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Man refuses to financially help stepdad who made him pay rent as a teen.

Man refuses to financially help stepdad who made him pay rent as a teen.


To forgive and forget, or to hold firm in a boundary with someone who has wronged you.

This is a major question a lot of people grapple with in their lives, particularly when it comes to toxic family members. There's no one-size-fits-all answer, so it's crucial to consider your specific situation in detail.

In a popular post on the AITA subreddit, a man asked if he's wrong for refusing to financially help his stepfather who mistreated him as a kid.

He wrote:

AITA for telling my mom that she can stay in my house but not my stepdad or his son's family?

My dad died when I was 5 and my mom married my stepdad around 3 years later. He had two kids as well, a boy that was 3 years older than me and a daughter that was 2 years younger, and he always treated them better than he treated me.

My mom was a stay-at-home mom and never worked. He held the fact that he saved us from poverty over our heads. Things didn't get really bad though until my half-brother was born.

He's 8 years younger than me, and I think he was part of the reason why they got married in the first place. When he turned 3, they moved him into my room, and then when he was 6, they (really my stepfather) decided he deserved his own room.

So he took my room and I started living out of the living room. I slept on the couch and all of my clothes were stuffed into a coat closet. Any clothes that didn't fit in the tiny closet were donated away.

Then when I turned 16, my stepdad demanded I get a job and start paying rent. My older stepbrother was taking a gap year before college, and didn't have to do that.

The only one that was at all decent was my stepsister, who begged her dad to let me stay in her room. He refused, which I don't blame her for because it would definitely be inappropriate for a 17-year-old boy to share a room with a 16-year-old girl.

When I graduated from high school, my stepfather told me that he would not be paying for my college. A year before he had agreed to pay for my stepbrother's college entirely.

I was able to get a few scholarships and loans to pay for college, as well as the money I'd saved from working. I had enough for the first year, so I left. I met my now wife in my first year, and she's the only reason I'm where I am today.

Her parents were also wonderful, and after our first year, they took me into their own home, and then helped me pay for the rest of college. Her dad helped me get my first job, and even invested in my business at the beginning.

My business has really grown since then, and I've become very wealthy. My stepbrother ended up getting a girl pregnant in his third year of college, dropped out, and now still lives with my stepfather and mom with his now wife and three kids.

Since I still need to see my mom, my wife and I purchased two houses in my hometown. We rent out one and use the other whenever I go visit. Well, the last few years have been really bad for my stepdad.

He had to close down his business over COVID, and some other things happened so they're flat broke now. They need to sell the house to cover their debts. My mom knows about the house I own, and asked me if they could move in.

I told her that she can, but my stepfather and stepbrother's family can't. My mom was very upset about this, my stepfather called me a lot of names, but mainly just ungrateful and heartless.

My wife thinks that I should just agree since it would be hard on my mom to be away from her husband and I'm making my stepbrother and his family homeless. AITA?

People had a lot of strong opinions about this family dynamic.

loverlyone wrote:

NTA I don’t know why you bother to have a relationship with your mother tbh.

Kingocrimsom wrote:

Ungrateful? What did he give you to he grateful for? Heartless? From the man who demanded you pay rent unlike the rest of his kids? Your stepdad neglected and financially abused you and favored his kids, and your mom let him.

If you ask me I'd say stop talking to your mom too and let the lot of them sleep in the gutters.


mfruitfly wrote:

NTA. First, you need to be clear with your wife that your stepdad abused you, and your mom let it happen. Kicking you out of your room, giving away your belongings, and making it clear you weren't really considered part of the family is abusive.

People who don't have awful relationships with family sometimes cannot process how bad these situations are.

Dealing with your stepdad brings up real feelings of being abandoned and basically left to die- be honest with your wife that how you were treated was to be left literally in the streets, where no one was there to help you. That is what this man did to you.

Second, if you did let your mom in that home, realize that stepdad and stepbrother will be there anyway, so don't do it.

It's not worth the emotional or legal headache of letting your mom stay in the home, because she will just move them in and you'll have to deal with it, and it doesn't sound like your wife would really be helpful to you if you tried to kick them out.

Third, you need to realize your mom is just as much to blame as your stepdad for what happened to you. Neither of them deserve your time, your money, or your emotions.

You should consider going to a few therapy sessions, particularly as a way to express to your wife the anger and hurt your mom and stepfather caused you. Finally, take care of yourself.

Congratulations on all you have accomplished and for making it through a really tough situation, which is an understatement.

You deserve to be loved and happy, and I know I've been a bit hard on your wife here, but I'm glad you found a chosen family, her especially. Do not let your mother, or your stepdad, take up space in your life. Sell the house before you let them move in, and go enjoy your life, free of them.

After receiving a lot of support and questions, OP jumped on with a clarifying update.

Edit: I'm going to put this here because I've put it in a few comments. The main reason my stepfather has so much debt is because of my stepsister's illness. I also helped pay for her medical costs.

She has since passed away, but my stepfather still has significant debts from those expenses. She was the reason why I got back into regular contact with my family, but I now want to be in my mother's life to just be in her life.

A lot of people are blaming my mom, but please put yourself in her shoes for a moment. She was an immigrant woman with no friends or family in a country where she barely even spoke the language.

She was working a very low-wage job when they met and could barely afford to get me food and clothes. She then got pregnant very soon after. Sure, she might've been able to leave him, but it's not as easy as some of you think.

I can't blame her when I'm sure she was also being emotionally and financially abused, and she had virtually no power in the relationship. That being said, I'm going to talk to her about her relationship with my stepfather.

I'm going to make sure to let her know that I will support her if she wants to divorce him, but I will not agree to any situation where he or his son might be living in a house that I own. Also, some people have spoken ill of my wife for 'taking their side.'

My wife is an extremely generous person, and although she personally thinks that I would be right to cut off contact with my family completely, she also thinks that if I am going to remain in contact, then I should make a full effort in it.

This includes helping someone in need when I have the capability to do so. My wife always sees the best in people. My wife and I also helped out her mom after my wife's father passed away.

Unfortunately, cancer has been a massive curse on the people that matter most to me. My wife and I provide for her mother completely, so she thinks that we owe the same to my mother as well.

Part of the reason why I was questioning whether what I was doing was wrong was because of what my stepfather said regarding my stepsister. He made the point that she would've been disappointed that I wasn't helping family.

My sister, like my wife, was extremely generous. She would do volunteer work even when she was barely strong enough to stand. Family was extremely important to her. After he said that, it really made me think if I was doing the wrong thing.

Especially since he's right that I would be making life very hard for my stepbrother's kids, who didn't do anything wrong. My stepsister really loved those kids, so I feel like I should care for them in her memory.

But I just can't get over how terrible my stepbrother treated me. The response to this post has really helped me stand firm on my decision, because I was definitely wavering.

Clearly, OP is super far from being TA, and the main question left at hand is what will happen with his mom.

Sources: Reddit
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