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Small ways in which your parents fucked you up

(321 Posts)
SaladBap Mon 13-Jul-20 06:41:12

Over the last few days, I've come to the uncomfortable realisation that what I thought was clever, edgy humour is actually unpleasant, mean and arrogant.

I was raised to think that our family was a bit of a cut above other people in terms of humour/intelligence - edgy jokes that cut very close to the bone, self deprecating humour, but also snobbery regarding other people's hobbies and interests (anything pop culture)

Other people were humourless, dull and couldn't take a joke

I've realised that this isn't a sign of how quirky and funny I am, nor of my moral superiority, but actually makes me seem an arrogant snob. It's also caused a kneejerk habit of thinking negatively about people

It explains why I've struggled to make friends, I think, and why my self esteem is quite low at times - I apply that really sarcastic voice to everyone including myself

I'm looking at my parents through totally new eyes. Things like their sneering at "catalogue families" who brought rounders sets to the beach or park - we could easily have done so too, my parents didn't want to, but us children would probably have quite liked it instead of being forced to just sit there while they read the newspaper!

It's a small thing, but I actually feel quite cross about it.

Can anyone relate?

OP’s posts: |
VictoriaBun Mon 13-Jul-20 06:46:47

Your title reminded me of a poem by Phillip Larkin. I think it's called something like - This be the day.
The first line goes something like - They fuck you up , your mum and dad.
If you look it up, it's basically says they didn't mean to but we're fucked up by their own parents so know no better and it passes down the generations . See if you can find it .

VictoriaBun Mon 13-Jul-20 06:48:48

Didn't quite get the name right, but here you go.

This Be The Verse
They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.

But they were fucked up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another’s throats.

Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don’t have any kids yourself

Somethingorotherorother Mon 13-Jul-20 06:51:17

This Be The Verse

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.

But they were fucked up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another’s throats.

Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don’t have any kids yourself.

Somethingorotherorother Mon 13-Jul-20 06:51:51

Haaaa @VictoriaBun

Bettercallgall Mon 13-Jul-20 06:52:09

I was a chubby kid and my mum used to buy me clothes that were a bit too small in my teens and tell me I'd shrink into them. I still have issues with food (obese at the moment) and feel awful as I feel my yo yo dieting may have rubbed off on my dd who has been diagnosed with anorexia.

PurrBox Mon 13-Jul-20 06:59:48

Very interesting post, OP. I do think a habit of self-deprecating, slightly ironic sneering can become toxic, even when accompanied by a generous and forgiving spirit. My family had its own complicated version of this, which gave us a shared language of humour, but also contributed to a dark spirit of negativity.

SaladBap Mon 13-Jul-20 07:02:52

That's it in a nutshell, PurrBox. Absolutely spot on.

It's only recently, since I've noticed my daughter picking it up too, that I realise how unpleasant and toxic it can be

OP’s posts: |
homemadecommunistrussia Mon 13-Jul-20 07:04:10

Oh mine fucked me up big style.
Love Larkin the grumpy old buggergrin.

Subordinateclause Mon 13-Jul-20 07:05:50

You sound like you've really reflected on this OP and I'm sure it will help you make friends in time. I had a similar realisation a few years ago. It's hard and though I go through phases of thinking more negatively I'm pretty good at not voicing it!

FredaFrogspawn Mon 13-Jul-20 07:06:10

Sounds like it would benefit you and your family if you explored this a bit more. Could you have therapy? Cycles of ways of behaving are hard to break.

outwest Mon 13-Jul-20 07:10:13

And, as a corrective to that old curmudgeon Larkin, and a recognition that many parents do try and do get it right (not denying the OP's experience, mind - we all have our flaws), I offer you Adrian Mitchell.

This be the worst

They tuck you up, your mum and dad,
They read you Peter Rabbit too;
They give you all the treats they had
And add some extra just for you.

They were tucked up when they were small
(Pink perfume, blue tobacco smoke)
By those whose kiss healed any fall,
Whose laughter doubled any joke.

Man hands on happiness to man,
It deepens like a coastal shelf,
So love your parents all you can
And have some cheerful kids yourself.

ihatethecold Mon 13-Jul-20 07:10:58

Hell yes. Alcoholic father and enabling mother.
Feelings never talked about. If stuff happened it was never mentioned.
No wonder I ended up in an abusive relationship at 16.
I couldn’t ever speak up for myself or tackle the abuse.

I’m now a trained counsellor and throughout my training gained so much awareness of how my parents affected me.

OverTheRainbow88 Mon 13-Jul-20 07:11:58

Mine was around food! Was never allowed any ‘treat’ foods. I would be too scared to ask for a Biscuit so I would secret eat ‘naughty’ food!!

UncertainFuture Mon 13-Jul-20 07:15:14

My parents were really controlling around food and even if you were hungry wouldn't let you have anything that was outside of arbitrary meal times. It led to me eating in secret and struggling with eating issues for my entire life.

barbrahunter Mon 13-Jul-20 07:15:55

Yes they did, but I have learned that in the run of things that I am only averagely fucked up. The way any self confidence was slapped down was hard to take, and effectively stunted any ambition I may have had.
I also could have done without that awful 'I love you but I don't like you' from my mother. Actually mum, you weren't so nice either.

OverTheRainbow88 Mon 13-Jul-20 07:16:40


Are you one of my sisterS?

FortunesFave Mon 13-Jul-20 07:19:13

They were wonderful but never taught me a thing about finance. I left school, sorted out my own uni, entrance, accommodation and grants...and did it all with no help whatsoever.

Nothing. No encouragement or advice. I had no idea how loans worked or anything.

TicketToTheWrongFilm Mon 13-Jul-20 07:19:55

I also could have done without that awful 'I love you but I don't like you' from my mother.

God yes. My mother never said this out loud (though she said many other things) but she might as well have done.

I don't look back that often any more. I do wonder what the hell I'm going to do to my kids though. I love them so much, but it's inevitable!

Nighttimefreedom Mon 13-Jul-20 07:21:24

For me it was just the usual 'be a good girl, don't cause a fuss' narrative.
Its caused me problems in life, but my parents were good parents who loved me. It was more a sign of the times than their parenting I think.

Jent13c Mon 13-Jul-20 07:22:18

My mum liked to serve my dad and my brother (all meals brought to them, all washing picked up off the floor, washed ironed and returned) and hated teaching children how to do things because it took longer. As a result we did no chores as kids and I find it a struggle to keep a house tidy. I've spent my 20s learning how to cook and do basic household tasks that I should have learned in my teens.

boymum9 Mon 13-Jul-20 07:28:52

I always feel so bad pointing out the things my parents did that have effected me so badly my adult like because on paper I come from a happy loving family, and now we're all actually closer, but I still cry over things like my mum shouting at me when she realised I self harmed (as a result of sexual abuse in the family) that I was doing it for attention (I'd hidden it for years by this point). She would often tell us she loved us but didn't like us, having children now I don't really understand that. Feelings were never spoken about ever, if they were it would usually result in my mum getting upset. I remember my parents arguing about something really trivial as about a 10/11 year old and I was so scared that they'd split (they never would have they love each other dearly but didn't know as a child this was just a trivial argument) that I went to my dad and told him that mum loved him so much, next morning my mum was in bed crying because my dad had left and she told me if I hadn't said anything he wouldn't have left, turns out it had just gone to an early meeting at work!!

No wonder I ended up in the situation I have, and at the best of times I cannot communicate well and express my feelings properly

HMSSophie Mon 13-Jul-20 07:33:44

Yes OP and your post warms my heart. I'm not in the Stately Homes field thank god but absolutely yes to low level crap that made me an arrogant aggressive intellectual snob. It was all about literature and the arts and how intelligent "we" were. I got a scholarship at a private school and when I opened the letter the first words from my DM were "well of course you got a scholarship, you're my daughter" which tells enough about the general narcissistic goings on I was exposed to.

So fun, joy, spontaneous loving gestures, patience with others, valuing diversity, a sense of "being enough" were all lacking for me. My DM sees it now and is sorry: my DF continues to be the interesting self absorbed intellectual whose company for a few hours is a delight but whose utter selfishness is depressing.

I passed far too much of this on to my DC and have apologised for all I can, but it leaves a sour taste - I'd have been a far better parent if I could do it again now.

And yes 100% my DM had parents even worse than I did but my DF has no such excuse.

OhTheRoses Mon 13-Jul-20 07:34:02

It's just too complicated to begin. My mother is a narcissist. Third marriage. But DH's lot were intellectually sneery taking the mickey out of ordinary, ignorant people who went on hols to Benidorm. Guardian reading, inverted snobs who actually did nothing except read the Guardian in Bridlington and Filey.

finalsoddingstraws Mon 13-Jul-20 07:37:54

Look in otbt

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