Family issues and losses are such a touchy and difficult subject. It is sad when a family member goes no contact, especially because we just don’t know if we are ever going to be able to re-establish a place in our lives for them.
Will they want to come back? Or will they stay away forever?
Redditor Different_Garden4785 was in the throes of this pain with an adoptive sister who left her family behind. When this sister showed up to the reading of a family member’s will, he lost her temper at this sister for all the pain she put the entire family through.
Unsure if he ruined the family’s chance to reconnect, he went to the popular subReddit “Am I The A**hole?” or “AITA” for objective feedback from strangers:
“AITA for telling my adoptive sister that she is not entitled to anything our grandmother left behind?”
Our original poster, or OP, talked about her adoptive sister’s role in her family’s disquiet.
“My sister Lara (27f[emale]) was adopted by our parents at 12 years old. She really never bonded to our parents.”
“Lara attended therapy, and my parents showered her in love and attention, but they never managed to have a close relationship.”
“I (24m[ale]) was the only one with whom Lara was able to open up. My grandmother (87f) was also very fond of Lara, however, she always rejected her affections, and on many occasions she was rude to my grandmother.”
“Lara went to college (fully paid for by my parents) at 18 and moved away from home (her housing and transportation was paid by our parents as well).”
“When she graduated at 22, she cut off all contact with our family. We later found out that her biological family contacted her a little after she turned 18, and they kept in touch for the 4 years of college.”
“Lara waited for my parents to finish paying for her university to move in with her biological parents.”
“Obviously my parents were devastated. With a lot of effort, they managed to get out of their sadness and life went back to being ‘normal.’ We haven’t heard from Lara in five years.”
Until Lara recently showed up someplace where she should have probably read the room a bit.
“My grandmother recently passed away, and she left an inheritance and will. Somehow, Lara found out about my grandmother’s death and appeared at the meeting where the will was to be read.”
“The commotion was so great that the reading of the will was postponed. That happened last week. Lara left her contact information with my grandmother’s attorney.”
“Today was the reading of my grandma’s will and Lara was there, since she is still legally the daughter of my parents and the lawyer did not want to read my grandmother’s will without her.”
“My grandma left Lara one of her rings of average value and an amount of approximately 10 USD. Compared to what she left me or my cousins, it’s nothing.”
“Lara was furious. She threw a tantrum and said that surely my parents had manipulated my grandmother to make me leave nothing for her. At this point my dad was crying.”
“I got angry, and I told her that she had no right to anything that my grandmother left because she was the one who cut off contact, not us. I also called her some not very pretty names.”
“Lara called me an AH and left the place.”
“Now my mother is mad at me because she thinks this was our chance to talk to Lara again and reestablish a relationship with her, and that I ruined that opportunity.”
Anonymous strangers weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
Redditors think that, despite losing his temper, OP’s reaction was understandable.
“NTA Lara f**ked off and cut contact for five years AFTER YOUR PARENTS FINISHED PAYING OFF HER UNIVERSITY FEES and now she’s throwing a tantrum because she thinks she’s entitled to your deceased grandmother’s stuff? She’s entitled and sounds like a giant AH.”
“She did you a favour when she cut contact and she should have stayed away.”
“Your parents are still grieving and Lara was a massive AH to show up when they were grieving the loss of your grandmother and potentially try to take advantage of that emotional state.”
“Also 10 USD is about all I would have left her too just to stop her contesting the will but if that wasn’t an issue, I’d say that $10 is maybe $10 too much.”-Downtown-Law-3133
“NTA – Lara sounds like she showed up with her hand out. I highly doubt she would have stayed in contact for one minute longer than. It took to get what she wanted.”
“Your grandmother sounds savage and smart! Generally, if someone in the family if left something (no matter how small) it is VERY hard to contest a will. Sounds like grandma knew it too.”-Ok_Bus_2038
“NTA. Lara is being a selfish jerk and, as harsh as it is to say, I doubt this was ever going to be a chance to rekindle a relationship.”
“She was there for money. I feel terrible for your parents. How sad to pour your heart and soul into someone like that, only to have them cut you off.”
“I understand their desire to reconnect, but it seems unlikely.”-designated_floater
“NTA. I have sympathy for adoptees, especially ones who were adopted at older ages. My husband was one and had some difficulty forming bonds with his adoptive family.”
“In Lara’s case though, she sounds like she just used everyone for money and split. You were entirely justified in what you said after witnessing her behavior. Sounds like someone needed to say that to her and you stepped up.”-sstrelnikova1
And that leaving Lara a “token,” per se, in the will, was intentional on OP’s grandmother’s part.
“NTA. Whatever the situation was, your grandmother made conscious plans/decisions about what to do with her estate. It is her money, her choice.”
“In the heat of the moment, you might have said some things you shouldn’t have, but anyone else would have done the same. I hope your family finds peace from all of this. Best of luck to you.”-WorkingIntention131
“Lara will always be their daughter. Not adopted daughter – just daughter. It doesn’t sound like she’s the nicest person and her ethics are questionable, but that doesn’t change the fact that she is their daughter.”
“It does seem unfair that she cut off the family and then showed up again when money was an issue, but trust me, this happens in tons of families (adopted or not) this is the way people get when money is involved.”
“Consider how your parents would feel if someone said mean things to you. They would stick up for you as well.”
“I know you’re hurting, but I just don’t think more anger will help to make things better for you.”-sam-green-red
“Please assure your mother this was not a chance to repair things with Lara. We know this because Lara only cared about the $$, she was in the room twice with your folks and didn’t make amends.”
“Hey. Was Lara in foster care when she was adopted? Is she a person of color?”
“I’m asking because, is it possible Lara was unfairly removed from her bio family’s care by authorities when she was a child? Either way, NTA.”-No_Performance8733
“NTA OP: You need to have a very frank discussion with your parents. She was not there to rekindle a relationship. She was there for the money. Hard stop.”
“She used your family for thousands of dollars and then dropped you. She wants nothing to do with you guys.”
“Your parents are going to end up giving her a larger portion of their will to ‘make up’ for her being left out of grandmother’s will. You need to nip that in the bud.”
“No amount of money will buy her love for them. She has chosen who to call mom and dad. Your parents aren’t it. They will never be it.”-EvanWasHere
Most people, however, felt the pain of OP’s parents and the sadness and grief that must come along with it.
“Man this is really sad. Sorry you lost your sister like this. It sounds to me like she has some form of attachment disorder.”
“I’m sure this is not news to you but in case it is the below information might help make sense of the behaviors if my suspicions are correct.”
“And no you’re not wrong. I would not write her off but being cautious is certainly warranted. Adoptive children, especially those who are older when adopted can often have interpersonal issues, trouble forming bonds, expressing empathy and such.”
“She may genuinely not comprehend how this feels or looks to your family. That doesn’t make her behavior ok but it does help inform you why she acts how she does.”
“If she tries to improve on her attachment disorder then great roll with the punches.”
“If not then you may essentially be dealing with someone who has a personality disorder or exhibits the behaviors of one and is not trying to do anything about it. In which case caution is warranted.”
“Hopefully I’m way off and she’s just being an a**hole, young, stupid and inconsiderate. But if I’m not I would want to know. https://www.aacap.org/AACAP/Families_and_Youth/Facts_for_Families/FFF-Guide/Attachment-Disorders-085.aspx”-djluminol
“NTA, but I’d like to touch on the bond issue. I’m adopted myself but I was adopted too late.”
“Because I was passed around three different people before age 1, I developed reactive attachment disorder and that can develop in the first couple of months for some kids.”
“The development of my ability to trust was interrupted. That means I really can’t attach or bond with anyone in a strong way.”
“It’s not because I don’t want to, I LITERALLY can’t (and I’ve tried all my life). Don’t be so hard on Lara about this. It might be a lot more complicated than that.”-thelathenhamletclown
“You are NTA. And though Lara’s intentions certainly don’t seem genuine, it doesn’t mean she is an all together bad person.”
“Let’s look at something, she was GIVEN AWAY at 12 yrs old. Can you imagine the rejection. No wonder she never bonded with your family, its very difficult to in that situation.”
“Then her bio-family contacts her at 18 and fills her head up with only god knows. Put yourself in her situation. She has experienced a tremendous trauma. Now, I am not excusing her behavior, but you can try and understand it.”
“She should get exactly what your grandma gave her and no more. But also know it could be reinforcing that feeling of being rejected once again in her.”
“I hope y’all find away to mend some of the broken fences. One thing that may help is try to get to know her bio-family and understand what happened and why (as far as the adoption and such). Also remind her that she has 2 families.”
“Of course thats if you want to be close at all. If not, at least understand that some people don’t deal with that type of trauma well and it can take years in therapy to overcome it.”-mride5000
“NTA. Unfortunately your mother is wrong. She has zero intention of reigniting the relationship- she made that perfectly clear when she left her contact info with the lawyer not your parents.”
“She used them for her education costs & was only there for what she felt was a windfall. It’s unfortunate she has opened old wounds & hurt your family so badly.”
“Personally I am proud of you for standing up for your family & giving her a what for. It was good for you emotionally to get it out & for her to hear the pain she caused.”
“I am also proud of your grandma for leaving her a token so she couldn’t contest the will. Give your mom time to grieve (again) & hopefully one day she sees reality. Big hugs.”-Awesomekidsmom
A person with an attachment or personality disorder has a real issue that can really cause lots of pain and grief for an entire family, and introducing money into the mix can really complicate it further.
It is painful and sad and complicated and sometimes there is no right answer. Our hearts go out to everyone involved.