Dealing with cancer is punishingly difficult. Even when caught early enough for a positive prognosis, treatments will often push your body to its limits.
Redditor Late-Yellow7154 is unfortunate enough to be dealing with cancer treatments while some members of her family make things a little more difficult. The original poster (OP) doesn’t take kindly to this, but is unsure about how she handled it.
So she takes to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit to find out the titular question for herself.
“AITA for shaming my family for not “supporting me enough” during my cancer treatment?”
Her story went:
“I think I’m in the right on this, but I’ve also been told I’m an abrasive a**hole so maybe I should have handled this differently.”
“I’m 25, female, and have cancer. I’m not going to die. We caught it early enough to know that I will survive this.”
“Chemo sucks, I’m already sick of the GI Jane/Natalie Portman/Imperator Furiosa jokes after I shaved my head, but at least I can now smoke pot in a state that bans recreational marijuana use.”
“The other night, I got phone calls from my sister and my cousin letting me know that our aunt, who is the most overzealous, narcissistic, self-absorbed woman we know, was planning on having the whole family show their support for my cancer diagnosis by getting everyone to shave their heads.
“Personally, I always thought this stunt was really stupid. And my sister and cousin are against this for a number of reasons.”
“My sister is a flight attendant and just got off furlough, so she doesn’t want to jeopardize her job by showing up to work with a shaved head when her airline has a very strict dress code.”
“My cousin is fourteen, has waist length red hair that makes her look like a ginger Rapunzel, and is already dealing with self-esteem issues. Her hair is the only thing she likes about herself, so shaving it off would destroy her mentally.”
“They tried to talk my aunt of out it, but she wasn’t budging. We think my aunt is doing this to get clout on social media, maybe even get an article in People. IDK. Like I said, she will make anything about her.”
“So, without naming names, I made this post on facebook letting everyone in our family know that the jig is up.”
“The gist was that I don’t want to see anyone shaving their heads in the name of supporting me just because I have cancer, especially when some of them were the ones behind the GI Jane jokes.”
“Instead of doing something that would make them feel good about themselves, why not do something to make me feel good. Like, oh, I don’t know, driving me to my appointments now and then or helping around the apartment or cooking when I don’t feel like hot pockets again.”
“Just something to make my routine a little easier while I deal with the chemo side affects. Hell, even a lemonade stand will do because this is America and our healthcare system is a joke.”
“This backfired and now many of my relatives, spearheaded by my aunt, are putting me on blast by calling me ungrateful. I should be happy to see that I have my whole family supporting me on my ‘battle’ (barf) by doing this selfless act.”
“They even went as far as to say that I was acting like a brat by saying they don’t help out enough and what I’m asking for is too much. Even though they have done diddly squat since I got my diagnosis.”
“So now my family, except my sister and cousin, think I’m an entitled jerk who is using her cancer diagnosis to get more out of them. And maybe IATA for how I handled this. I need a second opinion.”
On the AITA board people are judged with the following acronyms:
- NTA – Not the A**hole
- YTA – You’re the A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everybody Sucks Here
While a public callout might seem a little harsh, it was easily voted that OP was NTA.
“NTA you are the one with cancer. You are the one who needs the extra help, and guess what?”
“Forcing a 14 year old girl to shave her head is gonna do what? Having your poor sister who just got her job back put that in jeopardy is going to do what exactly?”
“Play the cancer card. ‘I have cancer f*** off’” – 1931-babyface
“NTA Wow if I were in your shoes right now I’d be shaming everyone who’s called you any names due to shaving your hair already and for what they’ve since said about supporting you or in this case their lack of support.”
“If they think shaving their hair is going to support you, then they are wrong on so many levels.” – G8RTOAD
“NTA- you’re being extremely reasonable with your requests.”
“Your Aunt sounds like a very self-centered person and needed that reality check. I can’t believe your other family members are attacking you alongside her. They all suck”
“Also please don’t allow them to shave your Cousins hair, how heartbreaking it would be to lose that beautiful hair!” – Procrastinating_Ali
“NTA Get well soon ❤️ They can mope at a corner.”
“Aunt was just planning to enjoy the popularity she will get by hair shaving stunt. Her ulterior motives became clear when you wanted her support in ways that does not benefit her.”
“Cooking a bowl of soup maybe wont break facebook like records, but is surely more useful to you.” – RagdollSeeker
Some other users weren’t so generous. While they agreed that it was wrong for the family to make it about themselves, they weren’t a fan of how OP called them out.
They voted ESH since they thought family sucked, but OP could have handled it better.
“I wouldn’t go as far as saying YTA, but I think you could have handled it better. Given you know other family members are well intentioned and dealing with a lot themselves, telling people what to do will usually run them the wrong way.”
“Unless people ask you what they can do to help, I don’t think it’s going to be received well for you to tell them. Should people step up? Probably, although I don’t know what kind of history you all have with them, so I reserve judgement.”
“I think a better way would be putting it on on social media, ‘hey can someone give me a ride to my appointment on Friday’. Then people know what you need, without you kind of telling them what to do. And honestly, if people want to shave their heads, I’d just let them, regardless of their motives.”
“Maybe the ones making the jokes, would feel the stare’s, hear the whispered comments, and be the butt of enough jokes to have some empathy going forward. You’re NTA, but you also probably hurt some feelings of people who didn’t know what to do, and we’re trying to do what they could think of to support you.
“When you call them out for that and not doing more, you’re likely to get push back. Either way, good luck.” – DrewAndBoo
“I can’t believe I had to sort by controversial to find this. I don’t think OP is an a**hole either, but the way she comes across the other people obviously makes her look like one in their eyes. NTA also means the other party is the a**hole, and while her Aunt may be one, that’s a different story.”
“I guess that means ESH?” – TreesOne
“ESH First, I’m sorry for your diagnosis and get well soon! But I’m going against the grain and saying that blasting each other on social media doesn’t work.”
“Aunt has a bad idea, but you made it public with family, friends, etc. it would have been better to call aunt and give a firm thanks but no thanks, then creating a FB page with just family and saying – I know you want to support me and here are ways to help!”
“Also state that thanks but no thanks on the head shaving (but put it kindly or humorously).” – IllVegetable3
Whether OP’s family comes around or not remains to be seen. If they don’t, OP is going to have a difficult time dealing with both cancer and some selfish attitudes.
But who knows? Maybe they’ll see the light and understand this isn’t about them. Stranger things have happened.