A sibling with a chronic health condition, a disability or disorder can require a lot of a parent’s time.
For their siblings, the added attention can feel like a slight. But where is the line between accommodation and overprotectiveness?
When is the extra attention too much attention? A 19-year-old young man asked those questions about his parents and his 20-year-old brother.
Not certain his reaction was appropriate, he turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for feedback.
Redditor AITATA2124 asked:
“AITA for telling my parents they were bad parents to me?”
The Original Poster explained:
“I have an autistic brother. He’s fairly manipulative because he realized pretty quickly that the threat of a meltdown would get him his way every single time.”
“He is considered high functioning by medical personnel, but he’s got my parents convinced he just doesn’t understand what he’s doing, and they don’t ever punish him. Doctors have told them that he understands and that he knows what he’s doing.”
“They think they know better. They also expect me to revolve my entire life around him.”
“I was never able to do anything I wanted because it upset his routine. I wanted to play a sport, nope his routine.”
“I wanted to get a job? Nope, his routine.”
“Friends? Yeah forget about that.”
“I tried not to be resentful, but I am.”
“The problem? My parents are flipping out because I plan to move several states away and in with my grandparents soon to attend school.”
“They keep trying to guilt me into staying because of my brother. I usually just say that I’m sorry that they feel that way, but I’m still going.”
“Well here’s where I might be the asshole. My mother was going on and on about how the world doesn’t revolve around me and how I was being really selfish and how I was going to ruin my brother by doing this.”
“How they’d always been the best parents they could be to both of us and we both got equal attention. I got frustrated and told her that she was delusional if she thought she or my father were ever good parents to me.”
“They made my life revolve around my brother’s, I had nothing of my own, he had to be the center of everything. I said he wasn’t the center of the universe even though she tried to make him it.”
“I told her that the only people who were selfish were her and my father because they actively ignored me in favor of babying my brother who played them like a fiddle to make sure he always got his way.”
“I told her that his routine was not my problem, that it was up to them to make the appropriate adjustments, and asked if she really thought I’d just not live my life because of him.”
“She started crying and I walked off and shut myself in my room. My father is demanding an apology for what I said, but I’m refusing.”
“My grandpa said he’s proud that I stood up for myself, but my parents are still demanding an apology for being an a**hole.”
“I don’t think I need to give them one. AITA here?”
Redditors weighed in 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
Redditors decided the OP was not the a**hole.
“NTA. Neither your mom nor your dad wanted to hear the truth.”
“They know you are right and want you to apologize for their abuse of you. As you said, they never wanted to listen to anyone who told them other than what they wanted to hear; and that includes you granddad.”
“Do not back down. If either brings up the idea of apology again, ask them when they are going to apologize to you for depriving you of a having a life of your own.”
“Do exactly what you did here—detail the myriad ways they have consistently ignored you to make your manipulative brother happy.”
“Move to be with your grandparents as soon as you can and when possible, start some counseling/therapy to put dysfunction behind you.” ~ AdmirableJudgement
“What his mum and dad really don’t want to hear is that they’re going to be dealing with the mess they themselves made without a safety buffer once OP goes.”
“I agree with you completely, OP should move in with their grandparents ASAP. Get a job until college starts, get settled in the new area, maybe try joining a hobby group or dating, move on with life.”
“Parents will reap what they have sown.”
“For the record I’m an autistic adult. It’s a developmental disability, not an a**hole pass.” ~ not_really_an_elf
“Might even be better to write a letter to them. That way they can’t interrupt.
“He should outline everything he gave up. Every sport he couldn’t do, every time he wanted to do something and they wouldn’t let him.”
“He needs to air this so that everyone can heal. And his parents haven’t done his brother any favors by trying to keep his brother’s life too smooth when life in general isn’t always easy.”
“There are changes in life. Hiding him from that doesn’t help prepare him for down the road.” ~ ksarahsarah27
“I literally don’t get it. Did the parents really expect OP to live at home forever and just find a job that was only during school hours so the brother’s schedule wouldn’t ever be disrupted?!?”
“OP, your parents suck. Glad you’re getting out (the sooner the better).” ~ EinsTwo
A child with a chronic illness or disability will naturally require more attention. But parents need to make sure they don’t neglect or limit their other children’s lives because of it.