You be the Judge: Should Son Avoid Parents After Learning Secret of His Food Allergies?


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.

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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:

  • Dairy
  • Wheat/Flour/Gluten
  • Legumes

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?

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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.

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Dave Bloom
Dave Bloom
Dave Bloom is CEO and "Blogger in Chief" of

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  1. I’d be mad too! Eventually he should resume contact but if he starts a family, he’ll probably want to avoid leaving his kids with this crazy woman.

  2. That is Abuse. I can’t imagine what he’s now going through.
    And to boot-it downplays those with diagnosed food allergies.

  3. As a Mother of a grown son that has lived his whole life with the highest level peanut allergy, I understand the anxiety having to live with a potentially deadly food allergy. I can’t imagine how hurt the son is knowing that his own Mother made him live in fear about what he eats—for NO good reason! As such, I am appalled and saddened to hear about this young man’s story. The Mother did him a huge disservice. I’d agree that it was very poor judgement, child abuse and extremely deceitful to claim all these allergens just so he’d “be healthy”! While he might forgive her, the Mother probably lost his trust and respect forever—a huge boundary was compromised and I’d be surprised if the son ever speaks to her again! Hopefully the son gets the mental therapy he’ll need to navigate being deceived and lied all his life to by a parent that should’ve loved him enough to treat him with the dignity and respect he deserved!

    • Agree 100% with Laurel. How could a mother do that to their child??? Child abuse in an incomprehensible form!

  4. Forgiveness is certainly in order. His mother lied, after all, for many years at that, so certainly he must feel hurt and resentment. (Unforgiveness will only hurt himself, so I hope he works through this.) Was she justified in lying? No, absolutely not. Was he better off for avoiding those foods? Probably. Still, I don’t think the outcome justifies the means. As a child, the parents had authority to buy the foods they felt best; as an adult, he needs to be both able and equipped to make his own decisions. She should have equipped him with knowledge, for it is the truth that sets us free, not secrecy. At any rate, I’m grateful he doesn’t truly have allergies, and I’m sure he is, too!

  5. Reading this made me absolutely livid. Having a REAL anaphylactic child who had to suffer for 14 years before getting a wonderful tolerance treatment, I can’t imagine putting your own child through this. In my opinion it’s abusive and cruel. If he ever can manage to forgive his parents, they should consider themselves very lucky. Their actions were abhorrent.

  6. I agree that the mothers behavior is abusive and cruel. As a mother of two children with severe food allergies , I’m beyond angry. This poor child may have had “healthy” food, but the mental anguish of living in fear and the social inequities that this poor child experienced is downright cruel. If the mother lies about this, what else did she lie about? That’s not true love. It’s abusive , deceitful, cruel and psychopathic behavior . I hope he also learns to forgive , for his sake, not hers.

  7. I have 2 adult children who have lived with food allergies since childhood. I can’t even imagine a parent doing this to their child. They have robbed him of normalcy in his childhood years. No matter how strong your child is, they still have certain amount of social anxiety about “being different” from other kids. Mother told this lie, but the dad went along with it!?!!! I’m shocked that both parents didn’t have their kid’s best interest at heart. The damage is done. He will hopefully get therapy to overcome this mental abuse. When ready, he can also consider forgiveness for his sake so he can move on. Personally, I don’t think i could totally cut my parents off BUT, I would just be in their life. I would not be able to trust them so I would never take their opinion on anything in my life going forward. Breaks my heart what he went through.

  8. Absolutely irresponsible parents. He has every right to cut his parents off. There is definitely something wrong with his parents to do this.


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