Ohhhh boy, here we go. Time to delve into repressed trauma from our childhoods. How badly did you folks mess you up? Were they over-protective baby boomers? Helicoptering Gen-Xers? Tiger Moms? Let's all share our collective repressed memories.
megadaydreamer asked: How have your parents unintentionally f*cked you up?
Submissions have been edited for clarity, context, and profanity.
Lying can get you far.
Mom was very controlling.
She meant well but her overbearing nature only made me a better liar than a productive member of society.
Edit: seems this is not uncommon. I can't speak for you all but I know my mom loves me, she's just flawed like the rest of us.
Legit this. I can't say exactly when I simply stopped telling her the truth when going out with friends, GFs, etc., but my life became a lot simpler because of it.
Only problem is now I am a borderline pathological liar.
I know right! I dont know the difference anymore between what she will allow and what she won't so I lie to everything and get away with it.
Man I'm 22. There is no end to it.. I can't stop.. It doesn't even matter. I need like no permissions but still. Lies lies lies.
Oh, these moms.
She Tiger Mom-ed the shit out of me, specifically when it came to classical music. She was a violin teacher and had me play piano, but that didn't stop her from getting VERY INVOLVED.
What was the worst incident? When she got so mad at how I was practicing, she threw the piano bench out the door? When she scribbled all over my music in a rage and had to buy a new book so my teacher wouldn't see she'd lost her shit? When she was screaming at me in the car after a lesson and just laid into the horn while driving down a busy street? When she drove me, crying, to my friend's house for a scheduled play date and made me ring the doorbell and explain to my friend I couldn't stay because I hadn't practiced enough?
It was a 10+ year saga of insane blow-ups and tears that only stopped when I left for college and quit. But I'm the lucky one. I was the fighter. My sister was the people-pleaser. Once my mom gave up on me, she focused the full brunt of her attention on her. Now my sister's got an undergrad degree in music and a whole lotta angst about whether she even likes the goddamn viola or has just been forced into her entire life.
I loathe Tiger Mom culture. r/AsianParentStories used to give me so much anxiety.
Lack of positive attention.
My attachment style. They only paid attention to me when I acted out because they were so busy with my older sister and her accomplishments.
Can relate, just from the flip side. I was the older sister with all the accomplishments, straight A kid. They paid more attention to my little sister because she was the one that needed more work and focus on their part. She got new toys in exchange for A's and prizes for chores, one on one time for homework, and more cool sports to try because nothing ever stuck. I guess they decided I didn't need the extra incentive since I'd "do all the right things anyway".
It sucks. Parenting is hard. No one really knows what they're doing and what the effects are until it's too late.
"If only you were nicer they wouldn't bully you"
"Your sister can make friends so you can too"
"Why do you have these weird hobbies, no wonder you have no friends"
"What is it, are you too lazy or too shy to make friends?"
Got diagnosed with autism eventually, but that was after 40 years of beating myself senseless over my inability to fit in.
I'm not autistic but I've had every single one of those said to me by my mom. One time I confided in her that I was upset about having no friends and she said, "Well whose fault is that?" in a rather snippy tone.
Probably yours, mom, probably yours.
Forced isolation and competition.
Always telling me that the neighborhood kids were bad and I should never play with them. Leading me to become very introverted and shy. Feeling super awkward walking passed all the kids, who were playing. Then when I was 15ish parents started asking me why I have no friends!! Making me feel like I had a problem and was different. Due to lack of interaction with kids my age I now avoid conflict, and have week social skills. It took me years of practice to be comfortable with people. Ended up having very good friends in highschool and university. But even after all these years still feel awkward meeting and befriending new people.
Oh I also forgot constantly comparing me to other kids. Telling me how they were doing better at school, had more friends, were so social, etc. It really fucked up my self confidence. I remember when I got into the best uni in my country was the first time my dad said he is proud of me (school and grades wise). Before that it was always "look how good Jack's grades are or how smart Joe is". SMH
Being taught too much empathy?
This isn't the worst thing in the world, but my parents strongly instilled in me the need to care about other people's feelings and kindness. To the point of being overly kind and accommodating.
It led to me apologizing too much, bending over backwards for people who didn't deserve it and letting people take advantage of me. I am proud of being a person that cares for others, but it's taken a while for me to learn how to set boundaries and maintain them in friendships and relationships. I'm working on it.
Do you ever just get the urge to help people even when you know you shouldn't or just don't have the means? How do you manage boundaries? My bf has similar attributes and helping people is almost a type of escape for him.
Wow you hit a nerve with the "helping people is almost an escape" thing! I can relate to that. I definitely feel the urge to help people even when I know I shouldn't.
I think part of it comes from not liking myself too much, and helping someone makes me feel less worthless. I find it very hard to manage boundaries, especially with people that I care deeply about. It's one of those things where I kind of have to work on it from the inside out. If I don't value myself and my worth as a person, it's going to be really hard to maintain boundaries in difficult situations. I won't be able to start enforcing them until I am better able to love and respect myself.
They never gave me a realistic view of how finances work.
Good lord, I'm in my 30s and still dealing with this. Nobody ever taught me how to money.
Luckily I've picked up a few things and now have more saved and invested than I ever have in my life prior to this point.
Not having your emotions respected.
By never taking any problems I had seriously, getting angry at me when I was having a bad mental health day, and denying that I had depression ("you're just doing this for attention," "you have no reason to be depressed" etc even though I was clinically diagnosed). It has led me to never speak about my problems to the point where I have breakdowns in my bedroom and then pretend I'm fine, believing I'm a burden and that no one, not even my friends, want to deal with me.
Dude my mom does this sh*t all the time it was like as soon as I hit age 10 I was no longer allowed to show any feeling except neutral and happy, now I can't handle my anger or sadness in a healthy way, something as minor as losing my charger sent me into a sobbing screaming mess.
I really hope things get better for you.
Lack of independence.
My mom, by helicoptering me between all of middle school AND high school. As a result I was never able to develop good study habits because I never got the feeling that I was doing it for me. I felt like I was doing it for her.
My mom helicoptered so hard that she became a substitute teacher and basically "followed" me from Kindergarten through Senior year of high school. (Yes she changed schools with me too).
Now this is some damage.
By constantly criticizing me. As an adult I sit in meetings at work and wait for someone to tell me how stupid/wrong/inappropriate something I said or did was. It's awesome.
Exact same thing with me. no matter what I do I never feel like I'm going to be good enough.
Yup... miserable. Decided not to ever have kids for fear I'd somehow f*ck them up too.
Who are we? Children of the baby boomers.
What will we never ever be? Good enough. At anything. Ever.
Well now how is this supposed to work?
They demand I pay for things (which is fine, in itself, really) except I wasn't really allowed to have a job until right before I left for college. Basically any gift money I got from relatives they somehow took?
Now it's even worse, as I'm unemployed due to some serious health issues. Whenever I hear, "you need to pay for that" all I can think is... with what income?
(Disclaimer: they were never short on cash. This was purely an "assert control" thing).
No. it's not fine. it's called financial abuse-
To be clear, what made it abusive was not the request to pay for things, it was that coupled with controlling the ability to actually do so. Financial abuse is using finances to exert undue control over the victim.
For example, my parents required that I pay for the gas I used and a small amount toward the car payment and insurance for our shared car. This allowed me to work, taught me to plan for the costs of getting to work, etc. It also cut the other way -- when I saved up enough for my own car, they paid me when they needed to use it. That's clearly not financial abuse.
If, however, they'd required that I pay with money I don't have, or used the excuse to steal financial gifts given to me, that would have been abusive.
Nope, not damaging at all.
One had an affair, told me and told me not to tell the other. The other knew and did things like bugged the house phones and had me try to follow them around. Being oldest kid sucked. Completely stuck in the middle. Eventually escaped to the sanity of the infantry.
My dad told me too about cheating on my mom and he said he did it recently after they got married, what made it worse he told me they only married cuz she was pregnant with me. So looks like I was the reason why they married, and because of that i have to watch how they dont get along at all. It just really hurts to watch but o well i've tried to help them but they refused, so it's not really my problem anymore.
At least she doesn't waste your time?
When I was a kid, maybe 5 or 6, I was riding in the car with my mom. I was playing with a transformer toy, and telling her about it. At some point, she stopped me and said something to the effect of, "son, do I talk to you about makeup or clothes or anything I'm interested in?" I answered no. And she said "then I don't want to hear about transformers/whatever you're playing with." In that moment, she just wanted me to shut up bc she didn't care, but over my life I've realized it destroyed my ability to talk about things I care about with people unless it's someone I'm very close to, so I come off as very boring until people get to know me.
Edit: Wow, thanks for all the replies and upvotes! I would just like to say, I don't hate my mom or anything, she's a good person for the most part, she just doesn't pretend to care about things.
The feeling of constantly being watched...
Semi-helicoptering me for far too long. They subtlety controlled my life to the point I wasn't able to do a lot of things that were important to me, but it wasn't enough that I felt controlled and wanted to just snap and rebel against them. It took me a LOOOONG time to start making decisions without prioritizing their approval above doing what I ACTUALLY wanted to do.
So I'm a little behind in a lot things that are important to me, because I never felt truly supported and free to develop myself the way I wanted to.
Being made to feel like what you say doesn't matter.
By constantly Interrupting me when I'd try to say something, or talking over me, or by very obviously not paying attention/listening/caring about what I'd say, I've grown up to be a very quiet person who very rarely makes any effort to say anything to anyone.
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You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar, or so the saying goes.
The same can be said for your interactions with cops, most of whom are perfectly happy to let minor infractions slide––When was the last time you were actually ticketed for jaywalking?––provided you're not a total Karen should you interact them.
Your local police officer likely doesn't care about jaywalking or the fact that you went five miles over the speed limit unless you give him a reason to, as we learned when Redditor Takdel asked police officers: "What stupid law have you enforced just because someone was an a-hole?"