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Pingu's avatar

In what ways have your parents disappointed you but on the other hand, have pleased you?

Asked by Pingu (692 points ) January 13th, 2013

This question was inspired by its converse, posted here.

Do your parents inspire you or disappoint you? Do they do both? I’ll answer this question first. My parents are both very generous, progressive, and intelligent people. I look up to them in a lot of ways, and I think they’re two of the smartest people I personally know. I find myself agreeing with them on 95% of the things I have opinions on (of course, this is not surprising).

On the other hand, I really wish my mom would take better care of herself. She seems to not give a shit at all about her health. She suffered her first heart attack last year at the age of 50, and has made very few changes to her lifestyle since then. She’s been nearly a pack-a-day smoker since she was younger than I am now and still smokes a lot. One of the hardest things about going home for me is when I go into her bathroom and see the brown, syrupy tobacco stains that literally drip from the ceiling. She’s also very sedentary and drinks lots of Dr. Pepper, which can’t be helping her health at all. My dad, though he also despises her smoking, is the one who buys the cigarettes for her (she has never done any grocery shopping as far as I can remember). I think he’s in kind of a state of learned hopelessness about it, since he has been married to my mom for 26 years and she adamantly refuses to change.

I guess, in some ways my parents inspire me in that they show me how not to live my life.

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9 Answers

mazingerz88's avatar

@Pingu I feel your disappointments. And I really wish your Mom would try to change. But…the thing is…dude…Dr. Pepper is just that good. : )

wildpotato's avatar

To avoid writing a rant about my parents, I will just mention the most salient points. They disappointed me by choosing to work 80-hour weeks throughout my childhood and having my brother and I brought up by strangers. They please me by living far away and by giving me money. I’m not too bitter about it anymore, and am proud of them for being so smart and successful and hardworking, but…like you, the way they have inspired me the most is by showing me how I never want my life to be. Nice question; I wonder if this will be a pattern.

Bellatrix's avatar

They both died young. They weren’t perfect parents but then neither am I. They have inspired me to try to live longer for my children. I was orphaned too young.

muppetish's avatar

What I am disappointed in: my parents are conservative Republicans (though, at least, my mum is a little more socially liberal than my father) and my father does not take better care of his health.

What I am pleased by? Despite having quite rigid views of their own, my parents gave my siblings and I plenty of room to disagree and grow. They never thrust their opinions or beliefs upon us. That’s more than I can say for the majority of the kids I went to school with and I believe that I am a far better person for it.

ucme's avatar

They got divorced, works for both scenarios.

lightsourcetrickster's avatar

My parents have pleased me in that they’ve taught me, albeit indirectly, the art of patience and compassion. Two qualities that seem to be sorely lacking in so many places on this small speck of a planet.
Also I’d second ucme’s answer, cause the same applies to me and mine.
Throughout my early years I really didn’t care or give a shit that my parents were divorced, for much of it I didn’t really understand what divorce was, and why it happened. It wasn’t until I was a teenager that my parents started talking about it and then they both decided to attempt to poison my mind with how shitty the other parent was.
My mother is a fraud, she forged my grandmother’s will. I was close to my grandmother, my Mother tells me that my grandmother ripped her will up in a fit of rage. I know this is bullshit, because my grandmother was only ever either deeply disappointed, or just a bit miffed, but not so outright fucked off that she would rip a will up. So I don’t trust my Mother, my Father is a lazy shit (as far as being a father goes) – and it kind of bugs me that I have so few people left in the world to trust implicitly. So whilst my parents may have taught me compassion and patience, they’ve also taught me mistrust and suspicion. Not a happy mixture.

Pachy's avatar

My parents pleased me with what they modeled and taught me; they pleased me by encouraging me to do various things but not always making me do them; they pleased me by investing me with skills in, and a love for so many things that have made my life richer; they pleased me by bringing me up a warm, supportive environment; and they pleased me by giving me the awareness, even at a very early age, of how fortunate I was to have been born of these two people. In fact, my parents pleased me in so many ways that I honestly don’t remember how they may have displeased me.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I realize now my parents were neglectful of my needs ever since I was little – these days my mom will even admit that, given how volatile their lives were (living through war/conflict, moving a lot, no economic stability) made them sort of ‘forget’ about me. She always says, ‘I’m so glad you were always so independent, you taught yourself everything, etc.’ She’s in denial, because there are of course many ways to stay connected to your children. I realize many people are bad at this. My dad, following rigid gender norms so many people are fond of, wasn’t ‘involved with the kids’ but favored my brother since he was the boy child. My mom resented us kids but really she resented herself for not leaving my dad. Throughout my adolescence, I was invalidated for anything important I wanted to talk about (taken to the doctor and yelled at for even mentioning the word bisexual, ignored when I revealed my brother and then a friend of his molested me, considered crazy for being against my racist and sexist and homophobic family, considered unwell for wanting tattoos and piercings, etc) and I was expected uncompromisingly to succeed in everything I do. No one really ever attended any award ceremonies and all that because those things were assumed, it was assumed I’d get all those awards and scholarships and that I’d be a doctor. I didn’t become a doctor but by that point I was a clusterfuck of disappointments anyway. My mother is emotionally abusive, she’s completely batshit (even my therapist refuses to see her because she’s so damaging and toxic), dad was menacing and violent (so glad he’s dead). I continue to have occasional fights with my mother because she lives with me and drive me crazy a lot, but it is what it is. Now that I’m a mother, I’m trying to do many things differently and really be supportive of my children, be very loving, be very physical and connected to them.

What I appreciate about my mom, for all her faults, is that she would never abandon me aka she would never kick us out for any reason – a lot of my queer friends aren’t that lucky. I also like that, like my dad, I can help people that I disagree with and people can always stay with us, he was like that too. Like my mom, I think I can handle situations with a lot of strength, I can handle a lot of darkness in people.

burntbonez's avatar

My parents disappointed me, one at a time, by dying. Still, it pleased me that they lived and I had a chance to know them well enough, but not too well.

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