When You Realize You Don’t Like Your Parents Anymore

Has anyone else had this moment? Is this normal? I feel like the more I look into it, the more it seems to be a mid-20’s rite of passage. I realized yesterday, with great amounts of bitterness and guilt, that I no longer like my parents.

As shitty as it makes me sound, it was still a hard pill to swallow. My parents that I idolized as a child – my beautiful mom and nerdy father – were never actually quite the people I saw them as. All I see now are glaring faults and flaws which, I know in my heart of hearts, only makes them human. But somehow it feels like I can’t pardon their shortness in my expectations and I can’t escape knowing that makes me a bad person.

I often wonder had they not been divorced whether I would have seen these sides of them I don’t like. The divorce is not a reason I hold against them, but everything comes back to it. Many of these issues of dislike come from their chosen partners. Mom’s still with asshat (if you missed that post, he and I were in a fist fight back in January after he refused to leave when Mom kicked him out). Dad married a complete witch and is the reason I moved out to live with Mom in the first place.

Dad has also changed a lot. Not to open the post up to politics, but to use it as an example, he raised me very liberally. Though I don’t vote on party, but person and principle, I would still say I strongly lean left on most issues. Dad was, too, until he married his wife who is highly conservative. And then he changed. And not only did he change, but he mocks me for being liberal now. When I went on vacation with them in November (days after the election), they both thought it was good fun to turn on Fox News every night as loud as they could stand it. When I would put my headphones in to concentrate on homework, his wife would just laugh and laugh. My father was never like that growing up. He always valued my opinion, even when it differed from his and from that I was taught the same. But now I’m seeing he has some rather deep-seeded issues with his late father that have caused some major self-esteem damage. My dad is a chameleon – he changes who his is to suit the company he holds. In a way I feel sorry for him, but it doesn’t stop me from feeling bitter.

Mom has always been emotionally neglectful, but it wasn’t as obvious until I live an hour away from the rest of our family with only her. Not to mention she’s still dating the man who physically fought me, has driven a wedge between her children/grandchildren and her, and literally has zero appealing qualities. It’s funny because she told Middle on the phone the other day that she loves him, but she told me in the car that she’s never loved anyone. Big, Middle, and I don’t think she really loves us, either – not in the way a mother should. I’m not just saying this to say it, but I really think there’s something wrong with her that stops her from making an emotional connection for us. And don’t get me wrong, she was not a bad mom. We never wanted for anything except attention. She can’t handle crying or emotion. When I was in the beginning stages of the breakdown last summer, I broke down and started sobbing on the back deck one night. Mom just said, “Sorry, babe,” and went inside to watch TV. Anytime I’ve ever needed to talk, she pulls away. Middle and I even had a game once to see who could keep her on the phone for longer than two minutes. It wasn’t a game we scored in very often.

I hope I’m not the only person who has gone through this. It makes me feel like an absolute monster, really. I don’t want to dislike my family. But also, like…I don’t know. I’d kind of like to live five states away again. I was alone for my birthday, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year, and it was honestly the most peaceful holiday season I’ve ever had.

Have any of you gone through this realization that you don’t like your parents or family? How do you cope with it? The guilt is eating at me. I’m stuck between wanting to live my life my way and my strong sense of family.

Dee