One of the most fascinating corners of the internet is the subreddit r/AmItheA**hole. Here, posters share their stories, and commenters vote on whether or not the person is an a**hole.
This stressed-out father decided to turn to the good folks of Reddit for advice on a personal situation.
He doesn’t pull any punches:
I’m the dad of a 25 year old young woman who I love very much. I’ve been able to have a good relationship with my daughter and I enjoy my time with her, but there’s one thing about her that would give many people pause – she is a diagnosed sociopath.
She exhibited odd, disturbing behavior at a young age, and after a serious incident of abuse towards her younger sister, I realized she needed professional help. Throughout her elementary years she struggled heavily, getting in lots of trouble in school for lying, cruelty and all other types of misbehaviors. With an enormous amount of therapy & support, her bad behavior was minimized as she grew older. She received an ASPD diagnosis at 18, and I had suspected it for long prior.
After her aggressive behavior was tamed, her following years were much more fruitful. She’s law-abiding; has a decent job and a good education; and has many good friendships and admirers. Especially male admirers; she is very, very charming and adept at attracting guys and maintaining their interest. She uses that old dating guide “The Rules” like a Bible. She currently has a boyfriend of about a year and a half who’s crazy about her, and who I have a very strong relationship with (we live in the same area and spend time together regularly). He is a great guy, very kind, funny and intelligent.
Oh dear. I’m already worried for the poor not-fiancee. The dad continues:
But I doubt she loves him. We’ve had some very honest, in-depth discussions about her mental health since her diagnosis, and she’s been open with me that she doesn’t feel love or empathy towards anyone, even family. When she acted very sad and broken up over the death of one of her closest friends at the funeral, she confessed to me privately that it was all a put-on, and that she felt “pretty neutral” about the whole thing. She has also stated she has never once felt guilty about anything she’s ever done, and doesn’t know what guilt feels like. While she enjoys being around her boyfriend and is sexually attracted to him, I highly doubt she feels much of anything towards him love-wise.
Her boyfriend (who might propose soon) has no idea about her diagnosis, and she’s been very upfront with me that she has no plans to ever tell him, thinking it’ll scare him away. I’ve made it clear to her that she needs to tell him the truth before they marry; that he has the right to know and consider it; or I will; to which she always responds, “I know you wouldn’t dare.” I actually would – I really like and respect this young man, and would feel awful keeping this “secret” from him, and letting him walk into a marriage without this piece of knowledge.
I’m not trying to sabotage my daughter’s future. Maybe her boyfriend’s love of her personality and other aspects is enough that it won’t end the relationship. It’s his decision to make; but he deserves all the facts. Someday he’s bound to find out she’s a bit “off”; it can’t be kept a secret forever. AITA?
That’s a tough spot, for sure. And Reddit had a lot to say (more than 5,000 comments as of today).
One recommended that he stay out of it:
Wow. That’s the hardest AITA I’ve read in a long time.
You’re ethically compromised either way. It’s probably best you stay out of it.
Another commenter agreed, and pointed out that the consequences could be serious:
I think the guy needs to know, deserves to know, but what if it does destroy the relationship? I can’t imagine what it could mean for OP to have his sociopath daughter be very angry at him.
This commenter shared a chilling story from her own childhood to illustrate her points:
My father is a sociopath, the narcissist kind. I won’t get into details about my childhood, but they were so bad that I never told a word of it to anyone until I was 23 because it was so heinous that I thought no one would believe me. Im 28 now and I still fear for my mom and my sisters’ lives.
There is no safe play for OP. If he doesn’t tell him, the fiancee’s life will be ruined. Burned to the ground. That much is inevitable. This goes for his family, their future children, and almost anyone closely associated with them. BUT it might not blow up until OP has passed. (Sociopaths can keep up appearances fpr a long time)
If he does tell him and she finds out, he’ll have a metaphorical as well as literal bullseye on his head. His only hope would be that his daughter wouldn’t retaliate out of fear of embarrasament, which cam be overwhelming for them. But if at any point she feels she has nothing to lose, things get bad. And when I say bad, I mean the type of thing that if you saw it in a movie, it would scar you, let alone witnessing it in person.
It’s terrifying. It’s literally almost indistinguishable from a pit bull with rabies. You’ve had it since it was a pup, and you’re great friends. It would never hurt you, until it changes. And I’ll never forget what that looks like. I tried to defend my mom one day, and my dad looked at me. The dad that raised me, taught me how to throw a baseball, “loved” and protected me. The guy that every girl adored and every man respected. He was gone. He was someone else, and whoever he was, he wanted me dead. I wasn’t his son anymore. I was an obstacle. What happened during the next decade isn’t meant for a forum like this, but I can tell you that no one could ever be ready for what happens. And it will shatter you, for a long time, if not forever.
OP, if you truly respect this guy, please, tell him, but never let it get back to your daughter that you were the one that told him. And for God’s sake, and the sake of your family, watch her. Do as much research as possible, and pay attention to every last detail of every move she makes. Try as hard as you can to separate your emotions from your judgement. Please.
Overall, commenters seemed to agree that the father is not an a**hole, and that he is in a really tough spot. What do you think he should do?