Every family’s got one black sheep. The person who kind of left the general flow of how things were going and turned out quite different from the rest.
If you aren’t that person in your own family, I can tell you personally that it leads to a lot of soul searching about what you grew up believing and why your parents might have told you the things they did, especially the things that turned out to be very wrong.
Reddit’s got lots of examples of this kind of thing. They range from the deadly serious to the comical.
“If he is hitting you, hit him back.”
Both of my parents had bullying problems when they were kids, which I didn’t know about at the time. They took it very personally when they found out I was having the same issue, so they gave me the advice they wished they had been given.
So a few days later my dad had to come pick me up from school early because I hit him back. We went to Dairy Queen for lunch and then played N64 when we got home. One of my favorite memories.
2. Never express negativity
Don’t be angry, don’t be sad. Or at least, don’t have the audacity to show it. My parents didn’t care how I felt, only how I behaved.
It’s taken me 47 years to realize what bulls**t that is. According to my grown children, at least I didn’t pass that on to them.
3. “We always gave you everything you needed”
for me it’s emotional neglect, and I didn’t even recognise it until less than a year ago because I’d been lead to believe that because my parents did the occasional extravagant thing for me (e.g driving me two hours to visit a museum for a college project) that I would be selfish to “ask for more”.
I think they were trying to convince themselves that they were doing things right, and we’re all trying to heal now.
But it does really mess you up when you don’t get the emotional care you need.
4. Confidence is arrogance
My mother seemed really worried about ‘keeping me in my place’ and making sure I knew I wasn’t exceptional. Particularly about creative things she was very critical and never had anything nice to say.
As an adult, I was never confident in my work, and it made me seem worse than I actually was. It took me years to realize that no one cares if you make minor mistakes, they want confidence and inspiring presentation.
Surely there’s some kind of balance, like she could’ve said “You worked hard” or “I can tell you’re improving” instead of just pointing out that her 10 year old’s writing wasn’t on the same level as a published novelist.
5. Privacy as privilege
My mum made me believe that privacy was a privilege.
Wasn’t until I started studying childcare and learning in depth about the rights of the child that I learned it is a right and that my mum is full of bulls**t
6. All kinds of ignorance
That I will become stupid if I eat too many hazelnuts and that I will become dark skinned if I eat lamb spleen (yes they just wanted them for themselves and yes my parents were racist)
7. Sexuality is shameful
Until you’re married.
Then, the instant you say “I do”, that ultimate sinful, shameful act becomes a requirement and obligation.
I know too many people who bought into the first part, and then couldn’t turn it off later in life.
8. The job market is easy
My silent generation dad thought a JC Penny suit, a firm handshake, and a college degree would get me a Mad Men type of career.
He vicariously fantasized about that.
Not a bad intentioned dad or anything, since I was at a loss for any better ideas at the time, but…that is not accurate.
I am an entry level government worker and carpet cleaner. I’d rather play Mario kart with my kids than bone my secretary. I don’t have access to ANY secretary.
I even upgraded to Men’s Warehouse suits and my grip is firm from exercise. No secretaries.
9. Work is life
That work should be something you love
It just has to be tolerable. If you make work your life, you will feel hit hard by the rough stages of work, which any job has. And you’ll feel bad for taking a sick day, or miss it when you should be enjoying time off
10. Marriage is easy
That marriage was easy. Ironic considering they never communicated, fought a lot and just never seemed to enjoy each other’s company.
I guess when you ignore your problems, marriage is easy.
11. Military service is about protecting freedom
Sometimes it’s just because you don’t want to be poor anymore, have 3 meals a day and a safe place to sleep.
It was either that or get myself arrested.
Getting $$ for college was just a bonus.
12. You don’t need therapy
Therapists are useless and a waste of money.
Yeah but my therapist has helped me through panic attacks which was way more helpful than being yelled at during one mom.
13. Men can’t connect
Having s** with a boyfriend would cause him to get bored of me and seek greener pastures, as “you gave him what he wanted so why would he stick around.”
Turns out a) guys generally want to sleep with their gf more than once, and are not inclined to leave because they stand to get some (how does that make sense?) and b) guys have emotions and are capable of loving even a HO that HAS S**, and are not just s** seeking missiles who think non virgin women are unworthy of respect
14. Work as a dogma
Hard work always pays off. Sometimes things go to sh** regardless. Life ain’t fair due to many circumstances you have no control over.
15. Really big numbers
I asked my dad what the biggest number ever was, he either realized it was an impossible question and I was going to argue if he said “there is no biggest number”, or was messing with me.
Anyway, imagine the laughter when in like 3rd grade we all had to go around and name a number and I said “big toe trillion”.
Live and learn, I suppose.
What’s the worst advice your parents ever gave you?
Tell us in the comments.