The Price of Childhood Neglect – From Unequal Rooms to Unequal Loans

Upset boy sitting on floor while parents enjoying with sister on sofa at home

Recently, a 29-year-old woman shares her dilemma regarding her step-sister’s request for financial assistance in purchasing a house.

The original poster (OP) believes her refusal is justified based on how she and her brother were treated during their childhood.

An Unequal Upbringing

OP starts by opening up about her upbringing, where OP’s mother married her stepfather when OP was around 10 years old.

With her stepfather having two daughters, Amy and Ada, and OP having an older brother named Luke, the blended family had an agreement to keep finances separate.

OP’s mother and stepfather would contribute equally to the household while taking care of their respective children with their spare money.

However, this arrangement resulted in OP and Luke feeling left out and excluded.

While their stepfather spent generously on his own children, OP’s mother, a minimum-wage worker, struggled to provide for OP and Luke.

The unfair treatment extended to family vacations, where OP and Luke were purposefully excluded while their stepfather covered the expenses for their mother.

Additionally, despite having a guest room and available space, OP and Luke were made to share a room while Amy and Ada enjoyed their own separate rooms.

Growing up, OP and Luke were constantly teased and reminded of their inferior status by their step-siblings, causing emotional distress.

OP’s mother would often justify the situation, emphasizing that without their stepfather, they wouldn’t be living in a nice home or a good neighborhood.

Fueled by these experiences, OP and Luke became determined to be self-sufficient and free from such mistreatment. They focused on building successful careers and managing their finances, eventually finding themselves in a comfortable position.

A Big Ask

Since moving out at the age of 18, OP’s relationship with her stepfamily has been limited but relatively peaceful.

During a recent visit to her mother, OP’s stepfather mentioned that Amy, who is now pregnant, wants to buy a house and requested financial assistance from OP and Luke.

Amy had already accumulated £100k towards the £150k deposit needed for a £500k house, with contributions from her mother and stepfather.

OP’s stepfather believed that since both OP and Luke owned their houses outright and had stable incomes, they should be able to help. However, OP firmly declined, asserting that her ability to help was irrelevant, and her answer was simply no.

Her stepfather continued to push, reminding her that she and Luke had previously given £10k each as a gift to their cousin for purchasing a house. OP replied back that the previous choice was voluntary, whereas her stepfather’s request felt entitled.

OP opened up to her stepfather about how he treated her and her sibling Luke unequally during their childhood.

In response, OP’s stepfather expressed that if he had another chance, he would love to treat them more fairly and differently.

However, OP’s decision not to contribute any money remained unchanged.

Later, OP’s mum mentioned that even though OP declined to contribute money, she should have remained polite and refrained from bringing up childhood issues during the discussion.

Unequal Roots and a House Divided

In response to OP’s post, several social media users shared their opinions, with the majority siding with OP in their comments.

One user, Alarming_Work4005, believed that OP did try to decline without referencing her childhood experiences.

However, as the pressure mounted, it’s not surprising that OP felt compelled to express her truth.

Another user, maroongrad, expressed strong disapproval of the stepfather’s actions.

The user argued:

“He needs to know how badly he screwed up. And he didn’t do anything to try and make up for it either, did he? Nope. Not until he wanted YOUR money for HIS kid that bullied you. Nope.”

The user suggested that if any help were to be offered, it should come with significant conditions, like a high-interest loan, to compensate for the past injustices.

MeasurementNovel8907 joined the discussion, supporting OP’s stance.

The user pointed out that the stepfather had already provided more financial support for the stepsister’s house than many people receive from their families.

The user emphasized that the stepfather had set the rules for financial separation, and he must live with the consequences of those decisions.

“He made the rules, he has no right to complain about you living by them.”

Dw3991 took a more direct approach, highlighting the stepfather’s hypocrisy in demanding help now while being content with their financial disadvantages as children.

The user firmly advised against giving any financial aid, urging the original poster not to cave in to pressure.

“Your step dad was more than happy to see you and your brother at a financial disadvantage when you were younger and making sure you were excluded. Now that it is his daughter who is at a disadvantage, he is insisting that you should help the family out? Don’t cave, don’t give him a penny!”

Why_Teach chimed in with thoughtful analysis, asserting that OP had not brought up her childhood experiences; it was the stepfather who had invoked the notion of family ties.

The user commended OP for pointing out the discrepancy between being treated as “family” now when she and her brother were treated as second-class citizens before.

The user also celebrated the original poster and her brother’s success, reminding them that living well is the best revenge.

Lastly, Turbulent_Message637 offered support, noting the cathartic release OP experienced by confronting her stepfather’s past actions.

The user dismissed OP’s mother’s opinion, emphasizing that she should stand her ground against any attempts to manipulate her emotions.

The Verdict

OP’s post and the subsequent comments provide insight into the lasting impact of childhood neglect and unequal treatment within blended families.

OP’s refusal to help Amy with the house deposit was a courageous stand, rooted in her determination to break free from the shackles of her past.

The majority of the users saw OP’s decision as justified, given her history of mistreatment, while others may argue for unconditional support within family units.

In the end, the question remains: How do we reconcile the past and create a brighter future for our families?

The answer lies in our collective willingness to confront our past, seek understanding, and build a foundation of empathy and compassion.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments. Do you think the OP from this social media post was wrong?

Featured Image Credit: Wavebreakmedia /Depositphotos.com.

This article originally appeared on Ash & Pri.

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Annika Stepanov

Annika is passionate about personal finance and travel, pouring her extensive experience into her writing on these topics. She has a diploma in Creative English Writing and has been working in the industry since 2016.