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Teen Livid At Her Mom For Photoshopping Her Disfigurement Out Of Their Family Christmas Photo

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It’s difficult adjusting to a massive change in your life. The scarring and damage done by a violent accident can be a lot to get used to.

But with the help of your friends and family, it is something that can become a piece of you that you control, and not the other way around.

Redditor throwaway-card- suffered exactly that kind of situation. However, her mother seems less than supportive of accepting and moving on.

So the original poster (OP) asks the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit if her reaction to her mother was appropriate.

The question is:

“AITA for refusing to sign a family holiday card where my mom ‘erased’ my disfigurement?”

She explains:

“This happened a while back, but I (16F) still get disapproval over it.”

“A year ago, I was involved in a car accident that left me with scarring and third degree burns, including on my face. It’s very noticeable, to the point where it draws people’s attention when I’m in public.”

“Getting used to it was really hard, but I got through it.”

“Now, my family has an annual tradition of sending holiday cards to people. We always take the same photograph for the cards – the whole family gathered in front of the fireplace, waving and smiling. And we all sign the cards and sometimes add personalized messages.”

“The problem came last year, when my mom excitedly showed me how the card came out.”

“I looked at myself, and instantly saw that she must have… photoshopped in my face from before my accident. There was no disfigurement at all.”

“She asked me if I was happy with how it turned out. I was just upset and confused, and might have gotten emotional. It made me feel like she didn’t accept what I looked like now.”

“My mom was hurt by my reaction, saying she was sad I didn’t appreciate her paying to get my appearance ‘fixed.’ She said this would be better for me, as it wouldn’t lead to people raising questions when they received the card from us.”

“(Not everyone we send the card to knows about my accident, since it includes acquaintances and clients from my parents’ work.)”

“I said that it would be even weirder if we kept sending cards with my old appearance, and then people would get shocked when they saw me in real life. But also, I didn’t want to hide what happened to me or pretend it didn’t happen.”

“My dad said he understood where I was coming from, but that it would be easier to appease my mom as she had meant it as a nice present to me. My brother (20m) was even more upset than me and I heard him loudly arguing with my parents late at night.”

“In the end, my brother and I both refused to sign the holiday cards that were sent out.”

“This was significant because we usually wrote long messages to some family members and friends.”

“When the cards got sent out, I think it led to a lot of questions, though they didn’t share the details with me. All I know was my mom said the cards didn’t ‘perform well’ and ‘caused drama,’ and how she was disappointed my brother and me refused to sign the cards.”

“My mom still brings it up all the time, and my brother left after the holidays so I feel like no one’s on my side. Was I the a**hole for not signing the cards?”

Judgement on AITA comes from one of a few different ways.

  • NTA – Not the A**hole
  • YTA – You’re the A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everybody Sucks Here

The board determined that OP was not in the wrong for refusing to sign the card.

“NTA! The card “didn’t perform well”? Unfortunately it sounds like your mom may be more shallow than mine.”

“Dad also sounds similar to mine in that he’d rather appease your mother’s poor behavior instead of taking the time and energy to stand up to her. I can only hope your mother’s anger at you and your brother is misplaced anger at herself for acting so… I can’t settle on just one word.” – Cartman55125

“NTA. If *you* wanted to photoshop the pic, that would be one thing. But your mom did it without asking you. That’s wrong, and you’re in your right to find it hurtful.”

“Good to hear your brother has your back.” – kittenoftheeast

“Wow, NTA. That’s a really sh**ty thing for your mom to do. I’m guessing she’s a bit superficial?”

“Her comment about the card’s performance solidifies that how other people view her family matters more than what the people in the family think/ feel. I’m sorry you had to deal with that.” – Ardchasm

“NTA your Mom is though. Her only appropriate response to you raising your issues was an abject apology and a long talk where she listened to you. Not to double down on it.”

“The next time she tries to bring it up I’d say ‘This is a very painful subject for me. I’m not available to talk about your issues with my appearance any longer’. Then change the subject and or leave.”

“Find something you feel comfortable saying then just repeat every time she starts.”

“Good luck. You sound like you are thoughtful and mature.” – IndividualVariation1

It’s difficult when you don’t want to upset your family, and more difficult when you feel like no one is on your side. OP doesn’t even have her brother right now.

But some people gave hopeful suggestions and words of support that OP was grateful for.

“NTA take new pictures with your brother, sign them and send them to the people you wanted to get ur messages” – azh88

“Thank you for the idea! Maybe I’ll bring it up to my brother. He loves taking silly photographs anyway, so maybe we could do a fun/informal card.” throwaway-card-

“NTA. So so much NTA”

“Just joined this to say that you rock. Seriously. You have owned whats happened to you, (and I’m sorry you got hurt ), and you have the bravery to stand up and say ‘this is me’. And I bet every part of you is absolutely stunning”

“In a world obsessed with some airbrushed lie of perfection you are a beacon of sanity. Your sense of self worth should be rooted in what an absolute boss you are, and to have stood up for wanting the true you to be represented is deserving of genuine admiration.”

“Your parents should be proud of what a mature and special person you are.”

“Also props to your bro. You have a good sibling there, I wish you a lifetime of having each others back” – opinionsarelikeahs

“Thank you, that means a lot to me! I think I feel how you described – I want the “true me” to be represented and I don’t want to be ashamed of it. And yes, my brother is awesome. :)” – throwaway-card-

OP even updated with a ‘Thank you’ for all the support.

“Wow, I’m seriously overwhelmed by all of the support! It sounds dumb but this is a strange high point for me in a sh*tty year.”

“Idk, just the idea that strangers from all over the world took time to write such kind and compassionate words to me. It’s especially really encouraging to hear from people who’ve gone through the same experience or know friends/family who have, and to know it gets better.”

“Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I’m not quite able to respond to everything but I’m reading each and every comment.”

Change is difficult, and sometimes people need help getting over it. Love and support are exceptionally helpful, but not running from the issue is the only way to move forward.

With some support from internet strangers, and maybe some more direct help from her brother, OP and her mom might be able to reconcile.

Written by Ben Acosta

Ben Acosta is an Arizona-based fiction author and freelance writer. In his free time, he critiques media and acts in local stage productions.