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Teen tells parents, 'it's too late for therapy, our relationship can't be fixed.' AITA?

Teen tells parents, 'it's too late for therapy, our relationship can't be fixed.' AITA?


Dealing with the death of a parent is painful and complicated enough. But dealing with the death of a parent and the remarriage of your remaining parent is double complicated, particularly when it all happens quickly.

One of the biggest blocks for a child's relationship with a new step-parent is the fear this new adult will 'replace' their late parent. Giving a child reassurance their parent isn't being replaced, alongside space for grieving is the healthiest way to cultivate this familial shift.

But adults are often just as emotionally lost as kids during times of grief, which can create even more cycles of pain and complication.

In a popular post on the AITA subreddit, a teen asked if she's wrong for telling her dad and his wife that it's too late to mend her relationship with them.

She wrote:

AITA for telling my father and his wife that it's too late to compromise and I don't want to engage in therapy with them?

I'm 16f and I have two brothers 18m and 14m. We lost our mom when we were 3, 5, and 7 and our dad remarried when we were 4, 6, and 8. It felt like they had known each other about a month when they got married but it's possible they were together longer. About a month after mom died, dad was in a widows and widowers group and that's how he met his wife, Beth.

Beth lost her husband and had no kids. When they got married they sat us down and told us Beth was going to adopt us. My older brother and I objected. But we were ignored. Around that time we heard some extended family try to talk them out of it as well, saying we would be taken care of if anything happened to our father, no need to go through with the adoption.

Beth told them she was our mother now and the adoption needed to happen. We spoke to a social worker and the judge before the adoption happened. Initially, their request was rejected based on our conversations. But then they came up with a story that we'd have nobody else to take care of us and our family had already said they wouldn't raise us if anything happened to dad and it was done.

Older brother and I never liked it, younger brother didn't really know any better but by age 7 was saying he wished he wasn't adopted as well. He could have been copying us. But he says he really feels that way so. We have new birth certificates ever since the adoption and her name is in the place of mother.

Found that out when I gave my mom's name in school one day and had to bring in my birth certificate and saw Beth's name. My brothers had no idea that had happened either. It pissed off my older brother so much that he told Beth he hoped she would die and we could be adopted again since she was far more replaceable than mom. That incident made Beth and our father put him into therapy with them.

That lasted for two years until he moved out last year. He then asked our maternal grandparents to adopt him since he couldn't find a way to reverse the adoption. Recently Beth and my father have figured out that I want to do the same and so does my younger brother. Beth broke down and said she just wanted the chance to be a mother and wanted us to love her back.

My father suggested they do therapy with me and my brother (separate sessions with each of us) and that we try to work out a compromise. I told him it was too late for that. They already erased mom and nothing they could say would make me feel different about what they did.

I told Beth we were never her children and she would need to accept the fact she was never going to be loved back. My father told me that wasn't true. We could still work something out, like have our grandparents adopt us but call him and Beth mom and dad and let them still be parents and grandparents in the future.

When I said there was no room for compromise and it was too late they said I was being so unfair. AITA?

ETA: Just some points that have been brought up. Both times the adoption petition went to court. The first time was rejected because of what we said. Nothing was brought up then about nobody being willing to take us so it was assumed we'd have family who could prevent us from going into care.

The second time dad made it seem like none of our family were willing to be there if he died and he was so afraid of that. We did no speaking the second time. No interview. It was just dad and Beth and their lawyer talking. They had the old notes from before. Was also asked to add that Beth always wanted to be a mother.

She could not have kids. Was okay with that. Then her husband died and she thought she was given a chance to have kids.

The post inspired a lot of thoughtful responses and assessments.

bunnyhop2005 wrote:

NTA, but your father and Beth sure are. Beth is the kind of stepmom that gives stepparents a bad name. She wanted to adopt you and your brothers because she “just wanted the chance to be a mother,” so she hijacked the three of you and promptly erased your mom’s memory. But your father is even worse because he allowed all of this to happen over your wishes.

And so quickly after your mom’s death. It just sounds like he wanted to get a replacement mom in the door as quickly as possible so the family could regain a semblance of normalcy, but in the process he prioritized Beth’s agenda over his kids’ feelings and well-being. Mother-child bonds and love can’t be forced, and this is what he tried to do.

Mammoth-Foundation52 wrote:

NTA - The timeline between your dad meeting Beth and marrying her is irrelevant, them trying to force you to accept Beth as parents and literally erase your mom was a doomed plan from the start, and they’re facing the consequences of their actions. Don’t go to therapy with them. You already know they’re happy to bend the truth and manipulate others into getting their way.

Beth is an adult, and her egotistical desire to be called mom is NOT your responsibility. I know it’s tough to stand your ground when you’re a minor and have little ground to stand on, but you got this. Stay in with your older brother since he has firsthand experience.

Waxmaniac2 wrote:

NTA. It's understandable that you and your siblings are struggling with the loss of your mother and the adoption by your father's wife, especially given the circumstances. It's your right to decide who you consider your parents and how you want to be identified legally.

While it's admirable that your father and stepmother want to work on things, it's important to acknowledge that some things can't be fixed or changed with therapy. It's up to you and your siblings to decide what you want and need for yourselves moving forward.

protomyth wrote:

NTA - are you in possession of any photos of your Mom? You might want to hunt those down now. I would also get in touch with the hospital you were born at to see where you can get a copy of your original, unaltered birth certificate. They did lie in front of a judge, so that might be an avenue to delete the adoption.

kgaske wrote:

NTA. While you are very young, as others have pointed out, your youth doesn’t invalidate your feelings. Rather than engage in family therapy, which is a huge ask since so much has been thrust upon you in so short a period of time, consider requesting therapy on your own.

A therapist may be able to help you start sorting through your feelings and developing strategies to deal with your situation now - and on your parents dime - rather than letting all this fester inside you through early adulthood. You’re already doing an awesome job of expressing your feelings and intentions and knowing your worth! 👊❤️

OP is definitely NTA, if anything, she's impressively emotionally articulate for her age.

Sources: Reddit
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