Having a disability is life altering.
It usually impacts more than just the disabled member of the family.
How families deal with the challenges faced by a disabled member can impact the relationships between siblings and parents.
A disabled woman dealing with this turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for feedback.
Redditor aydnic asked:
“AITA for not wanting to tone down my wedding to please my sister?”
The Original Poster (OP) explained:
“My sister doesn’t mean to me as much as people think she does. Everybody thinks we’re thick as thieves because I am disabled and she was my ‘caregiver’ growing up, but the truth is, this is an arrangement our parents made long ago, and that neither of us were really okay with.”
“I resent her because growing up she felt more like a third parent than a sister, treating me quite harshly and scolding me for being ‘lazy’ and ‘faking it’ (my disability) when I couldn’t do things she normally did; and she resents me because she thinks of herself as some kind of martyr who put her life aside for me, and now she feels entitled to make any request to me and expecting me to comply to it.”
“Time is passing, and now my sister is engaged and soon to be married, and of course, wedding talk is coming up. I make more money than her, and her wedding is going to be on a tighter budget than mine will be, and she once ‘jokingly’ mentioned that she expects me to ‘tone down’ mine so that hers doesn’t feel mediocre.”
“I replied that I don’t see why I should do that, and she went ballistic, saying that I owe it to her ‘after everything she did for me.’ This makes me even less willing to do it.”
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 unanimously OP was not the a**hole, but neither was her sister.
Their parents didn’t fare as well when facing Reddit’s judgment.
“I don’t think you should have to tone down your wedding to make her feel better that she can’t have everything she wants, so NTA.”
“But.. your parents used your sister as a parent to you, so it’s hardly surprising that she acted like one and grew to resent you, as you resented her.”
“Parentification is abuse, and makes kids miss out on their childhood. I suggest that you’re both directing the resentment towards the wrong person.”
“It should be directed towards your parents, not each other.” ~singing_stream
“Agreed, adding a NTA. I don’t think sister is either – the parents are TA.”
“They set their daughters’ relationship up for failure. They resent being forced on each other to such an extent.”
“Sister was parentified, and took it out on the writer because she couldn’t take it out on the parents who were truly responsible. She may have lost opportunities because their parents recruited her against her will to help out with the writer and/or because resources had to go to the writer instead, but we don’t know as the writer didn’t say.”
“We do know that the writer rightfully resents having been exposed to hostility for so long.”
“I hope writer puts the blame where it belongs, and it sounds like she might be half there. It sounds like her relationship with her sister might be irretrievably broken, through no fault of theirs.”
“I would counsel her to also consider her sister’s situation though. Did she not do as well in school as the writer because she was constantly pulled away from studies to do something for the writer?”
“Was she unable to go out with friends because parents had to work and writer couldn’t be left alone? Did she never get the ‘extras’ that make life happy because funds had to go to writer’s medical care, fitting the home for a wheelchair, or intensive therapies or educational assistance (writer doesn’t mention what the disability is)?”
“Absolutely not the writer’s fault, but it sounds like sister got dealt a bad hand as well. It sounds like the parents had no support system so forced sister into it.”
“They may have been desperate, but they should have found a way to make getting other help for the writer besides sister happen. It wasn’t her responsibility.”
“Sister may also just be a generally nasty person, but if there’s a grain of truth in what I’ve written, it might be something for the writer to mull over.” ~Pale_Cranberry1502
“As someone whose parents forced to take care of my younger siblings (even my twin), my siblings both think I didn’t do anything for them. I was over here making sure we got on time, got them ready for school, helped with homework, went to teacher conferences, etc… since the age of 12.”
“It sucked to never do anything because what if they needed help. My siblings nor my parents ever acknowledge what I did and just think I became stuck up and think I’m the boss of them because I’m older.”
“They resent me for that. I resent them because I know what I was forced to do.”
“Even as we were in college, my twin sister stayed asking and expecting me to do everything from her FASFA to cleaning our dorm. My mom continues to send my brother to me whenever he needs something.”
“Do they ever notice the strain on me? Nope.”
“They just notice the anger problems that come with nearly a decade of having to take care of someone literally my age and continue helping my brother when by that time I already knew how to do that.”
“I’m sure my siblings would tell a different story of what I did because they deny I ever took care of them and how they don’t need me now. Although I haven’t lost any education opportunities, how it sucks ass how my mom still treats my TWIN sister like she’s so much younger.”
“Resentment is on both sides for almost everyone in this type of situation.” ~ amourxloves
“I don’t think sister is an AH for resenting having to parent OP, but she is an AH for saying OP isn’t allowed to have something nicer than her.” ~ ghozztz
How families deal with a disability is different in every case. But placing one child in charge of another appears to be a recipe for failure.