Post # 1
Regular Bee under cover here looking for some anon perspective on something that’s been bothering me lately.If this is in the wrong section please move!
I’m going to spare you my sob story, but just speaking in general terms. As an adult, if your childhood (excuse my language) kind of fucked you up as an adult… is there any benefit to telling your parents the truth? I’m not talking extremes like sexual abuse or anything. Just things that build up over a number of years. Criticizing your weight at a young age. Telling you that you aren’t intelligent enough to do certain things. Subjecting you to things that will later distort your view of the world.
My mother seems very self assured that the upbringing she gave me was “perfect” and it bothers me so much because it wasn’t. Not even close. I feel it would make me feel so much better to say “You know what? It wasn’t perfect. You and dad seem so convinced it was this ideal upbringing, and it wasn’t at all so stop telling me it was. You made me feel like shit all the time and said horrible things, barely let me have friends, and did so much damage to my self esteem that I suffered major anxiety and depression for years and years until I discovered therapy and meds. Thanks.”
But at some point, has that ship sailed? Is there any benefit at all to being honest about it for your own peace of mind? Or is it better to just say “I won’t let it define me” and try to move on without ever saying anything. Has anyone ever confronted a parent about this? All opinions welcome.
Post # 3
Personally for me, I had to say something. The only bad part is… they don’t believe me or are so self centered that they just don’t care. I have told my parents over and over again that the way they raised me was less than stellar and that hasn’t changed the way they continue to treat me.
If you can live with speaking your mind but having absolutely nothing change I actually would recommend it. It is incredibly therapeutic to tell them that you actually think they were terrible parents. Just be prepared to hit a brick wall and don’t expect them to have an epiphany or anything.
Post # 4
I think that bringing up baggage should be done more to get the weight off your chest than to expect an apology or good reaction. I think if you want to tell them just so that you’ve made your opinion known then it’s a really good idea, but in general I wouldn’t expect a major revelation on their part. It sounds like it might really help you to make them aware of how you feel about things they said to you growing up. The next time they make that implication you should tell them that you actually really struggled with how critical they were of you growing up.
I’ve been honest with my Dad about how badly I felt he handled his divorce from my Mom and how I wish the he could at least pretend to be more civil. It didn’t change his behaviour but it did make me feel a lot better!
Post # 5
I don’t think its a good idea IF you have a good relationship with your parents. It could do alot of damage, with very little gain.
Post # 6
I made sure my mother knew the torment she put me through all my life, but she STILL believes she was an amazing mother. She’s in such denial.
Post # 7
It depends on what answers you’re looking for and if it’s just a need to vent to them. There aren’t any do-overs, so it is what it is, and you can either bury it inside and let it fester until one day you blow up, or talk to them about it and see what you get back.
Will it go well and give you a sense of satisfaction to lay it all out to them? Only you can predict how it will be received since you know them best, but prepare yourself for any fallout. You may break some hearts in the process.
Post # 8
I guess I feel as though at this point, because I have children of my own now, it’s more of a way for me to say “I’m doing things my way now, your way did not work well for me and I don’t want my children raised in any similar way.”I look at my child and can’t ever imagine myself saying horrible things to her. I wonder if my mother ever felt the same way about me.
But then I think “Why are you still letting this bother you so much?” and I honestly don’t know.
Post # 9
I think it depends on how close you are with your parents and what you want your relationship to be like. Mine got divorced when I was 10/11 and the way they handled it really effed me up. They’re still fighting, 11 years later. I really wanted to stay close to both of them.
I never held back about my troubles, but they didn’t really take me seriously until I became independent. I moved out, got counselling, and told them how much their behaviour affected me. My mom really listened and actually changed, and although she still feels guilty sometimes, we have a great relationship now and I was able to forgive her. We’re much closer now then we ever were before.
My dad, on the other hand, is only getting worse. He kept trying to manipulate me, making it all look like it was my fault, blaming me for everything that went wrong in his life.. so I had to cut off all ties with him. Seeing him not taking any responsibility for his actions, trying to act like it’s all good, I just couldn’t deal with it anymore. It’s been 8 months since I talked to him, and I still cry from time to time, thinking how he’s not going to be at my wedding or how I couldn’t even call him on his birthday. I really miss the dad he used to be when I was little, but he’s not that person anymore.
Ok – emotional rant over. I think you need to know what you want to achieve with a conversation like that. If you’re okay with your parents now, but want the relationship to get better, think about how they might handle it and whether you can overlook it if they just don’t listen. Good luck!
Post # 10
@dgjghfjdg: do they interfere with your parenting at all? If so, I think it would be ok to say “You did things your way, I do it differently.”. I also think it’s pretty normal to compare your way of parenting with the way you were brought up (I’m not a parent yet, but I already see myself watching out from becoming my mom).
Post # 11
I honestly don’t know what it would accomplish. No one likes to be criticized over something they can do nothing about.
One of my sisters confronted my parents and it was very hurtful to all of them. You’d never know that my sister and I grew up in the same household if you talked with the two of us.
I look on it this way- My parents did the best that they could with the skills and knowledge that they had available to them at the time. We are doing the same with our children.
Post # 12
Ughh! I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately! I’ve had multiple conversations with my mother about this…she’s under the impression that her not being there ever effected me more than her suicidal threats and attempts starting when I was 14, which is not true at all. It really depends on what type of parents you have and by the sounds of it I don’t think your mom would be very receptive, unless if you just want to vent. THEN it might be a good idea to just get it out.
It’s frustrating when people don’t acknowledge how much they’ve hurt you. My dh comes from a VERY abusive family (his parents beat him for 14 years) and his mom carried on w/ verbal/ emotional abuse until he married me. They are under the impression that they are perfect parents and never admit to any wrong doing.
Post # 13
If it were me- I wouldn’t. You’ve already ruled out abuse/endangerment, so at this point you’re just brining up things that certainly cannot be changed. I am sure NO parent thinks they were 100% right about 100% of the choices they made.
I would just make mental notes on how not to raise your kids from things your parents did while raising you.
Post # 14
Sincere thanks for the insight so far.
I wouldn’t say they actively interfere but my mother definitely makes her opinion “My way is the best way” known constantly. Not too long ago my daughter was super sick. I told my mother I was taking her to the doctor and her reply instead of “I hope she feels better” was to say “I wasn’t so quick to take any of you kids to the doctor, sometimes children need fresh air and sunshine, you’re always convinced there is something wrong.”
It’s comments like that I get all the time. Once in awhile you just want your parents to say “You’re doing the right thing” instead of making you feel like you’re “over-dramatizing” everything, as my parents call it.
My daughter is outside running around and playing every single day it’s nice out and we go on tons of field trips as a family. She was diagnosed with pneumonia during the incident in question, so my intuition was right, my mother was wrong, and I never said anything.
I want to be closer to them, but they make it damn near impossible sometimes and then wonder why I withdraw from them. So I thought perhaps if I told them, it might help, but I guess it probably wouldn’t…
Post # 15
I did a lot of counseling and then as I understood it better and it’s effects on me I would bring it up and talk to her (them, but mostly mom was the involved parent for me). We have a very open and honest relationship and are very aware of our flaws, but working through my issues with her insight was really helpful in the process because she gave me an understanding of the bigger picture at the time.
Working through your family upbringing isn’t about saying “you sucked” it’s about saying “I’ve been having issues with X and I’m trying to understand the situation better so that I can move forward in a positive direction”. If you approach it any other way than that I would think you would encounter some problems
Post # 16
My husband had a terrible childhood. His bio father was mostly to blame but his mother was far from a perfect parent. She had plenty of her own issues that contributed to his shitty childhood but if you ask her, everything was just greeeeeeat. A few years ago on Christmas Eve it all came out. They were both drinking (he and his mother) and he told her how he really felt. They discussed his childhood and how it affected him and she dismissed it. She made excuses and claimed that things weren’t as bad as they really were. He’s happy that he got it out but upset that his mother couldn’t just sit there and take it instead of insisting on defending herself. I personally lost some respect for her that day since I feel that a parent should be there for their kid and let them vent without having to defend their own ego and feelings. I’m sure it wasn’t easy for her to hear but his childhood wasn’t easy for him either. Years of pain and suffering are considerably worse than some hurt feelings for the person who caused some of it.
Ugh, sorry for the rant. It’s just a touchy subject for me. I think it’s very important to express your feelings to your parents instead of letting it eat you up inside. They should know how their actions affected their child’s life. It probably won’t be easy for anyone involved but I do think it’s necessary. I know that every situation is different and while some parents won’t really care, others may see the error of their ways and try to change or atleast acknowledge their wrong doing. If you don’t speak up, they’ll never know how you really feel and in cases of shitty parenting, I think they deserve to feel like assholes for what they’ve done (or not done, depending on the situation).