10 thoughts on “Unlearning the Lessons of a Toxic Childhood

  • January 29, 2018 at 5:22 pm

    Wow. I see myself so much in this. Thank you

    • January 29, 2018 at 8:51 pm

      Me too. Some real aha moments. For many years I wondered why members of my own family would treat me so poorly. I’ve just bought the new book “Daughter Detox” and look forward to reading it. Although we must remember that it was never our fault we have been left with this legacy and we are the only ones who can heal from it. Good luck.

  • January 29, 2018 at 5:39 pm

    I nicknamed my mother and sister “The Master and the Apprentice”: learned behaviour from my sibling of the actions of my mother. Behaviour in their eyes seen as power over others. Everything you have described in this blog was their treatment of me until in my 50’s I had had enough and decided for probably the first time in my life to stand up to them. Finally educating myself as to where this behaviour has come from and how to heal from it. No contact with the sibling [or her twin who also decided that the pull/push of love was empowering] and low contact with my mother with strong boundaries in place. Thank you for your work which in some way validates the way I was treated and gives me strength and hope to push forward.

  • January 31, 2018 at 12:02 pm

    I’m currently reading Daughter Detox, which I would highly recommend to anyone who is still trying to understand what happened to you in childhood. I’m certain that this book will be the one in which you will find the answers to your questions. I’ve read numerous books in an effort to find out what was so bad about me. I grew up with a pervasive sense of there being something fundamentally wrong with me. I believed I was flawed as a person and wanted to know what the flaw was so that I could fix it.

    Within these pages you will glean so much information about your own life that you’ll feel it’s been written for you. There are so many Aha! moments in the book when a light went on and I said YES, that’s what my mother did to me! I found the reasons why she treated me in such a deplorable way and how it affected my development. Like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle finally coming together to build a picture, now I can understand the dynamics of what went on. Also, it’s like being handed a life map of your childhood and what happened to you throughout your development and the ripple effect it’s had on your life.

    In these pages you will find your mother’s dysfunctional abilities to mother a child and understand the ways in which she has affected you on a spiritual level. I have hungered for decades to make sense of my mother’s cruel behaviors and why she treated me the way she did. I’ve gleaned information from here and there but not enough to complete the picture. The results of my mother’s maladjusted treatment damaged my confidence; I grew up riddled with self doubts. She damaged my self esteem and I had no idea who I was except for her wrong definition of me. She metaphorically stuck so many labels on me that others were given a false impression and not a nice one either. She poured shame and guilt onto me that left me feeling that I was the worst person on earth but, I know now that she was wrong and I was no more than an innocent child trying to find my place in this big old world.

    I’m 67 and it’s literally taken a lifetime of searching for answers, and now I have them I feel at one with myself. Peg, thank you from the bottom of my heart for writing Daughter Detox.. it’s my bible.

    • February 1, 2018 at 11:04 am

      Heather, Thank you so much, and I cannot tell you how happy I am that the book has been of help to you. The pieces I’ve written for my blog”Knotted” on this site may also be of help since they are shorter takes on many of the same subjects. All best to you, Peg

    • February 1, 2018 at 4:07 pm

      There was nothing “bad” about you. You were just a child growing up in what sounds like a toxic environment. You might want to read “Healing from Hidden Abuse: A Journey Through the Stages of Psychological Abuse” by Shannon Thomas. I’ve read a lot of books over the past 4 or 5 years and this just seems to validate everything I’ve done on my journey of healing. Good luck. It is never easy because we always feel that we have done something wrong or it’s our fault and we are to blame in some way. There is nothing further from the truth.

      • February 1, 2018 at 5:54 pm

        Thank you so much Sue F…your words of encouragement mean a lot.

  • February 2, 2018 at 8:35 am

    My husband and I both come from dysfunctional families, and it has unfortunately affected our marriage to the point that there is now a wall of anger and mistrust between us. The worst part is that I seem to be the only one willing to take a look at the past and try to do something about it.

  • February 12, 2018 at 10:43 pm

    My aha moment came reading these words-ever vigilant for signs of rejection. Yup, that’s me. I hate rejection but yet search for it in my daily activities. Every single facial expression, body language and position tells me that that other person thinks I’m hideous, etc. It’s not so much my mother who did much of the damage, extended family had a hand. Looks are very important to my mother’s side of the family. I grew up to be chubby, shy, wearing glasses. At age 11, I went on my first diet with one of those chain diet places. When my daughter was 11, never once did I say to myself ‘Oh I need to put her on a diet’. My mother put me on one from pressure from all her siblings who did not have chubby children. I am proud to say that I raised my daughter differently from my mom. She is a strong, confident person who is a result from my hard work of avoiding being anything like my mom and learned behaviors from my childhood. I am now just learning how I came to be and I’m 54! Both of my parents are gone now and maybe that’s a good thing. They both came from broken homes with lots of abuse, emotional, substance and possibly physical. I always thought they had no business getting married and having us kids. Now us kids are dealing with depression, anxiety, and food issues. If i can be truthful to myself, I think I have a bit of anger toward them. At any rate, thank you for this article. Every little bit helps.

  • July 31, 2019 at 10:39 pm

    I am going to have to read Daughter Detox. This explains why I don’t have any friends because I can’t make that connection. My mother also never approved of my friends and they were either acting too mature or too “experienced” in her words when she never knew these girls. I found myself attracting friends who had narcissistic traits and were very insecure one uppers. My father is a narcissist and one of these friends triggered something in me with constant indirect insults ( I.e saying my shirt looked frumpy or that I had too many white shirts in my closet and she would laugh.) When I said I didn’t like her comments, I was told I’m too sensitive. We are no longer friends. I’d like to have girlfriends but don’t know how to make that connection. I find myself pushing people away early on. Like why try being their friend because I’m not good enough anyways.. My mother always approved of who could or couldn’t be my friend. She never trusted that I could make my decisions.


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