“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” There’s a reason this little rhyme is meant for children—when you grow up, you learn that words have power, including the power to hurt. Once something horrible is said out loud, it can’t be taken back, and neither can the heartbreak or pain that it causes. These Redditors were the victims of utterly cruel remarks, and they’ve got the emotional scars to prove it. Brace yourself, cause these callous barbs are so mean that you might feel the burn just by reading them.
1. Not Part of the Job Description
After interviewing for a job as a personal assistant, he said, “My wife wouldn’t let me hire a pretty girl. She’ll be fine with you.”
2. Definitely Not It
I was in elementary school, and about 20 of us kids were playing tag at recess. The girl who’s “it” races by me, and I’m running away and yelling and laughing along with everyone else. She stops, looks directly at me, and says, “I’m not chasing you,” and runs off. It was the first time anyone went out of their way to single me out and make me feel like dirt.
3. The Penultimate Betrayal
“We were never friends, dude. I saw you sitting alone one day, felt bad, and you wouldn’t leave me alone after that.” That hurt—but he was just getting started. Then he unloaded a bunch of embarrassing secrets I shared with him when I thought we were best friends from third to fifth grade. He said all of this in the beginning of middle school/sixth grade when I went to go sit by him and all of his newfound friends.
Coming from a small town, my entire class and half the school heard him say all of it. That piece of garbage never stopped persecuting me up to the day I graduated.
4. Singing in a Coal Mine
In elementary school, I was a really shy kid, and I was especially afraid of singing. Well, our teacher tells me I must sing or I’ll fail. When I start singing, she covers her ears and puts her head on the desk. That just broke me, and I’ve never sung in front of anyone again.
5. Invisibly Ill-Mannered
“Oh no, those seats are for handicapped people…and people with heart problems.” My friend was born with half a heart and has a hard time breathing sometimes. You really wouldn’t be able to tell unless he told you. Once, when we were 13, we went to a Patriots practice where you can watch them for free, and the first row is always dedicated for handicapped people.
My friend hates the fact that he can’t play sports, go too high in the air, etc., because of his heart, so he tries to stay as normal as he can. Well, it was packed that day, and he was having trouble breathing again. We took him to the first row, and behind us are two college girls who politely inform us that that row is for handicapped people.
My friend’s dad calmly replies with how my friend is having trouble breathing and that he is, in fact, handicapped. They don’t believe him, a small argument ensues, and staff are called over. It’s a mess. His dad figures everything out. The staff are informed and aware. Not two minutes after that, another person is coming to sit down. “Sorry, lady, that row is for handicapped people only…and those with heart problems, apparently.”
I don’t think I’ve ever been that angry in my lifetime. My friend had quite the struggle with it, as did his parents. To this day, he’s conscious about it and hates when people bring it up. The pair keep talking about it genuinely not believing that he has anything wrong with him. Eventually, his Dad starts telling him to turn around and take his shirt off.
Y’see, when he was born, they had to stick a bunch of tubes inside him and open up his chest, so he’s pretty marked up. If they had seen that, it might have convinced the two, but no self-conscious 13-year-old wants to take off their shirt exposing their irregular chest in front of a large crowd. Eventually, the pair leave, but I remember my friend being incredibly sad, reduced to tears even, the rest of the day.
6. Shot in the Dark
In a rather dark time in my life, someone said, “You’re so awkward. No wonder nobody likes you.” All of my insecurities were confirmed in that moment.
7. New Laugh, Who Dis?
When I was in middle school art class something funny happened and I let out a loud laugh. I then overheard one of my childhood best friends whisper to another person, “God I hate her laugh.” I immediately looked at him and said, “What?” and he just looked down at the table like he didn’t hear me. This actually made me change my laugh. It’s completely different from what it used to be.
8. Make the Right Call
I used to work in a call center. A couple of years ago, my mom had a really bad hernia and was in the hospital for surgery very suddenly. 90% of her stomach, part of her intestines, and her pancreas were inside her chest cavity, and her lung had partially collapsed to make room for all the other organs in there. I had rushed four hours to the hospital to be there when she got out of surgery.
A couple of days later, I was back at work still really upset about my mom having been in the hospital. A man called in having an issue with one of his sports channels and got very upset and told me, “You can’t even help me out with my sports. I sure hope your parents never need you to take care of them!” Right then, I had the most cathartic moment that I have ever experienced at that job.
I told him exactly what had happened to my mother just days prior. I told him that he was incredibly rude and that one channel being out on his TV did not give him the right to treat me the way he was treating me. Then I told him his ticket was being escalated to the office for review in the morning and hung up. Then I went to the bathroom and cried for a good 20 minutes.
9. Getting Rid of Oscar the Couch
I moved into this new place, specifically a basement in a house where a bunch of other guys lived on the main and second floor. At first, they said it was fine for me to bring my couch into the basement, where they had their jam area. Then, apparently, they changed their minds. I was pretending to sleep when I heard them planning how to get me out the basement soon, all because I was “taking up the jam area”…which I was paying to rent.
10. Maternal Attack
My mother and I had a big falling out. She texted me a whole lot of nasty things, but the one that hurt the most said, “You guys will make the best family ever. Can’t wait to see your kids. Awwww, so cute. If you can have any! Lol.” This was a little while after my fiancée was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and we were unsure of what would have to happen.
This was two years ago, and we have not spoken since, even walking past each other in the street like total strangers. It’s okay. There’s a happy ending. I’m literally typing this at the hospital as my partner gets ready to feed our one-week-old baby girl, and we are all prepared to go home tomorrow.
I was copied into an email conversation where about ten messages earlier one of my employees had described me as an idiot and suggested to the recipients that they didn’t get me involved in the situation they were discussing. I’d always thought we got on well and it knocked my confidence down a couple pegs. Feels bad, man.
12. Matter of Opinion
I tried too hard to please my parents as a kid. When I was about 25, there was a family conversation that ended up covering how and why I didn’t make much money as a newspaper reporter. When someone made reference to my master’s degree, my mother said in a disgusted voice, “What a waste.” Nothing ever hurt me more, and ever since, I have not cared what anyone else thinks of me.
13. The Bad Twin
I heard my dad saying he expected my twin sister to do great things. That wasn’t so bad until he followed it up with, “I don’t know what we’ll do about [My Name], though.” He still doesn’t know I heard that, and I plan to keep it that way for the rest of my life. The best revenge is a life well-lived, I suppose.
14. Divorced from Fact
“I’m better than you because my parents are still married.” That was literally 20 years ago, and I still hate the woman who said that to me.
15. Terms and Conditions
“Oh, I’d totally be willing to sleep with her if she would just shut her freaking mouth.” Nice.
16. Mock Round Table
When I was in 6th grade, I was in a group of about 10 girls, and they took turns telling me everything they hated about me. I’m autistic, and they’d even exaggeratedly imitate some of the weird things I’d do until I ran away crying.
17. Odd One Out
One time, my grandparents had won ten thousand dollars playing at the casino. They’d told each of their children about their good luck and presumably gave them each a part of the money…except for my father. I heard them talking about it when I was staying with them one night.
18. At Least I’m Not a Big Mouth
I am a totally confident dude and extremely happy with my appearance aside from one thing. I think I have a small mouth. I have never told anyone about that insecurity, and it’s never been even hinted at by others. Anyway, to cut a long story short, I was asking a patron to leave a pub I was running, and he proceeded to scream, “Screw you! Screw you and your little mouth!”
19. Oh Dear, Diary…
Everyone I invited to my first sleepover laughed while reading my diary entries about how my dad had been abusing me (I’d left the room and one had gone snooping). It was worse when they wouldn’t stop or give it back when I burst in and pleaded with them to, then everyone laughed even harder. That was the first and last time I wrote anything real like that in a diary.
20. Short-Lived High
My high school makes the entire 11th grade go on a leadership camp before they start grade 12. During this camp, we’re separated from our normal friendship groups and pretty much forced to socialize and complete activities with people you normally don’t hang out with. So, I’m socializing with other people, which included one of the hot girls from the popular group, Laura.
One exercise we had to do was climb a high ropes course with a partner. I asked if I could do it by myself, so the adult in charge let me. I’m scaling this thing pretty easily, and a few other guys from the popular group are cheering me on yelling, “Go death_proofer! you’re a tank son!” I also notice Laura is watching me and impressed, which was something that felt good. I was riding high—but it was about to come crashing down.
I finish, and we move onto the next exercise which is another 2-person course. The adult asks who wants to go first. I’m still feeling pretty confident, so I jump up and say yep, I’ll go. I needed a partner, so he asked one of the girls if they’d like to go with me. The one he asked looks at me and goes, “Eww, no.” Laura was standing right in front of me and laughed. Any confidence I accumulated was gone, and I felt terrible.
21. Coveting Thy Neighbor’s Shorts
I was at the birthday party of a super religious girl and I overheard her mom say “Who’s the girl in the green shirt and immodest shorts?” while pointing right at me. I was wearing fairly short shorts, but it was 100 degrees and I was 14. That made me horribly self-conscious for a long time.
22. Just a Blip in the Universe
I was in junior high, and I told my step-dad I wanted to be a scientist. He told me that I would never succeed as a scientist because it takes creative thinking and that I couldn’t think creatively. It basically destroyed what little relationship we had.
23. Got My Back
I was a camp counselor, and there were two girls who loved to make hot or not lists. One of the girls suggested a guy counselor was hot, and the other said he was saying mean things about me behind my back, which made him not hot. It hurt to hear that the guy I had a crush on thought I was “an ugly pig,” but I’m glad my friends supported me.
24. Catering to the Unrefined
I used to be a restaurant manager. A customer booked a birthday party. She was really awkward, but I did everything she asked for. She ordered sandwiches but decided on the night she had 10 gluten intolerant guests. I sorted it for no extra charge, I brought her wine and chocolate out of my own pocket, and I went the extra mile to make sure she had a good party. Halfway through the night, I heard her calling me “Fat Nat” and other mean names that upset me.
25. Good Riddance!
I think this was in the ninth grade. A girl I had a crush on, but hadn’t really talked to at all, was moving away to a new town. A few days before she moved, I overheard her saying, “Yeah I’ll miss pretty much everyone…But I’ll tell you one person I won’t miss: [My name]!” That kinda sucked, like, really bad.
26. Problem with the Invitations
I sat with a group of guys at lunch who never included me in their weekend plans. One Friday night, they called and invited me over. I went over to the house where they were and rang the doorbell. Nobody answered, but I could hear them giggling inside. I stormed off and drove home and then probably wrote some emo nonsense on my computer.
On Monday, I walked by their table, and one guy says, “Hey man, why didn’t you come over on Friday?” Everyone cracked up. I never sat with them again.
27. Which Is Worse?
I always go by my initials, V.B., and I often joke about how I hate it because it sounds so close to “VD”. One time, someone in my office mentioned my name and I overheard my coworker say “more like VD” under her breath. Honestly, I was more angry that she used my joke than that she was trying to insult me.
28. Nothing to Do with Appearances
I came out to my mom when I was in the 8th grade. My girlfriend at the time had told her mom who disapproved and threatened to tell my mom. I figured my mom would rather hear it from her own daughter. I come out to her, which was incredibly difficult, and she looks at me and asks, “Is it because boys don’t find you attractive? Is that why you like girls?”
It’s stuck with me ever since. I have never been able to see myself as anything other than ugly after that.
29. Bad at Everything
I had friends over at my house once, and when they thought I was asleep, I heard them planning and talking about going into my wallet, taking my money, and leaving before I could notice that they left and ditched me. I “woke up” and then kicked them out of my home. They weren’t my friends after that happened.
30. Not Like Mommy
I was a very tomboyish little daddy’s girl growing up. Once, while drunk and angry, my mom told me, “The reason your Dad and I decided to have your sister was so that I could have a daughter.” That one stung.
31. Need to Escape
I went to school with a black eye and busted nose from my dear old dad. Child services was called to do a home check—I will never forgive my parents for what they said to them. My dad and mom told the worker I’d done it to myself and I was suicidal and that I’d written in my diary that I wanted to end my little brother’s life. I didn’t even have a diary and of all the people I was close to, my little brother was #1. It got me a blacker eye and an involuntary stay in a locked ward. I bailed ASAP.
32. Must Be This Memorable to Enter
“You’re easily forgotten.” It was said to me by my best friend after I was the only one in my class not invited to a pool party. I guess she thought that was a better alternative to telling me about my classmates not liking me.
33. And Why Were You Friends With This Guy?
This was back when I was in eighth grade. I had a huge crush on this one girl in my class and I told my best friend at the time about it. I remember ’til this day what he said: “I honestly don’t think you have a shot with her or any girl. You don’t look like you could ever be in a relationship.” I cried myself to sleep that night. He was a complete jerk.
34. At the Host’s Discretion
Once, I had my closest friends over, and we were playing video games as per usual. Then one of the “group leaders” decides we should order pizza, but to his house, which is a five-minute walk away. I was last to walk out of the room because I was tidying up after everyone. My friend turns to me and says, “You can’t come. I don’t want you in my house.”
35. Supporting a Teammate
I stayed in bed in the morning and was lying down around 11 AM on my day off after a long string of I think 10 or so work days in a row. This was before I got divorced from my ex who refused to get a job. He was in the next room playing a video game, and I heard him say, “That terrible woman is still sleeping.” That’s when I knew I needed to move on from him.
36. Go Getter Outta Here
I was extremely excited when I started my job, and I came in with a real go-getter attitude hoping to really prove myself and blow everyone away. About 4 months in, I was told that I had been and was still acting very arrogant, and it was leaving a bad taste in everyone’s mouth. It genuinely crushed me because of how excited I was.
The whole time I thought I was doing really good, and I was impressing them by catching on really quick in training only to find out it had the exact opposite effect. Now, I have a few people who still look at me that way, and I can tell. I lost my drive for a good while after that. I even started looking around for a different job for a bit before I decided I’m not going to let it get me down. I’m still going to impress everyone just by trying to be humble while doing it, I guess.
37. The Ruiner
Background: I’m 12 years younger than my older sisters and I was unplanned. At age seven, I overheard my mom crying and saying I was the reason she didn’t love my dad anymore/we were poor/why she isn’t happy and that she didn’t want to be a mom anymore. She said she “didn’t know how to love someone who ruined her entire life.”
It was Christmas Eve and she was drunk talking to her best friend on the phone. It broke my heart/spirit and that was only the beginning of my awful childhood. Side note: I’m 29 now and moved out when I was 15 to protect myself. I have no contact with my parents and I’m fully aware it wasn’t my fault I was born….but shoot, this memory still screws me up…
38. Unloading a Cartridge When I Was Down
An ex-girlfriend of mine cheated on me and left me. I had to see her on a regular basis. She had gotten three of our mutual friends to harass me via text message, and I had declined to respond. The next time she saw me, she told me that I was, “A pathetic human being who would never amount to anything, a useless waste of space who can’t do anything worthwhile, doesn’t have a single creative bone in his body that no one likes and would go nowhere in life.”
That hit me. Hard. It still hurts. However, that also turned me around some. It’s 3 1/2 years later, and I’m known by a lot of my friends for making delicious liquors. I am a Blacksmithing Teaching Assistant on the weekends. My metal work is creative and unique. I’m cooking BBQ that wins the work competitions, and I have a house of my own now. She no longer has anything to say even if she wanted to.
39. Follow the Leader
When I was 14, I overheard a conversation between my “friend” John and his new friends a couple of towns over when I went to visit. I was in the other room, and one of his friends started making fun of me. The entire group of people (probably 10-12 people) continued with him and laughed. John followed up the comments with sharing a really embarrassing story from our childhood and told them he doesn’t even know why I still visit him.
40. Unfriendly Fire
I was on the softball team in high school and missed a fly ball as an outfielder. The next inning was the last one, and the game was tied. I was up to bat, and one of my teammates said, “Well, Dishsoap’s up to bat. Maybe if we’re lucky she can do something right.” I struck out.
41. Sight for Sore Eyes
When I was 10, my aunt was talking to my mom, and they both thought I was sleeping. I was pretending to be asleep, and I could hear when my aunt said to my mom, “aw [my name] is such an adorable kid!” Then I heard my mom say, “No, he’s not very good looking at all.” It really hurt to hear my own mom say that.
42. Adopting Resentment
I’m adopted, and periodically throughout my childhood, I would hear the words, “I will never have the daughter I’ve always wanted,” when my mother didn’t approve of something I did. They would both remind me often that I had been specially chosen by them, so this knowledge made my mind boggle even more.
My mother was unhappy with me because I didn’t like church, didn’t want to sing in the choir, and didn’t like piano lessons. Nothing like that good old Christian love and acceptance of all people. It was my mother who taught me religion was ridiculous through her hypocritical behavior my entire life.
43. Straight-A Kids Only
My best friend’s story not mine, but figured it’s worth sharing (we’ll call her Kerri). She was born super premature, but she ended up completely fine (like you would never know unless you saw the pictures of when she was born). Anyways when she was around eight, she was at the top of the stairs, head peeking through the banister.
She was secretly listening to her parents argue downstairs about how her dad was too hard on her brother for his grades. Her mom says, “Well why aren’t you that hard on Kerri? She doesn’t get straight As either!” and her dad responds, “Kerri was born premature, she’s probably disabled.” Yeah, that one had to hurt.
44. Don’t Call Me, Stranger
My sister and I got into a heated debate about beating your kids, and I bought up the higher suicide rate. Knowing I have a history of depression and self-harm, she looks me right in the eyes and says, “Well, at least then we’d stop getting calls from the school about you.”
45. Rewriting Personal History
I was a victim of abuse as a kid. As if that’s not bad enough in and of itself, someone once tried to tell me that I wasn’t abused, but that I was to blame for what happened because I obviously must have chosen to go through with what I did or not done enough to stop it. I was ten years old when it happened. I socked this guy in the face.
46. A Shard to the Heart
When I was about 8 or 9, my mom and I were walking the dogs in a park near a ravine. I had this big stick I found, you know how it is as a kid when you find that awesome stick, and I was going around knocking it on trees, rocks, whatever was around. I was just a kid in a park with a stick. Suddenly, I came across this bowl just sitting in the grass.
It looked like it was made of either colored glass or plastic, and little 8 or 9-year-old me couldn’t figure out what it was made of. Curiosity got the best of me and seeing as I had my new awesome stick, I decided to give it a little tap to see. I didn’t even hit it that hard or maybe I did, I don’t know, I was a kid, and it shattered into a ceramic mess with shards of blue everywhere in the grass.
Out of nowhere, the trees? the creek? Seriously, where. The. Heck. Did. She. Come. From? This lady stomps over and starts SCREAMING at me incoherently. Apparently, she would bring a bowl to the park to give her dog water. I was used to my dogs just drinking out of the creek, so this idea had never dawned on me before I tapped it with my stick.
Now I was a good kid. I stayed out of trouble, had good grades, all that jazz, and I knew it. I knew I wasn’t an awful kid. But for some reason, I’ll never forget the horrible words that lady said to me: “You’re a terrible child. You’re nothing but trouble.” This was the only time as a kid that someone called me a bad kid, and it stuck with me for way too long. I still think about it sometimes and feel bad for breaking that lady’s dog bowl.
But not so much for the lady, I don’t care what happens to her, but for that doggo. Sorry I broke your bowl, doggo.
47. So That’s What You’re All About…
I overheard someone I was slightly more than friends with say this without realizing I was right there: “She’s not much to look at, but she is great in bed!”
48. Judging a Book’s Cover
On one of my college internships, I was standing in a hard hat and a reflective vest near a co-worker at a drill site next to a high school. A teacher pointed at my co-worker and told some students, “That is why you go to college. You don’t want to be standing out there making minimum wage like that guy.” My co-worker was a structural engineering PhD with his own practice…we used to have Christmas parties at his mansion in the foothills. It makes me question my own perceptions about people I do not know.
49. Boys Are Gross
I was 14 and staying with my dad and my step-mom, and I was asleep in the motor home. My stepmom’s nephews were there, and I heard them talking about all the nasty things they’d do to me if they could. They were 17, 19, and 21. Thankfully, my dad heard the entire conversation and told them to can it. I was scared of men for a long time after that.
50. Free to Go Away
My older sister and I have different dads. I think my mom was either still in love with my sister’s dad who we call Daddy or she just didn’t love my dad, Papá, as much as she loved Daddy. Mommy and Papá used to argue a lot when I was younger, and usually, he would end up taking me somewhere to get out of the house while my sister would stay with my mom.
One time, it was pretty bad, so he took me to play badminton, and when we left my mom told us to never come back. When we finally did come back, I can’t remember if she’d locked us out, but I remember walking into the living room where she was sitting with my sister on the couch. Without even turning to look at me, she said, “It’s fine if you go with Papá. I don’t need you. I have your sister.”
She’s apologized for it a few times, but it really bothered me when I was younger.
51. Never Enough
Overheard my mom saying to my dad, “Why can’t he [me] be like [my sister] and be smart?” I’ve never really gotten over that one. I have taken pretty much the hardest classes and get straight As and score in the top 1% on almost every standardized test I’ve taken, so I’m not really sure what else they want from me.
52. Slurring Disappointment
A little dark, but when I was a teenager, my dad’s sister liked to visit. Normally, I wouldn’t see my dad drink at all. He would maybe have 1 or 2 beers if a bunch of relatives came over. When my aunt was around, she would encourage my dad to go to bars with her. She was an alcoholic working as a bartender.
He called me and asked me to pick him up because he knew I try to be a good son, and he’s picked me up when I was underage drunk. He didn’t care if I drank as long as I was safe about it or told him in advance that I’d need a ride. While I was driving him and my aunt home, she was passed out in back of car, and my dad was plastered.
He drunkenly looked at me and said, “I wish you were born a girl, so I wouldn’t be so ashamed of such a sissy son.” From that point on, I stopped trying to do things to impress and gain his approval and did what I wanted to do.
53. Investigative Journalism
A classmate of mine in middle school asked me, in all seriousness, why I had never tried to kill myself. She said it was surprising because “it’s not like anyone likes you.”
54. Decade-Late Notice
“I want to get married someday, just not to you,” my boyfriend of 11 years and the father of my two children told me.
55. Quiet Resentment
One night, my mom came into my room at midnight thinking that I was asleep and said this to me in a half-whisper, “I just need to get it off my chest… you are so hard to love. I’m tired of trying to, and I just don’t have it in me anymore.” I still have a big hole in my heart because of what she said to me.
56. Tummy Problems
I was 8 or 9 and waiting to cross the street to go to a fair that sets up across the street from my uncle’s house every year. I was excited as I really love the rides. My mom took the pause as an opportunity to grab a handful of my stomach and say, “No funnel cake for you tonight, big girl.” It stuck with me 14+ years later.
I went out to a bar with some friends for a birthday party for my ex-girlfriend. She really messed me up when she left me, like really bad, but I was trying to be nice, since she had invited me. I figured I’d go out and be there for a drink or two. So, a mutual friend who had been broken up with a few days before was there.
As I made the rounds I talked to her and tried to do whatever I could to let her know it would be okay. I’m no therapist, but I did my best, ya know? I knew what a bad breakup felt like, as I was also going through one, so I tried to help. Anyways, after I left the table I overheard her talking to my ex at the bar about me trying to give her advice.
She said, “Well nobody has ever loved him so what does he know about any of this?” and they started laughing like it was hilarious. I don’t think they know I heard, but I grabbed my coat immediately and took a long walk home. I don’t need people like that in my life, haven’t willingly seen either of them since.
58. Painful Realization
When I was 16, I came home about 15 minutes late for dinner, and my dad punched me in the shoulder and said he wished he would never have adopted me. Apparently, I was late for dinner more often than I thought or he just had a stressful day at work. I don’t know. The worst part? That was the day that I found out I was adopted.
59. A New Low
I was bullied a lot when I was a kid by virtually every single one of my classmates. As a result, I was a shy and timid kid. I struggled a lot with depression, self-harm, body image issues, and eating disorders. The one comment that stands out in my memory the most, though, was a classmate saying I should kill myself. They said that the world would be better without a loser like me. Some other classmates in the group agreed. I just stood there dumbfounded.
I spent several hours in a bathroom stall sobbing.
60. Major Stomping Grounds
One night, I was telling my ex about how I’d decided to major in microbiology, and in return, he said that I would never be able to get a job working with infectious diseases with a Middle Eastern last name and asked if I really thought anyone would let someone like me handle anthrax. I try not to think about him at all, but sometimes I’ll remember that, and it still gets me that anyone could be that cruel.
61. That’s My Girl!
On a class trip, I heard a girl talk badly about me to the other girls in the room saying I was a dummy and too stupid to stand up for myself. She said she wasn’t mean to me was only because she needed me to help her with her homework. Then my best friend swore at her and told her that I was only kind of shy. I learned a lot about two of my friends that day.
62. Bitter Birther
I was 14, and I had just had my daughter alone. My mother was driving us back from the hospital after we stopped to buy the crib, changing table, and more clothes, and a stroller with my own money and got angry about the whole thing all over again. She told me I was no better than my cousin who lies and steal from and abuses her mother.
She told me her only regret in life was having me and that she would be calling my father to have me live with him. After six months of not speaking to me, my father calls me to tell me I can’t stay with him because it’d cut into his drinking.
I had just moved into my dorm for my second year of college. My roommate was my best friend since ninth grade. My stuff hadn’t arrived yet, and it was my time to register, so I asked him if I could use his computer. He said sure. I sat down, and he had AIM open to a conversation with another good friend of ours.
I didn’t scroll up, but from what was just visible on screen, they were talking about how weird I was and how awful it would be rooming with me. I closed it so he wouldn’t realize later I’d seen it, registered, and left. We still lived together that year, but we didn’t hang out at all. We just cohabited. I never asked him to hang out as friends, he never asked me.
Move-out day that year was the last time we spoke. That was over ten years ago. We chatted every day for six years, then haven’t spoken since. I still don’t know if I did or said something to flip how he felt about me, or if he never really liked me to begin with. The possibility of the latter really screws up your future friendships. Heck, the former does, too, knowing apparently you’re capable of unknowingly saying or doing something to throw away a five-year friendship.
64. Using No as an Answer
I wouldn’t sleep with a guy, so he told me I had “no personality.” It comes back when I find myself at a loss of things to say during a conversation.
65. Don’t Bring Your Dog Into This, Buddy
I overheard my best friend from high school telling another guy that he thought I was brain injured because I talked slow and I’d regularly hit his dog. Both of these were lies.
66. Brat Fight
I spent about half of my life between ages 13-17 in various placements due to truancy, suicidal thoughts, depression, probation violations, nothing serious. After I’d gotten a full-time job but was still living at my parent’s house, I was there with one of my friends from work, and my youngest sister said, “I can’t wait for mom and dad to send you away again.”
To this day, I don’t remember what she was mad about. But that was 30 years ago, and I still remember her saying it.
67. It’s My Party
My in-laws thought I was still napping after dropping my kid at school, and they started talking badly about me. Their words broke my heart. They said I was a terrible mother, didn’t care for my kids at all, and they’d better buy the cake because I would rather sleep all day than make him the cake. It was his birthday, and it was 10 AM!
And it doesn’t take that long to make and frost a cake for him. I cried in my room for two hours before they left to “buy groceries” i.e. drink into a stupor before I got up and made the cake and dinner my child wanted. I didn’t tell my husband what they said until later because I didn’t want to ruin the day.
68. Not Daddy’s Little Girl
I was reading a book on the couch. My dad was sitting close by and watching television. My sister walked in front of the TV. My dad said, “Jen, you’re blocking the TV.” A few moments later, he said, “Jackie, you are blocking the living room.” I will always remember how I felt when he said that.
69. Pale But Nice
When I was a preteen, I posted a picture of myself online with a minor celebrity. I later found that it was reposted on a message board…and the majority of the comments talked about how ugly and pale I was. The only person who said anything nice said, “Don’t say that, she posts here sometimes and she’s really nice.”
70. Not Everyone’s Favorite
I have always had self-confidence issues because of a belief that nobody could ever like me. I started to get over that feeling at my last job because it felt like I was getting along with everyone, and I began to feel relaxed and accepted for the first time in my life. Then one day, I was talking to one of my coworkers who I thought I could almost call a friend, and when I said something, I heard him say under his breath, “Ugh, no wonder nobody likes you.”
I tried to keep a straight face, but this was at least 5-6 years ago, and I still can’t accept the thought that I will ever actually have friends.
71. Thanks for the Apology?
The day of a majorly publicized school shooting, the “popular” girls at my school assumed that I could be the loser type who would someday do the same thing to our school. They asked me to please not shoot up the school and said they were sorry if I felt they were mean to me.
72. Bullied Where It Hurts
When I was 10, my father was hurt in a work accident and was in ICU for quite some time. It was touch and go for a while. I guess my teacher had a talk with the class and told them to be sympathetic with me. At recess, the class jerk chased me around the playground chanting, “Your dad’s going to die! Your dad’s going to die!”
73. Vile-ating Living Rules
My roommate’s boyfriend and his friend came into my room when they thought I was asleep. It was warm, and I was sleeping with no clothes on and with minimal blanket coverage. I froze and pretended to sleep. They proceeded to talk about my body, how it was anyone’s type, how easy it is to dose ladies these days. It was disturbing.
74. My Father Once Said
I always wanted to be a pilot like my dad. It was the only career I was interested in. It was my first time driving on the freeway, and I only had my learner’s permit. My whole family was in the car, and I didn’t know where I was going. I panicked and cut a guy off while trying to get off at my exit, and then I stopped at the light.
This is when my dad turned to me from the passenger’s seat, and with a blank face told me, “You could never be a pilot. You are too emotional under pressure and could never handle an emergency situation.” My dream of being a pilot left right then and there, and over 10 years later, I am still sometimes hit with paranoia about my emotional control.
75. Gotta Fly
My father said he was too busy to come see us on Christmas. I told him my two-year-old had picked presents out for him. I was also going to announce my second pregnancy. I was at my brother’s house a few days before Christmas when my father called to offer my brother a ride to the airport on Christmas morning (he had a flight booked already). The airport is less than five minutes from our house, but he couldn’t come see us.
76. But My Teacher Said
“You’ve got to be kidding. No one would ever date you.” A high school teacher told me that after she overheard me telling a friend “I’ll probably just ask X out” when we were discussing getting a group together to go watch The Corpse Bride. The same teacher later called me a Honky, which I was more confused about than anything as I’m Native American and am tan enough that most people back then assumed I was Latino.
77. Break-ing Her Trust
At my old job, there were these two girls who befriended me. For some reason, they would ignore me for days and then be really sweet to me all morning. One day, I had to cover for one of them at the reception desk. I wasn’t paying attention and thought I was signed in to my work account, but it was actually one of the girls’ accounts.
I opened an email and saw my name, got confused, realized whose email I was in, and read it anyway to see why I was mentioned. The emails said, “be nice to [me] today, so she’ll cover your lunch, so we can go together.” Another one said, “IS SHE STUPID??” That day didn’t feel very good.
78. Going Back Undercover
I was around some girl’s house for an after-party a couple of years ago, and for some reason or another, a load of us, both guys and girls, ended up in our underwear. It was all just for fun, really. We were all pretty drunk. I walk around the corner in just my underwear, and one of the girls looks at me and just goes, “eww” and walks off. My clothes were back on quite swiftly after that.
79. I Wonder Why
I was in high school and needed to start seeing the counselor for mental health issues. My parents were essentially making fun of me when they thought I was sleeping, saying that I wanted attention and started mocking my voice saying, “No one understands me. I’m SO mistreated!” Yeah, my mom and stepdad sucked a lot.
80. Don’t Have to Tell Me Twice
I was crying at soccer practice because my mom had told me that I was “really annoying,” and I was telling my best friend what was wrong. She responded with, “Well, sometimes you are really annoying.” I was 7.
81. Roach Rent
I was seven and basically poor trailer trash, but I asked my friend if I could stay the night. He called his mom to ask and I overheard her say, “Tell him no, I don’t want roaches and lice.” That really cut me deep. To this day I have extreme anxiety about keeping my house clean. I couldn’t help it I was poor, and our roaches didn’t pay rent you jerk!
82. Icing His Foot
When I was engaged, my fiancé was rarely interested in talking about wedding planning. A couple times I joked that he must not really want to marry me, and he’d laugh it off and say he was just exhausted from work, etc. I was genuinely joking and not reassurance-hunting joking. A month before our wedding, he broke up with me.
I was devastated and pretty blindsided. At one point I asked him why—but his answer only made me feel worse. He said, “You saying I must not want to get married because I didn’t want to wedding plan made me realize it was true. You were right; I didn’t want to plan the wedding because I don’t want to marry you.” Granted, it was a break up, so most of what he could have said was going to hurt, but that…that hurt more than anything else. I’ll never forget it, and it’s been almost 5 years.
83. Bathroom Talk Can Be Ugly
I overheard my “friends” talking about me in the bathroom in high school. Laughing at how fun it was to mess with me, how pathetic I was, how ugly, etc. I decided not to confront them then and there. Instead, I met them in the art room. When I told them I had heard all that, they proceeded to call me a creepy stalker and a freak who would never be fancied. They told me they had used me for schoolwork and played stupid pranks on me because I was clueless. They said they only ever spent time with me because they pitied me, and that I had no true friends.
84. Insult to Reality
I got a stern talking-to from my dad when I was in my late teens about my attitude, behavior, etc., and I remember he said to me, “Sometimes you talk about things that you haven’t the foggiest idea about, and you sound like an idiot. It’s embarrassing.” It hurt a lot at the time because I realized it was true. But lesson learned, I listen a lot more than I talk now.
85. Unsafe at Home
When I was five years old, I heard my father telling my mother that sometimes he just wanted to hurt me. Being that my Dad had a drinking problem and was full of rage, I really believed him and lived my entire childhood thinking he was going to assault me if I did something that he didn’t like. It was terrifying to hear him confirm it.
86. Cruel Matriarchy
I wasn’t even present for it, the person who said it is dead, and I didn’t find out about it until after she passed on. I married my wife in 2000. I was estranged from my family then, mostly from my mother. I cut her out of my life right around that time. Subsequently, my mother never met my wife until there was a family reunion of sorts in 2007 in Washington, DC to celebrate the 90th birthday of my great aunt. I introduce my mother to my wife and all goes well, I think—but I didn’t realize the painful truth.
Two years later, in 2009, my mother dies. I recently found out that after the party where my mother met my wife, she, my brother and his wife were in a taxi going back to the hotel. My mother asked what everyone thought of my wife, and they made the usual noises. My mother apparently made a face and said, “Well, I guess there’s someone for everyone.”
It still infuriates me whenever I let myself think of it. My mother was unable to let anyone else experience joy, ever. My wife has made me the happiest man on the planet, and my mother couldn’t stand seeing me happy. There was a reason I cut that harpy out of my life. After she passed, I’d started re-evaluating some things trying to find peace with her and her memory and trying to cut her some slack, I guess, for all the horrible things she did to me and my siblings growing up. After that comment? Nope.
87. The Mean Girls Strike Again
I was in middle school and I overheard one of the girls doing one of those paper fortune-telling games with the boys and predicting who they were going to date. She opened up the paper and said, “Ugh, you’re going to date Fox,” and the guy just said “Gross.” Yep found out that I wasn’t really considered a catch…
88. Weight of the Battle of the Bands
I was 14 at my first ever gig, which was at a community building where a bunch of high school punk and metal bands played on Friday night, so there were maybe 50 kids tops. My parents had finally let me go with my friends who went often. I spent all my money on new clothes and spent hours getting ready. And while waiting for the first band, this guy a few years older who was in front of me turns around and looks at me dead in the eyes and says, “You really are very hideously ugly.” I still hear that voice in my head when I look in the mirror some days even ten years later.
89. Quit Horsing Around
Background: When I was young, my family was in a major car wreck. A horse had gotten out of its pen and tried to jump over our car. It landed on my dad’s side and broke his neck. He’s fine now, but that really screws up a kid. Fast forward: I’m a freshman in high school. The class idiot decided to start giving me crap about horses and how my dad should’ve passed on. I started across the classroom at him, for the only time in my life fully intending on killing someone. The assistant football coach tackled me while the idiot was pulled out of the room.
In hindsight, I’m really glad that the coach did that. Even though he had a beating coming, this guy was a lawyer’s kid and it scares me to think how my life would have been wrecked by that outcome.
90. Cleaning Myself Off
I was your typical preteen who questioned and doubted everything about my appearance. I was extremely self-conscious, and I had acne at a young age and was bullied for being “dirty” because of it, thus began my obsession with showering and washing my face that followed well into my early twenties. One day in my seventh-grade gym class, we were playing field hockey.
Half the class played, while the rest sat at the sidelines. A hair clip had appeared on the floor, and my crush at the time laughed saying, “It probably fell out of her greasy, nasty hair.” Seventh-grade boys are another level of rude and destructive, and I’ve had worse said and done to me in the ten years since, but this always stuck with me.
91. No One is Holding a Gun to Your Head
My “best friend” said in front of a whole group of people that she was only my friend “because I have to be.” It hurt and when I confronted her about it, she just denied it.
92. My Favorite Sweater
I was a poorer kid growing up. My parents couldn’t afford to buy clothes at Macy’s or Bloomingdales, and, in the 90s, it was all about what brands you wore. Thankfully, that’s not really the case with kids today. They have their own new set of issues. Being poor, I had maybe 2 pairs of jeans and 4 shirts I’d cycle throughout the week and 4 sweatshirts during the winter.
I remember being in 8th grade and close to graduating sitting in class one day speaking my mind that I had hope things would be different in high school, that people would mature, and that these material things wouldn’t define people, and that I was starting to get frustrated with all the hate and negativity. When out of the corner of the room, this girl Jen yelled out, “The only reason you’re upset is because you don’t fit in…you and your orange sweater!” I don’t know why, but that statement hit me like a ton of bricks…I just shut down after that and was pretty isolated until graduation a couple of months later.
Thankfully, I was right about high school! People stopped giving a hoot about what you wore. I mean kids were coming to school with 3-foot-tall green mohawks. Oh, and Jen, she ended up having three kids and works a dead-end job somewhere in retail and drives an ugly old car. I’ve travelled half the country with my line of work and make great money. I hate you, Jen, and I STILL have that orange sweater!
93. Public School Humiliation
In my sophomore year of high school, I was really socially awkward and found it difficult to make friends. I was also just beginning to get very depressed and lonely and had no confidence in my appearance and just myself in general. I was sitting with some other kids at lunch as it was a small school and we all sat together, and there was this girl I was kind of into there. None of them knew I was there, but a few of the guys were talking to this girl about who she was going to take to the Sadie’s dance when I heard my name pop up.
It turned out that they suggested it as a joke, and she went on and on about how weird I was and was the ugliest kid in the school and she’d never go near me. Then she noticed me sitting there low in my seat. I thought maybe she’d at least fake an apology or something, but all she said was, “Ew, there he is! Have you been here the whole time? Why are you sitting with us?” And the whole table looked over at me. I ate most of my lunches in the bathroom after that one and transferred schools later that year. That stuck with me though.
94. Lone Survivor
When I worked at a movie theatre, there was a woman who was sitting on a bench outside of a theatre crying. I sat down next to her and asked her if she was okay. She was older, probably mid to late sixties, and she looked me dead in the eyes and just said, “All my friends are dead or dying.” I’ll never forget that. I was maybe 16.
95. Everyone Loves Pizza
I still remember it was in fifth or sixth grade, and I was sitting in class next to one of my guy friends. Being a very young girl, I hadn’t cared about my appearance at all up until this point. The boy sitting next to me said, “Why do you have a pizza face? What’s wrong with you?” That night I made my mom go to buy me full face makeup, and I wore it every day until around age 20 when I took Accutane. My acne never really was too horrible, but that kid made me start my obsession with thinking it was disgusting.
96. Thank You for Your Emotional Service
“So, I’ve been thinking about why I liked you so much when we started dating, and I figured it out. You gave me attention, and I liked the sense of being wanted.” This is the fourth girl in a row that I’ve dated that dated me because I pay attention to them and satisfy their want to feel desired. It really hurt to hear and only makes my fears more real. I need to find better women.
97. Invitation Only
I was a chauffeur for the Guatemalan embassy. I was invited to a dinner with the Guatemalan ambassador and the ambassador’s son had invited me. She walked up to me after I sat down and said, “This table is for my guests. You’re not one of my guests. Maybe you’d like to go wait in the car or something.” It was the tone more than the words.
I gave the BMW keys to the hotel valet and told the second in charge the ambassador can drive herself home. I quit that night. It was not the first time she insulted me.
98. Decorated Mother
I was in hospital recovering from brain surgery a week before Christmas. My mother told me, “You have completely ruined Christmas for me. I haven’t even had a chance to write my Christmas cards!” That really hurt especially as she didn’t come straight away when it was an emergency and I was admitted because she was doing the church flowers, which were more important.
99. Not the Girl Next Door
I grew up next door to a girl who had the same birthday as me and the same first and middle names as well. Obviously, we got a lot of comparisons, which I didn’t usually mind. But in sixth grade, we were in different classes, and a girl in my class walked up to me and said, “Everyone took a vote, and we all decided we’d rather have the other Heather in our class than you.”
I’ve heard some cruel things, but that was so needless. What was the point of that information? Like they all got together and voted like we’d be required to switch or something?
100. Catty Hairdresser
I was either 9 or 10. My mom was getting her hair done, and the salon had a seating area with a couch and magazines. I was thumbing through the magazines and half-listening to the conversation between my mother and the hairstylist. The hairstylist remarked that it was a good thing that I was smart because I certainly wasn’t pretty. My mother agreed.
She said it in a quiet voice, but she’d smoked for years, and the raspy voice carried in the empty salon. I didn’t know what to say, so I didn’t say anything. I was tall, gangly, wore glasses, desperately needed braces, but my parents were divorced and fought over who would pay, had dark frizzy hair, and I had a lazy eye and psoriasis.
I was ugly, no doubt, but no one needs to hear that. I’ve carried that with me for nearly 30 years.
101. Thinking of Who
I was taking care of my boyfriend who was super drunk at the time. We were not technically a couple yet but were together for about 7 months. He was coughing in his sleep, so I asked if he was okay. He said he needed a kiss. So, I kissed him, and he said, “No, Hillary’s kiss.” Hillary was his ex. I told him about it in the morning, and he felt super bad, but it still comes to my mind every now and then. We’re still together and are actually officially now. Sometimes I feel like I’ll never be good enough though.
102. Not a Vocal Point
I’ve always loved singing. Karaoke or musical theatre alone in the house? It’s all pretty great. Once, I was in a play where I had to sing a particularly difficult song, and I was straining from the effort of practicing it again and again. The director of the play then says in front of the whole room, “You’re a great singer, but boy, do you look ugly when you sing.” I don’t think I’ve sung in front of a crowd since. 🙁
103. Was That Really Necessary, Mom?
My first pet rat, that I had picked out, named, loved, and taken care of for years, had recently passed on. While he was dying in my hands, I was saying, “Please don’t go” and other things like that. I was 15. For some unknown reason, my mother started making fun of me to my other relatives, laughing, calling me too sensitive, and mimicking the way I was acting during that process. I was pretty upset.
104. His Moment of Need
My grandfather has always been a heartless jerk. After kid me told him that I was afraid of dying during a severe asthma attack, he said “You wouldn’t do us a favor and die, would you?” I didn’t want to cry because I was in a hospital room with other people, so I was just kind of numb after that.
105. Guitar Hero
I’d just started college and was getting along well with one girl in particular. She was smokin’ hot and I thought I had a chance. I had just gotten out of my heavy metal, baggy jeans and long hair phase and I was sort of awkwardly transitioning into being a normal person. However, I still carried around an acoustic guitar a lot of the time, simply because I didn’t have a good place on campus to store it.
Anyway, I finished talking to some friends in the cafeteria and headed to class, then realized that I’d forgotten something and went back. As I got back, I heard one of my other friends who knew I was into the girl ask her what she thought of me. She said “I don’t like him. He’s really creepy, the way he’s always walking around with that guitar, and how he’s always trying to talk to me.”
It broke my heart.
106. Brushed Off
I was over at a friend’s place, and I had fallen asleep on her couch. Then when I woke up, I could hear my friend and her husband having a loud argument in the next room. As I listened to them arguing, I learned the chilling reason for the fight. Apparently, it was because she’d walked in on him stroking my hair when I was sleeping on their couch.
107. Lots-o’-Huggin’ Cher
When I was younger, I was pretending to sleep in front of my parents. Then my parents started discussing something awful: whether or not I was gay. They were trying to explore all the reasons why I would turn out gay and where they thought they went wrong with me. Apparently, my parents thought it was from getting “too many hugs.”
108. Time to DIY
The worst thing I’ve ever heard when my parents thought I was sleeping was something like, “She’s too old for this. I’m not going to carry her up to bed anymore.” So that was the very last night when I was magically transported from the living room couch all the way to my bedroom without even opening my eyes.
109. The Great Protector
My wife had a falling out with some friends of mine that she met through me. We had known them a long time but I had known them for much longer. I was upset with her one night, because they were always asking why she never came around anymore, but she absolutely refused to see them. I always thought it was because of this little side business project they went into together that didn’t work out.
So, I’m driving my wife somewhere, and I just start getting upset with her that she won’t make up with them and move past it like they did, and it sucks that she never comes with when I go over there. So, she finally broke and told me the painful truth. Every time she went over there without me, they would talk smack about me, putting down my personality, my humor, and much more.
I guess they thought she would be okay with it, like a joking, “Haha my husband can be such a [insert something], right?” But she wasn’t okay with it. She’s not a confrontational person, so she never really spoke up, but she was disgusted by the way they spoke about me behind my back, and refused to have anything to do with them.
She had been letting me think it was all her fault and she took it because she knew the truth would hurt my feelings. And it did.
110. Having Second Thoughts
I used to sneak out of bed at night and listen to my parents talk in the living room. One night, I heard them talking about how hopeless I was and how they sometimes wondered if adopting me was worth it. Definitely not something a seven-year-old should have ever heard…
111. It’s Not All Biology
I can still remember what the room looked like when she said it. My dad and I were sitting on the floor at the foot of the bed, and his arm was around me. My mom was standing in the doorway with that look in her eye that told me rationality was out the window for the rest of the “conversation.” There was an extra flare of schadenfreude as she said, “You’re absolutely horrible. A waste. I wish you had never been born. You’re just like your father.”
She left, and I cried. You feel like an adult at 18, but in that moment, I felt like a kid again—crying into dad’s shoulder again, asking why she hates me again, and thinking myself the devil incarnate again. That was the first time I asked him why he married her. He said, “I don’t know. I really don’t. But I’d suffer through it again to end up with you kids.” Thank God I’m more like my father.