When this daughter is fed up with her toxic and mentally unstable parents, she does the unthinkable, starts charging them to talk to her. She isn't sure if this is wrong, so she takes her question to the popular Reddit forum:
I (35F) have a mother (69F) and a father (69M) who both grew up in difficult households: my mother is a child of neglect, while my father was physically and emotionally abused by his parents.
Despite their (presumed) efforts, they both were abusive to me and my siblings growing up. I decided to get active about addressing my trauma in my 20s, and after therapy and a lot of time, practice, and effort, I am in a better place.
I know my siblings have also addressed their issues with professional help and are doing better too.
However, my parents have never taken steps to address their mental health issues. This continues to create a lot of tension, especially when my siblings and I visit and they start slipping back into old, abusive habits towards us.
I have encouraged both of my parents to seek out someone to talk to for the past decade or so, with little progress.
My mother is more open to the idea of counseling or therapy, while my father is dismissive of anything that doesn't fit his toxic masculinity-aligned self-image (therapy is for 'weak people' - thanks, I guess).
So instead of seeking professional help, both parents (individually) vent to me instead. My mother will complain about my father, her marriage, her depression, et cetera.
My father will complain about my mother, his marriage, his anger issues, his abusive parents, et cetera. After years of dealing with my own issues, trying to cope with my parents' issues is getting overwhelming.
I came up with what I thought was a clever solution: recently, when each of my parents tried to complain to me again, I told them I'd be charging them $40 an hour to listen and offer advice from that point on, because if I'm going to be their therapist, I should at least get paid for it.
My parents are wealthy, so money isn't an issue, but they both got mad at me for this and called me a variety of names/adjectives.
I think I might be the asshole because as their daughter, I should be offering them support free of charge. But after years of dealing with my own trauma, and years of listening to theirs - and the ongoing consequences of them refusing to deal with it - I'm emotionally exhausted.
I'm a teacher and writer by trade, not a therapist, and I can't keep serving as the dumping ground for their problems. AITA for what I did?
NTA. Yes, you should support them, as their adult child. But Not when it’s to your own detriment. Abusive parents don’t qualify for support.
Do they ever listen to you vent about your life? Tell them it’s an equal exchange, so they can only vent to you again when you’ve caught up their combined whine time from the past fifteen years - which should make you even around the year 2160 from the sound of things.
And I’d up the rate to $110/hour, it’s what my last therapist charged.
darthhufflepuff makes this interesting point:
YTA. First of all, venting to someone and getting advice is not therapy... so no, you are not doing a therapist's job at all and therefore than statement makes no sense.
You are either there to support someone or not, but don't pretend like it's therapy (of course, I always think you don't have to be there for someone if you don't want to).
YTA. Also, whether or not you're technically justified, 'I don't care about your problems, and you should be paying me to deal with your bullshit' was a deliberately asshole-ish thing to say.