When it comes to therapy, we all have very distinct and private understandings and opinions about what happens during therapy sessions and how effective it is.
Some people greatly encourage using this tool, while others find themselves completely resistant to it.
But there are times that absolutely call for therapy, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor ThrowA-2209 found himself encouraging his widower friend to go to therapy for the sake of her health and her children’s.
But when she reacted terribly to this, the Original Poster (OP) wasn’t sure what to do next.
He asked the sub:
“AITA for telling my widowed friend that I don’t care how she feels, she needs to suck it up?”
The OP did what he could to help a grieving family.
“My (41 [male]) friend (43 [male]) passed away four months ago. He had a wife N (41 [female]), a daughter (15 [female]), and a 13-year-old son.”
“Since the death of my friend, I have been watching out for N and her children.”
“I go to N’s house every two weeks to see her and her children. I have built a strong relationship with them, so aside from N, they see me as a safe presence in their lives.”
The OP tried to encourage N to receive help.
“N has not received therapy, only the children.”
“I also know that N has depression and other mental health problems. I have tried to convince her to receive treatment, but she refuses.”
“Until a few days ago, I thought that everything was fine between the children and N.”
Then N’s daughter reached out for help.
“Yesterday, I got a call from her 15-year-old daughter.”
“She told me that her mother has been behaving erratically for a few days and that she and her brother were afraid for their mother.”
“She asked me if I could please get them both out of there.”
“I accepted. I picked them up and took them home.”
“They called their grandparents and told them where they were. Their grandparents have no problem with them staying with me.”
“Then I went back to N’s house, where I found her in a bad emotional state.”
The OP then tried to speak to N again.
“I tried to talk to her and make her see reason. I told her that when your own children are worried about you, something is really wrong and that it was necessary for her to receive therapy.”
“This made her very angry, and she began to yell at me that I did not understand what she was feeling, and that therapy was not going to bring her husband back.”
“I replied that I did not care what she felt, she needed to suck it up because she has children who depend on her.”
“She called me an AH and kicked me out of her house.”
Others stood up for N against the OP.
“Now even my friends are mad at me.”
“They say that I shouldn’t have said that to a grieving woman and that I am an AH for telling her that I don’t care how she feels.”
“They say I should apologize to her and take her children home again, because they belong with their mother.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some said the OP was right to put the kids first.
“I was so prepared to call you the AH, but no, NTA.”
“You didn’t say you don’t care how she feels, you said you don’t care what her excuse is for not taking care of her kids is.”
“And make no mistake, that’s the heart of the matter, the kids don’t feel safe. If she isn’t willing to get help it might be time to involve outsiders, the kids come first.” – Secret_Werewolf1942
“What gets me is that the OPs friends said OP shouldn’t have said what he said to a grieving woman, and then saying that OP should apologize and take her children back to their mother where they belong?”
“No, they’re wrong, know why? It was the KIDS that called OP, they called and asked to be picked up so that they’d be safe and they knew WHO to call. And they were right, OP didn’t ask questions, he just got in the car and went to go pick them up to bring them to safety.”
“Then the kids proved their maturity even more by calling their grandparents and telling them, ‘this is what’s going on, I’m safe, we’re safe, we’re at a safe place tonight with someone we trust.'”
“And OP is taking care of things the best he can, and you’re right, he never did say he didn’t care how she feels, he told her he didn’t care for the //excuses//. OP’s friend needs help before she spirals any further. NTA” – Aggressive_Theme7229
“You know, I was ready to say you’re the a**hole but having read this, I’m going NTA.”
“I was around my Mum when she was in an extremely depressive state, I won’t go into details, but over 10 years later, those days still haunt me mentally.”
“Those kids have lost their Dad, they need their Mum. When people are in that state, there is no reasoning with them and honestly, some decisions might need to be made where help is forced upon her.”
“Her kids need to be protected from this, people may disagree with me but everyone in this family deserves to have help.” – emotionalhazard
Others said the OP’s phrasing was unhelpful.
“Okay first, good on you for getting the kids out of the house there. Gonna say this is an ESH though.”
“Your phrasing wasn’t great and likely did more harm than good, but she clearly needs to seek help for her kids’ sake. Feeling alone when you’re grieving is awful, and hearing how much someone doesn’t care just cements that.” – Hecktothenono
“OP has his priorities right in looking out for the children first and foremost, but talking to the widow like that was so insensitive and ignorant.”
“I am pretty sure she is aware that she doesn’t function right now and that her children need her, but she is in an absolute nightmare mentally and needs understanding. It’s not like going to a therapy session will automatically fix her.”
“Maybe if people around her could acknowledge her pain and help her find a way to grieve, it would be easier for her to see her children’s needs and maybe find a therapist or some other counseling.” – pygmyrevolver
“It was a terrible situation and not one in which anyone’s like to come up with the right thing to say right away (if there even is a ‘right’ thing to say), people make mistakes, but an ‘I know you’re going through unimaginable pain, but your children need you to get help’ probably would have gone a lot farther.”
“Good sentiment and intent, absolutely terrible phrasing.”
“It’s very possible OP had been saying some version of that before, tbh (to be honest), which shifts things a bit (it seems like they said it out of desperation to get any kind of reaction, which I get), they’re definitely not TA with regards to the *entire situation*, I’m not gonna beat them up for making one mistake.”
“But oof, s**tty and unhelpful phrasing.” – Ok-Bus2328
The OP wasn’t sure what to do next after the reactions he received from N and his friends, but the subReddit was supportive. They agreed that his phrasing could have been better, but his heart was otherwise in the right place, especially when it came to providing a safe and stable environment for N’s children.