Hurtful words coming from a parent—someone a child trusts the most—could leave damaging, psychological effects for a lifetime. From wishing they were never born to telling them that they would never amount to anything, these Redditors share their stories of how powerful words can be on the psyche. Their experiences illustrate that what parents choose to say to a child matters.
1. Heart-Wrenching Ending
I don't remember the actual conversation because I was freaking out at the time but was along the lines of, “He wouldn't let strangers into the house, so I had him put down. He’s just a dog—you don't need to know where he is".
My mom was just dog-sitting him for two months until the renovations in my house were completed on December 13th. My dog’s 10th birthday would have been on the 24th of that month. He was my best friend and I was messed up for many years after that.
It took me three days of panic, calling vets for miles around in different towns. I eventually found him in a black trash bag. I brought him to the plot of land I had reserved for him years prior. A friend used his dad's fireman’s pickaxe to cut through the snow & ice to make a nice grave. I buried him in our favorite fuzzy blanket.
I haven't spoken to or seen my mom since.
2. Nothing Left Here
My dad moved to a different city when I was 17. My parents had already been divorced for over 10 years by then. Our relationship was never bad but was always distant.
My grandparents passed on over the last couple of years. After the second one passed and my dad was leaving my house after the funeral to drive back to the city he lives in now he said, "There's nothing for me to come back here for now".
There was no tone or malicious intent behind it towards me. I don't even think he realized what he was saying being that he was focused on the passing of his own parent. The hurt is really because of how I took the comment. All the same, I suspect he'll never come back here to visit me.
3. Broken Inside And Out
When I was a teenager, I was at a friend's birthday party on a Friday night. Some of the boys got rowdy and decided to dogpile on top of me. My wrist bent back and got pinned underneath my body while six or seven teenagers sat on top of me and laughed. They finally got off of me when they realized I was screaming in pain.
I called my parents and begged them to take me to the hospital because I was sure my wrist was broken. They told me I was being dramatic and just twisted it, even though I couldn't move it and it was purple and swollen. They said, "Well, what do you want us to do about it"? It was said in that rhetorical question kind- of-way where you know darn well they weren't going to do anything to help.
By Monday, my wrist was even worse. Of course, they still refused to take me to the doctor or write me a note to excuse me from gym class. Since I had no note for the gym, my coach made me play soccer. The first 10 minutes, someone swiped my ankle and I went down. I tried to catch my fall but of course, landed on the same hurt wrist. More screaming ensued.
Finally, at this point, my parents decided to take me to my pediatrician, who promptly redirected us to the ER for X-rays and a cast. I had crushed several of the little bones in my wrist. I recall telling the ER doctor how it happened and he asked my parents why they didn't bring me in after the first incident.
"How were we supposed to know she was hurt"?
The complete indifference to my pain, like they had FORGOTTEN that the entire thing had even happened as it was happening.
This incident is a pretty good example of how my parents reacted to or didn't react to, major events in my life where I needed their support—like I'm bothering them by even existing, much less asking for guidance.
"What do you want me to do about it"? and "How was I supposed to know"? are the phrases that used to break me.
4. Just Let Me Breathe
When I was 11, I had my first asthma attack. I couldn't breathe and my mom said, "What do you want me to do—take you to the hospital?? You know I don't have insurance"! That was bad enough, but it got worse.
Being a child, I didn’t know anything about that stuff. I lived for three days barely being able to breathe. My mom doubled down and would berate me for "exaggerating" it.
5. Eye-Opening Revelation
When I was 19, I left a damaging relationship. I had pretty much no money, car payments and was trying to figure out how to be an adult without a controlling presence in my life.
I remember asking my mom for $50 for food to get me through until my next paycheck and she told me, "You made your choice when you left".
My mother thought that since my ex had been paying the bills for me, I should have just stayed with him, despite the constant physical and berating damage. We have always had a lousy relationship, but I think that was an absolute turning point for me in realizing really and truly what a horrible person she is.
6. I Can Do Better
My mother said, "I wish I never had kids. Don't have kids, I regret it so much". She said this a LOT to me when I was a kid. It's made me want to have kids even more just to prove that I can do a better job than her.
7. Stop Complaining Already
My mom became a full-time mom at 29. She would always complain about how she was too old to work out and get in shape. We could never go anywhere that involved even the slightest physical exertion because she and my dad would complain about how much walking was involved. They were both 100% able-bodied and had no physical health conditions that wouldn't allow them to do any of those things.
I am now past the age my mom was when she first started to complain about everything. Not only can I work out and walk long distances, I'm in the best shape of my life exercise-wise and can lift heavier things than ever.
My dad was lucky in health until he wasn't, and my mom is still 100% able-bodied in her mid-60s yet still complains about activities where too much walking is involved and about how out of shape she is. Her house has stairs and she complains loudly every time she goes up them whenever someone is within earshot.
Thirty years have passed and she's complaining about the same thing. Both parents have done and said countless hurtful things to me, but not keeping themselves in shape and discouraging me from any serious physical activity just so I can be in the same position as them stings more than I thought it would.
8. I Hear You Loud And Clear
It was the last month of the summer holiday before my final year of high school was about to begin. They had just started accepting college applications.
My dad comes into my room one morning and asks why I haven’t applied to any schools yet, even though it has only been just two weeks since applications were released. I said I was working on it, and suddenly, he full-on destroys me.
I’m half-deaf, so my dad says, "You're disabled, you will not have the same opportunities as normal people. You're lazy. You’re not special in any way whatsoever. You’re not someone to be proud of and I don't think you have a bright future. You probably won't amount to anything".
Well, I had a 3.8 GPA, 33 ACT, did two sports, and was VP of a club. I got into my dream school six weeks later after he berated me. Our relationship hasn't been the same since.
9. Stinging Words
When I was 16, my adopted dad told me, "I wish we had adopted a girl".
It's been over three decades and now the man can't even remember my name as dementia takes his mind. I still resent him for what he had said.
As a parent myself now, I am acutely aware of just how damaging words can be. Even when my kids are testing me, I have never said anything like this to them. I try to always tie chastisement to behavior and not them as a person.
10. That One Still Weighs Heavily On My Mind
The one that rattles in my head the most was from my dad after I had lost a bit of weight. He said, "Wow, you look like a human being".
My dad speaks in sarcasm so who knows how rude he was meaning to be but man, that one burrowed deep.
11. So Little Confidence
When I graduated college for the first time, my mom said that she was so proud because they never thought I would make it out of high school. It was a huge smack in the face as I never thought they had so little confidence in me.
12. Not A Motherly Thing To Do
My mom supported my ex-wife in the divorce and then told my now-current wife, "I'll help you get all the money out of him when you want to leave him". And that's not all, folks.
She's also told me flat out that if I demand my kid's car seats from her, she will never babysit them again. The car seats—that she put into a storage unit.
13. Strange Justification
She told me, “I love your sister’s kids more than yours”.
She justified it by saying that my husband and I were better parents; that my husband's parents were better grandparents. She said that my nephews "needed it more," which might all be true, but it still stung.
14. The Costly Deed
I was born out of wedlock. My parents never got married and broke up months after I was born. My mom got married a couple of times but none of them lasted. I did, however, get a younger sister from her first marriage.
My dad got married and is still married. I was indecently abused by my first stepdad. When I finally confessed to my dad and stepmom, several years later about it, my dad told me he saw my beating as God's punishment towards him for doing “the deed” before marriage. Being told that has left a sour taste in my mouth whenever I think of him.
15. Unanswered Questions
I didn’t know my birth mother very well as she gave me up for adoption at a young age. About 10 years ago, I looked her up on Facebook. She said, “You have a beautiful family. If all you wanna do is hurt me more, then don’t contact me again”.
What. The. Heck. Lady, you gave me up and left me with all these unanswered questions. How did I hurt you?
Anyway, I found out not long after that she had passed. I don’t hold anything against her. I was just confused about what she meant and just wanted some answers as to why she gave me away to the state. I hope she finds peace in her next life.
16. Lifetime Of Damage
My mom told her sister and brother-in-law that she was happy my sister and I weren't pretty because she didn't have to worry about us sleeping around. But the craziest part? She said that in front of me. My uncle was pretty shocked.
NOW I know she's a narcissist—the vulnerable type that's always fishing for sympathy. So she was either looking for pity for having two ugly daughters or trying to get someone to say we were pretty. What she got instead was my uncle asking me, "And how do you feel about that"?
Well, I was scared of my mom, so I just shrugged and tried not to cry. I turned inward and don't remember what happened next. But safe to say she messed me up.
17. An Epiphany
My dad’s favorite belittlement was: “You know what? I talk about your sister all of the time at work. She does great at school and … yada, yada, yada. I never talk about you though. Do you know why? Because you’re an embarrassment. I never bring you up in conversations”.
I was in middle school at the time. I didn’t get good grades in school but I never failed or dropped out of school. I’m 38 now and I haven’t talked to my dad in a year and a half.
Let me tell you, having that epiphany moment where you realize, “Nope, I’m done and I’m going to curse him out now”! was still the most freeing experience I ever had.
18. The Real Reason
My dad called me up one day and asked if I wanted to go eat Mexican with him and a few of his coworkers that weekend. He only ever called me a couple times a year but never in 35 years has he ever asked me to go dine with him or do anything. This would be the first time we did anything together outside of a family function. We aren’t close at all, so I was pretty excited. We made plans. Then, right before he got off the phone, he said “Good, if you go, I can have a few drinks. I don’t know the coworker enough to ask for a ride home”.
So he didn’t want to spend time with me. He only needed me as his designated driver. I’ve never had my feelings hurt so badly in my life. I called him a few hours before it was time to go and told him I had a migraine and wasn’t going to be able to make it.
19. A Million Worthless Apologies
In 4th grade, I had incredibly low self-esteem and was in a dark place, I felt unlovable. My bipolar mom was taking me to therapy and at one point, the therapist asked her to come in and tell me why I was worth loving. My mom started crying—she was not in a great place at this time and said, “I’m sorry, I can’t” and ran out.
I’ve been in therapy for pretty much the last 25 years and am trying to get over borderline personality disorder. I can’t accept love or give it, etc. It’s not her fault, however, it was one of those moments where the world collapsed. She’s apologized a million times.
20. Spiteful Caretaker
I told my stepmom that I wanted to work hard to go to UC Berkeley for college. My stepmom said, “You will never make it because you're not smart enough, and even if you do, your father and I would never support you because you don't deserve it".
She then proceeded to take away piano lessons and spend $5000 on her daughter to attend some stupid acting camp while I worked my butt off as a landscaper or doing other odd jobs.
The great thing about having a job at 14 and 15 years old was being independent enough when she made comments like I didn’t deserve to eat the food she made and that I should "buy my own." As a freshman in high school, I also “didn’t deserve new clothes” and I needed to buy all my school supplies.
She kicked me out of the house by taking away my mattress and throwing all my stuff around my room in my sophomore year of high school because I had a 4.0 GPA. I held a job down, and played jazz piano—because every penny I earned went to piano lessons and wouldn't let her daughter copy my homework.
All this came about because she read my journal about me saying what a horrible person she was.
21. Thanks For Not Giving
It happened on this one Thanksgiving dinner where I had to just sit there quietly and listen as they both sat across from me insulting every single life choice I had made since turning 18. They essentially said that I was too stupid to ever take care of myself.
Meanwhile, I was working a full-time job and actively communicating with a friend in another state who I was going to live with. I was using all of my self-earned money to ship my belongings and my truck—which I purchased all by myself, to them, and so on.
I’ve been living successfully with my friend for several years now, thankfully away from my parents. But just being told that I was too stupid to accomplish anything stung a lot. Thanksgiving was supposed to be fun and full of thanks and hope and being with family. Instead, I just felt completely crushed and broken.
That incident hurt the idea of Thanksgiving for me and I just don't feel the same magic for that holiday as I used to anymore. Thankfully, my parents were at least never able to take away my joy of Christmas.
22. Distorted Belief
“You hurt me when you were born. Why wouldn’t I love you”?
In some twisted way, she thought that pain or inflicting pain—and enduring that pain, was love. She used this to justify her extremely wrongful and controlling behavior; that taking more mistreatment graciously meant you loved her more.
To this day, she favors my mentally ill sibling because she never escaped her control. I never measured up because I fought back.
23. Callous Comments
I was struggling to pay bills and was trying to move across the state to get out of a tough situation. Through all the stress of everything, I gained over 20 pounds. My mom's only response to me for not being able to buy groceries was, "Well, now you'll lose weight since you aren't eating as much". I wasn't asking for money or help. I wasn't asking for that comment.
Before that, I had gotten engaged to my ex. When I announced the engagement to her, all she could say was, "You have to be kidding, right"? I get he wasn't amazing, and things eventually ended with us. But the lack of support I got from a moment I was happy for, just stung badly.
There were more incidents where she said nasty things like this and over time it just left me feeling bitter. I feel that if a life event happens to me, I'm just going to have to keep it from her so I can protect the moment for myself. She's already exclaimed how much she doesn't want grandkids and how she won't take care of them if I do have them. It’s such a weird thing to express, considering I live two states away from her and hardly talk with her on the phone.
24. Awful Criticism
I’m Vietnamese and my mom is your typical Asian "dragon lady." I didn't excel in middle school. One day, I brought home a C in history class. My mom hit me where it really, really hurt: "You're like Dan. In fact, you're worse than Dan. Dan has an excuse to get bad grades. You have no excuse. I'm embarrassed to be your mother".
Dan is my autistic cousin who is about 4 years younger than me. He’s a sweet and loving boy. At this time, he was about 7 or 8. I don't know why she had to diss me and then drag a freaking autistic child into it too.
25. A Hefty Remark
"Why should I buy you anything if you're just going to die anyway"?
The context for this is that I grew up overweight and was nearly constantly bullied by my parents because of it. I lost a lot of weight when I was 15 by starving myself and the harassment stopped—temporarily.
When I was 16, I gained all the weight back because I went back to binge eating. The harassment was worse this time around. My parents resorted to saying things like I was harming myself and destined to die at 600 lbs at this rate.
When I needed a new pair of jeans because mine had holes in them, my mom thought that I had gone up a size and was getting fatter.
During the car ride to the shop, she went on another one of those lectures about how I was going to die and if I even cared or not. I couldn’t respond at the time because I was actively holding back tears. Conveniently, neither of my parents remembers what they had said to me—but I’ll never forget.
26. Just Not Good Enough
My dad was a big guy and by the time I turned 17 or 18, I was as big as him. Once when he started berating me, we stood nose to nose. I wasn’t taking his nonsense anymore.
My mom was in the room and could tell that things weren’t about to go down well. She grabbed my dad’s arm, pulled him away, and said, “Don’t, he’s not worth it”.
27. Brutal Comparison
Growing up, I was called "the chubby one". I was constantly compared to my very thin sister, and regularly asked, "Don't you want to be beautiful like your sister"?
I'm now a 34-year-old woman. To this day, I deal with disordered eating and low self-esteem.
28. Real Men Don’t Cry
While getting into my father's truck, I slipped on black ice and broke my hand. He refused to believe it was broken as he believed that I was faking it. He mocked me on the ride home, telling me that there were many fun things planned for the night but because I was "hurt", they were all canceled.
He ordered me into my bedroom and refused to even consider taking me to the hospital, which was only two blocks away from where we were living. That night, I slept on a broken hand. I pressed it against the wall next to my bed as a makeshift cast to try and fight the pain. I also remember crying as that was the first time I truly felt abandoned and helpless.
The next morning, I struggled to get dressed and eat my breakfast. By then, my hand had already turned three different colors. My mother began to realize that my father was wrong and that my hand was indeed broken. She had to tell him twice before he listened to her.
He ordered me to show him my hand to inspect the problem. He squeezed my hand, which caused the broken bone to press against the skin. The pain was so extreme that I dropped to my knees. Nevertheless, I tried to suppress myself from crying as he believed that "real men don't cry". It was only after seeing the extent of my injury that he begrudgingly agreed to take me to the hospital.
To this day, I believe that he only agreed to take me to the hospital to save face, not because I was injured.
I was 10 years old at the time.
29. Malicious Remarks
I was adopted in Japan in the 80s and am half Japanese. I finally found my birth mother who was living not too far away from me in the States. I soon discovered that my Japanese grandmother lived next door to her!
After already having met my birth mom at this point, I was so excited to meet my grandmother, I called to tell my dad about it. He told me, "Well, don't take anything your grandmother says to heart because remember, she wanted you flushed down a toilet". I was gobsmacked. We didn't speak for three years after that.
When I met my grandmother, she ran to me eight times and hugged me saying, "I always knew you would come back"!
I refuse to let what my dad said tarnish that meeting. He never apologized but I let it go. Now that my adoptive mom and grandmother have passed, it's just not worth it to waste my energy being upset or waiting for an apology. I have a chance to discover where I come from and add to my family. I'm sure he was speaking from fear but it just shocked me that he would ever say something so cruel.
30. Unremarkable Mention
My brother has an entire wall dedicated to him in our parents' basement. One day, my mother would not stop talking about him and how amazing he is—typical proud mother talk. To be fair, he was a Marine.
Once while driving somewhere with her, I asked why I didn't have a wall like he does. Her response was that I hadn't done anything to earn one. But I got my eagle scout at age 13 and have a bachelor's in chemistry.
I guess those just pale in comparison…
31. Soul-Destroying Judgments
I’ve struggled as a musician for decades. Once I saw an article about an artist I found overrated. My dad said, “It’s not like you’re doing it”.
Whenever I’d play something I’d written, he’d try and convince me to learn other styles that he liked instead of complimenting my efforts, which was so painful. Meanwhile, my mother would get angry and tell me she couldn’t even look at me. They’d also call me nasty names if they became “inspired”.
32. You’re Driving Me Berserk
My parents never wanted to drive me to playdates. I always had to walk or find a ride. Often I couldn’t walk because I had to go over five miles of busy roads with no sidewalks. Until I could drive, I just didn’t have a lot of friends or social life
When my parents asked me to drive them to a party and act as the designated driver, my dad dropped the hammer on me: “It's not fun, is it”?
Sorry, I didn't ask to be born and have needs including social and emotional ones. I’m now doing a lot of therapy work and healing myself from lots of incidents like this.
33. Yeah, Dream On
When I was about ten or eleven, in sixth grade, my mom and I were fighting a lot about college. She thought I wasn't applying myself enough to school because my grades were lower in sixth grade than they had been in fifth grade. I thought it probably had more to do with the fact that I switched from a local public school in fifth grade to a competitive private college prep school in sixth grade.
Anyway, I was working hard to try to make her proud of me. My mom is really into college in general and her college in particular. She went to a very competitive liberal arts college and served on the Board of Trustees for ten years. She's friends with the current president and so on. She's in love with the place. I thought if I told her I wanted to go there, she might be proud of me.
So over dinner one night, she asked if I'd been thinking any more about colleges I might like to go to. She somehow thought if I set a goal like that, it would help my grades improve.
I told her, “Yeah, I've been doing some research online and your alma mater looks really great. I think I might apply there"!
My mom started laughing hard for about a full minute before she was able to speak. When she did, she said, "Even with my extensive influence, you would never be able to get in there! Keep dreaming"!
But now I go to an equally competitive and highly-ranked liberal arts school that I love. It also just so happens to be in the same consortium as her college.
34. Insensitive Recognition
I was nine when my father told me he saw no reason why he should provide me with food and shelter if I didn’t get better grades in school. When I did get good grades, he never said anything. He only ever voiced dissatisfaction. He didn’t bother to turn up for my high school graduation, even though I passed the top of my class.
When I had to defend my Master’s thesis, I didn’t bother to invite him. Looking back on it now, I don’t think it ever even occurred to me.
35. Pitiful Excuse
When I attempted to end my life and regretted it, I called my mother to get help. This happened at the end of my school year and landed me in the hospital for a while. There were no kind words, only, “You can never finish anything”! and “You always mess everything up at the last minute”!
She had nothing to offer except insults and screaming. She never apologized and just said it was because she was nervous. She always uses this excuse whenever she reacts to something like this.
36. Lasting Impression
My partner had established that they did not personally want any contact with my parents for a while. They had exhibited rude behavior in our house multiple times that I hadn't known about until after the fact. This upset my parents, leading them to constantly tell me the things I needed to say to my partner on their behalf, or questions to ask my partner. When I refused and not because I knew how my partner felt, my dad crossed the line—he I needed to grow some balls.
In the heat of this conversation, I was sobbing and apologizing to my parents for how out of hand this had gotten. Specifically, when I apologized to my mom, even as she was crying hysterically, she stopped abruptly and with a creepy smile said, "Are you"? It was unsettling.
37. Lasting Words
My mom told me that I was a disappointment when I was 16 years old. I had just gotten my first C in school, and she was furious. She said that I was never going to amount to anything and that she was ashamed of me.
I was devastated. I had always tried my best in school, and I had never gotten a C before. I didn't know what I had done wrong, and I felt like a failure.
That one comment from my mom stayed with me for years. It made me feel like I wasn't good enough, and it made me doubt myself. It took me a long time to realize that my mom's words didn't define me. I am not a disappointment, and I am capable of achieving anything I set my mind to.
I know that I'm not the only one who has been hurt by words from their parents. If you're reading this and you've been told that you're not good enough, I want you to know that you are. You are worthy of love and respect, and you are capable of great things. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
38. That Hit The Spot
My mom told me that my father felt disappointed when I was born and blamed her. He thought that I was a mistake and wished I was never born. He hated me so much that he would hit her violently every time he saw me.
Those were all my mother's words. She alienated me from my father, and I didn't get to know him until relatively recently. It eventually came to light that he never said those things or behaved in that way. But growing up, everyone, including my mom, hated me and thought I was evil. It took me a long time to learn to like myself.
39. Unbelievable Suffering
When I was nine years old, my stepmom told my dad about the contents she had read in my journal—something she had got me for Christmas. My dad asked, "What is wrong with you"?
I was a child. I was confused about this new woman in my dad's life who treated him like trash and acted like I didn't exist. I had no outlet because my parents never cared to ask what I was going through. I was showing early signs of depression and anxiety and they didn't care. They still don't. No matter how bad I told them it was getting, they always brushed it off as if they didn't even care if I suddenly wasn't around anymore.
Five small words, but to this day I have horrible trust issues. My dad is emotionally unavailable, and his wife cares more about her kids more than she ever did me.
I rarely talk to my dad and have cut his wife out of my life. I'm only 20 but the amount of misery the two of them have caused me to this day is unbelievable.
40. Beyond Repair
I remember being told I was ruined.
After my parents split up, my mom got full custody. As a young adult, I didn’t have much supervision growing up. I was trying to relay this to my dad, telling him that probably at the time, it would’ve helped if I had had some direction and discipline.
When explaining this to my dad, he made one comment that has forever stuck with me: “She ruined you". Knowing my father's perception of me was essentially beyond repair and was one of several reasons that made me shut down that relationship.
I still see him out of the goodness of my own heart once every couple of years. He doesn't understand why I don't want to see him more often. I don't understand the way some people think.
41. Hurt And Unwanted
Probably one of the most hurtful things she said happened a couple of years after I had stopped seeing my dad because he beat me.
My mom had been out of town and when she came back, she accused me of having had people over even though I didn't. She was so mad but I couldn't understand why. I tried to explain everything to her but she ended up calling me a liar.
I broke down crying and said, "I would rather go back to living with Dad and defending myself for the next year of my life than stay here with you hating me and calling me names". She looked at me with a stone face and said, "Good! Go pick up the phone".
I started crying harder and said, "He doesn't want me", to which she replied, "Well, I guess no one does then". She then turned and walked away.
42. Silence Pays Off
My dad has said way too much hurtful garbage that no child should ever hear at this point I'm numb to anything that he says and it genuinely doesn't mean jack to me.
My mom, however, threw a fit one time and told me to die because I didn't want to help her with her smartphone for the billionth time. I wasn't in a great place in life at the time and it hurt more than it usually would. So I gave her the silent treatment for a whole year—under the same roof—and pretended that she didn't exist until she broke down one day and apologized.
43. Appalling Apology
I came home with bad report cards for a few years because I had undiagnosed ADHD and just could not pay attention for the life of me. To this day, I’ll never forget my parents holding my report to my face while screaming, “YOU'RE A WORTHLESS FREAKING FAILURE! YOU'RE WORTHLESS. WHY THE HECK CAN'T YOU BE MORE LIKE YOUR BROTHER, YOU BLOODY FAILURE"!
Those words still affect me to this day. I wasn't diagnosed until halfway through the second grade. When I was 7, I was constantly being bounced around on different meds until I was 14. I don't hold it against my brother. I know they were just using him to hurt me.
I confronted my mother on it years later, and I was given a half-hearted apology. I don't hate her though as she went through some pretty adverse experiences in her childhood. But I never forgave her for lashing out at us. My father refuses to admit any wrongdoing unless he's plastered and a half-hearted inebriated apology is worthless to me.
44. Soulful Appreciation
When I was 8 or 9, I took an art class at a local art center. I was so proud of my painting and couldn’t wait to give it to my mom. I never would have expected her reaction.
When she saw it, she said, “Well, if you like it, why don’t you keep it. It’s not my style”.
Now, as a parent myself, I throw a freaking parade when my kids make me ANYTHING. My youngest colored on a coffee filter today that she cut into a heart and then put under water. She brought it to me dripping wet and I promptly squealed with glee and hung it up on my bulletin board in my home office. I told her it was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen.
It’s not even a lie because it was made for me by someone I love with my entire soul. Having kids made me realize that my parents didn’t even attempt the bare minimum for me.
45. Harmful Insinuation
"If it wasn't because of your brother's birthday tomorrow, I would have ended my life". This was in response to an argument we had when I was 13 at the time.
The burden of knowing my mother's self-harm could have been my fault weighed heavily on me all these years. My father also added that he would have had no problem ending his own life at any point. The only reason he hadn’t was because of us—insinuating that I should be good to him because he didn't hurt himself.
46. Picture That
I was always self-conscious growing up about how I looked due to years of being teased. I rarely had any photos taken of me because they would come out blurry as I shyly tried to duck away from the camera.
Anyway, during my sophomore year in high school, my art teacher, who knew how I was, presented me with a candid picture of myself. It was a raw photo of me. No Photoshop or anything. I cried because it was the first time I had a picture showing me what I considered "pretty" in a completely natural setting. My self-confidence soared. So, for Mother’s Day, I presented the picture—which I had framed, to my mother. She seemed happy to finally have a picture of me.
A few days later, she was throwing one of her fits and I was the target. I remember her storming out of the room. Thinking it had passed over, the next thing I knew, she came in with the picture I had given her. Having broken the glass to get the photo out, I saw that there were tears on it already. But wasn't expecting what came next—
She pulled out a cutter and with the most disgusted look she said, "Why would anyone in the world want a picture reminding them of how ugly a person their daughter is"? She then pierced into the picture and ripped it to shreds.
To this day, there is not a single picture of me in that house.
47. Lifetime Of Regret
I changed my major in college from social work (what everyone wanted me to do) to geology (what I wanted) after my ex cheated on me. I decided to screw it. I was finally going to do what I wanted.
I did a semester as a geology major before deciding to tell my family what I did. Everything was going great so I excitedly called one of my grandmothers. I would quickly regret that decision. She proceeded to ask, “What on earth makes you think that you’re intelligent enough for that”? She then kept on about how I was wasting my life, my student loans, I never listen, etc. I started tearing up after hearing that. I apologized before she hung up on me.
I got home that weekend and figured I’d try my luck with my other grandmother, despite us having had a bit of a rough relationship in my teenage years. She asked a couple of questions about the program, feigned interest and finally said, “Well, I just hope I don’t have to live long enough to see you fail at it”. I just gave up at that point. I failed the semester and dropped out at the end. It’s my biggest regret because I should have gone for my PhD, as I had intended.
48. Just Be Honest
Of all the hurtful things they said to me, this one always sticks out the most.
I wrote a personal essay in my senior year of high school. It was a raw and earnest one about myself, my values, and my hopes for the future. The teacher loved it. She said it was the best thing I'd ever written—and I always struggled with English class and essay writing.
I took it home to show my dad. After he read it, he furrowed his brow and he took down my confidence with a single sentence: "This doesn't sound like you at all". Then he made me rewrite it—scrubbing out all the parts he didn't like and putting in things that weren't true about me.
I always wondered if it would be easier if he openly didn't care about me and just told me that he wished that I was never born. Because a lifetime of someone who "loves you" while demonstrating open contempt, disgust, and disapproval for who you are is superficial and painful.
49. You Hurt MY Feelings
We invited my dad over to meet his grandson about a week after we brought our son home. He refused to get his flu shot and his Covid vaccine once it was available. He also refused to wear a mask or wash his hands. He was already being totally inconsiderate, but he took it even further. He called my husband and me dictators because we hurt his feelings.
The safety of my newborn baby trumps his “feelings”. Our son is almost two and a half and my dad still refuses to meet him.
50. Gone But Not Forgotten
My first memory was of being lost at 3 years old. It turns out that when I asked my mom about it as a teen, I wasn’t lost—the truth was much darker than that. She just left me with a babysitter and told me that she would be back in a few hours. She was gone for days. She was sure I wouldn’t be able to remember. But laughed that it was finally “in the open”.