It’s safe to say that we generally try to be there for those we love.
But what about people who tell us they don’t love us back? Do we owe them the same?
One woman struggled with this question on the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit when she wasn’t sure what boundaries to set with an emotionally-distant family member.
Redditor layallyourloveonmeee reached out to the thread after she established a boundary and immediately received backlash from other family members.
The Original Poster (OP) checked in, wondering if she was in the wrong.
“AITA for not driving my father to his cancer therapy?”
The OP stated upfront that she didn’t have a good relationship with her father.
“I never had a good relationship with my (24[Female]) father (61[Male]).”
“In fact, it got worse over the recent years. He was always a selfish pr**k who used to cheat on my mum, has never prioritized his family in his entire life, or even said thanks to us.”
“Two years ago, he even screamed at me that he doesn’t consider me a daughter.”
“He basically only cares for us when he’s down physically. In the last couple of years, he had one spine (?) surgery, a heart attack, and prostate cancer that recently got rediscovered.”
Now that he needed help, she was divided on what to do.
“He had his surgery last week and our family took turns visiting him almost every day.”
“He didn’t have surgery in our local hospital, so we had to drive almost 2h to get there so we could hang out for one hour and drive the same way back home. You lose an entire day basically.”
“It‘s currently noon and two hours ago, he called me to drive him to the said hospital so he can get his treatment.”
“I usually wouldn’t have anything against it, but the least I want is being given a decent heads-up (~24h) because I don’t like to drive in busy cities and long rides in general.”
“Furthermore, I already had plans today (submitting my tax declaration, last possible day unless I extend deadline).”
“I told him that and he got mad and hung up on me without further sayings.”
“He then arrived home and expected me to be ready to drive him. I straightforwardly said no.”
“He screamed at me and called me several very offensive names. That I‘m useless, of no worth, etc.”
“Then he rushed away, saying that I must be proud about myself for letting an ill man drive all alone to his therapy (which is a lie, I know that my mum (48[Female]) is driving him now).”
It didn’t help that her family was ready to play the blame game.
“My sister (22[Female]) was there the whole time ([Work From Home]) and told me to suck it up and that I‘m a huge AH for not driving him regardless of any circumstances and plans and that I should‘ve extended the deadline to make time for our ill father.”
“Now I don’t know if I could‘ve handled this situation better or I‘m getting gaslighted here.”
“What do you guys think, AITA for not driving my father to his cancer therapy?”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some confirmed the OP didn’t have to be there for her “father.”
“It’s a messed up situation to live through that your entire life. I can’t knock the sister, because what she’s gone through is pretty much torture since she has had to endure their father also.”
“But your dad sounds like he has been the AH your entire life. I wouldn’t do one thing for someone who treated me in such a way. It’s why I don’t speak at all with my mom. She’s out of my life forever.” – crooney35
“‘he doesn’t consider me a daughter'”
“I guess then he can walk down the street and scream at random strangers that they should bring him to the hospital.”
“NTA” – Mesapholis
“This right here. If he’s told you he doesn’t consider you a daughter, why should you still consider him a father?”
“More importantly, perhaps: Given his atrocious behavior toward you, why do you keep doing him favors? He sounds thoroughly unpleasant and at least verbally abusive, and doesn’t deserve your time or effort.”
“NTA” – FeuerroteZora
“He gave up the right to expect anything from you when he said he didn’t consider you his daughter” – Lucyfiir
Others put some of the blame on the OP’s sister, too.
“NTA. how your sister could watch you be verbally abused and then blame you for it is heartbreaking. I’m amazed you still have anything to do with your father at all. he sounds like a narcissist tbh (to be honest).” – KhalDrogHeaux
“My sister is like that. She’s seen our mother scream at me in public and private for years and every time she blamed me for provoking her.” – ComprehensiveBand586
“Maybe your sister could get down off her high horse, get her ass in a car, and drive him herself.” – Incognitoacon
“NTA and your sister should stop trying to make you feel bad for not dropping everything to cater to the unreasonable whims of an abusive man. You handled it fine.” – TimeandEntropy
“So you sister’s reaction to you literally getting abused by you father right in front of here eyes is ‘suck it up.’ Are you sure you consider that family material?” – Sniffy_The_Loveable
“NTA Good for you for not putting up with his abuse. If your sister is so concerned then she needs to do it.”
“People are awfully entitled to others peoples business and how you should act but yet she won’t step up and do what she thinks is right. Your sister is wrong, your father is wrong for treating you this way. Your worth isn’t measured by what you do for others.” – Thin-Variation-4157
It’s hard when we both want to and do not want to help someone who we should love and who should love us back.
But when the circumstances aren’t of the “norm,” we have to give ourselves a break and realize the expectations aren’t the “norm,” either.