Explaining Parental Entitlement Beliefs in Dysfunctional Families

Looks like Love but Is It?
Looks like Love but Is It?

“In the minds of my parents, they are the victims; I am the abuser.” Christina Enevoldsen

I began writing this blog post a few years ago inspired by the blog post on the Overcoming Sexual Abuse website “Exposing the Incest Family Secrets”. In this article Christina Enevoldsen shares about how her mother’s dismissive treatment of her makes it clear that the message is “you are nothing”. She quotes her mother’s statements about her and the fact that her parents sued her for writing her blog, “Overcoming Sexual Abuse” exposing her father for sexually abusing her and her mother for disregarding it. Christina’s parents sued her for defamation of character and emotional distress. Through their case, they wanted to shut down OSA and silence her voice.

Christina and I have become close personal friends through the passion we share for advocacy work. The fact that her parents sued her had a dramatic effect on me. An anger and frustration came up in me that caused me to lose sleep; I could NOT get my head around how a sexually abusive parent could SUE the child that was sexually abused. Christina’s parents were suing for ‘emotional damages’. In Christina’s article she shares about the way she was convinced that she was ‘nothing’ and how she went on to regard herself as nothing just as they taught her her value.

In her Article, Christina writes about her struggle and breakthrough in dealing with the deeply implanted childhood belief that she really was the bad person that her parents accused her of. She makes a statement in her article that just jumped out at me and hit me ‘differently’ and at a deeper level than usual. She wrote “Abuse is about powering over someone else. I’m not taking away my dad’s power; I’m claiming my own power. I’m exercising MY right to tell MY story of MY life.”

I have known for a long time now that abuse IS about powering over someone else but what struck me differently is the way abusers, manipulators and controllers see this statement; the way that parents with entitlement beliefs UNDERSTAND this statement is what struck me as shocking. 

I always talk about the fact that in the dysfunctional family system it is believed that the one with the most power wins. And it is believed by those ‘in power’ that “having power’ is the only safe place to be. They believe that power is respected and respect is love. They believe that when a person with less power jumps through their hoops ~ that “proves” that the person with less power (and therefore less value) loves them. In this grossly dysfunctional family system, it somehow “restores their order” when abusive, controlling or manipulative people can prove that they are right about the fact that they are ‘more valuable’ by defining someone else as LESS valuable.

Abusive, controlling, manipulative and narcissistic people presenting themselves as victims, even as victims of their own children, is a huge part of the dysfunctional family system problem.

That sentence in Christina’s blog post; ““Abuse is about powering over someone else. I’m not taking away my dad’s power; I’m claiming my own power. I’m exercising MY right to tell MY story of MY life.” jumped out at me because it sheds light on a different way of seeing the motive of the abusive or controlling person in the equation. I know that the abusive person sees standing up for ourselves as trying to power over them ~ that is the pecking order family system that they believe in and that is the dysfunctional way that they see “respect” ~ That is their ‘entitlement’ and their “rights as parents”; how dare you (or we) put a crack in their fragile existence and understanding of “the truth”! I realized through that quote that these entitled parents actually believe that the truth when coming from us, is disrespectful to them and that respect and compliance and agreement with them means that WE agree that we are less valuable than they are. And their entitlement as parents (in their minds) TRUMPS the actual truth.

Their entitlement issue is so large that when their entitlement as parents is challenged, they believe that they are being victimized! They believe this so much that they will even SUE the child that they sexually abused and list all sorts of stories to back up their claims and to “prove” that they are the actual victims because they have never given the child any “rights” or “value” in the first place. It’s so pathetic ~ they are so pathetic.

I know that I write prolifically about how there is no solution in understanding abusive mothers, controllers, manipulators or narcissistic parents, but sometimes there is comfort and validation in realizing the sick ways that they think! This is one of those cases.

The only path to healing and freedom is to hold up your head long enough to SEE the truth about you.

When I first considered creating and authoring Emerging from Broken using my real name I was terrified to expose my parents or the dysfunctional family dynamics I grew up with in any way. I tried for a long time to focus exclusively topics about recovery from depression and trauma by writing about more superficial things, and writing about how healing came through realizing the things I believed about myself that were not true without saying HOW those false beliefs actually arrived in my belief system.

I quickly overcame my fear about writing the facts about how those false truths became what I believed about me in the first place because understanding how I came to believe I was insignificant is what set me free from the oppression of other peoples entitlement beliefs in the first place. 

My motive was never for revenge; my motive was because when I looked at the facts and the truth about my life, the trauma, my actions and reactions vs. the actions perpetrated upon me, I felt validated for the first time. I overcame my terror because I finally realized it was a misplaced fear.

Psychologist Alice Miller puts it this way: “I have never known a patient to portray his parents more negatively than he actually experienced them in childhood but always more positively—because idealization of his parents was essential for his survival.” Alice Miller ~

The important thing for me was realizing that idealization of my parents WAS essential for my survival when I was a child. It is not essential for my survival anymore.

The fear was in fact a belief that I had to cover for them. The fear was based in the belief that I was LESS valuable than them and in the consequences of challenging that lie. My belief in my lesser value actually assisted them in believing in their greater value, which of course IS the way dysfunctional family systems work.

Just because some parents have entitlement issues, doesn’t mean that they are entitled. Just because over half the world believes and goes along with parents who act in and through their ‘entitlement’ beliefs doesn’t make entitlement truth either. Just because some parents believe and act as though they are above the law, doesn’t mean that they are actually above the law. Just because these parents say that you have no rights and that they have all the rights doesn’t make those false statements the truth.

Christina’s parents did not win their case against her.

Please share your thoughts about entitlement, the content in this post, or about anything that you wish to share with us in the comments.

Exposing Truth, One Snapshot at a time;

Darlene Ouimet

The Emerging from Broken book “The Beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing” is ready for download! If you find that the subject matter I am writing about resonates with you, get this book today! This 197 page, downloadable, printable, live linked e-book will put you on the fast track to healing.  Get yours here through the upper right side bar or click this link~ Emerging from Broken The Beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing

Darlene Ouimet is a professional life transitions coach with a busy private practice working with clients all over the world. In 2010, this emotional healing expert launched Emerging from Broken and today is one of the most popular blogs on the topic of healing. Her candid, heartfelt message of hope empowers people to create a life of freedom and wholeness. 

77 response to "Explaining Parental Entitlement Beliefs in Dysfunctional Families"

  1. By: Yvonne Posted: 25th March 2016

    Light and s1988:

    Sorry, but I think I wrote that the childhood friend and I were always together that she was “like” a sister to me. I saw a psychic reader who told me that this friend, Lisa, had a strong karmic tie to me and that we had been actually family—sisters– in a past life! Another psychic reader also gave me the same message. I do believe in past lives and reincarnation, so it was no accident that we came together as close childhood friends, same age, and just happened to live in the same neighborhood!

    On names: There is an awesome Amazon Kindle book:

    “It’s All In The Name” by Sharita Star.

    The author writes about name lexigrams—finding anagrams in your full birth name—-as a divination tool. I have done my own name it was amazingly accurate, along with numerology and astrology. I believe that your full birth name was NO accident and I was simply blown away by my own name. Not to brag, but my own full birth name lexigram reads like a long poem and full of divination! Buy the book!

    Blessed be! Yvonne

  2. By: Yvonne Posted: 25th March 2016


    I truly hated my first name and there is no way I can forever live with this first name which was my childhood name. I envy women who could marry young and legally change their last name without any social issues. I used to question what my new first name should be. Since I’m Celtic Pagan, I want to legally change my first name to my religious Pagan name. It’s a good Celtic name but I won’t give it away here. My new name will be: New Celtic Pagan name, Yvonne, (I hope—-new married last name—if our relationship lasts and I think it will).

    I get called my Pagan name at all religious gatherings. I feel like it’s already become my name. My new last name wiil not be very common and it’s an ethnic Russian name (American born guy). LOL! I have also changed my hair color and style but I can’t give up wearing glasses. We’re also seriously talking about someday moving to a new state.

    I don’t know about you, but I feel that the only way you can get past the childhood issues is totally reinventing yourself. I want my life to be like a blank slate. I don’t want the world to know that I was a victim and want them to see me as a whole person now. It’s exciting to know that you can move anywhere and change your entire style for fun. I am not a slave to my past and I look forward to a new life.

  3. By: Yvonne Posted: 25th March 2016


    The only good therapist that I found was back when I was a teen in high school. It was right before I moved to Arizona after my high school graduation. This therapist seemed to have a magical connection with teenagers and truly understood me and my horrible family. She was the only one who would challenge my mom, “So Mrs.G—-I see that you have a model daughter who is an honors student, no drug/substance abuse, no teenage crime, no boyfriend…..and I don’t get what the problem is?”

    The other therapists automatically sided with my mom that I was an evil daughter within ten minutes of the conversation. I was actually lucky to have had a little support back in high school. My parents of course twisted this all around saying that I was the “crazy” one for seeing a therapist and reading self-help books. People believed my parents since I was only a young girl with no money and power. It’s interesting that they never really knew me and it was all about gossip and appearances.

    I am still gossiped about to this day. I did not attend my father’s funeral service and I heard through the grapevine that one of their neighbors thought that I was “retarded” and that’s why I stay away from my parent’s house! How rude! I was not there but I actually have a B.A. Degree and this older man neighbor does not! LOL!

    No,I don’t have a biological sister. What I was trying to say is that I had a very close childhood friend in Seattle (hometown) and we were always doing everything together. We are together in nearly every photo in my photo album until the age of ten when my parents moved across town to a new house. I lost some contact with her as a teen since my home was so embarrassing and chaotic. I felt that I did the right thing to protect myself. Her name is Lisa and I found her after a long search online and she is also on facebook. She goes by her married name and lives in Las Vegas. I think that if I can get more of my life together that just maybe in a few more years I can take a weekend trip to Vegas and meet up again—-“let’s do lunch!” The truth be told is that she has had a very comfortable life and is very financially well to do. I had a young adult life full of abuse, problems, and severe money issues. I have worked hard to turn my life around. It’s my dream to meet with her again and I feel that in doing so I could heal an even bigger chunk of my childhood. She never knew exactly how bad my home issues were. I am not trying to scare anyone, but I just want some closure in my past.

  4. By: S1988 Posted: 25th March 2016


    Actually it was my father who named me, not my mother. He favored me, but wasn’t around for most of my life because of the separation and divorce of my parents. The last time I spoke with him was about five years ago, and all he wanted was to whine to me about my brother and mom, and use me as a tool for revenge, so I cut contact with him.

    Interesting that there are two people here who are considering changing their names. That’s a bit drastic for me, but I believe people should be free to change their names if they wish. While there were people who teased me for my name, and others who butcher it sometimes, I like it. My friend in Iowa even gave me a cute nickname. Besides, I can’t find any other names that would fit me anyway.

  5. By: Light Posted: 25th March 2016

    Yvonne, I like hearing your thoughts about changing your name…I am also thinking of doing so. I will keep my first name, but possibly change my last name.

    I didn’t realize that you have a sister. How is your relationship with your sister? Does she live nearby?

    I’ve said this before, so you may have already read this, but my experience with therapists is that sometimes it can take A LOT of initial visits with various people before finding the right one. For me, maybe one in every 10-15 is someone that feels like the right fit. It can be challenging to find one, but then worth it. I’m glad you had that therapist validate you!

  6. By: Yvonne Posted: 22nd March 2016

    Parental Entitlement really hit me hard with my NParent issues. Growing up, I truly believed that I was like an invisible person. I lived in my parent’s house and had the basics like food, clothing, and shelter but it never felt right. My NParents had a kind of wall around them and I was always the outsider who seemed to “bother” them. I couldn’t figure out why I had these parents or why if they hated me so much that they just couldn’t give me away for adoption. There was no love or kindness or friendship, and I realized that I was more like a social obligation. They were concerned about appearances and how I fit into their plan. Many times I wanted to run away or escape but there was no where to run to or hide.

    I am VERY metaphysical and I try not to scare people away or be preachy here. My background is Celtic/Norse Paganism and the Spiritualist Church, plus alternative healing and most positive metaphysics. I have been to a few great psychic readers through the years asking for what was wrong with my parents. The only message that I consistently got was that my father came from a generation where children were seen and not heard. It was the husband’s job to side with his wife at all times in every way. I totally disagree with that line of thinking. I have met men about my father’s age who were my father’s coworkers and neighbors and they had a very different personality type than my father. I ask myself if I had such poor genetics and horrible environment than how come I am not like my parents? And that’s a complement!

    I find it amazing how my father could supposedly love the monster NMom and she was also abusive toward him. I grew up and I swear that I have positively NO LOVE for either one of my parents! It’s been hard keeping quiet and finding who you can trust to confide in. The Mother Cult is alive and well with “How do you say that about your biological mother/father…” In the past, I have been shamed and verbally abused for speaking the truth about my parents and even lost friends.

    I can remember past small incidents where both my parents publicly embarrassed me like in a restaurant in front of people. My NFather made funny remarks about my hair (naturally curly and I now I wear a straight style), my weight(calling me “fat” in front of a group and telling me what I should order on the menu), and remarks about my not so good complexion as a teen when I just wanted to cry. Everybody in the group laughed when I just wanted to leave. How come I can be publicly humiliated but if I were to be equally rude and insulting toward my parents in a restaurant then I’m a brat, or mentally ill, or disrespectful. The relationship we had was like a king/queen and slave. It’s like I had to respect and worship them both simultaneously.

    Both of my parents became even more abusive and nasty toward me when they bought a big, luxury house. My father moved up in his job and my parents were obsessed with owning a luxury house to show off. My mother was always obsessed with real estate and owning rental properties. They were incredibly tight with money and frugal, but as long as they owned this property that made it all well. In other words, my parents had their own little world and I was never a true daughter or a part of their world. These Narcs enjoy abusing and having power over children, but they must also be worshiped and adored!


    I too suffered from a vain and Narc mom concerned for her appearance. I recall writing about the “ugly posts” with you. Presently, I still have issues about my appearance. There are times when I’m afraid to dress up and go out to a formal event. I live alone in my home, but what if NMom sees me? She lives far away in another town. What if I look too good and other jealous females give me a bad time? In my daily life, I’m a regular jeans and tee-shirt type and wear crystal jewelry. I do fix my hair in a straight style and nearly dark blonde color. Sometimes I feel that my life is passing by, and I should lose weight and have a total closet makeover like on those reality TV shows. But I’m afraid to look too good since Mommie Dearest might see me—crazy! I want to heal my makeover issues and I know that I will!


    My mother does not own a computer but my NCousin does. I have blocks on facebook and the only reason that I don’t have blocks on yahoo and Gmail is that is the only communication I have with him. I can change my cell phone number. He has my home address and came over once. What a coincidence but my first name is VERY unique and Yvonne is my middle name. It seems as if these Narc parents like to abuse their kids by giving them odd names! Yes, I was teased as a child for having such a weird first name. Whenever I sign checks and so on, I always sign my full name—first, middle, and last name.

    I think that I want to change my name completely. I’m seeing a good man and at my age (47 years old) if we get married then I will take on his last name. We have even talked about moving to a brand new state! My idea was to legally change my first name, too. Like I said before, my hair style and color are totally different. My NMom insults my hair because it looks too good! LOL! I feel that part of my healing is the makeover and taking back my power, including my name and looks. It’s all about letting go of the past and feeling like a whole new person. I don’t think that it’s wrong to change your name and style if it makes you happy. It’s like a little bit of belated teenage rebellion!


    When do children become people? You just hit exactly what the problem was for me in my home growing up. I was NEVER viewed as a person with any rights at all. My NParents viewed me like I was another one of their rental properties. A maid would have been treated better than me by NParents. Please write your book and share with all of us!


    “In this instance, my mother was/is very emotionally immature which made her very insecure, anxious, very focussed on her own internal needs and not aware of those of her children and also very controlling of us from when we were very little – essentially it was family life centred very firmly on the emotional needs and wishes of our parents and there was little interest in discovering who my sister and I were as people, the idea being more that we were to be moulded into children that served their interests somehow. In addition, our parents were very isolated people, had no friends and so there was little chance of discovering yourself in a social context neither, aside from our time at school.

    To cut a long story short, the end result was two girls entering adulthood with little concept of their own intrinsic value, no real idea of who they were, insecure and afraid of interacting with unknown people. Very unsure of themselves…”

    WOW! You totally describe my family dynamics. I tried counseling appointments with past therapists who could not get any of this. I felt like I was some kind of academic robot. My NFather only cared about my school grades and never if I was “happy” with friends or with any hopes or dreams. All I could do was dream about growing up and my future living on my own. I am happy compared to my childhood. There are hard money issues and dealing with my elderly NMOM, but I live alone and I’m safe.


    I was called “The Problem” by my NParents. When I was a teenager, I tried seeing a therapist. About the only decent therapist that I met was this particular lady with an MSW degree. She could not understand what was so bad about having me for a daughter. She argued with my NMom that I was a model daughter with no major issues. My NMom would argue back that you can’t see behind closed doors at our house. How true but NMom could have been describing herself!

    Sorry my comments are always long. I fall behind in my reading and then try to catch up with everyone. Thanks for such a safe place for sharing.

    Blessed be,


  7. By: Kris Posted: 15th March 2016


    I know in one of the emails that Lois McCullough sent me I had the option of purchasing these summit interviews for 37.00 but I also went on her website and there was a place where you could enter your name and email address in and it looked like you would be able to receive some of these interviews free yet but I am not sure about that. Maybe Darlene’s would be one of them.

    Click on the main page where it says “Unstuck & Unstoppable” to get to the place to enter in your name and address. Don’t know how long this will be available so I would move fast. There were a lot of great interviews. I extracted what I thought would benefit me and left the rest. I think it depends on what stage of your recovery that you are at on whether or not you will be able to receive some of the things that they were talking about but overall I think every interviewee had something good to offer that will help someone out there. Hope you will be able to access these interviews.



  8. By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 14th March 2016

    Hi Kris and Light ~ so glad that you listened to and enjoyed the interview!!

    Hi Momma
    Light is referring to an interview that I did last week for a webinar called “Unstuck and Unstoppable” but it was only available to listen to for a few days. I sent out an email about it. Sorry you missed it!
    Hugs, Darlene

  9. By: Momma Posted: 14th March 2016

    What interview? How do we access?


  10. By: Light Posted: 13th March 2016

    Kris, Thank you for your input. I love your idea to provide someone with the means to enter therapy.

    Darlene, I thoroughly enjoyed your interview as well. You are a natural when being interviewed! You are easy to listen to and have a warmth about you which comes across to your listeners.

  11. By: Kris Posted: 12th March 2016

    Hi Light,

    I am going with my heart to determine who will inherit what I have if there is anything left that is!!! I think a lot of us are struggling just to keep our heads above water. I don’t feel obligated to anyone. I am giving to those who brought joy into my life and to those who don’t have a pot to pee in due to the damaging affects from being abused. I would love to provide someone with the means to enter into therapy. The truth is my family doesn’t even enter into the picture when I think about who I want to give anything to because none of them did anything for me to make me feel that way. Sad but true!!!

    I have a really good friend who was there for me throughout my entire recovery process and still is. I am putting her son’s name as the beneficiary on an old IRA account I have. She, her son, and her husband are my family now. I feel blessed.


    I wanted to tell you that I thoroughly enjoyed your interview on the getting unstuck summit. I read your gift give away a couple of years ago and re-read it now and I thought it was perfect for this event. Thanks for all you do.

    Peace & Hugs,

  12. By: S1988 Posted: 11th March 2016


    What you with your money should be up to you.

    Personally, I don’t see the point of setting up an inheritance for myself since I don’t plan to have children, and my nephews are probably too far gone concerning my family’s dysfunction. My oldest nephew will be a legal adult in two months, and his brothers aren’t far off. The only thing I can do is hope that they figure things out on their own, and stop the cycle.

  13. By: Light Posted: 11th March 2016

    I am wondering what people are doing about estate planning and especially beneficiaries? It seems like several of us are low contact/no contact with our FOO, and several of us are single, and several have variable relationships with siblings, nieces, nephews….

    what to do? I have some nieces and nephews that have maintained contact, others who have not. Is it unfair to leave money to some but not others? Or I could skip family altogether and give to a charity.


  14. By: Light Posted: 9th March 2016

    Systemic, entrenched, rigid, harsh, divisive, distant, secretive, arbitrariness, inconsistent, critical, damaging….those are some of the words I think of when I think about my FOO dynamics. I tried and tried for years to change it, made tiny progress here and there with setbacks. After this last go-round with my mother, where she took back so many things, I gave up. Apologies don’t mean much when the person keeps doing the offensive behavior, or doesn’t remember healing words i.e. “I said that?”

  15. By: Light Posted: 9th March 2016


    I could relate to much of what you wrote in post 44. What you’re describing: the minimal emotional support, the sabotaging sister, the loss of nieces and nephews because of the sabotage, the parents who framed me as “the problem”, the fractures within the family, the undeveloped identity of myself, the lost feeling in school with no one to help, left alone to work out childhood emotions, no extended family nearby, the inability or refusal to take responsibility….all of it happened and is happening to me and in my family-of-origin as well. Your description was very close to my experience!

    I didn’t hear that it was “genetics gone bad”…so I can’t speak to that, but clearly I was/am designated as one with the problem and told that. My mother especially seemed to really latch on to the idea that I read self-help books, saw a therapist, etc. as somehow validation something was wrong with me. How convenient of her to blame me rather than look at herself.

    I made the very difficult decision to go low contact, and many days are challenging. Some days I feel brighter and freer, and other days there is such an aching hole in my heart, I wonder how I or anyone can survive a childhood if you never really bond with your mother, and your father is not a protector but a boundary-buster? How does a person survive not bonding and then lead a healthy life? A huge foundation block is missing.

    I am so sorry you’re mother reacted as she did when you told her of your depression. I am sorry that you are depressed; it is good that you are reaching out for support and understanding.

  16. By: Julia Posted: 8th March 2016

    Thank you T. thank you Andria. Thank you for taking the time to read my words. It’s a truly beautiful thing to be able to put this stuff out there and feel your love in return. Take care of yourselves also Xx

  17. By: Andria Posted: 8th March 2016

    Julia and T.-

    I can feel the pain of you both. Please take care of yourselves, and like T. said: “…know that you are not alone.”

  18. By: Julia Posted: 7th March 2016

    Great website Darlene, thank you so much for sharing your insights and for creating this community, I’ve been getting a great deal from everyone’s comments.

    Reading this particular blog entry, I wondered if anyone else has had any experience with parents so convinced that they are the victims of the children they made that they tell themselves the problem child’s issues are as a result of them getting bad genes? Does anyone have any thoughts on this angle?

    In this instance, my mother was/is very emotionally immature which made her very insecure, anxious, very focussed on her own internal needs and not aware of those of her children and also very controlling of us from when we were very little – essentially it was family life centred very firmly on the emotional needs and wishes of our parents and there was little interest in discovering who my sister and I were as people, the idea being more that we were to be moulded into children that served their interests somehow. In addition, our parents were very isolated people, had no friends and so there was little chance of discovering yourself in a social context neither, aside from our time at school.

    To cut a long story short, the end result was two girls entering adulthood with little concept of their own intrinsic value, no real idea of who they were, insecure and afraid of interacting with unknown people. Very unsure of themselves. One of us (me) had always used over-achieving to fend off the feelings of inadequacy (which had the added bonus of pleasing the parents) but unfortunately my sister became anorexic in her late teens and in her twenties it started to become clear this was part of a Narcissistic Personality Disorder – although it took some time for me to work this part out.

    We are now in our forties and my sister’s NPD is very much developed, she is a ‘victim-turned-bully’ and her unmet emotional needs have meant that she cannot bear having me around as competition for the little emotional support that is available from the parents. So over the past twenty years our relationship has shrunk to nothing as she has done her best to exclude me fully from the family (she now has kids of her own who she has also ensured I don’t see).

    Right now, I am in a process of working all this out and trying to heal myself from this sorry mess having recently been plunged into a severe depression largely brought about by the exclusion. One huge problem I am having is that the parents point-blank refuse to acknowledge that their parenting could have created this monster and they have said, even repeatedly to my sister’s face, that she has a mental illness that has genetic origins. There was an Aunt who very probably had a personality disorder who made their lives quite difficult for a time and so this has always been the comparison, openly made. I can only imagine how powerless and betrayed that must have made my sister feel.

    Meanwhile I am so angry with my parents at the moment for how I feel they let us down, I am angry that I lost my sister, that I am losing my niece and nephew and that our lives have been so affected by the dysfunction they still to this day cannot even slightly admit existed.

    When I told my Mother of my recent severe depression diagnosis which has been on-going now for a couple of months with quite debilitating physical symptoms, her reaction was totally devoid of concern or sympathy but very much one of ‘How could I do this to her when she already has her own much more significant problems?’ Historically the most self-sufficient of the family, I have called upon her emotional support very little having learnt there isn’t much available in any case but this recent scenario has underscored it for me and brought back many memories of when my confused childhood emotions were left for me to work out on my own as she had nothing to offer her children in this area.

    Things are possibly at a point when I am literally going to be left with no contact with any of my family. I can’t swallow this ‘genetic’ line any longer and there’s no way they will take any responsibility. Any time I’ve ever tried to tell them how things look from my perspective it has always been ‘We’ve worked so hard to give you the life we never had.. how dare you complain etc.’ And for years I thought ok, fair enough I won’t complain but things are unfolding into horrors beyond my worst nightmares with this all at the root and the forgiveness I thought I’d found for them seems further away than ever.

    • By: T. Posted: 7th March 2016


      Your story breaks my heart as I too have a very similar experience.
      All I can say is I know the feeling being i
      T he Twilight Zone I like to call it. It is like ine cant even believe this is their family. I have had to let go of the fantasy that families are suppsed to be perfect and have to repeatedly remember that in order to take care of myself I must do waht makes me happy . I am not a pro at this yet, but I have to be my own best friend. Not even my spouse can fill this need. My children come close. I try to surround myself with people who bring out my positive qualities. I spend time alone daily. I know I am easily drained. I have relationship issues with my husband. I haven’t talked to my sister for over 6 months. Again my story is very much lime yours. The anger at times is palpable. The CPTSD I experience is real. The triggers and emotional flashbacks. I know it is systemic in my family . My parents didnt stop the cycle. I am. It is crazy awkward and painful and crazy making . I need to rely on myself and stay strong in my own skin as the family around me perpetuates the opposite.

      It is a nightmare to realize one’s family is full of dysfunction.
      I wish you all the best and know you are not alone.

      • By: T. Posted: 7th March 2016

        The typos. Sorry!

  19. By: Tripleguess Posted: 6th March 2016

    S1988 (#16),

    No, apparently you’re not the only one. The abuser #1 who was driven off is my father, and I believe my mother has gone off to see him at least once, so there may be some “light” association although abuser #2 discourages it because (I believe) he is co-dependent with my mother and does not want to lose his enabler “back” to the “original” abuser whose role he has claimed. This role is *not* “defender of the family” but “the guy who gets to be right all the time” because “everybody has ideas, but his ideas are always best, therefore everything is ultimately done his way” (after a certain amount of pretense at listening to & considering other family member’s opinions).

    Abuser #1 was driven off after a couple years of escalated emotional abuse (which was threatening to become physical, since it’s hard to scare kids that are now much bigger/stronger than the abuser and I think he was becoming desperate to retain control), BUT HE WAS REMOVED ONLY because he began TARGETING abuser #2; THEN suddenly the abuse was “not acceptable” and he was out within two months. Until then, the rest of us were expected to eat it and if we didn’t we were “bitter.” I was specifically called “bitter” behind my back (heard about it later) by abuser #2 because I stopped talking to abuser #1, instead walking away when #1 wanted to say “Good morning” and have me reciprocate and pretend he hadn’t just made life very difficult for yet another day.

    None of these behaviors are new. A few years ago there was a female friend of mine who, it turned out, abuser #2 liked a lot more than I did, and I was supposed to have her over every weekend even though I was working and spent a fair amount of time doing favors and errands for my parents; if I didn’t, he got mad and punished me emotionally (which REALLY hurt as I needed his approval at the time), and he did it in front of my mom, WHO NEVER CALLED HIM ON IT though she might come creeping by later to “make sure I was all right” (why I might not be “all right” was not discussed). Fortunately this was the young lady whose mother became jealous/insecure (probably because her only other child was going off to college and expressing an increasing amount of “I don’t need you anymore Mom” independence) and turned said young lady against me (but not before I loaned her a large series set of DVDs which she accepted though she knew it was her last visit — she never returned them — I guess she was grabbing everything she could on the way out before I found out what was going on), so I was eventually freed of all that…

    …EXCEPT abuser #2 then became angry with me when, while pouring my heart out (did I mention that being turned on for no good reason hurt just a little?), I said that the young lady had not exactly behaved ethically. Ohhh no! I wasn’t supposed to say that; she was a blameless white lily and I was being, well, “bitter.” I believe if she showed up tomorrow I’d be expected to welcome her with joy — or else.

    One more story and then I have done. Abuser #2 acquired a large dog a couple years ago. As the dog grew up, my sister (who is good with dogs) tried to teach it manners, but abuser #2 played “enabler” with the dog, saying things such as “Is sissy being mean to you? Can’t she take a little jumping up? Awww, come here, *I* love you and you can jump up on me” and otherwise telling my sister, directly and indirectly, that she was not to discipline the dog — even when the dog made a habit of crapping in my room; that was funny, see, and I just couldn’t take a joke.

    He kept this attitude up to literally the very minute when, as he was sitting with a plate of food in his hand, the dog raised her paw and punched him hard in the crotch.

    THEN it was suddenly deemed important for the dog to learn manners. It was set in its ways by then and abuser #2 and his enabler (*not* being good with dogs) had to resort to harsher methods than my sister had ever used to get it to mind. And that’s how it’s always been and, I believe, how it will always be: it’s not about reality, but about *his* reality, and anyone who challenges his reality is automatically an enemy. He may be nice for a while because he wants a favor or other benefits of “getting along,” but ultimately he thinks he’s right in trotting out the hostility whenever he feels like it.

    I have checked out of the game, which hasn’t gone over well haha, and I look forward to the day I can finally move out.

  20. By: Kahryn Posted: 4th March 2016

    That is such a good story to hear and especially that the parents lost. I still carry remnants of being held back in my speech about my parents. It is always inpiring to hear how somone found that freedom. It i so dam hard to truly be free. I shall give note to the power principle you explain here. It scared me to think that it might be part of my life. But for sure i have scarcely ever felt like the more important valuable person in any relationship. But what if this is so because i judge feeling more valueable based on these power principles of the other person being subservient. Its all a never ending sadness how this all works and impacts me.

  21. By: Momma Posted: 2nd March 2016


    Very good question. I tend to think it is the defense they use!

  22. By: DXS Posted: 2nd March 2016

    Belinda, if you need to reconcile the “Stuff” in your mind, then publicly you will have to tell a white lie and say “I have no family.” If you try to speak the truth, you will get POO POO’d. I’m all for you reconciling it in your mind, it’s tough to do so.

    I kept at my mom until she finally admitted to things. But she continues to do the “convince me it’s a duck when I see a goose” thing. Always with the “alternate agenda” behind her words. I think she doesn’t know she does this and thinks it’s “normal” and can’t stop……

    For example, any time she tries to give me a “helpful comment” the real agenda is, “please just go fix yourself so we don’t have to deal with you…..”

  23. By: Belinda Posted: 1st March 2016

    I would like to submit a question to the group….I had a talk with my husband today. I said I was at the point where I SEE very clearly the abuse and the unequal treatment that I put up with and suffered for years by many people in my life. Sometimes, you get blindsided by a fb post that doesn’t include THEM…but there they pop up through mutual relationship…and then you see that this person, their post, their OBVIOUS lying smirking stare surrounded by their (flying monkeys) kids. I read something the other day…it was something to the effect that “why be upset? YOU yourself drank THEIR kool aid too.” I get that and I OWN that. But even though I KNOW WHO they are and how they operate, I find it difficult to RECONCILE it in my mind, heart and soul still YET! SHIT! So, I asked my husband, when will I or should I WANT OR NEED to reconcile such terrible people in my heart mind and soul? He said NO….it isn’t necessary and that I by trying to do so, I am taking a step backwards, and again attempting to SHRINK TO FIT into a reality that is toxic and harmful to my life force and growth. How lovely he said that to me. I just want to know how and if any of you felt the need to reconcile this in yourself and where this need comes from and how did you overcome it? Any and all replies would be SO welcome. Thanks and love to all my fellow survivors here.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 2nd March 2016

      Hi Belinda,
      I am not sure what you want feedback on here. Your husband told you that you don’t need to reconcile in what way?? Is he saying that it isn’t necessary for you to see how horrible they were? Can you clarify? What exactly are you trying to reconcile?
      Hugs, Darlene

  24. By: DXS Posted: 1st March 2016

    I still struggle with owning my own story and am coming to understand how others in my family have decided it is their right to define who I am and what my story is. The sad truth is, they may really not know my story and may be so invested in the lies they live, that they honestly believe I am not telling the truth because my experience differs so much from their own. </quote.

    I am struggling with this, too. Mom has finally admitted she was wrong in how she raised me. But she still denies it when I say my father couldn't talk to me, and thus never did, and he made a big joke out of my life. I just didn't "fit" in my family and was the butt of jokes I didn't appreciate.

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