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Woman shares the saga of breaking away from her narcissistic parents; 'You expose my kids to a deadly allergen?! YOU'RE DONE.' AITA? UPDATED 4X

Woman shares the saga of breaking away from her narcissistic parents; 'You expose my kids to a deadly allergen?! YOU'RE DONE.' AITA? UPDATED 4X


When this woman is determined to break away from her parents after a dangerous incident with her child, she asks the internet:

"This is the saga of breaking away from toxic parents. AITA?"

Long story short my parents (F) have a history of lying, gaslighting, manipulation and such. Previously it was in regards to my little having celiac and them swearing to follow the diet they know WELL but then sneaking her foods with gluten while lying to her they were gluten free.

We put them in time out for a month or two then had a “discussion” with them. (They were allowed to speak when asking questions for clarification.)

in that we set a lot of boundaries which would be loss of “grandparent privileges” if they didn’t follow. (They keep all grandkids every Friday night bc family should stick together and they want to see them and spend time with them. Plus “it gives you guys a break.”) it does NOT give me a break.

What I get is 3-4 hrs of round trip driving to meet my parents half way and then waiting for them to call only to have to drop things at the last second bc they know we live further but won’t give us an hour heads up like we have repeatedly asked for. So I can’t plan anything on Saturdays.

Then…driving round trip for another 3+ hrs. Not to mention cost of gas. But they like spending time with their cousins so we do it. Also note that the older grandkids only go to see each other so if my kids don’t go my sister’s kids don’t go which means grandparents get zero Friday night kids.

Last night my mom called. My dad had a “mild heart attack.” He’s fine she said. He ejection fraction was 35% and he was in congestive heart failure. He’s on meds that are dropping his blood pressure but the doctors are working on it. Of course I wanted to know what hospital. Oh no.

You don’t understand. Dad is fine. This happened 4-6 months ago. They got the diagnosis 4 months ago. After talking to my mom and processing thing I realized something important…my dad picks my kids up on Fridays.

My dad watched my little for a week at their insistence when I had to take the oldest to get medical care. He was alone with a 5 yo and no other adults.

I calmly clarify with my mom that they’ve known for months and are just now feeling the desire to tell me when he’s been driving my children around all this time. Well yes. And “we knew you were going to do this.”

I informed her that I had a right to know because it is my responsibility to make an informed decision about what situations my children are put in.

My mom blew it off (she likes to gaslight) telling me they would never put my children in danger or harm them. I asked her what would have happened had dad had a heart attack and wrecked killing my children.

She then ended the conversation saying if I was going to be like this she couldn’t talk to me. I wished her well and ended the call. DH (DH stands for Dear Husband) said a 3 month time out and after that we could talk.

He feels 3 months would teach them that we are serious. I’m so lost and I won’t deny it…I’m pissed. I want to mourn my dad’s failing health but I’m too pissed off that they took my decisions away bc “they know better.” It was a manipulation and it’s more gaslighting.

My parents both came from really bad homes. If someone had called CPS back then they would have done an emergency order on my dad’s parents. They tried so hard to not continue the abusive and did really well. This is part of why I’m torn. I know they are trying. But their trying isn’t good enough anymore.

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

cuttlebug writes:

I think you’ve given them enough chances, unfortunately. You are lucky nothing truly bad has happened yet. And even if/when it does, you’re unlikely to get the truth about what happened.

You’re leaving your kids with people you cannot trust. God knows I understand how hard it is to manage with no help, but you have to try.

I think it’s sweet you want your kids to have a relationship with their cousins, but it sounds like you need a new plan for spending time with them.

OP responds:

Unfortunately I went no contact with my sister years ago. (My parents didn’t respect that boundary anymore but now they have 0.00% chance to break it.) at my little’s 3rd birthday she walked in the door to my house with her 15yo daughter and started talking about the movie they watched “last night”.

(Keep in mind we were standing at the door) She went on about orgies, polyamory, etc. Then while kids were running in and out of the living room playing she broke into a client of hers and how she had to teach said client about said topics so police could ask questions (she’s a therapist).

We were given details. It ended in me having the kids all go outside and me unleashing on her for being a therapist she sure doesn’t know what is and isn’t appropriate to discuss at a child’s birthday party.

The only time they see their cousins is at my parents’ house but unfortunately that’s not my fault my parents are behaving the way they are. My sister is mentally unwell and has gone away for help on top of her therapists and medications.

(And yes. She really is a licensed therapist. Yes. It’s scary.) it wasn’t until the past few years I realized how toxic things actually were.

tunatofu writes:

Uhhhh....knowingly giving a Celiac person gluten (and/or knowingly giving a person with severe allergies foods that arent safe) is an ACTUAL CRIME, and in this case also child abuse.

This isnt even a "just anaphylaxis" thing. Celiac isn't a normal allergy. Consuming wheat triggers an autoimmune response and kills the villi in your stomach, not to mention will make you feel like total asshole for MONTHS sometimes.

Not only does this increase the childs risk of getting intestinal or colon cancer, it also is significantly reducing her lifespan and can lead to her becoming severely intolerant to other foods as well.

You can call the police over this. This is child abuse and ngl, if OP does not cease all contact with these monsters immediately he is also guilty of child abuse/endangerment. This is so many kinds of not ok.

OP responded:

I told them all of this minus the abuse/police info. I told them they were feeding her poison. My dad wouldn’t follow the time out rules but I still ignored him. Finally he texted something about my nephew.

Concerned I responded only to find out “he wanted to know when the girls were coming back.” I responded: “you know the answer to that. I said no more unsupervised visits.”

He then laid into me about how his congestive heart failure and heart attack were my fault bc I said they poisoned their grandchild. And how he would NOT be doing supervised visits.

I said that was his choice but that was the only way he’d see them again. So yeah it’s “my fault” he had a heart attack. I didn’t even try to correct him. I just thought…that’s some kind of manipulation right there.

Too bad I’m an RN and can see right through that BS. (It couldn’t be the 2-3 McDonald’s meals he used to eat for lunch every day when he was working or the sedentary life, the high sugar life, the questionable blood sugar issues, the fried foods he would eat at every meal if he could. No me calling him out on his crap caused his congestive heart failure and heart attack.)

My daughter is finally putting on weight. I think she gained one whole pound in the past year and has gained 2 cm in the past year…which all happened in the last 4-5 months. We ALMOST have her to 1% on the growth chart.

OP's first update (a week later):

So dad kept asking if the girls were coming this weekend. Finally I responded and said “per my convo with mom last week it was decided the girls will be staying home for the foreseeable future.”

Accusations started flying on his behalf where he informed me he didn’t want me to know because I caused his heart attack. I explained to him the 10 months of lying (by omission) is why the time out is in place.

I informed him I get to decide if he was healthy enough to drive my children after a heart attack and in chf. If anyone in the family has a right to decide who drives their children around it would be ME the RN who is their mom. I also told him gaslighting would stop.

I was the bigger person and didn’t say, “I didn’t cause your chf because I didn’t give you your genetics and I didn’t give you the food you ate for the past 60+ years. I didn’t make you weigh 350 pounds or convince you to smoke for 30 years.

I didn’t make you sedentary for the past 5 years. Those are all on you.” I’m even refusing to finish reading his message and the additional ones he sent.

Seriously I’m lost. I don’t know what to do. He’s denying they ever gave her gluten. He denies the convo where he admitted to it or the multiple times we caught him and educated where he said he wouldn’t.

We think he’s developing dementia as he has had MANY head injuries over the years…head on collision at 55mph, falling off an oil rig 30 feet up (not sure how he survived those).

I have questioned my mom before anything happened in Nov about dad forgetting things and she denies it saying you forget things when you’re older. But yeah. They are in time out and will no longer have unsupervised access to the kids. I’m just lost. I want a relationship with my parents. They are getting old. They will be dying soon. But this isn’t healthy.

How did you "cause" the heart attack, and could they both have early onset dementia? "Apparently the “cause” of the heart attack was when I told them they were poisoning her and it could kill her. I totally get it. They may both be. I haven’t seen signs in my mom. I see more signs of her denying things/gaslighting."

OP's second update, 5 weeks later:

So here is the gist…my parents don’t like rules/boundaries. They think they have the ultimate say in regards to my children. Ex: during the pandemic doctors diagnosed our little with celiac.

My parents had been following a gluten free diet for our oldest so we didn’t think anything of them transitioning the little in their home to the diet.

Long story short we found out (by my dad’s own admission) that my parents had been giving my little gluten bc I “want them to be like me and be sick” (eye roll) and “if you take a food away for a long time that’s how people develop allergies” (eye roll). We did a time out so I could cool off.

Then we had a come to Jesus meeting where I laid down the law. They agreed to the rules. Any deviation would result in no more unsupervised visits from the kids.

Well…10 months later I found out my dad has had a heart attack and was in congestive heart failure. They hid it for…10 months. Blah blah blah. He’s fine. They are “justified” because I wouldn’t have let the kids go with my dad (him driving) and they “have a right” to the kids.

My father also blamed me for his heart attack. Are you kidding me? (when it was really 2-3 McDonald’s meals every day when he was working, 350 pounds and a sedentary lifestyle, constant sugar intake, and an overall unhealthy lifestyle that lead to his CHF and heart attack.)

I reminded them one of the criteria during the gluten discussion was no lying. My dad said it wasn’t a lie bc they didn’t tell us. I reminded him he raised me that leaving out important facts was lying by omission and this fit that criteria. Then there was him saying I was bitter and trying to control them.

I put us in another time out bc I needed a break and that when the time out was over…there would only be supervised visits. He still contacted me each week to see if he was coming to get the girls. I ignored bc…time out.

Finally he mentions my nephew acting as if something is wrong only to find out…nephew wants to know when my kids are coming back.

Unexpectedly in the middle of the time out…my husband got a job and we are moving out of state. Ouch. (This has NOTHING to do with my parents. The timing was an unfortunate consequence.) Here is the catch.

A few weeks before the pandemic started my husband discussed a possible move out of the country for his job…that crumbled when the pandemic hit obviously. However leading up to it my parents were throwing a fit “how could you do that to us” “we have rights to see our grandchildren”

“family comes first no matter what” “you are hurting the children by not letting them have regular access to their family” and my favorite “we can sue for grandparent rights.” (In our state grandparents have no rights if the parents are married. I don’t know about the state we are moving to.)

I don’t want to deal with the accusations. I don’t want to deal with the fight. I just want it done and over with. So AITA for doing it by text and not a call?

Update 3 (about the celiac):

I apologize. The doctors diagnosed celiac. My parents had been following a gluten free diet for the oldest so we assumed it wouldn’t be a big deal for my parents to transition the little to the same diet. They follow it for the older one.

My father informed me they were giving her small amounts of gluten so she didn’t develop an allergy and that they (my parents) had decided the reason “we” put her on a gluten free diet was bc I was lonely being sick and wanted others “like me”.

I have allergies and a gluten sensitivity. I do not have celiac. But yeah. (Sorry for the confusion)

She has something similar to celiac called gluten ataxia. Instead of attacking the intestines it attacks the brain stem. When exposed to gluten she loses the ability to walk. We do have medical documentation.

Update 4 (about supervision):

"They will never have unsupervised access again. I have put a full stop to that. My father informed me that he will never do supervised visits so I sucked it up and did what Reddit said (I kid you not I did)…then you won’t see them again. Any phone calls…any video chats…any mail.

Will all be supervised. Including any gifts that come in the mail for them. All will be opened and read/combed through ahead of time. (My mom likes to send cards and gifts when they are in trouble.

“We love you no matter what anyone says. It breaks our hearts that you are away from us.” Then she sends a gift that is all girly for the little who is girly…and a super girly gift for the oldest who is a Tom boy.

She does Rubik’s cubes, ninja warrior stuff within her ability, mountain biking…and my mom sends her oragami flowers, adult coloring books with girly themes like lipstick and make up.) Everything will be monitored from here on out.

It makes me feel bad but I don’t want them to come visit. I have never felt comfortable in the nice homes we’ve owned. They were all foreclosures and were so beautiful but half the price. I’ve always felt the need to tell people we could never afford something so nice. My husband said it was bragging but I honestly never felt like I deserved it.

Then my husband asked me “what do you think your parents would say about the new house we picked out?” And I said “mom will tell me it’s nice and that she deserves something like this but my dad never loved her enough to give her something like this.

Then my dad will tell me it’s nice but it’s going to cause so many problems because my mom will want him to do upgrades to their doublewide and that it will devolve into fights and him spending thousands of dollars for her to say it’s not good enough. So thanks.

And at that moment I realized…every home. The same reaction. They deserve it more. I don’t deserve it. And I realized…they are the reason I never feel like I deserve a nice home.

Update 5 (on keeping in contact with parents):

After a few of those responses I started realizing what my parents were saying they were doing out of love and family obligation…was actually toxic.

I’m working on it. With each issue I get closer and closer to the no contact. I’m hoping (however fruitless it might be and I realize it’s maybe a 5% chance of getting better) once I start laying down boundaries that they will start to realize their actions are inappropriate and what led to the issues.

And now, OP's final update:

Thank you all. I didn’t expect the outpouring of love. I AM learning how to deal with things. Once we are moved I will be finding a therapist. Thank you to those who sent me resources to help. I truly do appreciate them!

We’ve decided to tell them after my husband has officially moved (or is about to walk out the door so he can be there). We will be hanging back a week or two but he will establish a new residency for us the next day so we will be official new state residents before they can do anything.

They can’t get an address bc…well we won’t have one yet lol. We have always taken an approach of you deal with your family and I will deal with mine. BUT…you have helped me see…once I tell them, he can deal with them…and I’m ok with that. (So is he to clarify.)

And I will NOT be embarrassed or ashamed of my new home. It will be beautiful. It will be a dream. It will be a place a make a ton of memories in and they will NOT ruin it for me this time!!!

Readers continued to weigh in on OP's updates:

I really feel for her. It is so hard to see how dysfunctional and toxic your own family is. It takes time away, healing, and years to sort it out.

The worst part is just wanting your parents to stop being assholes, and just love you. You give them every chance, and they keep on being horrible toxic narcissists. Eventually you realize what you really wanted was that Normal Rockwell painting of a family, and your own parents had never ever been able to give that to you, and you were missing something you never had.

It takes a lot of emotional work, and self reflection, and support to get to that point, where you start thinking, why are these people even in my life?

What do YOU make of OP's story? Any advice for her?

Sources: Reddit
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