Adult Children and the Skewed Definition of Respect

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Why do adult children find it so hard to ignore the opinion of a parent?

When I was pregnant with my third child, my husband and I went over to his parents to tell them our exciting news but my father in law was not excited for us. He was angry. He didn’t say anything positive; in fact he stayed strangely quiet. My mother in law didn’t say too much either but I got the feeling that it had something to do with her husband’s reaction.

The next day, my father in law dropped by to see us and said that his wife had told him that his reaction to our news was not fair to us and that he should apologize. He launched into his “I’m sorry but it’s just that …” and then he proceeded to tell us all his judgements about us having a third child, and why this was such a terrible idea. He didn’t bother to hide his opinion that it was my fault and entirely my decision; as though my husband was a victim of a surprise pregnancy or as though he was not a participant in the event that got me pregnant!  Even though I was 36 years old at the time and both my husband and I were excited about this new child coming and we had never made the decision to stop at two children, we didn’t stand up to my father in law. We pretty much both just sat there and took it. We didn’t say that it was none of his business. It didn’t occur to us that he was actually insinuating that we were not smart enough, mature enough or responsible enough to decide on our own how many children we could or should have and that as always, he was reminding my husband that he should never make a decision without his father’s approval.

The bottom line is that it was not his decision, nor was it his place to give his opinion of why we should stop having children, but at some level we thought it would be disrespectful to go against him. The thing is though, what was our alternative? I was pregnant. We were in a no win situation. We were having a baby with or without his approval. The whole thing just hurt.

So again, why do adult children find it so hard to ignore the opinion of a parent? Why didn’t my husband tell his father to mind his own business about how many babies we were going to have? Why did we just sit there and listen to him go on and on? Why did we let him communicate to us that we were not smart enough to decide on our own how many kids we could or should have? Well for one thing our definition of respect was skewed.

The only reason he didn’t want us to have any more kids was because it interfered with his plans for my husband. My husband was his father’s hired man even though we had our own farm. Having children interfered with my husband’s work hours. So who was it really “best” for if we didn’t have any more kids? It had nothing to do with my husband and I. Growing up, our parents had not empowered us to transition from child to independent adult.  We had rarely been validated in our decisions. We were never approved of and were caught in the spin of always seeking approval; always trying to please. Therefore when we got a lecture about why we should not have another baby, we were well conditioned to accept judgement and reprimand. We have a different definition of respect today and we strive not to pass the old family systems on to our children.

Just another truth I discovered along the journey.

Darlene Ouimet

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91 response to "Adult Children and the Skewed Definition of Respect"

  1. By: Fi MacLeod Posted: 3rd November

    it is Suzanne’s kind of thinking which allows abuse to happen in families and remain unchallenged – and sadly, many people believe that rubbish and have not logically thought it through, blind to the consequences and to the reality of dysfunctional family relationships – I was brought up to believe that you had to respect your parents no matter what because they are your families and the 4th commandment tells you that you have to, but respect is earned, never automatic, where respect is irrelevant and not deserved then there is no reason to respect

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 3rd November

      Fi,
      You bring up a good point in talking about how this thinking has not been thought through and leaves everyone blind to the consequences. The consequences are great because in my case as a child raised that way, I did not know HOW to stand up for myself or that I had any right to. I only became the adult when it came to my own kids, excpet that in the case of this blog, even then my inlaws felt they had rights about how we raised them. So even as a parent I questioned my rights and my choices through the grid of what “they” the controlling parents wanted. Nasty system that never ends.
      Thanks for sharing!
      Hugs, Darlene

  2. By: Vicki Posted: 3rd November

    Darlene, you are a wonderful role model and inspiration for so many of us survivors of abuse. Do not let someone, who has no clue what it is like to survive these things, bring you down when you are helping so many people. God has given you a gift to help others. Keep using that gift and ignore the ignorances of those who have no clue what we have been through. ((((((hugs)))))

  3. By: Calvin Posted: 3rd November

    Darlene
    This sounds so much like a typical ” isolated religous rural community” thinking… They seem to think we are thier property and must play by the family “rules”…. I think that they are actually prisoners of this type of system and the “community group-think”. In many ways ive excused it as plain ignorance. How ever in this day and age there is no longer an excuse!!! They hide behind the facudes…protect the secrets… because the are afraid of what will happen if the truth is known. Farms are held over childrens heads… they are bought by those who are loyal…those who don’t measure up are tolerated as long as they play the game… Then there are those who call the bluff !!! Family systems are messy and we are all imoacted by them… for better or worse… These systems can look so good on the outside, esp by those raise in more urban areas, but things aint always what they appear. What you have shared gives a glimps to the abuse we endured. The control and emotional abuse and neglet have taken it’s toll on so many of us ‘Farm kids”… ( are we nothing more than a product to them? )

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 3rd November

      Hi Calvin,
      OUCH… about the last line! (are we nothing more then a product to them) I often wonder. My father in law often said that my husband was the best hired man he ever had until he got his frivers licence.
      Thank you for your insites and support Calvin. Love your comments!
      Hugs, Darlene

      Hi Vicki,
      Welcome. Don’t worry, I am not offended or discouraged by the comments from S. at all. I chose to publish them becasue of how they highlight the problem we have in this world. This skewed thinking about how “we should be” with our parents or elders. Abuse is allowed to continue becasuse of this false teaching. Children learn never to stand up for themselves and then they never do. It never ends and we are “owned” by people like my father in law.
      Thank you for your support!
      Hugs, Darlene

  4. By: joy Posted: 3rd November

    Hi Darlene..

    I see what you say about where Suzanne’s beliefs are coming from. Poor soul was probably brought up under those same beliefs. .hoping if she visits here enough and read all your words and others .. that she will see how wrong those beliefs are..

    I know I was so mislead before too. I was so wrong. so scared to say anything of what parents did ..or abusers did .. because of the belief system I had been schooled in. hope Suzanne can come to have courage to let go of that stuff. .. it’s not an easy thing to do. .

    I am still trying to get rid of all the false ideas..its so hard.. so many times am catching myself thinking in that old wrong way that put me down and made it ok what people did to me.

    How I feared ssaying my mom was wrong.. that beating me till I couldnt stand anymore was ok since she was mom and saying anything bad about her treatment was breaking the 4th commandment..how Religion was used to justify the wrongs done to me . so much so I feared God and was afraid of God.. if God liked little kds to be hurt..

    You are Great Darlene..don’t stop tellng your story and reaching out. you are speaking the truth we all need to hear..as it gives us courage to speak our truth! thank you thank you!~!! <3

    🙂

    Joy

  5. By: Lela Albert Posted: 3rd November

    Placing boundaries with family, is necessary when they become rude and nasty toward you. One can speak their own and opinion is a respectful matter, even when they disagree with you. I place boundaries with my family all the time, I will not be disrespected, I have had to confront my own father many times, for being verbally abusive toward me! Abuse is wrong! I will not be abused! That includes my own father! He is the one who disrespects me, even when I confront him, I do it in a respectful matter. I am an adult over 50 years old and my father is an adult over 80 years old, regardless of one’s age, respect is a two way thing!

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 3rd November

      Hi Lela
      YES. Respect is a two way thing!
      Thank you for sharing!
      Hugs, Darlene

  6. By: Christina Enevoldsen Posted: 3rd November

    OMG!!!! Even though I hear and see that way of thinking and the result of that opinion all the time, Suzanne was sure blatant about supporting an abuser! Her statement, “…but children of all ages should be respectful to their parents, whether they think they deserve it or not, that is the best way for everyone to live.” THAT’S the BEST way to live??? Sure, if you’re an abuser who wants to get away with it!

    Darlene, I’m glad you stand for the truth and expose lies like this. Thank you for all the light bulb moments inspired by you.
    Hugs, Christina

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 3rd November

      Hi Christina
      Thanks for being here and for your support and encouragement and you are exactly right. It is best only for the controller/abuser.
      Hugs, Darlene

      Hi Heather
      Welcome!
      I love your comments! You are so right!
      And abuse is abuse no matter what kinds of abuse. All abuse has its roots in emotional abuse and there are no laws to protect against that either.

      My father in law thinks he owned all of us. ~ Everyone ~ it is even worse then you think ~ my husband owned his own business too! He didn’t just work with / for his father at all. He was doing his father a favour and promised that he would inherit the land for his work. That never happened.

      Great comments Heather and love your last paragraph about your own parenting methods! Thanks so much for being here!
      Hugs, Darlene

  7. By: carol Posted: 3rd November

    OMGOSSH that purely takes things to a different planet. the planet where everybody has respect and loves everyone else, unfortunately i have never lived in that world.
    i hear from my mother and step father that i owe her respect BECAUSE SHE IS MY MOTHER. I DIDNT CHOOSE to be BORN my mother made the decision to keep her baby and that was my lot in life sealed. even as an adult i wasnt allowed to live my own life and find my own standards and beliefs. ooooh no i had to live to their expectations and it was killing me with the arguements between my husband and her about how each treated the other. i chose him not her, i live with him not her, my life not hers.
    now i choose not to speak unless i have to to be polite or behind the veil of technology. has cut alot 0of stress out of my life and i can continue to do as i see fit with what has happened to me and not have to listen to them deny or dismiss what i feel, cos thats why i stopped feeling in the 1st place. my mother and fathers abusive natures, one physical the other emotional. then sexual by both grandfathers and the babysitter. wow i really should respect these people. mmm dont think so

  8. By: Susan Catherine Keter Posted: 3rd November

    I am a great fan of blog, mainly because I am in total agreement that a lot of problems that handicap people in their adult lives have their roots in upbringing issues.

    The ideal situation is where parents nurture their children to maturity, such that their children are prepared for the world when their parents are no longer there for them. Where parents hold on too long, wanting to decide who their son or daughter marries, where they should live, how many children they should have and so on, then the parents have boundary problems. Nobody deserves to be disrespected, whether by people who are older or younger than themselves. Being parents or older does not necessarily mean being ‘all knowing’. We have very many people whose lives have been destroyed by people who were their elders and in many cases even parents. And the fact that a grown up son works in the parents’ farm or business does not mean that he is immature and irresponsible; sometimes it may be that the parents are the ones who never grew up and are dependent on their children. We see that all the time, a good example being seen with parents who are addicted to substances and their children act as ‘parents’ to them.

    The role of parenting is a very important role, but because it does not always happen as it ought to, we end up with a lot of abused and damaged adults. By the time grown up children are having their own families, parents can only offer their opinion which can either be accepted or rejected; not impose their own values and choices in life, which could be very different from those of their children and their families.

    How can a marriage be successful when a husband and wife make a certain decision and the parents on either side impose a totally different decision on the couple? Such parents are clearly out of order and need to be corrected with love. It is crucial to establish boundaries in this sort of scenario if abuse is not to take place.

    Keep up the great work you are doing Darlene, giving all who were abused in their childhood permission to recognize that the abuse was wrong and to break free from the cycle of abuse. By sharing your story, you are helping lots of other people who can identify with your experiences. Thank you.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 3rd November

      Hi Carol
      I love your opening line! LOL I don’t live on that planet either! These people teach things they themselves are not willing to practice!
      Thank you so much for sharing!
      Hugs, Darlene

      Susan
      Thank you for your support and for your great contribution! I could use some of these responses for a post all on it’s own! (and I think I will)
      I believe that when this false definition of love and respect is exposed enough, the world will change for the better. Abuse is a big word and most people think it is only about beating or raping. We don’t have to live UNDER anyone!
      Great comments Susan!
      Hugs, Darlene

  9. By: Heather Posted: 3rd November

    I completely disagree with Suzanne. According to her definition of respect, adult children are supposed to just bite their tongue and take the continued verbal abuse. Living that way is living a lie. It is not respect. It is a lie to your parents to allow them to believe you are okay with the continued abuse and it is a lie to yourself that you are doing so out of a sense of love. the only reason an adult will “take it” is out of fear like a previous poster commented. Therefore, calling it respect is a lie.

    Furthermore, there are NO LAWS to protect against verbal abuse. Anyone who has suffered from verbal abuse will tell you it is just as damaging as physical but takes many more years to heal.

    In any case, to show respect is to speak TRUTH in love and to allow adults their space to make their own decisions. If the father was to show respect, he would say, “I respect your decision, but we need to talk about your work hours and how you will balance your obligations of work.” This would have been giving his opinion in a respectful manner that validated his son as an adult worker. He did not do this. Instead, he attacked our author as the wife… who was no employee of his or under his authority in any way, shape, or form. It was demeaning, insulting, disrespectful, and immature.

    The fact that the author and her husband did NOT retaliate shows considerable restraint. However, a self respectful attitude as well as respect for truth to the father would be to say, “Thank you for your opinion dad, but in the future please direct your opinions to business matters and trust that I have thought my family life through.”

    Boundaries are important for every person to set. I am teaching my daughter that she has boundaries even at the age of 4 years old. She is respected as a child to tell me if I cross her boundaries when joking. She tells me when certain teasing hurts her feelings. For instance, I called her “silly” the other day. She told me I should not say that. When I asked her why, she said it hurt her feelings and that “she’s smart”. In other words, she thought I was demeaning her and set her boundaries. As a mature parent who is secure in myself, I respect those boundaries. As a result, I have a child that is very mature for her age. She is still a kid and plays like a kid, but she has a healthy sense of self esteem and respect for the feelings of others. I am proud of that and proud that she can tell me the truth of how she feels. It’s a shame that grown adults with adult children are not secure enough in themselves to do the same.

  10. By: Amy Posted: 3rd November

    I guess because I have a temper. (: when my in-laws tried that, I actually confronted her. I told her that she was making it sound like the only way to live life was the way they did it. (She had said to me that we were too young…and they did it “such and such” way and we should’ve done it that way as well)…that didn’t go over too well. She cried all the way home about how I verbally attacked her (although I remained very calm and never raised my voice.) I just called her on what she had said, and pointed out that she was out of line. I told her she had no right to say we should do things as they did. This was our life, and these were our decisions… She didn’t live our life. Well…she didn’t like that. She twisted it and said she had to walk on eggshells around me, couldn’t give her opinion…I was mis-reading her…etc. etc. Finally, the entire FAMILY began having a discussion about “what was wrong with Amy” and why “I had issues with the MIL” with me sitting right there. I told my husband later…”IF THAT EVER HAPPENS AGAIN I AM WALKING OUT!! I WILL NOT BE TREATED THAT WAY AGAIN, AND WATCH YOU SIT THERE AND LISTEN TO EVERYONE ATTACK ME FOR NOTHING!!” And the next time it happened, I walked out. I respect MYSELF enough to know…I do not deserve to be treated that way.

  11. By: Been There Posted: 3rd November

    Suzanne is wrong. We worked for my husband’s father for 5 years, and it sucked. We worked long hours for low pay and no benefits. Our private life and descisions were directed all the time, according to whatever would be best for his business. We respected him and listened to everything he said, and we felt like our relationship was crummy. Only when we started respecting ourselves enough to put up boundaries and refuse to let him control our lives, (and quit working for him and got a much better job elsewhere) were we able to have a decent relationship with him. Family business’s are bad for relationship.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 3rd November

      Hi Been There
      Ya, it can be messy alright. I could write a book about this whole thing. I have written little about my father in law in this blog but there is a lot of misuse of power and funky “parent entitlement stuff” going on in this situation. In the case of my husbands family, when we would not conform to their wishes any longer, they withdrew relationship. It proved how much control was of the utmost importace to Jim’s father. We were in our 40’s by then. It is kind of sad but we are free now!
      Thank you for sharing
      Hugs, Darlene

      Amy,
      I have been there too! All my life I heard discussions about “what was wrong with Darlene!” I did some major work to find out that what was wrong with me was about what they did to me and how they regarded me. Nothing is wrong with me now!
      I am glad you are here!
      Thank you for sharing!
      p.s. the baby that I am talking about, the one that my father in law was against us having, is in highschool now and she is named Amy!
      Hugs, Darlene

  12. By: Wendi Posted: 3rd November

    We also have to evaluate our meaning of the word respect…to me it means to treat kindly…but it does not mean to be obedient. We can respect people and their opinions without following their demands! Someone can tell me “you should do x” and I can say “thank you for thinking of me, I respect your opinion” but that doesn’t mean I have to do it 🙂

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 3rd November

      Hi Wendi
      Great comments! Wow, I love the contributions being made here. So true also about the false definition of respect. False definitions and getting them sorted out and changed to the truth has been a big thing for me on this journey.
      Thank you so much for adding your thoughts.
      Hugs, Darlene

      Joy,
      Well said Joy. Thank you for your comments and insights. No one person owns another person. The type of “respect” that Suzanne writes about here is under that false belief that parents have rights just because they are parents even regardless of the age of the children. My father in law had no right to decide if we should have another child or not. His motive was selfish.

      By the way Suzanne, my husband owned his own business but was still under the control of his father at that time and worked his butt off for his Dad (for nothing but a promise) sometimes even letting his own business come second. This blog post is about the misuse of power and control my father in law exerted and how today we don’t allow that in our lives anymore.

      Thanks again Joy for your contribution!
      Hugs, Darlene

  13. By: Shannon Posted: 3rd November

    Darlene,

    I personally think that Suzanne has forgotten that respect is earned! Just because someone is a parent, doesn’t automatically entitle them to respect. I’ve been on my own recovery journey for many years, and the one thing that people had a hard time getting me to understand was that my mother was wrong for demanding respect when she didn’t respect me, or even see me as a person, and she didn’t lead a respectful life. My mother firmly believed that children should be seen and not heard, but didn’t even want us seen. If other adults came to the house, we had to disappear. She could then pretend that we weren’t even alive and do her drugs and drinking. My own church leaders have continuously pointed out that while the bible says “Honor thy Mother and thy Father” they have to earn respect. We honor them because they brought us in this world, but that ends there.

    Suzanne is dead wrong.

    Shannon

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 3rd November

      Welcome to EFB!
      Hi Japheth
      Well said! Thank you for being here and sharing your thoughts!! You make very good points.
      Hugs, Darlene

      Hi Shannon
      Also very well said! We have such misconceptions about the word “respect”. Thank you for sharing this!
      Hugs, Darlene

  14. By: joy Posted: 3rd November

    Suzanne..

    CHildren of all age should respect their parents.. I disagree. . .Respect cannot be given to someone who demonstrates awfulness, abuse and lack of respect for the child. Children are innocent beings and so often

    How awful that you judge our good blogger Darlene and say that she is not mature enough to have children.. remember you are a guest; there is no need to insult or talk about things you are ignorant of.

    Talking out ones problems is a very healthy way to handle problems and sharing with friends on a blog is healthy as well. .Just because you happen to fall on the blog and be able to post here doesn’t make you qualified to start judging people who have been sharing here as a means of healing and support.

    I think Suzanne, maybe you have some issues. how can say “why don’t you be an adult ” when in fact.. Darlene has always been very mature and quite the adult in all her situations she has been in.

    You must be looking for something if you have landed here? Why don’t you just admit you are hurting and longing for the support we have here. and you will feel so much better. Nothing we are doing here is wrong. we are being support for one another.

    Sometimes being defensive and biting is really just covering up what one wants so much to be relieved of. .Am sure you if you want . you can share your story here and you will feel so much better. but don’t insult Darlene or anyone here..

    We know abuse. .we don’t have to take any more . .we are here for you but only if you let go of those abusive words

    JOy

  15. By: Japheth Darren Posted: 3rd November

    Wow…okay. You really nailed it with pointing out how a lot of people see fear of parents as respecting them. That couldn’t be further from the truth. If anything it shows that the parent(s) have some deep rooted problems with insecurity. It’s not right.

    Then there’s the fallacious concept of manhood and acceptance of male dominance. Like the whole “father knows best” thing. As a father I can be the first to tell you I don’t know best. I don’t have all the answers. I’m not afraid to say “I don’t know” and “I’m sorry” and not the “I’m sorry but…” false apology. I’m not sure what all this manhood thing is supposed to be about but I do know what it’s not. It’s not about being in control, the strongest force or being the law. It’s not about being a bully when you feel like things aren’t going your way. So to me it seems like your father in law completely missed this mark as well as anybody else who thinks his behaviour was acceptable.

    As a parent I feel it is my job to teach my children that they can trust me with anything from fun stuff to serious stuff. I don’t want them to be afraid of me. I want them to be independent. I want them to be able to share news with me without feeling like they need my approval. When they make not so great decisions I want them to be able to talk to me about it an not feel judgement. Every time they progress it’s bitter-sweet because I have a little proof that I did something right but can’t help but feel left behind because they don’t need me like they did before. But that’s okay. Their life needs to be for them and that’s what I want more than anything. Nothing more. Definitely nothing less.

  16. By: Wendi Posted: 3rd November

    I, too, struggle(d) with wanting to please my parents and other older family members and being unwilling to “go against” them even as an adult. I realize now, that I am an adult too…we are peers now. Not only do I respect their opinion…I keep in mind it is THEIRS. I can’t tell them not to offer it, but I do not have to do what they want. I can limit my contact with them and what I share with them that they may feel inclined to offer advice. My children are not adults yet…but I do have adult step children. I see them doing some of the same things I did in young adulthood that I view as mistakes in my own life…I also realize their issues may not turn out like mine, and regardless I will answer their questions offer my support, but I will allow them to live their own life…if I offer an opinion I make sure I am clear to them that it is my opinion but that they must make their own choices, which they will be doing whether they choose to follow someone’s advice or not. I do not want my children to think that I am angry at them or will not love them no matter the choices they make as adults. I hope I am giving them the kind of support as dependent children, and the empowerment to make choices that I allow as a dependent child, so that they will not be afraid to make choices as an adult…realize they may make some they are not proud of and wish they didn’t make…but also know, I will always love them and that every choice, good or bad, is a learning experience…that is how we grow even in adulthood. I try to make points of all the choices my children can make even now as young children so they get into the habit of evaluating choices…everything we do involves making a choice, awareness of that process helps us better evaluate choices. Even when we follow someone else’s advice or demands (as an adult)…that is a choice we are making…until I saw it that way I was stuck believing people were controlling me…when in fact, I was just doing whatever they wanted because I wasn’t willing to do otherwise (plus it always makes it easy to blame someone else when you simply did what they said…but it still doesn’t change the result just because I blame someone else for “forcing” me to do it their way, when in reality I chose to do it their way).

  17. By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 3rd November

    Suzanne,
    2 of my children are adults now. All of our children are respected as individuals who are able to make choices for their own lives. We don’t OWN them.

    Why “should” children respect abusive paretns? That makes no sense to me. Why on earth is that “the best way to live”??

    I have a choice about publishing comments and I chose to publish yours becasue it shows the problem (with the way we have been brainwashed to think) that I am highlighting in my site.

    I did a very positive thing to make my situation better: I no longer accept devaluing and disrespectful treatment from ANYONE no matter what title they hold in my life.

    My children are respected and loved by my husband and I. They are regarded and treated as equally vaulable as we are.

    I suspect that this post touched a nerve with you. Are you perhaps having trouble with your adult children?

    Hugs, Darlene

  18. By: Suzanne Posted: 2nd November

    Actually, since His father was also his boss, his father was already flexible with his son’s time. If he had another boss that wouldn’t happen, when children (adult or not), take advatange of their parents, financially, materially or whatever, it gets old real fast, it shows lack of respect and when people show lack of respect, it’s a sign of immaturity, so having another child, when there is no maturity, is what the father was upset about, and rightfully so. All of you above with these opinions about telling your parents, stay out and all this stuff is a sign of disrespect and immaturity, why don’t you be an adult and try to listen and understand where they are coming from, then remember you will be in their shoes someday.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 2nd November

      Suzanne,
      I am in “thier shoes” now and I don’t do what they did at all.
      You have flipped this to the (adult) child being the one who is wrong which is half the problem in the world today. Society always blames the child. Without knowing anyone in this situation, you have covicted and condemed my husband and defended his abusive father. My husband never got paid for the work he did for his father. He was promissed land in payment, but never got it. My husband NEVER took advantage of his parents; it was always the other way around. I find your comments very disrespectful and I am not sure why on earth you would be reading my website if you have this opinion of the way things should be.
      Darlene

      • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 3rd November

        I recieved this comment from Suaznne through an email reply so I am posting it here because I think it shows more of the way that society thinks and because I think that thinking and belief system is at the root of the whole problem. I may write a whole blog post about the comments from Suzanne;

        Here is what she said.

        Suzanne wrote:
        “Darlene, According to your previous post, your children were not adults, so
        then your not in their shoes yet, there is no perfect parent, but children
        of all ages should be respectful to their parents, whether they think they
        deserve it or not, that is the best way for everyone to live. If a parent is
        abusive to dependent children, we have laws for that. As an adult verbal
        abuse can be handled 3 ways, let it go in one ear and out the other or he
        can try to talk to them about it, and/or then avoid them, until things
        change. If you do not want people responding to your posts, then do not put
        your issues out there for the world to see, there is noone out there that is
        going to know the whole story of your situation, you just need to do a self
        evaluation and figure out what positive things you can do to make your
        situation better. Remember your children learn from you on how you handle
        things. I was not looking for your site, it popped up, when I was looking
        for something else and it was the 3rd one. I wish you and your family the
        best, Suzanne”

  19. By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 3rd May

    Cyndi ~
    Yes! “hard but oh so liberating!” Thanks for your comment!

    Patricia ~
    Yes, as you say, “healthy parents raise their children to grow up and become individuals with their own ideas and opinions”, ~ because healthy parents have the self esteem to want that for their kids. My father in law for one thing, didn’t want Jimmy to ever know that he might be smart or independent. That would lesson his ability to control. That is certainly not displaying “health”.

    Thanks for sharing your story with us Patricia, and as always I love to have your voice on our blog!

    Hugs, Darlene

  20. By: Patricia - Spiritual Journey Of A Lightworker Posted: 3rd May

    Healthy parents raise their children to grow up and separate and become individuals with their own ideas and opinions which sometimes will be different from the parents. That is healthy. I did not have healthy parents. If I had not run away from home at 19 (which isn’t healthy either but was the only way that I could get out), I would never have gotten out from under my dad’s rule. He would never have allowed it. He did not want his children to grow up. He was so afraid himself that he had to always be in control of his family members, even my mother. He was a terrified little boy living in a man’s body. He did not know how to let go. Once I was away, he knew he no longer had any control. My younger sister also ran away from home a few years later.

    I did a little better in the letting go department with my children. My husband still has problems with trying to tell our grown children what to do. He also grew up in a dysfunctional family. Just yesterday, he was trying to tell our 33-year-old son what to wear. It doesn’t seem to matter how many times I tell him that our son is an adult.

    When my daughter got pregnant with her first three children (They have 4 children.), I would find myself getting furious. I couldn’t figure out why. Then one day with the 3rd pregnancy, a voice (a very loud voice) in my head said, “You lost her in childbirth in a past lifetime.” The fury was immediately gone. My fury was coming from my fear of losing her to death in childbirth. I shared this with her and she understood too. With the fourth and last pregnancy, I was not furious with her. It was a wonderful experience for both of us. I could fully appreciate the whole experience with her. I had to make amends to her for my unreasonable behavior. If you don’t believe in past lives, that is okay. It works for me.

  21. By: Cyndi Posted: 2nd May

    Yep, you nailed it. We were never taught that our opinions mattered or that we deserved respect. Without it, we immediately revert back to “bad-child” mode and take their nonsense. We have to teach ourselves, as you have now done, that our decisions are our own, are not subject to ridicule when they conflict with a narcissist’s agenda and to tell such people, especially our parents, that it is, in fact, their behavior that is unacceptable to us and we aren’t going to take it anymore. It’s hard to learn but oh so liberating, isn’t it? Great post!

  22. By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 2nd May

    Nikki!
    Thank you for this heart warming post!
    I love what you have said here, and I laughed out loud a few times too which is always a bonus!

    One thing you said, about learning to get over the fear of standing up to your parents (you said you were afraid to disrespect them) because you love them and didn’t want to hurt them, I felt that way too, but I think that as you also said, when we live in truth with our parents (and everyone) that we are showing the greatest love for them and for ourselves. (the key word you use is “truth”.) I love that!
    Thanks so much and I am so grateful for your voice on our blog!
    Darlene

  23. By: Nikki Posted: 2nd May

    Wow great topic one I have been dealing with, but not necessarily with just my parents but other older adults. In the recent past months I have had to stand up to some of my “Elders” and they didn’t like it to much their idea or philosophy is that they are older and much wiser. Which I agree they are older and they may have more wisdom than I do, but at the same time they don’t have the right to tell me how to think, how to feel, or what to believe.

    To me for the older generation to assume that they have a right to walk on top of us just because they are older shows a lack of wisdom all together and often it is for a selfish reason.

    I am reminded of King David in the bible. The whole army of Israel feared Goliath but here was this scrawny teenager who stood up to Goliath. Of course not in his own strength. His faith never wavered when he faced Goliath. He knew God on a personal level. David was a shepherd boy and had fought many predators to keep the sheep safe so he knew what God could do.

    This just goes to show that wisdom is not hampered by youth or by age. We don’t gain the right to embark our opinions on other people because we are “older” we never gain that right. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” comes to mind quiet often.

    Even Jesus faced riducule of the “religious elders” of his time. Truth is we do have to set boundaries and we do have a right to stand up to people no matter who they are or what age they are. In order for us to properly respect others they have to respect us and the opposite is true ..

    We cant demand respect we have to earn it no matter what age we are. One of the things that I often heard as a child is “Do as I say not as I do” this use to rub me wrong. I mean if I had to do as I was told isn’t only right that the one who is commanding or ordering me to do whatever do it as well?

    I have had to overcome my fear of disrespecting my parents (yes I feared of being not loyal or being disrespectful, because I do love them and didn’t want to hurt them) but in order for me to live in the truth and in reality sometimes we do have to take a stand.

    One of the most ground breaking realizations that I had was when the Lord showed me that it wasn’t my place to die on a cross for my parents sins or for any other older person. In other words I needed to move out of the way and quit taking the blame for what they did or did not do. I needed to let God deal with them whereas I needed to be focused on what I needed to be doing.

    It is my actions that I will have to answer for not the actions of my parents or any other person. By not allowing myself to stand up to the wrong I was indeed guilty of it myself.. Any time we don’t stand to what is right what is the truth then we aid and abide the lie/s and the wrongs..

    It is easier to be a coward and keep our mouth shut, but in the end it doesn’t change a thing and we don’t live our lives to the fullest when we are walking in the shadows of others.

    The Apostle Paul says in Romans 12:18 “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.” My therapist pointed this verse out to me last week. What Paul is saying is with all that we can do try to live as peaceful as we can with others. Meaning we are only responsible for ourselves and our own actions or reactions. Whereas what someone else does or dont do is not for us to take upon ourselves to be responsible for.

    Sometimes parents don’t know how to respect their adult children simply because their adult children is still living in a child-like manner. Meaning they don’t realize they have a right to tell mom and dad “I love you but you can butt out now” … this isn’t being rude our parents raise us to be adults then when we act as an adult if they choose not to respect that then that is their decision their choice .. whereas my response to my Mom when she says “I didn’t raise you to be like that” I tell her “Mom I am not a plant that you by miracle grow for I am a human being with my own choices”

    Unconditional love includes respect even if we don’t agree .. one thing I have often said to those who oppose my choices is “We can agree to disagree” and I let it be at that.

    You see I have faced a lot of fears and intimidation in my life matter of fact me and the cowardly lion have a lot in common LOL but there comes a point that we have to take a stand in order to be who God created us to be not what Mom and Dad thinks we should be. Parents tend to forget that children are a gift on loan from God not property or not an extension to one’s self.. don’t get me wrong I am not coming down on parents though it may sound like I am .. I am just stating truths and no I don’t have the intentions in my heart to hurt my parents but at the same time they can’t walk on top of me ..

    There comes a time that the door mat has to become a door ..

    Thank you so much for pointing this out and for writing about it. I have been really having to deal with this issue so much in my life like I said though not just from my parents but others as well.. (((HUGS))))

  24. By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 2nd May

    Yes, Colleen,
    you are right, it was fear.. absolutely, and today I know that fear isn’t related to respect at all! Thanks for your Comment.
    p.s. I love your blog!
    Darlene

  25. By: Colleen Posted: 2nd May

    It is only recently that I have been able to speak up for myself to my father. I do not think it was respect before, more like fear. But because of that I think I was always afraid of speaking up for myself to almost anyone in a position of authority over me. Great post. Thanks.

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