By | May 21, 2010 27 Comments

The LoveFraud version of “The Ugly Duckling”

By Ox Drover

Once upon a time there was a mother duck who hatched a large clutch of eggs. She had done this many times before and had raised her clutch of identical ducklings, all fluffy and yellow when they were born, into pristine white adults who then had clutches of their own yellow ducklings.

This time, however, one of her ducklings was not yellow and fluffy like all the others. His neck was quite long and his feathers were an ugly gray color. Plus, he was quite clumsy when he walked. He was so much larger than his siblings that he sort of stuck out like a sore thumb in her otherwise identical clutch of babies. She was very puzzled about this odd baby and didn’t quite know what to do with him, but he followed along when she took her babies to swim in the lake and stumbled over his extra large black feet.

Her other ducklings didn’t really know what to do with this gangly brother of theirs either and they started to taunt him and tell him how ugly he was with his gray feathers and his black feet, which were not bright and yellow like theirs. The big duckling soon was called “that Ugly Duckling” by all his siblings, and by the other ducks on the pond, who laughed at him as he swam in the water with his longer neck. Even the mother duck wondered why she had hatched such a monster and tried to avoid him as much as she could.

The ugly duckling felt so bad that his feathers were a dull gray instead of the fluffy bright yellow color of all the other ducklings. He also felt really bad that all the other ducks laughed at him and called him names. He so wished he was the beautiful yellow color of all his siblings and all the other baby ducks on the pond. Oh, how he wanted to be beautiful like they were instead of the ugly gray color he was. He wondered why he had been cursed with such terrible luck in this world. Why only he of all the ducklings was so ugly!

The Ugly Duckling was not only different than his siblings, but he was growing faster as well. It wasn’t long before he was almost as large as their mother. He was not only ugly and taunted but he also felt very neglected. He was jealous of his siblings, as on cold nights they would snuggle comfortably under mom’s wings to keep warm and the best he could do was sort of get behind her body to block off some of the wind. As he would sit there cold in the darkness, he would hear his brothers and sisters making fun of him being out in the cold, while they were warm and cozy under mother’s wing.

This went on for most of the summer. Before long the Ugly Duckling not only was the size of mother, but he was much larger than she. He started to grow new feathers, which were coming in silky and white; his neck became long and curved in a graceful way. His huge black feet were now able to paddle quite well and he could swim much faster than his brothers and sisters. In fact, he could swim much, much faster than any of his relatives. Yet  he still felt ugly compared to them. He was so much bigger and not at all like they were.

Then, one day he paddled off by himself into a secluded part of the lake to get away from the taunts of the ducklings as they played together and pointed their wings at him and laughed. His heart was broken and he had decided that he would rather be alone than to live with such emotional pain.

As the Ugly Duckling approached the secluded cove he saw something ahead. It was white and looked just like him. Maybe he wasn’t the only duckling in the world who was so ugly! He swam toward the other bird and he realized that there were others there as well that looked just like him. They were swimming and chatting and laughing and having a wonderful time in the water. Then one of the larger ones looked up and said to him,  “Oh, my son! There you are! I thought you were lost! Oh, I am so happy to see you!”

The Ugly Duckling swam toward the large white bird, and he noticed how gracefully her neck curved and how fast she swam toward him.  When they came close she reached out her neck and wrapped it around his and embraced him with her wings. He was so confused.

She said, “Where have you been, son?”

He replied, “My mother is a duck, but I am ugly, not beautiful like the yellow ducklings she hatched. I don’t understand what happened.”

His swan mother said, “I think I know what happened. A naughty child put my egg under a duck, and when you hatched you were not like them. Sometimes when such things happen, others are cruel and if you are not like them, they make fun of you, or abuse you, or even drive you away to die. But you are my son, and you are growing into a magnificent swan.” She pointed with her wing to the largest most beautiful  one there. “That’s your father, and you will be as beautiful as he is,” she said. “You are a swan, my dear. You are not a duck for the master’s table, but to grace his pond with your beauty and regal form.”

Then the Ugly Duckling realized he was not a duckling and also that he was surely not ugly, but beautiful and graceful. He also knew that though the ducklings had been cruel to him, the mother duck had sat on him and hatched him and given him life. But he no longer had any desire to swim with the ducks at all.

Later that day he swam with his swan family across the pond in regal elegance, arching their curving necks and gliding along in wonderful form! As they passed the ducks all his tormenters saw him for what he really was, a beautiful swan, not a duckling at all.  As he passed them by he didn’t look back at them even once. He knew who and what he was now, and he lived happily ever after!

The Moral of the Story

Sometimes we are born “different” from our families. We stick out like the Ugly Duckling among the rest of our siblings, who seem to blend into the family dynamics.  Sometimes we don’t really relate to our parents or our siblings at all. We are just so different, and being different is not acceptable in some homes. We can’t figure out what is wrong with us or why we are not as good as the other sibs, or why we can’t do anything right. We decide that somehow we deserve to be treated badly because we are different. We try to please the family, but it seems we can never please anyone, yet we keep trying.

We, like the Ugly Duckling in the story, don’t fit in with the rest of the family, yet we keep trying, until one day our rejection and hurt are so deep that swim away from all that we know so that they can no longer taunt us. Yet, we still feel ugly, undeserving, but just don’t know how to improve ourselves to be worthy of love and companionship. If we chance across another flock of ducks and try to join in with them, the treatment will be the same. So we move from flock to flock, seeking a group of companions who will not taunt us for being different, or who will not abuse us.

Until one day, we realize we are not the only one in the world like ourselves. We find that there are others who share our values, who don’t see themselves as ugly because they are not like the ducks. We realize that trying to pattern ourselves after the ducks when we are not a duck is not a successful way to live our lives. We are swans, not ducks. We are beautiful, wonderful, graceful swans. We realize we don’t want to associate with the ducks any more. The ducks are not going to be kind to us, they never have been and never will be, but we do fit in with the swans, the ones like ourselves who are kind and graceful and good.

So, we turn our backs upon the ducks, that family that was not a family, that family that taunted us. The mother duck may have hatched us, but she was never kind to us, she never nurtured us. The yellow siblings only hurt us and devalued us because we were different. So now we swim with the swans, content to be with kind and caring companions like ourselves, no longer living with unkind and hateful companions and no longer associating with the ducks on the pond.

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That was a nice story Ox. Lets swim down the river side by side and when we pass those duck’s we will give them the bird.

Ox Drover

Dear Henry,

I thought of you when I wrote this story, my dear, if ever there was a swan hatched into a clutch of BUZZARDs it was you! ((((hugs))))

super chic

I loved this story when I was a kid. I fit in well with my family though, just thought I was ugly for some reason, must have been those damn kids at school, or my mother and father did not tell me I was pretty 10 zillion times, my dad wasn’t around much. Oh well, I guess it’s time to get over it, can’t blame my mom anymore, bless her heart, she’s passed on.
LOVE YOU MOM. Love you too Oxy, but you’re not old enough to be my mother!!!


Ox-I love, love this story. I am like the ugly duckling. I don’t fit in with my siblings at all. I feel like the red-headed step child around them. It’s like high school and they are in a clique and I am the ostrasized. It’s actually really really funny because I am the most successful out of all of them and the oldest of the five. Suddenly I’m feeling really really good about myself!

Ox Drover

Dear Erin1972, glad you are starting to feel good about yourself and glad you liked my little fable.

Dear Chic, Thanks for the kind words! You know I’m finding that having my own unique STYLE (boy, is that an understatement! LOL) is more than OK, it’s GREAT!

I don’t have to fit into anyone else’s square hole, or round hole, I’m just my own self!


OxD…….it’s an ages-long fable, but your twist on it and the moral of the story is meaningful. Those of us who were rooked by spaths belong to a completely different flock, and finding one another is a difficult task. But, once we do find one another, we’re finally safe and we can begin to appreciate ourselves for the amazing people that we are.

Thanks so much for posting this. It’s so sweet and so promising.



I read this story as an adult, with my children, liking it at the time we read it. When it comes to the world, I have felt different, like an outsider, trying to fit in, but not always able to do so. I am a friendly, quiet type person, not out to dazzle the world. When it comes to mankind, I try to treat others with respect, having concluded during my adult years that it really is best not to judge anyone, for I know not what another soul has experienced in his/her lifetime. That is a good lesson to have learned.



I just loved your response, just precious – giving those ducks the bird.



Queen of Metaphors, Wise Counsel, Loving friend and Kindred nurturer of beasts:

Good one!


Yes. This is how I felt in my family origin. My only connection was with my Dad.. and he loved me.. when I pleased him.. but really would’ve preferred that I was a boy. So, while being very feminine, I was also a Tomboy.. I tried to please everyone.. and he would talk to me like a boy that he was teaching about the business world.. so that wasn’t a bad thing..
But I never felt loved or accepted just for being me and having my talents and faults..

Then as I got out into the world.. I realized that I was not lacking like I felt in my family of origin.. but that I had attributes that made me actually ‘more’ than my sisters.. And the criticisms and contempt that I felt from my mother and sisters was actually a form of jealously..
That was quite a revelation for me.. I always thought that ‘they’ were some how better than me because they ‘appeared’ to enjoy each other and I felt like the outsider.

So that is what I bring to me in men.. they attract to me.. but when they see that I am intelligent, etc. and won’t be under their ‘control’ they turn on me…

I am wounded from my childhood and those holes and blindsides have led me into hurtful relationships..
Bad men.. sense that underlying insecurity and instead of loving it … try to use it..

When my confidence would feel centered because of some accomplishment. I was shot down and it was minimized. If I was down, they used me and berrated me.

My challenge as been to feel good about who that I am without appearing arrogant..

Girl friends have told me that I am intimidating because I am confident, pretty, talented and nice.. and I am not married.. and they are and so many aren’t really happy in their marriages.. they are just living the life of the lie..

My Dad has even said that he doens’t know how I do it alone.. I am been single for a really long time.. with men in and out.. and after my Mother died.. Dad has had a parade of golddiggers that use him..

It is all confusing..
I haven’t found where I fit it.. because most try to use me and tear me down…

Even good friends .. reveal these kind of envious jabs at me at times..

One of my best friend’s husband came onto me just after they got married.. and I thought of him.. like a brother..
I kept this to myself for years.. then when she was thinking about leaving him because he had gone through her money from her divorce and his drinking.. I told her what occurred..
She knew I was telling the truth and she confronted him..
And he blamed it on his drinking and she ‘believes’ him.. and we are still friends.. but he caused an incredible breach..

And I was being a real friend the whole time..

This is what it is like with my family or origin and everyone else on some level..
I ‘try’ to live right..
I now keep to myself on many levels…
I love my family of origin.. everyone is just doing the best that they can..
But I sure hope to draw to me an equal relationship in that we support one another’s positives and negatives.. I seem to be the one to support their negatives then they turn on me or use me if I am not ‘their perfect’ ideal..
I am me.. good and bad.. strong and weak.. and it will take a self-aware person..
That friend I mentioned .. her staying with that creep husband of hers has made me lose respect for her.. she is living false.. just to be ‘married’ .. I never did that.. I always got out.. was alone, sufffered the loss of the big house, etc.. my heart, my integrity of my soul was more important to me..

But I don’t fit in …..

still don’t.. I just fit in in my heart and my soul.. and in the standards that I want to have in my life.. and will not settle..
I don’t know how.. but I attract the playboy, sociopath types…
I am pretty .. but also too smart for them.. so they hurt and do damage but I do get out to live again.. but I am wounded.. wounded from my family of origin and the holes that I am still trying to fill up..
But the healthier and more aware you become.. the fewer people that there are that match up…
Another girlfriend told me .. “You have it all”… but I don’t.. I need to be able to lean and be comforted.. and the older I get.. I am getting tired of being both the woman and the man..

does this make sense…?


Thanks Ox. Have to say that Hens’ response was awesome-flippin the bird! I do feel much better about things. The anger is almost gone. I am now becoming my own soulmate. I’m reading a book called “Solemate”. It’s about being comfortable and satisfied with being alone in life and knowing that you’re enough all by yourself. I’m barely into it, but it’s great.

I know that even though I am 90-100lbs overweight right now, I am intelligent, pretty, talented, and nice. I have a great future ahead with the new career I’m working on. I’m going to become more exciting. I’m getting ready to take boxing and martial arts. I really believe that if non-socio/narcissistic guys aren’t interested in me, then it’s their loss and I’m not going to worry about it. I’m just going to enjoy myself, get into more activities that I like and work on my body for the new job. They’re not hiring at this moment so I have time to accomplish what I need to do. Yay for me!!:)


Here’s a little Saturday pick me up …


When I was little,
I used to believe in the concept of one best friend,
And then I started to become a woman.
And then I found out that if you allow your heart to open up, God would show you the best in many friends.
One friend is needed when you’re going through things with your man. Another friend is needed when you’re going through things with your mom. Another will sit beside you in the bleachers as you delight in your children and their activities. Another when you want to shop, share, heal, hurt, joke, or just be.
One friend will say, ‘Let’s cry together,’
Another , ‘Let’s fight together,’
Another , ‘Let’s walk away together.’
One friend will meet your spiritual need,
Another your shoe fetish,
Another your love for movies,
Another will be with you in your season of confusion,
Another will be your clarifier,
Another the wind beneath your wings.
But whatever their assignment in your life,
On whatever the occasion,
On whatever the day,
Or wherever you need them to meet you with their gym shoes on and hair pulled back,
Or to hold you back from making a complete fool of yourself .

Those are your best friends.
It may all be wrapped up in one woman, But for many, it’s wrapped up in several.
One from 7th grade,
One from high school,
Several from the college years,
A couple from old jobs,
On some days your mother,
On some days your neighbor,
On others, your sisters,
On some days, your daughters.
Then we have our Love Fraud buddies. (SMILE).



I like it……. 😀


– it’s saturday nite live at lovefraud – going to fix Confederate Bean Soup for supper, ya’ll bring the corn bread…


ugly duckling or scapegoat…I have not been one to conform or to back down from my beliefs. Somehow, I became the “ugly duckling” in my family and could never please them. Never quite fit in with everyone else, no matter what I accomplished. Which is probably why I ended up 1500 miles from my home state in a battle with the s/p father of my children. No help from family at all. I have a new family that have been very supportive thru this time. I have shed the old skin of having to be the “people pleaser”. No alcohol has touched my lips since 2006. I am out of the FOG. You would think my family would be happy for the turn around in my life and the strength that has enabled me to escape this hell. I do not know why they are not….my new family, my support has gone thru this battle with me and they will also be the ones to share in that sweet taste of victory. I love the analogy of the ugly duckling. how true it is. I think it is because some can see the beauty and strength is us before we do and may be a bit intimidating to them…especially if they do not feel too good about themselves if that makes sense. I am not going back to where I came from. Backward is not an option…

Ox Drover

Dear Hgg522,

Welcome to LoveFraud, and glad you are here!!!!! Great place to be, and you are so right, BACKWARDS IS NOT AN OPTION!

When I was a kid, we used to hatch duck eggs under chickens and then watch when the old hen would have a “fit” when the ducklings would go into the water. We hatched turkey babies under hens and they wouldn’t follow the hen’s clucking, they just scattered and died if we didn’t get them and put them under a heat lamp. Poor old hen about ran herself crazy trying to keep up with them.

If you don’t “fit” into the family in which you are “hatched” I don’t think you can every feel “normal” until you find your “real” family—the people who are like you, the people you can bond with. My family circle doesn’t have a lot of shared DNA but we sure as hell share LOVE!!!!


OxDrover…you crack me up 🙂 I am getting so much from this site. I am also grabbing lil’ nuggets to share with my kids. Thank God they are “getting it” My daughter understands the cycle of abuse and is able to recognize the abuse that is going on. She has come a long way but it was thru love and patience from a “family” that loves and respects her for who she is. I did not know what my ex was thru the marriage, but I always knew somthing was not right. He was able to manipulate my family and seduce my friends. When I was able to finally surround myself with positive people of like mind, he got nervous. They are not those he can cry the pity me, he can not seduce his way up their skirts, and he cannot take my support…There is power in a made up mind and our best witness is our example. Even though he tries to play it off like nothing is bothering him, that all is smooth…he is really running scared. He is about to be exposed for the s/p that he is and his lies are catching up to him quick. He and his BPD wife never thought i would last this long. It has been a long, exhausting, expensive battle…One thing for sure, they will never know peace or joy. They are both empty shells of darkness wandering to and fro, miserable and unsettled. I believe I have already won. They can not take my peace or joy because it does not come from the things of this world.


nobody showed up for my dinner party. next time I will fix roasted duck…goodnite –


now a days you can have plastic surgery to change yourself from swan to duck!!

The by product of “plastic” surgery is NO EXPRESSION on face


super chic

Well, I see I got here too late for dinner!!!
I’ll bring the desert next time.


Hgg522 – you HAVE won! You won the day that you made the decision to save yourself and your daughter! I’m glad you’re here. You’ll have a lot of wisdom to share, I think.

My partner mentioned, long ago, that DNA cannot be the basis of “family.” The ex spath always used to use the “we’re family” line to demand loyalty (blindness) and respect (fear) from his underlings (the rest of us). Family, as I view it, are those people that gather around us to support, encourage, guide, and share. They are the people who hold on to our elbows when we stumble on our healing paths, and will say the hard words when they know we need to hear them.

Welcome, and brightest blessings!


Style1 I’m amazed! Your post could have been written by me lol! I’ve experienced such a similar path to you with similar challenges and issues with family, friends etc. I too found that the more confident I became and the more I built up my self esteem the more I realised just how insecure most other human beings are and how willing many are to put me down to make themselves feel better. I used to think I was in the minority and in my late teens began to read self help books etc to work on my self esteem so I could be in what I perceived to be the ‘functioning majority’ I very quickly realised that it was before then, when I lacked confidence, I had been in the majority all along lol!
My relationships with people have got worse as I have got older, especially at work. Many just don’t like someone who is confident, decent and functioning but it usually only takes one disordered personality to start a bullying situation. How successful the bully is depends on the atittude of those around them. If there are those who were fine before but had some insecurity and resentment that they don’t mind dumping on us if a bully facilitates it, our job becomes a living hell. If the other colleagues are generally decent folk (it does happen lol!) then the bully generally can’t get a hold and work is ok. This is the dynamic I’ve found time and time again – I’ve witnessed both.
The more confident in myself I have become, the more sane and healthy as in not feeling the need to put others down to make myself feel better, the worse my experiences have been with other human beings. I’m a career girl and like you single and unmarried but haven’t worked for a few years after being bullied, well mobbed, in my last job. It’s like the only way to get on in this world depends on our ability to withstand and accept abuse. Either becoming passive/developing learned helplessness or identifyng with the abuser and becoming one ourselves.
I’m depending on beng self employed now, I don’t think I can risk yet another bullying situation. Otherwise I really do fear for my future because other than be abusive and uncaring myself or passively accept abuse from someone else, I can’t see any other way of achieving my goals in life.
Yeah I’ve been feeling pretty despairing this week. I can’t bear this planet sometimes – it seems every human being on this planet is out to destroy everyone else. Can’t they see that there is truly enough for everybody? We just have to learn to co-operate.
Sadly though a nasty few will continue to block that for the rest of us but how do we stop them? Or at least subdue them?
Thanks for postng Style1, I feel I’ve found a kindred spirit! =)
Namaste all xxx


As close to my story as I’ve ever heard told. Thanks Oxy! Speaks volumes to me 😀

I’m incredibly grateful for the swans I now swim with…



This is fantastic!! Thank you so much for this, Oxy. In “women who run with the wolves” there’s a chapter dedicated to the ugly duckling. I finally saw for myself who I really am-you guessed it-a swan who had been raised by ducks. Such a simple story that set me emotionally free so many years ago. I love being a swan-don’t you?

I’d like to post your story to facebook. May I?

Peace, love& light-

Ox Drover

Dear Red Heeler,

Thank you for your kind words, I’m glad tht you enjoyed the LF version of the Ugly Duckling.

It cannot be legally posted anywhere but LF for 90 days, so I cannot give you permission to post it on LF but you CAN POST A LINK on FB to the story here on LF and that would accomplish two things, they could read the story AND it would promote LF!!!!!

Duped, also glad you enjoyed the story! Swimming with Swans is a much more satisfying thing than grubbing in the muck and mud with the ducks!


Genevieve79 –

I relate to you about the work place setting, getting fed up with some of our co-workers’ behaviors, attitudes at times. It gets very discouraging, employees taking advantage of their employers.


Genevieve79, that’s the core reason to develop and maintain a strong foundation of boundaries.

At this point, I do not need anyone’s approval or acceptance – I have learned only in the past 2 years that my desire to be “liked” and “accepted” by people has opened the door WIDE for spaths to enter – spaths of both genders and various motivations.

These days, it takes a good, long while for me to trust someone – they must earn my trust. And, I don’t mean that in a nasty way, either! I used to trust people until they gave me a reason NOT to trust them. Now, it’s quite the reverse.

Especially in the workplace, these days, boundaries are imperative! With our current cultural climate, it seems that backstabbing, bullying, stalking, and manipulating is not only acceptable, but rewarded! Shows like “Survivor,” and other reality programs develop a thirst for drama/trauma, and the workplace is so generic that it’s the perfect breeding ground for bad behavior.

Brightest blessings, Genevieve79! And, keep smiling – it’ll make everyone wonder what you’re up to. 😉

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