Childhood can be difficult. This is especially true in a society that pushes a certain perspective on what family and life should look like.
How do you talk with your parents about a situation that you think ruined your childhood?
User Dimension-Same on Reddit explains his story about confronting his parents over instances he experienced growing up. But he wonders if he went too far.
Luckily, the AITA or “Am I the A****le” subReddit is perfect for this question.
Users will rate how you reacted in your story in one of several ways:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA -You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- INFO – Not Enough Information
So, what did OP (original poster) do?
“AITA for yelling at my parents that their polyamory f***ed up my childhood?”
“I believe it started when I was around 6 years old. My parents often had ‘friends’ over in the house. I didn’t know they were polyamorous ofc. One day I was outside playing, got hurt and when I ran inside caught my parents making out with some random guy.”
“They told me they have other adults that they love and it’s a completely normal thing. Me being a child just accepted that.”
This is when OP learns that his parents are polyamorous.
“They gave up being secretive and their ‘partners’ would constantly be around, even joining on outings. I remember that on my 10th birthday they invited 3 of their partners, one of who I’d never seen before, and for the rest of the day my parents just withdrew from my party and hung out with them.”
“I never saw them doing anything explicit again but they would kiss their partners, hug them make flirty comments, something that would be normal between parents but with many more people. Sometimes I came home from school and my parents were gone and there was some random adult in our house, some of them seemed surprised that my parents even had a child.”
Things eventually changed, at least a bit.
“I always hated it, but since my parents had told me this was normal, I assumed many adults probably did similar things and that it’s just an adult thing all kids hate. Later they had less partners and eventually seemed to stop. Not that I’d know for sure bc I moved out with 17.”
“I didn’t think about it anymore. A year ago I started therapy (other reasons). As usual the topic of my upbringing came up and it brought back many feelings I wasn’t aware of.”
“I realised that although my parents were always good to me, I had never really felt close to any of them and still have a lot of resentment that they made me feel like I had to compete for my parent’s attention with random strangers.”
So, what caused the fight?
“A while ago, I visited them and they told me they are going to take part in a documentary about polyamorous families and that the producers would like to include interviews with the children, so they would love if I could agree and tell everyone that polyamory ‘doesn’t mess kids up’.”
“All my resentment bubbled up and I said that I cannot agree because I would not be able to say anything positive.”
“My parents looked shocked (I had never brought this up before) and asked why, and I unloaded all, that I always felt pushed aside, we barely had any family time without strangers intruding, it turned into an argument and I became loud and yelled that the truth is it did f*** me up and they shouldn’t have had a child if their number one priority was f***ing the whole world.”
It didn’t help that this was surprised on him, but it did help OP figure out what he thinks was his real issue.
“My mother cried and my father said I should probably leave. So I left and was shaken up for the rest of the week but also felt regret because I’ve never made my mum cry before. Later my father sent me a message that was like ‘we are sorry you feel that way, can we have a calm discussion about this soon’.”
“Even though I tried to, it’s like I can’t reply, this argument brought something very emotional up in me.”
Based on this story, Reddit now has to answer the question, was OP the a****le here?
A lot of comments said no.
“NTA, but I also don’t think polyamory was the problem, it was that your parents were crappy. All of the neglect and random people in the house can happen with any hobby as well.” – Cayke_Cooky
“100% this. NTA. they are allowed to be polyamorous but to bring strangers to family outings and your own birthday and leaving you alone with them is selfish and irresponsible” – Pripyatic
“NTA. A lot of this isn’t even the polyamory specifically, they seem like inattentive parents. Doesn’t matter if you’re in a relationship with the guests or not, parents can’t just ditch their kid’s birthday party. You shouldn’t have had to compete for attention like that.”
“Good luck with this, its hard to say if relationships with parents will heal as an adult, but I hope you get what works best for you out of this.” – decideonanamelater
“NTA I can’t stress this enough and also book a therapy session ASAP. This type of thing can be a turning point in you life so you should be clear on how you feel.”
“Also your parents are massive AH for that non-apology mention that to the therapist as I think this will be a good insight for them to figure out how your parents are now so the therapist can help you better.” – raidenreaper
That said, others defended the practice of polyamory, and laid the blame on the lack of care and communication from OP’s parents.
“NTA it wasn’t your parents polyamory that f***ed you up though it was there bad parenting. they allowed strange adults around you all the time and neglected you when those strangers were around, they put you in potentially dangerous situations by doing so.”
“Having a committed poly partner who is not a stranger and known to you prob would have been fine, but a string of randoms or new people that would seriously mess with any kid.” – Fainora
“If parents get divorced and start dating again, it’s standard to wait until it gets serious before slowly introducing the new partner into a young kid’s life. This same standard should apply to polyamory. It’s possible to do polyamory while still respecting your kids, and your parents did NOT do that. NTA” – venus-lvr
This is a really painful situation, and OP probably has a lot of therapy to go through to repair their relationship with their parents, if that’s what they want to do.
Hopefully, there is a positive resolution to be had for everyone in this story.