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longgone's avatar

Have you ever been ashamed of your parents? Are your children ashamed of you?

Asked by longgone (7447 points ) October 9th, 2013

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31 Answers

livelaughlove21's avatar

I felt ashamed, or perhaps embarrassed, of my parents when I was young. That typical teenage “drop me off a block away so no one sees you, mom” type of stuff.

I’m still sometimes embarrassed by my mom because she has no social filter and she’ll just start talking crazy to random people, but I’m not so much ashamed of her.

I’ve been disappointed in my parents plenty.

janbb's avatar

My mother would drive me crazy with her lack of impulse control. She was a major embarrassment a great deal of the time. I’m sure I’ve embarrassed my kids at times but I hope not as often as my Mom embarrassed me.

Katniss's avatar

My parents never embarrassed me, other that the typical teenage stuff like @livelaughlove21 mentioned.

I bet my son wishes he could say the same. I seem to embarrass him every time were out in public.

Pachy's avatar

Never ashamed of either parent but a bit embarrassed when my dad sneezed in a movie theater or in Temple. It was frightening.

muppetish's avatar

Yes. I have felt ashamed of my father’s views on homosexuality. He rarely speaks about his beliefs on the issue, but when my extended family begins to harp on it negatively, he will join in. Sometimes it’s hard to imagine that my parents ended up with such liberal children.

Spinning this the other way, I sometimes wonder if they have ever felt ashamed of me.

YARNLADY's avatar

I was embarrassed in church because my parents smelled of cigarette smoke and the church did not condone smoking.

Judi's avatar

Well, I got this message from my daughter in law. Although I made many mistakes as a young parent, most of this is not true. My son (who is bi polar) isn’t talking to me right now. She sent this to me because I said happy birthday to my son a day early.

I’ve been talking with my therapist and I’m just in shock over your ridiculousness. Seriously Judi? This is exactly why (Sons name redacted) is messed up and has problems. (Son’s name redacted) birthday is TOMORROW. You are a terrible mother. You are the reason that (daughter two’s name redacted), (son’s name redacted) and partially (Daughter one“s name redacted) have issues. The Dr’s and Therapist have literally said it is due to your parenting or should I say your LACK of parenting. First with (first husband who commited suacide’s name redacted) when u guys BOTH would leave the kids at home while u went and partied-way o go u. and then with (husbands name redacted) when u put (husbands name redacted) before your kids every time and left them to fend for themselves. Scrounging up meals for themselves and so on. not to mention you used (sons name redacted) as your scapegoat for all of your feelings about (first husbands name redacted) . One of these days, Judie, you need to finally own your shit. Go get the god damn therapy that EVERYONE has been telling you to get. None of your children talk to each other and that is YOUR FAULT. You’re sick. So go get help. You all demanded that (Son’s name redacted) get on meds and see a therapist. Well guess what? He fucking did everything YOU DEMANDED. So guess whose turn it is now? Let me spell it out for you. It is Y-O-U. It’s your turn to stop lying to yourself and your so-called family. I’m sure you’ll run to everyone in the family and say what a terrible person I am b/c u are manipulative. Where do u think ALL THREE of your kids learned to be so dam. Manipulating? From you. The queen of manipulation. You’ve been doing it ever since I met u and your family. You hide it well using “good intentions” as your mask. That’s bullshit. Once or twice? Ok, fine. But all the other times? No. I’m done playing your games. Your family cycle needs to be broken and since you refuse to get the help u need and since u keep playing the victim-funny…I wonder where (Son’s name redacted) learned that one? I’m done. Don’t talk to me and my family. Go ahead and call it manipulation that I’m taking my family away from you. Tell everyone anything u want about me bc I’m sure it’ll make u feel better about yourself. You are a selfish woman who I refuse to allow (grandkids names redacted)to be affected by. You’ve fucked up enough people in this life. Don’t bother responding.

glacial's avatar

@Judi Well, at least she spelled “affected” right. Good grief, what a nightmare.

Like @muppetish, I’ve been ashamed to hear my parents say racist or homophobic things around the dinner table. I’d like to think I taught them to pretty much stop doing that.

Judi's avatar

@glacial , The sad thing is, when I realized how sick my first husband was I also blamed his mother. I never ever would have said that though. I always treated her with respect, but this is my karma for the awful thoughts I had about her. She was just a mom doing the best she could with a difficult child. I know that now. I pray my daughter in law nerve has to learn that lesson the way I did. I hope my grand children escape the curse of mental illness.

trailsillustrated's avatar

Wow you strong and brave person I would be devastated and so hurt if I got that letter and I have not effed up just in some woman’s head but for real. My kids are not perfect but ok, my ex mil is a stupid and hell manipulative old cow whom I keep my mouth shut about. Just wow I admire you @Judi

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Not ashamed. But often sad for them. They’re just from a different era that doesn’t fit modernity very well. They’re beginning to feel afraid, and I don’t like that for them.

RocketGuy's avatar

Rarebear has fantastic parents.

Mine were a little off, but did their best for my brother and me. I was never embarrassed.

Rarebear's avatar

Thanks rocket dude! I always liked your mom and her beau. I never met your dad, of course.

downtide's avatar

@Judi that’s terrible. I am so sorry. :(

Headhurts's avatar

@Judi That is just shocking, and really horrible to read, and that is just my opinion. You have never been anything but nice to me, firm maybe at times, but nice behind it. She has got serious issues to even write something like that to her Mother in Law.

Headhurts's avatar

My Mum embarrassed me loads of times. She is very different to me. Very loud, very in your face. She would pick me up from school with a short skirt on, or a low cut top, and all the other mothers would dress properly. She got two tattoos on her arm when I was 11 or 12 and i found that very embarrassing. At school meetings, she would turn up looking like she was going to a nightclub. Even now, at 61, she comes to our house in some shocking clothing. She thinks it’s just me that doesn’t like it. I am even embarrassed for Paul to have look at her.

ucme's avatar

We had this code, my two brothers & me, whenever my mum made us cringe.
We’d just look at each other, faces awash with dismay & say “OPM”
We never did tell her what those letters meant, out of love mostly.
My kids, like all kids, are mildly embarrassed when I play around with their mates.
Funny really, because they all have a good laugh & big up the papa.

JLeslie's avatar

Never ashamed, but embarrassed at times like most teens. I was lucky that now and then friends told me how much they liked my parents, so it made me feel better that I was not being judged negatively on how they behaved or dressed or whatever else parents do that can embarras us. The fact is the biggest embarrassment was that my parents kept a messy house; it still interferes with the family dynamic.

I find shame is a horrible thing. My friends and family members who talk about growing up with shame carry a burden that I believe can drastically alter their perception of themselves. I sometimes say it scars the soul.

@Judi I’m so sorry. I can’t believe your DIL wrote that. I know you say you blamed your MIL for a lot of your husband’s problems, but do you think you would have hated her that much for a birthday mess up? Your DIL must be an unhappy girl.

janbb's avatar

@Judi That must have been so painful. I am sorry you got that letter.

Aster's avatar

@Judi she needs a good tongue-lashing . She could at least fake respect for her elders. I’d want nothing whatsoever to do with her, ever.
I was not ashamed of my parents but was embarrassed a couple of times. Like the day my father came home from work and was drinking a beer. Then he asked mom for a second one. By the time he asked for a third I was humiliated-my girlfriend was over to have dinner with us and her dad was a Baptist minister!
I was extremely proud of my mother. She was the most elegant, beautiful, and beautifully dressed woman in our small town.

Seek's avatar

My mother is a waste of carbon.

Judi's avatar

Thanks for the encouragement all. I never thought I would be “that” mother in law. I envisioned myself having a great relstionsip with my DIL, and intentionally decided before I ever knew who she would be that I would respect her, and give her as much space as she wanted. I am usually a pretty accepting soul and this is not what I expected at all.

janbb's avatar

@Judi She is probably reacting to the pain she sees in your son and blaming you unfairly but it is very hard to take.

JLeslie's avatar

@Judi Understandably a huge dissappointment. :(

Haleth's avatar

My mother’s second marriage was a train wreck. My sister and I were in our early teens when she was married to this guy. She used to seethe about how much she hated him. But she also quit work to be a housewife while she was married to him. He had a list of grocery items that were required to be in the house at all times, and gave her a monthly budget for all the household needs, like clothes for all the family members and groceries. It wasn’t enough to cover everything, and he became livid if something was missing. I’m pretty sure he set this up on purpose.

My mother used to vent to my sister and I about her marriage, as if we were adult female friends of hers. In later years, I heard from my aunt that the marriage was never consummated. But late one night when I went to get a glass of water, their bedroom door was open while they were sleeping. I saw most of his gross hairy body before she covered it with a blanket. About a year later, she was dating a new boyfriend and asked me to go into her purse to get something. There was a HUGE opened package of condoms in there, taking up like the whole top half of the purse. I can’t believe that either of these were accidental- as gross as it is, I think she wanted to prove that she was getting laid, because she felt so defensive about the dysfunctional marriage.

She had a decent career before she married him, and strong relationships with family members, but she was having trouble paying the bills on her own. Stories from other relatives later make it seem like she married him so he could be a provider.

When she was working, she used to come home and just lay on the couch. Any time she wasn’t at work, she would be asleep. She was a born-again Christian who believed everything she heard in church, and had really naive views on a host of other issues. Like, just before Y2K she turned our basement into a bomb shelter. There were jugs of water, canned food, plastic sheeting, etc. all over the place.

A lot of her the decisions she made completely baffle me. Not her decisions as a parent, raising me and my sister, but her decisions as an adult, for herself. Like adulthood was more responsibility than she could handle, and she was constantly looking for someone else to help her or to bail her out. The biggest lesson I’ve learned from her is one she taught unintentionally, that I need to be in control of my own life.

Buttonstc's avatar

I was often embarrassed by my parents because they were both lifelong drunks.

After we got stranded for hours at night in the middle of Great South Bay because my stepfather was so drunk he failed to follow the channel clearly marked by lighted buoys and ran the boat aground on a sand bar, I never invited any friend of mine on a family “outing” ever again.

I can’t begin to imagine what the friend who was also with us that night thought of the whole ordeal ; (she and I were both around 9 yrs. old) and her worried parents had called both the police and the Coast Guard since we were hours overdue.

Needless to say that was the last time I ever had any friends over to my house EVER.

Plus my stepfather was an ignorant racist and homophobe of the worst kind. It’s the main reason I’ve never been able to enjoy All In The Family even tho I tried numerous times. He was like Archie Bunker minus any endearing qualities or sense of humor. Can you imagine Archie Bunker totally without the laugh track ? That was my stepfather. Not the least bit of fun.

I wish my embarrassment had only been the typical teenage type of stuff. Mine was absolutely serious and lasted a lifetime.

I was never happier than the day I left for good. I knew that if I just consistently did and thought the total opposite of the two “examples” of what I grew up with, I’d be fine. I had zero desire to emulate either of them in any way shape or form.

Embarrassment doesn’t even begin to describe it. Disgust comes the closest.

ucme's avatar

\/\/

longgone's avatar

Thank you for answering, this was interesting to read. I asked because, as a kid and teen, I wasn’t embarrassed by/ashamed of my parents. I know lots of people are embarrassed, though, at least for a while.

Also, thanks for helping me understand the differerence between shame and embarrassment. This is the kind of thing that is confusing if you aren’t a native speaker.

@Buttonstc and @Haleth: Sad stories, thank you for sharing. You both seem to have been through a lot.

@Judi I’m sorry. That is a horrible letter to get.

mattbrowne's avatar

No and no.

Yetanotheruser's avatar

I was never ashamed of my parents. Sometimes I was embarrassed, sometimes hurt, but I always had a good relationship with either and both.

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