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Woman upsets dad, changes name; 'I don't exist to be a reincarnation of your mom.' AITA?

Woman upsets dad, changes name; 'I don't exist to be a reincarnation of your mom.' AITA?


"AITA for telling my dad I don’t exist to be a reincarnation of his mother?"


I (30F) was named after my deceased grandmother, Phyllis, whom I never got the chance to meet. She was the matriarch of my dad’s side and her death left a great impact. I was the first child in the family born after her death. My mom says she really didn’t want to name me this but my dad strong armed her.

This name has been difficult for me in a number of ways. My dad refused to let me go by a nickname all throughout my childhood. The other kids still found ways to mock me. Such as calling me “Phil” and telling me I had a boy’s name. Then in my teens, they’d ask me if I wanted to be “filled”. Now, I know kids can find anything to tease people with but it certainly didn’t help.

The larger reason it was hard is I felt like I had to live up to a ghost. It doesn’t help I look just like her. I was constantly reminded of the legacy I had to live up to. Any time I made a mistake, I was told I needed to uphold the honor of the name.

Keep in mind, I have always listened to my dad’s stories, learned about the history and I greatly appreciate that I was named after someone so amazing. And I tell my dad this, even though I say I’m not a fan of the name.

In college, I decided to reinvent myself and began going by Lissa. In time, people began to assume my name was Alyssa and I just went with it. To the point that’s all my friends, colleagues, etc. called me this.

My family was aware but would still call me Phyllis which I accepted for the time. My dad made his disappointment clear but I told him all that mattered is he got to to call me it.

I also explained why the name was difficult to me several times, both growing up and as an adult and he told me the meaning behind it was greater than bullies and that I should be honored to have such a legacy.

I got married last fall and it was an issue for my dad that the officiant called me Alyssa, that Alyssa was written on all the wedding decorations and invitations. When I went to hyphenate my last name with my husband’s, I also chose to legally change my name to Alyssa. I had my grandmother’s middle name as well my whole life and I kept that as it was never an issue (it’s Marie for those curious).

The issue for my dad is that his family has grown used to calling me Alyssa. I never asked them to, but they chose to do so. My dad has said that I was wrong to change my name and that I should feel honored. I tried to explain my reasoning and he said it hurt him that I didn’t care enough.

I got mad and said I cared enough to respect him calling me Phyllis and never correcting him. I respected him by always validating his feelings and never telling him he was wrong, while he always brushed mine off.

But if he wanted the truth, I wasn’t born to be a reincarnation of his mother. I am my own person and it’s not fair for him to put his grief on me. This really upset him. My mom said I pushed it too far by saying all of that. I feel bad he’s upset but I don’t know if I agree I was wrong. AITA?

Here were the top rated comments from readers:


You know, bullies don’t like it when you push back. Your dad got exactly what he deserved. You are not your grandmothers never were and it was wrong of hm to put that crap on you your whole life.


NTA. "I was told I needed to uphold the honor of the name."

You were being held to some impossible standard. Your grandmother was never perfect, so how could you be expected to be some ideal and unrealistic form of a person?


NTA . You were right to change it.


NTA. Your dad needed therapy not a daughter to replace his mother! He comes off as a bit toxic and quite self-absorbed, and your mother comes off as an enabler. I would go LC with him if he keeps bothering you. But hope what you said was a wakeup call to him.


NTA. Your dad is an ah and frankly is lucky you haven’t told him to sod off and cut him off given how completely he disregards your feelings every chance he gets. Who cares if your grandma was a saint, the most beautiful woman, a queen, a whatever.

The point is you don’t like the name and as it’s YOUR name, you can decide what you want to be called. That he keeps choosing this as his hill to die on, and your mom backing him up shows how entitled an attitude he has and an utter lack of empathy for all you’ve endured with that name.


NTA. You have the right to choose the name that feels right for you and your identity. Your dad's grief is understandable, but it shouldn't be a burden that dictates your life. It's important to prioritize your own well-being and comfort.

So, do you think the OP made the right call or was she hurting a memory her father was trying to honor and keep alive?

Sources: Reddit
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