Our lives are full of surprises, and what’s a family history without a few surprises of its own?
But when you realize your mother isn’t really who she said she is, that may be a little too much to swallow.
Redditor “ThrowRA_lost1” wrote into the “Relationship Advice” subReddit when he felt his life had been thrown for a loop after discovering his older sister was actually his birth mother, and his parents were actually his grandparents.
Looking back, the Redditor realizes his sister was gone a lot when he was young.
“My sister wasn’t around much when I was growing up because she was in college then medical school. She’d visit on holidays and the weekends if she wasn’t busy.”
But when she was around, they spent a lot of quality time together.
“Whenever she’d visit she would spend a lot of time with me and she’d take me places, buy me things and give me advice when I needed it. I always felt like I could tell her anything and she wouldn’t judge me for it.”
There always seemed to be a rift between her and their parents, however.
“She never really got along with our parents and I never knew what it was about but they would argue often and there was always a lot of tension around them. My parents were very loving and we get along so no issues there.”
When she met her new husband, their relationship began to change.
“When she started dating her now husband she spent less time with me and she would come over less often.”
“5 years ago she got married to the guy. I don’t like him at all. He’s like an overgrown frat guy and he’s always teasing me or saying dumb s**t, he can never read the room.”
“I’ve spoken to my sister about it but she says that it’s just his way of bonding with people and that he means well and is a nice guy.”
“He’s been a pain in the a** for 5 years and just when I was going to give him a chance he f**ked it up.”
As it turns out, the husband really did mess up pretty royally.
“My sister and her husband came over for dinner two nights ago and were going to sleep over because they live 2 hours away. He took that as an opportunity to drink as much as he wanted.”
“He’s already insufferable when sober so drunk him is even worse.”
“My sister and I were catching up because it’s been a while and I was telling her how I would like to go into the medical field like her.”
That was when the husband dropped a serious truth bomb.
“Jacka** husband then comes in saying that it’s great that I want to follow in my mom’s footsteps.”
“My mom has never worked in the medical field so I was confused and thought he was just being dumb but my sister’s face went so pale and my parents were very quiet. I just looked at my sister and could tell that it wasn’t just a dumb comment.”
As he started to put the pieces together, the teen retreated to his room.
“I locked myself in my room and didn’t come out until the next day. There was a lot of yelling and I just learned something huge so I didn’t want to deal with it.”
When he was ready to come back out, his sister was waiting for him.
“When I finally decided to leave the room I saw that my sister was sitting right outside the door and that jerk was gone. I asked her wtf was going on and told her not to lie to me or I’ll never speak to her again.”
“She told me that she got pregnant in her senior year of high school and the guy cut all contact with her. She wanted to keep me and our parents were fully supportive of her.”
“She found out that she got into her dream school but she would have to either give up the school or give me up. She couldn’t choose so she decided to keep both.”
“She spoke to our parents about it and the plan was to have them take care of me while she’s in school and when can she will take me back. I was supposed to grow up knowing that she is my mom but because she was so busy and stressed out she didn’t think that she could handle motherhood.”
“Our parents noticed that she was pulling away so they adopted me and raised me as theirs.”
“She said that she was young and dumb at the time so she agreed with the adoption. She said that she thought of dropping out and taking me back so many times but thought I was better off without her as a mom.”
As time passed, his sister felt less involved but wanted things to change.
“As the years went by she saw less reason to tell me since I was doing good and was being well taken care of.”
“She started crying and telling me that she regrets her decision and wants to be my mom even though I’m almost an adult she wants us to start over as mother and son.”
“I told her I’d think about it and then she left.”
After talking to his sister and birth mom, he went to speak to his parents.
“I went to speak to my parents. They told me that they did everything for me because they love me and I’m not obligated to leave now that I know.”
“They said that things don’t have to change if I don’t want them to. It seemed more like they didn’t want things to change.”
Now the teen isn’t sure what to do.
“I feel like my whole life is a lie. I know that I was well taken care of and I don’t want to seem ungrateful but I was lied to my whole life.”
“I don’t see myself calling my sister ‘mom’ and living life as if everything is ok. My parents are the ones who raised me so how could I just leave them like that.”
“On the other hand if I don’t decide to go with my sister she might feel like I’m rejecting her or that I hate her and after 17 years she might really give up on me.”
“I’m so torn and feel betrayed. I can’t believe that I found out from that a**hole. That makes me even more mad.”
“I feel like I have to pick a side I don’t know how to do that. I kinda just wanna run away and forget about all of this. Everyone is kinda leaving it up to me and I don’t even know what I want for breakfast on a good day.”
“How do I approach this without everyone getting hurt?”
Fellow Redditors wrote in on the OP’s (Original Poster’s) unique situation, offering a variety of viewpoints.
Some confirmed the OP’s relationship with his family would never quite be the same, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t still be a healthy relationship.
“Hey OP, if I were in your shoes, this here would be exactly what I’d be thinking. Now that you know the truth, it’ll never be like how it was. But everything else is still how it was.”
“You sound like a well-spoken young man (to everyone else here, he certainly DOES, doesn’t he?) and I’m quite sure a lot of people on here are rooting for you to get through this. Don’t be too hard on yourself. All the best!” – The_Crow
“Absolutely agree with every word and OP, this is such a shock right now and will ease with time, so deciding to do nothing at the moment is ok. Time will bring more clarity.”
“You are loved by your family and although they may have made the decision to lie and that was wrong, they did so because they thought it was the right thing to do. Sometimes we need to sit in the grey for a while and embrace the ‘not knowing’ before taking any steps at all.” – coolrunnings32825
“Exactly this, even though you now know the truth, that doesn’t have to change how you feel about them. Your parents adopted you, that’s a sign that they truly accepted you as their own.”
“Your sister may have said she wanted to start over, but there is no simple reset button. Only time can tell how it will turn out, but if you’re content with the dynamic in your family before, then your don’t have to change a single thing. It’s your life, you can choose to accept it or change things, it’s up to you.” – D0ublek1ll
“Whatever you choose don’t disregard your parents that raised you, it’s takes tremendous amount of love,finances and patience to raise a child so please be forever thankful to them. Seemed they raised you well.” – Yankee_
“Even with such an odd case scenario, OP you are very blessed in that you are surrounded by a loving family. Essentially, these are 3 people that really love you regardless of what label you have for them. Everything will be ok.” – Freespirit8888
One Redditor in particular agreed and pointed out the OP should feel no pressure to make any hard and fast decisions immediately.
“You don’t have to pick a side. I’m fairly sure your sister will understand that you can’t ‘start over’, you’re about to be an adult. She watched you grow up, be it from the sidelines, so she didn’t completely miss anything.”
“And of course your parents don’t want things to change, they raised you as their own so they see you as such! If you are okay with the way things are, your birth mother being your sister and your grandparents being your parents, then tell them just that.”
“This is going to take time to adjust to and your relationship with your sister is going to be a little different simply bc you now know who she really is to you, but that doesn’t mean that time won’t get you back to where you were or to where you want to be with her.”
“Take some time, as much as you need, and think about what you want to change if you want anything to change at all. Nobody says you have to know right now and nobody in their right mind would expect you to.”
“They all love you, but do what you think is best for you. Everyone made their decisions, now it’s time for you to take your time making yours.” – thisisforyall
A few also said that the OP’s birth mother should be understanding if the OP decides they can’t “start over.”
“I’m sure this will all work out, but I just want to say, if by chance the birth mom feels hurt or rejected because we are emotional creatures, don’t blame yourself Op because no one should expect you to go through such a huge life shift like that and be okie dokie with it.”
“I went through something very similar to this though, I’m sure it’ll all be ok bud. Take your time to think and try not to stress out about things too much” – thenameszoinkss
“First of all, give yourself time.”
“Second, your sister was expressing her deeply held love and regrets. She so deeply cares about you.”
“You don’t have to decide anything and really you and your sister should do some family counseling as should you and your parents.”
“Maybe part of this decision was how well you were doing and maybe part was that your parents didn’t want to give you up. Either way, it would have been very difficult for your sister and disruptive for you.”
“Call your sister and tell her how much you love her and how much she means to you. She was sitting on the floor outside your room, for how long, she loves you so much it hurts.”
“Tell her you want to keep working on your relationship and can’t define it right now. You want to keep seeing her and get some therapy alone and with her.”
“(Realistically, it would be difficult and not necessary to move for the final year of school, two hours away. If your parents were no longer around it would be different.)”
“I would tell your parents how much you love and appreciate them and the life they have afforded you. Tell them you aren’t making any decisions. You want to stay home and finish school. You want therapy and family counseling to process this and keep everyone healthy.”
“I am worried about your sister! Give her all the love you can spare. She did the best she could, and if your parents weren’t so awesome she may have made a different choice.”
“I do wonder what happened with her husband. I feel bad for her (and you) it was revealed this way.”
“You are here now. Be grateful for the cup that runs over with so many people that love, take care of, and want YOU. Things may feel like they have changed, but also nothing has changed. Be compassionate to yourself and your sister. Be loving and kind.”
“No decision is necessary just because she asked – it was an emotional plea. So express love – she needs it – stay put for now. Get therapy.” – EclecticVictuals
And speaking of the birth mother, several also said the new husband should have very limited access to the OP and the rest of the family from now on.
“I’d like to add that the asshole husband should really get banned from OP’s house. Sister has every right to keep her husband, but that doesn’t mean they should let such a jerk stay in his life.” – bonkerred
“I was just coming here to say that the parents and son can definitely insist that the husband not be included in visits. He had no right to share that information, and he’s a jerk anyway. Might wake bio mom up if her husband is banned from the rest of her family.” – Bollywood_Fan
Though it was inevitably a curveball to find this out, and from such a frustrating source, it’s always best for families to keep things out in the open.
The OP may feel right now like nothing will ever be the same, but “being the same” and having a healthy, happy relationship with his family are not mutually exclusive.