This is some funny stuff. A UK father, and former nuclear submarine captain, apparently sent the following e-mail to his three grown children. I don't think I've ever seen a more masterful written evisceration. There are some brilliant pull quotes in this thing.
Dear All Three
With last evening’s crop of whinges and tidings of more rotten news for which you seem to treat your mother like a cess-pit, I feel it is time to come off my perch.
It is obvious that none of you has the faintest notion of the bitter disappointment each of you has in your own way dished out to us. We are seeing the miserable death throes of the fourth of your collective marriages at the same time we see the advent of a fifth.
We are constantly regaled with chapter and verse of the happy, successful lives of the families of our friends and relatives and being asked of news of our own children and grandchildren. I wonder if you realise how we feel — we have nothing to say which reflects any credit on you or us. We don’t ask for your sympathy or understanding — Mum and I have been used to taking our own misfortunes on the chin, and making our own effort to bash our little paths through life without being a burden to others. Having done our best — probably misguidedly — to provide for our children, we naturally hoped to see them in turn take up their own banners and provide happy and stable homes for their own children.
Fulfilling careers based on your educations would have helped — but as yet none of you is what I would confidently term properly self-supporting. Which of you, with or without a spouse, can support your families, finance your home and provide a pension for your old age? Each of you is well able to earn a comfortable living and provide for your children, yet each of you has contrived to avoid even moderate achievement. Far from your children being able to rely on your provision, they are faced with needing to survive their introduction to life with you as parents.
So we witness the introduction to this life of six beautiful children — soon to be seven — none of whose parents have had the maturity and sound judgment to make a reasonable fist at making essential threshold decisions. None of these decisions were made with any pretence to ask for our advice.
In each case we have been expected to acquiesce with mostly hasty, but always in our view, badly judged decisions. None of you has done yourself, or given to us, the basic courtesy to ask us what we think while there was still time finally to think things through. The predictable result has been a decade of deep unhappiness over the fates of our grandchildren. If it wasn’t for them, Mum and I would not be too concerned, as each of you consciously, and with eyes wide open, crashes from one cock-up to the next. It makes us weak that so many of these events are copulation-driven, and then helplessly to see these lovely little people being so woefully let down by you, their parents.
I can now tell you that I for one, and I sense Mum feels the same, have had enough of being forced to live through the never-ending bad dream of our children’s underachievement and domestic ineptitudes. I want to hear no more from any of you until, if you feel inclined, you have a success or an achievement or a REALISTIC plan for the support and happiness of your children to tell me about. I don’t want to see your mother burdened any more with your miserable woes — it’s not as if any of the advice she strives to give you has ever been listened to with good grace — far less acted upon. So I ask you to spare her further unhappiness. If you think I have been unfair in what I have said, by all means try to persuade me to change my mind. But you won’t do it by simply whingeing and saying you don’t like it. You’ll have to come up with meaty reasons to demolish my points and build a case for yourself. If that isn’t possible, or you simply can’t be bothered, then I rest my case.
I am bitterly, bitterly disappointed.
I'd pay good money for a Clint Eastwood audio version of that letter.
This reeks of poor parenting on his part.
That, yes, but his children are not without blame as they are not children anymore.
Part of becoming a responsible adult is overcoming poor parenting. As children we are indeed victims of bad parenting, and yes the scars will last a lifetime, but we can recognize them, deal with them as best we can and move on.
We cannot control who raised us and how, but we can make choices as adults that will break the cycle of bad parenting.
"overcoming poor parenting". And how does someone do that if they were raised a certain way? Children do not raise themselves.
As someone brought up in an abusive/dysfunctional parental situation, I know firsthand what it's like.
I made a point of getting out of the situation as soon as I was an adult, leaving it behind me and moving ahead. Yes, it involved getting help. I've had therapy as an adult and made every attempt to both make peace with my parents and move on as the best father I can be.
I've seen fully grown men do stupid things and then blame it on how there were raised. There has to be a point where you stop placing the blame on anyone except yourself.
true but I believe "you are a product of your environment".
Yes, of course we are.
We cannot choose our parents, and yes, those scars will be with me always. I still am working on overcoming them, and I know I never will totally.
The woman I knew with the absent/overbearing Captain dad made lemonade out of lemons, and still pissed off her dad to boot.
The question is not merely whether you are a product of your environment. It's also whether you want to remain one.
its not a question of wanting anything, some things cant be changed.
That is complete and utter bull crap. Almost anything can be changed as far as this stuff goes. You DECIDE what kind of person you are, anyone who says otherwise simply knows their flaws and won't put in the effort to fix them, so they make that excuse. Parents only decide the fate of the weak-minded and ignorant.
You are right, there are some things that will stay with us, but we can deal with them anyway. I see it as a metal bar bent with trauma. With force and determination you can bend it back, and it will stay bent back, but it will always have a kink. We can live with the kinks, and it's those kinks that give us our character.
And you be surprised, there are some things you think cannot be changed, but with time you either grow out of them or overcome them, and you look back wondering why you thought they were permanent.
One thing's for sure: it's way, way easier to say that something can't be changed, than to change it.