Recently, u/misspeltworld asked people who grew up spoiled to reveal the reality check moments that made them realize how good they had it. From small moments to major tragedies, it's fascinating to see which events opened their eyes. Here are some of the top responses:
1."I was complaining to a college classmate about how my laptop battery wouldn’t last for a whole class, and I was really hoping for a new one from my parents for Christmas. I then learned her parents were homeless and she was just hoping by Christmas they’d have a roof over their heads. Big wake-up call. We remain friends to this day."
2."At the age of 13, I went from living in a mansion to sleeping in a car because it turns out my dad had committed many white collar crimes. Our bank accounts were frozen and assets seized."
3."My father died and left his inheritance to his 25-year-old girlfriend."
4."Seeing my friends and in-laws struggle to afford extracurriculars for their kids. Growing up in a high-income area, everyone I knew (myself and my siblings included) participated in activities like Girl Scouts, dance, gymnastics, soccer, softball, etc. There was never any question of affordability, and uniforms and gear were always purchased brand new."
5."My family was middle class but treated me like they always had plenty of funds. When I heard that they took money out of their retirement savings so I could go to private university, I turned in my transfer notice, came back to an in-state college, and picked up a job."
6."Moving away from Seattle for the first time. I grew up feeling embarrassed because we lived in a 'modest' house ($2m), compared to the >$10m mansions my friends lived in. At one point after a date, I had them drop me off down the street and I walked home because I didn't want them to see my house. A literal $2m house."
"Moving out of that bubble/buying a house of my own really smacked me in the face with the reality of how most people live, and now, looking back I can't help but laugh a little at the ridiculousness of it all."
7."When I discovered things like electricity and water come with monthly bills. I had zero understanding of bills, full stop. I'd never paid any before because nothing had ever been my responsibility. (I also came to the US from the UK, so there was a complete WTF?! moment when I discovered the concept of a 'health insurance premium.') Of course, once I figured them out, then I was appalled at the cost."
8."Sometime when I was a teenager, I realized my experiences growing up were not like other kids. Some of my friends said I was rich, and I honestly didn’t see it at the time. I thought my parents' house was average, but it wasn’t. Living on my own in one of the most expensive cities on the planet was a baptism by fire. You learn very quickly where your dollar should go and where it shouldn’t."
9."I am the second child who got everything he wanted. My sister was the one to compromise everything for me. I wanted a new phone, I got it. I wanted a new computer, I got that, too. Basically everything I wanted I got it, while my sister was still using her old stuff. Now comes the part where at some point I realized this is wrong."
"When I go over memories of me getting the stuff I wanted, my sister's eyes pop up, and they look sad. I ruined her childhood. I just wanna roll into a ball and cry, not for me but for her. I was a horrible brother. We fought a lot, and everything had to go my way.
We are grown-ups now, and every now and then, when I look at her, I feel shame. She has a beautiful family and is doing financially light years better than me. I'm so happy that she's getting everything she wants, but I know I will never get rid of the shame of what a spoiled kid I was."
10."I was late to the game when it came to applying for colleges my senior year of high school, so when I was accepted to go to a school eight hours away from my hometown, I had missed the deadline to apply for a dorm or nearby apartment. I ended up living in a house four miles away from campus with no car, and with the nearest bus stop being a 30-minute walk through tall grass next to a busy street with no sidewalks."
11."When my parents got divorced because my dad decided that drugs and hookers were more important than his family. All my friends from my private school stopped talking to me because I was no longer 'one of them.' And I had to transfer to a public school. I pretended it was because I wanted to be in a co-ed environment and try out for cheerleader, but the reality was, we couldn't afford it anymore. My horse was sold."
"Then the IRS came after my family for back taxes and took my mother's bank account, our house, and sold our belongings, including my white princess canopy bed. And to top it off, we had to move into the 'projects' after that. This was in the '70s."
12."My dad stopped paying for my bills when I was around 25, and although I was working, all my income was disposable. One day, I guess he said enough is enough, and I suddenly realized that my wage was barely enough to live on, let alone go out for brunch, drinks, buy designer clothes, and all the rest."
"Whilst I am forever appreciative of how much he helped me and for how long he supported me, I wish he had pulled back earlier. I learned lessons later than all my peers, and when all my friends were starting to come out of minimum wage jobs and beginning real careers in their mid-20s, I was plunged into freshman poverty with ramen noodles and riding the bus.
£55 a month for a phone bill suddenly seemed luxurious, and don’t get me started on my withdrawals from Uber. But I learnt to stand on my own two feet and have promised to teach my kids these lessons much earlier."
13."I failed out of a rich kid private college, and the only place that admitted me was night school at a large public university. For the first time, I was surrounded by working class people who were busting their asses to improve their lives, working one or two jobs while going to school. Changed my perspective. That and a couple girlfriends (one now my wife) who were the first in their family to go to college who kicked the rich kid arrogance out of my sorry ass."
14."Once my roommate moved in, I realize how privileged I was. She does not have a good relationship with her parents, so they don’t help her with anything. I, on the other hand, have a very good relationship with mine. They help me with absolutely everything. I sat down and explained my finances to her and casually told her about how my mom pays for my car bill and my car insurance and how if I’m ever short on money, I can easily just text my parents and ask them for it; she stared at me like I came from another planet."
"I didn’t realize until then it wasn’t like that for everybody else. Ever since then, I’ve taken steps to take more accountability with my own finances. I stopped shopping as much as I used to, and definitely second-guess going out for the night needlessly.
Seeing how hard she struggles when I’m pretty much doing just fine really opened my eyes on how hard it actually is out here. So for now, I pay all the bills when they’re due, and she pays me her half when it works financially for her.
Although I’m still spoiled in many ways, I’ve managed to find a way to make it work in our favor. Bills due now, but you won’t have the money till next week? Okay, I’ll call my parents, and they’ll pay it, and when she has the money, I just give the money to my parents to pay them back. You can be spoiled and still find a find a way to share the privilege if you care enough."
15."My parents were super wealthy so all my siblings and I were spoiled. My brother, however, despised my parents and was super rebellious so he always rejected their help. As soon as he turned 18, he went to university and was able to pay for it himself through scholarships, part-time jobs, paid internships, and student loans. I remember visiting him during his uni years and asking if he needed money, but he refused any help. His living conditions were absolutely horrible."
"He would rent a locker on campus, put all his stuff inside and sleep on campus. He constantly looked for free food anywhere and everywhere. That’s when I started to realize how hard life would really be without my parents' support. It gave me a new appreciation for my parents, but I also started to respect my brother a lot more."
16."There were a few small things that helped me realize I had it pretty good. Learning that people waited until the last possible moment to turn the heat on, not just having it come on automatically when it was cold. Realizing there were people who had to share rooms with their siblings. My friend being shocked that my fridge had an ice dispenser and two doors."
17."I went through the unemployment process and realized how very privileged I was to have a college degree and a car paid for by my family to lean on when I lost my job. The discussions were uncomfortable because I didn’t wanna reveal that I couldn’t relate to their struggles. Many people have nothing to rely on except for themselves, through no fault of their own. I felt like such a brat going to the required classes to learn employment skills I already had that were so easy for me but were difficult and necessary to learn for many of the folks in them. I always knew I was kinda privileged, but holy crap, I didn’t realize the gap just between blue collar and middle class."
18."The moment I realized my friends in college who had to take loans weren't doing it that way because their parents were jerks or because they were obstinately 'paying my own way.' Until that realization, my understanding of the world was that's just how it worked. You got to college, and your parents paid for it. That's when I started looking around at the world around me."
19."Doing Habitat for Humanity trips to West Virginia and Nicaragua. Seeing other people’s homes in disrepair and then building a personal relationship with the homeowners hits differently. These people were just born into their situation just like I was born into mine. It made me appreciate the stuff I have more."
20."Got to college, and I was genuinely pretty shocked that everyone else didn’t have month-long vacations in the south of France eating at Michelin-star restaurants. I must have seemed like a real dick to quite a few people."
21."Becoming an adult and realizing I can’t just drop $20k on shopping to make me feel better. My parents used to take us shopping and literally spend tens of thousands in one trip. I now have a serious shopping addiction that I’m working on since I grew up with that being normal."
22."I got pregnant and realized I had to care for this little human on my own. Take care of a house on my own, cook, do all the things normal humans do. And then my husband died, and I really got a reality check because he just took over for my parents when we got together. He did everything, cooked, and I never paid a bill. I didn’t have to carry the diaper bag or stroller or baby when he was around, and then BAM! Real life. Five years out and I'm grateful for the growth."
23."My father lost his business and all his money while I was a sophomore in high school. Had to move from Mexico City, where my parents were in the top 10% to rural South Dakota to live with my grandparents while my parents picked up their lives. Went from having everything I wanted given to me to 'if you want it, you have to earn it.'"
"I learned a lot my last two years of high school. How to shovel pig shit for one (that smell doesn't go away quickly). I learned that I'm never too good for hard manual labor. Bought my first car and had to learn how to fix it and make it road worthy. Many nights I would cry myself to sleep at night, get up the next day, and push forward and toughen up along the way. Thirty years later, I'm very thankful for those lessons."
24."Finished college and moved from my small town in the South to NYC. I got a job at a law firm that specialized in foster care and adoptions. It exposed me to reality and people who were on the opposite side of the policies and politics I was raised with. I will be forever grateful for that job as it made me into the person I am today. I’m a bit of a black sheep to my family now, but I’m proud of what I stand for."
25."I did not grow up rich, but I was decidedly middle class. My wife grew up poor. I remember a blowup once when I mentioned that I had randomly bought lunch for myself when I was out for a personal errand. My wife was in tears when I got home, asking how I could have spent that money randomly without checking in first with the family budget. That was my first reality check, that even a middle-class lifestyle could be unobtainably rich for so many people."
26."I had a few reality checks. The first major one was during a Christmas gathering where my nephew received two new Playstation consoles and one new Xbox console. The idea was to send a Playstation to each parents' house as they were separated. His comment was, 'Is that it?' I was a spoiled brat, but I never made a comment quite like that. Made me realize how insufferable it is to be around a spoiled brat."
"Second was when my mom had a stroke. I found out she took out a lot of loans in secret to afford a lifestyle facade. I was used to my mom fixing all my problems whether monetary or education-based. We were told my mom would have 48 hours to live. Needless to say, I sobered up quickly and got my shit together.
Nearly nine years later, and both mom and I are doing great!"
27."When I was sharing an apartment with my sister and realized I had no domestic skills whatsoever. I used to get out of chores pretty easily and used youngest sibling privilege to not do much. It really bit me in the ass when I realized that whilst my family loved me, I was unreliable and couldn’t actually take care of myself as an adult. I was so embarrassed of my behavior and realized I didn’t want to be a useless adult, so I started learning at 22 how to do basic activities. I’m still learning, but I’m better than before, and my family can depend on me a lot more."
28."Going over to my friend's house where, no, that food isn’t just for anyone, and we can’t go to that fun thing unless you can pay for gas."
29."I was a spoiled rotten child and also into my teen years. My parents bought me a brand new red convertible for my 16th birthday. I threw a fit over it because what I actually wanted was my brother’s old car (that we still had) which was dark blue in color. I was so shallow and a horrible person back then. So what really turned me around? That next summer I took a job as a camp counselor at a local day camp."
"I did not have to work, but I was bored, and it sounded like something easy to do. God, I was so wrong. This day camp was specifically geared to families who could not afford childcare during the summer. We served them breakfast, lunch, and an afternoon snack. For a lot of the camp kids, this was all they would eat that day, and on Fridays, they would beg for extra food/snacks to take home for themselves and/or their siblings because they may not get to eat again until Monday. This really hit me hard.
But the part that hit me the most was this one kid who would refuse to take their shoes and socks off, even if we were going to the public pool that day. I couldn’t understand why until one day, he came in limping, like his feet were causing him so much pain. I convinced him to let me help him get his shoes and socks so I could see what might be bothering him.
Once I did, it took everything in me not to break down right there. His socks were covered in blood. His poor tiny little feet were covered in sores, and his toes seemed to curl under a bit. He was in so much pain from the state of his feet. As it turns out, he had been wearing shoes about three sizes too small. His family couldn’t afford new shoes. I took my lunch break and went out to buy him new socks and a few pairs of shoes.
This broke me, which I definitely needed. It changed my way of thinking forever."
30.And finally, "I got my first job at 19. They asked me to mop. I figured, I’ve seen people mop, right? I got this. I did not have it. I honestly can’t really comprehend now what I could’ve done wrong, but I was very embarrassed while being corrected on a normal everyday task. I was teased a while at work after."
Can you relate? Share an experience that opened your eyes in the comments!