Getting gifts is supposed to be a fun celebration of the occasion - but we all know that one person who uses gifting as an opportunity to air their beefs.
In the movies it's someone like the catty mother-in-law, but here in the real world this sort of pettiness can come from literally anywhere.
Reddit user itsthedreamteam asked:
Some people take these insults with a grain of salt, or brush them off as being the other persons issue. But for others, these gifts really hit on insecurities and soft spots and so they found them really hurtful.
How people handle getting awful gifts varies, but one thing is pretty consistent - these gift givers are flagrant petty little monsters. So if you've got one in your life, take comfort in knowing you're not alone.
Here are some of the most insulting gifts people have gotten from their own personal monsters.
"Chubbier Than That"
My mom always buys me clothes, more specifically shirts from target or goodwill, for every gift, even though:
a) I tell her I have too many clothes, I've been trying to get rid of clothes, I don't want or need anymore clothes
b) she always buys me sizes XL and up even though I'm a comfortable S/M, and then when I tell her it's too big, she always says, shocked, "I thought it would fit" , and occasionally even add that she thought I was "chubbier than that"
I have alopecia, which is when your hair falls out in random patches on your body. It got to the point that I had to shave my hair because I had bald spots on the top of my head. Having a bald head as a little girl was tough. I opted out of wearing hats or a bandanna because I felt dumb covering it up when everyone could already tell I was bald.
My grandma though would always force me to wear hats when I came over to her house. She would ALWAYS say stuff like "Little girls aren't supposed to look like that, cover up." It hurt but I ignored it and put the hats on, I was super quiet as a kid and didn't make a fuss.
For my birthday my grandma bought me 3 different kinds of hats. I remember sitting there wanting to cry the whole time after opening her gift but I just sat there quiet. Honestly, those 3 hats ruined my entire 9th birthday, I felt so ugly.
A Decade Of ChickensGiphy
When I was in high school my mom got me a shirt that made fun of my ADD. It referenced chickens. There's this common joke that goes something like "People say I have ADD, but they just don't under- OH LOOK A CHICKEN!"
She then proceeded to buy chicken related things for the next few years and to this day points out anything related to chickens like it's some kind of inside joke.
It didn't really bother me at first but after nearly a decade now it honestly hurts my feelings.
When I hadn't lost all my baby weight 6 months after child birth, my mother- in -law gave me a plastic pig magnet for the refrigerator. It oinked every time you opened the door.
My dad's third wife got me a book about manners. I used it to level her coffee table the same day. She re gifted it to me at least 5 other times, I found a way to put it back in her house every time.
Dark Body Hair
My divorced parents, independently, with no contact with each other, gave me a No-No (a hair removal device) and an offer for laser hair removal... without ever talking to me about my body hair before... and in front of everybody. 😐
I've been made fun of for my dark body hair all my life or dealt with people pointing out that I've 'missed a spot', so it especially was embarrassing when I never asked for either of those things.
Be A "Better" Parent
My very religious ex mother in law gave me a book on better parenting through Christ.
A) I'm not at all religious and she knew it
B) It's rude and presumptuous to give someone a book on how to be a "better" parent.
How They Perceive Me
Size 4XL pants from my aunt. As a 170-pound teenage girl this crushed my spirit. I was only a size large but thought this was how they perceive how big I was...
She Meant Well
7 year old me was super in love with foxes. I made little clay models of fox families, had soft toys, drew pictures, etc.
My Yia Yia (grandma), knowing this, gave me a fox fur coat. It even had little fox tails hanging off it. Gracious little me thanked her with a trembling lip, then went home and sobbed. I remember hugging it as if I could bring it back to life but also being revolted by it. I handed it to mum and told her to burn it. Cried over that for days.
Yia Yia meant well, but man did the intention get corrupted somewhere. She bought me a plush toy fennec fox years later and kinda made up for it.
Embarrass And InsultGiphy
My mom gave me an electronic toothbrush, toothpaste, and mouthwash for my birthday - right in front of my long term girlfriend and family... knowing full well I'm self conscious about my teeth and I already own all those things.
Later, when I very politely asked her to, in the future, do things like that privately she cried about how hard it was for to do that. How hard it was for her to embarrass and insult me on my birthday.
I'm thinking of getting her a self help book entitled "Living with old age" next year.
Towels. While the gift itself doesn't sound bad the reasoning behind it was incredibly insulting. I was 17 years old at the time and a senior in high school. It was a Christmas gift from my step-mother. She gave me a set of towels and told me I would need them when I moved out at 18. The kicker was she gave her son (my step brother) a brand new computer for Christmas. This was in 1992 when personal computers started around $4000.
I was pretty salty about it.
When I graduated college, my parents gave me a card to congratulate me. Inside the envelope, my never-showed-any-real-interest-in-my-life father had included a fridge magnet (and this was not intended to be a joke)... the fridge magnet said:
"Life doesn't come with an instruction book, that's why we have fathers"
This was given to me shortly after he had stormed out of my graduation ceremony early, because apparently he 'doesn't have time for this'.
I had/still have no words for that 'gift'.
Women's clothes and other things, because I'm a trans man and they knew it.
I am too. I've gotten perfume, make up/feminine body washes and stuff, and clothes. I give them to my sister and end up with nothing or not much.
I'm Not Fat
My Gramma once gave me cut out magazine articles about losing weight when I was 14 or 15... I wasn't fat. Also, Gramma, doctors don't prescribe amphetamines anymore! (Or they didn't 25 years ago, maybe they do now, I don't know because I'M NOT FAT!)
I started working evenings so my husband started having to make dinners. My MIL got me a magnet for the fridge that said "I'm too pretty to cook"
It's like cooking dinner is the only way a woman could possibly contribute to a household. And under no circumstances should this task fall on a man. Funny thing is my husband discovered that he truly loves cooking, it's not a chore but a passion.
The magnet was meant to be a jab. She has mastered the art of passive aggressiveness. I get lotions for Christmas that I'm allergic to. Unless I happen to also be pregnant. If I'm pregnant I get lotions I'm not allergic to. Mother's day cards that are simply signed " I know you try". Yeah, she can't stand me.
A book on how to apply makeup, and the best way to get dressed to look pretty, I'm not the best looking girl, and I got it from my mom and grandma, as like, a helpful book, and I felt insulted.
Father who left when my mom got pregnant sent me $10 and a card that said happy 15th birthday for my 16th. I was trying to save cash for a car so I took it, but now that I'm a father I literally can't imagine doing such a thing to my kids.
Christmas In August
I received a CD that has children singing revamped Christmas songs where they change the lyrics. First of all, I hate the sound of children singing. Secondly, Christmas music sucks and everyone knows it. Finally, re-vamped songs where the lyrics have been changed are unartistic, unintelligent pieces of shit. Weird Al Yankovic is a great example of this.
My aunt bought this for me for my birthday. My birthday is in August. I still don't talk to her at family gatherings.
A bible, because I have depression, anxiety, and ADHD. I'm not religious but, still, I felt like it was a way of telling me that I wasn't actually depressed, I just needed to pray.
I was raised by Christian parents and stepparent, I used to pray but I still got worse. Not blaming anyone, I just felt as if it didn't work.
This may seem dumb, but it kinda hurt me. So my mom had gotten me this book 2 years ago for/by "Geeky Girls" thinking it was a graphic novel kind of story. She chose that because I can't read well (its true, i struggle). She was sort of right, but I wasn't all that interested in the book - but that's not why it was insulting.
Last year leading up to Christmas, I was talking non-stop about Homestuck and was really hoping I'd get something relating to it. Nope.
Instead, my mom got me the exact same book from the year before. Really hurt.
I have a self-made millionaire uncle who decided to give me free samples from his company as both my birthday and Christmas present since I was born close to the 25th of December. His company sells ingredients to bakeries like Nabisco, so what I got was dried cranberries and chocolate chips, and a shitty golfing shirt with his company's name on it. The same shirts he gave out at his last convention appearance.
Someone To Love You
After I lost a bunch of weight, my grandmother sent me a card saying how I was pretty now "since you lost all that weight" and how I'd be able to find someone to love me. She also ended the card with "Don't eat too much again!" I was turning 17. It was a birthday card.
Apparently, Happy Birthday wasn't enough.
A Shaming Moment
When I was a teen I grew really tall real fast, I outgrew my shirts and they became belly shirts. Being 12 I didn't have any money so my mom started commenting on how much I like to show my stomach off. I told her I just don't have any clothes that fit. She goes and buys large size sweaters and such, everything is too big. "Now you don't have to dress slutty."
That logic never made sense to me. Everything I have is because you gave it to me. I hated that Christmas because when you're 12 -15, you're really insecure about everything and I hate that my mom turned a happy holiday into a shaming moment. She also gifted me a hairbrush when I told her mine broke 2 months prior.
She waited two months to replace an essential item so she could pass it off as a present. I had dreads in my hair that needed to be cut out because I wasn't able to brush my naturally curly hair. My mom is not very thoughtful. But I know she didn't mean to be so cruel.
Dirty And Fat
Last Christmas, my boyfriends family gave me an unwrapped bar of soap and the offer of a gym membership...
That's Not My Name
One relative always forgot how my name was spelled and bought me a misspelled personalized gift almost every single year.
When I was 15 and chubbier than my sister and mother (I was a size 8 compared to their 00 and 2) my grandma gave me a skirt she said she was sure would fit me. It did ... but it also fit my sister and my mom at the same time, and I'm sure if my dad was home, he could've stepped into it as well.
I took a year off of school after I graduated high school to stay home and make extra money, my parents bought me pots, pans, and Tupperware, and then said "We forgot you weren't going to school, but at least we can use them."
I was 8 years old hanging out in San Francisco with my mom and aunt. We stumble upon a toy store and my aunt gets excited and tells me to wait outside while she buys me something. This got me excited. What was she going to get me? Lego? Something that flies? Maybe another train for my Brio set?
She comes out and hands me a little stuffed Curious George toy, and I had never once been into Curious George. I knew about it, but I never expressed interest in it. My aunt on the other hand LOVED Curious George, and already had a bunch of the franchise's stuff at her place, and I never paid much attention to any of it. I take the doll and look at it, my 8 year old face unable to contain the disappointment. After tumbling it in my hands for a few seconds, she snatches it away from me and says, "Fine, if you don't like it, I'll take it!" Which of course makes my juvenile brain want it back and also to not upset her, but she kept it anyways.
Not so much an insulting gift, just an insulting experience from an Aunt who knew what I liked, but decided to get me a toy of something she liked instead.
I Didn't Want To
My college boyfriend's mother got me nothing for Christmas. I had been with him for 3 1/2 years, bought everyone in the family a couple gifts, and I was staying at their house for our entire winter break. I didn't bring it up. I already knew she didn't particularly care for me.
I heard my boyfriend ask her why there weren't any gifts for me and she flat out said "I didn't want to."
It's fun to sit around and pretend, isn't it?
Or maybe you win the lottery, it doesn't matter. The point is there's a lot of things you can do with a billion dollars, so with the world the way it is let's take a fun trip down imaginary lane.
What would you first do if you ever became a billionaire?
These are the people who would help the world continue running, keeping the sails on the ship and the car on the road. They spend their money responsibly, reasonably, and with caution.
Maybe a little boring, but extremely necessary.
The Bare Minimum
"Turn on double verification in my bank account"
"Bank account or bank accounts?"
Let's Put These Things In Proper Order
"Get an attorney"
"Then an accountant"
"It's so unlikely to become an accidental billionaire, but basically this, the only way to survive it is to create a company that runs your life and has multiple employees. Your attorneys, accountants, drivers and security detail. You are now the CEO of a small company that is dedicated to your safety."
Doing Things For Others As Well As Yourself
"This will sound cliche.
Take care of friends and family.
Travel for remainder of my life."
"You would be popular for taking care of your friends and it's a good thing to do, but i feel like it would get weird once the word gets out. You might suddenly find yourself surrounded by a lot of long-lost friends."
Of course, if you've been gifted billions of dollars you don't have to go down the reasonable route. Instead you could take all of your money and do something silly with it. Something obnoxious.
A Whole Lot Of Nothing
"Nothing, with that kind of money I could afford not to do anything for a while."
"Anyone with a billion dollars who is still working is a psychopath."
"Buy two senators and make them fight."
"They are surprisingly cheap; can you get a few more and let the rest of us watch?"
Start A Lot Of Beef With A Lot Of People
"I'd employ a law firm that semi-exclusively litigated my petty squabbles with the world. False advertising. Cop car paint colors. Whatever else that bothers me."
There's no explanation for these ones. They say money makes you eccentric and these people's dream purchases are proof of that idea.
Who's Gonna Stop You?
"I would never tell anyone and pull money out of my @ss when i need it."
@ss pennies do give a certain amount of confidence."
Sounds Like A YA Novel In The Making
"I'd build a Hunger Games theme park complete with an Arena and invite 24 children a year."
That's Some Fancy Ketchup, Bro
"I'd still eat Kraft Dinner but with really expensive ketchups. Dijon ketchup."
"And an emu. I bet you always wanted an emu."
Dream big. Have fun imagining your future.
Just don't dream of a death match for kids. That's probably not an ideal way to spend your cash.
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Our interactions with strangers can be pleasant – whether it's a fellow customer at a store smiling at us or talking sports or other mutual interests with a friendly bartender.
But then there are those who you just can't figure out but engage in a conversation with anyway until something in your gut tells you to abort.
Whether it's an ominous situation or a mysterious individual, your instincts telling you something is not right is usually accurate and what happens next depends on whether or not you act on what your inner voice tells you.
"What is Your Best 'I'm in Danger' Story?
These predicaments could have resulted in severe consequences. Or not.
"Driving through jasper on our way to leduc when my dad saw a family on the side of the road looking off into the bush off the side of the road. So we pull over and walk over to ask if they need any help. They say that they saw a bear in there and were throwing rocks at it to get it to come out so they could take pictures. My dad told us to get back to the car and we sped off down the highway. To this day i wonder what happened to those idiots."
"Not me, but a really close friend was going through flight school and they were going through emergency procedures and the instructor asked something along the lines of."
"What would you do if you noticed the power was lost?"
"And at that very moment, the aircraft lost power and my buddy said 'Well that's a neat trick and makes it feel real.' To which the instructor said 'No, that's not me. This is real.' Apparently, my buddy giggled and said 'oh no.'"
"And then they had to crash into the gulf and he swam away."
"I can't think of a better example than that."
The Thing In The Bushes
"When I was about 5-6, my mom and her best friend took us kids out huckleberry picking. We brought a battery power radio so we were making noise and would not startle any wildlife. We were all kind of spread out around these wild berry bushes. The adults heard this snorting, stomping, and sounds of a large animal moving through the dense overgrown areas coming towards us. They freaked out, screaming for us kids to run to them so we could run to the truck together. Moms friend threw her FULL bucket of huckleberries (5 gallon bucket, took all day to fill) at whatever was coming, hoping to distract it..."
"It was a cow."
You never know what strangers are capable of, especially where drugs are involved.
Sacrifice For The Devil
"I used to work in a group home. I was working a night shift and one of the residents was pacing by his room. I asked him what he was doing, he went into his room quickly. I assumed he was on meth since that's what he liked doing. Thought not much of it until a few hours goes by. I go to get some water and heat up my food, and he is standing in the hallway. Again, I ask him how he's doing and try to check in with him. This guy starts speaking in some made-up language in a loud whisper (think Harry Potter talking to the basalisk). He then takes like 4 steps slowly toward me then stops. He says 'I can't stop him forever.'"
"I call police for his and the the safety of the house."
"Police show up and talk to him for a bit in private. One officer comes back to my office and says 'yeeeah, he's not himself right now. Said the date was May 50, 2100.' It was January... and 2015. They took him away. They also found and took a pocket knife off of him and gave it to me for safekeeping."
"Now if that wasn't already messed up, I went back on the security footage and I saw him stand outside of my office door (outside my view) for like 30 minutes without me realizing. Standing still, like in paranormal activity."
"I checked the camera from when he was speaking the weird language, and he was standing there for like 20 minutes heavy breathing before I walked by."
"2 weeks goes by and he's released from the hospital sober and mentally present again. He decided to move out of the house. He came by to grab his stuff, and pulled me aside to apologize. I forgave him and tried to brush it off. Buddy looks me in the eyes and said that he was planning on killing me that night for a blood sacrafice since he was seeing some crazy stuff and he believed a demon was controlling him, but the police ruined his plan."
"I kept the knife as a morbid souvenir."
The following people these Redditors engaged with were very suspect. No drugs were apparently involved, but they were apparently quite mental.
"So, just for context, I'm Scottish. I was on Holiday in Durham and it was late afternoon. We just arrived and we were going to visit the Cathedral."
"So these lads (likely students, they were obviously on a night out or something) came up to me and were like 'hey do you know how to get to so-and-so street' and I was like 'sorry, I'm not from here.' Suddenly the guy got mad and was all 'are you Irish, ARE YOU IRISH?!' And I was like 'No I'm Scottish' (but I was sure I was going to get beaten up because, let's be honest, if he's like this to someone who's Irish then he'll not exactly be hunky Dory with Scots), but when I said that his demenor did a 180 and he was all 'oh right, you're cool, sorry to bother you' and walked off."
"And that's the story of when I was nearly hatecrimed because someone thought I was Irish."
"Went out for a drink with a pretty girl I got talking to on a bus. She was a bit awkward, but seemed kinda fun. She kept talking about her roommate, and the crazy hi-jinks they got up to. She even joked that we would have a threesome if I went back to her place."
"We went back to hers... at which point I found out that her roommate was a barbie doll that she talked to like it was a real person. Her place clearly hadn't been cleaned for years, and the toilet was full of green 'matter.'"
"The final straw for me was when I stepped on her cat's corpse..."
Not The Basement
"Couple of years ago I was picking up a chair I had bought from craigslist. I drove to this guys house and got a creepy vibe instantly when I stepped inside, for reasons I can't really understand to this day. After a minute or so of small talk, where he was mostly busy staring at me and not completely focused on the conversation, he asked me to follow him down to the basement where the chair supposedly was. As he went for the staircase he raised the volume of the music playing to a level that was distinctly louder than normal."
"I noped the f'k out and went straight home again."
In middle school, I was not a popular kid. So it surprised me when my fellow classmates who were viewed as "popular" actually engaged in a conversation with me during lunch when I was sitting by myself.
They asked me what my favorite food was and what TV shows I watched. I genuinely thought they were interested in me, but I was also skeptical about their forced friendliness.
My suspicions were confirmed when, in my peripheral vision, I saw their buddies dragging a trashcan over towards me.
I blurted, "gotta go!" and I darted. Those jerks were going to throw me in the garbage!
Chocolate milk hair and spaghetti sauce-drenched shirt was avoided that day, thanks to my gut instincts. Damn bullies.
Deciding to foster a child, while clearly admirable, is the furthest thing from a no-brainer. So much consideration must go into the decision to provide safety and security to a child who hasn't always had it.
Nobody has ever left a thriving, trauma-free family dynamic and found themselves suddenly plopped into the foster care system.
A child arrives there because the adults in their lives have struggled to give them what they need, be that love, nutrition, physical safety, or stable emotional environments.
So a foster parent enters a child's narrative a little after the fact. That can make the whole experience a real challenge.
Curious to learn the specifics of those challenges, Redditor RaeRai293 asked:
"People who are or have been in the foster system: What would you say to someone who is considering becoming a foster parent?"
Many people unpacked the nuanced dynamics of a well-known element of foster care: children arrive with a history of trauma.
"I had a friend growing in up whose biological parents were foster parents. I remember that when I went round I wasn't allowed alone with certain children there. We are still friends now and said that alot of children are from abusive families, physically, mentally."
"So you need to be prepared to receive children that have experienced horrific things in their life and the baggage that brings."
You Will Not Be Perfect
"Take care of yourself. You are not a superhero. If you don't remember self care (mental, emotional & physical), you will struggle."
"You cannot give from an empty cup and foster kids will drain you. They are suffering from trauma and you will feel that. Don't ignore your needs or they will suffer more."
Prepare for Some Sorrow
"It can be extremely heartbreaking. My aunt and uncle fostered a few kids. The 2 youngest girls were i believe 6 and 4 when they took them in. Their birth mother was an addict and sex worker."
"I remember once we had planned a camping trip."
"When we told them we were going camping they started hysterically crying. I later found out to them 'camping' was sleeping out in the streets."
Coming on the back of those upsetting realities, the foster parent's conduct and parenting style needs to be very deliberate.
"Regardless of how long the kid stays with you, they will remember how you treat them. Be patient, many may not understand what is happening at first. Most will be angry but even if they upset you don't let it show."
It's Not About Your Opinion
"Have lots of empathy for everyone involved. Put aside your judgments and listen. Figure out how you can best serve the kids. There is no magic pill that will help them. It takes time, therapy, patience and a lot of empathy."
Not For No Reason
"go easy on them. We dont act out because we just feel like it or hate you, we act out because we're not used to being treated nicely and in the back of our head we always know that we could be sent away any day so we might not wanna get attached too fast."
"my sister and I went into foster care when we were really young and we came from a very abusive family so we just expected every family to be like that? I'd flinch every time someone tried to touch or hug me and I still don't like it. you just gotta be very patient because you never really know what they went through"
Last, others reminded folks that the point of foster care is to provide temporary safety until the child can, ideally, return home.
For obvious reasons, that's so important for people to get straight.
Know the Goal
"The system is designed to reunify families as its first goal. If you are in it to adopt you will have conflicting priorities. If you're not, you should keep in mind that in order for a successful reunification to happen, you really need to forge a relationship with the bio parent(s) and in a sense, foster them as well."
"Almost all parents who are part of the system probably should have been foster kids based on what they grew up with. Treat the kid (s) as part of your family but recognize the pain of a parent having their child taken away. Regardless of what they did, they are probably hurting"
A Different Thing Entirely
"The goal of foster care is reunification, not adoption. I wish more foster parents understood that. You're not entitled to someone else's child, and foster care is not some free version of adoption."
"It can be a result, but the goal 99% of the time is reunification with bio parents. Also, no matter the situation, there WILL be trauma. It's not easy."
Remind Children Too
"First of all; As a foster you are part of a system trying to reunite families."
"First time children are going to be confused and frightened, reassure them that everyone, including you, is working on getting them back to their family."
"Children that have been in the system before will still be frightened, but might not show it, they may also be scared of going back to their parents."
"Each will be different and you need to adjust to their needs. Emotional and physical."
"Treat them as you treat your own child. This means feeding them the same,(and healthy foods) getting the clothes they need, making sure they get to the dentist and doctor, giving them treats/toys/fun things as well."
"Give them their own safe space."
"Allow them to make choices (which shirt/shoes do you want? Do you like this food? What meal do you want tonight, choice 1 or chose 2?) They have no control in their own lives, this helps give them some control."
"Get them a suitcase, that's theirs, that they can take with them when they move on. Most don't have one."
"Give them an allowance from the money you get for housing them and spend the rest of the money on things they need. It's for them, to help you care from them and it's not yours to vacation on or by your (bio) kid a new iPad."
"THEY WILL REMEMBER YOU FOR THEIR WHOLE LIVES. Someday you may be a horror story about their past, or you may be the one who gets remembered fondly and with love. You dammed better be the one they remember with love."
Perhaps fostering a child has crossed your mind in the past. Here's hoping this list helped you iron out your motives, concerns, and confidence level.
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People Divulge The One Thing They Want To Tell Their Parents But Are Afraid It'll Break Their Hearts
Who knows us better than our parents?
A lot of people, in fact. Not every person's relationship with their parents is perfect, and sometimes people have reasons why they hide things or choose not to be entirely honest that are perfectly valid. It takes a lot of courage to be open––especially if the environment in which we grew up wasn't exactly ideal.
That's what we were reminded of after Redditor Magical-Potato-Chips asked the online community,
"What's something you've wanted to tell your parents but won't because it'll break their hearts?"
"I hate staying..."
"I hate staying in their house when visiting because it is so messy and their dogs are not trained properly and all they do is watch TV all day.
My old room was my one sanctuary, I kept it completely clean and clutter-free, but then my dad took it over, and now it is floor to ceiling stacked with boxes and junk.
I love them to death, but living in all the junk, smells, and rowdy dogs just isn't enjoyable."
"I do think..."
"Probably just a real talk about how abusive my mother was to us. She's mentally ill and I've forgiven her. I do think she tried her best, but she didn't have the right tools to be a good mother. It would stir up more issues than it's worth. I just accept her for who she is."
Sometimes that's easier.
"I was afraid..."
"I slide my feet whenever I walk on wood floors, no matter where, at every age no matter what. I was afraid of my mom knowing I was up and around. The more noise I made, the more negative attention I received."
This is sad. When we hear that "children should be seen and not heard," we should remembeer that these are the consequences.
"I was easily manipulated..."
"Their bad example of love, marriage, and family led me to several abusive relationships. I was easily manipulated because I was terrified of being abandoned."
"That my dad..."
"That my dad dismissing my interests as a child and preteen makes me not want to talk to him. And he's said a decent amount of hurtful things he's never apologized for.
He retired and lives across the country, and I just pretend I'm bad at calling/texting."
"My mom is extremely bad..."
"I was so obedient when I was a child only because I was afraid that I would agitate them and get shouted at any time.
My mom is so proud that she raised an extremely well-behaved and polite daughter. But the only reason I was like that was because I lived in a fear of violating the adults' rules and the consequences. My mom is extremely bad at controlling emotions."
Sometimes talking to a parent can feel like dealing with a land mine.
"I am living with my family of Muslims and I go to a Muslim school and I hate it. My parents will either be really sad or really angry if I tell them I am atheist so I have to be quiet and pretend.
I can't eat, wear or do what I want and I have to constantly listen to teachers and students preaching about death and how I will burn in an eternal flame if I don't believe. It's terrible, sometimes I have doubts and going to school to listen to them talk is legitimately scary."
"That I'm always sweet and agreeable..."
"That I'm always sweet and agreeable not because that's how I really am, but because I'm terrified that they'll kick me out if I disagree too strongly or cause any strife. I'm disabled and can't work. There's nowhere else for me to go.
My parents have never given me any indication that they would do such a thing, but they could, so I can't trust that they never will. I'm always on my guard, trying to figure out what will make them happy and what I need to hide."
My heart breaks for this person.
"That would kill my mother."
"That, yes, my sister is right. You were emotionally abusive when we were kids.
That would kill my mother. She vents to me about how awful it feels to hear that from my sister. She tried her best."
"As a result..."
"I never went to them when I was hurt or needed help because I always knew how stressed they were dealing with their own problems. They didn't hide it well.
As a result, I often feel the desire for attention that I never got, and have to avoid attention-seeking urges. Sometimes I blame it on them, even though I know that isn't fair of me."
Having trouble with your parents?
"Particularly for children who had a difficult relationship with their parents as kids, recognizing a lack of closeness with parents in adulthood can feel like another, added layer of grief. In any case, feeling a distance from one's parents is undoubtedly difficult, but there are some strategies that you can use to cope," writes Dr. Samantha Rodman, a clinical psychologist and columnist with TalkSpace.
Practicing acceptance, focusing on qualities that your parents do have, finding support and solidarity, and being the parent you wish you had can go a long way.
Have some stories of your own? Feel free to tell us about them in the comments below.
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