The reason “because we’re family” isn’t enough to cut it anymore in 2023.
Because as much as we might like to imagine a family being able to stick together through thick and thin, strong bonds are not forged by simply sharing the same roof, agreed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor Mountain-Primary1076 had felt slighted her entire life by her parents and their treatment of her, because they were always so preoccupied with her brother’s health needs.
When he passed away and her parents tried to be closer to her, the Original Poster (OP) made it clear where she stood with their relationship.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for skipping my brother’s funeral?”
The OP had always felt slighted by how her parents treated her compared to her brother.
“I (28 Female) live about a three-hour drive away from my hometown.”
“My brother (I’ll call him George, 25 Male) was disabled, mentally and physically challenged.”
“My parents prioritized him and ignored me for my entire life.”
“For instance, in addition to the fact that they were never there for me emotionally, they also missed countless softball games, parent-teacher meetings, concerts where I’d be playing my cello with an orchestra, and even my high school graduation.”
“Almost all of it was because George had a complication and needed to be taken to the hospital.”
The OP decided to distance herself from her family as soon as she could.
“I left home for college and never came back. They would only ask me to return on special occasions like Christmas or my birthday, but I never came back.”
“So we have an almost nonexistent relationship. They know almost nothing about my life.”
The OP decided to keep her distance when her brother passed away.
“George passed away three days ago.”
“My parents have been calling me, asking me to come to his funeral and be there for my brother and family.”
“They also asked me to visit when they learned he was critically ill.”
“Then and now, I said I won’t make it, and I told them to go on without me.”
“My mother told me she was disappointed in me and said I was making a huge mistake and being disrespectful to my brother’s memory.”
The OP felt mildly conflicted after talking to her girlfriend.
“My girlfriend (27 Female) also said I may be acting too emotionally and that I may feel better after the funeral and having closure.”
“Would I be the a**hole if I skip this funeral altogether?”
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 encouraged the OP to think about this another way.
“YWBTA (you would be the a**hole). It’s not just the funeral. It’s your whole mentality. You’re nearly 30 and still can’t forgive your family for being human beings.”
“Raising a kid with special needs is extremely hard, and a lot of people have major problems in their family that they work through. Some might even say that most families do.”
“This victim mentality will never cease if you never make the effort to forgive.”
“And a funeral? A funeral is the reason people set aside all their grievances to respect their deceased. So you haven’t forgiven your parents, therefore you want to say ‘screw you’ to your brother who never asked to have disabilities and certainly never enjoyed it?”
“Why are you still taking this out on him? That would make you a bit of a monster, to be honest. Don’t make that mistake.”
“Not showing up is simply recreating what your parents did, (only worse, because you don’t have a disabled child) and doing it to your brother.” – Useful_Fig_2876
“I just hope he was so disabled that he wasn’t aware of that, because that is heartbreaking if he had been and wanted to see her; only for her to neglect him for their parents’ actions.” – Arefue
“YTA. How can a decent person be upset with their parents for taking their child to the hospital, especially for a child who could not care for himself?” – dumbledwarves
“It’s wild to me that everyone is saying NTA. Parents clearly did make an attempt by putting OP through cello lessons, softball, etc, and didn’t miss every event, but the ones they did miss were ‘always’ because of medical issues/emergencies… which seems kinda reasonable.”
“Perhaps they didn’t do the best job at balancing two children, but I can’t imagine how incredibly difficult it would have been for them to raise a child with special needs perhaps even knowing that he wouldn’t make it past 30.”
“In either case, at worst, this should be INFO – what kind of disability was it? Did you ever speak to your parents or a therapist or anyone about how you felt neglected, and how did they react?”
“But from just the information we’ve been given and how the OP was worded it, I lean YTA.”
“The OP seems to have zero remorse or thought about the brother in this situation and paying respects or being even a little emotional that he is gone, and rather focusing so much on her own anger with her parents.”
“OP needs therapy either to reconcile with her parents who might soon lose their only other child, or at least to help her move on from her parents for good. Either way, OP seems to be carrying along some heavy bags of anger, resentment, and jealousy that needs to get looked at.” – McJuggernaugh7
“Honestly, as much as it sucks for OP, a child in the intensive care unit is more important than a concert.”
“It sucks so much, I know that, but how the h**l is a parent supposed to sit at a concert when their other child may be actively dying? That’s way too much for the average person to bear, and I don’t think most of the people giving these responses have ever sat in a hospital room with a loved one, unsure if they’ll ever leave.”
“It’s not like OP’s parents were just chilling at home instead of going to a recital. In a perfect world, the parents would’ve balanced things out and made it work, but most people can’t handle that when they’re under the extreme prolonged stress of caretaking for a medically vulnerable person.” – go-with-the-flo
But others reassured the OP that she needed to do what was best for herself now.
“NTA. I was in the same boat as you, almost to a T. My brother was mentally and physically challenged; he was non-verbal, not toilet trained (into adulthood), occasionally violent, and needed constant care.”
“My mother prioritized him 1000%; she in essence loved the one child who could not love her back.”
“My father checked out; he didn’t leave physically, but he was seldom around and when he was he expected me and my three sisters to do all the care for my brother. (We were pre-teen girls changing the diaper and bathing an adolescent male.)”
“They skipped so much: school events, sports events, even college-graduation events (they’d make the graduation but not all the family dinners, etc., beforehand, so we were the ‘orphaned graduates’).”
“When I was in my twenties, I made a family visit and he did his usual; he pulled off my glasses, tore my shirt, and pulled my hair. I said I was never going to spend time in his company again and I did not.”
“When he died, I did NOT feel a thing. I attended the funeral, my choice, but I could just as easily have stayed at home and felt… nothing.”
“Stay home, OP. You owe them nothing. You can have closure in your own way. If you need professional help down the road to process all this, please get it, but there is no reason you have to pretend to feel what you do not feel.” – Sickandtired66
“NTA. Funerals are for saying the last goodbye to the dead person and supporting the ppl they left behind.”
“I understand why you don’t want to support your parents. They never supported you so you resent them. You should seek help for this but for now thats enough to not go to the funeral.”
“For the last goodbye… well, you can do this any time.”
“I would let your parents know you will not come to support them, but you will visit your brother’s grave to say your last goodbye when you are ready to do so and it will be a thing only between you and him.”
“This can be in a year or in 20 years, doesn’t matter. There will come a day when you realize none of this was his fault and you will stop resenting him and be able/have the desire to visit his grave.” – Every_Caterpillar945
“I’m tempted to say this is a bit outside of AITA’s pay grade.”
“It’s your brother’s funeral, and while he is the cause of your tough childhood, it’s also not his fault at all. Although you may have never bonded with your brother, you may want to pay your respects to him regardless of your parents’ wishes.”
“Your parents are obviously AHs… it’s annoyingly common for parents to neglect one of their children for another in situations like this. Even though they are making the request, try to be in the mind space as if your brother is asking the question. Would you be sad if you didn’t go to the funeral if your brother asked you to go?”
“You are NTA in this situation, but this comes with a sidenote to try and think about whether this is you getting back at neglectful parents or you having no emotional connection to your blood relatives at all. If it’s the latter, chances are you won’t regret this later but it’s best to be sure.” – Vox_Casei
“I haven’t ever found closure in going to a funeral, personally. I’m sorry your parents neglected you and sorry one of them didn’t come to your events while the other was attending to your brother. As others have mentioned, therapy may help you deal with processing your childhood. You are absolutely NTA.” – No_Teacher_3313
Some agreed and pointed out how attending the funeral might make the situation worse.
“NTA. Funerals are to support the living and if you don’t want to support your parents now, that doesn’t make you the AH.”
“It sounds like they didn’t support you and didn’t take much of an interest even after you left home and they didn’t need to physically be at events.”
“Even your mother’s statement that you’re ‘disrespecting [your] brother’s memory’ is about him and not the clearly broken relationship between you and your parents.” – C_Majuscula
“If you go, bring your girlfriend to run interference. If you want closure on George, do it on your terms.”
“Don’t let your parents bully you at the funeral with, ‘Oh, you weren’t there during his last years. He wanted to see you,’ or ‘Oh, you should have been a good sister and help send him off,’ or ‘Woe is me, we had to do all this medical work and you weren’t there to help,’ and ‘You aren’t even crying, do you not love us?'”
“You don’t need that s**t. Go if you want, but bring an escort and close support.” – thenewmara
“OP, watch out for the people pushing ‘closure’ at you. They’ll try really, really hard to convince you that somehow doing whatever ‘closure’ thing they say will have some magical effect.”
“It probably won’t. It will almost certainly make you feel worse. Want to know why? Because if going to the funeral were likely to provide you with some level of emotional resolution (‘closure’), you wouldn’t be here asking for support to skip it.”
“If you feel like you don’t want to go, don’t go. If you feel like you do want to, then go. But don’t listen to anyone telling you that you will magically feel better if you make the decision they want you to choose. They’re confusing their emotions for yours, and you’re not them.” – HelenGonne
“OP, your parents will use your coming as validation that they’ve been great parents. They’ll want you to sit with the ‘family’, shed tears, and do all the outward signs of grieving… and when you don’t, you’re a heartless monster.”
“NTA. Skip the funeral and pay your respects (if you want to!) in any way at another time.” – FlexAfterDark69
“NTA. I don’t think you’ll feel better if you go. I think you’ll just end up biting your tongue until it bleeds. If you do that enough, you may end up blurting something out that you’ll regret.”
“Feel free to skip it. All of this may not have been your brother’s fault, but the people who put you on the back burner again and again during your formative years and beyond shouldn’t be expecting you to provide emotional support now. A bridge too far gone is a bridge too far gone.”
“Tell them you’re giving a cello concert that day.” – taliawut
This was one of those tough situations that left the subReddit really divided, mostly because the funeral concerned the one person who was in no way at fault in the situation.
Some understood the OP wanting to cut ties completely after the life she’d had with her family, but because this funeral was for her brother and not one of her parents, others thought it would be right for her to put her best foot forward.