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Horrendous Parenting

Community Member

Hi there,

This is really important for me to say and vent but I am 28 and my parents have been an absolute and total disaster. They were loving but so ignorant it is beyond belief. They were uneducated and illiterate people from a poor country and had no idea what the hell they were doing.

Because they didn't have skills they ran a tobacco shop. When I was little I had birthmarks on my face and this led to me being picked on and abused by kids, as a disfigured migrant child I was then sent to one of those all boys Catholic schools- this was really difficult and traumatic for me. Did my parents realise that these kinds of issues would severely impact their only child's development and psychological make up? No! They were totally clueless!

They used our home as a storehouse for tobacco and cigarettes. I grew up all alone, without siblings, without even cousins, in a house full of cigarettes. Not once did they ever warn me about the dangers of smoking or drugs- they fundamentally didn't understand or were incapable of this basic parental duty to protect and educate the child.

What is the biggest farce is that they expected me to be high achieving and successful. But I had to grow up learning every bit of important information for myself- it was like walking across a minefield without a map. Nobody really taught me about STIs either, not my university and my sexually experienced parents didn't think it was important to tell their young son that there is a killer virus you can catch and you should be very careful.

I am not saying that is all their fault on that one, but I've taken some risks and am scared stiff from the prospect of getting HIV. But sometimes I wonder maybe I should just be gone, or have never been born. When you are that incompetent/ignorant- you simply shouldn't have children.

11 Replies 11

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi ft, welcome

Well you are right but life isnt the way you have vented it.

See walking in anothers shoes is more than a difficult task, its ny impossible. So we judge on the sidelines of others lives.

In your case how could you possibly relate to being new in this country? Learning a new language and other challenges that would make them feel isolated, homesick and fearful?

They must have worked hard to buy/build their business. They didnt want their son a failure like they believed they were. Unfortunately that attitude led to a feeling of expectations which is emotionally challenging.

You vent about being an only child sts if your parents denied you any siblings. They did but you dont mention reasons. Such reasons could be secret. There are many possibilities and it is their personal decision not yours. This is where you overstep the mark. And you had birthmarks...it wouldn't matter in the least what school you attended, mocking would have happened. Not their fault.

I agree with you they should have educated you about cigs and drugs but STD's and some other topics...old enough to vote, drive ...old enough to read about those topics. You are an adult and that means owning your own responsibilities. By the way, I wasnt taught about sex, my parents too embarrassed. They werent perfect.

So where to now? I think the best way forward for you is to keep your distance. Get the relationship with your parents into the best possible perspective like visiting every month or so to be kind enough to make them happy, satisfy yourself too and be kind to parents with good intentions but limited capability. Just because they were incompetent doesnt mean they dont deserve basic respect.

Then when you have children you can teach them on the topics you weren't taught. But guess what? They might write in on a forum to vent because you failed to warn them of corrupt car salesmen, after they purchased a lemon. You simply wont cover all bases.

When people have limited capability in parenting its often due to the lack of a user's handbook. Humans believe it all comes natural. It doesnt. I'd suggest being immigrants has a large bearing on it to.

So yes you have grounds for being disgruntled but you are working around parents with big limitations that are obvious to you but not to them. Your challenge is to accept that fact, move on mentally from the past, focus on advancing yourself and general respect for doing their best.

I hope that helps.

Tony WK

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni


Thankyou for posting.

Parents are far from perfect. We understand where you are coming from.

TonyWK has provided his noteworthy experience and wisdom above so I will avoid duplicating his advice.

You are amazing for having the courage to post and good on you too!

I like what you said about your parents having high expectations and if I can quote you.....

"What is the biggest farce is that they expected me to be high achieving and successful"

This can be a pain especially if it effects your well being...I had the same super high expectations too and it became a stress for me.

You are 28 (I wish I was!) and there is still consequences for your actions especially pertaining to STI's. You are a very well articulated and intelligent person RT. We all take risks but sometimes but we have to take responsibility for our own actions.

I understand your frustration with your parents RT. They seem to have worked very hard. Even with the tobacco they wouldnt have known the full story at the time on cigarettes.

If you had a child and they developed an illness due to inhaling diesel fumes from traffic (which is a carcinogen) you could be blamed for not making them aware that. Your child may blame you for exposing you to diesel fumes

We are human and imperfect by nature. I know I am imperfect. So is TonyWK above.

We try our best and accept ourselves the way we are.......faults and all. Yes your parents had faults too.

Acceptance of your current situation is the best way out of the maze you are in....you can only move forward 🙂

you are not alone here RT

my kind thoughts


Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni
hello rational_thinker, some good points raised by Tony and Paul, however I think that your post goes deeper than what you have partically told us, but generation after generation continually have to learn what changes are happening, and normally the older people can't accept what's actually happening in today's situation.
Maybe they weren't too knowledgable about HIV and what it does to someone, or perhaps they simply didn't want to know, but I think the main reason for your post is you want to talk about HIV and have no one else to discuss the topic with, maybe I'm wrong. Geoff.

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

That is an excellent point Geoff. It didn't cross my mind.

Rational_thinker, your thoughts are welcome on this.

Tony WK

Community Member

Sorry guys,

I am in a bit of a rut, with an uncertain future and seriously fearful of death and illness at the same time.

Perhaps I am being too harsh on them because they did provide love the best they could and financial security as well.

Perhaps I have failed to develop the basic respect and concern that other people deserve.

Perhaps I am a far too negative, glass half empty, catastrophe fearing person. Sometimes I find it difficult to tell the difference between the worst case scenarios I tend to zoom in upon and the objective reality.

But it is good that I got a chance to finally express these views and get feedback.

Thanks guys and it is back to improving ourselves and our lives.

Hi rt,

Wow!! What a great reply. I'm a little stunned and grateful for your honesty.

A rut can mean many things, over study, stress, fears, expectations as you and blondeguy has mentioned.

So, what can be done to turnaround this negative thinking problem?

I can tell you it will be a challenge but worthwhile. Once the transition is done you not only will think life is wonderful...You'll pick a negative thinker a mile away.

Here are some threads abiut the subject. Simply google each and if you like just read my first post. It will be worth the reads

Topic: 30 minutes can change your life- beyondblue

Topic: being positive, whats the secret?- beyondblue

Topic: who cries over spilt milk?- beyondblue

Attending motivation lectures is another idea. But acknowledging your half empty glass views is the real springbiard to a better way of living.

Well done.

Tony WK

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member
hi I alas dont have a huge amount of time atm will come back later!! Youre post sounds amazing to be honest, as I too struggle with my parents sometimes. I love adore and am in awe of them but they drive me up the wall (as Im sure I do to them too!!)
I wouldn't be here without them - by that I mean they have saved me from something pretty awful....but I nearly went there again because of them also. During this time I took time out at a clinic. The organiser there recommended a book called "They F*** you Up." by Oliver James. Its part-autobiography, part-comedy, part analytical look about parents messing up the lives of their children...a comical but serious look at being the child and adult too. I didn't have the chance to read it (as I became a parent myself! Ugh Help me!!!) but a few people have mentioned it to me and say they liked it. Im tempted to find it online or in a library if its available.
Maybe you could Google it?

From a child of over-bearing and difficult parents, I wish you hope, shelter and a way around problems - a way to see through things and see what they REALLY want for you and that they care.
Sometimes parents worry way too much, other times they dont worry enough. As a parent it is hard to find the right balance....we're all in the dark and all have our own emotional difficulties, which those close to us bear the worst brunt of, even though we don't want that.
Talk, be, breathe, take time out and talk with others outside of the family....us too!! Good luck!

Will reply in a far better way soon!

PS: loving the replies here! Please keep it up!
Being a parent - especialy when you lack a decent education or come from a "different" background is tough!!!

If youre afraid of catching something sexually, be safe and use a condom or get your man to/or both. Get tested regularly if you are sexually active and ensure the pill is in use. Pregnancy can happen. I dont want to scare you here though.
Read up online as much as you can about being sexual and being safe. Ask questions of a trusted friend, teacher or significant other.
That's all we can do, really. We just gotta learn things ourselves. After all, who would listen to our parents talking about love and marriage when we're young? hehe
Also experience is our best teacher. We all are really in the dark, fumbling along, tying the best we can at the time.
Money isnt easy to come by, and it gets harder as we age. Parents look to get a good financial backing for their children, often at the cost of the child, unfortunately. As much as we dont want to, it can happen.

My parents grew up in the 1950s and 1960s when the done thing was to meet at an early age, court until you could marry around 21-30, marry before sex, have 2-4 children and live happily ever after forever together...and never talk about that, ESPECIALLY not to someone younger than 21 or deemed "too young" (even 30 was deemed "too young"sometimes!). Everyone did that. The man went off to work, kissed his wife goodbye, patted his good children on the head and came home at 5pm for dinner that the wife put on the table. The wife stayed home and looked after the home and kids. That was that. Education and talking didn't factor there really.

Our generation is different, many thanks to what happened when my parents generation started staying at school longer, earning more money, listening to rock music and watching TV - seeing the horrors of poverty and war and social injustice etc, and knew things needed to change!

Let us, in our generation and modern technology and access to good education, make our own path and lets make it good!

forgot to say: while getting tested for transmittable diseases, talk with a GP about your worries and what can be done. Discuss treatments or protective behaviours as well as sexuality and other things related if you want. The safest option to find out about all that stuff down there and what works and why is to ask a GP...a good GP is professional, factual and wont judge, laugh or tease/bully you into something.

Should you find something during any tests, there are treatments for certain things IF you have them and catch it in time. That said, the chances of actually getting HIV is fairly slim.

I was so so so naive, I thought you had to go to a GP to get the pill, emergency after-morning pill or pregnancy test. I also didn't know about abortion or anything really lol Life, it has taught me oh so much. And it will you, i am sure. I hope it is a good journey of learning and growth from here.