Accommodating someone for their unique needs is a kindness that we could all use a little more of.
Whether that accommodation is a different chair or a ramp or not wearing a particular perfume, these little changes can make big impacts.
The trouble, of course, is that accommodation can easily slip into enabling.
That was the issue facing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) BackgroundTop9662 when she came to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for judgment.
“AITA for not wanting to stop being mute once my daughter turns 18?”
“I 41F have daughter ‘Ceci’ (17F) with my husband “Ray” (41M).”
A difficult malady.
“Ceci has a brain-based disorder called misophonia that makes her very sensitive to certain sounds, in her case, people speaking, chewing, anything with their mouth pretty much and it’s very severe.”
“Ever since she was born she was prone to outbursts and meltdowns(details of which I’m not able to share here) from my voice.”
“We thought she was likely on the spectrum for a while until a professional told us she believes she has misophonia (AFAIK it’s not yet recognized as a disorder so you technically can’t be diagnosed).”
“Her anger was always instant and at its worst whenever I made any noises so to keep it to a minimum, we formed a plan that I would not speak in her presence, ever.”
“Instead I use ASL, texting, text to speech or Ray will be a messenger, anything but my mouth pretty much.”
“I even have to be careful just clearing my throat or making sure she can’t hear me from another room so she isn’t triggered.”
“She stopped going to public school and takes her classes online.”
“We are also all in therapy while she is also in cognitive behavioral therapy.”
“She has shown a lot of improvement over the years but my voice is still a huge trigger for her.”
“She finds my voice grating and unbearable and she goes from zero to a hundred at the slightest noise I make.”
“It’s been awful for me to deal with in all honesty and while our relationship isn’t terrible by any means there is always this barrier….”
Time for a talk.
“She’ll be starting senior year soon and Ray and I decided that once she became an adult, I would not be mute anymore.”
“I think it’s been long enough now and Ceci will need to try and make do because her condition is still not recognized to a lot of people and thus the real world will not be able to be nearly as accommodating towards her condition compared to others.”
“With a year to go we thought we’d tell her now in advance so she could prepare.”
“She took this horribly and does not how she will function in the house as she wants to take online courses.”
“We told her she can stay as long as she wants (rent-free even) but this is the condition.”
“She has not been talking to me since and Ray thinks we should change our minds until she moves out or finishes college instead but I don’t want to budge.”
“I care for her comfort but I really want to have my voice in the home back.”
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: INFO
Too many questions.
‘”She’ll be starting senior year soon and Ray and I decided that once she became an adult, I would not be mute anymore.'”
“What’s been the plan for her adulting? I mean: this has been a LONG time coming.”
‘”My voice is still a huge trigger for her. She finds my voice grating and unbearable and she goes from zero to a hundred at the slightest noise I make.'”
“What’s her reaction to strangers’ voices? How was she planning to function in society?”
“Can she listen to recordings of voices? Synthesized voices?”
“What’s been the strategy for her coping with the real world? Because avoidance is not going to work.” ~ StAlvis
“You mention that you’re all in therapy. What have the therapists said to you about this situation?”
“Are they okay with the current setup of you never speaking in front of your daughter?” ~ AshamedDragonfly4453
“What was first, you going silent or you trying to get her used to your voice?”
“It might be the case that she can’t cope with this one hurdle because it was the only one she never really had to cope with.”
“School, her peers, random people outside – all of that she had to learn to deal with because otherwise she wouldn’t be able to function in the world.”
“You on the other hand, she knew you’d relent sooner or later and go silent again, so she didn’t have much motivation to overcome it.”
“She’ll be an adult soon.”
“She should be able to understand how uncomfortable the whole situation is for you, and she should have it in herself to be willing to find a compromise – out of basic human kindness.”
“(Unless she is on the spectrum then it’s more complicated, but from what you wrote I understand she’s never been diagnosed that way).”
“It’s not reasonable to expect you won’t speak again in your own home for an unspecified amount of time. You’re NTA here.” ~ Astaira
Some were suspicious.
“You’re the ONLY person?”
“It sounds like the problem is the relationship with you, not a sensory issue.”
“Either way, she needs different therapy because basic CBT isn’t gonna cut it. Find a therapist that works with OCD and engages in exposure with response prevention.”
“I can’t say for sure if it would help as I am a psychologist but not her doctor, but it is more likely to be helpful.”
“Also, if all of your therapists have been okay with this arrangement you’ve found some truly sh*tty ones.” ~ CrochetedFishingLine
“Yeah, that’s what stood out to me as well.”
“I hate sloppy mouth noises too, I get angry so I usually get up and walk away from whoever is doing it because it’s my issue and it’s not just for one person alone, it’s anyone who does it.”
“Even dogs making sloppy mouth noises will piss me off yet she only has that reaction with OP.”
“Hmmm” ~ Punkinpry427
“You are the only person whose voice she has a problem with?”
“(And it’s not even ‘just’ your voice, it’s every noise you make) Oh, come on! You can’t seriously buy that bs…”
“And this issue with your voice and your muteness has been a thing only during the last 6 years (you said in a comment you stopped talking 6 years ago)?”
“(Yet, she has survived your voice before that…for 11 years…)”
“It seems more like your daughter can’t stand you for whatever her reason is and she found an effective way (playing up her misophonia, if she has misophonia at all) to stop you from bothering her.”
“This going mute thing and walking on eggshells around her to not make any noise, any sound thing never should have happened in the first place.”
“Other people refuse to / don’t ‘accommodate’ (enable?) her and somehow, by some miraculous way she doesn’t have a problem with their voices…, only with your voice…,”
“The one person who let a child run the house and call the shots, basically without boundaries and boss around others.”
“And if it’s really real what she claims (highly unlikely), she should be moved out of your house next year when she is 18 because this situation is not sustainable.”
“If you didn’t realize it yet then let me tell you that your daughter (consciously or unconsciously) abuses you.”
“Stop this mute thing like yesterday! She has a couple of months to sort her sh*t out until she is 18.”
“She either deals or moves out.”
“Especially because she can go out with her friends just fine as you said in a comment. Her condition is awfully convenient for her…” ~ Cute-Shine-1701
“Reading this I got the feeling your daughter has been abusing you for 6 years.”
“Forcing you to be mute in your own home because of a condition she does not have a diagnosis for.”
“This absolutely stinks.”
“Sorry OP, you need to put your foot down.”
“It’s very suspicious your voice is the only one she can’t stand.”
“My mum’s voice got on my nerves when I was growing up too, usually because it was the one that told me off when I did something I shouldn’t.”
“Had I known about misophonia I could have just asked her to not say anything for my whole teens.”
“Stop allowing yourself to be bullied.” ~ PutTheKettleOn20
The distinction can be subtle but it is a distinction nonetheless.
While we can all use a little more kindness, and a touch more tolerance it can easily slip into the destruction of our boundaries.
Be kind, but be aware.
We hope that this family comes to a peaceful resolution that they all can live with.