For some people, holidays and family vacations are the best thing that could possibly happen to them. For others…not so much. Not everybody is blessed with a functional family, or even half-decent parental units. Still, these laissez-faire parents even have our worst family feuds beat. It’s time to buckle up and get your therapist on speed dial.
1. Jagged Little Pill
I started getting migraines back when I was around 11-12 years old, and I got a really bad one while I was up at my parents’ vacation house with a friend. We were watching a movie, and it started to hurt pretty badly. I wanted to get some kind of chewable pain reliever, because I had a really intense fear of choking that made it difficult for me to swallow pills.
My dad pulled out a bottle of these massive tablets of aspirin and says I can take these or suffer through the headache. I try to swallow them with water, but I literally couldn't and spat them out. Growing increasingly angry, my dad finally grabbed a marshmallow from our pantry and waved it in front of my face before he stuffed the two tablets in them.
He then grabbed me by the head like it was a baseball and forced my jaw open, and stuffed the marshmallow/tablet lump down my throat, forcing me to swallow. It hurt so bad and I was terrified I'd choke. I started to cry and then he screamed at me to shut up. My friend saw the whole thing and wouldn't look at my dad for the rest of the trip.
2. Suffering By Comparison
Back in the day, folks use to take their kids for a driving lesson at the Trinity River bottoms in Dallas—it’s basically a levee. The road is on the levee, and you can’t go left or right. My friend was an angry kid, so keep this in mind. His dad takes said friend and his twin for their first driving lesson. His twin does GREAT. Their dad is ready to hand him car keys and go forth in life, let's not consider stoplights, pedestrians, and emergency vehicles.
My friend, well, he keeps swerving, because he thinks he has to avoid the rocks on the levee trail, and it appears he's veering off the road. His dad yells at him about how stupid he is, asks him why doesn't he understand, his brother did great, all that. My friend, enraged at this point, wants revenge. He says, “Screw it” and suddenly jumps out of the driver seat onto the road.
The truck is still in drive, leaving his dad and twin in the middle and passenger seat of the truck, with the wheels not steered straight. They start rolling down the levee, and all he heard was his dad screaming like a banshee, trying to slide to the driver part of the slick bench seat of the truck. My buddy never got another driving lesson from his dad again.
3. Sink Or Swim
I was a lifeguard as a high schooler, and some parent was trying to “teach” their five-year-old child to swim and just threw him in the deep end. The parent thought the kid was fine because he wasn't splashing around. It was much worse than that. Instead, he was bobbing up and down with his arms going straight up, and straight out. That actually means they're DROWNING.
I had to jump in and grab the kid, who had swallowed significant amounts of water, and call an ambulance to check him out. The parent didn't want us to call the ambulance, but we told him it was either the ambulance or the authorities, because what he did could be considered child endangerment. Dad was losing his mind screaming at me, a 17-year-old girl.
The owner of the pool saw this, and he (a former Navy dude) got up in the guy's face. The parent was banned from the pool for life. To this day, I'm convinced the guy was completely wasted.
4. Fight Or Flight
My dad bought a new house after my parents divorced. Behind us were two kids close to me in age, and they used to screw with me every time I visited. One day, they hopped my dad's fence, pushed me down, and stole my basketball. When I told my dad, he decided to go talk to their parents to get my ball back. Oh wait...that's what normal dads would do.
My dad, a former pro boxer, made me fistfight both of them one at a time and "earn" my basketball back. To be fair, I had training before that incident. Learning how to fight was nonnegotiable to him, and he had me learning how to fight before I even started school. I was also threatened with punishment if I allowed myself to be bullied.
I fought them both one at a time. I definitely won against the first kid, but by the time I fought the second, I was exhausted and he was not. In the combat sports world, we called that "the shark tank." It's brutal. Anyway, I was tired in the second fight so It didn't go as well. If it were a sanctioned fight, it would have definitely been a draw.
Sadly, growing up with a redneck dad means that I have a tiny redneck living in my brain that not only doesn't fear conflict, but embraces it. If someone hurts my family, wife, or friends, I become the avatar of toxic masculinity. I'm in therapy dealing with it, and I've had a couple of relapses. Most recently against my wife's co-worker harassing her and me deciding to threaten him at a company Christmas party. Not proud of that one.
5. Feats Of Strength
I saw this with my own eyes. There was a young woman and her three quite cute kids outside of a store the other day. She was on her phone obviously waiting for someone to pick them up and the kids were entertaining themselves. One of them, a boy who was about six, had a go and managed to pick up one of the big weights that were holding down the corner of a little stand outside the shop while the guy manning it was looking the other way.
The boy staggers over to his mom with it, so proud of himself, going, "Mom! Mom! Look what I'm doing! Mom! Look! Mom! Look what I'm doing! Look, Mom!" Eventually, she tears her eyes away from the screen and sees what he's doing. She screams at him, "Put that down now! You can't do that! What are you doing!? Put it back where it came from! Don't pick it up again!"
The kid was all flustered, trying to do what he was told, while the man quietly took it from him and gave him a sympathetic pat on the shoulder.
6. Those Who Can’t Teach…
When my parents would “teach” me anything, it wasn't really teaching at all. It was showing me once super quickly, then expecting me to fully grasp the concept because I was supposed to absorb that knowledge from observation alone apparently. And when I wouldn't get it on the first time, I would be berated or beat. When I was six, my parents tried to "teach" me how to tie my shoes.
They showed me super quick once, fast enough that I couldn't process what was happening, then told me to do it. I didn't understand and so they started yelling at me, telling me how I shouldn't even wear shoes because I was so stupid. I didn't learn how to properly tie my shoes until I was 18, and I had to teach myself. I still use the bunny ears method.
The worst part of that was that people would make fun of me for not knowing how, and I couldn't explain the situation at home because they would've just thought that I was making excuses. Or, where I live, we have bags of milk. We have a pitcher where we place the bags, and I usually tie an elastic band around the corner that I snip open.
One summer, when I was five or six, I woke up bright and early because my brother was in summer school so I'd have the whole morning to myself. I went to make a bowl of cereal, and when it was time to put the milk back, my mom tried to "teach" me how to tie the elastic band to the bag. I did it, but she had told me it was wrong and so beat me and told me to do it again.
For the entire morning, she would tell me that I was doing it wrong and beat me. By the time I had my cereal, it was noon and my brother had already come home. I don't even think I was doing it wrong because I've been doing it the same way since then. I'm pretty sure my mom just wanted an excuse to beat me. Yep, those were my parents.
7. Darwin’s Lottery
I was a lifeguard for four years in my teens. Long story short, parents expect the lifeguards to do their job for them. Either they just drop their kids off, or they don't pay attention. So this was a city pool. We didn't have too many terrible things, but we still saw our fair share of weird stuff. This guy, who was probably in his late 20 or early 30s, dove headfirst into the very shallow kiddie pool.
I saw it, blew the whistle, and gave him a head shake. He acknowledged, rubs his chest because he scraped it on the bottom, and I thought it was over with. Five minutes later, he dives headfirst into the kiddie section of the pool again. I blow the whistle, call him over, and talk to him sternly about how I'm not reprimanding him for any other reason than that I don't want to have to backboard him for a spinal.
The guy agrees, says it was stupid, apologizes, and walks away. Cue screw-up number three. The guy walks away from me and over to this six-foot water slide we have for the little kids. This is the cutest water slide, but it still towers over its primary users—two-year-olds. Along his way to the slide, the guy scoops up what I assume is his son and puts him at the top of the slide, still standing up.
This kid couldn't be more than two or three years old and had floaties on and all. The guy points at me and over the regular pool ruckus, I hear him yell, "See that lifeguard? He told me he wants you to jump off the side of the slide." He then proceeds to point at the concrete. I see the kid’s knees buckle as he goes to jump, and my heart sinks like a rock to my stomach.
I immediately shoot out of my chair and yell "HEYYYY!". Two things of note: First, as a guard, you're never to stand on your tower unless you see someone in apparent danger. This is so other guards have a clear sign that something's going down and know to pay attention and get help. Second, I have a deep voice. A VERY deep voice.
I'm usually quiet, but when I get angry, I utilize it to my advantage. As what one of my friends later described as "The Voice of God" echoes across the pool, the entire place falls quiet. The guy immediately puts his son down on the ground and starts walking toward me. I call over my manager, explain it all, and she (not the brightest of managers) tells him he will be removed by the authorities after any other incidents.
He apologizes, then goes on about his pool experience. Two hours later, I'm in the five-foot section, which is the deepest aside from the 12-20-foot sections. The guy is walking along with his friends, sees me in the chair, and goes, "Watch this." I'm still surprised he didn't say "Hold my drink” instead. He runs and dives in really deep. Screw up numero cuatro, reporting for duty.
In front of his son, who was behind the legs of some other guy and peeks out after his dad submerges, the guy floats up to the surface of the pool—face down and unresponsive. We had to evacuate the pool, stabilize, and backboard him. The guy kept entering his name into Darwin's Lottery, and won. It was going to happen eventually, it was just a matter of time.
8. Daydream Believer
I was the kid who always “zoned out” or “stared into space,’” which resulted in a lot of adults, including teachers and my parents, thinking I was deliberately ignoring them. They tried everything, but it’s like I wouldn’t even hear them when they yelled. Then I acted like I didn’t even know what they were yelling at me for. What a little jerk, right?
I was such a little idiot. I’d stop mid-sentence, zone out for sometimes even up to or past a minute, and then pick up my sentence right where I left off. Sometimes I would stop walking for no reason. It could take me upwards of hours to finish a page of math homework. I was so slow that what took classmates five minutes to do could take me all of a lesson.
My mom would tell me things, only for me to later insist she had never said that. She would call for me, and I wouldn’t answer, until she had to yell, at which point I would turn around and insist she didn’t have to shout. In the end, it was always the same. A teacher would decide that if I didn’t want to give them respect, I could just do things alone.
I should have listened to them while they were explaining things if I was really interested in learning, right? So they stopped helping me when I didn’t understand something they had already said. Because I should have been listening in the first place. Surely, this would get the message across, right? After all, this bratty little kid has to learn to listen. And then one day, it all clicked into place.
As a result of stress, I had a grand mal seizure. I was taken to the hospital where I was diagnosed with absence epilepsy, a form of epilepsy that doesn’t have the tremors associated with typical seizures. A person having an absence seizure simply stares, having a completely still seizure with their eyes open. As a result of this, it often looks like someone is simply staring out into space, unresponsive, or ignoring you when they may actually be having a medical emergency.
So, during times when I would be “ignoring” a teacher, I was actually having an absence seizure. Suddenly, they would be yelling at me and I honestly didn’t know why. My experience of it is a little atypical; I would have seizures anywhere from a few seconds to a couple of minutes long. I would have hundreds a day, and they persist into adulthood. Now I have to pay for seizure medication and therapy.
9. Child Labor
When I was a cashier, this mom came in with her son's piggy bank. The kid was with her and must have only been about six years old. He wanted to buy a candy bar with his money, but the mom told him no, that his money was going to help support the family. She then proceeded to buy a six-pack and some Belmonts with the money while the kid watched.
The poor boy had tears in his eyes the whole time. But I knew what I had to do. I refused service to her, though the manager ended up ringing her up. She was paying with mostly pennies and nickels, and while she was distracted I saw the boy walk over to the candy rack and wipe the tears from his eyes. I asked him what was wrong and he told me it had taken him three years to save that money, but his mom didn't have a job so she took it from him.
I bought him the candy bar he wanted and gave him a bunch of quarters for the gumball and toy machines. His mom saw him trying to get one of those sticky hands from the machine and then took all the quarters he had from him. Screw that lady.
10. Slow And Steady
I used to be a swim teacher in college teaching private lessons in people's backyards. Generally, it was a lot of kids who had a fear of water because their parents hadn’t properly gained their trust before trying to get them to swim. One kid, he was seven, I had to sit with him on the pool deck the whole first lesson and bring buckets of water to him.
Apparently, his dad had dunked him multiple times in the pool and insisted that his son would just figure it out eventually because "that's how he learned." The father was never home when I was there; the mom had me come while the dad was at work. Four weeks later, she had me come later in the afternoon so he could come home towards the end of the lesson.
His dad saw his son swimming and cried happy tears. He had no idea I had been there three days a week for a month. I still remember how each of my students clung to my arms and clawed at my neck in their first lessons. I never dunked or forced anyone out of their comfort zone. My lessons had to be customized for each student to keep it fun and relaxing. The trauma in their eyes was haunting, though.
11. Nickel And Diming
My parents told me to “figure out” a way to get lunch money because they didn't want to wake up early in the morning to give me money. They never got an allowance as a child, so why should I get free money? Why would I need money anyway? Don't be stupid, the school will still feed you even if you don't have money. Spoiler alert: the school will not.
I had my lunch tray taken away several times because I couldn't come up with two dollars every day to pay for it. By age seven, I was very skilled at taking money out of my dad's wallet or my stepmother's purse. My sisters got their lunch money with no issues, it was just me. Eventually, I got caught taking the money and they labeled me a thief for the rest of my life.
Every time something went missing from then on, my room was torn apart.
12. Monkey See, Monkey Do
Once my family was on a trip visiting a temple when I was in my pre-teens. The temple was quite famous for the monkeys, and we were advised not to interact with them mostly because they would take stuff from your hands. We had finished our visit to the temple and were returning back when we saw a dozen monkeys just minding their business.
Well, my dad somehow got this idea of greeting one of the monkeys. He said “hello” cheerfully to one of them and oh boy, that monkey got mad. My dad had walked away before the monkey could lunge at him, so the angry monkey looked at me, since I was a bit behind my family members. I got scared and walked slowly, but the monkey started screaming at me and suddenly two more joined in the screaming.
I was half crying and half panicking at this point as they had literally ambushed me in the corner of the road. My parents then nonchalantly told me to just walk away from there, even though they could clearly see the three big monkeys obstructing any way of escape. I just covered my head and prayed for anyone to help me. All the while, my parents calmly looked at me as if waiting for me to come out of it without a scratch.
Fortunately, a stranger who was just passing by saw me and shooed away the monkeys. They ran away and I ran towards my family. After that, the whole trip they made fun of me and even criticized me about how I could not just walk away from the monkeys. I was so angry at my whole family, but they made it seem like I should have known better to save myself.
13. Such Great Heights
My younger cousin, who was four years old at the time, was a climber and always needed help getting down. One day, his dad told his mom to leave him and said he’ll either learn how to get down himself or stop climbing. Well, my cousin ended up climbing onto the roof, fell off, and got impaled on a fence pole. One very expensive trip to the ER and he now has a cool scar on his thigh.
14. Bad Grandpa
This was a bad grandparent. So, I used to nanny two kids under three years old. The boy was very shy and cautious just by nature, and it took time for him to get used to new things and people. His grandparents lived an hour away and would sometimes babysit, but of course a two-year-old doesn't really remember people they only see once every couple of months.
One day, the grandparents came over to babysit and brought a new kiddie pool. The boy had played in a kiddie pool as a baby the previous summer, but of course, he doesn't remember that either, he's two. So the grandparents set up their gift, fill it with water, and I got the kids changed. I'd always stay an hour or so after the grandparents arrived to make sure the kids were comfortable with them first.
Grandpa was so excited for the little boy to see the gift...but the little boy wasn't sure about it, because he's basically never seen a pool before. I started getting him used to it, put his sister in, dipped my toes in, encouraged him to put his hand out and feel the water, etc. It was taking time, but he was warming up. Well, grandpa ran out of patience.
He grabbed the kid and just plopped him into the pool. The little boy immediately started panicking and crying, and then the grandpa started mocking him for crying about "a little water." I took the kiddo inside and told his parents what happened. Scaring the bejesus of a shy toddler is pretty bad, but mocking a baby for crying when he's scared? That’s foul.
15. A Little Me Time
My stepmom walked us—me, my sister, and my brother—deep into the woods and left us there to learn “survival skills” when we were all under 12 years old. We thought we were all out on a hike, then she distracted us and ran away. We wandered into camp hours later. We knew how to get back, but searched for her for hours, worried that something had happened to her.
Nope. She was drinking margaritas and smirking.
16. Just Like Riding A Bike
The summer between first and second grade, my family moved somewhere with a pool. My mom was adamant that I had learned to swim as a baby, so she bought floaties for my younger sister and refused to buy any for me because I "already knew how to swim and was too big for floaties." When I refused to get into any part of the pool I couldn't walk in, my mom called me from outside the pool and promptly grabbed me and tossed me into the six-foot end.
And surprise! I didn't know how to swim!! I remember splashing twice, hearing my mom yell at me to stop panicking, then I went under and tried swimming to the surface as I'd seen in movies. Eventually, I got my head a bit above water, coughed out a bunch of water, and started screaming for help before I went under again. Her reply chilled me to the bone.
My mom told me to stop making a scene and swim towards the edge. I made it to the edge and couldn't pull myself out of the pool, so my mom yelled at me to swim to the shallow end. When I tried to grab onto the edge to just pull myself to the shallow end, though, my mom kept taking my fingers off the edge and yelling for me to stop playing and just swim.
When I finally got to the shallow part, my mom and family just went, "See, you still remember how to swim. You never forget."
17. Problem Child
I was in a department store and this couple was shopping with their three kids. The boy child, who looked to be around eight, picked up a hairbrush and smacked his sister, who started crying. The mom said, "Alex don't do that, that isn't nice." The boy replied, “Screw you!" The mom, still ignoring her crying daughter, says, "Come on Alex, don't say that."
At which point, Alex hits his mother with the hairbrush. The mom bends down and says, "Alex, that really isn't nice." Alex responds by slapping his mother across the face and saying, “Screw you!" again. The mom simply says, "Alex, that wasn't necessary" and kept on shopping. The dad, meanwhile, just watched all of this like it wasn't his problem and eventually just walked away.
18. An Ivory Tower
Every time I asked my parents to explain something as a kid I was told either, "You're smart; you'll figure it out" or "You just don't want to do it!" Any attempt at maturity was met with either flat-out laughter or being told that I was too young to worry about that. Cue me turning 18, and suddenly I'm expected to be an adult, get a job, pay taxes, and all that jazz.
I asked where in the heck do I start, and they got angry because I apparently hadn't figured anything out. Huh, wonder why?
19. Empty Threats
I went to breakfast with a good friend and a friend of a friend. We pick up the friend of a friend, who brings her three-year-old son along. The kid is crying and making all kinds of noise, and the mother responds by telling the kid that I have a gun, and if he doesn't calm down I was going to shoot the kid. I just about spat out my food on the table.
20. Come Sail Away
My dad wanted to teach me how to sail when I was 11. I was terrified of the ocean but I wanted to spend the day with him so it didn't matter much to me. I was on the sailboat, waiting for him to join me, when I suddenly felt a stomach-churning feeling. The boat was drifting away from shore. He had untied the boat and was pushing into the ocean. I guess… to “teach” me?
I was alone, not knowing how to sail, and completely panicked. It was getting dark by the time I returned home. The worst part wasn't being stranded in the ocean. It was my disappointment. I really thought my father and I would have fun together, but nope.
21. Right, But At What Price?
I hurt my arm playing football during morning break at school and was sent home by the school nurse. My dad said it was fine. He just bandaged it and sent me to school the next day, only for them to send me home again within an hour. My mom then made my dad take me to the hospital…and my arm was broken. My wrist had split lengthways, and it was in a cast for nine months.
I was secretly buzzing about it, to be honest because, well, that showed him.
22. Crying Over Spilled Milk
My mom forced me to drink milk because she thought I just hated healthy stuff and only wanted to eat junk food. The thing is, I always loved veggies. Like many kids, I also just liked junk food, too. Basically, I love all food—except for milk. I just couldn't consume milk, it'd make me vomit and then I'd have sudden acid reflux not being able to handle it.
She thought I was faking all of that to escape drinking milk. Well, turns out I'm lactose intolerant. The kicker? My mom STILL thinks I'm making that up just because she can't let go of her ego.
23. Everything Won’t Be Okay
A couple of years ago, I was on a shuttle in Yosemite. A little girl, approximately age 10, had this nasty tight cough. Being in the medical field, I was concerned and asked if she had asthma. The father answered in a curt and rather annoyed tone that she was fine, and basically told me to mind my own business. They were doing controlled burns in the park, which was causing my own asthma to act up.
The girl was not fine as she clearly was struggling to breathe. I bit my tongue, but to this day wish I had somehow persuaded the father to get her help.
24. A Bitter Pill To Swallow
When I was about five or six years old, I was very sick. Fever, vomiting, sweating, congestion; it was awful. There was some mix-up at the pharmacy, and they thought I was my father and gave him adult medication—basically, we got these giant horse pills. Now, normal child medication for things like this are syrups and chewable stuff for obvious reasons.
My dad comes home and tells me I have to take these medications. I have a hard time getting them down, almost choking a few times. That’s when he snapped. My dad got frustrated and literally started shoving these huge pills down my sore throat with his angrily shaking fingers. I started crying, and my nose was stuffed so I could only breathe through my mouth.
I remember my dad’s wedding ring banging against my teeth, eyes watering, gasping for air while looking at my mom for help. Eventually, I coughed it back up, crying and my throat on fire. I remember my mom demanding an apology from my dad, who just said, “Well, he’s going to have to learn to take pills like that sometime anyway” and stormed off. Darn. I haven’t thought about that story in 20+ years.
25. It’s A Zoo Out There
I was volunteering at a parent-child zoo day, and saw more than a few horrific parents. The zoo had some free-roaming peacocks, and it was awful how many parents just didn't tell their too-young-to-know kids that these birds can be mean. So the little toddler goes, "Wow, pretty bird" and tries to get a closer look, only to get chased and attacked by this thing, all while the parents watch.
Most of them said something like "You should have known better." Like, HOW if you never teach them?! The child can barely walk, you expect them to miraculously understand that some animals have a strong territorial sense? And then your baby gets terrorized by this thing that's bigger than them and looks like an alien for all they know, and you don't even give them a hug afterward?
See also: that one mom we had to kick out of the zoo because she was encouraging her kids to antagonize the llama in the hopes it would spit on them. Yikes, people, have some empathy for tiny humans who trust you implicitly with their wellbeing...
26. Parent Vs. Parent
A woman on the bus told her (approximately) six-year-old son to tell an (approximately) 11-year-old schoolgirl to move out the way, but referred to the girl as “that fat cow.” I lost my temper entirely, probably displaying pretty bad parenting skills myself as I was taking my son to school, but I just couldn't let it pass without tearing that woman a new one.
27. Stage Moms
An irate mother of a girl in a private school's music program made a big scene in front of the faculty and students because her daughter had not been selected to sing a solo in a school concert. The student had been very clear to the faculty that she didn't want the part, nor was her voice suited for it. Still, her overbearing mother insisted that she audition against her will.
As a result, the girl was yanked out of the school she loved by her parents and embarrassed, all because the mother's ego required that her daughter be "the shining star" in front of others.
28. Don't Worry, Be Stupid
This little girl was just playing at the edge of the pool, happily minding her own business, when her dad ran up behind her, picked her up, and tossed her screaming as far as he could into the deep end of the pool while yelling “time to swim honey.” At first, my dad and I (we both saw) didn’t react, because my dad has done this to me as a game after I learned to swim first. Then it took a dark turn.
We started to notice that she was struggling to surface while her dad just watched. My dad nervously asked, “Can she swim?” To which the guy just shrugs and says, “She’ll figure it out.” I have never seen my dad book it so fast to get into the water as I did that day. He quickly got the kid out of the water and then started screaming at the guy about what kind of idiot he was, while the girl was just bawling her eyes out.
I swear my dad was ready to deck the guy. This was back in the 1990s, so we didn’t have a cell phone to call the authorities, but we never saw them again after at the public pool. It was the first time in my life I had seen insane parenting, and to this day freaks me out that some people will still do stuff like this. There are some wild parents out there.
29. The Runaways
When I was just eight years old, my mom told my six-year-old sister and me to "runaway if we wanted to leave so badly." At the time, my mom had ordered us to do laundry but didn’t exactly know how to do it, and she got upset. So, us being young, we took that opportunity and packed up to leave. It all ended in the worst way imaginable.
10 minutes later, my sister was hit by a drunk driver. I still perfectly remember her Crayola crayon suitcase messed up in the middle of the road. Thank God, she was mostly fine from the crash, just scrapes and bruises. But the real pain came from realizing our "mother" would prefer to challenge us to run away rather than teach us how to do laundry.
My sister is currently no contact with my mother and I moved across the ocean. It's better now.
30. Street Fighter
When I was around 11 or 12 years old, two kids from the neighborhood got into a street fight. Kid #1 clearly got the best of kid #2, and kid #2 was crying and went home. That should have been the end of the story, but it wasn’t. See, kid #2's parents met him at his front door and sent him back out there to continue to fight. I'm not sure if it was about honor or what, but it was painful to watch.
31. Desperate Measures
My parents told me they were kicking me out at 18 in a move to “motivate (?)” me. I was in college with no job and virtually no money. My grandfather had left me about 10k in savings bonds, but when I asked for it, they wouldn’t give it to me. So I made a plan. I went around to five different targets and shoplifted about four-five video games.
I then took them to GameStop to sell, and at the end of the day, I had about $600. I was planning on buying some weed to sell to get some income going until I got on my feet. Honestly, I literally could not think of another way to earn it. But when I got back to my house, an officer was waiting for me. My parents ended up cashing in my 10k to pay for the lawyer.
32. Parenting 101
My father-in-law decided when his first child was born that he and his wife would NOT go to the baby when he started crying in the middle of the night, in order to teach him that crying doesn’t get you anything in this world. Turns out, newborns need to be fed every two hours. So it’s a good thing my mother-in-law ignored him and went to their newborn son, otherwise, he might have perished.
33. This Thing Has Legs
“Just walk it off!” This was my dad when I developed a big, nasty cyst on my toe when my mom was away on a stressful trip. She was not pleased to come back and have to immediately drive me to the hospital. It got to the point where I took one step on it and almost passed out. He apologized afterward, got a sandwich from a really good sandwich place, and I forgave him. Now I laugh about it...
Also, I guess this is worth bringing up. My dad is the son of a man who attempted to walk off a gangrenous leg infection that very same year. RIP Grandpa. Oh, I laugh about that too.
34. Slow And Steady
My boyfriend was raised by horrible parents who didn’t teach him anything well at all, and now this is how he teaches. It did not go well when he tried to teach me snowboarding. For the record, I always need to be eased into learning new things. I actually learn faster that way. But his idea of teaching me was to barely show me any basics and then try to make me go down a huge hill.
He then got upset with me when I broke down in fear and walked down the hill instead. He finally learned that teaching style does not fly with me when he took me to reasonable learning hills instead and saw how much faster and easier I progressed. Who would’ve thought?
35. You’re On Your Own
My parents just threw me into life. We never talked about anything. Zero, zip, nada. I was raised rather feral, meaning I could play outside and do whatever I wanted to really, as most older folks were raised. Thing is, when I started to get into my teen years, it was my aunt who bought my first bra. My parents just…didn't care. It escalated from there.
One day, I got a call on the phone. It was a wrong number but I talked to the guy for a while, and he offered to come over and pick me up. I was 14. My parents let me. His name was Wayne. I had a boyfriend in high school who worked the night shift, and he'd pick me up when he got off at around 2:30 am. My dad also worked nights, saw me up and waiting, and asked where I was going.
I said "out." Just like he always did to my mom. He didn't say anything. I was 16. I got a job and paid rent from age 17 until 19 when I got my own place. My parents never helped me with anything. Oh wait, they did get me cosmetic reconstructive surgery when I was around 22 to fix a different surgery I had for pectus excavatum (a bent-in chest) that I was born with, but they never fixed it in the first place until my heart and lungs were compressed as I grew.
After the reconstructive surgery consultation, my dad turned to me and said, "Don't ever ask me for a freaking thing ever again." Lovely childhood, no wonder I was an addict for 15 years.
36. Hindsight Is 20/20
I was always a picky eater growing up. One time, my mom sat me down with a small bowl of almonds and told me I couldn’t get up out of my seat until I finished it. I insisted that I hated them and they were making my mouth itch, but she thought I was just being difficult. I just started to swallow the almonds like pills because my mouth was so itchy from chewing on them.
A couple of years later, I saw an allergist and discovered I was allergic to tree nuts.
37. Daddy Issues
My stepdad was fairly open about hating me and my brother, his non-kids, and went out of his way not to spend time with us. So, almost everything he ever had to do with me was always so bitter, because he was angry he had to even engage with me. He was an incredibly athletic, hyper-masculine conservative Christian, and I was a twig-thin, obviously queer bookworm of a kid.
My mom tried to get him to do sports with me so I would get motivated to be more athletic. It lasted maybe 10 minutes before the neighbors called the authorities on him and someone came out to stop what he was doing, resulting in a fistfight. Basically, he was pelting footballs at me as hard as he could because his philosophy was that I would either learn to catch them or keep getting hurt.
38. Stuck In Second Gear
I was four or five when my uncle sat me in his lap to park the car in the driveway. No warning, just let go of the wheel while he was still pressing on the gas. I crashed us into an old junk-wood garbage bin they had back in the day because I turned the wheel too sharply in my panic. I still get anxious to this day when I drive any motorized vehicle, likely not from just that experience alone, but I definitely don’t trust myself.
39. Sting Like A Bee
A bee stung me and my mother was convinced I was faking an allergic reaction afterward. At the point I started to struggle to breathe, she finally irritatingly relented and made me walk to the hospital, pushing my baby brother's stroller the entire way. When I got there, the staff were horrified and rushed me in to give me an epinephrine shot.
Luckily that did the trick. Many months later, a bee got into my bedroom, and my father called me a wimp for coming and getting him to deal with it, instead of dealing with it myself. "You have to learn how to deal with these things sometimes!" Or, like, you know, I could just...ask someone not allergic to bees to come and safely deal with the bee instead of risking hospitalization?
My parents were terrible, and abusive for more than just this incident. I have been no contact for about 20 years because of the way they treated me as a child. I have countless incidents like this from both of them.
40. Don’t Listen To Your Parents
This didn't happen to me but to my older brother, so I had a front-row seat to all of it. He was looking to purchase a house for cheap that was in a semi-rural area, and wanted at least some acreage near it. His budget was way smaller than it should have been for the houses he wanted, so he was looking at the most dilapidated, terrible houses ever.
He found one that was just what he wanted: multiple rooms, a basement, two acres of woods, and about 15-30 minutes away from nearby cities. It was only about $120,000 and he was sold on it. The problems were abundant, however, and I told him not to do it. Meanwhile, our parents loved this idea. They pushed and encouraged him, looked at it and took pictures, helped fill out loan paperwork, and even started planning all of the restoration projects it would need.
My brother was committed all the way to the point of confirming the loan and moving there immediately. I was horrified. This house was an absolute dump made in the early 1910s and redone once in 1950. It had mold, holes in the roof and walls, old rusted wiring, peeling wallpaper, and crumbling shelves. The only redeemable part was the size of the rooms, which were pretty decent.
I begged him to not do it and it eventually made him think twice. Finally, he relented and listened to me. He stopped and decided to not do anything. Later, I brought up how bad of an idea that house was…and my parents completely agreed. Their reasons for supporting him made my jaw drop. Even though they thought it was garbage, they wanted him to follow through because it would have been a "good learning experience."
They thought it would teach him to be careful with these kinds of things. They were literally going to let him go into massive debt and struggle so hard in order to teach him to be more careful of opportunities, and they tried to push it and encourage it instead of just sitting down and explaining all of this. I’m shaking my head at the thought right now.
41. Playing Favorites
My sister got into a lot of trouble growing up, and ended up facing many obstacles of her own making, so my family poured all the effort into making sure she turned out okay. She had all her living expenses and college paid for, while I was told to join the military. Fast forward 20 years, and she's happily married with two kids and a loving husband.
What did I get for walking the straight and narrow? Permanently injured from service, discharged to prevent them from having to pay for my surgery, and stuck in poverty because I spent my best years trying to scrape together enough money to afford myself the life that my sister got handed and did nothing to earn. I don't blame my sister at all; I still love and support her.
I just think it's super messed up that the family went so far for her and they couldn't have even helped me a bit with college.
42. Driving Me Crazy
My dad decided to give me driving lessons when I was a teenager, which turned out to be a driving lesson, singular. He took me to the parking lot across the street from our house and had me tool around to get used to the steering and pedals for about 15 minutes. Then, annoyed that I wasn't catching on fast enough for his taste, he decided we should go on the actual road and I'd learn faster in a more challenging environment.
Cue him barking orders to "Speed up, slow down, HIT THE BRAKES!" in an increasingly frustrated voice as I tooled along, terrified I was going to hit someone. The culmination of our lesson came when he noticed we were low on gas, and told me to pull into the gas station. Keep in mind, my sum total of driving experience at this point was about 25 minutes, which did not include parallel parking.
I pulled into the gas station and came at the pump at something like a 30-degree angle. He grabbed the steering wheel to correct me and actually yelled at me, "JESUS CHRIST!! DON'T YOU KNOW HOW TO DRIVE?!" To which I said, "No! I don’t! You’re teaching me, remember?” He drove back home silently. That was the end of dad's driving lessons. I signed up with a driving school after that, and we were both much better for it.
43. What A Cliffhanger
I was cliff jumping one day in a group thing for a tourist activity—I was the group leader. When we were 20 feet up, a girl’s dad pushed her. She hesitated and tried to stay up, there but slipped. She landed on her back in a boulder from 15 feet, then went into the water. I jumped in to do a rescue, and luckily our lifeguard group was there doing practice rescues and even had the board.
How she only survived with just bruises is a miracle.
44. Scars Last A Lifetime
Dad threw me into a pool and I couldn’t and didn’t swim back up. He did it twice. The first time was when I was about six or seven. I recall it happening pretty vividly. The second time was after he had disappeared and reappeared in our lives. I was about 12 or 13 at that time. I still haven’t learned to swim, and I’m now absolutely terrified of the water.
If I can’t touch the floor, then I immediately go into a panic. I’m 30 years old now. Even worse, I’m a father now too and if my son was ever in trouble, my fear would make me fail in helping him. It’s a constant nightmare that I think about. Like, it’s a recurring nightmare to wake up sometimes and feel like I’m drowning.
I have looked into swim lessons so many times. I keep making up excuses to avoid following through. At this point, I feel like I need to get help before I can learn to swim well enough to help anyone ever.
45. No Means No
I got pregnant at 13, and my mom allowed her new husband Robert to take me for the abortion. He then beat me when I got home from the procedure. She never asked, who, what, how. Needless to say, this kind of thing—and worse—had been a hallmark of my life, and I got pregnant again at 14 by a man who had been taking advantage of me
At that point, I was made to keep the baby to “teach me a lesson.” Again, no one asked. No one tried to educate me. Finally, at 25, my mom made me angry with her cluelessness, and in a fit of rage, I blurted examples of all the years of mistreatment I endured and she said, “...all these years, I thought Robert had been messing with you and that was the reason you were acting out.”
You guys, when I tell you that my head exploded at the same time all of the air left my body. I was stunned. First, she thought her now ex-husband had been harming me, impregnated me not once, but TWICE, yet she NEVER ASKED ME!!! For clarity, it was never my stepdad. Also, my mom has always had an unnaturally close relationship with my oldest daughter.
This conversation revealed why…because for 12 years, my mom thought her husband fathered my daughter. Needless to say, when I finally got some intimate education in high school, my mind was BLOWN.
46. Water Logged
Not my story, but my mom's. She developed a phobia after she was thrown into a pool to learn how to swim. At the age of 70, she still doesn't know how to. She's terrified of being on the water, even in a life jacket. And then, some fake clairvoyant told her she would die by drowning. So we spent our summers in the mountains as far away from water as possible.
47. Pick Up And Leave
Two days after I graduated high school, I came home to a jaw-dropping discovery. It was a totally empty house. All my stuff was in a U-Haul, and my mom and stepdad had moved without me. I have been financially independent ever since, but a heads up would've been nice. My real dad was not involved in this situation since he was on the other side of the country.
I am still close with him but he is very low income so he could not help me with this. I went no contact with my mom for about a year after this, but she weaseled her way back in. I think I see her in person once every two years, and I do not acknowledge my stepfather exists. I have been considering going no contact with my mom again recently.
48. Just Breathe
I was seven years old and had an asthma attack at our family campsite in the middle of the night. At that time, treatment for an attack was a nebulizer machine that required electricity, which we didn't have at our camp. My parents kept telling me that I just had to calm down and breathe better so the attack would go away on its own.
They only intervened hours later because they couldn't sleep because of all the noise I was making as I choked and gasped for air. We drove three hours back to our house, passing multiple hospitals along the way because they were embarrassed that I was in such bad shape and blamed me for just not breathing properly. Fun times for everyone.
I still have asthma, but it has been well-managed for years now, and I’ve been no contact with my mother for over a decade. She's a narcissist who not only emotionally mistreated me but encouraged my older brother to do so as well. This lead to him physically harming me, and when I eventually confronted her on this, she said it was my fault for "being such a wimp.”
I cut her out of my life and that's made a world of difference for my mental health. Obviously no contact with my brother, either. I am still in contact with my father; they divorced in my early 20s. We aren't close, but I still find enough value in the relationship to keep talking to him. He isn't actively cruel like my mother was, just lost in his own world, I guess you could say.
I feel sorry for him that he hasn't managed to overcome his own demons the way that I have. Overall, I am happy and healthy now. I have a lovely husband, and we've created a good life for ourselves. I do have C-PTSD from the years I lived through, but therapy and proper medication have helped tremendously.
49. A Long Road
My mom used to drive places, and then halfway there she’d "freak out" because she hated driving, get bored of driving or some other excuse, and decide I should take over. This was from around 12 years old—yep, seriously that young—and it happened all the time, normally in strange places like when we were on holiday or on the highway.
I was then expected to take over the wheel and get us wherever we were going with no direction on how to drive or where to drive. This was also normally with my mom screaming and shouting so loud I couldn't even focus every time I made a minor mistake or did something she didn't like. Things she didn’t like included being on the highway while I was going slowly because I was terrified.
50. An Unhappy Ending
My dad was notorious for the “rub dirt on it method” when I got hurt as a kid. When I was nine, I was in a nasty motorcycle accident out in the desert. I broke my fibula—like, the bone was protruding from my leg. My father’s response was chilling. He didn’t want to end his desert trip early, so he told me just not to look at it and to keep trying to walk.
I was in so much pain any time I would move that I would blackout. My brother was so concerned about it that he urged my dad to go home. My dad finally gave in…but it didn’t stop there. At that point, he was so wasted that he let my 11-year-old brother drive us out of the desert. My brother hit so many bumps, and each bump I would blackout then come to.
Once we got home, my dad then thought it would be best to sleep it off before going to the hospital. The next day, I was admitted and my dad was taken into custody by CPS.