Sometimes it’s hard to know what to do when someone needs you.
Do you put yourself and your duties first, or do you put all that aside and try to help them?
A man found himself pondering this on the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit when he had to choose between helping someone and getting his rest.
But finally feeling like enough was enough, Redditor sethborf struck out.
After the fact, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if he was wrong for it.
He asked the sub:
“AITA for telling my (32[male]) Dad (62[male]) off for habitually calling me while I’m trying to sleep?”
The OP has always made his schedule clear to loved ones.
“I work night shifts, therefore I sleep during the day.”
“I’ve been on this shift for over 10 years now, and it’s known to all my close friends and relatives to never call me during the day unless it’s an emergency.”
But recently, the OP’s father suffered a loss.
“My grandmother passed away about 6 months ago. My dad was super close to her and he’s still pretty distraught by her passing.”
“Outside of his job, she and I were the only people he even talked to. Understandably, he is very lonely and tries to talk to me whenever he can.”
“I have virtually no problem with this. I make it a habit to call him every morning when I get off work just to check up on him.”
“He is more than welcome to call me in the evenings to talk. That’s OK.”
Now the OP’s father frequently interrupts the OP’s sleep.
“However, in the last few months or so, he has started calling me around 12-1 PM almost every day, which wakes me up. If I wake up in the middle of my sleep, it’s nearly impossible for me to fall back asleep.”
“He knows this, and he knows my sleep schedule as it has not changed in the last 10 years.”
“Every time he calls me in this manner, he pretends like he didn’t know I was trying to sleep, which I know is a blatant lie. But I let it slide for a while because I know he’s still in mourning over his mother’s death.”
“But, now it’s getting to the point where he calls me in the middle of the day consecutively on a daily basis.”
“I am starting to lose sleep and I warned him in the past that if he starts causing me to lose sleep, I am going to have to silence notifications from his phone. This only made him do it more.”
The OP finally reached a breaking point.
“Yesterday, he called me at 10 AM, 12 PM, 2 PM, and 3 PM, none of which were for emergencies.”
“After the fourth call, I lost my temper and said, ‘F**k you,’ and hung up on him.”
“This triggered him to start blowing up my phone with text after text after text, saying he had no idea I was trying to sleep despite me telling him otherwise. I called him back, not only to get him to stop blowing up my phone with texts, but to tell him to never call me in the middle of the day unless it’s a dire emergency.”
“He said, ‘OK but don’t cuss me like that,’ to which I said, ‘No, if you can’t respect me enough to not wake me up repeatedly for no reason, then I’m not going to respect you enough to not tell you to f**k off.’ I hung up on him again.”
“He then called me back and said, ‘Can I get at least one minute of uninterrupted conversation with you?'”
“I asked, ‘Is it an emergency?'”
“He said, ‘No, but-‘, and I interrupted and said, ‘Then I’m going back to sleep. Have a nice f**king day!'”
“I then silenced notifications from his phone. He has tried calling me and texting me almost nonstop since, but I can’t hear the notifications.”
“I am still very angry, but I felt like I was being an a**hole because he is still mourning.”
“FYI I keep my ringer on while I sleep in case someone needs to reach me for emergencies.”
“Am I the a**hole here? I feel like I might be.”
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 wondered if the OP’s dad had dementia.
“You are totally NTA, but I do wanna say that dementia starts just like this. Most people don’t forget a lot of things at once, but lose more and more over time.”
“Is your dad calling others at these hours too? Same thing my gram would do while I was resting for the night shift when hers started setting in. She was always apologetic when I said I was sleeping, but by the next cycle, she had forgotten that I had a different schedule from everyone else.”
“Whether he’s bein an a** or it is something medical, I don’t think you can get him to stop. Might be best to soft block him during your bedtime. If there is a true emergency, if he can call you, he can call emergency services” – artificialandqueer
“NTA but is your dad okay? Like he’s in decent health? He’s either ignoring you telling him that you’re sleeping during the day OR he doesn’t care OR he’s actually genuinely forgetting which could possibly be a sign of dementia.” – History_Buff19
“I think something is up with the father and this may be a sign of early-stage dementia or some other condition that OP isn’t aware of.”
“OP needs to take their father to the doctor and most importantly be with the father when they get the results.” – ImFinePleaseThanks
Others disagreed and said the OP’s dad was struggling with his grief.
“You’ve said that this started when his mother died and you and she were pretty much his whole support network. Is he doing any grief counseling? If not, you should recommend and encourage it. See if you can help him find a grief support group.”
“If he is isolated enough that you’re the only person he’s really calling and talking to, that’s not healthy.”
“Help your dad with that stuff and start silencing your phone from him while you sleep. If you’re concerned about a real emergency get him one of those life alert-type things that will ensure he can call for help in a real emergency.”
“NTA” – Zirbiel
“I don’t think you are TA but maybe your dad should seek some counseling or join a group for the bereaved. He clearly isn’t coping that well and it is cutting into your well-needed rest.”
“My partner’s mum is just the same and she will constantly call him over and over every day. Hope you come to some sort of solution for your predicament.” – meggymoo88
“I second this. He is not coping well. Maybe you can leave voice mails for him so that he can listen to them during the day when he is lonely.”
“I think you should talk to him about maybe finding a grief counselor. Or even look into different activities he can involve himself in. It is so hard to be the only person that is relied on. But it is also hard to only have one person to rely on.” – Existing_Wash7513
A few had to joke about “getting back at” the dad, though.
“NTA. Call him to follow up on the conversation at 10 pm, 12 am, 2 am, and 3 am.” – safetythird3
“I like this revenge! Oh sorry I didn’t know you were sleeping, seeing as this is my day time, I thought it would be yours too.” – Delicate-Tulip
“I work the night shift as well and my sleep schedule is sacrosanct. I love your solution!” – radshowmance
“Did this to my mom when she couldn’t understand the 3 hr time zone difference.”
“Oh you want to call me nonstop at 7am your time but f**king 4 am mine, cause I don’t call enough?”
“Fine, mommy, I get home at 9 pm my time, midnight hers, every d**n night. Took one week of calls for her to get the picture.” – cruzanmutt
After receiving feedback, the OP added:
“I appreciate all the very helpful comments.”
“I have talked to my dad about seeing a therapist and maybe getting tested for dementia. He agreed, albeit reluctantly.”
“I’ll provide an update in the future.”
Whether it’s his grief or something else entirely, Reddit seems to agree the OP’s dad has some things to work out. The OP does need to protect his rest, though, so hopefully the two of them will be able to work something out that works for everyone in the future.