Subjective problems are some of the hardest to deal with.
There’s no quantifiable way to tell how much someone’s words hurt you, or how disappointed you are by the cancellation of a concert.
Or how much pain you’re in.
So, we make the judgments we can given the information available to us.
Well, what happens what judgment leaves someone else feeling unseen, or worse, unbelieved?
That was the issue facing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) EbbApprehensive1470 when she came to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for judgment.
“AITA for telling my daughter that her grades are more important than her pain right now?”
OP gave a quick introduction…
“Preface: if I come off as callous it’s because I’m trying to be succinct”
“I (46 female) have a 16-year-old daughter.”
…then got right to the problem.
“In July, she was in a car accident.”
“Most of her injuries were mild.”
“She went to the hospital but they let her go home after a few days of observation.”
“But even after we got home, she still complained a lot about pain.”
“I was concerned and took her to our GP but they couldn’t find anything wrong.”
“I told her it was probably in her head and in response to the traumatic event and that she’d be fine in a few days. She stopped complaining about it after that and everything seemed good.”
Everything was fine, until…
“Fast forward to yesterday and I got an email from her teacher that’s she’s constantly despondent in class and laying her head down and not participating.”
“I was already seeing red from that and I decided to check on her grades.”
“She turned in multiple assignments late and lost points on them, which is not at all on par with her typical performance.”
“I confronted her about it and she was really quiet at first, like she didn’t know what to say.”
“I pushed her on it and she started talking about pain again which I frankly think is b*llsh*t.”
“She hasn’t said a peep about it for two months, only when her grades are slipping.”
“We started arguing about it and I said that her grades matter more than her ‘pain’. She’s a junior this year, it is not the time to be slacking.”
“She’s been in her room since, refusing to talk to anyone.”
“She wouldn’t even go to school today.”
“I’m at a loss, she’s never been so difficult. And I’m questioning whether or not I’m in the right here.”
OP was left to wonder:
Having explained the situation, OP turned to Reddit for judgment.
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: YTA
Commenters were very clear in their decision.
“YTA holy sh*t.”
“Your daughter stopped talking about her pain to you because you do nothing but make her worse, by invalidating her and blaming her.”
“She turned in assignments late, she didn’t just decide to skip school all of a sudden.”
“She’s clearly trying her best but is absolutely exhausted because pain is exhausting, trying to figure out what’s wrong with you is exhausting, being disbelieved by people who are supposed to be in your corner is exhausting.”
“Hiding your pain from a**holes is exhausting, and being a teenager is already exhausting enough normally!!”
“You asked her why she was slipping in school, she answered you honestly, and you punished her for it.”
“Try believing your daughter.”
“And keep trying more doctors, until you get to the bottom of the pain!”
“If you keep on this route, she’ll probably start self-medicating before she’s 18.”
“Either to try and cope with the pain, or the emotional turmoil you’re putting her through, or something to keep her up during classes.”
“You and her pain have teamed up to push her towards the edge of a cliff, but she hasn’t fallen off yet, she’s still trying.”
“Work with her, support her, listen to her, so she doesn’t fall.” ~ viridian152
“HOLY CRAP get that child to a DOCTOR.”
“And even if it is ‘in her head’ it’s something that needs to be treated.”
“If the medical doctors can’t find anything get second and third opinions and also a therapist because something is not right here.”
“Something is wrong. She needs help, not berating.”
“She didn’t tell you about her pain because you minimized it. Help her!” ~ AdEmbarrassed9719
There were personal stories.
“Whether her pain is something undiagnosed physically or mentally, her pain is preventing her from doing what’s necessary to get the grades.”
“I spent years having pain and numbness in my hands and leg, to the point I could no longer work as a nurse.”
“I had a full medical and psychiatric workup and had to change careers.”
“The consensus was that I was malingering.”
“Fast forward a couple years of coping with the physical disability plus what people thought.”
“I pick up a file folder, hear a snap, and next thing I know I’m in a trauma room being prepped for emergency surgery.”
“A neurologist failed to communicate my original CT results to the proper department.”
“I had a degenerated disc in my neck that finally snapped and compressed my cervical spine. Yeah, not crazy after all.”
“Give your daughter the benefit of the doubt.”
“If she’s been a good student before, she’s still a good student who’s coping with a traumatic event and has something going on that’s interfering with her school work.”
“She can’t just snap out of it because you harass her.”
“Whether her pain is physical or psychiatric — or both — it needs to be addressed and treated.”
“She’s not going to destroy her entire future by at worst repeating one year of school.”
“If you care about her you’ll stop trying to diagnose her yourself and insist that she gets the treatment she needs.”
“Think carefully about how this sounds. Read it out loud: ‘Her grades matter more than her pain.'”
“Is that really how you feel about her? You may change your mind when you think about it.” ~ MmeHomebody
“I grew up being told I was an anxious child, that I was making up symptoms for attention.”
“The doctors told my mum that she was a bad parent and that they needed to be stricter with me.”
“My dad took that to heart big time.”
“I spent every day of my childhood in pain, or unable to eat, or sleep.”
“I had gastro symptoms, severe migraines, heart palpitations, a postural drop, I was weak and underweight.”
“I was always covered in bruises or sporting a sprain. When I finally got my period at nearly 16 I practically hemorrhaged every month.”
“Age 29, diagnosed autistic”
“Age 31 diagnosed with EDS”
“I was always disabled, but if I had received the appropriate health care and support I would likely have a lot more mobility and energy than I do now.”
“I am a complete mess, both physically and psychologically.”
“Girls and women are failed over and over in healthcare, we know this.”
“It is OPs job as a parent to support her child and fight for treatment if necessary.” ~ leb2353
Some even pointed out the inconsistencies in the post itself.
“Most of her injuries were mild.”
“Most? Not ALL? which ones were severe?”
“You are a failure of a parent.”
“Your child tells you she’s in pain and you tell her to basically shut up that you don’t care she’s in pain, you don’t want to hear about it.”
“What were the circumstances of the accident? I’m willing to bet that you were the driver and that’s why you are refusing to believe she has continuing pain.”
“Get off Reddit and take your child for proper testing and counseling.”
“Grades ARE NOT more important than her pain. Shame on you.”
“But please do let me know if you were the cause of the accident and don’t lie!” ~ Rohini_rambles
“A few DAYS in the hospital for a kid is not ‘mild”‘.
“How many times have you heard of kids bouncing back from a lot of situations?” ~ vmt_nani
Some pointed out that this could have long-lasting effects of its own.
“Your daughter was in a bad enough car accident to require multiple days in the hospital and you denied her serious inquests into lingering pain?”
“Did it ever occur to you that she’s been traumatized and it’s manifesting as physical pain?”
“You just told her to shut up and now want to cry ‘but you never said anything!'”
“If anything here is bullsh*t, it’s that. It’s you.”
“You’re abusing your daughter. In a few years you’ll wonder why she never sees you anymore.” ~
OP did return to accept her judgment and apologize.
“I get it, I’m an awful person.”
“I wasn’t seeing past the grades and I treated my daughter horribly.”
“Thank you especially to the medical professionals who replied, I had no idea this could be so serious.”
“I’ve already booked a specialist for two weeks from now (earliest appointment) and apologized to my daughter. I know I still have a lot of making up to do.”
“We’re going out for ice cream.”
Subjective problems aren’t impossible to solve of course, but they do require a few extra steps.
Patience and listening of course, but most of all – empathy.
Remember that just because we can’t see the injury, doesn’t mean it isn’t there.