The mum told her teenage daughter she'd 'never forgive her' if she didn't cut her hair
A cancer sufferer has been fiercely condemned online for allegedly pressuring her daughter into shaving off her hair.
The mum’s own hair had been “destroyed” by chemotherapy and so she urged her 17-year-old child to cut hers in solidarity, according to her husband.
The man explained what happened in a lengthy Reddit post, admitting that his wife’s “manipulative” behaviour had left their relationship in turmoil.
He wrote: “My wife is currently battling cancer, and one of the things she’s told me she’s struggling with the most was losing her hair. She’s been given a near 100 per cent chance of survival since we caught it early, but the chemotherapy has destroyed her hair anyway, and she had to shave what was left of it off a few weeks ago.
“Not long after that, she suggested we attempt to get our 17-year-old daughter, Anna, to do so as well. Anna has very long hair that she puts a lot of care into so I felt it was appropriate to ask her in private if she wanted to/would be willing to do such a thing. She told me that she didn’t want to cut her hair and I figured that was the end of that.”
However, he went on: “Yesterday they came home from a ‘girls shopping trip’ [...] and Anna had a buzzed haircut. That struck me as odd after what she’d said, so after dinner I talked to her and she told me that my wife had said she would never forgive Anna if she didn’t show her support by buzzing her head. I asked her if she was happy about it and she said that she wasn’t."
He continued: “When I went to bed, I brought it up with my wife and she said ‘it was Anna’s choice to or not, I just told her how I’d see the situation’.
“I told her off, saying she needed to respect Anna’s personal choices and that a 17-year-old girl being against shaving her head wasn’t exactly out of the ordinary. However, my wife simply said it was to show support for her.”
Wrapping up his post, he admitted: “I love my wife, and I understand that she’s going through something traumatic, however, her attitude comes off as very manipulative to me, and that’s not behaviour I feel I can personally accept.
“I’m not sure if I can move past this to continue the relationship,” he concluded.
His post on the AITA forum racked up more than 16,000 likes and 3,300 comments in just 16 hours as fellow Redditors voiced their thoughts on the mother’s behaviour.
“I'm sorry that [your wife] has cancer, but what she did to your daughter was very abusive,” wrote one horrified commentator.
“If she is unable to deal mentally with her disease and treatment, then she needs professional help, not to manipulate and coerce your daughter into making a choice that she didn't want to make. Make no mistake, she ABUSED your daughter.”
Another agreed but added that “we need to dig deeper”.
“I don't think this was about the wife wanting support so much as her being miserable and envious of her daughter's hair,” they suggested.
“The wife is rightfully miserable right now and it's an amazing coincidence that the daughter has long, lovely hair that she's proud of and [takes] good care of. Looking at that long luxurious hair was a daily visual reminder to the wife of her own lost locks. Nice hair, be it long, short or shaved head by choice, is tied very strongly to a woman's personal concept of beauty.”
They continued: “Misery loves company and the wife now has the satisfaction of knowing her innocent daughter feels just [as] horrible as she does and the bonus is the wife doesn't have to look at that constant reminder of the hair she lost.”
Cancer sufferers said they'd never want their loved-ones to go through the pain of losing their hairiStock
And a third urged the original poster (OP) to take a “long hard look at his wife's relationship with their daughter to see what else she's done that might fit into this pattern”.
“Telling your 17yo (sic) you'll never forgive her if she doesn't shave her head? Absolutely unacceptable, but probably isn't an isolated incident. You don't usually see people go from 0 to 60 that fast.”
Another user seconded this theory, explaining that they’d suffered similar “abuse” from their own mum.
They wrote: “My mother pulled the same hair stunt when her hair came out in clumps as part of menopause. Guilted me into cutting hair I could sit on into a pixie cut like hers. I cried in private for weeks after.
“It was part of a much larger pattern of behaviour but this was the first time it was really visible so the first time anyone asked about it. I didn't even realise the guilt trips I'd been sent on until other people's questions made me think back and I learned guilt isn't love. My dad had no idea.”
Meanwhile, cancer survivors agreed that they’d never put someone they love through the pain of losing their hair.
“As a cancer survivor, I know how sucky this situation is for the OP's wife, but I have a bad feeling that she's going to play the cancer card ad infinitum because she feels life and everyone who doesn't have cancer owes her,” one wrote.
Another added: “Cancer survivor too. Losing my hair was worse than losing my breasts. You can't hide it. I would never want someone I love to go through that.”