Online commentators have supported a woman who said in a now viral post that she recently made her 17-year-old niece feel “like a monster”.
In a post on the Am I The A**hole (AITA) Reddit forum under the username u/AgreeableAffect7090, the woman said she lost her 15-year-old daughter last year, and her niece compared that loss to the death of hers dog’s . In response, u/AgreeableAffect7090 “yelled” at her niece. The post has garnered over 8,600 upvotes and hundreds of comments criticizing the teen’s insensitivity.
lose a child
Deborah Carr, Ph.D., chair of the department of sociology at Boston University, told Fatherly that many view the death of a child as “the worst stressor a person can go through.”
“Parents and fathers feel particularly responsible for the well-being of the child. So when you lose a child, you don’t just lose a person you loved. They also lose the years of promise they looked forward to,” Carr said.
Several experts also told the publication that the grief associated with the loss of a child is often “more intense” than “classic grief.”
“In the first year after losing a younger child, parents have an increased risk of suicide and everything from major depression to complicated grief,” said Dr. Gail Saltz, psychiatrist at New York Presbyterian Hospital Weill-Cornell School of Medicine Paternal.
Saltz explained that “complicated grief” differs from “normal grief” in that “there are more intense symptoms alternating with seemingly no symptoms — a numbness — that may interfere with their ability to function.”
Carr added that some parents “learn to live with the loss,” while others “struggle to find meaning in life.”
In her post, u/AgreeableAffect7090 said her 15-year-old daughter died in a car accident last year and despite being in therapy, she couldn’t bring herself to go into her daughter’s room.
“I wasn’t able to clean her room or go in, so it’s the same as when she was alive,” she said. “My husband doesn’t go in there either, and we keep the door closed.”
When her niece came to visit last week, u/AgreeableAffect7090 and her husband made the teenager a bed on the couch.
“She asked why she couldn’t sleep in the ‘guest room’ and I told her we didn’t have one,” wrote u/AgreeableAffect7090. “[My] Niece said she thought our daughter’s room was now the guest room. I explained that we couldn’t change anything yet and she rolled her eyes and said it’s been a year and we [needed] keep going.”
From there it only got worse.
“When I started crying she tried to apologize and said I believe in an attempt to share something that she took the loss of her dog very hard but got over it within a year and I screamed that my child is not a dog,” said u/AgreeableAffect7090.
Redditor u/AgreeableAffect7090’s husband sent her niece home, and her sister later accused her of being unreasonable.
“[She said] I made [my] Niece ‘feels like a monster’,” concluded u/AgreeableAffect7090. “AITA?”
Redditors said u/AgreeableAffect7090’s reaction was perfectly reasonable and criticized her niece’s insensitivity.
“NTA [not the a**hole]. She’s had to learn, one way or another, that it’s never okay to equate the loss of a child with the loss of a pet,” said u/Sweeper1985. “Your reaction was out of sadness, you can’t really be blamed.”
“She feels like a monster for acting like a monster. For a 17 year old to be this cruel and callous she must face some consequences,” wrote u/nottheblackhat.
Redditor u/Bl0ndeFox added: “NTA. A 17 year old should know better… You’re still grieving and she was rude and insensitive. It might sound mean, but maybe your niece needed that ‘being a monster’ feeling to wake up a little.”
news week contacted u/AgreeableAffect7090 for comment.
More viral posts
A couple sparked an online debate Monday after admitting they were refusing to pay their son’s tuition after he came out as gay.
Redditors supported a teenager who said Monday she reached out to her birth father after learning she was the product of an affair.
And last week commenters supported a man who told his younger siblings about their mother’s secret affair, which caused them to hate them.