“Don’t ask a question you don’t want the answer to” is really a piece of advice more people should heed, even if they think they’re not part of the problem.
One couple indirectly learned this after hearing some surprising information during a family therapy session, according to the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
One of her teen daughters, Redditor Fuzzy-Screen8609 found herself in trouble after voicing the truth during her session.
Because of that, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if she was wrong for opening up:
“AITA for saying my stepsister and I bonded over our mutual dislike of our parents?”
The OP and her stepsister had a unique bonding experience.
“So my stepsister and I became stepsisters at the age of 8. We’re now 16. My dad died and her mom died and my mom married her dad.”
“But they got married to replace our deceased parents. They wanted us to be a mom dad and two girls family.”
“They pressured us to call our stepparent mom/dad and we really disliked it.”
“The only good thing that came from it is we got close because we disliked our parents for doing it. And we still do.”
“We’re closer than ever to each other but we dislike my mom and her dad more than ever because we still don’t want to call the stepparent in our lives mom or dad.”
Others have wondered about their bond, including their therapist.
“People have asked us over the years how we got so close and we tell them how we bonded.”
“So recently we started therapy and the therapist asked my stepsister and me why we bonded so much with each other and not with the stepparent in our lives.”
The OP decided to be honest during the family session.
“I told her the truth. That we bonded because her dad and my mom tried to replace our deceased parent with their spouse and we did not like it, and our dislike for them brought us closer together.”
“My mom and her husband were so p**sed off and they actually ended the session early.”
“I got into huge trouble.”
Fellow Redditors wrote in anonymously, rating the OP’s response on the following scale:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some Redditors said the OP shouldn’t feel wrong for telling the truth.
“NTA you were in therapy and were asked a question, it is meant to be a safe space. They have no right to get angry just because they don’t like the answer.”
“Also, it’s s**t of them to try to replace your deceased parent. I’m glad you have your step sister cause both parents are sucky for their behavior.” – sassubus
“Yup literally got taken to therapy once by my caregiver at the time because I wasn’t the person SHE wanted me to be.”
“The therapist said something along the lines of (I) was just a normal person for my age, (I’m) not doing anything wrong, (YOU) need to stop pushing her.”
“NTA OP, some people hate to admit they ever did wrong and would always rather cast others as the problem children whilst similarly saying ‘look at me, I’m paying attention and fixing the problem,’ when the truth is the problem has always been them” – unknown_928121
“NTA – I’m noticing an increasingly disturbing trend with parents using family therapy as ‘truth sessions to punish you for’. What the h**l is the objective of any parent that does this? To get confirmation of their s**tty parenting?” – BrownSugarBare
“Do you ever wonder how depressing it must be as a therapist to see these situations and just know that you’ll never see the kid again because they dared to express the truth?” – cowzroc
Others agreed and said the mother just wanted her kids in therapy to “fix” them.
“Parents really come into therapy for us to tell them that their kids are wrong. If only you knew how fast a parent will flip on you the minute you suggest they are part of the problem.”
“Not all parents but it happens a LOT” – neutralgood079
“Nearly qualified educational psychologist here and a lot of my job is trying to get people to understand that even if a child’s behavior IS a problem, there is always something driving that behavior and it’s for us as adults to work out what and to make things better for them. The problem child narrative is just such an unhelpful one.” – fragmented_mask
“Therapist in training here. I love when parents put the child in therapy and when we ask them to come to the session to talk or give feedback they disappear” – skullaccio
A few parents stated the parents should have created a safe space for their daughters.
“Love (‘love’) these posts where parents take their kids to family therapy to fix issues, but immediately shut down when the kids are open and honest about what the issues are. I guess the parents are hoping the kids will say, ‘I was the problem, sorry, I’ll be better now.'” – BritishHobo
“As a parent, I understand that it’s hard to hear these kinds of comments from your kid. But as a parent, I understand that I’m the adult and that my kid’s feelings are valid, and I’ll do my d**nedest to work on myself and examine my behaviors so my kid isn’t miserable. I don’t get parents who can’t do that.” – MajorBedhead
“I was listening to an interview with Dr. Ross Greene (famous child clinical psychologist who has done the research, books, etc., and has a ‘gold standard’ evidence-based model called ‘Collaborative and Proactive Solutions’) on the research based parenting podcast Your Parenting Mojo.”
“He was talking about the first step which is empathy and having a deeper conversation to really understand the reason the child doesn’t want to do the expectation.”
“The interviewer had some questions parents had sent in and one of them was about kids not answering [and] saying, ‘nothing,’ ‘I don’t care,’ etc. Dr. Greene said that when a child says those things, it can mean one of several things. One of the common ones he said is, ‘I think if I tell you, you’ll bring down the hammer.'”
“He also said that when working with the families the number one complaint of parents is their kids won’t talk to them and the number one complaint of kids is their parents don’t listen to them.” – TheHatOnTheCat
Though it can be really hard to hear the truth, especially when it means that you might have to do some work on yourself, it’s still important to create a safe space for your loved ones to voice their needs.
Hopefully with time, these young women will be able to see their family as a cohesive family, not as replacement parts.