Parents say the most hurtful things…

what's his mother saying!?!

A couple of nights ago, my mother said, ‘you’ve put on weight, look at your tummy,’ normally this wouldn’t get to me, but her comment caught me off guard and really stung, mostly because I had just warmed up a bowl of jollof rice which had a side of egusi stew and some freshly grilled chicken on top, my plan was to nosh on the meal just before bed. One look at myself and I felt like a tub of lard, eating such a starch heavy meal at 9pm. I got all moody, left my dinner on the table and went to bed both angry and hungry.

My mother’s words were still ringing in my ears the following morning when I was getting dressed for work. One look at my body and I totally agreed with her and resolved to start the day with a mug of warm water with drops of lemon in it – I decided I seriously needed a detox and tried pathetically to complete 30 sit ups. Finding something to drape my fat body with proved seriously challenging – I settled for a maxi skirt a fitted-top and a jumper to conceal my lumps and bumps – needless to say I looked like those ladies that stand by the tube station handing out doomsday flyers, the only thing I was missing was a hat/head scarf *sigh*

no longer daddy's little girl

Just when I got to work, an unmarried colleague was telling me her dad called the other day to remind her she’s no longer a spring chicken alluding to the fact that she was in her late 20s, single, with no boyfriend in sight and no child. My heart broke when she told me and I could see the pain she was masking behind her smile.

As we were talking, another colleague said her mother blames her for being fat. This girl’s mother claims she never regained her figured since her daughter was born and says, ‘looks like I’m carrying your weight,’ hating on the fact that my colleague is a petite size 6. *sigh*

Why do parents say the most hurtful things, don’t they realise the damage it can do? Ok, even though this sounds more sensitive than I actually feel, I know for some people the words their parents have said to them have broken them, likewise some others were propelled to success because their parents cheered them on with words of encouragement and support.

Prior to meeting my husband, my dad was my biggest fan (and I his) he has a knack for spotting my strengths and pushing me to excel in them. When I was six or so, he saw a phone message I wrote for him and complemented my handwriting encouraging me to write more – here I am today, writing – well typing. A couple of weeks ago, my mother was saying she still dreams of seeing me on the telly reporting for CNN because she thinks I’m quite the orator – I let her down gently with that one – there’s being gobby and there’s being a TV presenter, not sure they’re the same thing mama.

Parents are great and as a mother I’m appreciating my folks more, and making mental notes not to repeat their errors and to emulate their strengths. Being careful about what I say to my kids is one tip I’m putting on my list – I have no intention of lying to them or sugar-coating the truth either, but being mindful of the power of my words to build and destroy.

So tell me what strong words have your folks said to you that really stand out in your mind –  good and bad…

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23 thoughts on “Parents say the most hurtful things…

  1. THEY SURE DO! My Dad is Nigerian too, and mann he gets straight to the point! Sad part is he’s usually right, but gosh! find another way to say it! You went to college just to still be crass and have a slick mouth? LOL Maybe it’s the stress of raising someone and putting in all that hard work just to see them act like a total FOOL!

    I say I won’t talk to my children like that when I have them……yeah right…. I’ll probably be worse than him! bwahahahaha!!

  2. Maybe mom is a little concerned. I know mine brings my attention to everything. you’d think I couldn’t dress myself even, the way I’m so scrutinized. It’s really belittling, even when she thinks she’s paying me a compliment.

    Anyway, as mothers get older, there’s no telling what will come out of the mouths. It’s kinda scary and sometimes funny. Maybe you were feeling a little sensitive at the moment?

  3. Oh wow, there’s waaay to many to count. Lol. But the hard truth is that they are almost always right. I guess we just need to learn to forgive them, because I bet that kids also say a lot of very hurtful things to their parents as well. I’m certain it happens both ways. I bet if we asked our parents we’d be amazed at some of the things that we’ve said to them over the years : )

  4. @Lifestyle Ideas: Glad you enjoyed the post and thanks for the shout out too
    @ BlahSquared: So true, looking at it from a parents persepective, after investing both time and money into a child, you expect it to pay off with a whole lot more than their job satisfaction…
    @Totsymae1011: yeah, definitely feeling senstive, but i’m amazed at how more hurtful words are when they come from parents than strangers. But you’re right, my mom was just concerned. I feel your pain about the verbal dressing down especially when it comes to how you look – i’ve resigned myself to the fact that I cant’ please my parents all the time…
    @MimiB: very true… it does swing both ways, even worse from kids because i’m sure most people don’t trash their parents to their face – meanwhile with parents, more often than not, they look your square in the eye…

  5. A lot of times they are actually right, didn’t see it before, but I realised that my folks told me the things they did, to push me to be better. Hurtful then, but right now, I look back and I smile. Your husband, friends, partners, might mince the words a bit, papa and mama will give it to you straight. As for kids that say hurtful things to their parents, don’t think its cool at all, especially when the parents are sincerely trying to help out.

  6. Nigerian parents are not known for tact
    I do agree that they might have your best interest at heart BUT I do believe tact is important.

    Not every child has a thick skin…..a parent must be conscious that a child might already have low self-esteem about a particular issue.

    They say sticks and stones can break your bones and words cant. Believe me, words can break one’s soul and self-esteem.

  7. My poor booboo! I will have to have a word with mummy, we can’t have her upsetting you! :-) I totally second your sentiments though. My mother has said some incredibly awesome and horrendous things to me in my lifetime. I try and brush off her less sensitive comments though ’cause I know she doesn’t mean any harm. It’s either that or… *sign of the cross*

  8. good topic. parents need to be tactful when speaking to their kids. I know people who were affected by this that if not for the grace of God, would have gone through their adult lives with a low self esteem. Sometimes too, you cant blame the parent. Maybe thats how they were also taught while growing up. I totally agree with N.I.L; words can go a long way in the life of a child as not everyone can take harsh words.

  9. @ SNM: Hindsight is such a beautiful thing. So many young people are living in frustration, plotting to runaway from home because their parents persistently say hurtful things. Many of these young people actually do runaway. Others like you and I ride it out and grow up to be level headed people who appreciate the tough love.
    @NIL: You’re absolutely right, why do Nigerian parents have to be so tough and harsh. It’s almost like there’s some rule book that tells them all to do this and tricks them into thinking, showing love through kinds words will undo all forms of discipline..smh
    @WailaCaan: You know mumsi now… she doesn’t hold back from saying what’s on her mind, like you, i remind myself it’s all love, otherwise, i go pai!
    @Stelzz: So true, i think our parents are the product of their own parents mistakes. When i remember the stories from my mother’s childhood, i thank the Lord that she’s the way she is. I reckon they’ve also chosen to pick some good things from their childhood – but as they say, the apple doesn’t fall very far from the tree.

  10. LOL, man i can’t even get into some of the crap my mom has said to me. I’ve gotten to a point where i have to tell her that If im stank or have a fresh mouth or whatever its because i’ve gotten it from her and then causally walk away and hope that nothing comes flying at my head.

    A lot of the life-lesson-type things my parents have told me have been for my benefit but damn if they couldn’t find a nicer way to say it that wouldn’t want me to go against my bible and knock them over the head.

    • Lol – sounds like you and your mum have a good relationship.
      Do you find that parents get a bit lax about the things they throw their back hand at as you grow older ?
      I can’t even dare give my mum too much lip- I get a massive guilt attack afterwards.

  11. Words are so powerful. My parent’s generation’s tyle is certainly different from our generation who ar efast learning the Westeern way of validating love to your kids – saying Ilove you and things like that. it is surely a welcome developement

    • For sure it’s a generational /western thing. We have hollywood to thank for expressing our need to hear, ‘i love you’ from our parents. That said, there are many western parenting tips i’d happily ignore.

  12. This is a really good topic, I can totally relate to how you felt when your mum said what she did.

    It’s funny that I am getting the opposite from my mother at the moment.

    I am still breastfeeding my baby and obviously burning up a lot of calories and body fat in the process.

    Mummy dearest keeps reminding me of how lean I’m becoming, she’s constantly asking me where my rounded hips have gone *sigh*.

    It doesn’t help that I’ve been struggling a bit with my body image since having my bundle of joy anyway.

    I know she doesn’t mean anything by it (lol, now that I don’t feel as sensitive about it) but sometimes I kind of hope that she’ll remember that I’m still her child who wants to be told I’m perfect even if I’m not.

    Oh well, Like Naijamum in L. said…’they’re not known for tact’.

    I’ve figured that nobody will ever be as blunt as my mama…

    • don’t you just love mothers… you can’t live with them and sometimes you’d do anything for them.
      All i can say is enjoy the compliments while the last, well at least take the comments as compliments :)

  13. I suffer from bouts of depression which I’m convinced is a side effect from another medication I take for a specific health issue. It was close to the end of the year, I was melancholy, so I decided to visit family in hopes of a welcoming. When I enter my depressed state it is a world of self loathing; particularly dwelling on my body image/low self esteem and singleness b/c of the former. I confided in my dad who responded saying: “you have no becoming features and no wonder you are single.” My heart has been forever broken by these words and although healed, it still suffers permanent damage from his comments. What’s worse is I can be having a great day and then reflect back on his words. I’m convinced this pain will stay with me beyond even my dad’s life. Our relationship is estranged since this encounter. I can not afford to associate with him because of his negativity.

    • Meredith, I have many becoming features and I am single, so please don’t let your dad’s speech get you down. Superstars in the movies and all, are single so that don’t count either. You are someone’s queen, Somebody will think the world of you. Someone will love every inch of your supposed not becoming features and you will love him back.
      Don’t worry yourself bout it.

    • I can only imagine how hurt you must have felt by your father’s words, even more so because you opened up to him and got criticsm back.

      Depression is a sucker – you find yourself focusing on all the negative things, turning a blind eye to what’s good in you and in your life. I wish i knew you, so i’d point them out to you. I wish I knew you, so I’d encourage you. Many times i’ve almost fallen in the abyss that is depression and self loathing, but Christ makes me see that there’s more to me than what I see. I hope one day you get the same realisation and that you are pleasantly surprised when the pain goes away. Who knows one day you may even forgive you dad and come to love him more as you will love yourself.

      I pray your heart heals over time. Single Nigerian Man is so right, i don’t think we need to know you to be sure that there’s some goodness in you and I do pray you find the love that you need.

  14. I usually get in trouble for the way I breath (I have asthma), the way I dress (I like to keep myself covered up) and the way I present myself to others (I’m a very shy individual).

    My parents always look at me as if they are disgusted with my existence, sometimes I get disgusted with it too. I hope one day I will be able to overcome my vices so that they will think I’m worthy of something, and if they never do, I hope that one day I will at least be able to find some inner peace :)

  15. I am a Mother and I love my daughter very much. I said some very hurtful things to her not to hurt her but just to tell her the truth. She has been with me for the past 6 months doing great on losing weight and going to the gym, we get into one heated argument and she wants to run to her Father’s. I told her all her hard work was going to go down the drain due to the fact that she is allowed to eat without being monitored at her Father’s and because of this she is just going to gain all that weight back that she lost and turn into a Fat B___ just like her Father. I KNOW THAT IS HORRIBLE TO SAY AND I DID REGRET IT the day after. I cried the whole weekend because I failed horribly in handling this situation the way I should have.I do know that I love my daughter very much and I care about her health too. I don’t want her to give up so easily. Sometimes things are said NOT TO HURT BUT TO FORWARN an adolescent of the destructive behavior they are already exhibiting and the bad consequences that will result. I DID go to my therapist and explain to her what happened.

  16. Sometimes my mom says hurtful things and I don’t think she even knows it. I would ask God nearly night after night ‘Why didn’t you make me perfect?’ Sometimes my mom doesn’t even care of my achiements at times. And at times I would give her a taste of her own medician and she still wins. I love my mom but I don’t know if I should blame her upbringing, her dad was a beater, or blame myself for not beinfg the perfect kid she always wanted. I do the best I can to make her happy and it doesn’t work. Hell there are days when I’m happy and she miserable and I have to remind myself that ‘If I’m happy she’s miserable, if I’m miserable, she’s happy.’ and it’s killing me of thinking those things. Sometimes I wish I was Elsa from FROZEN and just lock myself away from the world or go to the mountains and make my home out of ice. At least all the hateful comments will be over and done with. But then again she probably would survive without me and/or dad. I feel stuck and trapped. I wish I can make her happy or at least have the old mom back when she was happy, not in a lot of stress, and yell rarely. I’m actually scared what she would say if I have get married or have a kid….I don’t want to experience that. My heart can’t take much more of this. I’ll try to roll the insults off of my back but I wish mom will get punished, very minorly, to realize that not everyone is as strong as her. I’m not, and I won’t be. I’m 23 years old and I feel like I’m a mistake that I would’ve been born a better person for mom so she won’t be dissapointed me with me 70% of the time. But what can you do? You have to live you live one day at a time and hope tomorrow is better then today…so much better then today.

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