I happened upon this thread. Thank you all for posting. I was fortunate to be raised by two (unconditional) loving parents who both did their best,
despite having to grow through their own personal problems. Even in that environment, there was varying degrees of resentment among my siblings; and
it is not just the selfish resentment of people who are themselves selfish.
I only found out my siblings' feelings when we were all middleaged adults. I was clueless, being one of the latter children, after our parents had
more experience raising kids and had worked through their personal problems, and I didn't have my siblings' resentments (plus individual personality
comes into play).
Getting to the point, I never knew that there were "bad" parents. I knew about "wire monkeys" and institutional situations, but, hey, that was just an
experiment, right? Families keep their secrets, and our culture maybe has a secret about bad parenting.
It wasn't until about 5 years ago, my best friend sat in my living room and actually cried telling me about how she was raised. I had known her
mother, and my friend appeared pretty well adjusted, but I had no idea that her mother was, as she said, "mommie dearest on steroids". I had even seen
the movie, but, hey, that was Hollywood, those things don't happen in regular American families, right?
I was stunned. I learned a lot. While mom's behavior was visited equally upon the kids, the kids' reactions were different depending on birth order
and individual personality.
Because of this, when I shortly after was confronted by my husband's (my second husband, the "good one"
) confession about his family life growing
up, I was not shocked. I understood why he said he felt no affection for his parents; he had forgiven them years ago, and any relationship he still
maintained was more out of a cultural obligation to "honor your parents". He would send cards, but he made sure they never mentioned about being a
"loving" parent or his being grateful for how he was raised.
If I had not been made to understand that there were really bad parents out there, I would have been so judgemental, wondering why everyone couldn't
just send their mother a flowery card on Mother's Day. I think our society has to stop with this "maternal instinct" idea that every mother is capable
of raising children. There are women (and men) who are not capable of providing a nurturing, healthy environment for raising children. To an outsider,
all may appear well and fine, but in some households that is far from the truth. Parenthood should not be a forced institution.
So, thank you all for posting and bringing this to light. Oh, re forgiveness.... I think one forgives because it is good for the person forgiving.
Forgiving someone doesn't mean that the person will accept or even understand why you're forgiving them. That's up to them. But it's good to forgive,
as it helps to get on with one's life in a better way than not forgiving. It helped my husband.