In movies and TV shows, parents are always awesome. They work hard to support children upon whom they lavish unconditional love.
In the real world, that's not always the case. Even the most loving parent can say something terrible to their child, and not all parents are loving.
Here some Redditors share the most hurtful things their parents ever said to them.
(Content edited for clarity).
Unbearable Bitterness That Can’t Be Forgotten
“My dad had a stroke when I was 15 and went into a coma. At the hospital, my mom told me ‘I have to live with this because of you. If it wasn’t for you, I would pull the plug on him and kill myself. But I need to endure all this because you guys (my younger brother and I) need parents.’ I’ll never forget that.”
She’ll Never Forget The Act, Or Her Mother’s Hurtful Words
“I told my mother when I was 12 that I had been inappropriately touched by a family member. She said she’d deal with it.
A couple years go by and she’s still encouraging me to stand in family pictures with this guy, so I pull her aside one day for a talk. I asked her why she didn’t do anything, and her reply was to look at me in shock and say, ‘I didn’t think it was that big a deal. I thought you’d forgotten about it by now.'”
We Thought That They Only Said This In Movies
“Last New Years Eve while separating my parents during a domestic dispute, I had put my mom and dad in separate rooms and my mother was starting to argue with me, at which point she drops this bomb:
‘I don’t know why you’re even defending him, he’s not even your real dad.’
At the age of 21, I found out I have no memory of my biological father, I have no idea about 50% of my medical history, etc. Yet I was more upset at the way my mom said it – it stuck with me. There are a billion ways to approach that, and you tell me it during a fight?
It was a huge mess. Both my parents have YEARS of emotional and psychological baggage that they’ve ignored for the first 28-ish years of their marriage. Unresolved issues from affairs (I was the result of an affair in response to an affair. Yeah. Try that one on).
Despite this, I accepted pretty quickly that my dad is the one who raised me. As far as my bio-dad, I am contemplating meeting him sometime. I know his name and where he lives, but unsure of how to approach him.
The whole thing forced me to grow up a ton.”
You Can’t Choose Your Kids, But You Can Choose Who To Adopt
I’m adopted. I had to take a year off of college due to some personal issues. My mom was just in a bad mood one day and I guess I just said something wrong and really set her off. She told me she wished she had adopted the kid next to me and they chose wrong.
This was a few years ago and it really freaking hurt and I still think about it all the time.
I’ve brought it up since and reminded her she said it and she said, ‘You know I didn’t mean it I was just angry.’
I know I am lucky to have been adopted, and the life I would have had would have been nothing compared to how fortunate I am now, but I still think it was awful and this is why you should think before you speak especially when angry.”
A Picture Of Unhappiness
“I was always self-conscious growing up about how I looked due to years of being teased. Due to this, I’ve never really had a photograph taken of me because they would come out blurry due to me shyly ducking out of the camera.
Anyway, fast forward to Sophomore year in high school. My art teacher (knowing how shy I was) presents me with a candid picture of myself. No Photoshop or anything. I cried because it was the first time I had a picture showing me as what I considered ‘pretty’ in a completely natural setting. My self-confidence soared. So, for Mother’s Day, I presented the picture (had gotten it framed and everything) to my mother. She seemed really happy to finally have a picture of me.
A few days later she was throwing one of her fits and I was the target. I remember her storming out of the room and thinking it had passed over. Next thing I know she comes in with the picture. Having broken the glass to get it out, I saw there were tears in it already but wasn’t expecting what came next.
She pulled out a knife and with the most disgusted look she said, ‘Why would anyone in the world want a picture reminding them how ugly a person their daughter is?’ She then stabbed into the picture and ripped it to shreds. To this day there is not a single picture of me in that house.”
Words That No Man Wants To Hear
“I’m a male.
‘Do you need a bra?’
Said to me semi-regularly from middle school through early high school.
I had pretty poor eating habits and was pretty heavy when I was younger. Consumed a lot of soda. Didn’t really know better; there wasn’t a great deal of food education available at school, and my parents didn’t make it a priority.
During this time I was extremely insecure about myself and my body, but I still got this question on a pretty regular basis from my Mom.
I stay at a healthy weight now, generally, but it’s something I have to focus on daily or I’ll balloon rapidly.
I went to see her after not having seen her for a couple of years. Within the first few days, there was a fat joke made, in public, in front of my family I rarely see, and I wasn’t even overweight by BMI. I politely excused myself and left. As I’m walking away, I hear her say, ‘Well, he didn’t like that, did he?’
I have to look at BMI and the scale and body fat percentages. I can’t trust mirrors, because I’ve learned that what I see in the mirror is not what others see when they look at me.”
Her Mom Really Knew How To Break Down Her Daughter
“‘I left you behind because I didn’t want you, was that not obvious enough for you?’ – My mom said this to me on the phone on my 13th birthday and then proceeded to ask to speak to my sister. Not sure if it was THE most messed up thing, but it’s definitely in the top 3.
The second one was that I was violated by a family member as a child. He was forced out of our lives for a while because of this, but when they were deepest in their addictions, my parents invited him back around again because he had money. When I came home from school one day and saw him sitting on the couch, I ran to my room and threw my backpack down, turned and tried to leave. My mom caught me as I was trying to leave and told me that I needed to put what happened behind me and give him a hug, because I was being rude just running out without acknowledging him. So I walked over and gave him a hug and he pulled me into his lap. When I tried to get up my mom told me that I had nowhere else to be, so I had to just sit there for what felt like an eternity.
The third one is my father built me a bike from scratch. My brother and sister had bikes for a while and I never had one. It was a cool freaking bike. I rode it one time and when I came home from school the next day it was gone. I asked my mom where my bike was (I wanted to go riding with my brother and sister) and she said she had to sell it because we needed the money. I was clearly upset (no words, just tears) and she said, ‘Just because you were violated doesn’t mean you get treated better than everyone else. Your bike was nicer than everyone else’s, you think that because you had a bad experience you deserve to have better things? Next time tell your dad to make something uglier, then maybe you can keep it.’
She had her own demons to battle. I guess in my own effed up way I’ve come to cope by trying to rationalize what happened. I don’t want to imagine that a mother would be so cruel to her child, especially when its something she understands better than anyone. She was also abused as a child, and my father forced her to turn tricks and had my brother go with her to guard her. My dad was a horrible person too.
In a perfect world, she would have left him a long time ago, and tried to better herself for us kids. Instead, she spent time wondering why it was okay for his wife to get intimate with strangers while her son was close by to ensure it didn’t get out of control, but his daughter is violated and suddenly she is to be protected. Why was my life more valuable than everyone else’s.
She also felt helpless, she had never worked and my dad did a really good job of convincing her that she would never make it without him. I don’t try to justify her actions, her reasoning… but she has mental issues because of what she went through, she didn’t get the help she so desperately needed, and in the cycle she repeated the same mistakes her mother made.
Does it suck what happened? Of course. Is it right how she treated me? Of course not. But at the same time, I have to try and see the reasons why something like this can happen, and it makes her seem less like a monster. I was a stones throw away from being just like her, and I wonder if my desire to figure out why she did what she did kind of helped me to not repeat the same mistakes.”
She Was Done
“In 1987, my senior year of high school. ‘Come August, you and all your crap will be gone, I don’t care where you go. I am done raising kids.’ My mother….. Now she wonders why I don’t come visit her.
For a little more context, I was the third of three boys. I also had in the last 4 years added a stepbrother and stepsister. My older brothers were physically abusive. Both were in trouble with the law. My oldest brother was arrested in Atlanta when he was 16. We lived in Rockford Illinois. We had no idea he was in Atlanta until the police called. My other sibling stole my stepdad’s motorcycle and wrecked it, injuring the person in the car he hit, and the friend he had on the back of it. My stepsister got pregnant so she could drop out of high school. My stepbrother, who I don’t blame, ran away to Albuquerque to live with his mother. I was the last one at home, I hadn’t ever been arrested, I had good grades in school and was involved in soccer and track at school. So when she told me that, I was shocked. Prior to her saying that she would actually introduce me to people as the white sheep of her kids. So what she said was very hurtful.
With no other plan, I left Rockford for the US Navy on August 5th. I spent 7 years doing stuff I didn’t want to do, including the Lombok straits crisis (Indonesia), the first person gulf war, and Somalia.
I attended college using the Illinois veterans grant and the GI Bill. Then later I got a masters degree in management. I have been married 23 years and have three kids, so my life turned out really good.”
You Can Prove Them Wrong
“I came home from high school after talking to my friends about the future. Many of them were going to take the SAT and ACT to prepare for college. My family is on the poor side, so I knew my family would not want to fork out the cash for me to take the test. Regardless, I came home from school with the intention to talk to my stepmom about it. My dad worked late every day so I don’t get to talk to him about stuff like this. My stepmom (who was a complete monster to me and had been married literally 7 different times in the past with several kids from different husbands) was the only person I could talk to about it at the time. I told her I wanted to take the ACT as it was the cheaper of the two tests.
After I told her I wanted to take it, she asked me why I wanted to take it. I didn’t understand the question, and it was a little shocking she would even ask it as the intent was obvious- I wanted to go to college. I told her that. Her response was infuriating. She laughed sarcastically- almost menacingly in her own way. It was one of those laughs someone does when they don’t take what you are saying seriously at all. She says with this sarcastic smile on her face, ‘What makes you think you are going to college? We can’t afford to pay for that. Your father won’t even give me 20 dollars for getting my hair done.’
I continue to plead my case about wanting to go to college and get a higher education to help me in life. She laughs some more and says, ‘None of my kids went to college- what makes you think you are going to go?’ She continues to ramble on about how I’m not special and that I’m not going to college.
A little history- we lived in the middle of the country in Ohio where there were literally no opportunities for me. I had no car and there were no jobs within 30 minutes of driving from the house, so how was I supposed to get a job? It was a cycle that couldn’t be broken. They never helped me get anywhere, and I was in my senior year of high school with no job experience under my belt, no license, and no friends nearby to get away. I felt like I was lesser than my peers at school who were getting cars, had plenty of friends, had jobs, plans for the future, and parents that cared about them.
I had lots of confidence issues because of this along with bad grades since middle school, I was stuck in this complete mess of a home with my monster of a stepmom and nothing but fields of crops around me. I had been dealing with all the stress with the hope that one day I would be able to escape and make a better life for myself- and my stepmom just shut down my hopes and dreams with no hope for compromise.
I got mad- which was something that you really didn’t want to do around her. When you get mad, she gets madder and starts to ramble on- taking away privileges and claiming to get my dad involved for further punishment.
I was so mad that she would consider me lower than her own troubled people that she called kids. Most were in their 40s btw- she had kids really young and my dad was older in general. I had never done anything bad in my life outside of an attempt to steal a small calculator in my youth in which I got caught. I never did illegal substances, I never smoked, and never drank. I never did anything basically. How could I?
In my anger, I told her that no matter what I would get out of this terrible place. Those words resonated through my mind as I made plans to get out of there. I told myself I would do anything- even join the military if I had to.
I went to a college fair with my high school and talked to a Navy recruiter. Two weeks later, I had been sworn in and had committed to 4 years as a Navy IT. I got out of high school and a few months later landed in boot camp, met my future wife, ended up going around the world on a ship going to lots of different places, got married, got out, and now I am working as a contractor making more money than any of my family. I don’t blame my dad or mom for my bad childhood, but I don’t want to forgive all the hateful things my stepmom said or did.”
Brutally Direct But Awfully Unkind
“‘You are the cause of most of the problems in this family.’
It came out during a depressive episode I had in high school.
My parents are hoarders that are perpetually in massive debt. My grandmother owns their house, one of their cars, all of the appliances, pay for utilities and they expect her and my uncle to provide maintenance on all of it. They were physically abusive – which stopped after an arrest and some mandated anger management classes when I was 13 – but are still verbally abusive and the whiniest people I know.
I’ve had to live with them while going to college, but was able to move out as soon as I got a job offer.”
You Can’t Let It Go
“My grandparents and my mother raised me. They’re wonderful people, but my mom was a single mother and she worked all the time to provide for me. My grandparents were long since retired and took care of me when my mother was at work.
They said a lot of things one shouldn’t say to a child. It’s painful to think about. I’ve been called just about anything you can think of before the age of 12… things I’d rather not say. I wasn’t beaten, but the things they said to me I still feel today and I’m 31 now. It’s hard for me to express myself (any emotion). For years I was too frightened to say anything and kept to myself. I was a good kid, I didn’t deserve to be treated that way.
I’m still working on my issues with that but I’ve forgiven them because it happened to my mother via my grandfather and to my grandfather via his father. They got the physical and emotional abuse and I just got the latter. I used to think when I was a teenager I’d rather have them hit me instead. Then I realized how stupid that was.
My mother worked all the time. I barely saw her, and when I did she was stressed out. My biological father wasn’t worth anything. He didn’t help and stopped coming by when I was four. He didn’t bother with us. Having to deal with that, working almost seven days a week, my sick grandfather and me, she was bound to be stressed. No one’s perfect, but I wish the things they both had said/done during that time hadn’t happened. They didn’t believe in mental illness, but I know where I got it from.
My grandfather died in 2007 (complications due to diabetes and a stroke) and I did mourn him but he was not a perfect man. He was hurting for a long time both emotionally and physically. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without him or my mother, but I struggle with personal relationships, my gender, and feelings of worthlessness every day.
I’m never having kids. I’m scared the cycle will continue. I don’t want to make anyone feel the way I did/do.”
The Not-So Intellectual Put-Down
“When I was about ten or eleven, in sixth grade, my mom and I were fighting a lot about college (which is a whole different messed-up situation but whatever). She thought I wasn’t applying myself enough to school and whatnot because my grades were lower in sixth grade than they had been in fifth grade. I thought it probably had more to do with the fact that I switched from a local public school in fifth grade to a competitive private college prep school in sixth grade.
Anyway, so the point of this story is I was working really hard to try to make her proud of me. My mom is really into college in general and her college in specific. She went to a very competitive liberal arts college and served on the Board of Trustees for ten years. She’s friends with the current president. She’s in love with the place. I thought if I told her I wanted to go there, she might be proud of me.
So over dinner one night, she asked me if I’d been thinking any more about colleges I might like to go to.
Me: ‘Yeah I’ve been doing some research online and [her alma mater] actually looks really great, I think I might apply there!’
Mom: [starts laughing really hard for about a full minute before she’s able to speak] ‘Even with my extensive influence, you would never be able to get in there! Keep dreaming!’
But now I go to an equally competitive/highly-ranked liberal arts school that I love, which just so happens to be in the same consortium as her college. So forget her.”
She Put Her Faith In The Wrong Things
“‘I wish that I had been a better Christian and not divorced my first husband. I could have stayed with him and made a better family if I had just been stronger and relied on God more.’ – My mother.
This hurt me because he emotionally and physically abused her and my sister, by her own admission. Not to mention the fact that if she hadn’t divorced him, she would never have met my dad and I wouldn’t exist… at least not as the successful person I am today. She would pepper these kinds of things in after she had just found out I’d graduated college with a masters, had a great job, etc., diminishing my accomplishments. And she wonders why I moved across the country to get away from her, hardly speak to her and hate religion now.”
The Ugliest Prediction In The World
“My mother once told me I would turn into Jeffery Dahmer.
A duckling on our farm had broken its leg, and I had to leave it in pain for the day because I didn’t know what to do with it (and was frankly terrified I would be in trouble it had gotten injured in the first place). By the time she got home, it was in shock, and it soon died. My mother was completely enraged and informed me that I was a sociopath for ‘letting it happen.’
She moved my brother and me from suburbia to a farm on a whim when I was 12. Bought a TON of animals she had no idea how to manage, and left us home to care for them daily while she worked and dated. She would be gone for 10-12 hours a day minimum with no way to contact her– and being so young, things would often get out of my control.
Sometimes animals would die– years later I understand that this is simply how nature works, even for the experienced farmer– but at the time I was blamed and severely punished for every incident. Once, a kid goat died, and when it was discovered in the morning I was hit with its body, then forced to bury it myself. So is it any wonder I was frozen when it came to the poor duck? She’s said and done some messed up things, but that was the one that always stuck with me.”
“I Am Not My Father”
“In 7th grade, I had really terrible stress related dandruff. My mom wouldn’t let me comb my scalp so there was no way to get rid of what was on my head before washing.
‘Mom, today someone asked if I have lice, can I please use a comb?’
My mom, with venom in her eyes and voice, ‘You’re lying! That’s the look your father gets when he lies! Why are you lying?’
Just to be clear, I was not lying. It was humiliating especially when there was a simple fix that would have reduced the appearance of the flakes if not the root cause.
‘I’m not lying! Ask (my best friend) Stephanie!’
‘You probably lied to her too.’
What the heck, mom? I honestly wasn’t a big liar and anyone could see the flakes in my hair. In retrospect, I have no idea why she wanted me to go around with visible dandruff.”