I Am Bitterly, Bitterly Disappointed

Nick Crews (pictured left, Photo: SWNS) has become a cult hero and a viral sensation- particularly in Great Britain. Why? Because of a leaked email he sent to his kids explaining just how (brutally) disappointed he is with them. It starts with "Dear All Three" and goes pretty downhill from there.

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 realize how we feel — we have nothing to say which reflects any credit on you or us…

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 am bitterly, bitterly disappointed.


Ouch. You can read the rest here. While Crews may be taking shots at his own kids, people are celebrating him as someone with the guts to stand up to his own overprivileged slackers, something that "just happens to be a burning subtext to Europe's monumental blahs."

Are you with or against Crews? While I think it is tough to say one way or the other without good context of the children, I do feel like I know a few too many people my own age with a false sense of entitlement.

Via The Week

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I wonder if you read through ALL the linked articles, because one of them includes interviews with some of the children. I'm going to take one example, the man's daughter, Emily, who has three children and moved to France because her husband is a surgeon there. She is currently working as a translator. Right there, does that sound like a failure? She has a family and a successful husband and a job of her own. What has angered her father is that she phones home regularly to ask her parents for some words of support because she's newly moved to a different country, and as you might expect that's a huge culture shock for her, as it would be for most people. I cannot imagine that anyone wouldn't want to talk to their parents, to get a little bit of reassurance, a bit of a morale boost. In time she will almost certainly have settled in, but right now it's a difficult time for her. So she offloads her troubles to her parents. Why? Because they are her PARENTS. They are supposed to listen and to CARE about her welfare.

She's not enabled or entitled, or whatever you want to call it. She is a stranger in a strange land struggling to adapt. Yes, she made that choice, and probably didn't do it lightly. She left her own career behind to be with the man she has married. Who wouldn't be conflicted, who wouldn't look to someone else for help now and again? And now her father thinks she is too needy and is a failure, and won't talk to any of the children until they come back with success stories? Sorry, you cannot convince me that that is how a parent should react.

The man's entire attitude seems to be this: we've given you an expensive education in a private school and we want to see a return on our investment. Other people's children have better jobs than you so you're a failure. As I said before, his daughter is married to a surgeon so she's unlikely to be living in poverty. She just hasn't adapted to the change yet.

And if the grandparents are so fearful of being cut off from their grandchildren, how is 'I don't want to see you until you're successful' going to work out for them?

If I had a parent who sent me a letter like that, nothing on earth would stop me leaking it. 'This is how my father wants to treat his children when they ask for help' would be the message I'd want to get out.

Rotten parents raise rotten kids? No, not in this case. Rotten parents seem to have raised good kids, kids who seem to be making the best life for themselves that they can. Notice that none of them are living on handouts, they either have jobs or in Emily's case are raising a family with the support of a husband, while she is also working as a translator. But that just isn't good enough for their father. It's not that he wants better for them, he wants them to be better so that HE looks good when his friends come to dinner. He wants children 'as good as' those of his friends. He says as much in his letter.

Retired nuclear submarine captain Nick Crews. Maybe he's just not used to anyone questioning his authority or coming to him with problems? I wonder how regularly he saw the children while he was growing up, or is that not a relevant question? I suspect that he was hardly a hands-on father - regarding the calls to from the children to the mother he says 'I avoided them thinking it was "women's stuff"'. In other words, his only input to this particular situation has been to excommunicate his children and call them disappointments. What a paragon of fatherhood, I do not think.
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'If this is the kind of father he's been to them throughout their lives...'

Rotten parents raise rotten kids? Good parents raise good kids? Rotten or good, however the adult children turned out and whatever their choices, it's their parent's responsibility? How far does that responsibility go, and for how long? I didn't see that you assigned any responsibility to those three adults for using their parents as a dumping ground for their problems.

What if they were great parents, Nick? Loving, giving, empathetic, helpful, humorous, wise, and always available... and that was the weakness in their parenting? Instead of letting their kids work out their own problems, they continually stepped in to support, or worse, completely took over and consequently undermined their children's confidence in dealing with life, fostering dependence on mom and dad to work things out, until the next problem came along.

That's what I mean by 'enabling'. Dad recognizes his (and his wife's) part in why the kids keep walking in the door with their problems. He's says he just wishes they'd walk in the door once and have some good news. I also suspect that the chief reason they've put up with their children's behavior for so long is mentioned throughout the email -- the grandchildren. Grandparents live in mortal fear of being cut off from their grandkids by angry and vengeful offspring... thus grandpa's tact. So you know Mr. Crews weighed out the consequences for a long while before writing that email, an email he did not intend to share with the public.

Gee, I wonder who leaked that?
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