Choice is an important part of our lives.
Where do you want to live, where do you want to eat, who do you want to date. These are all incredibly important decisions that can only be made by you.
One of the most important, though, is who you want in your life.
What happens when that decision is taken away from us and made by someone else?
What happens when the person making that decision is someone you trust?
These were the issues that brought Redditor and Original Poster (OP) Keirieise to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subreddit, looking for guidance.
“AITA for walking out of my grandparent’s house when they had my estranged father there?”
First, some of the history involved.
“I have been estranged from my dad since I was 15. I’m now 26 and I have two kids.”
“He has never met either of them and I don’t plan to welcome him into our lives any time soon.”
A bit of context about the relationships.
“My grandparents and I stayed pretty close though. And they have always been good about not pestering me to have a relationship with him.”
And then, the problem.
“About a month ago they invited me and my husband over with the kids and when we got there my estranged father was there.”
“I turned around and walked back out without saying a word.”
She chose to leave.
“They were upset I didn’t stick around or at least engage with them first.”
“I told them I did not want to see my father and I did not want him around my kids and I was not going to let it slide because it was at their house.”
“It’s been a month and I’m still mad, and they’re still mad.”
“They said I should have used my big girl words and expressed my unhappiness with what they did at the time instead of walking out silently.”
Communication is key.
“They also said it broke my father’s heart to get so close. And that his wife and their kids were there too and the kids were so confused about what happened.”
“I said none of that was my fault, it was theirs.”
Sometimes there’s just nothing to say.
“They still think I’m in the wrong though.”
Having laid out the problem, OP sought the guidance of Reddit.
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
The lack of choice struck a nerve with some.
“NTA. You were ambushed. Your silence spoke louder than any words. Engaging with them with so many people present would have given them the opportunity to manipulate you and try to break down your defenses. It’s why telemarketers want to keep you talking. The longer you talk to them, the more likely you are to bend to their will.”
“You did the right thing.”~General_Relative2838
Perhaps words would’ve been useless…
“No people like this you go silent till you get an apology. Ambush people want you talking and considering ‘their point of view’ and the only way to get them to back off is to make it clear you don’t GAF (Give A F*ck) about their view.”~dasbarr
…Perhaps speaking would’ve made things worse.
“Big girl words would have been grandma clearing it with OP that estranged relatives were going to be invited to check if it would be ok. That ship sailed, OP graciously didn’t erupt in a tirade of grown-up words in front of the children.”~Cardabella
Others pointed out how dangerous the situation might have been.
“It’s the time component too. Is OP keeping her kids outside and father inside while talking? You spot a person dangerous to your children and you get them out of there.”
“Talking risked her father getting close to them, or the gang putting a plan into action to trap her & the kids there. Moving quickly takes away their opportunity to react and grab a child.”
“OP got to safety and has been using her ‘big girl’ words to reaffirm her boundaries.”
“I eventually had to go NC (No Contact) with my paternal grandmother as she kept planning ambushes causing me to lock myself in the bathroom, and refused to meet me in public (she went out regularly pre-covid).”
“I’d personally only see the grandparents alone if they show they actually understand the situation, and I don’t think I’d trust them enough to take the kids to their house again.”
“They definitely wouldn’t get alone time ever again in case they arrange something behind OP’s back/kidnap them.”~PhDOH
Of course, the grandparents didn’t escape unscathed.
“Use your “big girl words”? How about your grandparents don’t treat you like a child by orchestrating this reunion that you’ve made clear you’re not interested in.”
“NTA. If they had used their “big people” words and put on their “big people” pants and communicated with you then this could have been avoided.”
“Instead they tried to deceive you and force you into compliance by relying on you succumbing to peer pressure on the night.”
“They broke his heart. They caused confusion. They are at fault. They are upset you didn’t stick to their manipulative plan and made them look bad.”~Status-Pattern7539
Though, one reaction seemed to sum up the verdict nicely.
“NTA. They should have used their ‘big girl (and boy)’ words and let you know that they were inviting your father and his replacement family over for a visit.”
“The fact that they didn’t tells you everything you need to know.”
“This was an intentional ambush designed to guilt you into staying out of social obligation and awkwardness and when you didn’t, they got mad. Not your fault.”
“They know how you feel and they tested your boundaries hard.”
“You didn’t cause a scene, you removed yourself from their home and didn’t fight about it.”
“You don’t want him around you, your kids or your spouse, and your grandparents and father need to respect that.”
“If your kids want a relationship with him, they can choose to do so once they’re not in your legal care anymore: when they’re adults and can make informed decisions.”~AlleyKatArt
Trust is one of those things that is very easy to lose, and very hard to build.
While we hope that OP and her grandparents come to some reconciliation, it is not she who must do the apologizing.
Remember, the choices you make in who you surround yourself with are yours and no one has the right to rob you of those decisions.