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imgr8's avatar

Is it wrong to not love your parents?

Asked by imgr8 (378 points ) September 25th, 2012

They have done nothing wrong to me and I totally appreciate everything they have done for me… I would be sad if they died, its not that I don’t care, but I just don’t love them. Or even like them at all. I could go my whole life and never talk to them again and be content. I feel really guilty about this, but I can’t make myself feel something just because I’m supposed to.
This is not new, I’ve felt this way my whole life..

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12 Answers

dxs's avatar

If they did not do anything wrong to you and they raised you properly, then there certainly is something wrong with not loving them. I feel that showing love to them is one of the biggest (if not the biggest) sign of appreciation. You owe it to them after all of the time, money and effort it took to raise you, and I don’t quite understand why you wouldn’t. If I was your parent, I’d see it as a slap in the face. I don’t see how they could be at the same terms as you are since they took, as I said, the time, effort, and money to raise you. Think about it, what would you do if they were not in your life? Without them, you wouldn’t even exist!

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

No – you should love those that are worthy of love and many of our parents aren’t.

Pandora's avatar

It really depends as to what is the cause. Are you depressed or suffer from the inability to feel love or compassion? Or is it that they raised you without real affection and made you feel like commitment but not a commitment of love. My former sister in law was like that. She had no real love for her children. She would parade them around in their early years and was great with small children but the moment they reached the teen years, she lost interest. And she always showed great affection for other children but her own.
Some parents are overly loving as well and it pushes their kids away. They are spoiled and feel entitled and learn to equate love as something that should come attached to a price tag.
So it really depends on so many things. I’ve seen plenty of evidence of children who really do not love or appreciate their parents. And sometimes they don’t realize the value of that person till they are gone and they are all alone.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

Not wrong, just strange. You might want to look further into this. Maybe get some assistance as well, just to make sure you’re OK. See Pandora’s last line above ^^

wonderingwhy's avatar

Is it wrong? Not in my opinion. Love can’t be forced and it’s certainly never owed. That you feel guilty about not loving them could be taken as reinforcement that you care. I would explore that guilt a bit to better understand its roots and better reconcile it and allow it to pass. In your shoes I’d also do a little introspective studying to better understand why I feel the way I do because I think it’s worthwhile to understand such things. Just keep in mind that appreciation and caring means being considerate of their feelings, simply because you could go your life without talking to them doesn’t mean you should for example.

Sunny2's avatar

You may feel differently when, or if, you have kids of your own. I did, but I felt more negatively about their parenting abilities when I was caring for my own and realized what they hadn’t been able (for want of a better way to say it) to do that seemed pretty basic to me. I think the opposite could happen when you realize what your parents did. But do you have to love them? Not at all. You just have to respect them.

Tachys's avatar

I agree with @wonderingwhy that love cannot be forced, and would like to ask a clarifying question: are you able to love anyone? If you are, how do you know it is love? My feeling is that we learn about love from our parents, and if you are able to love anyone, you must have learned that somewhere, and it was probably them.

dumitus's avatar

I kind of understand how you feel, @imgr8, towards your parents.
There is a word in Korean language that refers to a kind of love that is downward,
from the elder to the junior, from, for example, the parents to the children.
We have this word because love tends to be more strenuously felt when it’s about someone
below you, like the affection you might have had towards a.. completely vulnerable puppy or cat that you had to care for.
If love is not aroused in you emotionally, I don’t see such a big problem with that, though it’s always better if love is emotionally spontaneous.
If you don’t try, however, to love them by your actions or words with your reason, then I think there is something wrong with that, because it is being deliberately ignorant about all they’ve done for you. just my opinion.

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rooeytoo's avatar

My question is as @Tachys asked, do you feel love for anyone or anything? Sometimes I think love is so hyped that we have unattainable expectations of what it is and how we should feel. I hear people go on and on about undying, unconditional love for a spouse and I think I must be missing something. I love my husband but it is long past the breathless, you can do no wrong, sort of feeling. It is more like a favorite pair of old running shoes, comfy, reliable and fits just right. I guess my point is, if you are looking for a feeling like they talk about in the movies, then you may never feel that. I always sort of measured my love for a person by asking myself would I cry if they died. If I could answer yes to that, it means I do love without the breathless blindness of some.

Shippy's avatar

Is it right or wrong? I don’t know, is it right or wrong for you? If it feels wrong, then perhaps seek out why you feel this way. Do you lack feeling with others? Do you have any intense feeling for anybody? I think those types of questions are your own to answer, in the sense that anyone can give you permission if you require, but your own permission is more important.

wundayatta's avatar

It’s not right or wrong.

However, feeling guilty about it is clearly a problem. Do you treat your parents with disrespect? Do you not show affection for them? These are things you can change. You can show respect and affection. Your feelings on the inside are really not relevant, except that they make it easier to show respect and affection.

You are beating yourself up with the guilt, and I don’t think that is necessary. Honor your parents as they deserve, and live your life. They will feel fine about you. You owe them nothing more than respect and honor and caring for them in a practical sense. If you offer these things, you have no reason to feel guilty. Feeling love for them, whatever that is, is not necessary.

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