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Woman considers making visiting mom follow 'food rules' from her childhood. UPDATED

Woman considers making visiting mom follow 'food rules' from her childhood. UPDATED


People who are used to getting away with mistreating others hate nothing more than getting a taste of their own medicine. Which is why is can be so deeply satisfying to give them just that, even if that means you're being petty.

In a popular post on the AITA subreddit, a woman asked if she's wrong for wanting to give her mom a taste of her own behavior around food. She wrote:

"WIBTA if I implemented the same rules regarding food that my mum enforced upon me when growing up?"

My mum (40f) is coming to see me (19f) in two weeks - for the first time since I started university. For some context, my family moved abroad a year ago and I haven’t seen them since. The distance has given me time to reflect on some of my mother’s strange, obsessive behaviors regarding food, and I’ve since realized that some of her actions were somewhat abusive, however, I use this term very lightly.

To outline the situation, we were never allowed to take food from the kitchen without asking. If we were caught doing so, it was called ‘stealing’ and we would be shouted at and/or sometimes punished. It escalated at some point to locks being placed on the cupboards, a transparent meat lock being placed in the fridge and a camera being installed in the kitchen.

She would monitor how many times a day I’d be in the kitchen. If I had been in the too many times she would chastise me, saying that I’m obsessed with food, obsessed with always being in the kitchen, and that I have serious ‘food issues’. During secondary school, I was never sent to school with packed lunch, nor was any money put on my card so that I could buy food.

At some point, I started to cook the family dinners, and the leftovers would always be allocated to my stepdad, whilst the rest of us would go to school with nothing. We would sometimes get takeaways for dinner, but often times my mum and stepdad got takeaway only for themselves, saying that we weren’t allowed any.

Now, the instance in which I could possibly be the a-hole is that I plan to treat my mum as she treated me in regards to food when she visits. I told my boyfriend of my plan to enforce these rules, that there will be a curfew for the kitchen, that she is not allowed to take or eat food without permission - and if she does so I will call her a thief.

I was also thinking of ordering food for myself and telling her that’s she’s not allowed any. I honestly just want to show her how ridiculous she is about food. But at the same time I just want to be petty because why not. My boyfriend is telling me that I’d be immature for doing this, and that since my relationship with her is already difficult, I’d be better off taking the high road rather than adding fuel to the flames.

My dad and sister also agree. Whilst I can’t deny that doing this would be immature, I can’t help but feel that she deserves a taste of her own medicine. So WIBTA?

People had very strong reactions to this.

Busy-Magician-6309 wrote:

Definitely NTA. Your mother deserves a taste of her own medicine.

tialaila wrote:

I mean why, why bother she's not going to apologize you're not gonna get any of the gratification you want, you'll just be secretly hoping she'll get annoyed so you can have a proper argument about it, just don't let her come.

Inevitable-Force2342 wrote:

Thinking about it, I can't give a vote here, but a suggestion. When she comes by, sit her down and have a talk like "I know you are used to different things, but in MY house eating is okay. It is allowed to go to the kitchen any time one likes and get something to eat. If anybody orders takeout everyone needs to be asked if they want something."

"Do you get this? It might be different, but I assure you, eating when one is hungry is totally okay here." You might even resort to asking her if she is hungry/wants something, and then inviting her to dare to visit the kitchen like speaking to a toddler. It might not be as harsh as what you planned, but will get your message across, while also demonstrating how far you have come.

LimitlessMegan wrote:

I’m not a fan of using diminutive terms with strangers, it just feels condescending, but I REALLY want to start this comment with one so you get that I’m saying this with all kinds of Internet Mom Love…

What you just described is abuse. Not “lightly” abuse, but straight-up abuse. Your mom abused you. This is abuse. Neglect. Deprivation of basic needs and resources. Your mom straight up, hard-core abused you. And I’m so sorry. You deserve better. You deserved to be loved. To be put before her own needs and wants.

To be fed, and more than that nurtured. And you weren’t through no fault of your own. I’m going to say NTA for the bot, but I’m going to tell you: don’t do this plan. It won’t work. It won’t accomplish anything for you and it will probably end up in an explosion and further (verbal/emotional) ab*se towards you.

If your mom saw you as a commodity or a belonging when you were young, she still sees you that way. She is not going to be capable of “getting the lesson” you want to show her. I have a feeling doing this will only make YOU feel worse and have little to no impact on her.

But listen, you don’t have to put her up if you don’t want. Talk to your partner and devise a plan for removing her early if needed. This is your first time spending a lot of time with her since you’ve come to the realization that she is actually your abuser. Make a backup plan for if this turns out to be way harder than you think. Also, research Grey Rock strategy and use it <3 Hugs, if you want them.

Complex_Machine6189 wrote:

NTA, but your boyfriend is right. Nothing good will come out of this, it will only deepen the rift. And btw, it wasn't ab*se-ish, it was abuse. She let you starve. a wonder you haven't developed an eating-disorder. I would rather at some point call her out for being an abusive parent.

Also, consider therapy - when she did stuff like that, I wonder what else she might have done which has left scars? Your mother was (and is?) ab*sive. That isn't a weird quirk, this sounds more serious than you think.

After receiving lots of strong feedback, OP jumped on with an update.

EDIT: Okay damn like I didn’t expect this post to actually get much interaction. But I would like to clarify a couple of things: To all the people who’ve been calling it abusive, I’m unsure of how to feel about that. Like it did hit me at some point that this wasn’t normal, but it’s not as bad as I was making out. Like I feel like I need to clarify that the situation wasn’t as severe as I made it seem.

From around age 16 she was less strict, and the locks on cupboards were removed as well as the fridge safe. As I got more financially independent I was able to buy myself food whenever I wanted, even though this annoyed her sometimes. The only time I guess I was ‘starved’ was at school during lunch. Otherwise, I wouldn’t call this being starved, I was just somewhat monitored around food.

To all the people telling me to cut her off, I find it hard to completely resent her because she is my mother, and I recognize that she has done a lot for me. At the same time, that doesn’t excuse her behavior. I’ve realized that she is a narcissistic parent, so I’m not expecting much/or any accountability from her.

It seems clear, at this point, that OP isn't ready to cut her off. Whether she'll go through with her plan, still seems unclear.

Sources: Reddit
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