As much as we might like to imagine otherwise, some family members simply do not get along.
This is especially true when there’s a clear favorite child in the family, agreed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor UnhappyEnthusiasm882 had felt side-lined by his parents ever since his younger sister was born, and that became glaringly clear when he paid his way through medical school while his parents paid his sister’s living and college expenses.
He was thoroughly surprised when his sister wanted him to join her for a therapy session, seemingly to make amends.
But when the therapist accused him of being the reason why his sister was struggling and encouraged him to step back from her life, the Original Poster (OP) reported the therapist.
He asked the sub:
“AITA for reporting my sister’s therapist?”
The OP always knew his parents wanted a daughter.
“I’ve got a situation, Reddit, and I need some guidance. I’m the older sibling, clocking in at 25, and my sister’s 20. Our family dynamic has always been… well, complicated.”
“My parents have been together for a long time, and they always wanted a daughter, even before I was born. When I came along, they were a bit bummed but not too disappointed. They kept trying for another child and faced some conception troubles, even seeking help from a clinic.”
“Eventually, they succeeded and were overjoyed when they found out it was a girl. They told me to be a good role model and keep her safe, which made me happy as a five-year-old.”
But he was still surprised to be so side-lined when his sister was born.
“However, things changed after my sister was born. My relationship with my parents shifted dramatically. I felt side-lined, almost like I didn’t matter anymore.”
“I didn’t get birthday celebrations, gifts, or a close connection with my parents. They said they had to focus on my younger sister because she was little, and I needed to understand that.”
“Growing up, my parents treated my sister and me totally differently. They made me get a job at 14 to help with bills and rent, while my sister didn’t have to.”
“I never got the same treatment as her; she got new stuff, and I had to work for everything with my part-time job, even though I had to give half of my earnings to my parents.”
“My sister was the favorite, and we never got along well. She also knew her position in the family and used it to get me blamed for stuff and to help herself get more.”
The dynamic didn’t change when the OP left for college.
“When I turned 18, I worked hard and got into medical school.”
“But my parents said they couldn’t afford to help me out, which really annoyed me.”
“I decided to go anyway and worked my butt off to pay for everything. Despite the challenges, I finished my degree and started my residency.”
“My sister just finished high school and got into this pricey private college, living on her own with our parents’ full support.”
“I’ve kinda made peace with their favoritism, keeping my distance since I barely see them, living in a different city and all.”
The OP was surprised when his sister wanted him to attend an appointment with her.
“So, when I visited recently, my sister shocked me by suggesting we go to therapy together.”
“I thought it might help us patch things up, but the therapist ended up blaming me for all my sister’s issues, saying I needed to step back for her mental health.”
Essentially, they invited me there to corner me and essentially just blame me for… well, for existing.”
“Both of them were. She claims she compares herself too much with me, which affects her mental health greatly. Giving her anxiety, among other problems.”
“I got seriously p**sed, confronted the therapist, and, of course, my sister and parents took her side, leaving me fuming.”
“Truthfully speaking, I was rather aggravated and the session derailed after that. But essentially, she wanted me to take a step back from my sister’s life. As I was causing her too much distress.”
“I’m still not sure what distress I caused living six hours away from them.”
The OP decided to do something about the therapist’s involvement in the session.
“Since I believed what the therapist did was unethical, I filed a complaint against her, thinking it was the right thing to do.”
“Turns out, it’s not as anonymous as I thought, and now my parents are begging me to withdraw it, claiming it’ll hurt the person who was apparently ‘helping their princess.'”
“I had enough and hightailed it out of there, driving six hours back to my place, still seething and feeling like I could’ve handled the whole mess better.”
“Now, I can’t say I’m not feeling like s**t. I hate this situation, and while I don’t feel like all I did was undeserving, maybe I should have handled it differently.”
“So, Reddit, AITA?”
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 were critical of the OP reporting someone else’s therapist.
“YTA. So basically, the therapist told you things that your sister didn’t have the courage to tell you, and you got p**sed and reported the therapist? That about sum it up?” – chaingun_samurai
“YTA for reporting the therapist. Your sister is the therapist’s client, not you. Your sister brought you in to attempt to communicate with you and how she has been impacted.”
“If you both truly wanted a neutral ground, it would have been beneficial to attend family therapy with a therapist who wasn’t her personal therapist.”
“You’re of course entitled to your opinions and feelings about getting ambushed, which was what was done to you by your sister. But the therapist didn’t do anything unethical by attempting to support their client and the one side of the story they were told.” – InstructionLegal1430
“If the therapist was told by your sister that you are indeed the root of the problem, your problem lies with your lying sister and not the therapist. I don’t see how she acted unethical when she was given false information.”
“As a doctor, you should know she cannot go on information not provided to her. You have to take the patient’s stories seriously. She seems to have done just that. That it’s based on lies, she quite reasonably didn’t know.”
“So this intervention of sorts was planned, in my opinion, honestly. Your anger should be aimed at your sister and parents, not the therapist. So light YTA.” – StoneAgePrue
“Honestly, I’m actually going to go against the grain and do an ESH, mainly because you have no idea what your sister told the therapist, especially since it sounds like the therapist thinks you’re seeing the sister regularly.”
“Your sister and parents for lying to the therapist, the therapist for telling your family (unless she didn’t, then the therapist is NTA), and you for reporting the therapist.”
“It sounds more like this is a beef with your sister, than the therapist doing something unethical; if your sister has been lying to the therapist, then, for all the therapist knows, she was acting ethically.” – vociferousgirl
“Okay, you might not like my answer here. But lightly, YTA. Let me explain.”
“Your sister is almost assuredly a narcissist of some type. Now when she goes and sees her therapist, the therapist is expecting her to be honest. But as a narcissist, that isn’t possible. Unless the Therapist has dealt with narcissists before in a therapy session, they will be conned by their patient on what is going on.”
“Your sister is manipulating the therapist and the therapist doesn’t realize it. The therapist has bought into your sister’s lies, and you being the family scapegoat are to blame.”
“Now, you can blame the therapist for not being objective, but for a fairly inexperienced one, this can pretty easily happen. It basically can happen to anyone. By making a claim against the therapist, you do them real significant harm. And for what?”
“Let’s be really honest here. A narcissist absolutely can not be helped by anyone. They will never be able to admit their real problems lie in themselves. So what does it matter if the therapist doesn’t realize she is a narcissist?”
“Here is what I would do if I were you. Ask the therapist for a one-on-one. Tell her you will remove the complaint in exchange. Then let her know your whole side of the story and remove the complaint. Whether she believes you or not is beside the point.”
“You have then given her the information, if she doesn’t believe you or doesn’t get the significance, drop it along with the complaint. It does neither of you any good.”
“Now for the more pressing issues. Your family seems to be a bunch of narcissists. Nothing will change that. Cut your losses. Cut them out of your life. They will never do anything good for you but always expect you to do for them.”
“Get yourself your own therapist and start fresh, you have a lot of damage to undo in yourself.” – LongjumpingFly1848
But others found the OP’s frustrations and report to be justified.
“You were right to report the therapist. That was out of line and any therapist who actually encourages unhealthy relationships shouldn’t be in the field at all.”
“Please don’t withdraw it because if they did it to you then they probably did it to someone who can’t or won’t stand up to them.” – Stardust_Shinah
“I’m sorry you had to go through this. But the complaint was definitely warranted, therapy should be unbiased.”
“That honestly sounds like a setup or they were paid to coddle your sister, which is super weird. At least you found a level of success and independence away from them. Probably better for your own mental health to go no contact.” – No_Variety_6847
“NTA. You have no idea what your sister has told the therapist. In her version of events, you may be an ever-present force constantly undermining your sister.”
“You were set up by your sister as the scapegoat for whatever problems or failures she is refusing to address.”
“The therapist needs reporting and extensive supervision at the very least. They overstepped the professional boundaries. You’re training to be a Doctor you need to protect future patients from the massive amount of harm this therapist could cause if left unchecked.” – wagloadsbarkless
“Your parents backed you into a corner where you had no choice but to sink or swim and now that you’re on the Olympic podium doing your residency—how dare you be independent while our princess needs water wings!”
“This appointment was to reinforce your sister’s delusion that her lack of independence and earned success is your fault when it’s your parents’. It was also a sneaky way for your parents to misplace blame on you. It backfired when you wouldn’t bend to them.”
“A therapist should absolutely be able to see when parents have tanked a kid’s ability to function and help everyone move forward rather than take the easy way out and displace blame.”
“It might sound like your parents are the AH and your sister isn’t, but she is for making herself the main character in your life and asking you to ‘step back.'”
“Cut them all off because they will come begging while insulting you.”
“NTA. They are.” – Helpful-Tadpole-1433
“It sounds like you put up with your family’s bulls**t your whole life. You’ve finally put your foot down (which is good) so of course they are retaliating.”
“I can’t imagine 1 report about the therapist being mildly unethical is going to ruin the therapist’s career (unless the therapist has a history of fucking up like this) in which case it is deserved. You were well within your rights to submit the report either way.”
“Best of luck!” – RegularOps
Though everyone could understand how perplexing it could be to walk into a therapy appointment, hoping to heal old wounds with his sister, only to be blamed for all of his sister’s struggles, they were divided on the OP’s decision to report the therapist who led the session.
Some felt it was wrong for the therapist to assist the sister in cornering the OP during the session, but others felt the therapist was working from the information they had been given by the sister, which might not match the experience the OP had grown up with.
Perhaps as a result of this report, the therapist would be more likely to track down both sides of the story before leading a one-sided session.