Commentators slammed a woman’s family after calling her “selfish” for being upset with her reaction to her cancer diagnosis.
The woman, known as u/Fit_Bluejay_9234, wrote about the incident on Reddit’s popular Am I The A**hole forum, where she received nearly 13,000 upvotes and 1,300 comments.
reactions to cancer
In 2021, more than 1.9 million Americans were diagnosed with cancer. Along with a doctor’s diagnosis, these individuals were faced with the overwhelming responsibility of sharing the news with loved ones.
Cancer.org recommends people start by telling their closest family or friends to get support. It is also recommended that people give information about their diagnosis in small pieces and ask if people understand.
Silence after explaining a diagnosis is common, as a life-threatening illness can be shocking and sobering for many. Those receiving the news are advised to remain receptive and responsive to the feelings of their loved ones.
It is also important for individuals to share their feelings about the diagnosis while acknowledging how they might be feeling.
In the post, titled “AITA because you were angry at how my family reacted to my announcement that I have cancer?” the 21-year-old woman said she was recently diagnosed with cancer and was told that humans have about a 40 percent chance of survival over the next five years.
The woman said she found out after a long history of “strange symptoms” and said her boyfriend is helping her process the diagnosis.
“I was heartbroken for a few days and stayed at home crying and my boyfriend was incredibly supportive,” the post reads. “I’m still coming to terms with the possibility that I may not be alive for the next few years and have spoken to an advisor.”
‘Lighten the mood’
She said she and her boyfriend, 23, live about two hours from their family. She told them she had important news they would share personally, and her boyfriend drove her to their house.
“It wasn’t easy, but I explained to them that I have cancer and my chances of surviving with the treatment,” the post reads. “Everyone was silent and had blank looks.”
After a few minutes of silence, the woman’s sister-in-law, 33, announced she is pregnant with her third child.
“Everyone immediately congratulates her and starts talking about babies and pretending I didn’t say anything at all,” the post reads. “Me and my boyfriend were stunned and decided to leave.”
The woman later sent a message to her family, explaining that her reactions made her feel neglected. Her brother responded that she wasn’t the only person affected by her diagnosis and that she should “understand” that the family was “uncomfortable” and not sure what to say.
She told him she believed his wife owed her an apology for announcing her pregnancy. While she admitted the timing was “weird,” she said she didn’t feel an apology was necessary as she was just “trying to lighten the mood.”
The woman said she was too upset to continue the conversation and has been ignoring her family ever since.
“My family says I’m selfish and make them feel guilty about getting my way, and that having cancer doesn’t mean I’ll be treated like royalty,” the post reads. “My older brother even commented that I behaved like a ‘typical youngest sibling.’ AITA?”
More than 1,300 users commented on the post, with many criticizing the woman’s family and offering their support.
“NTA. I mean, damn… they didn’t even say, ‘I’m sorry you have such terrible news. We love you. What can we do to support you,'” said one user. “Under these circumstances, this is the MOST NECESSARY MINIMUM. I am so sorry. Both that you have this diagnosis, which I hope you overcome, AND that you have a terrible family. Seriously, fuck her.”
“I’m really sorry you’re going through this and I’m really sorry they reacted the way they did,” commented another user. “It’s normal to be surprised, speechless, etc. when someone has this kind of news, but what’s not okay is dismissing it as if it had never been said.”
“I recommend a therapist and a lawyer,” wrote one user. “The first right away, the second eventually before it becomes a problem… Eventually it will sink in.”
“Cancer survivor here. Hearing that someone close has cancer comes as a huge shock to a lot of people,” said another. “It brings up her own mortality and her fear of grief etc. It’s no wonder they all had expressionless faces. I quickly grew tired of helping other people manage their feelings. Say goodbye to the family controversy. They reacted terribly to turning their sadness into aggression. If that means reducing contact, that’s a healthy decision.”
A user received almost 30,000 upvotes after composing a message for the woman to send to her family.
“I came to you for love and support because this cancer could kill me for years to come. Instead there was silence and then a pregnancy announcement. There were no hugs, no encouragement, no love. It’s not about being the youngest kid. This was about family,” the comment said. “Try to send something like that, hun. hugs.”
news week asked tou/Fit_Bluejay_9234 for a comment.
Other viral posts
In another viral post from Reddit’s Am I The A**hole forum, a teen was backed for “causing a scene” at a family dinner, and another was backed for not giving her stepsister her mother’s wedding dress had given.
Last week a man was criticized for calling his partner a “bad woman” for drinking alcohol as he is a recovered alcoholic.
https://www.newsweek.com/family-slammed-calling-woman-selfish-telling-them-cancer-diagnosis-1737729 Family slammed for calling wife ‘selfish’ for telling them she has cancer