It can be easy to presume that parents and their children get along automatically.
But unfortunately, that is so far from the truth. There are SO many fraught, toxic, and already-destroyed relationships between children and their parents.
Of course, no parent sets off hoping it gets to that point. But sometimes the external circumstances, the other adults in the child's life, or the internal tendencies of that person--who is an autonomous individual--simply drive a wedge that, for parents, is impossible to surmount.
Some Redditors who are involved in a toxic parent-child relationship shared how it got there.
TheHeyHeyMan asked, "Parents who dislike their own children; why?"
A common thread was the negative response that many parents have to their children reliving their own flaws and struggles.
Many parents evidently treat child-rearing as a chance to perfect all the things that went wrong in their own lives. And when that doesn't happen, the all-too familiar person can be difficult to accept.
Churning Out Duplicates
"Probably because they're too much like me. I like to think that as a parent part of my job is to eliminate my foibles by helping my children be better than me. My failure as a parent instead has been to create copies; what I dislike about them is also what I hate about myself."
"Sometimes the harder you try the bigger you fail."
"P.S. I love my children."
A Flawed Approach
"Because after his mom died , I stopped disciplining him. I thought if I gave him everything I never had ; coolest clothes , shoes, toys , dirt bikes, game consoles etc would make me a good parent. I was wrong."
"He's about to turn 18 and i can't even stand to be in the same room as him. He's manipulative, mean, arrogant and condescending. And it's all my fault."
Projecting Onto a Clone
"I am not a parent, but a child who is not loved. Everything is quite ordinary, I just resemble my father, both in appearance and character, so my mother considered this a great reason for physical violence and discrimination among other 'right' children."
"As a result, my mother and I do not communicate, she abandoned me at the age of 12. The last thing I heard was, 'you should be grateful that I put up with you until you were a teenager.' Thank you for doing your job. Thank you, you disgusting person."
The Last Person He Wanted Recreated
"I hate my daughter bc she has all the bad characteristics of her mother and none of the good ones."
"She's mean, aggressive, demanding, she hits her classmates, gets violent when she doesn't get what she wants, yells loudly to overpower anyone around her when she can't use physical violence. She breaks things that aren't hers. She actually looks down on everyone around her; it's crazy, you can actually see it. She's six."
"....obviously, I am not the one who raises her. She's got a hard life ahead of her. Poor girl."
People Explain The Worst Thing That's Ever Happened To Them On Their Birthday
Others were more puzzled by the person their child turned out to be. These parents could not understand how, given the upbringing they provided, their child could ultimately be so unkind.
Choosing a Different Version of Community
"He has no conscience. He has brutalized people over rumors, you could watch him steal something, catch him with it, and he would lie. He ended up shooting someone."
"He grew up with an upper middle class suburban family that no one had ever even been arrested. My wife and I come from good families, he had so many aunts uncles, grandparents, cousins who all supported and loved him. He could have gone to college for whatever he wanted."
"He chose to join a gang. Then we found out he tells everyone he turned out this way because his mother beat him and I was always passed out drunk (neither are at all true.)."
"I can't deal anymore. It put me in the mental hospital multiple times."
"I just had to write him out of my life."
"His brother had a great childhood and is pursuing his Doctorate."
Too Late to Turn it Around?
"I'm not a parent but my uncle and aunt really hate their son because he's accomplished nothing in life and is a complete failure but still has an ego higher than the Mount Everest."
"He's always mean to everyone."
An Eternal Mystery
"My sister and I - who were well behaved and successful - never understood why we were borderline neglected while my piece of sh** brother was showered with praise and love."
"Oh well. I don't treat my kids that way."
A Whirlwind Debacle
"He did terrible in school, became a drug dealer, squatted in a house owned by the family, decided it'd be a good idea to start a METH LAB in the basement of said house, and then hired a crappy tv lawyer to blackmail us into selling the house back to him!"
"I can say there was a brief period in time where I disliked my youngest. I need to say I loved him and would have given up my life life for him but I did not like him. He was preteen and was trying to test the limits of our parenting and would question and/or resist EVERYTHING!"
"It was a trying time but now (17) he is probably my best friend and we enjoy being together and working on project around the house."
Others discussed the ways external circumstances--particularly around the birth of the child--that played into growing dislike as they grew up.
Cannot Accept What Happened
"my mother wanted a boy, had one before me but it was a miscarriage, i was conceived a year after, i was an early delivery, she was in coma for 2 weeks and after that she did not take me or touch me or look at me or even fed me for days."
"my dad took care of me and looked after me. she still curses me and wishes it was a boy"
The Product of Infidelity
"My father was sober for 18 years before I was born, then only started drinking again once my mom got pregnant with me. This eventually led to my father cheating, and my parents getting divorced. Since my birth was technically to blame for this, both of my parents despise me."
"I'm not old enough to move out of my mom's house yet, so I'm spending just about every day hiding in my room, making as little noise as possible, and trying to bother as few people as I can."
"My mother does not like me because she never got attached to me at birth. A year before my twin sister and I were born, our parents had triplets who all died after a few days. Untreated trauma followed. I was born nearly suffocated and poorly, so my mother, wanting to protect herself from more trauma, never attached to me. She did however to my twin sister who was born healthy and thrived."
"Years went by and this initial lack of attached turned into resentment or dislike during my childhood because by the time we were eight years old, our parents were divorced, and I physically resembled my dead-beat father. This only worsened during my teenage years as I was beginning to act up years of neglect and became depressed. She disliked the signs of her own doing neglectful parenting and lack of love in me. I remind her of that."
"Ever since we have pretended to get along, but the relationship is never really there. I am a mother of two myself now and have taken all of this on board trying to do better. I am also trying to understand her. That ultimately this was not her fault."
"My dad didn't like me for some reason. I asked him several times but never got an answer. He loved my older brother (the prodigal only boy), and he lavished on my two younger sisters. I need to add that my dad was married 3 times, and we have different mothers (my younger sisters are both from his 3rd marriage)."
"My mom said that he wanted her to have an abortion, my mom was the one that also initiated the divorce, whereas his 1st marriage he initiated, so my mom also thinks that she hit his ego pretty bad with that. I look like my mom, so that could be a factor too. He died March 2019, so I'll never know, but it affected me greatly."
"Parents, don't let your children know that you don't like them, it's a horrible feeling. The kids didn't ask to be here, you were the parent, their actions reflect your parenting (or lack there of)."
Others had some fun with the prompt.
"He's a vindictive and conniving prick, that's why. His first birthday is next week and I have scant hope that he'll change his ways."
Still Working Out the Kinks
"He is a 12 year old with no concern for personal hygiene and also manipulates me with the best hugs."
"Wash your feet you disgusting brat."
There's no question about it, this was a very depressing list to read through. But hopefully there are some lessons we can glean from these posts.
Maybe you surmised a way to make sure you don't do the same thing if you already have or plan to have kids.
Want to "know" more? Never miss another big, odd, funny, or heartbreaking moment again. Sign up for the Knowable newsletter here.
Whenever someone requests you to back up whatever wisdom or knowledge you just imparted, you somehow doubt if whatever you verbalized is actually true.
Without explanation, sometimes you just know things to be absolutely true. Call it your gut or strong spidey sense, but many of us have these moments where we are at a loss for words but innately know something to be undeniably accurate.
Curious to hear examples of this, Redditor TheToastyNuts asked:
"What do you swear on your life to be 100% true?"
These Redditors had very specific memories or thoughts.
"I look good in the mirror. I look terrible in photos."
What Are The Odds
"That the printer will always run out of ink or that the paper will get jammed when you're already rushing and stressed."
"Happens all the time."
"The makers of baby wipes intentionally wrap them in a way so when you pull 1 out the container you get 2-3 and waste them because they are a bitch to put back in."
"Every cart I pull at Walmart has at least one square tire."
Shoppers And Drivers
"The way people drive and the way they use a shopping trolley are directly linked."
"If I’m having a bad day it can always get worse."
The beauty of the movie going experience is the fact that we all have different interpretations. Some, however, are very unique.
Goonies In Theaters
"The first time I saw the movie The Goonies in theaters, there was slightly more footage to the movie. Just a few camera angles and scenes here and there. I watched the movie twice in the same theater during the original run, and only opening night had the longer version. 2 weeks later when I saw it again, they played the normal version that is considered official now."
Honey, I Forgot The Scene
"I swear there was originally a scene in Honey I Shrunk The Kids where the neighbor dad flicks his cigarette butt over the fence and nearly burns up his own son. It's not on any home release I've ever seen."
If there was an evolution about America's favorite snack, we missed the memo.
"They changed the Reese’s recipe."
"The chocolate is hit or miss - sometimes it's amazing chocolaty goodness and sometimes it's all crumbly and tastes like ash. But NOBODY ELSE KNOWS WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT AND GOOGLE DOESN'T EITHER."
That Waxy Flavor
"A lot of candy companies have switched to vegetable oil instead of cocoa butter in their chocolate and it makes a huge difference in taste (I think). The candy with the vegetable oil always tastes and feels waxy to me."
"I've thought they changed the recipe for Reese's for awhile now too. The ingredients still show cocoa butter though so maybe they changed something else. They're certainly not the same."
I find that if you ever change lines at the grocery store because the one you're in seems longer than the others, you are gravely mistaken.
Because the moment you step out of line, the new line somehow becomes much longer.
Come on. We all know this to be 100% accurate.
Anyone managing to hold down a steady job during challenging times is generally understood as admirable.
Honest living, as they say, is something that is commendable.
While that is true to some extent, there are certain ways people earn money that is frowned upon by others who view the work as completely objectionable.
Curious to hear what some of those might be, Reddtor UlyssesWatson asked:
"What is one profession that you have absolutely zero respect for?"
Those who hawk knock-off merchandise or fraudulent services to unsuspecting customers are seen as total shysters.
Not The Real Deal
"People that create artificial scarcity."
"Televangelist priests who have hundreds of millions, don't pay taxes, and tell people they don't love God if they don't keep donating. Preach. Have a TV church. But don't scam people out of millions a month! There was one guy, Jesse Duplantist, who told his followers that God wanted him to have a new jet, and they needed to give him $54M to buy it because his current jet was outdated. Kenneth Copeland defended his jet, saying that he couldn't be expected to get on a crappy plane full of dope heads and demons. Excuse me? You mean the people who you're supposed to serve who send you money?"
Behind The Facade
"Kenneth Copeland looks like a demon wearing human skin but the skin is getting old and can no longer hide his true form. Idk but I hate looking at him, I get a sense of evil and malice emanating from him."
Solicitors and job recruiters don't have your best interests in mind when they're thinking about collecting their paychecks.
It's All An Act
"Those recruitment people for fake talent agencies. They do these whole presentations (often in person!) to get new actors and models to sign up at the end with an initiation fee sometimes in the thousands. A lot of the people being scammed don’t know the company is a scam until afterwards when they look them up on Yelp or the BBB. The recruiter usually seems legit. I don’t know how they sleep at night knowing that’s how they make the entirety of their income."
"I almost got scammed into one of those as a 14 year old. My best friend and I begged our parents to take us to a 'modelling agency' recruitment event. Of course we were both "accepted", but then they had to speak with our parents, to get the money. My parents saw right through it. They didn't explain right away why they were saying no, and I was so angry and said terrible things to them on the way home. Later they explained that they thought it was suspicious, and that if they wanted my 'talent' they should be offering me a contract and money, not the other way around. My friend's parents did fall for it, and it turned out to be a pretty much just what they used to call 'finishing school'. It was basically classes on 'society/social etiquette' and other bullsh*t. Stuff like 'don't put your dirty napkin on your plate' and proper table settings and what utensil is for what."
"It was Barbizon."
"Bro I could barely handle working at a Wells Fargo call center back in 2012. They hounded you to try selling anything and everything to every person you talked to."
"Customer has $3.27 in their account and has overdrawn 15 times in the last 2 months? Better try getting them to sign up for another checking account (which usually had monthly fees) and also get them to apply for a credit card for overdraft protection. Supervisors didn’t care. You were expected to pitch something to every customer you talked to. I hated myself every minute I worked there."
Getting Off Pitch
"When I worked at guitar center I had to pitch the following to every customer one after another no exceptions."
"Pitch the credit card, if no pitch the layaway, if no pitch trading the gear they own. No matter what they buy pitch the pro coverage (warrenty$) don't forget to pitch the string club, and don't forget to pitch the lessons. Do not fail to mention that we offer rentals. Do not fail to get their phone number, email, and address before they leave. Assure them that we will not call them."
"Don't forget to call them and pitch the upcoming sale..."
A Cult Following
"Network Marketers (MLM) are the worst."
A Grand Scheme
"I lost my wife to an MLM. She refused to believe it was a pyramid scheme. Like, only 50 people out of the 200k involved made any real money. How is that not a pyramid scheme? I have a sticky post on my profile about my experience."
This is not how people usually seek fame.
Star Of Her Instagram
"Some local influencer took a video of me walking my dog yesterday by the beach and posted it on her insta. I looked through the hundreds of comments last night when someone sent me the thing. Many of the comments are vulgar."
"I think it’s a d*ck move to film someone without their consent for clout."
If you feel good about how you've earned your money at the end of the day, you've hit the jackpot.
Unfortunately, the same can't be said of others.
Even though we always root for the hero in film, television and books, it's often the villain which lingers in our memory.
From Captain Hook to Regina George, it's hard not to admire their calculating, duplicitous ways, not to mention their often snazzy attire.
Interestingly, the villains who often terrify us the most are those that we find ourselves relating to in some capacity.
If it doesn't necessarily justify their actions, in the end, being aware of what led them to become what they are makes us all the more fascinated, and even more terrified of them.
Sometimes, we might even find ourselves flat out rooting for them... Is Miranda Priestley really the Devil in The Devil Wears Prada?
"What villain was terrifying because they were right?"
Deep Down, His Mission Was Noble
"Magneto is my favorite villain of all time."
"Every time his motives are brought to light I get that 'yeah, I kinda get it' moment."- IdentifiesAsATroll
"The holocaust survivor, not wanting his species genocided."- Chasingtheimprobable
Progress? How Awful!
"None of you said the most terrifying one."
"Mojo Jojo from the Powerpuff girls."
"He wanted to bring free energy and advanced technology to the people."
"And in one episode he actually did."
"He made the world an amazing place."
"And then the Powerpuff girls ruined it all."- TheMustardisBadcartoon network GIFGiphy
Can A Hero Really Be A "Menace"?
"Mr. Wilson from 'Dennis the Menace'."- Monsterenergyboi
Sharing?!?! How Awful!
"Stevie from Wizards of Waverly Place."
"Her entire goal was to stop families from giving up their magic to just one person in the family."
"Like…we’re really supposed to be rooting against her?"
"It just seemed super out of character for Alex to go against that plan."- LunarRabbit18
A Lapse In The Force...
"Count Dooku just straight up told Obi-Wan that the Sith control the Senate."- dmatred501christopher lee GIFGiphy
Even More Ironic Today...
"Red Queen 'Resident Evil'."
"I have locked down this facility to prevent a world ending virus, please could you 'good guys' pay attention and not blow holes in the doors."- Not_invented-Here
Bees Have A Way Of Riling People Up!
"Ken from 'The Bee Movie'."
"I too would go absolutely berserk if a talking bee stole my girlfriend and gaslit me into thinking I was crazy."- _shes_a_jar
Villain, Or Just Responsible Parents?
"Aria’s parents on 'Pretty Little Liars'."
"They’re villanized for not letting their high school daughter date her teacher?"- clarabelle220Pretty Little Liars Love GIFGiphy
Seriously, She Broke Into Their House And Damaged Their Property!
"The bears from goldilocks and the three bears."- throwaway_0x90
Sometimes the best part of rewatching your favorite movies, particularly after a significant lapse of time, is noticing things you didn't notice before.
Such as the fact that Ferris Bueller''s Ed Rooney might have only been making sure that a mischievous socio-path didn't get away with constantly feigning illness.
Or that The Parent Trap's Meredith Blake's anger might have come from the fact that she was nearly drowned by a pair of 11-year-olds.
Making one question, who is the real villain here?
Ice cream lovers of the 90s fondly remember Viennetta, an ice cream cake made of ripples of vanilla ice cream and compound chocolate which made one feel like they were eating something they'd be served in a high-end patisserie, and not found in your supermarket's frozen aisle.
While Breyer's discontinued Viennetta in the late 1990s, Good Humor delighted fans when they began to redistribute it in January of 2021.
If Viennetta could find its way back into the frozen aisle, one can't help but think about other long-discontinued things we would love to see back in action.
Be it a flavor of ice cream, potato chip or soft drink, a former TV show, a festival or parade, or even modes of transportation, who doesn't occasionally find themselves falling down a nostalgic rabbit hole and wonder "if only..."
"What discontinued thing do you really want brought back?"
One And Done
"Paying once for work software, like Microsoft word or Adobe PDF, and actually owning it thereafter without having to pay a monthly subscription fee."- dusmeyedin
So Much More Than Instructions
"Physical video game manuals or magazines."
"They were so f*cking cool before and then they decided to just stop doing them."-
Film Over Digital Any Day!
"I grew up looking at photos my amateur photographer father took on the stock."
"When I got old enough to start taking pictures myself they discontinued it."
"Nothing captures colors quite the same way."- iehsuenwomen in film cinematography GIF by This Is What A Film Director Looks LikeGiphy
Bring Back The Lock And Key!
"Not having to download an app for everything."
"The pool at my apartment complex is only accessible by scanning a QR code on a specific app just for the pool now."
"It's ridiculous."- LowerPatience207
The Way Apple Pie Should Be!
"Deep-fried McDonald’s apple pie."
"The one from the 1980s to 1990s."
"The one that was crispy and the temperature of molten plutonium inside."
"That was the best."- newnhb1
"Getting a poster that is a map of the game world with the purchase of a game."- Bubbly_Information50
"Surprises in the cereal boxes!"
"Not the 'enter two codes inside on our website' bull."
"Actual, physical THINGS in a package floating somewhere in that box of Cheerios!"- sathil-42general mills cereal GIFGiphy
Cake In A Box!
"The Philadephia Cheesecake Bars."
"I loved the strawberry ones, I can't remember if there were other flavors."- CrimsonRaven712
Everyone's Entitled To Their Opinion...
"The dislike option on YouTube."- TheKillerNut
Those Were The Good Old Days...
"Borders bookstores."- TripotapusRexPeople Hello GIF by InnovatorsBoxGiphy
From horseradish and cheddar potato chips to Game Boys, we all have things we wish would make a return.
However, sometimes not having access to things we once loved is just what it takes to encourage ourselves to try a new experience.
...Only to find it discontinued five years later.