Identity after realizing you have no real FOO (Family of Origin). My thoughts.


Well-Known Member
This is just me ventnig again and nobody has to answer and I am ok with that. Heck, if nobody even reads it, I at least have a chance to write.

I am straightening out my identity so it will be clear to me and for all of those who are alienated from family, it is empowering to figure out who you really are.

I Pam Slam (not my real last name) had a beloved grandmothe and a beloved father. I have no other parent who took on the role in a compassionate way so no reason to even mention the person as my parent.

I am an only child.

I have no aunts, uncles, cousins that I am close to (I really have very few I even ever met).

I am a beloved wife and mother to four. I adopted a son who chose to leave the family. I love him lots and am happy he is happy and am peaceful with his decision.

I have two grandbabies, very beloved.

I am creative, talkative (but not a good communicator...yes, there is a difference) and am quite perceptive. I am somebody people come to for advice, which sometimes makes me uncomfortable.

I am interested in all kinds of psychology, forensics, working out, writing, reading and reflecting on life and it's meaning.

I am mostly an introvert and am quiet unless I know you well...then look out.

My best trait is my compassion.

What I like to do more than anything in the world is to help others in need and animals in need.

I have learned to take care of myself as well as be kind and loving to my loved ones.

I feel loved and at peace most of the time.

Ok, I'm just playing around here. I just decided I will not ever say I had a mother as she was not really appropriate for the role, but my grandmother did raise and love me. There is no point in listing DNA siblings who are not a part of my life. Maybe because I understand attachment, I both forgive and love Goneboy, but I am peaceful with his not coming back. I realize, in fact, that I would not feel comfortable around him and mostly his wife and like to feel totally at home with my kids and grands. I am very content with my family as it is right now.

I also have a dear friend that I consider connected to me in a spiritual way.

If this makes no sense to you, I No responses expected :)
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Pam sounds like a pretty great gal, with good loving people in her life. Ones not in her life are missing out.

Sent using ConductDisorders mobile app

Scent of Cedar *

Well-Known Member
Hello, everyone.

We made it home safely.


Here is an interesting thing: As I acknowledge the real barriers to valid communication for my FOO, it is freeing me from the self-concept ~ from that niggling little sense of sadness and shame ~ that were part and parcel of the me who believed in the possibility for wholeness.

All at once, I suppose, at different times or around different issues, that they miss me. In the past, I would have viewed those same events from the opposite point of view.

I would have been sad to be without them, and would have felt badly for the state our FOO was in.

This is an amazingly better perspective to see us from.


P.S. My son called last night.


Nice man.


I need to the FOO thread a place to discuss our dysfunctional family and get feedback? Just wanted to know for sure before I unload on you guys:)


Well-Known Member
Your a good woman, hang in there. Its not easy even after we have picked up and moved on, as our past will always be with us. But, we learn what we dont want in our life and what we can improve or keep doing what we are doing to keep being happy. Many hugs and I agree with Lil, their loss.


Well-Known Member
Pjw, you can make your own thread, never worry about "unloading on us" I have millions of threads here! You also may respond on her FOO thread too. This forum is wonderful and here to help. Welcome


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I really like what you wrote. I have been disowned by my mother and Difficult Child#1. It is very difficult to sort out.


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Now that I have officially decided not to even know what FOO is doing by letting go of even looking at anything from their social media, I almost feel like they are not real. They are so far from me. My identity gets stronger and I stop thinking about the past when they are totally gone. TOTALLY gone, that is. I can't cheat by looking at what they are doing by social media or asking my father what t hey are up to. In fact, he has respected my wishes and not spoken of them to me.

I have a strong identity, but it seems to meld away the minute even a little drama from FOO comes back and I'm there being thirteen again and feeling small, worthless and bad. My only defense against them is to live as if they are not there and for me they aren't.

Try this: Define yourself in three words. I had to do this in therapy. My words were creative, sensitive a nd compassionate. You can probably do it pretty quickly too. That tells you who you identify as being. Your strongest traits.

I have deliberately built a peaceful family for myself and love peace and serenity. I no longer allow drama queens into my life...DNA collections, strangers who want to be friends, anyone. If you say DRAMA I say NO.

I have learned our more elaborate identities are what we are and what we do. For example, I'm an animal lover who is very creative, loves to write, read and tell goofy jokes. I like to run to blow off stress. Although I can be alone, I also do like to talk to people. I thought I was an introvert, b ut more and more, after reading, realize I'm am ambivert. My famimly (my MADE family) is everything to me. I'd die for t hem. I enjoy working, volunteering and I love to help others. It makes me feel good inside. I am bad at conflict and do best avoiding it altogether. I have a mood disorder and some trauma issues, which are usually under control. And I happen to not have a FOO who loves me. Oh, well. They have marked me as the bad guy since I've been little and I don't need them or want them. Like an addict sometimes I want to engage them, but I can't. I'll bet if you write it out, you'll see you are a strong identity too...something that has nothing to do with who you were born to.

Stay positive. Avoid people w ho trigger your fears and make you feel small. Count your blessings.

Those who decide we are "bad" are the losers, not us. We aren't the ones tossing people out of our lives, and it's not as if those who do it are so wonderfully easy to get along with.

Have a good day. Glad this thread came up again when I'm over my blip of trauma with FOO.

The best part of it is that when somebody is totally out of your life, they have no control over what you do. They can't control or manipulate your feelings or cause guilt. I feel very free.

Scent of Cedar *

Well-Known Member
I think back to how frightened I had been to confront my FOO once I began feeling differently about them. I am not sure whether I was afraid of them...or was the fear I felt because I did not know who I would be if I were not the "nice" one. These past weeks have been an amazing exercise in changing perspective regarding FOO, in exploration of anger and naming and assigning responsibility to the perp. (That is television crime talk for "perpetrator" ~ :O) I am sure Jack Webb from Dragnet says "perp" too.)

In looking back, I admire myself for continuing to see them at all. I did not have to. I am not glad that I continued to see them; there was wasted time there because they were lying. Their motives were false from the beginning.

I still have trouble believing that. There is no other explanation that fits so perfectly into all the cracks and crevices.

Hard to believe it, though.

I wish I had known everything I know now about how they see me, and about how they see themselves, and about how hopeless it was to ever believe that could change. I suppose it doesn't really matter what I did or did not do regarding my FOO. They are who they are by choice, like all of us are.

I wish, when what happened with the kids broke and left me so freaking vulnerable, that I had remembered they (my mother and my sister, especially ~ and double that when the two of them are together instead of at one another's throats, like usual) were never to be trusted. Water under the bridge, now. I cannot change what is done.

I catch myself wishing for them, sometimes.

I remind myself of what I know, now, about who they are and what they have done. It was a good exercise for me to go exploring through the events in my remembering that I had hidden away under "Oh, that's just Mom." Or under "Oh, that's just sister." I had such a hard time believing it even as I was posting about it, but those harmful or pointlessly ugly things each has done were were very true things. Denial is a blessing in that way. I am glad I know now. I am glad I did not know, then. Losing the kids, losing that imagery I held of myself as a great mom ~ losing all that was so hard for me. I think I could not have gone psyche exploring in that time and come away healthier.

I don't see it as being someone without FOO. I see myself as someone whose FOO was deathly toxic and continues, by informed and willful choice, to choose toxic; in that choice they somehow elevate themselves in their own estimations of self. This seems so counterproductive to me that it doesn't make any sense.

Who destroys family to elevate themselves over something destroyed?

Where is the "elevation" in that?

It could be that dysfunctional families run, like rats are said to run from a sinking ship, away from the loss of status involved when the kids go the wrong way like mine did.

That could explain it.



Well-Known Member
Your real family is who loves you for real and whom you love back for real.

Your identity is not connected to your DNA, unless you are one of the lucky ones and your DNA connections get along. Then it can be a part of your identity. But it doesn't have to be.

I don't remember ever thinking "I am a (my last name)." I didn't fit in and I knew the family was not a good one and I set myself apart by saying things like, "I'm a creative person. I am a giving person. I am a very sensitive person, maybe it's not even good." "I lose my temper too fast. That's not good but it is part of me." "When I love somebody, I love them with all my heart and soul." "I have an off-beat sense of humor." "I am nervous, high strung and prone to depression." "I believe in the pranormal, life after this life, and that animals are as precious to God as humans." "I like to sing." "I bombed in school."

My traits and actions were and are who I am. That's my me. I am not one of the _______s. I gag at the thought of it. I'm nothing like them. I have tried very hard to NOT be one of them...I don't agree with the way they feel about sooooooooo many things and how they treat others.


New Member
I have been struggling for quite some time with FOO issues and my difficult child. I have been divorced for over 20 years and have 1 difficult child adult son 28.
Both my parents were alcoholics. Father was a binge drinker with social anxiety mother was also addicted to pain medications depression anxiety anger issues. I thought my sister and I were close.
When my husband left me my sister basically cut ties with me so I felt I lost both of the people I loved and respected most.
I tried for years to have a closer relationship with my sister. She said she had her own family. I did not understand. It was especially hard being a single divorced parent with a difficult child who had difficulties with school and ended up being a heroin addict.​
Fast forward to today. I realize that my sister and I are not close and there is nothing I can do about it. She married into a big Italian family and they always get together for holidays and beaching weekends a block from where I live. At first I went but I never felt welcomed or comfortable so I stopped going. The reality is that I spent years trying to have a better relationship with my sister. Parents are deceased. I also spent years trying to fix my son. It didnt work. He stole and lied to me and treated me disrespectfully. I felt guilty about his life and blamed myself.
I am now in my 50s and need to have my own life and find positive friendships. It has been lonely. It as been hard to meet new people. Any suggestions?


Well-Known Member
It is hard to find new people. I suggest joining a club or organized group that doesn't involve a theology. I find friends in singing in community choirs. We are not organized religion people. It's difficult to find activities in North Carolina that don't involve belonging to a church. For at least a year everyone we met asked "Did you find a church yet?" They're not looking to befriend you, they're looking to evangelize you. Don't go there because they will abandon you when you don't conform to their evangelical whim of the moment. If you are a church goer, go because you have that faith, not to find friends. There's no one more judgmental than an evangelical, except perhaps your FOO.

Find other people who enjoy your hobby, and allow yourself - and them - to get to know each other. There will be people you fit with and people you don't, but you don't HAVE TO spend time with them.


Well-Known Member
It as been hard to meet new people. Any suggestions?
Find group-oriented activities that align with your passions - not just "interests". Activities or causes that you feel a very strong positive connection to and are willing to invest time and energy into. Then, get involved. You won't click with everybody, but usually there will be some on your page.


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I am now in my 50s and need to have my own life and find positive friendships.
I live in a smaller city where there is not much that I want to do. Lots of fitness clubs. And that is about it. That said, there are several women my age who want to be my friend in my religious community. Also groups for sewing, needlework, and quilting bring women together if you like that kind of stuff.

If there is a college near you, going to classes that interest you is a great way to learn and to be with others, no matter the age. I make friends with who ever I can. You can find companionship with anybody. Art and Photography classes in particular bring people together.

What about volunteering, where the emphasis is on the needs of others? With old people, animals, league of women voters, tutoring people at the library who are illiterate or do not speak English, etc. These kinds of activities attract like-minded people.

Learn a new language so that you can be friends with people with whom you could never before communicate. I learned Spanish when I turned 50. And Portuguese too. My SO does not speak English nor does his family. A whole new life opened up for me.

It is about deciding to do it. You have had betrayals in your life, and losses. We all have. The question is is what are you going to do about it?

Think about looking at the thread about FOO (family of origin) on the Watercolor. Maybe as you learn more about yourself and how you have lived your life, you will find the courage to go forward.

I for one have found friendship here on the board. I feel both valued and supported by people here. They encourage me to take risks to have an even fuller life. We start where we are.

Take care.

Your identity is not connected to your DNA
I disagree SWOT. I think that we are bigger people if we try to understand who we are in relation to our FOO members. In this way we honor what we survived, even though we are living apart from them, as we are doing in the FOO files.


Well-Known Member
In my case, I do not identify with my FOO. I understand what went wrong and I know my womb donor and father's nationality, but, actually, I'm American. My family was Jewish, but actually I have a combination of Buddhist and New Age strong beliefs. I am me. I am not connected to anybody because of my DNA. I am choosing to be connected to many loving people by choice.

We all can see ourselves and our identity as we wish to see ourselves.

To me, my FOO did nothing but hurt me. That is what they are to me so I don't identify with them. If I felt that DNA mattered, I could not have adopted so many children who I'd walk through fire for if that saved their lives. The only DNAers of mine that matter to me (well two) are my father (I detest my mother's side) and my son and grand. And that is due to love, not DNA. I love the rest of my non-DNA family every bit as much. So for me the DNA connection of my FOO is not a connection.

Scent of Cedar *

Well-Known Member
I have family visiting and cannot respond at length. I am happy that you posted in. That we re doing this together has been validating for me. It is easy to operate from those same old roles. Maybe it has something to do with the rigidity SWOT's article on dysfunctional family dynamics explored. In any event, once we can see our relationships to our FOO for the counterfeit things they are, we can turn freely away from them. It sounds as though you have already turned away, to a degree.

That is a difficult thing; it takes a kind of courage to go naked like that. It feels as though we are the ones who have wronged them, or like we are the ones who should pull everything together. It has been such a comfort to me, to have SWOT and Copa and IC to tell my secrets to.

I am glad you are here with us; glad you are reading along and that you posted.