Dealing with disappointment.

Hey there folks,

Just joined a few minutes ago, and quite honestly out of hopelessness. I have fallen on hard times and have lost hope in myself and in the future, all because of my own stupid and immature actions. I am currently a freshman in college, away from home, and am experiencing the stresses that any college freshman undergoes: adjusting to independence, building good and stable relationships, dealing with temptation, and most of all maturing as an individual. The maturing part has apparently been the most difficult for me. I was raised in a devout Roman Catholic family, with loving parents who are rather conservative in their faith and values. I also have 3 loving siblings (aged 28,26,24) who have looked out for me since I was born. I am blessed and I realize the many blessings I do have. I have a decent faith life: I attend mass weekly (even in college), abstain from receiving the Eucharist when I’m conscious of grave (or what I think to be grave) sin, and I try to pray and repent every day.
However, I am reaching out to anyone who can help me in my current situation.
I have been plagued by my parent’s disappointment.
Time and again, I have committed stupid and immature acts that have caused my parents to doubt my maturity and earn their disappointment.
Today was, I believe to be, the tipping point.
As a joke for April Fool’s day, I decided to send a fake email and picture of an ultrasound to pretend I got a girl pregnant. Idiotic I know. At the time, foolishly thinking this was funny, I thought maybe my parents would get a quick laugh out of it, realizing who I am as a person and how I would NEVER commit such a thing.
I thought wrong, as my parents called me screaming at me asking “is this your idea of a joke?” My mother was incensed: she was sobbing on the phone and my immediate, gut reaction was to say “come on, don’t do this” and right as I said that she immediately says “I can’t talk to him, he won’t listen.” The phone is then handed to my father who proceeds to scold me about how “I’ve failed on my part to teach you that you never joke about matters of life or death, son. There’s nothing I can do. Where do you get the idea that this is funny?” It was rather horrifying that I was hearing this from my parents. I thought I was past all of this. I thought I was finished being yelled at. I was mortified.
My mother and father both think they can’t talk to me about it because I am so locked up in my own viewpoint and my own world that I won’t listen to anyone.
I have tried time and again to prove them otherwise but nothing I do works.
I eventually received a scolding email from my father about an hour after that phone call, explaining how my mother has been crying ever since that call and reiterating what he had said to me on the phone, and even saying how he is “sad, worried, and fearful of what I might pull next.” And how he “hopes that I can repair the hurt that I’ve caused them.”
My question to anyone is…how can I repair the hurt?
What can I do to show my sorrow?
How can I show my anguish, without coming across as “woe is me”?
What can I do to fix this?
I am at wit’s end.
I don’t know what to do next.
I have given up.

Thanks in advance,


Since it appears that they are not willing to listen to you right now, sit down and compose
a sincere apology to them via email. I would not try to defend myself, just tell them how
sorry you are, no excuses. Pray to the Holy Spirit for guidance before you write the
I’ll say a prayer for you and hang in there!

This :thumbsup:

I will pray for you too!

Wow! I literally laughed so hard at the joke that I had to have my wife read it so I could compose myself. Her response was “that poor kid” While the joke was really really really and I cannot stress this enough REALLY dumb, the fact that you are introspective enough to be disappointed and realize how dumb it was is a good thing. I think you just didn’t think it through and like most guys your age made a poor decision.


Someday, when you are grown up, have a wife, and can send a real ultrasound that will bring great joy this will be quite a story and may actually be funny. Now, it isn’t and you got some real making up to do. I am older, have a family and every single April fools day I tell my mom that we are expecting. She is not Catholic and has no idea why we would ever want more children. (we only have 3) but a good practical joker will have to learn and buddy, you learned.

I will pray for you but you must know that this will pass and it isn’t life ending. You probably should write an in depth and contrite apology and not do something like this for a long, long time.


topher98, Mother Mary has just been asked to intercede on your behalf with her divine Son.

God is with you.

  • Reg.

Dear Chris, you surely cannot fail to understand what a terrible deception to inflict on your parents, so please forgive their response.
If you got a girl pregnant they would be distressed over your mortal sin of fornication and also because you were changing the possibilities of your whole future.
Their reactions were not unreasonable. They had a right to be angry over such cruel behavior.

This doesn’t mean you are bad, but it may mean you may need help to find proper balance in understanding and acting fairly towards others. Some people need extra help to become more understanding and better functioning in relating to others. Perhaps you are one whose particular difficulty has been overlooked and misread, and left untreated.

Perhaps you need counseling to be able to understand reasonable behavior and what is not reasonable. Perhaps you have not developed sufficient balance, and sufficient empathy for other people’s feelings. Before you do such things, try to think yourself into the other person’s point of view.

How would you feel as a parent if your college son informed you, with proof, that he had ruined some girl’s life and endangered his immortal soul as well as ruining his future.
Perhaps you make these errors because you haven’t given enough time to considering how your actions affect others.
There may be some reason why you have difficulty in having empathy for others.

I hope and pray you will receive the help you may need to help you to read and treat others in a way that is healthy for yourself and for others.

God’s kind blessings to you and your family.

I thought your prank was funny…

Quotes from Dr. Suess:

Today you are You,
that is truer than true.
There is no one alive
who is Youer than You.

Be who You
are, because those
who mind don’t
matter and
those who matter
don’t mind

Surprising and amazing that your folks haven’t figured you out all these years.

Having said that, as you acquire self-knowledge, come to learn what to do or not do to others especially your mother.

No it isn’t at all funny and those who think it is funny need to learn to seriously consider others. No responsible parent could find this funny. It’s amongst parents worst fears. It is very cruel and I worry for anyone who would find this amusing. Do you also find his mother’s sobbing amusing, fms?

At the same time, there are people who do need extra help to learn empathy for others.

I have known persons, who with intensive counseling, were able to learn more about others’ feelings and the consequences of their actions to others.
And also to feel relief that they have received this special help and know what had been missing in their interactions with others.
I asked one such young man what he had learned from all that, after he received months of counseling following serious error of judgement that hurt others.
He replied, when I asked him what he had learned
“Not to take anything for granted and to be kind to everyone.”

Chris, you are naturally very upset, and so much distress caused does make things hard for you all, but as been suggested, a careful and loving apology sent to your parents may be the beginning of healing for you all. It is a learning experience, and hopefully will help you to better understanding and elimination of such misjudgements on your part.

May God grant your and your family healing and peace

Chris, have some flowers delivered to your Mum. I am sure she will eventually cool off. Pranks can be funny with friends, but not parents. :slight_smile:

First of all, Chris, I thought the prank was pretty funny. However you have to consider what is fun and games to someone might not be for the next person.

In this case, you should know your parents well enough by now to know they will not appreciate this kind of humor and it should have no part in your relationship with them because they will become very upset.

So what to do about it? Well first of all you need to give them a heart felt apology. Tell them that the joke was in poor taste. Tell them you appreciate and continue to appreciate having them as a positive influence in your life – even when you make a poor decision as this joke was. Tell them that this is something you need to work at and you realize is something that is essential in learning to do when transistioning into an adult ie…making good choices and learning and growing from your mistakes. Tell them this is something you want/need to work on with their help and guidance. Of course don’t tell them this unless you really believe it.

The bottom line is own up to your mistake in an adult manner. Even if I would find this joke funny, it is evidence that your parents do not. Knowing what is acceptable around the company you keep is also a part of becoming and adult and growing up.

Keep working at it and you will get it. The fact that you are asking for advice already shows you feel bad about the situation and are looking for an adult way to make amends and is a good first step. It also might help to sit down with them and have a real talk. You say that you continue to make poor choices to the points that your parents think you are locked in your own world view. Try working on this as well.

I don’t think he finds the parents reaction funny ie the sobbing but the joke itself. Besides what is funny is realative. I know in my family if I pulled this prank my family would be concerned, worried etc… however when I said “april fools” they would all find this funny. The OP’s family is different and he should know that and therefore the joke is highly inappropriate to his family – as exhibited by the significant distress/reaction it caused.

At the same time, there are people who do need extra help to learn empathy for others


I don’t think the OP’s issue is empathy… he already is feeling for his parents and knows he did something to very much upset them. That is why he is posting on this forum for advice. This is just a young man making a poor decision in terms of a practical joke. We all have done it. He just needs to really learn from it and take the experience to become a better more understanding person to his parents. But this is not an inablilty to relate to others feelings and I feel is a little bit of an overreaction. What he needs to learn is appropriatness.

Chris, you are naturally very upset, and so much distress caused does make things hard for you all, but as been suggested, a careful and loving apology sent to your parents may be the beginning of healing for you all. It is a learning experience, and hopefully will help you to better understanding and elimination of such misjudgements on your part.


May God grant your and your family healing and peace


I’m aware of that. Chris regrets it greatly now, but he indicates this isn’t the first time so does need to learn to put himself in others’ shoes, to consider the impact on others before he acts, and it is possible he can do it himself, or he may in fact also need help. Perhaps he has shocked himself enough to learn from this mistake. Chris, it takes much more to launch a ship than a canoe. Perhaps you are a ship rather than a canoe, but you will get there as you basically have a good heart.

It is the reaction of others, finding it so funny, that I find a little horrifying. I wouldn’t have thought any Catholic should find causing serious shock to anyone’s parents in a cruel way involving mortal sin of fornication, and the wrecking of study hopes and the future of two young people and a baby, funny.

Hopefully Chris, you can be kindly creative in helping to console and reassure your parents, as your creativity isn’t under any doubt. :slight_smile:

Completely agree with this. Chris knows that his prank was cruel. If he does not understand why it was cruel, then he needs counseling. If he did it in order to BE cruel to his parents, then he needs counseling even more. His poor mother! If one of my sons did such a thing, I would not only be in shock and sick at heart before I knew it was a prank, but I would then be ANGRY and even more hurt that my own son would pull such a cruel prank. I don’t know what I would do, but it would be a long time before I would trust him in the same way. And flowers wouldn’t fix it. This was a seriously poor judgment on this young man’s part.

Chris, you blew it, dude. I don’t know on what planet anyone would find this funny. Next time you feel like pulling a prank or as you call it, a “joke,” maybe you can check with someone that you consider to be a good role model to see if it would cause the kind of pain you have just caused your parents.

For all you know, your mother may know someone who had an abortion when she got pregnant. Did you ever think of that?

Go to confession. Even if you didn’t intend to cause pain, you put your parents through hell with your prank. However, you don’t need to lose all hope in the future because of this one mistake. Yes, it was serious, and yes, you will have a lot of fixing to do, but you have not ruined your future because of this. Just never EVER joke about such a thing again.

Edited: I see you told us that you have a history of being immature and making poor decisions. Well, time to grow up a little bit and stop fooling around as much. Maybe you have been too protected by your siblings from stuff you did. Time to take responsibility for what you are doing and be a man.

topher98/Chris: You haven’t reposted to say whether the reply posts have been helpful.

Also wishing you and your folks the best.

Maybe this was an April’s fool joke on us…

The OP is a freshman in college, so he is about 19? Clearly, his post shows that he is still immature.

The prank was not funny at all. Perhaps he didn’t think before he did it, and now he knows how unfunny it was, but his reaction to that of his parents is too much. It is not the end of the world.

OP, if you are checking on the responses to your post, please realize that we all, yes, all of us, have faults and failings and we are all sinners. No matter how hard we try, we will be dealing with our faults, failings and sins all of our lives! We will fall, hopefully less frequently as time goes by, but, fall we will. The important thing is - when we fall, we must get up. If we have sinned, we go to confession. If we offended or hurt someone, we apologize to them. We try to make up for what we have done.

In this case, write (not an email) a letter of sincere apology to you parents. Deliver it with a small gift (perhaps flowers, as some have suggested) in person.

Then, make a habit of thinking before you make a “joke”. Jokes are only jokes if the people on the receiving end see them as such. Your parents did not see your prank as a joke, and they are right. As a parent, if one of my sons did this to me, I would be furious with him. I would consider him to be thoughtless and cruel. It would take quite a while for me to get over the hurt, even if I found it possible to forgive him right away.

You are young. Learn from this. Sometimes we feel devastated (as you seem to be, by your post) because of pride - you cannot understand how you could be perceived as so cruel and unthinking. Remember, we are all flawed. None of us are perfect. You have now a little self-understanding - you are actually capable of making stupid decisions :eek:. Learn from it.


I appreciate all of the feedback. Things have gotten no better or worse since this past Sunday. I have just gotten off the phone with my father, and the their anxiety has not faded in the slightest, and rightly so. I have decided to write them a hand-written letter of my apology, addressed to both of them, marking my concerns and showing my genuine and heart-felt sorrow for my actions. I hope that can somewhat alleviate the pain I have caused them.
Thanks again for responding to my posts.
Please keep me (and my parents) in your prayers, that our relationship may indeed find healing and strength.

All the best,


Chris, it’s going to take some time. I think it’s great that you are in touch with them, even if it’s unpleasant, it shows that you care and that you know you blew it. The letter is a great idea. You and your parents will be in my prayers. Please do not be too disheartened, or beat yourself up too much. You made a mistake, you are being accountable for it, there is no one on Planet Earth who has not made a bad mistake. This one will fade over time.

I thought it was funny and your parents are overreacting big time. You seem to be overreacting to the whole situation too. A misjudgment like yours could have happened to anyone. I’m sure your parents will get over it if you give them a week. Maybe they’ll even apologize to you for being such bad sports.

You must be kidding. Sending an ultrasound to one’s parents as if a baby had been created out of wedlock? NOT FUNNY! Enough to give parents a HEART ATTACK! And I am NOT joking! His parents reacted exactly as I would have, except I would have kept him on the phone and swore a blue streak and then had to go to confession the next day. NOT FUNNY!

He is right to be deeply contrite for this.

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