Skip To Content

    People Have Seen Some Toxic Situations With Their Dads And It Never Just Goes Away

    Some things you just don't forget

    Warning: brief mentions of suicide and toxic parenting ahead.

    No family is perfect. As you grow up and figure yourself out as a person, you figure out how you feel about your parents and who they are.

    Men of the BuzzFeed Community shared some of the toxic behaviors they've seen in their dads and how they impacted him.

    1. "My dad was a good one overall, but he grew up poor in a bad neighborhood where it was normal and expected that he solve a lot of his problems with violence."

    Two children are fighting

    2. "Once when I was about eight my dad was helping me get changed (not sure why I was clearly old enough to dress myself) and for some reason, I was trying to put on a pair of white shorts that were clearly too small for me. Rather than help me choose something else my dad told me to “breathe in” so he could do the shorts up for me to which I replied, 'I am.'"

    child's feet and pajamas

    3. "My stepdad's non-ironic belief that the apocalypse was going to occur at any moment and that the only way to protect yourself was to build a shelter underneath the garage and huddle there with dehydrated food and improve your health by drinking your own urine."

    emergency supplies

    "Anyone who disagreed with your political beliefs was clearly possessed by demons or was the literal antichrist. It may seem I'm messing around typing this, but this isn't even remotely a fraction of it. I completely get Jennette McCurdy writing a book about how she's glad that her mother is dead."


    4. "He’s always been very conservative and set in his ways, he knows I’m transmasc and still keeps deadnaming and misgendering me."

    "I know this will never stop. But the worst thing he’s ever done is, at the sight of queer people on TV, casually say that we all deserve to be executed. Then he’ll turn right around and watch lesbian porn. He thinks he’s slick, but I know."

    "It's not even a one-time thing, he’s said it several times, he’s even said that if we lived in the USA he’d have joined the KKK. All he’s done by saying things like that is to ensure that he’s going to be very lonely when he’s old because I’m sure as shit not going to look after his bigoted ass. Ever since I was a teen I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety much of it caused by his emotional abuse and gaslighting of me and my sister, I can’t wait to get away from him when I’m financially stable enough to live on my own."


    5. "Growing up, I always knew I was gay and had more effeminate tendencies. My dad would always tell me to act like a boy or stop acting like a girl. When he would catch me playing with my sister’s Barbie’s it was always 'those are girl’s toys you’re not allowed to play with those.'"

    a group of Barbie dolls

    "Luckily, like many parents from that generation, time and public acceptance has softened him. Moving out of the state and living on my own had allowed me to figure out who I was and what made me happy and he has learned to embrace it. Not to say there hasn’t been permanent and probably irreversible damage already done. At least it showed what not to do when it comes to gender norms for my potential children."


    6. "My father has the tendency to try to push the idea that because he’s older than me and my brother he knows better than both of us and we’ll never be on his level."

    "We’re constantly told to be quiet around him and other adults, to never speak up or talk back, and to do as we’re told no matter what, which is, well, not so fun. It’s like walking on eggshells around him because I feel he does abuse his power as the father figure and the man of the house. Every little thing can be used against and will be used against us. It’s very difficult to do many things without worrying if there’s a consequence for placing a dish down in the wrong spot too loudly."


    7. "I was raised by a single mother who would often send me to stay with this family, partly so I’d have a father figure in my life. What she didn’t realize was how much he tore down my self-esteem."

    person playing frisbee golf

    8. "My father instructed my three older brothers that I was 'fragile' and not to be touched or played with."

    boy standing on his own in a hallway

    9. "I always had a problem when I was driving with my dad, and if someone was driving poorly he immediately would say, 'Come on woman,' assuming all women are bad drivers and assuming that whoever is driving is not a man."

    man honking angrily

    10. "My dad used God to justify his desires. 'God wants me to get a new car.' I seriously doubt that God cares what car you have or if you have one at all, Dad."

    "Are you sure it’s not because your friend got a new car and you’re just keeping up with the Joneses? 'I think God is telling me that we need to move.' It’s the middle of my senior year, Dad. Can we wait four more months? 'God told me to go see my daughter and son-in-law and they gave me the money I need to get new tires.' Sure, Dad. Or maybe you went by and gave them a sob story and they gave you the money to shut you up. Because you know we all talk about the crap you pull, right?"


    11. "My brother died by suicide when I was 17 and he was 23, and of course, all his stuff got brought into my parents' house including his college diploma that got hung on the wall. Years later when I graduated college my father told me he deserved my diploma more than I did and it should be hanging on his wall next to my dead brother's."

    "My dad said this due to helping me out financially during my college years but the truth was 95% or more of my bills were paid from my financial aid and student loans and I also worked most of those years so his help was really minimal. I loved my dad, but he was an alcoholic and the only reason I made so much in financial aid is because he was out of work so often that I qualified for the maximum amount. 

    I know he and my mom went through hell after my brother's death, but he made no effort whatsoever to acknowledge what I had gone through or what I had accomplished by getting my college degree."


    12. "My dad was a man very set in his ways and very old school. He was a homophobic, racist, who was verbally and sometimes physically abusive. Anytime he yelled, it was to the extreme."

    "To the point that to this day, I remember every argument that he and my mom ever had and anytime that he was mad and yelling at all of us. My mom waited on him hand and foot their entire marriage, and even more so when he got sick and couldn't get around well by himself anymore."

    "There was a time when I was hanging out with a couple of my friends who happened to be a lesbian couple. They were my best friends at the time. They came over to hang out and when my dad found out they were lesbians, he accused me of being gay and he essentially snapped."

    "He stormed into my room and I curled up into a ball position as he stood over me with a clenched fist. He never hit me, but I still have flashbacks and this all happened 12 years ago."

    "I was recently diagnosed with anxiety, depression, and PTSD. I believe it's all related to the experiences that I had with him and his temper. He passed away about eight months ago and while I miss him a lot, I'll always be haunted by the way he treated me and my family."


    13. "My dad is practically allergic to confrontation. He’ll never come right out and say what’s bothering him and gets very offended if other people do."

    "I was never allowed to ask for what I wanted or needed and learned to either make do on my own or hint at what it was until someone caught on. I became an expert at suppressing my feelings and reading his behavior so I could avoid making him mad."

    "The worst part is that no one believed me. He communicated with cutting remarks and angry looks, so on the surface, it didn’t look like anything was wrong. No one understood how suffocating it was to be under his thumb and I’m so happy I permanently cut him out of my life. I’m going to be a better man than he ever was, in spite of everything he did to fuck me up."

    "His toxic positivity and non-confrontation made me a suspicious, self-destructive person with almost no ability to be honest or assertive. I get very nervous that people are mad at me and obsessively try to figure out how people are feeling."

    "It’s gotten better in the years since I stopped talking to him, but I don’t think his effect on me will ever go away completely."


    Have any experiences you'd like to share? Let's talk in the comments.