We can pick our friends but not our parents unfortunately. That's where the trouble began for the people in this piece. From narcissistic parents and nasty divorces, to yelling matches and thrown dishes, these kids had to make the best of a crumbling situation. Now, they retell the very moment they realized their parents weren't good people and not worthy of their time and respect. Content has been edited for clarity.
I Am My Parents’ Parent
“When my mom got arrested for sleeping with one of my friends. I was 16; the kid was 15. Mom was 35. She worked at my school. It was in all the papers. She was forcibly removed from our home after a 6 month standoff between her and my dad. She howled and clung to my legs the day of removal, as if I could help her.
My dad, who had no participation in our lives before that point, promptly sued for, and was awarded, full custody. And then proceeded to continue to ignore us and drink a large bottle every night, until he realized I never came home and was therefore ‘disrespecting’ him and his authority.
The year and a half between my mom’s arrest and my high school graduation were some dark times. I didn’t have much respect for either parent before then, but their behavior in the aftermath cemented my resentment of them. You can’t respect the adults you are being made to parent.”
Her Parents Were Her Worst Enemy
“I lost respect for both my parents when my friend was killed in a violent car crash two days before we were leaving to go to my sister’s wedding. We were in the car running an errand the day before we were to leave. My dad turned to my mom and said, ‘Your daughter is learning about life,’ like I wasn’t even in the car. When we got down to where my sister lived, I was in no mood to be there. I sucked it up the best I could for my sister, but I was visibly upset I was missing the funeral. My mom berated me for showing any sort of emotion. My sister was the one who ended up consoling me, and was the one who allowed me to cry. The point of no return came when I won the National Choral Award in high school. My dad didn’t go to the ceremony, and when my mom told him I won when we were in the car, he sarcastically said, ‘What kind of special favors did you have to do to get that?’ That was when I snapped and that was it.”
The Boy Who Raised Himself
“My parents were my heroes when I was a kid, they did a lot for me. I realized that and I really wanted to be like them when I was older. There was just one little thing: every evening my mom would act kind of strange, she waggled, talked strangely, looked weird at me, cried a lot … As a little bubble, I didn’t realize what was going on and when I asked my dad, he just told me she was tired. I believed it and thought every mom did that. This changed when my dad started to act the same way. I was still little and I still didn’t knew what was happening every evening. My brother is two years older than me and it bothered him a lot more as well. He got mad at my parents and I was like, calm down, they’re just being tired. But he knew it was different, that’s when he explained me they drank way too much. This surprised me, but I wasn’t really mad as I didn’t knew what drinking could do to you.
Of course, as I was getting older, it started to affect my life more and more. I couldn’t bring over any friends because my parents embarrassed me. Whenever I wanted to talk about something, I had to ask it in the afternoon, because having a normal conversation with your inebriated parents isn’t that easy. Sometimes they forgot to make us dinner (which isn’t that bad anymore as I’m older now); I had to see them fight, cry and yell at each other almost every day and as a 10-year-old, this is all really confusing and upsetting. Imagine carrying your father to his bed because he falls down when he tries to walk. I realized it should have been the other way around.
As a teenager, it became harder. Not only their behaviour made me upset, but I realized what they were doing to their body as well. I’m talking four bottles in three hours (and they can’t handle it that well anymore after all those years). I’m still wondering what they’ll do when they’ll be old and my brother and I won’t be there for them every evening. It already affected their health actually, my mom broke her hip falling over. She fell through the window but luckily she didn’t break anything else. They occasionally burn themselves, cut themselves … This is just all on the outside, imagine what’s going on inside of their body. My dad’s suffering from a depression and I’m not a doctor, but I feel like the drinking isn’t helping that much. He stopped drinking for a week because of his pills, I can say that that week made my year.
I’m 16 now, which seems young to most, but I do realize what’s going on with my parents. I worry about the future everyday and talking to them has never worked. We tried a hundred times, but they never listened. Going to a restaurant is impossible, celebrating Christmas Eve is just one big cry-event and watching them stumble to their bottles every evening is just sad to watch.
I didn’t lose all respect for them, because they’ll always be the parents who raised me. But I want to get out of this house as soon as possible. I’m lucky to have my brother, otherwise I would’ve been gone a long time ago. They aren’t my heroes anymore, I feel like my brother and I are there more for them than they’re for me and that we’re sort of the heroes every evening. I want to be a better parent than my parents have ever been.”
His Dad Just Lost It
“I had this calculator in middle school that I had lent to my dad to use for something. I can’t remember. He had to add lot of numbers. So, he put them in order with a plus sign in between each of them, but accidentally put a the plus sign at the end, throwing an error code. He immediately began yelling about what a piece of garbage it was, how he would have to call customer support and spend HOURS trying to fix the problem, and so on and so forth.
I walked in, fixed it, explained that you can’t end an equation with a plus sign at the end and he snapped back with, ‘That’s how all the other calculators work.’
Another was when I was playing outside in the snow in my church clothes (ok so this wasn’t my brightest idea), so he made sure that I wasn’t going to use the bathroom until I had cleaned up the entire apartment as a punishment. I went and peed right away because 1) I really really had to go and 2) forget him.
He forced me to drink water until I puked in the hallway, then made me clean it up while he went off and watched TV.
Last, my least favorite was when I was being a little chatterbox at the dinner table. He threw his cup of water all over me, spat his food out into my face and started screaming at me about disrespect. Ok, not last. I wasn’t working on my homework so he decided to throw me outside with this table (Wisconsin winter, near zero) and I couldn’t come inside until it was finished. I wore a t-shirt and jeans.”
Don’t Cry Over Spilled Soda
“I was 15 and we went to a dinner with our extended family at a casual Mexican restaurant and it was great. I reached for some chips and ended up spilling my glass of soda. It was nearly empty, so all that ended up on the table was some ice and a small puddle of soda. I scooped the ice back into the glass, mopped the soda up with a napkin, and asked the waitress for a fresh drink when she came back around. No big deal, right? Wrong.
The moment we made it home, my mom spent two hours screaming and crying about how I was the worst daughter in the world for embarrassing her like that. It literally took me 20 minutes to figure out that she was embarrassed because I spilled that drink. She said that I’d done it on purpose and that I was a stupid child who was trying to ruin her life.
It was just one thing after another and I remember standing there going, ‘What. The. Heck.’ I spilled a drink. It didn’t end up on anyone’s lap or food and I don’t think anyone else noticed, but even if they did, so what? Accidents happen and someone spilling a drink doesn’t warrant a temper tantrum, let alone a two hour one.
That was my moment of, ‘Holy cow, this woman is nuts and I need to leave ASAP.'”
My Parents, The Racists
“I grew up with black friends, and my mom was friends with their moms. However, whenever I told a story about a child at school, particularly one behaving badly, she would always ask, ‘Are they white or black?’ If they were black, she would nod and sort of hum knowingly.
She started asking this as early as preschool, which made me uncomfortable even then, because I was already learning from school and TV that everyone was equal. However, I learned to minimize any show of discomfort over her questions because she would tease me about it.
‘I’m just curious!’ she would laugh.
Later, when she began asking my sisters the same questions, she would add, ‘I know she doesn’t like it when I ask this,’ in a sarcastic way.
Still, I had no idea what I was in for when I was 13.
I remember being in the car with my mother, waiting for my father to get off work. She was prying, as usual, into whether there were any boys in school I had a crush on, or even found attractive. Eventually, I admitted there was one boy. I can’t even remember his name. I mostly wanted to say something to get her off my back. Then came the dreaded question:
‘Is he white or black?’
I gave the wrong answer.
‘You know you’re not allowed to date him, right?’
I was completely in shock, and expressed as much. My mother explained, angrily and without shame, that I was absolutely banned from dating a black boy, followed by some hideous stereotypes about abuse and other such things. Part of her justification was that my favorite aunt had also taken issue to her 16-year-old daughter going with a black boy to prom, and that my uncle has even slapped her over it.
I was too upset to not say anything. I argued back. Shouting commenced. My father got in the car, and my mother brought him up to speed. The shouting heightened. My parents rarely agreed on anything at this point, but in their hatred they easily found agreement. My mother ended up calling me, not just a floozy and a hag (which I had already heard before) but also a dirty ‘n-word lover,’ which was a new one for me.
That was the day I lost complete respect for both of them. From then on, I knew I was only saying what I had to in order to survive living with them until I could move out. I think my mother could tell, and it made things worse.”
My Mom Is Incapable Of Love And Empathy
“Last year, around November, I got a call from my mum saying she was going to divorce dad if he didn’t change. I was overjoyed and told her she had my full support. I started telling her about how dad abused me and told her dad is a predator who should never be around kids. She made sympathetic noises and the conversation was great. For the first time, I was able to tell her what he did to me- it was huge! It was the biggest stride I’ve made since therapy.
But then I got a call a week later from the Mothership; apparently everything was fine now between she and dad because he took a bunch of rubbish to the dump and had started building a carport
I decided to tell her the full story about the abuse like how and when it started. It was so hard getting the words out, my voice was little more than a growl. Her face didn’t change, no surprise or anger. She made excuses for him and told me I was ‘taking it too personally.’
Yeah, the abuse/brainwashing that started when I was 2-years-old and continued until I was 15 meant nothing to her. The fact that it had messed me up and destroyed my health were my fault because I took it personally
Whatever hope I had for her as a parent died that day. It showed me where I stood and opened my eyes to the other things she’s said and done over the years; from telling me my cousin had tried to attack me when I was little (a lie she used to stop me seeing him) to all the times she gaslighted me. She is incapable of love and empathy.”
He Lost All Faith In His Mother At 6-Years-Old
“My mom lost custody of me and my siblings because she tried to make a power play and ditch us at my aunt’s house driveway with a note to my dad saying something to the effect of ‘You try doing a better job!’
Shile trying to get us back, she proved to be a lousy enough person (telling my dad that no one would give him custody because he was disabled and making a false report to welfare that we weren’t living with him and that he was illegally receiving benefits), so my dad was awarded custody.
Of course, being a six-year-old, I still wanted to see my mom, but she couldn’t be bothered keeping her scheduled visitations. She went from calling the day of to cancel, to just not showing up at all, without a call. I think it was when she was supposed to pick us up for my half-brother’s birthday party and didn’t show or call is when I realized she was a selfish liar and I couldn’t believe a single word she said. I think this helped me, since I was so young, to see what she really was and be able to handle it better as I got older. I’ve always been the one that’s been the most vocal about my mom’s lousy antics. I credit her for me becoming the cynical smart aleck I am today.”
“I Couldn’t Believe How Someone Could Be So Rude”
“My story starts with my wedding. During the initial days, my husband and in-laws all were so supportive and so nice to me. I thought I was so fortunate to get such a loving family. Everything was so colorful, so merry.
Two years later, at a check-up, I learned that I was one-month pregnant. This news came as a tsunami of happiness for the family. I was very excited, but I was still going to work. A week later, my husband had to travel for work. Since I was carrying and still going to work, I could not accompany him. Everyone decided that my mother-in-law and sister-in-law would be staying with me.
Everything was going smoothly. I was going to work and, as much as my health would support it, I would also do the household chores. But, suddenly something changed: my behavior, my attitude, everything changed. As I was pregnant, I had unnecessary cravings and mood swings, so I used to act weird. I would go to work and come back tired with swollen feet. Since both my mother-in-law and sister-in-law would usually be in bed by the time I got back from work, I would have dinner alone and just go to sleep. I was seven months pregnant by then.
This kept going on. I tried talking to them, but they would behave as if I was a stranger in my own house. I discussed this with my husband over the phone. Obviously, he was not ready to believe what I had to tell him. He blamed me for not being able to build a smooth relationship with his mother and sister. He thought that they were forced to do all the household work while I just came home eating after roaming in the office. I was extremely hurt and did not know what to. So, I cut all ties with them.
At the last stage of my pregnancy, I was all alone in my own house and living with strangers. I couldn’t believe myself how someone could be so rude to someone who was carrying a child. At least my mother-in-law should have understood, being a mother of two.
This was one of several incidents which prevented me from getting close to her. Now, even if wanted to forget things and make our relationship better, I am unable to do so. Everything comes back to me in my memories. We don’t fight, but we don’t talk either. I do not know when everything will be good, but now, we have accepted this and have made it a part of our lives.”
“I Just Don’t Like Being Around My Parents Anymore”
“I’m 16 years old and my parents are hard working people, they buy me the things I need and give me gifts for my birthday/Christmas. I appreciate that they do these things, but I’m starting to dislike them as people and its getting harder and harder to truly respect them.
Ever see those guys who would go insane if they feel ‘disrespected?’ That’s my dad, it doesn’t matter who you are, he’ll just go off on you no matter what. Once, my brother and I were playing Playstation and my dad told me to get off because he wanted to play. So as we left the room, I said to my brother, ‘I thought this was our PS3.’ My dad heard me and came into my room ticked off. He picked me up off the floor and got in my face and started yelling at the top of his lungs, telling me how he pays for everything I have so that makes it his. He threw my Nintendo DS across the room (which my uncle bought for me). Every time I somehow disrespected him, he would make me do push ups continuously. Sometimes if I stopped because I couldn’t do them anymore, he would get his belt and whip my back. I was 9 years old at the time so I didn’t see anything wrong with this, I thought every kid went through this when they ‘disrespected their parents.’ I was always afraid of my dad. He and I have no relationship at all. I realized this was wrong when I spoke to a friend of mine about this. He looked at me with a shocked look on his face when I shared and he said, ‘Dude, that’s not okay.’
Once when my brother and I were younger, we were sitting in the car while my parents were driving, we were just having fun, having a good time laughing. But sometimes my dad would be on the phone and when we laughed with each other, he would turn around grab our legs and squeeze the heck out of them, this resulted with us crying because of it.
At the age of 15, I decided to put all that was in the past behind me and try start talking to my dad more. My dad has this thing with assuming that people have attitudes and it flips him out and he starts to have one. So he tells me to go help my brother with his football equipment and out of nowhere he says, ‘Don’t do it with an attitude either.’ All I responded with was, ‘I don’t have an attitude.’ He somehow thought that I was ‘challenging’ him and when I tried to explain that I wasn’t challenging him at all, he yelled at me to ‘shut up’ and started slamming doors and yelling. He then shouted at the top of his lungs, ‘Don’t ever come to me if you need anything in life, you won’t get nothing!’ He then apologized after my mom talked to him about it, I accepted his apology but that stuck with me for a while and it still does. I just lost all of my respect for him when that happened. He talks to my mom that way as well, and I really don’t like that. I know it’s not my place to be talking about how he treats my mom but I feel like he thinks he’s somehow above her and that he’s in charge. I feel like that I’m in ‘his’ house not my ‘parents’ house.
I finally had the courage to tell my mom how I felt about this. When I was 13, I brought up the time my dad once pulled me out of my bed (I slept on the top bunk) and he really hurt my arm. He did this because of one of our ‘disrespectful’ moments. And when that happened, they told me to not tell anyone why my arm was hurting, they even thought about not taking me to school because of it. This all happened when I was about 10 years old. So when I brought this up, my mom talked to my dad about while I was in another room in bed. I heard him say ‘I’m tired of my kids being so sensitive.’
I’m 16 now and while most of this stuff has stopped (my parents mostly work all day now) it still sticks with me. It bothers me honestly, especially that they see nothing wrong with this. I just don’t like being around my parents anymore. I try to get out of the house whenever I get the chance. There’s even more info as to why I don’t like them in another post made.”