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AnonymousWoman's avatar

Am I a bad person if lose more respect for my parents every single day?

Asked by AnonymousWoman (6326 points ) August 6th, 2012

There are certain things I hate that they do. I did grow up being taught how important it is to honour your parents, though. Should parents be honoured just because they are parents? Is that right?

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21 Answers

whiteliondreams's avatar

Do you feel like a bad person if you lose respect for them? If you feel guilty, perhaps you should write down the things that bother you about them and discuss some of these things with them. There is no one in the world who should support your decisions and goals more than your parents. Perhaps you may find closure in understanding why the things they do, which seem wrong to you, may seem right to them. If there is violence involved, perhaps you should find professional guidance. I am not going to pry into what you do not provide for information because that is your prerogative. Should you choose to add more details, then it may help people here, including myself, find a solution or at least point you in some direction leading to understanding. Remember, what frustrates a person is usually related to expectations not being met. When expectations are challenged, frustration is usually the first emotion that is triggered.

AnonymousWoman's avatar

I do feel like a bad person, but there have been times I tried to speak to them about what bothers me. I remember getting yelled at and being treated with absolute disrespect. There are times when they just don’t want to listen because they are so convinced that they are right, even though they both like to believe they are open-minded. They are both extremely stubborn and seem to have trouble admitting they are wrong a lot of the time.

whiteliondreams's avatar

Have you thought about finding out what it is they are interested in? Do they have college degrees? Are they professionals in their careers or occupations? I ask this because when a person is brought up a certain way where their character or ideology has not been challenged, it becomes a problem…for you. So if You understand more about where they are coming from, perhaps you can avoid questioning their “authority” and move on with your life towards a personal goal you may set upon achieving, such as going to college, moving, or finding a group of people with similar concerns as you have. I do understand your position and I am trying to be as sensitive as possible about it because I know it is frustrating and aggravating. I am learning that we cannot expect everyone to be like us, so we need to find an alternative to cope with other people’s differences. Just think about how to eat an elephant. One bite at a time. Patience is a virtue, among others. Seek understanding and your anger may subside. Just be cognizant of the questions you ask and anticipate potential answers.

Shippy's avatar

As I grew past childhood there were many things I did not agree with or admire about my parents. I too lost a lot of respect for them. In adolescence I tackled them on many issues and lost. As they just carried on anyway. When I had my own child I realized how fallible I was and in a way fought to gain respect. Now as an “aging” person myself and my parents now gone the most profound thing I realized is, they were humans just bumbling along like the rest of us.

Sometimes I even burst out laughing remembering a few things they did. So no I never really always respected them, I did honor them though. They were my parents after all. I loved them no matter what they did or how. I miss them and their bad advice and crazy ways, respect was reborn in me when I realized, too late after they were gone, how tough old age is, and sickness. Moms and dads are just kicking it, like most of us some doing better than others. It wasn’t really my place to decide or place judgment on them. But it is important to know how you yourself would do things differently, to them.

Judi's avatar

Everyone goes through a phase when they realize their parents aren’t perfect. People raised in faith centered families often don’t realize it until later in life. It is normal to feel a sense of disgust and even rage or betrayal when you see aspects of your parents that seem hypocritical, or if you realize they have a higher expectation for you than they ever had for themselves.
Usually, this happens by adolescence, but sometimes it happens later.
If possible, realizing and accepting that they are flawed human begins will help you to deal. Forgiveness will help you move beyond it, and will help you when YOUR children realize your imperfections as well.

rojo's avatar

Respect is earned.
Courtesy is given.

rojo's avatar

@Shippy Remember when you wanted to be a grown-up because they had all the answers and could do whatever they wanted?

gailcalled's avatar

How old are you? Is there any counselling available at your school? It does help to talk to a trained and sympathetic adult. He or she might be able to teach you some techniques to help make your parents listen, at least for a little while. Challenging them is very difficult.

I wish I had had someone to talk with when I was in high school. I used my music teacher; he was sympathetic and let me spend half the lesson time on therapy and then the other half on Beethoven.

I am very interested in the answers here but would implore you to use breaks in the text to make it easier on the eyes.

That wall of print is off-putting.

CWOTUS's avatar

To date you cannot be convicted on the basis of thought alone. That is, you’re not bad – or good – just because you have bad (or good) thoughts. It’s your actions that determine whether you’re good or bad.

How you feel about your parents is entirely your business, but how you act is what determines whether you’re good or bad (according to your determination of what makes for good and bad – as discussed in my previous response to that question—my most recent previous response, that is). It is possible to resent your parents bitterly, but as long as you act in the required form to “demonstrate” respect, then no one can call you bad for that.

However, since our thoughts inform our actions, it’s unlikely unless you are a superlative actor that you can maintain a public persona of “respect and honor” while inside seething with resentment and bitterness.

So it might be time to respectfully discuss some of your differences with your parents at a time and place where you can have a full and free discussion without the pressures of time and interruption and lack of privacy. Take your parents to a private dinner and begin a dialog. Parents worthy of respect should also respect the intelligent disagreement of their grown children. If they prove that they can’t do that, then you can choose whether to blindly show them respect where it’s not reciprocated – and not feel bad about that if that withholding of respect is warranted.

Fortunately I was never in that position. I wish you luck.

The other side of that is that if you’re not a “grown child”, then it may be that you simply don’t understand the reasons for some rules and disagreements. It’s always appropriate that as your own mind develops and matures that you should question “why?” about some of the rules that you don’t understand. That’s part of the maturing process. You’ll want to ask those questions respectfully – and listen to the answers, especially the parts that you may not understand yet. And most especially listen to the parts that you have no experience with!

Mariah's avatar

You can’t pick who your parents are, and plenty of them do a piss-poor job.

If you feel they truly tried to be good parents, I think that deserves an amount of respect. If they didn’t care, then you don’t owe them much of anything.

Aethelflaed's avatar

No, but I think the idea of honoring your parents is total crap. Respect is always, always earned; many parents earn it, but many really don’t. I have very little respect for my parents, and don’t think I’m a bad person or daughter for it.

JLeslie's avatar

If they have abused you that is one thing, but if it is just disagreements over attitudes and control issues, then I say they are your parents, you can agree to disagree, but they probably have done their best and what they thought was right for you, and showing them some honor sounds right to me. You don’t have to resoect all their opinions to respect them. I think if you want people to be understanding of you, you need to be understanding of them. Most parents want what is best for their children and any type of power struggle or control they try to push on their kids is usually more out of the parent’s own fears and wanting to protect their children, not them trying to be the boss. Try to see their intentions, rather than the action, maybe it will help. At least allow for the differences, hopefully eventually they will too.

I also agree with @Judi‘s and @Shippy.‘s

creative1's avatar

There comes a time between teens and twenties that you and your parents go through what I now think are typical. They need to see that they raised you right and need to learn how to let go of the reins and know you can make your own decisions. And you now have to see that parents are not perfect and they are just trying to guide you to be whom ever it is you want to be with your life. They were there to teach you all they knew and to let you reach for the sky. Now that you are older you see that they don’t want to let you go yet you think you know everything because your now an ADULT however you are going to find that you will still need your parents to bounce ideas off of, but that probably won’t happen until you have made some mistakes of your own. I went through something similar when I was that age and once I figured out we are all human and we all make mistakes and all we can do it our best my mother and I became best friends and I still in my 40’s go to her when I want to see what she thinks of something.

Aethelflaed's avatar

@gailcalled What wall of text? Her details contained three sentences, her one reply four.

gailcalled's avatar

Check out many of the answers. (If you check my answer, you will see that I referred to answers only.)

AnonymousWoman's avatar

It is not just disagreements to clear things up. In June, I was hit so badly just because I didn’t say what my Dad wanted me to. Then he dared me to call the police on him. I had bruises on my back for a while after that. A whole bunch of my family (including my mother – I do give her credit for that) told him off. After that, he was convinced to apologize. But he made me listen to what he had to say without even asking me how I felt or anything. It was all about him. Ever since then, I’ve blocked a lot of what he’s said out. And even though he’s apologized, he is very demanding that I get over it. I don’t find this to be a true apology. And it’s not the first time he’s done something like this to me when I didn’t agree with him. I think he’s learned not to hit me now, but he does other things to show his anger at me. For example, just recently, one of my sisters lost her cell phone. She was convinced it was in my room, so I threw everything on the floor in the middle to try to help her find it. Then he started yelling at me how stupid I am for my room being a mess and if it wasn’t a mess, it would never be a problem. When in actual reality, he wouldn’t listen to me explaining what I was doing, but kept going on and on about how stupid I am and how much of an idiot… etc.

I used to believe he really did “spank” us when we were bad, but I’ve been realizing lately that he hits when he’s angry and feels like he is out of control. I’ve thought back to other times when he used hands. There was another time when he was trying to make me say what he wanted (something I didn’t agree with at all). So I told him he was a control freak. He kept on hitting me and hitting me. I told him that he’s only proving my point. So he kept on doing it until I apologized and said he isn’t one. I just wanted it to stop, so I lied and said I believed he wasn’t one. If I didn’t, I would have kept getting hit. And it’s not like I could get away, either. I felt pretty trapped because of the location of where I was in my room.

Another time when I was 15, he found out I had a boyfriend, so threw me against a wall and kicked me out of his house. This was, I think, after he asked me my feelings. I was so scared, but I told him. Then he insisted that was not how I felt and then proceeded to tell me how I (supposedly) felt. I was only allowed back in if I ripped up my boyfriend’s picture and said I’d dump him. I hadn’t even done anything I considered wrong with this guy. The worst part is that he doesn’t remember a thing about it.

Then there is this story that happened just this year: He asked for advice on how things could be improved related to family. I explained to him about how the way he talks sometimes isn’t helpful. He got mad at me and insisted that I’m the one who needs to change. He started yelling at me and told me to get out of his house and never come back. I was sincerely trying to help, but I just got yelled at and yelled at. Then I ended up in tears and told him that if that’s how he acts when people are trying to help him, then he shouldn’t be surprised when people don’t want to. Then he went after me for how I was whining and being manipulative when I wasn’t even whining or being manipulative. I was just so upset, I couldn’t hold it in anymore. I keep getting accused of manipulating when I’m not trying to manipulate anyone. And whining when I’m not even whining.

So many times, I’m reminded of why I shouldn’t listen to him. Why I should just leave. Etc. How is it fair how I’m accused of being manipulative when I’m not the one who hit him to get my way like he hit me to get his? Like he kicks me out until I agree with him? How he does things like this to siblings of mine, too? I feel like he’s putting his faults on me. And on them at times, too.

Aethelflaed's avatar

@AnonymousWoman Not respecting parents who don’t respect you is totally fine, and parents who abuse their kids like that don’t respect them. (Lord knows I don’t respect parents who don’t respect their kids, and that includes my own). I’m so sorry that he’s treating you this way; this isn’t your fault. It’s so shitty when parents project their own missteps onto their kids.

Judi's avatar

What country are you in? Also, what is your cultural background and how old are you?
If you are in the US you SHOULD call the police if he hits you. He needs help. It could be the kindest thing you ever do for him.
If you are old enough, please remove yourself from the situation. This could turn very dangerous. Do you have younger siblings? If so, he should be reported to protect them as well. I know it’s hard, but he IS out of control and needs someone to scare the crap out of him before he kills someone.

CWOTUS's avatar

These kinds of details, as awful as they are, would have been helpful in getting you the kind of responses you need – the kind you should be getting now from people who read that last post.

Your father is an abuser, obviously.

Because he is irrational about having his way (and yes, he is a controlling man, clearly – I don’t like the term “control freak”, but it’s apropos here), it’s best for you that you not push his buttons or do the things that trigger his wrath, if you can avoid that. Avoid trying to offer honest criticism to help him; you’ve seen what that will earn for you. (Try not to let your relationship with him color your future relationships with all men – a hard thing to avoid, I know.) If he drinks or uses drugs, then by all means avoid him when he’s doing that, or while he’s drunk or hung over.

I do not advocate running away. The dangers to runaways are often far worse than the known dangers of staying in a home with an abusive parent and an enabler. Your mother may have stood up for you once in awhile, but if no one manages to put a stop to his behavior then it generally worsens, and those who don’t even attempt to stop it are enablers. It’s clear from your response that you have tried to stop him peacefully, but you don’t have the power or resources to do that on your own.

I also don’t advocate killing a parent except under extreme and imminent threat of major physical harm or death. So far his abuse does not seem to have risen to that level, but it’s all on a gradient. That could happen.

One thing that I strongly recommend is that you document his behavior in a journal that you take extreme care to keep away from him – and from everyone else in the house as well. (You never know when someone might be forced to reveal your secrets. You know how that can happen.)

In case worse comes to worst and you ever do need to defend your life – or your sister or anyone else – with deadly force, it will help your later defense immeasurably if you can document the specific incidents of abuse that you have suffered. Be sure to list dates and times, specific triggers, what he did, etc. Keep photos of bruises and damage to possessions, too. Unfortunately, for the reasons I mentioned, you can’t trust anyone in the house at this time. If your mother has a sibling you can trust to keep quiet and not feed back to your mother or father, then that would be an adult you might consider starting to confide in.

There is absolutely no reason you should respect parents who will do this to you. But you might have to endure it for awhile longer. You have my sympathy and you have my respect (for whatever that’s worth) that you haven’t tried to resolve this with force on your own. Good luck, dear.

augustlan's avatar

There is no reason in the world to respect a parent who treats you like your father has. Please, please tell someone outside the family what is going on in your house. A school counselor, the police, someone who can intervene. You need protection, and he needs help.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Respect is earned.
Courtesy is given.—What @rojo.

I feel the same way about many of the things my parents did. As a child I thought that some of the stuff they did was wrong….but I wasn’t sure, you know. As an adult, with kids and grandkids of my own, looking back, I know for SURE that these things were wrong.

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