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Guy Refuses To ‘Uproot’ Life To Move Home And Care For Elderly Parents After Past Trauma

seated elderly couple holding hands
Thanasis Zovoilis/Getty Images

America has an aging population problem, although it’s not facing a situation as dire as the one faced by several East Asian nations.

Baby Boomers weren’t replaced in equal numbers due to falling birth rates, creating a set of challenges: shifting disease burden, increased needs for healthcare and long-term care, worker shortages, and potential shortages in social safety nets.

How families address the needs of aging parents is a conundrum many are facing. A man dealing with the issue turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for feedback.

Otakunappy asked:

“AITA for refusing to uproot my life and move back in with my parents?”

The original poster (OP) explained:

“So I (31, male) moved out of my parents home when I was 19 years-old. I have lived on my own and with different roommates for the past 12-ish years.”

“I live alone in a tiny one room apartment right now. It’s not much, but it’s a roof.”

“My current problem is that my parents want me to move back home. They need my ‘help’ both financially—I’ve already been sending them money whenever I can—and to help take care of them.”

“They had me late in the game, they are both in their early 70’s. I have four older siblings, but I’m the only one of us five that doesn’t have kids.”

“They expect me to drop my life and move two states away so that I can move back in with them. On my own dime too.”

“I told them no, that I wouldn’t do it. Both my parents are only children. My grandparents on both sides died when I was a kid. Barely remember them.”

“So they didn’t have any elders to care for. I also don’t have the best relationship with my mother.”

“While my father is basically a teddy bear, my mother spent most of my life telling me how much I ruined her plans.”

“How I wasn’t supposed to happen. Took a fit every time she had to spend money on me while at the same time never shying away from dropping $20’s and $50’s in the communion basket during church.”

“Screaming at me for being too small to fit in my older brother’s hand me downs when he was always tall for his age, while I’ve always been short.”

“I told them no. My father seems to understand, but my mother’s gone on a rampage.”

“I’ve been getting calls from people in my old neighborhood that I haven’t seen in years talking down to me about my decision. My siblings have also been badgering me about it.”

“My siblings are spread out all over the states. I’m two states away from my parents and I’m still the closest. Best ‘meet up’ I could do with my siblings is a group Vid call.”

“So Reddit, AITA for not wanting to uproot my life and move two states away on my own dime, just to move back in with my parents?”

The OP added:

“Mom had a plan when she married my dad. She wanted one daughter and one son. A perfect family.”

“She first had my eldest sister, then tried again and got a set of twin girls. Then tried again and got my older brother.”

“She finally had the family she wanted. Then she had me and made it well known she didn’t want me.”

“But because she doesn’t believe in abortion, she ‘kept’ me. All my life she complained about my existence.”

“I even had to use my allowance—given to me by my dad—to pay for certain stuff I needed. My dad never showed a sign that he wasn’t happy I was born.”

“He’s a champ. If I had room for him and thought he’d come, I’d move him in with me.”

“As far as I know, my siblings are not sending them any money. They all have ‘responsibilities’ and can’t afford it.”

“I don’t send them money all the time. But I do when I can.”

The OP summed up their situation.

“I could be the a**hole for not even considerations it. I flat out told them no.”

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 the OP was not the a**hole (NTA).

“Your mom is a narcissist and you are the scapegoat—cut all ties. It will be the only way you will know peace.”

“And stop sending them money! Your siblings can help them since they seem to care so much. NTA.” ~ ereighna

“Stop sending your parents money. You could have your own place with that money—I bet you send more than you think.

“You friends are where you are. You have a life there. Hell no. NTA.”

“Go low contact with the lot of them until they stop. Give no more reasons, they know them already.”

“No is a complete sentance. Grey rock them… look it up… works wonders with people badgering you.”

“And if someone starts shouting, hang up. You don’t need to take abuse. Good luck.” ~ WeirdPinkHair

“NTA. Personally, if that’s how I was treated growing up, I would be no contact with my mother. I would block her on everything.”

“If my siblings wanted to put blame on me, I’d tell them it’s easy to give responsibility away instead of taking any so you don’t look bad for not giving a sh*t about helping your parents—financially or otherwise.”

“And to everybody else, they can shove it. Very far. They don’t even matter.”

“If they’re so concerned, they can go help the parents themselves. Bet a million not one does.” ~ cotpowanpiitm

“NTA—you don’t owe your parents anything. I say that as a father who used to feel obligated to my parents, but now that I have kids I realize they owe me nothing.”

“If my kids don’t owe me anything, I don’t owe my parents anything. You don’t either.” ~ disloyal_royal

“NTA. Your parents are in their 70s. Why have they not made provision for their old age?”

“It’s not a secret that you’re going to get old one day and not be working or earning. Good on you if you are helping out.”

“As for siblings putting pressure on? Being single doesn’t mean that you have more responsibility for your parents than them.”

“Suggest to them that if they feel your parents need someone there full time that you all share that and offer to set up a roster that includes everyone. No matter how far away they live.”

“I found that this made our family back off. They are the whole families responsibility not just yours.” ~ Ok-Dragonfruit1115

“‘Hey Ma, remember all those times you made a big deal about me being the unwanted kid? Well accept my “Oh hell no!” as a consequence for your actions. Go ask one of your wanted kids for help’.”

“‘And since you think uprooting your life is so easy, might I recommend downsizing to gain control of your finances’.”

“Too evil? Maybe a simple ‘nah, that doesn’t work for me’ is better. However you choose to deliver the message, you are NTA. Stay put and live your best childfree life.”

“Oh, and block all your mother’s flying monkey neighbors. Or text back plans for building birdhouses cause those people clearly need hobbies.” ~ sweetT333

“NTA. Live your own life.”

“Tell each sibling who’s badgering you, ‘I’m pleased to hear you feel so strongly about this. Thanks for volunteering to move back to our parent’s place. I’ll let them know about your interest’.”

“I don’t understand why you’re sending your parents money, unless your siblings are also making matching donations.” ~ extinct_diplodocus

“The way your mother is behaving right now—that in itself is a strong reason to not move back.”

“They are taking your willingness to help them financially as your weakness. Time to cut the umbilical cord.”

“I would suggest to hold on to any amount you feel like sending them in a separate savings account for a ‘rainy day’.”

“With advancing age, many issues that can come require funds and you may be thankful that you have those in hand for a situation where money is really needed. NTA overall.” ~ Spiritual-Bridge3027

“My grandmother was the youngest. Her parents told her they expected her to stay single, never move out, and work to support them.”

“She said no thanks and married my grampa instead. My great grandmother then went and got a job again.”

“They could support themselves. They just wanted grandma to do it instead. OP is NTA.” ~ notwhatwehave

“Sounds like the parents have their own home. Why can’t they sell it now and use that money to move into an assisted living facility?”

“NTA OP, and please don’t let them guilt you into helping them.” ~ MaggieMae05

“First rule: If those people are close enough to your mother to be her flying monkeys, they are close enough to help her instead of you.”

“Second rule: just say it’s not possible, you live too far away and can’t move. And don’t feel like you have explain yourself more.”

“Because engaging in this conversation gives the false impression you can be talked to change your mind. That can be the third rule.” ~ NeTiFe-anonymous

The OP may be getting pushback from others, but Reddit supports his decision to live his own life.

Written by Amelia Mavis Christnot

Amelia Christnot is an Oglala Lakota, Kanien'kehá:ka Haudenosaunee and Metís Navy brat who settled in the wilds of Northern Maine. A member of the Indigenous Journalists Association, she considers herself another proud Maineiac.