Redditor "throwawaysdvicew" has a girlfriend who cannot part with her stuffed animal.
She is 27 and started "reparenting" herself as a therapeutic method to overcome a traumatic childhood which she claimed her parents stole.
Consequently, the girlfriend regressed into childhood as if to make up for lost time and began engaging in what the OP referred to as childish behavior.
The Original Poster (OP) asked AITA (Am I the A**hole) for telling his girlfriend to start acting like an adult.
It all began with some informative literature.
"My gf recently read a book about children of narcissistic parents and realized that she was raised by narcissists who robbed her of her childhood and is now set on reparenting herself and starting from scratch."
While the pursuit of improving her well-being was admirable, the OP did not expect this result.
"Initially I thought it was good that she's taking steps towards improving her life since she's been going through a lot of depression and anxiety lately but then she started acting like an actual child."
"For example she bought a stuffed animal and started sleeping with it and reading bedtime stories and a range of odd childish behaviour."
A discussion followed that led nowhere and resulted in the girlfriend expanding her collection.
"I tried explaining that reparenting yourself is more of a mental thing and not actually regressing into a childlike state, she said that she's aware of that but it helps with the process."
"Last week she ordered yet another stuffed animal and I straight up told her that her behaviour is scaring me and that she needs to grow up and stop this."
It seems like her stuffed friends got evicted, and that empty space in her heart led to her resenting her jittery boyfriend.
"She got visibly upset and I felt bad about it later, after that incident she put her stuffed animals in a box in the basement but has been acting cold and distant towards me, am I the a**hole?"
Anonymous strangers on the internet were asked if and where guilt belongs by declaring:
NTA - Not The A**hole
YTA - You're The A**hole
ESH - Everyone Sucks Here
NAH - No A**holes Here
Almost unanimously, the OP was served with these three, fat letters: YTA.
"YTA. She's trying. Coping and growing from trauma is obviously hard and dealt with differently person to person."
"If she is still holding to her responsibilities why does it matter that she sleeps with a stuffed animal & does 'childish things' in the comfort of her own living space?" – LizHaf
"I see no problem with sleeping with a stuffed animal as an adult if it brings you comfort."
"My friend gifted me a small plush that's very cute and soft. I often sleep badly due to anxiety but since sleeping with that plush and having something soft and that came from a place of love has helped immensely."
"It's nobody's place to tell others what they can and can't do if it comforts them and hurts no one. Just because you're an adult doesn't mean you're forbidden from finding comfort in hugging something soft. In short, OP is the a**hole." – banjoemotions
The girlfriend is not alone with her penchant for seeking comfort in fluffy things.
"Irrespective of trauma I'm in my 20s and I have one stuffed toy I sleep with, I have had it since I was 2.5 and my boyfriend has never had an issue with it."
"If he thinks I look a bit down he will go grab it from the bedroom and plop it next to me." – MehWhateverZeus
"I've got a toy rabbit called 'Bunny' (original I know!) that my mum bought for me when I was born. I'm 33F and Bunny still sleeps on the table next to my bed."
"Whenever I'm stressed he comes into the bed for a cuddle. My mum passed away when I was 19 and holding him and talking to him helps me feel close to her. You're never too old to sleep with a teddy in my opinion!" – TytoCwtch
"I don't sleep with a stuffed animal but I do sleep with a Winnie the Pooh blanket. I got it as a Christmas gift my freshman year in college and have slept with it nearly every night for 15 years." – MyCatHenry
This Redditor suspects something else is causing the problem but didn't exonerate the OP for his lack of compassion and support.
"I don't think toys are the issue here."
"From the story I'd say she is regressing to a child in life generally, which as far as I know is not a coping mechanism or valid form of therapy when it just randomly started."
"He said it scares him."
"I'll still agree that OP is an a** simply because he seems to show no understanding or will to discuss that further and try to be supportive and went the 'cut that out' route." – akutasame94
"The stuffed animal sounds more caring and comforting." – Zenguppy
"YTA. Dude, you're kind of an a**....let her cope her way. Btw I'm 32 and sleeping with stuffed animals totally help my anxiety, its not that strange." – Calm88
"YTA. How does it hurt you to have her sleep with a stuffed animal?"
"You admit you initially thought her efforts at self improvement were a good thing, and then you came in and stomped on it just because you thought it was 'odd?'" – JeepersCreepers74
"YTA - It isn't even that weird for an adult to sleep with a stuffed animal imo, but more importantly think of it from her eyes."
"Her parents robbed her of her childhood, so she wants to kinda reclaim it a bit... what is it you're doing now? Robbing her of that." – LordSephiran
"YTA, She's working on self improvement from childhood trauma and you put her down because it made you uncomfortable."
"You sound like you could do with some growing up." – AlabasterRadio
"YTA for trying to police how your girlfriend processes her own trauma."
"Did you think trauma was something people just process and get over within a week's time? Your lack of compassion is a lot scarier than stuffed animals, dude." – badxwolfxrising
This informed Redditor encouraged his girlfriend to work through her suffering alone with a professional and validated the OP's concern while slamming him for his insensitive advice.
"Child of a narc parent here, after many years of therapy. Reparenting is a very real thing, as well as taking steps to recreate your lost childhood."
"But I highly encourage your gf to do this work alongside a therapist rather than work through it on her own. Especially if she's relying on self-help books. Some are great, while others are absolute rubbish."
"There is nothing out of the ordinary with getting a stuffed animal or reading bedtime stories - healthy, well-adjusted folks do that too."
"But if it's something more, you have a right to be concerned. Although telling someone you care about to 'grow up' isn't very helpful advice, and quite frankly makes you Y T A." – SardonicSarsparilla
Everyone has different ways of coping with trauma.
If the OP denies his girlfriend the very source of her therapeutic comfort, then he is the very thing the Reddit jury unanimously declared, and she might be better off with someone else.
You can get this realistic stuffed brown leopard here.