Internet Slams 'Spineless' Mom Who Refused to Defend Daughter Against 'Neglectful' Family

The internet has slammed a "spineless" mother who refused to defend her daughter, Emma, against her "neglectful" father and badly behaved brother, Ben.

Posting in Reddit's "Am I The A**hole" forum on Wednesday under the username u/Leading_Equal6340, the mother asked: "[Am I the a**hole] for not calling out my son for treating my daughter badly?" The post has received more than 8,200 votes and over 2,700 comments.

Before launching into the story about Emma and Ben, the mother explained that, when the children were younger, their father "spoiled" Ben but "wasn't nice" to Emma.

"This upset her and she would cry, feeling unfairly treated. I felt bad but I couldn't do anything about it so felt it better to pretend it wasn't happening and hope it got better," the mother wrote.

"Emma struggled to cope with this and I think expected me to stand up for her but I hate confrontation and her father never listens to me anyway. I preferred not to discuss it with Emma and focus on other things but she said I didn't allow her to be upset and didn't validate her," she continued.

The relationship between Ben and Emma "fizzled out" when they entered adulthood. But when their father reached out to Emma in an attempt to repair their relationship, Emma felt inspired to do the same with Ben. The two remained on good terms for a couple of years until, one day, Ben stopped speaking to her.

"Emma was upset and thinks it's because Ben doesn't like their father's interest in her. Ben hasn't given her an explanation but he told me a silly reason, that doesn't make sense," their mother said.

When she told Emma that she thought Ben had "behaved very badly," Emma asked her mother if she'd expressed her thoughts to Ben. She said "no," and as a result, Emma lost it.

"[S]he shouted at me that I have never stuck up for her or protected her and if I can't do it this one time she doesn't want a relationship with me. That I enable this behavior at her expense and she's sick and tired of it," the mother wrote.

Psychologist Genevieve von Lob told HuffPost that many parents are "inherently drawn to one child."

However, if not addressed, each child can suffer long-term negative effects as a result of their parents' favoritism.

"A less favored sibling may tell me they've internalized a sense of being overlooked, of never feeling good enough and a deep sense of inadequacy," von Lob told HuffPost.

"A favored child may also suffer; sometimes, they've developed a deep-rooted fear and insecurities around losing their top spot or feel the pressure to live up to their parents' expectations," she continued.

Psychologist John Duffy told HuffPost that favoritism can also lead to "serious rifts between grown children."

To prevent these effects, Duffy reminded parents not to overlook the good qualities in their "other children."

"In many families―mine included―the rule follower is the most appreciated," Duffy said. "The child who pushes most against the grain is often least appreciated. If parents could find appreciation and admiration for the other child's positive qualities, then more equity might be felt between all siblings."

While it might have been natural for Ben and Emma's father to have a favorite child, most commenters slammed the mother for allowing Emma to be neglected by her father and argued that she neglected Emma, as well. Some also called her "weak" for not confronting her own son.

"YTA you're the a**hole] & so weak, I feel for Emma," said u/HotBoxBakes.

Redditor u/Suitable-Cod-1381 replied: "Absolutely spineless."

"YTA. Poor Emma, a life of being neglected by both parents," added Fabulous-Housing102.

"You've failed your daughter her entire life and you are doing it again. You refused to overcome your fear of confrontation to protect your daughter. You obviously have no idea how much this has hurt her over the years, or you would not be here making excuses for your behavior," commented u/bamf1701.

"YTA and your cowardice will cost you your relationship with your daughter," said u/mjcatz.

"You make excuse after excuse for why you have never protected your daughter from her father, and now you're doing the same about her brother, letting her down all over again," responded u/pocket_novelist.

Newsweek reached out to u/Leading_Equal6340 for comment.

Upset mother and daughter
The internet has slammed a “spineless” mother who refused to defend her daughter against her “neglectful” father and badly behaved brother. Rawpixel/istock