A neglected young man came to Reddit for advice after a family tragedy:
My parents had my sister and I (18f) a year apart. My sister died a few weeks ago. I was already estranged from them. My sister was severely disabled and had a number of medical problems related to her birth. She wasn't able to eat, walk, talk, or do anything for herself.
For as long as I can remember my parents were either working or dedicating all their time to her. Any time I wasn't a perfectly behaved, perfectly independent child, I was met with anger from them.
Like when I struggled to stay awake in kindergarten because some of the machine's in mine and my sister's room kept me up all night, I got a stern talk about how it was a disruption they didn't need. Or when my teacher started to think I was dyslexic, they accused me of faking it for attention and grounded me for several days.
When I complained to my grandma about feeling unwanted and she went after them over it, I got yelled at and called a spoiled brat.
I was left alone in the hospital when I got my tonsils out and when I had appendicitis and they needed to remove those too. My dad grumbled on the way home both times about how much of their time I took up.
When my sister ended up in the hospital for two months, I was age 10 and my parents left me home alone. I called grandma and she stayed with me (she also called CPS a few times over the years but nothing changed). And when my parents found out, they were angry that I got them into trouble with her.
I have so much more I could say but there's just too much I could rant about. When I was 16 I made the decision I needed to leave and I told them I was going. They rolled their eyes, but I moved in with grandma and nothing happened, so I stayed with her and still live with her today.
Grandma went to my sister's funeral but I did not. I also did not speak to my parents directly after she died. Grandma did, very briefly.
After the funeral was over and I guess once they realized they had nobody, they tried to reach out to me. I told them to accept they had lost their only child and to leave me alone because there was nothing they could do for me after 18 years.
They were crying and angry and told me I was so cruel, and my sister is dead and I'm trying to punish them when they're grieving the worst loss imaginable. AITA (Am I the a-hole)?
Reddit actually was all over the board, and OP joined the discussion.
NTA (Not the a-hole). They lost one child, threw the other one away. God bless your Grandma for loving you so wholly.
I'm going ESH (everyone sucks here) but a very light suck on your part. The way your parent treated you was unacceptable. You shouldn't have gone through that and should not have been treated as a burden. I can assume your parents were very stressed but that does not mean you treat your child like a pest.
The only reason I am saying you suck too (though very very lightly) is because you said face that they lost their only child right after their child died. I understand they treated you bad but that's rubbing their faces in your sister's death. Also why not come to your sister's funeral? Did she do something to you to make you upset?
Not having a relationship with them is your choice and I encourage it but don't spit in their faces while they're already on the ground. Almost seems as if you were waiting for your sister to die so you could say that.
I didn't really have a relationship with her. Plus I was feeling weird hearing she was gone and I didn't want to see them. So I stayed home and sat with my thoughts.
I remember the first time my parents left me alone at like 17. It was scary to be alone. I’m so sorry you had to experience that so young and for multiple days. Sounds like you could have gone to grandma’s instead.
I had my tonsils removed right before I turned 13. Both my parents went with me. My dad knew I’d be calmer if he were there. I can’t imagine having to go through that alone. I had a lot of bleeding afterwards and rode home lying on my mom’s lap.
I can’t imagine what it would be like to have to go through those surgeries alone. I’m so sorry you had to go through that. You deserved better.
I was terrified. Grandma would have stayed had she known. Once she found out she was there. But it was a lot. I was 10 and had no idea when I would see any of them again. My sister was in the hospital for 2 months and I would have been alone that whole time if not for grandma.
They never told her about the surgeries either so I could have maybe had someone there. I was alone, in for two nights after my appendix and in overnight for the tonsils and went through the processes alone. I cried a lot. Then I got into the car with my dad both times after and heard how much I sucked for needing surgery.
YTA (You're the a-hole) - you didn’t go to your sister’s funeral. You’re lucky your parents want to rekindle their relationship with you. Sounds like you had lots of jealousy and attachment issues because your parents had to prioritize your special needs sister.
OP, I am so sorry that for so much of your life you were treated as an afterthought or nuisance. Congratulations for getting yourself out of that situation and forging your own path. Have your parents actually apologized, for what THEY did? The neglect, the abusive comments, the failure to recognize you as their child as well? Regardless, absolutely NTA. No one is owed forgiveness.
They did not apologize or acknowledge anything, no.
Your sister was born with extreme special needs and it sounds like your parents were overwhelmed. Your childhood was rough and you deserved better....it was not your fault....but sounds like your parents weren't able to give u the love and attention you deserved. The made huge mistakes with you....but why let them continue?
You didn't go to your sister's funeral - why? She wasn't to blame with how you were raised. Your life is now at a crossroads. Do you remain stubborn and bitter and hate your parents for the rest of your life? What do you gain in that? Or do you try to finally build a meaningful relationship with them. Be open minded and open hearted and you will be rewarded in life.
I didn't go because I didn't want to see them, and hearing she had died was very weird for me. The way things were meant I never bonded with her and I never really knew her. So being at the funeral was not something that would have been good for me.
Honestly I want them out of my life for good. They were for two years and those were the best two years of my life. Without them I am able to move forward better and I am treated the way I should have been as a kid. I am loved now. I finally matter to someone. I am no longer yelled at and told how I'm selfish and taking up too much attention.
One thing we can all agree on: Grandma is definitely the hero of the story.