Therapists Share Their Best 'I'm Not Supposed To Judge You But...' Experiences
To provide a productive therapeutic environment, therapists are trained to "meet people where they're at."
That means accepting a client and their struggle regardless of how alienating the specifics may be. That acceptance allows a safe space to form where the client can verbalize their feelings and responses, and understand their internal states more closely.
But therapists are humans.
Sure, they're ideally well-trained humans especially skilled at noticing certain thought patterns and human tendencies. That said, they do have knee-jerk initial responses to the people around them.
They then mindfully work around those responses to continue to provide good care. But nonetheless, the occasional moment of shock does come about every now and then.
Judging the Context
"Therapist here. To piggy back on what others have said, it is highly unlikely for me to have moments where I judge my clients."
"It happens sometimes, but I'm able to shut down those thoughts quickly in my head and return to being present for the people I see."
"People are so incredibly complex that my judgment wouldn't have any meaning anyway and it doesn't have a place in our work together."
"I will admit though, something that does get me feeling a little salty is when I have a client's parent that attempts to sabotage the therapeutic relationship I have with their child..."
"...or pulling them out of therapy entirely when some of the things we talk about challenges some potentially unhealthy family dynamics."
"I don't feel anger toward the parents, mostly I feel bad for the kid."
Out of His Wheelhouse
"When I was under age, I got caught with a drink on bourbon street and got a minor in possession."
"I was telling my therapist about it, and said that the police caught me with a 'hand grenade' in New Orleans."
"He didn't realize that a hand grenade was a type of drink, and it was funny to watch him try to process that his patient might have just casually told him that he had been caught with a fragmentation grenade."
"He took a big long pause, and said, 'where did you even find a grenade?'"
"I realized the misunderstanding quickly and corrected him. But for a moment he definitely was thinking 'holy sh** how do I deal with this?'"
Sometimes, it's Just Too Much
"I'll never judge someone, especially someone who has come to me hurting. The world is full of a**holes already."
"That said, I found out while I was still doing internships that I'm very uncomfortable working with abusers, so I don't do it."
"It took one recount of a man describing in detail how he was strangling his wife up against a wall and making her look at the beam he was gonna hung her from."
"I got out of the office and told my supervisor I just couldn't do it. (It's worth mentioning, I was just an observer back then, I didn't act as the therapist, my supervisor was."
"She wanted me to be prepared to work not only with victims, but with victimisers as well)"
Don't Get Pulled In
"Actual therapist here. I get moments like that sometimes, but by the next session, I've usually reached a place where I'm more ashamed of myself for judging than I am surprised by my client."
"For example, people with symptoms of borderline personality disorder can really elicit reactions like that for me."
"One day they might be saying that they really value someone's friendship, and the next they might be ready to cut that person out of their lives completely over a disagreement."
"Or they'll be working on expressing more emotions one day, and the next day "I'm never talking about my feelings again."
"My first (internal) reaction is usually 'Dude, what??'"
"But then I take a step back and remember that this type of behavior is the exact problem they're trying to solve. And that there's probably really important experiences that shaped them to respond in this way."
"Okay, real therapist here. I got one. Some of my clients are SHOCKINGLY BAD at giving themselves credit, holy sh**!!"
"Like they might get a nearly straight A GPA in a brutal major while battling depression, or overcome years of phobia and get behind the wheel again, or write a literal novel..."
"...or raise a kid as a single parent with low income, or build new relationships after being burned, or cope with OCD well enough to hold down a job."
"And they'll talk about themselves as if everyone on earth is better than them, as if their accomplishments are worthless."
"And I know it's because of depression or anxiety or another condition, but I'm often stunned by how differently I see them compared to how they see themselves."
More of an Ongoing Concern
"Not a judgment - you kind of train your brain not to judge, because you are seeking to understand and help. When you do those things, you can't simultaneously judge."
"We could all use a little more of that in real life, I suppose."
"I'll share this though. I do feel concerned about this recent phenomenon of young people I worked with self-diagnosing, sharing, and identifying very closely with mental illness..."
"...as if the pendulum quickly swung from 'never, ever share your feelings' to 'OMG, you're depressed? All of us are too!'"
"Life's challenges can be tough and they don't need a scientific-sounding label to be valid and real. You are not your diagnosis. We can find validation and support in healthier ways."
Not Judging, but Stunned
"I'm a licensed psychologist and I'll tell you I've never judged my patients. The world is so full of judgement and it's my job to objectively look at someone who's suffering and offer them empathy and a path towards healing."
"The one thing I've judged is the situations that people survive and continue to live their lives."
"I've worked with torture survivors, survivors of genocide and famine. I've worked with people whose entire villages were wiped out because a war lord wanted the water well that was sitting in the town."
"It always gives me pause in terms of the anguish some people face and their resilience. So if I have one message, it would be in the words of RJ Palacio, 'Be kind for everyone is fighting a hard battle.'"
"Well, I quit my last therapist because I made him cry uncontrollably. He tried not to, but he just couldn't hold it back. I felt guilty and won't see him anymore."
"I think he may have lost a child before. I described watching my aunt grieve over her son's body. I felt so much pain losing him, but was explaining how watching my aunt was dramatically worse."
"The details about her is what made him lose it. I could tell he was reliving something inside his own head."
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- People Break Down The Best Advice They've Ever Received From Their Therapist - George Takei ›
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Reddit user lLoveYourCat asked: 'How did you think babies were made when you were little?'
In the United States, it's no secret that sex education for minors is inconsistent at best.
But some people learned very unexpected stories about how babies were made, and those stories had a way of making a lasting impression.
Curious about other's stories, Redditor ILoveYourCat asked:
"How did you think babies were made when you were little?"
One Time's the Charm
"I knew babies came from sex as a fairly young child. My parents never sugar-coated that. But for some reason, as a kid, I thought you only had to have sex once to have multiple pregnancies. I seriously didn't fix that misunderstanding until early middle school."
"At some point, when I finally accepted that you had to have sex to have a baby, I thought the only time people have sex was to make a baby, and it only took one time to get the job done."
"Then when I figured out teenagers were having sex, I thought you had to be married and have sex to make a baby, but then when my unmarried cousin got pregnant, I was just confused."
"But I was sure my parents only had sex four times, and then when my mom got pregnant with number five, I thought, 'Wow, they did it again.'"
"A stork delivered them, of course. What the f**k, lol (laughing out loud)."
"Storks... I thought people trained them to steal babies from a factory and you would leave special treats on your doorstep as payment and encouragement for the stork to steal one for you."
"I was scared to death of birds for the longest time and would have a tantrum at the zoo when I saw a flamingo."
Young Conspiracy Theorist
"The government. I used to think that we lived in a totalitarian society and that the government was in complete control of everything."
"I thought the President sent people their babies when asked by mail."
Scheduled Baby Delivery
"The women in my family explained to me at the age of six that a doctor calls you sometime after reaching adulthood at the age of 18 to schedule a baby delivery date."
"The husband either pays to schedule the appointment or the government does after verifying that you have been married and financially stable for quite some time."
"When two people kissed."
"I thought the same thing, but I understood that when my mom gave me a kiss, there was no risk. Being someone raised in a very Christian background, I assumed that when you got married, God made kissing a reproductive act."
"Since I made this assumption, I remember questioning why teenage pregnancy could possibly be an issue."
The Ultimate Christmas Gift
"I thought Santa was bringing them."
"He was. I mean, Christmas comes but once a year..."
"I MAY NEVER ENJOY CHRISTMAS AGAIN."
A New Meaning to 'Forest Friends'
"When I used to ask my dad where I came from, he'd say he found me under a rock in the forest. Of course, I would go look for babies under rocks, too, but all I ever saw was dirt and those rolly-polly pill bug thingies."
"It was so gross thinking babies were just found THERE that I was actually relieved to find out how they were actually made!"
Pregnant By Proximity
"I thought women got pregnant by just being around a man, and I was always confused about what would happen if a woman still lived with her parents or dad after she’s an adult."
Coming of Age Story
"I thought it was a 'just happens once you reach a certain age' sorta thing. As a woman, I was terrified because pregnancy sounds like the most awful thing, lol (laughing out loud)."
"(I know the end result is worth it but even as a 31-year-old, I'm like, nope.)"
"I thought they grew like a seed inside the mother's belly."
"Technically, that’s true."
"Well, not like that."
The Power of Marriage
"My mum told me you couldn't have a baby if you weren't married. Note that she said 'couldn't', not 'shouldn't'."
"When my unmarried cousin was sleeping a lot my mum told my aunt 'she's having a baby'. I thought 'she can't be having a baby, she isn't married.'"
"A couple of weeks later she had an engagement party, quickly followed by a registry office wedding. She had a baby a few months later."
"I thought they grew on trees. True story."
"Baby trees, lol (laughing out loud)."
"I was surprised when I learned how it really happened, lol. I was like, 'You mean there are no trees?' And Mom just shook her head."
They Were Just There
"I don't recall a time where I gave the matter any thought without knowing the reality of it."
"Like, literally, until the day I was first introduced to the concept of birth, I don't think I cared where babies came from."
"Right, the little guys just EXISTED."
Educated Is Best
"I asked my mom and she told me the truth."
"Educate your kids, folks. They can handle it."
"I didn’t... They just showed up, honestly."
"That’s what I thought. I was terrified as a little kid that I’d wind up being a teenage mother because I thought it just happened spontaneously."
"Exactly what I thought would happen. Like one day you were just, boom, six months pregnant."
While these responses might be funny, it's an important reminder of an area in the educational system that's often lacking.
But in the meantime, while the system's curriculum is getting sorted out, at least we can take comfort in the fact that we weren't alone in believing these tall tales.
One of life's many challenges to being successful and happy is to work hard and stay focused on our respective goals.
There are many obstacles that can discourage us, but persistence and a drive to overcome can be rewarding.
Unfortunately, there are some things that are simply beyond our control, and it has nothing to do with fate.
It's the qualities we're either born with or without that can impede us or prevent us from ever achieving what can only be seen as a pipe dream.
Curious to hear examples of one of life's cruelties, Redditor G00dR1ddance asked:
"How did your genetics f'k you over?"
These Redditors were unhappy with appearances.
"Lazy eye, and a total lack of depth perception."
"Same. Do you struggle with driving? I just moved to a big city and I can’t drive here bc navigating all the traffic is too hard with no depth perception. It’s so scary!"
The Worst Parts
"Moms Family: Perfect teeth, male baldness. Dad's family: Terrible teeth, perfect hairline."
"Me: Sh**ty teeth, bald before 25. My 2 brothers: Perfect Teeth, Perfect Hairline."
"Feels FN bad."
"They should all chip in for a trip for you to Turkey for a cheap hair transplant and dental work."
Made For Farming
"All 4 grandparents were farmers. I look like I was bred to farm and f**k to make more little farm workers. Broad shoulders, big boobs, no waist, no @ss worth mentioning, and thick legs. I just look like I was bred to work forever until I die. 120 years ago."
Stop With The Flattery
"I too am sturdily built. I am not tall but I am muscular and broad with the big boobs and the broad hips and sturdy legs. I could carry very heavy sacks of feed from when I was very small. My family nickname was 'the forklift truck', so that's.. nice."
Room For More
"My mother’s OB said she had a pelvis ‘you could drive a bus through’. I was a natural breach birth and share those genetics. You could host the last supper on my a** and have room for plus ones."
These Redditors are living on borrowed time.
"Bad heart. I'm the first male in at least 4 generations to make it to 40. And that's only because I was finally properly diagnosed and treated. I wouldn't have made it to 35 if I didn't find the right cardiologist."
"Bum ticker - dad’s aorta exploded when I was 11 and my brother died from the second heart at 41. Just hoping to see my 60s."
Being Kept At Bay
"I have a blood condition where I retain iron. It's slowly killing me. Destroyed my liver, pancreas, and led to a massive heart attack."
"Fortunately, I live in the 21st century where modern medicine can keep me going with...bleeding."
"Sad Aspect" Of A Family
"My oldest uncle married a woman who had Huntington's, but they were very young and she wasn't symptomatic yet. In the 70s so no genetic testing or much public awareness. They had 5 daughters. My aunt and their eldest have long since passed away, and the remaining 4 are in various stages of the disease. It's always been a sad aspect of our family. A truly cruel disease."
"I’m BRCA2 positive, giving me roughly 74% chances of developing an incurable genetic breast cancer in my life. It also gives me about 22% of having an ovarian cancer."
"On the other side, double mastectomy lowers my chances to about 3%, but it should ideally be done before I reach 30. I will also need a hysterectomy in my 40s."
"I had 50/50 chance of getting the BRCA2 gene mutation so well, genetics did f'k me over!"
Redditors share more of their crosses to bear in life after being blessed with these traits.
"I'm more attractive to mosquitoes than most people. If I'm out when mosquitoes are around, I end up covered in bites (which I'm also allergic to, so I end up with quarter sized welts that itch for daaaays after the fact)."
It's sobering to realize the ailments your parents struggled with are starting to become our own to bear.
High blood pressure, arthritis, and predisposition to atherosclerosis are some of the undesirable parts of my family's genetic makeup that I never really thought about until I noticed how fatigued and in pain I've become with age.
Although I have so much gratitude for surviving every year I get to celebrate my birthday, getting old still sucks.
Being let go from your job is never a pleasant experience.
Particularly if it comes out of nowhere, without any possible warning that this was a possibility.
Even if it isn't any more pleasant, generally speaking, most people have at least an inkling of why they were let go.
Budgetary reasons, dissolved departments, being told you weren't meeting company standards, or bad blood with the boss.
As well as some less common, highly unusual reasons which at least might make a good story down the line.
Redditor Sweetlo123 was curious to hear from people who were let go from their jobs, and why they were met with this fate, leaving them to ask:
"What did you get fired for?"
For Standing Up For What's Right.
"We were told we get OT for night work."
"The new 'company manager' let it slip that we don't actually get OT for night work, so when I was scheduled for five nights in a row working on a transmission line cell site I mentioned that I expect everyone working from our company on site get OT."
"Once it was said that we won't get OT and that it wasn't an actual policy (was written in employee handbook), I forwarded the email chain to the entire company and leadership at Verizon."
"I was canned, but now everyone gets OT for night work."
"My life is better now anyway and got my people what the deserve."- drklunk
This Was Never Going To End Well...
"Aggressively squeezing breakfast muffins lol."
"I was a few days into working at Mcds and someone complained I gave them a muffin that was too hard-they bake them at like 3 am and sit in a warmer all day."
"This was before they had the full bakery menu, I think muffins was the only thing baked and maybe cookies."
"So my manager told me to squeeze them before I hand them out."
"Me being a dumb teenager squeezed the s*it out of these muffins and got another complaint."
"They stopped scheduling me, haha."- eatmyknuts
You Have To Do The Work To Get Paid...
"I just stopped working and began only attending meetings."
"Lasted almost 9 months that way before they let me go."- frantictossingmartin freeman sleeping GIFGiphy
Wrong Time, Wrong Place
"I was fired after a month into my first job at a local pizza joint when I was 16."
"They called me during the Super Bowl and said I had to come in."
"I told them I was out of state without a car so no way I could make it."
"They said I should’ve known this was one of the busiest days of the year and I should’ve stayed in the area."
"I came in to work my next shift and they just gave me my paycheck and said they had to let me go for not being a team player."
"10 years later I was fired from a job in tech because I refused to move out of state."
"This one hurt a lot more."- seventyfive1989
Hard Not To Say They Had It Coming...
"The company's timeclock software ran off of the computers time, so when I was late I would just close the software, change the time back to before shift start and then clock in and change it back."
"The supervisor who showed me the trick fired me."
"A day or two later he saw me pulling in late, and when he went over the time info that day, it showed me clocked in on time."
"He knew why."- Grief-Inc
Nepotism Always Screws Someone Over...
"Worked at a gas station and was a sucker for the free soda."
"I would drink a few 24 oz glasses of Dr. Pepper (don’t judge) per shift and had to piss relatively frequently."
"I usually worked with the same lady every shift and every shift my drawer came up short even like $10-20 bucks."
"One day my usual co-worker was off and I worked with another lady who warned me to watch my drawer around the other and hers had been short when she was around."
"That got me to thinking."
"The next shift with the usual lady I stuck some receipt paper into the lip of the bottom of my drawer and hit the bead."
"When I came back the paper was on the floor."
"My drawer was short $20 at shift change and my boss fired me."
"I told her of my findings and asked her to review the security tape."
"She told me to f*ck right off the other lady had been there years."
"I left heart broken and rented some VHS tapes to indulge in and recover."
"One of the movies was Casino and man is that a good movie."
"Come to find out the usual lady was the boss lady’s cousin and they f*ckin told people I knew I got fired for stealing money."
"I though about calling a lawyer but also, I was in high school and was delusional I suppose."
"I got out of that town after high school and rarely return, especially considering all my family moved off."- woohhaaSnl Smiling GIF by Saturday Night LiveGiphy
The Age Old Story Of Men In Power
"Caught the boss stealing."
"So he fired me."
"His word vs. mine and it didn't go my way."- freezingprocess
People Tend To Get What They Deserve
"Embezzled almost $500,000 from the doctor's office I worked at."
"Oh no, wait."
"That was my former supervisor who did that...26 years after she fired me for taking home a left over slice of pizza after a drug rep hosted a pizza party for the office staff."
"Karma can take a long time, but it always comes through."- YourFront
Late To The Game...
"Being the last hired when they instituted layoffs."- BubbhaJebus
Some Plans Can't Be Cancelled
"1970s YES 'Close to the Edge' tour."
"I had my tickets and had the request approved for time off, they changed their mind at the last minute and would not let me off."
"Left anyways and was genuinely surprised when I got back on Monday and they informed me that I was fired."-AmandaBRecondwith
Treat Others Like You Want To Be Treated
"My boss was talking sh*t about me to employees, and I confronted her with 'how would you expect the people below me to respect me when you show them that you don’t?'"
"She didn’t like it and literally went crying to the owners, who then fired me for 'causing problems'.”- Successful-Snow-562
For Literally Doing What They Were Supposed To
"I got fired for slacking off and underperforming at work by taking my legally required lunch."- 10leejHungry Lets Eat GIF by TRTGiphy
They Couldn't Have Waited One Day?
"Worked as a QA tester for an online game company."
"Found bug while on my personal account at home."
"Came in the next day and reported the bug."
"I was VERY clear I found the bug while playing at home on my personal account."
"It was a nasty bug that let you duplicate very expensive items."
"A few weeks later someone in customer service was checking the logs for people exploiting the bug."
"They found mine and the company decided to fire me on my birthday."
"That was around 15 years ago but it still upsets me every year, on my birthday."- PedanticCyborg
While most believe "ignorance is bliss", anyone handed a pink slip deserves to know why.
Even if sometimes the reason gives no closure whatsoever, and instead only results in even more questions.
Having the support of family is a dream; they're always there when you need them, willing to lend a helping hand. However, sometimes family members are completely clueless, and their assistance has adverse effects. Here Redditors tell of what went down when their family thought they were helping when in reality, their good intentions were horribly misplaced.
My Sister Did Quite The Job On Me
My Sister Did Quite The Job On Me
One day, my little sister asked for my CV so she could base her own on it. A few days later, I got an email from Google Dublin telling me that my job application had been rejected. A conversation with my very embarrassed sister revealed that my mother had put her up to it. They sat down together and filled out the job application. When I saw what they wrote, I wanted to scream.
They included gems such as, “Q: Why do you want to work for Google? A: Because I LOVE technology'”. I imagine whoever viewed my application thought it quite ballsy for a music and Chinese language graduate to apply for the post of “Senior Technical Programmer”.
Grandma Doesn’t Let Up
Grandma Doesn’t Let Up
My girlfriend and I both have great full-time jobs starting in our careers. My family lives about 60 miles away in my hometown. My grandmother sends us clippings from the newspaper of random job postings in hopes I will move back home. They are all completely unconnected to our jobs. Every month when we visit, she also insists that we should set up an apartment in her basement and live there instead of having to pay rent somewhere. I love her dearly, but that would be just a little too weird.
My Mom Hit A Sour Note
My Mom Hit A Sour Note
My mother is a professional musician and had no greater desire than for me to be the same. Immediately after entering college, I completely minimized my time in music as much as possible to maintain my scholarship and put all my energy into medical biology. I was doing two doctorates in the medical sciences, so it is not like I slacked off.
Almost a year after I did this, my mother somehow found out. She then called the school, and multiple people in the music department, demanding that they require me to spend more time with music and get me back to “acceptable” levels of performance.
A Publix Humiliation
My grandfather insisted I call some random teacher he met at the grocery store to "set up an internship" for my last semester of college when I would have to student teach. No amount of explaining could convince him that that was not how it was done. I would have to apply through my university and my county, and they would assign me a classroom and a teacher. It started to get painful.
He would call once a week and say I was ungrateful for not taking him up on his help when he had worked so hard, and why couldn't I just make one small effort to help my future and secure a classroom? I felt awkward because it's pretty weird to call up someone your grandfather met at Publix and explain that you don't need their help.
Eventually, I started feeling guilty and called this woman up. When she picked up, I said, "Hello, my grandfather gave me your number because he thinks that—" and she responded with, "Don't worry, sweetie. He pretty much old man guilted me to give him my number. I know you can't control where you're placed in your internship. Bye". It was really awkward.
The Taste Of EmbarrassmentFormer Quiznos Subs Sign Downtown Miami | Completely empty i… | Flickrwww.flickr.com
When I was 18, my friend who was a cook offered me a delivery job at Quiznos; I told my mom that I was thinking about it. She got mad, emailed Quiznos corporate office, and said how it was irresponsible to offer me a job and that the manager was terrible. But that wasn't the end of the embarrassment. The message went to the manager, who went to my friend, who read it—embarrassingly—in a car full of my friends.
Mom, The Pickup Artist
I'm 26 years old, and every time I'm out with my mom, she tries her hardest to pick up girls for me, no matter the place. She's left my number for cute waitresses, girls that helped me into fitting rooms, bartenders, etc. It's never subtle, either. It’s always, "My son is single, you know? And very handsome and has a job and car".
Stop The Music!
My dad forced me to stop taking guitar lessons because "It is affecting your grades". I maintained a 4.0 in high school, did all of my homework, and would then proceed to play guitar for about eight hours a day. He actually threatened to burn my $800 Schecter. I have no idea why he thought it was ruining my life; I had a job, studied, and just loved music.
The Grass Isn’t Always Greener
My mom once mowed the lawn while I was out to "help me get my chores done”. It was a disaster. She put the blade on as low as it went and it absolutely scalped the lawn. She had shorn it all the way down to bare dirt. There was even dirt blowing all over the yard, but she said she "didn't notice". It took months for the grass to grow back.
What Once Was Too Much Is No More
My mother did a thousand things that drove me insane. She would write my name on my underwear, on every book I owned, and engrave it onto things that wouldn't keep ink. She'd do the laundry, but seemingly had no idea how to do laundry. My entire life she had to straighten things up, which consisted of taking everything in the room and putting it in one pile—papers, cell phones, empty coke cans, you name it.
This even occurred when I was 40 years old and in my own house with a wife and kids. She'd constantly tell me and my wife that we needed more furniture, more things on the walls, more knick-knacks, basically to clutter our house up like she had done to hers. She was a pretty annoying person for the most part, but she did cool stuff too, like give me money like take my wife shopping or babysit our kids.
She volunteered to babysit our kids on her 43rd anniversary despite having a stomach ache. The next day she went to the doctor where she found out she had cancer. The day after that she had an emergency operation which determined it was inoperable. She never left the hospital and passed two weeks later. Now, suddenly all that stuff that drove me insane doesn't seem like such a big deal anymore.
Meddlesome Mom Messed With My Mailpile of printing papersPhoto by Alexander Grey on Unsplash
My mom opens all my letters, especially my bank statements. She once came across an invoice for an adult subscription. You think that's embarrassing? It gets soooo much worse. She instantly assumed someone had gained access to my account. So, she decided to phone the bank and tell them that fraudulent activity was taking place, and had my account frozen. Not only that, but because I am self-employed, she thought she would ring HM&Revenue, and tell them about it.
As a result, I ended up getting investigated to make sure all of my accounts and business purchases were legit. Her response was, “I know my precious baby would not be buying [racy videos]”. I'm 21 years old!
Trying To Put The Hit On Me
My mom insisted I needed a boyfriend since the age of 12 or I was a lesbian. Typical ways for Mexicans to meet other fornicating Mexicans were at weddings and Quinceneras. I've always been a book nerd/tomboy and my mom kept insisting I had to wear fewer clothes and would force short skirts and dresses on me. I hated getting hit on because all the guys that would had already slept with at least three of my cousins.
Thankfully, I was one of the few in my family who ended up not pregnant by the age of 15. I didn't have my first boyfriend until I was 21—most of my cousins were married by then—and got married at the age of 24, and was able to prove once and for all that I liked men.
Duo Lingo Disaster
My wife's grandmother is Russian and wanted me to learn the language. So Babushka bought a huge carton of cassette tapes and handed them to me. When I saw what they said, it was so hard not to laugh. They were tapes...for Russians who wanted to learn English. She figured that I could listen to the Russian prompts, then hear the English parts, and reverse engineer the Russian language. Nyet. That's not how it works.
My mom is very religious and I'm not, so she hides religious icons all over my house. I'll find a crystal statue of the Virgin Mary in my toilet tank, little pictures of Jesus on my storage shelves in the basement, etc. It's always a little amusing when I find some random saint's picture stuffed into a book on my shelf. I probably have dozens of these things lying around that I haven't found yet.
My family is in the class under middle class. Through middle school and high school, going to the doctor was too expensive and our bills weren't ever paid on time. We had the financial credit of a squirrel. But my parents made it so much worse. It makes me sound shallow to say this to most people, but I was given well-intentioned, expensive, material things.
Clothes, cars, jewelry, technology—everything beyond our means—was bought for me and it was forced into my hands. Despite their best attempts, I remained frugal and money conscious. I have handed back 300-dollar watches and said, “Please just pay the bills”, only to be threatened to have them thrown away. Then, there were expensive clothes and shoes that were out of style.
Most of the clothes I liked were thrift store-bought or on sale, but I have 200-dollar coats hanging untouched in my closet. I can't be thankful for being handed essentially junk when there isn't enough food in the fridge or the lights go out.
Meddling Middle School Misfortuneboy leaning on brown wooden railingsPhoto by Tadeusz Lakota on Unsplash
When I was finishing primary school, our school gave us the choice of two middle schools to move to. One was really nice and in a decent area; the other was a little run down, and in a bad area, but was slightly nearer to where I lived. Naturally, even before seeing each school, the choice for me was an easy one. I would rather go to a nice school and suffer an extra 20 minutes of travel than the alternative.
This choice appeared to be shared with nearly everybody else as well and, as a result, we were told that not everybody would get their first choice. They would determine who would get into which school based on several factors. I figured I would be almost guaranteed a spot in the nice school since I was doing well academically.
I was in advanced classes for math and English. I was shocked to later find out that I had been sent to the bad school. This was exacerbated by the fact that nearly all my friends were being sent to the good school. What followed was the worst four years of my life, and some issues that I have no doubt screwed me up as a person, even now. When I found out WHY it had happened, I almost started to cry.
I told my parents I had been assigned to the bad school, and my dad said he was relieved. The thing was, he thought that I would not be able to get to school on time if I went to the nicer school, due to the extra distance, and the travel costs would be higher since I would need to take an extra bus. So, he wrote a letter to the school board.
He mentioned that while I preferred the nicer school, he thought the bad school was more convenient. I love my parents, so I have never told him this, but to this day I have never forgiven him for doing this.
God Mom, Lay Off!
My mom would force me to go to church on Sundays, weekly church youth group, church summer camp, and daily morning scripture study classes before school while I was growing up. Despite all that, she seems to think that I didn't get the memo about the whole God thing. So, she still gives me the conversion pitch every time I see her. I am 36 years old. Thanks, mom, but no means no.
An Invitation For Disaster
My mother-in-law tried to take over my wedding guest list because she “knew exactly who we needed to invite”. We ended up with all of her relatives and very few of my friends or family. She also wanted to invite all of her co-workers, all of her friends, and their children. I finally put my foot down and told her that I had limited room, a limited budget, and it was my wedding. Luckily, my husband agreed with me. All her relatives got mad as well because I refused to have anyone below the age of 13 there.
Dragged On My Dad’s Dates
My dad dragged me around everywhere he went when I was a child. He would take me on his dates too. Although it sounds cute and funny, all he would do was make fun of me and tell them how I spend all my time on computers. I hated every second of it. He did this for a bit until he clued in that women don't like when you trash talk your son or ask him questions like, "Why don't you draw anymore"?
I would reply, "You threw out my artwork in my room, so I gave up". They also don’t like when I just couldn’t take the awkwardness of being an 11-year-old forced to accompany two mid-40-year-olds “trying” to date. I would get up and go to the bathroom or walk around, only to be tripped by my dad, for which he would turn back and laugh. He thought he was teaching me a lesson by taking me because I spent all my time on the computer.
Garage Sale Granny
My grandparents are garage sale junkies. This really helped me out when I was just getting started on my own, as they had so much unused furniture just lying around in the garage. However, it just kept coming. I would get phone calls from home saying, "Oh Hunny, we picked you up a new microwave! It was only $5"! I've been given three different microwaves over the last three years.
They also buy socks for my baby daughter all the time—like every time I come to visit. My daughter hates socks, and she rarely wears them. There are SOCKS EVERYWHERE. I have two giant shopping bags full of unused baby socks in the closet, and I can't donate them because, apparently some places—in my area at least—don't accept socks unless they are in their original packaging.
It Didn’t Make Any Centssilver and gold round coinsPhoto by Art Rachen on Unsplash
I was going to a coin show with my co-worker and his stepfather. They came by and picked me up, and we went to the show. After they dropped me off, the stepfather was stopped and questioned by the authorities near my house. It turned out my dad had called the authorities thinking that the stepfather was a predator, and I didn't know any better.
But here's the messed up part: I was 21 at the time. It was very embarrassing when I heard what happened the next day.
A Numbers Game
Before my wife and I ever met, her mother would often give her phone number to "nice Jewish boys" that she thought would be good dating material. It was weird but not bad or unusual. Except that, for a period of nearly a year after my wife and I had started dating, her mother was still doing this. There were times when we'd go back to her apartment after seeing a movie or something, and there would be a message on her answering machine.
It would be from a guy that she had never met, who got her phone number from her mother. This was happening MONTHS after we were involved with one another, even after I went to her mother's house and had dinner with her.
Single Straight Female
Years ago, my sister jokingly insinuated I was a lesbian. My parents gave me the whole "love you whatever you are" spiel later. I didn't tell them right away that I wasn’t because it made my conservative parents vote “No” on Prop 8, etc. I also didn't think it mattered, and I didn't want them to expect any grandkids. Later, I told my mom I was straight because the whole scenario got a bit aggravating. It only got more excruciating.
Despite telling her this, she kept insinuating certain things like the best places in China (I’m Asian) to find a wife, etc. I have absolutely no interest in having kids EVER, which I made abundantly clear. My mom, therefore, thinks I am a hermaphrodite or a female-to-male trans person. She's even asked me if I have a male organ or if I wanted to change my general doctor to a male one so I can talk about my "man problems". I'm a straight girl, so all of this was quite perplexing.
No Bed Of Roses
I had just moved back in with my mom after having some financial difficulties. I was 28 at the time and broke, sleeping on a twin bed. I was lamenting about how difficult that might make bringing ladies home. Her response was horrifying: "You can use my bed. Just call me first". Suffice it to say, during the two years I was back home with her, there were no romantic times back at my place.
Filling My Fridge For Nothing
Every time my grandparents visit my town, they stock my empty pantry with lots of canned goods and my empty freezer full of frozen entrees. I tell them that I appreciate their generosity, but that it is really unnecessary. They reply by saying they don't ever want to risk me going hungry because I am too proud to ask for food.
The reason my cabinets are consistently bare is that after they leave, I always make a point of donating what they've bought me to a local food bank. I own three restaurants, so there is no reason I would ever cook at home. In a bad year, I have an annual net income of around $2,000,000. They're stocking a $10,000 freezer.
Proper Phone Etiquettebrown rotary dial telephone in gray painted roomPhoto by Annie Spratt on Unsplash
My mom used to make me make phone calls under the guise of “teaching me how to talk on the phone”. But she was having me call adults as a young teen about business stuff like for example, the electric company. She would not give me the information I would need to complete the task, like the account number or whatever, so I’m absolutely sure I was just annoying people who were trying to do their jobs and my phone anxiety as an adult is almost crippling.
No Thanks For The “Expert” Advice
My mother-in-law sent me a text message with advice for editing the language on my personal portfolio website. She told me to change all of the pronouns I use when referring to myself to "my company name". When I told her most illustrators I know don't do this, she simply responded that she was an "expert editor". I am not being ungrateful; she is constantly doing this. Providing "expert advice" to people whose jobs she knows nothing about. When I told her what I did for a living, she responded with, "Well, gee, I could do that".
Coast To Coast Annoyance
My aunt constantly tries to introduce me to women who live 3,000 miles away from me. I have explained many times that I live on the East Coast, so her attempts to find me a girlfriend on the West Coast are not going to help. Not only that, but my girlfriend doesn't appreciate the efforts either. The funniest part is that she isn't even old or senile. She's just a bit nuts.
Grammy Was Out Of Step
When I was really young, my Midwestern, Protestant, fundie grandparents believed that black or gray clothing was exclusively worn by bad people, and they refused to see it on their grandson. They took particular issue with black shoes. As a six-year-old, I was given the chance to pick my own shoes out at the local Sports Authority.
I spent the whole day evaluating my options and settled on a gorgeous pair of black New Balance with orange mesh and white logos. Understandably, I couldn't wait to show them off to Grammy when I went to visit for the summer. I carefully explained the features of the shoes, and how they made me run faster, jump higher, and look older.
When she saw them, she said, "Oh my goodness! Those might be the coolest shoes I've ever seen"! Then, when I woke up the next morning, they had been thrown out and replaced by a pair of entirely white Nike sneakers with no explanation.
I grew up with a dad who had been a high school and college sports legend. I hated sports. I was overweight and liked D&D and drawing. My dad was friends with the high school football coach, so I felt like I had to try out for the team. I hated every second of it. I hated the training and I was terrible. My teammates knew I wasn't into it and wanted me out.
One day, I jumped off the bleachers and tried to land on my leg to break it. I sprained my ankle badly and missed our first scrimmage. Finally, I had to confess to my dad that I hated it and wanted off the team. I was so scared because I thought he'd be so disappointed. However, he told me, "Son, you're you and I'm me. Just because I played football doesn't mean you have to. I want you to do what makes you happy".
So, my dad watched football alone, while I drew and read and later skateboarded. Over the years, we found a lot of common ground, such as music, and cooking together. I lost him almost five years ago, and strangely, now I'm a huge football fan. I sit and watch football alone and I can imagine him with me. I appreciate it now and I understand what it meant to my dad.
Drowning In Questionsman doing swimmingPhoto by Richard R. Schünemann on Unsplash
I used to swim a lot in college, which was many years ago. I got tired of getting in the water, so now I mostly do weights and machines at the gym, like the rowing machine and the elliptical. But every time my mother sees me, she asks, “So, have you been swimming”? We have had MANY conversations about how I don't like swimming anymore and I have no desire to swim, yet I still exercise. But EVERY time I see her, it’s, "Have you been swimming? How's your swimming”?
Years ago, my wife and I went on vacation for two weeks, and we had her parents watch our house and cat for us. Never again. We left the house at a comfortable temperature as it was the middle of summer in Atlanta, and we didn't want our cat to bake. We also wanted the house to be comfortable for them and my brother for the couple of days he stayed.
When we returned, the house was about 90 degrees on the inside, and our cat was chilling in our basement—somewhere she never went—where the temp was a good ten degrees cooler. They also decided to wipe down our kitchen counters, even though the kitchen was 100% clean. They are marble and she used a cleaner on them that left these little spots all over them that never came off.
My brother came over for a couple of days and said that he actually turned the A/C back on and noticed that when he came back a couple of days later, it was back off again. So he turned it on again and when we returned, it was off again. Our cat was not amused and decided that she would hang out in the basement for weeks at a time, and we rarely saw her.
Our power bill was enormous that next month and the constant heating and cooling of the house caused the wallpaper in two of our bathrooms to peel. When we asked them about it, they explained, "We were just trying to save you guys some money on your power bill. You know you shouldn't keep your house so cool all the time! And we wiped the dust off your counters too with the cleaner you had”, which was hardwood floor cleaner as it turned out.
She took all of my pants and cut them into shorts and gave them to my brother because they were "too small for me" when, in reality, they fit perfectly. After she realized that what she did might have irked me a bit, she came back with a few pairs of light blue wrangler jeans that were a 40" waist because they would "fit me better". I wore a 36, so needless to say, they didn't.
She also told my little brother, who was chubby and pretty self-conscious, that he had a gut and that he needed to swim with a shirt on. I wouldn't be critical if she were old enough not to know better regarding what she says, but she just turned 65.
Dressed To Impress
My mother was in love with the idea that I would go to work in an office with a suit and a tie. She had some ideal image from television that this was a great lifestyle. Meanwhile, we came from a farm, and I was an artist. For a year or so after finishing a degree, I worked in tech support and this required a dress code. My mother got me so many collared shirts and ties, it was crazy. I've worked mostly in offices since but rarely need a tie. I know she's always been disappointed.
Temptation Almost Took Over
When I was in my 20s and a dateless wonder, my stepmother tried to talk me into marrying an attractive young woman who was a friend of the family, and was in the US on a green card. It would be for citizenship, but my stepmother also said that whatever other “private arrangements” we worked out were up to us. I was tempted for about five minutes, but then my father caught wind of my stepmom's scheme and put a stop to it.
Harrowing Hook UpGiant Dipper queue entrance | Santa Cruz Boardwalk @ Santa C… | Flickrwww.flickr.com
One day, I was at the wonderful Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk with my family. My dad had been drinking and suddenly asked me, "Why don't you have a girlfriend"? I was around 11 or 12 years old at the time. I told him I just never found one, and that's when he decided to become Cupid. He called over this group of overweight, goth chicks to "hook his son up".
Naturally, I was embarrassed beyond belief. I walked away to go find my mom, who was furious with my dad’s conduct. She even went so far as to ask, "Why did you choose some goth chicks"? His response was terrible and inappropriate. To this day I have never forgotten that.
When I was 11 or so, I was riding my bicycle home from school and the wind started blowing like crazy, hard enough that I had to push my bike the last couple of blocks home. The tornado sirens went off while I was half a block away. I ran straight to the back door that led to the basement, went downstairs, and over to the “safe” corner my parents taught me about.
I sat and worried about the house collapsing on me. Then, the phone started ringing upstairs. I ignored it for as long as I could, probably around two minutes. I finally ran upstairs and answered the phone. It was my mom, and all she said was, "Get your butt downstairs"!
Bound And Gagged
My mom and sister came to visit me for a few days the weekend after I moved into a new apartment by myself. I had to work on the first day they were there and gave them suggestions on a whole bunch of fun activities they could do while I was gone. I asked them to please not unpack any of my stuff so that I would know where I had placed everything.
Obviously, there were also things my mom didn’t need to see. I arrived home after work and everything was unpacked. Then, my mom handed me one bag which she had not emptied. The content had bed straps, and she asked me if I had wanted her to set those up too. It was mortifying.
College Control Freak
My mom took over my entire college experience. She became really controlling about my course schedule and degree options. Somehow, it got worse the older I got. She would contact my academic counselor and bug him about why I couldn’t get into ENGL 3044 or why HIST 4513 didn’t give me the same general ed credit as ENGL 4513 for the multi-disciplinary degree that she pushed on me.
I wanted to major in sociology, but Mom thought that was stupid and it was a hippy-liberal communist degree. It made me hate college, and avoid any professors she had contacted. She would also get really mad if I changed my university password to try and lock her out. Basically, she threatened not to pay for my college if she couldn't control me and she threatened to cancel my car insurance too. All because she was afraid I would leave for greener pastures.
Drop The Dating Advice
My brother, my sister, my sister-in-law, and every aunt and uncle whom I've seen in the past four years all take the opportunity to give me dating advice, ask me about what kind of girls I like, ask me to pick the most attractive girl in the restaurant/building, etc. One of my uncles, in particular, was telling me in none-too-uncertain terms to just find girls to bed, not for relationships.
His reasoning was that, obviously, no 23-year-old guy wants to have a girlfriend metaphorically tying him down, holding him back from things, etc. Of course, every college dude just wants to just go sleep around indiscriminately. This was a dinner conversation with my parents at the table. I wanted to crawl into a hole. Every time it happens, I'm tempted to tell them that I'm gay—which I'm not—so they'll get off my back. But then I know they'll just do the same for dudes.
Something Was Fishy With My Juicebrown and yellow medication tabletsPhoto by Leohoho on Unsplash
I'm a vegetarian and have been for seven years. One summer, my mom was going through a phase of making me these orange juices every day; they were nice. I always thought to myself that the oranges must be coming from a different place this year because they were so sweet. One day, I was scrambling through the fridge and found this jar that looked like some weird medicine.
I opened that baby up and took a whiff. It smelled like oranges—sweet, sweet oranges. When I read the label of the “medicine”, that's when I realized that my mom was spiking my drinks with fish oil. A “vegetarian” who eats fish is called a “vegequarian pescatarian”, not a vegetarian like I was. Needless to say, I was mad and didn't talk to her for a week.
My mother tries to set me up with Jewish men. Our family is Jewish, and I have told them explicitly, many times, that I don't want to marry anyone overtly religious and that I find most Jewish men not to be my type, to put it lightly. So lately, my mother has been trying to hook me up with cute girls. She believes that since I'm a 26-year-old pretty, single girl, I MUST be gay to not be married with kids.
The Devil’s Devices
My grandmother throws out appliances that have the number 666 in the serial number or barcode. She thinks these appliances will eventually turn on us because they’re the devil's appliances. This includes a brand new lawnmower she received as a gift from her children. Of course, she didn't give the lawnmower to anyone because she didn’t want to be responsible for the impending doom the appliance would bring; she just threw it out. She's done this at our house before as well. She's a nut, but I love her!
My Family Was Full Of Gay Abandon
When my mother and father found out I was gay, my mother said it would be best for me to come out to everyone who lived with us. At the time, it was my sister, brother, grandmother, and great-aunt. She said if I didn’t do it, she would do it for me because it would help me have a better relationship with all of them. When I went to talk to my grandmother, she had just had some really intense surgery and she was on some serious pain meds.
So, I sat her down and told her I was gay and she just went on this half-hour rant about how she knew a teacher that was a queer when she was in high school. It turned out she then emailed several relatives about my coming out. An aunt of mine then sent me a letter saying that she wished the best for me and told me that I could "still live my life as a gypsy", I just needed to be careful because "AIDS is really dangerous" and that I shouldn’t sleep with anyone until I was married.
Time To Cut The Cord
My parents can't accept that I am a married adult and don't need them to do everything for me. They did all they could to make me as dependent as possible, and they don't understand that not needing them to do things doesn’t mean I don't love them. For example, I am pregnant and at high risk. My mother calls all the time wanting to take me to my appointments.
I get that she is nervous, but this little girl is very healthy, and I don't want her there. She doesn't help, she only makes me nervous. My husband wants to go with me, after all, it's our baby, and she doesn't get it. She called my last daughter "her" baby, and she is starting again. It infuriates me beyond belief. My parents also hate that I live about two hours away in a different state.
They want us to visit every weekend and get mad that we only visit every few months. I talk to my mom every day, mind you, yet sometimes she calls me several times a day and doesn't get that I have things to do. She also constantly says she and my dad are moving to Las Vegas and she thinks it would be great if we moved there too.
She has all these people call my husband about jobs that are not anything he would be interested in. Plus, my parents don't have any good business contacts. My mom has not had a real job in fifteen years and my father has been looking for a better job for years. They are not even in the same field as my husband. Even if the job sounded perfect, we would never trust it.
We don't want to be associated with anyone they do business with. My parents have some serious separation issues.
Two Sides Of A Shielda person holding a babyPhoto by Polina Kuzovkova on Unsplash
I had cancer twice before I was five years old and so my parents really shielded my life. If I was invited to a kid’s birthday party, my mom would be there too. I wasn’t allowed to play outside until late, and even when I was older, there was no going to nightclubs. I had to be in by 10 PM and had to argue my way to let my boyfriend (now husband) stay the night.
As a result, I'm terrible at socializing, struggle to make my own decisions since someone was always there with an answer for me, and don’t know anything about running a house as it was all done for me and not by choice. When I moved in with my boyfriend, they were all, “Do you not like us anymore? What have we done to deserve this?”
My guy had to show me everything from using the washing machine and paying bills, to cooking. Everything I know is because of him! They continued to message, email, and phone several times a day until I asked for space and to be allowed to live my life. We have a better relationship now, and I have my own little girl, so I do understand to some extent.
However, I know I'd want her to be supported and loved but allowed to scrape her knees and be included in everything. My job as a parent is to make her feel confident about herself and teach her everything I know to help her become a well-rounded and independent individual.
The Only Bad Influence Was Her
My mom tried to protect me from my dad. My dad was a lazy guy when they were together in Vietnam. Even when they had my sister and me, my dad didn't do much for us. My mom had to take care of him and us, so we moved to the US without him. This is when my sister and I were pretty young. He missed us and he would write to us, but for 12 years I never saw his letters.
Then, through the magic of technology, we got into contact again. My mom warned me about him because she thought that he would have a bad influence on me. My dad and I exchanged emails and I told my mom about it. Then, she finally confessed the dark truth. She had kept all of his letters away from us so that we wouldn't think of him and just forget about him.
When I read the letters that he sent us, they were filled with nothing but loving and encouraging words like, "I know I'm not there for you two, but you both are in my hearts". There were no bad words or any negative influences in any of his letters. Then, my mom demanded that I let her read my emails. My email exchanges with my dad were us talking about my life and what I was doing in school.
She thought that he was going to be a bad influence on me by making me quit school and move back to Vietnam. He was doing none of that. He encouraged me to stay in school and told me that I should be grateful for living in America. Then, one time, I left my email open to go and do a quick errand. My mom went into my email, sent my dad a letter pretending to be me, and cursed him out.
I found out about it and asked her why. She said she was trying to protect me. This all happened when I was 21. My grandmother also told my mom to not let my sister and I talk to my dad because she, too, thought that he would have a bad influence on us.
The Cost Of High Tuition
My mom is paying off her student debt 20 years later from a college she didn't even graduate from. She's convinced that if I go to an in-state college, I will save money and never have to do what she was doing. Then, I moved to NYC last year, and now I'm getting in-state tuition at one of the cheapest state school systems in the US.
Even so, my mother keeps suggesting and is trying to guilt-trip me to go to private colleges back home, a couple of which are religious, and most of them don't offer what I need, while at the same time costing four times as much a year compared to where I'm at now. She also went as far as to tell my siblings that I didn't love them and that's why I was moving so far away, in a "one final effort" to try and keep me in the state. That really, really sucked.
Living The High Life
My grandmother was a nasty blue-blood rich woman until she blew all her millions on furniture and stupid material possessions with no resale value. Yet, she still acts like she is rich and demands the country-club lifestyle she is accustomed to from my mom and aunt. She really is insufferable. She has set me up with rich potential husbands, one of whom was a third cousin.
She set up an appointment with the Dean of my school to discuss my merits; she lives nearly four hours away from me. She invited me out to dinner for my 21st birthday at a $90-steak-type place so that she could "culture me" and introduce me to her friends. She then told me to pay for her. The total bill was $459 and I was in college. This list goes on forever and every time, she does things so that she can "help me get ahead in life", but it’s really just for herself.
Out Of Service
This happened to me right before I graduated from high school. The men on my mom’s side of the family were all associated with some form of service like the Navy, Army, etc. My aunt decided that, since I had no job or any college courses, she would go ahead and forge my application to the Marine Corps and the Navy.
I got a call two weeks after my birthday saying to come in for an evaluation test. She went to all my uncles and told them how excited I was to serve, and how I couldn't wait to "be a part of something bigger than me". When I found out, I lost it. I called her and explained to her how that was totally not cool and how much respect I had towards people who serve, but that it wasn't my calling.
I told her that I was very disappointed that she faked an application just because she thought I'd have a better life! I cut all ties with her and had to explain to my uncles how this was all her idea, and to my surprise, two of them were going along with her. So I moved up North to get away from pretty much all my family.
TMI!woman in black long sleeve shirt covering her facePhoto by Ivan Aleksic on Unsplash
My parents were way too open about the birds and the bees. Sex positivity should make you feel comfortable and safe; it shouldn't make you uncomfortable or be pushed on you when you aren't ready. I got a comprehensive talk when I was seven. My mom gave me an entire book and told me to tell her if I "had any questions", all because I asked what a word meant.
My mom asked me if I wanted any toys and gave my sister her USED ones. It was definitely unsanitary. My mom also smacked my booty a lot and told me I had a good body. It took a few years of asking her to stop in order for her actually to stop. She would interrupt my sister's dates when she was 14–16 years old to ask her if she needed protection.
That just made my sister feel pressured to use them, even if the date wasn't going in that direction. My dad was just plain gross about the subject too, but he never had talks exactly in the same detailed and crass way my mom did with me.