A Cry For Justice

Awakening the Evangelical Church to Domestic Violence and Abuse in its Midst

A Story of Lifelong Abuse by a Narcissistic Parent — And the Path to Freedom

Here is the life story of one of our readers whose abuser has been, and remains, her mother. As we know, abusers/sociopaths/narcissists can effect their evil in other arenas besides a marriage. We greatly appreciate this lady’s willingness to share her story, heartache, and path to freedom with us in the hope that others will be helped. Many thanks to her.

*****

I understand that your ministry primarily addresses spousal abuse, but I would like to highlight another group of abuse victims that is harmed by church teaching: victims of parental abuse.

A brief summary: I grew up as the fifth of six kids. My mom, who I later came to believe is narcissistic, favored some of her children over others. Those who were favored never saw my mom’s ugly side. Those who were unfavored could do nothing right. In an abusive family, no one is really loved and no one grows up whole. My mother was so skilled at covert abuse and “rewriting” reality that siblings were pitted against each other and we never saw her hand pulling the strings.  I was very empathetic, compliant, and obedient, and I wanted to “show Christ” to my unsaved family. This made me very guiltable and I became a secondary favorite. My mom called me “The Christian” and “The Caring One” who could be counted on to be helpful. I had no idea that we weren’t all loved equality. When I discovered that we hadn’t all been loved, I reached out to my other unfavored sisters and we became friends for a number of years. However, that was an illusion. The relationships had been too damaged in our childhood to survive.

My status changed when at the age of 28 I got engaged to my husband. My mom tried to establish control over us, she tried to break us up, and when I resisted, she lied about me and turned my whole family against me. Never again could I ever please her. I thought at first that my mom was just having trouble letting go, but this was not a normal struggle between a mom and her adult daughter. My mom wanted total control. For 20+ years I tried to reconcile with her without submitting completely to her control (the same sort of control abusive spouses try to exert over their victims), but it was impossible.

My mom refused to help me plan my wedding when I asked but she told my husband’s family that I refused to let her help. She made life so stressful that I ended up having had an “immediate family only” wedding, not the wedding I had always dreamed of, in which she wore black and she muttered under her breath all through the ceremony. Our pastor said that in all his 30 years of ministry, he had never encountered a family like mine.

Shortly after our wedding my mom called me “a daughter from hell — the worst daughter a mother could have” and “the worst Christian she had ever seen.” She criticized how my husband and I spent our time together after we got married, and how we managed our finances — even where we placed our furniture in our home. One of the last times I talked to her, I called her to tell her that I loved her and always had, thinking that maybe she just didn’t know I loved her. In a rage, she began listing all the good things that she had done for me all my life and all the rotten ways in which I had betrayed and abandoned her. I had done no such thing. When she began to speak against my husband, who had never done her any harm, I told her, “Don’t you dare speak against my husband.” I hung up after several minutes of hearing her rant over and over again in an absolute rage, “I dare, I dare, I dare. Oh, I dare speak against your husband. I dare, I dare, I dare.” But a few months later she sent me a card as if nothing had happened.

Through the years if I withdrew from the abuse my mother would send me a sweet card or one of my siblings would contact me with dripping guilt: “God wouldn’t want you to be bitter.” “We ARE family after all.” Or “Mom is having medical tests for a health problem that could be serious. . .” I had once heard my Mom deliberately planning to write a letter to one of my outcast sisters making my mom’s broken leg sound as if it might be cancer. . .”to see if she loves me enough to respond.” Because of this, I distrusted vague un-named health problems. Health problems were especially a no-win situation because if I responded by reaching out to her (as I normally would have), I was allowing myself to be drawn back into abuse. If I didn’t, I was “the terrible daughter who didn’t care.” It took me years to realize that these were all common abuse tactics to draw a victim back in.

For many years, I was very confused and hurting, trying to reconcile with my family but finding it torturous. I went to the church for advice, and I confided in Christian mentors, but their advice was that my mother was wounded, she was doing the best she could,  they were sure she actually loved me, I needed to love and forgive her more, and I needed to “honor my parents.” “Honoring parents” appeared to mean that I should do whatever my parents wanted me to do, which would have meant submitting to being told what to do, what to think, what to feel, and what to believe. I struggled with the 4th Commandment until I fully understood that an adult is not dishonoring if she doesn’t submit to her parents’ abuse. The relationship changes when a child becomes an adult. Because of this advice, like many victims, I stayed in the abuse far longer than I would have otherwise.

In the church, there is a strong bias against an adult child who speaks about an abusive parent, especially a mother. An article about unloved daughters from Psychology Today says that:

. . .the adult child who cuts her mother out of her life is judged on the spot, labeled as ungrateful, irrational, immature, impetuous, or acting out. The myths of motherhood are largely responsible for this cultural stance, those (false) truisms that tell us that all mothers are loving, that mothering is instinctual, and that maternal love is unconditional. These myths — combined with the Fourth Commandment — make the daughter the responsible party.

I finally went No Contact when I heard that my mom had said that she considered all of my efforts to reconcile to be a “mere drop in a teacup” and she would never forgive me, no matter what I did. I had been learning about narcissistic abuse over the years and working to free myself from it, but her statement gave me the final release: If nothing I do will change anything then I can stop trying. Going No Contact was filled with anguish for me. I did it only when all other efforts had failed and to protect myself, my husband, and my son. As the Psychology Today article so accurately describes:

Maternal divorce [No Contact] is a last-ditch effort to salvage some normalcy in a daughter’s life. It is usually preceded by years of effort to try fix things, either on her own or with a therapist’s help. Because a daughter never divorces just her mother — she inevitably will lose other family members, including siblings, aunts, uncles, and even her father, as people take sides — it is emotionally highly fraught and very painful. Ironically, maternal divorce is usually difficult for these daughters precisely because the decision has to draw on self-love and esteem which are usually in short supply. Sometimes, after going no-contact, a daughter will try again, a phenomenon I call “going back to the well.” Alas, unless the mother is willing to go into therapy to thrash it out, it rarely works. Maternal divorce is filled with anguish for the daughter.

In going No Contact with my mom, I also lost my family. As is usual in narcissistic abuse, sides are taken. My Dad died when my son was an infant, but he had supported my Mom and rejected me. Some of my siblings also completely supported my mother, seeing her as loving and kind, a victim of my abandonment. I was unable to reconcile with them because my mom re-interpreted everything for them, painting my actions, words, and motives as bad. My unfavored siblings were so hungry for her love and approval that when I walked away, they turned on me. I had dared to write publicly about abuse. I broke the Code of Silence. “We are, after all, family,” they said. It all became so insane that I decided to go No Contact with all of my family. It broke my heart. It’s not easy giving up all family. It means losing — and grieving — a thousand things that family “is supposed to be and do.” However, abuse was too damaging to endure.

The years since I have gone No Contact are years in which I am continuing to work towards recovery from my mom and family’s abuse. In these years, I am trying to rebuild everything I had lost, including my identity, my self-esteem, my sense of safety, and to erect boundaries that were never allowed to form in childhood. Sometimes I think that I have been very strong because I kept fighting for freedom and never gave in or gave up. Other times I see how much damage has been done in my life and I think I will never fully heal. Last year my husband and I moved our own family several hours away as a final break with my family. Once we were moved, we changed all our contact information. This has helped us feel more secure and peaceful. However, I still have nightmares. Emotional recovery will take time.

Recovery is made harder by the church’s teaching about abuse. Too often the church sides with abusers against the victims. Your messages about the church and abuse are needed. They give victims — of all sorts of abuse — the tools needed to overcome the constant messages that the victim is to blame for the abuse.

[This is the link to the Psychology Today article quoted in this post]

 

54 Comments

  1. Teresa

    This is my life story. My heart breaks and goes out to this woman. Thank you so much for the courage it took to write this, and to deal justly with your family. You deserve a life filled with support and love and I am so glad you took the steps to make that happen. My Mother more than likely had Borderline personality disorder. It’s taken me most of my adult life to sort through some of the horrible, cruel things she did to me and my Dad when he was sick. Again thank you for sharing your story, you are in my prayers ❤

    • Kay

      I am so grateful for the letter and pray that the Crying Out for Justice Minstry can be expanded to deal with parental abuse.

      • pray that the Crying Out for Justice Minstry can be expanded to deal with parental abuse.

        The tactics of abusive parents are quite similar to the tactics of spousal abusers, so what we write about on this blog can (IMO) be of assistance to survivors of parental abuse. We are so flat out already trying to cover the workload we have on this blog, that expansion of our mission is not on the cards. But we will continue to publish from time to time posts like this one, and in the comments threads there are often stories of parental abuse.

        Maybe it would be a good idea to look elsewhere on the web for a site that deals more specifically with parental abuse of children. Or start such a site yourself? You could always link to or reblog posts from ACFJ that are pertinent.

  2. MarkQ

    It is so hard to see the people who should be our greatest support be those who undermine us the most to get support from us.

    I grew up in a dysfunctional family that was Christian. My mom did everything, but nothing was good enough for my dad. My dad spent as much time as possible away from the house, and when he was home it wasn’t much better.

    I continue to thank God that he gave me discernment. As I matured, I realized more and more that I needed distance from my family. For the most part everything was about posturing and establishing superiority. It was “important” that we eat together, but our dinnertime conversations generally devolved into saying things that sounded nice on the surface, but cut deeply. As the youngest, I was the easiest target, and I could rarely get a sentence out before the insults came at my expense.

    So, now I visit generally once a year, and I pray that they don’t get back into their games, and if they do that I don’t get sucked into it.

    • Free

      Hi Mark

      You said, “For the most part everything was about posturing and establishing superiority.”

      Yes. Well said. I agree and that’s what I hated and wanted out of and they ALL shamed me (and still do) for not being like them!

  3. KayJay

    I can relate to a lot of this. It is heartbreaking to lose other family members as well as the one with the personality disorder, but there is so much peace and freedom in it eventually. Bittersweet.

  4. Free

    THANK YOU!!!

  5. Song of Joy

    Thank you for sharing your story, you are insightful and brave. I’m sorry for all the pain you’ve been subjected to from your mother and family, those who should have sincerely loved you. An evil parent is such a powerful force of destruction. One person can damage so many innocent people. Your testimony is ministering to others like myself.

    I too had an evil parent, only mine was a cunning, manipulative and vicious father. He worked to pit all of the children against each other, and against our loving mother. She tried so hard to give us a normal life. Slander and mocking were high on his list of tools to create an atmosphere of chaos and misery within the family. That and violence. He had many faces; he could act sweet and generous, or twisted and vile. Oh how great were the lies he told, with no mercy, no feeling for those whom he should have loved.

    We all grew up and the decades rolled on. Despite many prayers and dogged hope, no relief for my family of origin ever manifested itself. He successfully exerted his manipulation, abuse and extreme control throughout all of our adulthood. The psychological and emotional damage to certain family members was acute. His ultimate curse on our family was to tragically precipitate an intra-family homicide.

    The criminal and legal aftermath has been concluded and is well behind us now….but those of us who remain (my father is dead) are left with shattered lives, traumatized and filled with sorrow, defeat and shame. Even after a number of years, life is difficult and empty. Everything my dear mother worked for in her life was destroyed by him. Everything we all worked for personally, has been destroyed in a way. We did not deserve this.

    Yes I was “no contact” with my father for a number of years. But no contact doesn’t prevent tragedy if others are involved. He was like a juggernaut of destruction that would not be denied. Like most people, I struggle to understand God’s will in our experience…I ponder what the role of prayer and hope is supposed to be in a believer’s life, given the disaster that resulted.

    • Ng

      I am so sorry you had to go through this. May the God of all comfort keep you and restore the years that wer stolen. He alone can do it – and He can.
      My family, although dysfunctional, never went to that extreme – but I can recognize the vicious traits in my family tree. especially my sister.. No Contact is really better, but it does not fit in the image of ‘nice Christians’..

    • Anonymous

      I don’t know if this will help you but there is a story (case) in the book, “The Sociopath Next Door” about a girl who’s father murdered someone. I don’t think it was a family member but the daughter went through the whole process of realizing how horribly evil her father was and moving on with her life. The author was her counselor, I think (it’s been years since I’ve read the book, sorry) but I remember that while I was reading it I was drawn into the extra weight of how it was if you were related to someone who murdered another person with no guilt or remorse. and while visiting him in prison realizing that he had probably killed others as well. I really don’t think any of us are too far away from knowing that in the “right” circumstances, the evil ones in our lives are capable of this as well–but never having to know for sure.

      Thank you for sharing your heart–you’d be surprised how many of us are blessed because of it.

    • Susie

      I believe everyone should call what this abuse is evil.

  6. Victoria Stein

    I survived the abusive relationships with my parents. I got help when I recognized my inability to function appropriately as a mother…. there were “holes” in my life but those holes existed in my parents lives. Generational abuse can end. My Dad was ready to change when confronted about his abuse. Mom, not so much but we had better times when we were honest. Now I have issues with one child. To withdraw from your child was hard but was the safest route to chose. My choices have also helped others in my extended family to see that being free is so much better. We have shared times of emotional bleeding and found we can love those abusive people from afar !!

  7. grace551

    Thank you for sharing your story. You are brave and strong. All this should never have happened to you! I have prayed that God will bring you and your husband and children to a place of healing, joy and peace.

    I also pray that the church will become well informed about all forms of abuse and wise in dealing with them. (Will that day ever come??)

  8. I went through this and still confused now. I’m in young-to-middle adult years. I was estranged from my family for four years, until not long ago when my grandma passed. A week later I find out I’m pregnant. Since me and my mom talked at the funeral and promised to stay in contact, I reached out to her. It’s left me confused really. Why is she being nice, is this my second chance, but why does she stay with my dad when he molested her daughters and sons. I know if I try and address this again I will lose my brothers and sisters so since my phone didn’t ring for years, I let it go. But with my own child growing inside me. Can I afford to be just like her and turn a blind eye. Me and my father don’t speak but he is always there talking to me through her or just commenting. I’m afraid to let go of my family, but I have to protect my child.

    • Welcome to the blog 🙂

      I changed your screen name for your safety.
      We always like to encourage new readers to check out our New Users Info page as it gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on the blog.
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    • Susie

      Unsure….don’t be drawn back in. Since your father did all those things in the family, molesters are known to go on and molest grandchildren…they don’t stop, they have no shame. Your main thing beside protecting yourself is protecting your children. No Contact is important. Believe me, from experience, the mother knows what was going on. Stay healthy, stay safe and protect the children. No matter the pressure or the acting they care….don’t fall for it.

  9. hope

    You story is so sad. I am sorry for all that you have suffered. Wish the church would teach people from childhood how to discern who evil people are no matter what position in your life they hold.

  10. Ng

    very much like my older sister – who’s in ministry, considerd a wonderful benevolent charity worker by many, but she’s manipulative and throws tantrums of rage when she cannot control everything around her..
    I realized it’s not possible to have a relationship with her, so it’s what it is. Thankfully, God has given me genuine sister friends, who are my sisters in a much more real way.

  11. Tracey

    This story leaves me with a knot in my stomach as I can relate to a hateful mother. She blamed us kids for ruining her life. We held her back from having a career. She turned our Dad against us so we had nobody. My self esteem was so low Guess what; I married an abusive man who took over where she left off. A nightmare. I am in my sixties now, getting a divorce after 35 years of abuse. Till this day nobody is on my side on this not even my kids. I don’t know how I’m going to make it but I have to. God says this is not our home and we will not remember all the pain and suffering when we go to live with Him forever. This helps.

    • Susie

      Tracey proud of you. I am on your side. Only you have control over you, to stop the abuse is a strong thing to do. No matter if you kids think you lost your mind. Maybe they will come around but he is probably manipulating them so hopefully they see the light. The main thing is to get yourself to safety and not think you are a horrible person! Stay strong!

  12. lydia00

    What a tough subject. You know, some dynamics I see played out are alienating you as unfavored early on but doing it deceptively then set you up to look like the problem later if you dare speak up. This is classic narcissism. They are never to blame but can play contrite when they want to look good. There is no authenticity or trust. As long as you are seeking their approval then they have control.

    There comes a time in our lives we must admit we have done all we can and some people are too toxic to prop up any longer. And eventually they will not leave your own children alone they will become part of the drama. And that is unacceptable.

    • Susie

      Lydia, these are excellent comments you make. Not only do toxic parents try to destroy you they will also turn on your kids, mostly to get at you. This happened to my sister. I tell her all the time……….now the cycle continues. I tell her only you can stop the cycle of abuse, otherwise it will continue through generations like our family situation did. Even though my toxic mother and her husband are dead, they left their effect on their kids. I woke up one day about 15 years ago and said enough is enough. I stopped all contact. Best thing I ever did.

  13. Still Reforming

    I am so sorry for what you went through. Your post is beautifully written, and I hung on each agonizing word. Although I don’t have an abusive parent, I see such a relationship playing out with those close to me, and it’s very subtle yet effective, which makes it all the more difficult from which to extricate oneself. I have great respect for your awareness of what was actually happening and strength as well as wisdom to take the necessary steps for health and well-being. I’m so sorry for your pain and suffering, yet thankful that you found this website where you can be nourished and comforted and grow. ((((hugs)))))

  14. Susie C

    Thank you so much for your article. This is so much like my life only I had both mother and stepfather in the abusive ways (in everything and I mean everything). I got no peace and they made me it known to me I was not wanted. If I wasn’t getting abused, then they were abusing each other. Today if they were alive they would be in prison.

    What is interesting I surrounded myself with stable happy friends families and I saw the difference, they also saw the bruises and welts on my face, blackeyes, they wanted to call the police but I said no it would be worse for me. Back then they didn’t have a place for kids like me to go. They tried to break up every friend I ever had, was saying I was no good (when that wasn’t true) told my half sibs that they were never to grow up like me (also I hadn’t done anything)…..I was silent in my childhood, barely hanging on by a thread.

    I didn’t know until college that the records department said my elementary teachers had documented the abuse. I was wondering why they always took me under their wings, now I knew. I was unloved. My sibs loved. They kept telling me I was out of the house when I hit 18 clear back when I was ten… that this wasn’t my home. So sure enough one night at 10pm, she said pack your suitcase you are leaving and we don’t care where you go. I ended at a friends house who knew the situation with them for years.

    Fast forward still trying to win their love, if I brought a boyfriend over to the house to met them, my mother would start to flirt with my boyfriend and ask suggestive questions, then my step father would show them half nude calendars. By then I was a Christian………… when I turned almost 22. I talked to my pastor about the whole situation and he said to forgive them, obey them, etc………………. something turned in my stomach. My mother would always say….the Bible says to honor your mother and your father………..she didn’t even go to church. Well my story is way to long to tell.

    Fast forward, I asked them to come to my wedding, they said they were too busy, years later they said I never asked. But I said I had my husband on the other line and he heard everything she said, she hung up. It was on and off….with me trying to still try to win their love. I can’t even tell you half of what happened. We moved clear out of state…..the best thing I ever did………….when we had to move back to the state we came from I tried to talk to her but she was busy too busy. Finally a light came on………so in my last conversation with her and her too busy statements, ok I said then this is good bye forever. That was it. I did have to go sign permission to have her cremated, I saw her body and even though she wasn’t in that body I just said, you know Mom you missed out on a lot and I feel really sorry for you. I laid a rose on her body and left. That was it. Though satan meant all this for evil, I say God is using it for good to talk to abused children and adults……………..do I wish it all never happened to me…….of course I am not crazy…………I am just glad there is truth in God’s word.

    • Hi Susie, welcome to the blog 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing your story.

      I gather you are safe now, but if you want us to change your screen name or airbrush any details in you story, just email twbtc.acfj@gmail.com
      We always like to encourage new readers to check out our New Users Info page as it gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on the blog.

      • Susie

        Thanks Barbara but I am very safe because both abusers are dead and my one sib we have contact and the other one on and off. I share my story because there are way too many of us out there that feel they can’t say a word because after all “honor your mother and father” is used very often in churches. I am glad this subject come up.

  15. Suzanne

    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard descriptions of abusive parents that sound just like yours. As we say in the excellent support group that has helped me so much, narcissists all operate from the same play book; they use the same tactics over and over again. One of the worst for me personally has been triangulation, in which the narcissist manipulates family members to work against one another and prevents them from having close, loving relationships. That is how I lost my sisters and brothers and their families. It is heart breaking but it’s often the cost of freedom from the abuse.

    And like spousal abuse narcissistic abuse of children by parents is something that many churches have not handled Biblically. I believe that a church that doesn’t care for victims of abuse is not a safe place for God’s children and should be abandoned as soon as this becomes evident. It’s far better to either find a church that understands how God wants the abused to be treated or to worship at home.

  16. Abby

    Oh my gosh, this is my story with my mother. I’ve been *no contact* for six years now. She turned my sisters and their children and my aunts and uncles and cousins against me. I’ve lost my rightful place in our family. It’s all so sad. It’s strange that this post was put up here, today, because today is her birthday…she’s 86 years old.

    • My mother did the same thing and produced the same results in my life. I’ve lost my siblings and their families even though it was her that I walked away from and not them. She’s 85 and I pray for her to repent, not for my sake but because she has so little time left. As much as she’s hurt me I don’t want her to die unsaved.

  17. SuoMynona

    Everything said in this article is completely true. I can say this because I know the author personally. She informed me that this post was published today. I support her in her efforts to set healthy boundaries.

    [Eds: Comment wording and screen name edited for safety reasons]

  18. coloradolover

    I can relate to every story here and then some. Thank you very very much to the person who originated this blog and all those who shared. My Christian Father forgave my mother over and over until she no longer had use for him then killed him for another man. The medical examiner said he couldn’t prove she killed him because insulin gets absorbed into the body quickly. I am so happy she is deceased now for she did her best to turn every one against me even my daughter. Lost everyone, thank goodness my daughter came back around to me. Thanks again for sharing this healing blog.

    • Abby

      Oh Colorado, that’s just chilling. I pray for all here daily.

    • Song of Joy

      Coloradolover, my sympathy on the loss of your Christian Father and the tragic circumstances that surround it. May the Lord comfort you and your family.

  19. Concerned Mother

    May God redeem all that the locusts have destroyed in all of your (our) lives…praying daily for my child to be free before she has to spend the rest of her life with him. Praying for all to know the one true Father’s Love…

  20. Perfect Peace

    This story was shared by a friend on facebook and is almost identical to my own. I am stunned at the nearly parallel life. Maternally divorced from my narcissistic mother for 28+ years.

  21. StandsWithAFist

    Wow. We are not alone…

    Only “the names have been changed to protect the innocent”.

    I was only 29 when I married into an abusive, narcissistic family and matriarch.

    It took me nearly 49 years to go NC.

    Then just this week I got yet another “birthday card” from the she-wolf. I usually shred or trash them without reading, but this time I thot I’d read it, only to see if I could see thru it, “Ellie” like.

    Guess what? It was so easy:
    “I want your love”. (could this be any more narcissistic?)
    “I miss you”. (I crave being adored)
    “I want you to come for lunch or dinner” (I want to control you by making it look like I am so generous; then you owe me). As if I could even eat in her presence?!?

    Pardon me while I puke.

    This she-wolf, this so-called mother in law, this Grandmother, is getting nowhere close to my children or to me.
    Toxic is too tame a word.
    No contact is the kindest, & most noble, genuine response to a narcissist.
    No apologies.

    No contact is righteous & Biblical.

    [Eds: the reference to “Ellie like” is to our team member Ellie who has a real gift for translating the manipulative language of abusers. See our tag Translation]

  22. Anonymous

    ““I want your love”. (could this be any more narcissistic?)
    “I miss you”. (I crave being adored)”

    Excellent interpretation! Of COURSE they want our love–real love is a rare commodity these days and if it comes with obedience induced by wrong teaching, this can give evil ones YEARS of a willing victim to abuse. And the “I miss you.” Of COURSE they do because we are genuine and we CARE! How does that translate to an abuser? We will try to defend ourselves when we are maligned and with so much wrong biblical teaching we may stay in the presence of these evil ones thinking we are showing them what God looks like when in reality we are letting them abuse us and God because he lives in us. Right biblical teaching should have forewarned us about evil and we should have shaken the dust off years ago, and if the child of this evil woman is like them and we’d been taught to look for red flags, we would never have gone near them in the first place and we certainly wouldn’t have married them or given birth to their children.

    Bravo for staying away from her! I can feel her tentacles of evil from here. I knew a woman just like her who has blessedly been dead for many years. Even now when I think of her I still get sick and have to remind myself that she has no access to me.

    • StandsWirhAFist

      For what it’s worth: this will sound so heartless to those who have not known unrepentant, unrelenting, narcissistic abuse:

      My cousin attended her own abusive, unrepentant, narcissistic mother’s funeral for one simple reason: “I wanted to be certain she was dead”.
      Seriously—she said that.
      She felt that.
      She lived it.
      She still does.
      She understood what others did not:
      It seems to never end.
      The abuse never stops.
      The abuser always wins.
      The abuser is honored even in death.
      It. Is. Obscene.

      • Yes, it is obscene when an abuser is honored in death. Even when they die the abuse lives on, perpetuated by their enablers who insist that they are honoring a good person. At the funeral all of the evil done in their lifetime is excused or simply denied. I experienced this first hand when my alcoholic, narcissistic father died. He was celebrated as “this good man” because no one in the family was willing to tell the truth about the cruel and destructive things he did to everyone in his life. His true legacy was never discussed. To this day I feel dirty just thinking about how I attended his funeral and went along with the lies. I wasn’t very strong then and didn’t want to deal with the abuse that would have been heaped on me if I’d stayed away. But today I can say that I’ll never again lie about the life of a wicked person nor will I be a prop in a fantasy constructed to conceal the truth after they die.

      • Un-Tangled

        My Mom is still alive, but after I went No Contact, I wrestled about what I would do when she dies. My husband and I decided we won’t attend her funeral. As you said, Stands, “This will sound so heartless to those who have not known unrepentant, unrelenting, narcissistic abuse.” But for those of us who know this sort of abuse….!!! Funerals are for those who grieve and I have grieved long enough for her and the others in my family. We don’t want to give the rest of the family another opportunity to mistreat us.

      • Suzanne

        I’ve made the same decision about the funeral of my narcissistic mother and for the same reasons.

  23. Un-Tangled

    I was going to post anonymously but I have decided not to.

    I am the person whose story was posted here. I was really nervous about sharing it because I have experienced victim blaming. I’m glad I did share because I have never experienced such an outpouring of love and I want to thank you all. It has brought tears to my eyes. Your stories have also broken my heart and I want to tell you that I care about you.

    I have more to share. A sort of “Chapter 2.”

    Last year my husband, son, and I moved several hours away. We felt we needed a fresh start away from my abusive family, away from a company that was ruining my husband’s health, away so we could all recover from our son’s battle with cancer. He had been diagnosed when he was in his late teems. Life is much better here and we are doing better. My son said he loves it here and it’s the best thing we ever did. However, we are all suffering from PTSD symptoms from abuse, from the cancer experiences (both cancer patients and caregivers often suffer from PTSD), and from the chronic stress we have lived with for many years previously. We all have frequent panic attacks, insomnia, nightmares. My husband experiences physical health problems from stress. Sometimes I struggle with depression. Our son often feels insecure. It is vital that we eliminate as much stress as we can from our lives. With a fresh start, we have been determined to be very careful about setting firm boundaries with people.

    More than a decade years ago, when our son was about in grade school, my husband’s brother lived with us for a month to get back on his feet after his divorce. While he lived with us, we witnessed toxic behavior from him and learned that he had lied, deceived, manipulated, stolen from, and abused the kindness of others — both family and nonfamily. A counselor helped us set boundaries with him, instructing us to insist that he look for a job every day, which he hadn’t done. She said that if the brother really wanted help, he would accept the boundaries. If he didn’t want help, she said that he would threaten to move out and then try to manipulate us into begging him to stay. He tried manipulating us, my husband refused to allow it, and the brother moved out the next day. The day he moved out, he kept urging us to leave, telling us that we didn’t have to stick around. Yeah, right, I don’t think so. We stayed put.

    Just before the brother moved out, there was an incident involving our son that really alarmed us. We asked our son if his uncle had hurt him in any way. He said no, but he has never since liked his uncle. At the time, we were still confused and struggling with my family’s abuse, learning about healthy boundaries and how to set them. Since our son had said that nothing had happened, and since the brother had moved many hours away, we did nothing more than quietly limit our contact with the brother. (We would now be quicker to alert the family in a similar situation.) My husband’s only contact with his brother was occasionally talking to him on Facebook and by telephone. When we moved last year, my husband didn’t want the brother to have our new contact information because we lived several hours closer to him and my husband did not want his brother at our house. I blocked the brother on Facebook because I didn’t want interaction.

    For the dozen or so years., we have quietly limited contact. We kept the problems private. We did not negatively speak of the brother to other family members. We didn’t manipulate anyone into taking “sides.” We didn’t demand anyone adhere to our personal boundaries. At large family gatherings, we were polite to the brother. I started a family facebook group a couple of years ago so my husband’s family could keep in contact with each other. Because my husband didn’t want his brother to have our contact information, I did not add the brother. Because I had blocked the brother from my facebook page, I couldn’t add him even if I wanted to without exposing myself to unwanted interaction with him on my personal page. Our boundaries were set so quietly that for those dozen years, my husband’s family had no idea that we had a problem with their brother or that we had limited contact with him. Until recently, no one even realized that the brother was not a member of the group. I mention this because our “exclusion” of him was totally a nonissue and had no affect on the family.

    Until recently. A few months ago one sibling found out that the brother was not added. Without giving details, I said that we had a problem with him and were limiting contact. I gave few details because I understand how often abuse is minimized and I didn’t want to have to defend our actions. Nothing more was said, but this last weekend, within 24 hours, three family members suddenly insisted that we add the brother to the group. Obviously, there is a lot going on under the surface. I said no to adding the brother, telling them that they could easily interact with their brother outside of the group and asking them to please respect our boundaries.

    They got angry. I was accused of not understanding that families are suppose to love each other and to stick together no matter what. We were pressured to accept unlimited contact with the brother because it is unloving, unforgiving, judgmental, and UnChristian to exclude any family member for any reason no matter what. One relative said I was not fit to admin the group and he was going to start a new family group and include EVERYONE. I privately talked to him, told him I was perfectly ok with him starting a new group but please don’t add us to it. I explained that we had never forced our boundaries on anyone but always gave people the freedom to make their own choices even if they were different from choices we would have made. He listened. He then publicly told his family that we had talked, that he understood our position, that he had been wrong and hurtful to us, and that he supported our right to set our own boundaries.

    There exists in dysfunctional families a “herd” or “group think” mentally. Everyone must think, feel, believe, and act with family approval. Everything is fine if everyone agrees but if any member resists, or tries to set boundaries, or speaks out against abuse, the group punishes them. There is also an extreme sense of family loyalty. Anyone going against the family is considered unloving and disloyal. There is a Code of Silence in which no one must speak of what happens in the family. If a person resists the family, tries to set boundaries, or speaks about abuse, he faces the wrath of the group.

    I have experienced and survived this from my own family, but it is so very difficult to experience the wrath of the mob that I contacted ACFJ for help when the family got angry with us. I explained what we had done, why we had done it, the family’s response, and details of the original behavior that had alarmed us. ACFJ replied that we had done well, and that the only thing they would have done differently was to warn the family because the brother’s behavior was typical of the victim-grooming behavior of molesters. It was suggested that we warn all adult members of this so the children in the family would be protected. It’s one thing to be silent when we were ignorant and confused. It’s another to become aware and remain silent, risking putting others at risk. I warned the family.

    My husband and I have never lied, deceived, manipulated, stolen, or intentionally hurt anyone. We have always treated people with respect and compassion. My husband has always been there for his family, as much as he could, sometimes very sacrificially. At the very least, the family should have given us the benefit of the doubt and respected the boundaries we set for ourselves. But as is typical of abusive families, those who are “righteous” are condemned while those who are not are supported and protected. Despite being told that the brother’s behavior was potentially dangerous, they have directed not one word of criticism or censure his way. They have been “saddened” by our unloving, unforgiving, unChristlike, etc., refusal to include him in our lives. One sister said that even though it’s possible the brother’s behavior was victim grooming, it also could have been completely innocent… How would she know? She does not know one detail about what happened all those years ago except that “abuse experts” said it was dangerous. It is heinous to pressure us to have unlimited contact with a relative who is potentially a molester.

    My husband was so upset at learning that his brother’s behavior all those years ago had been victim grooming that he had a severe panic attack on Monday and had to leave work early. My son is having frequent anxiety and panic attacks. I am extremely angry, not just that we are being treated this way, but that this is typical: so often Christians defend abusers and condemn the innocent. I am shakey, can’t sleep, and I feel like vomiting. I really want to have nothing to do with those in my husband’s family at this point. We were already at our limit of endurance and cannot endure much more stress. I don’t really know what to do with my anger toward my husband’s family. I do know that I will not back down. We will not be forced to put ourselves at risk for the sake of “family loyalty.”

    The “nonfunny” thing about this is that the brother had no idea what a facebook group was. He asked my husband what it was about. My husband explained, telling him also why he had not been added to the original group. The brother said, “Was what I did so wrong?” My hubby said, “Yes.” Then the brother got offended, complained of not being given grace, and quoted a bunch of Bible verses.

    • StandsWithAFist

      Thank you so much for your candor and transparency & honesty.
      Sadly, once again, I felt likeI was reading my own story.

      Just today, I finally told my special needs adult son the truth about his grandmother….about how she took the inheritance his grandfather set aside for him and she sold it down the river. Why? So she could party. So she could attract another man. So she could spend it on herself and never be burdened with empathy or legacy or integrity or compassion. It’s HER money…I get it. She can do whatever she wants…legally. But what of ethics & morals and legacy?

      It’s not about the money. It’s about a trust and a will and the last wishes of a dying man to his disabled grandson. It’s about broken promises and unbridled narcissism. She sold it ALL so she could party, buy clothes, jewellery, do lunch, find another man, get remarried and spend it all on herself. And she did. But WHO does that to a disabled grandchild?? WHO treats a special needs young adult as an afterthought? A narcissist, that’s who.

      My son’s grandfather loved the outdoors & was an avid outdoorsman: fly fishing, skiing backpacking, hiking. He saved all of his precious, vintage equipment for his son and grandsons, wrote it into his last will and testament….and yet, while he was literally dying in his own home, she threw it all out, she trashed it all… right under his gasping-for-breath nose. It was shocking to observe the objectification of another’s life. This was 16 years ago.

      About 3 weeks ago, she sent my son a toy that he had played with as a young child with his grandfather. She had previously lied that she didn’t know where it was, or even remember that they had played with it. But she did. Narcissists are liars. She is a 90 year old liar.
      The toy was dirty and she didn’t bother to clean it or wrap it or dignify it in any way; she just stuffed in an envelope with a note “I hope this reminds you of me”…not of his grandfather, but HER!!

      I guess THAT is his inheritance: a dirty old toy. No handmade, bamboo fly-fishing rod. No hand-tied fishing flies. No vintage backpack or maps or compasses. No memories that dare to exclude her (she hated the outdoors, it might mess up her hair). She discarded them all, as tho she was discarding his very grandfather, as tho her own husband was merely an object to throw out, while she set out to acquire a new husband. He wasn’t even dead yet…but she threw away every last vestige of him. It was perverse. It was abusive, selfish, narcissistic and cruel.

      I made sure my son never saw the toy or read her pathetic note.

      But today…I told him. I told him that she had sold his inheritance and everything his grandfather had left for him. She had sold him down the river for a bowl of soup….just like Jacob & Esau. And like Esau she is begging for a blessing. There will be NO blessing.

      • Suzanne

        I’m so sorry that your precious son was treated so cruelly by his own grandmother. Unfortunately wills and inheritances seem to be a particular area of abuse for narcissists. I know four people who were robbed in this way by narcissistic family members. Three of the thieves are sisters of the victims and one is a grandmother who stole money that was to pay for the college educations of her granddaughters. And the thieves now expect to be included in family events alongside of the people they robbed! It’s naive of me, I know, but I just keep wondering how they could carry on as though they did nothing wrong. They are evil and heartless.

  24. Anonymous

    Thank you for sharing more information about your situation. Sometimes we can’t see how beautiful our heart is when so many are against us. Your heart and those of your husband and son are very sweet and your responses to abuse are right. When a tender-hearted person is abused, this is often what happens. PTSD and panic attacks, insomnia and self-doubt.

    Ditto on family abuse. Ditto on staying on the down low so others don’t have to take sides. Blessedly in my case, it’s been years since any real contact. with family and because they want to be contacted FIRST (they want to tell people that I came to THEM) they have never actually approached me. They’ve tried to reach me through my adult children (who never knew that I had gone no contact and had no idea how selfish and evil my family were because we’d never lived near them and I never bad-mouthed them). My children assumed that they were just like me with a big heart and love for others. What they encountered when they met them were petty, self-centered HORRIBLE people who “eat their young.” When they told me what they had said about me and how they were trying to get in contact with me and were “worried” about my mental status–my adult children BALKED at the horror show. I simply said that they had been like this even when they were young.

    I’m grateful for the response from the one relative who listened to you and stated he respected your boundaries. It can make life easier when at least one person respects you and agrees with you. Thank you again for sharing.

  25. Daughter of Anti-Mother

    This is the story of my life exactly. I am getting married fairly soon. I am [age redacted by Eds] and my mom has turned so many family members against me declared she’s not coming to my wedding and [some other members of my family] are supporting her and also not going. I have been very confused by all of this because they all are “Christians” and go to church every week. It kind of scared me a lot about what’s real and what’s not.

    […] My mom’s done so much damage — and then I get the cards. The God loves you so Much I’m so blessed to have a daughter like you. The guilt the cards bring me brings me to tears every time. I want to believe them like I did as a kid that she’s a good person and loves me. I would love to talk to you more.

    • Dear ‘Daughter of Anti-Mother’ — I changed your screen name to that, as I want to help you keep safe. It’s not a good idea to write anything that might identify you in the “Name” field of the comments box.

      Welcome to the blog! I urge you to read our New Users Info page as it gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on the blog.

      If you want us to change your screen name to something else, just email twbtc.acfj@gmail.com 🙂

      I also airbrushed a few details in your comment, to help protect you from being identified by your mother or her allies.

      The term ‘anti-mother’ is rather like the term ‘anti-husband’ which some of our readers use when referring to their abusive husbands. The ‘anti-‘ indicates that the person behaves like the very opposite of a decent (caring) mother ought to behave, or the very opposite of how a decent husband ought to behave. Like the Antichrist is the opposite of what Christ is like, a counterfeit of the real Christ. The Antichrist portrays himself as good and kind and truthful but he has an evil heart and evil motives ….

    • Susie

      By saying she isn’t coming to your wedding she is trying to hurt you, it is a form of manipulation. My mother did the same thing…..she and her husband didn’t show up as they said. A few years later when we started talking to me again, she claimed I never asked them to come to the wedding. I told her I had my husband on the other line listing……..she didn’t know what to say or do. It was good they didn’t come and it is good that your mom doesn’t come either. If there, they would be trying to get all the attention, etc.

    • Anonymous

      A wedding is a major event and all the attention will be focused on YOU and not on HER so she creates this drama so that people will feel sorry for her (pity play which is the number one sign of a sociopath) and ruins your special day. Sadly, this is so typical.

      One of my cousins was set to get married and her mother (a psychopath) kept trying to ruin her day. This cousin had remained a virgin and was waiting for her wedding night to have sex. Her mother kept trying to force her to have sex with her fiancé but both my cousin and her future husband refused. Her mother then went on to cause trouble in other areas. All her efforts were thwarted in the end, and my cousin had a beautiful wedding. But my cousin had YEARS of this type of manipulative behavior and was steadfast and unrelenting towards her mother. She refused to allow her mother to be in control and if her mother would have refused to attend, my cousin knew that this would be a POSITIVE thing so either way she would be successful.

  26. Tonya

    This article is extremely inspiring as I continue on with NC with my NM. It has been over a year and, although I don’t always understand the reason, I will periodically search the web, looking for the experiences of other people with similar backgrounds. Going NC is an arduous challenge, that seems to require a lot of self-analysis. Blogs like this reaffirm my decision. When I hear about “going back to the well” I become sick to my stomach thinking of the times I suppressed my inner truth by doing that very thing even though I was screaming inside to stop being involved with her. These written experiences confirm my apprehensions of becoming involved with the abuse again. I do wonder if I will always have to monitor myself, remind myself to not slink back, and become her victim again? When will this pain go away?

    • Suzanne

      I’m 15 months NC with my mother. It took 5 years after realizing that she was a narcissistic abuser for me to come to that decision. And while it hasn’t been easy the rewards have been well worth the trouble.

      I continue to make steady progress in my healing journey and that I attribute to the Lord and to the men and women He has anointed to minister to survivors like us. Reading about the experiences of others and learning all that I can about N abuse has also been immensely helpful as it has provided the validation and support that is so necessary to recovery. Those who were blessed to have normal, loving parents may be able to offer some help, but only another survivor can truly know what we have endured. I believe that is the reason that you are still seeking to know about the experiences of fellow survivors.

      Please don’t think that this is somehow abnormal. About your last two sentences I can only say that every survivor I’ve known fights against the normal, human, inborn drive to be connected to our families of origin. I deal with this by remembering that my abuser has demonstrated that she is an unrepentant sinner and we are told in Gods Word that we are not to be yoked to such a one or even to eat with such people.

      It also helps to keep a journal of our memories of the abuse so that we are never tempted to think that it wasn’t that bad or that we can handle ongoing abuse. It was that bad and we can’t handle it.

  27. Robert

    I wonder if there is a way to have these sick individuals out of society — that is, in a mental hospital or jail. That’s where they belong.

    it seems that the law is fine with them as long as they pay taxes and don’t PHYSICALLY rape anyone.

    • Hi Robert, welcome to the blog. 🙂 I know you probably used the word ‘sick’ to express how twisted the minds of these people are. But I’m always a bit cautious about that word being applied to abusers, because ‘sick’ connotes a disease of some kind.. and doctors treat sickness.

      Abusers are evil. The Bible uses these words like wicked, corrupt, sons of Belial, evildoers, oppressors, idolators, extortioners, ‘those who take by force’ to describe such people.

      But know this: Hard times will come in the last days. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, proud, demeaning, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, without love for what is good, traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to the form of godliness but denying its power. Avoid these people. …these also resist the truth. They are men who are corrupt in mind and worthless in regard to the faith. (2 Tim 3:1-5,8b CSB)

      • Suzanne

        Thank you for your statement about the use of the word sick to describe abusers. This is something that I see applied on a daily basis to people guilty of evil acts. It always saddens me to know that pop psychology (evil acts are the result of a mental disorder) has replaced the Word of God and His laws.

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