Dopers with controlling/asshole parents... please enter...

Try this on for size:

– My parents wouldn’t let me go to college cause it was out of town
(I did anyway)

– My mother upon meeting my (now) wife spat in her eye and said it was an accident

– They threw my brother out of the house when he was doing his degree because he was seeing a girl they disapproved of (now married)

– Dad torched my car coz I wouldn’t live with him for the rest of my life

– Mom taught my wife “how to cook” - with peanuts - which I have a severe allergy to (“at least in death sheeeeeeee can’t be near him”)

– When I was 8 Dad accidently broke a glass window of a wealthy homeowner in our local area and blamed it squarely on me (I had to work off the “debt” by doing silly little chores in the neighbours house)

– Dad refers to SIL as “da bitch”, and apparently when I’m not around, my missus by the same name

– When I was a kid, my cat (whom I adored) got sick and died. Dad stood there over her dead body saying “yeah, she’s a dead little bitch alright” whilst I cried my eyes out

– Pappa beat Momma

– When bro wouldn’t come to work for him, tried to get him institutionalized (didn’t work)

– Tried to rip me off vis-a-vis my house (which at the time I desperately needed)

Beat that.

Yes I was inspired by the various Pit threads

My dad, in response something my 25-year-old brother had done (I never found out what), told him to go to court and legally change his last name.

When I was 12, my dad suddenly got a lot of money for selling his business. He grew his hair long and permed it a’la Tony Geary (General Hospital’s Luke), procured an 18-year-old girlfriend, bought 3 Cadillacs at one time, and then moved to Alaska to work on the pipeline for a couple of years before returning home and remarrying my mother. And they’re still together.

The Secret Service opens my brother’s mail.

After I left home, my parents bought and moved into a fifth-wheel and still live in it to this day, 18 years later. At the time they moved in, my little brother was still in Junior High.

For a time, my dad was the cable guy. He had an old fracture in one leg that he’d never even had looked at, and when an old lady tapped his open truck door with her car with his left leg sticking out, he sued her and settled for $50,000.

My crazy aunt a couple years ago spent $6,000 on surgery for her blind, Irritable Bowel Syndrome-afflicted cat that was 13 years old. That’s not why she’s crazy, it’s just a symptom.

Abuse, craziness, dysfunction… yes, we had it all. Nowdays I don’t speak to my father and my family has totally evolved from being very male-dominated to female-driven. Which is cool.

My father was a megalomaniac, and a cruel, vicious person. He beat me up, both with fists and the belt, whipping me until I bled, at random, for stuff I did or didn’t do, until I was 15. He had this thing about power and domination, and wanting to make me actively hurt, physically and emotionally. I’ve never figured out what for, though. He started to drink when I was 14. I took his service revolver and all his bullets and buried them in the woods about a mile from our house. Around the same time, my mother started sleeping on the couch. All this, combined with other factors I’ve mentioned before about living in a small, culturally desolate town, made me move away from there at the first opportunity. My mother took my two brothers and sister, two years later, and moved away as well. From 1976 on, I only saw him twice more, and neither time was good.

What I came to learn about him from my mother was that he was having affairs, in town, that other people knew about. He had been stashing away money in a secret account for years, and giving my mother a pittance to raise a family on. He moved to the other side of the country and lived there with some woman for more than 20 years, and then came back to where we used to live. My mother had passed away by then. I was already long gone, but he made my brother and sister miserable. He had never stopped drinking, and was in poor health because of it. Then, a few years back, he discovered that he had a brain tumor. The operation to remove it killed him. I like to think of it as karmic payback. I was not sorry in the least to learn of his demise. Only one of my brothers and my sister went to his funeral, out of a sense of guilt. Nobody even spoke to them. No other family showed up.

What I learned about him after he died is that he was a major sex weirdo. He had porn tapes, catalogued by subject, with torture and young girls in them, and porn magazines open all over the place, spilling out of drawers. The woman he was with for all those years was the (apparently willing) recipient of his abuse - he’d beat her up and then have sex with her. My brother and I concluded that he wanted to do this with my mother; she refused to have any part of it, now go back to the first paragraph for insight.

I had to smoke most of Colombia to get over it. It took a very long time. But now I have recovered to the point where I am able to have a lovely wife and a nice life, far away from my nearest relative. Still, those experiences make me who I am, and they color my perceptions of the motives of other people, sometimes to my detriment. I get the impression that people, even here on the boards, perceive that I have a chip on my shoulder or something, and that I seem perhaps unfriendly or a sarcastic smartass. Really, I’m not like that, but I missed out on that socialization phase of adolescence. Nothing about my childhood was normal. I knew only fear and loathing and wanting desperately not to be where I was. The next quarter-century, I spent with people who took drugs. So yeah, I missed out on a bunch of stuff that everybody else takes for granted. If you’re so inclined, please stop by and say hello! I don’t bite. Really!

Now, I never want to talk about this again.

My maternal grandmother was apparently El Assholio Supremo in her younger days. The things that stick out in my mind:

She slapped my mother across the kitchen the night before her wedding for being ten minutes late for her 11:00 curfew and for smarting off.

She flipped the breakfast table over one morning in a screaming rage because one of the kids mentioned that the dog had eaten a Kotex (she was mad at the kid’s dirty mouth, not the dog.)

She told my mother that it was immoral of her to get married knowing she was “defective”.

When I was a toddler our house burned down and destroyed pretty much everything, and we spent the night with the grandparents. Next morning, they gave Mom and Dad the “you don’t have to go home but you can’t stay here” speech.

It always amazes me the shit people can live through and come out surviving, and even thriving.

I had it somewhat bad–abusive father who later abandoned my brother and I, only to reappear and cause trouble, then disappear for awhile, then reappear (Rinse, Lather and Repeat) that it was like living on pins and needles all the time.

But, even delving too deeply into it all at times when I’m not prepared make me wonky for awhile, so that’s it for now.

Oh, and I thought I had it bad. My mother would complain about my posture, and my dad refused to buy me a Commodore 64.

You often hear that abused children grow up to be abusive parents. To me, this has never made sense - if your parents gave you hell, wouldn’t you want to be as different from them as possible?

My sympathies.

aegypt, it is my goal in life to be as different from my father as possible. However, my greatest fear is that I’m just like him. I have, perhaps understandably, a great deal of repressed anger. He was just so angry all the time, I decided not to be like that if I could. But I refuse to let myself get angry, at least out loud. I’ve never raised my voice to my wife or had an argument or fight with her. I won’t let it happen. I love her more than anybody. I’m so happy that she married me and improved my life - I won’t jeopardize what we have by alienating her with my own behavior. I lived through lots of ugly. Now I just want nice. Lots of nice.

It’s good for both of us that she doesn’t have that maternalistic instinct. We’ve decided not to have children. I could not spend the next 20 years yelling at my kid, and I could not live with myself if I found that I did not like my own kid and resented his or her existence. It took me a long time to develop a sense of normalcy in my life. I want to enjoy that. And I do. :slight_smile:

Nice idea, aegypt, however, it doesn’t always work that way. I knew I had a problem with my parenting being just like my father’s when I slammed a bedroom door so hard one day (after screaming at my two year old that she was punished) that the frame worked loose. I spent the next two years in counseling and parenting classes. It changed my outlook completely, not to mention my parenting methods.

Often, we do as we’re taught. If one grows up in a household that’s dysfunctional, that’s what we learn even though we know it isn’t “right” or healthy, or even that what we want. I worked with teen mothers at one point, who knew they wanted something different in their lives, but just didn’t know what that “something” was. That was the same for me with my own early parenting skills. I knew screaming, and slamming doors and cursing wasn’t good parenting, however, I had no clue how to deal with things like a two year old who throws a temper tantrum, or the other billions of frustrating and aggervating situations which occur as a parent.

I got help early on because I didn’t want my kids growing up like I had. It made a world of difference, and I was able to raise three healthy (emotionally and physically) kids and we have great relationships. I hope like anything that they are able to parent in a healthy manner, and that I’ve passed that along. (And no, the two older ones have no memories of those “early years”–hopefully not only because they were so brief, but also because they didn’t do damage that couldn’t be repaired or corrected.)

Damn! I thought bad stuff had happened to me. Now I can’t figure out why I’m in therapy.


My parents were not assholes, just very controlling. I hope I’m still welcome.

I was adopted by my aunt and uncle who hid the fact from me. When I was 14 my biological mom took me aside when I was at my cousin’s house and told me - then disappeared out of my life for five years.My mothers was OK until this point. Now I know what she was afraid of.(She was afraid of me getting pregnant at a young age and disgracing her the way her sister had).

-When I found out, I wrote my adopted mom a loving letter telling her I would still always love her. I was too ashamed to give it to her so I hid it in her purse. It cost me a lot to write that letter, and she never mentioned it ever.

-When I asked her at 13 if I was pretty she said my nose was too big and ugly and I would never be pretty.

-They wouldn’t let me go to a college where I won a scholarship because it was out-of-state.

  • I was never allowed to go over anybody’s house unless they were Indian. I wasn’t really supposed to have white friends.

-My mother told me once that i should try to make friends with people who could do things for me. Like, I should be friends with people with licenses, so they could drive me around.

-Once I got my license at 17, she had my father tail me many times when I went to the library, etc.

-Once my aunt was staying over. I did the laundry and mixed up their underwear (they were both white and almost the same size!) My mother went into a hysterical crying fit, saying I didn’t love her one bit.

-I got pulled over by a cop once, failure to wear seatbelt. He said the insurance thing was expired by one day. I went home and told them, and they were calm. About six hours later my dad went in the car and saw that the new insurance thing was in the glove, under the old insurance thing which I had shown the cop. My mom and dad both went into a screaming match at me. It was the first time I told them to “go to hell” and you would have thought the earth fell in. They didn’t talk to me for a week.

-My mother reacted to me by cold silences.

-I was supposed to spend all my spare time with them. Weekends, evenings. I rarely was allowed to go out with my friends.

-When I went to college and my mother found out about my boyfriend, she called me right before the Easter holiday and got in a screaming match with me over the phone. She told me I didn’t need to come home. I had no place to go over Easter, I went to a friend’s.

-When I finally went home that summer, they flew up a boy from Texas to meet me. They wanted me to get married straight away. He was ten years older. When I said no, she slapped me and called me a whore, using a Hindi word I had only ever heard in the movies. :frowning:

-I transferred to another college. I spent four semesters there. In the beginning of the 4th semester, I broke up with my boyfriend. In the middle of the 4th semester, my parents somehow thought I was still seeing him and cut me off. They had only paid 1/2 the tuition, and they refused to pay the rest. They came up to see me and said they would only take me back as their daughter if I flew straight to India and got married. I had to quit school or get kicked out.

  • I refused, and somehow borrowed enough money to get an apartment and got a job. They showed up on my orientation day, nearly getting me fired. they followed me around, shooting dirty looks at me and making a scene. They grabbed my upper arm to try and take me back, leaving a bruise that lasted a week.

sigh This is only some of it. I try not to think about all the crying nights, the weekends where I wasn’t allowed to leave my room, not even to eat, only to use the bathroom, the rudeness to my friends.

May I say that you have a remarkably high asshole standard?

I swear to you if I itemized the ills and evils of my parents (and my step-parents) you’d never believe me. Especially since I’m now on good terms with all of them. Let me say that if I believed in an afterlife, all I know is I’d sure as hell be expecting to get the good one solely for my ability to forgive.

I figure one day I’m going to turn it all into the most sensational novel and pawn it off as fiction. :wink:

Honestly though, while my life has always been pretty craptacular, I one day had a moment of perfect clarity, and it was truly the turning point in my life. I am damn proud of who I am today, and what I have achieved. And I realize that the things I like most about myself - including my ability to forgive just about anyone for just about anything - are all products of the shit I’ve been through. While you couldn’t pay me enough to live it all over again, and I’d gladly take the chance of being less proud of myself for a less painful life, I have no regrets, and I don’t look back. A friend of mine tells me I’m complacent. He can’t understand why I’m not bitter. But it isn’t complacency, just acceptance. Things were that way once. I’m making sure they’re never that way again.

Threads like this make me appreciate the reasonable human beings I got for parents all the more. Especially considering they were only 17 & 18 when they had me.

Don’t minimize your own anguish just becomes someone else’s seems worse.

aegypt, the way that I see it is that you learn a lot of behaviors that are imprinted in you when you are young. You learn what you see and experience. You develop and imitate the coping mechanisms that you see and hear when you are young… or, you go in entirely the opposite direction.

Let’s see… My stepfather came into my family when I was thirteen, four years after my parents divorced. My father was verbally and physically abusive to my mother, who would often goad him on, making things much worse.
My stepfather was everything that she wanted, isolating and “protecting” her from everything. He was also an alcoholic who would open and drink a beer before his morning coffee, and would have drunk a whole case or more by the end of a typical day.
From the time I was born until I was 12, I lived a very free life. I have two sisters, five & six years younger than me, and one brother, seven years younger. Since I was nine when my parents got divorced, I had a lot of responsibilities for the younger kids. Still, we played together and laughed and did pretty much whatever we wanted. We were constantly barefoot little beasties who would happily play games in any open field and would occupy ourselves for hours at a time with imagination games. We never doubted that mom loved us more than anything else in her world, even if we didn’t see her much. After the divorce, she had to work three jobs at one point to make ends meet with her house and 4 kids.

My stepfather moved in after we had met him twice. He had a lot of rules.
No bare feet. Ever.
No talking in the car. No games or noises in the car. Especially no laughing.
No laughing where he could hear you.
Every food has to be eaten with a knife and fork. French fries? Yup. Fried chicken? Yup. Everything. If you are the slightest bit messy with your food, you go without. This even applied to the 5 year old.
Never allowed to chew gum or eat candy that is orange, watermelon or grape flavored, even when on our own time or away from home, because the smell made him sick.
No between-meal food. Ever. (That one slowly progressed to: No breakfast. No lunch. Nothing but supper. And if you offended him or broke a rule, no supper, either.)
Bedtime and lights out at 8 pm, no talking. At 15, my bedtime was raised to 9 pm.
Do not go in the kitchen (which had the door to outside) without permission.
The biggest one of all was: Don’t go near your mother.

If we wanted to speak to mom, the rule was that we would go and stand silently in the doorway between the hall and the kitchen and wait for him to notice you. Once he had noticed you, he would either gesture you in, or gesture you away. If you were gestured in, you quietly told him what you wanted to speak to mom about. If he disapproved, he would send you away. If he approved, he would allow you to talk to her, very briefly, and only in his presence. Meanwhile, she was drinking coffee on the other side of the table, letting this happen.

When I was 15, I decided to see how long it would take her to notice if I didn’t say anything to her or look at her for a while. I guess I thought that she would miss me and wake up and see what was going on and free us and love us. I gave up at two weeks. She never did notice, so I failed to see a point in continuing.

The reason that bedtime for us was 8 pm was because that’s when they ate supper. They ate such things as steak, potato, salad or pasta, scallops, broccoli. We ate at 6, and had such nutritious fare as hotdog and mac & cheese, or fishsticks and rice-a-roni. There were rarely vegetables, and there was never enough. They obviously didn’t want us looking at them while they ate. Of course, we could very well imagine it, as we lay in our beds and smelled it. They had all they wanted to eat in a locked cabinet and a locking upright freezer. That’s when I taught myself to pick simple locks, when I was about 13.

Soon after, mom interceded and we were given a case of ramen noodles a week, for lunches or snacks. Somewhere around there was also where I was allowed to cook our supper (as I had before he was there), but the ingredients that I was given to do it with were spoiled. He would buy them and keep them in the trunk and backseat of his car until they were to his liking before bringing them in and putting them away for me to use. That’s when I started to creep from my bed in the middle of the night to see if he had forgotten to lock the car or if he had left his keys on the table by accident. This is also when I figured out how to get into the trunk of a car from the backseat. This is also when I started shoplifting.

We were always sick, and I had gone to being a slightly-chubby and active 12 year old to a really fat teenage girl who never had the energy to do anything at all. I took every sort of home ec class that was offered in our school system to figure out substitutions and make-dos for my sisters and brother. I took a nutrition class and was almost in tears daily as the teacher went over the basics of what people need that I couldn’t give my sibs. I saw it as a personal failure. We all did badly in school and my brother was very aggressive and disruptive, both at school and at home. The only time we really ate was on Sundays when we would go over to my grandparent’s house, where we would have thirds and sometimes fourths, and had to endure my grandfather yelling at us that we were lazy and fat. At this point, I was in high school. This is when I started stealing food from my grandparents. This is also when I gave up hope that anybody cared enough to bother with me. Ever.

None of us ever had an allowance, but I was given $5 a week for lunch at school. A school lunch was about $2.25, not counting milk or juice. This was the sum total of money that any of us ever got. If I needed something, I had to pay it out of my lunch money. It was hard to save it, because this is when my sibs started stealing from me to buy candy and gum and chips and soda – stuff that “normal” kids had that we didn’t.

Whenever I would manage to get my mom alone at Gram’s or when he was working and would say something even the tiniest bit against him or one of his rules, I would be told “Oh, honey, you just don’t get along with Peter because the two of you are so much alike.”

Pardon, my stepfather came in to my life when I was twelve, not thirteen.

Gravity, make like I just gave you the world’s biggest hug.

My parents divorced when I was seven, leaving me and my brothers in the custody of my grandparents (who unfortunately were raging alcoholics). My grandmother was extremely controlling and abusive to me…my grandfather focused his abuse on my brothers.

I remember many times when my grandmother would fly into a drunken rage over something trivial (usually like one of us kids not eating all of our lima beans or some such), lock herself in the bathroom with the kitchen knives, and threaten to kill herself. All the while screaming it was MY fault, because I was the oldest and I didn’t love her enough. Real healthy thing to do to a kid, isn’t it? My grandfather would beg and plead with me to go talk to her through the bathroom door, instead of dealing with her himself.

She also told me (when I was a six 6) that I was way too fat, and that something had to be done. That something turned out to be buying me illegal amphetamines to take. Which why not? She also encouraged me at 14 years old to hang out in bars (I looked waaayyyy older…so no one ever questioned me). But even by the time I was 16, I wasn’t supposed to date boys. No no no. I went on my first official date (that they knew about anyway) when I was 20.

Like some of the other posters, I was also not allowed to go to college, because it required me moving out of the house (nearest University was over an hour away). I have since taken care of that myself…and worked three jobs to pay my tuition while I went to school.

There are many more stories. Oh so many more stories… and I haven’t even touched on the behavior of my actual parents. shudder Those people shouldn’t have been able to own a goldfish, much less have kids.

fishbicycle, thanks, it is still upsetting to talk about, and it has been 14 years since I left.
It took me many many years before I really felt that I didn’t need to be the one ashamed about the way that I was treated. Even still, I usually keep quiet about it.

When he came into my life, I was like an eager puppy - I wanted nothing more than to be loved. I was also a very smart and obedient kid, naturally unusually submissive to any sort of authority. The day I left I knew exactly what I was capable of enduring, and I knew that I was strong.

When I left, my mother forced my stepfather to get treatment for his alcoholism. We are friendlier today… but there is always going to be a certain amount of reserve there. It sticks in my craw a bit the way that some people (yes, my mother…) can say “well, he was an alcoholic - that was the alcohol, not him.” I don’t think that anybody should get a convienient free pass for their actions. Now it is more of something that we just never speak of… the 68 months when he tried to break our bodies and spirits so that he could have our mom to himself.
Yes, I am a little bitter. My sisters, brother and I all have some pretty lingering wounds.

My father (who’s an abuse survivor):

  • physically abused me from age 2 to 24, when I had a stroke. He laid off on the physical abuse after the stroke and just turned up the emotional abuse. I was a “stupid bitch” while I was recovering, in and out of rehabilitative therapy.

  • as kids when my brother and I laughed, our father would yell at us to be quiet.

  • as kids, we had to report our entire day’s schedule to our father. If we decided to do our homework after dinner rather than before as we told him, he’d start a huge fight with us (and sometimes hit me).

  • if we spilt something or knocked something over, we’d get punished because there’s no such thing as an accident to my father.

  • we couldn’t bring friends over unannounced.

  • we couldn’t have sleepovers. The couple I had early on, ended up with my father screaming at my friends to be quiet.

  • when my father didn’t physically hit me, he’d throw things at me. Usually breaking objects that I had to clean up.

  • He has been in therapy and has gotten medication to the point that I can be around him now. But when I have kids, I will NEVER leave them alone with him.

My mother (an abuse survivor)

  • Worked/went back to school while I was growing up and had no idea I was getting abused. For years, I had thought my mother knew what my dad did to me and I had hated her for being with him. I didn’t have any relationship with her for decades thanks to my dad.

  • we’ve been in therapy and have been able to repair the rift between us. Now, she kicks ass and sees through any BS my dad pulls.
    Stay strong fellow survivors!