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Man refuses to clean up mother's 'hoarding' room; 'I don't care that you're GRIEVING, you gave me PTSD.' AITA? UPDATED

Man refuses to clean up mother's 'hoarding' room; 'I don't care that you're GRIEVING, you gave me PTSD.' AITA? UPDATED

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When this man is furious with his mother's demands in her state of grief, he asks the internet:

"AITA for Refusing to Help My Grieving Mother?"

I(28 male) have a strained relationship with my family. My mother(60's female) and I don't get along well She talks down to me for anything that isn't in line with her opinions, and she can be very spiteful, holding onto grudges for YEARS.

That's not including the lies, secrets, and abuse she dished my way for as long as I can remember. I have ptsd from it.

About a year ago my wife's parents asked me to move out of the house we were living in. I asked my parents if I could move in. They accepted, on the condition I look for a job and help take care of the animals on my mom's hobby farm. I ended up staying with them for about a year.

In May we signed the lease on a rental at a great price, so we moved. My mom texted me late at night in mid May, telling me my dad was in the ER. To make a long story short, my wife and I drove about 30 minutes to the hospital they were at and found my mom with my dad in intensive care.

We were only there a few minutes before he crashed and we were escorted out of the room. We stayed for awhile, with my mom crying over his body while one of nurses helped run her through the next steps. We dropped her off at home that night, then headed home.

One of the things my mom asked me to help with was cleaning the room I had stayed in. While I cleared it of my stuff when I left there was still a bunch of crap my parents had piled in there, plus a handful of trash, like plastic bottles and dirt.

They are hoarders. I dunno why, but I just didn't care. I felt so damn numb to it all. She has a deadline for me to clean it, so my brother(40's male) has a place to stay while he came from out of state to help. That deadline passed. I just felt so numb to it all, I couldn't bring myself to care.

Since then I've received multiple messages and calls from her and my brother. At about 10:30 in the morning there was a banging on my bedroom window, and when I peeked out the curtains my heart sank as I saw my mom.

I went to the living room and spoke to her through the window. She told me to come outside and help her back at her home. I told her no.

At that point my brother piped up, and told me to do it for mom, that I needed to help. I told them no again, and they kept asking, my brother even promising he "won't do anything" if I just went with them. At some point I just went quiet and hid in the bedroom.

When I thought it was over I went back out into the living room, only to hear my brother yelling at the door for me to come outside or he'd beat my ass before the cops could show up. Shortly after they left, with my brother calling me an asshole, and tearing out of our shared drive.

So, am I the Asshole for refusing to help my mother? She needed help, but I just flat out refused, so I can see that could make me a bad son. Cut down for character limit, so feel free to ask questions.

Before we give you OP's update, let's take a look at some of the top responses:

faith~ writes:

YTA. Why are you all so shallow and heartless? You all lost a family member. You lost your father. Your mom lost her husband. Why can't you just help her out a bit? Can't you do this LC or NC after a month? Is this the right time to consider your past grievance?

solidlygarbageee writes:

So... ESH. Your brother, without a doubt. AH. Your mother demanding you help her clean her mess. Yeah, kinda AH.

You refusing to help, when they put you up for a year? AH. But you're all grieving. If you wanna cut contact with your mother (and maybe brother), no better time to then now. I'd say, go help clear the house. Go through your father's things. Take the time, and process. Actually grieve. Say goodbye. Then, go NC if you want.

hahau writes:

YTA - hiding in the bedroom at 28? You stayed there for a year - you were asked to clean out 'the room' you stayed in - you got your own stuff but didn't clean out the room.

Your father died in the hospital so you dropped your mom off and went home. You refuse to help either her or your brother. Next time you need a place to stay, your family should just flat out refuse.

contra6 writes:

ESH. Look, you’re all grieving, so I’m sure this is all understandable and easily forgivable later. But yes, you should help clean.

Your widow mother asked you to, after putting you (and maybe your wife?) up in her house for a whole year, and it’s literally the least you could do. Show kindness. (Side note, why did your wife’s parents kick you out?)

Your brother threatening violence is an obvious ahole move. Your mother could be an ahole if she made all the mess, but she probably just wants an excuse to have you with her at her house and supporting her.

She also is an ahole for the previous abuse. So, if you want to fully cut contact, then I totally understand and you’re making the right moves towards that.

I understand the disengaging numbness you’re feeling. If you just ignore it all, then maybe it’s not real, right? It’s the opposite side of the coin to your brother’s rage reaction.

Both are common signs of grief and not shameful in and of themselves. But it’s time to put your actions to the test and ask yourself is this the person you want to be? When you look back on this time period, will you be proud or ashamed of how you handled this?

Only you can answer that. Seek help for your grief. And my sincerest condolences for your loss.

winter8 writes:

So although you are both grieving right now, you asked her for help when you needed it, and she let you move back in for a whole year. Now she needs something when her husband has died, and you just don't care?

That just sounds unfair. You mention a bad relationship with her, but you can't say these things are transactional - if her letting you stay doesn't make up for her poor behaviour in the past, then it also means you can't say her behaviour excuses you from a reasonable ask.

It's not about being a bad son, it's about accepting help from someone you aren't willing to give any grace to.

She is obviously wrong if she has hurt you so badly in the past, and your brother sounds like a piece of work! Understandable you don't want to help him out at all, but if you had time to clear it whilst he needed a bed ready for that night, I get why your mother asked.

So ESH. But it sounds like you need to have some open conversations if you plan to remain in her life, or resentment will recur.

And now, OP's update, where he addresses some of reader's questions:

Sorry, sorry, I'll go more in depth. Basically, while we(my wife, our toddler, and I) lived with my wife's parents we had a routine for my child's lunch. My wife's mom would take any left overs from dinner and pack some for her husband's lunch and some for my child's.

Then, when leaving for work in the morning, she would place the lunchbox on the counter so I wouldn't have to worry about finding it.

Well, one Monday I saw it on the counter and grabbed it without checking, and got her to daycare. Turns out none of us had actually cleaned it out since the Friday before, so all that was in there was some half eaten snacks and dried ketchup.

The daycare called my wife's mom, and they were royally pissed I had messed up, which is understandable. They asked me to be moved out in a week, so I contacted my parents, and they allowed me to move in with them.

My wife stayed with her parents, as it was more spacious, and would drop our kid off with me every weekend, and would visit whenever she wasn't swamped with work.

I hope that clears things up. They kicked me out over it, but I feel like they were tired of having me around as my wife and I had been living there for about a year and a half by then.

My wife was NOT fine with it. She was turbo pissed at her parents, but considering they were housing us for free in their own place it was kinda hard to argue with them.

My mother is... complicated. She doesn't usually physically hurt me, more so talking down to me and critiquing everything she dislikes about me, which is a lot.

With the whole lunchbox thing, we basically all just goofed and presumed someone else cleaned it, and I thought she had packed it already. As for why she put it out, it was a genuinely kind thing. She wanted to make it easier for me, or whoever was taking the kiddo to daycare, to get out the door.

They also don't hate me, as my wife's mom asked me if I wanted to talk to a doctor after my dad's passing.

She straight up told me that she knows neither her nor her husband tell it to my face, but they love and care about me, and wanted to make sure I was okay. I'm nervous around them, but I really like it when I go to family outings with them, they're great people. My wife's whole family is wonderful.

I think it boils down to our relationship as a whole. She's done pretty terrible things in the past, that I still feel the effects of. It also hurts that I've been told by my brother to "man up", and to grieve after our mother gets done with her grieving.

That being said, I do think you have a point about considering past grievances. It's hard to separate that my mother has done bad things, but she needs help at the moment.

What do YOU make of OP's story? Is he TA here or not?

Sources: Reddit
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