Have you fallen out with your parents?

If yes, what did you fall out over and did you manage to reconcile?

For me I fell out with my parents over a lot of things but the event that tipped it over the edge was a fight just before my brothers wedding. We have spoken once in the last seven years. I don't think we will ever reconcile properly.

We fell out after my brother’s suicide 18 years ago. They are cold people and I feel nothing.

I think that generation are cold. Their parents saw untold horror in the second world war and brought them up with nothing.

No not really, fallouts aren’t part of the family dynamic thankfully.  Fundamentally I think we all like and respect each other, despite our foibles (their foibles obv.).  I mean Dad’s dead so he’s normally peaceable enough.

My father left when I was 12 and basically turned his back on all of us. I think that generation had some fvcking weird Kramer v Kramer views of divorce - most of my friends of my age whose parents divorced lost touch with one of them. 

I second the fvcked up generation comment 

I'm fine with my parents but my dad didn't talk to his mum for the last couple of years she was alive which was due to something she said to him about my aunt who'd already died somehow bringing her cancer upon herself.  When I was younger I didn't see it but my granny could be extremely controlling and taught my dad and his brother and sister never to trust each other which led to a number of ridiculous family arguments where it turned out she'd briefed them all against each other and there was nothing to fall out about.

Nah don't feel sad. My life is far more simple and less stressful of the back of not interacting with my parents. 

I was horrible teenager so we used to fall out lots, all fine now....as long as we don’t spend too long together 

Sorry to read of the situ., but you need to do what is best for you rather than them. We have had no contact with my in laws since our wedding a decade ago. I wish it were otherwise but unless they reform majorly (unlikely) that's how it will remain

It is also worth noting that as they are in their 70's they are not going to change so trying to live with it isn't an option.

So they attended the wedding and then the fallout or was it leading up to the wedding?

My OH wanted to get married outside the UK and that nearly ended in a falling out but they came round.

Fell out with my dad because he didn’t turn up to my wedding despite being there in the morning - he  flounced off at some point by all accounts 

made it up with him again but only by never mentioning it - what they all said about boomers being emotionally stunted 

the wedding (which unfortunately/fortunately they attended) was merely their final act. Mad, bad and dangerous to know sums them up

never properly fallen out but for a long period gave them information on a strictly need to know basis (easier when you live on different continents pre-mobile and pre-internet); so for example they didn’t know about my first wife until I was getting married again and had to explain the registry office bit ...

water under the bridge now 


Definitely agree about the wedding bit. Seems to bring out the worst in my family.

I'll also say (prompted by Merkz) that my relationship with my parents was only able to exist for as long as it did due to the fact that I live on a different continent that them and in a completely different time zone.

Gosh that’s hard. 

no we don’t have any fallings out but my mothers family is massively dysfunctional and she is semi estranged from her sister so we are all a bit cautious as no one wants to end up there iyswim. I think my sister might possibly blow up at my mother at some point but so far she’s resisted stepping over the edge. 

I’m literally the only person in my family that still talks to everyone, by gritting my teeth and keeping my distance as much as possible.

My sister hasn’t spoken to our parents in 7 years, my mum fell out with one sister for about a decade, made up with that one then fell out with her other sister years ago

my parents go through phases of not talking to each other yet still living together (the record is three years)

I don’t know how any of them has the energy for all this feuding, I genuinely don’t care about any of them enough to put the effort in 

Our family is far closer now than ever, grandkids help.

Also we are effectively in business together now as part of estate planning 

Queenie E - my parents go through phases of not talking to each other yet still living together (the record is three years)

That is epic!


to be fair jimbo, you never should have suggested that Oedipus hot tub session before your brother's wedding no matter how hot your old lady still was at 63

Yes both of them. Didn’t see my mother for 8 years and didn’t see my father for nearly 2 on 2 occasions.

if you want the nitty gritty I can go into that.

Lots of therapy about them and my childhood and the ultimate conclusion to it all was (and the cure / closure) - they are not going to change, can you accept them for what / who / how they are

(there you go, that’s prolly £kkkk I’ve just saved you 😂)

and I guess by and large despite finding them v annoying, and frustrating and sometimes it being a bit awkward, for the role they play in the kids lives, a sense of duty and sometimes affection for what I’d like them to be and bittersweet moments of some happier times - and actually better memories being made now they are grandparents, it’s worth it for all of us. 

We didn’t invite them to our wedding and I don’t regret it as a side note.

I suppose the good thing about having emotionally crap parents is that you are very aware of it and determined not to repeat the mistakes with your own kids

I had a period of about a year of not really talking to my Dad and step mum when I was in my 20s.  We fell out over the way they behaved to my then girlfriend whom they disliked. Turned out they were sort of right about her but even so the way they handled it was way out of line. 

I can't really imagine ever properly falling out with my Mum. It would be awful for both of us. I think we have only had one proper argument since I have been an adult and that broke both our hearts.  

My sister and I would probably fall out fairly regularly if we saw much of each other. But our relationship is pretty much limited to exchanging photos of our kids and saying nice things about said photos on WhatsApp. So it works absolutely fine.

My wife has a massively, massively dysfunctional relationship with her mother (and to a lesser extent her father).  I have ended up being peacemaker more times than I can remember now. 

both my mother and my wife’s were emotionally, how can I put this, challenging, which I suspect is the main reason we don’t have kids - I have always been ambivalent and my mrs was already certain she didn’t want them when we met

we got on very well with my parents in their later years, and did a number of trips with them which was great, if occasionally frustrating as they needed more looking after, and which built some memories that my sister didn’t get a chance to have although she had the grandchildren so my parents were/are part of her life in a different way 


No, but Christ it’s easier that they don’t visit and live a distance away.  It was even easier when we lived in Asia.

I have had a difficult relationship with my mum for as long as I can remember.  By which I mean her being a complete bitch to me during my teens, 20s, 30s whilst overtly showering love and support and positive affermations over my sister and my step-siblings (and their partners).  She seems to be softening now but can be so defensive-aggressive over the slightest thing and never responds sympathetically when I express an emotion or talk about anything personal. So I tend to avoid those topics, which means we will never be close, which is a shame really.  

It boils down to this "they are not going to change, can you accept them for what / who / how they are" (thanks, OB!) and sometimes I can accept her the way she is and sometimes I can't. 

When I think of the energy I have spent over the years trying to understand/being upset/feeling rejected... it's such a waste.  Her behaviour has resulted in my being not being as close to my sister and step-siblings as I might be, but that is for me to rectify I guess.  

My sister always had a difficult relationship with our parents, because she expects perfection in everyone and for them to change their behaviour to suit her. My parents were arseholes when they fell out for good 7 years ago but I don't see the point in dwelling on stuff.

I've always been of the 'just accept them as flawed humans and move on' school of thought and as a result my sister judges me for this too as she feels I should join her in her boycott. 

I feel for her kids because she demands perfection in them too and sees it as a failure of hers if they don't live up to her standards.

For me it is just so much easier to keep everything superficial and don't rely on them and just get on with my own life

I've always been of the 'just accept them as flawed humans and move on' school of thought and as a result my sister judges me for this too as she feels I should join her in her boycott. 

I get that. My brother doesn't understand why I fell out with my parents and as a knock on my relationship with him is not great.

speak to my old man maybe once or twice a year, never fell out, just not remotely close. his fault.

I just cannot understand my parents and thus we have nothing in common (bar blood ties). I guess it is something to be mindful of with my children to ensure my relationship with them doesn't go down the shitter like what happened to me. 

Weddings really bring this stuff to a head. Have never fallen out with my parents properly (some bad bits when I was 17-18) but fell out with my brother for a few years after his wedding. We are more or less OK now. He thinks we are fine.

Both of my brothers weddings managed to cause massive ill feeling between them and my mother - fun times. 

It was so sh1t. We had never had any family falling out before then, whereas it was par for the course for his ex wife. Brother is now divorced and can lay all of the blame at the ex's door. But it takes two.

I don't think we ever could and never could not talk as everyone in this family can talk the hind legs off a donkey. The one thing that would never happen even if we fell out was people stopping talking. I suppose they might talk over each other. I am the oldest person in the family now other than our cousin.

The wedding comments are interesting. I think it is best to sit back and let people marry in the way they choose rather than parents get too involved. Weddings can bring out the worst in people. People just need to relax and be happy.

What on earth happening at these weddings?  You turn up. A couple get married. You get p1ssed. What is not to like?

Yeah my mother chose to blame the wives entirely but obvs, the men were going along with it all (and tbh my mother should have just unclenched)

I never knew my father, and was contacted via Facebook by the German undertaker who had prepared his body.

My mother and sister (who both speak German, which I don't) refused to help me even with translation on the shit I had to do to sort out his meagre estate.

During this process I learned some very uncomfortable truths about how my mother had lied during my childhood about my father wanting contact with me, which she had blocked even into adulthood.

When I confronted her about this and something related to my evil maternal grandmother there was an almighty row and I told them both I didn't want anything more to do with them.  This was a year before the birth of my first child who is now nearly 8.  I haven't spoken to them and have cut off contact with the rest of my (very small) maternal side of the family too.  

It was painful at first, but I don't regret it on balance.  They were toxic, the whole relationship was based on lies, and I wouldn't want my kids exposed to their negativity.  I don't regret not getting in touch when my mother sent a card asking to.  Just because you can't choose your family doesn't mean you can't choose not to be with them any more if it is a toxic and destructive relationship.  It's very hard to understand that as a younger person, but I do now.

Warwick's last para resonates a lot with me. The toxic nature of relationships and not wanting to expose your kids to it. Also the comment about wishing to know about it when he was younger. Tick, tick, tick from me.

Actually typing that out and reading your response JM got me a bit emotional.  

I can go for days and sometimes weeks without thinking about it / them.  And then when I do it's often emotional.  Even though I am sure it was the right thing to do it is always there, lingering in the background.

I dreaded my kids getting older and having to explain, but actually that has been easier than I thought.  Kids are actually very resilient and understanding in most situations when you just tell them the truth.

My mother definitely actually did "poison" us to an extent (my fathers accusation in early weeks) but he very much let her, made little to no effort and having initially entirely rejected us all when he decided to leave, when (understandably) rebuffed by his wounded children just fooked off into the horizon without a backward glance. Very lame all round 


one of my brothers has had some contact with him, and it transpired that as expected our father is a selfish cock so he hadn't bothered further 

I have a fairly cool but polite relationship with Buzzmother. Partly stems from her not telling me for nearly 10 years that Buzzfather got married 24 hours before he croaked and that I did therefore had a (n evil) stepmother - who I haven't spoken to since Buzzfather's funeral and who is hopefully now dead.  Not that it makes a difference in the grand scheme of things but I didn't like her making that decision.

The last words spoken between me/'Zette and 'Zzette father were me calling him a aunt on the phone about 5 years ago then he hung up.  He is FAOD a proper aunt.  

largely what ronters said. 

Dysfunction in a family is part of the charm - including the dysfunction each of us represent. 

I am an only child and I've always been very close to both my parents. My mother and I are united in trying to protect my very decent human being father from the toxicity of his family. Unfortunately he never protected me from their toxicity but I've forgiven him for that because it was what he was used to.

Warwick - again totally get that. I don't really think that much about it (at all really) but of late my wife (who definitely doesn't get on with my parents) has been checking about whether I should speak with them given they are of an age that the vuvu targets. As you said, however painful it is it is the right thing to do. 

Given my parents live a continent or two away I haven't really discussed my relationship with my parents with my kids. That will come soon enough.

I fell out with my mum when I was 14, due to a messy divorce that my parents didn't have the ability to keep the children out of, which is a shame. Didn't speak for months and months, and tbh it's probably had a lasting affect on both of us. Things have healed now probably due to a lot of effort on both our parts and I'm pleased we got things back to a  normal mother/son relationship.


It's telling that my closest friends also grew up with distant/toxic/fookwitted families and we have chosen to create our own in a way

It is also probably telling Queenie that you may not know the right way to do it but you have all experienced the wrong way and will do everything you can to avoid that repeating to your kids.

OK. My parents separated when I was 12 years old. My father was hopeless although he had a good job. The Court Order allowed him access to us three kids. One day, when I was 15, he turned up at the house to get tools or some such from the garage. My mother would not allow him into the house. He threatened my mother by stepping toward her. By that time I had a growth spurt and I  was bigger him. I stepped in between them. I did not say much but it was clear I would punch his lights out. And I would have. He backed off. So, yes I have fallen out with at least one of my parents.

That’s a crappy situation to have been in Leftwellout...

Jim that is so true, having a shite  father is almost as good as a good one for learning to be a good father....

I didn't speak with my father for years as he was aggressive and abusive towards me and latterly my mother. I have tacitly forgiven him as he is still in my life and we are on speaking terms but he's a very old man now and a shadow of his former self. He even has moments of compassion.

To those of you who have ended relationships with one of your parents, it must have taken a great deal of courage.

I wouldn't like to fall out with my parents

I think they're reasonable people on the whole and it was an effort to bring kids up. I'd prefer I hadn't been born and they are aware of that and I think feel a bit bad about it.


I know you should not take pleasure in other peoples misfortune but I have to say it is comforting that lots of people have lots of different complicated relationships with family. Especially as I am the complete opposite to @Queenie and all of our friends are 2.4 children families with parents who’ve been together for 30 years and lovely sibling relationships while myself and my other half have to play parent to half of our parents and step parents (with about 7 marriages between them) and peace broker to the other half whilst also dealing with difficult siblings. 

I’m pretty sure I will have to cut my brother out of my life in the next few years due to a whole catalogue of emotionally manipulative, sociopathic episodes which have got worse and worse, drugs and debt. I dread to think what will happen if my mother isn’t around as I know I will be next on the list as a target/ cash flow for him and then abused for not helping. I know it’s coming and I know it’s going to be awful. 


I am close to both parents, but it has been difficult at times. My dad has severe PTSD and that has a knock-on effect on the whole family.

I didn't speak to my paternal grandmother for 25 years. She was adoring to me but utterly vile to my mother and sister, and I decided to withdraw from her life. Eventually I saw her just before she died for my father's sake but was relieved when she was in the ground.

@ Orwell. Sorry to hear that. Our family did the same with my father. But I was a teenager. I regret not going trying to re-establish a relationship with him before he died. 

@ Londonhead. Equally, my empathy. I came to the conclusion after my father’s death that he had had a terrible upbringing. I don’t know exactly what or why. His own father and then step-father were both WWII veterans. I have seen in others terrible relationships within their families. I am not saying that the War was the sole reason. For example, I had a neighbour veteran of the 2nd NZ Division in North Africa and Italy and he was perfectly nice. Others, not so much. 

I read the above posts with interest and its sad to know I am not alone.

My story is my brother was killed in an RTA leaving a widow and two kids. My parents were in Italy and I drove from the Netherlands and told them he was dead. I never forget walking into the hotel and telling them. It was horrendous. It is the what happened next which was worse.

Essentially despite my brother's widow eventually remarrying, my family (i am married with kids) was airbrushed away from any get togethers and I was gaslighted by both parents. I think it was driven by mum and compounded by their grief.  They should have got help but did not.

Today I maybe speak with my parents twice a year. It is stilted and they seem to rehearse what they are going to say. The best bit advice I was given to keep sane was "be polite but distant." Stick by it and you will be okay.

jeepers grandad, that's awful. On what basis - you were the messenger? 

My own relationship with my mother wasn't fantastic but we remained in regular contact however difficult she made it. My golden brother on the other hand behaved diabolically, ended up abusing her as she was on the way out with such cruelty it was / is shocking, but with the public version that he "moved home" to "look after her". He has more issues than Vogue and he can believe whichever narrative he chooses but anyone who matters / was there knows what went on. I am waiting for her flat to sell (& him to gtfo of it) to have at the very least a holiday from having to deal with his histrionics.

Christ that is sad grandad.

Escaped - presumably he doesn't have anywhere to go once the flat sells and will use that as leverage??

JM he has hundreds of thousands sitting and waiting to be spent, and will have hundreds of thousands more when it sells. He's homeless of his own volition and has more than adequate means to deal with the situation. He is of course using it as leverage and has managed to vote on the residents committee on a way that meant an offer had to be rejected (because of a dog) and is now refusing to leave until he's had his second jab as otherwise he will die (the estate agent let slip to me that he's already had his first. Ha)

Yes. Still speak but it's nowhere near as close as a functional healthy relationship should be. They hate my partner & have been trying and failing to break us up for years. The night before our wedding they were loudly taking consolation in the possibility we might divorce FFS. After years of pondering WTF is wrong with my dad I've come to the conclusion he's probably got a narcisistic personality disorder. It's about the only thing that makes the range of his manipulative & abusive behaviour make sense. Bloody nightmare made worse by my sibling who has their own mental health issues & goes along with it to their own advantage, encourages him & spreads his malicious delusions within the wider family. Makes any family get together extremely uncomfortable because you have no idea what they have cooked-up to make you look bad in front of others. Extremely damaging over the years and I wish I'd seen it sooner & acted accordingly instead of losing decades trying to build bridges.

It feels like we over index on this here. Is that what has driven the lot of us to lawyerhood or messageboarding? Have our dysfunctional families made us determined / ambitious to shuffle paper, or are we all here looking for hugz?

fundamentally I think a lot of this sad litany can be understood better with the words 'unresolved trauma' - the parents', that is.

I think the over index point is a strong one. I draw a link between high achievement in demanding jobs and determination to escape/self determine from toxic parents - although of course not in everyone's case and it's a big generalisation and over simplification (gee what's not to like?)

Escaped - self inflicted but never his fault....

rodgersandhammerstein - the comment "Extremely damaging over the years and I wish I'd seen it sooner & acted accordingly instead of losing decades trying to build bridges" resonates with me. I've experienced similar in the family setting and I haven't got a clue what shit they have said at family gatherings about what I've done. But frankly I'm past the petty stuff they are about and as you said wish I'd acted earlier.

I think most (by which I mean more than 51%) families are unhappy or have some element of estranged members/unresolved issues etc and most people just don't speak about it openly 

@Medley - 100% I know that is the case for my OH that his parental relationship has meant he has gone into a demanding career with ambition. Never being able to rely on his parents to "parent" him, financially it has meant he has almost become obsessive about trying to ensure that he can support us as a family because life was unstable as a kid for him, secondly because he did not get praise/validation from his mother he so obviously seeks that through his work ("here's a bonus  - good job"/"here's a promotion - good job") and thirdly it probably means he does better than most in a workplace where you aren't hand held and people can be a bit brutal,  its not healthy but its also not heroin so hey ho. 

yup - most driven people driven by something. never quite worked out what it is/was with my dad. there’s a bit of “"Every man thinks meanly of himself for not having been a soldier, or not having been at sea."” as his father survived the First World War (no heroics and was pretty fvcked up by the experience) and a bit of older brother competition and a bit of over dominant mother - but also sometimes a chair is just a chair so who knows!

anyway compared to some of you my family ok.......

My father was adopted and never got over it. To make matters worse both his adoptive parents then died before he was 20. He was a bit of a mess really 

so the poor fooker had no frame of reference for a normal family life, but I still find it even more inexplicable that he would b*gger off from his own family in that case Linda. He'll make a therapist rich I suppose.

The sad thing is his adoptive parents adored him (I know this because my mother had known him since they were 5). He's just a fvck up. 

I am surprised nobody has quoted the first lines of a novel by, was it Chehkov? (I can’t remember)

”Every happy family is the same. Every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

Hools is correct - Anna K. But the English version is usually translated to start with "Happy family are all alike", I believe. 

Or, to put it another way, "все счастливые семьи похожи друг на друга, каждая несчастливая семья несчастлива по-своему."