If you are coping with a food allergy or care for someone who is, you know avoidance of trigger allergens is key to preventing reactions and you likely go to great lengths to protect yourself or your loved one from exposure.
So did the mom in this installment of our “You be the Judge” series, where we ask you — the food allergy community — to weigh in on a topic of interest.
This time, we look at a situation gleaned from a reddit post entitled “AITA for going no-contact with my parents after learning they had lied to me about my allergies all my life?“ by u/TroubleInGluten.
We’ve referred to the “AITA” subreddit (i.e. group) before where this story is posted. AITA is short for “Am I the A-Hole,” and it provides a medium where people question their own behavior and ask readers to vote.
Here’s the son’s story:
Hey everyone. I am 19 years old and my parents are in their 50s.
For as long as I can remember, I have been allergic to several things:
Since I was a young child, my parents have completely kept all of them out of our house. While other kids ate breakfast cereals, I ate fish and assorted pickled vegetables for breakfast. While other kids had Lunchables, I had grilled chicken or fish with, again, assorted vegetables (usually sweet potatoes). While other kids ate birthday cake at the birthday party, I had an apple.
I never questioned this until a couple of months ago. I was at my aunt’s house for my birthday party, and she made brownies for everyone. For me, she took great steps to make them with almond flour and avoided all of my allergies. I started eating them and thought little of it until my aunt suddenly looked at me and, in a panicked way, asked which plate I took the brownies from. I pointed from the one where I got my brownies, and she immediately stood up and told me we had to get my EpiPen. She raced to ask my mother for it, and I sat there scared out of my mind because I had never mistakenly eaten flour before.
I noticed my mother had calmed her down, and then she said that we don’t have to worry because she had switched the plates of brownies, and after all I had eaten the ones made with almond flour. I found this incredibly odd because, really, why would she swap the plates? That doesn’t even make sense. But for the time being I let the issue rest.
It didn’t sit well with me for about a week and I finally went to get an allergy test. The doctor started with a skin prick test, and lo and behold, I didn’t react to any of the above substances. Then he ordered a blood test, and when the results came in, they said that I had absolutely no intolerance to any of the foods I’m supposed to be allergic to.
I was furious and called my mother. She eventually admitted that she lied to me because she wanted me to be on a paleolithic diet, and wanted me to be able to avoid all temptations. She raised me with a lie about her own health, but she keeps insisting that I try to see it from her perspective. She spams my phone with messages about how healthy I am–that I never had acne, that I have been in great shape my whole life, that I have strong teeth and bones, and even that I got onto a D1 college tennis team.
She has started calling me ungrateful for her intervention and insisting that I really should be glad I never got “carb addicted.” I don’t know what to think. I carried around an EpiPen for all those years–one that I suspect may be fake seeing as my mother never got me to replace it–and I don’t even know anymore.
Am I the [a-hole] and an ungrateful son for losing it over this?
As of this writing, the post has received 27,000+ “upvotes”, meaning it has struck a chord with readers.
Now we turn to you, our readers — many of whom have been struggling with real food allergies for years — and ask you to be the judge. Is the poster justified in avoiding all contact with his parents? Or should he be taking into account his mother’s well-meaning intentions?
Let us know in the comments section below.