Just because someone is technically family doesn’t mean you owe them your time or affection—especially if you consider them to be cruel. When you’re a child, it might be harder to distance yourself, but once you reach adulthood you should feel free to base relationships on your terms. This can be sometimes difficult, especially around certain holidays like Father’s Day, for example.
One Redditor with a stepdad who is not especially kind finally decided to stop seeing that stepdad for Father’s Day, but they upset their mother with that choice.
“My parents divorced when I was 2. My mom remarried when I was 5. My older brother and sister and I split time between both homes equally as little kids. It was tough. Our mom would call them both our dads despite us never calling her husband dad or stepdad. At first I was going to refer to him as my stepdad but he was always a domineering dick. Our mom says that’s who he is and how he expresses himself. But I don’t like being treated like I’m in the army (that’s his background).”
The OP gives an example of one time her stepdad fought with her brother because he didn’t make his bed fully, barked orders at him, and then grounded him.
The OP also said that it got hard when their half-siblings were born, and “my mom would tell me the reason to say I have two dads is because he was their dad and while I might not love him the same as mine, we had that shared connection now more than ever. But his personality makes him hard to love honestly. He’s intimidating and not someone I ever grew to enjoy having in my life.”
As a result, the OP chose to stay with their Dad full-time.
“My mom always insisted on sharing Father’s Day between our dad and her husband. She even gave up some of Mother’s Day to get it. None of us (me or my siblings) ever wanted it and neither did our dad, but the judge said seeing as she was willing to share Mother’s Day…he ordered it, at least until it was changed when I went to live with my dad.”
This year, the OP says that they refuse to split Father’s Day anymore and will celebrate only with their father.
But their mother “was so pissed. She told me I was being ungrateful and mean-spirited to a man who loves me as his own, and that all three step-kids doing this is a big f*ck you to all stepparents and how most kids would be grateful for a man like him. I told her that didn’t change things for me.”
What do Redditors think?
“Tell her that the fact that all three step kids have rejected him shows that he’s the common denominator and where the problem lies,” said gringaellie.
“We get so many posts on this sub where various family or friends defend AH’s because ‘that’s just how they are.’ No. How they are is an AH, and that’s not okay. Let’s dig in further. Being in the Army doesn’t make you act like an AH, but the services do tend to attract small people who hide behind rank to act big. No one became an AH by joining the Army, the Army is just a friendlier place for AH’s (I was in the Navy, I understand this quite well). Bob Ross was a Master Sergeant in the AF, proof that your background doesn’t define you,” noted TigerDude33.
“NTA, you’re old enough to decide who is a toxic influence in your life and to not be around them. Be prepared to risk souring your relationship with your mother and your half siblings over the rejection of her husband; she has sunk too much energy into supporting her choice (having kids, etc) for her to be able to support your decision without facing severe consequences in her own household she may not have means to deal with. You might be able to recover your relationship with her in the future on terms you’re comfortable with if this really triggers a fall out. Hard to guess without knowing the players, but you should be prepared for the potential outcomes,” explained Ell15.
“NTA-She’s deluded herself into believing that you have a relationship with stepdad all the while ignoring his aggressive behavior towards you and your brother. Stick to your guns, she’ll get over it,” said SailorPrincess28.
“It sounds like your step dad embraced the discipline part of parenting but neglected to show love, affection or warmth. That makes him a taskmaster, not a father. You can’t connect with someone like that. Saying, ‘it’s just his way’ is so weak. Your mom chose to avoid conflict with him and took the easy way out by telling you and your brother that you just have to deal with it. And telling you that you should say you have two dads because of your half siblings is another example of your mother making things easy for herself while disregarding your feelings. And now she is trying to shamelessly guilt you into honoring a man who has not earned your love. I’m glad you moved in with your dad. Celebrate him,” said ilp456.
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