Reddit's "Am I the A-hole?" is full of women wondering if they are somehow wrong because a controlling man in their life had an outsized reaction to something they did. We've seen it again and again, and while this story is no exception, it's definitely on the weirder side.
A woman explains that she and her husband have a 5-year-old daughter. For some, unknown reason that's not explained, her husband has always wanted their daughter to have "long, waist-length hair." The fact that a grown man would have that strong an opinion on his small daughter's hair is weird to begin with, right? It gets weirder.
Obviously, having waist-length hair is a struggle for a 5-year-old. It's incredible that a girl that age is able to grow that much hair to begin with. But the point is, it gets knotty and tangled and dirty so quickly, and mom is almost always left with the task of washing and detangling it. As someone who used to have waist-length hair, I know how much of a pain this can be.
"Every bath ended in many, many tears on her part," OP writes. "My husband is rarely home for bath time due to work, so I could not pass this task onto him." So he demands that his daughter's hair is a certain length and then does nothing to help care for it. Cool. Cool, cool, cool.
Mom explains that she took her daughter to visit grandma in another state. "She witnessed one bath time meltdown and told me it was insane to not just cut my daughter's hair to a more manageable length." So she asked her daughter if she wanted shorter hair, and what do you know? The kid who's been crying over knots in her hair said yes. The next day, the 5-year-old got her first big haircut: a "cute shoulder-length bob."
I think you can probably imagine where this is going. She neglected to tell her husband that this was happening, figuring he would come around once he saw how cute their daughter's new haircut was. But that's not what happened.
"That night we FaceTimed and as soon as he saw my daughter he ended the call and has refused to answer calls or texts," she wrote. "My daughter is devastated that her father won't talk to her because of her haircut." Now, this woman doesn't know what to do.
I happen to think there must be more to this story that we're not privy to. Right? Obviously, it's super strange that this dad feels so strongly about his daughter's hair, and if this is truly what he's reacting to and nothing else, it's psychotic. But maybe, somehow, it's not about the hair? Does this mom have a habit of whisking her daughter away to her grandma's and changing things without telling her husband? I'm thinking there has to be a semi-reasonable explanation for him being as mad as he is, but then again, this is Reddit, so who knows.
Nevertheless, this poor 5-year-old kid is caught up in her dad's weird obsession with her looks, and it's not going to do her any favors. "Your husband is teaching her that she is only worth love / attention if she looks 'perfect.' This is a very dangerous and detrimental lesson to teach a child," one commenter wrote.
Not to mention, their daughter wanted her hair shorter! When it comes to hair, the person who owns it should feel good in it and feel in control of it. "It's cruel to make a child have a haircut that's causing them distress because the parents like how it looks," another commenter wrote. He literally won't talk to his daughter because she got her haircut.
That's bonkers behavior. Maybe this is an example of a bigger issue between his wife and him. Still, that's no reason to be so cruel to his daughter. Plenty of people pointed out how creepy it is that he was so invested in how his daughter's hair looks. This kind of behavior really does seem like it will lead to further restrictions and criticism as she gets older, and that's so not OK.
"He's toxic, manipulative, and controlling," one person wrote. Another responded that they were abused by their dad, and he was obsessed with their looks in a similar way. I hope that this is not the case, but it very well could be. This person wrote, "This is unhealthy and controlling at best but could be signs of something far, far worse."