I (56F) have twin daughters Ava and Susie (25) with my husband (57M). Ava and Susie have always been complete opposites but they were best friends up until just before they both moved away for college.
Ava got into one of the best schools in the country and moved across the country for it and Susie got into a good school but not as great as the one Ava got into and this is where the problems began. Susie started making digs at Ava and making jokes that the college only accepted her for diversity reasons.
Ava wouldn’t let Susie say mean things about her without fighting back so it was basically an entire summer of fighting and hostility in our household no matter what my husband and I did to try solve it.
Susie’s situation at college wasn’t great. She was expelled in her second year for substances on campus. She had to move back home and go to rehab. Rehab failed a lot of times but we didn’t give up on her. Ava would come back home several times a year to come see and support her sister.
We were doing whatever we could to help Susie get her life back on track. Last year was the first time Susie’s rehab actually worked for months after she finished the treatment and she even got a part time job.
Things were and still are looking promising. She is now working 30 ish hours a week, she’s exercising and writing poetry and painting. We’re so incredibly proud of her.
Ava graduated with an undergraduate and a master's degree. My husband and I flew in to her city for both graduations. Susie couldn’t come for Ava’s masters graduation because she said she couldn’t take time off work. She hasn’t taken time off work the entire year so I’m kind of doubtful that she would be denied time off but I didn’t push the issue. I figured she just didn’t want to go.
Anyway my husband and I went and we took loads of pictures, some of which I posted on Facebook. A lot of my friends and family were commenting on the post congratulating Ava and wishing her well. I got a call from Susie like 30 minutes after I posted it, asking if I can delete it.
I asked her why and she couldn’t give me a reason at first. I said I’m not deleting it without a good reason since all I did was post about Ava’s graduation. She said if I keep posting about Ava’s achievements and none of hers, she’s going to look like a failure to everyone and they’re all going to wonder why Ava has done so well in life and she hasn’t. I said I don’t post her because she doesn’t ever want me to.
I once wanted to post the very first big canvas she painted onto Facebook and she asked me not to because she thinks it’s not something good enough to post or be proud of in comparison to what other people her age are achieving.
I always try and assure her that we are proud of her and how far she has come is something she should also be proud of herself for but she still doesn’t ever want me to post anything about her on Facebook, so I don’t.
I told Susie that her feelings are valid but Ava deserves to be celebrated, and that maybe she can talk about her feelings about this whole thing with her therapist and find a way to cope because living like this isn’t fair to either of them. I said I want to post about her achievements too and how proud I am of her but she won’t let me and that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t do it for Ava either.
I was going to ask Ava whether she minds if I take it down but honestly I think Susie needs to deal with this problem with her therapist instead of forbidding us to celebrate Ava on social media. I don’t want her to continue living like this and I don’t think me conceding this time will be helpful to either of my daughters in the long run.
Susie said it shouldn’t be this hard for me to do something so minor that will make her feel better. I don’t know if I’m being completely awful or if I have it right. AITAH?
NTA. Ava’s accomplishments deserve to be celebrated. Don’t take that post down. When you get home remind Susie that you have tried in the past to post work you were proud of and she told you not to.
Find something to put up of Susie’s accomplishments soon- maybe a general “so proud of my daughter Susie and the creative path she is pursuing” and run it by her, reminding her again that she can’t get upset that “you only post about one daughter” while actively preventing you from posting about her.
NTA. You are completely right. She needs to work out how to cope with her therapist. This seems like it all started because she couldn't cope with her sister have more success. Instead of focusing on herself and what she needs to feel fulfilled she focused on her sister and it made her miserable. Her sobriety is still relatively new. She is acting like a dry drunk.
That's someone who isn't using, but still is exhibiting the toxic behaviors that lead to using. She is embarrassed about not being more successful. Instead of facing those feelings she wants her sister to suffer. She doesn't want her sister to be happy or proud and she doesn't want anyone supporting or congratulating her. She sees her sister's successes as her own failures. As long as she is in this mindset she won't get better.
Also, she won't let you celebrate her for a few reasons. One is because she doesn't feel good enough to be celebrated, but second, she is afraid of what will happen if she doesn't live up to praise or she relapses.
Again, these are things she has to work through with a therapist. She won't be happy until she starts living her life for herself and focusing on her own goals and not worrying about where she is in comparison. You handled it as well as anyone could have!
I wouldn't even talk to Ava about taking it down unless she approaches you first. Why hurt Ava's feelings because Susie is jealous? Even if Susie is regretful of her life choices, she still has to own them.
Taking responsibility is part of rehab, for gosh sakes. Also, two different people, two different approaches. They've outgrown the need to be treated equally. This is not a competition. NTA.
NTA. It’s not fair to Ava to have to dim her achievements because Susie can’t handle seeing her doing well, she has to deal with her own jealousy issues instead of pushing them onto others.
NTA. You can’t dim Ava’s light because Susie doesn’t want to see it.
NTA. Ava shouldn’t be punished or diminished because of her sister’s self-induced issues.