Many people are not born with the empathy gene. They don’t understand other people’s pain unless they experience it themselves.
That is something that only they can change. Sadly, empathy can not be taught.
Redditor Relative-Insect-8404 encountered this very issue with her kids. So she turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for moral judgment.
“AITA for forcing my son to do some sort of research on our daughter’s condition?”
The Original Poster (OP) explained:
“English isn’t my first language, sorry in advance for any errors.”
“I (41f) have two kids (12f) and (15m). My daughter has a condition called endometriosis and for those unaware, it’s a condition in which uterus tissue doesn’t grow ‘properly’ and due to this periods can become much worse.”
“For those aware of the condition, if you are wondering I have a friend who is a gynecologist who was able to help us. I say this because of how hard this condition is to diagnose normally.”
“My son has never taken it seriously and has said things along the line of ‘she needs to suck it up’ or ‘she needs to stop being so obnoxious,’ in reference to groaning noises.”
“I have told him to stop and threatened punishment but I let him slide as I attributed it to virtual school stress and as of late, finals stress.”
“And he has made these comments to me so it wasn’t as big of an issue.”
OP’s son continued making disrespectful comments.
“At the end of last month school ended, yet he still made this comment today.”
“So, I told him that he needs to research and learn about the condition for this entire week or the next one so that he learns to be more sympathetic.”
“He was upset by this and said that he didn’t want to and I told him that he had to and he groaned and went to go do it, yet my husband (43m) said that this was unreasonable and even if it was a reasonable punishment forcing him to do research isn’t going to help.”
“I told my husband that I wasn’t forcing him to be sympathetic I was forcing him to learn about the pain.”
“We argued for a bit before my husband told me I was too stubborn and walked away, now I feel that forcing him may have been a bad decision as it is a bit unreasonable and it won’t have much of an effect. So, AITA?”
Redditors gave their opinions on the situation by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Most Redditors agreed OP was not the a**hole.
“Perhaps your husband should also do some research with your son, might be good for both of them.”
“Edit: thank you for the awards, I’m not entirely sure about Reddiquitte and hope this is okay.” ~ silfy_star
“I agree, and the last bit of this story crystallized where the son’s attitude came from. Both need an education on endo.” ~ TreeShapedHeart
“I’ll never understand why people don’t just listen to what others are saying and accept it when it comes to pain.”
“I’m a male, have a couple friends with endo. They told me their periods were extra bad because of it and it caused a lot of pain.”
“That’s literally all it took to understand. It’s not at all a hard concept to understand that for some people ‘normal’ things are much harder.” ~ Silvinis
Some argued there was a deeper issue.
“This article actually made me think about the other day when I lost my bank card and my boyfriend specifically asked me if it was a big deal or if it was just annoying.”
“It took me aback for a second because I think men usually just tell me when I’m venting about something or really stressed that it’ll be fine even when I know that for particular personal reasons that thing won’t magically be. “
“The problem is I think for a lot of people who are dominant or not minorities in society they expect that they know how everyone should feel or react in certain situations because they expect it to mirror their own reactions or what they think they would be.”
“Like yeah for some people losing a bank card is fine because another one will come in a few days and they have other accounts or other ways to access their money. For me who is the only person supporting my family/working due to Covid with only one bank account it was kind of a big monkey wrench and I explained that and wasn’t told I was overreacting… I did feel bad about telling him that hugs probably wouldn’t help because it was hot as f*ck though lol.” ~ BasicChick314
“That’s an amazing question.”
“I first heard it phrased differently, but same sentiment. But in the context of asking yourself the question when you notice yourself starting to flip your shreddies.”
“Lot’s of things are just change, or annoying. Give yourself 5 min to have a pretend meltdown on the same level of seriousness as the problem and move on with your day.”
“I actually had one today. Something stupid at work, but it was the final straw in a string of shit sandwiches. I started to lose it, asked the question, realized all of the issues were petty and stomped my foot once, stuck out my bottom lip and said something like Dammit in a little kid voice. Then went to my workbench and got proactive about the shit. Listed all the stupid things, crossed out shit that either meant nothing, or had zero resolution, and dealt with the 3 that were left.” ~ Terravarious
“As a female network engineer – at least from what I’ve seen and experienced, there’s always the ‘oh-a-woman’ attitude. It’s not everyone (and certainly not just men).” ~ tokkitwo
“I’ve read somewhere too that conditions which primarily affect women – e.g. endometriosis, IBS, fibromyalgia – are the ones we’re told ‘there’s no cure’ for and are expected to just make lifestyle changes and suck it up, basically.”
“They’re also often not recognized as a disability.”
“My mom has very severe fibromyalgia and I feel I will go to my grave angry that this isn’t recognized as a disability. She cannot work, she cannot live a normal life. Ugh. I can’t even think about it without getting angry upset, it’s so unfair.” ~ bluebird2019xx
Endometriosis is painful and nothing to joke about.