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Teen pressured to delay college to help sister with baby; told 'sacrifice for family.'

Teen pressured to delay college to help sister with baby; told 'sacrifice for family.'


There's a major difference between actively choosing to make sacrifices for the sake of your family, and being manipulated and guilted into making sacrifices out of obligation.

The former allows you agency and lets you figure out where you have space and capacity to give, while the latter is the breeding ground for burnout and resentment. Finding the sweet spot can be harder than it sounds when you have the voices of family members chiming in your ears.

In a popular post on the AITA subreddit, a young woman asked if she's wrong for going off to college out-of-state and leaving behind her single mother sister.

She wrote:

AITA for planning to move out of state for college, leaving my single mother sister alone?

I (18f) have a twin, Mary. We don’t have any more siblings. Mary got pregnant when she was 14. She couldn’t find the father to tell him she was pregnant and he is still nowhere to be seen. We have lived with our parents in a 2 bedroom apartment for nearly a decade now. So when Mary gave birth, her baby had to stay in our room.

My parents worked more so they could provide for the baby so it was mostly Mary and I at home taking care of her baby. If I wasn’t at school, my parents would demand that I go home and help my sister with her baby. I had no life, no privacy, and no love or attention since my sister had her baby. I know obviously the baby and mother take priority but I felt so alone.

At 14-15, it was very hard for me to come to terms with my parents not asking me how I’m doing anymore, not congratulating me on my achievements, coming to my games, taking care of me when I’m sick etc. I became resentful of Mary and my parents but I did a pretty good job at never showing them that. I knew the feeling would pass and it did by the time I was 16.

I got at a job at 16 so I had some time to myself outside of school and my niece. My parents then coerced me to contribute almost 80% of wages to help Mary take care of her baby. I’ve always been a pushover so I couldn’t say no, especially because Mary and the baby did actually need that money. Most of the money my parents made was going to bills, rent, and car payments.

Anyway, I told my parents I got into a very good college out of state on a near full scholarship and that I’m planning to go. They asked how I can think it’s ok to just leave them to take care of Mary’s baby. I asked why I should stay in a shared bedroom with my sister and young niece for my college years?

They said not everything is about what I want and sometimes people make sacrifices for family as they are doing. Mary jumped into the conversation by saying she wouldn’t go off to another state and leave me a single mother alone if the roles were reversed. I said she isn’t alone, our parents are here. She said it’s not the same because they’re always gone for work. AITA?

The internet wasted no time before weighing in.

w0mbatina had a crucial question for OP:

Obviously NTA. What are you supposed to do, put your life on hold for the next 14 years until the kid grows up? Go, get an education and live a good life. You are not responsible for your sisters kid.

And OP popped in to answer it:

I actually asked my mom when it would be acceptable for me to leave and live my own life and she said when Mary isn’t a single mother anymore. So I have to wait till she gets a serious boyfriend/husband and move in with him till my duties are done? I’m not willing to do that.

jaybloo had a comment and question as well:

'Mary jumped into the conversation by saying she wouldn’t go off to another state and leave me a single mother alone if the roles were reversed.'

I highly doubt that. Someone so selfless wouldn't ask you to drop your dreams to take care of their baby and their problem. I get your parents are tight on money at the moment but it's not your problem to deal with. NTA. Just curious. Does Mary have a job?

And OP answered, giving even more clarity around the situation:

No she doesn’t have a job. She had two jobs since the baby and she got fired from one for stealing and the other for being constantly late. She hasn’t tried to get another job since and the last job was a year ago.

75oharas wrote:

NTA, and I would suggest considering staying away for the first few holidays (between terms/semesters), go backpacking, stay at a friend's or even stay at college at the very least.

This will give you enough separation that it may make it sink into their heads that you are not the one that got pregnant and while your sister deserves support you aren't a serf to look after her and the kid for the rest of your life.

oaksandpines1776 wrote:

NTA. Are you still working? Stop giving Mary any money at all. That is your money that you earned. You are going to need it. Put it into a bank account your parents do not have access to. It's kinda ridiculous you had to give 80% of money you earned to her. It's time she got a job and stood on her own two feet.

Clearly, OP isn't TA in any universe, and needs to get away from this situation as soon as possible to claim her own agency and set a firm boundary.

Sources: Reddit
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