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Teen With Animal Phobia Traumatized After Her Boyfriend’s Sisters Lock Her In A Room With His Cats

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Balancing family with a romantic partner isn’t always easy. Everyone has their unique quirks, personality differences, and fears.

One Reddit user was seeking relationship advice after family members mistreated his girlfriend in an extreme way.

The Original Poster (OP), Reddit user tttttthhhhrowaaway, wrote:

“My sisters locked my girlfriend in a room with my cat and now she won’t come over and is kind of avoiding me”

“I (19M(ale)) love animals and I have two cats which I love with all my heart. My gf (19F(emale)) is terrified of animals. Even before we started dating around two years ago, she’s been afraid of them.”

“Birds, cats, dogs, hamsters, you name it. I know a lot of you are going to say ‘why are you with her then?’ but I don’t mind that she’s afraid of them.“

“Obviously I would’ve loved if she loved my cats but it’s not like she hits them or forces me to give them away. When she comes over, she lets the cats walk around (she doesn’t let them come near her though).”

“Although, the other day, she managed to walk beside them without tensing. I was so happy lol. She was still scared, but I believe that she was getting more comfortable around them.”

“Three days ago, my gf came over and everything was fine. The cats were sleeping and my gf was her usual smiley self.”

“My mom then asked me to get something from the neighbours. I asked my gf if she wanted to come but she was pretty exhausted because of her work and said she would help my mom make dinner. After I came back, I couldn’t find her.”

But that’s when things to a turn.

“My mom said she went to the washroom but she wasn’t in there. Then I heard my sisters laughing so I decided to ask them if they’d seen her. I almost had a heart attack after they told me that they locked my gf inside of the storage room with both of my cats.”

”I started panicking because this was bad. For her and the cats. I immediately unlocked the storage room and found my girlfriend on the verge of passing out.”

“She was sobbing quietly(?) and had wrapped herself into a ball. The cats weren’t near her but they did look kind of confused. I don’t know.“

“I took my girlfriend home and when I went back home myself, I found out that my mom shouted at my sisters. I still can’t believe they did that? They’re older than me. They’re in their mid twenties and did the most immature thing in the whole world.”

“They refuse to apologize though and say my gf should get used to the cats. The thing is, she was getting used to them. Anyways, the next day I asked my gf if she was alright and she said she was fine and that she was sorry.”

“I told her it wasnt her fault etc but she still sounded kind of nervous/passive. I asked her if she wanted to come over but she made up some excuse about baby sitting her little brother. I asked her the day after that if she wanted to hang out but she said that she had stuff to do.

“I understand, we don’t have to hang out all the time. But I’m more concerned about the fact that every time I talk to her she doesn’t sound like she’s ‘here’.”

“We did end up driving around in the car while eating mcdonalds last night, but when I reached my house, she got really fidgety and said that she needed to go home asap.”

“So here’s what I need advice on. Is she trying to avoid me? If she is, how do I confront her about this? Is it about the cats? How do I figure that out? I love her so much, I don’t want her to be scared of me or my family :/”

“btw: we hang out at my place a lot because it’s spacious and my parents are chill. Her’s are really strict and she has a bunch of little brothers and sisters. Her house is also really tight. Also because of the whole thing that’s happening rn and how bad its gotten in Canada, we can’t hang out outside.”

Redditors gave some advice and perspective on how the mean-spirited situation may have effected their girlfriend.

She’s avoiding your sisters, she seems more afraid of your sisters, than your cats.”~Avalina__

Agreed! Your sisters basically assaulted and terrorized your girlfriend. You need to address that not just brush it under the rug. This isn’t just about the cats but them locking her in the room and having a good laugh over it.”~RipleyB

Exactly this!! Op needs to look beyond himself! All these ‘I’ questions about if she’s trying to avoid you or it’s she’s scared of the cats. Like can you think about your girlfriend for once and how you your family traumatized her and probably gave her ptsd!”

“Think about how you would feel if HER family attacked you and locked you in a storage room. How would you feel if you had a phobia of something and they forced you to get over it?”

“Honestly I’m surprised she hasn’t broken up with you yet. Especially considering how your sisters are literal psychopaths, and dangerous to be around.”

“Give her space and let her know she doesn’t have to be around your family (and you) or your house at all. Let her know how sorry you are for your sisters since they refuse to apologize.”

“Let her know you want to know how she feels and you care about her safety. Because so far you are making it seem like it’s no big deal.”

“Of course she’s scared of your house, don’t ever make her go back there until she gets therapy or sorts through stuff.”

“The fact you are more concerned about how you have no where to go with ‘privacy’, shows that you honestly don’t care about your girlfriends feelings and what she went through. It also shows your lack of empathy and compassion for her safety/feelings.”~SohpieBlake_

“If she was avoiding you, she wouldn’t have been in a car with you. She went through a fairly traumatic experience, and it is probably going to take some time for her to work past it. She is probably avoiding your house, and sisters, if not your cats specifically.”

“You are going to need to give her time before she feels comfortable being at your house again. She may even need to see a therapist.”~Pookahbee

“I’m sorry, but this seems pretty clueless to me. You do know your sisters actually committed a crime, right? Locking someone in a room against their will…that’s illegal.”

“Of course she doesn’t feel safe. Come on…the fact that you even need to ask is crazy in itself.”

“To do that to anyone, lock them in a room with their own phobia, is so wrong on so many levels. I’m amazed she didn’t break up with you.”~Carigan_Pintalba

Your sister is a d*ck. Sorry but it’s true either your girlfriend has anxiety or a deep phobia of pets and it was not f**king cool to mess with that.”

“At the end of the day that’s probably what your gf is thinking about. She’s probably embarrassed/ doesn’t feel normal because of little respect she received. All you can do is be patient and support her while she musters up the strength to talk about it / go back to your place.”

“You can’t force her or rush her she has to be ready. I’d have a serious talk with your sister about respecting boundaries If you haven’t already. Good luck op all you can really do is wait and be supportive.”~maxlpz17

The OP commented an update thankful for the feedback.

“First off, thanks for the advice, I took it all into account :)”

“Second, I talked to my gf a few hours ago and mentioned a lot of the things you guys said. She doesn’t have any trauma-she really does not know why she’s so afraid. She also said that she was really embarrassed for causing a scene and she was trying to avoid me/my family.”

“I told her that it was okay and if she wanted space I’d give it to her. Oh she also said that she wanted to go to a therapist to help her with her fear but she wanted to go with me.”

“I mentioned going to the police but she said no, straight up. She said that she didn’t want to break my family apart over such a ‘silly’ reason. I told her that it didn’t matter and that her safety was more important but she kept refusing.”

“I honestly don’t give a sh*t about my sisters (I’ll explain in a bit) but my gf cant imagine hating your own siblings.”

“I also apologized about my pushiness (that was very insensitive) and she already seems more relaxed now. Not completely, but I feel like talking about it helped.”

“Ultimately, thanks to you guys, I realized the problem wasn’t that she was avoiding me, she was avoiding my sisters and what they put her through. Thanks for that.”

It is never ok to intentionally harm someone. We hope that the OP’s girlfriend was able to recover from such a traumatic experience and that OP continues to take the advice into consideration. 

Written by Heidi Dockery

Heidi Dockery is a Maine artist & nature enthusiast with an affinity for libraries. She studies Criminal Justice with a special focus on psychology & sociology at the University of Maine. When not studying, painting, or re-reading the works of Terry Pratchett, she volunteers & enjoys various activities most would label nerdy.