Bride Excludes Severely Autistic Sister from Wedding

DLgal

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 12, 2013
Neither side is right on this one. They are both wrong. I feel the most bad for the poor sister. She has clearly not gotten the supports she needs over time in order to function appropriately even as a member of her own family. Her behavior isn't appropriate, but rather than make the effort to teach her that, her parents seem to allow her to do whatever she wants. That's not okay. But also, the bride doesn't seem to be sympathetic to the situation either and thinks avoidance is going to fix the problem. It's not.
 

QueenIsabella

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 17, 2016
I'm on the bride's side. She offered several, reasonable options, and her parents think it's okay for her sister to paw the groom during the reception. The parents should have shut that down a long time ago. I mean, what if, instead of being a caring, loving future brother-in-law, she chose to hang all over a guy who had nefarious intent? They need to teach her better--and if that doesn't work, due to the autism, they need to separate her from others when her behavior is inappropriate.
 

Marrila

James Webb Space Telescope Fan
Joined
May 26, 2021
I think that the bride is doing the right thing. This sounds like way more than flirting and the parents aren’t interested in the feelings of the bride and groom. Sad situation.
It does sound like way more, and it's absolutely not ok.
It's unfortunate the sister hasn't been taught some very basic boundaries.

Surely it's ok for the bride and groom to be able to relax and enjoy their wedding day.
 

prairie_girl

Thinking about pennies...
Joined
Jul 26, 2016
Neither side is right on this one. They are both wrong. I feel the most bad for the poor sister. She has clearly not gotten the supports she needs over time in order to function appropriately even as a member of her own family. Her behavior isn't appropriate, but rather than make the effort to teach her that, her parents seem to allow her to do whatever she wants. That's not okay. But also, the bride doesn't seem to be sympathetic to the situation either and thinks avoidance is going to fix the problem. It's not.

It’s also not up to the bride to fix the problem. I’m on her side.
 

TwoMisfits

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 21, 2002
100% on bride's side.

My mom had a severely autistic older half-sister who lived with us for a few years when I was a child. One day, she didn't. As an adult, I found out that her overly warm behavior to my dad turned into her trying to sleep with my dad one night while my mom was away. Between having 3 brothers, 1 of whom was becoming an adult, and that incident (where she was rebuffed and then had an angry destructive outburst like no other), my mom had to make the tough call to put her in adult care the next day, since there was no one else who could take on the burden, and the living arrangement could not continue.

Sometimes, life gives you tough calls. While alive, I don't think either of my parents regretted this decision for their marriage or the future safety of their kids. They did as much as they could do personally, and then paid financially when they couldn't...sometimes, that's all you can do.
 

neverlandsky

DIS Veteran
Joined
Sep 7, 2017
Read the OP. Falls under no-kids wedding. Kids can be loud, inappropriate, have uncontrollable and unpredictable behavior, tired, oversimulated, make messes, etc. Not everyone likes kids or can handle their outbursts. This isn't about bride excluding her severely autistic sister due to her sister's disability. It's excluding her serverely autistic sister due to the fact that the bride & her groom would have to babysit her, tip toe around her, let boundaries down, worry about their guests around her, and must accommodate her first on their wedding day. Tasks they originally didn't sign up for, they don't want to do, nor are they obligated to do. It isn't selfish to ask for healthy boundaries on a very intimate milestone once in a lifetime day. The Bride is NTA.
 
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Mackenzie Click-Mickelson

Chugging along the path of life
Joined
Oct 23, 2015
On the bride's side for a few reasons

The parents have unfortunately taken to denial not just about what should be considered inappropriate behavior but also to how far they let things get with lack of parenting with the disabled daughter. When it was said "They told me Anna is disabled and may never experience a wedding of her own" that's just not on the bride and groom.

The bride attempted to compromise by requesting attention be taken away from the groom and the parents opted to say no. And a variety of other reasonable IMO compromises were also met with no.

The parents here have lived their life for their disabled daughter and lost sight of others around them. Normally I would say the parents would regret that decision later to not come to the wedding but I suspect if they do indeed decide to not go they will just lament to anyone and everyone their version of events placing the blame solely on the bride not truly regretting not going but rather bitter.

Meanwhile Anna has lost out on a healthier relationship not just with her parents but her sibling and other people.
 

fly girl

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 20, 2012
I am with the bride. There is no doubt in my mind it was not an easy decision for her to make, and the fallout was worse that one would expect. I am sad her parents lacked common understanding of the situation. It isn't the sister's day, it is her day and she wanted to keep it that way.

I am glad she stuck her ground.
 

mom2rtk

Invented the term "Characterpalooza"
Joined
Aug 23, 2008
I am with the bride. There is no doubt in my mind it was not an easy decision for her to make, and the fallout was worse that one would expect. I am sad her parents lacked common understanding of the situation. It isn't the sister's day, it is her day and she wanted to keep it that way.

I am glad she stuck her ground.
I can't even imagine what the family dynamics have been like up to this point.
 

Magical2017

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jul 2, 2016
I am not going to judge the bride or her parents --I don't even know the people involved.

The only experience I have is of course anecdotal. In DHs family (he has 10 siblings), there are many family members who help with his autistic sister and they have always found a way to include her in everything. She does not, however, touch others inappropriately. They work to redirect her and would not be okay with her interrupting a wedding ceremony. They have always given her some other job to include her. She has always done amazingly well. It's disappointing that this was aired all over but I guess the bride posted about the issue.
 

focusondisney

DIS Veteran
Joined
May 7, 2009
Definitely support this bride. I would also be concerned about any future contact with the sister has with any adult male. She should be taught boundaries to protect both herself & the man. Situations can get out of hand. I could see this poor groom having to protect himself from unwanted physical contact for years to come. Or possibly being accused of something he didn’t do if it does get out of hand. And for Pete’s sake, can you imagine if it was a disabled man mauling & pawing a young woman?? Would she be expected to put up with physical assault anytime she has contact with her in laws??? This young man shouldn’t have to live his life like that either. Plus the parents are already dictating that she will be taking care of her sister when they’re not able to??? For the sake of her husband & her own future family, I hope this young woman limits contact with her family.
 

Mackenzie Click-Mickelson

Chugging along the path of life
Joined
Oct 23, 2015
I am not going to judge the bride or her parents --I don't even know the people involved.

The only experience I have is of course anecdotal. In DHs family (he has 10 siblings), there are many family members who help with his autistic sister and they have always found a way to include her in everything. She does not, however, touch others inappropriately. They work to redirect her and would not be okay with her interrupting a wedding ceremony. They have always given her some other job to include her. She has always done amazingly well. It's disappointing that this was aired all over but I guess the bride posted about the issue.
I think that's why people are saying it's unfortunate for Anna. Lots of people have disabled (cognitive or physical or both) members in their families. How that dynamic plays out means different outcomes. It would appear in this situation the parents have created an unhealthy situation for multiple people and while Anna isn't at fault nor is the bride who has a difficult and uncomfortable situation no matter which one she chooses.
 

disykat

This person totally gets me
Joined
Jun 5, 2000
The biggest concern to me is that the bride made it all the way to adulthood with her parents still believing it was her job to care for her sister long term and calling it abandoning her to put her with caregivers.

I had a friend in college who said she would never marry or have a family because her parents expected her to care for her sister for the rest of her life. She had just accepted it. It makes me so sad that parents could be so selfish. I lost track of her so I have no idea what happened.

In my life I've known three adults that have thrived upon move in to long term care situations. All three families visited regularly with their family member (In no way abandoning them) and wished they'd known how much their loved one would love it and moved them earlier.
 
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ronandannette

I gave myself this tag and I "Like" myself too!
Joined
May 4, 2006
Neither side is right on this one. They are both wrong. I feel the most bad for the poor sister. She has clearly not gotten the supports she needs over time in order to function appropriately even as a member of her own family. Her behavior isn't appropriate, but rather than make the effort to teach her that, her parents seem to allow her to do whatever she wants. That's not okay. But also, the bride doesn't seem to be sympathetic to the situation either and thinks avoidance is going to fix the problem. It's not.
Having been the much younger, neuro-typical sibling of a profoundly mentally handicapped brother, I would bet that's not the case. I'd wager there have been years and years and years of "sensitivity" to the needs of her sister, and very frequent giving way to her, both out of duty and out of love. That's just the way it is in families with a single, severely disabled member. Under the circumstances described, it's not callous at all for the bride to want one single, special day without those stresses.
I’m with the bride and her parents sound like horrible people.
I would bet that's not the case either. My parents were wonderful, loving and engaged with me; always provided for me physically and emotionally and gave me a far happier childhood than many have had. BUT - BIG BUT...there was not one single day of my life that my needs or wants were put before those of my brother - never. All my milestone events and yes, even my wedding, were expected to take him into account, sacrificing wherever needed. I'd be lying if I said it wasn't exquisitely painful at times.

They didn't do it to hurt me, they often didn't even realize, and I resigned myself to it from the youngest of ages. Their commitment to his well-being was absolute; they saw it as their primary duty and mission in life and it created huge blind spots. They most certainly though were not "horrible" people. And I'd caution against so harshly judging anybody without having walked a mile...
 


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