Are These The Worst Parents Ever?

Are These The Worst Parents Ever?

Growing up is awkward, difficult, and sometimes even tragic, but growing up with awful parents makes all this ten times worse. These Redditors know that feeling exactly, considering they had to survive narcissistic mothers and fathers, jaw-dropping failures in responsibility, and other incredible acts of selfishness before coming out the other side.

1. What Is Love?

I was home from college, and while in my parents’ house I walked up the stairs in a way that my father didn’t approve of. So my dad is yelling at me about I-can’t-remember-what, saying I’m too loud, too quiet, too quick, too slow, not using the railing correctly, something. And I ask, very sarcastic: “So every time I walk up the stairs, I need to stop first and think about how you want me to do it?” His reaction astounded me.

He gets this beautiful look on his face, this smile like he’s seen Jesus, and he says: “Finally you are beginning to understand. Yes! Before you do anything, before you walk or talk or even take a breath, you should think about how to do it in a way that I would want you to! And when you have learned to do that, then you will have finally begun to love me.”

He continued: “Then, and only then, can you begin to really love me the way a parent should be loved by their child.” I swear that this is nearly word-for-word what the man said, right to my face. And this is why, after I graduated, I did not move back home. I packed up and moved 1,000 miles away, and I never regretted it for a second.


2. Do What You Want

So I was always told I’m easy going and mature for my age. It drove my now ex-boyfriend crazy that I was never picky about literally anything. During a fight about my non-pickiness, he called my parents narcissists. I didn’t know what it meant, so I looked it up and was like “yeah I can kind of see how he would think that but my parents just raised me to be less of a bother.”

Fast forward to now being newly married. My husband is so loving and amazing to me. He was making breakfast and the following conversation happened. Sam: “How do you like your eggs?” Me: “However you are making them is fine!” Sam: “No, how do you like your eggs?” Me: “I don’t understand.” Sam: “If you were making the eggs, how would you cook them?”

Me: “I’d ask you how you want them then make them that way….” At this point, he comes into the living room and holds my hands Sam: “If you were home alone making eggs for yourself, how would you cook them?” Me: ” Oh, sunny side up. But don’t dirty a pan for me, just make them however you want.” Sam: “This is not ok.” After some soul searching and more research on narcissism, everything makes sense.


3. Right Where You Belong

I just reconnected with my aunt, who was the only family member to call my mom’s mistreatment of me out. My mom cut her off after she got CPS involved when I was only 11 years old, and we haven’t spoken in over 11 years now. My aunt offered to take me in, get me a car, and help me with college so my mom can’t use money to control me.

She even said I could rent out her other house in Austin, my dream city to live in. She invited me for Thanksgiving too. I haven’t felt this much love and care in so long. I’m so shocked, in an amazing way. She kept telling me I was the daughter she never had, and I just feel so good about life right now and having a family finally. No wonder my mom trash talked her my whole life.

I said to her, “in just one phone call with you I have heard more I love yous than I have heard in my entire 22 years of life.”


4. No Tricks, No Treats

So I was maybe 12, and it was around Halloween. We had one Halloween decoration, and it was a life size skeleton hanging in our tree by a noose. A woman came to the door (very nicely, apologetic) and explained that her best friend lived down the street, and that her friend’s daughter had just taken her life by hanging. She said that her friend had to pass out of her house every day and that it was really hard for her to see the decoration. My mother’s response was out of this world.

My mom yelled at her: “It’s just a Halloween decoration, I’m not taking it down, tell her to get over it.” And she slammed the door on her. I was so repulsed, and 20 years later I STILL think about it all the time and think about how awful that poor woman must have felt. If that was me, I would have instantly removed it and sent the grieving mom flowers.

I still to this day watch my Halloween decorations to make sure I’m not depicting something that could be triggering to someone. And this is one of the 3 million reasons I went no contact with her 10 years ago.


5. You Need To Get Your Eyes Checked

My dad is the type of guy who is always right when talking to his children. I can’t say anything against him because it will be his word against mine, and his word will always win. Doesn’t matter the topic or the research. I can find 12 government articles about something and he’ll say I’m stupid for believing in the internet. He’s also the type of guy who, when he ends up being wrong, will never take the blame.

I’m watering the plants when suddenly the hose stopped working? I’m a piece of garbage who broke it on purpose. He tried to fix something with his laptop and ended up breaking it? Oh, it was an accident, the laptop broke itself anyways, my fault for recommending it four years ago. So anyway, one day I went to a new eye doctor with my dad because there was a possible problem with my eyes (false alarm by the way, I’m fine).

Note, the doctor is Chinese and so is my dad. So I started to ask a few questions. My first one was something like this: “Does reading in the dark worsen your eyesight? Because my dad says it does, but from what I found on the internet, he’s wrong.” My dad cuts me off. In the middle of elaborating on my first question, he says in Mandarin (he speaks Mandarin but understands English fully), “Ha ha, teens are a handful. Just tell him he’s wrong so he can stop being bothersome about this.”

The eye doctor wants none of this. He slam dunked on my dad. He says in fluent Mandarin, “Actually, your son is right. While it can strain your eyes, it doesn’t cause nearsightedness. Sometimes your children can be right you know, you need to listen to them.” Then my dad says, “Well, the way he said it was disrespectful towards me, he wasn’t being filial.”

Then the eye doctor STRAIGHT UP SAID TO ME (in fluent English) “You know, I think filial piety is kind of a joke. Anyways, back to your questions…” Shut my dad down, then went back to me. Then as my dad tries to cut him off later to demean me, the eye doctor says, “let me speak please” or “wait until I finish my sentence.”

He then says to me in an annoyed tone, “parents think they know everything.” After we were done, my dad went to apologize for my behavior, to which the eye doctor replies “You know, he wasn’t being disrespectful. That’s the problem with Chinese parents, you need to loosen up and stop trying to control your children’s lives.” My dad had no words after this.

Didn’t even want to talk about it. I kept mentioning the Mandarin-English stuff in this story because here we have someone Chinese-American, who’s older than my dad, basically shutting down his narcissistic values and getting visibly annoyed. I couldn’t believe this happened afterward. Except it did happen. Highlight of my life.


6. Can’t Make Up For This

Ever since I was in middle school (I’m currently 22), my mom has been trying to “fix my acne.” Our bathroom cabinet was full of bottles of Proactive, little tubes of prescription creams, and jars of wipes that promised a noticeable difference in four hours. No matter what, nothing worked, and I was left with nothing but irritated skin and those irritating little dots all over my cheeks.

It would cause arguments. My mom would insist I wasn’t using the products correctly, or I wasn’t using them at all and wasting her money. Then it proceeded to the tried and true argument of “You’re ungrateful and selfish.” One day recently, I was out with my friend helping her get stuff for her wedding. Since we were just going to the craft store and then getting lunch at a buffet, I decided to forgo my usual heavy makeup look.

Luckily, my mom was still sleeping, so I could avoid the whole “Are you REALLY going out like that?” conversation and just hopped in my friend’s car. She turned to say hi, squinted at me, and then said “I didn’t know you had freckles.” This blew my mind for an extremely disturbing reason. See, I didn’t either. I pulled down the mirror on my side of the car and stared at my face.

I didn’t see any freckles, just the ugly acne spots that I usually cover with foundation. We went back and forth for a bit before she, in her usual blunt fashion, pointed to my face in the mirror. “That one big red spot is acne. These little brown dots are freckles.” My mother had actually convinced me that my freckles were acne and none of the products would work on me and had me thinking it was my fault.

It seems stupid, but I started crying. The I-just-had-a-breakthrough kind of cry. I know what I’m talking about in therapy next week.


7. A Close Shave

This happened a few minutes ago and I am beyond angry. I have been sick for days now. I have long curly hair that reaches the end of my back. Because of the fever I’d been having, I hadn’t been able to brush my hair and it was all tangled. So my mom told me yesterday that because I cannot take care of my hair, she’s going to cut it all the way to my shoulders.

I was almost too sick to speak, but I still told her no. Today, I was feeling a little better and got up, took a shower, and combed my hair. While I was doing this, my mother came in behind me and took the comb and started combing my hair gently and very sweetly. Or so I thought. Suddenly, I felt something on my back—it was scissors. I froze.

Still, she said she was just trimming my hair. But when I looked in mirror, she had cut my hair 4-5 inches. That is a lot for curly hair, and it will take YEARS to grow back. But I’m not angry about hair. I am angry about her trespassing on my boundaries, yet again. I hate her so much right now. I don’t even want to look at her face, even though I live with her.


8. Last Wishes

I just got a call that my grandfather passed about an hour ago. I managed to say goodbye to him on Sunday. He was the father of my mother, who I cut contact with eight months ago. He had been sick for some time, so we knew this day was going to come. On Sunday, all his children and grandchildren—including my mom—were there. Someone asked my grandfather, “Is there anything else you want? Anything else we can get you?”

He said “No, having all of you here is all I could wish for.” He paused for a second. Then he continued with the single most heartbreaking sentence I’ve ever heard. He looks at me and says, “Well all of you except for one; I would have wanted to save her from this.” He continued, “All the horrible things you’ve had to go through, I wouldn’t wish that upon anyone.”

He then said, “You’ve had to suffer through so much, and to end up this successful, I’m so proud of you. I always hoped and prayed you’d end up where you are. And look at you. Despite your mother, you got a house, a job, a car, and a loving husband. I’m so proud of you.” He started crying and said, “You are the opposite of your mother.” I’m crying right now.

I’m going to miss him so much. But those words, coming from my mom’s father and knowing he validates my pain, are so wonderful. He’s like the proud dad I haven’t had for years. I feel like those things he said to me will give me the strength to stand my ground against my mom. I’m afraid about the funeral since she might be there, but I promised my grandfather I’d be there so I will…for him.


9. Be All That You Can Be

My adult son had a situation come up at work today. He was driving home and called me because he wanted to vent about it. It was a situation similar to something that came up at his prior job and he swore he’d never put up with that again. And he didn’t. He wanted to talk to me about it, so I listened. Then he said he was pulling up at his house and so he had to go.

He wanted to leave that part of the day behind and not take it inside to his wife and kids. It feels good being a sounding board. It feels good being a safe place to turn to when bad stuff happens. I didn’t have that myself, but I can BE that for him. I am 51 and have gone no contact for over 30 years. Let me tell you something—you never fully get over the stuff truly bad parents do to you.

Sometimes when I see my son and daughter-in-law with their children, how gentle and loving they are and how awesome they are as parents, I pine still for what those kids have. I’m not jealous of my grandkids per se, it’s not that. It’s that you see what you didn’t have, and you never, ever stop wanting it. But there are compensations. There are friends who come along and fill in those gaps.

You find mentors and parent surrogates. And not everyone gets good parents in life, but everyone can BE that to other people. When I was in second grade and getting my school picture taken, the photographer reached in, gently turned my chin, and said to me, “Look this way for me, princess.” Do you know, that was the first time I’d ever been called a pet name?

I never forgot this. His kindness touched me to the core, I’d experienced so little of it. So when you go about your day today, please be kind to other people, especially children. Almost 45 years later, I still remember that man’s kindness and his face.


10. Pride And Progress

My wife is a heck of a strong lady. She doesn’t break down. We were having a date night at our favorite pizza place and we were talking about how things had been going. She’s been making a ton of progress since we got together years ago, and I only said one thing and it put her in tears: “I’m so proud of you.” It wasn’t until later that I thought about it and realized that probably not many people had said that to her before, if any.

She’s doing so well, and I am so very proud of her.


11. Best Parent Award

My daughters are 17 (almost 18) and 18 (almost 19). My oldest just got a job and my youngest, who is a senior, is currently job hunting. We also have two other people in the house currently job hunting. Last night we were talking and my youngest said if everyone found a job, we should move to a bigger place. My oldest agreed. I was shocked and asked them if they want to keep living with me?

They both said yes like it was a no brainer. See, I moved out of my mom’s house the night before my 18th birthday and never looked back. I couldn’t wait to be away from her. I was so touched that they don’t see me the way I saw her. I feel like I accomplished something.


12. I Scream For Ice Cream

As a child I dropped a bowl of ice cream. The bowl shattered and I stained the rug. I started sobbing, because I expected to be yelled at, or even hit, because I’d broken a bowl from a set, and had stained the carpet. Instead, something completely different happened. My step-mom told me to stop crying and said she’d serve me more ice cream. I was confused.

I broke a bowl, that’s a bad thing, why am I still getting my treat? She told me she knew I didn’t mean it, and the bowl was less important than my own safety. That was the first time any woman my father had dated (including my own mother) had ever treated me kindly. It was the first time I realized not all women are like that, and I wasn’t necessarily destined to grow up to be a woman like my mother.


13. Just Deserts

My grandma passed when I was 16. My grandma was a hard-working, no-nonsense kind of lady. She ran her own upholstery business for 50 years and had five kids. My mom was the middle child and her and my grandma always clashed. I honestly think it was just my mom’s sense of entitlement, wanting more than she earned or more than the other kids, and my grandma refused to play along.

With five kids, she ended up with 10 grandkids, and when she was dying she drew up a will. Being a practical lady, she decided to allocate her assets based on what she perceived would benefit each child/grandchild the most. For me, she created an education trust because she knew I wanted to go to college. For my brother, however, she ended up leaving him her delivery van from her business because he was in a band and wanted a touring vehicle. Then she got to my mom, and all hell broke loose.

My mom got some heirloom jewelry, and that was it. Now, my mom was obsessed with jewelry so I think my grandma thought she’d like it. But needless to say, my mom was livid. She flat-out said my trust (around 30k) was worth so much more than a van and jewelry and it simply wasn’t fair for my grandma to leave me so much.

At the time, I said grandma knows college is expensive and it was her choice how she split her assets, not mine. Fast forward to my second semester of freshman year of college, I was 18. I had actually received scholarships that paid for my entire tuition so I expected my trust to last me well through undergrad and on to grad school if I wanted, which I did.

I ask my mom how I obtain access to it now so I can control it myself now that I’m 18. My mother’s answer made my jaw drop to the floor.  This is when my mom told me that the trust was empty. It turns out that my mom had been withdrawing funds the entire time and claimed they were education expenses. The way she did this was…incredible.

She is a college professor, and in high school, I had taken some classes at her school to get a jump on college. My mom actively encouraged it and had me even take classes in the summer. Because I was the child of faculty, my actual out-of-pocket costs were $25 a credit hour. However, my mom obtained the bills for each of the courses before her faculty discount and withdrew funds from my trust for that amount.

Then for the first semester of my freshman year, she obtained the bill before scholarships and used that to finally drain the account completely. I was totally stunned and couldn’t believe she’d just admit to it. I demanded my money back. Her next response was even more blood-curdling. She then tells me she “used it to benefit the whole family.”

Yeah, by buying herself a plot of land right in the nicest part of the city. She explained that now she could use the land as collateral for a construction loan to build her dream house, which apparently somehow benefits me in her mind. As I was 18 and had no money to go after my mom in court, I was left devastated and decided the best I could do is not ever return home from school.

I got a job and an apartment and cut my mom out, except for occasional holidays. Fast forward again to five years later at Christmas. My mom had her “dream house” and this was right at the peak of the housing boom so it was super overvalued She was so proud of herself, bragging about her big financial windfall. I couldn’t have been more upset. But only a few months later, it all comes crashing down.

Turns out, my mom never paid taxes on the money she took from my account or the property taxes for the land and house. The county sent her a letter about the property taxes stating she needed to pay up. She probably got letters before this and ignored it, I don’t know. This was a pretty high tax area and her house had a very high value, so she owed back taxes and penalties over $100k.

She obviously didn’t have that lying around. She hired a lawyer and was trying to work her way out of it, and tried to blame anyone and everyone but herself. My mom complained that it was the bank’s fault because on every mortgage she ever had, they took property tax out with the monthly mortgage payments. However, in this case, my mom didn’t actually have a mortgage…

She was paying off a construction loan and was responsible for her own property taxes. She ended up dragging out this court battle for a bit because she was freaking out about how to pay the bill. She then asked for the house value to be reassessed. During that time, the housing market crashed big time and her once very overvalued $700k house was now worth $220k on the new assessment. But here’s the kicker.

She somehow believed that now her back taxes would be adjusted to this new value. But obviously, they took taxes based on the value of the house at the time and only adjusted any future taxes for the new value. This is when reality finally hit her and she realized she had to sell the dream house to pay off taxes. She ended up getting the $220k for it but she still owed $150k on her construction loan and $100k in taxes.

So she was left with no house and $30k left to pay on a construction loan for a house she no longer owned. She declared bankruptcy and moved into an apartment and spent the next few years paying off her debts—she had credit card debt and other stuff too. She’s now retired with no savings, bored and lonely, still blaming the entire rest of the world for her mistake.

I still refuse to visit her but I will take her calls occasionally. I did go on to finish school, get a good job, and have my own house that I actually pay taxes on. I’m not happy she took my money and I don’t forgive her for that but I was happy to see she paid a huge price for taking from her own child. You know what they say: Karma always gets you in the end.


14. Spring Cleaning

Once upon a time, I didn’t even know what gaslighting was. It was something so ingrained in our family dynamic that I didn’t realize how awful it was. My mom is the worst for it. I never had a name for it, but I just knew there was no point in ever challenging her about anything because her story always changes. Well, this weekend I was the one to gaslight.

I’m ashamed to admit that this is not my first time, but I’m actively working to change. My partner very kindly did lots of housework, as this is a contentious issue for us at times. When I saw he had done so much, I didn’t know if saying thank you and making a big deal would cause tension, so I left it with the aim to say thank you later.

As I was making lunch, he made a lighthearted comment about how I didn’t thank him for doing the housework. Instead of apologizing and saying it in the moment, I replied “I did, don’t you remember?” As soon as the words left my mouth my heart sunk. Yuck, what was I doing? So I quickly caught myself and tried to make amends.

“Oh shoot, I didn’t actually say it, did I? I just thought it. Doesn’t really count when you do that, sorry.” I then proceeded to tell him how thankful I was. I hate that this is an automatic response for me to lie like this, but hopefully, if I keep challenging myself I can eradicate it from my reflexes entirely. Each day is a new day to get better.


15. But What About Me?

A few days ago, it was my little sister’s 15th birthday, and her best friend wrote her a list of “15 Reasons Why You’re An Amazing Friend.” My sister then went to tell our mom. She replied with: “Were any of those 15 things about me? Like how awesome of a mom you have? Or how great your mom cooks?” I was dumbstruck. That has to be the rudest thing to say to your daughter who just turned 15 and is telling you about a birthday present she received from her best friend.

To go and make it about yourself…Just downright appalling.


16. Too Little, Too Late

So years ago, when I was still living with my mom as a teen, a theater production I had wanted to see since I was a child did a one-time event in our city. It was the only time it had ever, and probably will ever be shown there. She promised me months before that that for my birthday she would finally take me to see it. Well, the tickets went up.

I asked if she had bought them yet, and she flipped out because I “kept reminding her.” The result was heartbreaking. Of course, they all sold out (but not so quickly that she couldn’t have got one if she’d tried). All I wanted to do was to go to the theater with her and spend some quality time. We had never even been to a cinema together, so at the time I was perhaps craving that connection more than anything.

Now keep in mind that whenever my parents want to go and see something themselves, they get the tickets for it instantly. It also wouldn’t be the first time she had led me to believe she would do something she had no intention of doing. Anyway, cut to today. My fiancé’s mother messaged me to tell me that she had ordered tickets to see this same play, which is coming to the current city I am in after many years.

It’s not here until the END of the year, and she still thought ahead and got me them. I am just so humbled to have someone like her in my life. My mom gets jealous of her, but she can suck it. She never even tried with me.


17. The Evil Woman Who Raised Me

We were in the car on the freeway with my mother-in-law driving. We had just finished shopping at the mall and were on the way to Costco before heading home. There was a lot of traffic on the freeway and going into Costco, so my husband told his mom, “Let’s just go another time, mom. We can just go get boba before we go home.” I literally looked at him IN SHOCK.

My heart started racing. His mom said, “Ok, hon,” and we went to the boba spot. She said it nonchalantly, not angrily, not begrudgingly. Just an “Ok that’s no problem” tone. It made me reflect on whatever suggestion I would give my mom. Had it been her in that situation instead of my mother-in-law, my mom would have said, “WHAT?! We’re here already! Don’t be stupid!”

Or something of the like. Every suggestion I had ever given to her when I was a child was met with a dramatic response or critique. It didn’t take long for me to never suggest anything. I had to just go with the flow and do whatever she wanted to keep the peace. Screw that noise. I’m still working on expressing what I want to my husband, my family-in-law, and friends without always letting them pick.

And naturally, I’ve adopted her habit of being inflexible about plans. I am also working on that and have been better the more I realize how I react when plans have to change. I’ve been no-contact with her now for almost five months. It’s the longest I’ve ever been no-contact, and oh my goodness my eyes have opened to the evil woman who raised me.


18. Knowledge Is Power

I used to babysit a lot throughout high school and let me tell you, most kids love to talk and they love wild, weird speculation. They’re creative as heck and have strong opinions they’re not afraid to broadcast far and wide. Ask a kid why the sky is blue and they probably won’t be able to give you a scientific breakdown on light refraction, but they can come up with some creative explanation or at least shoot their best guess.

And sure, kids can genuinely say “I don’t know” and mean it. And that’s fine! Frankly, I wish some more adults could own up to gaps in their knowledge without shame. But “I don’t know” was my go-to response to questions when I was young, not because I didn’t have a single idea or opinion or wild guess. It’s because I learned early on that my ideas and opinions and wild guesses would usually be met with unpredictable, extreme, or scary reactions.

Saying “I don’t know” could at least save me some time to figure out what they wanted to hear. Because let’s be honest, what answer to “Why did you play in the mud?” would have been acceptable? “Well you see, I’m five. Still new to this planet. Still categorizing interesting substances and textures and it turns out mud is slippery and fun.”

“I saw a kid make mudpies on TV and one thing led to another…” “My mushy child brain is running in tutorial mode and I’m literally not equipped with the tools for rational decision making.” “A goblin told me to.” Let’s be real. Since my parents were narcissists and everything was about them, what they were really asking me was, “Why did you do something I consider unpleasant to spite me?”

And even as a kid, I could pick up on that. It wasn’t about the action, it was about how they felt about it and what was I going to do to fix that for them. In reality, kids don’t really do things specifically to spite their caregivers. Thinking that is insane. We wouldn’t make it as a species if our offspring openly and intentionally had it out for us. I could honestly answer “I don’t know…” because I never set out to annoy them as an end in itself.

But they were right, it turns out. All those times they’d scream or sigh, “I don’t know isn’t an answer!” with disappointment and frustration, they were right. It’s not an answer. You can’t answer a question that isn’t a genuine inquiry. You can’t respond to an accusation, a judgment, the unchecked rage that disguises itself as a question. Not in a way that’s real anyway.

Even now as an adult I still struggle to answer even the simplest question with ease and honesty. I catch myself telling small lies for no reason, and that’s a darn hard habit to break. The lines connecting my thoughts and feelings to what I’m able to communicate are frayed and damaged. All worth it, I guess, so they wouldn’t have to feel things they didn’t like.

So now, let me pose my own question. Do I miss my parents? Absolutely not. And that’s one of the few things I can answer with honesty.


19. Just Be Who You Are

When I was 18 or 19 and lived at home, my parents were afraid that when I was walking around late at night and locked my door, that I was wearing dresses. For the record, I did wear dresses occasionally, but mostly it was because I was gaming and I didn’t want my parents to come in and scold me for not going to bed. One time, my parents made a huge scene out of it.

It was around 11 pm and I had to assure them that “I am comfortable with my gender and my masculinity.” This is where my dad said that seeing me in a dress “would be his biggest nightmare.” Now, fast forward a year or so. Today, I live on my own and currently have gone no-contact with my parents. I just bought my wig and pads and I have looked at a dress that fits perfectly for my drag, which I’ll probably buy soon.

I now have a full on drag persona, “Bordelmutter,” and she has this medieval look and a thick German accent. I am going to be performing in drag at my university, where we have this theater thing. Basically, I am living my best life and things are actually turning out okay.


20. Line ‘Em Up

Yesterday my therapy session was largely dominated by discussion of the way my mother controls me by using my children. She’s my only babysitter, so I dropped my daughter off so I could go to therapy. Immediately, my mom demanded that I enroll my daughter in a private expensive preschool (“TODAY!”). I just told her to stop being so pushy and left.

Before I got to my appointment, she had texted me “I’m a pushy mom, I care about what’s going on…” I explained this to my therapist and he gave me two responses to use when presented with the bait. “I’m sorry you feel that way” and “What do you want me to do with that?” I was unable to contain my visible excitement. I knew she would hate that. I had already responded “omg” to her text before, but I have those tools in the back of my head for next time.

And he suggested I stop using her for babysitting so she doesn’t have that string to pull. I went home and arranged babysitters and rearranged my schedule so now I don’t have to ask her for babysitting. She can if she wants, but she can’t hold it over my head anymore. Also there’s the gem “I’ll let you know what I decide” as a way of de-escalation if she’s making demands.


21. It’s Always Me, Me, Me

My boyfriend and I have been together for just over 10 years. We went to school together and I love our life together now. He showed me what it meant to be loved unconditionally and that life is not a series of over-the-top dramas piled on top of each other. Coming from a family where every day was dramatic and theatrical, it was a shock.

Growing up, I thought everyone’s life was like mine. When I left home and found out life didn’t need to be that hard, it was a relief. It doesn’t matter what I do, I’m never good enough for my parents. So my boyfriend and I like to live a discreet life. We both work full time, and when we get home we like to spend it together, looking after our pets, watching Netflix, and going to the movies.

We’re not flashy types by any means and have worked hard to create a financially and emotionally stable home. I’m so thankful I found someone when I was still young enough to show me how life could be. If I had been left with my parents any longer I don’t know what would have happened to me. Anyway, we’ve decided to get married.

No engagement and no big wedding plans. We just want to get married. And we’re going to Las Vegas for my 30th birthday in November with our best friends, so we’ve decided to just do it then. $100 wedding chapel, short fun ceremony, and then a nice meal and night out. Sounds perfect. No hassle. The other reason for doing this is my family will cause drama if I have a real wedding.

My divorced parents can’t be in a room together without screaming at each other and I’ve got ridiculous family members on both sides and the whole thing will end in a brawl. They won’t be able to be civil for a day for me. I know this from other recent family events, and after the way I’ve been treated I don’t think they deserve to come to my wedding, and that’s that.

You can’t change my mind. So we’ve booked it all and I decided to tell my parents now because I know it will be more drama if I just do it without warning. Their response has only made me want to cut them off completely. I told my mom and as expected, she was horrified that we would do something “so tacky” and forgo a beautiful traditional wedding.

I explained to her my reasons in the softest way possible and also said that I just can’t justify spending thousands on a wedding that ultimately isn’t for me as it’s just not my style. She told me I was selfish, which I expected, and then started saying she was always planning on giving me loads of money to have my dream wedding but now I’ve “lost the privilege.”

I told her I never expected that kind of money from her and I hope she can now spend it on something for herself instead. She then asked if we could at least have a celebration meal/party when I get home and I obliged as I was likely planning this anyway. This immediately made her happy and she started saying how she won’t get to miss out on HER special day after all. But she didn’t know what was coming.

I told her that there would be ground rules. My boyfriend wouldn’t want the party to be a spectacle or over the top, and I agree. She then started complaining that my boyfriend was a wimp who was too afraid to publicly declare his love for me. I corrected her but she wasn’t listening. I also told her to keep it hush-hush, as we were planning on telling people over the course of the next few weeks.

We didn’t want a big announcement on Facebook or anything like that. She agreed. A few hours pass and I get TWO separate phone calls. Once from my grandad, another from my uncle, both to talk about how I shouldn’t stand for my boyfriend forcing me into a quickie Vegas wedding and he needs to man up and give me the wedding I’d always been dreaming of.

My mom had told them this fake little narrative in her mind that the only reason she wasn’t getting the dream wedding she wanted for me is because my boyfriend wasn’t man enough to give it to me. I corrected them and then called my mom and made it very clear that this is not the case, and reminded her how I explicitly stated she was not to tell anyone.

Especially my grandad, who was next on my list to tell myself. She “apologized” and asked me to give her just one promise. I asked her what it is. I wish I’d never heard her answer. She told me to lose some weight so she can at least proudly show her friends pictures of her beautiful daughter on her wedding day. Wow. I’ll gain weight for my wedding just for that comment.

I called my dad on the phone to tell him. He’s somewhere in Asia chasing women under 21. He was very disinterested, I’m not sure he really even listened. He asked what the overall plan was and I explained we were going to be in Vegas anyway for my 30th. That’s when he stopped me and asked if I was getting married before or after I turned 30.

I said two days before. He said “Good girl. No girl of any value gets married for the first time after 30. This way you can tell people you were 29 when you first got married without lying.” Screw having a party for family and friends when we get back. My family has no right to be at my wedding. I will take every pleasure in getting married in Vegas and have the most fun day doing so.

My parents can just enjoy all the photos I’ll be posting of their “fat 30-year-old daughter” on Facebook. Good riddance.


22. The Shoe’s On The Other Foot

My boyfriend wears hiking boots all day, he just loves them. I just wear cheap sneakers and such. For as long as we have been together, he has been working on getting me to buy hiking boots for myself. His reasons are valid in that they are objectively better than the cheap and unsupportive shoes I always wear, but I could never justify the cost.

I could not spend that amount of money on myself. I could not convince myself I was worth $200 hiking boots. But now, after almost two years, he had finally convinced me to let him buy me the boots as a birthday gift. Another reason that helped wear me down was that I really needed to walk more. For the exercise and so I would leave the house and relax.

Walking was horrible for me. I actually enjoy being outside but walking was so much effort, within minutes my legs, feet, and back would start hurting and I would be tired. This, I thought, was because I’m overweight and out of shape. I really needed to walk more so I could get to a point where I could walk more than a mile without pain. So we went to a specialty store to get boots.

I was a bit embarrassed because I have flat feet. I was always told this was just a cosmetic issue, and my mom used to make fun of me for it. I got fitted for good hiking boots and special insoles for my flat feet. When we got back, my boyfriend and I went on a walk. That’s when it hit me like a ton of bricks. I could walk. I could actually walk without pain, hardly tiring at all.

I noticed that the boots completely changed the way I actually walk. Turns out my flat feet are not just a cosmetic issue. I lack the stability in my feet to walk normally, and I need to compensate for the lack of stability with muscle tension. Now that I had supportive boots that gave my feet the needed stability, I could walk. It wasn’t me being out of shape, and it wasn’t me being overweight.

It was a medical issue. I wasn’t being whiny about walking, I just wasn’t supposed to be in pain. But now I’m even angrier at my parents. My extra mobility was noticed as soon as I was born. My feet have always been obviously flat. My parents know how important good shoes are because they invest in them for themselves. But not for their children.

My mom has high-end hiking boots, she also has flat feet but not to my extent. THEY KNEW HOW MUCH OF AN ISSUE IT CAN BE. But I was told my feet are just ugly, that I need to stop whining and just walk, and that $40 was too much for shoes for me.


23. Flying Solo

My mom changed the locks and kicked me and my baby out at 8 pm five nights ago. Now I’m ruining Christmas for the entire family by not showing up. We are out. I’m free and no-contact for now. Her plan backfired, and now the texting of emotional novels has started. I’m contemplating changing my phone number. I’m holding my baby in a warm apartment, with full bellies and friends, and we have our own room and bathroom.

This is what I’ve been saving for. Wish me luck as I finish my education and move forward with life. I’m working towards my Bachelor of Nursing now, with a goal of finishing with my master’s and being a nurse practitioner. I’m being guilt-tripped, but have to stay strong, for myself and my child. These classes are not easy, but failing would just be what she wants.


24. The Truth Hurts

Long story short: My father sucks and my stepmom wants a divorce. We are all ok with that, he’s not. My sister is already looking for a new home for him. My Sister: “Look, I found an apartment for you.” Dad: “You really want me to go? Do you know what you’re saying?! You are far too young to understand that! You still can’t think for yourself!”

My Sister: “Well, actually I CAN think for myself.” Dad: “Do you really think your mother would be better off without me? Would she really be happier?!” My sister: “Yes.”


25. Just To Be Clear

A few days ago, my mom called me. I currently have very limited contact with her, so this is maybe the sixth time we’ve talked in seven years. She tells me she wants to send money for my son’s birthday…but there was a catch. She will only do it if she can talk to him on the phone. I said a flat-out no with no argument or insults, just no. She started with the phrase that always gets me: “I just don’t understand.”

This would have sent me into a rage spiral about everything that happened, which would have turned into a fight, had she said that a few years ago. But now I have a magic phrase all my own: “I’m sorry you don’t understand, I have to go.” It’s so awesome! It cuts her off and it ends any further argument. I wish I had known that 30 years ago, and just thought I’d share.


26. Milking It For All It’s Worth

In my house, I was always blamed for the smallest things. Whether it was for spilling a little bit of water or leaving my book lying around on a table or even for sleeping in on weekends. I am not saying I was right all the time, all I’m saying is I could’ve been corrected better. Instead of being told why I was wrong or why I should not have done something, I was always yelled at for it.

This simply made me better at hiding my faults, not omitting them altogether. However, today I left a giant jar of almond milk I made as a gift to a friend. I had left it in the fridge and in the morning I heard a loud shatter and I knew it was my almond milk. I walked over and saw my mom, who obviously caused the mess, just standing there. Her first reaction was to yell at me, as per usual.

I told myself there are two ways I can handle this. I could either yell back and create an argument, or I could be calm about it. So, I chose the latter. I picked up a cloth and a broom and insisted that it was an accident, and that we all make mistakes and that accidents are not intentionally done. I also told her that her mistakes didn’t make her a bad person, instead, they were just mistakes.

I also reminded her that the almond milk I made could be made again and that it’s not worth getting upset over because there is really no point crying over spilled (almond) milk. She was definitely taken aback by it and she did not know how to respond. I told her that I would clean up the mess and while doing it I was so proud and had so much hope that maybe this vicious parenting cycle was going to end with me.


27. Just Bring Yourself

My mom always made it clear she had complete disdain for everything about me. I was cold and unemotional (because showing emotions got you mocked in our house), my interests were stupid, and she ragged on my fashion sense so much that her favorite insult was “well, that’s very you.” In response, I became very accomplished at school, seeking any sort of positive feedback from an authority figure.

However, my chosen fields of study were never going to make me any money so they weren’t worth anything to her. According to her, I apparently thought I was “better than everyone else.” As a result, I think I developed a core belief that since I had no intrinsic worth, my only worth was in what I could offer people—knowledge, therapy, favors, food, support.

I’m a chef and I never show up anywhere empty-handed. If I’m invited somewhere or friends agree to come over, chances are I’m bringing something absurdly extravagant with me to “justify” my presence. Having been in therapy for a while now, I’ve realized that I don’t need to pay a “cost of entry” to socialize with people. I’m invited places because people actually enjoy having me there, not because I’m going to bring a 12-layer cake.

It’s so hard to actually believe that, but it’s been eye-opening to realize how my lack of self-worth has shaped my relationships over the years. So, for any fellow unloved kids out there: Just because the people who should have loved you didn’t does not make you unlovable. You are worthy intrinsically, and not because of any utility you offer.


28. That’s Not Funny

I just realized last year just how many of my mother’s “funny childhood stories” about me involve me crying. Like 90% of them. I don’t think she understands just how bad it makes her look, either. For reference, a “funny” story from someone’s childhood doesn’t normally include that person crying from actual pain, serious injury, distress, or betrayal of their trust.

It certainly shouldn’t include you laughing at them while they cry about those things instead of comforting them or getting them help. An actually funny story from my childhood: At around eight or nine, I had somehow come to the conclusion that “gluteus maximus” (a term my gym teacher often used instead of “butts”) was actually “bootius maximus,” and this is where the word “booty” came from.

This made such complete sense to me that it was somehow a major part of my worldview…Until one day in gym when I fell on my butt doing gymnastics. The teacher asked if I was alright. I said the dumbest thing ever. I said, “Yeah, I just fell on my bootius maximus.” She went, “What?” I replied, “My bootius maximus. You know, my butt?

My gym teacher, valiantly choking back laughter, probably to spare my feelings, said, “Um. It’s gluteus maximus. With a G.” I was indignant. “No, it’s not! It’s bootius maximus! As in booty!” “No, I promise you, it’s gluteus.” I felt like nothing in the world made sense anymore. Outraged, I howled, “BUT WHERE DOES THE WORD BOOTY COME FROM THEN?!”

This teacher, who was normally no-nonsense, started laughing uproariously. She had to call over another teacher to cover for her while she left for a few minutes to compose herself. She kept bursting into giggles every time she looked at me for the rest of the period. I think I probably made her semester. But my mother’s idea of a funny story from my childhood was much different.

When I was about 11 or 12, we had two large, wonderful dogs. Both were mutts. The female, about three years old at the time, was beautiful, with thick black fur, incredibly patient, and smart as a whip. She was honestly smarter than most people I’ve known. The male was about a year old, golden-red fur, also beautiful, very protective of me, and dumb as a bag of bricks.

He was a good boy, he just didn’t have a lot going on upstairs. So my mom would sometimes give the dogs ham bones after most of the meat was off it, but they could only have them outside. We lived in a place that gets very hot in the summer, so Female Dog would often try to sneak in with the bones (remember, thick black fur) to chew them in the air conditioning, where all the family was.

We were sitting in the living room watching a movie one day, and my brother let the dogs in. Female Dog settles down by me on the floor and slowly starts chewing the bone she snuck in, hoping no one will notice. It took a couple of minutes, but mom finally noticed. Instead of telling me to make the dog go back outside, my mom said, “Hey, go take that bone out of her mouth and throw it outside.”

Now, I was 11 or 12, and I had never, ever seen this dog be aggressive to people, and I was raised to be unquestioningly obedient and trusting of my mother. So I just said, “Ok!” and stuck my fingers into my dog’s mouth to pry the bone out from between her teeth. Now, I want to reiterate that this was an awesome dog. She was sweet and patient and smart, and willing to put up with a lot of her human’s nonsense.

But every dog has their limit, and this was hers. She didn’t snap or even break the skin much. She got my thumb between the bone and her tooth, and bit down just enough to teach me a lesson and make sure I wouldn’t be doing anything that stupid again, and then released it. The skin was just barely broken. But I, being a kid, still screamed and started crying. My mother’s reaction shocked me.

She immediately started laughing. The male dog shoved his way between the other dog and me, alternating between glaring at her, trying to check me over to see where I was hurt, and looking confused at my mother. All while my mother laughed so hard she nearly peed herself. My dad came in and asked what happened. I told him, still crying, that mom said to take the bone away from Female Dog, and I tried, and she bit my thumb.

He gave my mother a “what the heck?” look, and she immediately said, “It was a joke. I didn’t think you’d actually do it. Why did you do that?! That was incredibly stupid.” She started laughing again. “But you said—” “You should know not to stick your fingers in dogs’ mouths when they have a bone or food!” Completely ignoring the way I would always get yelled at if I didn’t instantly jump to do anything she said, whether it made any sense to me or not.

My dad sighed and asked to see my thumb. It had already stopped the tiny amount of bleeding. He got it cleaned and put a band-aid on it, and told me that I shouldn’t put my fingers in a dog’s mouth to take a bone, no matter who tells me to. For years, my mom loved to tell the story of how I was too dumb to know she was joking when she said to take a bone out of the dog’s mouth, and I got bit as a result, which is still so funny to her.

Shows an incredible lack of empathy. Both for her daughter’s pain, and how her part in it makes her look.


29. State Of Emergency

I had a gallbladder attack and it was very scary. My husband wasn’t sober at the time, so he couldn’t drive me to the ER. He called his mom at 1:30 am. She dropped everything and came to pick me up and take me there. She stayed with me all night and was my advocate. I cried so hard because my own parents wouldn’t do that for me and I’m just so happy to have a wonderful caring mother figure in my life.

Almost 10 years ago, while long-boarding to work, I fell and broke my elbow and ankle. I called my parents to take me to the ER, and they promptly dropped me off. But my dad didn’t even get out of the car because “parking costs too much,” and my mom refused to stay with me because she had to work the next morning. I was 20 and sobbing, begging her to stay with me because I was scared and in pain.

She kept saying no and just left me there, saying to call my dad when I was released and he’d pick me up. She texted me 20 minutes later, angry that I made her look like a bad mother and that all the people in the waiting room were giving her the stink eye cause I was crying so much and “carrying on.” It was that night that made me realize I could never rely on my parents for anything other than some petty insults and guilt.

They now live a province away and my mother-in-law lives 20 minutes away from me. I’m so glad to have married into a caring family that actually has my back when I need it.


30. Cutting To The Quick

When I was 12, my mother and sister cut my hair. I had long, straight blonde hair, which my mother made me wear in a braid every day. I was not allowed to wear it down. One day my sister saw me playing with one of my friends and decided that my hair was “too adult” for me. Their next logical step was to cut it ALL off. They put it in a ponytail and cut above the elastic.

The ends of my hair hit just below my ears, essentially giving me a bowl cut. Since they did it themselves, it was also choppy and completely uneven. I was already a weird child who lacked social skills, but the terrible haircut really hammered it in. I became the weird kid that my entire class tormented for the next year. My sister told me this a few days ago and I didn’t process how strange this was until this morning.

It all hit me like a wave—the absolute insanity of blaming a 12-year-old child for potentially looking too adult and attracting male attention. When my hair grew out, the color deepened and I never got those natural streaks back. In all my childhood photos my hair is either boy-short or tied in a tight French braid. I don’t have proof that I ever had beautiful hair, but I guess I have to take their jealousy for their word.


31. Credit Where It Isn’t Due

I finally got my master’s degree. I sent a text to my mother to spread the news. She congratulated me, but when I came back from work she dropped the hammer on me. She sat me down for a “talk.” The funniest part is that she shut up during the whole conversation and let her idiot boyfriend do all the talking instead. But I knew that every word he said was actually hers.

She often does that when she knows she’s going to look like a jerk, but whatever. He went on to say that now that I graduated, I shouldn’t forget the people who helped me get where I am. I should find a job and support my family financially. I internally screamed. My mother never supported me, she was even jealous I studied more than her.

When I was a kid, she didn’t care if I went to school with clean clothes or with something in my stomach. She didn’t care if I got enough sleep to wake up in the morning for school because she was more busy partying with her friends than letting her daughter sleep. My teachers thought I was an abandoned kid. Nope, I had parents but they didn’t care about raising me.

Yet I succeeded at school. I had good grades despite everything. I understood from a very young age that the only way to get out of this nightmare was through education. And that’s what I’ve done. Middle school, high school. For me, it was like fighting for my life in there. She didn’t support me during my college years, either, for what it’s worth.

At home she mocked me by calling me pretentious for going to college, while outside she bragged to her friends, “look how educated my daughter is, thanks to me she goes to college.” Her assuming she gets any credit here is so laughable. I paid for my studies myself. I worked after school, I worked during the weekends. I fought to get where I am today.

I’m going to fight tomorrow to build the life I always wanted. I don’t owe her a cent for something I fought for since I was a kid. The victory I obtained this week is MINE only. No one should take credit for that.


32. Actions Have Consequences

I’m still in shock to be honest. I went no-contact with mom and my four siblings six months ago. I had been attending counselling to finally deal with my baggage after trying (and failing) to cope alone for 30 years. I finally admitted the mistreatment. The counseling opened my eyes to how awful my family was and the damage it was now doing to my three children.

I feel incredible guilt for allowing my children to be hurt in this way. Anyway. My mom didn’t take too kindly to me stopping her from seeing my children when I went no-contact, since she genuinely thinks the kids are her possessions. She began a smear campaign, contacting ex-partners, friends, clients, etc. She got a solicitor and tried to get visitation rights.

And then she started stalking us. Coming to my house, being at the children’s school several times a week and trying to talk to them, etc. She once tried to take them from school and was stopped by a teacher. She wrote letters to the children and used another child to hand them the letters in school. And finally, she wrote the children weekly letters delivered to my house.

The language in the letters has been likened to grooming techniques by the authorities. So after six months of this, six months of me being unable to collect my children from school because of fear, six months of being essentially a hermit and being unable to answer my phone or open the door, I called the authorities on her and told them everything.

They were amazing. I was expecting the “oh, it’s a family falling out but she’s your mom” comments. But they didn’t. They believed me, they took it very seriously, took statements, and were so supportive. They said it was stalking and that validation was just amazing. So they detained her—something that never happened in her life before. She is not allowed to come near me, my house, or my children’s school.


33. In The Money

A few years ago I was finally able to move out of my parents’ house after getting a big break in a west coast tech job. This cued a series of jealous snubs and behaviors from my parents and sister. My parents have always seemingly been upper-middle class until the financial crisis. That’s when the horrible truth came out. My mom actually had 100k of credit card debt.

She had been lying to my dad about how much the house was paid off. My sister who went to college for teaching racked up $100k of student loan debt plus $30k for a new car, plus thousands more for a “finding herself” tour of Europe. She is able to just barely afford all of the payments by living at home rent-free. This didn’t stop them the entire time from making endless comments about my financial decisions, like buying used cars or avoiding iPads every year.

They constantly belittled me for decisions like that and told close family members I was “poor” all the time, completely ignoring their own financial woes. For the most part, I kept my financial situation under wraps because I didn’t want them constantly asking me for money. However, when I got a huge break with my new job and it was revealed that I was done with my student loans, it was apparent that the whole time I was much better off than them.

When I moved out, this caused a break in the typical family routine. I was no longer there as their punching bag and couldn’t be blamed for everything going wrong in the house. They came undone immediately. It caused my mom to start blaming my dad, my dad to blame my sister, and my sister to just be miserable because she couldn’t blame either parent as she was financially dependent on them.

This was exacerbated by the fact that my sister was struggling to pay off debt and sometimes ignored the payments and my parents had to step in. I am currently low-contact with my family for several other reasons. The only reason I stay in contact is because my grandmother is near the end of her life and I don’t want her to be stressed from an open family feud.

This year, I decided to check in with her, which necessitated a trip to see my parents and sister. By the way, my sister is dating this awesome guy who’s been coming around more often. Cue the lunch alone with my parents before my sister and her boyfriend came in. After 10 months of dating, my parents are already pushing for her to get married to the guy, and they were planning to move in.

I pushed back, asking if it was happening too fast. They went ballistic. They just kept saying “no” with those crazy eyes they always get during arguments. I decided to keep pushing because, well, screw em, and they keep bringing up how they seem so perfect for one another and talking about how amazing they seem. Then I realized something crucial.

All of her student loans and car loans are co-signed by my parents, who can’t help afford them either. They want to be financially rid of her but they can’t kick her out without destroying their credit. They’re literally trying to marry her off to this guy (who has a decent job and a nice credit score but nothing else financially) so he can help shoulder her debt and provide an out to the situation.

This all seems pretty awful, so when he and she came, it became apparent he had NO CLUE about any of this. He made a comment about how he liked how “independent” my sister was. In private, he also made a comment to me about how he liked that she was financially stable while she was away in the bathroom. I just decided to out her then and there.

I told him to pry a bit more and to maybe get credit checks together before moving in. It’s been a few weeks, and I didn’t think anything of it. Maybe he DID know all of this and he was enamored by her. It sucks since he seemed like such a nice guy. Well apparently not, because my mom and sister have been going mad now, texting me about ruining her relationship all weekend.

Apparently, he asked her to do a credit check before renting a condo together, since both their names would be on it and he couldn’t afford rent without her. She refused but he pressed and it caused a fight. He then revealed that I mentioned the credit check and from what I’m hearing, my sister had a meltdown at home over this.

I live in a different part of the country and I’ve just been sipping drinks, enjoying the show, and knowing I saved someone from a financial succubus. I would block their numbers but at this point, I’m just entertained by some of the stuff they’ve come up with texting me.


34. Everything Goes

My parents have been threatening to kick me out since the 7th grade, so that’s not a new thing. But today was the tipping point. My dad asked me about making something for my brother’s boat. His phrasing was more along the lines of curiosity versus actually wanting me to do it. I said it would be possible and thought that was it.

Later tonight, my mom came down to where my brother and I were hanging out and started ripping into me. She was talking about “being disappointed in me” for “never helping.” I, unfortunately, defended myself. From there it, escalated into me being lazy, me being disrespectful, and me never washing dishes. The first kicker is that I do help, but with the dishes, my mom only decides to do them as I’m eating or doing something on my own.

The second kicker is that the whole reason we are fighting is over something that is my brother’s. My dad blew up in my face after I unsuccessfully tried to explain and mend the situation. I was supposed to leave then and there. No car keys, shoes, or wallet. Luckily, I left those things in my room—since I had been planning this for years.

When I got up there, I started shoving everything into suitcases. My desktop came with me too. My dad came up, floored that I was taking everything. “You were only supposed to take stuff for a couple of days and then come back and apologize.” All my mom was worried about was me taking a towel with me. I’m so glad I planned ahead.

All of my documents are safe, bank account secure, no major loans, and a fiancé I can live with. I’m nervous about health insurance, but that is it.


35. A Second Opinion

I have been struggling with my mom ever since I turned around 12. I don’t want to go into detail but she’s been the cause of most of my mental health problems while simultaneously telling me that she has done nothing wrong and that I was the reason she “acted this way.” I’ve always felt crazy and wondered if I was overreacting, but she never let me talk about her to my therapists.

I tried once and she found out somehow and the aftermath hurt me so much that I never tried again. So for years, I was wondering if I really was a terrible child. My thought process was “if I was a better child, then she wouldn’t be this controlling,” etc. And yet at the same time, the few friends who knew of my situation tried to tell me that she was NOT normal.

Well, I went to a new therapist today and very hesitantly told him about my mother. Oh my God. He very gently told me that she was a narcissist, and her behavior was very typical of narcissistic parents. He told me a few symptoms of narcissistic parents and he hit the nail on the head for every single one of them. The relief I felt when I realized that I was NOT insane and NOT a terrible child made me nearly cry from happiness.

I’m not a bad person. I never realized how much stress and self-hatred that belief gave me. I’m not a bad daughter. I was brainwashed.


36. Somewhere Over The Rainbow

I’m getting married next year and I really want to wear a rainbow wedding dress. However, all my google searches for rainbow dresses the last few days have seriously dug up some old trauma I thought I had worked through and I need to talk about. My mom had three babies. My older brother who passed at 32 weeks’ gestation and was born “sleeping”; me, the scapegoat; and my younger brother, the golden child.

For being the scapegoat, I had a weird relationship with my mom. From birth everything was my fault, standards for everything changed on a cruel whim, and I was always in the wrong. But I got the fun added twist of not just being unable to live up to the golden child, but also to a sainted stillborn one. I was constantly reminded as a kid that I was her “rainbow baby.”

This meant: How badly she wanted me to be her rainbow after her storm but also how, and I quote, “she didn’t want a new baby, she wanted the one that was gone,” so I could never live up to or replace her first child. We visited my brother’s grave every week and “talked” with him. Baked him a birthday cake. Bought him Christmas gifts. All normal enough ways to grieve a stillborn.

In no particular order, here’s where it starts to get awful: My great-grandmother gifted me a family heirloom upon my birth as the first baby of the generation. My mother has refused to give it to me, insisting it rightfully belongs to my deceased brother. She has it locked in a trunk with his hospital stuff. She hates my great-grandmother to this day (the woman has been deceased for years now) because she dared to overlook my older brother.

My great-grandmother helped arrange his funeral but apparently, that’s not good enough. My mother dramatically left both my 8th grade and high school graduation ceremonies in tears because “she never got to experience this with my older brother.” Of course, she didn’t do this when the golden child graduated. She also pouted at all my recitals and sporting events for the same reason.

ALL OF THEM. MY ENTIRE LIFE. (But again, just mine). My best friend in high school happened to have the same birthday as my deceased brother. I dared to celebrate her birthday ONCE, which lead to weeks of screaming and cold-shouldering about how I never loved my brother (who was gone before I was born) and how I was an ungrateful, unloving monster.

I could go on, but I think you get the picture. Once, when I was about 13, my mom physically went for me, and while defending myself I broke the necklace that she wore in honor of my brother. She was distraught I broke her necklace. More upset that her stupid dumb necklace was broken than the fact she just beat her living child.

I remember screaming at her. Saying she never loved me. That she wished she could have her perfect angel baby and I could never live up to her imagination. That the reason she loved my younger brother more than me is that he was a better replacement. She didn’t say anything. She just sat there and looked at me. She had her necklace repaired and still wears it.

I still believe all of that. But my mom still loves to call me her rainbow. Loves to go to church and talk about how Jesus gave her a rainbow. And I hate it. I hate when I see people talk about their rainbow babies. Babies are human beings. They will grow up to be independent adults. Babies shouldn’t be born to fill the hole in your life, assuage your sadness, or replace a sibling.

Babies shouldn’t have to bear the expectations and weight of someone who can never make a mistake and never disappoint you. Babies aren’t blank slates, they grow up to be people. You can’t replace people. All I wanted was a rainbow wedding dress and now I think I’m going to have to go back to therapy before I even think about getting married.


37. Pregnant Pause

I’m 23 years old. Keep that in mind. First of all, every time it’s time for my period, my mom asks me if I had it. That’s one thing. I always let it slide I guess because she’s my mom. I’ve been on birth control for almost five years now. It’s very normal for me to have a light to zero period while taking it. I’m not sure what the issue is this time, but I didn’t have my period last month, and of course, my mom asked me about it.

It’s happened a million times before. But for some odd reason, she now thinks I’m pregnant. And she’s really stuck on it. I went to the gynecologist just last week, and they didn’t say anything about me being pregnant. And I’ve told her that a million times. But this morning, it got 10 times worse. I wake up to a phone call from my dad telling me that my mom just texted him saying she thinks I’m pregnant.

He was angry I didn’t tell him that I missed my period. Like….how is that any of his business? He began asking me all of these questions about my menstrual cycle. I don’t think it’s any of his business about what my body is doing. I don’t think it’s either of my parents’ business quite honestly. He told me that I have to take a pregnancy test and send him a photo of the results.

I just feel like regular people do not have to deal with this. I don’t even know what else to say.


38. The Sound Of Silence

This was a really cathartic moment for my brother and I. We were talking on the phone and the conversation turned to our mom. He has only recently realized the damage she’s done to both of us individually and our sibling relationship, while I’ve known for a while now. We were talking about the fact that because of how emotionally messed up our family was, we had no proper role models for how to communicate or be in a healthy, loving relationship.

And he was saying how sometimes that creates tension with his girlfriend because he won’t be able to articulate how he’s feeling and she’ll get frustrated because his lack of communication makes it seem like he doesn’t care. But they talk it out, and he’s trying, which makes him one step ahead of me (relationship-wise) and about a billion steps ahead of our parents.

Anyway, our mom would always hum when she was angry or upset, but never reveal the reason. He said to me, “My girlfriend was just humming the other day and I think I scared her with how upset I got. I couldn’t really explain it at the moment. I was just like, ‘I’m really sorry but you NEED to stop humming.'” I knew exactly what he meant.

For us, the sound of someone humming means “Mom is mad, and I don’t know why, but it’s my fault somehow, and I’m probably going to get in trouble, and no matter what I say or do there’s no way out of this,” He was eventually able to explain this to her, but my God! When he told me that, in a weird way I was so happy.

I think because it validated that I wasn’t just “crazy” for going into a cold sweat and getting palpitations whenever someone hummed around me.


39. Uber Therapist

My Uber driver was an older gentleman and started asking me about Christmas plans. I went into trying to get both my parents’ and in-laws’ visits into two days and it eventually led to me saying that if I didn’t go to my parents’ house, I’d never hear the end of it from my mom. He goes “You know what that is? That’s emotional manipulation and you just have to tell her to stop.”

He said his mom was like that and one day he told her to stop and he wasn’t playing her games. She didn’t talk to him for six months and then got over it. I thanked my Uber therapist and hope to see him again.


40. Drive On By

My worst nightmare just happened. I’ve been no-contact ghosting my father for the past few months as I process repressed memories. I was going for a walk and out of nowhere his car pulled up in front of me, and my heart stopped. But it wasn’t over. As I walked past, he leaned out of the window to hug me, because that’s totally what you do when your daughter has been avoiding you!

He’s always given unwarranted hugs and has trespassed my bodily autonomy frequently in the past. I turned him down because I never want to touch him again. He was so mad. I got a barrage of “wasn’t my fault” lines like “It was only out of fear.” I was like, you know what, nah. So I told him that’s not how I remember things. He came back with “I’m not evil” and “Get over it, if you want to stay in the past, then stay there.”

I’m proud of myself. I simply told him that I don’t want a relationship with him, and that was the end of it. He drove off in typical fashion and furiously spat “stupid witch!” as he sped off. All I could do is walk away smiling and laughing. He’s not my problem or responsibility anymore. I’m never, ever putting up with his gaslighting ever again.


41. It’s Not All In Your Head

I was no-contact with my mother for two and a half years, until I had a medical event. She’s begged to be part of my life and I’m trying to be a bigger person. But when she started barking at me about being disappointing, I harped back that she was 50% of the reason I’m in this place. Because I’m just now coming to terms with the damage she has done to me.

And I told her this: I told her she was neglectful and violent, and when she tried to say otherwise, my dad went to bat for me. My dad is not biological. He is her boyfriend for the last 10+yrs. This might be the first adult, the first parental figure to ever go to bat for me, and it was a magical feeling. To know that not all adults are horrible, and it’s not every man for himself all the time.

There’s no deeper insight here. I stood up for myself and for once in my life I had someone else tell me that I was right. There’s going to be a lot of healing that comes after this.


42. Me? Fail? Never

So my partner was talking to me about that Netflix show Abducted in Plain Sight and I was like “Oh man! I have a funny story, I was almost kidnapped once!” My side of the story differs from my mom’s because she’s a narcissist. She said the guy grabbed me from his car. Anyway, I launch into my story of how when I was about four, my mom brought a dude home and she disappeared into her bedroom, leaving me alone briefly with him in the living room.

Next thing I knew, he had picked me up and put his hand over my mouth and was headed for the door. Instinct took over, and I helpfully removed part of his hand he clearly wanted me to bite. He hollered, dropped me, and my mom came running back. He booked it out of there. My mom would never admit to putting me in danger. She did agree that I removed a chunk of his hand.

I got him right in the web of his thumb and forefinger. I was laughing at this, but my partner had gone very still and looked at me, aghast with horror, until I stopped laughing. “Isn’t it… Funny?” “No, it isn’t.” And then he hugged me tightly. In retrospect, it isn’t funny. Looking at it from the perspective of someone whose family dynamics were a whole lot different, it isn’t funny at all.

My mom always laughed it off, and it’s just one of those moments where I realize she was trying to downplay a critical parental failure moment.


43. Opening Up A Can Of Worms

I recently moved out of my parents’ house, about 600 miles away, for a new job. My mother calls me a couple of nights ago, saying I received mail from my old apartment complex that I lived in during college. I recently changed my address but apparently it hasn’t gone into effect yet. She asked if she could open it, and I said yes since it wouldn’t be anything important. I quickly regretted that decision.

As I hear her rip it open (over the phone) she says, “Oh wait it’s from your psychiatrist.” No idea how you mistake a letter from a doctor for something from an apartment complex. I should’ve stopped her there, but it would’ve made her angry and she would’ve read it anyway. I started seeing my psychiatrist about two years ago when I was officially diagnosed with depression/anxiety.

Whenever my mother was angry and we got into an argument, she’d threaten to call both my psychiatrist and therapist and tell them I’m crazy. Because of this, I called my psychiatrist and asked them to make sure they never shared any of my information with her. Well, they (rightfully so) wrote it on my file when I called, and this letter she opened was from the office with a check for a few dollars as a refund for overpaying a copay, and also a brief snapshot of my contact info and patient profile.

Next thing I know, I get a text from my mother with a picture of the paper, which says in all-caps “Do not release information to [mother’s name] as per patient” in the notes section. Needless to say, she was not happy. She went on about how embarrassing this is for her, especially since she did me a “favor” and called the office a couple of weeks ago to ask what time my recent appointment was (without my permission).

I explained to her I did this because she threatened to make false claims about me to them and say I was a danger to myself. She claimed I was making this up, that I wasn’t “staying on topic,” and just because I say something doesn’t make it true. She said I needed to “own up” to my part, and told me to leave her alone. So I did. A couple of hours later, she starts calling me repeatedly, so I blocked her number.

So then she started repeatedly calling the house phone that I have for emergencies, so I had to unplug it. I haven’t unblocked her or spoken to her in several days, as this entire situation and her behavior just disgust me. She has the nerve to try and blame me for protecting myself and my health information. This has given me a glimpse into what no contact is like, and honestly, it sounds great so far.


44. Squeaky Clean

I’m very busy at the moment. I’m in college and I work a full-time job. During the week, I go to the gym after work so I don’t become obese and develop diabetes and heart issues. My health is important to me. I only recently started caring more about myself and my health. I’ve also started pampering myself. I get my nails done now! I actually get my hair cut more than once every 18 months or so.

I feel like a real person who is worthy of basic human decency. I do, however, still live with my horrible parents. I can’t afford to live on my own. With the money I’m making right now I might be able to rent with a roommate but I literally have no friends or acquaintances. So I live with my parents. It is definitely not ideal and I have an escape plan.

Anyway, so I’m busy. My mom sees that I’m cleaning my room today because I only have time to clean my room on weekends. I’m also doing my laundry and washing my bedsheets. I have almost a week’s worth of classwork to do as well because I was recently sick and fell behind in a class. I really am focusing on school because I want to pass the class that I am falling behind in and I’m teetering on the edge of failing it.

Despite this, she “asks” if I can clean the bathroom. Her words are, “I’m sick so I’m going to have you clean the bathroom today.” I tell her how busy I am and that I’ll get to it when I can. Me saying that to her made her absolutely lose her mind. I was confident but polite. I explained it to her and she knows my situation.

I might not get to it right this moment, but I might be able to do it this evening or tomorrow. This isn’t good enough for her. And I finally got her to admit it. I asked, “Do you want me to drop everything I’m doing right this moment to clean the bathroom?” She said “Well…this is my house and my rules.” I interrupted her here.

“Do you want me to drop what I’m doing right now so I can do what you want me to do?” And this wasn’t a rhetorical question. I genuinely wanted to see what she would say, though I already had an idea. She finally said, “I don’t think it’s too much to ask you to do something when you live in this house!” I said, “I didn’t say it was a big deal, I said I would do it when I have time.”

In the end, she truly did want me to drop everything I’m doing to do some menial task that could be done literally any other day. But she chose today so she could get a rise out of me. I’m glad I stood my ground and didn’t allow myself to get emotional and cry because she isn’t worth my tears anymore.


45. Monster Of The Bride

My mom tried to “unintentionally” screw up my wedding and pouted when it didn’t go her way. First, she showed up in white and when she saw the “Oh NO” look on my face, she said, “Why are you so serious, it’s like I’m getting married too!” My bridesmaids also went completely silent. My dad walks in and he wasn’t really dressed formally, but I didn’t care.

I wanted him to walk me down the aisle. She began to reprimand him for how poorly he dressed so said he shouldn’t do it, still in front of my bridesmaids. She asks me for my phone while I’m getting my hair done and I tell her it’s not on me at the moment. But she needed to call my aunt, so she sends dad to look for auntie. My auntie is in the chapel sitting down with the guests, she doesn’t need to be found.

My dad finally walks me down the aisle. My husband’s parents are in the front, my dad is seated in the front…my mom, meanwhile, is in the back of the chapel. Picture time! She doesn’t want pictures. She takes one with me but leaves soon after. Wasn’t at the reception. We haven’t talked since. It’s weird she fears looking like a “bad mom” but she made herself look like a total jerk, and it’s her own fault.


46. Hanging Over Your Head

When I was growing up, “I need to talk to you” quite literally meant impending doom. It meant that I was going to walk into a room, have a screaming battle for 30 minutes, cry, and want to sleep forever over and over again. I have PTSD from it all. Now my boyfriend’s mom, every other day, comes to us and says “I need to talk to you guys later” and it makes me live in anxiety now.

It’s almost always something trivial that could have been said in passing. God, please just say it in passing. Don’t say that we need to talk later and then have it be something that you could’ve just said right then and there. I really hate going through the whole day in anxiety like that.


47. Food For Thought

I just realised WHY I was so overweight as a kid. The answer absolutely blew my mind. So I’ve been recently spending time with my parents again after a while apart. I’m currently sitting beside my mom, who is sniffling as if she is crying, but it’s all for attention. She asked me if I wanted a cookie. I replied, “No thank you.” She said “just one.” I politely said I was full and couldn’t eat one.

She then put two on my lap. I left them alone. Didn’t move them. That set her off: Why do I always refuse her kindness? Why am I ungrateful? It just clicked that she did this to me all the time as a child. I was so scared of these kinds of reactions that I would eat everything she gave me. My mom made me an overweight child. On purpose.


48. The Mother Of All Bad Mothers

I’m 32 now, and I ran away from my mom when I was 14. I was sick of being manipulated, having no privacy, and just generally thought of as less than a person. I wanted out and I took the first opportunity I could get. I got lucky. To this day I don’t know how, but I met some people on the streets who were trying to escape their parents too and we looked out for each other.

I’m not saying it was easy or even fun, but it was 10 steps up from living in that narcissistic place that my mother called home. My mom couldn’t find me, though I have no doubt she tried for years. I took it to extreme levels to make sure she could never hurt me again. I have never uttered my real name since I left that place. There were only ever two people I told who I really was.

Even then, I never told one of them my name, and the other only found out. By the time I was 15, I was four states away, had a fake name/identity that I was proud of, and a group of people I could trust more than I could my mother. CPS didn’t even find me until I was almost 16, and that was only because I let my guard down due to a pregnancy.

When I was seven months pregnant, two months before my 16th birthday, I ended up in the foster system. I’m not proud of what I did next. But I am glad I did it all the same. I told CPS that my parents had been homeless too, that I had been born on the streets, and that they had now passed. CPS barely even looked into my story, they just stuck me in a foster home.

It turned out to be an okay one. They had a couple of other kids and were in it for the money and didn’t care what we did so long as it didn’t affect them. Still better than living with my mom. My older foster sister was there for my daughter’s birth, too. She had been in a similar situation to me and was kind and supportive during the last months of my pregnancy.

My daughter and I lived in that foster home for another year until that family’s licence got revoked. By that time I was 17, had a job, almost finished high school, and was on track for college. I ended up living in an apartment with my older foster sister for another year with our daughters. I got into college, and got good scholarships due to grades and circumstances.

I could pick any college in the country, but decided to stay in the city I was comfortable with, near my foster sister. Everything was great until I was 21. That’s when it all fell apart. My daughter was five, starting school, my foster sister’s daughter was eight, and my foster sister was 23. I’d known that my foster sister had depression.

She’d been dealt a bad hand in life, much worse than mine, but I never knew how severe it was. One night I came home after collecting the girls from school and found my foster sister, my best friend, had taken her life. It was awful. The only good thing was that eventually I was allowed to keep her daughter. I wanted her, I fought for her, all the while dealing with mourning the only person who ever really knew me.

But I wasn’t going to let that sweet, wonderful little girl be raised in the foster system. My foster sister had obviously been planning what she’d done for a while because she had written out a will. In it, she made a heartbreaking request. She asked me to raise her daughter. Once I graduated college at 24, my daughters and I moved.

I had been offered a job across the country and we decided it was time for a change. We wanted to road-trip it and thought it would be fun. We planned a 10-day trip, with me giving my original home state a WIDE berth. I didn’t want anything to do with it. My daughters were eight and 11, and we chose together where we wanted to stop, what we wanted to see, and what we could miss.

Neither of them thought it was particularly weird that I wanted to avoid a certain state, as they knew I hadn’t had a happy childhood and assumed it was memories from that. They weren’t exactly wrong. But all my precautions didn’t matter. Soon enough, I ran into my worst nightmare. On day seven of the trip, at least 1,000 miles away from my original home state and in a fairly crowded city, I ran into my mom and dad.

I recognized my mom instantly, and I’m fairly sure she did the same to me. I managed to keep a lid on my emotions. I looked past her and pretended I didn’t know her. It was too late. She, however, started chasing me down the street, shouting my real name. I don’t know how I did it, but I barely even flinched. All I wanted was away from the crazy woman and the memories that she was bringing up.

My dad didn’t recognize me at all. I’m fairly sure he thought my mom had finally lost it. By this time, I had grasped my daughters’ hands and was trying to get them out of there as fast as possible. She kept chasing me, screaming my real name, until my oldest daughter got annoyed and turned around to try to shut her up.

If I had realized what she was doing before she did it, I wouldn’t have let her. I knew engaging with my mom was way worse than ignoring her. My daughter made a fatal error. She shouted to her “I don’t know who you think she is but my mom’s name is Kate NOT Elizabeth like you keep shouting. Why can’t you go terrorize someone else.”

I admit, I was angry at my daughter for letting my mom know my new name. It took a lot to calm down after that and have a conversation with her about why you don’t give strangers’ personal information and why engaging with crazy people isn’t a good idea, but I managed it. To this day it is something I am most proud of, that I managed to raise my daughters as real human beings and not things like my mom and dad tried to do for me.

My daughter was sorry, but ultimately it was my fault because I hadn’t taught her that yet. We’d lived in a fairly small community before. Everyone knew everyone and it had never been an issue. Anyway, I should have known that my mom wasn’t going to let this go, but I wasn’t thinking that at the time. I just wanted to get the heck out of dodge, so we did.

My daughters didn’t even put up a fight, which made me feel 10x worse because we had plans in that city, stuff I’d wanted to do for ages and my daughters were looking forward to as well. I drove as far as I could for the next ~10 hours, just to put some distance between me and mom. I didn’t hear from her for about another six months.

My guess is that that is how long it took her track me down with the name she now had for me. In that time I’d got my life together really well. I’d bought and moved into a nice house with my daughters, was dating a nice guy, had a good job and a substantial income. I was happy. Then it all unraveled again, in a horrific way.

One day, she appeared. One morning there was a knock at the door fairly early. My daughters and I were only just getting up. I thought it might be the guy I was dating, as he was always doing things like bringing me coffee early because he knew I didn’t have much time in the morning with two girls and a fairly demanding job. Still, he usually didn’t come that early.

I didn’t think much of it, though, because his job had weird hours. Instead, I opened the door to my mother. I was shocked. “What the heck are you doing here?” I bit out. It was all I could say. It was like 6 am and I had just woken up. She just starts bawling her eyes out, kneeling on the doorstep and praying. “Thank you Lord, for bringing her back to me. Thank you Lord.”

Of course, she didn’t do this quietly, so it brought the attention of not only my daughters but my neighbors too, most of whom I was on fairly good terms with. My youngest daughter stayed out of sight the second she realized who it was at the door. Then she did the most brilliant thing. After a minute of me looking completely repulsed at this scene, she held up my phone and mouthed 9-1-1 at me.

I nodded and she went upstairs to make the call. I was trying to get my mom off the doorstep and off my property, as well as get my oldest to get inside and stay there. Neither were listening. My neighbors were coming over to see what was going on. Two of them told me they had called 9-1-1 and one asked if I needed that before they realized someone else had done it.

I wasn’t keeping quiet about how much I wanted her away from me. When officers showed up, my boyfriend was also with them. He was an officer too, and when he realized that this was happening at my house and that it was my daughter who had made the call, he asked to come along and see if I was okay. When I told the officers I had no idea who this woman was, they carted her off with a citation for trespassing.

My boyfriend stayed with me while I got the girls ready for the day. Eventually I had to go and explain to the neighbors about what was going on. My boyfriend came with me and convinced me and a couple of the other neighbors to install security cameras around their homes. But that wasn’t the end. After about another year, my mother had terrorized me so much I had to get a restraining order.

She had to stay away for me for at least a year, not that that stopped her. She’d somehow managed to buy a house in my neighborhood, so that was her “address.” Throughout all this I never heard from or saw my father. Life was a little better by that stage, though. My boyfriend and I got married, and I had another baby. Another little girl who is adored by all, especially her older sisters. And then came the twist.

My mom found out about this too. She took it to the next level after that. Tried to crash my wedding, tried to come to the hospital for the birth, did everything she could to see the new baby. By this time, my family and I mostly took it for granted that we had a stalker. She was just there and we wanted nothing to do with her.

I once ran into her by accident at the local supermarket. I would have let it go, but she ran up to me and tried to take my four-month-old from my arms. She kept saying how I must need so much help without my Mommy there to help me and the brats that I put up with had to make things worse. I love my daughters, all of them, and I was really angry about that.

Word of advice: Never make someone who just had a baby angry, especially if she is an officer’s wife. Not only did I call the authorities for her violating the restraining order, but I also managed to get her up on charges for trying to take my baby daughter. At this stage, the restraining order became permanent at long last.

Throughout all this, my husband one day came home with the file on the person who was originally “me.” He said it might help me to know who my mom thought I was. The revelations were heartbreaking. My husband said he and his colleagues had looked over “my” file and decided that running away might have been the only reason I was alive.

I’d told my husband long ago who I really was, and he agreed that what I didn’t wasn’t right but it may have been right for me. At that point, my family and I decided we had to move. My husband had a job offer in another town and my oldest daughter was just about to start high school, so if we were going to move it was now or wait until my middle daughter finished high school.

It took four years for my mom to find us again. To this day, I don’t know how she did it. We told very few people where we were going and even fewer our actual new address. This time though, she didn’t knock on the front door, or try to engage me in anyway. What she did was so much more bone-chilling. She tried to burn my house down, with my husband and youngest daughter in it.

I was at work and my two older girls were at school. My husband had the day off and wanted to spend it with our youngest daughter. He was going to pick the older girls up from school and we were going to meet for dinner later that night. My husband and youngest daughter were upstairs when he heard someone come in the front door.

The older girls hadn’t been well in the last couple of weeks, so he thought it was one of them. He was wondering why they hadn’t called for a ride home. He waited a few minutes for them to come upstairs like they normally would, or at least call out because they normally did, but they didn’t. So my husband went to see what was up. What he witnessed haunts him to this day.

My mom was in the living room going through everything, tearing stuff up left and right. She started throwing around family photos, expensive gaming consoles, TVs, and anything she could get her hands on. Once she had thoroughly destroyed the living room and kitchen, she went back out the front door…and came back with a can of gasoline.

By this time, my husband was back upstairs with our daughter and had called 9-1-1. This whole scene was all caught on our home security camera. Once my husband realized what my mother was trying to do, AKA burn down my house, he managed to sneak downstairs and get our daughter out without my mom knowing a thing.

The authorities showed up just before my mom was going to light the match. That’s when they heard her yell to upstairs, not knowing that my husband and daughter weren’t up there anymore. She thought she was speaking to them. Her words still send a shiver down my spine. “This is how God punishes people who keep daughters from their mothers.”

She knew full well that they had been in the house, and that she had blocked the only stairway and thus the only way out of the house. I’d been called at work about it, and my daughters and I raced home to see my mother being taken away. She was brought up on a whole slew of charges, including stalking. They even found plans on her to do away with my husband and two older daughters, whereupon she would keep me and my youngest underneath her house so that we would always be with her.


49. Good Tidings Gone

I moved out of my mother’s house as a child because I was taken away by CPS too many times. I have been with my amazing boyfriend for over a year and we are expecting a baby. I have been no contact with my mom for several years, but she found out we were expecting through my sister. She called me from a blocked number yesterday. The conversation made my blood boil.

She demanded I backpay her a “living fee” from the age of 0-11. Her reasoning is that “If you can afford to have a kid, you can afford to pay me back for all those years I took care of you when I didn’t want to.” I immediately hung up. She did try calling back, but I am not longer picking up “Blocked Caller ID” calls. This just goes to show that these people never really change, and can never be happy for you.


50. Big Day, Big Problems

The only daughter of a narcissistic mother and a depressed, absent (emotionally) father, I devoted myself to school and an after-school job at age 15. I had four brothers, one of whom I loved dearly, another brother who was emotionally awful (breaking heads off my dolls, hanging them from the staircase, calling me very misogynistic names), and two younger ones.

I lived a lonely childhood finding comfort in my dolls, school, and my dog. My parents were very involved in their church community and social events. I always felt they had children to fill some societal expectations. Clearly, my mother did not enjoy being a mother. She would gloat and take credit for any of my perceived successes (school, mainly), quite publicly when possible. But she did much worse.

She would also hurt me when she felt like it—things like refusing to drive me to a musical audition in NYC—and mock my “talents,” or humiliate me verbally in front of others. My music teacher had trained me for months for the audition and I stopped going to lessons out of sheer embarrassment after missing the audition. My mother’s favorite saying was that she “rued the day I was born.”

Then I moved away for college. Everything changed in an instant. I survived and thrived. I went to medical school in my late 20s and met a fellow medical student. When I told my parents we were getting married, they wanted a church wedding and to invite their many friends. I never enjoyed being the center of attention, was ambivalent about religion, and the idea of this type of wedding terrified me.

I was passive and caved to everything they wanted. Two-thirds of the guests were their friends. The other third was my in-laws. I have a very small circle of close friends and most were in graduate programs or abroad during my wedding. About five of my friends were present. I lived several hours from my parents at the time and the wedding was being held where I lived. But that was only the start of the horror show.

Most of the arrangements were handled by my mother by phone, as she was paying for it. I picked out my own dress, picked the band, and met with the wedding planner at the event location. My only requests were good food for guests who traveled for the wedding, an open bar, and a relaxed wedding. My mother came to town a few days prior and insisted she stay with me and my fiancé, in my home.

This was part of her control. Being in your small home, hearing everything, controlling everything. Once, she stayed in my college apartment that I shared with another woman, sleeping on our couch, without ever asking permission. When I arrived home from a date, she called me awful names. I never had the fortitude to stand up to her.

There was also the financial control, as she paid for my undergraduate education and made it clear that it could be taken away from me at any time. But I had no idea what was coming.  Two days prior to the wedding, my mother met with the wedding planner with me. Everything was in place. My mother was unusually quiet for her.

I was so happy that she was not interfering, meddling, controlling, as had been my lifelong experience with her. I felt overjoyed that my mother seemed to respect me and was not being her typical drama queen self. I thought that she was finally treating me with respect and maybe even a little love. I still was looking for her approval as a 30-year-old woman.

Later that day, she returned for a one-on-one meeting with the wedding planner, without my knowledge. The night before our wedding, there were a few details to work out. Guest gifts had arrived unwrapped, and flowers needed to be picked up from hothouses as they were to be taken to nursing homes after the wedding. That’s when I noticed something was wrong.

My parents disappeared to go out and socialize with another family. My mother expected to be catered to and waited on, and did not pitch in to help with anything. I was up until the early hours with my sister-in-law, the night before my wedding, wrapping guest gifts and coordinating final details. My father then told me “We are only paying for the first wedding” just as he was about to walk me down the aisle.

I was stunned and tried to function normally. The wedding itself was a blur. Our friend drove us to the reception in his classic car. My father-in-law and his family moved the flowers from the church to the reception. When we arrived at the reception, my father came over to me to tell me that some of our wedding gifts had been taken from the gift table outside the reception hall and they were unable to stop them.

Ok, bummer. But why tell me now? Why could this not wait until tomorrow? The train wreck kept on coming. My now-husband came over from his family to advise me that my mother had canceled the open bar but his family would pay for it. I was trying to wrap my brain around my mother canceling the open bar without talking to me.

I then realized nothing had changed. My mother was continuing to manipulate me cruelly. If she had told me in advance, it would have been different. I could have made different choices or paid for it myself. My parents have no religious objection to drinking, they are well off, and they never opposed to an open bar in advance.

She just decided to exert her control, 24 hours before my wedding, and to let me learn about it at my reception. I ugly cried at my own wedding. I could not stop the flow of my anguished tears. Friends rushed over, trying to understand my grief. My grief was not over mixed drinks. It was an overwhelming understanding that my mother would never respect or value me, even on the day of my wedding. And here was the most crushing part.

It was that I now understood how publicly my mother would humiliate me if given the opportunity. After 30 minutes of trying to pull myself together, I returned to my wedding. I smiled, I greeted guests, I danced with people. I never had a chance to eat anything. My in-laws had the wedding planner open the bar. I behaved like a happy bride, as was expected of me.

Kindly, someone in my wedding party made a plate of food for me to enjoy with my husband in our room, after the wedding. The next morning, my husband and I held a brunch for our out-of-town guests and family. We paid for it and delayed our honeymoon by a day so we could visit with family we rarely see. We showed up on time.

Once inside, I realized my parents and all my brothers and their wives were already seated, and very early. Then my mother outdid herself with just one sentence. My mother stood up and announced in front of all our guests—my in-laws had just arrived too—that I had ruined the wedding for her and so they were not going to stay for brunch.

Every member of my immediate family then walked out and left. My in-laws and other guests were speechless. Apparently, my mother was so angry that my husband and in-laws stood up to her at the wedding and reopened the bar, she organized this family walkout. For what it’s worth, my mother helps my all of my brothers financially.

Money has been her primary control over the years. They are all frightened to stand against her. We enjoyed our brunch as best we could, avoiding the gazes of onlookers to the drama. Fast forward 25 years. I am still married to the same man. We have six lovely children and a successful medical practice. I cannot bring myself to look at my wedding pictures.

Writing this brought tears. I try not to poison my own daughters regarding a wedding, but I do tell them eloping would have been a happy way to start my married life. I have no contact with any of my family anymore. The wedding was not the end of contact, but the first of many traumas brought on by my mother. My marriage would not have survived my mother.

My mother would always call me a “doormat.” She was correct. I never stood up for myself. I had to remove her and family members who were willing to gang up on me. Life is good these days.


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