One mother took to the forums to ask for advice about her relationship with her daughter. After some earlylife difficulties, she is trying to make things right. But she feels like her role has been usurped by her sister-in-law. She is hurt that her daughter has formed a deeper bond with someone else and seeks to drive a wedge between them to create space for herself.
AITA for keeping my daughter away from my sister in law?
During the first four-ish years of my daughter's life my husband and I had many fights and struggles. At one point he was living with my daughter and his brother for almost two years and we nearly got divorced. My daughter bonded very strongly to his brother's wife.
Covid opened my eyes and my husband and I have healed a lot and I am repairing my relationship with him and my daughter. I attend sobriety groups and parenting classes. I understand these things take time.
However he continously brings my daughter to visit his brother and her wife. If you ask my daughter she'll say her favorite person is her aunt. My daughter can't help this but my sister-in-law certainly can.
She is always calling my daughter 'my baby', taking her on outings, etc. She will FaceTime my husband just to speak to my daughter. She seems to not want to relinquish the place she took in my daughter's life.
A few weeks ago I took my daughter to get her ears pierced for her birthday. This was supposed to be a special moment for us, it was the same birthday my mom took me. But instead my daughter started panicking uncontrollably and wanting my sister-in-law. She didn't want to do if without my sister-in-law there.
At this point I decided to put my foot down. I have been trying to decrease the visits and the FaceTimes. But now my husband is catching on. I try to explain my daughter needs to spend time with us as a family without outside influences, and she needs to bond with her mother without being confused.
He says I am being selfish. I don't see how it's selfish to want to repair my relationship with my child. He says that it is unfair to my daughter, and I explained yes it is but he is making it a thousand times worse by not ripping off the band aid.
I have worked so hard to get my family back, meanwhile my husband will not even give me an inch. It's frustrating that I am always made out to be the bad guy when all I want is to fix things. AITA?
YTA. You’re not trying to repair anything. You’re trying to hold your daughter hostage so you can feel like a mommy, without actually having to put in the work. Your daughter refused to do something scary & painful without the adult she trusts not to abandon her.
Let that sink in. You don’t win your daughter’s trust by stripping away everything that makes her feel safe. Just to be clear. YTA.
I just wanted to say I understand the impulse. My MIL moved to town last year. Before that she lived quite far away. She's a wonderful, energetic grandma, and my kids adore her. They spend a least 1 night a week with her.
Every now and then I find myself wanting to limit their time with her, and I'll make excuses, like, she gives them too much junk food, but honestly, I know it's just jealousy that I have to be the vegetable and homework enforcer and she gets all the fun.
And I know that's not the same as your situation, OP, but the reminder I have to give myself is similar to what you should say to yourself. That reminder is simply, our children deserve ALL THE LOVE they can get. This world is tough enough without us letting our egos dictate our parenting.
Let her have access to ALL THE LOVE. Your love, her father's love, her Aunt's love. All of it. Just let her have this and she will see that you're trustworthy again. That you want what's best for her, rather than what's best for you. She'll come back to you if you stop being an AH.
Having jealous thoughts is normal for everyone. It’s all about how you act on it. When my ex first remarried, I struggled at first. I was worried they’d like her “better” bc she was the “fun mom”.
And then one day it hit me, just how fortunate my sons are to have two moms & two dads instead of just one of each. And that my children would always love me, bc I’m their mother. And they’ll always love their father, bc he’s their father. And it’s ok if they love someone else, bc we don’t have a limit on how many people we can love.
'I have worked so hard, meanwhile I am not being rewarded as I think that I am entitled to be. It's frustrating that other people act as though they have feelings when all I want is for them to be players in my life's drama.' YTA.
'He says that is is unfair to my daughter, and I explained yes it is but he is making it a thousand times worse by not ripping off the band aid.'
So your solution to win your daughter's love (who is estranged because of your behaviour) is to hurt her?
People can love multiple people, you know... There's no limit on how many people one can love. But forcing someone out of your daughter's heart will brake your relationship for ever. You have so much time to heal your daughter... You missed too much of her life and she found a safe heaven in her father, uncle and aunt.
I would be forever grateful that someone loves my daughter so much that was there for her when i wasn't (even if it wasn't my fault from the beggining). You act like you don't even try to bond with her. You came back into her life and expect that this would automatically give you full access to her heart. That's not how it works.
You must work to win her back. Banning the people who love her is the first step in the wrong direction - losing your daughter for ever. Instead embrace that love that surounds your daughter.
I think a good solution would be to actually spend time with both of them, play dates, where your daughter can see that there's nothing wrong with her feelings - because there's not. Your daughter needs to feel comfortable in your presence. Right now she's not because you truely care only about what you want and what you feel instead of what she wants and what she feels.
There's so much bonding time in the rest of the 24 hours in a day and it's frustrating that you cannot see this. Even small stuff you could do for your daughter (not for you) - brush her hair, sing her songs, watching cartoons, playing together with her toys, reading her stories, looking at the pictures from her birth till now and talking about how much you loved her ever since she was growing inside of you...
Between the 2 of you, you are the one who made mistakes. You are the adult. You are the one who must repent, rebuild. That is - if you really want to.
YTA. Your husband is right: you're selfish. Your relationship with your daughter can't be forced by keeping her away from people she loves.
I’ll bite and probably get a lot of dislike over this. I abandoned my son and husband. Because of severe mental health issues, I was not able to be a mother and ended up in several psych situations. I’ve finally gotten the help I needed. Therapy, medicine, support, etc. and been back in my son’s life for 2 years.
It has taken 2 years for him to say he feels like I am Mommy again. Two years for him to trust me enough to feel safe. And I have worked f*cking hard for every minute of it. His memaw stepped in a lot while I was away. He slips and calls her mommy occasionally. I have told him that that is ok. She was his mommy for a while when I couldn’t be here.
DO NOT TAKE THE PEOPLE SHE FEELS SAFE WITH AWAY FROM HER.
YTA if you don’t give her some space and just show up. The one thing that runs through my head constantly when I feel like I’m doing a sh*t job is “just show up”. There were times I didn’t think I would make it. And leaving him was the hardest thing I have ever done. Coming back and facing my consequences changed my life even further.
Every day is a fight and every day I find yet another part of me that I need to work on. Another thing I need to fix so that I don’t bleed out all over everyone. My son does have trauma. We will break the generational trauma. He is in therapy, every week. I am in constant contact with the nurse and school counselor. He has really blossomed this year.