‘Jealous’ woman asks for advice about brother with terminal cancer

The woman is 18 years old, with a 26-year-old brother who has terminal cancer. She was asking for advice on Reddit on how to navigate her feelings about her family situation. 

She said “ever since he [her brother] got sick, my family has given me less attention which is understandable”. 

However, as time has gone on, it feels like “they don’t care about me as much anymore”. 

She mentioned the family group chat they have, and when it was her birthday, everyone “asked how he [the brother] was doing instead of wishing me happy birthday”. 

She also explained how her parents “watch movies” with her brother and spend time together but she is “never invited”.  

The woman “got frustrated” by how she felt “left out and ignored” that she had a discussion with her mum, where she said she felt like a “glass child”

Her mum called her “disgusting” and suggested she was “jealous” of her brother. 

“For clarification, I’m not jealous that my brother has cancer. To be honest, I’m not jealous at all; I simply used that word because it’s the word my mom used to describe me,” she added.

The woman said she spends a lot of time with her brother, and understands how he has limited time left, but wishes their parents shared their time between the two children or did things together. 

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There were several replies to the post where many suggested her situation was very “grey” and “it’s okay for [her] to hold two truths at once”. 

A response said: “You’re very sad/scared that your brother has cancer, you’re very sad that everyone forgot your milestone birthday and are excluding you from the family events.

“Usually I’d not say anything bad about a mother dealing with her child having cancer but her reaction to you was the only ‘disgusting’ that I read here today.” 

Another added: “I don’t think you’re jealous. I just think you’re struggling to navigate. You did the right thing by speaking up. I’m sorry they reacted the way they did.” 

One said she was “not the a**hole” and added: “You would be if you were actually jealous of your brother with cancer, but I don’t think that’s what it is. I think you’re feeling forgotten and neglected.” 

Someone else wrote: “NTA. You’re allowed to feel hurt and left out, especially since you’ve mentioned you hang out with your brother – it’s not like you’re bitterly ignoring him. 

“Your family can pour their love and support and energy in your brother without neglecting your feelings. Stay strong!” 

“At first, I thought for sure you were going to be the AH here but definitely not!” A response read. “Your family didn’t even wish you a happy birthday. I would be upset about that too. 

“It doesn’t even have to do with your brother or his cancer, it has to do with the rest of your family not making you feel important and you expressing that to your mom is valid.” 

The woman updated her post and said she reached out to her mum and “explained how I was feeling”. In response, her mum said she “understood” and apologised. 

Going forward, the mum said she would “try to include me more” so she doesn’t “feel so neglected in the future”. 

Macmillian offers emotional support to family and friends of a loved one who has been diagnosed with cancer. 

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