It’s not easy being a parent, and no matter how hard they may try, moms, dads, and other authority figures tend to mess us up in one way or another. That said, some parents do a whole lot worse of a job than others—as these Redditors raised by narcissists know all too well. From horrific family “vacations” to chilling reactions to the smallest things, here are some of the worst parents we know, and stories about surviving them.
I grew up in a household with a narcissistic dad and a borderline personality mom who often left us for long periods of time to do God knows what. When I was 12, I learned that I had a half-sister who was 17 and living in another town a few hours away. She had problems in her house too, although mainly economic problems, not actual neglect caused by ill will. We wrote letters to each other, and in one letter I shared with her my fear of the long summer holiday.
Being stuck in the house without even school to escape to was awful. She made a promise to come and save me if it got too bad. "Just let me know and I'll find a way to help," she wrote. A few days after, I posted a letter where I told her about how my mother had stopped providing meals, and my dad was emotionally mistreating me. That’s where I got the surprise of my life.
She showed up on our doorstep. She told my dad that I was going to spend the summer holiday with her family and since my dad hated kids, myself included, he happily agreed, no questions asked. We took the night train north, I was so excited. She didn't take me home with her—she took me camping. We spent the entire summer hiking amazingly beautiful trails, usually tenting but sometimes renting a small cabin for the night.
It was the happiest summer of my life. I suddenly had a sister who cared and enjoyed spending time with me. She could fish and trap birds, and cook, and she showed me how to read maps and the names of the constellations in the night sky. When the summer ended I was transformed. I wasn’t shy or confidence deprived anymore. I was a strong and resilient kid with an entirely new outlook on things. And I knew what I had to do.
I reported my parents for lacking parenting skills and I was placed with a foster family. Neither of them made a fuss to keep me, so it was easily done. I often think about that summer, the one that changed my life so profoundly. I don’t know if it was that I gained a sister, or that she showed me that I can survive—and thrive—even on the roughest, unmarked trails. It wasn’t until years later that I learned the real story behind that summer.
At the time when she made me that promise, my sister lived with her family in a tiny apartment, with no place for yet another person or another mouth to feed. In fact, she had been told to get out herself as soon as possible to make room for her siblings, and she was now awaiting the day when she could move into her student apartment.
I was amazed to hear that our wonderful summer was an emergency solution, her way to keep her promise and also give me an unforgettable summer. Yet she did it so well that I never once realized that we were there because we had nowhere else to go. Today I turn 30. My sister is still my best friend and this summer we plan to hit the trails again.
I’m sick, and have a “wish” from the Make a Wish Foundation. My mom was going on a rant and calling me selfish because I won’t use my wish on something that will “benefit the whole family.” Namely, I want to visit Japan, but since my parents don’t have a passport and are constantly working, I decided to go with my aunt and older sibling because they’re the only adult supervision that my parents would approve of.
I’m the one who underwent rounds of chemo and multiple medicines to stay alive, and the wish is supposed to be something the person really wants. I don’t want to spend it on something small like a laptop because I can buy that with my own money. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance, so I want to go all out but my parents are holding me back. Even my doctor told me not to pick something cliché like Disney World because it would be a waste.
My parents weren’t even at my side during my treatments. My sibling was the one who took me every single week for nearly three years.
This is kind of a pat on the back, and kind of just a vent to acknowledge one of the many ways my mom screwed me up. When I was around 10, my mom and I were stuck waiting at a train crossing in her car. I caught a glimpse of myself in the rear-view mirror, and for whatever reason thought "Hey...I'm kind of pretty!" I feel shame even typing that sentence out today, thanks to my mom.
I had recently seen something on TV about celebrity lips and I was thinking about whether or not I had pretty lips. I then decided that my lips were kind of pretty. Again, shame. That’s when I made a huge mistake. I asked my mother if she thought my lips were pretty. She Hit. The. Roof. Stuck in that vehicle with her and with no escape, she scolded me and shamed me until I felt like a tiny ugly piece of garbage.
Something to the effect of "Were you just staring at yourself in the mirror!? Do you know what that is called? Vanity! Vain people stare at themself in the mirror. Vain people think that they are pretty. People who think they are pretty on the outside are UGLY and hideous on the inside. People who are pretty on the surface are ugly deep down, and if you're ugly on the inside you might as well be ugly on the outside, too.”
This was the first time I remember her saying something like that to me, but nowhere near the lat. It really stuck with me. To this day I can’t compliment myself in any way without feeling ashamed, like I'm a bad person for even thinking something positive about myself. Not my looks, my artwork, not anything. I also do not accept compliments well. I deny and downplay. I'm trying to work on that because it really pushes away my husband.
Fast forward 25 years. I'm sitting in my car in a drive-thru with my eight-year-old daughter. She's looking at herself in the mirror. She turns to me and asks, "Mom, do you think my eyes are pretty? I think my eyes are pretty!" Her eyes are gorgeous! She has beautiful hazel eyes. But my reaction hit like a ton of bricks. The memories of my mom lecturing me came flooding back and I instantly teared up.
I asked my daughter to turn and look at me so I could see her eyes. I looked at her for a good little while and I replied to her, "Your eyes are beautiful! You are beautiful on the outside and you are absolutely gorgeous on the inside, too. I love you, beautiful girl!" I assume my daughter will probably never think of that moment again, maybe it didn't make much of an impression on her. But that moment with her really hit me and affected my heart and soul.
I felt like I was given a re-do of an awful moment in my life with my mom, and I chose to fix that moment for my daughter. I want her to know that she's beautiful and to never feel ashamed to believe it or to hear it. I want her to smile and say "thank you" when someone pays her a compliment. I want to be able to do that, too.
When I was three years old, I was in the washroom and decided to try on my mom's necklace. In all fairness, it was a beautiful thing that she had worn to her wedding. But I dropped it in the toilet. Then, three-year-old, impulsive, later to be diagnosed ADHD me…flushed it. And obviously, it flushed, never to be seen again. I have always felt terrible about this. I have apologized for many, many years.
Age six, age nine, age 13—I'm sorry mom for flushing your necklace down the toilet. She would only give me petty, insulted responses back. So recently, at a dinner party with all of her neighborhood friends, my Mom decides to pipe up and tell the story of how awful little me destroyed her property. One-upping everyone's light-hearted tales, of course. Mom starts the story: "When she was three—" And then the most beautiful moment happened.
Here she gets cut off by Tom, a teacher and great guy: "She was three? Shouldn't she have been supervised!?" Mom didn't even get to tell her story! The entire party agreed with Tom instantly, "No way it's the three-year-old's fault!" My mother was stunned and didn't say anything as the conversation moved on. I have never felt that amazed, and god, so relieved and validated about the whole thing.
I attend college in Arizona, while my horrible mother and enabling stepdad live in Maine. I’ve gone very low contact with them over the three years I’ve been in school. In the summers, I’ve managed to get a job or internship to keep me out here. Four months ago, my mom sent me an email telling me I was coming to Thanksgiving. She wanted the family together and had a photographer coming to take photos.
This was so we could fake being a happy family for a few hours. I told her I would not be coming because of my job on campus. Her response was deranged. She then called the school, who told her that a) I’m over 18 and therefore they can’t tell her anything, and b) when she threatened to pull me out, the awesome lady at the register told her, “Good luck, he’s on a full scholarship and pays for everything himself.”
When she realized she couldn’t lie to the school she had my stepdad call me to beg me to come. This guy stood by since I was 12 and watched my mom degrade me and lie about me, and did nothing. Screw him. I ignore his calls. She then called my biological dad, who laughed at her and hung up. We have our issues but he’s genuinely a good guy who has dealt with mental health issues his entire life.
So thanksgiving, I woke up (school was closed that day so I didn’t actually have to work), went to the gym, and enjoyed a leisurely breakfast at my favorite cafe. I came home and was getting ready to throw laundry in the washer and make myself chicken and noodles in my crockpot. Then disaster struck. Campus officers pretty much busted down my entire door. So yeah, guess what happened?
My mother called them up and claimed I had told my sister (who I don’t even talk to because she is easily swayed by my mom) that I was going to attack the school. Yeah, so that meant a trip to the campus authorities, them searching my room and car and finding nothing, my RA and two floormates defending me, and finally me showing them emails of my mom threatening me that I’d be sorry for not coming to thanksgiving.
After that, they apologized. I was allowed to go back to my dorm, and the RA and I managed to put the door back on. Oh, but there was a cherry on top. Soon after, my grandma called to inform me my mother had been detained because she had filed a false report. It almost made that horrible experience worth it, just for her to get a little piece of what she deserved. I hope more karma is coming for her.
Last fall, my 18-month-old little girl fell and fractured her skull. I took her to the emergency room for a spongy spot on her head where she hit it, and ended up staying at the hospital with her literally all day while she got scans and tests. It was not how I had planned or wanted to spend my Saturday, and I found myself saying out loud to her, "I sure hope you are grateful to me for spending all day in this hospital with you. You owe me big!"
I mainly said it jokingly, but I stopped in horror after I said it. I realized I sounded exactly like my mom, who all of my life lorded her care of my multiple medical conditions over my head, as if she was somehow entitled to compensation or a pat on the back or a trophy for providing the minimum requirements for a child with extra medical needs.
I was ashamed. Even though my daughter was a baby, even though she didn't understand what I had said, I backtracked immediately. I said out loud to her, "No!! I am happy to be here with you in the hospital. I am HAPPY to give you whatever you need and make sure you are healthy and safe. I love being your mom, and you don't owe me anything for doing my job."
It felt good to know I am permanently breaking that cycle, and that the emotional blackmail and guilt trip buck stops with me. I want to do better for my own daughter.
My mom dropped by this morning. She’s always been horrible to me, but today she got more than she bargained for. My nine-year-old daughter told me out loud that she loved me, and though I encourage it, saying so is a no-no when my mom is around. To her, it must imply my daughter loves me MORE than her, and if my daughter doesn’t follow it up with a quick “I love you too, Grandharpy,” there’s heck to pay.
Well, today my daughter didn’t follow it up. So my mom takes matters into her own hands and goes into this monologue about how “I love you the most! And I am going to die some day! And when I’m gone, I’m going to follow you wherever you go with my arms around you the whole time!” After a pause, my daughter, totally blankly, replied, “You’re creepy.” That kid rocks my world!
Ever since I was young, I've fantasized about a house that none of the awful people in my family had the address to. Nothing fancy, but every door would be firmly on its hinge. I imagined myself safe there, with no eggshells to avoid and no egos to coddle. Well, I turn 33 today, and I just signed the lease on a house no one knows how to find but me.
My best friend and I are celebrating by having cake and ice cream on my sky blue dinner plates. Someday when it's safe again, I'm going to have a dinner party with my chosen family. And if someone accidentally breaks one, I'll sweep it up like it never happened and make sure no one is hurt—because they are still just plates. Everyone will feel safe in my house.
When I was around six, I started developing eczema, or atopic dermatitis, rashes around my hands and arms. Progressively, they've gotten worse, and now at 21 the rashes cover over 60% of my body, are constantly bleeding, and react painfully to movement or even water from showering. That's where I'm at right now. I have a computer to type this on, but I'm in bed typing this with my thumbs on my phone.
It's even on my palms and the tips of my fingers now. Growing up, I would ask my parents to take me to a doctor about it. Their reply to me was chilling. They were both full-time workers with successful careers and plenty of income, but they even rejected an allergy screening while they bought a third car (a convertible) between themselves, citing how expensive it would be to test me.
When I finally worked enough to get my own healthcare and took my screening…it was $20. By that point, however, I was already distancing myself from them. I knew something was wrong with me, but they told me for years and years that I was being overdramatic, that these symptoms were in my head. When I was 19, still in college, they excommunicated me for questioning my gender identity and made me homeless.
I'm now 21 and still haven't spoken with them since. Thankfully, I've been transitioning on my own with great success and have a place to stay, so no worries there. But recently I got the shock of my life. Two days ago, I responded to an ad for medical volunteers for atopic dermatitis research, and met with the doctors. As it turns out, they're researching an injection and a pill-based medication that would merely be a competitor to medication that has been successful and FDA-approved for years.
For years, there has been an answer to my sleepless nights and bloodied sheets. My inability to run or swim or exercise. My waking up to flaky, itchy skin all over my legs. At the worst, I would maybe have watery eyes, but I would have had clear skin as early as middle school. The doctors criticized the weak medications my parents allowed me to take instead, and cited their severe side effects and long-term issues.
They were disgusted at my parents’ neglect. It was the validation I've needed for 15 years. I've been approved to begin participating as a volunteer for their medication, and am being paid and covered for all related treatments. I've lost my job months ago due to my condition worsening beyond being capable of...pretty much any job, so having essentially free healthcare is exhilarating.
If I'd never distanced myself from my family, I'd probably never have had this medication. Huge mental issues are high in my level of severity, or so the nurses told me, and I believe it.
I've been no-contact with my dad since I was kidnapped by him after the divorce. I don't want to talk about him really but he is evil. Real evil that wears human skin, and truly believes he's a god. So my paternal grandma calls me the other day and tells me she's been robbed. I was worried for her, but she talked over me. "I'm fine, and I need to tell you why I called. You said that anyone that had contact with your father was going to be out of your life.”
I paused, and waited, my heart in my throat. She continued, “One of the things they took was his social security information I still had. I had to call him. I told him that I wouldn't tell him a thing about you and told him that he just needed to know that his social security info was taken.” I didn't really say anything because I really didn't know how to respond. "I wanted you to know I talked to him because you don't want to be involved with people that are involved with him."
Guys. My grandma's house was broken into and she went out of her way to make sure we were square. I would have never known, but my grandma values her honesty with me and her relationship with me above anything else. My grandma loves me, believes me, and cast her own son out of her life because of the disgusting things he did to me. There are good people in the world.
I constantly hear judgment from my colleagues about adult children who don't visit their parents. I've bitten my tongue so far, but recently I had to step in when a colleague actually confronted a resident's adult child about it. We have a resident who has five kids, two of whom have never visited. The other three have only visited once each, and then just to deal with some documents and manage family affairs.
They were all strictly business while they were there. Recently, one of her children made an appointment to visit in order to drop off some photos she had asked her for, and when she arrived she decided to ask us to deliver the photos rather than visit face to face. My colleague decided to guilt-trip her about her poor lonely mother who has been looking forward to the visit all week. I had to intervene and apologize to the poor woman.
I told my colleague that if all five of someone's kids are apprehensive about seeing them, it says more about them than it does about their kids. I got a warning, but I think it was worth it. Later, the woman emailed to complain about my colleague and thank me for stepping in, so I received an apology and my colleague has been warned not to make judgmental comments in front of residents or family.
I was in the other room and my child came to me and said, "Momma, I am so sorry but I broke your mug." I asked her if she got hurt? No. Was there a mess to clean up? Yes, she had cleaned her drink up and the pieces were on the kitchen counter. She had ABSOLUTELY NO FEAR of telling me she broke one of my favorite things. And, the world didn't crumble around her in my rage.
The mug is fixable/replaceable. Her STILL knowing that I am a safe place and value her feelings over objects is not. Thankfully that is still intact. I just want there to be some hope for all of us that we can break the cycle.
When I was a kid, my mom was a pretty awful parent to me and my siblings. Resentful, a bit of a tormentor, never hugged any of us, and mainly told us how we ruined her life. You get the picture. I moved out at 17 to keep my sanity. I’m 28 now and never had much of a relationship with her after moving out, as she never once admitted that she had done some really messed up things to us.
My sister is married and has two kids, my brother is divorced with three kids. I got a call that nearly ruined my life. It was the hospital, and they said that my mom managed to drink her liver out of order and needed a transplant. All of us siblings were found to be a match. My sister and brother, once they realized that cutting out a part of your liver isn’t risk-free, backed out. But that wasn’t the end.
I was told that I have something called situs inversus, meaning my organs are abnormally placed, and that it would make the risk of surgery even higher for me. 4% risk of fatality within two weeks of surgery, and a higher risk of other awful things happening. And of course, a 100% guarantee that my mother will drink that liver away anyway, too. What happened afterward chilled me to the bone.
At that point, EVERYONE—the doctor, my mom, my siblings, everyone—is telling me I should do it. Why? Because I don’t have kids, so who cares if the risk is high. My family never valued my lifestyle, as I decided not to do their life script. I bought a cabin in the wilderness in the north and work from home, so I rarely have to leave my lovely little hideaway.
I make enough money to live the life I always dreamed of, but apparently, that doesn’t count since I don’t want kids. And my mom, who never cared if I lived or not, suddenly thinks she deserves my liver because she gave birth to me. Screw them all. The doctor said to me “Well, it is an increased risk, but your mother needs a new liver and at least you don’t risk leaving children behind.” I was so stunned.
I can’t believe I even tried, that I agreed to be tested as a donor, as if she would have magically changed and I would want to risk my health for her. I’m leaving the city tonight, taking the night train north, and will hopefully be back in my cozy home tomorrow. When the doctor calls to hear my decision, I might not even pick up.
About a week ago, my six-year-old daughter had a very loose tooth. A "hanging by a thread," 90° angle, so loose it hurts, loose tooth. I was afraid she was going to swallow it while eating. I should mention that, through a series of happy accidents (and dental work!), we have yet to have to actually pull a tooth out of her head. The first couple came out at daycare, the next few during some dental work, and the last one popped out while she was eating a gummy sucker.
She started complaining that it hurt. I explained that it hurt because it was so loose and needed to come out. She started crying. I wasn't sure what to do. I knew it needed to come out, but I didn't want to pull it if she wasn't ready. I didn't want to scare or traumatize her. But it seemed silly. I mean, it's just a little baby tooth. I know that she's barely going to feel it, but she doesn't know that, and she's terrified.
I thought back to when I had loose teeth as a kid. I have made it my general parenting rule to do the opposite of whatever my parents did. So I reached back into my cloudy childhood memories. I generally don't feel that my childhood memories are reliable. I've blocked a lot out, I've changed details, and hearing my parents’ versions of events repeatedly had made me question things.
I couldn't remember details, but I do remember being restrained and held down. I remember the floss being tied around my tooth, and then it being pulled out. I don't remember pain, but I do remember being terrified and confused. Suddenly, I had my answer. I picked my baby girl up and calmly re-explained that it was hurting because it was so loose and needed to come out.
She started crying harder. I held her while she calmed down, and then we talked. I promised her that I would not pull it until she was ready. I told her we could eat some crunchy/chewy food to see if it comes out. She said it hurt too much to bite with it. I told her that the only other option was to pull it out, and her eyes filled with tears. I again promised her that I would not pull it until she was ready.
She agreed, we pinky promised, and she ran off to play. She came back to me half a dozen times over the next few hours, asking for reassurance that I would not pull it until she was ready. I reiterated my promise, and assured her that this was up to her. After all, it's her body, not mine. Four hours or so after the initial tears, my daughter reappeared in front of me.
She looked scared, but determined, and was clutching her favorite stuffed unicorn tightly. All she said was "I'm ready,” and opened her mouth. I took her tooth between my fingers and plucked it right out of her mouth. Her free hand shot to her mouth, and, with a quick little gasp, she exclaimed, "I did it!" I matched her excitement and told her how awesome she did.
We rinsed her mouth out and put her tooth away for the tooth fairy. I thought that was the end of it. Much to my surprise, it was not the end of it. My sweet, amazing girl spent the next four full days telling anyone, and everyone, how brave she was and how proud she was of herself. I cried the first time that she said it. At her age, I was being taught that saying, or even feeling, anything good about myself was "bragging.”
I was taught that saying things like "I'm proud of myself" made me a stuck-up brat, and that nobody would like me. Even when my parents were "proud of me" (which was just the wording they used to brag to other people, never said to me directly), it was only for "accomplishments." Things that could be measured. High grades (though that was expected regardless), sports wins, music awards, and the like.
It was never instilled in me, and frankly never occurred to me, to be proud of myself for what I AM, instead of for what I DO. And yet here is my six-year-old daughter, not only knowing intrinsically that she has worth, but harnessing that sense of self-worth to do hard things. And above all that, being comfortable enough in her own skin, and confident enough to vocalize that she's proud of herself, and why. I know it seems like such a little thing, especially to those who didn't grow up like me.
But to me, it was such a huge moment, for my girl and for myself. I so often feel like I'm just plodding along in parenting, trying to do my best, but only have a reverse blueprint to go off of. And that's hard. It's hard to know what's definitely wrong in parenting, but not know exactly what's right either. But this small anecdote made me feel like we're doing something right.
I know we won't be perfect parents, no one can be. But this feels like such a huge step in the right direction. And, thanks to what I learned from my little girl, I can say that I'm proud of myself, too. I'm breaking the cycle, I'm brave and strong, and I'm proud of myself. For what I've done, AND for who I am.
I just earned my master's degree with a 4.0 GPA. My family doesn't even know. Instead, my coworkers celebrated with me, and it meant the world to me. I haven't reached out to my mom about it because I know I will be disappointed in her lackluster reaction—not that I deserve a huge deal to be made or anything, but come on, she's my mother.
I'm just really happy I was recognized and celebrated by my amazing colleagues today. It felt incredible. I cried. It really meant SO much to me to know they cared so much about my achievement. As it turns out, these folks are more like my family than my real family is.
My therapist just asked me what my earliest memory of my mom is, so I started telling her about my 5th birthday party. My mom—who was single, 24, and with a three-year-old son also—was throwing me a party for my birthday. It was going to be at my house with all my friends from kindergarten and my family. I was very excited and had been looking forward to it for a good long while. And then my mother ruined everything.
About two hours before the party started, my mom took me to my room and told me that if I couldn’t clean my room up in time for the party, she was going to cancel it. It was dirty, messy, and disorganized, like me. Of course, as a five-year-old, I couldn’t clean what she had allowed to become a disaster area, especially with no support from my parent who had never shown me how to clean up after myself (because she also never cleans up after herself).
I was heartbroken about my party being canceled because even from the start I knew I couldn’t clean it in time. I don’t know why, but it took my therapist saying the words out loud to me: your mother would not have been able to cancel the party in two hours, especially over a room that she could have closed the door on. The truth was much darker.
She probably never even sent the invitations, made any plans, buy any supplies, etc. Instead, she allowed her five-year-old daughter to think that she didn’t deserve a party because she was dirty, messy, and disorganized. And unfortunately for me, I really believed her. What kind of person does that to their child? A narcissist. I hate that she disgusts me over and over again, but I still have to fight wanting her approval.
My dad wanted me to be a construction worker, and after high school that is what I did. I hated it and got myself fired after six months. He was severely angry with me and said I was good for nothing and going nowhere. I took a job cutting meat for $12 an hour and saved over $10,000 in one year and went to university. He accused me of thinking I was better than him—he barely passed high school and has no post-secondary education.
He then refused to give me a single penny to help. He makes over $100,000 a year and had no debt and no mortgage. I paid for my first three years of school in cash, working 20 hours a week while in school collecting my pharmacy prerequisites, and I worked two full-time jobs each summer to save up enough to pay tuition in cash. At one point I was $2,000 in debt, working 30 hours a week, taking an extremely heavy course load, suffering from IBS and complications from that—and still received no help from my father. But he wasn’t even done yet.
He actively tried to sabotage me by providing me with no space to study at home. I would be studying for finals and he would ask me to rewire the basement for him and then go completely ballistic on me when I would say I don’t have time but I'll gladly help after finals. After my mother divorced him and moved out in September 2017, it all got so much worse. I was getting my last three prerequisite classes to apply to pharmacy school at the time.
He would torment me every day, sabotage me, watch me struggle to afford to feed myself and pay for gas to get to school and offer no help, etc. I am 23 and I have grown a lot of grey hair in the last three years from stress. One night while I was playing X-box after writing a midterm, he comes down and starts screaming in my face and going completely ballistic again for no reason. He would not stop threatening me and screaming in my face.
I threatened to call the authorities on him and he started freaking out even more. I knew what I had to do. I drove away in the night and stayed at my maternal grandparents’ house overnight. I skipped school the next day and waited for him to go to work, came home with my grandpa’s SUV, and loaded all of my belongings up and moved out.
He has tried to contact me dozens of times now by sending random pictures of things, random messages like "what's up" but never any apologies or admittance of wrong-doing. I have not replied to any messages, not even once. My last memory of him is backing out of my driveway and disappearing into the night. I finished my last prerequisite in April and applied to pharmacy school, and this week I found out I was accepted.
I have done this almost entirely on my own with absolutely zero support. My dad just refused and my mom just isn’t capable since she doesn’t make a lot of money. I am the first person in my family to ever go to university. This is the proudest I have ever been of myself.
When I was young I had a regular babysitter who lived next door. My parents relied on her, treated her well, and in turn, she was an excellent caretaker to my sibling and me. Almost like a much older sibling. Eventually, we grew and she went on to make her own life, but every now and again she was mentioned in family conversations. Now, my dad was horrible and my mom enabled him, and I was treated as the scapegoat.
I’m now in my 30s, have a school-aged child, recently married, and love having a functional and loving family of my own. Five or six years ago, my babysitter and I reconnected on social media after years of not knowing where she was or what she was doing with her life. And so it goes, casually following each other’s lives. Just recently she moved back to our community and works at a store where my husband and I frequently shop.
Just last night, my husband told me that he recently met my old babysitter at the store. She explained she recognized him from my posts and went on to say how happy she was for us and how well we all seem to be doing. She then said to him kindly, “You know she had a pretty rough childhood.” When he told me that, I started sobbing.
Somehow, 30-some years later knowing that someone noticed and my past can’t be disputed is so, so validating. After all these years she still cares enough to remember. I’m weeping just writing this.
So, growing up I was basically like Harry Potter. My parents and sister would constantly make fun of me for being a nerd and interested in computers, etc. Additionally, my parents have always been socially and financially illiterate and unable to move up at work because of how (willingly) uneducated they were. They would always complain about things happening at work, like perceived slights, but they would never confront people directly and just took it out on me at home instead.
They didn't know how to converse or deal with things. On top of this, they would refuse to bring me to doctor’s appointments because they didn't want to take off work or pay the copays, and I would constantly be sick or have medical issues without any proper attention being given. As such, school was difficult and embarrassing. This was all done while they would buy new cars and go into debt trying to keep up with the neighbors.
I do remember one day when my dad was complaining about how "he'll never be rich," once again complaining about his financial woes even though he didn't want to work harder or get an education. He said to me, Well, unless you make it big, then I will." I wasn't going to let that fly, and I got him good. I said, "Well, if you're not paying for my clothes or helping with college then you're not getting anything."
They both made a big deal out of it and my mom started yelling at me, but I just let them let it out and held my ground. I ended up getting a big break in a tech job a few years after college. I didn't tell my parents about my finances but they were able to figure it out as I paid off $50,000 of loans in a year that my grandma co-signed for, so they were able to see it being wiped from her credit reports when they had to take over her finances because she developed dementia.
Fast forward to Christmas. I am only in touch with them to ensure they don’t mess around with my grandma at this point. Every year I just give them a simple $20 gift and I get the same and it's as pleasant as that situation can be. I don't change my gift amounts for them, of course, but I notice when my mom and dad have finished their gifts, my mom looks like she's about to pout all day.
It's the same look when my dad tries to tell her she can't buy a new car every year or something. I don't think much of it but when I visited my grandma at the nursing home she asked me if they "liked the house." I thought she was going crazy but then she said something about how they were watching YouTube videos of kids who made it big gifting their parents mortgage money and the parents crying. That’s when it dawned on me.
They thought I was going to gift them with a house. Not only do they have these delusions, but they also probably don't even remember the promise I made when I was a teenager to my dad. Or maybe they just didn't think I would have the balls to deny gifting them any cash. I have never been so happy.
I'm an adult. For as long as I can remember, I've hardly ever cut my nails. If I cut my nails then I do it in the bath or shower. My husband has thought this is weird and asked me about it. I've always told him that if I don't do it in the shower then it makes my nails bleed and get sore. This is just something I remember as a child. But I've also seen my husband cut his basically whenever with no consequence.
So I came to the conclusion that I was different. Except when I was pregnant, I got so big I couldn't reach my toes. So my husband helped out. He didn't cut them in the shower, just outside in the air. They weren't sore and they didn't bleed. So I thought that was strange. It bothered me on and off, and I would think about it. So I ended up googling “how to cut your nails.”
Then it brought back memories of my mom pinning me down on the bed, actually sitting on me, while I screamed that it was hurting. So I've discovered that nails bleed and feel sore if you cut the skin when you cut them. Or if you cut them too short. I'm not different, it’s just my mom used to try to cut them as short as possible, which made them sore.
This in turn made child-me decide that having my nails cut hurt, which made me fight it, which made mom mad. This led to skin being caught because I wouldn't hold still and she just did it anyway. The theory around water came from getting a hold of clippers once in the bath and doing them myself. I just assumed this was the trick and then somewhere down the line forgot all this stuff.
My mom said, "Why are you hiding that book?" I told her it was something personal. She immediately pounced on me, attempting to snatch the book from me. I drew back, and she kept reaching for the book. My mom grabbed the book from me and ripped it. Then I calmly walked out of my room—I knew something she didn’t know yet. My mom soon realized she had ripped my math book, the book she was planning to make me spend the entire day working on.
My brother and I are minding our business, sitting in his room and watching Into the Spiderverse when my mom opens the door, stands in the doorway, and starts demanding my brother does a favor for her. The thing about my mom is that she is constantly forcing whoever she can find to handle her business for her. Because we're the only people she has left at this point, that "honor" goes to us.
She wanted my brother to go pick up her pills (she's a bit of an addict) from her friend, who lives nearly an hour away, and my mom and decides she's not even going to go with him. He told her he wasn't going because that's her friend, her pills, and a two-hour drive for pills she doesn't even actually need (hence why he'd have to drive all the way out there and not to a pharmacy). This makes her even more insufferable than normal.
She tries to guilt-trip him into going by himself. Mom: "What if I drove and got into an accident, you would feel guilty!" Brother: "You can't drive without violating your court terms And what if I get into an accident?" Mom: "Well I'm not feeling well, why can't you be a good kid and do a favor for your mother?" Brother: [see above reasons] Mom: “You can't force people to go places when they don't want to!”
Brother, without missing a beat: “Oh, you mean like you're trying to force me right now?” I laughed. Before I can even turn my head to look at her properly, she's gone. It was a seriously satisfying moment.
My daughter is almost four, and I was making something for her for school (a bag) and I said something along the lines of, “Oh no, I think I screwed up. The bag doesn’t look as nice as I wanted” to my husband. My daughter was there too. She looked at me and looked at the bag and said, “It’s okay to screw up sometimes, mom. The bag doesn’t have to be perfect, it looks very good.”
I was so stunned. I was the golden child and perfection was expected of me all the time. I would have been certainly punished for messing up. I thanked her but I cried in my bath afterward. I know she is just saying something I told her in the past, but gosh I feel my kid is healing me sometimes.
Everything they taught me how to do in life was wrong. I've slowly realized this over the course of the past year being away from them and having no contact with them. The dishes were one of the main things they used to manipulate me. Screaming at me if I hadn't done them, standing over my shoulder when I would do them, yelling that I did everything wrong, making me completely clean every dish until it was spotless before putting it into the dishwasher, shaming me for being "lazy" when really I was terrified to do dishes because it always ended this way.
Today I was washing a pan with my hands, because that's what I grew up doing, and my fiancé looked at me and asked what I was doing. I told him, “washing the pan.” He asked why I was washing it with my hands. When I said, "Why would I not?" His face fell. He was like, "They told you to wash dishes with your hands didn't they?" Turns out, you're not supposed to use your bare hands to scrape food off of dishes.
You're supposed to use a sponge or something. And you don't have to clean them until they're spotless before they go in the washer either. That's what the washer is for. Every day I realize there's always something else to unlearn because they set me up for failure.
My dad will never let anyone use his car. He'll go to the grave that way. His excuse is "You're not on the insurance." No problem, he owns it, it's his decision. Yesterday, he had to take his car for repairs and was left without a car. They shuttled him home, but he wanted to go to Wal-Mart. He comes and asks me if I could take him. I was very busy working from home, and said no, he'd have to wait.
He then asked to just "Borrow my car" and proceeded to grab my keys before I even answered. I said no, and he got enraged. I told him he's not allowed to drive my car because he isn't on the insurance, and he flipped out. Started saying he just needed to grab a couple of things and would be right back. I said no again and told him to hang my keys up.
Then he said, "I'm taking it anyway." So, I told him I was dialing the sheriff to report my vehicle, and I swear his head was about to fly right off his neck. He put my keys back and waited for three hours for his car to be finished and they shuttled him back to his car. Then he didn't even go to Wal-Mart after all. My grin has still made my ears sore.
After telling my parents a few weeks ago that I'm moving in with my best friend, my parents were completely against it. Well of course they would be, they're the reason I'm moving out. While I am going to have to pay rent paycheck-to-paycheck, I'll do what it takes to get away from here. I even graduated college one year early to move out earlier. Plus, I've paid off all my student loans and have no outstanding debt.
I finally am free to work on myself, and stop letting their trauma and manipulation determine what's best for me. Only, they threw one final wrench into it. My dad called me yesterday, saying how he's so glad I'm not moving out because "It was a bonehead idea. I'd ruin my life if I did." Funny, because I never said I'm not moving out. He's still confident I need them in my life and am staying.
I didn't say a word while he was speaking, and just let him keep going with his manipulation. "Plus, me and your mother are putting our foot down. You're not allowed to move out now." Excuse me? I'm 1000% positive I don't need your permission. I'm 21, can sign a lease on my own, and wasn't ASKING to move out. I was TELLING. It's not your decision, it's mine.
I was on the phone with my brother a few weeks ago. He talked about his new job and I talked about school. Usually, phone calls between my siblings and I end with a "Well, gotta go. Talk to you later" and that's it. Growing up we didn't get told “I love you” at all from our parents, and never got shown any physical affection. It was just normal for us to reflect that in the relationship with each other because we didn't know anything else.
So we get to the end of our phone call and I go for the classic "talk to you later." His answer almost made me burst into tears. He responds "Ok, I love you." It caught me so off guard that I had trouble even processing those words before he hung up. "L-love... you too..." These last few weeks I've tried my hardest to end all of the phone calls I have with him and my sisters with "I love you."
It’s such a small thing, but I can always hear the smiles on their faces in their response.
When I was 18, my parents were afraid that when I locked the door at night, I was walking around in dresses (I’m a boy). I did have a skirt hidden from them, but I was just locking the door for privacy and being able to play Overwatch. I have been no-contact for two years and I haven’t had the courage to attend the Pride Parade because my mom tried to stalk me for the first year of it.
I was afraid that she was going to go look for me at the parade. Well, today I had the courage to go in with full Morticia Addams goth style make-up, dress, and high heels together with my blue hair and jewelry. Just full drag. I got so many compliments on my dress and make-up and people were so nice.
My brother works professionally as a family counselor. I have been no contact with my family for 15 years. I left when my mom hit me, I called the authorities, and my brother and father told me I did the wrong thing. I sometimes wonder how my family is, so I googled my brother and found his LinkedIn which had a link to his YouTube. It has videos ranging from topics like golden child, relationship red flags, daddy issues, etc. He’s such a hypocrite.
I tried watching one video but couldn’t finish it when he started calling our father a “good example.” Spoiler: He is not. Like, how delusional are you? I’m so glad I’m no contact. I just feel sorry for any misleading information he imparts to his patients. Let this be a warning that not all counselors and therapists are good people. You might have to see a few before you find one that is right for you.
The whole reason I was a huge tomboy who was allergic to all things girly was because of my mother. My mom forced gender expectations on me, and because I had a bunch of brothers I immediately thought that I just didn't want to be a girl if being a girl was less fun than my brothers got to have. They got game systems as presents the same year I got a fake vacuum and baby doll. It was no wonder I didn’t want to be a girl.
My mom pushed me more and more into being a girl. The harder she pushed the more I wanted to be a tomboy. She doesn't like the fact that now I wear dresses and makeup because she feels like I should have done those things when we could have had mother-daughter moments. But I would have done that stuff had she just allowed me to be myself.
I remember, once, she told me that I was finally getting a corgi puppy. You see, I had been wanting a Corgi for years and I had collected Corgi books, Corgi stuffed animals, all kinds of Corgi things, so it was obvious I wanted one like most girls want a pony. So we get in the car and I'm so excited. We get to a large building and we go inside…and my mom reveals actually it's a glamour shoot.
She knew I wouldn't have agreed to go with her if she told me the truth. They put me in a tube top and a pound of makeup and took all of these really adult pictures of me (I was 14) and of course, I was mad and I hated it. To make matters worse, she brought other family members there for “moral support” which I just found embarrassing.
That same month, we got a new dog, but it was what my little brother had been asking for, a Boston Terrier. You know. To rub it in I guess, she gets my brother a dog. She seriously doesn't understand why I am still mad about it. Please let your kids be themselves. I always liked pink. I just lied about it because I also wanted to play Pokémon, which was "for boys." Everything fun was for boys!!!
I've always maintained I had a very quiet childhood. I wasn't allowed to be noisy. I'd get screamed at for trying to talk to my mom, for playing, or even walking too loudly. I was taught to be little more than a house plant. Yesterday, my mom called. I'm very low contact and only talk to her once or twice a month now. I live almost 1,000 miles away. While on the call, my kids were playing in the background.
Laughing, playing with some toys. They're three and four. My mom says to me, "I don't know how you can stand it. Them making all that noise. I don't know how you can stay calm." She then started to get angry over the phone, because according to her, they were being too noisy for her to hear me. I wasn't even in the room with them anymore and they were literally just giggling. That's it.
This, to me, confirms many of my childhood experiences. It wasn't me being a bad kid. It wasn't me screaming and being obnoxious. It really is like how I remember. Excitedly giggling at something and being told off for it. Being shunned for trying to tell my mom about my day. I still struggle with making noises. I clench my jaw and have an anxiety attack trying to do the dishes.
My mom physically hurt my dad once because he was doing dishes too loudly for her liking. It's never been about me. It's always been about her. It's not something wrong with me.
Ever since I was small, my parents made it very clear that they wanted me to be a boy and they never hid the fact. They never physically or verbally hurt me but they never showed me any love either. They would feed me but I don't remember anyone ever asking me if I liked it. They would give me medicines when I was sick but I don't remember them asking me if something hurt or if I was okay.
Anything I asked for, the answer was a no. The consequences were devastating. At some point, I stopped asking for anything. I realized very young that expectations and wants only led to disappointment and hurt, so I stopped wanting anything. No one cared about what I was feeling. I stopped feeling anything. Other adults didn't like when I said "I don't care" about anything. They got worried when I never cried even if I was hurt.
This made my parents upset. So, I used to ask myself "What would people do?" and do that. My parents kicked me out when I was 18. I didn't feel anything. I wasn't angry. I wasn't sad. I didn't care. I thought what would people do? They would go to college or work. So I applied for a scholarship and went to work. I made a few friends. I laughed when I was supposed to even though I didn't find it funny.
I smiled even though I never felt happy. I acted like I was upset or angry sometimes even though I never felt any of it. I always avoided people touching me because I didn't know how to respond. I never asked for anything and I cloaked it as independence. I never dated anyone and I cloaked that as asexuality. I did everything possible to make sure people thought I was a person, but I never felt like one.
I felt like an alien or robot who was pretending to be one. I was living alone. All the pretending usually made me exhausted by the time I got to the apartment. That was my safe space. When I was 21, one of my friends got kicked out of the dorms. He asked me if he could sleep on my couch until the end of the month so he could save up some money. I never learnt how to say no. Even though I knew having someone in the house was a bad idea, I didn't know how to say no.
And people helped their friends. So, I said yes. He was watching something on the TV and the mom in the show was hugging her son. He said how he wished he could have a hug from his mom. I was doing dishes and nonchalantly mentioned that I have never been hugged before. I never would have said that but it slipped out. I didn't even realize I said it out loud. The next moment made me fundamentally different.
He wasn't angry. He asked me if I wanted one now. I didn't reply. I don't want anything. He asked me if he could please hug me. People let their friends do what they ask for when they say please. I didn't know if I wanted a hug. But I didn't know how to say no. So, I said yes. He hugged me. I will never forget that feeling. It was warm. It was comforting. I didn't remember ever being hugged.
I didn't remember the last time I was touched so gently. I just stood there like a statue and he kept holding me. After a few minutes, I remembered that people hug back. So, I hugged him back. It felt nice. People don't hug for that long. So I let go. Then he let go. That night was the first time I remember crying. I didn't know why I was crying but I just remember that I couldn't stop. After that, I wanted to be hugged again.
I could never bring myself to ask him. I didn't know how to. Month-end came. He was going to leave the next morning. That night I knocked on his door because I wanted to be hugged one more time. He opened the door and asked if everything was okay. I wanted to ask for a hug before he left. But my throat closed up and I couldn't get the words out. He asked me if everything was okay and if I wanted a hug.
Again, my throat closed up and I could not get myself to say yes even though I desperately wanted to. He hugged me anyways. I apologized for being needy and I promised I won't be selfish from tomorrow. He just hugged me tighter. He didn't let go even after I let go. I wanted to tell him not to go. I wanted to tell him to stay. Because the friendship I had for three weeks with him was one of the most real relationships I ever had and I didn't want to lose it.
For the first time, I felt like a person, not just someone pretending to be one. But I couldn't bring myself to be selfish again. So I woke up early the next day and made some breakfast for us and waited to send him off. He came out and asked me if it was okay for him to stay another couple of months as he didn't save up enough yet. I knew he was lying. I knew how much he had saved up better than him and I knew he had already finished packing the night before.
I wanted to say so much, but I could only say "Thank you." Another week later, he convinced me to visit a psychiatrist. I was diagnosed with extreme anti-social disorder and emotional self-neglect caused by my childhood. Which is medically fascinating. Self-neglect is when someone cares too little about themselves and too much about others. The opposite end of the spectrum is sociopaths who care about themselves too much and too little about others.
I ended up not caring about anyone, including myself. It has been seven years since then. I got the help I needed because someone finally looked closely enough to see that my mouth was duct-taped behind the mask. I still have ways to go. I still have trouble going no-contact with my family. But my biggest accomplishment is learning to ask myself "What do I want to do" instead of "What would people do?" And then comes the truly happy ending.
I married that friend two years ago. I always tell him how his hug probably saved my life. Ever since that night, a day hasn't gone by when I don’t receive a hug from him. He is my hero. It's scary to think how and where I would have ended up if I kept living like that. But I don't want to imagine that. So, I am not going to.
My mom obviously had some occasional good moments, and my friends knew her kind of well, so I haven’t told many of them that I’m no longer in contact with her, or that she is an awful person inside. However, I did tell a couple of my closest friends, though I didn’t even give them many details. Yesterday, one of them told me that they’d both decided to block my mom on Facebook so she can’t find anything out about my life through their profiles.
I couldn’t believe they had cared so much about me to do that. It just really moved me, because they believe what I have gone through over their own good experiences with my mom.
I got my first paycheck and my first plan of action was to buy myself some new bedsheets as mine are old and tattered. While I was there, I bought myself some pillows too because mine were worn, stained, and basically the equivalent of resting your head on some folded clothes. I couldn’t believe how cheap they were! Two nice big full pillows for $18.00! Why on earth have I had to go 10+ years with the same pillows?
I was honest to God expecting to be spending around $100.00 on pillows. I used to think that I had the wrong size pillow slips because my pillows were so loose inside them. I’m actually shocked. ALSO food. The way my dad would react when I asked if we could please buy some food as we have none in the house. Now being able to buy my own food is a godsend! And nothing like the fortune he made it out to be.
Oh, I should add, my dad is extremely well off. Growing up is weird when your whole view of reality is built on your parents’ awful perspective.
Today was the final day in my long and tedious process of getting emancipated from my mother. I’ve had issues with my mother since I was about 13 years old. She forced me to attend a school two hours away instead of the one 10 minutes away. Then she banned me from seeing my paternal cousins, who were some of my closest friends at the time.
She then divorced my dad and made up lies about him, so I’ve only been able to see him a weekend a month for the past three and a half years. The struggle continued, but fast forward to me being 16. I got a full-time job selling glasses, enrolled full-time in college classes, and got my driver’s license on my 16th birthday. To get to work and school, I fixed up one of our old beater cars. This also gave me the ability to visit my dad whenever I wanted.
One day, I was with my dad when my mother freaked out and said I couldn’t drive “her” car to my dad’s house. I tell her that’s crazy, but the registration was in her name so there wasn’t much I could do, except maybe buy my own car. So that’s what I did, I bought my own car (without her knowing) and had my dad sign the title for me. Then she went absolutely over the top.
I considered emancipation at the time but decided it wasn’t worth it and that I could suffer through it for another two years. Horrible mistake. Then my 17th birthday rolled around and I signed for the army THE DAY I turned 17. I went to basic combat training that summer and returned to find my mom had emptied my bank account she had access to while I was gone (around $700 total).
Luckily, I had opened an account with my dad prior to leaving and transferred most of my savings there, I also changed the direct deposit for my glasses job and the Army to the new bank account. But still, I was pretty upset about the $700.00. Then, about two months after I got back from basic, I was in a car accident and it totaled my car.
I still had to get to work so I borrowed my mom’s car (the same one as before that I fixed up). She let me borrow it for about a week before deciding I wasn’t being “grateful enough” and revoked my driving “privileges.” Luckily my older sister and my brother-in-law were able to take me to work each day for about two weeks until I could buy myself another car.
At that point, I was living with my sister because my mother was too manipulative to be around…I considered emancipation again but I turned 18 in six months anyway, so what’d be the point in that? But I said screw it and filed the petition anyway. I was entirely self-supported, my mother was emotionally harmful, and I was already the manager at my job making good pay, going to college, yada yada.
Through the emancipation process, my mother got more and more crazy. She started by calling my high-ranking uncle in Florida trying to get me discharged, then she reported me as a runaway child, then she reported the business I manage to labor and industries for “breaking minor labor laws.” But life went on, until today when I finally had my court hearing.
The judge granted me a decree of emancipation and I am now officially an adult. I’m on the top of the world right now. It’s such a relief to be free from my mother. I turn 18 in three months now, but escaping my mother for these last few months is one of the best things I think I’ve ever done.
As I now know, it’s normal to have a front door key when you go to school. However, I didn't get a key until I was 16, and it was only for the front door, not the door to our apartment. So I was always dependent on my mother when I went out and had to go back to the apartment. For years, I asked for my own key, but it was always just “I'm home anyway, we don't have to give you one. Just ring the bell and I'll open it for you.”
Sounds logical in theory, but it was terrible to live through. Quite often I came home from school and stood in front of the locked apartment. There was no reaction to my ringing, and knocking didn't help either. Sometimes I sat in front of the door for two hours, even in wet clothes when it rained. And what was my mom doing? Sleeping, usually.
When she once remembered that her daughter had long since finished school, she arrived and let me into the apartment. No apology or words of remorse. Only afterward did I understand that this was just one of their methods of controlling me and keeping me on a short leash.
Most of my siblings and I always had a rocky relationship with our parents. Rocky is an understatement. We were emotionally and physically mistreated up until the point where we could fight back. When that happened, our parents eventually resorted to only emotional tactics, this time more severe just so they could make up for the lack.
We were all raised as homeschooled Christian kids, so we were pretty sheltered. The values that were taught in our household were: Jesus hates loose girls who do things like show their shoulders. Periods were a shameful thing, not to mention any form of intimacy. We learned how babies were made at 14, six years too late. TVs, cars, cats, beverages, etc. were not of God.
Phones of the lowest quality were required as soon as we turned 16 so they could call us to check where we were in the house. God forbid you're Muslim, Orthodox Christian, or French (they really hated the French for some reason) and came anywhere near our house. We weren't allowed to go anywhere without them, and while I was "tame," my younger sister grew rebellious as time went on.
Once, she decided to sneak out and drink with the neighborhood kids, who we saw only once (the don't-go-anywhere-without-us rule included the backyard) in our lives. It was the week before her 18th birthday (we didn't celebrate that anyway, just knew the date). She took her phone with her, and then pretty much got stranded out where they all were.
Since our parents promised to force her to sleep outside with the stray dogs if she went anywhere without them, she was too afraid to call anyone for help. Besides, our house was really far away. I can’t bear to think of the next events. She got in the car of a very tipsy guy from the neighborhood, who proceeded to get the car flipped over in a ditch. It went up in flames.
Four people, including her, perished. Only the driver survived but was scarred for life. My parents continued to mock her even after she passed. They had the nerve to blame her, and they had the nerve to tell everyone in the family that she basically got what she deserved, which our much younger siblings believed instantly. It was their fault.
If only they were normal people, she'd be able to call them and tell them she was scared somewhere in an alleyway. I moved out of that place two months later, and spent the next seven blaming myself for my sister's passing. It still surprises me to this day how a parent can blame their child for DYING. Rest in peace, Martha, you deserved a better life. I’ll always love you.
I felt completely overwhelmed. My daughter was screaming, tantrum, crying—the whole deal. I kneeled on the floor and I was prepared to put on my best mom voice and tell her I would call Santa if she didn’t calm down. But instead, as soon as she and I made eye contact, she ran crying into my open arms. That was her reaction to me (her mom) being on her level.
That was her FIRST instinct—to run into her mother’s arms for a hug and comfort because she knew she could count on me being there. Every ounce of frustration left me as I hugged her back and I felt her head on my shoulder. Even when I feel like I’m doomed because of my upbringing and when I feel like a bad parent for one trivial reason or another...I can remind myself that my daughter knows something for CERTAIN that I never did.
She knows at such an early age that mommy is there and that she is loved, unconditionally, completely, and totally. I’m proud of the mom I’ve become.
My girlfriend and I are long-distance, so we decided to spend this last weekend together in her city. We decided to rent a hotel room because she has roommates and we wanted alone time. I can't drink energy drinks (medical reasons), but my girlfriend absolutely loves them. Plus she wanted to stay awake longer so we could milk every second we could get together.
Well, I got a surprise period so we had to change the sheets on the hotel bed. I was so embarrassed about bleeding on the sheets and expecting to be yelled at, at the very least, but...She didn't yell, and she didn't shame me. She just went with me to the pharmacy and bought me an adorable stuffed animal. Then, while I was changing the sheets, I bumped her energy drink and spilled it all down the side of the mattress, on the nightstand, and on the floor. I feared the worst.
I immediately had to hold back tears because I was so afraid of what would come next. My parents would have yelled, screamed, and shamed me for the next several years (it's happened before). She...Didn't. She got a towel and helped me clean it up, then made me look into her eyes and held me, letting me know that it was okay. She had another drink, and she knew that I'm clumsy.
Nothing was broken, and she was just so happy to be with me. It meant so much to me that she treats me like a human being when I make mistakes. I think I'm going to marry this girl.
My siblings have made a game out of our family’s narcissism. When someone goes into an "I" rant, we all whisper "aye aye captain" to each other. There are prizes, ha. This happens particularly when my mom and brother get together. My brother literally calls himself the “country Steve Jobs,” and every time we see him it turns into a 3+ hour lecture on his finances, his savings, his properties, and his career advancements.
Complete with paycheck stubs, bank statements, and lots of self-ego stroking. It gets much worse when my mom is there because she hypes the heck out of herself when it comes to his successes. Like every other sentence is "that's my son," "you get it from me," "I raised you right," etc. Which is hilarious because then he gets mad and more aggressive with his own "I'm amazing" statements," which, in turn, sets her off and it turns into an "I'm amazing" off.
What's sad is he doesn't actually make a ton, just more than average. And my mom has always worked minimum wage, so I've got no idea where this ego is coming from. So to make it fun, the normal siblings have made a game out of it. Anytime someone makes an outrageously egotistical statement starting with "I" we whisper "aye aye captain."
The object is to not be caught, and if you get caught you have mimic the person’s outrageous statement back to them with a totally straight face or you lose. So, if my brother says "I'm gonna lift this entire family up, I'm the only one smart enough to do it" and you get caught whispering to the others, you have to repeat back to him "I'm sorry it's nothing, I'm just agreeing because I believe you’re the only one smart enough to lift this family up."
If you crack a smile or laugh at that point, you’re out. We also have "hard mode" where you have to say "aye aye captain" and salute. So the last one standing usually gets a prize. At first, we played for nothing at all, then candy, but it's now so predictable that anytime we have plans to visit my brother we all chip in to buy a prize. Last time I won a grey fuzzy blanket.
It’s literally my favorite thing my siblings have done together and my sister is amazing for thinking it up, so yeah. It really helps with an otherwise difficult parenting situation.
My horrible mother wanted me to give her a lung; I said absolutely not. We hardly speak, but I’m still driving her to some health checkups. I drove with her car because she is in no condition to do so, but she always criticizes my driving. Everything I do is nitpicked and prodded repeatedly. As I said, we barely speak now, but that won't stop her from speaking about me indirectly like I'm not even present in a passive-aggressive way.
One statement keeps repeating in my head: "If this illness doesn't kill me soon, it'll be in a car wreck. Either way, both could (while coughing uncontrollably) have been prevented." You see how insensitive and manipulative she is? She effortlessly degrades and tries to guilt-trip me all the time. Anyways, we get to the doctor's office and after the usual workup, the hard truth comes out.
The doctor told her that even if I said yes to giving her my lung, there is no way they would be going through with the operation due to evidence of clear coercion of me on her part. She can't help herself and would argue with me in front of hospital staff. I guess the nurses overheard her threats toward me and informed the transplant team. That and me having a conversation with the doctors privately a couple of weeks ago.
So, what does my mom do next? She goes crazy and starts yelling belligerently at the doctor, making absurd accusations and threatening to sue. Everyone except her and my dad knows she has no credibility or basis for a case. She did this to herself. It's all on her and I refuse to feel guilty for caring about my health and future.
I was an only child. I had lots of toys, always had healthy food, good clothes, two loving dogs, and an adorably decorated bedroom. My parents even took me on vacations, I took piano lessons, and we had cable. I thought, “What right do I have to feel I was robbed of something my parents should have provided? I knew my mom was “a little crazy” and extremely manipulative, but I wasn’t sure how to validate feeling like I missed out on childhood when I had been provided with more than so many others.
I realize I missed out on having a mom—on being treated with respect. My entire life, up until about 22, I was dependent on my mom for something. She worked at a university and employees’ kids got discounted tuition—the deal of a lifetime for a child who had no college fund. But this also meant she held something over me: “If you don’t do this and treat me with respect, I won’t sign the paperwork.”
All. The. Time. I found ways around her controlling nature. I got two jobs and worked as a cleaning lady in between them. “If you call me again while I’m at work, I’m shutting your phone off.” So I put my phone on my friend’s account and I pay him the difference now. “If you think you can act like that I’ll pull your car insurance.” So I moved over to my own car insurance. Same company except interestingly, my rate went down??
She was constantly reminding me what she had paid for. Continuously threatening to pull a resource from me. Persistently demanding obedience. Endless requests for me to apologize for something I did, something I said, something I refused to do that she disagreed with. In late April, I cut her off. I wouldn’t help her with a project, and was told I needed to apologize for my “bad behavior.”
I didn’t apologize. I didn’t say anything, actually. I blocked her from calling and texting me. With a phone I purchased. With a phone plan I control. With the dignity I hold for how I am talked to and treated. It wasn’t meant to be three months. “Just a few days” I thought. Days turned to weeks. Weeks turned to months. Peace filled my life. I don’t feel as drained. I don’t feel I have to impress. I don’t feel controlled. I don’t feel dismissed.
Even if you had all the necessities, if you were “spoiled”, if you were pacified with nice things, your feelings and how well you deserve to be treated are VALID.
Basically, my mom has always been the type of person who, for some reason, can be the only one in pain, the only one with a hard life, only she can be in tough spot, etc. One day, I woke up with a terrible pain in my lower stomach. I thought it was period cramps so I just laid there until she yelled at me to get out of bed. I did but I had difficulty walking, which was very weird because, usually, I'm extremely strong for pain.
She looks at me all disgusted and asks “What are you being dramatic for?" And I said, "I have a weird pain here." She went on a rant about how it's probably gas, how I'm being dramatic, how everyone from my star sign is so dramatic and made me take this medicine for gas, then making me walk around the house while watching me. I kept telling her it wasn't doing anything and that I was sure it wasn't gas, but she just kept shaking her head.
An hour or so passed, and I decided to call my grandpa to tell him what's happening. At that point, I was almost crying. I tell her I'm going to the hospital while she huffs and puffs, telling me I'll be humiliated because it was going to be just gas, and how I was wasting everyone's time but "If it's so bad for you, go! Since you're crying like a baby." So we went, and my grandpa stayed there with me.
I did the exams and all of that. My grandpa had to leave because it was my cousin’s birthday (always her first, but that's another story), and my mom came over to stay with me. We eventually went to the last doctor before being discharged, and she looked at the exams and went "you have five kidney stones. The pain you were going through was renal colic, and it says here you didn't take the drip medicine, so you were just...Going through that awful pain."
My mom goes "Oh, no, she does that. I knew it had to be gas." She goes "Ma'am, renal colic is one of the worst pains, and it has nothing to do with gas. You making her walk around the house probably worsened the situation if anything." We were discharged and she didn't look at me until the end of the day.
My mom suffocated me. She follows me to school, she yells at my teachers and friends and embarrasses me, she starts fights with other kids’ parents. She’s a nightmare and no matter what, SHE is always the person who’s been hurt or offended. She has literally, repeatedly said, and I quote, “I’ve never hurt anybody. People always hurt me and I just don’t understand why!” She’s 55 years old.
No one lives that long without hurting anyone. That’s just inhuman. She literally claims to be inhumanly benevolent. Yet I’ve seen her do vile things to people. But on to today...My big cousin, David, came over with his mom today. David just graduated with an engineering degree last year and when I posted on Facebook about struggling with a science project, he volunteered to come help.
Now, David is like an older brother to me. He used to be around all the time, but when he graduated high school, he stopped interacting with anyone in the family except through social media. I wondered why. My mom always said that he was on substances or that he let white people poison him against us or some trash like that. Now I realize what actually went on. He was just fed up with the narcissism and horrible behaviors.
So, today, I was extremely excited to see him and have him help me with my project. But who decides to get up early on a Sunday to “do [my] project for [me]”? My mother. Unbelievable. She completely takes over and undoes everything that is done to that point. Like, he starts making this terrible-looking ramp out of a pool noodle and popsicle sticks.
I got upset and when she asked what was wrong I said, “I’m going to fail. You’re going to make me get an F on this project. I don’t even need your help, David is coming.” And here come the tears, and yells, and screams. Our front door is open and she’s just yelling and yelling about how she’s been victimized yet again. Luckily, David pulled up and heard her from outside. And it’s like he knew perfectly how to neutralize her.
He playfully yelled inside to me: “Come unlock this screen door! Quick! I have to save your mother from the threat you’re posing!” My mom’s husband started laughing his head off and to save face, she laughed too while I went and let him in. Then it took a weird turn where she was thirsty for David’s validation. She started fishing for him to compliment the terrible model she’d put together.
He starts talking in a thick, over-the-top New York accent and said “Geez, I dunno. This looks like a stack of bad ideas, bad execution, and hatred for one’s own daughter. But you wouldn’t know anything about any of that, would you Auntee?” Again, my mom’s husband laughs so hard he spits his coffee out. And she’s forced to save face and just plays along and tells him to “Do better then, Mr. Engineer.” And he had these perfect responses to her all day.
It was like watching a seven-year-old play one-on-one with Lebron James. But the best one all day was when she starts going on and on about how I victimized her and I never take her side and I just hate her. She said the phrase “You ride me like a newborn pony.” And David dunked right on her. He says, “Well, not a newborn pony. They’re way too small. Maybe a full-grown horse.”
My mom’s husband laughed so hard he had to run to the bathroom because he said he was peeing on himself. My mom looked utterly stunned. Here was someone who did not give a single care about her poor, poor feelings and she couldn’t make him leave without obviously ruining my project which is worth 50% of my triad grade, which David mentioned over and over and over again.
He says stuff like “make me leave and your daughter fails 8th-grade science. And that would make you a bad person. And I don’t think you’re a bad person.” And he said everything as if he were joking! It was so perfect. I cried after he left because I finally felt like someone understood what I was going through and really went the extra mile to be there for me.
Science and math have always been subjects I struggled with. I’m much, much better with English and literature and art classes. So to know I’ve got someone like him to help and who gets what my mother is like makes me feel like I’m not alone. And my project is easily going to be the very best one in the class. I’m not 100% sure what David does for work aside from him being an engineer, but he said he works on cars at a shop in the city near us.
Actually, my mom even had to dump on that because according to her, “You’re wasting your degree,” to which he responded, “You’re wasting your breath.” My assigned topic is Newton’s three laws of motion. He brought in an old transmission and a clutch from a car that was in a bad wreck and we built a model on this big board. We actually put the whole setup together piece by piece with metal dowel rods like it’d be in a car.
He showed me how it worked and explained what this does in a car and then gave me this sheet with a bunch of equations and diagrams he drew on it that represent the physical relationships at work between specific components of the two systems. He then said that he wasn’t going to let me keep the sheet and instead he was going to teach me the stuff on the sheet enough for me to be able to present it to class and at the science fair.
So we sat there and when he started talking about math and science my mom left the room and he and I spent hours going over the math and the physics. He also helped me make notecards so that I can remember what we went over today. I keep crying when I think about this because it felt like he cared about me doing well for me and not so he could show me off.
My mom always brags about me doing well in school but it’s always backhanded. She pretends she has to do my work for me and stand over me while I write my papers or do my art projects when in reality she just won’t leave me alone. But David just wanted me to do my best. He kept saying how “You can do this.” And it felt so great to have someone believe in me and help me.
When we were finishing up, my mom started complaining about the model. “How is that big thing going to get to her school?!” She catches the bus and I’m not getting up and putting that heavy, greasy thing in my car.” David: “Luckily for everyone here, I didn’t take that transmission and clutch out of my car, so I’ll come to pick her up and take her to school.”
So guess who suddenly decided she needed to come too? But I’m okay with it because David will be there and I’m sure he’ll be able to neutralize her again. When David was leaving, he asked me to come out to his car because he had something for me. Turns out, he went on my Facebook a few months ago and found out my mom broke my iPhone. So he bought me a new iPhone.
He said it was for birthdays of mine he’d missed and because I was doing so well in school and he was proud of me. We talked for a while about everything. This has been the best day of my life and I’m not even kidding. David, I needed you and you came through and I’ll never forget or be ungrateful. It may seem silly to you, but those jokes, the project, the phone—it all means the world to me.
I'm sitting in my room eating my dinner. My 11-year-old sister is lying on my bed. She says, "Oh, I've been meaning to tell you something." "What is it?" I ask. "You know how dad always yells at you?" she says. "Yeah." "Well, if you want, I can come in and yell at him to stop." I have to stop the tears in my eyes from welling up. "No, you don't have to do that, it's okay," I say. "No, it's not okay. I can come in and yell at him."
"Don't do that," I say. "It will make it worse." "No, I'm going to tell him to stop," she insists. "Don't get involved in it, or he'll start yelling at you too." "I don't care," she says. "I'll find a way to make him stop. Somehow." This is just so heartbreaking. I've heard stories of children trying to protect their mothers from their partners. I never thought I would be the victim in that scenario, but here I am.
I am so angry that my dad has made my sister feel this way. At 11, she should be occupied with starting high school this year, or the new show on TV. Not how to protect her older sister from our narcissistic father. This just absolutely breaks my heart.
I saw this girl while I was out who looked like she was 14 or 15. We were all in the underwear aisle. She looked so embarrassed. She turned to her dad and said, "Dad, I need underwear." He looked at her, then said, "Do you want me to turn around?" She said yes in the smallest voice. He turned his back to her. She looked through the underwear, got what she wanted, and put it in the cart.
Then she said, "I'm finished." He turned around and said, "Honey, if you're uncomfortable with me doing something like this with you, just tell me. I can go do something else. I don't want you to feel embarrassed. I know it's weird to be in this aisle with your dad. In fact, I think you're old enough to come back here by yourself next time." She smiled and said, "Thanks dad." He smiled back and said, "Thanks for not asking me if they were cute like you did with your dresses."
I almost cried. Like I laughed, but tears welled up in my eyes. He respected her privacy and rights as an individual. He respected her boundaries. He acknowledged her feelings and validated them. He encouraged her and her independence. My dad never did those things. He was gross. He asked me very invasive questions. Seeing that reminded me that my dad sucked, but that there are awesome dads in the world.
To all you awesome dads out there, thanks.
The last time I sat in my dad's lap, I was 18 years old. He was talking to me like I was five and had convinced me I had lied about damaging my brother's car because I told my brother before I told him. He was doing a sickly baby voice about how I should be disappointed in myself. His friend, Bob, who was sitting nearby, chimed in. He said one short sentence that forever changed my life.
"It's weird that you still force her to sit in your lap." That moment ruined my father's life. Suddenly the facade of perfect dad had crumbled, and one of his favorite offense tactics was forever marred as "weird." He could no longer force me to sit in his lap without weird hanging over our heads. As a result, he never once asked me to sit on his lap again.
His friendship with Bob was irreparably damaged too, and I've never seen him again. I moved out a little over a year later. Bob, you were my hero. All it took was for another adult to SAY SOMETHING. To shame him for just a moment. To make him question his own "perfection."
My parents are both absolutely evil and I'm ripping myself apart for not cutting off every single connection with them when my body, mind, and soul were screaming at me to do so. If it hurt, it probably happened to me under age six. I was homeschooled as an only child in the middle of nowhere under what I can only call, straight-up brainwashing tactics.
I am still reeling from the fact that not only have I failed to escape from their stuff, but I've also allowed my child to be possibly severely harmed by them as well. I'm a single mom who works two jobs and I, unfortunately, live in the same area as my family in question. After severe emotional mistreatment from both of them throughout my pregnancy after I left my son's father (which was mixed with favors and things I desperately needed at the time), I felt obligated to let my mother watch him at three months and beyond because I couldn't afford childcare anymore.
I'm a nurse and a waitress, working minimum wage. Plus, my mother was showing symptoms of being depressed, and my son really seemed to cheer her up. They both acted out loving him very much. I soon learned how horribly wrong I was. Two months ago, I was put on sick leave; my son had caught Fifths disease and I had ended up catching it from him.
We were both still sick, but I had to go back to work. So back to the parents' he went. My mother is a registered nurse. Unbeknownst to me, she mail-ordered Ivermectin—an antiparasitic for animals—from Canada. She wanted to “fix” his symptoms. She was giving me her usual nutty spiel about another miracle medicine when I dropped him off.
I thought she was trying to suggest I ask his pediatrician about it. I tuned her out because I'd heard enough and much more insane things come out of their mouths every day. Besides, I was going to be late. I kissed my baby's forehead and left. A severe snowstorm came in that night so I had to leave him overnight with them.
When I got there the next morning he seemed very tired, but I figured it was time for his mid-morning nap since it was 10 or 11. That's normal for him. But as soon as I got home, I knew immediately something was wrong. He's normally a sweet, calm happy baby who takes a while to get upset about something. Now he was screaming at the top of his lungs, was pouring sweat, and, after barely an hour, a rash started forming all over his body.
I immediately rushed him to the ER. They initially assumed sepsis but thank God they drew blood. They kept asking me if he took any medications, and I kept telling them no. He's healthy. Always has been. They kept asking me. Are you sure? I called mom to ask if she'd possibly fed him anything new...That's when she owned up and told me what they'd done to “help” him. When she kept going, my heart stopped.
Since they had little to no dosage information and it had no approval for use on babies, they administered a near-fatal amount IN HIS BOTTLE. If I hadn't brought him in as quickly as I did, the hospitalist informed me he would've gone into total organ failure and passed within hours. He was flown from the regional hospital to the biggest medical center downstate and spent three weeks hundreds of miles from my place.
His dad came through and supported us, and is consulting a lawyer, which I have zero problems with. My baby has recovered unbelievably well, from the Ivermectin and the Fifths disease as well thanks to the excellent care he got. But this story could have ended horribly. And I don't doubt it's ended differently before.
We made our wedding a costume party, so everyone was dressed more wildly than my mother-in-law was, and she wasn’t able to take, like, any attention!!! She just looked like another person in a crazy costume and didn’t stand out at all. It WORKED! But that only made her go out for revenge. She also tried to crash our first look. However, our wedding party was primed on this woman, so they were on it and stalled her long enough for us to get it done.
She still made fun of my fiancé while we were taking our wedding party photos and tried to pop one of her favorite humiliation stories about him, but everyone just ignored her. She did stage a situation where she purposefully missed the bus to the venue and was left behind and had to be driven over. She talked about how horrible the people on the bus (and fiancé and I by association) all were to leave her behind.
We also had a friend read a 20-minute (funny) story over dinner so that there was no room, nor time, for toasts, because she is particularly fond of telling stories about how awful and unlovable a child my fiancé was, and also tormenting him with this song she made him sing before every single dinner of his entire life. People were done eating by the time the story ended and had begun to get up and dance.
If looks could hurt, hers would have started a nuclear meltdown. We set our first dance to come on by surprise and the DJ privately told us what song it would come after, so we literally ran to the dance floor and did it last minute so that she didn’t have time to mess things up. Of course, she did not help clean up at the end of the wedding. It was my family and the wedding party who cleaned.
But we survived, especially with the help of our very attentive wedding party, who fielded her and did what they could to buffer us. Oh, and she never found out our hotel room number, either!! We did it!!
We were having a discussion and my mother was ticking me off. I was feeling courageous, so I said, “Mom have you ever heard of gaslighting?" Her reply was so perfect, I almost burst out laughing. She says immediately to me: "I've never gaslighted you, it's all in your head." The irony. Somebody. The irony.
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