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Guy Calls Out Sister’s Plan To Get ‘Cruel’ Tattoo Honoring Her Dead Professor And Snubbing Her Mom

Woman getting a tattoo
Stevica Mrdja / EyeEm

Sadly, not everyone has a great relationship with their parents.

Even if they remain on speaking terms, some people just never find the love and connection that would seem to be intrinsic between parents and children.

As a result, people might often find another adult or mentor figure who fills the void left by their distant relationship with their parents.

Such was the case for the sister of Redditor SisTatDrama96, whose relationship with her parents had always been strained.

She later formed a close bond with a college professor, a bond which the original poster (OP) viewed as one between a mother and a daughter.

Sadly, this professor passed away, and when the OP’s sister wanted to pay tribute to her in a very personal way, the OP called her out for being “cruel” to their mother.

Having second thoughts about what he said, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where he asked fellow Redditors:

“AITA for calling my sister cruel for her tattoo idea?”

The OP explained how they urged his sister to consider their mother’s feelings before she went through with paying tribute to her late professor.

“Sis is 28 I’m 26M.”

“My sis N has always had a strained relationship with our parents, especially my mom.”

“I am clearly not privy to the reasons because things are fine with me and my parents.”

“When N went to college, she met her creative writing professor as a freshman, and they got close immediately.”

“They would do a lot together and worked closely on a few different writing projects.”

“N never specifically said this, but it was obvious to anyone who saw them interact that they had a substitute mother/daughter type relationship.”

‘Which hurt my mom a lot to see.”

‘I always thought she’d grow out of it or that the Prof would move on, but ten years later they were still very close.”

“About a month ago the prof died unexpectedly, and it devastated N.’

“She was really depressed over the holidays which of course was all in front of my mom and was a difficult reminder that N loved the Prof as a mother way more than she ever loved my mom as a mother.”

“She still talks to my parents and stuff, and they don’t fight or anything, but N is very distant and doesn’t tell them anything about her life beyond the bare minimum.”

“My mom tried to comfort N, but N was doing her distant thing and didn’t want comfort.”

“Something unfortunate that happened to N is that when she got the call that she died, she was brewing tea and in the shock of the news she spilled boiling water on her arm which burned her kinda badly on her wrist.”

“I think the burn was like on the borderline of 2nd and 3rd degree, and definitely still looked pretty rough during the holidays.”

“N said it was especially hard because in addition to the physical pain, every time she looks at it, she is reminded of the moment she found out the Prof died.”

“Which I totally get.”

“I was on facetime with N, and she said she talked to her tattoo artist friend who said that the burn should be able to heal well enough to get a tattoo over it.”

“N then excitedly told me about her idea which is a type of flower that the prof gave her a bouquet of for her undergrad graduation.”

“My mom was so embarrassed that day because she didn’t get N flowers, but the Prof did, and N was parading them around so happy and it was a reminder of their connection.”

“I guess N and the Prof exchanged these flowers for every special occasion like birthdays etc.”

“So now she wants to get a decent-sized tattoo in a highly visible spot of something that will remind everyone of the Prof.”

“I told N that this seemed really cruel to my mom who already feels cast aside and like she’s in exile from N.”

“And that’s without the constant permanent reminder.”

“N kind of scoffed and said ‘I can’t believe you think you have the right to tell me not to do this’, called me an ass and hung up, and is still not talking to me except for a very brief text saying congrats for a promotion I just got.”

“My parents aren’t commenting.”

“My dad said I should have just kept quiet even though he agrees and my mom made no comment but seemed grateful I stood up for her.”

“I feel like I was just being protective of my mom.”

“But AITA?”

Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation, by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

The OP received very little sympathy from the Reddit community, who agreed that the OP was indeed the a**hole for telling his sister getting that tattoo was “cruel.”

Everyone agreed that the OP’s decision to get a tattoo to pay tribute to her late professor, who clearly meant a lot to her, had no bearing on her relationship with her mother, and the OP was in no place to say anything.


“I think I can give some perspective from your sister’s side.”

“I too have a strained relationship with my bio mom and have adopted my high school best friend’s mom as my own.”

“My bio mom and I have been distant since 15.”

“My older sister was the golden child, and I was the scapegoat.”

“The way my mom treated me was mentally abusive.”

“I’m not going to claim that your mom is the same way because obviously I’m not a part of y’all’s situation, but I can say that my siblings when I would describe the events that took place, would have no recollection.”

“They would describe a completely different woman than the one I experienced.”

“Please open your mind and heart to what your sister experienced and try to understand her.”

“She’s not doing it to harm your mom.”

“I promise you there is no intention to hurt your mom in any way, shape, or form.”

“If I lost my mother figure, the woman who has claimed me as her own for the majority of my adult life, who brought me flowers on MY graduation, I would get a tattoo in remembrance of her, too.”

“You were lucky enough to have a mother figure in the woman who birthed you.”

“Your sister found one elsewhere.”

“She’s not doing it to hurt anyone, but to remember someone she dearly loved.”

“I just want to emphasize that I’m in no way insinuating that your mom was abusive to your sister.”

“I just wanted to highlight how it is completely possible for two siblings to have COMPLETELY different experiences with the same parent and your sister’s feelings are valid.”- rosemarysgaybe


“It’s OK if you and your sister have different relationships with your mom.”

“Trying to make your sister see your mom.”

“Just like you do is not going to work.”- MikeNoble91


“You say you don’t know why the relationship is strained, but the comments prove you absolutely do know.”

“Through your sister’s life until she was 17 she had to be the parent to you, and deal with drug and alcohol-addicted parents.”

‘She was likely abused verbally, but at the very least she was forced to be a parent to a younger sibling and keep you both alive.”

“So she leaves home to go and study within a very short time, so she never felt cared for or supported, she meets a Prof and husband that care and support her and show an interest, she would have felt love for the first time in a very pure way.”

“Your mum shows up to her uni grad and doesn’t even bring flowers or a gift, makes zero effort.”

“Now this woman who changed her life has passed away, and she is grieving.”

“And you want to tell her to keep it secret, so her abuser doesn’t get hurt feelings?”

“I will give you the benefit of the doubt and say you are naive.”

“But open your eyes.”

“If you apologize now, and understand and mean it sincerely, you might save your relationship.”

“Your sister has class IMO.”

“Even when she was so hurt by you she still congratulated you on your success.”

“Do you show her as much love?”- squirlysquirel



“For starters.”

“Your sister’s body belongs to her.”

“You do not have a say in what goes on it.”

“You can approve or disprove all you like, but it’s her decision.”

“For the second, you are not the arbitrator of your mother and your sister’s relationship.”

“If your sister is bothering your mother, it is not your place to fix that rift.”

“If your mother is bothering your sister, it is not your place to fix that rift.”

“Your sister lost a very close friend and person in her life and would like to get a meaningful tattoo to represent that relationship and honor that loss.”

‘There is no cruelty in that tattoo.”

“There is only cruelty in the minds of people who think it’s somehow about them when it is not in ANY way.”- pharoah4187

“You have decided to make judgments about your sister’s relationship with her Prof without having the full picture of her relationship with your parents.”

“It sounds like your sister found someone who positively impacted her life.”

“I’m happy for her, you should be too.”- Miserable_Cow403

The decision of OP’s sister to show how much her late professor meant to her was not meant to show how much her mother didn’t.

If anything, this might be a chance for the OP’s mother to improve her relationship with her daughter, by being there for her during this hard and difficult time.

It’s never too late to show people how much you love them.

Written by John Curtis

A novelist, picture book writer and native New Yorker, John is a graduate of Syracuse University and the children's media graduate program at Centennial College. When not staring at his computer monitor, you'll most likely find John sipping tea watching British comedies, or in the kitchen, taking a stab at the technical challenge on the most recent episode of 'The Great British Baking Show'.