The name we choose to go by is, both, incredibly personal and something that others should respect.
Unfortunately, sometimes other people think they know what’s better for us, including the name we go by.
One guy was rudely confronted by his mother about the nickname he’d gone by his entire life on the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Now that Redditor Cross52 was considered a “man,” his mother expected his name to “grow up,” too.
After they’d argued about his preferences, the Original Poster (OP) honestly wondered if he was somehow in the wrong.
He asked the sub:
“AITA for telling my mom to get off my case when she demanded I stop using a nickname I’ve used since childhood?”
The OP had a nickname that he loved.
“I am a 21 (Male). So, yesterday was my stepfather’s (whom I’m close with) birthday, and we all decided to go out to a nice restaurant for a meal. We all got together at my stepdad’s place.”
“Now, to provide context here, I have a nickname that everyone that knows me uses. It’s what everyone refers to me by, and I’ve used it since I was 7.”
“It’s ‘Cross’. Yes, that is actually it in real life. I like it, mainly because when I was a kid, it was one of those ‘cool-sounding words’ to me (I was a weird kid lol) and it shared one thing in common with my actual name; they both start with ‘Cro’.”
His family continued to use it for the last decade and a half.
“Just before we were preparing to leave, my step-sister asked me to go get her phone. She said it like this: ‘Hey, Cross. Could you go get my phone for me? I left it in my room.'”
“I said yeah, sure. I quickly ran upstairs to get it from my sister’s room. Once I found it, I exited the room only to find my mother at the front of the staircase.”
His mother addressed him about it that afternoon.
“My mom told me she wanted to have a private talk with me before we left. I asked what about.”
“She said, ‘Honey, I think it’s time you let go of that silly nickname. You’re a grown man now. Grown men don’t use childish nicknames like that.'”
“She said that she doesn’t approve of me using that nickname when I’m an adult and that she would like me to tell everyone to start using my real name.”
“I told her no, not happening. I’ve used that name my entire life.”
“Besides, I use my real name for important stuff, like signing documents, applying for jobs, etc.”
“She told me that it doesn’t matter.”
“I told her if it doesn’t matter, there’s no problem with me using it. It’s not harming anyone.”
“She got upset and asked me if I didn’t appreciate the name she gave me.”
“I said no, and told her that ‘Cross’ is just something that stuck to me.”
“She got upset and told me that she’s not happy that people still call me that.”
“I told her that’s her problem, and walked off.”
“This had repercussions later. She was quiet the whole night and was sulking mostly.”
His mother had a surprise for the family that evening.
“When we got back to the house, she said that she had something important to discuss.”
“She told them that I would like them to stop using ‘Cross,’ because apparently I feel belittled by the name and that I don’t want to be treated like a child.”
“I got pissed at that, and snapped at my mom, and said ‘Get off my case. It’s a f**king name, why are you making such a big deal out of it?'”
“She started crying, saying she was only trying to help me.”
The OP’s mother lashed out after that.
“Everyone left after that.”
“I don’t think I was in the wrong but my mom has been calling non-stop, saying how mean I was and that I embarrassed her in front of everyone.”
“A few aunts and my grandma are telling me that I was out of line and that my mother was just trying to look out for me.”
“My grandpa, step-father, and sister are telling me that my mother is making a big deal out of a name, and to not worry about it.”
“I still feel I’ve done something bad.”
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 said the mother should respect the OP’s chosen name, plain and simple.
“NTA. Your mom is being controlling and needs to stop. She really crossed the line by trying to speak for you.”
“I changed the name that I go by more than 20 years ago, and my family doesn’t call me by my chosen name. It’s very frustrating and feels disrespectful.” – squirrelyb***h
“I think you’re NTA.”
“You’re the one who has to feel comfortable with being called a name. if you prefer the nickname, that’s your name. End of discussion.”
“I go by a nickname 80% of the time that only has two letters the same as my full name, and it’s never been an issue with anyone (other than my parents messing with me occasionally, haha).”
“Your mum needs to chill out and not force any ‘stereotype’ of you ‘being a man’ by losing a name you enjoy. Definitely NTA.” – 1800anony
“NTA. Just because she’s your mom, doesn’t mean she’s always right.”
“It’s your name/nickname and therefore your choice. Her problem with it is her choice and hers to deal with.”
“Sounds a bit attention seeking/controlling on her part to insist that you, a grown adult, use a name that she wants you to use.” – BubblyVariation4104
Others agreed and were alarmed by how poorly she accepted it.
“Your mom seems a little unhealthily hung up on this. It’s not like it was in a professional setting someone called you by the nickname.”
“It was at home with family. Which even when people do use their full name, nicknames still get carried on in the family.”
“H**l, I still use my nickname outside of family and I’m 26. You tried to handle it calmly. Then she tried to throw you under the bus and lie. She’s in the wrong.” – Pixiegirl128
“Why is getting rid of this nickname SUCH a big deal to her? I could understand if it was a nickname people were calling her, but it’s not.”
“Like, my daughter is in her late teens and knows that I will always call her ‘Squeaks’ while her grandpa will always call her ‘Smallish Bear’. Heck, I’m 36, and my dad still calls me ‘Cheese.’ Those are lifelong nicknames (although only used by certain family members).”
“Also, who in their right mind has a private convo where OP says ‘No, I don’t want that,’ and then immediately goes to a room full of family, including OP, and says, ‘OP wants [thing OP said they didn’t want],’ and expects OP to just play along? That’s bonkers to me.”
“NTA She embarrassed herself by not respecting your wishes and then lying to everyone in front of you.” – OpossumJesusHasRisen
“Yes. I definitely feel your mom could be a narcissist.”
“She exclaimed that SHE didn’t like people calling you ‘Cross.’ Narcissists normally see their children or partner as an extension of themselves rather than their own individual, so they will control every aspect of you to fit their perfect mold to uphold their sparkling image.”
“Also, the playing the victim when called out is another red flag of narcissism.” – Alarming_Summer6406
Some were appalled by how his mother lied to their family.
“She blindsided you in private about it and you were patient and polite. Then she chose to lie to other people about it and you called her out on it.”
“The ‘just trying to help’ argument is such a trashy cop-out that people use.” – Jon_Jraper
“Your mother bringing it up the first time was fine, but you clearly stated you like your nickname and don’t want to change it.”
“Then she lied to your family just because she doesn’t like the nickname and you called her out (quite aggressively). What did she expect to happen? NTA.” – linniepoes
“NTA. You can be called whatever the h**l you want and, in all honesty, Cross is a really cool nickname, I wouldn’t want to give that up.”
“You maybe could have handled addressing her in front of the others in a better, less snappy way, but at the same time, she was incredibly forceful and selling a lie to get what she wants, so your reaction was fair game.” – PoisonIvyNumberFivey
After receiving comments, the OP shared an update.
“Some of you brought up the possibility that my real name has some special connection to my mother, which is why she may have been so aggravated about my use of my nickname.”
“I talked to my grandpa in regards to that, and he said he didn’t know anyone with my real name or anything related to it.”
“We suspect the reason my mom wanted me to stop using it is that since I don’t live with her anymore, she no longer has any control over my life, and was just desperate for something she can control. That’s my take on it, in any case.”
“Unfortunately, this ain’t the first time she tried to pull some entitled crap like this, and if I know her well enough, it probably won’t be the last.”
“Ah, well. I was already low-contact before this event took place anyway, so if she tries anything else, I’ll cut her off.”
“Anyway, thanks again for all the good advice and support.”
Though a few did say that the OP could have reacted to his mother in a more muted fashion, no one saw an issue with him setting the record straight in front of the family.
The only embarrassment the mother had, the subReddit argued, was what she brought on herself.
If the OP had remained quiet, they were concerned he would have given up part of his identity and his agency, which is a much larger concern than a moment of discomfort.