“You can’t solve the problems of today by using the same thinking that created them” Einstein
As I started to go through the healing process I realized that there were roots to the feelings of loneliness and that feeling of being alone. I felt let down in a world where I didn’t fit in and didn’t belong and believed I wasn’t worthy of the love that I craved. I believed that I had brought on my own problems that I created the life of depression that I lived in and believed that if I could just figure out what was wrong with me then everything would be okay. I believed this stuff because it had been communicated to me through the actions of other people.
I started to realize that some of the things that had happened to me left me believing that I was somehow lacking and that I was somehow undeserving of the love that other people deserved. As I progressed farther into my emotional healing journey, I realized that my own parents had contributed to those beliefs and were still contributing to them well into my adult life. I was a disappointment to my parents and nothing I did was ever “good enough” and as I grew older I was beginning to comprehend that nothing I ever accomplished was EVER going to be “good enough”.
When I first started this website I never intended to talk about my parents as part of where the problem began. I thought I could just keep it about the belief system development resulting from trauma and I could just sort of keep my parents out of it.
As my confidence grew, I started to write about some specific incidents with my mother and father that caused some of the false beliefs about myself to take root in my belief system. And when I started to get really specific about the part that my parents played in the breakdown of my self-esteem, I started noticing changes in the traffic numbers and statistics here in Emerging from Broken.
One of the most popular comments that I receive in this website from first time commenters is “I thought I was the only one who felt this way” or “wow, I thought I was alone in this”. I get emails through facebook and through the contact form in this site every day from people who say the same thing; “wow, I thought I was the only one, I have always felt so alone”. Many specify “I thought I was the only one with a mother who didn’t love me”. And even more will say “OH MY GOSH, my mother didn’t love me!” And of course there are many who write the same things about their fathers.
Thousands of people read blog posts on Emerging from Broken every single day. Statistics in the back end of the website tell me how I am found and 80% of my traffic comes from search engines such as Google. Out of that 80% about 70% of those people find me because they are searching for information about difficult or dysfunctional relationships with family or parents and especially information about difficult mother daughter relationships.
The most popular post of all time article on Emerging from Broken is the article titled “My Mother doesn’t Love Me and the Process of Grieving”. This post has been found through search engines more than any other single post on the entire website and has been the gateway into the most viewed category; the “mother daughter relationship” category. People are looking for other people that share this same experience of being discounted by their own parents. People are looking for validation that this happens and has happened to others and that they are not the only ones. People are looking for reassurance that something was wrong with the way they were treated by toxic or narcissistic mothers and in many cases the ways they are STILL being treated in dysfunctional mother daughter relationships and by other family members.
I found out a long time ago that I was not alone in suspecting that judging by the ways I was treated by my parents, something wasn’t right even though I had gone many years without ever examining that tiny suspicion for fear of the consequences.
I think that my greatest fear of all time was that my own mother didn’t love me. And when I look at her actions, it seems easy enough to come to that conclusion but the rejection was just too hard to face. As long as I didn’t look at her actions, I didn’t have to see the truth about them, so I did anything I could to avoid looking at the truth that those actions pointed to, including arguing with myself and others, defending my mothers (and fathers) choices and actions towards me and against me and trying harder to change in order to become what they wanted me to be. I also spent a lot of time trying to understand my parents in order to excuse the disrespectful ways that I had been mistreated and disregarded.
I am not alone in the fact that my own mother and father abused and neglected me, objectified me and were more interested in what I could do for them or how my accomplishments and behaviour reflected on them. However, dysfunctional mother daughter relationships or dysfunctional mother son relationships or even toxic relationships of any kind with either parent are not the most popular subject when it comes to open discussion. They are often considered “taboo” in fact.
When I write about difficult and dysfunctional relationships with my parents the articles are shared much LESS in social networks such as Facebook or Twitter than the posts about recovery that don’t mention mother and father relationship difficulties. There is a ‘facebook like button’ on this site and the number of “likes” is never as high when I am talking about child abuse or neglect at the hands of the parents as it is when I talk about PTSD or coping methods or something less revealing about parental involvement or responsibility for the childhood difficulties that the adult child is having. However, my traffic from search engines goes WAY up and the time spent on site by the people finding ‘emerging from broken’ also goes way up.
These stats reveal that hundreds of thousands of people are searching for articles about dysfunctional parents and abusive parents but most of the people searching don’t want anyone to know about it. I believe this comes from the fact that most of us in any given society were brainwashed to believe that WE are the ones that failed the parents and that the ‘character defect’ is within us and therefore the failure in the relationship is on our shoulders instead of on the shoulders of the abusive parents. And the loyalty to our parents that was drilled into us as our only hope for survival and acceptance is not easily overcome.
I write about this subject not to encourage more public sharing but to let people know how many other people are looking for info on this stuff. I want people to realize that they are far from alone in this difficult problem. I would never advocate for people going public about problems with their parents before they are ready. Many people will never share anywhere publically about any of this even long after their parents are dead and that is a personal choice that I will always respect.
But the truth is that you are not alone. We are not alone.
It wasn’t and still isn’t easy to accept that my own parents didn’t consider my emotional health a top priority and that my father and my mother didn’t love me however it has been a huge part of the truth that set me free. I had to face the truth about the damage and where it came from before I could heal from that damage; regardless of the dysfunctional childhoods my parents may have had, the damage they caused me is not remedied by trying to understand them.
It was in facing this truth, the truth about how I was discounted, unprotected, neglected, punished for the wrong reasons and mistreated by my own parents that I found emotional healing. I found freedom and wholeness by realizing how this mistreatment defined me as unworthy of love and by realizing that the mistreatment, including emotional neglect and carelessness on their part does not define me as much as it defines them, I found a way to re-parent myself and learned self-love and self-care which eventually filled all the emptiness within me.
Please share your thoughts about feeling alone, the fears of talking about abusive parents or anything else you want to share. Remember that you may use any name you wish in the comment form; only the name you use will be seen by others. Your email address is never shared and your privacy is very important to me. If you want to follow the conversation, remember to click the “subscribe to comments” button.
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Darlene Ouimet is a Certified Life Transitions Coach specializing in emotional healing (CTACC)