Woman Refusing to Raise Younger Sister After Both Parents Die Backed Online

Commenters online supported a woman who refused to take in her younger half-sister after both her parents were killed in a car accident.

The anonymous woman, known as u/oceanbluewizard, posted about her situation in Reddit's popular "Am I The A**hole" forum where it received nearly 11,500 upvotes and 1,400 comments. The post can be found here.

She explained that after her family discovered her father had an affair with a woman resulting in a child, they went no contact.

Family Estrangement

Going no contact refers to deliberately cutting off all communication with a particular person—often a toxic parent. This is also commonly referred to as estrangement.

One study conducted by researchers at the University of Southern California found that about 27 percent of adult children are estranged from their fathers. Another study found that about 44 percent of young adults faced some sort of estrangement with a relative.

Woman refused to raise orphaned sister
A woman was supported online for refusing to take in her 7-year-old half-sister after both her parents died in an accident. Motortion/iStock

'Am I The A**hole?'

In the post titled "AITA for refusing to take my half-sister in after her parents died," the woman, 30, explained that her parents got divorced six years ago after finding out her father was having an affair.

The woman said she, her siblings, and her mother went no contact with her father and his family after the divorce. She added that her mother moved in with her.

"I have a good job with a nice salary, and so do my brothers (28M twins)," the post read. "I live with Mom and my brothers both have apartments close by, and we are very comfortable with what we have."

In the post, the woman said her father had a daughter named Annie, 7, with the other woman and that they have no contact with the family.

'Poor Girl'

Recently, the woman received a call that her father and his wife got into an accident and both died, leaving her sister with her paternal grandparents.

"They all insisted that I take in my sister, basically guilt-tripping me and my brothers to take her in," the post read. "Such a poor girl, both her parents died, leaving a young kid alone. Surely her sister will step up and raise her. I refused."

She told them she was not compromising her mother's health and that she wasn't "fit" to raise a child.

"Truth is, I just don't want a kid around," the post read. "I have plans of being childless, which my family knows about and they're very supportive of my decisions. I don't want a kid in my house, messing with our routines, and ruining my own plans. I don't even know her, like, at all."

Threats and Gaslighting

But after refusing to take in Annie, the woman claimed her father's family started threatening and gaslighting her family and continued to harass them after she blocked their numbers.

"They came over to my house and almost made my mom relapse," the post read.

Since she didn't want to involve the police, the woman said her brothers take turns sleeping at her house to "block off" their father's family. She added that some relatives posted on social media that they are "monsters" for not helping Annie and "a**holes" for not taking her in.

"My brothers are adamant that a kid is a big responsibility I don't need to take, and Mom flat out doesn't want Annie in our house. AITA?"

Redditor Reactions

Nearly 1,400 users commented on the post, many supporting the woman's decision not to take in her half-sister after the accident.

"Even as an older sister, you and your brothers aren't the only relatives she can live with," one user commented. "If they want her to be cared for so much, your dad's side of the family can take her in. They obviously want to foist it off onto someone else. Stick to your decision"

"NTA but if they keep showing up at your house, you will need to get the police involved eventually," another suggested. "You are not responsible for that child, as tragic as it is. She has all those people who harass you to take care of her. You have your own struggles."

"You or your brothers have no obligation whatsoever toward a girl who is basically a stranger to you and your family, since you went NC with your father," another wrote.

"You have no responsibility here, not even in the case you didn't have to take care of your mum. You could be living by yourself and still not want to take a kid in," one user commented. "I'm sorry that the girl's parents died, that must be terrible for them, but I see no reason why her grandparents can't take care of her to be honest."

In an update, the woman said her family decided to contact the police and child protective services and that they are documenting everything.

Effects of Estrangement

Research has found that family estrangement can take a severe toll on mental health, including "profound sadness" and social isolation.

"The ensuing grief can be as painful as that resulting from a death, and perhaps worse, as it is not publicly acknowledged," Clinical Psychologist Craig Sawchuk wrote for Mayo Clinic. "In some cases, the person being cut off may feel confused, angry or even shocked."

Sawchuck added that parents on the receiving end of estrangement might feel intense shame or judgment which can lead to further isolation.

Newsweek reached out to u/oceanbluewizard for comment.

In another viral Reddit post, users were divided after a woman shared her idea to not tell her children about her ex-husband's child, their half-sibling.

Commenters were also split in another viral Reddit post where the user asked if she should split her inheritance with her half-sister. And in another similar post, a 35-year-old man was told to "grow up" after he said he didn't want to meet his half-sibling.

If you have a similar family dilemma, let us know via life@newsweek.com. We can ask experts for advice, and your story could be featured on Newsweek.