For anyone with some unknown family history, it’s likely that they would like to know more about who their family actually is. Especially when the existing family is cagey about the details.
But a person should be careful about asking questions they may not want the answers to, advised the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor Direct_Hovercraft159 recently found out who her biological father was, and though it made sense, it was difficult to accept.
But after she was criticized for how she reacted, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if she approached the news the wrong way.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for freaking out at my mom after finding out who my biological father is?”
The OP’s mother decided to tell her who her biological father was.
“For my whole life, I never knew who my biological father was. My mom and family have always been super secretive about it.”
“Recently my mom decided to tell me as I just turned 16 and she felt I was old enough to know now after I asked her.”
“She sat me down in the living room and told me that my bio dad was her ex-stepfather, AKA my grandmother’s ex-husband…”
“My mom was 19 when she got in a relationship with my bio dad, and my grandma was on the edge of divorce and was living in separate houses at the time.”
The OP did not take the news well.
“I felt extremely disgusted and disappointed at my mom.”
“I said to her, ‘No wonder Grandma hates being around you, you couldn’t keep your legs closed long enough to keep away from grandma’s husband,’ and ‘I am completely disgusted with you, I don’t even know if I can look at you the same way.'”
“I said a lot of other stuff, I wasn’t really kind with my words.”
The OP’s mother tried to apologize.
“My mom cried and said, ‘I’m really sorry, my actions ended up hurting a lot of people. It’s something I live with every day. Just know that my actions don’t define you.'”
“I told my mom to save her words and went to my room.”
“I never thought in a million years that this would be the outcome. I feel grossed out and a little disgusted with myself.”
“Everything honestly started making sense though. The way my grandmother acts around me and how the only times I ever go to her house is on holidays when my younger siblings go to her house a lot more.”
“There’s always been this weird tension when my mom and grandma are alone in a room or when they speak to each other, and no one ever wanted to talk to me about my bio dad.”
The OP’s stepdad went to talk to her next.
“My stepdad came into my room after a few hours, and he asked me how I was feeling and told me that he understands why I’m upset and I have every right to be.”
“But he said that doesn’t give me the right to speak to my mom the way I did and that I should apologize.”
“He went on about how my mother sacrificed a lot for me and was always there for me when I needed her. This is true, my mom has always been an amazing mother and from what I have seen, a good person, I always felt loved by her.”
“After my stepdad spoke to me, I started feeling really bad at how I spoke to my mom, but at the same time, I feel like she deserves it because she betrayed my grandma.”
“AITA for freaking out at my mom when I found out who my bio dad is?”
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 needed to apologize to her mother immediately.
“YTA. Your mother was 19 years old, all of 3 years older than you are now, when a grown man, her own stepfather took advantage of her and got her pregnant. Think about that for a minute!”
“Instead of realizing the amazing breach of trust and power imbalance involved in that particular ‘relationship’ and that your step-grandfather was a predator, you slut-shamed your own mother and decided that she at 19 years old, bears all of the responsibility here.”
“I realize that you’re only 16, but you have absolutely no empathy for the woman who you claim has always been a good and loving mother to you. Get some therapy to help you process your feelings.” – Consistent-Leopard71
“OP, please look up grooming, abusive relationships, and incest (which this technically isn’t, but is in the ballpark of).”
“You’re entitled to your feelings, but not to abuse your mother. Normally, a 16-year-old daughter wouldn’t be in a position of power vis-a-vis her mother, but in this case, you are, and you’re already starting to abuse that power.”
“Go to her, apologize, and beg her to put you both in therapy. Then work through your anger and grief together with her, not in opposition to her. She deserves your support as much as you deserve hers.”
“YTA, but gently.” – usernaym44
Others agreed but understood why the OP was upset.
“I want to take a minute to validate the feelings that lead to your response.”
“You just found out that the reason Grandma isn’t grandmotherly to you is because of the actions of your parents. Every awkward moment, every tense holiday, every time you wondered why grandma didn’t treat you the same as your siblings… wasn’t your fault.”
“It’s easy to place the burden of all those feelings on your mother. If your conception was different, then maybe you would have had a childhood free of those troubles. It’s a lot and I’m sorry this is the hand you were dealt.”
“That being said.”
“You definitely owe your mother an apology.”
“It might be helpful to write out all your feelings in a letter or maybe multiple. A letter to your mom, your grandma, your bio donor (the real a**hole here). You don’t even have to give them the letters. Just use them to deal with your feelings” – JustMissKacey
“I also don’t think we should blame a 16-year-old, without life real experience, for:”
“1. Not seeing this objectively (she is still a teenager who uses the amygdala instead of the frontal cortex for decision making); she is going to react emotionally to this, that’s part of being a teenager;”
“2. For having negative emotions about this revelation which has basically explained why she was treated unfairly her whole life by family; and”
“3. Not picking up on the fact that this was grooming and sexual abuse on the part of the bio-father.”
“She needs to apologize, and she needs therapy, especially after reading this thread and learning that her birth is the product of sexual misconduct by her biofather. Her mother probably needs to go to therapy too, if she hasn’t already.” – chop1125
Some said the mother deserved much more empathy than what she received.
“A good reminder that to a 16-year-old, a 19-year-old seems like a ‘real adult,’ and to a real adult, there’s almost no difference between the two. Both seem like clueless kids to someone in their 30s.”
“I think mom has been punished enough for that period in her life. She doesn’t need to hear everything she’s likely already thought about herself from the mouth of her own teenaged daughter.” – DiTrastevere
“The actions of OP’s biological father and grandmother, NOT their mother. Please do not blame a survivor of grooming who was herself violated by someone that she was supposed to be able to trust.”
“And based on her reaction (immediately blaming herself and apologizing for HER actions hurting everyone, trying to be compassionate to OP, crying, and the comment about it being something she lives with every day), she’s likely a sexual abuse and trauma survivor that was treated as the guilty party by everyone around her and shamed.”
“The way she immediately took the extremely disgusting words OP said to her and showed more care about everyone else around her and how this impacts EVERYONE ELSE (not herself, not OP) – it’s the same reaction I see with my adult clients who have survived familial abuse and grooming too (I’m a human rights attorney).”
“I work with a lot of transnational cases involving blended families and adoptions, and this sounds so much like the way in which the blended family survivors react to anything hurled at them.”
“Do not encourage OP to write their mom a letter – OP has every right to feel hurt and upset but no right to just be another in a long line of people that have further let down their mother and essentially said that SHE’s the one in the wrong instead of the real a**hole – the abusive one.”
“The grandmother is responsible for her own behavior and actions – none of which are the mom’s fault. The grandmother failed to protect her own daughter from a predator and the fact that OP immediately went to ‘no wonder grandma hates you’ and ‘you should’ve kept your legs closed’ is absolutely disgusting.”
“OP is 16, not 6. They’re entitled to feel hurt and upset and emotional, but I’m sorry, nothing ever makes that ok, especially since they’re old enough to know better. I’m sorry this is the hand that OP’s mom was dealt.” – MountainBean3479
After receiving feedback, the OP posted an update.
“I appreciate your honest opinions and take it to heart. I have spoken to my mom and apologized, and she accepted the apology instantly.”
“I love my mom and I understand how hurtful the things I said to her were.”
“I hope in the future I’ll be more compassionate like my mom.”
The subReddit understood that the OP was shocked by the news, but that’s where the understanding stopped. Her phrasing was hurtful and likely caused her mother more harm. The sub agreed that a substantial apology was in order, if not also therapy and a better understanding of what her mother has actually been through.