Parents don’t often realize the most hurtful and toxic things they’ve done to their children. A lot of times, these words or actions cut their hearts and leave a scar deep down through their souls. Therefore, here are 30 relatable stories that you shouldn’t repeat from our Redditors who shared the most toxic things their parents have done to them:
#1 Unexpected and unsupported
One Friday when I was somewhere in the 8-10-year-old range we were going shopping. We were walking towards the mall behind a group of young guys in their late teens/early 20s. They were laughing and joking, seemingly having the time of their life. It looked like a lot of fun. I pointed at them and told my mom that it reminded me of the song my dad used to play, The boys are back in town (an old Thin Lizzy song). My mom looked straight ahead and bluntly answered “you will never experience that”. It wasn’t exactly the kind of answer I had hoped to get. All I could get out of my mouth was “…what?…”. You won’t, was her final saying on the matter. Way to ruin a Friday evening. —Ashtar-the-Squid
#2 Unwelcomed son
“We’re moving and you’re not welcome”
This is what my dad said to me while blackout drunk after he took my sister’s pizza that I made, ate it in front of me, and then threw the pizza at me after I asked him why he was like that and walked away. We were supposed to be moving to a new place the next couple of weeks after this fight. —LiaLovesCookies
#3 The accident
Okay, this one hits home quite hard: when I was 12, my 6 years younger brother and I were playing knights in the garden and throwing spears at a blanket with a cross on it. At one moment I threw my spear, not knowing he stood behind the blanket. The spear went straight into his eye socket. He survived and the rest of the day is a blur. I remember blood everywhere… my parents yelling at me.. then standing at the corner waiting for the ambulance to come while crying for what seemed a million years. everyone ignoring me. Then hospitals. And guilt. soooo much guilt… I was 12.. The nurses giving me the evil eye…
The hardest part was still to come – my brother went blind on one eye but was unhermed otherwise (except perhaps mentally, we never spoke about it) and after about a year he had to go to a doc for prostetic eye. My mum said, “you’re coming with us.”
I remember VERY vividly sitting in the waiting room, hearing him cry “it hurts it hurts, it hurts, it hurts, it hurts.” And when they came back after what seemed an eternity, she looked at me dead-eyed and said “now you know what you’ve done”
We never spoke about it. She went alcoholic, I became an alcoholic 10 years later. I get nightmares every few weeks. Nobody knows. I’m 47 now and still struggle.
I forgave her. I never forgave myself. —painful987
#4 Two-faced moms
My mother was a completely different person to many other people. She’s a strong and self sufficient woman who just didn’t get much luck in life. She has a good relationship with her children and is a great parent. In reality, she’s ridiculously lazy, clingy, draining, and manipulative, needs constant attention, and someone to always take care of her and listen to her problems and do absolutely everything for her.
However, as soon as she was no longer able to get her way with me she started to show her true colors to the world. I also had the same thing happen with an ex-friend who also has narcissistic tendencies. To quote one of our other friends: “she’s like a completely different person now”. —ruduo
#5 Husband over child
My dad made my mom choose between me or him when I was 15. He was angry I wouldn’t give him my email password so he could change it and block me from having any friends after I changed schools.
My mom without hesitation told me to leave. It was winter. I had no coat. I wandered around town then slept under the stairs of the building they lived in. Eventually that night my father gave my mother permission to let me back in.
I told them about this trauma when I was 25. They both screamed at me & called me a “liar” while I cried. I’ll never forget the trauma of my mother telling her child to leave and choosing her husband. Over an email password. —cat_peets
#6 Belittling someone
My dad would always compare me with my younger siblings while growing up. Every single time, all I heard from him was, “Why can’t you be as successful as them?” “You are supposed to set the example” “you are so lazy they work 10x harder than you”
I don’t know dad. Maybe because I had to start working at 15 coz you couldn’t pay for school for 3 kids coz your ex-wife drank all the money away or gave it to her kid. Maybe if I had the time to do homework or study instead of working nights on a fake ID you provided I would have had better grades and wouldn’t have had to spend my entire adult life in retail or food. —BorealusTheBear
#7 Least favorite child
So I’m the eldest. My mom had me at 18, dad was 16, he left shortly after. Ended up with a sexually abusive stepdad for about 10 years. The next stepdad just didn’t like me at all. Mom would constantly make fun of me for being fat (even at the times I wasn’t and she was) and often used me as her emotional dump because she has unresolved issues.
She had two other daughters at this time. When my 2nd stepdad came along, they tried to make a better home situation and I couldn’t help but be jealous of how much better my sisters were treated. At lunch one day, my mom breaks down crying and says she saw my sisters as a second chance for how much she screwed up with me. At the time, I was happy to hear it because I want my sisters to have a much better life. But…I’m still here. She didn’t really try to fix anything between us. Hell, when I told her about 1st stepdad, she said she didn’t want to report him because of something to do with her taxes (I have no idea). —werekitty93
#8 Unrecognized overachiever
My older brother died of SIDS when he was four months old. My entire childhood was me being the biggest overachiever I could and anytime I came home and tried to tell my mom something to make her proud of me, she’d reflect on how she thought my brother would have done so much better on it. Never would say anything positive about my attempts. When she didn’t compare me to the son she lost, she would just interrupt me with “this one time at band camp” laugh, and pretend I wasn’t even in the room. It deeply broke something isnide of me. —Moorebluey
I was around 16 at the time. I was in the passenger seat as my dad drove to McDonalds to get dinner for me, him, and my mom (I’m an only child). I’ve been overweight/obese my entire life, and I would have been around 260-270lbs at the time.
I asked for a Big Mac combo, and a 10 pc nugget (I liked variety). He turned to me and frustratedly said “Why do you always have to be such a pig?”
He apologized profusely a few minutes later, but it’s always stuck with me, sometimes playing on a loop in my head. It’s made worse by the fact that out of my parents, he’s usually the sane and nice one. My mom is a completely insane witch, and I’m used to that. Him saying something like that kinda broke me, and even though we’re fairly close, it’s never left my mind.
My mother once broke down crying when I was about 6. When I asked her what was wrong, she went on a rant about how if she could go back, she wouldn’t have been with my dad, she wouldn’t have had me, etc. That messed me up for years. When I brought it up in an argument when I was 16, she then accused me of lying, and said that I was always trying to make her the “bad guy”. —please_respect_hats
My dad was a terrible piece of work. I was found self harming and what did the father of the year do? He handed me a bigger knife and told me to “do it properly and finish the job”.
That was over 16 years ago. I am a teacher now and I have kids almost every week telling me about the stuff they’re going through and how I can help. I am determines never to allow any child in my care feel the same way I felt.
I do still talk to my parents but I am much more distant and have done a lot of work. It is inexcusable but I know my parents have a lot of their own baggage and were doing the best with the skills they had. —mrsknox1717
#11 Drunk grandmother
I was in Army AIT, after basic training, when my mother decided to pick my son up to give my wife a break for the weekend. When she brought him home, she was drunk. My son was laying on the bench seat, his car seat was halfway taken apart on the floorboard of the truck, and she hit the tree in my front yard.
I haven’t spoken a word to her since, and that was eight years ago. —tzenrick
#12 Victim blaming
When I told my grandma that dad had molested me she basically said I must have asked for it by wearing something provocative. I was 16 at the time and wore a hoodie and jeans. Needless to say I wasn’t going to get any help. I couldn’t have told anyone else anyway because: I was afraid people wouldn’t believe me and my dad told everyone I was retarded to humiliate and discredit me.
As an adult I have long since cut off all ties and connections to my dad. I’m free of him. —TravelbugRunner
#13 Toxic dad
A build-up of different things. First, my father has always been a grade-A jerk. Being in the military and of a high rank will give you the illusion that everyone is smaller than you and should obey your every command as soon as it’s given. He’s never been a huge part of my life because he’s never around but when I got into high school and he was living in the same state, just a couple hours away, he’d come home during the weekends thinking he could order my brother and I around like he hadn’t missed a thing. Found out last year that he had an affair. That’s when I began cutting away from him. I didn’t want to be dependent on him anymore (I also wanted to be a grown adult). Then he threatened to steal money that I had given him under the assumption he’d be using it to put towards my car payments. Lastly, I found out he was in jail for some serious stuff that I’d rather not get into until everything is finalized. He’s also started treating my mother like crap all because she was sane and filed for a divorce. I haven’t talked to him since August of last year and so far have no regrets other than how much I want to tell him what a pathetic father he has been. —otherwiseconfusing
#14 The victim
My father said I ruined the family when the police came over to my house. I had actually forgotten I had told someone in school that I had been about being assaulted until they showed up. My father didn’t take it very well. He was embarrassed I had said something. I’m 42 now. With boys of my own and I I’m proud to say they don’t have a relationship with my dad. They don’t know him. My father in law is the best grandfather to them. —LifeThruABook
#15 Deceitful mom
This actually happened to my cousin. Her father died when she was 8 (self-inflicted). From then on her mother became an alcoholic. After losing custody of her kids, she was eventually granted the ability to see her kids unsupervised which did not pan out. The kids spent the weekend with her but pretty soon she started drinking very heavily. My cousin told her she would have to tell another adult that she was drinking and the mom started calling her all sorts of terrible names so my cousin ran to the bathroom and locked the door behind her. I swear to the heavens,, the mom actually said to her own 15-year-old daughter: when the police ask you why both your parents are dead, you’ll know what to tell them. I’m going to do the same thing your father did and both will be your fault. My cousin is so sweet, funny, and pretty and she’s one of my favorite people in the planet. She is so kind and she got dealt a terrible hand —mexicanjumpbeanybaby
#16 The manipulative
My stepmother, after one time when my dad was around and interceded against her abusive treatment, was crying and said “You love them more than me”.
That wasn’t all that horrible of her, in and of itself; she’s allowed her feelings. She had been unflaggingly horrible for years, but she was also two-faced, charismatic, and expert at covering up. I just never expected to hear her baldly admit her resentment and try to justify her treatment of us like that.
I didn’t cut her outright that second; I was either still in or recently out of high school at the time and couldn’t. However, as soon as I moved away, she tried to friend me on a social media site, and I told her “I will be civil to you but I won’t be your friend”, and that day to this I have never heard from her again, and I’m happy for it. That scene is one of a couple that I always think of. —Splendidissimus
#17 Detached son
I became emotionally detached from my father about nine when he told me the only reason he wanted custody was so he didn’t have to give my mum support payments. He then proceeded to neglect the hell out of me (it being cheaper than caring for me properly). I ended up begging for food at school at times.
Leaving home when I hit sixteen was just a full stop really. I don’t think I’ve spent more than an hour in his company since (nearly 30 years). —ukhoneybee
#18 Abusive father
When I was younger, maybe 14 years old, my father took me on a camping trip.
To give a quick backstory, my father has always been a drunkard and a chain-smoker and he was physically, mentally, and emotionally abusive. This was such a problem, it drove my parents to divorce and inevitably led to me choosing to live with my mother after he got upset and beat me at the age of 12.
Back to the camping trip, I figured I would give him a chance. Maybe he changed. Sure enough, he hadn’t. He bombarded me with attempts to buy me back through gifts all while going through beer and cigarettes as fast as I could remember. When he finally asked me why I wouldn’t just stay with him, I told him how much I hated his drinking and smoking. I told him that I watched my uncle and my grandfather drink their lives away and I wasn’t about to sit by idly and watch him do the same.
Finally deciding that I’d had enough, I decided to give him an ultimatum. I told him that he had a choice to make. He could either have me in his life or his alcohol and cigarettes. His response was “well I can’t give up smoking”.
That was all I needed to hear. I left and cried for hours while begging my mother to come to pick me up and take me home. —Paralorfal
#19 Narcissistic tendencies
My mom was too into herself to be a parent. She’d leave me for days on end with people I barely knew. The last straw was when I became a mother. She was violent and I was terrified of her. She wanted to get her life together so I let her move into my house. Her idea of getting it together was looking online for a sugar daddy. I guess I just realized how she uses people and now that I’m a parent I refuse to let her anywhere near my children. —[deleted]
#20 Ruthless father
A man showed up on my doorstep messed up on heroin, he looked just like me. Turns out my dad had another son and kept it a secret for 23 years, my half-brother tried to find me when his immediate family cut all ties with him and kicked him out. And that’s when he showed up on my doorstep strung out, the final straw happened shortly after, my father, instead of trying to help the son, who he’s neglected his entire life, and his drug problem, he slapped him around and sent him on a bus to Alberta with no money, I wish I knew where my brother is. —Overpricefridge
#21 The psychopath
My father caught me self-harming and instead of helping, he held me down. He was a very big, muscular man. Professional law enforcement most of his life. I was a 14-year-old girl. He traced the knife over my wrist, not hard enough to cut but hard enough to feel how cold and sharp it was. “You know how to cut? None of that sissy stuff anymore. Do it right next time. Like this (tracing along the artery), you can save us all the hassle of dealing with you.”
I eventually cut contact as an adult, for a lot of reasons (this kind of incident didn’t happen in a vacuum), but that was one of the biggest lines crossed. My mom insists to this day that she raised me to be more forgiving and that she can’t understand why I’d fracture the family. It’s because I am forgiving- and I realized that I also deserve to be forgiving to myself. I can forgive myself for all the pain that led me to that place, I can forgive myself for all the times I had to keep my mouth shut when I was hurt or afraid, and I can show enough compassion to myself now to make sure I NEVER have to see his face again. —[deleted]
#22 The accusative
I’m 21 and in college. I have to pay for everything and when I’m not in class, I’m working. My parents have been verbally and emotionally abusive all of my life. At the beginning of the year, I was down on my luck and needed extra cash. I just had surgery so I didn’t really have a chance to work…because, well, recovery.
I never ask for money from my parents, so this time I did, thinking they may cut me some slack. Nope. I was dead wrong. Not only did she say no, but she accused me of being lazy for not working (when I just had surgery.) and being just like my father (who was physically abusive to her). I hung up and sobbed.
It was so painful and felt like she was kicking me when I needed her the most. Not just financially, but emotionally. A little while later, I log onto Facebook to see that she shared a meme making fun of people who attempt suicide. I attempted suicide at 15. It was crushing. I immediately blocked her, lost her number, and gave up. Got myself into counseling and I’ve been diagnosed with PTSD.
It’s gonna take a while for me to fill this hole in my heart, but I know I’ll get there someday. —RedTrailWildcat
#23 Drama queen
The last straw? The second time she smashed into my car in 6 weeks. I was 21 and it had been building since I was 13 after my parents divorced. My mother would get high 24/7, mentally and physically abuse me. She put my head into the walls around the house a few times, threw my shoes, pots, and pans at me. If it would hurt, she threw it. Also never had food in the house. She’d squander money and when I started working, would charge me $200 a week to live in the “family” home, plus bills. She even stole money off of me.
She’d say things like “I regret ever having you, or I regret you coming out of my body, Why don’t you just buzz off and never come back?” Things like that. She was/is a huge drama queen and went into psych hospitals a few times.
Over time though everyone got sick of her crap and cut her out. She tried contacting me a few years ago and when I read her FB msg, I didn’t feel anything. No anger, sadness, and only gave it a second thought while typing this. —Screambloodyleprosy
#24 A child left hanging
When I was young I would call my dad and he would say “I’m coming over to get you” and I would sit by the window and wait for him, he would never come. My mom said it was heartbreaking to see. I’ve seen him maybe 12 times in my life, I’m 40 now and it still hurts —DoktheButcher
#25 Drunk text message
Mom: Hi, how are you, my beautiful daughter? I miss you so much. I want to see you soon. Are you single? I have a nice man with 3 years his brother is here from turkey. I love you so much <3
Mom: My boyfriend’s brother is looking for a wife. Happy Thanksgiving my princess love you with all my heart <3
Me: Was your phone taken?? This is so weird, no I will not be your boyfriend’s brother’s wife or girlfriend, since I already have a partner. And it’d just be double weird to be your sister-in-law. Also happy Thanksgiving love and miss u too 🙂
Me: You know I have a boyfriend, did you forget?
Mom: Ok i love you so much :* <3”
I’m 22 but have been in foster care since I was 6. She lost custody of me and was never able to get it back because of multiple failed drug tests and missing visits when I was growing up. I cut contact with her April of last year but this past Thanksgiving (Canada Thanksgiving- so mid-October) she messaged me this. I love and hate her equally and I haven’t seen her in person in over 5 years. She knows I have a partner so this idea was just bizarre. Should also note that she was drunk when she texted this. Drunk and sad. —the-author-0
#26 Gaslighting effect
I got PTSD to physical child abuse that I had previously never known had happened.
I had known for a long time that my parents were verbally and emotionally abusive. But I blamed myself for their abuse of me – even as an adult, I thought that they were right and that they were mistreating me because I was lazy, stupid, and weak. I thought that they were right and that I deserved their verbal and emotional abuse because I was fucked up and messed up. Of course, they had told me that all of my life, so naturally, if you are told something from a young enough age onwards, you are highly likely to just keep on believing it.
Well, at the age of 31, I started getting flashbacks to severe physical abuse that they had perpetrated against me when I was 3, 4, 5, and 6 years old, up until I was about 14 years old. This violence was something which, due to traumatic dissociation (a pre-cursor to PTSD) I was not aware had happened (a child’s brain shuts off in response to too much fear, and the memories are left dissociated, outside of awareness.)
Once I got these flashbacks, I could not believe that they had been so hurtful towards me when I was that young.
I cut contact, and I hope I never go back. —[deleted]
#27 The guilt-tripping type
Me: I’m sorry. We will miss you guys
Mom: We will miss you too. It’s been a LONG time since you’ve been here.
Me: well we will have to plan dinner before Christmas
Mom: I hope it materializes. I hope you’re not tossing us aside to spend time with Mrs. [Redacted]
Me: I’m definitely not. We’re staying home today and probably tomorrow also.
Me: we can pick a date, [Rest is cut off]
My mom guilt-tripped me about not being able to visit for Thanksgiving because my son is waiting on the results of a covid test. She’s saying she thinks we’re not coming so we can spend time with my MIL. —impostrfail
#28 Pride and aggressiveness in one
My mom Abused us. She nonstop recently claimed she never hit us. I brought up her burning me with a lighter because she left me and my brother in the tub alone as babies. My brother fell under the water at 1yo. I was 2.
She came back and freaked out. Pulled a lighter out and burned me. I remember that.
She didn’t apologize. “A mom isn’t perfect! And you understood that it was bad! You didn’t ever not understand from then on”!
Me: if you don’t apologize for it and keep justifying it I’ll never let you back in. You say you’ve missed me and here is the opportunity to get me back.
Her: a mother isn’t perfect
Me: that isn’t an apology
Her:!I tried my best!
Me: that isn’t an apology
Her: I just got diagnosed with cancer, please.
Me: that isn’t an apology.
Aka: she deliberately chose to put even a fake apology before me —PoliticalNerdMa
#29 Victim of abuse
The moment I knew there was something very, very wrong with my parents.
When I was 7, my dad would frequently take me to the grocery store/Kmart/etc.
He would leave me in the car, and I was supposed to stay put. In the Deep South. It was either running/cracked window … I think.
Every single time I would eventually get out of the car and come find him in the store. This was a very bad thing for a child to do, is what he impressed on me.
I have undiagnosed ADHD/autism at this point, by the way.
I got spanked a lot. Daily, in fact. My parents got long thin paddles that were made to fit at the top of door frames, and placed at every doorway/entrance of the house. So that way, anytime one of my parents saw me commit an infraction, they could stand in the doorway, reach upwards, grab the paddle and they would then come forward to where I was.
Because spankings were so commonplace and severe, I stopped looking after my personal health/well-being.
So when I was threatened with 40 licks for leaving the car the next time it happened, I forgot about it over the next few days until there was another K-mart trip. We go, and sure enough, maybe 20 mins in, I leave the car, walk through the parking lot, into the store, and I find him inside the store. I didn’t realize what I did until I saw the look on his face. I was in trouble. As I followed him to the car, I tried my best to get out of it. I promised to never come to public places with him ever again. I tried asking for hugs. Anything. Please. He would not acknowledge anything I said. He was cold-shouldering me at this point.
We go home.
My dad was a big man, he made sure the paddle strokes were very slow and that the pain for each one fully set in before striking again. Like a full 5 count. About ten strokes in, I felt my body go numb. I swear I could have had an out-of-body experience. I screamed for him to stop, but he kept going. I remember running out of tears. I’m not even sure what you can call the sensation I felt towards the end. There isn’t a word for it. Pain just gave way to emptiness, I guess. I stopped counting.
I remember it ending, and not being able to sit up. I wanted to die. More than anything in this world. I don’t remember the rest of that day. Because of days like that, there are a lot of memories of childhood that I don’t seem to have.
I confronted my parents with this in therapy almost 30 years later.
“We told you to stay inside the car.” My mom defended my dad to my face. They tried to blame me.
As a 7-year old, the most dangerous thing I ever did was try to find a parent. —Party-Height-6830
#30 Straight-up duplicity
I had a mother who tortured her 6 and 7-year-old daughters, who beat them for everything under the sun, who ignored their medical needs and lied/gaslit them about their medical issues, who told her children lies about their biological father and stole from them.
However, the person my friends saw was an enviable, strong, caring, supportive, awesome, friendly, warm mother they all wished they could have instead of their own mothers.
When she remarried to a man with his own children my mother acted like a best friend to his eldest daughter including being there for her medical needs and giving generously. She became the mom all the friends went to in order to get medical help and my mother skipped my 8th-grade graduation / early HS admission in order to “fight” for my drug dealing step sister’s legal woes. (Step sister was busted selling drugs to high schoolers)
She was a completely different mother/person if you weren’t her actual child. —nonymous_opinions