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Old 08-13-2019, 07:21 PM
Location: Southwest
61 posts, read 11,524 times
Reputation: 108


alcoholism, narcissism, emotional and physical abuse, ignoring each other, violence....the list goes on!

Anyhow, nothing about my parent's marriage would I want to bring into a marriage~
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Old 08-19-2019, 11:15 AM
47 posts, read 11,986 times
Reputation: 33
My mom died 27 years ago and my dad never remarried so I will just talk about my parents in law. They are very dependent on their kids financially. They expect you to support them now that they are retired and have no other means. They didn't think of how they are going to live before they retired. All the savings were depleted in 3 years after retirement because of mismanagement. They just know they have children who they took care of and put through school so now they have to pay it back (forever ugh). We will never do that to our children. Or at least I will not let that happen if ever my husband becomes like his father.
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Old 08-19-2019, 11:16 AM
Location: southern california
56,000 posts, read 75,050,144 times
Reputation: 48628
Violence and unstable behavior
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Old 08-19-2019, 12:15 PM
5,642 posts, read 2,417,825 times
Reputation: 16852
Gee, where do I start?

Constant arguing.

A startling lack of discipline in financial decisions, including self-centeredness when it comes to spending.

An almost complete lack of interest in the children, OR a constant complaining to children about the money they cost.

Playing favorites with the kids.

Quick and volcanic temper.

An inability to look more than a week into the future.

Chronic narcissism.

I didn't realize how f'd up my parents were until I entered adulthood. And I didn't come to grips at all about my parent's approach to raising children until we had three of our own. I literally spent the first 20 years of my life wondering what was wrong with me as a person, until I realized that I was the one who managed to get to adult life with my sanity and priorities intact. Let me recap that: At age 20, I was more the adult than my parents were.

Every once in a while, I recount something new to my wife that happened in childhood, who remains appalled even after 28 years of marriage. Just last week, I remember how my parents simply left us in the care of our grandmother so they could enjoy Thanksgiving at the beach. Or the time my father had amnesia for two weeks. Or the time my mother checked herself in the hospital because she just needed a rest. Trust me. Those are just minor incidents in the weirdness of our family, stuff we just kind of took for granted at the time. However it makes for convenient symbolism. Mind you, my in-laws are no picnic themselves. In fact, they have their own set of awful approaches to parenting that have marred the lives of all my brothers-in-law. But they are Ozzie and Harriet compared to mine. No physical abuse. Just this kind of weird neglect because there was always something more interesting for them to do. I'm the youngest of four. To this day, my sister claims I simply raised myself.

Now, some things are far clearer to me. For example, I learned my father had a psychological discharge from the army at the end of World War II (Which, at the time, was quite an accomplishment) and had serious issues with negligent parents of his own. The man grappled with depression the entirety of his adult life, which led to a great deal of instability in his professional life. He would rage at home about how the people at his firm didn't understand his genius, despite the fact that they took him back on three separate occasions after he quit. Never put a dime back, got only a token life insurance policy, and constantly obsessed over money despite having something like 40 suits in his closet and a country club membership.

My mother came from a family where she was at the bottom of the pecking order with a fire-breathing grandmother, mother, and sister. As a result, my mother has never had much in the way of self-confidence. So after my father died, she threw herself into 35 years of affairs with various high school boyfriends. Despite my father only leaving her $10,000 in life insurance, she never took working seriously, only hitting a lick at it when it was convenient. Even then, she blew every dime she made, so she now lives at 85 on her Social Security and whatever we send her each month. In terms of personal warmth, one of my brothers quips that it was like being raised by an insult comedian.

It says a great deal about my mother that, despite the fact that my wife and I live a scant five miles from her, she only took care of our kids five or so times during all the years we were raising them. Never offered and when, desperate, we'd beg her for help, she did it reluctantly. Why? Because she always had something to do with one of her married boyfriends. The last of them, a complete parasite, died almost two years ago. He lived with her for twenty years, despite never getting a divorce--something about jeopardizing his military pension. My mother spent the last ten years' of his life shuttling him to endless doctor appointments. When he died, he left her a 20-year-old Chevrolet. That was his reward for monopolizing two decades of her life.

As one example of my mother's priorities, let's talk about kids' birthdays. My mom is a fanatic about remembering birthdays. I totally credit her with that. But every time one rolled around, the same basic scenario unfolded. She would pull into the driveway, honk the horn, and shove the birthday present out the rolled down window into the arms of whichever kid for which it was intended. I'd would ask her in and she would always decline because some boyfriend always needed her, then drive away. Never attended a little league game, band concert, dance recital, or much else. She always did make time to attend my daughter's violin concerts, chiefly because she liked those. And now she can't understand why she doesn't have much of a relationship with them.

In that sense, I have always struggled with this weird combination of self-doubt and fierce independence that comes from the realization that no one was really going to help me in life. I also have had to deal with a lack of trust, one that it took me years to overcome. I paid for almost every single of dime of college without incurring student loans and worked like a fiend, growing several successful businesses. I have a happy marriage, one where we almost never disagree. We have three children who are at various stages of their education, all seemingly well-adjusted. They like to come around the house and hang out, and trust me enough to talk through their own challenges in life.

I'm the youngest, so I think I benefited the most from their benign neglect. The oldest among us, my sister, inherited my parent's self-centeredness. Life is a party for her, so she practically abandoned her husband and two teenaged sons when things got rocky in order to enjoy her group of friends. The sole exception is her daughter, who she spoiled to the point of caricature.

My oldest brother is on his third marriage. This marriage has produced a son, otherwise I suspect this one would have been over a long time ago, too. He keeps marrying angry neurotics and is always much happier when she's not arround. He is also obsessed with being the coolest person in the room, the man about town, that he can't admit to weakness or vulnerability.

My other brother probably had the worst time of it, because he was always considered the problem child. He really wasn't, because he worked and didn't get into trouble. He pretty much got through school on his own, but was always held in lesser esteem than my oldest two siblings. He married a wonderful woman, so life kind of clicked for him. But he still has vestiges of resentment at the way he was raised and, in retrospect, I can't really blame him. It's kind of remarkable that he and I are the most well-adjusted of the litter.

I honestly believe that our parents lay the foundations of who we are as adults, both in outlook and in our awareness of self and the world around us. Sometimes that foundation is a sound one. Sometimes that foundation undermines who we are and what we want in life. Sometimes, the entire purpose of a parent's life is to serve as a stark warning to their children.

That being said, you are rational adults. The past is merely prologue. It doesn't determine your life. There comes a time when you have to look back on how you were parented and truly have the courage to see how it affects your attitudes and your workings in the world. You can either nurse those scars and petty resentments forever, or you can figure out the pathologies and compensate for them.

Last edited by MinivanDriver; 08-19-2019 at 12:43 PM..
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Old 08-19-2019, 12:33 PM
Location: Colorado
12,276 posts, read 7,507,917 times
Reputation: 22045
I can't think of a single element in my parents' relationship that I want anything to do with in my own life.

Not one.

Often enough I'm not even sure why they were together. Must have been a choice made when they were young and too silly to know better. They were high school sweethearts. Together just over a decade, split up when I was about 10/11. It did not become clear to me just how bad they were as parents, until my baby brother was born when I was 9. I took over a lot of surrogate mothering for him, my Mom was depressed and slept a lot. My Dad just wasn't around if he could help it. Whenever they were together, they were fighting. There were very few times of happiness that involved my Dad. My Mom tried a little harder at times...but not always. And she's not quite right. She makes terrible choices, and she's got a wild temper. Anything can set her off, and when it does, she is violent. My Dad clearly didn't even like her, going back as far as I can remember. He was an alcoholic, often away partying with his friends, going away on "business trips" or working all the time. He cheated on her. He was scary when he was drunk, too. Sometimes violent, and to this day he refuses to be in any vehicle if he's not driving it, including when he's drunk. I will never forget a night when I was about 10 and my brother an infant, we were in his truck, the car seat in the passenger side, Dad driving drunk, and me squeezed in the middle on the bench seat. It was dark, and we were on a winding road and he would deliberately swerve into the other lane, and seeing how terrified I was, laugh hysterically at me, and do it again to scare me. He thought it was so funny, how frightened I was.

No...nothing about them, or their behavior, to one another or in general, is anything I wish to have in my life at all. And I can't remember seeing anything good in their relationship, worth emulating.

The one relative I truly looked up to, was my Great Aunt. She passed in 2012. And I did not see how her relationship was, because she was widowed when I was a child. She never had kids of her own, but she took me in when I was 17 for a while. I greatly admired her independence, freedom, and sensibility. She was a classy lady who lived life on her own terms. It makes me happy to know that the man I am with now, had she lived to meet him, she would have loved him. They'd have gotten along beautifully. That's all the familial validation I need.
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Old 08-19-2019, 01:36 PM
7,602 posts, read 11,708,992 times
Reputation: 8489
I think it's funny that the people that the bad parents that are being discussed are some of the same people who also post on this Relationships forum.

But can they see it? Are they aware of what their kids think of them?
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Old 08-19-2019, 02:01 PM
5,642 posts, read 2,417,825 times
Reputation: 16852
Originally Posted by jobaba View Post
I think it's funny that the people that the bad parents that are being discussed are some of the same people who also post on this Relationships forum.

But can they see it? Are they aware of what their kids think of them?

Dunno. Relatively few are cursed with self-awareness. Some of these posts you read and think, "Dude. Do you even read what you write?"

To me, the purpose of this thread is to foster an understanding that how one's parents lived raised doesn't not have to be perpetuated in how you treat your spouse and your children.

Far too many people go on into their thirties and beyond allowing themselves to be handicapped by what happened when they were kids. Yes, it happened. Yes, it was bad. But the more you understand it and how it affected you, the more likely you are to have the strength to rise above it.

I have a much happier marriage than my parents did. And I have a much better relationship with my children than my parents did. Not because I am any smarter than them, but more because I learned from their mistakes.
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Old 08-19-2019, 02:33 PM
Location: So Cal
40,773 posts, read 40,347,836 times
Reputation: 42202
Many many many many.
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Old 08-19-2019, 07:01 PM
13,409 posts, read 25,761,141 times
Reputation: 20812
Nothing about my parents marriage is positive to me. Well, they didn't physically abuse each other and they didn't kill each other (although my mother came close).

Mutual steaming contempt and resentment all the time.
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Old 08-20-2019, 11:09 AM
Location: Colorado
12,276 posts, read 7,507,917 times
Reputation: 22045
Originally Posted by jobaba View Post
I think it's funny that the people that the bad parents that are being discussed are some of the same people who also post on this Relationships forum.

But can they see it? Are they aware of what their kids think of them?
Are you suggesting that our parents might be here reading our posts?

I would not really mind that. I don't feel like there's much point or purpose in seeking them out directly to enlighten them on how I feel about the way they raised me, or their relationships as I was growing up. But I'm betting there are things they've never really held themselves accountable for. If they saw me expressing my honest opinions about them, maybe they would. But again...not sure what point there is, in any of that NOW. It's not like either of them are role models to any children at the moment, regardless. There is no making it better for another situation going forward. No useful purpose to learn a lesson from any of it. It's all water way, way under the bridge.

I feel no need to confront them...but I also haven't got anything to hide. It's nothing but the truth, after all.
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