We all make mistakes, and our family members are no exception.
But knowing this doesn’t necessarily make it easier to know how to help them get back on their feet.
One big sister, Redditor “sillyapplepie,” is struggling with this right now, as she decides whether or not to take her younger sister into her home while she starts over.
The Redditor asked the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit if she was in the wrong for hesitating to offer help, despite her family’s pressure.
The Redditor asked:
“AITA for rejecting my sister after her positive HIV test?”
The Redditor felt she had to grow up in a way her younger sister didn’t.
“I’m (26 F[emale]) my Asian parents’ first kid, I was the test-trial child. I had f**kups so my sister (19F) won’t. They count on me for things since they’re not good with English. I was forced to mature at a young age.”
“Then my sister came. I guess that they saw that I turned out fine, they didn’t need to restrict my sister like a dog. They’re overbearing to her, but tiger-parents to me. They favor her like a daughter while they treat me more of a friend-daughter than actual daughter.”
Her younger sister still felt their parents were too protective, however.
“Sister was angry at their protectiveness that she turned rebellious in high school. She knew she had more leeway than I did. She was right, they tried to stop her from partying and getting drunk with other kids.”
Last year, her sister disappointed their parents.
“She fell pregnant last year, no baby daddy in picture. My parents have traditional Asian beliefs, and by traditional, I mean bullheaded beliefs that’ll bend a trident. They had high hopes for her: college, good-paying job and a family of her own.”
The parents made a surprising offer.
“They were angry at her pregnancy, but they didn’t believe in abortion so they made a deal. She gets her education and goes to college; they will help with the baby and tuition.”
The Redditor didn’t agree with the message her parents’ plan sent.
“As you can see, education and money mean more to my parents than my sister’s responsibility to her unborn child.”
“In true sister fashion, she took advantage of their forgiveness. She graduated, refused to apply to colleges.”
In the meantime, the Redditor moved out to start her own life.
“I’ve moved out of that household when I started college. I love my parents and my sister, but my mental health was not great then and wanted to get away.”
“My sister rarely calls or texts me, only when she wants something. I still talk to my parents.”
She later discovered her younger sister had tested positive for HIV.
“I guess the straw that broke their camel backs was the positive HIV test, don’t know what led to the testing. We had drifted into estranged siblings.”
“My parents disowned her. They were tired of the disappointment she brings. They say she’s an embarrassment to their household since we’re close with our relatives.”
“These things don’t stay quiet; relatives know everything somehow.”
After the news spread, her sister turned to her for help.
“My sister asks me to take her in. I declined; I have a roommate who owns fuzzy spiders. My sister accused me of turning our parents against her (I said ‘Okay, not my problem.’ About her pregnancy) and judging her choices.”
“My views have been influenced by my parents. I value money a lot, I’m stingy. She’s not working and I’m not going to support her when she job-hunts.”
Her mother, however, hopes that she will step in as a role model.
“Recently, she called aunty who called mom about my sister sleeping on her friend’s couch and it’s not healthy for baby. That in turn got me involved when mom told me to take her in (Dad’s not budging).”
“She said that I was the responsible daughter and I need to be a role model for my sister, it’s the only way she’ll learn.”
“That brought back memories of favoritism.”
“I talked it over with roommate and he said that family will always have favoritism, but I only have one sister. I love my sister, but I feel devalued, I don’t know if that’s the right word.”
The Redditor wondered if she was in the wrong for not wanting to take her sister in.
“AITA for rejecting sister when she needs me?”
Fellow Redditors replied with anonymous feedback, using the following scale:
- NTA: “Not the A**hole”
- YTA: “You’re the A**hole”
- ESH: “Everybody Sucks Here”
- NAH: “No A**holes Here”
Some voted YTA.
“I’m going to add a YTA for perpetuating the stigma that an HIV diagnosis carries. This story and relationship seem to have lots of issues and pinning the title on the diagnosis is a**holery.”
“I hope you all get the help you need and come out of this better informed, happier people.” –craigsotherfriend
“YTA. To be sure, you’re not TA for not taking her in. That’s a difficult decision that has a lot of other moving parts and, while it would be a kind gesture in order to help her avoid being houseless, it’s understandable if you do not wish to have her and her baby live with you for an indefinite period of time.”
“What you did that is wrong is rejecting her as a person. She is not less of a person because she has HIV. You speak about your sister in a dismissive and stigmatizing tone. There is a lot of stigma about HIV and I encourage you to reflect upon the ways in which you are contributing to it. People who have HIV should not be blamed or shamed. For what it’s worth, though, HIV is a manageable disease these days and your sister has the potential to live a long and meaningful life.”
“It sounds like part of your feelings relate to what you perceive as a pattern of favoritism from your parents. I encourage you to seek your own support for that, such as therapy. But your sister is not responsible for how your parents treated the two of you differently.” – jogam
Two Redditors in particular pointed out that everyone was at fault with ESH.
“ESH. Your parents suck for being so callous towards their pregnant, HIV+ daughter and leaving her homeless, all because she ’embarrassed’ your family. Overbearing, super-strict parents really suck (I would know, I come from a similar household).”
“Your sister sucks for what sounds like entitlement and poor choices. It doesn’t say how she got HIV, it could have been not of her doing. Sounds like she’s at a super vulnerable point in her life though, and you turn to family during these moments.”
“Lastly, it’s clear you’re jealous and resentful of her, all because of the choices your parents made in raising you both. That’s not on her, that’s on your parents. While I don’t think you necessarily need to take her in, you should definitely have a talk with your parents about letting her back in the house since HIV is the only reason they’re kicking her out.” – thelastseven
“I don’t think you’re an a**hole as it sounds like some deep rooted issues there but if you love her as you say you do – she needs you right now. Imagine for a second the regrets she must feel about her choices when she was given the news of not one, not two, but three life altering decisions she has no control over.”
“HIV is terrifying. Pregnancy is terrifying. Homelessness is terrifying. Losing the love of your family is beyond terrifying – nothing would make you feel more alone.”
“I simply hope someone can find some compassion for her, if not her own parents and if not her own sister.” – robertjohn014