Parents just want what's best for the children, but sometimes their idea of being a good, supportive parent makes their sons and daughters' lives a living nightmare. When are love and security too much? Well, the people in the following stories know that all too well.
A Reddit thread recently asked people to share their stories about growing up with overbearing and overprotective parents and how they made it through their childhood. The following stories expose what happens when a mom or dad loves their children a little too much. All posts have been edited for clarity.
"One time, I went to the mall with my friends and a girl I was interested in, which was very rare because I didn't often get to socialize with people outside of the house.
To get there, my parents had to drop me off, so they drove away, but then an hour into our hangout session, my mom texted me and asked where I was. I texted her back and told her I was at the mall, where she dropped me off. She accused me of leaving and demanded I take a picture of where I was to prove that I was still there. Reluctantly, I did, confiding in my date about my narcissistic mother for the first time to anyone. Telling someone about it felt good.
That feeling was short lived as I soon realized that my mom used the picture I sent her to find where I was and approach me. This is when I discovered she never actually went home and was following me around the mall the whole time watching what I was doing. At some point, she lost my sight of me, which is why she asked for the picture to prove I was still in the mall.
Once my mom found me, she told me that we had to leave right then because she was worried I'd run away, and then she proceeded to grab me by my arm to take me away, leaving my date there."
"I could never do things two weekends in a row because 'I had fun last weekend and don't need to every weekend.'
My mom would go through my room looking for anything to get me in trouble and then leave it trashed for me to clean up.
Then I couldn't wear red nail polish because 'it was the devil's color.'
My dad beat me because he thought I was lying about being at my friend's house, even after my friend's mom confirmed that I had been there the whole time. I didn't even get an apology after that one.
The worst thing he did had to have been when he put a tracking device on my phone that would send him a text message with my location 10 minutes after I was supposed to be home from school to make sure I actually went home and not out to hang out with friends."
"My mother is an honest to god narcissist. I graduated from high school early at 16 and didn't go to college immediately so I worked a part-time job while all my friends went to school. When all my friends graduated high school, we celebrated by going to the movies.
My friend's mom dropped us off and another friend's father was going to be picking us up. My mom was very upset about me going to the movies since it wasn't going to be over until after 9 pm, my bedtime at the time. She finally agreed to let me go on the condition that my friend's dad got me home by 10 pm.
My friend's father ran into late night construction on the way home with me and several other friends in the van and the closer it got to 10 pm, the more I started freaking out. I was telling everyone I was going to be in huge trouble if I didn't get home like, RIGHT NOW. My friend's father assured me he would speak to my mom and all would be fine.
I was the first to be dropped off because I was panicking so severely, and the moment the van pulled into the driveway, my mom came barreling out of the house telling me she was going to kick my butt for being late and keeping her up.
My friend's dad tried to calm her down and separate her from hitting me, but that was when she realized I was chewing gum.
Now my mother HATED gum. She said the only reason you would ever chew gum was to hide something. So naturally, she made the assumption that I was late/chewing gum because I was busy sucking my friend's dad off. Yup. That was the only explanation in her mind.
She grounded me for 12 weeks. An entire summer. I wasn't allowed to have a phone, tv, or even books the entire summer. Every morning, my mom would take the cable box, home phone handset, and keyboard to make sure I couldn't do anything.
Needless to say, my friends never invited me anywhere again in fear that my mom would call the cops and accuse me of hooking up with their dad.
But the torment didn't stop after high school. When I went off to college, she had a habit of acting like me and reporting my car stolen if I didn't immediately call her back. This almost got me shot or at least arrested one night after the cops pulled me over after my mom reported my car stolen."
"I felt like I had no privacy growing up. When friends were allowed over, we could only hang out in my room if the door was open, otherwise, we had to be outside or in open areas. And then my mom had a log of my monthly cell phone activity mailed to her so she could keep track of that, and would interrogate me over who I talked to/texted. Then my bedroom never felt like MY room because I would never know when I would come home to discover she had gone in, looked through everything, and rearranged the entire space just because she felt like it.
It was also super hard for me to make friends/keep friends. I wasn't allowed to visit other people until I was about 13, and even then it was a heavy interrogation and meeting of the parents before she made the decision as to whether I could go or they could come over. I was never allowed to go out when it involved with anyone she hadn't met prior. Keep in mind - she was anti-social and rarely went out of her way to actually meet my friends. I even had a guy break up with me because of her rules.
It finally came to a head when I was about three months shy of turning 18 years old. I finally ended up losing it with my mom and moved in with my dad. She tried to take him to court to force me to move back in with her, with her 'evidence' being phone logs showing that I stayed up until 10 or 11 at night texting friends - making him being an unfit parent.
Oh, and none of these things were rules for my brother. Just me."
"My mom wouldn't let me take the training wheels off my bike. Yes, wheels, as in I had two so I couldn't fall over. This was when I was a little kid (maybe 4 or 5) and just learning how to ride a bike. She also wouldn't let me ride past the property line, even though we knew our neighbors on both sides and were on good terms with them.
And yes, my dad and I both thought it was dumb, especially the training wheels thing. I have a distinct memory of us taking off just one training wheel in the garage, and my mom walked out just as we took it off. She started screaming at my dad about it and demanded we put it back on. I gave up learning how to ride shortly after that incident.
Then, when I was in high school, she decided to buy me a bike for my birthday, even though I had literally never ridden a real bike before. I looked at her with a sad and confused look and said that I didn't know how to ride. She smiled all proud of herself and said, 'That's okay! I can teach you!'
Sorry Mom, but the time to teach me how to ride a bike was long gone."
"I was raised by backwoods rednecks who were prone to the latest fears and hype. It got so bad that I wasn't allowed to swim in public swimming pools because my parents were convinced that I would catch AIDS. When my PE class would go to the pool one week a year, I had to walk laps around the pool because I couldn't participate.
I lived in a small hick town and only had 86 people in my graduating class, so there weren't a lot of secrets. It also didn't help that my mom was a cop and she knew everyone and everyone knew her.
The wrath I would face by disobeying her was far greater than my desire to swim."
"Every teacher of mine from the first to ninth grade knew my mom because she was so overinvolved. She collected my homework from my teachers every day, managed my calendar keeping track of all my exams and projects, prepared me for them, basically did everything short of actually taking the tests for me. She did this with almost all my extracurriculars too. It really destroyed me. I had nothing to call my own back then; she swept in and just did it all for me.
It only stopped in the ninth grade because I begged my dad to make her stop, and he agreed that I needed independence. So my mom stopped controlling my schoolwork and began verbally abusing me instead.
Yeah, she has problems."
"It's not my own experience, but I was friends with this girl from my high school who had the world's most overprotective, smothering parents. It was like something straight out of a bad sitcom, and there are still moments where the lengths her parents went to were just unnatural and terrifying.
For example, I once invited her to come bowling with me in the town over from me. It was originally going to be me and a few others, but people dropped out until it was just me and her. I drove over to find her waiting for me, both of her parents in the car parked as close as they could to the front of the bowling alley -- to be clear, we were juniors and she was perfectly capable of driving on her own. A bit fazed, I say hello to everyone and we go inside.
We bowled three frames and grabbed some snacks. When I walked outside two hours later, her parents were in the exact same spot, unmoved. They waited for us the entire time.
I asked my friend if she wanted to drive down the road to a diner straight down the road and grab some dinner. She agreed and I told her she could just hop in my car and I could take her there. Her mom basically came barreling out of the car, insisted that she drive the five minutes over instead of just having her daughter hop into my car. I was a little too caught off guard to argue with her, so I led the way as my friend hopped in the car with her parents and followed me.
We got to the diner and she insisted on grabbing a seat by the window so her parents could see us. It was an extremely uncomfortable dinner for me because I could see this girl's parents glaring at me from their GMC as if I had taken her to some random North Jersey diner to get her plastered or worse.
And honestly? That's not even the craziest thing that happened with her overprotective parents. She had a few instances where her mother and father practically controlled her entire life, including her mother encouraging her to steal my prom date. Last time I checked, she was at a college somewhere fairly close to home -- I think her parents sold their house and moved into the city to keep a closer eye on her."
"As the eldest son of a Southern Baptist preacher, I was held to some high standards. Being seen and not heard, and that my every action was a reflection of my father as a leader to his congregation.
I found music to be a great outlet, but of course, any non-Christian music was not allowed and immediately destroyed upon discovery. Spare the rod, spoil the child was a mantra ingrained in my daily life.
Once I was into my teens and spankings with stretched out coat hangers was no longer enough to be considered punishment due to the lack of tears, my father moved on to shaving my head. Nothing like the constant reminder of how unworthy one is once their physical source of personal identity is forcibly removed."
"When I went away to college, my parents would call me every day. I went away to a fraternity weekend retreat my freshman year where the pledges weren't supposed to bring our phones. I told my parents that I was going away for three days and not to call me. In hindsight, I should have told them where I was going, but it slipped my mind at the time.
On the day we were coming back, the guy driving us got a call. He then handed me his phone and told me to call my parents.
When my parents couldn't reach me for three days, they came to my college and went around my dorm and half the campus asking everyone if they've seen their lost little boy. I was 18 at the time.
On top of that, since I was on their family cell phone plan, they looked up all the numbers I had recently called and texted. They proceeded to call everyone letting them know I was 'lost' and asked if they knew where I was. This included girls that I had crushes on but barely knew, random classmates, and mild acquaintances.
When I got back to my worried parents waiting for me at my dorm, I found my cell phone with a bunch of messages of people asking if I was okay and letting me know my parents were looking for me.
For the next day, multiple people I walked by would ask me if I talked to my parents because they were looking for me."
"My parents are Mormon and I had to clear EVERYTHING through them growing up. Everything became a pros and cons family debate that ended in WWJD (which was nothing fun apparently). Anytime I did anything unapproved, I was guilt tripped and shamed. They had to know where I was at all times. If I didn't answer my phone when they called, I was in deep trouble.
I wasn't allowed to date even casually, God forbid I even be friends with a girl. To this day, I am still painfully awkward around girls, I never learned how to interact with them in anything but a professional capacity. They had my whole life planned out for me, graduate high school, go on a mission, go to BYU, marry a nice Mormon girl, have children, repeat brainwashing cycle.
My junior year of high school they made a mistake: they let me join the Future Farmers of America. It was there that I met people that didn't need a god to give meaning to life. It was at this point I hatched a plot to keep my life from being railroaded. I began siphoning off the money I was supposedly giving God as tithing from my pittance of a paycheck from a part-time job. Up until I was 18, I stashed it in a paint can in the crawlspace, then I opened my own bank account and began funneling it there, paying my 'tithing' out of my parent controlled bank account in cash because I conveniently 'misplaced' my checkbook.
My senior year, I 'borrowed' the necessary personal information from my parents and began applying to universities. I got accepted to the school and kept a lid on it until a week before classes started and I had a fight with my parents and told them I was leaving. I left home. I made a lot of mistakes as I blundered into the unknown as a shy and naive fool.
I didn't talk to them for over a year, then we finally started talking again, things would be okay for a month or two, then they would get all righteous and try to convince me the error of my ways; anytime this happened, I broke contact with them. However, they've mellowed out in the last couple of years, they don't bring up religion to me anymore. We can talk and I've actually gone home to visit a few times.
There are some things I wish I could change, but six years later here I am free of religious control and am alive and kicking to tell about it.
I think they might have changed tactics because they realized they were just pushing me away, and are trying the whole just love me and pray I come back method. Not going to work obviously, but it's nice not being badgered about church.
My rebellion has lead to them being a lot less controlling of my younger sister, though they still monitor her activity closely. They read all of her text messages and IMs. On one of my visits home, she got a message from a boy she knows that they don't know and they interrogated her as to: who he was, does he go to church, who are his parents, etc. It made me sick. The thing is, I don't know if I can help her or if she even wants help. She's a smart girl, I hope she comes to her senses, I don't want to see her end up a Molly Mormon housewife."
"My parents were a part of a Christian religious offshoot named 'The Move' or 'The Move of God.' It was founded by a man named Sam Fife and is continued today by a man named Buddy Cobb.
Growing up, I couldn't watch TV. Not as a punishment. I just couldn't watch TV, ever. My parents believed that it let the devil in. In addition to no TV, I had to endure all sorts of other rules throughout my childhood and adolescence. Some things The Move believed in that we had to endure as kids: women had to wear dresses, no TV/video games, forced participation in religious ceremonies, little to no contact with the outside world, and exorcisms. The school I went to was part of the Move group too, so there was no escape until I was old enough to move away.
The worst part is that my parents now insist they never really bought into any of that stuff. I'm glad I could be tortured as a kid for something they didn't really care about. But then again, I think they are just in denial."
"I was grounded from the time I was 8 until I moved out. My stepmom would always find another reason to extend it, no matter how small, even just my bookcase being messy, and at some point, it just became normal that I wasn't allowed to do anything and my dad didn't bother to fight it. And grounding for me didn't just mean I couldn't play video games, it was everything. I had no access to any kind of tech (she took away my alarm clock when she found out I was using the radio on it), I couldn't go outside, I couldn't watch TV, I couldn't be up past 8 pm (yes, even in summer when I was 17), I couldn't leave my room without a good reason, I wasn't even allowed to be in my sister's room or talk to her at all.
I lost my real mom at 5, and my stepmom came into the picture within a year. I was still nowhere near recovering, and felt like she was trying to replace my mom, so of course, I wouldn't call her 'Mom' or anything like that. She and my father married when I was 7 and my sister was 3. My stepmom loved my sister and hated me. I started doing worse and worse in school, giving my stepmom reason enough in my dad's eyes to keep me grounded that whole school year. It just never stopped after that.
When I was 9, she found a cover to an adult film I'd found in the trash and beat me with the buckle end of a belt. My grandparents (mom's side) took pictures of the bruises but were too afraid my dad would move me across the country to do anything. It was enough that she was never physical again, but she just started making me write sentences after that. It started out 'I will not lie' 100 times, but that didn't keep me busy long enough, so she kept adding to it every time I did something she didn't like. The worst was when I was 14, and I ate some stevia packets from on top of the fridge and told her I didn't know where the empty packets came from out of fear. I had to write 'I will not lie, I will not steal. God hates a thief and sin is death' 10,000 times, and it was due by the end of the month, in December. While I was writing them out, she came by my door, didn't say a word, and just set her belt on the doorknob. I was terrified of her my whole life. She was physically bigger than me up until I was like 15, and at that point my dad made it clear what he'd do if I stood up to her. Getting physical was never an option.
That was about as bad as it got, and honestly, I consider myself lucky it never got worse. I went to my grandparents' house almost every weekend, and they tried to spoil me as best they could. They weren't rich, but they loved me and gave me everything they could. I wouldn't be anywhere near the kind of person I am today without them, and I'm so thankful they were a part of my life. But oddly enough, my stepmom apologized to me later on in life. I feel like I should be mad, and I should hold a grudge, but I just don't care to. We had dinner together a few months ago and talked things out, and kind of bonded a little over how much of a mess my dad has become.
My dad and stepmom have since gotten a divorce and my dad is kind of a mess now. He ended up cheating on my stepmom with a 22-year-old. Then, when she tried to kill him, he broke up with her and settled with a girl his age that he's just kind of okay with. He's too arrogant to admit he was wrong for not stepping in over the years and instead blames our grandparents for making sure I remember my real mom. He says that if they hadn't messed with things, I would've gotten along with her just fine."
"I spent the night at a friend's house and sent my mom a text saying I'd be at her house. Around 3 am, my friend woke me up with my buzzing cell phone with missed calls from my mom, stepdad, sister, and brother-in-law. All of whom were woken up at the early hours to drive around looking for my car parked at my friend's house. The police were called and a missing person report was started.
It turns out I typed the message to my mom on my phone but didn't hit send. I was 17 at the time, and I thought my mom would lock me in a tower and never let me out of the house again."