Among the many things in our lives, we have no control over, initially at least, are our names.
Of course, when we reach adulthood, no one can stop us from legally changing our name to whatever we want.
But even if your given name is always what will appear on official documents, such as your driver’s license and passport, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be addressed by it.
Something the stepdaughter of Redditor Ok-Tiger5058 chose to do, going by her first and middle initials.
This decision always perplexed the original poster (OP), as she believed her stepdaughter had a beautiful name.
As a result, the OP decided to address her stepdaughter by her given name instead of her adopted nickname.
A decision her stepdaughter didn’t appreciate in the slightest.
Wondering if she was doing anything wrong, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where she asked fellow Redditors:
“AITA for calling my stepdaughter by her actual first name rather then her nickname?”
The OP shared how she thought her stepdaughter had a beautiful name which she should be proud of, but her stepdaughter preferred to go by a nickname.
I (40 F[emale]) have been with my husband for 6 years married for 2 of those years.”
“He has sole custody of his daughter (15 F[emale]).”
“His daughter has gone by her first and middle initials EJ since she was a baby.”
“Everyone calls her her dad, other family members, teachers, friends, etc, etc.”
“When my husband and I were dating, out of curiosity, I asked what EJ stood for.”
“He told me, and I thought her name was so pretty so I started calling her that.”
“She didn’t like being called that, but after a while, I guess she got used to it because she has let me.”
“Well, last night, stepdaughter had some friends over, and I asked her to help me with something addressing her by her name.”
“Her friends gave questioning looks, and stepdaughter said guys, that’s me… a few laughed saying oh yeah and kinda joked about forgetting her actual first name.”
“Well, after her friends left she got upset.”
“Ranting to her dad about how he doesn’t even call her by her first name, so she doesn’t understand why his wife (me) gets to. and how she doesn’t even feel like a (her first name), she feels like an EJ.”
“After her rant, she ran to her bedroom, and my husband ended up getting upset at me.”
“Saying I should just respect she prefers to be called EJ. I started saying how I just thought her actual name is so pretty.”
“He said I’m honestly acting like an asshole refusing to call her EJ.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation by declaring:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
The OP received little no to sympathy from the Reddit community, who agreed that the OP was indeed the a**Hole for only calling her stepdaughter by her real name.
Everyone agreed that if the OP’s stepdaughter wanted to go by her nickname, she should address her as such, especially in front of her friends, with many finding the fact that she did this as her stepmother made it much worse.
“I think calling you AH sounds so much nicer than OP, so I will just call you that.”- Drunktendo64
‘”You thought…’ then you imposed without asking.”
“There is nothing more personal than a spoken name.”
“You completely disrespected EJ.”
“‘Pretty’ is not a defendable reason.”
“I’m proud of EJ for finally speaking about what she has endured.”
“She minimally deserves an apology.”- DesertSong-LaLa
“She’s not letting you.”
“She’s resigned to the fact you have ZERO respect for her and her preferences.”
“Legally change your name to the ‘pretty’ one if you love it so much, but stop calling your stepdaughter by it.”- Motown-to-Michiana
“She asked you to call her ‘EJ’.”
“YWBTA if you continue to call her by her ‘pretty’ name that she does not like.”- NotCreativeAtAll16
“You arbitrarily started calling someone a name because you liked it, not because the person did.”
“You didn’t even ask if she liked the name.”
“The fact that your husband accused you of ‘refusing to call her EJ’ suggests that you know she would rather be called EJ but simply ignore it.”
“Stop calling her by her given name and start calling her EJ.”- inFinEgan
“So much the AH that I’m actually shaking with rage at how dismissive you’ve been of your stepdaughter for so very long.”
“She didn’t ‘get used to it’ . . . you made it so thoroughly, incontrovertibly clear to her that you didn’t care how she felt that she just gave up trying to be heard.”
“OP is acting like this is a recent issue, but her stepdaughter has literally been telling her from the very first time she did it that she didn’t like it, and this woman flat-out ignored her and has persisted for SIX YEARS – over HALF A DECADE – in calling the child a name that she was very clear she didn’t like.”
“And her justification?”
“‘Well, but I think it’s so pretty!'”
“Who cares what OP thinks?”
“It’s not her identity to decide, and it never was.”
“This grown-a** woman has centered herself in someone else’s fundamental sense of self and identity because ‘I prefer that she be known as this’.”
“Just . . . what?!”
“Of course, YTA.”
“And you need therapy for your shocking narcissism and lack of boundaries.”- Sorry_I_Guess
“AITA/’Basic Common Sense’ rule:”
“People’s preferences about the way they like to be addressed is not your business to disagree with.”
“Is it your name?”
“Not your business.”
“It’s basic common courtesy to address people the way they tell you they want to be addressed.”
“She likes better ‘EJ’ over her full name.”
“Everybody calls her that way.”
“Why do you make it so difficult because you prefer it another way?”
“You met her and accepted her as EJ. You have no right to force her to use another name.”
“Many people hate their given name and go by nicknames or shorten their own name, me included.”
“I will scold a person that called me my birth name.”
“A birth name can have (negative) emotions attached to it. It can trigger memories you don’t want.”
“Forcing it upon a person just sucks!”- nijmeegse79
“Names are how we present ourselves to the others.”
“And especially by age 15, she has every right to decide how she prefers to be called.”
“You are putting your petty, personal opinions over her decisions about her own self and self-agency.”
“You shouldn’t have had to be told to stop doing it, but you’ve been told to stop doing it.”
“And you keep doing it.”
“You are an a**hole.”
“Stop doing it.”
“Show your step-daughter at least some modicum of respect.”- Qalyar
“You should have listened the first time she said she prefers her nickname.”
“Your liking her birth name is NOT more important than your obligation to show her the absolute, rock bottom, bare-minimum courtesy and respect of using her preferred moniker.”- rapt2right
“10/10 top-notch evil stepmother story.”
“Which gets you off more: the fact you got to call a kid a name she hates or the fact you broke her enough that she stopped complaining?”- CarterPFly
“You thought her actual name is pretty.”
“Now get off your high horse, apologize to her, and address her by the name she’s comfortable with.”
“Survey says: YTA.”- Spray_and_Pray_2600
“You are being straight up disrespectful.”- Ok-Cheetah-9125
“I hate people who post and never comment on their post.”- Rollos_Descendant
“Calling her by her preferred name costs you nothing.”
“Not doing so because you think the ‘name is so pretty’ is you waltzing all over her boundaries that you, as a step parent especially, should respect.”- -FrostFlower-
“YTA for not asking if she liked or minded being called her full name before you even used it.”
“YTA a thousand times more for continuing to do it for years when you knew she didn’t like it.”
“There’s a word for that, and it’s bullying.”- champagneformyrealfr
“I was right there with you until I read she preferred to be called EJ.”
“You blew it S-Mom, when you insisted on calling her by her given name.”
“It really doesn’t matter whether her name is beautiful or hideous: Step- D prefers her nickname and you ignored her.”
Perhaps the OP should have considered asking her rather than just calling her by her given name because she thinks it’s pretty,
Knowing why she prefers to go by her nickname might have helped the OP understand and possibly lead her to respect her wishes.
This isn’t to say that the OP needed a reason to do it and couldn’t have just respected her stepdaughter’s wishes, to begin with.
No matter how pretty her given name may be, it’s not what her stepdaughter wanted.