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Woman Sparks Drama After Telling Her Dad She’s ‘Not That Upset’ Her Stepmom Died

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It’d be so much easier if everyone could feel the same about tough subjects, wouldn’t it?

That’s surely what one young woman was thinking after she upset her dad, according to the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.

Redditor AITA_here444 worried she may have made her father feel more alone with his grief when he realized she didn’t feel the same way.

Since, the Original Poster (OP) has wondered if she was wrong for being honest.

She asked the sub: 

“AITA for telling my dad I don’t care that my stepmom died?”

The OP didn’t know her stepmom well and spent little time with her dad. 

“My (19 she/her) Stepmom died about a month ago. She had a blood clot in her brain and died suddenly.”

“I really didn’t know her as I’ve been living with my stepdad and his wife since I was 5.”

“I spoke to my dad on the phone a lot growing up. We lived in Canada and he lived in the US, so I didn’t see him in person that much. I never had anything against him or his wife because I had my own family and they also helped us financially.”

Then the OP had the opportunity to actually live with her dad.

“This year I transferred universities and the school I transferred to is about an hour from my dad’s house and I had planned on moving in with my dad to be closer to the university. But that didn’t get to happen until 2 weeks ago.”

“My dad said I could still come even though even with everything he was going through, and he said it would be nice to have me around.”

“I came the day before her funeral. It was very sad to see my dad and half-siblings so upset and I did cry during the ceremony. I think my dad took this as me being upset about her loss, though.”

Her dad became confused about her feelings.

“Ever since the funeral my dad’s been trying to get me to tell him that I’m upset about her passing and I am in the sense that I’m upset for him but not much for myself.”

“I would be ok if this was like him wanting to talk to me about his feelings, but it seems like he wants to talk about my feelings.”

“For example, he’ll come into my room (The guest room) and sit down on the bed and ask me if I have any memories of her. I’ll say a memory, and then he’ll ask me how that makes me feel and stuff. I do try to say what I think he wants to say, because I know how hard this is for him.”

But the OP was getting tired of the situation. 

“Two days ago I got a vaccine, and later that night I started feeling really sick, so I went to bed early.”

“I had a class yesterday morning but I still felt like s**t so I decided to sleep in.”

“At around 9:30, my dad came into my room and said that he knows that I’m depressed and sad about my stepmom, but I still need to get out of bed and go to class.”

“I tried to explain that the vaccine made me feel sick but he wasn’t listening.”

“I was getting really annoyed, I had a fever, and I wanted to sleep.”

“I said, ‘I’m not that upset about her, I just don’t feel good.'”

“He looked really mad at me and left without saying anything.”

The OP received mixed reactions for her honesty.

“My half-sister told me he took this as me saying I don’t care about her dying.”

“My half/step-siblings are on my side in the sense that I didn’t know her, so I can be sad for them, but I don’t necessarily need to feel sad for myself, considering I barely knew her.”

“My dad still won’t talk to me, and I kinda feel like an AH because he’s letting me stay in his house, and he’s grieving the loss of his wife.”

“AITA here?”

Fellow Redditors weighed in by declaring:

  • NTA: Not the A**hole
  • YTA: You’re the A**hole
  • ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
  • NAH: No A**holes Here

Some Redditors said the OP was TA for being insensitive and speaking harshly. 

“This will be unpopular but YTA.”

“Your dad is providing you with a place to live to help you out while he has suffered perhaps one of the greatest losses a person could have. Yet you are so wrapped up in how you feel and your sense of entitlement that you lash out and cut him deeper.”

“Being a decent human being means having some compassion and empathy when someone else is in pain. Since you appear void of these basic human assets, go out and find a place to live and support yourself instead of leeching off someone who is at a vulnerable point in their life and needs the loving support of those who care about him.” – RadientChrone

“YTA Being self-centered about this is absolutely telling. I’m thinking YTA a lot.”mordeicool

“Learn empathy. YTA. His wife who died less than a month ago just died. Cruel and unnecessary for you to say that.”bewhoirohwantsu2be

Others said the OP’s dad was projecting onto her and she wasn’t TA. 

“NTA – your dad probably needs some grief therapy cause it sounds like he is projecting a lot onto you.”meelkbottle

“I think significant here that OP’s half-siblings agree with her. They are also suffering this loss but aren’t taking it out inappropriately on others. The father is suffering and struggling, yes.”

“He is also a Grown Man and should get into some grief counseling instead of projecting onto his teenager.”Outrageous_Tea_8568

“If we take for granted that dad is projecting, and for whatever reason needs his kid to be REALLY upset about the loss of stepmom, him demanding that she tell him how upset she is, how much she misses SM (stepmom), how important SM was to her etc…”

“Over and over and over again, he is asking her to do emotional labor to make himself feel better. It’s not the one incident, but the whole scenario that equals emotional labor. The problem is that he’s demanding her feelings for his sake.”LimitlessMegan

Some said the situation was NAH, since grief is complicated. 

“NAH. He’s in a vulnerable place, now. When you’re feeling better, go to him, explain that you meant you were in bed because of your reaction to the vaccine and that you hate seeing him and his kids in pain from the loss of his wife. Ask him to share a memory of her.”

“Good luck, OP.”NeverRarelySometimes

“NAH your dad is doing what a parental figure should be doing in a situation like this. As you didn’t really have a relationship with your stepmother you aren’t grieving for her such is fine, your dad is grieving and just wants to ensure that you know you can talk about any grief you have.”RandomNurse

“NAH, grief does a lot of strange things to people. This is just a bad circumstance all around with the vaccine making you ill and your dad grieving”redditposter-_-

The subReddit was a little divided on this one, though they could all agree that grieving is complicated. The OP should probably talk to her dad again and see if they can work something out.

McKenzie Lynn Tozan

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan lives in North Chicago, where she works as a poet, freelance writer, and editor. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Western Michigan University, and her BA in English from Indiana University South Bend. Her poems have appeared in Rogue Agent, Whale Road Review, the James Franco Review, Thank You for Swallowing, and elsewhere; and her essays and book reviews have appeared with Memoir Mixtapes, The Rumpus, BookPage, and Motherly, among others. When she's not reading and writing, she's in her garden or spending time with her family. For more, visit www.mckenzielynntozan.com.