I can’t drive any more. I barely drove to work each night and was in a panic to get back home. I am terrified of being alone.

My parents were forced to let me buy a car and drive when I went to work. I bought a 1970 Cutlass S. I often took it on the back roads and just let it out…it could go 150mph. I believe if I had not met my husband, I would not be alive today.

My husband and sons wanted me to stop seeing my parents when I told them about the incest in 1986. I was unable to break off contact. The thing that finally forced my husband and sons to tell my parents to get lost in 1997 was a cardiac arrhythmia I had that the doctors said was caused by stress. I had vomited so much, my electrolytes were way off and the pressure of the vomiting on my heart nearly killed me. My mother was pissed that we weren’t coming for Christmas and when told I had nearly died, her comment was “So, what does that have to do with Christmas?”

She continued to call and nag until 2000. I overdosed on some blood pressure pills. Her voice made me crazy. After that, only my husband or sons answered the telephone until we got our number changed.

Over the last few years, everything toned down to a dull roar. Then my father died in May. He went to sleep one afternoon and just didn’t wake up again. Seeing my mother at the funeral and hearing the lies she has been telling everyone about me brought it all back again. My husband and sons are not violent or cruel men, but they say that until they superglue my mother’s mouth closed at the funeral home when she dies, she will never stop making people miserable.

Tonight I feel like I am rambling. I am so tired of it all. Everyone please forgive me. I feel like I can say what I am thinking on here and it does seem to help. For that, I want to say thank you all.

I feel so blessed to have met youall. I often wish we could really meet. But perhaps the anonymity of this website makes it easier to really open up.

All my hugs and prayers to you all,



You are not bragging at all!
It is Mensa for Pete’s sake!!! 🙂

I am sorry about all the things that happened to you.
I had goosebumbs while reading your post. I believe this is what would have happened to me if I did not go abroad at the age of 18 and did not drop out of college. My mother was calling me all the time, wanted to control everything, she was furious I would not listen to her and not wear what she wanted me to. Which is why she was sending me so little money when I started college (I stayed there for 6 motnths). I told her I started waiting tables (yeah at that time, out of fear I was able to tell her everything she was aking me to) and she “forbid me”. She was yelling like crazy. I said: “how else am I supposed to get money?”. “You have money from me. On weekends you are supposed to study not work!”. I could only pay for the room that I was renting and the remaing money was not even enough for food. (again, my mother was not poor)Our mother did not want us to thrive, they hated our youth, our beauty, our popularity, our potential.
To me this is as twisted as sexual desire for one’s brother or sister.


I am talking to my bf a lot now. He was raised by 2 great people. His mom is the kind of mom everyone whished to have. Unfortunatelly, when he was 17 his father went bancrupt, had a break down and from that time until now he is an alcoholic. He became very abusive verbally but because my bf knows he is not the same person he used to be, and because until he was 17 he was a great dad, he knows he is not dealing with the same person anymore.
He is giving me a lot of support, he said he wished he knew more details about my insane mother. However, one think he is struggeling to understand is my lack of desire to contact my father. He does not see him as abusive. My father was abscent minded, super passive, abused by my mother until they finally got divorced, never stood up for me, abandoned me completely when I was 14, refused to pay child support etc.
So my bf keeps defending him and saying he was not that bad, that he was not crazy like my mom, that he was “calm after all and never said anything hurtful to me”. How do I explain to him that neglect is a form of abuse and the fact he was always so “calm” is because he abscent, totally abscent? (it sounds ridiculous doesn’t it?)


Linda, I figured out that my Mom wanted me to get good grades, but really didn’t care whether or not I actually “learned” anything. She hated it when I got “techical.” I remember proudly telling my mom that the sun was a yellow dwarf star, only to get told “that’s the stupidest thing I ever heard, the sun is not a star.” That’s when I realized she wanted the grades, but didn’t want me to “learn.” God forbid.


DO panic attacks always have a root in our past???


I always knew my mom could not possibly love me, or that she was “difficult” or despotic. BUT I could not accept the fact that (I was so naive) she was also jelous and capable of seriously hurting me. She will never be proud of me BECAUSE she does not want me to succeed. My mistake was that whenever I succeeded I would light up and just run to tell her and my sister all about it, every time hoping that this time she will be proud of me, that this time she must say something nice. HUGE mistake. The more I was happy, the more I succeeded, the more they hated me. Let’s call it the way it is. It is hatred and jelousy.
I could sense the jelousy but I did not want to believe. Today I know that I do not need to be Miss World or a CEO, she will always envy me evrything just because and thet it will never stop, they will always find a reason to envy something.


What do you guys say when you meet new people and they ask you, as a simple act of courtesy about your family?
(you know the kind of question I have in mind: “…SO! Do you have any siblings?/etc.”
Do you simply answer the question but do not give them any details until the moment is right (“Yes I have an older sister”. Period.) or, do you just say right away “Yeah I do have a sister but we don’t speak”? But than it gets awkward. If a person has enough class, they will drop it right there, if not they will go like this: “Ohhhh I am soooo sorry. But why? You guys SHOULD MAKE UP” etc).
But if you do not say right away that you have no contact with your family, they will use the topic to make a small talk(“oh you have a sister? What does she do? Does she live nearby? etc etc).

So how do you deal with that?


Sandra, I have been pondering that very question. It hasn’t come up yet.

However, if it’s intimate friends that already KNOW I have a FOO, when they ask, “how is your mother doing” my answer will be:

“This is the part where I’m supposed to say that she is doing fine, but the truth is, I have no idea because we are not speaking and I don’t want to elaborate.”

That is my plan, I haven’t implemented it yet.

Most people already know my siblings and I aren’t close (it’s no big deal, it’s just what it is…..).



Like you, I have always known that my mother hated me. What is so terrifying is that as old as I am now, why does she still feel the need to destroy me? I am so glad that we have lived in different cities for over 40 years. The only people she and I know in common are family members. I know the things she has been saying to them. I was never really close to aunts and uncles, etc.

My parents made sure of that. I think they were afraid I would “tell my lies”. Although my father did admit to what he had done years ago. So everyone knows my mother lies about that. But I have not really spoken to her since 1997. I am not really a part of her life any more. Why does she still feel the need to try to destroy my reputation?

As far as talking about my family to others, strangely no one ever asks. I don’t know if I give off some kind of “vibe” that keeps people from being too inquisitive ..or what happens. Tha subject just never comes up and my husband and I don’t really have “close friends”. We have acquaintances but we just hang out together or with our sons.

My in-laws naver liked my parents because they knew how much trouble was caused about me getting married. We told my mother-in-law about the incest in 1986 right after I told my husband and like him she said she had always suspected something wrong in my family.

Funny how many have said that even though my parents gave the outward appearance of being perfect people others always suspected something was wrong. My mother still tries to be the perfect little woman but it is wearing thin for the people that know what my father did. She is still trying to say she knew nothing and there will always be someone who believes her. I take heart in knowing that the people I really care about know the truth.

I just really wish she would just drop it already. I am 64 years old, for heaven’s sake! What possible difference does it make now? Just my insane raviing of the moment. Sorry!

Love to all,



I am 26 and my mother is 60 🙂

I was in n/c but made a huge mistake 1,5 years ago. I am suffering the consequences now 🙁

I cannot believe she thought she would actually “change” a 25 y o grown up woman. Whatever that change is supposed to mean. She is never going to be happy.
I remember her yelling last year (out of the blue): why can’t you be like everyone else? I wish you were at least in half as good of a child as I. (my sister) is.

I should have recorded her. She denies everything and is the worst when it is just me and her. Well too bad, she is not going to see me again ever. And I will never get fooled with the guilt thing… haha! I knew she could not stand me but I still was silly enough to fall for the guilt thing. She hates me but she had the nerve to holler: “It is your F**** duty and you are supposed to be here and you WILL be taking care of me”.

OMG 😀 😀



I don’t think my mother ever cared what I did in school. My father was a WWII veteran who specialized in electronics. In spite of only a high school education, he was brilliant on many levels, especially mathematics. He was vey proud of having a smart daughter. I think in his own way he loved me. But mother controlled him as much as she controlled me. And he controlled me. He was jealous of anyone else getting close to me. The relationships were so convoluted that I have never found an explanation for any of it.

He was not an alcoholic. In his own way he was a good person. What triggered the incest, I will never understand. My mother set it all in motion and enabled it to continue. All I know now is that he loved his children and my mother had disdain for her other children, but absolutely hated me.

I think she also had no love for my father. The next is difficult to say, but I think I can say it here. I think in spite of the fact that she enabled the incest, she was also jealous of the relationship I had with my father. My husband has told me for years that she hated me because “I was the other woman”. I refused to accept that. It all seems so perverse. But lately I am seeing the truth in it.

Why else would she keep the pictures and things of her other three children, but destroy everything about me? I made it to State for the Spelling Bee at age ten and the choir at age 14. I graduated in the top ten students of a high school class of 700. This was in 1967 when I was in a gifted program dedicated to competing against the USSR in the space race…all college level math and sciences. My father was very proud of that fact…my mother hated it.

I don’t think he ever knew about the scholarship. Even if it meant me leaving home, I think he would have been proud to have a daughter who had done so well. I know he was proud of how well I did in nursing. Years later, I asked for pictures and certificates about schools, accomplishments, etc. My mother-in-law is into scrapbooking and wanted to do “my story”. He said he was embarrassed. My mother had burned everything. I asked what had happened to the pictures my grandparents had taken. They came to both of my graduations and told everyone how proud they were of me. Mother got everything after my grandparents died and carefully took everything of me and burned that too.

Before my grandmother died, she gave me some antiques (some things over 250 years old) to me. I didn’t want to take them but she insisted. Now I think she knew that if my mother had had anything to do with it, I would have gotten nothing. She is still absolutely livid that she had no control over what my grandmother gave me. It would have broken my grandmother’s heart to know that all of her pictures of me were destroyed. She was the closest person to being a mother to me in the world.

My brothers and sister were much younger than me and mother never let them get close to their grandparents. Because we had lived with them for four years, she had no control over my relationship with my grandparents. One story I remember is that my grandparents gave me a doll. My grandmother was an excellent seamstress and made a complete set of clothes for the doll that matched everything she had made for me. Because I was never allowed to play with the doll unless my grandparents were there, the doll and clothes are in perfect condition. Luckily, I took them with me when I married or mother would have burned that too. She burned a Barbie doll that was still in the box and untouched. My aunt had given me one that was the very first in the series in March 1959. That stupid doll is worth thousands today. That doesn’t bother me as much as the fact that I was never allowed to play.

Luckily I had sons. We did baseball, Scouts and everything boys do. I just let my husband take the lead. I read to them and hugged them and love them more than my own life. But I still don’t know how to play. I am told that no one ever sees me laugh. I have been an adult for 64 years.

I know I am just streaming my thoughts but I thank everyone for listening. I hope I have not offended anyone. I do not know how to explain my relationship with my father without it seeming obscene. I can only say that, as a child, one accepts whatever kind of love that is offered. In my heart of hearts, I knew my mother hated me. She never touched me, held me, read to me or did any ofthe things mothers do. She abdicated her role of wife to me from age four. I took care of my brothers (8 and 14 years younger) and sister (16 years younger). I cleaned house, cooked as soon as I could reach the stove and had sex with my father from age four until I said no more at age 16. He continued to try even after I was married, but I said no more. My mother seemed to hate me even more and schemed for years to try to force me to come back home.

I guess if I had truly been too stupid to do well in school, I would have never been able to get a job that put me in a place that I could meet someone to marry. I did not have the will to move away and live on my own.

There is a novel called “Mercy” written by David Lindsey. It is a murder mystery that revolves around a female serial killer. I read it when it first came out in the 80’s? All I can say is that “there but for the grace of God go I”. The abuse we suffer and the mothers who hate us could cause us to do much worse things than we do now. It is amazing that so many of us are able to not direct the abuse at others.

But we abuse ourselves and that is sad. I pray every day that somewhere someone will be able to foresee abusers from early on to nip it in the bud. But there are still so many who deny its existence and the circle continues.

Love to all,



I am so angry. My bf keeps defending my father (my parents are a copy of Darlene’s). He claims “he never said or did anything hurtful to me”.

Oh for F****’s sake, he abandonded me, he left me all alone with a psycho at the age of 14, did not let me move in with him, refused to pay child support, never tried to protect me from her, when I stopped talking to him (7 years ago), he never tried to get in touch with me….

ok I am officially done telling him about my childhood. I opened up to him…he said he wished he knew earlier.
And now I just got an email from him saying: “why don’t you just set up a foundation for people abused by their mommies” smiley face.

Haha, how come I don’t feel like laughing?

I knew it…I should have never told him all the details. I guess opening up and being vulnerable is not sexy huh?…

This is the second time!
I split with him last year…after a fight he told me ” why don’t you go to your family? You have no one but me” (he knew I had a rocky relationship with my mom and my sister and n/c with my dad) and now this.
God damn it!



Funny how our mothers never say what they are really thinking to an audience. Even my brother’s wife says my mother will follow her until it’s just the two of them. In politics it’s called “plausible deniability”. But she is beginning to realize that whatever she says gets back to me.

In some ways, I want to know what she is saying so that I can refute the lies. I don’t speak or write to her any more because I know that whatever I say makes no difference. It just gives her ammunition to be the drama queen who is being mistreated.

The bad thing about someone telling me what my mother is saying about me has just brought the PTSD symptoms back to the surface. I hear my mother’s voice saying these things in my nightmares and my husband worries that the heart problems will get worse.

I know the damage “toxic” family members can do. But even the ones who do not mean harm cause pain because repeating the things she says brings it all back to the surface.

How do you handle that? My mother is driving my brother’s wife just about crazy with all of her demands and tales of woe about how much I have mistreated her. Because my mother cannot talk TO me any more, she is driving everyone crazy ABOUT me.

Maybe I should step up and be the “protector” again, but I can’t. Is that cowardly? I did that for so long and my siblings’ lives were messed up any way. I have a good life…I worked hard to get here. Even with my emotional problems, I know I have a good life and wonderful family. Is it cowardly and selfish to not want to give that up for others?

God help me, I don’t know any more.

Love to all,



The last post was for something you had said earlier. But after reading what your boyfriend said to you…that is so cruel and thoughtless. I am so sorry. It is hard enough to open up to people without having it thrown back in your face.

I am so much older than you and it is harder for me to understand young people today. Even my sons are older than you, 31 and 37. All I can say is that I fully understand your anger. There are many trite expressions I could use but I am sure you have heard them all.

The main thing is to keep talking about how you feel, either here or to someone you are close to. Holding it in only makes it worse. I am sure you know that. Just know that we care.




You do NOT to be a “protector”! No you are NOT selfish and you know it. Live your life, you deserve it, do not let her back into your life. She is driving others crazy now because she needs a victim. Otherwise she is bottling up her rage and it makes her insane.
I know my mom aged 3 times faster during the time I was n/c with her.(and no, trust me, not because she was worried about me). My father left her, my sister is away, I left her, her own brother finally told her to “fuck off” (she kept coming over to his house to critisize his daughters and their lifestyles!).

In regards to your 2nd post: thanks a million, your support means a lot to me. Hopefully, soon I will get my mother and my sister out of my head and move on with my life. For now I am in a phase when I need to to talk and talk and talk. I kept it all inside for 26 years and all I was doing was just escaping, building barricades,stuffing it inside, n/c and than back in touch, and still no clue why I was acting the certain way in certain situations. I guess my body could not keep it inside and I finaly fell apart this year. Memories I erased keep on coming back. It is weird and unexplainable. But I feel like I cannot stop the process anymore. My toxic family is out for good this time I know it. I am in pieces but I know I will evetually pull myself together. The third stage I am really longing for is to be able to not think of them anymore and move on with my life.


Hi Everyone,

I just wanted to say that despite being completely aware of the abuse which was inflicted on me, I really have not done much emerging. In fact, I am more anxious knowing the truth than I ever was before…and worse yet, I don’t think I will ever be well. I don’t know, it’s probably just my mood tonight, but there’s something about having NO family that excludes me still in life. I have had terrible relationships with men. In fact, I feel jealous when someone tells me “oh but it’s your parents” should I mention that we don’t speak, because as far as I can see ignorance is bliss. Ugh!

LindaI was wondering, if it’s not too much to ask, why you don’t have close friends. Myself, I do have a couple, but they are not much a part of my everyday life. Also, I find most people I meet stay acquaintances, and I think it’s because I am afraid they will get to know that I have no family, and, that I can’t choose an appropriate man as a partner, and think badly of me. Not only that, I am often repulsed by people.

There’s just something about being disowned and all of the horrible things that happened to me, that has really got me down. I really hate how it has destroyed my innocence.


I have come a long way on my journey to wholeness, I’ve forgiven my parents and told them this, they didn’t respond just looked at me and said, okay? I told them I am no longer going to carry this load of pain around with me as it is heavy and no longer serves me or them. I have spoken to them here and there no big conversations just small talk. I don’t have any expectations of them and I hope they don’t have any of me because they would be disappointed.

I have also let go of a few friends who didn’t have my best interest in their hearts. This was not easy but necessary because I want great in my life and great isn’t with them. They say if you close one door another will open.

For “me” letting go has given me peace, I refuse to talk to anyone about my past as it is my past, I know what happened to me, how it played out and what was mine and what was theirs and that’s all that matters.


Hi Linda,

I read all your posts, especially (442). I can relate to so many of your mother issues. I don’t think that I have a Mensa IQ level, but I was always an honors student in a private school growing up. I worked hard and I could handle the higher maths and science courses if I was willing to work at it. Your posts bring back so many memories of my own “erratic” education. Both my parents nearly destroyed my education, social life, and general life success. I was physically beaten and verbally abused by my Narc. mother, and there were also some problems with my father. I was an only child, and thoroughly unwanted.

I feel as if my mother was always jealous of me. All mothers spend time reading those baby names books for months to choose the perfect name for their child. Well, my mom didn’t care and did NOT have a name picked out for me when I was born. I was born and raised in Seattle, WA and somehow in the conversations between my mom and the doctor, I ended up with the doctor’s mother’s name. My first and middle names are French, and no my family is not French at all! It was almost like a kind of foreshadowing and they had no idea of how much French would play a big role in my life in the future.

My father was an engineer, and we ended living a few years abroad in a mid-eastern country and then I started high school in Europe. It’s a long story, but the boarding school in Europe didn’t work out for me, and we all returned back to the States and I graduated from a big Catholic high school in Seattle.

I think that my school issues began as a teenager. My mom was also evil, controlling and jealous of me. I was angry because she was a housewife with no career, and her needs were taken care of. How dare she destroy me when all I honestly wanted to do was to become independent and self-sufficient? (I was also polite and well-behaved, with absolutely NO teenage issues like drugs, alcohol, or teen pregnancy). When I was a young teen, I was so naïve that I didn’t understand that she had the ability to destroy my success. To make a long story short, the American school system in that country did not go higher than junior high school for Americans so I had to apply to boarding schools in Europe. Back in the eighties, there was no internet and you had to fill out an immensely long paper application, along with three teacher’s letters of recommendation, a doctor’s letter of health, and a photo. Then you were interviewed by their school principals visiting our school for a few days. I actually applied to like four schools and I was accepted by all of these schools. I was clueless that my mom had lied to me about these schools. I actually ended up attending my last choice school. It was only a couple of years later at Thanksgiving, that my mom accidentally blurted out about having thrown away my other acceptance letters from these schools! So, I went to a girl’s boarding school for a year and quit! The Catholic nuns were extremely mean and angry–(whole other story) and there were serious rumors going on that a few of the girls were being molested by the seminarians–(trainee-type priests) I was so glad to have left!

After high school graduation in the States, then it became even more confusing. My mom decided that she hated the Seattle rain and we were all moving to a Southwestern state, after my father retired. Note how she manipulated my father and always got what she wanted! I originally did NOT want to move to a different state, just as I was beginning to feel more like an American again. I was an only child and my parents were not that destitute and they could have easily supported me with full tuition, room, and board at a university in my home state. But they controlled my choice of the university and even chose my college major, Business Administration, which was not me! I think that I am a good student, and more of an introvert, better suited to a solid professional job. Anyway, with all of the general chaos and serious depression after we moved to the new state, my grades at university were seriously slipping. It was a terrifying experience with me not feeling in control and I quit. I left my parent’s home for good and worked at hard, low-level customer service jobs, living with roommates. I had a VERY used car and I got by OK since the cost of living was cheap in this Southwestern city. I was so proud of myself for getting away from my parents so young. I didn’t owe anything to them for college!

Fast forward to ten years later, I was still living in the same Southwestern city, near the same state university. I applied for all the loans/grants that I could get and I earned a Bachelor degree as an older student. I began working in the periphery of education, first at an administrative job at the local community college system, and now at a large, educational company. I still want to go back to school in a couple more years to pursue my dream career field.

I have to keep reminding myself of how far I’ve come. I am 45 years old now, and when I was a teenager I never thought that I would live to be 40! I own my house and I live alone. I am much too hard on myself and I know that there are the non-abused women my age who have not done as much as me. I am lucky to be alive and healthy and living comfortably at my age. My life is NOT over yet and there are some things that I would still like to do.

I have been posting on this site since last fall and I think that I could write a novel about my life. I have only scratched the surface of my life’s events here. I was further shamed and hurt by disturbed, “so-called therapists” in the past. I like myself more and it’s been a long, hard journey. I have cleared up so much of my past abuse on my own. I like my life and I keep busy with my friends, hobbies, and the spiritual “glue” that holds my life together, my real religions of Celtic Paganism, (Druids/Wicca). I know that abuse is very isolating and it takes years to realize that there was NOTHING WRONG with you the victim and the abuser is the one who should be shamed. I have felt better about myself by reading other womens’ stories and knowing that I’m not “weird” or that alone.
Stay strong!

Yvonne 🙂



You are always so very kind to me. I know I cannot go back in contact with my mother, but the guilt I feel becomes overwhelming at times. I have always been a caregiver and I worry about the lives my mother continues to destroy.


This may sound like an excuse, but as far as the question of no close friends…my parents never let me out of the house to be with children my own age. By the time I was in high school and nursing school, I was so controlled that it never occurred to me to even ask to be away from home. When I had to buy a car to go to work at the age of 19, my father would check the odometer on my car every day and I had to account for every mile that wasn’t directly to the hospital and back. I know it sounds crazy now, but by then it seemed perfectly normal for my life to be that way.

Just as I had to turn all of my paychecks over to my mother. She gave me enough money to pay my car payment, insurance and gasoline, nothing more. She kept a notebook of all money spent on me for meals, etc. whenever we came to visit for the 42 years I have been married. She says we owe her the money for everything they ever spent on us.

But how I was raised plus the PTSD has kept us from having close friends. I don’t know how to explain it. It took a leap of faith for me to marry my husband. I had never dated and my parents were outraged that I had met someone who wanted to marry me. My curfew was 9:00 pm and my father checked my car and interrogated me as to where we had gone. My husband-to-be called the police one time because my parents would not let me out of the house. The police officer informed them that I was 22 years old and beyond the age of my parents telling me what I could and could not do. I guess that is what began to wake me up. We got married six weeks after we met. My parents said it would be the worst mistake of my life and they tried to make that true. I can only believe that God was answering my prayers. My husband is the best thing that has ever happened to me and my little family is just about perfect.


I have nothing but praise for you for the things you have accomplished. I am so painfully shy that I would have trouble living alone. I don’t even go shopping alone. The PTSD and agoraphobia are almost overwhelming at times. I know it probably sounds like I am complaining or that I have never tried, but the anxiety attacks have almost killed me at times.

I don’t know why my husband and sons and my beautiful daughter-in-law put up with me. She and my oldest son just bought their new house with a “mother-in-law suite”. She said that if anything happens to my husband, they want a place for me to go. I cried. I was so amazed that someone could love me that much. I am terrified of losing my husband and I don’t think I would impose myself on someone that way, but the fact that they feel that way is comforting. I truly believe I have been blessed.

My life is far from perfect and I don’t think some of the damage will ever go away, but so many things are better. I can only pray for things to get better for the people I have met here. Thank you all for listening.




I do not think my bf realizes how such words affect me.
But that email he sent to me, it made me feel like a weirdo, you know.
That here I am, a grown up woman, always independent, now all of a sudden crying and whining about her mother and her childhood. IT makes me feel pathetic even though I know it is not true.



Ps: my mother is into tarot/numerology/ and stuff like that.
She is not just an abuser, a crazy narcissistic mother
but also a God damn witch 😀
I would not be surprised if she was doing voodoo on me 😀
Anyone from New Orleans?? 🙂

I think I mentioned earlier I was about to write a letter and send a copy to my dad, my mother and my sister. But now I sort of feel like disappearing…the letter will not change anything. The only thing I was hoping for is to reveal the truth about my sister to my dad.
I am wondering if it’s worth it though…


Hi everyone,

I feel really devastated.

I am suffering from chronic illness since 4 years now.
I have pb in many articulations and pain which handicaps me a lot to make every move of the daily life. Sometimes, I can’t walk, to put on a sweat is very very painful for example. Actuellement, I can’t drive too. I can’t eat some food because I have tmj (jaw chronic pb).
I can’t sit down on the floor because my knees wouldn’t bear it.
And I have so many others pb..
I was so tired to go to doctors in doctors that I just quit and try alternative medecine.
I can’t work too and my finances are very bad and there are some days where I have to starve.

I had an amelioration the last year, which permited me to put distance between my mother (who helped me a little in the daily life) and I.
But I got worse lately. My shoulders have some problems.

It’s very painful to go to doctors who proposed me anything and even
insinuated my pain is my head instead of making more resarches to find what I am suffering.

I suspect I have Ehlers Danlos Syndrom but I don’t even know where to begin, who I have to see because this a pathology mostly unknown by the medecine.

I asked help again to my mother to help me and I couldn’t help myself to ask her why she did anything for me when I was tortured in front on her eyes. I remind her the most painful episod for me where I was beaten almost to death and what she said to me ? she didn’t rememeber ! ah ah ! and she seemed not to believe me. (I want to scream !)
I told her about remembering my genitor was fondling my sister’s bottom and kissed it and she minimized it, she said it was just a game.

She also told me if she had known, she took me to the psychologist when I was young. That was so painful. She is still convinced today that I have a problem instead of looking the truth that my father was extremely abusive with me.
I was keeping the contact with her because I have the crazy hope that, someday she will testimony for me against my father if I decided to go to court.
But it was just an illusion.

I called my granmother and my aunt answered the phone. She wanted to makes me guilty speaking about all the pain my mother had due to my fault because I decided to cut off all contact with her.
And she reproched me that I didn’t respond to her mails. (Indeed I decided to cut all contact and I put her mails in the spam box)
I felt so bad after this call.


Darling Sandra,

It is not crying or whining to express how you feel about how someone has treated you. The old adage about sticks and stones is so wrong in so many ways. Words hurt us and cause permanent damage. Everything your mother did or said will never really go away. She caused pain at the most vulnerable stage of your life and continues to do so.

Your boy friend sounds like he is so immature that he has no concept of empathy. He doesn’t have to really know anything or do anything. All he has to do is listen! Many men cannot do that. Many women cannot either. It is not as important that they have gone through the same things you have. It is only important that they hear your pain.

As far as writing letters, I have found from experience that this gives ammunition to those that want to continue to hurt us. My father learned from my letters how much pain he had caused and asked for forgiveness from my husband and myself. He still had enough humanity left to be able to learn and know that what both of them had done was wrong on so many levels. We made our peace.

My mother only turned my words against me, itemizing everything and saying she had “proof” of my lies and wrongdoing. What proof? It only made her look more crazy and she made up other things as she went along. She never answered my letters to me, just sent them to others with her comments about me. She even tried to include my husband in her arguments saying he must be stupid if he believed anything I said.

That was probably the worst move she has ever made in a very long list of bad moves. He told her that if she ever harassed me again, he would press charges. She went from trying to talk to me to just keeping talking about me. She is 84 with COPD from years and years of smoking. She watched her father die from that and I am sure it plays on her mind. I know she will never stop talking about me. I still don’t understand what is so special about me that she wastes so much breath tearing me down. But if I stay away from her, the roar in my head that is her voice is not quite so loud.

I may sound cold hearted…please don’t think I am usually that way. But after what she has done and said, I no longer have any sympathy for her. Even my brothers say the sooner she is out of our lives, the better. I feel so guilty feeling that way, but God help me, I can’t help it.

I don’t think any of us will have real peace until our abuser is out of our lives forever.

May God bless,


I already told my Mom that when it’s her “time” that I will not cry.

During my teen years, she would tease and humiliate me. “Oh, you gotta learn to take a little teasing….” Her “teasing” bit! She would NOT take me seriously. It escalated when I had boyfriends. Fast forward. I found out from a sibling a couple years ago Mom didn’t like it when I had a boyfriend. Huh?

Although my mom’s treatment of me isn’t as bad as some stories on here (of which I do read and say OH MY GAWD!), her “covert” stuff left me feeling bad and with low self esteem. Mom “took care of me,” I had what I needed, but she did not love me. She just “went through the motions.”

Unconditional love? (she claims…) Nope, her “love” has “conditions.” The “conditions” are that I act a certain way and be a certain way. FAKE IT!

I’m at the point where I can smile on th


Hi Sandra,
I think the down side of writing a letter to your family is exactly as Linda describes. It can be used against you and end up making you feel worse. What I do sometimes is write a letter to someone to vent. I express all my feelings but I shred it afterwards. I do this, not to get others to understand, but for me to get feelings out and understand the situation better. It has been helpful.
As for the boyfriend, Im sad to hear he is not supportive of you and saying things that are damaging to you. I have had to set boundaries with people who behave that way.


DXS, I hate the “Can’t take a joke” people! It gives them an excuse to be mean and then throw it all on you. I’ve heard it before, being told I’m too sensitive when in reality the other person is completely insensitive and trying to make you feel like the problem is yours.
I felt hat my story isn’t as bad as others too, but it was still mistreatment and still had a huge impact on me that has to be fixed. So Im not going to minimize it.


Sandra, to me the letter (at least in my case) was yet another attempt to get them to see and to understand and to acknowledge the pain and consequences their treatment of me has had. I’m not sure what I hoped would happen after that, an apology? A promise to never do it again? That’s not going to happen, ever. So instead the writing about it is for me. To remind me why I am NC and about how the way they treated me in turn lead me to treat myself or let myself be treated by others because I believe (I’d love to say it’s no longer the case but not exactly all there yet) I don’t deserve better treatment. I was brought up to hand myself over to others, to defer and to fear standing up for myself and many other ways of behaving that are counterproductive to my own well-being and happiness.

Amber and DXS, my mom was also of the “can’t take a joke” type but I note she has no sense of humour herself. To the best of my knowledge has never told a joke, and I have never heard her laugh at herself either.

And I agree, there are so many posts on here that are way worse than anything I experienced but it would wrong to discount any of them.One does not invalidate any other. It’s also an argument used by the abusive people we’re talking about. “Get over it, your father had it much worse than you from his father.” In fact I recall my mother referring to my father’s mistreatment as a child for some reason. I don’t know why. Perhaps as an excuse not to hold him accountable? But it was a given of my childhood that he had suffered a great deal. I never knew the full story. She even told me when I was very young that my grandfather had told my father that he could go to hell with his rotten family and had in some way -financially? – cut us off. I never understood why she told me that. Especially since we continued to see them quite frequently for many years after that. It was almost as if she was putting the blame on us (the kids) or maybe kids just naturally assume blame. Either way there was nothing further said. I often had the impression that my mother had imagined she had “married up” upon wedding my father and had been disappointed with the outcome.

In fact my father’s difficulties in life, with anxiety, difficulties at work, his sensitivity etc were a huge focus when I was growing up and later on it became my father’s illness that seemed to drive every conversation. So sad.


Alice hit the nail on the head so to speak. Abuse should never be discounted on its effect on someone. I have heard from so-called experts over the years that “oh, someone else was way worse off than me”. How does another person feel? No one but that person really knows. Which is part of the reason I have learned more and gotten more validation from talking to you than from any therapist I have ever encountered.

Comments from therapists and our abusers that so and so had it worse than you totally invalidates you and forever causes further damage. Everyone reacts so differently.to comments, actions, even physical pain. No one on here should ever think that perhaps they should not be reacting in the way they are. We all come from different eras and are different ages. Even different genders. Pain is pain and to me the psychological pain was far worse than the physical or the sexual and they were bad.

I feel like it becomes what we do with it all is what is important. So far I feel like I am still way behind the curve on recovery. I commend all those on here who make their own decisions and have come so far. I had to grow up suddenly 60 years ago and there is still a child in me crying to get out.

Hugs to all,


I have a question, yea right just one, ha!

But I have heard so many say they fear that the narcissistic behavior is genetic, that they fear having children or that they will in turn abuse someone else. What do you do when you become the opposite of your abuser. I am so terrified of hurting someone else, of saying the wrong thing that I have been told I have no ego at all.

I am so afraid of causing pain that I let others continue to hurt me. I don’t know how to protect myself. I don’t even know if I am making sense right now. I have been sick…again! And am running on no sleep as usual. My nightmares are getting the better of me and I fear sleep. My father came into my room almost every day at 4:00 am to do his thing and when I worked nights as a nurse, my mother decided three hours sleep was enough and woke me up to clean house and cook for her.

She said that women lived to serve and had no business working outside the home. I don’t know where she got that. Both of her brothers’ wives had university degrees and worked. My grandparents found nothing wrong with women working and they were born in 1900.

I am empathic to the point that I feel others’ pain. Do I get that from my grandparents? I am so sorry. I am always questioning my own behavior and why some things I was able to overcome and have a relatively normal relationship with my husband and sons but seem to have trust issues with others.

I have gotten a lot of comfort talking to everyone on here but I freeze up and become paralyzed when I speak to someone in person.

Thank you all for listening,


Hi Linda,

I’ve definitely feared being a narc myself. I’ve also adopted some reverse behaviours to those of my mom in an attempt to escape her and escape turning into her. She’s overweight? I take care and freak out if I start getting a few pounds heavier. She had a saggy face at 40? I check my jawline obsessively. She finishes other people’s sentences and doesn’t listen? I’ve made listening my profession. I have a list:-)
I also check a few boxes on the ‘covert narc’ scale which doesn’t please me either. I believe empathy is an attempt to anticipate other people’s states to hedge what’s going to happen. It also has to do with a lack of boundaries, I think.

But when I was a kid, perhaps it was useful to know what mood she was in so I could act as necessary to avoid whatever it was I needed to avoid? And in fact, doing this ‘work’ of whatever it is, I feel myself getting less empathetic and I think that’s a good thing.

Linda, I think it’s fair to say that not everyone is a good choice of someone to talk to about certain things. Not even therapists. Those people have to have dealt with their own issues to the point where they can be open to talking about this stuff and not jump immediately on the ‘forgiveness’ bandwagon which is more of a moral precept than anything else.


Linda when we talk to someone in person it is in “real time” and back and forth dialogue and, unlike on the computer we don’t have the time to think of the ideal response or retread what we wrote and revise it. So maybe it’s the having to think up the right response on the spot that is causing the problem. I sometimes freeze up though less often than I used to. The freezing up in a conversation for me seems to happen when someone catche me off guard with a statement so rude that I feel shocked and ont know what to say. I know I’ve written about this on here before.
I’m not sure how to answer your question about letting others hurt you rather than you doing something to cause pain to someone. That seems like a big burden to bear, absorbing pain especially when the people don’t care that they are dishing it out. I can only say that you don’t deserve that pain, and while I don’t like to hurt others either, if someone is hurting me I have the right to defend myself even if it does hurt that person. Here’s an example: In college there was this girl who figured out Iwas an easy mark o pick on. For one reason, she zeroed in on the fact that I would lighten my hair. I don’t know why this bothered her, but it did and she would love to ask me when we were in a group “hey when are you gonna do your hair back the right color?” She knew it embarrassed me and she knew I wasn’t gonna respond because I never di. Somehow I never wanted to say one thing hurtful even though she continually tried to hurt me. She would also deliberately ask me if a certain guy had called me knowing full well that he had just dumped me. One day I was combing my hair in the large dorm bathroom and she walked in. She asked “when are you gonna o our hair back the right color?” I had hit my breaking point. I knew she was sensitive bout her weight. Normally I would never do this to anyone, but in her case it was the only way. I yelled back. “When you lose 50 pounds!” She never bothered me again. Unfortunately, nothing else worked with his Gil and I had to resort to out of character meanness to reach her.


Appreciate everyone’s comments. I have to keep reading Darlene’s article on “mine was not as bad as his” (or whatever it was….) Covert or overt, equally bad bad bad.

RE: Trying to not be like my mom: My mom POUNDED into my head, “Think of how OTHERS might feel…” (yet she doesn’t hold herself to this standard). So, I think I have developed empathy, more so than average (and I think everyone on here is ABOVE average on Empathy!) And yes, I allow myself to be hurt so as not to cause others pain. Unless I am 100% sure they can’t “escalate” it. Then I have no problem telling someone off.


DXS, my mother had the gall to tell me that my having to look after my maternal grandmother as a kid was “nothing” and that in China it was “the done thing” in families to care for elders. Now I’m sure it probably was (maybe it still is) but we are not Chinese! And even if we were, how sure was she that the carer should be the grandchild (instead of say, her?).

I don’t actually think that teaching kids to consider other people is a negative thing – although I’m also not sure that they don’t naturally do it. I have a hunch they do.
I do think though that trying to drum it into them at ages that are basically inappropriate (in other words when you as a parent should be meeting their needs and not the reverse) is a disaster waiting to happen. But my mom was more interested (I guess) in turning me into whatever she wanted than who I really was or am. And as I mentioned above, since I derived much of who I was from being her antithesis, well how much of that was “really me” either?


Alice, it would be good to teach kids that considering other people should be a mutual thing. People who are disrespectful, mean, and discount others shouldn’t expect anything in return, but it seems they are the ones who seem most entitled.
Teaching thoughtfulness can start at a young age but needs to be age appropriate. I taught four year olds, and we did a lot of talking about how it feels to be called a name or left out of a group. We at least got to some beginning awareness on these things. I also helped guide children who were being bullied on ways to handle it.


DXS, I read the article you referred to, and I agree that we can’t compare one type of abuse to another. It all hurts, overt, covert; that is why we are here. We all want to heal. Speaking of artilcles, Validation for Emotional Healing from Abuse, in the December 2010 archives was one of my favorite articles of Darlene’s and extremely helpful in showing the stages of the healing process.


From Alice:

But my mom was more interested (I guess) in turning me into whatever she wanted than who I really was or am. And as I mentioned above, since I derived much of who I was from being her antithesis, well how much of that was “really me” either?

That’s why I can really relate to your issues. I can also relate to Amber’s, and there are a couple others on here I can relate to.

I’ve always known since I was 12 I didn’t want to marry. I’m even at the point where dating is a bit pointless, but not entirely closed to it. But when I was 30, I blew up at Mom and said, “YOU DON’T WANT ME TO HAVE A BOYFRIEND!” (which she VEHEMENTLY denied…) I couldn’t figure out why I said that since I wasn’t interested in marrying. Then a couple years ago one of my siblings confirmed it. So, I confronted Mom and cornered her and got her to admit it. Basically, she made MY choice not to marry be ultimately “about her” and not about my right to make that choice. That’s when things started to unravel for me and I started to search for the truth. What was real? What was a lie?

One of my mom’s favorite sayings was “to thine own self be true.” (Get out the Universal Decoder book: “Be true to what Dad and Mom want you to be.”)


DXS, I’d say my principal issue is/has been finding someone to love me. And I have to add that it has become/became a very serious issue. As if ONLY if I were to be loved and accepted by that “special guy” (or person, whoever, whatever) then “all would be well”. Can you believe it has so much less to do with how much I like or love them?? And so much more about how much they love me?

Do you think I spend even a moment considering how I love?

I say that’s f*cked up.



Strangely enough I completely understand. Yes, my husband was my first date. Yes, he told me he wanted to marry me three days later and we married six weeks after that. I was 22 years old. We have been married for 42 years and it is still impossible for me to believe he loves me. He has never given me reason not to, but I still feel so “dirty?” that even though I love him more than life itself, I still don’t find myself loveable.

I am so sorry to sound like I am whining. So many have told me “to just get over it already”. What happened was a long time ago. Amazingly, my husband is not one. His parents were not perfect but he is forever forgiving and supportive. But my self hatred has been so ingrained that I make one step forward and two back.

Maybe I am just really tired of it all right now. I’m sorry to complain. But I do understand how hard it is to find someone to love. It seems like our mothers are so ravenous that they eat their own young.



Alice, DXS, I understand about being molded into something I am not. I can remember far back to when I was about four and had an adventurous streak. I loved exploring things and going places. But then I got squished down and told girls can’t do this or that or go there. I was really repressed including with my wants and needs, and many of my decisions were squelched and/ or ridiculed. Even courses I wanted to take were vetoed in my college days. I became very uptight and anxious from this all.
Years later, I remember walking around by myself in a foreign country and getting a very happy and free feeling. I thought it was one of the happiest days of my life. And then I realized why. This was my adventurous self pushing past the repression and emerging.
DXS, why did your Mom not want you to have a boyfriend? She sounds very controlling just like my parents. In my case, I often felt that my mother enjoyed when things were difficult for me. She’d never offer help but loved telling people of the situation and that it is all on Amber. She was jealous of the good relationship that I have with my husband and would sometimes try to stir up trouble.

Alice, I have to comment on what you said about “all would be well if I was loved by that special guy”. For me that was not the answer. I am married and loved by a special guy and it is a blessing, but it is not the answer for me because it is still looking for my primary validation fom an outside source. I believe that my primary validation has to come from me and that is the point I am trying to get to. Additional validation is icing on the cake.



I left out one thought. I do know that if I had not met my husband and he had pushed the issue, I would never have married and probably would have committed suicide to get out from under my parents’ influence.

But because of who I had the potential to be, I was never able to “follow my dream” and become a doctor, physicist or whatever my innate intelligence would allow. I never mentioned this to my husband until years later. I deferred to him always, finishing his degree in education and his Master’s degree, becoming a Naval officer, a police officer, a pilot, whatever he wanted to do.

He has told me that he would have supported whatever I wanted to do, but as I did not tell him about the incest for 15 years, I never mentioned wanting to continue my education. He said he always wondered why a member of MENSA would only have an associate degree in nursing. There is nothing wrong with that but he knew what I was capable of. i call myself pathetic.

I could not get out from under my mother’s influence. She has been forever jealous that she could not destroy my marriage. Even now, she believes she has all the power. Perhaps when she dies, I will have peace. Until then, all I can say is, who knows? Perhaps, in my next life, I will do as I please. Wouldn’t that be something.



You do not sound cold hearted to me. You have had enough. You know what they say… “you fool/ hurt me once- shame on you, you fool/hurt me twice- shame on me..” (well in most of our cases, our families got many chances to fool us more than twice, that’s for sure!)

After all the things I had to go through last year, I know that was the very last time I got fooled. I am done and this time I mean it. I do not care when she dies and I am definitely not going to show up at her funeral. Besides, she might as well have 20 more years ahead. And even if she dies in the near future, I would not know because guess what, I am done with my sister as well.

@Alice & Linda:

As for the letter thing, well I am aware that it is more for me than for them. You cannot argue with a bunch of sociopaths. Imagine you are trying to discuss different shades with a group of color blind people totally unaware of their disability… Sounds like a tough job, doesn’t it? 🙂

The thing is I want to “officially” cut myself off. Most likely I will be soon going abroad to start a new job, also once I send my letter, I am changing my phone number. My sister is not aware that I am truly done with her now. This is a sort of a good bye letter. I know they already think I am the crazy one but guess what? I do not care.
My sister still has my email address, she can email me if she feels like saying something nice. My condition with her is: I will not be able to see her for the next 2 years for sure, after that MAYBE, but she needs to promise that our parents will not be discussed under any circumstances and she will not be pushing me to contact them. And most importantly, she needs to acknowledge and apologize for a number of things (mosty lies, lies, lies, lots of money related issues. I am so disappointed with her… I knew she was becoming a copy of my mom, but I really wante to keep at least her in my life). Anyways I highly doubt she is ever going to apologize and maybe that’s even better, I would hate to make a fool out of myself again.