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Redditor Torn After Discovering Their Aunt And Uncle Were Banned From The Family For Being Atheists

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Family members being disowned can be difficult for future generations. Why was the family member ostracized? Do the older generations values match those of the younger generation?

One young person is dealing with the fallout of a family banishment. Unsure if they’re doing the right thing, they turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for feedback.

Redditor Odd-Bag522 asked:

“AITA for still not talking to my aunt and uncle after finding out why they were banned from the family?”

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

“I have a very large and close family except for one of my aunts, who is technically a cousin but I was raised calling her aunt so…anyway. Her older dead brother is my biological father (teenage adoption).”

“After she got married, any talk about her and her husband was done in whispers and vague remarks. Except for one time when I was really little, they never came to holidays together except for one time that ended in a screaming match on the lawn and them peeling away.”

“I don’t know what was said but he never came to a holiday again.”

“The only things I know of or remember about him was that he was boring and a college professor, but that’s no reason to ban someone from the family and only talk about them in whispers. I thought maybe he was a really bad guy, or they lived too far away, or that he was somehow just really ugly (kid logic), but none of those made sense.”

“My aunt is a fine person and has a good job and a huge family in-state to protect her. Also, if he was trying to control her, he wouldn’t let her go to our family functions, especially without him.”

“I finally got an answer out of my mother this year. What’s the big secret?”

“They’re atheists.

“Yeah, that’s the reason for almost TWO DECADES of estrangement.”

“They’re not Christians. My aunt, who kept her lack of faith implied, married someone who was open about it.”

“The implied atheism was apparently fine, but an open atheist was not. Half the family boycotted her wedding.”

“Normally she would just be ‘cast out’, but they tried striking a new balance with her to ‘keep her in the family’ after seeing how devastated her parents were at the thought of losing their only child left. Her parents agreed to ignore it, however, with larger family events, she had to agree to not bring him.”

“She didn’t like this, so only sometimes appeared for an hour, made a round to give only me a gift, made tense small talk with the adults, and left. When she had a kid years later, things ‘could have warmed’, but she refused to ‘show respect and know her position’ (by what would have been basically giving up custody to the family) so they fought and she cut contact for years, but then started coming back to her previous arrangement after things ‘calmed down’.”

“I was…shocked. I thought we were a close family, not so…surface.”

“I didn’t know that it was possible for them to be like this on anything. I want to start talking to them, but I just can’t right now.”

“I may be over 18, but I still live at home and financially depend on my parents. I also really don’t want to get cut out by the family too, especially in favor of strangers who may not want or be able to help me.”

“I’ve told some friends of mine about this, and they’re mad that I’m ‘choosing to be a part of this’ and say I should talk to them anyway. They say that she probably only did family stuff for me anyway, so I should be ‘braver like she was’.”

“I just can’t do it. AITA?”

Redditors weighed in using four voting codes:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Redditors decided the OP was not the a**hole.

“NTA waiting until you’re able and old enough to afford to take care of yourself if smart.” ~ rawsugar87

“Exactly NTA your friends aren’t concerned about what you will do if your parents disown you. You need to make sure that you have the means to support yourself before trying to start a relationship.” ~ Disneyfan6428

“Exactly! It’s easier for your friends to be brave in the hypothetical, since their asses aren’t in the line!” ~ EinsTwo

“OP can reach out without meeting them. Letters, emails, texts… Time to get creative and let ‘aunt’ know she’s interested.”

“NTA, but find a middle ground. DO keep yourself safe until you are independent, though. That comes first, your aunt would understand.” ~ Zhoenish

“I think this is a good example of the difference between simple faith and a cult. I won’t offer advice, but I think you should look at your family critically and clearly and be prepared to act on your conclusions.” ~ peterhala

“Especially since the aunt would have to ‘give up custody to the family’ of her child, as a means to ‘show respect and know her position’. NTA.” ~ MidwestNormal

“NTA because you are financially dependent. If you think contacting them could cause you to be cut out, maybe you should wait a few years.”

“I do feel really bad for your aunt and uncle, and I hope you eventually are able to connect with them because they did nothing to deserve that kind of treatment from your family.” ~ kellendrin21

“NTA, you don’t have to be “part of it” to stay quiet for your own sake.”

“You’ll be risking your own security if you reach out now.”

“I think it’s a good idea to reach out eventually, but yes, wait. Wait until you have no one to lean on anymore.”

“It’s okay if you wait.” ~ dreamer0303

“I will never understand how people can act like OP’s family and believe they are the good ones. Getting out of religion and becoming an atheist really opened my eyes to how little forgiveness and mercy there is in religion.” ~ randiwulf

While the OP’s heart is in the right place wanting to reach out to their aunt and uncle, protecting their own future does not make them the a**hole. Maybe some day in the future they’ll be free to develop a relationship with the people they want in their lives without their family’s interference.

Written by Amelia Mavis Christnot

Amelia Christnot is an Oglala Lakota, Kanien'kehá:ka Haudenosaunee and Metís Navy brat who settled in the wilds of Northern Maine. A member of the Indigenous Journalists Association, she considers herself another proud Maineiac.