The transition into adulthood, the claiming of your own space, and the speaking of your own feelings is a hard time.
Thousands of questions swirl inside you; is this far enough? Too far? Do I really feel this way?
These questions are hard to answer for many of us and sometimes, we just need an outside perspective.
This was the situation Redditor and Original Poster (OP) blink_just_once when he brought the situation to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subreddit for some clarity.
“AITA for telling my dad that my stepdad is a better dad than he is”
First, the backstory.
“My (17-Male) parents got divorced when I was 9. Before that, they fought constantly, with my dad doing most of the yelling. He has a bad temper and likes to take it out on other people.”
“My mum got together with David when I was 11, and they are married now. At first, I was a dick to him- I was angry and hurt and blamed him for ruining my family (dumb I know).”
Complex emotions are sometimes hard to deal with.
“But through it all, he was never anything but patient and kind to me. When I started going to therapy, I realized I was taking all my anger out on him and it wasn’t fair.”
Realizations often come with time and help.
“I started making more of an effort and since then we’ve gotten a lot closer. He comes to watch my football matches, he takes me to the cinema (we’re both huge film nerds lol) and helps me with my school work.”
“The pandemic brought the three of us (my mum included) closer together too and it was actually not as bad as it could have been.”
A happy ending all around!
“My dad, on the other hand, is a different story.”
“Until about two years ago, I idolized him. I was blind to his flaws and honestly believed he was the coolest.”
“Therapy and time has helped me realize he’s not as great as I thought.”
There’s that time and help again…
“He never reaches out if I don’t reach out first, he makes snide, judgmental comments about people (including my mum and David, a lot) and doesn’t really show any interest in my hobbies/life.”
“I still want to spend time with him, but it’s starting to feel one-sided.”
Seems like OP has some opinions to share.
“A few days ago, he promised to take me out for my birthday, and the day came and we heard nothing. Mum called him. Nothing. I called and texted and got no response.”
Concern and anger can be hard to process.
“I was upset and even worried something might have happened to him. David said he was sure something must have come up and his phone was dead or something. He took us out for dinner and got me a new set of paints which was really cool.”
Perhaps the phone was just dead?
“The next day my dad texts me saying he’s sorry but work called, and he ‘knew I would understand’.”
…Yeah, we didn’t think so either.
“I call him and ask why he didn’t just tell me that. He seemed annoyed and said he didn’t have time. He then said he hoped I had a good day anyway. I told him, yeah, I did, David took us out for dinner.”
At least there was food?
“He made another sh*tty remark and I just lost it. I yelled down the phone that he shouldn’t talk about him like that because unlike him, David was actually there and that he was acting like a better dad than he was.”
That will definitely get your point across.
“My dad started yelling at me and I got scared like I did as a kid and hung up. I started shaking and crying and ran to my mum.”
A lot to process.
“Since then, my mum has been bombarded by texts and calls from him (seemingly still very angry) and I’m honestly frightened. He’s never hurt me and I don’t think he ever would, but he has such a crazy temper.”
Fear is a natural reaction to something new.
“The truth is I know it was a sh*tty thing to say, and I bet it hurt his feelings a lot.”
Claiming space is often painful.
“But I’m just so sick of him barely being there and then still having a go at mum and David when they’re the ones who are actually taking care of me.”
In the end, OP just needed to know…
“So, AITA for telling him David is acting like a better dad than he is?”
Having laid out the past, and asked the question that was really the core of his issue, OP gave Redditt the space to make their judgment.
Redditors weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors decided: NTA
Some were…very direct.
“NTA: your biological ‘father’ is an awful person”~ImABigFatRat21
“NTA. Your dad is an abusive jerk. Before you normalized the abuse but with therapy, you realize it’s not OK.”~202to701
Others tried to be more comforting while still getting the point across.
“You’re a kid. Your bio father should have been there for you, but he wasn’t.”
“He couldn’t even send a message saying he couldn’t make it or why. He is just mad because you’re right. Your stepdad has been there for you, even making last min plans to make sure you had a great day. He is there for you while the bio father isn’t.”
“Plus your stepdad or mom never ran down your father while your father did. He’s angry cause he has no more control over in my opinion.”
“You didn’t say anything wrong, you said your feelings and I understand why you feel that way.”
“I hope things work out for you though, you shouldn’t have to feel this way.”~Professor_Comrade
Sometimes, anger is just guilt.
“NTA – He’s angry because he is embarrassed that you’re right.”~HisViewsAskew
And there is always the scorched Earth option.
“It’s okay to also cut contact with family. You don’t deserve that, no one does.”
“I haven’t spoken to my own dad in 15+ years and I make sure to tell my stepdad ‘happy father’s day’ every year because he’s been there for me.”~Nibiru_realm
Transitioning into adulthood and staking out your own space can be incredibly difficult.
OP flexed real bravery in telling his biological father the truth about his feelings.
Hopefully, we can all learn to be a bit more vocal with others, and be safe for others to be vocal with us.