When we succeed at something in our lives, it’s often a natural reaction to want to celebrate that achievement and to acknowledge your hard work and effort that got you there.
But if your success might inadvertently highlight someone else’s failure, is it inappropriate or mean-spirited to want others to celebrate along with you?
Redditor Competitive-Abies-63 recently clashed with her parents over this issue, so she turned to the subReddit “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) to see if she was in the wrong.
“AITA for wanting to celebrate my achievements?”
The original poster (OP) started by explaining the difference in her upbringing versus that of her older brother.
“So I (F[emale] 21) have an older brother (M[ale] 25). In some ways I was always the ‘gifted child’ but that was mostly because I worked my butt off and my mother forced me into way more stuff.”
“The reason I was good at sports and he wasn’t was because my mum let him stay home and play Xbox or go out with friends while I spent every spare hour I had training.”
“(I’m talking 12 hours per week athletics, Sunday hockey, 8 hours hockey during the week, 6 hours volleyball, Saturday games, badminton, swimming, water sports in the summer.)”
“They even made me train with serious injuries, to the point where my coach SCREAMED at them for basically ruining my body.”
And so the OP was held to a higher standard than her brother.
“So being the gifted child was a curse in my mind. However, I understood when my brother would be celebrated for a C because that was a big deal to him.”
“But even when I got 10 A* in my GCSE’s (General Certificate of Secondary Education) (a big f—kin’ deal) and took 2 A Levels early, we didn’t celebrate. Eventually he went to university and nearly failed out and moved home at 21.”
“He decided to join the military. It was a long process of applying and he used this as an excuse not to get a job or contribute.”
“Eventually he went to basic training and failed for poor organization (forgetting stuff, talking back to officers, poor hygiene, laundry) just stupid stuff.”
But despite her many accomplishments, the OP wasn’t allowed to celebrate for fear of upsetting her brother.
“At the same time, I graduated from university with a 1st class degree. I also landed my first job.”
“My aunties had planned a party for me and my mum made them cancel it and refused to take me because it would upset my brother.”
Recently, the thrill of being accepted in her dream course was quickly snuffed out.
“I decided after working as a teaching assistant for a year that I wanted to be a teacher. So I have worked my butt off working and studying this year and FINALLY got a place on my dream course.”
“I was so excited. Problem is – my brother got rejected.”
“See, he is also applying for teaching courses, but only because in the UK they pay you to do these courses. He just wants the money.”
“He did a video interview in a tracksuit. He forgot that he had to prepare a lesson plan for this interview. I’m not surprised to be honest.”
The OP finally snapped.
“I told my parents that I got in and I was so excited and my mum was shushing me and telling me to stop. ‘Your brother didn’t get in. Don’t upset him’.”
“So I asked if we could order a takeaway next week to celebrate and if she could help me find a flat to live in. She said no because she didn’t want to upset him.”
“And I lost it. I started crying and asked her why I have to hide everything away because he is a failure. And she flipped out calling me an ungrateful AH.”
“I’m not allowed to celebrate any of my achievements because my brother fails constantly.”
After her post gained some traction, she added a few important details about her brother.
“Note: my brother didn’t hear me call him a failure.”
“Serious edit for info: Sorry I was really worked up and I just realized I missed this out as someone pointed it out.”
“My brother does have ADD that affects his organization and memory skills. But he stopped taking his medication and refuses to take it.”
“He’s relied on my mum for literally everything over the years and he’s developed a lack of care. He forgot about his interview because my mum is the one who checks his emails because he ‘needs help’.”
“This is part of why he gets celebrated for a C, which I would get grounded for. A C is a huge deal for him with all he’s struggled. I always want to celebrate him but I want to be celebrated too.”
Redditors then gave their opinions on the situation by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
They assured the OP that she should be able to celebrate her accomplishments, regardless of any possible hurt feelings.
“Nononono, NTA. Not celebrating something important to you because it might upset someone else is horseapples.”
“Your parents are the worst, though. They managed to fail two children in completely different ways, which is almost like an achievement unto itself.”
“If they also kicked out a grieving widow from a rental property during a pandemic a month after her husband died while being terrible and overbearing in-laws, they’d qualify for an AITA EGOT (Emmy/Grammy/Oscar/Tony).”—EnterTheBugBear
“NTA. Your parents are clearly favoring your brother over you. Your brother needs a reality check and your parents need one too…”—Mean_Ambassador_1481
“OP’s family has set everything to a standard. OP is expected to succeed so it’s no big deal (to them) when she does.”
“Her big bro needs more help and encouragement. It is unfair but extremely common.”
“You have your sh*t together, you are an afterthought. You struggle and the parents coddle.”—akatherder
Some suggested that she find a way to celebrate without her immediate family.
“NTA. Call your aunts and ask if they would celebrate you, because your mother won’t.”
“As an aunt myself, I am VERY proud of you and would throw a huge f—king party. I would brag to everyone.”—neverthelessidissent
“Do this! Your mom can suck a lemon for all I care. Go celebrate!”
“Also move out ASAP and don’t tell your parents or brother your address cause they will eventually try to force him on you.”—Vailoftears
“This is the answer. You deserve to celebrate your achievements OP you worked very hard on them.”
“And if you mom won’t celebrate with you who cares…she can find out about them on Facebook when she sees the photos.”—Mystery_Substance
“Exactly, NTA have a huge celebration with your aunts you deserve it. Don’t invite your mother because then you will be ‘rubbing it in your brother’s face’.”
“Celebrate with other family who want you to succeed rather than with people who expect you to hide all of your achievements.”—Disneyfan6428
Hopefully the OP can find a way to celebrate her successes, even if it means not involving her parents or her brother.
And, if nothing else, she can rest a little easier knowing that her fellow Redditors are cheering her on.