When a parent abandons their kids, their title as parent isn't automatically stripped away. They may be physically and psychologically distanced, but their adult kids fully have rights to track them down and address the years of abandonment, and how it affected them.
Unfortunately, the real issue here isn't whether adult kids have a right to track down their absent parents, but rather, whether it'll ultimately do more emotional harm than good.
In a recent post on the Am I The A*shole subreddit, a woman asked if she was wrong for tracking down her mom and telling her mom's current husband about the kids she left behind.
AITA for telling my mom’s new husband that she has kids?
OP's mom left her and her brothers when she was 15, and from then on OP was raised by her dad and uncle.
When I was 15, my mom left the family. For a long time, no one knew where she was or even if she was okay. Eventually, it was discovered that she was just “too overwhelmed” and left to handle herself. My brothers and I were raised by our uncle and my dad from that point on, but it was hard.
I became like my brothers’ mom and had to grow up quicker than I probably should’ve. I got into therapy and a few years back and have been doing better.
Recently, OP came across her mom on Facebook (my accident) and discovered she had gotten remarried and started a new family.
Recently, I found my mom on Facebook. It was by pure mistake because I reconnected with some other maternal family members that I guess are friends with her. She had the same first name and looks pretty much the same, with just a different last name.
The more I looked at her page, however, I saw that she had gotten remarried not long after she left my dad and had basically started a new family.
In a moment of justified anger, OP messaged her mom's new husband asking if he knew about the family she left behind.
She has kids ranging in age from 2-10 years old. My husband told me to leave it alone, but I was so angry and I just couldn’t handle it, so I ended up finding out her husband’s FB and messaged him, saying that his wife had 5 other kids that she had abandoned, did he know that?
OP's mom ended up angrily messaging her, saying OP made her husband upset by revealing the truth about the past.
My mom ended up messaging me, pissed, saying I had made her husband mad because he didn’t know. To me, that’s not my problem. You can’t just run off and neglect my responsibilities. However, my brothers and husband think I was the a*shole. AITA?
OP's brothers and husband think she should have left it all alone, but she feels justified in her actions.
NTA, she left her family to 'handle herself' she can handle her husband being mad about the whole thing. Her own fault for not saying anything til now, you did him a favor.
NTA. This man is not nothing to you— he’s your stepfather. You have a right to be acknowledged to your stepfather and siblings. Your mother cannot erase you, no matter how much she may want to in order to avoid dealing with her own enormity. Since she can’t be trusted to do so, you had every right to do it yourself.
Your mother is not a colleague or casual acquaintance with strict rules of civility and boundaries that demand observance. Your mother committed a grave betrayal of her duties to you and inflicted grave wounds as a result. She treated you as though you are nothing. You are not nothing. You are valuable and did not deserve to be abandoned.
By announcing your presence in the world to her husband, you are letting her know you’re still here in the only way that would make her listen. She can’t ignore that anymore and that’s a good thing in my books.
NTA, because your action was justified. Building up for years being a mother to your brother. Seeing her being a mom to other children.basically ignoring you ever existed. I'm sure it brought you to tears and anger. Idc what anyone say I feel you were in the right.
It feels clear OP had a right to call out her mom's abandonment, and the hypocrisy of starting a new family after leaving her kids. The question left at hand is what her mom's new husband will do with this information.