(Closed) Is there ever a good time to tell parents how dysfunctional your childhood was?

posted 6 years ago in Relationships
Post # 3
2790 posts
Sugar bee

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
1077 posts
Bumble bee

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
333 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2011

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
9483 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2012

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
5762 posts
Bee Keeper

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 # 9
389 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

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
389 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

@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
46402 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

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
2299 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

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
5221 posts
Bee Keeper

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 # 15
701 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

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
10288 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2011

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).

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