AITA for telling my parents 'No, I won't pay you for grabbing my keys and bringing them to work' when they drove 30 minutes there and back to get them for me?

After reading your comment here, I had to go check the post you mentioned. You just sound so logical and well-spoken but also so earnest and empathetic. Also, I will admit that I can also relate to the dynamic you describe between you and your son, though I'm the adult daughter in my case. At this point, I'm out of the house and all but independent (my parents still occasionally help me, for example recent with my psych meds, as my insurance policy changed recently, and one of my med was wildly expensive until I found a new policy), but there were a few years in there that were rough. Rough for all of us, but I was too oblivious and self centered to realize what a toll I was taking on them.

Also divorced at 31, also lost my job - actually my entire career, I had a doctoral degree in music, but crashed and burned due to both physical and mental issues - and wound up moving cross country to land back with them. I was also an addict - my first shrink put me on xanax and that quickly spiraled out of control into all sorts of dependencies - and was severely, severely depressed, and basically non-functional. I knew that my parents worried about me, but I didn't have any concept of how much they must have been sick with despair and resentment - I contributed nothing but helplessness and unpleasant attitude for quite a while - until I came out on the other side and saw the situation with clear eyes, and was totally horrified.

Things are so much better now. It sounds like your son has been through some somewhat similar stuff, and if definitely sounds as though you and your husband have been through a similar hell to that which I put my parents through, and you sound like you've handled it with such strength, grace and empathy. You are so justified in expecting more from him, and I believe he will get there, particularly given what sounds like his devotion to NA. What you are doing is so incredibly difficult, and he will be overwhelmed with gratitude and the drive to return all of that support, as soon as he can get that perspective shift. It's like they say, you have to get out of the aquarium before you can turn around and see what was happening in there. While I was stuck in the pain and inertia, I only thought of my despair. Now, not a day goes by that I don't feel overwhelmed with gratitude and express that to my parents through words and actions.

May I ask, have you ever been to al anon, or is that a possibility? My mother still goes from time to time, years later, and I know it helped her to cope with learning to draw boundaries, handling the resentment, etc. I hope it's not totally out of line to write this novel, I just felt this incredibly resonance when I read your comment here and sought out your posts. You sound so much like my own mother, it just makes me want to apologize to you and tell you I love you, lol.

/r/AmItheAsshole Thread Parent