People Reveal The Most Eye-Opening Thing They Realized About Their Family After They Moved Out.
This article is based on the AskReddit question "What's something you didn't realize about your family until after you moved out?"
[Source can be found at the end of the article]
1/18. How little interest my mom had/has in my life. She was always too busy catering to my sisters every whim to give a damn about what I was up to.
When I was in high school she never asked who I'd be hanging out with, where I was going, or when I'd be back. From when my parents split up to when I moved out 6 years later my mom and I had maybe 4-5 conversations that lasted more than a minute. Not much has changed. A while ago she said she talks to/sees my brother and sister way more than me even though my mom and I live in the same city. I said, "how is that different from when we lived together?" She said, "I guess you're right.
2/18. That after years of my dad being the bad guy and causing constant arguments with mum (and then me because I hated it), it was actually my mum who had spent over 50,000 secretly on clothes and jewellery on at least 10 different credit/ store cards all with stupid interest rates.
He made sure I didn't know the details, even if it meant having a really crap relationship with me and him being the big bad guy.
I now get on with my dad really well.
3/18. How welcoming my family was. Growing up, my friends always wanted to come to my house and so did my sister's friends, and I didn't realize why until I moved out and dealt with a lot of other people.
My parents wanted everyone to be comfortable, and if your family was bad, my mom wanted to adopt you. Orientation, race, disability, whatever, my mom just wanted everyone to be fed and warm and loved. And my dad just shrugged and fed them or handed over a blanket. Some of my friends in bad situations have even popped by now and again when I wasn't home to say hi or thanks.
4/18. How much happier they are without their kids in the house.
Their relationship was rocky when my sister and I were growing up. There were a few years when I didnt know if they still loved each other or not.
Once my sister and I moved out and grew up, they actually started enjoying themselves and having fun again. This is the strongest I've ever seen their relationship.
They just had their 33 anniversary, and I'm so happy for them.
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5/18. That my Mom spent 70% of our household income on herself. I didn't really understand the way money worked until I got out of the house..but wow, my poor Dad was a saint.
6/18. I come from an Asian family, and growing up, life was tough (under a tiger mum) and I can't wait to leave the house when I reach a legal age. Once I left for university and started living alone, I started to realize that there are many things that I've taken for granted. Things like:
1.How much my mum kept our house clean without much complaint, and how difficult cleaning actually is, especially toilets. Not to mention the frequency that you have to clean to keep your house decent looking. Learned how fast dust forms and hair fell when I started living alone.
2.How used I have become to my mum asking me to go to sleep, that once I started living alone, my sleeping hours suddenly transformed to 2 - 3am when I always slept before 12 back at home.
3.How home cooked meals give you something to look forward to everyday. Eating out is just cumbersome and blows a hole to your pocket easily.
4.How acts of love sometimes do not need to be spoken out. It's the action that counts. The house cleaning, the cooked meals, the paid bills, the chauffeuring. I may not have liked my house when I was growing up, but I found new respect for my family once I started living alone, and suddenly realizing that though I may not have the perfect family, I am still lucky to have a relatively normal one.
7/18. How much they dislike turning on the heat in the winter. The house is always freezing in the winter. I don't know if they're just being stingy or if they genuinely don't feel cold.
8/18. I realized after I moved out that my family stressing me out was really more of me thinking they were worse than they are. I created stress for myself because I was in the closet until about a year ago and thought everyone had a clue and were secretly judging me. I was most concerned about my aunt's opinion of me coming out. She took it well, but I didn't realize how much her [cut] love didn't change until I went to say goodbye to her, my uncle, and two cousins before I moved. They walked me to the door and she was crying the whole time. That hit me hard. She's only 13 years older than me and we basically grew up as siblings. She even lived with my mom during and after high school when her parents (my grandparents) divorced. We were really close, and I created distance between us because I knew her general views and was concerned with what she would think of me.
I haven't seen her since that day and it still kind of hurts to know that I was finally, truly honest with myself and my family, and she was fine with it, and we could have developed an even better relationship, but I left.
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9/18. How much I missed Mom's delicious cooking - and how she went out of her way to serve the things we loved the most, no matter how time-consuming in the kitchen.
She never asked for anything for herself in return, except that we love each other and try to keep harmony at home.
10/18. How bad my living conditions were. We had 5 dogs and 5 or 6 cats with a ton of birds and a huge (usually dirty) fish tank in a tiny suburban home. None of the dogs were totally potty-trained or fixed (mostly girls) so the house smelled like pet dander and urine pretty much 100% of the time. I eventually learned not to smell it, and as I grew up some animals died and we got rid of the fish tank so things were better. The only thing that was questionable when I was young was that I remember not being able to sit on the floor due to the amount of grease/urine seeping through the carpet whenever we attempted to scrub it with carpet cleaner. The smell would linger on you if you sat down, and if my books were on it they'd get stained yellow. I never knew anything better than that and figured it was just normal and a combination of dirt + carpet shampoo was the cause. Nope.
I brought my fianc home from college and he couldn't stay in the house because he was getting such a headache from the smell. I was mortified and so confused.
11/18. That my mom had a lot of peculiar rules which forced me to adopt weird habits I'd later have to explain to my confused roommates.
One of the rules she strictly enforced was the "no smelly garbage" rule. Basically, you weren't allowed to throw anything potentially smelly in the trash like a banana peel, apple core, chicken bone, avacado skin, you name it. Instead, she had an old tissue box she filled with plastic grocery bags, and you'd have to take one of those out, put your banana peel in it, tie it up, and hoard it in the freezer with the other peels all week until garbage day. Additionally, putting anything as innocuous as an unlicked or unrinsed yogurt lid in the trash would cause her fish it out and guilt you for making the trash smelly.
I fought the ridiculousness at first, but she would defend her rule and take it personally when I tried to explain how it was unreasonable. She'd eventually break down in tears and accuse me of not appreciating anything she ever did for me if that's what she had to do to make me back down. Eventually I gave up, embraced the absurdity of it all, and let it become part of the normal autopilot kitchen routine.
Years later, I had completely embraced that stuff as normal. I re-discovered how weird it was when my college roommates started poking fun at me for it.
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12/18. How emotionally abusive, controlling and manipulative my mother can be. You don't think about it when you're living with them, sort of a 'Well, that's just mom, I guess' mentality, but after moving out and seeing her losing control of me and my sister, as we're both living on our own now, it's like someone flipped a switch and now there's a woman trying to take back that control that we took from her. She still threatens to do things, but I'm currently self sufficient, and my sister is out of state. It's like watching a toddler when you take away their toy.
13/18. That we're all fat because our entire lives are centered around what and when we eat. We spend all day focusing on what to do for breakfast, lunch, dinner and anything in between. We eat until we're stuffed and then we spend the rest of the time talking about how good the food that we ate was. We don't have any other group activities together. So yeah, it's no small wonder that everyone has diabetes and I'm the one who escaped the self destructive spiral. It's so much easier to follow a diet when every meal isn't treated like the superbowl.
14/18. That my parents are the most miserable people in my life. I'm not sure if it has gotten worse since I moved out two months ago, or whether they were always like this I just didn't realise this. But my dad complains about everything he sees, judges everyone purely by the way they look or walk, complains at people for not speaking English to each other if they aren't English (even though he would speak English if we went on holiday to France). Just everything is his biggest disappointment. We were on holiday in NYC last week for the Halloween parade and all he did was complain. You're in New York, lighten up already.
This in turn brings my mum down, who then complains about him, and gets stressed out about things, and starts being generally quite horrible with me because I'm the closest easy target.
I suffered anxiety and depression the last few years, I still have it, but I can safely say it's not nearly as bad as I was when I was living with them to. Going on holiday with them last week made me realise that I don't love my family any more, and I'm better off without them.
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15/18. Growing up my mother didn't make much money, but it wasn't until I was out on my own, suffering with my own poor finances, when I realised that every time my mother would excuse herself not eating a meal with "I'm not hungry, I'll just have a bite of your food!" it was actually because she couldn't afford to feed both of us.
16/18. That my dad has a general anxiety disorder.
As a kid, I always thought he was very calm and stable. He generally has a very stoic demeanor and isn't very talkative or loud. He also has the best sense of humor and loves to tease my mom. I always looked up to him for.
His anxiety gives him high blood pressure and leaves his face perpetually flushed. He hates taking medication because if he reads the side effects, he will give himself most of them. I've been told that we can't leave him alone for more than a week, because he will check himself into the hospital for a heart attack (he's never had a heart attack).
I only learned all this last Christmas break. My family when to India for a friends wedding and the trip was stressing him out. He was worried about swelling in his feet from the flight and we had to take him to the hospital at one point. Turned out to be nothing. Learned all this from my sister casually mentioning it and talking about how obvious it was. I just noded and went along with.
17/18. This'll maybe sound slightly odd, but that we/they aren't huggers. For whatever reason, it never really clicked while living at home, but later on I realized that I basically couldn't remember ever being hugged by a family member. Which I realize sounds rather bad, but there was never a lack of affection. Just hugs.
Cue me being really awkward when it comes to hug, and when to hug.
18/18. How backwards they are. They've always been super supportive through school, hobbies, music, etc. they want to see me succeed, but they never really pushed me to take risks. I did pretty well in school and university thanks to my upbringing, but once I graduated, took a real job, hit depression, got out of it, got a new job, traveled around the world, I realized how little they know about the real world.
I can't talk to them about anything outside of the local/national "news" that comes on 4 times a day, Entertainment Tonight, some low budget low brow production series on prime time. Any time I would go somewhere outside of the states: "be careful! You read about the attacks!" I know they're doing what parents do by saying that, but theres a weight of actual fear behind it.
I realized how much they shielded me. I realized how little they know. I realized how afraid they are of everything.
Secretly, we all fear having birthdays like the one in Sixteen Candles, where nobody shows up and we're forced to deal with how lonely we feel as people. But sometimes, people have things happen on their birthday that put Molly Ringwald to shame.
It stinks to have your special day go sour. Moreover, it hurts, that if whatever happened was bad enough, you will never be able to not associate your birthday with that awful thing.