Far too many adults continue to underestimate children.
As a result, they tend to assume that being young, they won’t notice or fully comprehend certain adult situations.
With that in mind, they tend to ignore talking about it or even addressing it with them, feeling that there is no issue.
When, in fact, these very children were all too aware of what was happening, and continue to be haunted by these events well into adulthood.
Such was sadly the case for a recent Redditor, who had trouble comprehending their parent’s unorthodox lifestyle as a child, almost entirely owing to limited discussions about it with them.
As a result, the original poster (OP) did not sustain a close relationship with their parents.
So when they were approached about going on record about how wonderful their childhood and upbringing were, the OP naturally had a few choice words on the matter.
Having second thoughts about their behavior, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where they asked fellow Redditors:
“AITA for yelling at my parents that their polyamory f*cked up my childhood?”
The OP explained how their parent’s lifestyle proved to have an unfortunate lasting effect on their childhood, making their request to have them share how happy their childhood was more than the OP could handle.
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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*ck me up and they shouldn’t have had a child if their number one priority was f*cking the whole world.”
“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.”
“AITA for hurting my parents over this, especially since I have never brought it up before?”
Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation, by declaring:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
The Reddit community wholeheartedly agreed that the OP was not the a**hole for losing their temper with their parents.
Everyone agreed that the OP’s reaction was simply her honest emotional reaction, and her parents deserved to know the effect the way they raised the OP had on their childhood., with many suggesting a group therapy session might be a good idea.
“Upside, your parents seem to be AH through obliviousness and neglect and might be open to apologizing and trying to fix what they can.”
“Maybe message your dad that you are not in a place to talk at the moment and will get back to them, then talk to your therapist and develop a timeline for when and how you can talk.”
“As to not bringing it up before: parents do not get the luxury of assuming everything is okay because the kid never complained.”
“Parents have to ask, they have to check, and they have to find ways of communicating if the kid can’t talk to them.”
“Your parents screwed up, kids cannot be expected to know something is wrong or know how to communicate it.”- glom4ever
“NTA the fact that you could come home and find random people there is concerning, what if the person was dangerous?”- unknownwhitecat
“NTA your feelings are so real and valid.”
“They were so wrapped up in their own lives they couldn’t see what they were doing to you.”
“You saying it to them may have made them realize they had neglected you.”- 420FLgirl
“I’ll preface this by admitting I don’t know too much about the dynamics of polyamorous relationships, and I have no desire to entertain one.”
“That much being said, what consenting adults do in their own time is entirely their business.”
“Your parents are still in the wrong, though.”
“As is the case with any parent, introducing a partner to a child is a delicate process.”
“Furthermore, that parent needs to ensure that this new relationship doesn’t change the dynamic of the preexisting relationship they have with their children.”
“They owe it to their children to be parents before they owe their partner anything.”
“Your parents completely failed to integrate these people into your lives in a healthy way and prioritized their romantic relationships before their relationship with you as parents.”
“Furthermore, by allowing these people in and out of your life like this, you were forced to grow up in an extremely volatile and unstructured environment.”
“Coming home to strangers in your house could be downright traumatic!”
“It could be dangerous!”
“It’s completely unacceptable.”
“Your father’s apology wasn’t genuine.”
“He wasn’t apologizing for his behavior; he feigned sympathy and simultaneously pinned this on you and your feelings.”
“This communicates to me that he doesn’t regret his actions, doesn’t see fault in them, and probably isn’t ready to consider your perspective.”
“Only when he and your mother are ready to openly reflect on their decisions as parents will they be ready for this conversation.”
“Otherwise, you’re wasting your time.”
“You’re not mad at them for being polyamorous.”
“You’re mad at them for prioritizing their partners over you and failing to provide a structured upbringing in a stable environment.”- polichomp
“And be careful that this wanting a nice calm chat isn’t just your parents getting you in their house then trying to bully you into taking part in their documentary.”
“They were totally neglectful people who deserve all you anger.”- southcoastal
“It wasn’t your parents polyamory that f*cked 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
It can’t be easy for a parent to hear that their child was unhappy for pretty much the entirety of their childhood, all owing to the way they treated them.
But hard as it is to hear, it cannot be ignored and must be addressed sooner rather than later.
One only hopes that the OP’s parents live up to their word, and will indeed have that “calm discussion”.
Where they will hopefully openly take in everything the OP has to say.