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'My stepmom tried to donate my kids' clothes behind my back. I want her to stay away from us.' UPDATED

'My stepmom tried to donate my kids' clothes behind my back. I want her to stay away from us.' UPDATED

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There are few worse feelings than finding out someone went behind your back.

"My stepmother tried to donate my children's clothes behind my back. I don't want her near my family anymore."

For context, I (34F) live in Brazil. I'm not sure how well other countries are being informed of this, but the state of Rio Grande do Sul has been going through a devastating flood that is engulfing entire towns and affecting thousands of people. My family doesn't live in Rio Grande do Sul, but we, like many others, are donating to the survivors.

I live in an apartment with my husband (37M) and our children (10M and 6F). A couple weeks ago, we organized some of our kids' old clothes to donate. My father and stepmother told me that they were donating their clothes as well, and offered to stop by, pick up our clothes and donate everything together. I agreed.

The day of, I had an emergency at work. I left the clothes in two bags by the front door, gave my father the password to our place (we have a keypad lock and change the code frequently) and asked if he was okay stopping by while I wasn't there. He agreed, but later told me he was busy, and his wife would go instead.

Some time later, my stepmother texted me, confirming she'd gotten the clothes. When I got back home, both bags were still there. I instantly got confused. I started pondering what clothes my stepmother had picked up, which led me to check my kids' closets. Sure enough, half my daughter's clothes were gone, as well as about a third of my son's.

I called my father. Thankfully, they hadn't taken the donations anywhere yet, so I was able to get everything back. My stepmother explained she couldn't find the bags, so she just went to the closets and picked up whatever looked like it wouldn't fit them anymore. If anyone else had done this, I probably wouldn't be this upset. Sure, the bags were right by the door, but I've been inattentive before.

It happens. But knowing my stepmother did this drives me mad in ways I can't describe. My relationship with my stepmother has always been bad. She was emotionally abusive towards me and my little sister when we were young. I could write a book about the damage she caused, but there's one particular part of the abuse that's relevant here.

Early in her relationship with my father, she put on some weight. When she started making efforts to lose it, she decided the entire family needed to do so as well. She told me (then a preteen and only slightly overweight) and my sister (this started when she was 5) that we were obese, forced us both into increasingly restrictive diets and tried to monitor what we ate at our mom's place.

We were too young to understand what was actually going on, so my mom didn't realize how ab#sive the situation was until years later. From that moment on, our contact with our father (who joined in on the restrictions most of the time) and stepmother was mostly limited.

We both managed to reconcile with our father, but the damage had been done. To this day, I have a complicated relationship with food. Years later, my stepmother was diagnosed with BPD. She's still in therapy and has apologized, but I never forgave her and I never will. I'm cordial with her, but only for my father's sake.

She's tried to make comments about my daughter's weight before, but me and my husband (and sometimes my father) always shut her down. Every time my stepmother buys her clothes, they are at least two sizes too big (we always exchange them).

My daughter is actually small for her age, which only makes this more ridiculous.

Looking at the clothes she tried to steal from my kids almost made me weep. Every single piece was either brand new or just fit them perfectly. Some of their favorite clothes were there.

There's an astronaut onesie my daughter got for her birthday, literally two weeks ago, that she's obsessed with. Four of her favorite dresses, some of her costumes, her ballet uniforms (?!) and a few shirts she also loves were almost gone forever as well. She stole less from my son, but still took many of his favorites as well. I'm cutting contact with my stepmother.

My husband agrees with me. I don't care how much therapy she's done or how much she seems to have improved, I don't want her anywhere near my family ever again. This was the last straw, I refuse to let her damage my children the way she damaged me. But I don't know how to talk to my father about this. We've both put a lot of effort into our relationship, and I don't want to lose whatever we still have.

Commenters did not hold back one bit.

DifficultCurrant7 wrote:

She stole from your children. I hope you've changed the code so she can never set foot in your home again. She's proven she can't be trusted! I'm so sorry you've tried to be the better person and keep her in your life bit she doesent deserve you, she sounds awful. I'm glad you got the clothes back, especially the onesie!

Whenwilthisbeover wrote:

I'm so sorry for the childhood you had to endure. She definitely did this on purpose. I don't even know where to start. What a horrible woman. Even without the horrible history, what she did was a violation of you and your children. She doesn't get to enter your home, rummage through your children's clothes, and take things as she likes.

It's 2024, she couldn't find the bags (total f-king lie) she could call you or your husband. But, no, she did it on purpose. I can't tell you how to talk to your dad, but I can tell you for sure that you're in the right. I would be very upset too and hurt. Especially for your babies. You're a good mother for trying to protect them from that.

The one thing about your dad though is that he failed to protect you as a child and he brought that woman to your life. His feelings are not your job. He dug his own grave and should be held responsible for it. If he wants to be part of your life, he has to put the work in. It's not your job. I wish you the best, and I'm sorry you had to experience this.

Lizardgirl25 wrote:

WTF is wrong with your step mom…I am sorry I am glad you got everything back. F- her and keep her away from your family!

3ThreeFriesShort wrote:

You are putting your kids first, good for you.

I once had to remove my father in law from our home, and it really upset the kids. You are avoiding any potentially upsetting confrontations from happening in the safety of your home by removing her from the guest list.

OP responded:

I'm very glad to know my kids won't miss her much. She's tried to play a "grandma" role with them, but they don't really see her as that.

real-nia wrote:

You’re making the right decision. Just be honest with your father, explain everything you just told us, from your trauma to the clothes she knew were your kid’s favorites. Try to stay calm and patient if you can. It will probably be hard for him to accept, but tell him that you are trying to protect your kids, that she already hurt you and your sister and you won’t let it happen again.

Let him know that she did this on purpose, without a doubt. She could have called to ask where the bags were, instead she not only took clothes from the closet, but chose their new and favorite clothes on purpose.

OP responded:

The only thing I have to add here is that I don't think she knew they were my kids' favorites. In my daughter's case, I think she was just looking for whatever said 6 or 5 on the tags. My daughter was a preemie and is still a little small for her age, but my stepmother refuses to accept that clothes these sizes can fit her.

I also don't think she was as invested in stealing from my son, given that she took a much smaller amount of his closet. A pattern I did notice in his clothes is that she mostly took graphic shirts. There is one particular shirt (with the clown from the movie "It" on it) that I remember hearing her complain about in the past.

Ten days later, OP shared an update.

I spoke to my father a few days ago to inform him that my family would be cutting ties with his wife. There's not much to say about the conversation itself, but we did have a small fight about it. From his perspective, I think it was more of an "I'm upset" fight than a "I think I'm right" fight, so it wasn't too hard to get him on my side.

I had written a draft of what I'd wanted to say, but I only used half of it. I focused on the facts first, as that's usually what works with my father: his wife raided my children's closets without permission and stole clothes they still wore and treasured.

I also sent him a picture of the bags I'd left by the door, which proves she couldn't have walked into my apartment without seeing them. Another topic I brought up was the way his wife ab#sed me during my youth, and how I'd seen traces of that behavior towards my daughter.

Over the years, my stepmother has apologized for how she'd treated me more than once. I never bought it. She would say those things, but never change anything about how she acted. No amount of therapy, education (I don't think I mentioned this, but she's a psychologist) or conversations will ever be enough.

Even if she somehow did change, she will always be the person who made me spend my entire youth hating everything about myself. The only reason I remained civil towards her was because my dad loves her (for whatever reason). I was fine with her seeing my kids because it usually happened in environments I could control, but I never left her alone with them.

Whenever she offered to babysit, I made it very clear that would never happen. I'd rather drive halfway across the city to leave them with my MIL than allow my stepmother to tell my daughter she's fat. I sent pictures of the clothes she'd tried to steal to my father. He recognized many of them as pieces my kids had worn weeks prior, as well as ones he'd bought for them.

The ballet uniform stood out (I still have no idea why she stole that one), as he'd paid for it and insisted it wasn't cheap. I also included pictures of the tags: while the ones on my son's clothes seemed mostly random, my daughter's read either 5 or 6.

That is her size, but my stepmother has always refused to accept that. Once I'd told my father all of the above, he agreed that there was no way she'd stolen those clothes by accident, and it was best for me and my family to distance ourselves from her.

I can tell he's hurt by this, but it's not me he's upset at. Even if it was, he knows my kids are my priority, and he can't change my mind on this. I allowed him to tell his wife. She's trying to contact me, but I've been ignoring her calls and texts.

Before the week is over, I'll decide whether to block her or just keep her on mute. My children aren't dumb. They will notice her absence. But I don't think they'll care much, as they were never close with her. She tried to play a "grandma" role with them (mostly just trying to push them to call her that), but it never worked.

It's great to know my kids won't miss her. My husband and I are trying for a third (and last); and I'm glad they'll never even meet her. I'm still very upset. As much as I've always known she would never change, stealing from my children was something I could have never imagined she'd do. But I am much better than I was last week, which is enough for now. Thank you for all your love and advice.

Commenters kept jumping on.

Right_Weather_8916 wrote:

I suggest keep her # on mute, and create a phone file to send the messages/texts to. If needs be you can show your father what she is saying to you.

I am sorry she is such a rotter.

genescheesesthatplz wrote:

Get everything from her in writing and record all conversations with her. If she insists on a call sent a follow up text with a summary of everything she said and demand she confirm that’s what was said.

Lann42016 wrote:

Great job. Maybe this will be what finally wakes your dad up to what a horrid hag he’s married and does something about it. It’s now affecting him directly cause I’m sure contact with your kids will go down for him too if he’s with her. Here’s hoping anyways.

Jederflux-Scifi wrote:

I'm really proud of you for standing up for yourself and your children.

Sources: Reddit
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