Some wounds run deep. And if the pain is suffered as a child, those memories are formative experiences that dictate so much of a person’s ongoing outlook about the people and relationships in their life.
That can create some difficult challenges to navigating family dynamics as an adult. Add kids of your own into the mix, and the complexity only grows.
One Redditor, known as EntertainmentOwn1116 on the site, found herself knee deep in those complications recently. She outlined the experience in a post to the “Am I the A**hole (AITA)” subReddit.
The Original Poster (OP) set the tone with the post’s title:
“AITA for telling my estranged father that he and his wife can be grandparents to his other kids future children?
First, OP offered some key backstory.
“My parents divorced when I was 15 because my dad had been cheating on my mom with a co-worker of hers. My younger brother was 13 and my sister was 12. I became estranged from him around that time.”
“My siblings followed suit. My full siblings anyway. I have two half siblings who are older than me and my other siblings. They were jerks to us because we were angry our dad hurt our mom, etc. And they made it clear if we didn’t want our dad they didn’t want us.”
“So ever since I consider him my estranged father and not even my dad.”
Then OP jumped to present day, and how it all shook out.
“I am now married and I have two little boys. I only see my father and his wife once every three years or so when there’s a paternal family event of some kind.”
“Last year there was a milestone birthday for my grandpa and throughout the day people went to see him. When I was leaving my father showed up and he saw that I had kids.”
“After that he tracked me down on social media and started saying how he and his wife would love to be grandparents and how she was unable to have kids, so no bio grandkids and all that stuff.”
“I replied once and told him that he could ask his other kids if she could be grandma to their future kids because they were not welcome in my life or the life of my kids. He responded several more times but I just ignored him.”
OP now was forced to navigate contact with her father.
“He then decided to get my great-aunt involved and say that my boys deserve to have more loving grandparents if they grandparents are willing and that I made his wife cry when I wrote what I did and I was insensitive.”
“My reply was she was insensitive to sleep with a married man with three children but apparently that was no big deal.”
“And it goes beyond that. To how she treated my mom at work while the affair was happening. She even got fired over it because she was bullying another colleague of my moms too.
OP felt all-but certain about where she stood, so she roped in the Reddit community.
“It’s not the type of family I want around my kiddos.”
“They’ll be fine with a loving grandma from me and two loving grandpa’s from their dad.”
“So tell me AITA for what I said?”
The anonymous strangers of Reddit weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
Most Redditors sided with OP.
Many felt her father’s old behavior was the long and short of it.
“NTA. You owe this man nothing, and his audacious demands to “play family” now don’t require a gentle response. You were right to put your foot down fast and hard, I doubt anything less would’ve gotten through his skull.”
“He chose her, if he doesn’t get grandkids through her, oh well. It’s not your problem.” — pocahontski
“NTA, your dad doesn’t get to pick and choose the parts of your life he wants to be involved in and opt out of the rest. He left you and the rest of your immediate family in a very selfish way, and now he has to deal with the consequences of that.”
“I suppose there are nicer ways to have phrased what you said to his wife but she sounds awful too so I can’t blame you for snapping.” — bluerosecrown
“NTA He screwed things up a long time ago, and seems to not really have tried to atone or mend anything, and frankly even if he had, you don’t owe him that. He’s been a non-presence in your life, he can continue to do that.”
“And your great aunt who decided it was her place to get involved can get bent. None of her business in the first place.” — RageofAeons
Others pointed to how transactional OP’s father’s motives were.
“He only wants back in your life because his wife cannot have children of her own and they want to scratch the grandparent itch.”
“There is nothing in his request that shows any remorse for what he did and what they put you through as a child. They are both selfish.”
“You’re absolutely right to keep your boys away from these toxic people and I would block anyone who tries to convince you otherwise.”
“Your estranged father and his wife made their bed when they embarked on their affair, now they’re going to have to lie in it.” — ImStealingTheTowels
“NTA They can still adopt and potentially have grandkids that way.”
“Your children are not an accessory for pretend doting grandparents. Tell the flying monkeys to go screech somewhere else or find doors and windows closed to them too.” — bluerosecrown
And plenty of people responded with blunt outrage.
“NTA. You are protecting your children from toxic people. Good for you.” — curiouserthangeorge
“NTA- I never understand why parents think they raised such a stupid person who will basically say, ‘Sure, you ruined my childhood, now you may do the same to my children. Please have them home by 4’.” — MrsBarneyFife
“Aww the homewreckers wanna be wholesome grandparents now. How cute. NTA.” — zennyc001
“It’s funny when jerk parents decide to tell you what to do after you’re independent.”
” ‘you should…… ‘ ‘No’ ‘<silence >’ ” — willbeach8890
“NTA Oh cry me a river, boo boo for them. Care factor zero, Well done for going no contact and keep it that way. They lack morals.” — devocat78
Perhaps growing up without a set of grandparents is far better than growing up with a pair of them who have questionable motives.