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. 

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

  1. By: DXS Posted: 1st March

    “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.

  2. By: Kaycee Posted: 1st March

    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.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 2nd March

      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

  3. By: T. Posted: 1st March

    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.

  4. By: Kellie Posted: 1st March

    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.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 2nd March

      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

  5. By: Hobie Posted: 1st March

    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.


  6. By: Gina Posted: 1st March

    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?

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 2nd March

      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

  7. By: Jackie Posted: 1st March

    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.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 2nd March

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

  8. By: RavenLily Posted: 29th February

    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. 🙁

  9. By: JI Posted: 29th February

    Thank you so much for this.

  10. By: Pinky Posted: 29th February

    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! 🙂

  11. By: elle Posted: 29th February

    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?

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 29th February

      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

  12. By: Nadia Aquino Posted: 29th February

    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.

  13. By: Andria Posted: 29th February

    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.

  14. By: S1988 Posted: 29th February


    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.

  15. By: Tripleguess Posted: 29th February

    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.

  16. By: Tripleguess Posted: 29th February

    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.”

  17. By: S1988 Posted: 29th February

    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”.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 29th February

      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

  18. By: Nadia Aquino Posted: 29th February

    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.

  19. By: Nadia Aquino Posted: 29th February

    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.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 29th February

      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

  20. By: Andria Posted: 29th February

    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.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 29th February

      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

  21. By: Kt Posted: 29th February

    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!!!

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 29th February

      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

  22. By: Pinky Posted: 29th February

    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!

  23. By: lucy Posted: 29th February

    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.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 29th February

      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

  24. By: Amber Posted: 28th February

    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.

  25. By: Carol derry Posted: 28th February

    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.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 29th February

      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

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