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: Dmgo Posted: 25th June

    Veronica, good luck with your new relationship and stay strong, because your NM is going to make it a bumpy ride. You are so right about the NM’s controlling bravado masking huge insecurity underneath.

    When my husband and I first started seeing each other, my mother resented him and gave me h*ll for it. In fact, she refused to meet him or ‘allow’ me to talk about him for the first 2 1/2 years we dated. Yes, there was a huge age difference (20 years) but that’s not the main reason she rejected our relationship, it was the fact she was now a widow and getting old and expected me to devote my life to her. In other words, I was not ‘allowed’ to have any other outside interests other than her because that was my ‘duty’.

    Well, 13 years later, my husband and I are still together. It was tough, but I didn’t let her ruin the relationship with the first guy I ever wanted to spend the rest of my life with. It sickens me how she put herself over my happiness and she certainly pulled out all the tricks in the book to ruin things. Stay strong and true to your convictions and don’t crumble despite all the bullying and guilt tactics she will use.

  2. By: Veronica Posted: 24th June

    Darlene,

    Thank you for this post about your family. It does change things when you’re no longer alone.

    I have a new man in my life and my first conversation about him with my mother was like a miracle: for the first time in my life she sounded happy for me and said nothing negative! It seemed too good to be true, and sure enough a week later she fell back on her old ways of being very critical – the reasons don’t really matter; she has always found a reason where there’s none. The only real reason is that she’s afraid he’ll take me away from her completely and brainwash me against her, since I obviously have no spine and no ideas of my own. Under all that controlling bravado of hers there’s huge insecurity. Now that it’s not just my sanity at stake but our future together, I have to make a decision about drawing boundaries, which may mean not talking to her for months or however long it takes to get the message across. I’ve never “pulled” anything like this before, but getting older and meeting a person whose life I want to share does change things.

  3. By: DXSMac Posted: 19th June

    Darlene’s blog touches on an issue that is hard to see. It’s not black and white, it’s not “concrete” it’s hard to describe. So, I have come up with a way to describe what it feels like to be invalidated.

    When you are a child (and don’t know any better), and you see someone with a grotesque birth defect, you suddenly react, at the top of your lungs, with a “Mommy mommy, what happened to that person?” Then, you are taken aside and told that it’s not polite to point and stare and all that. Basically, you have to “pretend you didn’t notice” and you have to squelch the emotional reaction. We do this in polite society because the person with the grotesque birth defect wants a sense of normal and doesn’t want to be made to be a freak; and no one has offered a better alternative to this “pretending we didn’t notice” polite society option. Not good or bad, just the “current norm.”

    The invalidation we feel is somewhat like the above, except it’s WRONG! We are, through actions, words, and voice tone, sent a message that we must “pretend we didn’t notice” and if we continue to notice, it’s our fault.

  4. By: DXSMac Posted: 19th June

    Belle, yes, END OF DISCUSSION, like your parents won’t recognize you are an EQUAL adult and are still trying to control you.

  5. By: Belle Posted: 19th June

    I’m so frustrated with myself and my parents. Why on earth do I let them get to me? I’m 45 years old, married and raising 4 children of my own. When I confronted my father about giving my oldest alcohol with out my consent, he became very upset with me and is refusing to get together for Father’s Day or Family reunion that is coming up.
    Granted my son is 20, but the legal drinking age in our state is 21 and I feel like before contributing to a minor, especially his grandson, that he should have ran it by me first. My son lives at home and commutes to college. He is home every night by before midnight and doesn’t go out partying or drinking with pals. He’s kind of a quiet kid and just isn’t socially mature/immature in this kind of way. It isn’t that I don’t trust my father, it’s just that I truly think that I deserved to know about this before hand and not after the fact. My husband and I also didn’t like the idea that our niece who is only 16 was over there at the same time and witnessed my father giving our underage son beer. I don’t think that it set a good example from my father or my son’s standpoint.
    When my son came home from visiting with my parents, I’m not sure what made me ask him about the drinking, because my son has never come home with alcohol on his breath or anything to give reason to think that today might have been any different. But I did ask him and he was honest with me. I was mad, but I didn’t yell at him because I was truly more mad at my father. I didn’t go speak to my father directly because I was angry and didn’t want to face him.
    Like a child, I sent him an email asking him point blank how many beers he decided that it would be okay to give his grandson without funning it by me. That’s it, that is all I asked. When he responded with a couple, and that he wasn’t sure because he hadn’t counted it really ticked me off. He went on to explain that he didn’t see a problem with it, Bla bla blah…
    I emailed him back and explained that I didn’t approve of my underage son drinking alcohol with out my consent and that it really bothered me that he offered it to him with out my consent. I followed that up with that it didn’t feel like he was respecting me as an adult or a mother. He told me that he didn’t like my tone and was not going to discuss this with me anymore. End of discussion!
    What? End of discussion, why-? Because I stood up to him, let him know that I was mad and told him that he was wrong to give his underage grandson alcohol! The problem is that now I have to pay the price and I guess that means accepting the fact that he doesn’t want to be around me or my family now. It’s just so frustrating for me because as angry as I am with him, I was still willing to just be heard, have it addressed and be over with. I wasn’t truly prepared to have him walk away and not come around anymore. why do I feel like I still my father’s acceptance and approval of my decisions as a parent and an adult? RRRRR….

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 19th June

      Hi Belle
      Welcome to EFB ~ I totally understand what you are sharing here. The whole thing about him saying “end of discussion” is exactly how this typically goes. You are within your rights but he is turning it around as if to say “how dare you question me” and now the punishment comes out. The punishment in my exp. is meant to remind us of what will happen if you dare to stand up to them again. When I started to realize that these things were punishments, (consequence) I started to see a pattern of them. And I had a lot of decisions to make once I realized the way this was.
      p.s. Legally, you could have your father charged since he broke the law. There is a drinking age for a reason.
      Hugs, Darlene

  6. By: DXS Posted: 12th June

    Sometimes I think of my grandmother (Mom’s mom). She was a great grandma, she knitted beautiful clothes for my Barbie dolls. She also was a great cake maker, she could make these cakes had dolls, and the cake was the dolls dress. She also had artistic talent, she could take the stupidest things and make something beautiful. She made a poodle dog out of wire coat hangers and plastic dry cleaning bags.

    Grandma loved to take her grandkids down to the “local gossip place” and buy us sodas. It was a riot as a kid listening to Grandma gossip about the locals. But I just can’t help but think that if B/C had been more widely available, Grandma may have not had children. Of course, Mom gives me the “then you wouldn’t have been born and how would you have liked that?” (Another one of her ILLOGICAL statements, if I had not been born I wouldn’t know the difference!!!) Just like Darlene’s “How would you feel if they died” postings. Um…… no different than I feel now except frustrated because I didn’t get resolution of the issues but I guess that’s not the answer you were expecting to hear……. All my life I struggled between LOGIC and “what they wanted to hear.”

  7. By: DXS Posted: 12th June

    My sisters who also have had their issues, have basically just “capitulated.” I get from them the “mom lived in a different time…. blah blah blah….”

    I remember as a child I was constantly challenging the “logic” of how Mom acted. “Mom, that’s not logical….” Only to get the exasperated sigh from my mom. She didn’t like being challenged. I think my Mom got treated a certain way and that is all she knew so it’s what I got. But to me her actions and things she said just weren’t “logical.”

    I’m reading a book called “Healing From Family Rifts.” Interesting…. three of the issues I had with her were IN THE BOOK, so someone else had those issues, too! The book is aimed toward if you have been cut off. In my case, I did the “cutting off” but I feel is if I have been cut off emotionally.

    I still struggle with, “am I being a bad person because I am doing this to my 85 year old mom” especially since I grew up in a small town and a lot of people in that small town know my Mom. In a letter I wrote to my Mom, I told her that I felt no love from her and thus I feel no love TO her. My sister told me that Mom was really hurt by that and do I know how much that hurts? Yes, I do, Mom does not love me, as she is choosing to abandon me emotionally. In the last letter I wrote to her before N/C, I told her, “it’s up to you.”

  8. By: DXS Posted: 9th June

    Skewed definition of Respect……. I get “yelled at” for “raising my voice.” I’m not allowed to “raise my voice” to mom. So, I try to tell her in a calm way how I feel, only to get either:

    A. Put down and told it’s my fault
    or
    B. Not taken seriously since I’m not obviously that mad (since I didn’t raise my voice……)

    AAAARRRGGGHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!

    When do I get to be treated like an adult? I’m in my freaking 50’s!

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 9th June

      Hi DXS
      This was such a huge thing for me. It finally dawned on me that I didn’t have to go along with her anymore. It dawned on me that she treated me as if my needs/feelings were less important than hers and that I didn’t actually have to accept that treatment. When I refused to accept it any longer, she chose not to have a relationship with me, which was my biggest fear until that moment. BUT I soon realized that she had always refused to have a relationship with me by the way she treated me as less than her so in reality, I had nothing to lose by standing up to her. 🙂
      Hugs, Darlene

  9. By: DXS (JJ) Posted: 7th June

    On the parent’s side……. if something you do will end up costing your parents money (they KNOW you will get yourself in a jam and then come beg them for money….), then, I agree it IS their business.

    But if you are financially independent from them and paying for your own whatever, then it is NOT their business. Now, in the case of Darlene’s husband working for his father, that gets STICKY! I’m childfree by choice, and I have always believed that employers do NOT owe anyone the right to have kids. (Translation: I’m against employer subsidies like giving extra time off in addition to paid vacation for parents, there is no matching benefit for childfree workers) Maybe there is a reason Darlene’s husband works for his own father, can’t judge that. Just saying….. when you work with family THINGS GET STICKY!

    But on Darlene’s side….. if said father had said “plans” for said son, and having the third kid interfered with said plans, father should have discussed these plans with the son! But, it could have been a situation where “it was assumed by father that it was known to both parties” whether it was or not, and the father didn’t realize it was an issue until the pregnancy was announced. This is something I have learned. Sometimes you don’t know you have an “issue” until a situation is put in your face. To illustrate: Strip bars. Never thought about them, had no opinion on them, until I dated a guy who went to those places. Then I realized I had an issue. Kind of like that.

    On Darlene’s situation, I see both sides. This is just a sticky situation. Is this what the British call a “sticky wicket?” (I never know what that phrase meant…..)

  10. By: DXS (JJ) Posted: 7th June

    SKEWED DEFINITION OF RESPECT is right on the nose! If you disagree, you are “disrespecting” them. Oh, my favorite: “Have consideration for my feelings.” Why does that statement always equate to “DO WHAT I SAY”? The “literal” translation of “have consideration for my feelings” is just that CONSIDER them. It’s possible to “consider” the feelings of another person, yet still go a different way. But NO, “have consideration for my feelings” is euphemism for “DO WHAT I SAY.” But NOOOOOOOO I’m not trying to CONTROL you dear….. More denial…..

    RESPECT in my family is spelled: S U C K U P.

    This goes back to, “When you grow up, you can make your OWN choices.” Found out what the real meaning of that was: “And those choices had better be what Dad and Mom would have done……”

  11. By: Angie Posted: 2nd May

    WOW Nikki is there a love button for your comment !!

  12. By: Cori Rice Posted: 13th April

    I am so glad there are finally people who feel the same way I do. It makes me really mad that some people have the attitude that parents have a free pass and placed on a pedestal and then call us disrespectful when
    we fight back or defend ourselves. These same people think it’s OK for parents to hit or yell at their adult children when we refuse to do what they say. Whenever someone complains about their parents being overbearing or giving them a hard time, people on forums side with the parents. They think just because you live at home you don’t have any rights and that’s far from the truth.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 14th April

      Hi Cori
      Welcome to EFB
      Yes, the truth is that all people have equal rights and equal value. When someone hits someone else, that offender is charged with assault. That is the law and by law parents are not exempt from that law. It helped me so much to realize that my parents didn’t ‘own’ me and that I was a person and not an object.
      Hugs, Darlene

  13. By: Drained Posted: 12th April

    It just amazes me how some parents think they can treat their adult children as though they were still eight-year-olds. The scolding, the lectures, the disapproval, the shaming, the commands… This was my mother, even through her dementia she retained this attitude. And I kick myself everyday for letting her get away with it for so long. Though it angered me so much, on another level, I believed she was entitled. That is messed up. So much turmoil going on in the mind due to these conflicting beliefs and emotions. No wonder I’m exhausted.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 12th April

      Drained,
      Oh how I know that exhausted. But you know there is hope for that too! One day I felt an energy that I had never had in my life. The fog and the lies all dragged me down before. Freedom comes with amazing energy! It IS no wonder why we became exhausted. It takes a lot of energy to live in that fog and deal with being devalued all the time.
      Hugs, Darlene

  14. By: AD Posted: 8th December

    I thank you for the many thoughts presented here. I come from a slightly different angle on this. I am an adult child (knocking on the door of 40) who has had to return home to live with her parents due to economics and finances. I am the oldest of four children and as of yet the last remaining to not marry, yet having been engaged three times in my early adult years.

    The argument in the house this morning was punctuated with the “you don’t respect us” statement. It struck me later, as I was driving and crying over the argument, that apparently there is something demonstrative my parents are searching for from me to clearly make my respect for them obvious.

    It has been for months now that I have been trying to exert my own individuality. Only recently did I realize how much my family, parents and siblings, had controlled my decisions – everything from work choices to cities in which to live to who to be in a relationship with. With that revelation, I am trying to stand up for my choices, my ideas, my desires.

    Maybe that conflict of plans is what is creating the “disrespect”? I truly do not understand how I have failed to show my respect. I love and cherish my parents. There are many things that I do not like that my parents do, but I try very hard to refrain from mentioning those to them. It is not my place or right to control their actions.

    What saddens me more than anything is that what my parents are not aware of are the developing plans to “elope” and move to a foreign country. I know if my parents were aware every day would be as precious to them as those days are to me. Knowing this is the last Christmas for a few years … knowing this is the last anything, it changes it for me.

    I whole-heartedly wish to show my parents the respect they desire. I want to be respectful of them. Frankly, though, I am at a loss how to actively do that without being a doormat, without giving up the little independence I have carved out for myself. Any suggestions, advice, ideas, most welcome and needed. And thank you for providing me a place to “vent” and read of others’ experiences.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 8th December

      Hi AD
      Welcome to emerging from broken.
      I have written a lot on this subject. It may be helpful to you to read the other articles and comments under the categories “mother/daughter”, and “family” tabs at the top under the header graphic. You will certainly find that you are not alone in this particular struggle.
      Hugs, Darlene

  15. By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 21st November

    Emerging from Broken has been having technical difficulties this past 18 hours and no comments have been allowed through. This problem has been resolved now; please try to post comments again. (I got notices about the posts people were trying to comment on)
    Darlene

  16. By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 8th November

    Susan,
    I am so sorry if I misunderstood. Your comment number 46 is what I was getting at, it is just such a touchy subject.
    I was nice to the mean people because I had to survive. It was about protection. I was mean to the nice people because I was a very sad and bitter girl and I wasn’t afraid of the nice people. I love your comments in 47!

    Hugs, Darlene

  17. By: susan klipfel Posted: 8th November

    Thanks you guys.
    What i did learn later was. It was my fault. Because I didn’t walk away from him. ” Ouch that really hurt” I think that s when i had, my first anxiety attack. If you aren’t raised with self esteem, and positiveness. Its harder to value that your decisions are correct and you deserve better. I still doubt if i make the right decisions today.
    You guys are great. Susan

  18. By: susan klipfel Posted: 8th November

    Dear Darlene,
    I think you misunderstood me. I don’t think children should respect there parents when there parents are calling them dumb and stupid. I understand it was out of fear. What i don’t get is i was the non abuser. In some ways, i guess i did abuser her, because i stayed in the marriage to long. All those time i was telling him to stop, saying mean thinks i should have taken her and left. She still always favors him. I just don’t get it. Why would you be nice to someone that was mean to you. Also mean to someone nice? All never understand it.

  19. By: susan klipfel Posted: 7th November

    Hello to all: My name is Susan and I could use some help. All make it short. I was verbally abused from my Mother. She was controlling, negative and acts childish at times, She told me when i was very young, that I see black and she see s white – meaning i never agree with her. Which she should have said is, I will never agree or believe anything you say. For that s the way it was. My sister being six years older felt the same way when we were small. She was the quiet one, I was the one that fought back. My daughter and my self were verbally abused by my I thought if i say as many good positive things, to her she wont get affected. In some ways that was true, but not really. But what i didn’t know, was that by him being, a Mr. Know it all and would tell her how to do everything, just to build his self esteem. He was brain washing her and controlling her also. He made it hard for her to feel comfortable making her own decision in life. She listens to others and doesn’t stand up for what see knows and feels. I love her so much, when i had her i promised my self that i wouldn’t do to her what my mom did to me. I kept that promise. But he worked her against me by saying i had no common sense. Little put downs in front of her. My mother because she didn’t want to look like the bad one. would tell my daughter things like i think your mom is bio polor. come to find out, she was. I remember one time she put the pills in her hand and shook them under my chin, yelling take them take them. looking crazy. My daughter has pulled away and i have tryed everything. Wrote her letter sent her flower, Asking what i did. She wont say. I believe she is mental abusing me which she learned from her father. She is hot tempered and has no patients. To make it worse her new boyfriend is a mother hater. He has a rotten relationship with his mom. So i guess he thinks all moms are that way. My daughter is the only child and I told my husbands mother not to spoiler, but she did, I told my husband to stop cutting her down, he only told me to shut up. I really think i was a good mom to her. I love her so much and it hurt so bad. She just had a birthday turned 24. told someone to tell me she didn’t want a present from me. I never see her, even if i go over there she stands behind them. So i can’t see or talk to her. She is 24 years old and a beautiful women. The people she is staying with is said to be in a cult. I know the one person messed with tarot cards. I asked my mom 15 years ago to help me by being closer to me and her and be there mentally on my side for my daughters and mine. She did nothing. I told my mom if i don’t do something fast she will be like this in 10 years. She has turned out to be very cold quiet. She told me once if it wasn’t for you mom i wouldn’t have turn out half this good. She also has told me that he brain washed her and she got what she wanted by playing both sides of the fence. Then time goes by and she slips again. Reverts back two her distant cruel ways. She knows how bad she is hurting me and she doesn’t care. She told me one time that if she never saw me again it wouldn’t bother her. She sees my ex once in a while. It has been 7 months since she has talked to me. I have a lot of anger towards my mother for making things worse and being so cruel. My sisters answer was she didn’t want to get involved. Is it me or is it them.? What do i need to tell my self. Is it to late? Hope keeps me hurting and coldness numbs it. I cry a lot over how people can interferes just to get something out of it selves. Or they don’t want to get involved. My d aught is very stubborn. I hear of these horrible stores on how some child got hurt by there mother or there mother didn’t love them and i wish i had them for a daughter. Sincerely Susan

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 7th November

      Hi Susan
      Welcome
      I hope that you read more of the articles in this site ~ you may get more clarity as you read more. I am sorry that you are having so much pain and struggle. I know that this is very hard. This is a huge issue and not one easily discussed in a quick comment. One thing I will say is that in this site I try to encourage others to stick to dealing with our own damage instead of working on the damage of loved ones. It has been through working on my own pain and history that has given me such a deeper understanding of others.
      Hugs, Darlene

  20. By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 6th November

    J.
    I vowed that I would never have kids because of all this stuff. I had my first baby when I was 30 and it has been a major process not to repeat things that I learned. Especially emotionally abusive and manipulative things that were done to me. That was how I learned relationship! But it is possible to unlearn that stuff and that is what I did and that is why I write!
    Hugs,Darlene

  21. By: J Posted: 4th November

    Hi Rise,

    I just read your comment and wanted to say how much I respect you for raising your kids that way! I wish more people would raise their kids to trust in themselves and value themselves… such a shame that parents have such power to harm their children AND to train them that it’s normal / their own fault / (insert whatever other blatant lies they use here)

    I’m so scared of ever having kids because there’s so much of my mother in me, but I guess for now I’ll hold on to the fact that other people have broken generational cycles with their kids, so if I ever do have kids, maybe I’ll be able to do it too. And at least I’m AWARE of the problem — that gives me some hope! My mother’s too invested in her fantasy world; I really can’t see her ever admitting there’s a problem. I don’t even know if she is completely oblivious, or if her fantasy world is her way of consciously refusing to face things. But the end results are the same for me, so it doesn’t even matter really.

    Thanks again for sharing & for being strong and brave enough to raise your kids that way! 🙂

    Kathi, I also read your post quickly – I’m getting tired now but wanted to say quickly how sorry I am for what you went through. I was raised in the Baptist church too, and while I was never physically or sexually molested (I had a recent memory come back which made me think my sister was – still not sure what to do about that) the mental & emotional s**t both my parents and the church put me through were brutal.

    I especially sympathize how hard it must be to have the abusers still held up as heroes or role models by the church despite knowing of their actions. That is as wrong as it gets.

    Wishing love and light for us all!

  22. By: Barbara Posted: 4th November

    My late NMother thought that because she was my mother, that I should find every single thing she did o.k. and even back her up unconditionally.

    However, her “love” for me had many conditions. The very fact I existed seemed to bother her. She was downright malicious to me when I became disabled. She’d bring up the 4th Commandment to me all the time. I finally told her “Honor your Father & Mother – IF THEY ARE HONORABLE.” She was appalled that I called her out.

    As I always say, DNA is no excuse to abuse someone.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 4th November

      Hi Rise
      Great comments! Thanks for being here and for sharing the differences between the way you were raised and the way you are raising your own kids.
      I often think that abusive parents demanding respect in this way don’t realize that children are PEOPLE but rather wish they were puppies, begging for some love no matter how they have been treated and accepting anything that the “master” dishes out.
      Hugs, Darlene

      Hi Barbara
      Exactly! Thanks for sharing this!
      Hugs, Darlene

  23. By: Risé Posted: 4th November

    Skewed definitions of respect … oh, how much I am familiar with this!!!! Growing up, respect meant to be compliant, it meant to ‘shut-up & put-up’; respecting parents meant to not ever challenge them when we felt wronged, respecting parents meant holding the same opinions as the parents. To respectfully challenge our parents’ parenting was construed as ‘disrespect.’ Having a difference of opinion was construed as ‘disrespect.’ What a toxic and skewed lie it was!!

    It took me a long time to really know what real respect was, and I am so glad I had it pretty much figured out when my kids were really little. Every human being deserves respect, and yet not be controlled in not only what they do, but also how one thinks!! I had no freedom to think for myself.

    Healthy is being able to confront or challenge or have a difference of opinion when DONE RESPECTFULLY, as ‘respectfully’ is rightly defined. The way my parents defined respect was to do as we were told, no asking questions, conformity was required – and to them this was respect.

    Being a mother of three kids – two of which are now teenagers … I have kids who have freedom of thinking, they are allowed to challenge their parents, to question our motives – which must be done in a truly respectful manner mind you. But they are allowed that. Children deserve respect as much as an adult. Children are not ‘owned’ by the parent – they are individuals with rights.

    As a result, my children are probably a little more opinionated than most … and I love that about them. They are awesome users of common sense. Abusive parents have no common sense – and when they abuse their kids, it destroys our sense of common sense as well.

    Abuse really does destroy in so many ways … it takes quite some time to heal and reprogram one’s brain … but its so worth it!!

  24. By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 3rd November

    Hi Kathi
    Excellent points; thank you for your contribution today!I love what you shared and YES YEs… exactly!

    We must take a stand against this funky mess. The more it is talked about, the more it is exposed, the more others will come forward and think about it and the more “the fog” will lift.

    Abuse is abuse and it is wrong. If we accept it, it only gets worse.
    Hugs, Darlene

  25. By: Kathi Trostad Posted: 3rd November

    Darlene, first off so very sorry you and your husband were abused by your father-in-law. He definitely has boundary problems and has no respect for you or his son.
    Suzanne is very wrong. A sexually abusing parent not only has no respect for life they DO NOT deserve respect. My abusive mother showed up on my door step one afternoon after she had been totally angry with me for having confronted them about how they were abusing my nephew so I took him home with me. In my living room sat a caseworker from the state as my therapist had reported incest by my father involing my child and it turned how he abused All his children and All his grandchildren and was trying for a great granddaughter when my child decided to tell even though the threats were awful. The caseworker made the point thawt his was my home and you do NOT let anyone come over and treat you like that especially in front of the kids.

    Looking back my parents thought it their right to walk in any time and take anything they wanted. Their church and neighbors lied for them, but the children of the witnesses told of their own sexual abuse and incest.

    My abusive father when I was about 36 quoted the Scripture about train up a child in the way they should go and when they are old they will not depart from it!!! I looked at him and said, “You had better hope to God none of us turn out the way we were raised!” He got as white as a sheet! My child brought 6 generations of incest that I know about to a screeching halt. Unfortunately my parents ashes were scattered at the Burton Baptist Camp on Vashon Island, WA right next to the house they had lived in there and where my child was sexaully abused a number ot times. Thinking the Baptists were clueless even though they had been sent court documents they said it was to show respect for people who had done much to help the camp by volunteering and donating a lot of money! A child molestors at a youth camp is like a pig going to an all you can eat joint ad not leaving!!!!
    As survivors we need to tell it like it really was and not what some know it all thinks it ought to be. Also, I am extremely insulted and disgusted when someone out of the blue comes to me and says I should have kept my mouth shut and had more respect for my parents. Those people NEVER ask how the children are. You can be forgiving but it does not heal the wounds or covers the hundreds of thousands some of us have spent in recovery. I have had severe medical problems and the fear of males have hurt me getting the best care until I got the best surgeon. He treats me with kindness and respect and he is an honorable man and a blessing as a doctor. When I had bi-lateral breast cancer I was asked if I had been sexually abused as a child, that raises your risk of cancer!!!
    I claim Romans 8:28 everyday and NO I am not going to be quiet. I live in Poulsbo, WA which is picture postcard perfect but turn the card over and INCEST and child sexual abuse screams at you! The town icon was also the town child molestor!
    Do not back down, Darlene, you are a blessing and a voice!

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