Some things aren't forgivable.

We had a family get-together today, and there was a situation when I was growing up that my parents knew about and refused to intervene (actually, a lot of them, but this one in particular came up). It was one of those “What will the neighbors think?” kinds of things, even though nobody else I know lives their life according to this.

In short, as a child I had an incompetent dentist who did fillings and extractions without anesthesia, bungled my orthodontic work so badly it had to be done over twice, and hit children who didn’t cooperate (myself included) and my parents knew about this and treated it like a big joke. The neighbors were a factor because one of them had highly recommended him. :eek: You’d see disabled kids in his office all the time, and now I know why: They couldn’t tell their parents what he did to them.

He eventually lost his license for molesting patients. This didn’t happen to me, but if it had, I would probably have been blamed for it too, and I’m in a crummy mood now because of this.

They better hope they never have to go to a nursing home. That is all.

Forgivable? I can’t conceive what it must be like to have a relationship with a presumed adult holding onto his childhood resentments as if they were solid gold. Parents aren’t perfect, but they do the best they can. They sent you to the dentist because they were concerned bout your dental health. His manner may have sucked, but if you weren’t permanently maimed or molested so you need to get the hell over your resentments instead of building a shrine to them.

I can only imagine what an insane trial it must be for your poor parents to deal with your sullen nonsense IRL.

The dentist didn’t use anathesia and the OP’s parents knew that. I think I would hold a grudge as well.

That would be really nice to have had parents like that. I know many, many people who didn’t. Our family was insane, with an extremely abusive father and a mother who emotionally neglected us.

For decades, obviously even as an adult, I couldn’t express how the abuse affected me. It would only come out in events, some of which were easier for others to understand. Like when my father send my brother to the hospital. This was back in the good old days when things weren’t followed up on.

Others weren’t nearly as understandable to someone outside. Why would I care 20 years later than my father saw me come into the bathroom where he was shaving while he sat on the edge of the old cast-iron tub. I froze. I had the laundry and I needed to get past him to the hamper, and he was in the way. So like any other kid, I just went into the tub around him. And he got mad at me anyway.

See, it’s meaningless, right? Except that it was decades before I realized that most fathers don’t beat their kids for asking for something, no matter how small. Most kids aren’t terrorized by their parents and simply freeze by coming into unexpected contact with them.

But I didn’t know that most people didn’t have that reaction, so it would come out in little incidents like that. I lived in a perpetual hell of damned if I did something and damned if I didn’t, always on guard against the violent explosive temper from which I was afraid I was going to be killed.

And since everything was buried, I couldn’t articulate that I had been afraid of death, by my father.

No. Not all parents do their best. Some continue sending their kids to dentists who beat the kids and don’t use anesthesia, because the parents are afraid of what the neighbors would think.

It doesn’t sound like this was a once-off occasion.

I wasn’t able to let the things that happened in my family go till I let my family go. I haven’t spoken to any of them since '84. I’m better for it.

I’m not sure yet, but at the moment I’m inclined to agree.

I was not present when my Dad died and my mother got access to all of his papers, found my Dad’s will, and destroyed it. (They’ve been divorced for over 20 years.)
The will left the ‘lions share’ of his estate to me, (he had already told me what the will contained) and there were provisions in it for my two younger half-brothers. (I’m the oldest of 4 boys, the 2 youngest have a different father.)
They were the result of an affair that my mother had with another man. The two boys were born almost 4 years apart and were both from the same man. My Dad was aware of all of this but was ‘in love’ with my mother and allowed them to carry his last name and raised them as his own. They finally divorced when the older of the two was 10 years old, but they were never made aware of the fact that my Dad was not their biological father.
(This was something that my natural brother and I were aware of for 4-5 years before they got a divorce.)

He never treated them any different than he did me and my natural brother (deceased in 96) while he was alive, but she didn’t like that his estate wasn’t divided equally between the three of us.
By disposing of his will, it caused the estate to go into probate.

I feel that her actions were wrong in many ways, but the main point is, she didn’t honor his LAST wishes.
(And all the while pretending that she has done nothing wrong.)

Unless and until she admits what she has done, I seriously doubt that I will speak to her or acknowledge her existence, ever again.

(bolding mine)

That is an incredibly broad and naive statement, IMHO.
I have to concur with TokyoBayer, they most certainly do not, all “do the best they can”! :dubious:

You are positing something as a fact for which there is overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

That statement may apply to many or even the majority of parents. But there is a sizeable minority for which it is demonstrably false.

I hope this post is a whoosh, astro. Otherwise, go get brained. Even have teeth drilled without anesthesia? It is a horrible experience.

What you fail to realize is that to the parents, the child’s discomfort was less important than their minor view with the neighbors.

Even if parents generally do the best they can, that doesn’t mean that they deserve forgiveness or pity for fucking up. If fucking up their kids is the best they can do, then that means they shouldn’t have had kids in the first place.

I think people who rely on the old “Parents do the best they can” whine do so when their own parenting is shitty and they’re feeling guilty about it.

Part of growing up is that you have to get over childhood grudges. If your parents beat you arbitrarily or molested you or cheated you out of your inheritance that’s one thing, sending you to a dentist they trusted, but who you hated is another thing entirely. If we are down to that level of grudge holding to the point you are going to shit over every family gathering with a sullen attitude because you didn’t like the manner or methodology of the dental care you got as child is pushing the envelope.

If you are down to that level of specificity in trying to justify behaving like a shit at family gatherings the best strategy is to stay home.

Especially if they don’t even apologize or acknowledge they fucked up! Or the acknowledgment is something like, “yeah fine, that was YEARS ago. Stop whining.”

Ding ding ding!

So you’re saying that if your children told you that a dentist physically assaulted them while performing procedures on them with no anaesthesia, you would continue to send them there? You would put more weight on your “trust” than the word of your own children?

nearwildheaven, that sucks.

In my own experience, I have found that it works best to eventually forgive, but never trust again. It’s pointless to stay mad at a boa constrictor that nearly killed you, but that doesn’t mean you should go back to hanging out with a boa constrictor again.

Children isn’t something where you get to say: “oh well, I did the best I could”.

That’s acceptable when the pastry goes wrong, when your DIY project doesn’t hold up or when your cactus dies. Not when your children are having their teeth pulled without anaesthetic by a pedophile.

I’ve also worked with the children of people who didn’t even try. There are plenty of those.

I’m sorry about the horrible situation, nearwildheaven. It’s such a feeling of powerlessness when you’re a child, and I bet that memory being made light of brought that right back. I remember trying to tell my parents how awful school was, and they were just bad, vindictive teachers who emotionally abused students, nowhere near as horrible as your dentist. I can articulate now why what they did was inappropriate, but at the time was too young to get beyond “I hate the teacher because she is horrible”, and was never understood. It felt really powerless and sad.

The subject came up when my SIL mentioned that my niece’s braces are going to come off very soon, and I started to tell my SIL the truth and my mother butted in and cut me off. When I was a child, I wasn’t allowed to play with kids who wore braces, or their siblings had them, because it meant the parents were simply showing off how much money they had to throw around, and when I was told that I needed braces, I got a very stern lecture about how I was stealing food off my siblings’ plates, and now people would think that my SAHM mother would have a job. They piddlefarted around with this for FIVE YEARS before finally caving and taking me to an orthodontist, who got it all done in less than 18 months.

When my sister turned out to have the same problem, she didn’t get any lectures, and had it done right the first time. You think I’m not resentful? Better believe it.

I wonder how many of the parents of Jerry Sandusky’s victims or molesting priests told their kids, “I don’t understand why you don’t want to go there. Don’t you realize what wonderful people they are?” when many of them may have known exactly what was going on, or at least had some vague idea.

Why would a dentist try and work without anasthetic? His job would be ten times as hard.
I believe the Op is telling what he believes to be the truth but it just does not make sense.

Fillings without anesthesia is absolutely believable.

It happens. My mother took my sister to a respected dentist in our town. He told my sister that she didn’t need numbing for a cavity because it wasn’t a permanent tooth, then drilled and filled without any kind of numbing. I guess Mom just thought my sis was being difficult while listening to the sounds from the office, but when she learned what he’d done, she immediately found us a new dentist.

And astro? That’s what parents who are trying their best do for their kids. If they bring them to a dentist who doesn’t give a shit about a kid’s pain, they go elsewhere when they find out. Not just shrug it off.

My mom took me for awhile to a dentist who didn’t use anaesthetic. He’d use it if things got painful, but not before.

I think she did it because he was cheap. I remember he had an antiquated, dismal old office. Thankfully we didn’t go to him for very long.