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Daughter's hurtful reaction to mom's tumor behavior leads dad to shun her. + Devastating Update

Daughter's hurtful reaction to mom's tumor behavior leads dad to shun her. + Devastating Update


"AITA for no longer being close to my daughter after she ignored her mother/my wife when she was very ill?"


My daughter is 19, still very young but old enough to know what she did wrong. 5 years ago, my wife, her biological mother, began to exhibit very strange behavior. She would say weird things, make impulsive decisions, and act strange.

She and my daughter would clash often. Now my daughter always was a daddy’s girl but she was still close with her mother. I honestly thought my wife was going through a midlife crisis and dealing with the pressures of working while raising a teen and we had a come to Jesus talk.

About six months after the start of that behavior, my wife ended up in a really bad accident. When they were performing emergency surgery, they found a ball sized tumor pressing her brain, which was the cause of her initial behavior.

My wife ended up having to relearn everything from walking to talking. She was still reeling from the effects of the accident and the brain tumor and was mentally and physically disabled for a while.

Our daughter refused to be in seen in public with my wife. She hated the mess of the wheelchair and her mother’s condition. She would also just ignore her mother and speak to me all the time sometimes even about her. She saw my wife as a burden and would complain to people, to the point where the school called me.

At the time I was just struggling to get by and I couldn’t alienate my daughter. My wife needed a lot of care and my daughter was in a difficult stage of her life that I couldn’t abandon her in. When my daughter went off to college, I was sad but also somehow relieved.

My wife still needs a wheelchair sometimes and she has difficulty with some things but she has honestly improved so much. It really solidified our love for each other and our belief in our marriage.

My daughter is coming for summer break after exams. I don’t know why but I feel uncomfortable with her staying for this long. I feel like the sense of closeness I had with her evaporated when she treated her own mother callously.

I don’t know what to do. My wife is very excited to have our daughter come but I don’t want to see her heartbroken. I’ve tried getting over it and talking with my therapist but I just can’t feel emotionally close with my daughter and I’m sure she’ll notice. AITA?

Edit: I don’t know where any of your assump about my wife are coming from. Her mother was never abusive in any way, including mentally or emotionally. When I said my wife did or said strange things, she had regressed in some ways to a child which was exacerbated by the accident.

For example, she would go on and on about a show she watched. She couldn’t tell a story. She would spit out food if she didn’t like it. My daughter would never have been put in a bad situation.

Here were the top rated comments from readers after the OP's initial post:


Is family therapy an option? Your daughter was 14 when her mother started acting very weirdly and then had a massive accident. I bet your daughter was TERRIFIED at the time. Give her a chance and try to see her for who she is now.


Honestly I think the issue here is that your daughter was a young teenager when your wife's behavior essentially alienated her. Yes the tumor isn't her fault but it still caused damage.

So when the accident happened your daughter had already mentally and emotionally pulled away. Then the accident and it sounds like you focused on your wife's care.

Which while understandable that she needed help and support your daughter also needed support from her parent. So your daughter likely blames her mother for ruining her teenage years and taking you away from her.


I was 14 when my mother had a traumatic brain injury. It was really rough and she had to relearn how to do the same things your wife did, largely. While I didn’t go the route of your daughter, I did feel very odd.

As a child you’re used to your mother always being there for you, and seeing your protective and parental figure helpless is traumatic in a way. Therapy seems like a good option individually for her, and then family therapy.


NTA, but make it clear to your daughter that she's only welcome there if she treats your wife with respect. she's lucky that her mother is still so excited to see her, after all that cruelty from her.

The OP responded here:


I have made it clear. She rolled her eyes and agreed but I am worried.

My wife loves our daughter so much.


I would talk to her again and tell her if she rolls her eyes again she isn't coming home. She sounds horrible and I would not subject your wife to such cruelty when she is still so vulnerable.

10 days later, the OP returned with an update.

"(Update) AITAH for no longer being close to my daughter after she ignored her mother/my wife when she was very ill?"


Mother’s Day was terrible. I don’t know why I’m updating this. Maybe it’s for the few people can sympathize. A lot of the prior comments made untrue, horrible accusations about my wife. My wife was never hurtful or even mean, not in any state. It makes it so much harder to understand why our daughter would be so cold to her own mother.

My wife’s mental state before the accident had regressed into childlike behavior, which is concerning but not the cause of my daughter’s coldness. My wife would spit food out back into her plate, bluntly say it tasted bad and the wipe her nose with her sleeve like a child.

I made the error of thinking she was having a midlife crisis because she bought an expensive dress because it was soft. She would forget to do things, her responsibilities.

Mother and daughter clashed because she would tell stories with no beginning and end, just rambling. She would ask the same questions over and over. She would promise to pick her up or bring something and forget. Things that would annoy a teenage girl.

The tumors were concentrated in the back of the head. When she got into the car accident, it made everything worse. She needed to relearn everything. She is still disabled. We had high expectations for our daughter but she set them higher for herself.

She had a dream school, where she wanted to go since she was 12. It meant that I had to chauffeur to so many activities throughout high school and sacrifice a lot to make sure she got the opportunities she wanted. It meant leaving my disabled wife in a longer term care facility to hopefully recover. It was Covid so there were long stretches where we didn’t visit her.

When she came home, my wife was still largely nonverbal and wheelchair bound. She needed help with everything from eating to going to the bathroom. I earned a little as a caregiver on top of my regular job.

My daughter was so cruel and cold to her mother at that time. She was never expected and never did take care of her mother so it wasn’t caregiver burnout. She would hate if her mother came outside with her and would later blame it on the wheelchair, saying it was bulky and attracted attention.

She would ignore her mother and moved away to distance herself physically. I ended up getting a call from the school because a classmate had overheard what she said about her mother and reported it as ableism.

I don’t know what she said. All I know is that she was very cruel to her mother. I had her in individual therapy and we did therapy as father and daughter. It was her choice to stop.

My daughter ended up getting into her dream college. They had an accepted students weekend and she demanded that her mother stay home even though parents were invited.

By that time my wife had made leaps and bounds in progress and was disappointed to stay home. I went and tried to be a proud father. At least she let her mother go to graduation. My daughter came home a few days ago. Her exams were earlier.

She informed us that she earned a research position with a professor for the summer. My wife was overjoyed, writing a card all on her own about how proud she was and she wished she saw her daughter grow into accomplished young woman. How proud she was to share this moment. My daughter looked sick with guilt. I know what that looks like.

On Mother’s Day, I made a comment that she couldn’t ignore her mother today. She told me to stop saying that. I made another comment about how proud her mother was of her and how much she loved her. I was doing it on purpose.

It ended up with her saying she regretted what she did. I always had my suspicions. I interrogated her until she tearfully admitted she hated what her mother had turned into and she hit her mother once and she was ashamed to be around her because of what people thought.

We got into a shouting match and she yelled at me that I was so focused on everyone else’s behavior because I regretted my own. It’s true in a lot of ways. Because of Covid, there were limited visiting hours.

But I still didn’t visit as much as I should have. I left my wife in a facility to focus on our daughter but also so that it would be easier for me. There are no siblings, no grandparents to help. I didn’t visit as much because I hated how much my wife would sob when I had to leave.

I started feeling guiltier when I read a news article about a nurse being sentenced for assaulting a woman in a coma. I thought about my wife. She was nonverbal, had limited short term memory, and wheelchair bound.

I wouldn’t know what would happen. I tried to convince myself that it was fine but all I did was find more and more news articles about abuse at care facilities. I would have nightmares.

I pulled my wife out. I took months of work. I finally got her home. She was taken care of but not like I would have. There were a few knots in her hair, bruising, sores. I won’t lie, the care was brutal.

Now, I had to juggle taking care of my wife and making sure my daughter was supported and able to reach her dreams. And it was hard seeing my wife like that. She was accomplished and intelligent and now couldn’t do a puzzle or eat on her own or go to the bathroom by herself. There was a huge learning curve and they assigned a nurse to come see my wife every few days.

My wife is so sweet. I attend a caregivers support group and I feel guilty because my wife doesn’t have the fits of temper or the rage or the depression that others did. I felt guilty for being tired. Some had it a lot harder than I did.

She got better and over time it was like she was almost back to her old self. And she never lost love for either of us. it hurts that she blames herself for how our daughter treated her.

Maybe I shouldn’t have let my daughter focus on prestige and appearance so much, maybe I should’ve realized the signs early on and exposed her to others. My daughter and aren’t speaking. My wife just wanted a happy family. I’m looking for therapy for us as a family.

Here were the top rated comments from readers in response to the OP's update:


Oh this is so heavy. I have no idea what to say. I commend you for your strength, being the primary caregiver to a teen and disabled woman must’ve been soul crushing. No matter what I wish you all nothing but the best!


Sometimes....not always...but sometimes, the choices our kids make and the people they become hurts us very, very deeply. There are times, and my wife and I had to deal with this, where just permanently separating from our offspring is the only thing we can do that will allow us to have a happy, peaceful life.

To regain some level of happiness. I hope that, however your situation turns out, you and your wife do find that happiness again and live happily ever after.

The OP responded here:


I can’t give up yet. I just have to have hope that she has changed for the better and that we can rebuild somehow. My wife would be devastated to be estranged from her baby.


Your daughter likely felt irrationally abandoned by her mother, and like many teenage girls, lacked the emotionally maturity and empathy to grasp that her mother wasn’t doing anything she did to deliberately hurt her.

My mother had mental and physical health issues that now, in my mid 50s, I can empathize with and understand, but as a teen and young adult, her behaviour made no sense to me and I felt alienated and angry as a result.

In your daughter’s case, yes she should understand, as your wife’s tumor was discovered, that the changes in her mother were not anyone’s fault, and it sounds like she’s getting there.

But she’s still dealing with a host of complicated feelings - anger, grief, guilt, shame, hostility etc. that she’s clearly still struggling to process. Hopefully, eventually she’ll get there and grow up enough to forgive herself and apologize to her mother and you.

In the meantime, I think you’re NTA for losing your cool with her, and pushing her a little about how she treats her mother, and insisting that she act more considerate even if she doesn’t want to. Sharing your own regrets and guilt and struggles may eventually help her too. And, you can take space from her if that’s better for your wife and you.

You can tell her what your terms are for how she treats her mom if she comes around, and let her live her life otherwise. And get whatever supports you need to process the pain and anger you feel about the situation, regarding both your wife and daughter.

So, what do you think about this one? If you could give the OP any advice here, what would you tell them?

Sources: Reddit,Reddit
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