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Woman won't forgive father figure with cancer for childhood abandonment, brothers mad.

Woman won't forgive father figure with cancer for childhood abandonment, brothers mad.


There are times when the onset of someone's illness can bring out the most forgiving parts of people, as they realize how limited their time is even if they've bad blood.

But that is simply not always the case. Sometimes, you just don't like someone, whether they're dying or not.

In a popular post on the AITA subreddit, a young woman asked if she's wrong for not wanting to help her former father figure while he has cancer.

She wrote:

AITA for not being the nicest about my 'not father' having cancer?

I’m “Sophie” (22f) and I have two older half brothers (25m) and (27m). The man who had been raising me as my father (54m) found out I was not his biological child (my two older brothers are) when I was 7 and promptly abandoned me and divorced my mom. He was very involved up until this point and was actually in the middle of coaching my soccer team when it happened.

He abandoned that too and the assistant coach had to take over. Anyways. He ended up (not sure how) paying child support to my mom for me, probably because he was the breadwinner and him leaving my mom left us two in pretty dire financial circumstances. I was also yanked out of the private school my brothers and I attended.

He remarried a few years later to a woman with a daughter a year younger than me and promptly did everything with her that he used to do with me. Hurrah for them. Sophomore year of highschool some organization was hosting a father-daughter dance in our school gym while I was around campus with some friends (can’t remember) and we vandalized the fancy car he pulled up in.

Not something I’m proud of but I’m mentioning it here because although I paid for half the cost of repairs he graciously paid the other half and decided not to press charges. Anyways, now the old man has cancer, both brothers and stepdaughter are out of state with school, and his wife has early arthritis or something, not really sure.

He calls MY mom and asks her if either of us could drive him to and from chemotherapy! We were in the car and he was on speaker, so I told him no, that’s something family does and he’s made it very clear he doesn’t see either of us as family and hung up. Mom is doing things like bringing casseroles and driving him. I don’t try to stop her but I don’t help her either.

She has recently started to try and guilt me into it, saying:

He always paid child support, to which I said the amount of money he lost on that was about as impactful as a fart in the wind for ole moneybags.

He didn’t press charges about his car, to which I said great he did one nice thing for me, so he can get ONE casserole or ONE car ride.

Now my siblings and his stepdaughter have all flown in and my brother says he (not dad) REALLY needs to speak to me. I said to tell him that if he has something to say to me I don’t want to hear it and if he writes me a letter I’m not opening it.

I said I was sorry for what they were going through but that he’s made it very clear I’m not his family and so I don’t want them asking me for things they would ask of family. However, they’re struggling and the more they ask for help the more my patience wears thin and the more insensitive my rejections get.

My mother recently talked with me about “being the bigger person”- AITA? Also please don’t leave comments like “The real a**hole is your mom for cheating and committing paternity fraud!” Like, thanks for that one Sherlock, and my mother and I have reconciled.

EDIT: My mom is pushing me to “be the bigger person” because our pastor says it will have a healing effect on my soul (she is very religious).

People kept it real in the comments.

TeachingClassic5869 wrote:

NTA. The man who had raised you as his own daughter, for seven years, suddenly dumped you. It was not your fault that your mother had cheated. You loved him as your father. He ripped away your security, your family, your lifestyle, and I am sure a good chunk of your heart.

That is not something that is easily forgiven. Maybe your mother is helping him because she still has some sort of sense of guilt. But that is not your guilt to carry. That man did you very wrong, and I wouldn't shed a tear when he died if I were you. I am sorry your brothers are suffering. It's understandable, they are worried about their father. But he has not been a father to you for 15 years. By his own choice.

How much is one child supposed to take? Not only did he withdraw his love and affection, but then he made you watch as he showered that attention on another little girl who was also not his child. He seems to have no problem loving her. The hurt and trauma he has caused you is not easily gotten over.

It sucks that your mom is so quick to overlook the damage that was done to you in order to try to rehabilitate herself. It's not about being the bigger person. The injustices he did to you were inflicted on a child. He had the opportunity to do right by you and chose not to. Your mom is infidelity was not your fault.

The relationship you had established with him for seven years meant nothing to him. And now he means nothing to you. And that's OK.

HenrideMarche wrote:

I get where you’re coming from, you have every right to feel abandoned. However, I’m going to say he’s potentially not the AH either, finding that out for him would have hit like a tonne of bricks and he reacted badly, given his age handling emotions was never something he was taught and he definitely should have gotten therapy, and it sounds like you wouldn’t be so bad off getting some too.

Mortality has a way of bringing perspective to some of these things and it’s likely he hasn’t ever found a way to try and reach out and now that he has this hanging over his head he wants to at least attempt to apologise or make things right. OP you’re NTA, but speaking as someone who has been a very angry kid in my early 20’s you may regret not having the conversation, especially if he loses this fight.

shrimpandshooflypie wrote:

I think you should do whatever serves you best long term, OP. If speaking to him will stir up hatred and hurt that you already laid to rest, you are right to protect those boundaries and stay away.

There may be fallout with your brothers, especially as they grieve, but no one can reasonably expect a child who was discarded the way you were to put herself in a place of suffering again. If they can’t understand that, then that is a limitation on their parts that you cannot control.

It’s also okay if you decide you want to speak to him, but that is a decision that should be made solely by you and in the absence of guilt or pressure. Either way, do whatever sets you up to take the healthiest next steps in life. And if you haven’t been in therapy yet, please go. You suffered some terrible trauma at your parents’ hands and deserve to find healing from it. NTA.

deividyx wrote:

NAH the only a**hole here that I can see is the OP's mother who cheated and crated this whole mess in the first place. OP's 'father' can ask for help, but OP sure as hell can say not and that should be the end of it. OP's mother should help out, because she got a child support to take care of affair child.

Clearly, OP is NTA, but it's a bit more complicated than a simple NTA or TA ruling given the circumstances.

Sources: Reddit
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