We’ve all had one of those items that carries with it incredible sentimental value, no matter what the financial price tag was on it.
It can be really hard when the other people in our life don’t understand or appreciate the significance of it to us, empathized the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor PROM15E-BEL13VE saved up over 300 dollars to pay for her prom dress and accessories, and she specifically selected a dress she could wear again and again, which gave her a boost in self-confidence. While it was just a dress to other people, it was an important fixture in her life that she paid for herself.
When her mother and grandmother went behind her back and took her former prom dress, with the plans of dramatically altering it for her younger sister, the Original Poster (OP) felt deeply betrayed.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for not letting my sister use my prom dress that I paid for?”
The OP had a prom dress that had become very important to her.
“I know it might seem a bit stupid, but this is important to me. It is currently an argument with my family.”
“I (25 Female) had my prom in 2017, and I bought my entire prom outfit for myself due to my family not having the best income. I saved for over a year to be able to buy my dream dress and jewelry (everything in total was about 300 dollars, which is a lot for us).”
“I had an amazing time and that dress is very important to me since I have never had the best self-confidence, and it made me feel beautiful.”
“It’s not the typical ‘prom dress;’ it’s more of a flowy summer dress, so I’ve been able to wear it since. Most recently, I wore it to a wedding.”
“I didn’t bring it with me because I live in a dorm room and I could only bring the essentials with me. Once I move to a bigger place, I plan on bringing all my stuff to my new place. The dress is currently at my cousin’s place, and since this happened, I might bring it back with me when I go home.”
The OP came up with an alternate solution when her younger sister asked to use the dress.
“Now my sister, Annie (18 Female), is going to her prom later this year, and she asked if she could use my dress as well. She loves it and wishes to use it.”
“I told her that I would prefer that she didn’t since it is so important to me (I have Autism and ADHD, which make it hard for me to let other people use my things).”
“She said okay and said she at least wanted to ask, but she was fine with finding another dress.”
“I said she was welcome to use the jewelry, and she already planned to wear the hair accessories. I also said I’d help pay if she wanted since I am pretty stable in income.”
“Annie thanked me and said we could go shopping together.”
But the OP’s mother and grandmother didn’t respect the sisters’ solution.
“Now, I live about three hours away from my family due to school and I don’t go home often due to not having a car. I came home last week, two days early as a surprise, to visit as my nephews (my cousin’s kids; she’s like a sister) are getting baptized.”
“When I walked through the front door to my parents’ house, Annie was wearing my prom dress, and my grandma and mom were taking measurements.”
“I asked them what they were doing, and they said that I was being an AH for not letting Annie use it. She is my ‘baby sister’ after all (my mom’s words).”
“I got upset and screamed at Annie to take it off, which I later apologized for. I found out she believed I changed my mind because my mom lied to her and said I had agreed.”
“I yelled at my mom and grandma because they tried to go behind my back and even change the dress to better fit Annie. She is 155 pounds, and I was almost 300 pounds when I last wore it, so it would never be my dress again if they altered it.”
“I cried and yelled at them. As soon as Annie came back with my dress, I took it and packed it up, saying I’d stay it with me to my cousin’s house. I might also take it back to my dorm now and figure out a safe way to store it until I have more room.”
The family was divided over the issue.
“Now my family is torn. Some people agree with me and some say I’m an AH for not letting Annie use it.”
“I don’t feel like I was in the wrong for not letting her use it. After all, it was all my dress that I paid for, and I even offered to pay for her dress!”
“My sister thought I agreed to it. We have talked about it and I apologized for screaming. She also apologized for listening to what our mom said. The two of us are on good terms and I don’t blame her for believing our mom.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some were baffled by the mother’s and grandmother’s disrespect of the OP’s boundaries.
“It is not sharing, it is stealing.”
“Sister asked, was told no, sister respected that no. Mom is the issue here. She does not get to decide what is done with OP’s property that OP paid for.”
“It is flat-out altering the item. After alterations, OP would never be able to wear the dress again. Taking a garment that is sized to fit someone 300 pounds and trying to make it fit someone 150 pounds is a lot of material on the cutting floor.”
“OP doesn’t even need to have a ‘thing.’ No means no. Not wanting one’s dress to be chopped up for someone else is a reasonable thing.” – Scorp128
“It’s a $300 dress that OP paid for that her mother and grandmother were going to steal from her and alter beyond repair for her sister who is a significantly different size than she is. That’s not childish. That’s theft.”
“OP has every right to be upset with her mom and grandmother for trying to steal and ultimately destroy her property without her consent. How would you like it if your mother walked into your closet and started cutting up clothes that you had every intention of wearing again?” – mdm224
“Your mom and grandma had no right to give or lend your dress out. Your original offer to your sister to go shopping with her and help pay for her dress was a legitimate act of generosity.”
“You really should store your valued possessions at your own home. It’s too easy to lose track of things left in our childhood homes. Our parents do have a right to declutter their own homes and over time may think certain items left behind are abandoned.” – toebeantuesday
“NTA. You and Annie had already agreed that you’d help her, just not by letting her destroy your dress.”
“If you two were the same size, it might be a different thing. But to modify the dress that much would change it into an entirely different dress, so what would be the point?”
“Now, as to the real AHs. Your mother and your grandmother had no f**king business doing what they did. I am also neurodivergent, and I can guarantee that your unwillingness to share doesn’t come from that, but from your upbringing.”
“It’s not Annie’s fault that she appears to be the Golden Child. But you have, I would guess, suffered for it.”
“Your mother and grandmother are real AHs. And you can tell them that for me, a mom and grandma.” – McDuchess
“NTA, but your mom and grandma sure are. You are an adult who paid for your own gown, and you have made your feelings clear to your sister. Your mom and grandma went behind your back and lied about your change of heart.”
“No sense is including her in your anger, unless you believe that she went along and lied to your mom and grandma about what you had said. None of them had the right to do what they did.” – FerretLover12741
Others reassured the OP that it was okay to keep something that was important to her.
“Classic case of ‘meddling mum’. There was no issue concerning the dress until your mum stuck her nose in and created the problem. Your family needs to respect your belongings, your wishes, and your boundaries that go along with them.”
“Not only was she disrespecting your boundaries by letting our sister ‘use it’, but was also going to completely alter the dress which would’ve literally just given your sister the dress and ruined all sentimentality the dress has for you.”
“If your mum had a photo of herself with a passed-on relative, and someone else wanted to put it in a frame that was smaller than the photo, your mum would be furious if that person were to cut or fold the photo to make it fit in the frame. It wouldn’t matter if that person gave the photo back, cos now it wouldn’t be the same photo cos it’d be either creased around a certain parameter, or it’d be cut and a bunch of background would be missing.”
“Her opting to change your dress is a selfish thing to do on her part because she’s not putting herself in your shoes to consider how you’d feel about it.”
“My advice; gather anything important to you, get a chest with a lock to put it in, and hide the key well (I suggest either keeping it on you at all times or finding a place where no one will think to look).” – Gamerthon98
“NTA!! I would take everything out of your mom’s and grandma’s home that is important to you. Buy a heavy-duty chest (you can get some nice ones on clearance-online all the time) with a special steel lock, that you have to saw off an electric saw, if you lose the key. The lock is around 12 to 15 dollars and worth every penny!! She crossed a serious boundary.” – East-Excuse199
“Whether we are neurotypical or neurodivergent, our experiences shape who we are and what triggers us. As your mother and grandmother refused to accept that this dress was yours and attempted to guilt you into sharing it after they were caught outright stealing it from you, I suspect this is not the first time you or your possessions have been redistributed by your mother and you’ve been called selfish for not agreeing.”
“Instead of blaming your neurodivergence, ask yourself WHY you should let people have your things? Yes, sharing is important, but everyone has things that belong to them that they don’t share and different comfort levels regarding what they will and will not part with. Maybe the reason you are hypersensitive to not letting other people take your things is because, for so much of your life, you weren’t allowed to say no.”
“To put it more bluntly, will your mother expect you to share your significant with Annie because she’s your ‘baby sister’? Will you be expected to give Annie your house someday because she’s ‘family’?” – Historical_Agent9426
“NTA. The moment someone lies about the situation, they are the AH. Your mom and grams are the a**holes here.”
“Whatever you feel is important to you, take it with you, and store it safely. Don’t trust them with anything important anymore. But do help your sister since she had nothing to do with what happened…” – LisaCabot
“NTA. Your mom and Gramma disrespected boundaries. I am so glad you and your sister worked it out and she was understanding.”
“I recommend getting all your important docs and sentimental items and putting them in a locked trunk or locked storage unit until you get a bigger place.”
“Since you don’t have a lot of space to spare, get those important things out first, and for anything that isn’t important to you, leave it behind. You can always replace it if necessary.”
“I would also go LC (low contact) with Mom, Gramma, and any other relative on their side.”
“They disrespected you and your boundaries and lied to your sister. Period.” – mccracken214
After receiving feedback, the OP shared an update:
“Thank you all for your help. Please don’t blame my sister for this. She and I have talked it out, and we’re on good terms. We will buy a dress together once her prom gets closer (May).”
“She’s looking at prom dresses online, and once it gets closer to her prom, we, our two sisters and my cousin I mentioned in the original post, will go shopping (our mom already said she will not be coming).”
While a prom dress might just be a dress to most people, the subReddit could understand why this dress was so important to the OP and why she wanted to keep her dress the way that it was rather than let it be altered beyond recognition.
It was clear the OP needed to create some distance between herself and her mother and grandmother, and not just by going back to her dorm.
When she commutes back to her dorm, she should probably take all of her important belongings with her, just in case the two women decide to borrow or alter anything else, and maybe she should think about how much of a presence she wants them to have in her life going forward.