It can be tough to claim things like always or never when it comes to other people’s families – relationships are complicated, after all.
So when this person on Reddit came out with their Unpopular Opinion that, if adult children refuse to have anything to do with their parents, it’s because the parents were terrible.
Dear Parents Whose Adult Children Don’t Talk To Them – It’s Always Your Fault.
You were the adult when they were a child. If their first instinct, as soon as they get out from under your thumb, is to completely ignore you forever, you need to own the fact that you messed up as a parent at several, consistent, points along the road throughout your child’s upbringing. They hate you for a good reason, and they’re probably better off without you in their lives.
There are a number of forms of abuse that range from over-parenting, to neglect, over-discipline to straight up negative enabling behavior.
I have friends who don’t talk to their parents because the strictness was so suffocating, and friends who don’t talk to their parents because they were lazy bums who never took an interest in their child’s life. There are tons of other reasons kids abandon relationships with their folks, but the one thing that stays true through all of these experiences for me is that it’s always the parents fault.
This is mostly about relationships that end as soon as the kid leaves the house, not necessarily relationships that break down during adulthood, although the same reasoning could be applied in a lot of these cases too.
As you can imagine, people had some thoughts.
14. Don’t expect closure.
Living through a lifetime of people telling you it’s your fault, it’s hard to deprogram yourself that it isn’t the case. I’m still in the middle of deprogramming that mindset. What eats away at me is that a lot of people aren’t in my life anymore (due to distance, ailment/death, etc).
There is never any closure even if these people aren’t in your life anymore. It’s always a battle to fight for your mind and sense of self.
13. This sounds stressful.
I’m 15 and my parents can’t look past IISc or IIT. JEE looks like such a sham to me like there are so many students taking the exam and only the top 50 or 60 get to the best colleges, there is so much competition and it’s not like there is a huge difference between the kid who comes 10th or the kid who comes 150th. It’s just 1 mark difference that can throw you off hundreds of places.
This coupled with the outdated reservation system, which does more harm than good, completely makes a ridiculous thing out of this and it’s even more frustrating to see people pinning their hopes, their entire lives, on performing in this circus of an exam.
12. It’s all math.
There is this thing called the Social Exchange Theory that states that if a relationship’s costs outweigh the benefits then it will likely break off as it is not interdependent nor healthy.
When parents fail to realize that they are costing their kid more than they are providing for them (this includes time, emotional, health, and material costs/benefits) then their kid isn’t going to want to be in that relationship.
And In parent-child relationships it is even more crucial that the kid’s needs are being met and that they are being presented more benefits than costs.
Take it from me, as someone who has been royally fucked up by my parents and whose relationship with them has slowly deteriorated- there are MANY ways that a child can be neglected.
11. Maybe it’s not too late?
Both my parents had their shortcomings, my dad wayyyy more than my mom, but since I’ve moved out, they’ve both been actively trying to be better parents and I couldn’t be more grateful for that.
My dad and I will always but heads but he’s trying and that’s what matters to me.
10. When the roles are reversed.
As an adult, I feel like my mother needs more from me emotionally than she’s ever provided. It’s a hard thing to explain. But 4-hour phone calls where I might get three sentences in?
Every time I visit she wants to keep me awake until the sun rises, talking about herself? Woman needs a friend or a therapist and I’m not ready to be either.
9. How tall are you, though?
I haven’t talked to my parents since 1999.
That’s to preserve my own sanity and peace of mind. In truth it was the smartest thing I’ve ever done and I have no regrets disavowing two malignant narcissists
I have a list of grievances with them as long as my leg.
So long in fact it’s a wonder CPS didn’t take me away from them when I was a child.
8. They have to be willing to work on themselves.
Honestly, if most parents would just get some sort of therapy, the world would have so much more peace and family relationships might actually be able to last.
7. That doesn’t seem right.
Trust me, wonder no longer bc CPS prob wouldn’t have helped unless you were half dead. They came to our house, took a look around the rooms, questioned us WITHIN EARSHOT OF OUR MOTHER and then walked out.
Imagine if we told them the shit that had been happening to us and then they decided “it wasn’t valid enough” and didn’t take us with them- we would’ve just ratted out our mom in front of her and been left to deal with the consequences. So we lied bc they didn’t do their job properly.
How can you question a kid without setting up a safe environment?
6. Sounds like an excuse.
The issue with my folks is they believe therapy to be pseudo science. So even when every person has told them see a therapist, when they finally do they don’t take it seriously and they don’t approach it with an open mind.
They simply write it off, end up spending money for something they don’t actually believe or want to attempt to understand.
5. Makes your heart hurt.
I had an abusive alcoholic mother. She used to beat us daily, put cigarettes out on me, mentally abuse us and try and turn us against our dad. When I told my dad about it at around 8 he tried to get custody of us.
The courts decided the best course of action would be to keep us with our mother and assign a social worker to ‘help her be a better parent’. Well it didn’t work and the abuse carried on.
F*ck social services and f*ck the courts they’re all useless.
4. The guilt can be too much.
My mother is much the same way. I think, deep down, her mentality boils down to “why get a therapist when I have children I can unload on?”. She gets deeply offended when I finally reach a limit and ask her to stop calling me for every problem she faces in her life. She then proceeds to try and guilt trip me about how if I won’t help her then:
- she has nobody else to help her
- she would have to pay someone else to fix the problem and how much money it would cost
- how she wasn’t the worst mother in the world and is owed this
Since my father passed away, it has been a situation where her demands of me creep up, reaches a tipping point, and we have a blown up argument where I have to explain that I’m her son, not her handyman/therapist/fixer. Her expectation of a mother-child relationship is extreme.
3. An excellent point.
Even if you were half dead they would have done f*ck all. I ended up in the hospital every couple of months. My dad beat me so hard he broke vertebrae in my back. They visited – but like you said it just wasn’t safe. Then they left and I got a beating for them being there in the first place.
Went extremely low contact with my dad about 20 years ago. He’s dead now. I didn’t go to the funeral and I regret nothing. People were always giving me shot for wanting nothing to do with him but they didn’t know who he was. I still talk to my mother though obviously our relationship is difficult. I love her deeply though. She was a victim of him just as much as I was.
Still I don’t agree with the OP. It’s not always the parents fault. You can’t be that absolute.
The child might be suffering from paranoid schizophrenia or something like that.
2. Sometimes it’s as simple as that.
My parents did not see me as a part of the family.
It hurts really bad.
I was 32 when i figured out its not me its them.
1. In that case…
Hello fellow child of narcissists! Been no contact with mine since 17.
Literally the most dangerous people I’ve ever encountered. Cheers!
I’m not sure where I stand on this one. I actually think that a lot of the time, he’s probably right, but not every time.
Surely there are times when a kid gets involved with drugs or the wrong crowd or a new religion and turns their back on loving, well-meaning parents. Right?
Tell me your thoughts down in the comments!