Bad day with the parents today

It just seems, no matter what I do, I can’t please them. The assumptions always seem to be, that I’m the bad actor, they are in the right, they get to decide that I’ve done them wrong, their perception of what happened is the reasonable perception, I have to change my actions, I lack the willingness to cooperate, they are bending over backwards to help me, I should be grateful for just how patient they have been with me, I need to learn new skills, I don’t have a right to complain about their actions, etc. etc… No matter what I do, it seems, I’m the middle-school kid whom the vice-principal thinks he just caught smoking cigarettes in the boys’ room, no matter that they weren’t my cigarettes, I was just peeing, the smell of tobacco smoke is from the other stall at the end of the restroom where the junior-high kids are hiding out with actual cigarettes, but no, the vice-principal has decided that he is going to “teach me a lesson” because he “just knows” that I somehow “thought I could pull one over on him,” so no matter how hard you assert that you didn’t do it, you just know that he’ll be all the more convinced that I did do it.

In specific, today, so I was told, I raised my voice at my mother. I frankly do not recall having done so. She was so angry she called in my father, they confronted me, we talked for some short interchanges in which I asked what was wrong, then she came up and hit me. I allowed her to do it as I sat there, flummoxxed at what I could possibly have done wrong. I was sitting on the stairs, I sat still, I removed my eyeglasses and looked her directly in the eye, and she reared back and open-hand slapped me hard across the jaw. Twice. How can I be the bad actor here? I don’t even remember getting loud at all. Now to be fair, I do have a sinus infection right now, so, maybe my voice sounded different? But really? When I’m the one GETTING hit and she’s the one DOING the hitting? Isn’t that pretty clearly an indication that I’m not in the wrong?

Well, it seems like a tempest in a teapot, frankly, now in retrospect about 12 hours later. Funny thing is, this isn’t a typical parent-and-child situation. Instead, I am an adult back in with them to help take care of them. I am well into my 50s and live with my parents, who are both in their 80s. I’ve never had much material success, largely because of my undiagnosed ADHD, so the move-back to being in their house isn’t ideal, they probably would rather that I could make a zillion dollars on my own. But it’s not like I don’t help out continually. They’ve pretty much “hired” me as errand-shopper for the Covid lockdown, I take care of every large project around the house, they have no other children (I’m an only) so I would be doing these tasks whether or not I also had a full-time job outside of taking care of them, they need constant trips to the doctor and so on. They’re healthy for 80-year-olds, thank goodness! But that doesn’t mean that there’s no effort and no need for the sort of help I’m giving, not exactly medical caretaker but it will develop into that as long as they stay around.

So, this extremely healthy octogenarian hit me hard today. Whack. Right across the jaw. Twice. Because supposedly I didn’t talk to her the right way. A misdeed which I don’t even remember doing, but evidently, according to them, I lack the “proper” ability to judge whether my actions are offensive or not.

So, your sympathy would be welcome. I feel like I can’t do anything right. Either I can’t help them enough and they’ll fall apart without enough presence from me; or I’m in their face too much so they fall apart because of my excessive presence; and either way, the interpretation is going to be, that I did it wrong, whatever I did. “Normal people in normal houses know that this isn’t” blank-blank-blank, is always the description of what I did wrong. I want to say, “What do you know about a normal houses?” but I’m not evil enough to engage in that kind of passive-aggressive language. I just clam up and allow myself, some reason or other, to turn the other cheek. Just knowing that any further ire would be a negative contribution, a deduction, from the situation, I sit there and take it. Long ago I decided to jump whenever asked, because that would be the only way to make sure that I wasn’t accused of failing to pull my own weight around here. Now I’m finding, that jumping fast is also a negative behavior. Make sure you help, we need a lot of help, do it quick quick! But don’t do it so quick, you’re helping wrong! I have no options any more.

In a funny way, I’m glad she hit me. I knew I was going to let her do it, when I first noticed that she seemed like she was going to stride up to me and do it. I don’t know how I decided, or why, but I just sat there and calmly removed my eyeglasses, as though I were saying, “Well, if you need to hit me, then, that’s about your choices, not mine, but I’ll be damned if you’re going to keep me from reading my anticipated chapter or two of Turgenev and G. Garcia-Marquez tonight.” And now that she’s done it, I feel very very confident in making the following diagnosis – I may have ADHD, but I’m not taking it out on others, so I’m at least doing my best to make sure that I’m not the problem; if there’s a conflict, I’ve done my best; whereas no matter what she does or doesn’t have, no matter what is or isn’t diagnosed in her condition, she is not; she is the problem. I’m kind of glad to have the confirmation. I don’t really think I was expecting to be able to put two-and-two together like that, when I instinctively sat still and pulled off my eyeglasses, but now that I’ve done it I feel like a real hero. Took it on the chin, hard. Let her do it a second time. Didn’t even flinch. Hope she feels like an idiot. I later heard her saying, “Well, it worked,” to my dad, and I asked, “worked to do what?” expecting her to say, “It put you back in your place” or “it caused you to realize just how wrong you were” or something like that. But instead she said, “It calmed me down.” Meaning, the hittER calmed down herSELF by striking another person, and therefore it was something OK to do. Wow …

PS, please don’t suggest I get out of here out of fear for my wellbeing. I haven’t ever been hit before, and oddly I’m pretty sure I won’t be again unless things deteriorate. I can’t move – I don’t have the money to go elsewhere, and if I did break into my savings, the first thing I’d have to do would be then to get a job. The advantage of being in my parents’ house as their errand-boy, is that I am not required to be a “normal” member of non-ADHD society. I CAN’T hold down a job. Getting “out of here” is going to be either living under an overpass, or admitting to staying here. I don’t want to have to pay my own way out there in the real world again. I used to do so, was going about the usual thing, did pay my own way, had an average office job that did cover the rent, but I hated it so so much, felt so bereaved of my own life, felt so controlled and humiliated by the cubicle-culture (cf. my many other rants on the subject here at the forums) that I have made the clear choice to reject financial independence, if that level of demeaning abuse is what comes along with it. I have found working for a living to be much more alienating and abusive than anything my parents have thrown at me … so far …

Yeesh. The things we put up with. Heh … would like to write more but must go take out the garbage (one of the many tasks!) …



I’ve read your posts before, but not until now did I know your age. Not that it is an important factor . . . other than putting your situation in perspective for me.

You describe a difficult situation and I give you credit for doing what you are doing! I know that it’s hard to be a caretaker for aging parents. Been there done that. In fact, I’ll be 74 next October and who’s to say that I may not have to turn to one of my two children to help me manage things. I hope and pray that will not be necessary. My dream scenario for exiting this world is to peacefully go in my sleep and not have any debilitating illness or condition that I had to suffer through before hand.

I won’t presume to tell you what to do but I will tell you what I would do if my parent slapped me across the face. I might wait a day or two until things were calm, then sit down with them and say, in no uncertain terms, that I expect never to be hit again. I would speak in a firm, convincing tone and then ask: “ Is that clear? Do you understand?” And then give them time to answer. Personally, the only acceptable response from them would be a clear statement that “YES” they understood and that such behavior will not happen again.

And kudos to you for not using your ADHD as an excuse. I don’t think of a person as “A problem” but rather, as it may apply, a mere mortal with a problem. Best of luck my young (:slightly_smiling_face:) friend!


Nice of you to suggest the stern “never again.” I can’t imagine that any agreement would be adhered to. There’s no advantage to making an ultimatum, since everything is nebulous. “Oh, we never would have agreed to that!” or “You can’t possibly expect us to do that!” are continual results of my ongoing discoveries that they aren’t doing what they agreed to. So, having a sit-down discussion is really … moot. The actions will take place, I’ll be expected to act quickly, to think on my feet, to accept that I did something wrong. Saying, “Never do that again” will mean, “Never do that again, except when you actually do indeed do that again.”


I understand you. Your situation sounds similar to one I just left. Difference is the countries and our wants. Here in Sweden I have gotten a lot more help than I ever would in the U.S (assuming that is where you are from). Like I’m young, failed high school due to my mental illness plus my ADHD. I’m now getting money from the state to continue my studies.
I want financial freedom and my own place to live because my family is really abusive and as a sort of way to get back at them for all the times they told me I couldn’t.
I know that this might sound strange coming from a 20 year-old said to a 50 year-old, but here in Sweden (I don’t know about the U.S) we strongly believe that it doesn’t matter your age you can still find your passion and follow your dreams, to us you are still young. So, my question to you is what is your passion? Can you do anything with it?
I’m not suggesting you get a job or start studying, but maybe your passion can earn you some bucks and you can feel good about it. Doing something you love while getting paid for it is something so fun that it should be illegal. It might also get your parents to lay off you a bit.
I’m not suggesting you move out, I understand your apprehension - the non-ADHD world is terrifying. I also think you love your parents and want to help them despite how bad things are. YOU’RE MOTHER HITTING YOU IS NEVER OKAY. It’s good that you help them, tells me you’re a caring person that is fighting with his ADHD to help his loved ones.
In conclusion, you are an amazing person that deserves the world. I think you should try finding your passion (or if already found) and go for it. It just makes you feel great when you create something or do something fun. There is so much you can try, a lot of things that can even come to be helpful around the house.
You posted a really lovely comment on one of my topics and you really made me smile. I hope something here can make you smile too, even though I didn’t really know what I wanted to say. Sometimes we all need to blow off some steam and it was really admirable that you could keep your cool during that situation.


Hi, so im kinda the same like i get so loud and rude but i dont even notice and then we have a argument, atleast once a day. idk what to do aswell


Clifton -

Not surprised by your comments. Wouldn’t it be nice if life was that simple, but it most certainly takes 2 to Tango . . . Or in your case 3!

I’ll keep in touch and if I come up with any useful suggestions send them your way. Here to be helpful and supportive (as I get the same in return)! In the meantime please know that I’ll be “holding you in the light” (Quaker expression).



Thanks all! and, hey Barry / Brooklyn, I’m quite familiar with that expression … I used to attend “first day” meeting in St. Pete Florida … haven’t been to meeting much since moving back to the city I’m in now … would you like to have the usual discussion about the expression? OK! Here goes … “What exactly does it mean, to ‘hold someone in the light’? Is that like, holding them over an open flame, as though you want to char-broil them? Or is it more like in a tanning bed? Or just a warm bath, except with a light bulb instead of a shower head? Is it an incandescent or a florescent bulb? And what would happen if you changed all the holding-in-light-bulbs to the new LEDs?” ::stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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To the current situation I can only ask . . . “WATT”?

And I don’t say that lightly . . .

Think I was LED to say that . . . :crazy_face:

Keep in touch my friend . . . :sunglasses:


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Shocking. But illuminating …

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I’m con FUSED!