Take the Good with the Bad or the Bad with the Good?

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family depression
trapped like a fish on a hook
 
A couple of weeks ago, on the thread for the father’s day post in the emerging from broken facebook page, someone made a comment that bothered me.  Everyone was sharing about emotionally unavailable fathers, and difficult father daughter relationships, and someone asked why we couldn’t find something NICE to say about our fathers.  The writer posted that it could not possibly have been “that bad” and that there must have been “some good”.
 
Her comment seemed to suggest that sharing something good might help in some way. As though sharing “some good” would negate the bad.  But why would “some good” cancel out the kind of “bad” that we are talking about? On that particular thread we were talking about being hurt and the emotional pain caused by having an emotionally unavailable father. Some of the readers had been sexually abused by fathers. Why did we have to include something good about them? Why did we have to have a good memory to go along with the bad memories? What good does it do to include “oh but he used to buy me ice cream on hot summer days?” I don’t get that.
 
A whole flood of thoughts went through my mind in reaction to that one comment.  My default thinking and self talk mode came up. The default mode is those voices that remind me that I “should not speak ill of my parents” and “I am being so negative” and the “even worse” voice that says “oh it wasn’t that bad” and “you are such a whiner”. I also hear my parents and teachers and the people that I considered to be mentors voices saying “why do you have to dredge up the past all the time?”  But I reminded myself that I don’t write about anything except the truth.  My motive for writing this blog is very positive and for the greater good of all.  And once again I started to question why I have to include something positive about the very people who caused this damage to me? Why do I have to include the “good bits”? Would it make me a better person if I said that my father drove me to Brownies every week, or if I said that my mother curled my hair sometimes? Or would that just make my story less painful to others?
 
Does my writing cause others to cringe? Does it poke holes in the unexposed truth and carefully concealed pain in their own lives?
 
I write the way that I write, because after years of searching for some way to overcome the depressions and dissociative disorders that I struggled with, I found freedom by facing the truth about my childhood. Why shouldn’t I share my recovery with the world? Why should I protect “their” reputations? Why is it wrong to talk about MY childhood and MY life? All my life I had been told to focus on the good things and forget the bad things. But the bad things seemed to rule my life, hiding in the dark under the surface of what appeared to be fine! The bad things didn’t leave me alone!
 
My belief system was taught, trained programmed and brainwashed into me and resulted in my believing that any complaint I had was wrong and that any thought I had related to the past was “negative” and usually distorted. I was taught that my memory was false and that my pain was due to my selfishness and self centered personality. I naturally concluded that my depressions were also due to my selfishness and self centered personality. That was a natural conclusion for me to come to because I was told that everything that happened to me was my fault. I either asked for it or I deserved it and that all my negative feelings were caused by self centeredness and selfishness.  I concluded that my depressions were my also my fault and could be overcome by my accepting that I was selfish and self centered and that by putting everyone else before me, I could lead a happy life. The problem was that that is what I had been trying to do all along and it hadn’t helped yet.
 
At the same time I was not permitted to have my real emotions nor was I correct in naming them. Everything I felt was unjustified by others so I learned not to trust my own feelings, and I learned that I didn’t really have any right to them.
 
All of the above is a total recipe for depression but I never realized it. I also never realized the root of it. My depressions came from suppression of the truth about my childhood. My depressions came from trying to sort things out without looking at the truth about my upbringing. My depression came from trying to overlook the bad by covering it with the good.
 
I was taught to always look for the good, but not for the purpose of positive living; for the purpose of accepting abuse. I was taught to minimize my own value, I was taught to hold the abusers in high regard all the while accepting the little regard they had for me. I was taught that they had value, but that I did not. That system is bound to destroy everyone in its path, because it is built on rotten lies. That system is not related to love and it is not positive.
 
I don’t have to include the “good things” or “good memories” about anyone in my website about emotional healing. That is part of the old system and that system just kept me sick. I don’t have to honour my mother and father in any way different then the way they honoured me. They taught me the rules of love in a very unbalanced (one sided) and unfair way and I don’t play by those rules anymore. I opted for the truth instead.  The air is better here. There is a brightness that I never saw before.
 
I realized that the commenter was reacting to her own issues. Not to mine. Her comment was about her own pain, not about my pain or the emotional pain being shared on the EFB facebook page and I totally understand that.   I spent years avoiding facing my pain too and after years of trying to avoid, it only makes sense to have finally faced all of it and be done with it!
 
Although I write about the past almost every day of my life for the purpose of helping others overcome their demons, I am done with my past.  I am finally free of it.
 
Please share anything you wish to or need to;
 
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 through the upper right side bar or click this link~ Emerging from Broken The Beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing

 

124 response to "Take the Good with the Bad or the Bad with the Good?"

  1. By: Pinky Posted: 1st July 2016

    I can totally relate to them being nice when they want to be. My mom had good qualities. She rescued stray animals before rescue was a thing.
    But it was her high pitched fake super sweet voice that she used with people she wanted to think she was nice.
    My brothers ex girlfriend is on my page and my mom went out of her way to help and be nice to her.
    I dont know the woman who she was with her. Now that ex-girlfriend doesn’t get what my problem is with my mom.
    I do want to stay in touch with this girl. She stayed at my apartment when I went on vacations.
    But she is in denial about a lot of things in her life. My brother trashed her in such a terrible way. He brought his new girlfriend to her moms funeral at age 19 and broke up with her at the funeral in front of everyone. I feel so bad for her. He got married she never did and is a single mom and never got over him. Anyway just sharing a story about how nice my mom was to others.

    I have a new neighbor that does the same thing my mm did. I hear her at home through the walls she sounds like she is possessed like her head will spin and vomit green vomit at any moment.
    She has 3 kids. 2 toddlers and a new born. She is so mean to the toddlers. Unbearably so.
    We cant report her it isnt illegal to be mean and yell but my husband actually cries sometimes for the kids.
    But when she answers the door she uses that same fake high pitched voice. It is sickening!
    Then her husband works long hours. He is nice but never heard this. She pretends to be nice with him but I think he knows. She does a lot of things behind his back. I digress.
    The fake thing, I dont get it and cant stand it! Why pretend? Just be yourself!
    But I guess that is how they fool people to do things like marry them.

  2. By: Johnny Posted: 30th June 2016

    I still cannot believe how nice my step-monster was to the neighbor kids or friends.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 1st July 2016

      Hi Johnny
      Yes and on top of that it hurts to realize that they CAN be nice when they want to be…
      Hugs, and welcome to EFB
      Darlene

  3. By: Pinky Posted: 29th June 2016

    Really well written! For me I needed the reminder of “I realized that the commenter was reacting to her own issues. Not to mine. Her comment was about her own pain, not about my pain or the emotional pain being shared on the EFB facebook page and I totally understand that.” I really get attacked by not so well meaning Christians especially pastors who have issues of their own maybe of abusing others I suspect. It is a good reminder to realize it is not really about me but what I represent to them!

  4. By: Hope Posted: 8th March 2016

    Hi Darlene,

    I don’t even remember the good anymore, all the useless running around I did for my FOO and instead of getting a thank you or some warmth and love I got BITCH slaps in the face. All the years and things I gave up for them amounted to me losing myself. All the gifts I gave them not appreciated one bit and by the next time I was back at their house they had sold them. All the expensive clothes my NM stole from me and then denying it even if I caught her in the act. And then she purposely put red clothes with my whites so I would have to throw them out. All the nastiness and lies she spread around about me to make herself look good. All the times they all ignored me after they used me for their favours and all the times we got together and all they could do is give me hell because I am a happy person.

    Why should I care about people like that? What good did they do for me? I can’t even fathom doing these things to strangers, let alone to my own family.

    To top it off, all the hypocrisy from my NM, never letting my sibling and I ever drink coffee…COFFEE of all things! It only clicked in my head since reading your blog Darlene that that was her sick and twisted way of controlling us. And the weirdest one she did in front of everyone we knew was when she caused the BIGGEST scene EVERY time I lit up a cigarette in my 20’s and 30’s, until I quit just as she wanted me to comply and then bragged about it to all those people and show them how weak I am for complying…did I mention that she was a smoker for 30 years?

    I went LC for about 6 months since learning about all of this and the last month I have gone NC as my NM over did it. She pushed me too hard. I am so sickened by the “games” that they all play. I am not taking part any more. I am done with it.

    You have been my rock, thanks.

  5. By: Carlos Posted: 2nd March 2016

    My Dad fixed my shower door, assembled my bed, paid for my college education, resolved my computer problems, took us to spectacular places during the holidays and on top of that he lifted our spirits when we were down.

    But as good as those things may have been, they will never be able to change the fact that he also called me stupid, hit me, compared me to my younger sister and cousin, tagged along with my maternal grandmother to initiate the abuse (Which he just does because she’s his in-law and he really didn’t mean to do it, like seriously? More lies?), talked about my lack of independence to others, compared his own achievements to mine (Congratulations for the down payment you lodged for an apartment at the age of 15! I should have been doing the same thing, even if finding a job is so difficult!), constantly talked over me when I attempted to converse with him, disrespected my time on the TV (Bit shallow this one, but hey I was watching, excuse you!) and so much more. Add to the fact that he rubs all of the good that he has done from time to time on your face. Disgusting.

    This post reminded me of a quote I came across on Facebook written in my native tongue translated:

    Regardless of the good that they have done, the bad remains to be the ones that are seen.

    Well can you blame me? My father and maternal grandmother are still self-righteous and narcissistic, regardless of the many times I tried to play the “repair man” in my relationship with them. Why should I be the one to always change? Why should I give them medallions for the good, when the effects of the bad were just as great as the former? When will there be a time when they will do their share of the work? It’s frustrating!

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 2nd March 2016

      Hi Carlos
      These are the questions that when I was finally able to answer them I realized the truth. They have chosen NOT to do their share of the work and there is nothing I can do to make them choose to do it. That leaves me with a choice as well and I chose not to accept unacceptable treatment anymore. The way I put it, the good doesn’t ‘cancel’ the bad. I acknowledge the good, just as I finally also acknowledged the bad. The key for me was that no one was willing to STOP doing the bad…
      hugs, Darlene

    • By: Michelle Posted: 29th June 2016

      “Why should I be the one to always change? Why should I give them medallions for the good, when the effects of the bad were just as great as the former? When will there be a time when they will do their share of the work? It’s frustrating!”

      This reminds me of when I’m told things like, “that’s just the way so-and- so is,” or, but that’s your (relative’s name).” When do I get to be just me? When did being “just them” become more important than me being “just me”, and in this case “just” is not a minimizing word, it is being me and not anything harmful to me that anyone else expects me to be. When it is my relative, I expect unconditional love and a higher leve of committment between us so the betrayal and injury is much worse to me making statements like that even more crushing than “that’s just the way so-and-so is.”

      I don’t believe we should be the one’s to change to placate them. I believe the only changes we should make are ones we choose to make for our own benefit and health and that we should be allowed to “just be me”.

  6. By: marquis (female) Posted: 13th September 2014

    When Darlene and someone else mentioned about hair and the price to pay for it. It reminds me when I was little how my mom did my hair, always yanking it so damn hard, and twisting my head in a mean manner (not sure what to call it). Told people don’t you find that abusive? A stylist wouldn’t do that unless they want to get sued. My mom was never specific as to which way to turn my head so she can do my style my hair and it’s fault for her poor ass English and her lack of communication!

    “Why did we have to include something good about them? Why did we have to have a good memory to go along with the bad memories? What good does it do to include “oh but he used to buy me ice cream on hot summer days?” I don’t get that.”

    Amen! How many years have I been saying this? My ex-therapist and others said surely you had a good memory of your dad and said that’s suppose to erase the other traumatic hell I’ve endured? They said not what I am saying and said exactly what you are saying indirectly speaking! An example is I had a woman tell me ‘but your dad paid for your college education and if he didn’t, you wouldn’t have gone.’ Excuse me?!? What makes you think I wouldn’t go? I told her I didn’t ask him to pay for it he was “forced” to pay for it by my mom by “trying to make him be a dad when he clearly never wanted to be one from the very beginning.” She looked at me all puzzled, shut her damn mouth, and walked away. I should be happy he paid for my college tuition, I was miserable when he paid for it.

    Another example is he would take me out to Disneyland every Saturday. I had fun on my own, but he refused to buy me the products in the Disneyland stores or buy me any food for that matter. I had to watch families buy stuff for their kids or food. He would always get me a big cookie and a soda that’s suppose to fill me up. I ended up getting sick from that, one time he did buy me a hot dog. His excuses are everything is too expensive and there was no point in buying the food at all go without food, then you don’t take someone to Disneyland idiot!

    My ex-therapist said your taking that memory and trying to make him out the bad father that he isn’t. I cut her short and said excuse me? Did you not hear what I just said? He made himself to be the bad father by making babies he didn’t want, an extension of his bruised ego, and running around with sluts! Such an idiot that therapist is her background of abuse isn’t helping her since she hasn’t said if she lived with abuse or not like talking to a statue.

    I tell people my dad, both parents, aren’t what you think they are. My nieces asked my sister, their mom, about what were our childhoods were like any good? My sister told them nothing in our lives was even remotely good or interesting as there’s very little to say. Nothing but abuse, violence, name calling, etc yep my sister is right. I have told that to people and oh god, another verbal fight with them. Told the truth, but when there’s violence and abuse there are no good memories. My memories consisted of fighting verbally and lots of crying with severe depression, what good “family memories” are people out there talking about?

    Taking the good and negating the bad is also another form of abuse making the victim think everything wasn’t that bad, but sure some parts were bad and then they still live with guilt, shame, fear, etc. It also makes the victim everything was happy go lucky! I saw an episode on Steve Wilkos show where a girl was being abused by her boyfriend and she said but he is a good father to our daughter and we have good and bad days. Steve said and that is suppose to make all the abuse go away, right? The girl talked about the good times they had before he started to beat on her and I could see my ex-therapist saying take the good memories and use that to grow and heal!

    ” And once again I started to question why I have to include something positive about the very people who caused this damage to me? Why do I have to include the “good bits”? Would it make me a better person if I said that my father drove me to Brownies every week, or if I said that my mother curled my hair sometimes? Or would that just make my story less painful to others?”

    True. I could tell people my dad took me out to Disneyland every weekend, but does that make me a happy person? No. My mom gave me candy but there was terms and conditions that went a long with it! My dad drove me to school not that he wanted to and it wasn’t to make sure I was safe or anything. People have said he took you to school to make sure you’re safe. Wrong! Everything he “had to do as a father” was such a burden on him same with my mom told mom stop making him to be a “dad” when he clearly never wanted to and she yelled then why did we get married? You’re part of the problem too you also married him, right? Takes two to tango.

    “I found freedom by facing the truth about my childhood. Why shouldn’t I share my recovery with the world? Why should I protect “their” reputations? Why is it wrong to talk about MY childhood and MY life? All my life I had been told to focus on the good things and forget the bad things. But the bad things seemed to rule my life, hiding in the dark under the surface of what appeared to be fine! The bad things didn’t leave me alone!”

    Agreed. For me, tired of talking about my life it causes nothing but verbal fighting with people and everything I say is the truth. I told people my parents aren’t everything that it seems and got so many people who disrespected me and refuse to even speak to me. I lost friendships due to telling the truth and not “protecting my parents.” Why not? They didn’t protect us like they should have. I have a right to speak about my life as well but nobody out there has the right to disrespect me just because “it interferes with their fictional white picket fence lifestyle and their false ideologies on what a family should be.”

    The way how I see it is if these types of truths bother people, I tell them they shouldn’t ask since they are wanting to hear a happy family story anyway. You don’t wanna hear truth, then go speak to someone who lives the white picket fence! I told people tired of protecting their reputation as well and they yelled at me that’s your parents bullshit and how dare you do this to your parents. I cut them short saying no, how dare they do this to us? I got told they don’t owe you shit and said they OWE us the truth about everything that happen all the family lies/secrets, why they did what they want, yep, they do OWE us something.

    Take the bad with the good and yea living a lie, an illusion like Darlene said while everything appeared to be fine when nothing was fine anyway! That’s what made my ex-therapist so damn gullible about everything she said everything has good and bad and said to her so that makes it all better? Why do you and others out there insist on justifying what my parents did? She said not justifying I said listen to what you just said, take the good with the bad and they are still your parents – that is justifying in case you don’t want to admit it. Ooh, she was hot when I got through with her lol!

    I told people it’s my story and I have a right to speak the truth about it, why do you insist on keeping me in child mode? You can’t say be an adult and make up your own decisions yet they are still your parents and how dare you can’t have it both ways! I lived my life under illusions making people think everything is fine just so they can “respect me” because I know now, if I say something truthful about them, people will disrespect me and want nothing to do with me. I told them go live with the lies that you hold onto so dearly as if they are the truth!

    “And resulted in my believing that any complaint I had was wrong and that any thought I had related to the past was “negative” and usually distorted. I was taught that my memory was false and that my pain was due to my selfishness and self centered personality. I naturally concluded that my depressions were also due to my selfishness and self centered personality. That was a natural conclusion for me to come to because I was told that everything that happened to me was my fault. I either asked for it or I deserved it and that all my negative feelings were caused by self centeredness and selfishness. I concluded that my depressions were my also my fault and could be overcome by my accepting that I was selfish and self centered and that by putting everyone else before me, I could lead a happy life. The problem was that that is what I had been trying to do all along and it hadn’t helped yet.”

    I was told my memory was lying to me and did believe it at one time and woke up when I got at it with my parents. Other people concluded that my memory was distorted I am like were you there?!?

    “At the same time I was not permitted to have my real emotions nor was I correct in naming them. Everything I felt was unjustified by others so I learned not to trust my own feelings, and I learned that I didn’t really have any right to them.”

    Growing up, I had a very hard time trusting my own feelings and still do this day since living with the narcs. I can’t trust my own gut feelings simply because I am suppose to trust the narcs. Real feelings in my home was being such a crybaby and my mom said trying to be so white (race always played a part in something even if something was normal to do like cry). My parents made it clear that they don’t give a shit about our feelings as the world doesn’t give a damn either, wow isn’t that more abusive? funny, a lot of people didn’t agree, but agreed with my parents.

    “All of the above is a total recipe for depression but I never realized it. I also never realized the root of it. My depressions came from suppression of the truth about my childhood. My depressions came from trying to sort things out without looking at the truth about my upbringing. My depression came from trying to overlook the bad by covering it with the good.
    I was taught to always look for the good, but not for the purpose of positive living; for the purpose of accepting abuse. I was taught to minimize my own value, I was taught to hold the abusers in high regard all the while accepting the little regard they had for me. I was taught that they had value, but that I did not. That system is bound to destroy everyone in its path, because it is built on rotten lies. That system is not related to love and it is not positive.”

    I always wondered if I still suffer from depression, think I still do because of my living situation. Yep, I was taught the same thing accept abuse and put my parents in high regard because they are the parents. Other people out there said we should honor our parents, I said even if they are abusive? They said yea. So stupid, no thank you! That’s the problem we place people out there in all job fields who are abusive in high regard just for the sake of xyz. Like I told people, covering up the bad with the good is lying to yourself. Funny how they agreed then contradicted saying it wasn’t that bad at home.

    “I don’t have to include the “good things” or “good memories” about anyone in my website about emotional healing. That is part of the old system and that system just kept me sick. I don’t have to honour my mother and father in any way different then the way they honoured me. They taught me the rules of love in a very unbalanced (one sided) and unfair way and I don’t play by those rules anymore. I opted for the truth instead. The air is better here. There is a brightness that I never saw before.”

    Agreed. People have told me I better or else, I said or else what? God will punish you is what they tell me now that is using religion as a guilt trip. Everything that is taught at home is part of a belief system good or bad and abuse is just part of the old system like Darlene is saying. Oh wait, my ex-therapist said but abuse makes up one part of you and said no, it doesn’t. It was something that happen that should’ve never happen, that is not a good trait to have as part of me or 3 parts of me or whatever. My sister doesn’t include any “good memories” of my parents as she hates them and I don’t have to either. I get told you should because they gave birth to you the usual shaming people use nobody asked to be born!

    Yes, definitely agree the rules of love being unbalanced and very one-sided. That’s the part that irks the shit out of me how people don’t even see that part and tell me I am wrong. Love is balanced when everybody is in alignment and there’s mutual respect and nurturing, where is that in any of our abusive families? Like others said oh, they put a roof over your heads, you had food, water, medicine, etc not everybody in a abusive home got that – you were lucky if you got a roof, food, water, clothes, medicines, etc. People out there live under false illusions it’s not even funny.

  7. By: SMD Posted: 7th July 2012

    Darlene,
    Thank You for your words of wisdom. You made a good point when you said, “I didn’t trust him & it took a few YEARS”….Yes, it will take time to trust my husband & my parents. What I understand you saying is, that I’m going to have to trust me first. I will have to continue listening to my instincts & my feelings in regards to how I’m being treated in these relationships. They both have their controlling ways & I’m sure they will try to get around my boundaries. I know that I’m worth it but are they worth my effort?…I suppose only time will tell, if their intentions are genuine towards me. They have a “choice and reconciliation may not be the result”. I will have to keep reminding myself that I deserve better & I am worth the effort. I don’t want to fall complacent to them. It really is about putting me first. Of course, I’m anxious in this process because it’s unmarked territory for me to have a relationship with my abusers, who are my family. I’m stronger now & I’m going to believe in me!
    Sonia

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 8th July 2012

      Hi Sonia!
      I am so glad that it helped! Time always makes a difference. I still SEE things more clearly as time goes on. I see more of the truth and my understanding increases. It is a process!
      Hugs, Darlene

  8. By: SMD Posted: 6th July 2012

    I’ve had another day to process what i wrote in the above comment and the issue for me is trust. I don’t trust that my family will really be there for me. I’m having trouble wrapping my brain around my family’s change in behavior towards my husband & I. My instincts tell me to continue keeping my boundaries & limits, since they have been working for me. I feel more grounded & safer that way. I don’t want to be naive & think this is a major turning point & we are now going to have a loving relationship. Is this even possible with all the damage they’ve done to me?….Maybe the Fourth of July is a just a step towards some relationship but I don’t want to get my hopes up too high. Is this part of the process in reconciling?….I’m confused & don’t know what to think….Please shed some light on this for me…I’m really struggling
    Sonia

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 7th July 2012

      Hi Sonia
      For me I had to learn to think from the baseline. You have brought up several points. Since things worked out with my husband and I , I will use that example. I didn’t trust him and it took a few YEARS. One reason was because our history showed that he was all about him. I had reason not to trust. Second reason is that when I drew my boundaries, he changed his tactics. It took me a few weeks to catch on the first few times he did that, but after that I started watching for it. It almost made me sick with nerves to keep calling him on it, and at first he denied it every single time, but I did it for me. I was not going to live that way anymore.
      Another thing was that in ALL my relationships I had to understand the other person has a choice and reconciliation may not be the result. That IS scary, but it is also true. In the case of my mother, when she found out that my boundary was serious and that I was going to stick to it, she shut the door on our relationship. When my husband recognized a boundary that I had set, he just tried a new way to get around it. I knew for a long time that he might tell me that I was “not worth the effort” but I had to tell me that I most certainly was and I was willing to fight for myself even if that meant losing him. Without me, there is no me.
      Hang in there! Hugs, Darlene

  9. By: SMD Posted: 5th July 2012

    Hi Darlene,
    I had a monumental experience with my family on the Fourth of July. I say, “monumental”, because my husband who has been estranged from my family for about 4 years, decided to go to a 4th of July Party thrown by my Aunt & Uncle, knowing my parents & sister where going to be there. This was a giant step for my husband, since my family believed a lie about him. The history is too complicated to get into here, but the gist of it was my s-i-l pointed the finger at him & ran to my parents crying, who in turn, bought her story, before they heard both sides of the story. There was more to the story. Even when I told her my side, I was not believed. My mom choose to believe my s-i-l over me. I felt betrayed & devastated from that time on & went LC with my family. My husband & I were hurt and that was not acknowledged. There was serious & false allegations made by my s-i-l & my husband was made out to be the bad guy.

    Now, years later, my husband is willing to visit my family. I’m proud of him for stepping up. I asked him & did not pressure him at all. Before the party, my dad invited my husband,kids & I to his pool. My dad has shown more interest in my kids this past year, and he has extended himself to my husband. This makes me feel happy but also anxious, since my family will “do the right thing”, only when it seems to benefit them. Like I’ve mentioned in other posts, they want to be in my kids’ lives.

    My mom said more than once how “glad” she was that my husband came. I said, “yes, that was a big step for him.” She then proceeded to tell me why he came. Her guess was because my s-i-l was not there. She wasn’t too far off from the target. I replied, with “that may be part of it”. The reality is that the problems with control & abuse haven’t gone away. I’ve pulled away over the years, to protect myself & work on my healing. I’m done trying to fix the damage. The truth is that time does not heal all wounds, especially when the damage is swept under the rug. What rubbed me the wrong way was that my parents were gracious but I can’t help to think it was for show & to get what they want, which is this sense of “family”. They have not been there emotionally for me & my husband. The contact has been one-sided, with them inviting us to family things. They can always say, “We invited you”.

    I’m confused about whether their actions are genuine or for show. I know they haven’t really changed their ways, however, I want to believe they love me. During the party, when my sister was drunk, she told me, our dad is really a “good guy” & he will “never say no to us”. It has been my dad holding out the olive branch not my mom. My mom was not mentioned. My sister also made a comment to me, that when my dad & her “get mad” at each other, they tell each other to shut up & then it’s done. How juvenile is that! I laughed, with how my sister nonchalantly said this, like she knows how to handle my parents. That’s her! She accepts the dysfunctional ways.

    My eyes were opened just by listening to her comments. I didn’t have to say much to understand the dynamics and this time I didn’t have knots in my stomach. Yay for me! For years, I’ve taken the bad with the good by complying & trying to fit in. I never felt like I fit in, because I don’t dismiss or mistreat others. My sister also told her dtr & mine to not let bullies see you react. Well, I said, that if someone keeps bullying you, knowing that it is upsetting to the other person, that’s the problem. I’m viewed as mean, when I don’t comply or accept their ways of relating. Covert abuse is hard to pin point sometimes, because it is done in private & in so many indirect ways. Am I on track here? Can you define covert abuse & show examples? I know I’m trying to understand them again, but by seeing the truth of their damaging beliefs & behaviors, I can prevent being hooked in or brain washed anymore.
    This is heavy stuff & I’m struggling to understand. I want to be free & whole.
    Sonia

  10. By: Karenina Posted: 5th July 2012

    Sometimes I think parents start telling cute stories about their babies, comparing notes on screaming fits in supermarkets, or overflow diapers in public places. Just supporting one another through the trials of new motherhood. But then they forget to stop that sort of conversation when those babies become children, seeming to forget that those little people deserve NOT to be talked about in humiliating stories as if they are not capable of humiliation. And they deserve NOT to be talked about negatively as if they were deaf or unable to understand these conversations. So many parents do it! So many children get humiliated at very early ages by this. Why can’t the parents stop and think what they’re doing to the child? My Grandma used to say, “little pitchers have big ears,” to shush my mom and aunts. Too bad she wasn’t there all the time.
    This ignoring of the sensibilities of children sometimes leads to discounting everything the child says, as if he/she is unworthy of listening to. Then when the child does some wrong thing, “WHY did you DO that!?” they scream. The child is automatically at catch22: if she answers, it’s back talking; if she doesn’t, it’s defiance. Geesh.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 5th July 2012

      Karenina
      Such great points! Thank you for sharing. Children are people from the moment they are born. Thanks for those comments! They are awesome food for thought and great insight!
      Hugs, Darlene

  11. By: Karenina Posted: 5th July 2012

    Hi Darlene! That analogy popped into my head reading about people who ask why we can’t just savor the good and forget the bad. The bad stuff poisons the good, cause no matter how sweet the good seems to be, it has “poison crumbs” attached, and you can’t help that cause you didn’t bake the cookies!

    Okay, now I’m getting hungry for some real cookies…;)

  12. By: Karenina Posted: 5th July 2012

    If the chocolate chip cookie recipe (analogy of your childhood) is:
    A few delicious chocolate chips (the good) mixed into a poisonous batter(the bad, and larger portion of the cookie) the whole cookie is still poisonous.
    The chocolate chips can’t make the poisoned batter safe or nourishing. In fact the chocolate chips picked out of such a batter are not safe to consume, having crumbs of poison attached, or having some poisons absorbed when they melt while being baked.
    You cannot eat chocolate chips out of a poison cookie!

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 5th July 2012

      Karenina!
      EXACTLY ~ My husband was emotionally abusive ~ not verbally, but emotionally he discounted me, put me behind him etc. When we were working on our marriage he would treat me with equality for a while and then mess up and I would point it out and he would say “give me a break!” and I would always say, so if a man doesn’t hit his wife for a few months, but then he does, should she excuse that just because he hadn’t done it for a few months?? Is it okay to hurt someone “once in a while?” and get away with it? NOOOOOOO
      I LOVE your cookie analogy!
      Hugs, Darlene

      Hi Gale
      I know exactly what you are saying. Personally I think that many people have kids for exactly that reason ~ they need a love source. This is the “cycle of abuse” and the only way the cycle will stop is if children are raised with love, acceptance and empowerment and if children are taught boundaries, are taught their own value and treated with equal value (not equal authority but equal value). You are right; the whole family needs help. My whole family (me, husband and 3 kids) all needed to heal and to be supported in the truth. (we were not always the parents that we are today either) Thank you for sharing your passionate thoughts!
      Hugs, Darlene

  13. By: Gale Posted: 4th July 2012

    I wonder why people have kids just so they can have personal ego boosters, and do experimental mental abuse? I mean doesn’t anyone one listen to the children when they act out or become withdrawn? No everyone listens to adults. Of course I know kids who have lied as well,and that’s another story but again, why? There s a reason a kid vents out on another to get them in trouble, otherwise known as being a bully. Adults just have different ways to bully, passive aggressive ways. It seems the norm to always ignore things as though its no ones business. Avoidance denial, and apathy. The family cycle never stops when all those around the source protect the family honor, or keep secrets. Protect Gods name, family name, reputations, the things protected will be outwardly the most honorable ethical, looking people. So no one dare question them, instead they call down the crazy one, the person who was set up to be the B***, or jealous. Yes, people will actually support the jerk and protect them from the real victim, you… so sad and twisted. The victim in all this has no way OUT UNTIL THEY COME OUT AND HAVE A SAFE PLACE AND PERSON TO TALK TO AND SEE THAT THEY ARE NOT SO BAD AFTER ALL. Children need a safe place to go and talk and they need a safe place TO STAY WHEN HERE IS EMOTIONAL ABUSE. The whole family needs help and followup. My heart goes out to you all. And I admire the people who want change and who were willing to look inside and make the changes needed to turn things around. It is then that forgiving themselves and healing all round seems to happen.

  14. By: Risé Posted: 4th July 2012

    oh. I forgot to include too that a lot of my abuser’s niceness was all just for show. It was to maintain the illusion that she is fair and loves all her kids. I can’t tell you how many times I was bought things, given gifts that were never really gifts. I remember owning a 10-speed bike. It was old and I wanted to trade it in on a new bike, paying the difference out of my own pocket. She wouldn’t let me because ‘she paid for it.’ I recall I lent her my microwave – she sold it in a garage sale without my consent and kept what she sold for it. Everything she gave was used as leverage to get what she wanted out of me, to keep me her slave. She bought me a ring once … sapphire with a few diamonds – and when I wanted to do something that did not meet her approval, I’d get, “I didn’t have to buy you that ring you know.” Everything was held over my head like that, “I didn’t have to get/buy ____ for you, you know.” Gifts given in such a manner are not gifts at all – they are an assurance of one’s slavery/submission.

  15. By: Risé Posted: 4th July 2012

    Kate ~ (post #3) … “It is what they do to you in PRIVATE that is really telling, is it not?” That is so key! This is what so many don’t understand – they had their public persona and their public persona was exemplary as a rule – its what went on behind closed doors, its about what happened in private that no one else saw!

    I have good memories – although few, but never do they negate the abuse. Ever. As I shared with someone before, I can look past her idiosyncrasies, I can overlook her favouritism to a sibling, I can overlook a lot of her lying, and I can overlook many of her decisions that I thought were unwise. But what I cannot overlook are the lies that concerned me, the lies she told to me about me; I cannot overlook the abuse – the icy death stares and unreciprocated hugs, I cannot overlook how she would tear me down with the full intent of humiliating and degrading me in front of other people which came across as ‘subtle’ in public but because I knew where the stabs came from, because I knew what she meant while others looked on and excused her behaviour in one way or another – and the abuse was always much worse when she and I were alone. There were times that I am sure they could see my pain and the message I got was that is was not qualified – that how she treated me was ‘all in my head.’

    To the outside world, no one – including my family or origin, can understand why I cut ties with my mother, they cannot understand my pain because most of what caused the pain went unseen and when I told them the full extent of her abuse, I wasn’t believed. She successfully made me out to be the ‘crazy person.’ And so, as of this day, I have no relationships with my family of origin. And to my surprise, I am happier.

    This kind of abuse no one talks about – you mention it and its frowned upon. For YEARS, I though I was the only one with such a mother (NPD mother) … and someway, somehow, I found EFB … I cannot tell you what a relief it was to meet others with same mothers (and fathers) … to be able to be validated that I am NOT crazy. Painting us crazy is what abusers do to protect their facade of being caring and loving … they fool a good many, while their victims are the only ones who truly know.

    Great post, Darlene!

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 5th July 2012

      Hi Rise
      Thank you! ~ you know it is really astounding how many people share that they thought they were alone in this. The numbers of readers here and the time on site stats that I get (about 65 people a day spend over an hour reading this site) For the first year and a half I tried to avoid the “parent discussion” because I thought it would be a big turn off, but the largest amount of traffic actually comes from those posts!
      Thank you for your voice Rise and for your voice here in EFB.
      Hugs, Darlene

  16. By: Karen Ranes Posted: 4th July 2012

    “I was taught they have value and I do not.” My EXACT family dynamic. I believed that all my life until several
    months ago. I truly believed it and lived my life by it. The training in my youth was constant and all encompassing. I could never figure out why I was so bad.

    “At the same time I was not permitted to have my real emotions nor was I correct in naming them. Everything I felt was unjustified (and belittled) by my family so I learned not to trust my own feelings, and I learned that I didn’t really have any right to them.”

    This statement is also how I have always been treated. I began to have terrible moods and all encompassing anger by the time I was 9 or 10. It was always self directed as I was not allowed to express feelings of any kind.
    Three years ago I actually went to anger management therapy. Trying to understand. That led me to counseling and reading a lot of online psychology articles. Finding out I have borderline symptoms. Some meds.
    Side effects..then to EFB. Ah, finally an understanding of what was done to me and the fog/spin.

    The good times? there were no measurable good times in my family.
    There were bad times, really bad times and really really bad times. But you are right. The more time passes since my Dad’s death, the “better” the past times are to my mother. No one brings up the abuse, as its best forgotten. By them. Not by me. You make a valid point.
    I was always told to be so grateful that I had a home, food and clothes. I was punished if
    I was not grateful enough. The thing that bothers me the most was my Dad screaming at me over and over that I was no good. NG. I was an A student, no trouble. At 17 that is a horrible thing to say to a daughter with no self esteem. He was an evil man.

    I would not be surprised that now that I am speaking up about past abusive treatment, if I am not vilified and called crazy by my family. I will be watching how they respond.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 5th July 2012

      Hi Karen
      Being told to be grateful ~ oh yes. And I tried SO freeking hard to be grateful when I grew up. All the “self help” that I went after in an effort to heal my low self esteem was all heaped upon the lies that I was trying to swallow. Everything changed when I finally faced the truth because I tore down that foundation of lies I was trying to build everything on and was finally able to build on clean solid ground.
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts Karen!
      Hugs, Darlene

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