By | June 25, 2012 135 Comments

Sandusky and church verdicts put institutions on notice

On Friday, June 22, 2012, the verdicts were announced in two important child molestation trials that had been going on simultaneously in Pennsylvania:

Jerry Sandusky, the former assistant football coach of Penn State University, was convicted of 45 of the 48 child molestation charges against him. And, Monsignor William J. Lynn was found guilty of essentially contributing to a cover-up of sexual predators among Catholic priests in the archdiocese of Philadelphia. The priests had been molesting children for years. Lynn was the first high-ranking church official to be prosecuted for failing to protect children.

The Philadelphia Inquirer has reported on both of these cases extensively. You can read more about them here:

Complete coverage: Scandal at Penn State

Complete coverage: Clergy abuse case

In both of these cases, sordid details of men using their positions of prestige and power to seduce and manipulate children were aired in public. The eight young men who testified in the Jerry Sandusky trial were incredibly brave, and prosecutors in the church trial were able to introduce into evidence decades worth of rape and molestation charges. For victims everywhere, many of whom probably thought they would never be believed or see any modicum of justice, the verdicts are great victories.

But here is the real change brought about by these trials: Big, powerful institutions are now on notice. They can no longer sacrifice the innocents in order to preserve their reputations and protect their treasuries. Whether it is the Holy Roman Catholic Church or Penn State Football, the hierarchies will be held responsible for the crimes of their representatives.

According to the Inquirer, since priest abuse allegations first started surfacing in the mid-1980s, more than 3,000 civil lawsuits have been filed, and the Catholic Church has paid out more than $3 billion in settlements. Dioceses have closed parishes and sold property to cover the costs. The Diocese of Wilmington, Delaware, filed for bankruptcy.

Read Sex-abuse crisis is a watershed in the Roman Catholic Church’s history in America, on

Penn State University, with two officials already indicted for perjury related to the Sandusky case, anticipates more criminal proceedings and an onslaught of civil suits. The university has already embarked on damage control. As soon as Sandusky was declared guilty, the university announced a program to offer cash settlements to the victims.

Read: Bob Ford: In Sandusky case, Penn State tries to get ahead of civil actions, on

(By the way, more Sandusky victims, besides the 10 listed in the trial, have come forward. Read: Jerry Sandusky trial did not include all of his alleged victims, on

So, for all of us at Lovefraud, all of us who have been manipulated, molested and abused, these verdicts are worth celebrating. Evil was exposed. Evildoers are going to prison. Enablers of evil are paying the price for averting their eyes, shutting their mouths and failing to act.

All of us who are fighting the good fight should feel encouraged. Perhaps the time is coming when we can go up against the rich and powerful—and win.

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I love to see justice served! I followed the Sandusky trial and my heart bled for those boys, many of them now men. I only hope Mrs. Sandusky and everyone else at Penn State who knew and covered it all up for years will also see the justice they deserve. Mrs. Sandusky, what a coward and lousy excuse for a woman! Thanks for posting Donna!


Donna, thank you for posting this article of affirmation.

Perhaps, Sanspathsky’s conviction will bolster the courage of other victims to move forward and file charges.

I’ll post this, finally, with regard to the shame-core and how victims often feel re-victimized. I want to warn that other readers might experience some serious triggering, because it’s pretty brutal.

When I was 13, I was gang-raped by 3 neighborhood boys. One of them was my “boyfiend,” at the time. I was provided copious amounts of alcohol under the guise of having some fun with the boyfiend. Once I was drunk enough, they all took their turns for the next several hours. I “broke up” with the boyfiend right after that.

Weeks later, I was playing in the woods where I lived – many of us had constructed a “fort” where we would go smoke cigarettes, and act like idiot kids. I was alone, and I heard twigs snapping behind me, and it was the former boyfiend, the other two, and a couple of younger boys that had not been involved in the gang-rape, but had apparently been informed by the others.

Before I could run, the former boyfiend lunged at me and placed me into a “Full Nelson” (he was a member of the high school wrestling team) while another boy covered my nose and mouth with a rag that had been soaked in ether that he had stolen from the High School Lab. They all attempted to sexually assault me, again, and I fought back with a terror and fury that I’ve never experienced, since. I managed to rake one boy across the face, and another boy got a heel-kick in his balls. STILL, they tried to complete their mission, and finally ran off after it was apparent that the ether was evaporating faster than it was knocking me out.

I told nobody about this – EVER – because I believed, at that time, that I had brought the incident upon myself. Somehow, I “deserved” that experience. And, this is the continued feeding of the shame-core. I had to see these neighborhood kids, every day, and they all acted as if nothing had ever happened. One of the kids was the son of an Administrator of the regional School Board. Another of these kids was the son of a local politician. There would have been NO way that any of these boys would have faced any consequences for their actions, and I knew it – and, so did they.

Today, I know that I didn’t “deserve” what was done to me, and I knew better decades ago. I just didn’t that there was a TERM to describe how a person is groomed into being a victim – or, an abuser. And, as an adolescent, I would never have been able to connect the proverbial dots and alter my Life’s course.

Needless to say, I’ve come to terms with what happened, long ago. The boys-turned-men have all grown up and gone their separate ways. Each one of them is a predator, either by nature, or by proxy, and they will each reap the bitter harvests that I’m sure they’ve sown.

Hopefully, this article will compel some of us to reclaim our damaged inner-children. I know that I’m peeling back the layers of my own shame-core, and it’s nasty work, that. But, somewhere underneath all of these putrid layers is a bright, vibrant me. And, I am anxious to meet that person.

Thanks, again, Donna.


Oh Truthspeak. I didn’t want to be the first to post about this because I know someone else will have something more eloquent to say, but I am so sorry.


Karma, it’s “okay,” now. I can look at this event and recognize it for what it was. I’ve put that in its proper place. But, it’s out in the open, now – and, I chose to share this because it speaks to the continued feeding of the shame-core and HOW feeding that shame-core remains a daily task into adulthood.

Today, I know how that happened, and why I never spoke about it, until now. I never even told friends because I believed that the response would have been, “Well, didn’t you PUT yourself in that position?” Yeah…, there it is.

Nothing to say about it other than as an academic reference. 😀

Thanks for the support and big hugs to you


Truthspeak, I am so sorry for what happened to you. It’s heartbreaking.


G1S and Donna, thank you for your words of support.

It’s very important that readers clearly understand my purpose for my disclosure – it’s strictly for academia so that I can learn from it, and others may learn, as well.

Donna, yes…… are 100% spot-on about “draining the pool.” If that stuff sits in there, long enough, it will NEVER scrub off the sides, so the purging of experiences not only allows me to fill myself back up with my Self (true soul), but it can serve as a learning and healing tool for others, especially when we’re talking about shame-core.

For me, I believe my personal shame-core was the open, engraved invitation for any and all spaths to take a shot at me, and learning that this condition was recognized was The Most Important Discovery About Myself, to date, bar none.

Thank you all for your support and encouragement. Now, let’s get down to draining those swampy pools!

Ox Drover


“Sanspathsky’s” ROTFLMAO Snark, snort bray!!! GREAT!!!!!!!

Yea, the things that happened TO us caused us to feel SHAME that should not have belonged to us, but have belonged to the perps, not the victims.

I can sure relate to that. It has been a long hard road, but I am finally giving up that shame that does not belong to me.


OxD, I can come up with some good ones, on occasion. I’m glad that you could snark, snort, and bray! (guffaw)

Donna – time for a LoveFraud Convention with speakers, lectures, and press coverage. Heck, if you arrange one in Atlantic City, I’ll gladly provide feedback while sitting in front of a slot machine screaming, “C’MON SEVENS!!!”


Hi al. I’ve been reading but not posting. I just had to chime in here.

Truth-I’m so sorry you had to go through that. Also, I’m glad that you finally had the courage to tell it. It is the “false” shame that opens us up to the N’s and P’s. Keep talking, expose the darkness to the light.

I had a very confusing episode with my father(step) when I was twelve but he stopped himself. To this day the memory is so spooky and confusing. Truthspeaks I can’t imagine what your memories must do.

I also had 3 guys start to, I guess, rape me when I was 22. The one who really liked me stopped the whole thing when his friend started to undo my pants. That memory still makes me shake, I was so close to having been left with a horrible memory.

The shame thing, I was set up by my mom to feel shame for EVERYTHING. I didn’t have a clue as to what she has taught me until about 5 years ago. I always thought she was the best mom ever. Now I can hear her passive criticism of me and how her tone is used to induce guilt and shame. She use to ALWAYS say “shame on you”. She loves to make that shock sound when she found out I did the least smallest thing wrong. I told her a few years ago about wearing my fuzzy pajamas to school when she said I couldn’t and she reacted like I had killed someone, that’s not an exaggeration. Thank God I hadn’t told her yet that I’d go to parties when I was suppose to be at ball games. Looking back I was an angel compared to a lot of kids.

Funny thing is, she taught me shame so good that when I pulled myself together and wouldn’t allow myself to be heaped with guilt and shame by my he yelled at me, “I don’t see the shame anymore.” Imagine that, for 23 years he tried to make me feel ashamed, succeeded and watched me squirm in my shame.



Welcomed. Sorry that you were in a situation that brought you here, but you will find support and understanding. Apparently you feel comfortable enough with us to finally post. That’s really good and wonderful. Congratulations on taking such an important and help step.

Penn State is putting its money where its mouth is.

It took Sandusky out of a mural and replaced his image with “Dora E. McQuaid, a poet, activist and Penn State alum who’s won awards for her work on behalf of victims of domestic and sexual violence.”

May there be more recognition of what we, the abused, have gone through.


G1S-I’ve been around for awhile, use to post quit a bit. Then I just took sometime reading and learning.

The story with my Nh is really what brought me to this site. This post lead to a discussion of shame, the awareness of how my mom taught me shame, all to well, is recent. It is a subject I haven’t beat to death so I thought this thread would be a good place to do.


Hi Just us,

How I remember that phrase, SHAME ON YOU. My grandmother used to say it too, all the time. Right along with the tongue clicking and sharp breath. Sometimes even a finger wag if I was especially shameful.

My mom would have happily continued making me ashamed over everything, if I hadn’t finally gone NC. She flew into such rages when things didn’t go her way that my dad used to have to sit on her to get her under control. Cuckoo.


Karma-lol I laugh cus it’s nice to know it didn’t just happen to me. My mom wasn’t out right phsyco but I think she wanted me to be her scape goat. She had 5 kids from three different men, probably the only great transgression she has a against her. However, it seems she has a god complex, never wrong, never sorry. Oh yeah, she has been sorry before while pouring out the tears, then getting sympathy. When my eyes open to how her apologies went…I’m sorry, poor me, now feel sorry for me…it was a WTF moment. She never did/does apologize with it being about remorse for how she treated me.

Holy cow, this is turning out to be therapeutic. I was taught well…honor your mother and father… . I’m talking bad about my mom. Am I sinning? There is the feeling….shame on me.

To keep this thread on track….about shame and abuse, let me say, if anybody can’t speak up because the overwhelming sense of shame fills your body…speak up in spite of it. Speak up, the more you do the more the physical sensation will diminish.


Just us 5,

Rest assured, it was not just you. And you are not a sinner. The things that happen to us as children have a huge impact on the relationships we get into as adults.

It’s liberating to be aware of how you were manipulated as a child. Good for you for calling it out. 🙂


Karma-How does it take a person over 40 years to realize it?
And I have to say, I feel guilty for for speaking it. I still love my mom a lot, but it hurts so much to discover the reason I thought it was ok for my h to treat me the way he does was because of what she taught me. Sometimes I wonder if she does love me the way she proclaims to.

I am the mother of 4 boys. I try so hard not to teach them guilt and shame. Sure hope I am not.

Karma, why did you go NC with your mom?



I think there are many reasons it takes so long to see it. You sound like you are a loving person, and its normal for compassionate people to only see the best in others. It also sounds like you are a religious person, and you were taught to honor your parents or face the consequences.

Don’t be hard on yourself!

I had to go NC with my mom because she was incredibly damaging to me. I could go on for pages, but she was determined to make me feel like dirt in any way possible. However, I did not go NC with her until I was 40 – kept thinking she’d change or that I should learn to live with it, etc. I finally just had ENOUGH of her evil behavior. She lied, stole, manipulated, etc.

You have 4 boys, how nice!

kim frederick

Oh yeah, “shame on you.” That was a big one for me, too.


Karma-I had along response to you and got booted off. Ugh.
I was saying, mine was(is not) evil but your word egocentric, got me thinking. I think she is egocentric AND has low self-esteem at the same time, if that is possible. Mine did not degrade me but she planted seeds to set me up for failure. The mirror thing you said…I think she tries to keep me where she THINKS she’s at. But she saves the pitty card for herself.

I’m kind of afraid to keep exploring her treatment of me because I found too much evil in my h when I did that.


Kim-The “shame on you” worked on me. It was like a curse that stuck. However, my mom also gave us kids only two choices when someone was mean to us..1)what did you do to them?. If you had done something wrong then…the curse of shame, if not, then… 2) feel sorry for them. Never ever once was any reason good enough to dismiss someone from your life.


JustUs, I remember reading your posts – welcome back!

The “shame on you” worked on everyone who has a shame-core, IMHO. Discussing “shame” has been extremely helpful to me, and I think that’s one of the “green flags” that spaths see flapping around potential targets – sort of like, “This target is a GO!” For me, I’m certain that this is true.

ash phoenix

Truthy, I am so sorry about what you went through. But that diamond that was trampled into the dirt so long ago is still as bright and beautiful. Thank you for sharing such an incredibly painful memory.


Maybe the “shame on you” was a generational thing because my mother said the same thing.

Or maybe it goes back centuries. Just look at all the ways society used to shame people who were outside the norm.


Ash, thank you – I’m okay, today. The events were part of how I developed and simply speaks to the “shame-core.”

Shame is powerful. Once I was educated about this facet of my development, everything fell into place. But, having typed this, shedding the shame isn’t an easy task. Building boundaries is still a challenge, and recognizing the red flags is going to be a lifelong exercise for me.

Brightest blessings



I hear you. I understand why you would be hesitant to explore your relationship with your mom. I think that you are already on your way though, and once the genie is out of the bottle, its hard to stuff him back in.

There is no rush, this isn’t a race. The internet is a great source of information on N moms, and what they do to their kids. Your mom was likely just raising you the way she was raised, it was all she knew. And YES my mother was egocentric, but her self esteem was in the gutter. That’s why she flew into rages, she simply could not bear to see herself as she really was.

I know that I keep getting involved with the wrong men due to the way I was raised, no doubt about it. And the thing is, I KNEW she was an N many years ago and thought I was much further down the road of healing than I actually was, and ended up with a creepy spath who proved how WRONG I was. I still have a lot of work to do. This site is so great for healing.

I’ll be reading Toxic Shame soon, at the recommendation of some folks on this site.

Ox Drover

Just us 5,

“Honoring your father and mother” is done by becoming the kind of person that would bring honor to a parent, it is not done by being a door mat to them, and it is not done by not telling the truth about how they treated you.

The Bible also says that “fathers provoke not your children to wrath but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord”

Wrath is not just normal “anger,” it is the kind of vengeful, hot anger that is caused by being treated UNFAIRLY.

So the feelings you had of wrath because your mother treated you unfairly is a normal response to being treated that way. Talking about it is not “dishonoring” your parents.

You need not feel “shame” for what you feel about how you were treated.


Thanks everyone. It seems this, exploring my relationship with my mom, is where I need to do.

Oxy-You’re right, my actions need to honor a “parent”, the kind of parent that would have respect for me as a person. It has been easy for me to teach my boys to stand up to their dad when he provokes them, not so easy to teach myself to stand up to my mom.

Karma-I don’t think my mom was raised with shame. I can’t ever remember my grandparents ever being hateful or judgmental. My grandpa was a saint. I think my mom had/has such low self-esteem that she needed to mold us kids into nothing to feel ok. I also think her low self esteem was somehow of her own making. I think she got her attention as a child by being the “sickly” one. Although, she was a successful (and healthy) adult she could only see herself as the one with “problems”. Succeeding just didn’t seem to be able to overcome the sickly child. That’s my thinking for now. I will probably change that opinion in the future because with that explanation something doesn’t
seem to add up. It doesn’t make sense to me why one would shame their children so horribly because they have low self esteem. Then there is her pompous attitude….ugh.

I too was thrilled of the Sandusky verdicts. As for the topic of shame…this sparked me to write. My former beloved so very frequently parented me. Initially I was amused and let it go. I worked harder to become a better person. Then the marriage morphed into him shaming me for not working hard enough. I was literally raising three small children mostly on my own. He knew I valued hard work and would convince me that he was working very hard at his job. He would come home on a Friday night and within 30 minutes declare that the weekend was wrecked. A ploy to leave Saturday and Sunday, making me think he was going in to work but rather have his own sort of fun…. as I now have come to believe. I came to the conclusion I could never be good enough for him. Sadly I accepted this role but immersed myself into being a good mom. He continued parenting me mostly to let me know I could be doing better. I felt ashamed of myself but knew that I was exhausted and could give no more. These roles that developed empowered him and drove my self-esteem into the gutter.

The matter how many times I tried to have a conversation about this, the discussion was never going to take place. Or the discussion would be very short very brief and dishonest….. A bone thrown to me to get it through my head that we’re not going to talk about these kinds of things (having a good healthy relationship). His mother eventually did the same to me. My firstborn child at 12 years old declared, “mom if there something you want to talk to grandma about and she doesn’t want to talk about it, you will not be having that conversation” the lack of a healthy conversation that was honest made me feel ashamed. The other dynamics at work are the building you up and slapping you down building you up slapping you down with Shame. Now that I have gone no contact…… In other words put some boundary lines in place, they have an uncanny way of acting in public like what’s her problem?? The relationship just didn’t work out. They just grew apart. They always cover up the verbal abuse the mental abuse emotional abuse the lying sneaky Deceitful behavior and betrayal. And then I feel ashamed of myself for having put up with it. The Counselor tells me “stop beating yourself up for his issues.” I struggle to get myself back on track, but I WILL have the life I wanted And dreamed of. Little by little it will manifest .



Sounds like you have already given this a lot of thought.

No better way to prop yourself up than to make sure those around you are lower than you are. Interesting about the hypochondriac stuff. Looks like you have a good start for doing some reseach. I have a step mother who uses illness as a weapon to get what she wants, it’s very tiresome.

I can’t really say that my mother made me feel shame, but I do know that she prized obedience. Doing what I was told to do was huge. In a world where everyone is trying to work together as a team this is probably not such a bad thing. But being obedient and not questioning authority… combined with love bombing and initial flattery is a predators dream target

My mother in law has had attacks of “pancreatitis” for many years. They coincide quite nicely with holidays, vacations, confirmation, notable events where she would like and needs more attention.


Ha, Honest, that’s exactly what my stepmother does. She used to walk with a cane, then my dad and I caught her practically jogging in the mall one time. Priceless. She doesn’t use the cane any more.


Oh yes, dream target for sure. I still feel like I always have to ‘do as I am told’. Even if the person doing the telling obviously does not have my best interests at heart. Brainwashing.


My mother has Ménière’s disease, which affects the inner ear. She would get acute attacks of dizziness, nausea, and loss of hearing.

Remarkably (ha!,) this happened multiple times when she was supposed to meet with me and my then therapist.

My therapist and I took this to mean that she didn’t want to hear what we had to say a la the Louise Hay school of thought.

That really seemed to be true because these attacks always seemed to coincide with other things, not related to me, that she didn’t want to hear.


This cannot be a coincidence.

The military is telling the troops to speak up if they are sexually assaulted or raped.

It’s about time.

Ox Drover

Using the “sick role” to avoid things one does not want to hear or to do is a time-honored way to get what you want and use guilt on the part of the injured party….”you can’t do that to me because I’m SICKKKKKK” What a crock of cr4p!

Our society does not expect the the “sick” person to live up to their otherwise expected roles….of worker, wife, husband, etc. so the manipulator will use this as a way to avoid responsibilities.

On the other hand, those of us who are the “worker bees” will keep on with our responsible roles even when we are gravely ill.

I have gone to work when I was running a fever…when I should have actually been hospitalized because that was what was “expected” of me.

Hospitals are the worst I think for “requiring’ that employees come to work no matter how sick they are…and you’d think that they would not want a sick employee there caring for others and spreading their germs…but I digress.

One of the psychopaths I know also claimed she had Ménière’s disease and boy did she ever milk her “dizzy” days when there was something she did not want to do. She even managed to quit her job and eventually get Social Security disability…she found a doctor that would believe her tales of her dizziness and give her plenty of valium. Her husband also went to this same physician and got enough Rx drugs that he became an addict. They eventually separated when he became physically abusive to her.

Funny now that they are separated (this was a case of two users hooking up together) she is able to work full time off the books for cash. He now mooches off his brother who i s MR and receives benefits and a place to live.

Each one of course smears the other one as the “abuser” when in fact, they are both abusers and users. She is also a thief.


Honest-Obiedence…I was/am my mom’s obedient child. She plays that to this day, but just like my n/h, she uses it to get what she wants. She’ll start a conversation calling me her good girl then somewhere jabs me with something I did “wrong” 35 years ago. Fortunately, for me, all she wants at this stage in life is to feel important to one of her children. As for conversation about the treatment….ain’t going to happen with her either. Geesh. call her on it and she cries to put guilt on me and divert her responsibility. Lucky for me after 43 years..IT DOESN’T WORK anymore. Just like h’s anger doesn’t work anymore. In big part that is do with this site and all of you.

Wow, I thought who set me about to except physcopath behavior was my dad. Um….it’s looking like I might be wrong.


Geez, Ox, my step mother is on disability too! Amazing. And the doc who was keeping her all doped up was ARRESTED recently for selling drugs, so she was really peeved. She had to find a new doc and go to pain management therapy.

Just – it could be a combination of both parents. In my case, my mom was the malignant N, but my dad totally enabled her. Then they divorced and my dad disappeared (abandonment) until I hunted him down when I was in my 20s and we reconciled. Now he enables new malignant N wife. Ah well.

Ox Drover

Just us 5, the thing is as we start to heal from the abuse of the psychopath that brought us to LF…I think we see other abusive relationships in our lives as well. It may be a parent, a sibling, a co-worker, a neighbor or a friend…in learning about abuse from the psychopath, we also learn about the abuse from others.

I am NC with my egg donor, and she did the same thing your mom has done, she damned me because I wasn’t “perfect” to her expectations, tried to control me, and get me to continue to participate in the dysfunction of the family dynamics.

I have come to see that RESPECTING a parental role is not the same as allowing someone who is a DNA donor to abuse and use you. Neither God nor man expects that you should be abused by anyone.

It was very difficult for me to see too that my relationship with my egg donor was very dysfunctional, and I had “forgotten” a lot of the abuse, or been in denial about it…I finally came to see that she had never loved or respected me, or treated me with nurture and care….only control, and I am no longer allowing others to control what I think or what I do.

I am an adult and I am going to acknowledge my adulthood and my responsibility to myself to be treated in the way that I treat others. I will set boundaries and respect myself. Those people who do not respect me and treat me with care are not going to be part of my life…no matter what shared DNA we have.


Oxy-sad but true, the next step is too address the abuse from my mom. I love my mom dearly BUT she has been emotionally abusive all of my life. Hers is passive-aggresive emotionally abuse though. The meassage, I guess, as always been, “you make mistakes therefore shame on you.” Always in a sweet tone though. Ugh…seems she’s my h with a sweet tone instead of an angry tone.

I guess she always made me feel inadequate because she mostly kept a sweet tone and I didn’t. I’m beginning to think even the sweet tone she uses is only to manipulate…as in, “I can say whatever I want as long as I have a nice tone. If you get mad at me, start yelling or call me out, then your a bad person. Look at gentle me.” I’m really just hashing out my thoughts at the moment because the dynamics with her are confusing. All I know for sure is, she wanted us all to feel way to much guilt and shame. I definitely can see it in the one brother, the brother who is “strong” like me.

Boundaries, time to start setting them with mom. I guess I’ll have to get past the guilt. I guess will be honoring her by respectfully setting
boundaries even when she or someone else uses the guilt card.

And, yes, flaws are still pointed out. Usually very small ones or even made up ones. The simplest thing that I may have done 30 years ago is spoken about by her with terror. Example, I apparently kicked my oldest brother in the boys when I was 5-6. I don’t remember it, but you would think I shot someone. Thirty eight years later she talks about it as if I committed an act of Satan(but with a sweet tone….ughhh). I don’t remember it, I can’t even defend myself. I don’t know if I was just being a brat or if it was self defense. My brothers picked on me really bad (there’s that emotional abuse I never new wasn’t normal)and/or beat me up quit often. Geesh, it was thirty eight years ago, does she really have to keep shame on me for it. That’s just one example.



Of course the sweet tone was to manipulate you. It was also another way to stick it you and confuse you.

She might be in denial that is what she is doing, but somewhere in her head, that is her intention.

You get to reject her words. You need to set the boundary that you’re not going to listen to that anymore.

Tell her to get over it and get a life. Tell her you’re not having this conversation anymore.

If you want it to stop, then stop it.

Abuse is abuse, whether it’s “sweet” and passive-aggressive or it’s blantantly predatory and/or violent.

Oh yes, I also know the sweet tone abuse. When I would confront mother in law..on something that my gut didn’t feel right she would say, “Why no sweetheart, I have no idea. Now, let’s go water the hostas. Or.. sugar is your homework done? or I’d better stir the soup.” The subject would be changed. That is that! You will NOT be talking about your concern or what didn’t Feel right. Then she would proceed to go home – and if possible be “on the couch for 3 days” unable to eat. Or work herself to death to prove how hard SHE worked. It was always all about her.

But ya, I love the notion that it’s ok to insult or bully the hell out of someone… as long as you say it nicely. (Not)


All I can say is Woo Hoo! Finally, a big freakin’ spotlight has been turned on, illuminating the dark places where the covert abuse of children happens, and the abusers and their enablers are scurrying out of the light like the cockroaches they are. Its about freaking time!!! Is there something about Pennsylvania in particular that apparently encourages an endemic, pervasive culture of child abuse to flourish? Is anyone studying how this has happened, how a culture of child sexual abuse has coalesced in this particular area like a black, toxic mold hidden between the walls? Its not likely to have sprung up overnight, its probably been going on for many, many generations and over long decades of time. I’d be really interested to read any studies about how an entire child-abusing culture/society gets started, so we can better understand how to root it out and keep it from growing in the first place. Keep those spotlights on ALL the time, I guess!!

The counselor I saw for several years called it ironclad manipulation and said it’s martyrdom at it’s finest.

She taught the anti-social behavior to the man who became my husband whom I tried to understand for >25 years and finally gave up. I thought I could help him, fix him, assist him, understand him, even accept him – I waited too long thinking HE wanted to change. If he did want to change…. he couldn’t pull it off.

Ox Drover

Just us 5

The “sweet tone” to say nasty things is ABUSE, and “passive aggressive” is STILL AGGRESSIVE.

Oh, yes, I know what you are saying, my egg donor does the same thing…the sweetisie knife in the back. Well, I decided I will not play that game any more and I had to go NC with her in order not to play the game.

Yea, as honest kind giver says “martyrdom at its finest” and I may have done X, Y or Z 35 years ago but I don’t need to be reminded of it now, or spanked for it either.

I treat others with respect (don’t let her push your buttons or lose it and scream or yell) just say to her…something planned in advance like “I may actually have done that 35 years ago, but I really don’t need to be reminded of it now or spanked for it either, I am not likely to repeat that.” SAY it SWEETLY…and of course she will respond with “well, I didn’t mean anything by it” which of course you will respond with, “in that case, maybe it would be best not to mention it then.”

If you just REPEAT this every time she says something snarky eventually she may stop…or she may not.

You can’t control what she says or how she behaves, but you can CONTROL HOW YOU RESPOND….and what you are willing to tolerate from her.

With my egg donor I chose NC because I am not willing to be lied to.


Passive aggressive, thats the term I could not put my finger on. Reminds me so much of gaslighting. Both are crazy-making.


I read the first few posts in this thread and it brought to mind something I found years ago and I’d like to share – I hope you enjoy this piece by Kevin Downing & Peter Robbins (citations at bottom) and find something wonderful in it for yourselves. It may or may not be appropriate for you – but if you struggle with issues around God and Jesus and doing that which you have been told is expected of you as a “good Christian” I can tell you this piece had a profound effect on me. The take-away – aside from the good lessons in the article – we need to truly read the Bible and not let charlatans and manipulators tell us what is there and how it is to be interpreted… The Misconception #3 they address seems most appropriate to some of what has come up here on this thread …

May God bless you all and keep you and yours safe … Breck


Jesus Christ was a tremendous disappointment to almost everyone who knew and loved him at one time or another. He was a Savior who never freed God’s people from the oppressive Roman rule. Jesus was a Chosen One who began to wipe out human hunger with five loaves of bread and two fish, but who quickly gave it up. Jesus was a Christ who could have physically healed everyone if he hadn’t spent so much time with his friends in the desert. Jesus was the Coming King who was born in a feeding trough in a barn and who had a name as common as Joe. And Jesus was the Lord of heaven and earth, yet he was crucified ”“ the most humiliating of deaths.

Jesus did not please everyone. It was not his strategy to make people happy at any cost. Jesus did, however, know his calling with razor sharp accuracy and was determined to fulfill it. Somehow Jesus could look beyond the misguided demands of people and see eternal needs.

As a result, Jesus served like no other. But he served in ways that people did not expect. As Christians we are also called to serve. But our efforts at serving others easily become distorted. Seven different misconceptions about servanthood produce great pain in our lives and the lives of others.

Misconceptions of Servanthood

Misconception #1: The depth of my servanthood is measured by how happy I make those around me. The truth is that Jesus did not make everyone around him happy. In fact, he was eventually crucified by those whom he loved. When we live for Christ the Bible tells us that we may experience persecution ”“ even by our loved ones at times. See: Gal 1:10, Ps 55:12-14, Matt. 5:11-12; John 15:20

Misconception #2: To be a servant I must become something like a robot ”“ brainless and uncreative ”“ or I must do the opposite of everything I dream and desire. The truth is that Christ came that we might use all of our God-given gifts, including our mind and creativity. The more we become like Christ, the more our will and God’s will become one. We will desire God’s will and God will be a cheerleader for us. See: Psalm 20:4, 37:4, 103:5, 145:19; Ro. 8:5

Misconception #3: When I “die to the flesh,” I die as a person as a punishment for my sinful nature. The truth is that dying to the ’flesh’ or the ’self’ does not mean to kill our bodies or our personalities ”“ that’s suicide!!! Dying to the flesh is the choice to act out of grace rather than out of shame, hurt or revenge. Rather than punishment, dying to the flesh allows us to become the grace-full people we long to be. See: Matt. 16:24-26; Ro. 6:13, 12:1-2; I Peter 2:24, 4:10; II Tim. 1:6-7; John. 10:10

Misconception #4: Servanthood involves no risk because when we have truly given all to Christ, God takes all the responsibility for every decision. The truth is that God allows us to grapple with the gray areas of life so that we might grow spiritually and expand our wisdom and knowledge. See: James 1:2-4; I Peter 5:7; Phil.. 2:12-13

Misconception #5: There is one Perfect path for each person’s servanthood. The truth is that perfectionism has no place in Godly living. It reduces us to a crazy mechanical life far different from the life of intimate grace to which God has called us. We learn the fine points of this new life partly through trial and error. See: Phil. 3:12; Ro. 8:28; Eph. 2:8-10

Misconception #6: True Servanthood has no place for rest or recreation ”“ there is no time to be built up when other people are hurting and need our help. The truth is that to fulfill God’s calling in our life we must be a good steward of our temple (i.e. our body). That means rest, fellowship, solitude, education ”“ and yes, while others are hurting. Jesus often left the needy crowds to be with his friends, and his Father, in quiet places free of distraction and business. See: Matt. 11:28-29, Mk. 6:31; Heb 4:3

Misconception #7: Servanthood guarantees that others will acknowledge and appreciate our efforts and therefore take care of our needs in return. The truth is that servanthood is not giving in order to get. Great fulfillment is waiting for those who serve others, yet there are times to stop giving so we may be restored. This restoration is not selfishness ”“ rather it is good stewardship. See: II Tim. 4:7-8; Luke 5:16; John 11:54

Recovery from people-pleasing behaviors is not easy. It requires us to identify our misconceptions about servanthood, to clarify our true calling to mutual, respectful service and to identify the unresolved pain which is at the root of our people-pleasing life styles.

Kevin Downing and Peter Robbins are therapists at Turning Point Counseling in Diamond Bar, California. Copyright 1991, used with permission.


Oxy, Karma, Honest, G1S and anyone I may have forgotten, thank you all for your input. It’s nice to be understood on this issue. While my mother may not be a monster, she sure has played some mind games.

One of you called it gaslighting, and maybe it is. I have studied gaslighting in relation to how my h treats me, and was surprised to find out…yep, he does. I need to explore that concerning my mom. Someone called it martyrdom at it’s best. I can see that. I think that it what she does, but I need to read up on that subject too.

Oxy-I busted a gut when I read your example of a conversation between us when she “attacks” me. I laughed when you altered the conversation we have, in that you changed my words. You gave me strong, confident words. Words my mother would hate to hear out of my mouth. Words I would love to come out of my mouth. I will read and reread what you wrote and try to reply in that manner. I’ll also brace myself for the tears. She most likely will start crying. At which point I am suppose to consider myself the bad guy and began to feel sorry for HER and start apologizing.

Geesh, talking about her has me concerned about my own behaviors in the past with my nh. He once told the counselor I manipulate him with my crying. Oh, gee, like mother, like daughter? That dynamic is very confusing but I do indeed know he has indeed been verbally, mentally and physically abusive. But I am wondering…which came first..the chicken or the egg?


Thank you, Breckgirl. I appreciated what you shared very much.

It reminds me of a piece I wrote, “Does God Know a Psychopath?” The Bible verses in your piece are along the lines that I used.

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