Redditor No_Dimension_7030 is a 23-year-old unbaptized lesbian who is on medication for a mental health condition due to a traumatic childhood.
The trauma didn’t stop as she grew into adulthood.
When she was 19, she flew to New York and stayed with her “religious fanatic” aunt, who made her suffer through a series of harrowing experiences.
The Redditor caused drama in the family when a time for closure presented itself.
So she visited the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit, where she asked.
“AITA for refusing to talk to my great aunt on her deathbed even though she had me exorcised?”
The Original Poster (OP) explained:
“Some backstory: My mom and I (F23) immigrated to the US when I was very young for my dads job.”
“He died when I was 16 and left me with a host of trauma and a 30 year mortgage that we definitely couldn’t afford on a single parent income.”
“Needless to say, my mom and I were thrust into the deep end of poverty and have not known peace since. Thankfully, I now have a stable career and we’re doing pretty well but those first few years were some of the darkest times of my life.”
“When I was 19, my aunt offered me the chance to fly up to NY (from TX) and meet her there so that she could show me the city (she visits the U.S. often). This was in early March so arranging time off was really difficult.”
“Part of arranging time off meant that I would have to take some time during the trip to work on school and sit in on a virtual meeting for my boss (this is relevant later).”
“A week before the flight, I’m on a Facetime call with my aunt. This entire time I was completely aware that we would be staying with Great Aunt Jessie (for the story) so I laid out my two worries:”
“Great Aunt Jessie is a religious fanatic and I am an unbaptized gay atheist. My family is extremely catholic. Like, sent my mom and my aunt to a convent at 13 type of catholic. Reads a portion of the bible for an hour after dinner type of catholic.”
“So me not being baptized as the eldest granddaughter has always been a massive argument and a stain on our good family name, more so once I was old enough to make the decision that I didn’t want to be baptized at all. Needless to say, we just don’t talk about it.”
“One of Great Aunt Jessie’s children (Jamie, for the story) has a chronic illness that is slowly killing her, she needs a major organ transplant. Everyone in the immediate family was not a match, everyone else is too far away to be a viable possibility.”
“I could be a viable match but all of those daddy issues from my youth have left me with a laundry list of mental health problems being (all things considered) well-managed by 2 drugs that disqualify me from being a donor.”
“To go through the process of matching I would need to be off my medication for approx. 6 months and if the match is possible, 9 more months.”
“I’ve been grappling with the selfishness of this decision for years but going off of these meds would (100% literally) kill me. It’s not a chance I can take but because they’re not for a ‘real’ condition I have been gaslit and judged to hell and back for not even going though the match testing. It’s another ongoing argument with my family.”
“My aunt assures me that the plan is to spend most of our time out sight-seeing and only see great aunt jessie for dinner and church on Sunday. Skip to a week later and the unthinkable happens: my aunt is denied entry to the U.S. and gets put on a plane back home.”
“Great Aunt Jessie wont even let me get out of the car to figure out whats going on at the airport.
For the next week, I am stranded with about $100 to my name in a 1200 square ft apartment with aunt Jessie, my cousin Jamie, and no wifi.”
“Jamie and her other kid work so every time I try to leave the house its an ordeal, we can’t walk anywhere, she has to call people from her church to come get us and if no ones available then we can’t go out.”
“If I try to make breakfast for myself, I’m backhandedly calling her a bad host. If I call an Uber to take me somewhere, she calls my mom and tells her I’m being ‘prissy and a snob’ because I didn’t want to wait for her ride.”
“She constantly plays different catholic hymns from 3 different speakers in the house, I get overstimulated easily and can’t focus on anything. She ignored me for a full day because I left to work on school and sit in on that meeting.”
“The piece de resistance: on Sunday, we go to church. I’m from The South, going to church with your friends family was a rite of passage at any sleepover so I’m prepared to respectfully go through the motions for the service and go on with my day.”
“She takes me to a megachurch. Not ideal but fine. The service is, a lot. The whole shebang- rock music, light show, people speaking in tongues, fainting in the aisles, a ‘healing’ priest. Whatever, I won’t judge someones worship.”
“The breaking point was when they tried to ‘heal’ a kid with downs syndrome in the middle of a breakdown, the poor kid was obviously in distress and being held down by his parents. It made me sick to my stomach and I ended up waiting for her to be done in the lobby of the church.”
“She introduces me to the priest, its all going ok until I find out her entire congregation knows me as the selfish cousin who won’t save her kids life. That stung.”
“Then, it comes out I’m not baptized! I spend the rest of the day dodging all sorts of vitriol. We go home and I go straight to bed.”
“That evening, I find out she’s invited the priest from church over for dinner. Come to find out! The priest is here for dinner and an exorcism.”
“I won’t get into all of it, I spent 2 hours being yelled in tongues and ended the night crying in the bathroom. Fun times.”
“The next morning I flew home, I never told my mom any of what happened in that last day. It’s kind of a joke that Aunt Jessie is crazy so I just let her think that was it.”
“Since then, any time I’m north of Mississippi I’ve avoided posting anything to social media just out of, idk, fear? that she might think I’m anywhere close.”
“Now, she’s dying of covid pneumonia and has made the explicit request to talk to me. I’ve been avoiding the whole situation but it recently blew up and everyone is telling me I’m the a**hole for not letting her get her peace etc.”
“I genuinely think she’s one of the most bitter, disgusting, hateful people I have ever had the displeasure of knowing but I am starting to feel some guilt as her condition worsens. AITA?”
Strangers online were asked to declare one of the following:
- NTA – Not the A**hole
- YTA – You’re the A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everybody Sucks Here
Many Redditors thought the OP was not the a**hole here.
“NTA, she traumatized you in multiple horrific ways. There’s no reason for you to let her get the last word in when it’ll undoubtedly be something along the lines of ‘we’ll never see each other again, because I’m going to heaven.’”
“As an atheist, this story really sickened me. I am so sorry you had to go through all of that. Religious trauma is horrible, especially since the people committing it are convinced they’re doing such good when they’re actually scarring your mental health.”
“From Texan atheist to Texan atheist, I hope you find some peace of mind and support after everything you’ve been through!” – Golden-Amethyst
“NTA NTA NTA. I had something VERY similar happen (re: exorcism) and let me tell you use only wants to bully you into Baptism/organ donation. She literally doesn’t care if you will die.”
“Indeed, she’s made it VERY clear that she would prefer your death over that of her daughter. And also, she’s got COVID-19 and (let me guess) she isn’t vaccinated. Stay TH away and safe. I’m so sorry that you are enduring this.” – bluejubatus52
“NTA – even without all the other reasoning behind it, if you don’t want to talk to your Great Aunt, then you don’t have to.”
“Now adding on the crazy, it’s clear the experience traumatised you and you should definitely tell your mum about the exorcism. And possibly cut out all the religious fanatics who claim your mental health does not count as a real disease.”
“You are not obligated to risk your life for anyone nor be guilt tripped about it constantly. Are you able to be tested to see if you’re a match without going off the drugs? (Or fake tested as a negative to get the family off of your back?).”
“I suspect her dying wish will be to have you donate your organs since she seems to have gotten in her head you are definitively a match. You do not need that burden and the rest of the family will just have to respect that.” – VividEfficiency7347
“NTA. There is ZERO obligation to subject yourself to any more abuse from this woman.”
“To those who insist you have to ‘listen to what she has to say’ tell them she can write a letter. Which you may or not ever read it but gives you the option if you do wish in the future.” – TwoCentsPsychologist
“NTA Jesus wept, and I dont say that with any irony. I think Jesus would actually clear out a fair few contemporary temples these days, but I digress. What an absolute horror story you have lived through.”
“I completely commend you for being as tolerant and as level headed as you have been. You owe these people precisely nothing.”
“Great aunt played her cards, that’s on her. Its not your job, nor indeed it’s not possible for you to ‘give her peace’ by granting her wish. Shes a twisted person who will believe whatever she wants to believe. I repeat, that’s on her.”
“Her life, her views, her actions have nothing to do with you. Just because she is labelled as family does not give her any special authority over you.”
“Let that go from your conscience. 5 mins of your time now isnt going to erase the mad bitterness of her life or opinions. Wash your hands of this my dear it’s not your weight to carry.
“Also, your cousin. Your life is every bit as important. I sincerely hope they find a match, but there is absolutely no onus on you to put your life at risk just to discover perhaps that you are in fact, not a match.”
“It’s not a viable option. There are legitimate issues with your meds etc. Let this weight go also.”
“You have more than enough on your plate without adding other peoples burdens. It’s not given to you to save everyone. There are people yet to come into your future that you will help and care for.”
“You shouldnt spend any more time worrying about wether you should save people that you cant actually save. You are already doing a stand up job getting your own life together after your own trauma, and looking after your mum etc. That’s more than enough for one human. Good luck my dear.” – boglyric
Overall, Redditors agreed the OP did not owe her great aunt anything. They also thought that people like the dying aunt continue to give religion a bad rap.
Even though they were sympathetic to Jessie’s grave illness, Redditors additionally believed the OP’s health was not worth sacrificing for in order to save her cousin’s life.