Family relationships are so unique. And that fact seems to grow clearer with each passing year of life.
As kids, our family members defined our reality. Whether it was a parent, sibling, or even extended relative, those were the people that were there from the very beginning.
As we press on into adulthood, we develop autonomy and get to choose our life as much as possible.
Family is still there, if we’re fortunate, but that non-negotiable total significance gives way.
So we’re forced to balance. We’re supposed to keep family near and support them, but also stay true to the values we’ve chosen over the course of a life.
One Redditor found herself struggling with that balance. Specifically, she didn’t know how to handle her brother.
AITA91190, as she called herself on the site, eventually struggled with the drama enough to share the ins and outs in a post to the “Am I the A**hole (AITA)” subReddit.
Her title shed light on the driving conflict but kept things a little suspenseful.
“Aita? For not paying money to help my brother after he told my son this?”
She began the post with a defining biographical event.
“So, when I was 19 I got pregnant with my son and his dad bailed after fighting with me wanting to go through with the pregnancy.”
“My family told me straightforward that they will not pay a penny nor become responsible for my son and that I needed to get a job as soon as possible so I can afford my own place.”
Thus came the initial test of her ties to family.
“During my stay I was treated poorly.”
“I was pregnant, working, and wouldn’t eat/wear/use anything unless I’m paying for it. My parents were awful to me and they were doing this to me to get back at me for my decision to keep my baby at the time.”
And an obvious inconsistency was salt on the wound.
“My brother was treated like the golden child. He was worshiped in every way and his wife was the lady who get a special treatment because ‘she was pregnant with their grandbaby.'”
“At that point I knew my son will be treated poorly if he grows up around them.”
When a comment brought her to the breaking point, she made one of those autonomous adult choices discussed earlier.
“I moved out when my son was 5, after my brother was visiting my parents house and he yelled at my son for playing and told him that I should’ve aborted him and that i would’ve saved the whole family all this headache.”
“He said this within my earshot and I decided to move out after everyone defended him. And I went no contact with him.”
“I was able (and from the help of my work) to get my own place and pay mortgage comfortably.”
And life went on.
“My son is 7 years old. I’m now taking courses at the academy to improve my knowledge/skills and of course my salary.”
“Luckily I have met wonderful people that treat me nicely and respect me as a person and as a mother.”
“I don’t see much of my family just mom. She’d visit regularly and I appreciate her for that.”
But, family being family, total separation didn’t happen.
“My brother sold his house and got a rented apartment to save money for paying for construction machines and starting a business. That was 2 years ago, but he failed and is now stuck paying rent and taking care of his kids.”
“My mom said he’s devastated and broken. She said she felt sorry when he was crying and blaming himself that his family went through this.”
Then came an uncomfortable proposition.
“She told me the whole family is raising money to help his situation out.”
“We started arguing when she didn’t like my response and said that family is family no matter what. She said that despite everything he is my brother and that I should at least feel sorry for his poor kids.”
And some very old memories were shared.
“I called her unreasonable to try to get the kids involved to get me to empathize with his situation.”
“I told her that the family didn’t do that when I needed help. And I was literally paying for everything back then.”
“She said she wouldn’t visit me anymore if I choose to be this cruel and selfish and now she’s calling wanting me to meet my brother so we can talk.”
“But I feel hesitant especially since they brushed off my feelings like that.”
Anonymous strangers on the internet were asked if and where guilt belongs by declaring:
NTA – Not The A**hole
YTA – You’re The A**hole
ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
NAH – No A**holes Her
NTA was by far the most common response.
“NTA. Your parents and brother were unreasonable and cruel, and now they expect help? Screw that. You’re fine, they can cry crocodile tears elsewhere.” — Tamika_Olivia
“NTA – that ‘family is family’ mentality is toxic and should be throw in the trash. Your entire family abused you and your son.”
“You owe them nothing. Cut them all off. They don’t care nor respect you. Focus on your son and yourself. Find your own family because the one you were born into suck and you deserve better.” — Swegh_
The outrage was consistent and plentiful.
“NTA, it sounds like your family is really horrible. You don’t need to feel bad for your brother when he’s in his own situation especially considering how hypocritical it is. Your family has proven they don’t care about you.” — nesqxick
“NTA, your family is full of terrible people and i wouldn’t have anything to do with any of them. Your mother is showing you who she is, believe her.” — Rgirl4
“Brother tells your son to his face that he should have been aborted and then plays his kids as a sympathy card???? NTA NTA NTA” — chicken-and-meatball
Some advocated for justice. They encouraged her to set her sights on a future in which she’s respected.
“NTA. But your mother is. They treated you like dirt and now expect you to help out a person that talked about aborting your son in front of.”
“A great revenge is for your life just to continue to improve. You have friends that treat you like a family and they are the people that are important in your life.” — wind-river7
“NTA. Run! Go no contact with your whole family, entitled brother be damned. He made his bed, now it’s time to lie in it.” — Evil_Mel
“NTA. She won’t visit? Good. They don’t help you, only want help, and not just the brother but the rest of the family. They’re trying to use you as a money dispense.”
“Cut ties and go no contact, you’ll be better off.” — ZeroiaSD
And some took a moment to simply voice support and ensure she prioritized her self-care.
“NTA They only play the family card when they want something? No way. Side note, you are bad*ss and should be admired for making a good life for yourself and your son. He has a great role model.” — SnooPeppers1641
“NTA. I’m so sorry you were treated so poorly for so long. You owe them nothing. Congratulations on doing so well for yourself and your son! Good luck.” — cleanyourmirror
And there you have it: the Reddit standard for family relationships and support. That is, at least the standards of this particular corner of the vast Reddit universe.