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Woman uninvites stepsister from family vacay; 'she trashed her disabled son's room.' AITA? +Update

Woman uninvites stepsister from family vacay; 'she trashed her disabled son's room.' AITA? +Update

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When this woman is concerned about her stepsister's mental stability, but also sympathetic to her experience as a mother to a severely disabled child, she asks Reddit:

"AITA for cancelling my sister’s visit even though her therapist said she needed a vacation?"

About three years ago, my stepsister Daphne got pregnant. She and her husband Jim were thrilled, but found out at the 20 week scan that the baby had a congenital condition and would be born severely disabled (apologies if these are insensitive terms, I am not sure how people prefer to say it?).

Daphne decided to keep going with the pregnancy despite Jim’s protests and they split up, but got back together by the time their son Liam was born. He is now 2 years old.

Over the last two years, Daphne’s (and Jim’s) mental health has declined significantly. Daphne used to be a positive and pleasant person, but now it’s impossible to have a conversation with her. She is malicious, envious, and flies off the handle at any perceived slight.

When I was having my child, I didn’t speak to her for most of the pregnancy because of how bitter and narcissistic she was. We don’t live close to Daphne so rarely see her in person, but I heard she was getting worse from our parents. In early November, Daphne had a mental breakdown.

She trashed Liam’s room completely and vandalised Jim’s car in a fit of rage. This was enough to finally get her moved up the waiting list for mental health services and she started therapy.

She reached out to me during this time and we had a few conversations and I invited her and Jim to visit my husband and I for a vacation at our beach house in March.

Then we saw Daphne and Jim over Christmas and it was awful. Daphne could keep herself in check for a couple of hours, but then she would revert back to her old self. She would swear constantly, and while I know Liam can’t understand her, I think swearing at kids isn’t okay.

Whenever I expressed concern for her she would just snap that I need to get off my high horse about having a “perfect” child. Jim was snapping at her constantly. He would also constantly ask to hold or play with my child, to the point it got annoying. Overall, the whole Christmas break was just the whole family being anxious over the situation.

My husband finally said a week ago that he didn’t want Daphne and Jim visiting, and I agreed. I called Daphne and said that something had come up with my husband’s work and we needed to cancel the trip. Daphne was furious.

Apparently her therapist had been saying how good this break would be for her (they haven’t been on vacation since having Liam) and I owed her this one thing to help her. Eventually she gave up and said I was a horrible person for pulling the rug out from under her and hung up.

I feel bad if I’m derailing her recovery, and even my parents think I shouldn’t have cancelled, which is making me rethink things.

They saw how absolutely horrible she was to me over Christmas, they saw how obsessed Jim became with my child, and they still think I should have put that aside, and they’re not normally the “keep the peace” people, so maybe I really am in the wrong. AITA here?

Let's see what readers thought.

individualad0 writes:

NTA. While your sister's mental health issues are tragic, her behaviors during Xmas pretty much told you what you (and your family) can expect during another visit.

You most certainly did not derail her recovery. She needs a lot more help than you can provide to her, including finding some specialized baby sitting for her son. You don't owe to her, nor to your parents, the stress that she will put you and your family under.

negativecookie7 writes:

NTA. Op I am a parent of a disabled child who will need life long care. Your sister is an abusive parent. I understand things are hard for her but she is clearly not being honest in therapy. She destroyed her kid's room. Is Child services involved and if not, why?

Liam is going to get bigger and being in a toxic environment like this is not good. If Liam's disability is only physical then he 100% understands that his mum hates him. If the disability is cognitive in nature then Liam still knows that something is wrong. OP the only perosn you need to care about is the little boy who cannot advocate for himself.

Frankly your sister and her brother need to put their adult pants on and get over themselves. You get the child you get. Should they have aborted-maybe. But they could have had a healthy kid who became unwell or injured and ended up in the same or worse situation.

What ifs are not going to change anything. Liam is here now and if his parents can't be supportive and loving advocates for him they need to consider adoption.

anonstrike93 writes:

I know this comment isn't helpful to OP, but when professionals advise you to terminate one's pregnancy, one should heed that advice. They have real-life ongoing consequences not only for the child and parents but for the extended family too. Daphne made a very selfish decision and is now expecting everyone to help.

NTA, OP. I don't think it's fair to have to expose you and your family to your sister and husband. And you didn't derail her therapy. Part of therapy is learning to deal with setbacks. Is it possible to gift her a cheap holiday somewhere else?

OP offers these updates:

UPDATE 1: FYI They can’t afford specialized babysitting. Liam does go to a special daycare a couple of days a week but state support services in their area are not great.

That’s another thing that gets thrown in my face a lot, that I won’t “lend” (gift) Daphne money to hire specialized care.

UPDATE 2: I do feel really bad. I think about what Daphne goes through every day, and I think about the person she used to be, and I think…in her position, I don’t know if I would manage to be positive and the best version of myself every day.

I don’t feel I have a right to judge her. That said, considering the damage she did to her own house previously (she destroyed furniture, toys, the wallpaper…). It's concerning.

In terms of intervention, Daphne was assessed after the breakdown and is seeing a therapist, and that is the intervention that social services seems appropriate at this time so we are trusting them. Her therapist doesn’t think she is a danger.

Our parents do host them for the weekend occasionally, to be fair to them. They hate it. The only reason they are upset with me is because I rescinded an existing offer, it’s not like they pushed me to ask her. But yes they’re not the ones who have to spend 10 days with her so…

So, is OP definitely NTA here? Any advice for her or Daphne?

Sources: Reddit
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