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. 

Categories : Family



Oh my Lord, again you have explained my experiences without even knowing them. I thank the powers above that I found your blog. Over the years since I posted your 1,000’d post, I have regularly read posts as they grabbed me, and every time you nail how I have grown to see that issue. My recovery wouldn’t have been so long if something like this was around in the 80’s. Much respect to you, hugs.


Hi Darlene,
First of all I am so glad that Christina’s parents did not win their case. I was outraged reading that they had the audacity to bring those charges against her. Talk about entitlement gone wild! But justice previaled in that they did not win the case, but even more importantly that Christina is doing well on her journey!
Mother Entitlement was a big issue for me as a child and beyond. It was especially bad because she also believed that her boys, my brothers, should also come before me. I landed at the bottom of the pecking order. She spent an inordinate amount of time on herself, her clothing, making sure she got her hair done at the salon every week, but when it came to me, I could go unbathed for a week and wear dirty clothes to school. I know I’ve written about this on your blogs before….my mother deprived me of a lot of things growing up, even certain basic needs. She was quick to punish so I made myself as small as possible and asked for almost nothing. She managed to make use of me for household chores. The when I hit adulthood ( a very insecure adulthood) she continued to use me for her benefit. When I finally stood up to her refusing to ” lend” her and her freeloading husband a sum of money that would have wiped out my savings, she tossed me out of her life for three years. In her old age, she demanded a lot of things of me claiming it was a daughters duty to do for her, and my brothers have more important things to do so she wasn’t expecting them to do any of the work. Since she had not done her mother’s duty all my life, I stood up to her again and set boundaries on what I would and would not do for her.
She is passed on three years ago and Istill felt her grip on me from beyond the grave. The brainwashing and grooming and false beliefs didn’t pass on simply because she did. A few months after her death I discovered your blog. It is the journey I have been on since starting to read your blogs that has helped loosen her grip and start me on the road to understanding her outrageous entitlement, and how I started to accept so many false beliefs which I am finally reversing. Thank you once again Darlene for this blog and all your help for me and thousands of other adult children of overly entitled dysfunctional parents.


This is so weird, I was just thinking this morning and have often thought about how these families have this strong sense of entitlement to their patterns of abuse: they are protecting their rights to be abusive at any time. It’s been nearly two years since I went no contact, and the longer it’s been the more clearly I have seen how the whole family worked together to maintain their rights to abuse.
To Amber (posted above): my mother also treated me neglectfully and worshiped my brothers – they apparently, are the ones who can do no wrong. all of the love, affection, admiration went to them, and they of course were also strongly led to believe that they also had the right to be abusive to me.
things finally came to a head when my brother physically attacked me in front of my children-it was at that point that I walked out of the relationship. But since then, each and every member of the family has worked to deny my voice, to ensure that I was not listened to, discounted and under-valued. Their key message was ‘shut up bitch’, and take the abuse.
It was a shock, but I now realize that it was the best thing – walking away has really improved my life. I had always fought back against my family’s abuse, but I never realized how deeply their hurtful ideas about me, about my ‘badness’, had also really become a part of me. I can now reject that completely. and that feels SO GOOD.


I too am happy her parents did not win their ridiculous disgusting case! However if they had it still doe snot make it right or the truth or just! I know from personal experience judges are often bought and I have been told by judges I can not tell my story or write a book or anything t have it get into the public. No legal reason for this yet the judge and everyone involved got away with it. I dont expect justice to ever be in this lifetime but I am praying for restoration!
In terms of the abusers and entitlement and also abusers believing they are victims and convincing others they are too it’s like same story only the names change!
One of my brothers sexually abused me then raped his daughter and broke her legs there is DNA proof. Then him and my mom spread stories about me that I was locked up in a mental hospital so nobody would listen to me in case I told. I have never been as a patient to a mental hospital! Never never diagnosed with anything. But they painted a picture of them as victims and somehow said I was the one who said he abused his daughter when he lived in California at the time I had no contact with him. I could go on and on but you get the idea and you know a little bit of my story.
But a lady who works on a prayer line happens to know me well. He happened to call the prayer line with his sob story and she knew it was him knew it was a lie but said if she didn’t know me she would believe it because he was very convincing and pitiful. Mean while he is not only a monster but a lying snake a genius who prays on the weak.
I would never want them in my life again. I do not get how adults want abusers parents or siblings in their life.
I stepped down for the winter as I do every winter from leading a support group for survivors of sexual abuse. Its because of my body not being able to handle the weather but also in support group you know you are not supposed to give opinions.
I am not a mental health professional it is peer run and they have a professional on site to observe they are usually interns.

Nothing ever shocks me but the one thing that does and is frustrating for me is someone will tell a horrifying story of abuse and say they need support and so on then say how they need their family. I freaked this one girl out by my response. But as pertaining to your article I think all of these families do try to brain wash you. They actually do as you know as kids but we have a choice not think for ourselves as an adult. But the need thing I think is about the brainwashing best guess anyway.
But Christina’s case struck a chord with me.
Its like her and my mom took a course the same course or something!
Thought provoking article you ladies are doing a great job!


Bless you on every level. Waking up and having the information available to learn, grow and heal Self in authentic Love is Life worth living. No desire to bring harm to any other, I too choose to write my Truth for my benefit and for others to gain solidarity with others who need support and share known ways of healing from childhood abusive horrors. Your Light, as a Living Witness that health is attainable, brings me unending, constantly expanding JOY!!!


Thanks again for another great article Darlene. Amber, I am so glad you found EFB when you did, and it loosened the grip your dead mother still had on you. Pinky, your prayer line story is very interesting. Yes, there are many lying snake geniuses preying on the weak AND the not so weak. A convincing liar can fool so many folks.


Hi Carol ~ great to hear from you! Thanks for sharing
I remember when you posted that comment! Today this blog has 46,000 comments! I am so glad you are here,
hugs, Darlene

Hi Amber
It’s such a ‘truth leak’ to me that when you refused to give your mother what she wanted (money) she tossed you away. It makes such a statement! It is no different than my mother never speaking to me again after I told her I wanted mutual respect. I don’t understand these people but I certainly understand that I don’t have to accept this kind of treatment!
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Lucy
Welcome to Emerging from Broken!
It’s crazy how often I hear this; that families band together to discount the person who is standing up for themselves! It’s like the believe that if they all agree the problem is you, then it must be true! But knowing the truth about me and about them has set me free. Yay for rejecting their opinions of you! Yay for freedom, thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


Hi Pinky
Yes, the outcome in court is very often sided in favour of the perpetrator and as you say, that doesn’t change the truth either. About people believing that they need their families, when you have been convinced all your life that without your family you are nothing, it is hard to realize that we don’t need them. There is a lot of brainwashing growing up in dysfunctional family and it takes time for that brainwashing to come undone. I find that the more permission a person has to see the truth the faster they see it. (that means that I don’t decide anything for them, I let them come to all their own conclusions)
Thanks for sharing!
hugs, Darlene


Hi Kt
Welcome to EFB ~ Great to know you are on the truth sharing/truth telling journey with us! Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Andria,
Thanks for your comments too!
hugs, Darlene


Darlene, you have no idea how relieved I was to see this today. I was hoping to find some answers this morning.
I haven’t had any contact with my family since September. My father stopped making his evening phone calls which didn’t surprise me because of his dementia. 2 days before my 53 birthday my Dad left a message on my phone telling me that he didn’t know where I was. A day later I got an email from my brother requesting another meeting with him to discuss Mom and Dad and rekindling the relationship with his only son and my youngest daughter. The last time he emailed me, I told him that I couldn’t and explained why. This was before Christmas. My Fathers Birthday is 3 days after mine. I know this is my narcissistic mothers idea and my narcissistic brother is the messenger.
Last night I received another email reminding me and asking me for an answer and also suggesting a meeting with just him and I and not our spouses. I can’t do it Darlene. If I want to be a better Mom and Wife and Friend, I cannot do it. I am of No Use to them. I did so much for her and for my brother and they did not appreciate it. My brother cannot and will not listen to my reasons for not being able to go back. He is like her. This is destroying me. I do not want any contact with these people. I’m scared.


None of us deserve to be controlled or manipulated. Carol Amber Lucy Pinky Kt Andria ….because of this forum that Darlene has gifted to us, we have the chance to share our stories, we have to chance to see that we are not alone and that there is hope for us. Carol, I wish I had known all this in the eighties also. This all started when I was 12, but it got even worse when I got to High School and even worse when I met my husband to be. My NM made my life hell. I am so grateful that my husband of 30 years is still by my side. He though he could fix it for many years and finally, this September, he also surrendered and supported my walking away.
Thank You Darlene.


I’m not sure if my family would pursue litigation against me, but I probably shouldn’t put it past them. I know that I would be attacked for “telling others our business”. That’s why when I talk about my family problems, I do it anonymously, though I admire those who do it while using their real names. My mother doesn’t own a computer nor is computer literate, but my sister owns a computer, and is now her liaison. (I guess my mother grew tired from my silent treatment, and now communicates with me through my sister, who I don’t talk to either, so I don’t understand why.) My name is very unique, and I’m afraid if I use my real name, my sister may conduct online research on me, find my posts, and report it back to our mother, so I have to be careful.

It must be hard for you for your mother to not speak to you again, but I’m actually hoping that for my family. Communication from them is rare, but I wish they could just leave me be unless they want to give a sincere apology. I got messages from them on my birthday a few weeks ago, including one from my brother who supposedly doesn’t care that I don’t want a relationship with him, yet sends me an email for some reason. I also get messages of updates or mail, but as usual, it’s through my sycophantic sister. I can’t wait for the day for my mother to move in with one of them. We live in the same town, but luckily it’s been months since I seen her. I rather hear nothing than get what I call “phony fan mail”.


Lucy (comment #3),

“… these families have this strong sense of entitlement to their patterns of abuse: they are protecting their rights to be abusive at any time.”

Thank you for saying that; it made something click for me. There are certain relatives in my life right now who have been difficult for me to deal with because 1) they have driven off other abusers 2) they can be nice most of the time 3 they reserve the right to be abusive at any time. (In this case emotionally.)

It’s so confusing. In a story of two bad guys, one is the “worse” bad guy and the other is the “better” bad guy because they drove off the “worse” bad guy; yet, they reserve the right to devalue, attack (but it’s “funny” mind you), and dismiss just like the “worse” one; they just haven’t worked up to that worse level of abuse (yet?). But the principles they’re operating on… are pretty much the same. They are not a “good guy.”


Nadia, you are an amazing mom for protecting your children from abusive relatives. I wish my parents had done that. They didn’t, and while I love them, I don’t respect them any more. I hope you can find a way to stop those emails and other “probes.” I stopped and prayed for you when I read your comments because it sounds like you’re in a difficult situation, what with the “hostage-taking” (the “use” of your dad) & etc. I’m glad your husband is on your side.



Wow! I thought I was the only one here in that situation, except my family members haven’t driven him off; they still associate with him even though they despise him.

Before the separation and divorce, my father was the main abuser, but this happened before I was born and when I was too young to remember. (I was seen as his favorite, though. He was the one who named me.) Once my dad stopped living with us, then my mother became the abuser. Of course, my obsequious siblings don’t see her behavior as abusive, and see our father as the “bad one”, and themselves as “good”. They love to rant about how horrid he is, but don’t want to acknowledge their own sick behaviors. What phonies!

I haven’t spoken to my father in almost five years. I tried to have a relationship with him after not seeing him for many years, but all he wanted was to use me as a tool for revenge against my mom. I refused to be dragged into someone’s civil war.

True, it can be tricky since abusers can be nice sometimes, but true caring people are nice practically all the time. Real friends don’t have Jekyll/Hyde personalities.

I’m seen as the whiny ingrate, but I get hoovering messages occasionally. Funny how I can be “liked” and looked down on at the same time, but I’m not falling for their ruse.


Dear Nadia Aquino,

I am so sorry that you are scared. I am NC with my family. If your gut tells you not to go and meet with your brother by all means do not do it. You are getting a message from the intelligence inside of you that is protecting you. My situation is different from yours, but I did so so much for my family and they did not appreciate or care more for me because I did it.

I hope you don’t let these people called “family” destroy you. It is not your problem if your brother cannot understand why you don’t want contact with them. I know it sucks that he does not want to listen to your story, but your story is important to you and that is all that really matters now.

I am glad for you that your husband has stuck with you for 30 years. You have a real advocate in him. I hope both of you can ride out this terrible storm caused by your family. I know that you can because all of us here are survivors.


I used to think that because I wasn’t physically abused, I didn’t have a right to think that what she was doing to me was abusive. I still have a difficult time saying that I was abused. I just recently read about Narcissistic Parents and had a revelation. My mother is a narcissist.


Dear Darlene, I am quite new to your site, have been lurking around for a couple of days… You know, I am grateful for you and Christina stepping out into the light. You and the commenters here are my inspirations. Just reading about your experiences feels cathartic for me.

I would say that in the spectrum of recovery, I would place myself somewhere around the 25-30%. Still in the process of accepting my abuse, and that my family were not really who I thought they were. I guess that the greatest conflict I have is, I felt loved, and also felt unloved, both to the extremes. There were good times, but man, there were also, traumas and abuse that’s taking me years to overcome. I feel it is a sin to hold grudge against my parents (raised by hardcore Catholics) but the more I step back and see things as they really are, the more I feel my pain and the more I feel depressed because I know I will never find the acknowledgement or apologies that I am desperately craving for from my family. I love my parents, I really do. And it’s not like they aren’t trying either. But how could I move forward when they don’t even give me the dignity to hear them say sorry when they’ve hurt me? I’m sorry if I’m speaking vaguely, I’m not yet ready to dish out on the details… Just this… I tried writing my father a letter of my pent up years worth of issues I had with him and my mother. I may have gotten too emotional in the letter as it was triggered by a recent incident. He wrote me back, but it had nothing to do any of the issues I wrote him. Instead, he spoke in the third person, didn’t address the letter to me, and talked about his miserable life and blamed me (and my other siblings) for it. But mostly me. At the end of his letter, he said “I hope you give me some credit before I get discouraged like you.” I cried really hard because it was so hard standing up to him, thru a letter. I even had to write it because otherwise, I might not be able to say it to him in person, I’d just wind up guilty and crying. This happened over a year ago. Recently he asked me to read his Catholic journal because he wanted to share his reflections on the gospel. I agreed because though I’m not a hardcore Catholic like them, I share some beliefs. I found pages written about me, how I humiliated and wrongfully accused him. I am guessing he was pertaining to my letter. It broke my heart because I thought we moved past it (it “resolved” on its own; we didn’t really talk about it) and we are in good terms but now it feels as though he’s being fake?? I don’t know. Part of me wants to reach out but I’m sure by now it’s gonna be useless and I’m just gonna probably hurt more if I expect anything. I just feel so sad and alone. And I don’t know how to keep an emotional distance because I think it will do me good to have emotional distance, but I also want to feel close with them. I don’t know what to do. Please give me some advice?


This statement you made is very powerful.” I find that the more permission a person has to see the truth the faster they see it. (that means that I don’t decide anything for them, I let them come to all their own conclusions)”
I feel that way in areas of faith and all other areas of life but this one area I feel like I see a huge truck coming at a small puppy and they need rescuing.
I know the rules I know I am not supposed to but if they ask I am not able to hold back yet LOL! I am like a kid in that way you know how kids will just say your breath stinks? Well if they ask I let it fly. 🙂 I dont say anything unless they ask but if they do I am not able to contain my horror! 🙂


Hi Nadia
I hear you! It is so sad that ‘they’ can’t hear us, and that they refuse to listen to the problem and instead they insist that we are the problem. I had to keep reminding myself of all my efforts in order to keep going forward with my decisions. I don’t miss any of that crap.
Hang in there, thank you for sharing.
hugs, Darlene


Hi S1988
It isn’t hard for me anymore. At first I was stunned that it was so easy for her to just drop me but today I appreciate the truth about all of it. Thanks for sharing.
Hugs, Darlene

Exactly.. they are protecting their rights; always. But the thing that I realized was that their ‘rights’ were in their own minds. When I realized that they didn’t actually HAVE the right to do what they were doing, I realized that I had a right to be free.
hugs, Darlene


Hi Elle
Welcome to EFB ~ I totally understand the conflict. re; the hard core catholic (or any other religion for that matter) I studied what the bible says and was shocked to find out that it doesn’t give parents ANY of the rights that we are told they have. It’s all part of the way they manipulate and sometimes they believe that they actually do have rights (entitlement) that they don’t have because it serves them to believe that they have those rights. Something that really helped me was realizing that the way they demanded me to love them is not the same way they loved me.. and that there is only ONE definition of love.
Unfortunately, (or fortunately in the sense of truth and freedom) feeling or being close to people is a two way street.
Hugs, Darlene


Thank you so much for this.


I’m new to this blog, but SO thankful to have found a place where people understand the immense damage perpetrated by the ones who should love us most… Our parents. Seventeen years ago my emotionally, physically, verbally abusive, manipulative parents estranged themselves from me & their 2 grandsons over a supposed slight my husband made that ‘disrespected’ my father. The same father who used, abused & cheated on my mother (once even w/an incestuous affair w/his niece!), the father who didn’t provide for us, causing us to be evicted and having to move & change schools more times than I can remember, the father who always made himself the priority looking like a million bucks while the rest of us looked like orphans w/barely enough food to get by, the father who beat my brother and me down verbally & physically, making us believe we were less than zero, and the enabling mother who always made excuses for him rather than leave for our and her own best interests. These are the parents who through guilt & manipulation made me feel like I was responsible to care for them as an adult, putting my life on hold out of some whacked out belief that I needed to work hard to give them the life they didn’t give me. I was finally going to be the good girl!! Then they would finally love and appreciate me, and to some superficial degree they did, until finally, in my early 30’s I met someone truly special and had the nerve to leave, causing their lifestyle to suffer due to the loss of their meal ticket: me. Through the years they found fault where there was none & tried everything to destroy my marriage. Whatever hubby and I did for them was never enough, and rather than be happy when life became easier for me & my family, they were bitter & envious, and somehow felt they were cheated because my kids and hubby were now my priority, not them, although I still did much for them. After all they did to my brother and me, I still forgave & tried to please them. My brother died at 38, a lost alcoholic, who only wanted a dad who cared and valued him- he never lived to see that day-Hubby & I took care of the final arrangements cleaning out what little savings we had only to find 2 wks later my dad (who plead poverty) had money put away to buy a big screen TV and pay HIS car insurance-SO much more important than taking care of YOUR son’s final needs. During the 17 year estrangement I tried twice to reconcile, but always was given conditions that would omit my husband, who did nothing but take good care of me & our sons. A year after the last attempt, my oldest son went to see them & found all our photos removed and replaced with some strange woman & her kids. He never went back. Fast forward to Dec. 2015, curious if they still lived where I last knew, I Googled their names only to find an obituary for my mother that she died 9/2015 written by the woman whose pictures replaced mine, and who helped exploit the chasm created by my hateful parents. I was in shock- NOBODY even told me my mother was sick, no less dead!!! I looked up this woman as we found out my dad no longer was at the last address I had- She met us wearing MY Grandmother’s jewelry!!! The Grandmother who loved ME dearly and was the one woman my brother and I could always count on!! She told me she felt like my sister, really??? I don’t think so!! She is/was nobody to me other than a woman who works in a field enabling her to come in contact with many elderly people, allowing her to prey on the ones with either no family, or estranged ones to exploit. She showed me the wills drawn up the year after my last attempt at reconciliation- I was specifically disinherited, replaced by her, and ultimately ALL the sentimental belongings of MY ancestral loved ones my parents had were now in HER possession- someone the ones who loved ME knew nothing of & would be turning over in their graves to see receiving anything. The one thing she didn’t want to receive was my dad, who she promptly neglected upon my mother’s death, leaving him to be found near death in their apt, I later found out. I can only assume she had hopes he would also soon die, as she made sure 2 days prior to my mother’s death (on her deathbed) to have them sign, appointing her durable power of attorney for both of them. They didn’t have much, but they DID have life insurance. Too bad for her, a neighbor found him and he survived. But she didn’t waste the opportunity while he was in a convalescent home being re-nourished & re-hydrated to clean out my parents apt and avail herself of all their belongings she chose to keep, discarding the rest. Upon his recovery, she promptly threw him into a board and care, telling him it was just for a little while. Imagine his surprise when he went to his old apartment, unlocked the door and found it completely emptied of everything. There’s some irony in that by doing their best to be vindictive and hurtful to me, the woman they replaced me with and trusted to the end is the same one who finally was the one who out-manipulated them, causing their hate-filled plan to backfire. I’m still emotionally devastated that my parents could (and did!) do what they did to me, one last act of abuse beyond the grave, and for what did I do to deserve so much hate and contempt?? I had the nerve to want a life and family of my own, instead of sacrificing myself for what my parents felt entitled to-me supporting them. And now, despite it all, I’m feeling guilty about my dad’s situation, but know in my head he is too toxic to bring back into my life. All of this is haunting me, and reopening wounds I thought had been healed, only to be ripped open yet again. 🙁


I also started a blog about my story. It sounds like mine is much like yours. My step-father is a pedophile and my mother is a narcissist. She never left him and by the time I had the strength to confront the issue, the statute of limitations ran out on me. Fortunately, my parents are barely scraping by and can’t afford a lawyer. This is something that I’ve been afraid of as well but I keep telling my story to encourage others to do the same. The louder we speak, the further they run.


Thank you for your blog. I’ve been working on recovering from a very controlling and manipulative mother and years of brainwash and grooming. (Even as I write these words, I’m cringing because I learned years ago not to face these facts about my mother and not to be “disloyal” to her.) I lived 42 years with my mother, since birth. She controlled everything about me all those years. She kept me from having friends, boyfriends, a social life, activities. Everything I did had to benefit her. She allowed me to go to college and to work. She decided how to spend the money I earned. She required I come home after work, or she would unleash a rage against me or she would not eat and become unconscious and say that it was my fault for not getting home to fix dinner for her (she was a type 1 diabetic.) She was very confusing to me- sometimes she seemed to love me sincerely and was very affectionate and loving when I was small. I was crazy about my mom growing up. When I started to become an adult, all heck broke loose. I became convinced that if I loved my mother, I would always “obey” her and “respect” her. I had sexual abuse from a friend of hers when I was 13. I was afraid to tell her. A few years after it happened I told her and she responded that she didn’t believe me and that I was just trying to hurt her. (Everything was always about her.) Then years later, shortly before her death she commented that the abuse wasn’t that big of a deal, he didn’t actually rape me. Statements like those started to sink in that what she felt for me wasn’t really love. But years of brainwash took a long time to overcome. She was in very poor health most of my life (which looking back, I think part of that time she could have taken care of herself) but she made me feel she would die if I didn’t take care of her. So I felt trapped in her life out of guilt, and love. I loved her unconditionally, even though she didn’t reciprocate that love. I knew that if I made a stand against her, she would throw me out of her life. She did that to my sister. I feared her rejection, and I feared her death if I didn’t take care of her. She also convinced me that my father never loved me and kept me from being in his life, so she was the only relative I had, or so she made me feel. She passed away 8 years ago. I have only been able to admit these things to myself and to my son and sister about her in the past 2 years. My son tells me that it’s like I has Stockholm syndrome all those years. I definitely idealized my mother, like you described in your blog. I just never had the strength to stand up to her during her life. 42 years of powerlessness and hopelessness. Major depression and suicidal tendencies and attempts all those years. Now, I’m finally living a normal life, trying to regain some of the years I lost before old age prevents me from doing so. I think I will never have a healthy marriage- at 49 I doubt I’ll find a husband and the thought brings me fear that I will be controlled again. Thank you for the blog. It helps to read things like this, to help me face the truth about my mom and my life and stop idealizing her. Do these types of people ever truly love anyone? Did she ever love me? Why do these types of people have children? To have like a “pet” they can control?


Is the sense of entitlement the cause of the abuse? Or is the entitlement the defense they use once they feel that they may be held accountable?

In some level, it really doesn’t matter, but I can’t help wondering.



As always, thank you Darlene for continuing to bring light into the dark spaces for so many of us who still do not feel we have a voice. My mother, who was always a narcissistic and totally self-absorbed woman all throughout her life and who perpetrated countless abuses on me and my siblings, made a final play against me in 2011 wherein she declared that she was “done” with me after she attacked me, lied about it to a very close personal friend, and made sure to destroy that relationship and any others that we had in common at the time. After the incident, I had no choice to pull away from her as she was actually the one who severed ties, and I began, once again, to pick up the pieces of a shattered and broken “daughter-hood” to try to make sense of it and find some peace. At the time, I was actually relieved for I thought at last I had a chance to move past her manipulation and abuse and for several years, I existed in a very peaceful bubble without her. Alas, through many manipulations of my father, she finally managed to weasel her way back into my life over the course of the last couple of years and I have actually found myself hosting her and my dad in my home for several overnight visits since then. This has also come with a number of overtures from her through social media and other “opportunities” as our kids are getting married and other life changes develop. The thing that struck me from this article was that my mother at no time ever acknowledged any wrongdoing toward me even though I finally confronted her directly after she started with the tearful pleas to be in her life again. She has NEVER admitted anything she has ever done, and she has NEVER acknowledged that I have any rights to privacy or a life without her involvement. I feel doomed. Since they live so far away, I am able in large part to avoid a lot of the things I would not otherwise be able to, but she has recently started “bombing” my phone through social media with all sorts of miscellaneous bullshit (for lack of a better term) such as links to craft projects or other such things. She has begun sending me gifts and garbage that I do not want or need, but I do not know how to avoid the onslaught. I am sick to death of her. I am more annoyed by people who think that I’m just an ungrateful daughter. They have no idea what I have suffered at her hands ALL of my life, and how much of a burden it is now that she cannot seem to leave me in peace even after she broke ties. I am at a complete loss. I do not believe anything I could ever say or do would be enough to stop her from coming into my space. I wish for a solution, but I do not anticipate one ever. Moreover, I am mortified that I even have to endure this at all. Normal mothers do not treat their children this way and I resent that most of all.


I had never even thought about parent entitlement until I married. My inlaws acted (past tense because I dont have a relationship with them anymore), like my husband and I owed them something- for being a couple, for living only 3 hours away, for even being born! I sensed from the beginning that something was amiss but I could not pin point it until I started doing research on Narcissistic parents. They were envious of our vacations, the fact that we didnt rely on them in any way infuriated them. They started a smear campaign against me- because they believe their son didnt have a mind of his own- and could not have possibly married me of he own free will! They always acted like they were owed recognition- bitterness and covert emotional abuse ensued. My husband does what he wants and didnt respond to anything they pulled, but I became enraged and just lost it, which they wanted me to do so they could flip everything around on me- classic gaslighting….. ugh I would always want the best for my kids because they are wonderful human beings and I would hope they are happy and fulfilling their dreams. Not my inlaws- if they hadnt experienced it, then their son should not. What a**holes.


It is a very strange phenomenon, to not be allowed to tell your own story without fear of a lawsuit. My experience in my family was so far removed from those around me. My Mother was an adult. She had the support of her family and although she may have felt trapped by her own pride in her second marriage, there was never a day in her life that she did not know she could walk out the door.

My sister was the golden child and I do understand that her role in the family was painful and terribly hard on her, possibly unbearable to her at times. Still, my experience is so far removed from that of my Mother and my sister. I was the scapegoat and my Mother’s second husband played a cruel game with me that nobody else experienced.

They are clueless and deny that I feared for my life, they deny much of what I experienced and accept the definition of me as an inferior human being that was damaged at the core from birth.

A couple of years after I left home and was married my Mother’s husband sent me a note with an article attached, It was a story about Christopher McCandless, the young man who died in the Alaskan outback and was the subject of the much later written book and film, “Into the Wild.” This was right after Christopher was found dead. There was a copy of a magazine article with a note attached. it read simply, “Ahhhh, to be out there on your own finally.”

I lived inside his games for years. I was his target. They were not. I was the youngest, the most vulnerable. My sister was my Mom’s favorite and she was more protective of her. When my Mom, who worked full time and was going to college at night, came home exhausted, she was willing to believe anything that he said about me. It was easy for her to believe I was an incorrigible child who would not accept our new home and her new husband.

My story is unbelievable to them. Nobody experienced the terror, the mind games or the beatings that I did. Nobody else experienced the invasions, the touching and groping. She easily acquiesced to my punishments that required hours alone with him. Everything was designed by him to include endless hours of alone time with him.

I remember the surreal feeling when she would come home and roll her eyes at my “negativity.” The idea that what just happened to me was to be unacknowledged and I was supposed to just keep going and pretend nothing had happened at all. Any indication I gave that something was wrong was and insult to to her and her “perfect” family. But most of the time, it was just me and him, and her utter abandonment of me.

I remember when I was quite young, believing she was not a real person but rather a fembot, an idea I got from watching the “Bionic Woman,” where machines were walking around posing as real people.

I read a quote once about narcissistic mothers that said “Everything she does is deniable.” In her mind, she was a loving parent of a difficult child. My whole childhood is deniable by my entire family. Any attempt I have ever made at telling the truth is met with contempt and a harshness that flies in the face of the idea that she ever knew me, much less loved me.

It was when I read Gail Myers, and she was talking about her Mother’s response when she confronted her Mom as an adult about her abuse,(just recently,) that I got that kick in the gut that made me feel real. Her Mother told her almost word for word what my mother said to me. Basically, that my confronting the abuse was abusing her and that she just was not going to take it. My Mother, in true form, made herself the one being abused and me the abuser.

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.


“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 ~

I never actually “idealized” my parents. I didn’t think negatively of them, I was just “neutral.” Not feeling anything, out of fear. Mom kept “telling” me “How to feel” and I didn’t feel what she wanted me to feel, so….. feeling “nothing” was easier.


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.


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.


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…..”


Hi Ravenlily, JL and Jackie
Welcome to EFB ~ Thanks for sharing and I am so glad you are here.
hugs, Darlene



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


Hi Gina
Thank you so much for sharing. I completely relate to what you have written.
I want you to know that what I found out in my journey (which really only began when I was 45 years old) is that It is never too late to live, whatever living full out looks like to you!
Hugs and love, Darlene


Both statements are true.
I think that the entitlement is passed on through the generations. Its the false belief that parents have ownership and the false belief that children are not really people yet… (and if that is believed, when do children become people with equal value?? they don’t…) but it goes deeper than that. Sometimes I think about writing a whole book about this subject.. so please forgive me that I can’t explain it all here right now. 🙂
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Kellie
I understand what you are going through. Something that helped me was realizing that I don’t have to prove to the world that it isn’t me that is the problem. That helped me to take ‘my choice’ back. I don’t care anymore who thinks I am an ungrateful daughter because I KNOW the truth and people see whatever they want according to their OWN fears. I acknowledge that this is really complicated, I am not trying to minimize your situation at all. When I work one on one with a client it takes about 4 sessions to sort this part out but then we are off and running!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi T.
Welcome to EFB ~ Yes, the fact that you didn’t RELY on them… is a biggie. My in-laws are the same too. My husband realized how insulting it was to him that they believed he was brainwashed by me. Things changed when that happened!
hugs, Darlene

Hi Kaycee
Thanks for sharing. Owning my story has set me free. (Not this blog or the fact that I told it publicly using my real birth name; I was FREE before I started writing EFB) But realizing the way they saw me and the falseness in that, and rejecting the way they defined me and the way they insisted in believing their own fantasy ~ that is what set me free. Keep going forward!!
Hugs, Darlene


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


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.


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.


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.



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.


The typos. Sorry!


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.”


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



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.


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?”


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.




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.


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,


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.


What interview? How do we access?



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



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.




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,



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!



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.



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.



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.


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


Hi All,
I have published a new post on the subject of being told to “let it go”. You can read it on the home page or click this link “The Truth about being told to Get Over it” and “Let it Go”
Hugs! Darlene


This is an amazing post! I did not see that suggestion on the FB page to let it go it would have been interesting to me how people responded most likely it is some kind of abuser!
It goes on in the church ,the body of Christ, and in all relationships.Those people must hate you Darlene you are an amazing truth teller getting right to the root of the abusers lies! You are amazing and doing a great job!
When people dont listen and tell me to let it go I know they dont have my best interest in mind! But they try to get the entire world in on their denial!


Do you ever just want to go home? I want a place where I belong, and now that I’m exercising courage and becoming more like me, I can’t feel belonging in my family. They don’t care about my interests or values. They don’t respect me or respond to me. Where do I go? Where did you go?


Hi Seeker
I came home to me. It’s hard to explain in a brief comment but I have tried to articulate though the pages in this website and in my book. I learned to re-parent myself and to fill the longings and needs that I had which really were about being heard, being validated, being loved.
Hugs, Darlene


Yes, I totally get what you are saying. I longed for a family who accepted me and valued me. Darlene response rings true. I focused on me & creating the physical space, the people I choose to surround myself with & mentally how I talked to myself (among other things) But essentially I placed myself as the most valuable & worked (and am working ) on creating my own life.


Hi Mary
Welcome to EFB ~ Yay for taking your value back and for creating your own life!
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


It’s hard to explain how awesome this blog is for me. Finally, I feel validated. I am so sick of everyone telling me to be grateful, be positive, stop talking about it, get over it, etc… Thank you so much for this site


Hi Karen
Yay! That is great! Thanks you for sharing!
hugs, Darlene


I just found this page – accidentally – and it has really made me stop and think – and hope for a better life through placing the blame where it belongs. However, I am still fearful of telling my half-sister the things her father did to me. I think she loved him very much and I hate to be the one to tell her he was just sick. How do you tell someone the father they idolized was actually a child sexual abuser?


Hi Sherilynn
Welcome to EFB
Only you can decide on the timing of telling your half-sister. That is not an easy thing.
Hugs, Darlene


Glad her parents didn’t win and so glad the courts saw right through her parents. I am surprised the courts didn’t go along with the parents because they are “parents” who pay tax dollars – have seen that used a lot. Abusive parents suing their child? My mom said she was gonna sue me for stupid shit even though everything was a gift and nothing in writing.

They got the nerve to say they were emotionally damaged by their own daughter? OMG, what are they afraid of? Who said the dirty secrets weren’t gonna stay hidden in the closet forever? My very first therapist pretty much sided with my parents yet agreed I was treated horribly I said wow you are giving me mixed messages.


When I confronted my father (regarding his constant seduction throughout my childhood, scary touch and body obsession)many years ago he said things like: “Just look at your eyes…” It stopped me because he made me feel that I am the crazy one and because I felt so dirty (and crazy) anyway, I had nothing to say anymore.
I keep thinking how to expose the truth that it really makes him powerless.
I have to talk from my experiences in a way that does not give him the chance to question my experiences and feelings with him.
I cannot state the truth in a way that leaves me open to his disrespect and discredit. I mean, if I say “You did this and that..” and he says “No, I didn´t…you are hysterical” then what did I win but feeling like a crazy liar again.
I don´t want to confront to get his agreement or validation of me, but to finally validate myself no matter HOW he reacts to what I say.
So I feel there is a way of telling the truth that takes away his weapons of humiliation and gives back “my power of knowing”. I have to present a fact as a fact not as an option. And the damage it did as a fact,too.
Just can´t grab it yet.


So true. Once I started looking at truth in the eye about my dysfunctional family I noticed how entitled the ones who inflicted the most damage were. It was always about them, how they sacrificed so much for us to be where we are (and they’d make sure me and my sisters knew about this virtually every time we disagreed with them, God forbid we have our own opinions). And they wouldn’t talk to us “kids” respectfully, they would order us around in a harsh tone (I put kids in quotations because even as adults they will always see us as ‘less than’, as ‘mere kids’–in their words, as if kids are half-human, ugh).

They are demanding and very needy. They are like unhealthy overgrown children, and they have the audacity to blame their children for something they are responsible with, they project a lot and instill a sense of shame and guilt, for no reason other than the limitations and hurt they carried over from their own upbringing. It’s disgusting.

I still live with them and I’m in my mid 20’s. Can you guess why? I used to think it was practically impossible to move out and had zero confidence in my own ability to survive. I used to think I was nothing, that I was highly incompetent and not equipped to handle life (thanks to my “father” [ew] saying this to me over and over growing up when making small/normal mistakes, it was a crime for anyone to make a mistake, no matter how trivial or non-issue they were… he’d create them and find things wrong with so much of what I did… I could go on).

Now that I have enough self-respect and esteem, I call them out on their BS and speak my truth. The difference between now and then, although I still ‘depend’ on them (not for much longer!), is that back then I would aggressively rebel and explode in anger/emotion against them from bottling things up so much. Now I say it like I mean it, right when I feel they’re being unreasonable and dysfunctional. They actually shut up. And it is great. I cannot change them, nor do I care to because I am not responsible for their behavior, but I don’t have to take their shit any longer EVEN while still living with them. When I get out, I imagine it’s going to be so much better than now still, and I’m excited at the prospect.

P.S. Thank you for all your work on this blog Darlene–you along with many others who have the courage to share their stories and lessons openly like this.

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