Let’s face it, parents are not the superheroes we once thought they were. The older we get, the more we realize that parents are just human beings who made a lot of mistakes along the way. The only difference is that some parents went out of their way to try to never repeat those mistakes, while some got stuck in toxic patterns that hurt their children in unsettling ways.
These children have now grown into adults who struggle but are aware of the root of their issues. They have come together on Reddit to share the things that parents told them that broke them, in hopes of saving the next child.
“My drunken father once told me, ‘You’ll never be the man that I am.’ I remember thinking, ‘You’re damn right I won’t be.'”- p38-lightning/ Reddit
The sad truth is that while some thrive to be just like their parents, once wishing they will grow up to follow in their footsteps, some of us actually make it our life goal to be everything they were not. Ultimately, the hope for every parent should be for their children to be better than they ever could be and to have everything that they did not.
“‘It’s all in your head/you are just imagining it.’ As it turned out, I wasn’t imagining it and now I struggle to differentiate between what’s real and what’s not because I was led to believe I was imagining things constantly.” – Missing_Maestos/ Reddit
When we think of gaslighting, we often picture romantic relationships but the reality is that this victim-blaming mentality is actually a manipulation tactic that is used in any kind of relationship. Even parents turn the tables on their own children when it’s too difficult for them to take accountability and admit their own mistakes. They think that by dismissing it, it’ll just go away but what it really does is confuse the child about reality.
“You’re the reason why your dad and I almost divorced.” – 3_angels / Reddit
It’s never the child’s fault for having been born. It’s not like we chose when to come into existence and into which family. It’s completely unfair when a parent blames their kid for any of their problems because it’s actually their responsibility to figure it out. If they didn’t think their relationship could handle it, then maybe they shouldn’t have had a kid in the first place.
“‘So you’re saying that I’m a bad parent’ in response to any form of help-seeking or constructive criticism was the worst for me.”
Parents need to accept that they’re not perfect. What kind of example are they setting for their children when they refuse to accept their own flaws and mistakes just because it’s their own kid who points it out? Rather than teach them that they should follow authority blindly, parents should show their kids that it’s okay to admit a wrong, learn from it and move forward
‘You’re being dramatic’ or ‘Quit being emotional’, ‘why are you being difficult’, ‘you make things so hard on me’, ‘someone else has it worse so stop crying’. – Sxthu / Reddit
Somewhere along the line, we were conditioned into thinking that showing emotion was a sign of weakness. it’s time to unlearn that behavior and remind ourselves that it’s those very emotions that make us human and guide our moral compass. Children actually act out more when they’re denied their own feelings and told to just grow up.
Poking Fun At A Child
“Making fun of your kid for making a change in their life for the better. I was always anti-social and the complete opposite of athletic. When I began to try and work out to gain some muscle, I got teased by my parents. All that did was discourage me and make me want to quit.”
Kids at any age will look at their parents for approval and validation. Rather than be shut down, they should be encouraged. If they get made fun of by their own parents, they’ll be convinced that everyone else will too.
Skewing The Idea Of Love
” I think probably the most toxic thing a parent can say to a child is any form of, ‘nobody will ever love you as much as I do’ or ‘I’m the only one who really loves you.’ It’s the psychological equivalent of a bear trap. Its purpose isn’t just to hurt the kid, but to keep them from ever leaving.” S_thyrsoidea / Reddit
There’s a reason so many of us have commitment issues and a hard time creating and maintaining healthy romantic relationships. Often we don’t even understand what the idea of healthy love looks like so we don’t know what to look for. By modeling healthy boundaries and giving kids space, instead of telling them that love is conditional and only given freely by parents, we might increase their odds of finding meaningful relationships.
The Worst One Of All
“I wish you were never born.” AmunPharaoh / Reddit
This might be the saddest thing you could ever say to a child. By saying this, no matter the context, you could take away their entire will to live. They will be left thinking that if their own parent doesn’t want them, then how could anyone? This statement breaks their entire character and no matter how many times a parent apologizes for it after, the damage has already been done.