At the start of college, I had my first serious relationship with a girl who had an eccentric father. When I initially visited her and her family, her dad entered her room and began massaging her feet as she lay on the bed while saying, “I love you, sweetheart.”
He finally introduced himself after rubbing her feet for a solid two minutes. When he walked away, I was asked, “Um, what the heck was that?!”
She described him as simply a loving father. But it didn’t end there. They hold hands while watching movies; she continued to explain. Big oof.
I was evaluating candidates for a sales position as a small business owner when a man in his mid-20s and an older woman entered the room.
I was quite certain it was his mother, but she began speaking to me about her son’s positive attributes before I could even ask. She yelled that she had every right to be there when I stopped her and informed her that she would have to wait in her car.
Her son’s face went really pink. I instructed her once more to wait outside and ordered a staff member to lead the way out.
He appeared to be a decent enough young man and attended a prestigious university, but I informed him that there was no way I would hire an adult who came to a job interview with his mother.
He also appeared to be a very shy person. He needs to leave his mother at home and develop his ability to speak up for himself, but I told him I would keep going with the interview so he could gain some experience.
As he continued, I grew more impressed with him and realized how well my company was doing. I, therefore, told him I would keep his résumé on file and consider hiring him if a different position became available.
Although I believed everything went well, I was concerned about what would happen next. When his mother stormed in, screaming like crazy, I was already inside with the next applicant.
She screamed that she would file a lawsuit if her son weren’t hired, and her son just stood next to her with a humiliated expression. Yet again, I had to have a worker usher them out, and after that, I tossed his resume in the trash.
In my family, I was the youngest and only child to attend college. The university kicked me out when I was 20 years old. Angry over his burned dinner, my dad barged into my room to open my window instead of knocking.
When I protested, he overreacted and said, “his house, his rules.” I responded by saying that you don’t just do things like that because I could be naked or something. There was nothing wrong with the house rules; it was more about walking in on an awkward moment.
I got kicked out for talking back because he didn’t take it well. It was seven years before we spoke again. I eventually came back into contact with them.
In contrast to my elder brother, who had only daughters, I had three sons. I was asked by my family whether I would give one of them the name of my father. They would become more irritated when I told them no.
I ultimately made the decision just to be honest with them and retort, “If you wanted me to name any children after you, you actually should have raised me better.” After another incident, I haven’t spoken to them in three months, and it doesn’t appear like I will for some time.
After kicking me out, they charged $7,000 to my credit card. My entire life has been devoted to defending myself against their cruel tricks.
A college roommate of mine was born deaf; his mother refused to allow him to learn sign language because she always feared for his safety and wanted him to live a normal life, not a deaf life (her words, not mine).
Although he had profound hearing loss, he had good lip-reading skills as well as good vocalization abilities. Her behavior went awry after he left for school.
When his mother pulled me aside, she very seriously asked me to inform her if he was talking to a girl, saying he had “problems” with girls taking advantage of him.
He had to say good night to her every night, which meant he had to be on instant messenger with her for at least an hour every night, as he was deaf and could not use a normal phone. Otherwise, she would call our room phone in a panic.
I was dating a guy whose parents were nudists at the time. I was not informed in advance of this. Within the first five seconds, I saw much more of his father than I ever needed to.
I pretended to be sick and raced back to the car. Perhaps it wasn’t the most appropriate response, but can you really blame me?
I’m the oldest. When my father was 16, and my mother was 18, they became parents. After he left, for about ten years, I had a terrible stepdad. I was not liked by my next stepfather at all.
Even when I wasn’t overweight, my mother would constantly make fun of me for being heavy, and she frequently used me as a place to vent her emotions since she still had unresolved issues.
During this time, she had two more children. They tried to improve the situation at home when my second stepdad arrived, and I couldn’t help but be envious of how much better my sisters were treated.
One day during lunch, my mother started crying and revealed a terrible secret. She claimed that given how badly she behaved toward me; she saw my sisters as a second opportunity.
I was relieved to hear it at the moment since I wanted a better life for my sisters. But my mental state hasn’t changed. She made no meaningful attempts to mend our relationship.
She claimed she didn’t want to report my first stepdad because of something regarding her taxes when I opened up about the situation.
At the age of 23, a friend of mine wanted to leave the controlling home of his mother. He should have understood that there was no way out.
His mother continued whining and complaining about the rental properties he was considering. Eventually, she comes to the conclusion that it would be preferable if she purchased an apartment and had him rent it from her, just to be safe.
She had to ask for the assistance of her ex-husband because she was unable to pay for it. My friend made it clear that he had no interest in the arrangement. Even though I don’t know the entire story, it is how he ended up.
She has a key to his apartment, and she uses it to check on it while he’s away. She also sometimes leaves him tiny gifts to let him know she was there.
My ex-boyfriend and I had been dating for a while, and his parents were eager to meet me. Since we were living in Orange County at the time and they were in the Bay area, we made the decision to drive up there for Thanksgiving.
He and his parents are Chinese, but I am White. Normally, I wouldn’t bring it up, but apparently, being white made them disapprove of me and made them less eager to meet me.
I wouldn’t have drove six hours and shown up at their place had I known they didn’t want to meet. The outcome was worse than I could have ever imagined.
His mother answered the door when we knocked, turned to face me, and exclaimed, “I told you not to bring the white girl here,” in Cantonese. There was more said, but I couldn’t understand a word of it.
His parents didn’t have heating in the house or the boiler on since they were trying to save money. Without a boiler, there would be no hot water, which would prevent taking showers.
They went to 24 Hour Fitness, where they had a membership, every night to take showers as a result of this. Exactly 15 minutes after we arrived at their residence, they suggested we take a shower at 24-Hour Fitness.
There are shared restrooms at 24 Hour Fitness. Showering in public makes me totally uncomfortable. 15 minutes after meeting the mother of my boyfriend, I had to strip for her.
She had never spoken to me in English before that time. She pushed a hairdryer into my hands as her first attempt at actual communication.
The following few days were agonizingly painful. Very little was said in English, and I had the impression that everyone was against me.
I basically tried to be as quiet, obedient, and courteous as I could for several days. She seemed to like me after I was taken to his mother’s garden to pull weeds in the sun for a few hours.
She made the decision that I required a doctor’s checkup later in the week. I’m not sure why, exactly. It turns out that she had me scheduled for a vaginal exam from a male doctor.
A dude I’m not familiar with. A man who had a terrible English accent. I told her that I didn’t feel at ease with any of this. It was awkward and awful.
In addition to having physical problems worth a CVS receipt’s worth of concerns, my father has severe PTSD from his time in Vietnam, a history of being physically and mentally harmed, and I’m sure countless more undetected health issues.
He was taking a lot of medication for all of the aforementioned issues, but there was no medication management in place, so he was a disaster. In hindsight, I realize what he went through and feel awful for him.
He made most of my childhood difficult after a certain point. He had recently fractured one of his knees at work, and his doctor had given OxyContin for the pain.
“You’re probably not my son,” he said to me. ” You don’t resemble me at all, and your mother would screw anything with two wheels, so I didn’t want you.”
He was really rude when I asked to take a paternity test. He had a number of significant inherited illnesses, according to my mother, and this was his bizarre method of achieving mental peace.
He didn’t want illness to determine my future. However, I t turns out that he is my father, and I can expect a future filled with illness. However, this is far from the worst of it.
Another time, I was sitting in his truck with him in our driveway when he had an unprompted breakdown. “I’m going to lock myself in my bedroom and shoot myself in the head because I hate my life,” he declared.
I took his.45 caliber pistol and flung it into a quarry. ” I hope someday you have a child that you hate as much as I hate you,” he responded. Did his poor parental behavior end there? Nope. In no way. He said, “You need to learn to be a man and not deal with it the way you deal with everything else, like an idiot.”
When I eventually confronted him at age 16, something unexpected occurred. His face clearly showed that he was on the brink of disbelief. He sobbed as he sat there.
Do keep in mind that my Vietnam veteran father would engage in a public fight with another karate dad over a snide remark he made about me or flip the principal’s desk over punishing me for defending myself against bullies. He is an ominous man.
He was crying and pleading for my forgiveness as I turned around. After that, he saw a doctor, who took care of his medication. He continued to be strange, but he never again insulted me.
My pals and I used to go to laser tag every Friday after school while we were in middle school. One time, as we geared up, a smaller child—possibly 6 or 7 years old—and his mother also arrive.
Nothing notably out of the ordinary. The mother does not, however, reach for a vest or a laser. These are necessary items to play for individuals who are unfamiliar with laser tag.
When the game begins, we all scatter throughout the space. There were two levels of neon-painted mazes that were dimly lit and equipped with UV lights.
The game initially proceeded normally, despite the techno music and lasers firing. Due to the abundance of opportunities to snipe and escape counterattacks on the higher level, battles frequently revolved around the two ramps leading to the second floor.
When I finally looked down and noticed the young child, I had already put a base on the top. It was amazing. She was escorting her kid through the maze while they were on the other team.
She was also making an effort to deflect approaching fire. Every time you hit her child, she would yell, “How dare you tag my son!” We initially found it strange, but it quickly turned into us pursuing and sniping the pair throughout the entire game.
Her comments were hilarious gold. They left right away after that, and the mother said in passing that we were cretins. Nevertheless, despite everything, the kid had a lot of fun.
I went over to pick this girl up for a first date. While there, I met the parents and they seemed nice. Or so I thought.
While we were out, her parents called the authorities and told them I kidnapped her. It was really awkward nearly getting incarcerated.
My parents are something else. My mother was always paranoid, and got it into her head that I wanted to “leave the family.” It was wild. She had no proof but would continue to say that God had revealed my innermost thoughts to her…
And then she’d go nuts and beat me. This kind of toxicity continued into my adulthood. But that was just the tip of the iceberg. My dad also had a sadistic streak.
I wish it wasn’t true, but he did a lot of painful things and gleefully announced that it was enjoyable. One time, he hit me so hard with a rattan cane that I bled.
His reason? Utterly despicable…He said, “I wanted to test the cane.” And then came the isolation tactics. They tried so hard to ensure that I never made friends.
They had weirdly latched on to me and didn’t want to let go, constantly telling me that I’m “hard to love” and that “nobody will love you like us.” It was messed up.
But don’t worry, I eventually escaped. Unfortunately, I still needed a ton of therapy to help process all that baggage. I still do. Even now, I can’t forget what they told me on the day I left…
Obviously, they were furious to find out I was leaving; they said I should have been beaten more as a child. Luckily, I’m doing so much better being out of their life, with no contact. Sure, I have severe complex PTSD, but at least I’m not being hurt anymore.
I worked as an instructor at a karate school and there was one parent no one wanted to deal with. Her son was in our youth class.
The school had a little waiting area where parents could watch their kids (mainly used for the children’s class) and she would just sit in that room, staring at her son. One class we were doing very light contact drills (no more than a poke).
She came out on to the floor and started yelling at me for putting her son in danger. I asked her to please leave the floor. I changed the drill to no contact; she ran onto the floor yelling at me for singling her kid out.
I stopped the class and told her to speak with the head instructor. She left to talk to him and I look over at the kid and he was crying. I quickly moved to a fun drill and he started to smile.
When the class ended a few other parents came up to me and said that mom is nuts and she kept trying to come to school with the kid. This mom had signed her kid up for karate but did not want him to be in a contact sport.
My white middle-class parents made casually prejudiced comments about Hispanic low-income families around my white-passing but proud Hispanic girlfriend, now ex, who was also from a low-income family.
It really made her and me incredibly uncomfortable, and yet they were completely unaware until I started calling them out on it.
When I was 12, my brother, who is six years younger than me, and I were playing knights in the garden and throwing spears at a blanket with a cross on it. This was a recipe for disaster…
At one moment, I threw my spear, not knowing he stood behind the blanket. The spear went straight into his eye socket. He survived—but the rest of the day was a blur.
I remember blood everywhere, my parents yelling at me, then standing at the corner, waiting for the ambulance to come while crying for what seemed a million years.
Everyone was ignoring me. Then, we went to the hospital, and it only got worse. The guilt was the worst. So much guilt. I was only 12, and the nurses were giving me the evil eye.
However, the hardest part was still to come. My brother went blind in one eye, but otherwise, was perfectly fine. After about a year he had to go to a doc for a prosthetic eye.
My mum said that I had to come with them. I remember VERY vividly sitting in the waiting room, hearing him cry, “It hurts it hurts.” It seemed like an eternity—but when my mother emerged, she looked at me dead-eyed and said, “Now you know what you’ve done.”
In scouts, I had a whiner in my group. When he didn’t get his way, he would complain with a high grating voice while rocking back and forth in a fetal position just because we were making popsicle boats instead of coloring like he wanted to do.
And no, kid. You can’t have the little dog on my keychain. I don’t care if you cry, it’s my keychain.
No tactic worked with this kid other than ignoring him when he had a meltdown. When his mom came to get him, everything suddenly made so much sense.
She would yell at everyone she could see about how her son was an angel who only deserved to be treated like a prince.
I was invited to a boyfriend’s house for dinner to meet his parents. When I got there, his father wasn’t yet home from work so we decided to go for a walk.
My boyfriend’s mother told us to be back to the house by 5:00, so we were playfully racing each other back so as to make it in time.
I got to the door a few paces ahead of him, opened the door, and witnessed a sight that will be burned into my memory forever.
I found myself face-to-face with his dad, who was standing stark naked in front of the door. I turned around and hid around the corner. His father kind of yelped and ran down the hall, and we were both mortified.
It turns out he came home and was getting ready to shower when the phone rang, so he answered it naked since he hadn’t expected us back yet.
When I was only eight, my mother told me that nobody likes a fat girl. I wasn’t even really overweight, but her comments made me spiral in the worst way possible. Before long, I’d developed a dangerous eating disorder.
But it didn’t end there. It’s been more than 30 years and I still grapple with the consequences of my disorder. The whole eating thing is still a struggle.
In Grade 10, I was seeing a girl. We lost our virginities to each other and fooled around for about a month.
One spring day, my mom comes charging down to my room, more upset than I have ever seen her. She rips my laptop out of my hands, telling me to stay in my room.
When she said it, my face turned white. As it turns out, her dad came to my house and he knew about some pictures his daughter sent to me.
Also, both her parents were officers and they threatened to charge me for having possession of the photos.
The next time I saw those people was at an Easter dinner two weeks later with her entire family. It was one of the most awkward situations of my life.
I tried stuffing for the first time that day, and to this day it reminds me of this situation.
My mother has anger issues. She and my dad divorced when I was young, and I split time between houses. Mom just hated Dad, and the woman can carry a grudge.
She hated the fact that I also loved him and enjoyed spending time with him. She would constantly try to get me to say that I loved her more, didn’t love him, etc.
That’s toxic enough, but there’s one event that really stands out: I was seven or eight and had said something to set her off, probably about weekend plans Dad and I had.
She got upset, yelled at me, got more upset when I didn’t repent, and so on. Then, looking straight at me, she grabbed a cardboard egg carton from the recycling pile and methodically ripped it apart.
As she stood there, ripping the egg carton to shreds, she furiously said, “I wish I was allowed to do this to you.”
My old boss and his wife were helicopter parents, not letting their two kids get jobs until they were done university.
Problem is that when they finished, they couldn’t find any jobs since they had absolutely no work experience, zero references, and zero research experience (they both had science-related degrees) so no one would hire them.
I had to actually explain to my boss that they would have to suck it up and work retail for a bit just so they could have something on their resume.
He didn’t understand how good grades wouldn’t help them in the real world of working. He then went on to calling various labs trying to find jobs for them because he wasn’t convinced. Last time I checked in with him, his kids still did not have jobs.
Well, I was 16 and dating an 18-year-old. So, one time, she comes to pick me up from my house and my mom sees her pull up in her truck.
Before I can introduce them, my mom says, “If you’re going anywhere with my son I am going to need to get a copy of your driver’s licence and insurance before you guys go anywhere.” Needless to say, that was the last time I brought a girl home…
My parents used to tell me, in so many words, that being myself wasn’t good enough and that people wouldn’t like me unless I completely changed who I was.
They genuinely believed that there was something inherently unlikeable about me and that I had to pretend to be someone else to get anywhere in life.
That really messed me up for life. It became a self-fulfilling prophecy. I went from a quirky kid with lots of ambitions to an adult with negative self-esteem and no personality.
I’ll never recover from it. They did thousands of tiny things to cut me down over the years, things I don’t think they even realized they were doing, but nevertheless made me believe more and more strongly that I was just not good.
They told me I wasn’t “normal” and that they wouldn’t acknowledge my unique needs because I needed to learn how to deal with normal people, and told me that I had a hard time making friends because I didn’t have blonde hair.
They said people must be “intimidated” by me and that’s why they didn’t like me and told me I was bragging every time I was proud of anything I did.
They even tried telling me as a teenager I was being selfish and tried to forbid me from even saying the word “I.” I still remember hundreds of the things they did and said to me that just made me think, “Wow, I’m doing everything wrong.”
I will acknowledge that I hold a lot of the responsibility for letting it affect me so much and I haven’t properly dealt with its repercussions.
I should have dealt with my issues in a constructive way instead of a destructive way, which made me continually spiral until I lost every shred of dignity.
I have believed for a long time that I’m just a “bad person” and there’s nothing I can do about it, and even though a part of me knows that I can control my destiny and my actions, a much larger part of myself believes so strongly that I’m a bad person that it’s overtaken my entire narrative.
When I was 14, my dad took me to France on vacation. We didn’t have a ton of money, but he had gotten a really great deal on the airfare and so we decided to go just the two of us. That is until my dad started dating his lady a few weeks before we left.
So, he ended up inviting her. She in turn brought her 14-year-old very cute daughter, Sarah. I thought I’d hit the jackpot—I was so, so wrong. First off, it was a long flight and we were missing two weeks of school so the two of us kids had a ton of schoolwork.
We of course had both independently planned to get it all done on the flights so we wouldn’t have any to do during the trip. Well, to be clear, I planned to do my work, apparently Sarah planned to have her mom do her work.
I kid you not, her mother spent the entire 10-hour flight doing her daughter’s homework. I don’t mean helping, I mean actually sitting there doing the work while Sarah listened to her headphones and messed around.
I believe it was at this point that my dad realized he had made a series of serious compounding errors here. First, getting involved with this woman, second inviting her along on our one and only international vacation ever, and third allowing her to bring her irredeemably spoiled daughter along.
Sarah refused to carry her own luggage. She had a lot of it too. We ended up sharing the load between the three of us while she had only her carry-on.
If we stopped to see a sight and Sarah wasn’t interested, she would just wander off and we’d have to go looking for her. Her mom would mostly just follow her around warning her about various dangers.
To which Sarah would respond with some vulgarity that her mother would ignore. Basically, there was nothing she wouldn’t complain about, not a thank you to be had.
On our fourth day we decided to eat dinner on a floating restaurant on the Seine. As with most establishments in Paris, this one had a small dog that ran around.
Sarah, in her infinite wisdom, decided to feed this dog from the table. She was feeding it basically everything she could, bread, cooked fish in cream sauce, etc.
At one point I say, “Sarah, you shouldn’t feed the dog that stuff, it’s not good for it.” Her mom then yelled at me, telling me to mind my own business. My dad looked at me and I knew he was trying to telepathically apologize for the situation.
At this moment though, karma took over. We began hearing this hacking noise from under the table It was followed by the clear and unmistakable sound of a small dog puking.
It puked all over Sarah’s feet. She started screaming and crying, of course. She was wearing sandals; the puke was inside her shoes. We couldn’t help ourselves, my dad and I started laughing so hard we could barely breathe while the mother frantically tried to calm her daughter.
When she couldn’t calm her daughter, the mom switched tactics to screaming at restaurant staff about how they shouldn’t let a sick dog around customers. The restaurant staff kind of stood there in shock.
The mom of course couldn’t believe we were laughing and was indignant towards our behavior. She yelled at my dad who responded, “That was the best thing to happen this whole trip.”
My Dad put them on a plane the next morning and sent them home. We spent the next ten days just the two of us traveling down the Loire valley, over to Belgium and Germany.
We had a wonderful time and it’s one of my best memories of growing up with my dad.
I wasn’t allowed to have a girlfriend in high school, but I decided to get one anyway. She was a really cute Italian girl whose dad was way too into classic cars.
I ended up sneaking over to her house for dinner to finally meet her parents, but I hadn’t told my parents that I was leaving. Everything was going great, her dad and I were getting along great and dinner was amazing.
We sat down to watch a movie and all of a sudden, someone barged in the front door. My parents, being the sleuthy devils they were, started calling around my friends asking where I was after they realized I wasn’t in the house.
Eventually, they managed to call my buddy Austin and he, being a good friend, said that I was at his house.
Now, Austin lives right next to this girl Jenny who I was dating, and so I was actually parked at his house anyway. My parents were livid, so they drove to Austin’s house and asked where I was.
Austin’s mom answered the door and apparently cheerfully said, “Oh, he’s over at Jenny’s across the street!” At this point, my Dad, furious with me, walks across the road and barges in the door.
He looks me square in the eye and says, “Let’s go Mike. Now.” I don’t talk to Jenny or her family anymore.
“I gave birth to you, gave you food and shelter, and this is how you repay me? You’re worthless and will never amount to anything in life.”
That’s what my toxic mother said when we got into an argument over my low grades in middle and high school because of a possible unchecked learning disability that she doesn’t believe in.
To this day, she thinks I got low grades because I was lazy.
I work for the Help Desk at a university, and I get disgusted with some of the parents that call in. Most of the time they want me to give them Junior’s password so that they can see his homework, grades, classes, etc.
We have a separate login type system for parents to handle financial aid-related stuff, but these parents want to have the full password.
Some things that I have heard: “But I am paying for him to be there, so I should have access.” “I am his mother, and I need to know what he’s up to.” “I just want to make sure he is taking the right classes.”
Unfortunately, I am not allowed to tell these people to cut the umbilical cord, but I can’t give them the password either. I’ve been yelled at a few times.
Years ago, I was at my ex’s for dinner for the first time, and found out that her parents are both incredibly weird. When I eat potatoes, I like to mash the heck out of them with a fork and then mix them in melting butter.
When I tried doing this at the table, her dad noticed what I was doing, got up from his seat, turned his back on me and literally shouted, “That isn’t how you eat potatoes!”
Obviously, I didn’t have a clue how to react. I didn’t know whether he was being serious or if it was just his sense of humor, so I looked at his wife for reassurance.
She gave me that “teacher look” that they pull when you do something wrong, got up from her seat, took both my hands in hers with the knife and fork in them, and cut the remaining two potatoes into quarters.
Her dad sat down again and we finished the meal in silence with him closely watching how I ate everything.
I’ve never been good enough for my dad. Over and over, I’ve heard the same rant: “Why can’t you be as successful as them?” “You are supposed to set the example.” “You are so lazy they work 10 times harder than you.”
Well, I’ll tell you why. Maybe it’s because I had to start working at 15 because my dad couldn’t afford to put three kids through school.
Maybe it’s because his ex-wife drank all the money away or gave it to her kid. Maybe if I had the time to study instead of wasting my nights manufacturing faked IDs, I’d have better grades.
Maybe then, I’d be able to make something of myself and not spend my entire adult life in retail or food.
I once received the following email from a woman I had never met: Hi Steven, your parents sent me a package with your information and pictures and a letter saying they wanted to set us up.
As flattered as I am, I am in a committed relationship right now. I am also only 21 years old and I’m not looking to get married or have children anytime soon.
She continued: Your parents made clear that having children was your intention. I’m sorry, but this isn’t something I am interested in. I wish you good luck in your endeavors.