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'AITA for accusing my stepmom of stealing $15k in jewelry?' Stepmom Responds. Pt. 1 of 2

'AITA for accusing my stepmom of stealing $15k in jewelry?' Stepmom Responds. Pt. 1 of 2


"I made a mistake and my stepdaughter wants $15k for it. AITA?"

I want to start out saying that I know the original issue here started because I made a mistake and did something wrong, but I feel as if I’m being punished beyond what should be expected, and need a way to fix it.

My stepdaughter Beena says she does cross stitch to lower her heart rate. I have never heard a doctor prescribe a craft as a medical aid, but usually roll my eyes and go with it.

This morning, we got into an argument where she said that her father only married me because I stalked him and convinced him he shouldn’t be a single dad. She then left to go to a friend’s house.

Here’s where I messed up, and I know I messed up. I took her project bag, she left it in the living room as she usually works on during family TV time, and got rid of it where I work. I am clear that this was wrong and I regretted it before she even came home tonight, but could not track down the bag with everything in.

I confessed what I did when she and my husband got home and apologized. My stepdaughter lost it, accused me of trying to derail her health, and demanded I pay $15,000 DOLLARS for some cross stitch.

I told her that was ridiculous as it wasn’t even finished and completed ones are often at Goodwill for $20.

She said that it was 200 colors of floss, and had over 200,000 stitches done on a piece that was 25 by 40 inches, and she wanted me to replace all the supplies and compensate her for all the work she put into it.

I said there was no way that she had done that much, it wasn’t even finished and she said when completed it would be nearly 600,000 stitches.

I said no way, that it was just a hobby and she ran out. My husband followed her and neither had come out of the den, and they won’t let me in.

I don’t have 15,000 dollars lying around to replace the cross stitch and I really don’t see how it is worth the cost of a new car. Is there a way for me to fix this without going bankrupt?

TL;DR: Threw out my stepdaughter’s cross stitch project after a fight and now she wants 15k for it. AITA?

Readers had a lot of thoughts on this one:

feista writes:

Absolutely not. Kick rocks 35 year old. She is at fault for laying her stuff around carelessly you could argue. It's insane she asked you for 15k. Insane. Is she really 35 and living there too?

OP Victoria - Yes, but she is disabled, which is why she still lives at home.

stala writes:

Why did you throw out her cross stitch stuff?

OP Victoria - Honestly, I was very hurt by what she said, and I lashed out emotionally to one of the things that were important to her. It was wrong and I know it, but 15k just seems insane.

stayena23 writes:

Look, I won't get into what a crappy thing this was. You clearly have issues that are beyond Reddit's pay grade, it'd be nice if some cross stitching could solve yours, but I doubt it.

Replace the materials, or pay her for them. If she wants compensation for her time and calculates it in $/hour spent, let her take you to court. She'll have to make a logical argument for whatever number she comes up with, and you can be stuck with what the court decides. It won't be 15k.

OP Victoria - I have never said that it wasn’t a crappy thing I did. I screwed up. I said that first thing.

fel09 writes:

You know what seems insane? Your decision to steal and destroy her artwork.

OP Victoria - I realize it was a bad decision. I reacted badly after so many years of abuse. I made a mistake.

polo0 writes:

There are a lot of problems to unpack. She's a grown adult living in YOUR house and appears to not treat you with respect. I'm guessing your husband is not standing up and helping set boundaries with his daughter.

It's quite ballsy to say something like that as the guest in someone else's home. I'm betting your real problem is with your husband... if he was in your corner would you be really resorting to childish passive aggressive ways of getting back at her?

I'm not excusing you for taking the bait... but I would not allow an adult (disabled or not) speak to me in MY home that way. You need to sit down with your husband and lay out expectations for how you should be treated. Her disability isn't an excuse to let her have free reign of the place and treat others however she likes.

OP Victoria - I don’t think she views herself as a guest, and instead sees me as an interloper in her home. My husband and I…she’s always going to be more important to him than I am, and if I make this a me vs her scenario, he will choose her.

chronique2 writes:

I'd see that as a serious problem. It'd be one thing if she was under 25... but she's a full on adult and you are with her for life. If she can go off to friends house (I presume drive) and do fine craft work... is she truly too disabled to do any work and support herself? I could be reading in to things...

but it sounds like she is a leach and your husband is enabling her. I absolutely understand your assessment that he might ultimately choose her over you. I don't think that's right.

OP Victoria - She cannot drive. Her friend picked her up in the morning and my husband picked her up from the friends when he was coming home from work. She has tried to get work, but we have no public transportation in our area, and most places require a license. She sells some seamstress work, but it isn’t regular.

OP Victoria added some more relevant comments:

He has saved all of the social security money from her mother’s death, as well as paid monthly into a fund for her since she was born to provide for her when he’s died. I don’t know how much is in it.

She did try to do transcription with Rev, but because her brain takes a few more seconds to process, she couldn’t realistically make it work. It’s also one of the reasons she can’t drive. Her reaction time is slow due to processing.

I know she got a degree in dental administration or something , but hasn’t been able to find work, due to needing to be at multiple offices. Or so she’s told us. I know she’s been to multiple interviews.

2. My husband is also 65 and plans to retire at 75. We both work, and both have retirement funds.

As far as how much he has saved up for her, I don’t know. I know he started the find for her when her disability was diagnosed by the doctors at nine months and he contributes to it with every pay check.

But, realistically, I don’t know that there is many other options. It’s not like she can magically become no longer disabled and learn to drive in order to get work. She does a lot of childcare and eldercare in walking distance for cash. Nothing is going to change the numbers, realistically. I don’t know what good it would do.

I won’t say it’s easy, but I love my husband. I’ve always loved my husband. That is what I build around when 'Beena' gets frustrating. At least I have him.

But I couldn’t love anyone else. I tried during his first marriage. Sure, they could love me, but it’s hollow when I can’t love them. Thirty to fifty. I wasn’t waiting for him during his marriage, as if he would cheat or anything. I tried to find someone else for over eleven years.

Victoria posted more comments:

I did try to retrieve them a few hours after I did it! It was just too late when I did. Also her cross stitch has nothing to do with mental illness. According to her, it’s physical. I have never raised a hand to her. I have tried to be a good stepmom, but no matter what I do, she hates me. I just snapped.

We have been in a relationship where she emotionally abused me from the beginning. It has never improved. She literally told everyone for years I was her nanny. I spent years trying to build a relationship, taking her on trips, taking her shopping, going to the movies or the park, trying to watch TV with her, none of it worked.

We’ve been married for coming up on 19 years this year. She lived away from home briefly while attempting college at 18, but only managed a year. My marriage is…always strained. The dynamic is not great.

I’m looking for a way to improve my relationship with my stepdaughter so that we can return to an uneasy peace. The fact that my husband is the love of my life, but I’m not his is something that is painful, but I’m used to.

I couldn’t be happy without my husband. I know that sounds petty, but it’s true.

Buying a separate home for her and paying the bills for two homes isn’t realistic. Perhaps a chair might work.

And now, Beena (Victoria's stepdaughter) shares her first post:

When this stepdaughter is disgusted by her stepmother's behavior and calls her out, she asks the internet:

"AITA for saying that no-one should aspire to be my stepmother in front of my dad?"

I (36F) am disabled and live with my father and my stepmother (Both 66) . We'll call her Victoria. My mother passed when I was seven, and my parents were married for ten years before that happened.

A year after my mother's death, people started pushing my father to remarry, saying things like "you need help with a special needs child" and "a single man can't raise a daughter" and that I "needed a stable mother figure in my life." My dad resisted all of this for over a year.

Eventually, though, he gave in and married Victoria, who has been obsessed with him since they were in high school. I hate her. We've never had a good relationship. She hates that I look like my mother, she hates that I'm his only child, she hates that he only married her because of me, and most days I think that she hates that I breathe.

With my disability, I can't drive and I move with a cane on most days. I take a few extra seconds to process [Victoria calls me "slow"] and in general just take a little longer to do things.

This past Saturday, I was do at the library for my twice monthly D&D session, and my dad was unfortunately stuck in an emergency call at work, so Victoria took me to the library.

While I was levelling to take on Strahd, she was spinning her own tale about what a good stepmom she was to the librarian an a few other ladies. I ignored it, even though I was really wishing my bard was a Barb so i could rage out.

As everything was winding down, one of the ladies who had stopped to talk to her was saying about how "my daughter should aspire to be as good a stepmother as Victoria was."

After nearly five hours listening to her version of our lives, I just snorted, and said "No one should aspire to be a stepmother who destroys her stepdaughter's cross-stitch, steals her predecessor's jewelry, and constantly belittles her stepkids."

What I didn't know was that my dad, not knowing that Victoria had stayed, had gotten home and knowing i would need picked up, came in the back just as I let loose.

Victoria is now saying that I caused the big fight they had, that I'm a "horrible person" that she has tried "everything she can think of" to make me like her, and that "I just want my father to be alone."

The gossip spread at her and dad's church and dad's been sleeping on the couch. I didn't lie, and I do hate her, but I see dad sleeping on the couch and hear the arguing and more than one person has said I'm ungrateful. So, AITA?

Readers had A LOT of thoughts about Beena's post:

rentee8 writes:

If your own dad told you that, HE is TA- and has spend the last 30 years triangulating the women in his life, creating this disaster.

OP Beena replied:

He told her when she wanted to date him that he would never love anyone else. When she proposed, he insisted on a prenup, that made it clear that it was a marriage of convenience only.

staok writes:

From a step-parents perspective, that's a MAJOR sacrifice she has made for a man she truly loves to put up with your rejection, hate, lies, accusations, all while likely heavily relying on her for support/care/assistance.

OP Beena replied:

So she has a right to denigrate me, belittle me, destroy my cross stitch that I use as a medical aid, and generally treat me like shit and I'm just supposed to smile and take it?

staok wrote back:

Your dad has failed to protect his wife by not putting you in your place and respecting their relationship, this, in addition to your opinion/comments on her intentions and that he doesn't love her, has caused resentment, that resentment led to some bad things from her end, eventually those things will cause the best of people to act out.

OP Beena replied:

What about their relationship am I supposed to respect? Again, I'm just supposed to be okay with being "that bitch's" "too dark" "broken" daughter who's "slow" and "not a real woman" and "will never be loved?" She married a man who told her that he'd never love her. She insisted that she was 'fine' with it.

solad5 writes:

You are an adult, imo both you and your dad are the biggest YTA here.

OP Beena replied:

Thank you for your judgement. I understand where you're coming from, and while I struggle with what you said, because it's so out there, I respect it. Different perspectives are why I came here.

2. Oh, I've always been the main beneficiary in his will. They never combined finances, and he has worked hard to try and make sure that when he does pass, I'll have enough to live on comfortably.

3. According to my father, he doesn't want a love life. He has always been clear why they were married.

4. Thank you. I feel a little bad because I know all she cares about is my dad, and her entire life revolves around him, but I honestly hate her.

5. -a. Because he has repeatedly said to everyone that my mother is the love of his life, and he only married her because "I needed a stepmother." b. We're not rich. Victoria has been obsessed with him since they were in high school together. c. The library in our town is small [like the town] and only has two rooms.

We do use the "main" room for D&D, but if others come in to read, we lower our voices and speak more quietly. The table we use is right next to the check out desk. It's not usually a problem because people only come in for a few minutes to use the computer or mostly, to gossip.

Maybe one book checked out every other session. d. She stayed to gossip. She knew when it would be over, and I had even gotten a friend to agree to take me home, but she decided to stay, and told me not to "burden the boy."

6. They both knew going in that it was going to be a "marriage of convenience." They have a prenup and everything. She proposed to him and he said yes, but she had to understand that. He didn't court her. It wasn't a romance.

She has told me that I look too much like my mother, and that I'm nothing but a bad reminder of her.

7. She stole the jewelry when I was about ten. I think he was convinced because real gold is soft and easily damaged. Now, I really should have them back, but she refuses anytime I ask or demand.

8. When she's disrespectful to me, or my mother, yes, I disrespect her in kind. I got a ride from her because no-one else was available a the time, and I hadn't been able to leave the house in a week. I largely don't "allow her to care for me" in any other real way at this point in my life. I do the cooking and my own laundry, for example.

9. I know what my reasons are for hating her, and she's been quite explicit in why she hates me. I don't think the reasons are "missing," although I didn't add them to the post because I was trying to stick to limits.

On my side: She has insulted and defamed my mother since she married my dad. She constantly says I'm "too dark to be pretty" and "you look just like that b&ch."

She deliberately tried multiple times to get my dad drunk in order to take advantage of him. (It failed) She deliberately messed with my health by maliciously destroying my cross-stitch. On her side: She hates that I'm my mother's daughter.

She hates that I'm the only child my dad will ever have. She hates that I "get all the attention." She hates that he loves me and my mother and not her.

10. He didn't see another way to keep me. He was going to work at 4am and not getting home til 6 or 7. He couldn't leave me home alone, and while he hired sitters as much as he could, moeny was a thing, and everyone started getting on him about how I needed a mother figure, and how single dads couldn't raise girls properly and how he needed a parent in the home while he was working, etc.

11. Destroying the cross stitch I use for my tachycardia is the only physical thing she's ever done. Mostly it's just words. Like how I'm "too dark too be pretty" and "it's a shame you look just like that bitch instead of [dad]" and that I'm not even a "real woman" or about how "broken" I am, and how it's "only fair" that I'll "never find love after you and your mother took him from me."

She also stole my mom's jewelry, but I don't know if that's classed as abuse or not. The thing is, I asked her not to wait. One of my friends volunteered to bring me home. The librarian told her when it ended, so she could just come back -- but she stayed to gossip with her friends.

What do YOU make of these warring perspectives? Is Victoria TA or is Beena? And that's not all. The drama continues in Part 2.

Sources: Reddit
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