The need to help others is a natural one.
Especially when the one who needs help is our child.
The trouble, of course, is that first we have to identify what the actual problem is or if there even is a problem before we can help fix it, otherwise we are liable to make things worse.
That was the issue facing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) Ashamed-Ad-4707 when they came to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for judgment.
“AITA for telling my wife she’s controlling”
OP began with a clarifying statement.
“Look, I love my wife, but, she has a penchant for getting into business that isn’t her business.”
“Our daughter came home for Thanksgiving.”
“This was the first time we’d seen her since Christmas. She lives halfway across the country and is still in her first year of this job of hers that she finds very fast-paced and stressful.”
Everything was fine, until…
“We were very shocked when we went to pick her up from the airport and saw that she’d put on a lot of weight since we last saw her.”
“While my feeling was, as I mentioned, shock, I decided to move past it and focus on the important thing at hand which is that she was home and she was in good spirits.”
“When we got home, my wife made up a story that she needed my help updating her phone.”
“When it was the two of us alone, she flipped out over our daughter’s weight, tried to think of why it’d happened, what we should do about it. What we should say?”
“When I told her that I was not going to say anything to her and pointed out that, at 25, our daughter is an adult and can do what she wants, my wife dismissed that as b*llsh*t and said that if our daughter’s weight gain continues, she’ll partially blame me.”
“I told her that I’m just not aiming to be as controlling as she was trying to be. She called my labelling of her as controlling to be ‘unfair'”.
OP was left to wonder if they had been wrong.
Having explained the issue, OP turned to Reddit for judgment.
Redditors weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors decided: NTA
Commenters pointed out the daughter’s age.
“Your daughter is way too old to be having her parents make unwanted comments about her appearance and weight.”
“I’m certain she is well aware of her weight gain, and anything your wife might say would be really hurtful, and likely not well received.”
“She’s an adult. Her weight is 100% her business.” ~ Outrageous_Rise
“If your daughter wants to talk about her weight or get advice or something she can bring it up herself because that indicates she’s comfortable talking about it.”
“25 with a stressful job is when my anxiety/depression hit its first big peak and changes to my diet and medication caused noticeable weight gain, I knew it happened and why, my mom bringing it up would have crushed me and made my depression harder to fight.”
“And this is just one of many possible reasons for weight gain that should not be called out. You are NTA OP and you were right to say your wife is being controlling.” ~ thaliagorgon
Others pointed out that the parents didn’t have enough information to have opinions.
“And there are lots of reasons for weight gain, including the stressful job, many medications (esp for anxiety), etc.”
“Wife’s comments fall far outside the standard: can the thing I want to comment upon be quickly fixed by a discreet comment? Spinach in the teeth, yes. Weight gain, no.” ~ Prudent_Plan_6451
Many were more concerned about daughter’s mental health than her weight.
“Jumping in here to say, please don’t comment on her weight. Instead, check in with her and make sure she’s happy and in a good mental place.”
“If she gained a lot of weight in a very short amount of time (not a year, I’m talking a few months) there may be some depression going on.”
“But the focus shouldn’t be her weight. They will help nothing.” ~ BelkiraHoTep
“Yeah, I think if they wanted to focus on anything, it would be the reason behind the weight gain.”
“Yes, can gaining a bunch of weight be unhealthy?”
“But metabolism also changes when you aren’t a teenager anymore, so it’s not an immediate red flag.”
“I think just taking the time right now to check in, make sure she’s doing ok, how’s work, how’s life, all of that good communication.”
“If she’s gained an alarming amount of weight like your wife is saying, then it’s better to focus on the root of the issue rather than “hey, you gained weight, everything ok?” $10 says that won’t go over well.” ~ Legitimately-Weird
“I completely agree with what you’re saying but would like to add that sudden and excess weight gain can be a very valid cause for concern.”
“We’re all so caught up in inclusivity and not wanting to be labeled as a so-and-so that we’re actually ignoring real issues that are most likely going on.”
“Weight gain is a symptom of a plethora of mental, if not physical illnesses.” ~ Responsible-Fly-1693
If you cannot help, do not hurt.
“There is simply nothing you or your wife can do to make this situation better–however, there is a whole lot you can do to make it worse.”
“In other words, you can’t force your adult daughter to lose weight, but you can cause her to put on more, ruin her self esteem (which has probably already taken a hit if this has happened over the course of a year).”
“Or cause her to go low/no contact with you.”
“As a fatty myself, I suspect she may have delayed coming home because she dreaded this very meeting and some sort of confrontation over her weight.”
“You’re handling it just right, OP, both in terms of your approach to your daughter and your attempts to prevent your wife from taking her own approach. Good luck!” ~ JeepersCreepers74
“Yep, the true ‘ten second rule’. forget picking food up off the floor.”
“Have you noticed something about someone that can be fixed in ten seconds or less? say something! Otherwise, zip your lip.”
“Examples are: something in teeth, buttons of shirt open, zipper down, toilet paper on shoe/in back of pants, errant hair (top of head, eyelash on cheek) a quick pat-pat can solve.”
“I’m sure there are more.” ~ twigsandgrace
“What could possibly be gained by saying this to your daughter?”
“Other than making her holiday so so so much worse. Do you really think that she has had no social signals pushing her not to gain weight as a woman in her 20s?”
“This kind of behavior on the part of your wife will only push her to spend less time with your branch of the family, and increase any anxiety she is already feeling (something that is FAR more likely to increase her weigh gain than decrease it).”
“She probably dreads seeing people she meets infrequently…because she’s dreading those kinds of reactions.”
“Do you guys want her to dread seeing you? Leave the body shaming to literally every other aspect of society. Let her have a holiday in peace.” ~ CassieraEQ
Many had personal stories.
“My parents used to lecture my brother and I about not getting fat because they were overweight with the associated health effects of it.”
“I gained weight due to stress and it made me even MORE anxious that they were going to make a thing out of it.” ~ Suspicious-Treat-364
“As someone who also struggles with their weight, the only think I can add is that it may be worth OP asking her if she’s ok.”
“My weight is often an indicator for my mental health and it may be the same with OPs daughter.”
“Saying nothing could make it the metaphorical elephant in the room. Recognising that her job is high stress and she may need support could indirectly address this.” ~ Pleasant-Koala147
Commenters made their feelings about Mother very clear.
“But you neglected to add a few more things. Your wife is not only controlling, she’s judgmental, shallow, unsupportive and mean.”
“Your daughter is an adult and she’s beautiful no matter what she weighs, no matter what she wears, no matter how she looks.”
“She’s your daughter and your wife should be proud of all that she’s accomplished and stop looking at the scale to define her.” ~ LoveBeach8
“NTA Your wife is controlling and judgmental.”
“If she is actually concerned, she would figure out ways to help her manage her work stress (which is most likely what is contributing to her weight gain).”
“Not shaming her for her appearance. Your daughter needs support, not cruelty.” ~ LiveLovelyLala
Demands, accusations and body-shaming are never helpful.
Crucially, the best way to help anyone si always first to listen to them.
They know their body and mind better than you do and if they consent to your help, they can tell you what the issue actually is.