Sometimes our relationship with our parents can feel like a civil war. With age comes self-discovery, which leads to independence, which can often lead to rebellion, followed by conflict and a low chance of compromise. The child in the scenario cannot help but feel unfairly treated and tempted to antagonize the parents. But in the end, they can always say they love each other. If only that was true for these people.
The following stories come from people whose parents did something that they could never let down. Something impossible to forgive. Something that, even in their youth, they knew was a sign of misguidance that should not be tolerated. These people shared the moment they lost respect for their own parents to Reddit and these are the tales we believe are the most maddening.
Content has been edited for clarity.
“She Only Did This Out Of Sheer Obligation”
“I got in an accident and my leg got shattered, like, horribly shattered. After I got in touch with family and friends, my mother drove up to bring me to her house so I could recover. It was going to be a long recovery, nearly eight months. I was on so many meds, just freaking loopy all the time.
She basically deposited me in the spare room and ignored me. Never checked to see if I was keeping up with my doses and, mind you, I was so doped up. I realized this and set a bunch of alarms on my phone to remind me to take the blood-thinner, anti-inflammation, pain relievers, etc. She never made any food for me. I had to dizzily stumble around on a walker and cook my own food. She gave me zero assistance in finding a follow-up orthopedist in her town, so I had to do so myself with my busted leg propped up on her lousy little desk, using Windows ME no less.
After about a week, I still hadn’t found a follow-up doc, but Mom decided I needed a haircut. I’ve always been a long-haired guy. Also, I was 42 years old at the time. So, I was laying in the backseat of the car, leg propped up on a pile of pillows, having to give myself a shot in my belly, going to get my hair cut. The kicker is when I was recovered and getting ready to come home, she gave me a bill that included all the doctor’s visits, groceries, estimated utility usage and gas usage to drive me to and from the doctor. All of this would come out of my ‘inheritance.’ She was quite well-off. I said thank you and have barely spoken to her since.
To clarify, I did not ask her to retrieve me. I had many, many other options, but I was not really capable of making decisions, so I accepted this. It became abundantly obvious, very quickly, that she only did this out of a sense of sheer obligation, not concern. We were never very close to begin with. Seriously, never, not once did she ask how I was doing. Eight months, she never asked about my leg nor my emotions. Stellar human there.”
“He Was Trying To Play The Victim To The Bitter End”
“My dad would sneak into my room at night and go through my jeans where I kept my wallet and pocket money, or scavenge my room when I was away at school or work.
One day me and my brother snapped after we overheard him talking about us being terrible sons because his friend’s son had given their dad $500 for his birthday, and said we were ungrateful when we, intentionally, didn’t give him a thing for his birthday that year. It escalated fast.
We got up in his face and started yelling at him and basically telling him to shut the heck up because he always steals from us. I remember him lying through his freaking teeth and saying he’d never stolen from us and trying to guilt us like he always does when he’s confronted about stuff, saying things like, ‘I’ve raised you guys since you were little, I would never steal.’
Any respect I did have for him as a dad went down the drain when, during that confrontation he ended up calling my aunt and tried to throw my brother and I under the bus, saying we were bullying him and saying he was going to disown us. Still to this day, I could not believe what he was doing. He was trying to play the victim to the bitter end and in my eyes seemed like such a freaking coward making that phone call in front of us.
My brother has since APOLOGIZED and forgiven him because ‘family,’ but me, man, I can’t forgive that stuff. I was tired of always having to somehow apologize to the wrongdoer in the end. Sometimes I think about it a lot. I essentially broke the family up over ‘some money’ no matter how you look at things. But, I had enough. man.
I try not to think about it too much these days and wish it hadn’t been the worst possible scenario and it’s not like I wouldn’t have given him money if he had a good cause and needed it ya know. Just wish he wouldn’t have been so shady and steal from the family then lie and get instantly defensive when caught.”
“I Said I Didn’t Want To Live Anymore”
“About two years ago, I struggled heavily from depression. My mom is one of those people who doesn’t really understand the depth of mental illnesses and, on top of it, she was verbally abusive and always made cutting remarks about my academics, appearance, anything to degrade my self worth. She broke me down to a point where I said I didn’t want to live anymore and wanted to kill myself. She told me to do it.
I ended up in foster care for about a week because my friends called because they knew I wasn’t safe with her, and she is a manipulator who finessed the system to get me back quickly, and made it sound like she did nothing wrong. I finally got therapy, but it wasn’t for the whole family, just me since she felt she did nothing wrong. She is treating me better and learning to respect my boundaries, but I will never forget my own mother scoffing, telling me to kill myself. I will never be able to respect her after that.”
“You Are Proof I Am A Failure Of A Mother”
“I have chronic ADHD. It is nearly impossible to do any task without my medication. Even with it I struggle. I have been diagnosed and taking medication since fifth grade. In sixth grade, I was heavily bullied for being bi and atheist. In the middle of the night, I told my mother I wanted to kill myself. She immediately transferred me to a school in a town over and my life drastically improved.
Summer before eighth grade, my maternal grandfather died of a heart attack. He was really abusive to my mother, but still her father so she took it very hard. She pulled me out of my school and put me back into the same school from sixth grade. She also had me stop taking my medication all of a sudden. I questioned her as to why. She told me it was my idea. I knew that was not right, but I was young so I just assumed I was misremembering things. She took me to the doctor once every three months and had me lie to the doctors, telling them I was still taking my medication. She insisted she knew better and had them fill out a new prescription.
As I continued to go through school, my mom begins to spiral downward. Somedays she would be out ‘working’ in the garage (she was a stay at home mother) and would refuse to speak to me at all. I would come home from school, try to talk about my day, and she just would ignore me and walk into another room and close the door on me. This would happen for days at a time. She wouldn’t sleep, then she would crash and sleep all day, not getting out of bed and again refusing to speak to me. This behavior got worse as the years went on.
Cut to summer before senior year, my mother started this insane belief that someone was hacking into her phone. She spent all her time on her phone and on the computer. She took intense notes on phones. She went to the Verizon store everyday. She told me she was certain that my dad was spying on her through her phone and watching her. They argued about this everyday. One time, she went to the store crying and they gave her all new phones and tablets, but not for free. When the $1,000 bill came, my dad was enraged.
They screamed at each other all night, every night. The night before the first day of senior year, the fighting got really bad. My dad got inebriated and grabbed her and shook her. It got physical and he drove off wasted. My mom drove off to go find him. He came back without any clothes and they went back to yelling. My mom took me to my first day of school with huge bruises all over her.
Arguing continued all year. My mom started to believe I was in on it, too. She woke me up at five in the morning some days insisting I was ‘hacking into her Facebook.’ She took my phone for this reason and looked through it, going for my bank and texts and emails. For ‘hacking’ her Facebook, I was grounded for the week. She began to cry non-stop. She said (word for word), ‘You are proof that I am a failure of a mother. Why cant you just go away? You make me want to freaking die.’ She proved she was a failure by listing everything wrong with me. She attempted suicide after this conversation.
Since I hadn’t had my medication, school was difficult. I spent hours doing homework that should take 30 minutes. But until that year, I managed a 3.0. Senior year, my grades tanked. I could barley manage Cs. I cried in school everyday in the middle of class and on the way home. I got in a massive fight with my dad. It got physical and I walked off in the middle of the night. About an hour later, my mom picked me up.
On the drive home, my mom admitted the thing that made her dead in my eyes. Since I was 13, so for the previous 5 years, she had been stealing my medication from me to get high. She cried and I told her it was OK and I loved her. It took me a year to become actually mad about this. She told my dad she had been abusing meds and he got wasted and just told her, ‘You’re a freaking piece of garbage.’ He just repeated this phrase over and over again. My mom attempted to kill herself again.
It’s been many years since all of that. My life is practically normal now. Mom is taking bipolar medication and, through a tooth and nail fight, I have my medication again. Looking at my family now, you would never know this, but, everyday, I hate seeing my parents and I wish they were out of my life.”
“It’s Impossible To Be Depressed Because Of Your Cat”
“In 2008, after I nearly lost a hand as a result of self-harm stemming from depression after the traumatic death of one of my pet cats (I was diagnosed with PTSD from this), I tried to tell my parents that my cat’s death was what was responsible for my depression, because, until then, they didn’t even believe I was depressed. Their reaction was to repeat, ‘It’s impossible to be depressed because of the death of your cat,’ and they proceeded to abuse me (further) in order to push me to my limits and make me break so I would tell them ‘the truth.’
A few years after, in yet another argument with my mother over the source of my depression (they still didn’t believe me when I said it was the death of my cat), she went to pick up my only remaining cat and proceeded to strangle her in front of me to see my reaction. When I completely broke down after a couple seconds, she let my cat go with a proud smile on her face like she’d just proven a point, bragged about how she was just ‘pretending’ to be trying to kill my pet, and left the room beaming while I was hugging my cat and trying to soothe her.
That was the point where I realized I needed to get the heck away from them. I didn’t return to their house after that. I studied in another town. My pet cat is still alive, and I miss her so much I’ve broken into tears at night remembering her, knowing that I have to abandon her for my own mental safety, that I’m leaving her to live with these people, and that I won’t be there with her when she dies.”
“Life Was Always Fine Without Him”
“My dad knocked up my mom with me when they were in high school (around the end of their senior year) and he didn’t want anything to do with me, so he left before I was born. OK, whatever. No dad. I was very fortunate to have amazing grandparents who helped me and my mom out a lot, even to this day. Fast forward 13 years and dad still lived in the same city. We saw him at Target.
I didn’t know who he was, but my mom was like, ‘That’s your dad over there.’ He saw us too and, I think, got flustered and left as quickly as possible. He contacted my mom on MySpace (throwback!) and said he wanted to be back in our lives. About a year into this, I was 14, my mom and dad were dating. Woohoo! He knocks up mom again, and decides he wants to leave again. Freaking scumbag.
I haven’t talked to him since before my little sister was born, which was 10 years ago, and really have no plans to do so. Life was always fine without him. So, when he left, my respect for him did as well, but life was back to normal, with me, mom, and grandparents, and we had a sweet little addition to the family.”
“You’re Going To Make Him Hate You If You Quit”
“When I was younger, like probably 8 or so, my mom put me in dance classes – tap, jazz, ballet, and I did a cheerleading and gymnastics class. Because we were very poor growing up and my grandfather (her dad) was exceptionally wealthy, he paid for all my classes. He would send my mom a check every month in her name to cover the classes, all my dance shoes, dance outfits, makeup, and everything else I needed. Because he lived in Arizona and we lived in Texas, he just mailed the check and never actually came to watch me practice or perform.
One day, I got tired of all the constant dancing and concerts and driving around and preening and wanted to quit. I still remember my mom being super upset because she was busy living vicariously through me, but I particularly remember her grabbing me and looking me in the eyes and telling me, ‘Don’t you dare to tell your Grandpa about this because he’s proud of you and you’re going to make him hate you if you quit!’
For a little kid that loved her grampy, this was pretty mortifying. So, not only did I have to grow up thinking I couldn’t do the one thing that made my grandpa love me, I also had to lie every few months when he called and my mom forced me to talk to him about how much I loved all my dance classes.
I found out later, as an adult, that he could not have cared less that I was taking any classes, and the only reason my mom told me to keep my mouth shut was so she could cash the checks he was sending us and buy drinks with them every weekend while I sat at home alone.”
“It Started With Them Feeling Offended We Arrived ‘Late’ To Dinner”
“Everything was fine up until the engagement. Jeez, they were even HAPPY about the prospect of my wife and I getting married. Then, the ring went on the finger and everything went to heck.
I mean it was down right rude and weird. It started with them feeling offended that we arrived ‘late’ to dinner the weekend we got engaged, despite no time being discussed. They were offended because we visited all of my wife’s aunts and uncles to share the good news, despite us doing the exact same thing with my aunts and uncles, because it ‘made us late.’ Then, they threatened to not attend the wedding because we chose a date in December vs. a summer wedding.
To think, it went DOWNHILL from there! They refused to acknowledge her. All pictures of the two of us disappeared in the house. Her name wasn’t spoken. Then, they accused her parents of manipulating me into doing things that I didn’t want to do, that they were blackmailing me with… well… I never found out with what.
Everything came to a head when I was summoned to the house the morning that we booked a hall for the wedding. I went to the house, was berated for about 30 minutes, was told that they ‘wished I committed suicide’ (I suffer from depression and had been suicidal as a kid), and she threw the TV remote at me. Her aim sucked so it sailed wide, but still. From there I basically said, ‘Forget this mess,’ and cut them out of my life. My brother took their side, so he was out too.
We had an AWESOME wedding, and we’re still married almost ten years later. I don’t have a relationship with them, despite them trying in vain. They still think that I’m being manipulated by my wife’s parents, that I’m in an abusive relationship, and our marriage will end in divorce. So, I guess I respect my parents A LOT less.”
“Instead Of Wallowing In The Pain, I Decided To Learn From Their Mistakes”
“When my father came home from a tour in Korea, he brought with him a new wife. We had never met her nor heard of her until he said he was coming home. We all moved together to his next posting. Three months later, ‘wifeypoo’ gave him an ultimatum: ‘Either the kids go or I go.’
He called up our mother and told her he was sending us to her. He then called us to the phone to ‘talk to your mom.’ I had no memory of her. In fact a prior stepparent told us she was dead. I believed her. So he sent us to meet this stranger with the intention of giving custody to her under the guise of a vacation without him. Our belongings followed. He gave us back to a woman he divorced and believed was a danger to us just 11 years prior.
I lost a little respect for him for placing his new wife (she left him once she got a green card) over his children.
When we moved to my mother’s, she was married to husband number four (she’s had two more since then). She was a heavy drinker and spent most of her non-working hours (and some of her working hours) in an inebriated stupor. She managed to find a man to cheat on her husband with though, as she had with other marriages. I knew the only way out was to do my best in high school and go to college. I did fairly well, but not without drama from the fallout of her poor choices in her marriage.
Unfortunately, we had little money and I had a choice to make: get a job and pay for college (the best I could afford was a local community college) or get a job and pay for a car to get out of dodge. I chose community college. That was unsurprisingly interrupted by her divorce from number four. He stopped paying the mortgage and we lost the house. I then had to work to contribute to the household expenses.
Long story short, I worked hard to get out of her house. I managed to do it and left her. Immediately after I left home, she got married to number five. She couldn’t handle being alone and I was no longer there to keep her company. Husband number five died a few years later and his friend immediately moved in with her. He became number six a short time later.
Later, my father returned to Korea and found another wife. He did not actually tell us he got married. He forwarded pictures of his military retirement which included pictures of her. In one, she was holding a certificate with her name and our distinctive last name. They are still married. He’s been married to the second one for a very long time now and has had her green card for a long time. He admits he likes the more submissive culture of the women of that country. He also loves her kimchi. She’s a nice person and cares for him at least. So at least he’s happy.
As an adult I know both of these people were not suited to be parents. I don’t think my dad wanted children. Even prior to sending us off to our mother, he would find someone to take care of us. My mother, I realize, is a narcissist. She makes terribly impulsive decisions based on her current emotional state.
The fact is, they are who they are. I can’t change them and nothing that they did is a reflection of anything that I did or deserved. They were just very flawed people. Instead of wallowing in the pain of feeling abandoned by either, I decided to learn from their mistakes. They both did some pretty messed up things, but it serves no one to dwell on those things. So, for my own happiness, I forgave them.
I have a pretty decent relationship with my father. He knows that his decision hurt me. We’ve discussed some of the history, went through some brief therapy. We talk occasionally on the phone. But I would not say we are close. Honestly, I see a lot of myself in him, personality wise. I tend to be quiet, reserved, logical, rational, less emotional (or at least not very comfortable with openly expressing emotions). He is very similar.
My relationship with my mother is weird. I still feel anger towards her. I forgave her for my youth. My anger is really more about more recent history. I was basically only seeing or talking to her two or three times a year. But somehow she pulled me back into her drama. Her therapist called me one day seven years ago and said she needed my help and that she was being abused by husband number six and was afraid and needs help getting out. I began visiting her more often to help her but her medical needs got more complex and she needed more care. I helped her get out of her home and her marriage and start her new life, but I basically am now her caregiver. It’s a role I never asked for wanted. But the alternative is for her to be homeless or to shack up with the first warm male body she can find.
For her it really boils down to this: she is currently in the process of finding out if she has cancer. She probably does, if I am to be realistic. My moral values came from my father’s mother. My father often dumped us kids on her while he lived out of country when he wasn’t married. You help family when they are sick and vulnerable. That’s how I was raised. So I would feel terrible if she died and I knew I could have done more to help her. It’s not that she deserves my help. I deserve peace of mind when all of this is over. So I’m doing what I need to do to ensure that I have that peace of mind instead of guilt.
She is a very selfish woman who was lucky that her daughter learned her values elsewhere. But she continues to make impulsive decisions that often lead to me having to fix her messes. That is where most of my current angers come from. In all honesty, I am resentful of all the demands on my time and resources which only increase every year. But given her health issues, this will not be for very many more years.”
“I Spent The Rest Of My Adolescence Code Writing In My Journal”
“I confided in another trusted adult about something serious to me as a teen because, for various reasons, I didn’t feel like I could confide in my mom. My mom found out months later when she READ MY JOURNAL. It gets better.
She didn’t confront me in person. She, instead, wrote me a long, emotional guilt trip IN MY JOURNAL about how wrecked she was that I didn’t talk to her instead, forcing me to confront her about it where she totally centered the conversation on herself. There was pretty much no mention of what was actually the problem. It was totally centered on her and her feelings.
I spent the rest of my adolescence code writing in my journal to disguise my feelings. I have never trusted her since and although we have a decent/good relationship now, it’s not exactly very close and I don’t think I will ever be able to talk to her about anything in depth for the rest of my life.
I found the journal again last year as an adult. Put white hot anger in me like it happened yesterday.”
“Now She Wants To Have A Better Relationship With Us”
“My mom compared me to friends constantly, but would also use my grades or achievements as a way to compete with my aunt. I was in honors classes with two of my best friends. ‘Oh, Ashley got an A. How did you get a B?’ She did this with my appearance, too.
She fakes illnesses when she wants attention or to guilt my siblings and I. She’s lied about having cancer, strokes, etc. When we figured out she was lying and stopped going to the hospitals, she called family members and cried that we wouldn’t help her, how she’s basically terminal, how we don’t care.
She has basically scammed my sisters, elderly grandma, and I out of thousands and thousands of dollars. I just found out about six months ago that she had gotten a pretty sizable settlement from when I got hit by a car 20 years ago. She denied it and when I showed her proof, she threw my late father under the bus (he was a recovering addict) and claimed he was in charge of all that.
She was a nurse and, when I attempted suicide, she didn’t want to get me professional help because it would look bad on her and my problems ‘aren’t everybody’s business,’ so she just medicated the heck out of me for a bit.
Believe it or not, there’s more. Now she wants to have better relationships with us, but we don’t trust it.”