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Here’s the story of a man who found success in his life. However, he still carries unresolved childhood memories of his parents, who left him alone to “figure out” his life at 18. Now his parents want to be involved in his life, but is it too late?
A Price on Forgiveness
The original poster (OP), who we’ll refer to as Joe, had a seemingly decent childhood.
However, when Joe turned 18, his parents started charging him rent. It wasn’t all bad; Joe’s parents also gave him the money they’d saved to help him with college.
Eventually, Joe departed to live in a dorm on his college campus.
He had a partial scholarship and quickly found a job nearby. With his partial scholarship and the money his parents had provided, Joe was able to “scrape” by.
Pushing Through the Struggle
Like most college students, Joe was busy with both school and work. Because of this, he rarely spoke to his parents.
Joe worked hard and eventually graduated college. However, things would feel sour years later.
The Truth Starts to Unfold
When Joe’s younger siblings came of age and went to college, they had a different experience than Joe.
“They both lived at home all through university and even afterwards.”
Exploring the Motivations Behind a Man’s Decision
Now Joe is in his early thirties and happy with his girlfriend, who he’ll soon marry.
Naturally, Joe invited his parents and siblings to his wedding. However, shortly after receiving the wedding invitation, Joe’s parents called him to ask why they weren’t involved with the planning.
Forgiveness in Parent–Child Relationships
Joe’s parents hadn’t been part of his life since he left for college, and he thought he was being “nice” by inviting them.
To Joe’s surprise, his parents admitted they’d made mistakes in the past, but they also thought he “should get over it.”
Here’s where things took a turn.
The Cost of Healing
Joe spoke to his fiancée about the situation with his parents and mentioned that he planned on sending them an itemized bill. This bill would account for everything he’d paid for but that both his siblings had been freely given.
Joe’s fiancée didn’t agree with this approach, but Joe proceeded with it anyway. If his parents wanted to be part of his life, they would need to pay up.
Sending the Bill
When Joe’s parents received the itemized bill, they confessed that they couldn’t afford to pay it since they were still in debt from helping his siblings.
After hearing this, Joe laughed and told his parents he hoped to see them at his wedding. He then hung up.
What Joe Thinks
“The thing is that I don’t want their money. And I don’t want anything from them at all other than their attendance at my wedding. If they can’t do that then I’m fine with our yearly phone call.”
What People Really Think About Forgiveness
“NTA. maybe [sic] the itemized bill was a bit much but I imagine it was cathartic for you. Your parents haven’t been around in a decade and a half. They have a lot of nerve to ask to be involved. Not being involved in your wedding is just reaping what they sowed. Congratulations on your upcoming wedding.”
Relating to the Situation
“As someone who was in the same situation (except it was my older brothers who had their way paid all through their undergrads, and I the youngest and only female was tossed to the wolves without even having healthcare even though my parents both had PLENTY of money), OP is my hero for making that itemized list.
“Im [sic] also a successful adult now, and don’t want money from my parents, but I also don’t consider them parents and I don’t owe them anything IMO.”
Collecting and Paying Debt
“‘They said that they cannot afford that because they are in debt still from helping my siblings out.’ Im [sic] sorry, WHAT? Then why did they do it in the first place. NTA op, perhaps siblings can pay back now.”
Reflecting on the Consequences of Selling Forgiveness to Parents
Most things aren’t as “easy” as they seem. Joe’s parents admitted to making mistakes and asked Joe to “just get over it.” It seems like Joe’s doing his best to move on, but he’s still unable to escape the feeling of neglect he had from his parents in the past.
Was sending an itemized bill too much? Hopefully, Joe’s parents and siblings will make it to the wedding so they can start to mend their family issues.
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