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Man rebuilds life after family abandons him at 16; 30 years later, they want him back. AITA?

Man rebuilds life after family abandons him at 16; 30 years later, they want him back. AITA?


"Family that left me on the streets at 16, now 30 yrs later want to apologize and make up for lost time."


Ok, as a mild lerker on Reddit, thought I would share my story and newest development in my life after 30 yrs. Might be a bit long, but will do my very best to give you context without too much fluff. Hope this is the right sub.

So I lost my mom when I was 12 to breast cancer. So that just left me and my dad. It was a tough time, but we got through it together. When I was 14, dad met and married my step-mom Ashley who brought with her my stepbrother Mark (14) and stepsister Emily (12).

I got along with Ashley and Emily really well, but Mark, not so much so. He and I were aways getting into arguments and fights. I was always told by my Dad to give Mark a break because he's been "the man" of his house for a while. So this is all new. Like somehow it wasn't new to me?!

Anyways when I was 15, I met a girl at school Lisa and we started dating. As much as one can date at 15. However Mark apparently had a crush on her and was mad that I asked her out. He started a fight over it, in which my Dad had to intervene once again. And somehow I again was made to be the bad guy.

One day after my 16th birthday, my stepmom was putting away my laundry and started yelling. Which was awkward because my girlfriend Lisa was there. We all ran thinking the worst. When we got to my room, my stepmom was holding several pairs of my sisters underwear yelling at me why they are in my drawer.

I had no answer as I'd never seen them before. Of course no one believed me. No matter how much protesting I did. Then Mark piped up saying he always caught me staring at his sister thought it was creepy and caught me once saying I wish I could marry her. Obviously lying, but that was all it took.

Lisa slapped me and called me a perv and told me we were done and walked out. My dad grabbed me by the arm and threw me out of the house. Yelling at me that he wasn't gonna put his daughter at risk from a perv (not the word he used, but you get it).

I banged on the door to be let in, crying and telling them it was all lies told by Mark. My dad, apparently had enough, I heard the locks, he opened the door and shoved me to the ground and told me to get lost. I told him I had no where to go and he said that wasn't his problem, then closed the door.

I found myself on the streets, with nothing to my name. No place to go. I tried calling my dad's parents but he had already called them and they told me they wont help a perv. My mom's parents passed away before I was born.

Well I lived on the streets for 2 years, doing what I had to in order to survive. No kid should have had to do what I had to do, in order to just live, just saying. There were some really dark days. (Lots of therapy later in life helped me with this)

Shortly after I turned 18, I found a job working at a boxing gym, states away from where I began this horrible journey. I worked there for years. Learned the sport (never gonna beat Mike Tyson, but was good at the sport) which help me with my hate and anger.

Then one day met a new girl Ame (20f) at the Cafe down the street from the gym. At this point I was 35, I know, huge age gap, but we just clicked. I don't believe in fate, or soul mates or any of that stuff like that, but if there is such a thing, we had it. Don't know how else to put it.

We dated for 2 years and then got married. Her dad was an electrician and hired me on afterwards. I think mostly to know I would be able to support his daughter and know I was doing right by her, but also incase he needed to keep me in check. (He never said this, but as a dad, I get it now)

Well, 15 yrs later we are still together with 4 beautiful daughters. I just passed my masters license as an electrician. Thanks to my wife for pushing me to get my GED. She has been my rock, my cheerleader, my over all support through this all and I can't tell her enough how much she changed my life and how much I love her.

Anyways, sorry for the tangent, so just this last weekend, I received a email from my stepsister. Not sure how she got my email address, but I know it isn't hard via the internet, not like I've been hiding. Mind you I'm now pushing 53, so it's been 30+ years since I've heard from any of them.

It was a long long email. Not gonna give you all of it, but the meat of it is, they now know what really happened. Mark I guess was busy drinking with his buddy's on Friday and somehow my name was mentioned. Mark I guess started bragging how he set me up and took my girl (yup, Mark and Lisa got together married) all those years ago.

They were all laughing hoping I died on the streets, bunch of rude and vile stuff. Guess he forgot Lisa was there and she heard it all. So she called my stepsister to let her know and so Emily spent all weekend trying to find me.

Like I said, the email was long. Short of it is, they want to apologize face to face (although it was already said in the email multiple times) and want to make up for lost time.

I'm however indifferent to the idea. Like, I have no ill feelings towards her, she obviously was young and had no real say in the matter. But with lots and lots of therapy, I learned to let go of that hate and anger and to let go of them. As well with all the love I receive from my wife, kids and in-laws, it's all I really need.

I'm of the idea of just deleting the email and moving on like nothing happened. My wife thinks I should at least respond back, even if to say something snarky like "thanks for finally believing me, only took over 30 years". Did I mention my wife has a mean/petty streak to her, lol. She's awesome.

Guess not asking for advice, just wanted to share my story. There is a boxing quote that I have up in my house that reminds me everyday. "To see a man beaten not by a better man, but by himself is a tragedy".

Edited: pushing 50 to 53, because apparently, people are getting hung up on my age. Because you know if its not purfect .... Guess that's reddit for ya. 🤷

Here were the top rated comments from readers:


It's up to you what you should do. Personally, I'd either delete the email, or respond telling her, thanks for letting you know, and that while you bear her no hard feelings, you have no interest in reconnecting with any of the rest of them.


This is so sad I hope karma hits your stepbrother super super hard I don’t know him and I hate that monster.

The OP responded here:


LOL, this made me laugh. Thanks.


Interesting. I’m with your wife on this bc I’m petty like that too. Question for you. What happened to your dad & stepmom? Any mention of them in that email? Perhaps for final closure, simply respond you appreciate them reaching out after 30+ years but you have a great life without any of the people who would throw out a 16 year old child on the streets.

Then ask not to be bothered again or say you’re willing to meet if and when Mark, Lisa, your dad and stepmom beg for your forgiveness on their knees to make up for the hell you endured.

The OP again responded:


I might have to do an update/more info post. Like I said, it was long. But to at least answer your question, dad/stepmom still together.


I love your wife.


If you want to make this at least a bit positive, you could send something like, "I'm good, but if you need to assuage your guilt try (list of charities that help homeless kids)."

So, if you could give the OP any advice here, what would you say?

Sources: Reddit
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