Family is a complicated thing.
Sometimes, the healthiest thing you can do is separate yourself from a family member who is detrimental.
What happens, though, when the family member you’ve parted from needs your help?
This was the problem plaguing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) Plus_Implement_4321 when they came to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for judgment.
“AITA for not letting my sister live with me when she is going through chemotherapy”
They began with the background.
“I haven’t spoken to my sister in 14 years. She was a thief, liar, and a cokehead. She ended up losing her kids and actively didn’t try to see them for three years.”
OP’s sister caused problems with the parents as well.
“I haven’t spoken to my parents in 6 months because they let her move into their new house after they sold our childhood home to get her out. I am not dealing with their self-inflicted drama.”
However, when she became sick…
“Sister is now undergoing chemo in my town. My mom texted and asked for me to let sister move in for the duration of her treatment.”
“I said no.”
The siblings’ mother tried to intercede.
“Mom rebutted that if I didn’t let sister stay, her preferred doctor is here, then my parents will either have to drive her an hour and a half one way or she will have to see a different doctor and live with our brother (three hours away).”
OP was left wondering:
“So, tell me…am I being the AH by standing my ground?”
Having made her case, they brought the issue to Reddit for clarity.
Redditors weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors decided: NTA
Some responses were less than sympathetic for OP’s sister.
“Hey guess what AH’s can still be AH’s with or without the Big C. NTA. Protect yourself from toxic people”~emmyy23
Others pointed out that OP has a responsibility to care for herself.
“You havent spoken to her in 14 years.”
“It doesn’t matter if she is family, that she is going through chemo, or that her preferred doctor is in your town.”
“You are in no way an AH for standing your ground and not wanting her to move in. Good for you for distancing yourself and not wanting to get involved with potential drama.”~sleeperworld
There was a question as to the reliability of the cancer diagnosis.
” ‘She was a thief, liar, and a coke head’ nope don’t let her in.”
“Now I’m going to be TA, are you sure she has cancer?”
“Has anyone been with her to the doctor? If she legitimately has cancer, I’m sorry. Even so, it is not your responsibility to take her in. Tell your parents to find her a doctor closer to them.”
“Oops forgot to add NTA.” ~ConsciousWay797
For some, the distinction between family and relative is clear.
“My husband’s sister is a former drug addict who lost custody of her two kids due to neglect. The night before my father-in-law’s funeral, her father’s funeral, she threatened to show up and make a scene if she didn’t get ‘her share of the money’ immediately.”
“She’s supposedly clean now. If she got cancer, my husband probably wouldn’t send so much as a Dollar-store card.”
“You are NTA.”
“She might be your biological sister, but she stopped being your family a long time ago.”~Grompson
Setting aside the family issue, taking care of a cancer patient is a big responsibility.
“Living with someone who’s having chemotherapy isn’t easy in the first place.”
“They’re sick, they’re scared, people poke them with sharp objects, and they get angry at you because you’re the closest target.”
“My husband is a 110% great guy with the patience of a saint, and when he was having chemo there were a couple of times I thought that, if the cancer didn’t kill him, I might.”
“Your mom and dad have enabled her. Let them enjoy her company.”~ VetusVesperlilio
Some even offered advice.
“This is a link to the American Cancer Society. They offer rides to treatment for those eligible.”
“Give it to Mom. https://www.cancer.org/treatment/support-programs-and-services/road-to-recovery.html “
“Also, hospitals may have a transportation setup.”
“Local churches may help as well; Parishioners or not. Start with the ACS.”
“Also, the preferred doctor being so far away strikes me(RN) as odd. I can see if she had limited coverage but I’m wondering if they planned it that way to get her out of their house.”
“Definitely hold your ground.” ~MissMcK
OP’s emotional and physical safety were a large focus.
“NTA – you do not owe her your comfort, your safe space, your emotional well-being, etc.”
“It is important to consider things like distance when planning medical care, it’s not your fault that she doesn’t live closer to the dr she wants to see.”
“It seems like she may have to compromise and that is part of being an adult. The world is not perfect and you don’t always get what you want.”
“She is lucky she has multiple options to begin with.”
“On top of all of that not being your responsibility, you can’t trust her and you should not have to let her in your home just because she is your sister.”~Altruistic-Ad-6155
“NTA. Taking on a carer role for a person you have nothing but animosity towards would only cause a lot of resentment and stress in the house, and would be terrible for your sister’s recovery anyway.”
“There are no parties that would benefit from the arrangement, except maybe your parents not having to deal with your sister themselves.”
“Makes me wonder if maybe they’re only pushing so hard for it so they can make your sister someone else’s problem, but maybe I’m being too cynical.”~anxiousjellybean
Family is a complicated thing.
Sometimes, it seems like it’s more trouble than it’s worth.
Cultivating a safe space for yourself should include family, but if it doesn’t, that space still has to nurture you first.