Everyone probably has a story from their childhood where their parents thoroughly embarrassed them. However, some parents go farther than just subtle humiliation; they full-on cross the line from being an embarrassing parent to entering straight-up narcissistic monster territory. These Redditors share the most messed up thing their parents ever did to them. Fair warning: you might experience some serious second-hand embarrassment when reading these. Content has been edited for clarity.
"When I was 16, I had a big birthday party at our house. It was wonderful. I got to invite close to 30 friends, including new people from school. My dad made sure to have my favorite chocolate mousse cake as dessert. It turned into just a bunch of teenagers having a great time and talking.
Then my mom was suddenly wasted. We never even noticed her drinking. She began microwaving slices of cheese on a paper plate and eating it with her fingers. Most of the kids didn’t notice, except for my BFF who had some prior knowledge of her addiction.
Kids began leaving but not before my mom then began asking one of my other friends, who was 15, about her love life and if she doing one of the other boys at the party. I thought I would die while standing and watching it happen."
"So I really liked this one girl in my high school and I was always hoping we would talk someday, but I was a shy/quiet person. One day we were all waiting around in the hall and she started going off about her ex boyfriend and stuff and I was just there listening and watching. She looks at me and randomly says, 'Hey, will you by my boyfriend?'
My cheeks clenched so tight, but I was able to smoothly say, 'Uh, sure why not' and she just laughed and said okay. So later in the day, I somehow gain the courage to ask her for her number 'since I'm your new boyfriend,' and she smiled and said she wasn't being serious, but would actually like to talk to me. She said she had been wanting to, but I just never asked. Holy crap, my mind was going absolutely insane around this time, so I took her number and walked away without saying anything because I'm me and I'd probably say some stupid thing to mess this up.
Fast forward to that night: I was at home and was going to grab the telephone to give her a call when my mom asked what I was doing. I let her know I was calling a friend to talk for a few minutes, but she just said no. She didn't give me a reason, just said no, and took the phone back. Now my mom was going through bad menopause at the time, so she was a really mean, unstable, and emotional person for most of my teenage years. I asked her about it and she said I was not allowed to talk on the phone. I wasn't in trouble, I just wasn't allowed on it. So I did what any teenage would do and waited until she fell asleep to go get the phone.
I called her and she said she was happy to hear from me and that we could finally talk without our friends bothering us. We talked about the teachers, friends, our schedules and her general life, etc. I was really just agreeing and laughing at this point because I was just in utter shock that I was actually speaking with her. I guess my voice or laughter carried over to my mother's room because she BURST through the door so hard that I jumped up and dropped the phone.
Loud as any person can be she yelled, 'WHY ARE YOU ON THE PHONE? I TOLD YOUR STUPID FACE YOU CAN'T USE THE PHONE! WHY ARE YOU ON THE FREAKING PHONE!?'
I was not expecting that outburst at all, so I just said I was asking a friend for help on homework.
She said, 'I DON'T GIVE A CRAP! I TOLD YOU NOT TO BE ON THE PHONE AND NOW YOU'RE TALKING WITH YOUR FRIENDS!? WHO THE HECK ARE YOU TALKING TO SO FREAKING LATE!?'
For some dumb reason, I gave her the girl's name and not like another male friend. She was turning pretty much red at this point, 'YOU DON'T LISTEN TO ME AND NOW YOU'RE ON THE PHONE WITH SOME STUPID GIRL!? I DON'T WANT NO GIRL CALLING OUR HOUSE! HANG UP RIGHT NOW AND TELL HER DON'T EVER CALL HERE AGAIN!'
She slammed the door shut. I looked down to see that the call was still connected...my heart dropped. She heard the whole freaking thing. So I picked up the phone and sheepishly said, '.... Hello?'
She only said, 'Wow...that was...um, okay. See you later,' and hung up. The next morning, she avoided me like the plague. She never talked to me again after that and we never spoke on the phone again.
A part of my soul died that night and I don't think it will ever be fully restored."
"My father was a huge racist and used pejorative terms to describe other people.
I knew about the bad words for African Americans, Chinese people, and Japanese people so I never said them. Little me didn't know about the other words, like the ones for Middle Eastern people.
I used one in class to answer a question my history teacher asked and he was properly horrified. I was immediately removed from class and my confused self was grilled for hours about my word usage. I finally said I don't know what I did wrong, my dad says it all of the time to describe people from that country. They called my mom, I had to go home. The school was bad at handling everything, really. Dad was a prick. He thought the whole situation was hilarious.
Then there was a shouting match between my parents and my dad's mother that night and I was beaten soundly by my father because his mommy was upset about the situation and yelled at him, and then his wife yelled at him, too. Rather than deal with his feelings like a rational adult, he whipped his belt off and beat me with it.
It's hard to explain but my dad was several leaps beyond mama's boy. Their relationship nowadays would be described as overly intimate. If his mother said something needed to happen, he did and sold whatever he needed to and made it happen. If my mom, sibling, or I needed anything, we were out of luck."
"My stepmom decided that all my underwear were too stained. So rather than replace the old, falling apart underwear I'd had for years, she decided to get the whole family involved. The reason? Because I clearly hadn't been cleaning myself properly after using the bathroom. And I mean the whole family. Her mother, her sister, my sisters, and my dad all met me in the living room when I came home from school one day and they basically had an intervention about how I'm supposed to wipe my crotch after I pee to make sure my white cotton underwear stayed white for five plus years.
Yeah, no. I was 12 and, like John Mulaney said, when you're 12 you're like, 'No one look at me or I'll kill myself!!' I was crying so hard I couldn't breathe, my sisters were snickering, my dad was yelling, and several pairs of my 'dirty' underwear were just sitting out on the coffee table in the living room for all to see. I was beyond mortified. I can't even begin to describe the shame and embarrassment. After that, I basically gave myself friction burns with toilet paper every time I peed to make sure I got everything and I still got in trouble for the color of my underwear.
It was just normal discharge and old underwear. Anyone who has a period could have told you that, but no, you just wanted to embarrass your stepdaughter because you hadn't done it in a while.
To this day, I can't stand that woman. Forget you, Annamarie. I haven't actually spoken to or seen her in years. I moved really far away from my family the second it was legal."
"Oh god. This was only like six years ago. I’m a 30 year old woman, for context. I’ve had severe depression and anxiety for quite a long time, probably due to my messed up childhood. I was having a really bad day. Like bad to the point where I could not stop crying and was throwing things around because I just couldn’t even. My husband (boyfriend at the time) didn’t know what to do for me because he has zero experience with mental health issues. Lucky man, right?
So, at the time, we rented one half of a duplex and my mom was in the other half. Because my husband had no idea how to help, he decided to go next door and get mom. She’s mom, she should be able to help, right?
Wrong. This woman comes storming into my house screaming about how I’m possessed by Satan and attempts to freaking exorcize me. She started chanting 'the power of Christ compels you, Satan be gone' over and over again, all while being three inches away from my face. Now, my anxiety presents as anger. That’s just how it shows itself. So I was already pretty mad by the time she’s walked in my door. But when she started screaming in my face that I was possessed by some imaginary entity while being so sanctimonious about the whole thing, I just screamed at her to get out of my house.
She left with a, 'God will make it go away,' and my poor husband was just standing there with his jaw on the floor. What a freaking joke. We never spoke of it again. I think part of his brain melted that day. Needless to say, he never went to my mother for help again. Learned pretty quick that the only person who could effectively reground me was my gramma. God, I miss her.
I have plenty of other stories about my mother being cringey, but this instance definitely made me realize that she was one of the main contributors to why I'm so messed up. "
"I was graduating with my MA while my boyfriend at the time was graduating law school from the same university. I invited my family to the graduation ceremony rather reluctantly. They really wanted to drive the 5 hours and do the whole thing, so I obliged since I refused to for undergrad.
Cut to graduation dinner at a packed restaurant in a college town: my boyfriend gets up to use the restroom. Everyone is asking more questions about him because they thought he was so charming and handsome and nice. So I said the truth, he was from California, a Columbia grad and he was half Syrian and a practicing Muslim (I said this because he looked 'ethnically ambiguous' and I knew that's what they were probably wondering).
Well then my boyfriend comes back and sits down. My father (a well educated engineer who is a bit eccentric) gets up, walks over to my boyfriend's end of the table, puts his wagging finger in his face, and says something to the effect of, 'Your people are not our friends, you are the enemy and how dare you be here.' My father then storms out of the restaurant.
Did I mention he did this in a crowded restaurant to an upstanding graduating law school student and on the day I was graduating with an MA that I was paid to get?! Yeah. I have't talked to him since. He did leave me a million voicemails saying he was sorry and that the Quran says to forgive. Yes, he said that."
"For most people, they can probably count the times they were embarrassed by their parents with their fingers, but having a parent with narcissistic personality disorder or a drinking problem like me and my siblings brings a few too many memories of arguments over who to date, how to dress, how to ask for money, how to sleep or how to set up, etc.
I think the worst scenario is when my siblings and I went to Disneyland as adults with my dad. My mom was in the hospital because her lung collapsed from infection. Originally she was supposed to go because she planned everything for us. The plane tickets (one from Washington, one from New York, and one from Boston) were bought by her, as well as the hotel rooms.
She was left behind and instead of rescheduling, my dad just started his vacation a day early to see her once before going to California.
Anyways, my father (who had the drinking problem) smuggled in spiked juice in MY leather bag inside of a cheap Walmart thermos into Disneyland. He wrapped it in a towel from the hotel. I didn't learn until later that the reason he did this was to prevent it from spilling, since it was cheap. It spilled and completely ruined my leather bag, and some of my things. I had to throw most of my things in the bag away.
He got really smashed since he was on vacation. We were inside the California Adventure part. He was laughing like a child at stupid stuff. I thought staff would turn the corner any minute and kick us out because he was so obvious.
My siblings decided to go get coffee (mostly for him) and I was trying to coordinate him back to the Starbucks inside the park by the entrance.
We found a smoking area on the way back, and he decided to stop. While he was smoking, I took out my own pack and lit one. Since my side was all soaked with orange vod-juice-ka, I had to put my pack of smokes in a different pocket, but I missed and they fell.
He sloppily began kicking my pack of cigs down the path. With a big smile spilling out with his chuckles, I guess pretending he was playing soccer? I got mad and asked him to stop; he didn't. I tried picking them up, he kicked my hand slightly and continued.
A bunch of families were staring now and looking at us have this little scene.
I pulled out his thermos and held it over a garbage can in the park, threatening him so I could get my pack back. He made a sad face, mixed with a hint of betrayal then picked up my pack and traded the cigs for the thermos.
I finished my smoke and said, 'They're probably waiting for us at Starbucks. Let's go,' and began walking back because I didn't want to turn around and see him pouting. After a bit, I didn't hear him. I looked and he was gone.
At this point, I was bright red from frustration, embarrassment, and anger. I called my sister, told her what happened, and went back to Starbucks to wait while they tried to go find him.
When they found him, he had sobered up and apparently he 'couldn't believe his own son would just walk away and leave him on his own.'
He didn't remember the fact that he had embarrassed the crap out of me, made me believe we would be kicked out for sneaking his drinks in, ruined my bag, kicked my smokes around in the dirt, then left ME alone. Not even noting the fact that I got a rash on my leg where the soaked bag had rubbed against my leg all day.
We don't talk much."
"My mom googled my boss's phone number, called him in his office, asked him to put me on the phone in his office. I was in a meeting with a client and I didn't answer her call on my cellphone in the middle of a work day.
She wanted to nag about my step-father and wanted to talk right then. No emergency or anything. She just wanted to talk and gave zero crap about the consequence of her actions, as per freaking usual.
And that was the day my boss and pretty much the entire company lost respect for me. When their coworker's mom called him on his boss's office, to talk about personal crap.
A few months later, I resigned. There was nowhere to go in that place anymore..."
"My mom was pretty messed up, so I have an endless list. The one that comes to mind right now is the time she sent me to go pick my younger brother from the pool. I, being a 13-year-old active kid, joined him and started playing with his friends instead.
I guess she got tired of waiting for me and decided to come to the pool to check up on us. She came and found me in the pool (wearing regular clothes, shame on me) playing Marco Polo with the guys. She yelled my name, took her slipper off, and threw it on my head. Then she went on calling me easy for swimming with guys. Every guy there went quiet. I think the silence was one of the most unbearable thing. It still prickles my skin when I think about it. I was so embarrassed. I remember that walk home, my head down in shame. I can't believe I actually I thought I did something wrong. I cried myself to sleep.
What's funny is she didn't even ask my brother to come back with us. Forget you, Mom. I'm glad our relationship is better now but you made my childhood a nightmare. Forget you."
"I've struggled with disordered eating (starving myself, binging, brushing my teeth constantly so I wouldn't want to eat, all with intentions of extreme weight loss) for years, although I've never talked to my therapist about it or been diagnosed with an eating disorder. My parents got married when I was 12 and took myself, my 5-year-old sister and 2-year-old brother along. We went on a long road trip around Ireland, where we live, spending a night or two in a different hotel in different locations for a total of about a week.
Halfway through, we were at a shopping centre and my mum asked me if I wanted an ice cream. I said yes without thinking about it. My sister was also getting one, my little brother was sleeping in his buggy, everything was fine. Then as she was about to order, I decided I didn't want one as I saw the 'calories per serving' thing. She assumed it's because my sister wanted one too and went on an hour long rant about me being selfish and being rude to my sister (I honestly don't know where these claims were coming from, my mum was just generally stressed from so much traveling and jumped to conclusions).
I didn't exactly want to explain, 'Hey mum, it has nothing to do with my sister also getting one, and I know you haven't realized, but I've been starving myself this whole trip.' Anyone with disordered eating will know that the scariest thing in the world is someone finding out, as it compromises your whole goal of becoming thin through means of starvation.
My dad is really protective over my younger sister (they both have red hair and, as my dad was bullied as a kid for it, he's always been extra touchy when it comes to someone mistreating her, even when it has nothing to do with her hair) and as my dad hadn't really been paying attention during the interaction, he assumed my mum had grounds to be chewing me out like this, so he joined in.
I should also mention that I have autism as well as depression and anxiety, but wasn't diagnosed until 14, which means I generally don't display emotion or participate in anxiety provoking things (like taking photos, going to the hotel kids clubs, etc), so whenever we go on any kind of getaway, my parents assumed I was being ungrateful or moody. This was probably another reason they were so quick to make assumptions.
My mum literally almost canceled the last two hotels and my parents made a point of ignoring me for the rest of the trip or snapping at me over small things. I actually almost cried writing this, although it's been 6 years.
My parents feel really guilty about how they treated me throughout my childhood years, forcing me to participate in anxiety provoking things, assuming I was being lazy for staying inside all day when I was actually just depressed and being bullied, never noticing I self harmed, taking my traits of autism as acts of rebellion, etc. I'm quite close with them now. This was just a really crappy time that brought out the worst of them."
"Let me paint a picture for you: I was born and raised in the Bible Belt. Parents were devout followers of the Christian faith, and pretty much raised the seven of us as such. We always dressed in our Sunday best, always read the scriptures, always prayed as a group. We were about as square and WASP-y as you can imagine.
One thing we always did as kids on the way to school (our mom always drove us) was recite Psalm 91 aloud. For those not in the loop, it's basically a prayer of protection. We (all seven of us) would recite it aloud, together, while Mom drove us onward. Keep in mind, we were all in elementary school, so it was done in a very childish kind of manner, somewhat loud and enunciated so Mom could hear that we had memorized it and weren't just mumbling along. We were all kids, so we loved doing it for some reason.
So, being the oldest, I was the first to kinda grow out of that wild enthusiasm for the task. More importantly, I was also the first out of elementary school. The middle school I went to was a little bit more of a drive away, so Mom let me start taking the bus in the morning. So during the first two years of middle school, there was this kid who I rode the bus with who waited to get picked up with me at the end of the street every day. I thought this kid was just the effin' coolest kid around. He dressed like a punk (and was only in 8th grade!), listened to metal, and pretty regularly talked about smoking weed (never actually saw him do it, so in hindsight that may have been a boast). Nowadays, I probably would scoff at the kid for being kind of a try-hard, but at the time, as a very sheltered seventh grader who never really got to express himself unless religion was involved, I was totally blown away by how 'cool' this dude was.
So one day, I was running late and didn't make it to the bus on time. Neither did he. So we're both just sitting there at the end of the road like, 'Well what do we do?' So we start walking towards our homes when Mom pulls up in our church van (literally the only car big enough to hold all of the kids). Kids are still in there of course, because she was running late, too. She tells us to hop on in and she'll give us a ride. It was fine with my friend and I was okay with it, so we did so.
We start driving along for a few moments in awkward silence before Mom starts the choir of kids reciting the bible with ZERO explanation. So to my friend's eyes, we hopped into a van where all of my siblings and mother stare ahead into the void and start chanting, 'I WILL SAY OF THE LORD HE IS MY REFUGE AND MY FORTRESS MY GOD IN HIM DO I TRUST SURELY HE SHALL DELIVER US FROM THE SNARE OF THE FOWL AND FROM THE PERILOUS PESTILENCE,' and so on. I was scared of my mother's scorn, so I begrudgingly went along with it, but my stomach was churning from the embarrassment. I looked over at my friend afterwards and he had this utterly freaked out look on his face. That was the last I saw of him. The kid never once rode the bus again and I never saw him in the hallways after that. It crushed me."