One of the best things about birthdays are the presents. We love opening a small piece of material compensation for our slow, yearly march to the grave our birthday commemorates.
In American culture, it’s almost expected that you will receive some sort of gift for your birthday.
So when Redditor Worcestershire05’s birthday was fast approaching, they were excited both to see their dad and for the birthday present that dad had promised them. But when dad showed up empty handed, they were understandably upset.
Needing objective feedback from strangers to see if their dad’s accusation at them was true, the Redditor went to the popular subReddit “Am I The A**hole?” or “AITA” for input:
“AITA for ‘acting like a baby’ because I didn’t get anything for my birthday?”
Our original poster, or OP, doesn’t get to see their dad that often, and so was excited.
“The title definitely does make me sound like a brat so please hear me out.”
“My parents are separated, I live with my mom and my dad lives in a different country so I haven’t actually seen him in almost 2 years.”
“It was my 16th birthday last Friday and like always, my dad promised me a decent enough present. He sometimes goes through with it but I’d say 60% of the time he doesn’t.”
“This year, he’s been saying he got me something I’d really like since July and that he’d post it over but never actually told me what.”
Over the phone, it came out that the present wasn’t real.
“Yesterday I was on the phone to him and I had asked if he posted my present yet. I was actually pretty excited about whatever it was because he’s been talking it up since July and I was already a little upset my mom couldn’t get me anything this year but at the same time understanding.”
“He then turned around and said he returned it.”
“At first I thought he was joking but he wasn’t, he said he felt bad about lying about it for so long and should have told me earlier but he enjoyed seeing me so excited.”
“I was really excited because my mom didn’t have the time or money to even do a dinner this year.”
“I told him I was extremely disappointed and angry at him for not only lying to me but letting me down again and then he got angry and said I shouldn’t have expected anything and I was acting like a spoilt baby for ‘demanding’ something from him. AITA?”
Anonymous strangers weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
Reddit didn’t think OP had done anything wrong, and was entitled to their feelings:
“Yikes. NTA. You didn’t demand anything, he lied to you and then pulled the rug out from under you, and then ‘justified’ it by saying he liked seeing you so excited.”
“What the actual f**k is wrong with him? I’m sorry! Happy Birthday.”-Dszquphsbnt
“NTA because its less about the present and more about the lying at this point.”
“Your dad was hyping up the present because of the ego trip it gave him, and then when he had nothing to show for it, expected you to suck it up and called you ‘demanding.'”
“The man is unreliable and, quite frankly, a loser.”-honnarihannya
“NTA Your dad’s a happiness leech. He just wants to see you happy to see him….not because he did anything to earn it.”
“Do what we all do with leeches; cut them from you, toss them aside, and leave them behind. It’s clear he wants no real part in your life, so don’t spend time on him.”-Khasimyr
“NTA Your father is a liar, and he is a terrible parent. You ‘Demanded’ nothing. You asked, he said yes, and lied.”
“‘I enjoyed the way you were excited, but not so much I’d actually spend MONEY ON YOU!!'”
“I would go no contact. You will be losing little, and avoiding disappointments like this one ever happening again.”
“People, let alone parents, are judged on their honesty and reliability. You were NEVER acting ‘like a spoiled baby.'”
“You were taking him at his dubious word. You were angry that he got your hopes up, merely for the thrill of dashing them.”
“Walk away from this person. He is not a father, he is a sperm donor. You should call him that to his face as the last thing you ever say to him.”-crazeyal
They also thought that OP’s dad was being dangerously manipulative, and it might be time for OP to walk away from him.
“NTA. You’ve been going off the information he provided you with for months. You haven’t begged him for a gift since July.”
“He’s the one that brought it up and told you. He disappointed you, he knows that and instead of acknowledging it, he is trying to emotionally manipulate you into feeling bad for wanting what he promised.”
“It’s a sad situation that I’m sorry to say I hope you learn from. It’s better to always expect nothing from him regardless of what he says and be pleasantly surprised if it turns out. I’m sorry you have to go through that.”-rainbow-bread
“NTA – your Dad shouldn’t have hyped up a present that he already knew he had returned. The fact that he knew you were excited just makes it so much worse… honestly it was borderline cruel what he did.”
“Sorry you weren’t able to receive anything special to celebrate your 16th birthday OP and sorry your Dad let you down like this.”-weareonewiththevoid
“NTA. Your dad set an expectation knowing you would be disappointed when he told you the truth.”
“He did exactly what narcissists do by manipulating you so he could enjoy unearned positive vibes from you. He abused your trust for his own benefit.”
“If you choose to continue this relationship, understand that as a narcissist he is going to do this again and again.”
“I recommend you look up ‘grey rocking.’ It’s a technique that takes the power away from the narcissist by not reacting positively or negatively to what a narcissist says.”
“If you don’t react, you can’t be manipulated. I’m sorry you have to deal with a narcissist parent. You will be far happier once you learn how to prevent future manipulation. Good luck!”-Spa-Monkeys
“Aww NTA. this post made me feel 16 again and my heart broke for you a little. It sucks when you are a good kid and you are accepting of your parent’s financial struggles, always accepting less than other kids your age and being kind about it.”
“But then to have one parent get your hopes up that you are finally going to get something nice, just to basically say it was all a lie……….who wouldnt be upset? especially at your age.”
“Happy birthday tho! Good things are coming your way, I feel it.”-No_Part4640
And that OP should consider getting away from him completely.
“NTA. You seem pretty well in touch with reality regarding financial situations and all that, so it doesn’t at all sound like you’re stomping your foot like Veruca Salt because you didn’t get exactly what you wanted.”
“The problem is the deception. Your dad lied to you. Actually lied. And that’s sad.”
“I’m sorry that you went through this, but I guess you’ve learned something about him as a person. Happy birthday, though! Hopefully it only gets better from here!”-Rddtmcrddtface
“A 16 yr old shouldn’t expect to have anything for their birthday from their parents?”
“He’s been talking about it since July and loved seeing you so excited? But it was a lie so he obviously wasn’t that bothered if you had excitement on your birthday.”
“In fact he actively ensured you’d be extremely disappointed.”
“You’re NTA Hun. But your parents are, especially your dad since he made such a big deal out of his imaginary gift.”-Heraonolympia123
“Massive NTA – your upset because he got your hopes up and lied to you, that is absolutely valid and he is an AH for not telling you the truth.”
“He is also an AH for saying you ‘shouldn’t have expected anything’ and the other comment He told you he had got you something and you believed him, what he is essentially saying is don’t trust him and that is horrible.”
“You’d also not be in any way wrong for expecting a gift for your birthday given it’s your birthday.”
“You’d have been justified for feeling disappointed if you got no gift regardless of the situation so you’re especially justified here (your feelings are valid just because you don’t mind why something is the case doesn’t mean you have to be happy with it being so.)”-yeet-im-bored
“NTA. This isn’t really about the present so much as the lie and the manipulation. He seems to have never intended to get you anything and played you so you’d be excited for him.”
“Gross. And then he tries to make you the villain for expecting something when you were promised something. Gross.”
“Hard lesson to learn but it’s time to go as no contact with dad as you can. Don’t let him mess with you like this again.”-Annual-Contract-115
OP is stuck in a sad situation.
With a father that would rather blame them than keep a birthday promise, it’s confusing to see how to relate to that father going forward.
Hopefully OP ends up doing what is best for them.