Most people like to think of childhood as the easiest and happiest time in a person's life. Ideally, that's exactly what it should be.
Unfortunately, ideal isn't always real.
One Reddit user asked:
So let's talk a little bit about rough childhoods - or more honestly about what it does to a person. It changes them in ways that they, themselves, might not even realize. Even if they don't talk about it, there are signs that things were not or are not healthy at home.
This article is not directly about abuse or neglect - but in talking about the affects they have on people, there were some personal stories shared and uncomfortable truths discussed. Proceed with caution.
A Little Too Responsible
My sister in law adopted 3 siblings who are completely self-sustainable at a very young age. When they were visiting, I noticed a lot.
-If I gave anything to the oldest boy, he would pass it off to the youngest sister. Then I'd give him another and it went to the middle-sister. Then I'd give him another and he'd finally keep it for himself.
-I asked if they wanted water. He said "yes" and I asked if the girls wanted water too. "Oh, we can all share this one." Obviously I gave them all water, but that one hit me pretty hard.
-He knew their eating schedules and would nag my sister in law.
-Offered to make them mac and cheese or noodles or whatever we have laying around. Promised to clean up after. He was 12 years old.
-When "normal" kids play videogames, they're glued. This kid was constantly checking over his shoulder to make sure everyone was safe and if he felt one of his sisters was up to no good, he would put the controller down even if it meant dying or losing his progress in the game.
-To elaborate on "up to no good" what the oldest brother considered bad behavior was pretty innocuous. There were several instances of things I consider normal childish behavior that he would regularly put a stop to. The most outstanding one was being too loud. It wouldn't even be yelling or screaming. Just typical 5 year old make-believe noises that would cause him to run over and tell the little one to keep it down.
InsecurityConfused Issa Rae GIF by Insecure on HBO Giphy
My Psychology professor used to joke that, "Psychology is the study of common sense." When someone is Insecure, it is generally because they lacked security as a child. Parental love was typically conditional and varied depending on the caretaker's mood. The child becomes insecure due to love not being guaranteed, so to 'earn' this basic need, they will go throughout life trying to 'solve social puzzles' that don't exist. solving imaginary puzzles all the time can prove to be fatiguing, so these individuals tend to isolate themselves.
I remember going to summer camp as a kid and meeting Milo. Milo was big on attention seeking and validation, and would take food from the cafeteria back to his bunk, like eggs and toast. I remember thinking he was just weird, but I think looking back and knowing what I know now, he was probably being neglected at home. Thin as a rail and probably malnourished, so he wanted as much food as he could get, and just wanted someone to acknowledge him. Pretty sad stuff.
I went through a compulsive lying phase from about age ten through...I dunno, 22 or so? A lot of innocuous stuff, like I really wanted the snooty horse girls in my fourth grade class to believe I had an uncle with a sprawling horse farm (?!?). It was absolutely attention seeking, and I've been beating myself up about it since day one. Looking back, of course it was attention seeking behavior. I was so lonely.
We talk about compulsive lying as such a pathetic behavior. Most people who recognize it just write you off as a nutcase or toxic or untrustworthy. But at 10? I was a little kid who didn't believe anybody could possibly like me.
My self worth was nonexistent. The fact that the lying continued through adolescence is because
a) the internet became a thing and I could almost effortlessly develop a whole new identity, which is intoxicating to somebody who feels worthless all the time, and
2) I was intelligent and imaginative enough to juggle the lies, so consequences came very slowly.
It's very appealing to treat liars with contempt, but it takes a special person to recognize the behavior's roots in abuse and neglect and find some compassion. I hope anybody who went through a lying phase (or is in one right now) can be kind to themselves. It's not pathetic to want people to like you. It's human.
They apologize habitually, compulsively, and for everything. Even for things that have nothing to do with them.
This one hurts. I'm constantly told to 'stop apologizing,' and it gets so frustrating trying to explain that I CAN'T HELP IT. It was a survival mechanism in a home where I had no say, and would get in trouble for EVERYTHING. Even the things they told me to do.
Yep. And everything is their fault. They take you to a restaurant and the food sucks? They apologize profusely for it and feel terrible about it — it somehow has become their direct fault.
A Little On Edgeflinch cecily strong GIF by Saturday Night Live Giphy
Everyone is different, but one that automatically raises a red flag for me, and makes me extremely worried is when someone flinches for "no reason". (I wouldn't say It's for no reason, but I don't know what other words to use. So really sorry about that!).
Like, you raise your voice slightly at them and they flinch, you raise your hands to grab something near them and they flinch, you look at them in a certain way and they flinch, you hug them and they flinch, etc., etc.
My dad would hit me when I was younger, but stopped around middle school age. He would get mad at me if I flinched when he went to grab something nearby me like it was my fault for being afraid of him. I think he stopped hitting me after this one time he went too far. He had me pinned up against the wall while kind of choking me? Idk the memory is pretty foggy now, but I remember my mom going completely off on him after that incident.
From personal experience, they always have a defense about what they're doing and why they're doing it lined up.
I was verbally abused and mocked a lot as a child/teen, it hurt me a lot because it didn't matter if I did something right or wrong I'd get yelled at for it, so I learned to have an excuse prepared just in case I have to answer for what I'm doing. Even in my adult life I feel like I'm always thinking to myself ways to justify what I'm up to, even if it's something as benign as why I put a dish away where I did.
No one ever asks about the mundane stuff I do, but I always feel like I have to be ready to defend myself. It really sucks. I shouldn't have to justify my existence.
Lesson Number One
The first lesson we learn in childhood is: How much am I worth?
Our caregivers are the first to reflect this worth to us - from when we are infants and toddlers (if we cry, will someone come to us? if we fall down, will someone pick us up?) to when we are kids and teenagers (do our caretakers choose to spend time with us? do we get help with schoolwork/friend drama?). There is an important balance here. As kids, we want to be taught that we are equally important as everyone else.
Some kids are taught they are less important, and as adults, they may have a hard time asking for help. They think they are "bothering" someone when they have a problem. They may also prioritize the needs of others based on an underlying belief that other people are more important. Some kids are taught that they're more important than others, and therefore treat others poorly and have trouble learning empathy. They try to justify, in their own minds, why they are "better", which can lead to some narcissistic-type thinking/behavior.
A Handy List
From the horse's mouth:
- People-pleasing behaviours (class clown; always agrees)
- Overcompensating with laughter during conversation, in an attempt to appease others
- Self-isolating; stops contacting friends for seemingly no reason (due to feelings of inferiority/worthlessness)
- No motivation to make anything of themselves (believing they would only fail anyway)
- Allows themselves to be bullied; usually hangs out with/dates abusive people
- Conspiracy theorist (can't live without a sense of impending doom; will unconsciously find one)
- Extremely nervous when doing new things in front of others
- "So mature for their age" = didn't get to be a kid/teen
- Total inability to accept compliments
- No - or very few distant - friends as an adult
- Barely any memory of childhood
- No happy stories of childhood
- Extremely-negative self-talk
Boundary issues are common, but reactions still are an individual thing. What helps to keep in mind is the 4F model of trauma responses:
Flight - running away
Fawn - to court favor by a cringing or flattering manner, so basically the stuff pathological people pleasers are made of.
When you notice somebody's reactions are easily categorized as one of those and it is a very persistent pattern, adverse childhood circumstances of some sort are a pretty safe bet.
Food Hoarding And Other Signsmr bean eating GIF Giphy
Food hording is a sign of food insecurities.
Both of my parents were addicts and I spent time in a foster home that had 10+ kids at all times. We were served what we were served, so if we didn't like it we went hungry. I would sneak food that I liked to my room and hide it from the other kids.
I also eat very fast. So much so that people comment on it all the time. My wife will pat me on the shoulder if it's super noticeable and whisper,
"No one is going to take it..."
I was also a bed wetter, which connects to my sexual abuse. but I think that goes past the question at hand.
I used to think my mistrust of police was because of my childhood, but I've since learned that everyone knows all cops are bastards, so that isn't just me. Even as a kid I would run at the first sign of law enforcement, even when I hadn't done anything. I was taught from a young age that the police weren't there to help, they were there to take me or someone I cared about away. Sometimes for good.
Less Important Needs
They think their needs are less important than other people's convenience. My husband was like this when we met. I think it's pretty normal (although not good) for men to be socialized to downplay their emotional needs, but my husband would downplay his needs for, like, food and medicine. He never said he was hungry, he would wait until I said I was hungry and then say "oh my god, me too."
One time he needed allergy medication because he'd been around a cat, he was obviously miserable, and I had to convince him that, yes, we would be stopping at the drug store on the way home, are you kidding me, you are not fine, shut up, your eyes are so swollen you can barely see.
My husband was one of those kids who was neglected in an affluent household. He always had clothes and food, but no one in his house ever had time for him. He has a hard time admitting he was mistreated because of this, but he's definitely got some psychological scars. His parents absolutely would have looked at his allergy-swollen face and told him to just deal with it, he's fine and anyway they're too busy to stop at store.
My partner grew up with a cold unloving mother and an abusive father who would beat him regularly. I've noticed a few things with him. He is very hard on himself and others- things need to be done perfectly and to a high standard every time or he becomes super anxious or pretty much has a breakdown.
When we first got together he would freak out at every minor argument or disagreement we had, as if it was going to escalate into something big or i would end up leaving him (he had abandonment issues) its taken him a few years to realize that normal people can argue, it doesn't always have to result in a big catastrophe/drama. He has always been highly independent and doesn't rely on or trust anyone else.
That's Not Normal
When you talk about something that's considered abuse and they say something to imply they didn't know it was a bad thing.
For example, I had a friend who thought locking kids in what was basically solitary confinement was a normal thing schools did. It is not.
I noticed this to my friends who grew up without having a father. They are usually immature and childlike and sometimes very sensitive.
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Raise your hands--who had an emo phase in the 2000s? I know I did, as did a lot of people around me. All of us heard “It's just a phase" from our parents at some point, but when you're a kid, life as we know it seems so permanent.
Of course, most of the time, it was “just a phase". And looking back, those phases are regrettable, to say the least. Here are some prime examples of that.
What was your biggest/most regrettable "It's not a phase, mom. It's my life." that, in fact, turned out to be just a phase and not your life?
The enthusiasm of a young person can lead to some unexpected changes that parents are just not ready for.
I was VERY into The Transformers when I was a wee lad in the 1980s. One day, I decided to change my name to the name of my favorite Autobot. My name was lame, and I wanted an awesome Transformer name. And I was VERY insistent that my parents only call me by my new name. Calling me by my 'old' name would cause a big fat tantrum on my part.
So for the better part of a week, my poor parents had to call me Wheeljack.
Very 2008.Ariana Grande Shrug GIFGiphy
My cat-ear phase. I wore cat ears every single day. Everywhere. I had like 20 pairs of them. Now everyone thinks I'm a furry.
I find that very cute and wouldn't have thought you'd be furry. Even if you'd had cat mittens. I think my suspicions would have started if you moved a bit like a cat, displayed catlike grooming habits or got a cat mask.
Not gonna lie, that car sounds cool.
I went to a car show once as a teen, and the only newer car there was some chick's PT cruiser. It was hot glittery pink, and at the time I was obsessed. I insisted that one day I would have a hot pink car, with pink seats, pink dash, pink carpets, etc. I was pretty heavily goth at the time, so my parents just rolled their eyes.
These phases can often lead to some very strange fashion choices.
When I was a teenager (early 00s), I was waiting for my mother to pick me up and was wearing one of those sh!tty sports wristwatches. It was itching me so I took it off for a second, but then she arrived and because I was struggling to get it back on my wrist, I looped it around the equally sh!tty chain I had around my neck in a rush to get out the door.
My mom asked me about it in the car, and I told her this was my new style and I planned to wear it like that every day. She rolled her eyes.
I wore that watch on a chain around my neck every single day for 3 years or so. There are even professional family photos where I'm wearing it because I refused to take it off.
One day, the chain broke and I lost the watch. I was in high school at that point anyway and it was a major lady repellent, so... phase over.
Not everyone can be Eminem.slim shady eminem GIFGiphy
Baggy pants, being a rapper someday and being a professional skater.
When I was about 14 and Eminem was starting to blow up I bought myself a keyboard with a synthesizer. It cost like $200 which was all the money I had saved up. It finally came (this was way before amazon prime and such) and I tried rapping.
My sister told me "you're effing horrible" and I gave up right then and there.
This should be a sin.
I used to button the top buttons of polo shirts.
I must say, this is probably the worst one I've read.
Looking back at our regrettable choices, all we can do is cringe.
An optimistic look at bad tattoos.check me out season 3 GIF by PortlandiaGiphy
Being a tattooer. Regrettable because of those poor people who have my awful doodles on their bodies.
Take heart! My favorite tattoo is the one I drunkenly got my buddy to do in his living room one year during March Madness! It's dumb and frankly mediocre? But such a good story and has such good associations I smile every time I see it.
My friend and I decided we were going to open a bar in Jamaica with exotic snakes in glass cages in the walls at each booth. We convinced ourselves it would be amazing for at least two years in college. It was going to be called Fredro's.
My entire family made fun of me for it. Once we got out of college, we realized it was not feasible and joined the office grind. We're also two white guys with no ties to Jamaica.
Talk about cringey.
I wore a top hat with an anime pin on it for around a year. Met one of my current best friends while wearing it, idk how he could bear to speak to me after that.
My weirdest phase was probably when I insisted on wearing knee-high rainbow socks to school every day. But honestly, I don't regret it. I rocked those socks, and I wish I still have a pair.
To all the people out there cringing over their past selves, remember that you were just a kid, and to be easy on yourselves. After all, we've all been there
It should not take much for a consumer to be satisfied with the products they purchase.
Yet, too often, manufacturers who oversell their products fail to deliver what is promised and are inevitably left with angry customers who want their money back.
Whether the merchandise was defective or ridiculously overpriced, strangers online shared some of their worst purchases when Redditor BooksMcGee asked:
"What is the worst product you ever paid money for?"
Short Life Span
"This NERF gun that's supposed to shoot tennis balls for your dog. I bought it cause I thought you could load 3 at a time and shoot them far, but it's just one and it's super loud and the gun broke after like 4 shots (reading reviews later, this was a common issue)."
"There were these toys called squiggles when I was a kid and the commercials made it seem like the toy was alive. It looked like you would get this crazy little fuzzy worms as pets that would follow you around an so sick tricks and listen to your every command. It was really just a piece of fluffy string tied to another piece of string with googly eyes on it. People may say that it was supposed to be a magic trick but they should also explain that to a 5 year old who really wanted a pet."
"Not their fault, but I paid $70 for a Yugioh card hours before it was limited to one copy. Probably dropped to $20 by the end of the day."
These purchases were bad for your bum.
"A bicycle that literally fell apart before I made it out of the parking lot."
Not Worth Sitting On
"Joybird brand couch. Was so terrible, we returned it. Still hard to believe, we returned a freaking couch."
Going Nowhere Fast
"A 2000 VW Beetle (used)."
"Biggest piece of sh*t that literally had to have just about everything replaced before 100k miles and would still break down every time you left the driveway to the point where the tow-truck driver knew us on a first-name basis."
"An Oldsmobile Achieva from one of those buy here pay here places. I should have known better, but I was young and thought I was getting a good deal. I had the thing for about 5 months, I drove it for maybe 3 weeks. The rest of the time it was either in the shop, or in my driveway waiting until pay day so I could afford to fix whatever broke on it this week. Eventually told the dealer just take it, I'm not paying for it any more. He said nope, and I will make sure your credit is ruined. I said well you sold me a lemon, do you really want to go this route? He came and took it. Never reported anything to credit. I heard he got sued by several other people who sold sh**ty cars too and eventually went out of business."
"Always amazes me when I see them driving around still, I can only assume there's enthusiasts who just love repairing horribly designed cars."
These Redditors were not convinced what they ingested was edible.
"A box of plain Cheerios. Thought they were honey nut, poured a bowl, was very disappointed."
"If I wanted to taste cardboard, I'd just eat the box."
"A burnt frozen pizza at the air and space museum cafe in DC. I Don't wish that experience on anyone. There are some amazing restaurants in DC, don't settle."
The following electronics just gave off a bad charge.
"Asus Transformer Pad TF700"
"This was one of those early 'high end' Android tablets that was grossly underpowered, and it showed. Thing was slow as sh!t in no time flat. Rookie mistake investing into shiny new tech while they were still working all the bugs out. Think I paid somewhere in the neighborhood of $350-400 for it..."
"macbook pro 2018 13" touchbar. 2 years old and dead (battery). they're asking $300-$400 to change the battery. malfunctioning keyboard with double presses and missing presses. that's a lot of money for bad design."
"Past winter my old room heater broke down and I had to buy a new one. Went to a store nearby and somehow got convinced to buy a very costly heating device.. It's also my fault, since there were some sligthly cheaper options around, but nope. I wanted the expensive one thinking it will make my small room a volcano with little to no effort/cost (that's also what the seller told me). Long story short the device wasn't doing ANYTHING. No significant temperature changes, too much space, a weird noise, and was doubling my previous device in utility cost. I still gloom over those 80 euros.."
Some of my disappointing purchases was clothing, but only because I purchased them online. Unless they are a brand I'm familiar with, I'm usually fine with buying new jeans off of their websites.
But when it comes to graphic tees only available on specialty shops, an M-size shirt is not necessarily the same size as those found in other reputable stores.
I bought a medium sized T-shirt from a boutique store online because I loved the look of the design. But when it arrived, the supposed medium fit me like an XL.
At least I gained a fierce cleaning rag from this impulsive purchase.
We all know the job interview butterflies.
We sit outside the office or wait for the phone call and our foot taps at rapid speed. We run through some rehearsed answers, but worry that they'll ask a slew of things we never even considered. We try not to sweat too much.
Often, it turns out alright. We may not get the job, but we're respectable, give solid answers, and learn a lot about the place we're trying to get hired.
Other times, however, all of our far-fetched worries seem to come to life.
Curious to hear just how bad an interview can go, Redditor UIGrimsen asked:
"What was your worst job interview?"
Plenty of people had some truly bizarre stories to share. Part of these train wrecks were bad luck, and part were the insane antics of the people giving the interview.
But for us, they're simply hilarious.
"I applied for a job in a Planetarium, the interview was conducted in a big dome."
"Problem was, another part of the Planetarium staff was doing fire alarm tests during the interview. The dome amplified the sound so much, it was deafening. The interview staff acted like nothing was going on. We had to shout so we could hear each other."
"My mom raises chickens … and during COVID one of them got sick (not COVID). She had it inside to feed water hourly to try to nurse it back to life. My mom has to run an errand so I'm in charge of this chicken for the afternoon."
"I was on a phone screening with a candidate for a position in my office and this chicken starts having a seizure and dies on the middle of this phone call. I look over and it's laying almost like it was crucified."
"The candidate heard the commotion and asked if everything was ok … Which I relied 'yeah, the chicken just died.' "
"She withdrew her application the next morning."
"1.) I walked in as the HR lady farted"
"2.) it was a small office with no windows"
"3.) I asked her questions about their employee retention rate that she couldn't answer"
"4.) the fart stayed the duration of the interview"
"5.) I hope the fart got the job, because I didn't want it"
A Very Instructive Moment
"Applied to work at a vet clinic. Veterinarian did the interview while spaying a cat, apparently one of the cleanest and quickest surgeries they do. I fainted."
"Was not offered the job (after I woke up)."
Others shared moments when their excitement was deflated instantly. They encountered such closed-minded interviewers that there was almost no need for discussion.
That Bus Perk
"As an interviewee It was when I applied to a job as a Junior programmer and in 5 minutes the guys goes 'look, I'll be honest, there is no job, you can get an internship, no pay, we offer the bus pass' "
Plains, Trains, and Automobiles Later...
"I took vacation days to interview, bought my own plane ticket, and paid for my own hotel. First thing the interviewer said was, 'I have no intention of hiring you. This is just a courtesy because I knew your brother.' I had 8 more hours left in my interview day. It was painful."
"They ended up offering me the position many weeks down the road because they couldn't fill the position. I politely declined and got a very passive aggressively worded survey to fill out explaining why I passed."
There's a Right Answer??
"Wanted to work at H&M, got interviewed by the worst person ever."
"One question was and I am legit not lying, 'What is your favorite color and why?' "
"I answered 'baby blue because it's calming and not too harsh to the eyes.' My interviewer then said Oooh, sorry! Red is what we were looking for. And then proceeded to show me the exit."
Last, some shared the times they arrived for the interview excited and enthusiastic, but quickly learned how out of their league the position was.
These interviews looked more like brutal interrogations from the FBI than job interviews.
All the Principals
"Fresh out of college, I was looking for my first teaching job. I applied at a small district for an elementary school position."
"I walked in, expecting the principal and a few teachers. Instead I had the superintendent of the district, some high-level admin, and every single elementary school principal in the district. Probably 15 people in all. They peppered me with questions for 45 minutes."
"I had zero experience, just my student teaching. I did not get the job."
Shove Your Masters
"Finished up a masters degree in physics. Got a phone interview and was was told it would be an introductory chat. Was confronted with a technical interview panel (over the phone) of 6 PhDs, 4 of which had graduated from the research group I had just left. We walked through my research project in about 10 minutes."
"Then the pain began... felt like I'd only learned kindergarten physics."
An Extremely Intimidating Position
"Got an interview for a job as a floor manager at a gigantic steel foundry. I have some background in metallurgy so I thought it'd fit. It paid $90k and I was qualified resume-wise. I got there, turned out it was a group interview with three other applicants, to hear the pitch."
"If something messes up, the company loses $100,000 (some shockingly high amount, I don't remember if it was exactly 100k) per hour and it's your sole responsibility to fix it. They said you'd have to be on call 24/7 to handle anything that comes up."
"I got to the solo part out of curiosity and the interviewer they put me with said something to the effect of 'I know this job sounds bad, but actually it's even worse.' I was desperate for a job because I didn't land one straight out of college, but I was glad not to hear back from them after the interview..."
Here's hoping you don't have a job interview scheduled and this just amplified your anxiety 1000%. The nice thing to remember is that these horror stories are few and far between.
Believe it or not, Canadians don't live in igloos or freeze to death all year round. If you go to Germany, it's highly unlikely that every German you meet will be cold and uninviting. Hop over to the United Kingdom and you're not going to run into tons of people with terrible teeth and bad hygeine.
These are called stereotypes, my friends, and it's best you leave them at the door. People were more than willing to strike down some stereotypes about the countries they know and love after Redditor HelloThere577 asked the online community,
"What are some false stereotypes about your country?"
"When most folks envision Scotland, they think of kilts, whisky, bagpipes, and red hair.
All of those things exist (and are common) here.
People might also imagine verdant hillsides, rocky bluffs, and skies that randomly switch between clear and cloudy.
Once again, that's completely accurate.
However, one stereotype which has absolutely no foundation, in reality, is the assumption that Scotsmen are constantly hunting haggis. In fact, haggis-hunting only takes place in February (which is the season for deosil haggis) and May (which is the season for widdershins haggis). For the rest of the year, the haggis is more or less left alone."
"I am originally from Portugal and moved to the United States. Around 80% of the people that I have met thought Portugal was either in South America, owned by Brazil, or a part of Spain. When I first came here it made me really sad."
"If the wildlife hurts or kills you in Australia, it's generally because you are f***** stupid. You are 10000 times more likely to be injured or killed in a car accident in Australia than by anything in nature."
This is likely very true, but knowing me, I'd probably be easy pickings for one of those huntsman spiders.
"That we end every sentence with "eh" and drink maple syrup by the gallon and have moose and igloos in our backyards."
You mean... you don't?
Just kidding. Canada is lovely––visit sometime. It's a lovely place.
The United States
"That we always have a shotgun at the ready. A shotgun is a home gun where a pistol is your everyday gun. Your revolver is your dress gun, for special occasions. Then of course your assault rifle is for when you're kicking back and cracking open a cold one with the boys."
"Anything related to The Sound of Music."
Probably gets annoying afer a short while. Great movie, though. Still dreaming about a trip to Salzburg.
"A lot of Americans seem to think we're inbred because we're an island. This is dumb, because it's a very big island (10th biggest in the world), and it's not isolated, we've been invaded, invading, and trading with the mainland for thousands of years."
"That we are car thieves. Crime was widespread in Poland in the 90s but today crime (including theft) rate in Poland is low."
"We do gesticulate a lot, but we definitely don't yell like crazy."
It seems Italian Americans are the ones who could learn a thing or two about being more reserved.
"Iceland. We're not some utopian Disneyland filled with quirky superstitious people that all believe in elves."
Remember: The world is an enormous place filled with people from all walks of life, and they don't take too kindly too stereotypes. Expand your horizons by having conversations with as many people as possible. You'd be surprised how quickly your preconceived notions will vanish.
Have some stories of your own? Feel free to tell us about them in the comments below!