The fear of very common or necessary things in life can lead to a whole host of problems. How do you handle being afraid of someone you need to see regularly, like the dentist?
Redditor Rycax’s wife has this exact problem. The original poster (OP) doesn’t think his wife handled the situation in the best way.
Now she’s upset at him, and OP isn’t sure if he should have said something different. So he decided to ask the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit about their situation.
How would you handle what they’re going through?
“AITA For telling my wife how it is?”
Especially when the wife’s condition is so bad.
“My wife had a traumatic instance with the dentist and she is terrified of dentists. Her tooth started hurting about 2 weeks ago.”
“I knew she was worried about having to go to the dentist so I reassured her that I would take that morning off so I can comfort her.”
“She didn’t make the appointment.”
“Fast forward to 3 days ago where her pain is increasing to the point where she can’t stay still, drinking ice water constantly, ice packs, and finally to call and make an appointment, but it’s 2 weeks out.”
“I had to work full time and take care of the baby during the night and clean because the pain is so bad she can’t sleep so she needed all the rest she can get and knocks herself out with sleeping pills. Honestly I don’t mind taking on the extra work because she does need the rest.”
“She was able to be seen today due to the seriousness explained to the dentist.”
“She has a series of appointments now at different dates and I have days and event that are mandatory for me at my workplace. She gets upset with me about how I have all these events (which I can’t control) when she has dentist appointments scheduled.”
“I tell her that ‘she shouldn’t be frustrated with me, if anything you should blame yourself for not going sooner.’”
“She absolutely flips. Telling me that I don’t care about her emotions and how I’m not validating her feelings and don’t care.”
“Basically she took it as it was her fault that she couldn’t deal with her trauma (I believe it is) and call sooner and she says that I have no empathy for her experience. Calls me a piece of sh*t and other things.”
“I don’t know what’s right and wrong. Please help.”
“Edit: we live in Japan and some solutions in America does not work here. Like anxiety for dentist. Hard to do.”
OP tried to get his wife to go to the dentist, but her phobia was so bad, she kept putting it off. Now, she has a ton of scary appointments, and OP has too much going on at work to go with her to all of them.
Was OP too mean when he told her this is how it is?
On Reddit, the users of the board judged OP for not ‘validating’ his wife’s feelings about her dentist appointments by including one of the following in their response:
- NTA – Not the A**hole
- YTA – You’re the A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everybody Sucks Here
While OP could have been a little nicer, Reddit decided that overall he’s right. He did everything he could to get her into the dentist sooner, but she postponed it.
OP is doing their best to support, but there’s a limit, especially when he’s being blamed for not showing up to these appointments.
OP is NTA as voted by the users of the AITA subReddit.
“NTA. Also, any couple in which you are freely calling each other a Piece of Sh*t is a couple that needs therapy.”
“Having disagreements and yelling at each other happens, but there has to be a barrier of respect you should never cross.” – Mortis_Limpkins
“NTA. I hate people who do this sh*t. She’s a grown adult and I’m assuming she knows that dental health, if not addressed, will deteriorate and cause significant problems.”
“She knew something was wrong, didn’t do anything about it, possibly made the situation worse by stalling for so long and made a bunch of appointments all once without checking to see if you’re available.”
“What does she expect you to do? Drop everything related to your job to accommodate for her irresponsibility?”
“It’s her medical issue. You’re not her secretary or nurse.” – theogdebbiedowner
“NTA her phobia isn’t valid reason to verbally abuse you. You offered her assistance and she didn’t make the appointment.”
“Then when she finally did, you had work conflicts that made you unable to attend her dental appointments with her. That doesn’t mean you lack empathy.”
“You’ve been picking up extra around the house for weeks while she’s been unwell. Your wife needs to attend to her health and get some therapy to address her trauma/dental phobia.”
“You aren’t at fault here.” – totalitarianbnarbp
“NTA You told your wife you would take off work for the first visit. When she didn’t make it, you stayed up with the baby at night and aren’t even complaining abt that.”
“I may be biased bc my ex husband had me take four toddlers/elementary kids to my dentist appointments and refused to help with the kids at night even if I was sick, but I think you’re doing a great job of reasonably supporting her while expecting her to act like an adult.”
“How could she expect you to take off every appointment? What if you have a similar problem or get sick and then there are no sick days?”
“She needs to find a friend she can swap some babysitting with, maybe she can do her once the pain is gone. Totally NTA” – Scottiegazelle2
“It’s not up to you to manage her trauma.”
“I have trauma surrounding doctors. I have a prescription for xanex when I have to go to the doctor.”
“My husband and I schedule the appointments together so I don’t interfere with what he got going on and I can have a ride and support person there.”
“It’s up to me to keep my needs and trauma on my shoulders and not make it my husband’s responsibility.” – OMGIneedanap
“NTA. It would be one thing if she were just frustrated in general but didn’t blame you for work sh*t you can’t control. Getting upset with you is what makes her the AH.”
“I pretty much have a phobia of driving (I have spatial-awareness issues that make it feel f**king terrifying), but if that means I end up in an inconvenient situation because my husband can’t give me a ride somewhere, that’s my problem.”
“I make sure I have a laundry list of other options because he has to deal with my bs about this enough – no need to make it worse.” – justheretosavestuff
That said, people are still somewhat sympathetic to the wife. Dealing with an extreme phobia isn’t fun, and creates challenges that can be difficult to overcome.
While OP isn’t wrong for that they did, the wife’s situation is difficult.
There may not be someone at fault, since the wife’s phobia is such an issue.
“I have a severe phobia of dentists. I found one that does sedation dentistry.”
“He prescribes these anti anxiety pills before I need to go. It makes it a lot more tolerable.”
“My husband does have to take off work to drive me and pick me up, but he doesn’t mind teleworking for a day. NAH, fears can be hard to overcome, and you just want the best for the family, please look into sedation dentistry.” – Jorbarip
“I second this. I’m a grown a** adult and I’m TERRIFIED of the dentist.”
“My regular doctor (pcp) is aware and will prescribe me 2 anti anxiety meds to take prior to a dentist appt. All I usually need is a ride.”
“Of course it’s always better to have someone go with me, but if it’s an emergency, the meds alone will do just fine. Maybe OPs wife just needs to be upfront with her medical providers so they can explore options with her. NAH.” – mmwhatchasaiyan
“You may be right but you weren’t kind. Was it her responsibility? Yes. But you don’t kick your spouse when they’re down and that it’s their fault they’re on the ground.”
“It doesn’t sound like either if you guys are very kind to each other and if that’s an acceptable relationship for you why do you care if you’re an a**hole?” – iwastobeasloth
“You’re not wrong to say it. But it’s also not surprising you got that response once you did because a)she’s actively in pain, which tends to sap emotional control and b)trauma is not rational – she’s probably been in a borderline triggered state since the whole issue came up.”
“Therapy. Needed. Badly.”
“The fact that the trauma is actively affecting her health and her relationships means we’re into active ‘disorder’ territory. If you love her, keep working to bring her around to getting help.” – Ippus_21
OP’s wife needs therapy and to find some way to make this work. It’s interfering with her life.
The only thing OP can do is try to support her the best he can.