We’ve all known someone who was really into their birthday. Like, they celebrate all month long kind of behavior.
These people are impossible to console if something compromises their birthday plans.
But being bullied and needing help shouldn’t count as ruining someone’s birthday, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor ruinedbirthday wished someone would tell that to her mother, though, who spent 20 years making jokes about how her daughter “ruined” her birthday by needing her help.
When another birthday was coming around and her mother started making jokes again, the Original Poster (OP) was ready to say enough was enough.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for snapping at my mom and telling her to stop bringing up the time I ‘ruined her birthday’ almost 20 years ago?”
The OP’s mom received a call at home 20 years prior.
“I’m 30 (Female), and Mom is 54 (Female).”
“When I was 10 years old, I had a bad falling out with my best friend. This led to her bullying me constantly.”
“I was dreading going to school every day and would avoid parts of our neighborhood where I knew she and her family frequented.”
“One day, the bullying at school finally got so bad that a teacher noticed and decided she needed to call home to both of our parents.”
Her mother couldn’t let go of the fact that this happened on her special day.
“This day just so happened to be my mom’s birthday.”
“At the time, my mom was genuinely angry that she got this call on her birthday and that it put a damper on the rest of her day. She had to go in for a meeting (maybe like an hour tops but I can’t remember) with my bully’s mom, the principal, and a few of our teachers.”
“She was able to still make the party my dad was throwing for her but was in a bad mood for it due to the situation that, in her mind, I created.”
“As a kid, I was absolutely devastated that I was dealing with this at school, and then I came home, and my mom was against me for it too.”
“I fully believed the idea that it was MY fault her birthday was ruined and that I did something wrong.”
The OP’s mother used that day as fuel for bad jokes.
“In the 20 years since then, she’s come to find it funny instead of a frustrating story.”
“She brings it up constantly as a ‘funny’ story, especially at birthday dinners or whenever we drive by the grocery store that I refused to enter for a while as a kid because my bully’s mom worked there.”
“For her, it’s an absolute riot.”
“But for me, it just brings back memories of being bullied really badly by my former best friend and then making my mom mad at me for being bullied.”
“I’ve never laughed at this ‘super funny story,’ and it’s gotten to the point where even other family members are sort of uncomfortably chuckling instead of actually laughing along with her.”
The OP had had enough of the jokes.
“Her birthday is at the end of next month, and she started a group chat with some family and friends about meeting at a restaurant to do a big dinner.”
“She, very predictably, made a ‘joke,’ saying ‘Hopefully I won’t get a call from [the Head of the law firm where I work], saying someone is being mean to you at work before the party.'”
“I got super annoyed and texted back, ‘Can you please let it go and stop bringing this up constantly? I don’t know why you think this is a funny memory for anyone besides yourself, and to be honest, I can’t imagine why it’s a funny memory for you, either.'”
“The group chat fell dead silent.”
The OP’s mother lashed out at her.
“I later got a call, saying I embarrassed her in front of a large group of people and I could have at least had the decency to talk to her in private.”
“She added, ‘God forbid I try to make some light of a bad situation.'”
“She feels like she can’t show her face to her friends now.”
“I am at a point where I don’t necessarily regret finally saying something, but maybe I regret going about it the way I did, especially if she now feels embarrassed in front of her friends.”
“So am I an a**hole for calling her out?”
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 thought the mom sounded like just as much of a bully as the ex-friend.
“NTA. Your mum continued the bullying, for f**k’s sake.”
“I am actually going through very similar with my 11-year-old. A former friend turned bully… and all coming to a head the day before my birthday (along with some other crap too)…”
“But you know what? I hugged my little one while she cried and then had to take her to a sporting event for her on my birthday. So what? Our job as a mum is to love and support our kids and if we do it well, we get 10 times back.”
“Your mum should be embarrassed… She behaved terribly. The best way to stop people talking about how she behaves like an a**hole is for her to stop being one!”
“Good on you for speaking up… I hope she can stop being a bully and you can get some peace. I hope you have made a wonderful life for yourself.” – squirlysquirel
“NTA. And any time your mom brings it up going forward, with a smile on your face, say, ‘Yeah, I remember when you were such a bad, uninvolved mom that you had no idea I was being tortured by a kid and did nothing to help until the school staff made you. It’s so funny! I can’t wait to tell my future kids what a terrible mom you were.'”
“Start hysterically laughing, and add, ‘I mean, I was miserable and in terror all the time. I hated my life, and the only thing you cared about was your birthday party! I mean, I should join a group for kids with narcissistic parents so they can enjoy this funny story too!'” – crystallz2000
“Honestly, I think she’s trying to make OP feel s**tty. What probably happens is every time she’s reminded of that day, it p**ses her off, but because it’s been too long to really be salty about it, she makes ‘jokes.'”
“Narcissists love to use the ‘I was just joking, don’t be so sensitive’ defense, because it immediately flips the situation to make them look like the victim.”
“It’s probably not the only innocent thing OP’s mom secretly resents her daughter for. I’m sure if the OP sat and thought about it, her mom probably has several regular ‘jokes’ that are more mean than funny.” – ADeckOfZero
“I don’t buy the mother trying to ‘make light’ of the situation. No good mother would keep bringing it up years after the fact in order to retrain the emotional memory.”
“The mother has clearly held a grudge about this FOR YEARS. She’s being ridiculously immature for her age and it’s embarrassing for OP and every other family member who has to keep hearing this story.” – addisonavenue
“I guarantee she uses THIS incident as her next 20+ years of ‘woe is me, my birthday is ruined’ fodder.”
“NTA. I’m so sorry you have had to deal with this for so long. Take yourself out and do something you absolutely love instead of going to her dinner. You deserve it.” – J3ks46
Others pointed out that the OP bringing this up privately would never change anything.
“To me, it sounds like mom knows she’s in the wrong and is trying to laugh about the memory to brush off the fact that she was such a selfish cruel mom.”
“I don’t get full-grown adults having such a fit over having a perfect birthday. Like, you hit an age where I thought you were supposed to grow out of that.”
“And being annoyed that your child ‘ruined’ your birthday because some kid at school bullied her and the principal called concerned tells me all I need to know.”
“Your kid doesn’t know how to stand up for herself because her mom bullies her and teaches her she has no self-worth. OP, don’t let this woman treat you like garbage anymore.”
“Good on you for sticking up for yourself. In the future, maybe you should confront her in private, not for her sake but for yours!” – DrPups
“If she can sh*t on you for being bullied as a child in a public setting, she doesn’t deserve to be clapped back in private. She’s should feel embarassed and ashamed for continuing to bully you because you were bullied.” – RanniSimp
“The worst part is that, whenever the OP has brought it up before, they brought it up in private and it never changed. This is the first time that they’ve said something about it that they didn’t like it in public, so this is the first time other people are hearing that she’s regularly being bullied by her mother.” – JCBashBash
“NTA. My mom does this to me, too. It really f**king sucks. These types of parents will say, ‘Well, you could’ve said something privately,’ but if you try to do that, nothing comes of it.”
“As a teen, I was always very nervous and clumsy, and I had a hard time learning to drive. Both my parents would get super angry and hit me if I messed up while they were teaching me, even if I was in the middle of going around a curve or something, so it’s not like I had a great foundation to learn on.”
“My family mocked me ruthlessly about it, to the point of making me cry on multiple occasions. I finally told my mom once how badly it made me feel, right before we met up with some family. I asked if she, at least, would stop joking about it.”
“She said, ‘I didn’t realize you were so sensitive but okay. I’ll stop.'”
“Walking back to the car with everyone, she openly made a joke about me struggling to drive. And like, I’d always known she wasn’t on my side. But that always sticks out as the moment she solidified it. Because that was the first time I’d ever been brave enough to ask her to stop mocking me, and she literally laughed in my face.”
“She’s made fun of me in worse ways, before and after this, but that’s the only time I’ve asked because I knew it didn’t matter if I did, and when I finally was brave enough to try, she just confirmed I was right, it didn’t matter.”
“You aren’t wrong for saving yourself the heartache.” – cametobemean
Not only was the subReddit furious on the OP’s behalf for the last two decades of bullying she had received from her mother, for being bullied in the first place, but they firmly felt that public bullying called for public backlash.
If the mother couldn’t take it, especially around her birthday, maybe she shouldn’t keep dishing it out.