Constant yelling. Shouting. Using you as a pawn. If you grew up in a household where your parents were on the cusp of divorce, or with parents who just hated each other, then you’ll know these problems all too well. These are the ways that having adults in your life who despise each other end up messing you up in the long run.
Messes you up. Holly Riodan wrote for Thought Catalog about how having parents that hated each other not only affected her in the long run, but really truly messed her up. She said she learned that she couldn’t deal with confrontation after a while, but learned ways to cope with it. This affected how she dealt with conflict as an adult.
Confrontation. Riodan writes, “You remember hiding away in your room and blasting music as your parents screamed through the walls. That’s why you’d rather push your feelings deep down than confront someone about a problem. You avoid fighting at all costs.” And maybe now you still have issues with conflict, would rather avoid it at all costs and just allow things to progress the way they do without getting involved.
Taught. When you witness your parents in conversation, they probably are arguing, yelling, screaming. You have to teach yourself that this isn’t a normal way to engage in discourse, despite it being all you know. Riodan writes, “Remember all of those screaming matches where your parents accused each other of lying and cheating and using? When you were a kid, you thought that was normal, but if you treated one of your partners like that now, they would leave — which means you have to relearn everything you learned throughout childhood.”
Forever. Does your desire for a relationship that will last pretty much not exist… That’s because the concept of forever is so foreign to you. Riodan writes, “When things get serious, you freak out. You like the idea of commitment, but you really don’t want to end up like your parents. You’re terrified of making a lifelong promise to someone and eventually falling out of love with them.”
Flaws. When it comes to being with someone new, your desire is to immediately find out what’s wrong with them, pick them apart. That’s something your parents taught you. Riodan writes, “You start to dig for problems, because you refuse to believe the person you’re dating is as nice as they seem. You assume they’re hiding something.”
Divorce. Some users on Reddit also weighed in on this situation. User PegasaurusRex says his parents stayed together to make sure the children were happy. But in reality, that isn’t what he wanted. He wrote, “As a kid whose parents divorced way too late for the sake of ‘keeping the kid happy,’ don’t do that. Leave. The kids know something is up. You gotta talk to them and have them understand the situation, not try to pretend there’s no issue. “
Cheating. User Famguy2101 wrote, “Idk if my parents relationship is completely loveless, but my father’s multiple infidelities have completely destroyed any trust between them. Some days they seem ok, and even genuinely happy, but other days I’ll go an use the family computer to find that my mother has been stalking the ‘other women’ all over Facebook (she usually does this when slightly drunk).”
Learned. An anonymous user reveals, “I learned what kind of human being I should strive at all costs never to be. I learned how never to treat another person. I learned that if I ever found myself doing something that they would have done, to stop immediately and do the exact opposite.” The user continued, “They were people with some sick ideas about how to conduct themselves through life and deal with others, because their parents were the same. I vowed to break that mold and be a different, better kind of man than the one whose sperm is responsible for my being here.”
Separation. User Mortuis wrote, “As a divorcing parent, I sometimes wonder about this. My ex and I agreed to insulate our daughter from our conflicts, and I’ve held my end up, but I sometimes fear my ex isn’t doing her part and I am slowly being painted as the villain. I won’t go back on my word, I figure worst case is she’ll grow up thinking I’m an ogre but at least she’ll have one parent to like.”
Shield. User Allemande1979 wrote, “They used me as a human shield for each other so they wouldn’t have to face up to their non-functioning relationship. They made me the issue so they could bond with one another. Out of this I received social anxiety, suicidal thoughts and extreme self hatred, fearing I was an utter creep to the opposite sex, belief that I was helpless, ugly, and fat, a mild sex addiction, a seriously remedial emotional understanding of myself and others, the tendency to hook up with controlling and manipulative women, and a third of my life gone to building the awareness they couldn’t give me.”
Dependent. Continuing on, Allemande1979 wrote, “To the people who say ‘You are responsible for how your life turns out.’ I say: You are completely dependent on your parents until you are about 15 or 16, when you can finally get a job. If during that period they have instilled in you extreme inferiority and the belief that no one could like you, you start out with a huge disadvantage in life. Healthy and securely attached people can’t imagine what that is like. This is a way for you to feign strength without really reckoning with what that feels like. If you refuse to try and understand our point of view, keep it to your smug selves.
Confident. It’s almost impossible to feel confident, to feel safe, to get over your anxiety, when you have parents who really truly didn’t care for each other. At the end of the day, though these mountains seem insurmountable, it’s all something you can overcome… It’s about finding your power and allowing it to push you through.
What do you think?
Do you think your parent’s loveless marriage really affected you as a child? Affected the person you became in the long run? Or do you think that it really hasn’t affected you at all? We want to hear from you, so sound off in the comments section below.