In a quest to protect his daughter’s self-esteem, the Original Poster (OP) finds himself in a conflict with his wife’s mother and her potentially damaging gifts. When a birthday package arrives, OP’s protective instincts push him to a decision that sparks household tensions. The family reaches a climax, leaving everyone questioning whether OP’s actions were justified.
A Long-Lasting Union
OP has been married for 15 years and shares two children with his wife: a 14-year-old daughter and an eight-year-old son. Their life is generally peaceful, but there’s one major source of contention. That source is the wife’s mother and her harmful beliefs.
A Disturbing Gift
Two years ago, OP’s daughter received a book about crash dieting for her twelfth birthday from her grandmother. This was not just any book; it promised rapid weight loss. The daughter was heartbroken, affected deeply by its insinuations.
Active and Happy
The daughter is a picture of health: active, diligent in her studies, and above all, happy. However, her grandmother has a different viewpoint. She believes the girl could grace magazine covers if only she’d shed some pounds.
The Protective Father
Since learning of the grandmother’s damaging views, OP has been vigilant. He has worked hard to prevent unsupervised interactions between the grandmother and his daughter. This extends to gifts that might carry the older woman’s toxic messages.
An Unexpected Message
As the daughter’s fourteenth birthday approached, the grandmother reached out. She messaged OP asking for their new address, impatiently moving on from her daughter-in-law after only a short wait.
A Quick Diversion
Instead of providing the real address, OP supplied a fabricated one. He felt it was necessary, fearing he wouldn’t be around to filter any potentially harmful gifts. He wanted to shield his daughter from any further emotional pain.
A Returned Package
Time passed, and soon enough, OP discovered the consequences of his choice. The fake address did not exist, leading the package to be returned to its sender. The grandmother and OP’s wife were both angry and in the heat of the moment, the wife provided the correct address.
An Unexpected Day at Home
On the day the package was slated to arrive, OP chose to work from home. He wanted to be there when it arrived so that he could intercept and evaluate the contents. The anticipation was thick in the air.
The Revealing Package
The delivery was made, and OP promptly opened the package. Inside was a baton-twirling uniform, a nod to his daughter’s hobby. At first glance, it seemed innocent, but there was a subtle catch.
Sized Too Small
The uniform, although beautiful, was conspicuously small—two sizes too small to be exact. OP felt it was a deliberate move, another attempt to send a disparaging message to his daughter about her weight.
A Difficult Conversation
With the uniform as evidence, OP confronted his wife. He expressed his belief that the gift was another calculated move by her mother to force her weight loss message on their daughter. However, his wife remained in denial.
The Ultimate Decision
Feeling frustrated and keen to end the matter, OP made a choice. He discarded the uniform, placing it in a neighbor’s garbage bin. But he did so with the neighbor’s blessing, hoping to erase the memory of another painful gift.
OP’s unilateral actions did not sit well with his wife and her mother. Both were furious with him, feeling he had overstepped, and made a rash decision. The family dynamic was strained to its limits.
OP felt he had acted out of love and protection for his daughter. Needing a sounding board, he shared his story with friends and colleagues, hoping for insight. For OP, it was about standing up to harmful ideologies and beliefs.
The Battle of Perspectives
Everyone involved had their perspective. The grandmother believed she was offering guidance, the wife was caught between her mother and husband, and OP felt he was the guardian of his daughter’s self-esteem.
Was The Father’s Behavior Appropriate?
OP posted his story online for feedback and validation from the internet community. The readers in the forum had a lot of mixed views on the matter.
One reader said, “You don’t have a MIL problem. You have a wife problem. It’s time for you and your wife to have an honest discussion about how she views your daughter’s weight.”
Another Commenter Thinks
Another responder wrote, “OP has a HUGE problem at home if the wife agrees or treats this 14-year-old girl like grandma. Grandma and wife are fine with giving this 14-year-old teen insecurities, eating disorders, and needing years of therapy.”
A Third View on The Story
A different person stated, “The wife is probably the first victim of MIL’s diet culture brainwashing, which I suspect is why the wife is having difficulty seeing the actions as being as harmful as they are. OP is doing the right thing in protecting the emotional well-being of his daughter.”
A Final Perspective on the Matter
Another reader commented, “I would make an appointment for couples counseling and talk to the counselor about this issue, how your wife doesn’t have concerns. You two do need to communicate and get on the same page.”