If any of us have ever been estranged from family, we know that it is a great shock when they come back into our lives.
Whether they do it carefully or suddenly, it still takes quite a bit of adjusting. You don’t really know who they are anymore, and you’ve changed as well.
Which is why it’s always unpleasant when that person’s entire reason for coming back to you appears to be tied to something they need. Redditor u/NotAlwaysSuccess found herself dealing with that with her own sister, who’d been estranged up until that point.
Needing feedback on how to proceed and keep her boundaries, she went to the popular subReddit “Am I The A**hole?” or “AITA” for feedback:
“AITA for throwing my sisters past words in my face when she asked for a favor after years of estrangement?”
Our original poster, or OP, highlighted the issues between she and her sister.
“I (26f[emale]) have a sister (28f). We haven’t talked in 6 years, we were very close to not talking for like four years before that and growing up we never had a good relationship.”
“She was the person teachers loved, the smart kid in our family, the one who was naturally very gifted at academics. I was never. I struggled even with my best effort and teachers hated me for it.”
“When I would start out with a teacher I was Kate’s sister and they had such high expectations for me, but soon learned I wasn’t Kate, and some hated me for it. Some were just unable to understand I was trying my best but wasn’t smart. I never was smart like that.”
“Our parents really wanted me to be more like Kate. They would praise the crap out of her and tell me to try harder, to stop making excuses for my D grades.”
“I found out I was artistic when I was like 7, after a really awesome substitute teacher made a huge impact on me.”
Tensions only mounted as the girls got older.
“It didn’t really matter to my parents though and a year later my sister started to hate me because she felt I was ruining her reputation with teachers. She told me our parents should drop me off at a home for dumb and r*tarded kids.”
“Over the years our parents really did encourage her to try and make me better and would really encourage me to try and be more like her.”
“Eventually we just both hated each other to the point of no return. She told me I ruined her life, and made life harder for her with my lack of a brain and I should have been aborted. We were 15/17 when that happened.”
And then suddenly she showed up asking for a favor.
“Anyway, we haven’t talked in years when suddenly she reaches out asking for a favor.”
“That her future in-law’s are close and she needs me to show up and make it seem like we still talk so they don’t judge her. I threw her words in her face about me being aborted and told her I was too dumb to help her out.”
“She told me I was petty and childish and extended family sided with her on it because it’s been so long why would I do that sort of thing.”
Anonymous strangers weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
Redditors thought OP owed NOTHING to her sister.
“I would honestly go.. and then tell the truth in front of everyone..this level of petty isn’t high enough for what her and your parent put u thru.”
“Say u changed ur mind and u want to ‘make amends’ and then when u all have a dinner or if u talk to the in-laws just say the truth about all the awful things she has done/said to you. NTA”-Unknown-user10101
“I feel sad for OP. She was hated for not being like her sister, parents were just as bad, OP’s sister saying for all those years that OP should have been aborted, calling her the R-word and dumb.”
“And after years without talking to each other, Kate didn’t even apologise for all the things that happened in the past and went straight asking for favours.”
“And extended family siding with her ask asking ‘why would you say that?’ It just sucks. OP, I hope that you’re waaay better without Kate and those family members. NTA.”-OreSanjou1234
“The audacity…and even after the words were thrown back, the sister didn’t even apologize for what she said!”
“If anything, I’d be tempted to reach out to those in-laws and tell them about that abortion comment, but I’m petty like that. Something tells me those in-laws would be horrified! NTA.”-flooperdooper4
“Totally agree, you are deffo NTA!”
“She should want to apologise for her disgusting behaviour and should have fixed this years ago! Pretty sad really, I bet her fiancé doesn’t even know who he’s marrying!!”
“Also, side note – you are a bloody strong minded woman to have gone through the years of BS you’ve clearly been subjected to! Your parents suck!!”-Tifacatmama
And people believe OP’s sister is best left in the past.
“NTA, She doesnt want to actually fix anything she wants to use you to lie to her in-laws. You have no obligation to do anything for someone youve not spoken to for that long.”
“What your sister said was in my opinion unforgivable. It sounds like your parents and sister fialed you with their behaviour. Not getting you help and expecting you to just get good grades.”
“Your parents are TA for having a favourite child and not valuing you for yourself.”-LobsterBoi420
“Some things that some teens say are unforgivable. That doesn’t mean that they are or will always be a bad person…”
“But it also doesn’t mean that the person who they shouted such awful, hurtful words to has any obligation to forgive them.”
“Of course that doesn’t matter here anyway, because OP’s sister hasn’t even apologized. She just wants to use OP to make her look good.”-happytragedy15
“First of all – I am so sorry about your childhood. This parenting dynamic is called ‘the golden child’ and ‘the scapegoat.’ It is definitely a form of child abuse.”
“Secondly. You replied to petty with petty. Not good. Not bad either. This might have been a chance to explore whether your sister actually feels sorry for what she said and did.”
“Maybe the whole ‘quick, lets pretend we’re friendly’ was her testing the waters to see if you would even be willing reconcile.”
“What really concerns me here is that you seem to direct your anger at your sister when its your parents that are responsible for this relationship.”
“They taught her to devalue you, no wonder 17 year old her thought it was ok to say these things.”-Cats_and_Zombies
“NTA, just the fact that you are ignoring her request and are not hunting down her in-laws to tell them ALL about what kind of family you had, makes you the best person in this mess by far, so far.”
“A hint of you may do that if pushed, should shut your extended family up. ‘you know, it’s said it you have nothing nice to say, you should say nothing at all.'”-Hob-Nob1974
After all, cutting out a toxic person works, so why fix what isn’t broken?
“Parents might have begun the teaching, but sister took it all in and ran with it. You know, because OP ruined her reputation because she was so ‘dumb and r*tarded’ and ‘ruin[ed] her reputation with teachers.’”
“10yrs later she wants to try to prove she’s a good person who wouldn’t actually cut her own sister out of her life to her fiancé’s parents who, obviously, know that there is a sister but don’t know that they’ve been estranged for roughly a decade.”
“N-T-A … at this point & age, I don’t care how much damage the parents did.”
“Until OPs sister reaches out to her in a real & honest way – with no baggage attached to a potential reunion – she’s got to bear the responsibility of her own actions and, yes, words.”-MannyMoSTL
“NTA. Screw her. That stuff stays with you a long time. Her saying that you should have been aborted was horrible and she was 17, it wasn’t like she didn’t know what it means.”
“She didn’t like your existence, she hasn’t reached out in 6 years to try to mend things or apologise for being an asshole growing up.”
“Screw her dude, and the extended family!”-KVTheFlightAttendant
“NTA. Your parents basically pitted you against each other on top of your sister already disliking you for you not being her.”
“It’s unfortunate that she needs help but if she wants it that bad, she should try to make amends. The comment you made was petty but given the circumstances it’s understandable. Overall NTA.”-velvetchances
“NTA, and I’m really sad for you. I’m sorry that so many adults in your life consistently failed you growing up.”
“People like your sister need to realise that other human beings aren’t just toys she can pick up for her own convenience and comfort.”
“It seems that she cares much more about her image and the perception that other people hold about her than her relationship with her sister and what she said about you was unforgivable.”
“I had a pretty similar situation as you growing up. My older sister was super smart and as we went to the same school, the teachers treated me the same way as they did you, and our parents wouldn’t acknowledge my victories because they paled in comparison to my sister’s 100% grades.”
“But my sister never did what your sister did, because she wasn’t an a**hole. Your sister is, I’m sorry to say, a major AH for misplacing that blame onto you and continuing to do so rather than realising that not everything was about her.”
“She continues to be a major AH because, rather than grow to understand the impact of how she treated you, she still has no remorse.”
“She used the classic manipulators tactic of DARVO (deny, attack, reverse victim and offender) so now people think she has been wronged here. She hasn’t.”
“There were no apologies, no olive branch to repair the relationship, just a request to use you as a prop for other people’s approval and presumably just drop you again when all is done and dusted.”
“She has already proved that she’s exactly the same person she was when she said that to you in the first place. Although it happened when she was 17, she is 28 goddamn years of age now.”
“She should know better, and the fact she doesn’t means that you did the right thing. It can’t have been easy for you to do, and I applaud you for holding strong.”-wijjj
Dynamics within a family can be extremely challenging, but most of the time, the right thing becomes very clear within the first few seconds of interacting with a challenging family member.
Hopefully OP has the strength to stand up for herself.