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'AITA for telling my mom I won't come home because her attention is on my autistic brother?'

'AITA for telling my mom I won't come home because her attention is on my autistic brother?'


Telling a loved one can be incredibly painful, especially when it's something they don't want to hear.

In a popular post on the AITA subreddit, a woman asked if she was wrong for telling her mom she won't be coming home for a visit. She wrote:

"AITA for telling my mother that I won't come home because all her attention is already on my autistic brother anyway?"

I (25F) thought I was close to my family when I was growing up. I left for college at 18 and even though I've made a lot of visits to my hometown, I really don't wish to live there. I'll give you a bit of context before asking if I am the ah.

I have a younger brother (22M - Jason) who is on the spectrum. I love him very much. Jason has a lot of challenges. He cannot speak, has developmental issues and several neurocognitive problems, as well as general health problems. Understandably, taking care of Jason was a pretty difficult task for my parents and I when I lived with them.

It all fell upon my parents' shoulders when I left home. So much so that I barely could make meaningful phone calls and conversations with my parents. Whenever I went back home, my parents barely even noticed me. They spent their whole day trying to take care of Jason, and didn't honestly care about what I was saying or the fact that I had made a long trip back home just to see them in person.

I eventually realized I had always been the second class citizen in our household this whole time. So these trips became less frequent over time. This year, I decided to spend Christmas with my girlfriend's (Lauren 28F) family. She is my first (and hopefully only) serious girlfriend. The first person I fell in love with.

My parents haven't met her in person and know almost nothing about her other than her name. I don't think they care. We've been dating for the past year. My mother got very upset when she found out I won't be home for Christmas. Mom called yesterday and invited me over for a visit at home. (She hadn't called me all this time. I was the one who gave her a phone call like once every other week).

I said I would not like to do that. When she asked me why I said because my being there wouldn't even be noticed because all of their attention would be on Jason anyway. My mother started crying and saying she was doing the best she could all this time. I felt pretty bad for making her cry. Was I the AH in this situation?

The internet was quick to share their thoughts.

Ok-Acanthaceae5744 wrote:

NTA - But I worry that they apparently couldn't cope without you when you left. It makes me wonder if you were being asked to take on more responsibilities than were appropriate. If it's to the point where they can't even have a simple conversation with you, then to me something is wrong.

Have they reached out to community supports? There are usually different programs available that can provide care and opportunities for your brother (less than a full-time housing situation), while also providing some respite for parents.

m0t0g0th wrote:

Just want to point out that you are asking OP to worry about and take care of their parents, when they came here needing help/advice/attention because nobody was worrying about or taking care of *them*, so....

corgihuntress wrote:

NTA. I'm sure she's struggled and so has your father. It doesn't change your lived experience. It's not wrong to want to stay away when you know how bad you feel being there. I hope they've thought about who will be caring for your brother when they no longer can. I hope they don't expect you to be come his caretaker.

VariousTry4624 wrote:

NAH. Your mom and dad are not at fault, they are in a heartbreaking situation, and have made choices in terms of their priorities based on that situation. You are not at fault either: their choices came at your expense and you have a right to withdraw from them based on that. Do not blame yourself.

HairMetalChick wrote:

NTA. I have 2 boys (with autism and lots of other special needs) and 1 NT daughter. Even though my oldest had 26 surgeries on his spine from the ages of 6-17 and has ASD (didn’t speak into 4 1/2) and I had my hands FULL I made sure my daughter felt seen and loved and while we appreciated her love and devotion to her brothers she was not responsible to be their caretaker.

She is currently a sped major in college. And while we had the typical mother /daughter stuff until she was about 16 she does say that I am her best friend. I am soooo sorry that you had such a different experience. It is so important that we don’t get lost with our special needs kids to the point where our NT kids feel overlooked or less than!

Again, I am so sorry this was your experience. I hope you guys can talk and heal. I am also the daughter of toxic parents/siblings who haven’t spoken to me in 25 years. Sometimes cutting ties is best for your mental health and family winds up being chosen. I hope tou find peace and happiness with whatever you decide to do. 🤘🏻🤘🏻🤘🏻🤘🏻🤘🏻🤘🏻🤘🏻

Faster_Furiosa wrote:

NTA. All children deserve attention from their parents, even the ones who do NOT have severe problems. You have the right to your feelings. The situation must be hard on your parents but still, sometimes it has to be about YOU. Not all the time but sometimes.

I had a similar situation in my life at one point, it was always about my mom and her depression. Regardless of what we, the kids, went through. My brother and I very close and can talk about it thankfully.

mcgillhufflepuff wrote:

NAH You both communicated how you felt. Your mother's reaction may not be totally based on just what you said – being a caregiver can be taxing, and she may feel that she can't do better in meeting both you and your sibling's needs (don't doubt your emotional needs may not be totally met).

OP is def NTA here, but this is one of those tough situations where no one is truly an AH.

Sources: Reddit
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