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.”