There's no doubt about it: Bad parents run rampant, leaving destroyed dreams and trauma in their wake. Sadly, these poor Redditors were raised by the most toxic parents imaginable, and still carry the scars of their poisoned childhoods. Here's everything you should not say to your child. You might just save them a lifetime of heartache.
1. An Eye For An Eye
When I was 12, my brother, who is six years younger than me, and I were playing knights in the garden and throwing spears at a blanket with a cross on it. This was a recipe for disaster...At one moment, I threw my spear, not knowing he stood behind the blanket. The spear went straight into his eye socket. He survived—but the rest of the day was a blur.
I remember blood everywhere, my parents yelling at me, then standing at the corner, waiting for the ambulance to come while crying for what seemed a million years. Everyone was ignoring me. Then, we went to the hospital, and it only got worse. The guilt was the worst. So much guilt. I was only 12, and the nurses were giving me the evil eye. However, the hardest part was still to come.
My brother went blind in one eye, but otherwise, was perfectly fine. After about a year he had to go to a doc for a prosthetic eye. My mum said that I had to come with them. I remember VERY vividly sitting in the waiting room, hearing him cry, "It hurts it hurts.” It seemed like an eternity—but when my mother emerged, she looked at me dead-eyed and said, "Now you know what you've done."
2. Ripped To Shreds
My mother has anger issues. She and my dad divorced when I was young, and I split time between houses. Mom just hated Dad, and the woman can carry a grudge. She hated the fact that I also loved him and enjoyed spending time with him. She would constantly try to get me to say that I loved her more, didn’t love him, etc.
That’s toxic enough, but there’s one event that really stands out: I was seven or eight and had said something to set her off, probably about weekend plans Dad and I had. She got upset, yelled at me, got more upset when I didn’t repent, and so on. Then, looking straight at me, she grabbed a cardboard egg carton from the recycling pile and methodically ripped it apart.
As she stood there, ripping the egg carton to shreds, she furiously said, “I wish I was allowed to do this to you.”
3. Eating Disorders
When I was only eight, my mother told me that nobody likes a fat girl. I wasn't even really overweight, but her comments made me spiral in the worst way possible. Before long, I'd developed a dangerous eating disorder. But it didn't end there. It's been more than 30 years and I still grapple with the consequences of my disorder. The whole eating thing is still a struggle.
4. This Is Who I Am
My mom and I had a massive argument about LGBT people. I said it's natural and not a thing that should be debated, she said it's not natural and it goes against God's will. I asked her what she would do if I was gay, and she said she'd kick me out and I'd be dead to her. In truth, I'm bi. It broke my soul that my own mother could and would do that.
I'm only ever coming out when I eventually move out, which is probably not going to be for a long time. I have no tertiary education, a low paying job, no marketable skills...But when I do move out, I'm going to send her a picture of me kissing a girl while flipping off the camera.
5. Fulfilling A Prophecy
My parents used to tell me, in so many words, that being myself wasn't good enough and that people wouldn't like me unless I completely changed who I was. They genuinely believed that there was something inherently unlikeable about me and that I had to pretend to be someone else to get anywhere in life. That really messed me up for life. It became a self-fulfilling prophecy.
I went from a quirky kid with lots of ambitions to an adult with negative self-esteem and no personality. I'll never recover from it. They did thousands of tiny things to cut me down over the years, things I don't think they even realized they were doing, but nevertheless made me believe more and more strongly that I was just not good.
They told me I wasn't "normal" and that they wouldn't acknowledge my unique needs because I needed to learn how to deal with normal people, and told me that I had a hard time making friends because I didn't have blonde hair. They said people must be "intimidated" by me and that's why they didn't like me and told me I was bragging every time I was proud of anything I did.
They even tried telling me as a teenager I was being selfish and tried to forbid me from even saying the word "I." I still remember hundreds of the things they did and said to me that just made me think, "Wow, I'm doing everything wrong." I will acknowledge that I hold a lot of the responsibility for letting it affect me so much and I haven't properly dealt with its repercussions.
I should have dealt with my issues in a constructive way instead of a destructive way, which made me continually spiral until I lost every shred of dignity. I have believed for a long time that I'm just a "bad person" and there's nothing I can do about it, and even though a part of me knows that I can control my destiny and my actions, a much larger part of myself believes so strongly that I'm a bad person that it's overtaken my entire narrative.
6. Low Grades
"I gave birth to you, gave you food and shelter, and this is how you repay me? You're worthless and will never amount to anything in life." That’s what my toxic mother said when we got into an argument over my low grades in middle and high school because of a possible unchecked learning disability that she doesn't believe in.
To this day, she thinks I got low grades because I was lazy.
7. My Dad’s Words
I've never been good enough for my dad. Over and over, I've heard the same rant: "Why can't you be as successful as them?" "You are supposed to set the example." "You are so lazy they work 10 times harder than you." Well, I'll tell you why. Maybe it's because I had to start working at 15 because my dad couldn't afford to put three kids through school.
Maybe it's because his ex-wife drank all the money away or gave it to her kid. Maybe if I had the time to study instead of wasting my nights manufacturing faked IDs, I'd have better grades. Maybe then, I'd be able to make something of myself and not spend my entire adult life in retail or food.
8. Back In My Day
"By the time we were your age we had our careers sorted." That's all well and good, but to begin with, it's not 30 years ago. Secondly, University isn't cheap like it was in the 70s, and jobs are a LOT more competitive. And finally, the world has been under lockdown for a year. How in the world am I supposed to get a career sorted? It irritates me to no end.
9. End Of Year Ritual
I always hated the end of the school year because we had to empty out our desks and take all our work home. My mom would go through our backpacks, but she would only go through my notebooks and make fun of my drawings, stories, and call them stupid, among other things. She would then read it out loud to my siblings and dad. Same thing with my diaries. They would just laugh.
Now they tell my kids, "Your mom always loved to draw, I don't know why she stopped!" I wonder why…
10. Blessed Disbelief
My parents are very religious, and I was born into the church. At age 16, I decided I wanted to leave that church for multiple reasons, but ultimately, I just didn’t believe anymore. My parents were devastated, so much so that my dad fell into a bit of a depression. The sad part? He just kept blaming himself and asking, "What did I do wrong?"
I am now 34 years old, happily married, and out of the church. I have two beautiful boys and am just living a good life. But it still gets to me that no matter how happy I am, my parents will always think I would be happier in the church, and they feel they have done something wrong as parents because of this.
11. Breaking Everything
If the tiniest thing broke at home—I remember once I broke a clothespin—it was the end of all things. Dad would fly off the handle about it. Or worse, if something broke around him, or he broke it, it was still my fault. I remember, once, my brother spilled an entire carton of OJ and it was my fault for "putting it back in the fridge wrong."
If a door handle broke, it was because I touched it three turns ago and I was "too rough" with it. And so on. Even after I moved out, things were my fault at the house. They never gave me a dime after my 18th birthday, but if they didn't have enough money to pay bills, it was because they had me. I remember, one time, their house flooded, and this was my fault because two weeks prior, I was at their house, and I washed my hands and "must've" damaged the faucet.
12. Putting On Makeup
My mother is very traditional, very much so the type of Southern woman who wakes up even on a Saturday to put on a full face of makeup and curl her hair. Since the time I hit puberty, so let’s say 12 or 13, I had her telling me that I needed to put makeup on every day. “You just look better with makeup on,” and “You’re too plain to go without makeup,” or my personal favorite of “Some girls are beautiful without makeup, you’re just not one of those girls.”
As a young and impressionable teen, it really wrecked my confidence to go and be seen by my family or, God forbid, in public without makeup on. To this day she still says that to me, but I’m happy to say that now, as a 21-year-old, I can go out in public and feel confident completely bare-faced. A mother should never tell their child that they aren’t beautiful without makeup on.
13. Bats For Sure
Last night at dusk, I saw a father walking around a nearby pond and nature reserve by my house with his son and his daughter while I was walking my dog. There are bats there, which some people don’t realize because we’re in the UK and God forbid we have anything more exotic than a fox. Anyway, the kid, maybe nine years old, said, "Wow dad I just saw a bat!!"
And the dad just laughed and said “Heh…I don’t think you did...” My heart hurt for the little boy until they walked under a streetlight and the dad exclaimed, “OMG there’s loads of them!!!!!!!” And the little girl, maybe four years old, started screaming. Well done kid, you were right from the start!
14. Be The Know-It-All
My parents had extremely high expectations of me—expectations I couldn't possibly live up to. They wanted me to be a natural-born genius, and expected me to know the most random trivia, like which teams had won all the world cups, the capital cities of each country, etc. At the same time, they told me to "shut up" anytime I tried to ask a question.
The whole time I was in school, I tried my hardest to be the smartest person in the room, and even now, I don't believe it when friends tell me I'm smart.
15. Waiting By The Window
When I was younger, I would call my Dad and he would tell me “I’m coming over to get you.” Hearing that, I would sit by the window and just wait for him, but he would never come. My mom used to say that it was heartbreaking to see. I’ve seen him maybe 12 times in my entire life, I’m 40 now and it still hurts when I think about it.
16. A Pizza Fight
"We're moving and you're not welcome." This is what my dad said to me after he took my sister's pizza that I made, ate it in front of me, and then threw the pizza at me after I asked him why the heck he's like that and walked away. We were supposed to be moving to a new place the next couple of weeks after this fight.
17. Beast Of Burden
I am the youngest of three kids. My siblings are six and seven years older than me. My parents always talked about how they didn’t plan for kids. I didn’t think my mom could have any and then had two back-to-back. They couldn’t afford two kids so when I came along a lot later-then they were really broke. Most of my childhood memories involve my parents saying to me, “Man we really couldn’t afford anything after you came along. Life got so much harder. But we love you.”
I get they didn’t mean any harm but always having to hear about how much of a hardship and a burden it was to love and care for me really messed with me. I am in therapy and have been for years—and I am okay. I am in a great place and I love myself. But a part of me always feels bad when people say they love me. Because to me, love implies a burden, and I don’t want to be a burden to anyone.
18. You Missed A Spot
My brother and I spent the day cleaning the bathroom. However, I missed a dirty spot. Later I ended up overhearing my dad tell my brother: "The lesson you need to take from this is to never rely on your brother for anything." This one stuck out to me above the other insults I heard during childhood, as my parents were typically a lot more direct with their insults.
19. The Boys Aren't Back In Town
When I was around eight years old, my mom took me shopping. We were walking towards the mall behind a group of young guys in their late teens and early 20s. They were laughing and joking, seemingly having the time of their life. It looked like a lot of fun. I pointed at them and told my mom that it reminded me of the song my dad used to play, “The Boys are Back in Town,” an old Thin Lizzy song.
My mom looked straight ahead and bluntly answered, "You will never experience that." It wasn't exactly the kind of answer I had hoped to get. All I could get out of my mouth was "...What?..." "You won't," was her final say on the matter. Way to ruin a Friday evening Mom.
20. Ruining The Family
When the authorities arrived at our house, my father said I ruined the family. I had actually forgotten I had told someone in school about stuff that was happening at home until they showed up. My father didn’t take it very well. He was embarrassed that I had said something. I’m 42 now. I have boys of my own and I’m proud to say they don’t have a relationship with my dad.
They don’t know him. Instead, my father-in-law is the best grandfather to them.
21. Helicopter Mom
My mom was very, very paranoid about what I did on the computer. Now, I was a very shy, quiet girl and never really did all that much to get in serious trouble. I was never interested in weird stuff, didn't look up anything like that online, and never bothered to clear the search history because of it. Yet she was a raging paranoid about anything I was doing on there.
I used the computer to message my friends, buy iTunes, and play Roller Coaster Tycoon. That's it. I was very open about this fact. But she would go through my history, stand behind me and blatantly eavesdrop on my messages about innocent topics like school or video games, constantly ask what I was doing, and she would freak the heck out if I ever shut the door due to noise bothering me.
She had an unfounded paranoia that I was in there looking at restricted websites, despite the fact that I never, not once, even attempted it. She also was insane about anything remotely intimate and was super dedicated to catching me doing something so she could yell at me about it. Yes, I did it, but never when anyone was home. I wasn't stupid. Still, her helicopter parenting didn't end there.
If I was ever in the shower too long, she'd shriek at me. Not only that, but she would burst into my room whenever I had the door shut like she wanted to catch me. One time, she started screaming at me over how "disgusting" and "inappropriate" I was because she was under the impression that she'd caught me. She did not. I was laying on my bed playing with my dog. I'm still confused about this incident to this day.
This not only made me super paranoid about deleting my texts and search history to the point where I still do it despite living alone and not sharing devices with anyone, but it also gave me a really weird complex about my body that was extremely unhealthy. I wasn't able to be comfortable enough to have intercourse until I was almost 21, and already two years into a four-year relationship.
I thought it was dirty and wrong and that I deserved to be punished for it. Catholicism didn't help with that one. So yeah. Don't be a freak about your teenagers' urges. No one wants to think about it, but learn to cope with the idea.
22. A Two For One
Every so often, my mom likes to remind me that my dad never wanted kids. He told her that, if she wanted to start a family, she had to stay home and raise the babies. So, not only did my dad not actually want me, but I also ruined the career my mom loved. What angers me, even more, is she didn’t start telling me this until after my dad developed early-onset dementia, so he couldn’t even back up or refute the claims.
It was just her bitter word. Heck, I’m in my 30s now and am still trying to be civil with my mom since she and my brother are the only family members I have left, but these kinds of passive-aggressive comments are why I moved hundreds of miles away as soon as I could.
23. The First Loser
When I was a small child playing Star Wars Pod Racers on the Nintendo 64 I finally got 2nd place in one of the races I had been losing on for weeks. I was so pumped about it, but when I ran to tell my mother—her response was devastating: “Wow! Ya know second place is the first loser.” My dreams were absolutely crushed.
24. Pigging Out
I was around 16 at the time. I was in the passenger seat as my dad drove to Mcdonald's to get dinner for me, him, and my mom. I've been overweight my entire life, and I would have been around 260 to 270 pounds at the time. I asked for a Big Mac combo, and a 10-piece nugget. I liked the variety. He turned to me and frustratedly said, "Why do you always have to be such a pig?"
He apologized profusely a few minutes later, but it's always stuck with me, sometimes playing on a loop in my head. It's made worse by the fact that out of my parents, he's usually the sane and nice one. My mom is completely and insanely mean, and I'm used to that. Him saying something like that kind of broke me, and even though we're fairly close, it's never left my mind.
My mother once broke down crying when I was about six. When I asked her what was wrong, she went on a rant about how if she could go back, she wouldn't have been with my dad, and she wouldn't have had me. That screwed me up for years. When I brought it up in an argument when I was 16, she then accused me of lying, and said that I was always trying to make her the "bad guy."
25. A Great Graduation
I was graduating from high school, and everyone was asking me what I was going to do with my life. My Mom said, “Just tell everyone that you’re going to be a bum so if you become anything better than that, they’ll be surprised!” She’s a toxic, competitive narcissist who has been jealous of everything I did since I was born.
Maybe because she dropped out of high school, and I didn’t. Her sisters saw this trait and told me.
26. No One Loves You
My fiancée’s dad cheated on her mum and left her with a ridiculously expensive house to afford and would constantly withhold child maintenance. My fiancée and her sister were constantly looked after by her grandparents while their mum worked three jobs. The last thing her dad said to her was, “No one loves you,” and when she said I’m pretty sure my grandparents do, his response was so messed up—I'll never forget it.
He said, “No they don’t, they just pretend to because they feel sorry for you.” But her father isn't the only toxic one in the family. Her stepmom is a nasty piece of work as well. She continuously makes horrible comments like, “You look fat in that dress,” and, “When is your mum going to get a proper job so that you can afford proper clothes." Trash, the pair of them.
27. Don’t Discourage
I was always anti-social and the complete opposite of athletic. When I began to try and work out to gain some muscle, I got teased by my parents. All that did was discourage me and make me want to quit. This could go for anything. Is your kid antisocial? The, "Well look who decided to leave their cave and join us," is wholly toxic and just encourages them to stay in their room.
If your kid decides to make a positive change in their life, don't discourage them just so you can get an easy laugh.
28. A Major Headache
On one occasion, I had a migraine so bad, I politely requested that my mother help keep my sisters as quiet as possible because I was hurting. I even asked to just be let out of the car so I could bus home, but she wouldn't let me. Instead of showing me a shred of empathy, my mother decided to cause me even more pain, exclaiming, "You’re the reason behind every problem in this family."
They wouldn’t help me with problems, and they wouldn’t let me help myself. How the heck was I the reason behind every problem? You think I actually want migraines?? No, I don’t. It hurts so bad that it’s increased my pain tolerance to the point that I have to have oozing pus sacs before I even notice an infection. I didn’t ask for that amount of pain.
If I had a choice I wouldn’t hurt, but sure, I caused every problem in the family by having chronic migraines.
29. Too Little, Too Late
My grandfather forced me to sit in his car and tell him I loved him when I was 12 because I literally did not know how to say it. He's the only relative that consistently has said it to me throughout my life, which I appreciate. My parents never said such things to me, either of them. Now that I am grown and can take care of myself, my dad wants a relationship with me and tells me he loves me.
My mom will sometimes text me that she loves me. I always say it back, but part of me wonders why they waited so long. And I do feel bitter towards them both. I NEEDED their love and affection as a kid. Now that I'm a grown woman, I've long since learned how to live without it. It does feel like too little, too late with both my parents. I don't make time for them now because they forced me into raising myself and figuring out life alone.
30. All In Your Head
"It's all in your head." Of course, dad. It's called a mental illness. Maybe if you didn't gaslight me and actually took me to the doctor like you were supposed to half a year ago, I wouldn't have tried to become new paint for a Choo-choo train. But hey, what do I know. You dropped out of high school, and I almost graduated with a perfect GPA if it wasn't for all that. But yeah. You know more about mental health than me. Definitely.
31. Being Up On Stage
I was always the shy and quiet kid my whole life until I found dance and realized I absolutely loved being on stage, which then led me to start auditioning for theatre productions. My confidence was knocked from the start by my mother always telling me I wasn’t good enough. She pushed my buttons incessantly, always trying to get a reaction out of me.
I know it's stupid, but sometimes, I'd bail on auditions just because she'd convinced me that I'd never do well. I only noticed how much this affected me when, one year, we were standing decorating the Christmas tree, when my mother turned to me and said, "You’re always so dramatic, you should definitely audition for this character in that musical.”
After condescendingly telling me that I was “definitely suited for the part," I burst into tears. To my shame, I chickened out of that audition at the last minute.
32. Liar, Liar
My dad would call me a liar, even when I was telling the truth, about the smallest of things. I remember, very clearly, him leaning really close to my face and yelling “LIAR!” when I was around 10. Now that I'm an adult, he's worked to make amends, but the scars remain. I see that moment replaying over him like a mask whenever I feel the walls coming down a little, and I find it hard to get past.
33. Cold And Distant
I'm on the spectrum, Asperger’s, so I wasn't the most easy-going child. I was a very self-isolating and unsocial child, so when I annoyed the heck out of my mom or would behave poorly, she would say to me something that still, to this day, affects every relationship I pursue. She said, "No one will ever love you." We kind of patched our relationship over the years, but I resent her and can't help giving her the cold shoulder.
I fear that we'll be distant forever.
34. Taking A Stand
My parents required pretty strict obedience. I tended to push back a lot. But I feel like the “because I said so” demand to respect their authority without question messed me up. Though I’m smart and capable, I often ask questions to confirm answers I’m fairly sure are right. I have trouble pushing back against authority even when I know I’m being taken advantage of.
I tend to take people at their word too much, which I figure is better to trust than always be suspicious, but I do get taken from time to time. I stay under shitty managers longer than I should. I lashed out and broke my three-year-olds dresser once. We were using a naughty-chair method instead of the spanking I’d grown up with.
I realized I was out of line and put myself in the naughty chair for my kids’ sakes. Told my Dad and he thought that was ridiculous because “the parent is always right.” I think that’s when I realized the problems I grew up with. I’m not always right. I’m a pretty good parent, but I get distracted, get tired, get caught up in my head, and end up not being as engaged as I should be.
Because of that, I make mistakes. So, I let my kids push back sometimes. They need to be able to stand up for themselves when they think their right. My oldest will tell me when I’m off the handle about something. I don’t like it in the moment, but I can tell he’s right. Our competitive culture and lifestyles have all of us being coerced into doing stuff for other people, be it working or buying.
I want my kids to be able to resist that and know how to stand up for themselves.
35. I'm A Weirdo
"Why do you have to be so weird!! Listening to your weird music and stuff like that!!" That’s what my parents said to me. My favorite music genre was indie-pop. I really, really, enjoyed that music, but after I got that comment, I felt like I wasn't supposed to be venturing outside of the mainstream—like it was wrong to be enjoying something different.
It really messed me up for a while because I would shun other people for having non-mainstream interests...I thought they were weird.
36. Wicked Stepsisters
My Dad married a woman with two daughters who were treated like princesses. I was the oldest and was admittedly a nightmare as a teenager. Unfortunately for my younger brother, he was constantly compared to our stepsisters, who could do no wrong, or told if he did anything wrong “he would turn out just like your rotten sister.”
One of the stepsisters was a devious, conniving little brat who would do things like hide my textbook right before the bus came and then smile innocently when asked if she knew where it was. She was old enough to know what a mean move this was. So I would get in trouble for not being organized and she would sit there and smile knowing it was in her room.
We hated spending time over there because it was clear we were invading their happy home and not welcome. When my dad passed a few years ago I wrote his Obituary and omitted his 2nd wife from the mentions. That felt good.
37. Enjoying Your Job
My Dad told me: “You’re not supposed to find a job you enjoy, you find a job that pays well and live with it.” And when I told him what my ambitions were, he got angry and shouted: “You want to be a small business owner? Do you want to be poor for the rest of your life?” Subsequently, 15 years later I am not a small business owner and can’t find the courage to do it.
My life has revolved around his approval.
38. Who Should You Thank?
After doing extra work to get my grades up in Math and Algebra, for the first time in many years, I wasn’t afraid to go to the parent-teacher conference. And when my principal and math teacher told my parents that she was proud of my improvement in math, my mother said, “Thank you for his grades,” to which my principal said “No, that’s all your son’s work. I did nothing different.”
My mother just stood there, shook her head in disbelief, and didn’t bother to congratulate me on my achievements. For some reason, she simply couldn’t fathom her child doing well. If anything positive ever happened to me, she kept thanking God as if I didn’t do anything to achieve it.
My mom was very overprotective with me until I actually got some friends when I was 17. At first, she never would let me do anything or go anywhere with them. I'm her only child, and she just wanted to protect her baby. I finally convinced her to let me have some fun. I told her that I had never given her a reason not to trust me, so she should let me be.
After she realized I could handle myself, she quit being so overprotective. Once that happened, I was much happier and had much more confidence. She has said she wishes she would have lightened up when I was younger because I was much happier with freedom.
40. About Your Other Parent...
In my experience, divorced parents that say stuff like, "Don't talk about that to your ‘other parent," or,"Your ‘other parent’ is trying to manipulate you." It really screws with the kid's head. If you're ever going through a divorce and have children, please find a way to sort out your issues with your former spouse without involving your children more than necessary.
41. Spoiling Everything
When I was younger I would frequently act without thinking, one time I kinda spoiled a trip to my grandmother's house at the last moment by doing something stupid, then later on at my own home, I overheard my family talking about it through a wall. In reference to my behavior, I heard my mother say something I'll never forget: "He finds a way to ruin everything" and my father and sister seemed to agree.
At the time, it really hurt, and even now, the idea of being a burden to my family continues to eat at me.
42. Compliments Or Not?
"People only tell you they like it because they don't want to hurt your feelings." My mom would make comments like that if I received a compliment on something she personally didn't like. I outgrew my mom's manipulative speech at a young age, but her comments messed my younger sister right up; poor girl constantly seeks validation she never actually trusts, no doubt because our mother sowed that seed.
43. Nobody Needs Braces
I desperately needed braces, but my mom refused the orthodontist's advice. Her reason? Totally brutal. She told him, "She won't ever be a movie star anyway." She also told Dad maybe it would keep me out of a home for unwed mothers if they let me buy the horse I wanted. Huh? I was only 11 and it pretty much screwed with my head.
Even good parents, watch what you say to your kids. It can have a lasting impact. It may sound cute or snarky sarcastic to you, but little kids have big ears.
44. University Woes
I've been having a hard time in university. Three years ago, I had to take a year-long break to pass the courses I failed and now I'm struggling to find the motivation to work on my engineering thesis. Sometimes I can't help but wonder if there's something wrong with me and compare myself to my peers and how most of them completed their studies last year and already have jobs while I'm held back by a year again.
For the past few months, I tried to hide that I'm having problems again from my parents because I knew that my mom wouldn't tell me that it is okay to take my time as long as I get there. She would much rather compare me to the people my age like I've been doing. And that's exactly what she did when I finally told her.
45. Making The Grade
Throughout my childhood, I had to earn anything I wanted with my grades. Even the smaller things. Want to hang out with my friends? Gotta get more than 90% next exam. Want a birthday gift or a cake? Top of the class. Want to go on a school trip? Tough, go study. Many times, my parents would say it because they knew I wouldn’t get the marks they said.
In one way it helped that I ended up becoming a person who really pushes myself to do really well in what I do, but it also really shattered my childhood because I don’t remember having much of a life. I had to earn my life through grades which I could never really reach.
46. Hard To Love
My parents are something else. My mother was always paranoid, and got it into her head that I wanted to "leave the family." It was wild. She had no proof but would continue to say that God had revealed my innermost thoughts to her...And then she'd go nuts and beat me. This kind of toxicity continued into my adulthood. But that was just the tip of the iceberg.
My dad also had a sadistic streak. I wish it wasn't true, but he did a lot of painful things and gleefully announced that it was enjoyable. One time, he hit me so hard with a rattan cane that I bled. His reason? Utterly despicable...He said, "I wanted to test the cane." And then came the isolation tactics. They tried so hard to ensure that I never made friends.
They had weirdly latched on to me and didn't want to let go, constantly telling me that I'm "hard to love" and that "nobody will love you like us." It was messed up. But don't worry, I eventually escaped. Unfortunately, I still needed a ton of therapy to help process all that baggage. I still do. Even now, I can't forget what they told me on the day I left...
Obviously, they were furious to find out I was leaving; they said I should have been beaten more as a child. Luckily, I’m doing so much better being out of their life, with no contact. Sure, I have severe complex PTSD, but at least I'm not being hurt anymore.
47. Left In The Cold
When I was 15, my dad made my mom choose between me or him. He was angry at me for the dumbest reason ever: I'd refused to give him my email password. I thought my mom would take my side, but I was so so wrong. Without hesitation, she told me to leave. But that wasn't the worst part. It was the dead of winter. I had no coat and ended up wandering around town by myself.
After spending the entire evening freezing, I had no choice but to sleep under the stairs of the building we lived in. Later that night, my father gave my mother permission to let me back in. Years later, I told them about this trauma, and once again, they let me down. They screamed at me called me a "stupid liar" while I bawled my eyes out.
48. My Father And I
My father has extreme PTSD from being in Vietnam, with a history of being hurt physically and mentally, and I’m sure, several undiagnosed health issues on top of a CVS receipt worth of physical issues. He was heavily medicated for all of the above but there was no medication management going on, so he was a mess. In retrospect, I understand and feel terrible that he went through that.
Most of my childhood was hard with him after a certain point. He had been prescribed OxyContin for pain in his knees which he had just broken at work. This might have been the tipping point. He told me, “You’re probably not my son. I didn’t want you, you look nothing like me, and your mother would screw anything on two wheels.”
I wanted to take a paternity test, but he was terribly nasty about the whole thing. My mother explained that he had several serious conditions that were hereditary and that this was his twisted way of finding peace of mind. He didn't want my future to be defined by illness. But guess what? Turns out he is my dad and I have a future of disease to look forward to. But heck, this isn't even the worst of it.
Another time, he had a completely unprovoked meltdown while sitting in his truck with me in our driveway. He said, “I hate my life, I’m going to lock myself in my bedroom, and shoot myself in the head.” I stole his .45 and threw it into a quarry. In response, he said, “I hope someday you have a child that you hate as much as I hate you.” Does his tragic parenting end there? Nope. Not at all.
Upon finding out that he had an extremely rare blood condition, he said “I’m going to die soon, you need to learn to be a man and not deal with it the way you deal with everything else, like a fool.” I didn’t talk to him for years after this. When I was 16, I finally confronted him, and the unexpected happened...You could 100% see in his face that he was almost in disbelief.
He sat there sobbing. Mind you, this is my Vietnam vet dad, he’d fight with another karate dad in front of a crowd for making a snotty comment about me, flip the principal’s desk for suspending me over defending myself from bullies. He’s a scary man. And there he was—sobbing and begging for my forgiveness. After that, he went to a doctor, and they managed his medicine.
He was still a weirdo, but he never said anything harmful to me again.
49. Another Family
So, I'm the eldest. My mom had me when she was only 18, and my dad was 16. He left shortly after, and after that, I ended up with a terrible stepdad for about 10 years. My next stepdad just didn't like me at all. Mom would constantly make fun of me for being fat, even at the times I wasn’t, and often used me as her emotional dumping ground because she has unresolved issues.
She had two other daughters during this time. When my second stepdad came along, they tried to make a better home situation, and I couldn't help but be jealous of how much better my sisters were treated. At lunch one day, my mom broke down crying and made a horrifying confession...She said that she saw my sisters as a second chance for how much she screwed up with me.
At the time, I was happy to hear it because I want my sisters to have a much better life. But I'm still in the same place mentally. She didn't really try to fix anything between us. When I told her about my first stepdad, she said she didn't want to report him because of something to do with her taxes.
50. What’s In A Name?
I was the youngest and only child in my family to attend college. While in college, I was kicked out at the age of 20. My dad got furious over his burned dinner, and then later, instead of knocking on my door to open my window, he barged in and opened it himself. I protested and he overreacted and said, "his house his rules."
I told him that you don't just do stuff like that because I could have been vulnerable or any number of things. It had nothing to do with the rules of the house; it was more about walking in on something awkward. He didn't take it well and kicked me out for talking back. Didn't talk to them for seven years after that. Eventually, though, they came back into my life.
My oldest brother only had girls, and I ended up having three boys. For each one of them, I was asked by both if I'd name one of them after my dad. I would inform them no and they would get increasingly agitated. Eventually, I just decided to be truthful and hit them back with a brutal response: "If you wanted me to name any children after you, you should have actually raised me better."
I haven't talked to them for three months now and it doesn't look like I will be for the foreseeable future after another incident. They used my credit card for $7,000 after kicking me out. I've spent my entire life fending off their manipulative antics. The nail in the coffin? My mother told me she had a life-altering disease that she did not actually have.