Bride Invites Dad Who Kidnapped Her at 3 to the Wedding & Mom is Furious


bride and father of the bride

It is always tricky to invite your divorced parents to your wedding; there still might be too many hurt feelings for mom and dad to be together on your big day. One woman was determined to have her parents in the same room on her wedding day -- even though her father kidnapped her for three months when she was 3 years old. Naturally, her mother is still furious at her dad's behavior, and the bride is concerned about having the two in the same room for her big day.

  • Although her parents had an "acrimonious" divorce when she was younger, the bride hoped her mother could overlook the situation on her wedding day.

    The concerned bride wrote in to Slate's Dear Prudence advice column looking for a solution to her unique problem that stems from something that happened after her parents divorced. "[W]when I was 3 years old, my dad kidnapped me for a period of three months," she explained. Although she doesn't remember all the details, she shared that since the incident "my dad has been an incredibly loving and supportive parent to me."

    The only problem is that the anonymous bride-to-be's mother hasn't forgiven her father for what he did. "My mom still hates my dad, and I don’t blame her for that, but she expects me to hate him too," she continued. "My mom still brings up my kidnapping every chance she gets, even in front of friends of mine."

    Is there a way to tell her mom to back off the dad-hate and stop taking her anger about the situation out on her? And more importantly, is there a good way to prepare her parents to see each other "for the first time in 27 years at my wedding?" she wondered.

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  • Online, not everyone was as forgiving as the bride was and some completely understand her mother's anger.

    One commenter did not mince words about the bride's dad.

    "I don't care about custody agreements or whether he went to prison, or whether she was treated well when she was taken... She👏was👏held👏captive," the commenter wrote. "She was a three year old wondering where her mother was, being told lies and mistruths about her mother’s whereabouts and desire to see her, and ultimately damaging her relationship with her mother to such an extent that 27 years later they are BOTH still emotionally damaged by the situation.

    He was not a good man. He is not a good man. He was not a good father. He is not a good father. He is scum. Emotionally manipulative, sadistic, scum," the person wrote.

    "Whatever the circumstances, if someone took my kid away from me for 3 months and I didn’t know where they were or what happened to them, I would not be able to spend a ‘fun’ wedding day with that person, even 27 years later," added someone else. "I’m not even a mom, I only have a dog, and I would be absolutely frantic. I can’t imagine how the mother must have felt. It’s absolutely heartbreaking."

    Another commenter explained that perhaps the bride was simply ignoring how wrong her father had been.

    "I'm surprised by how many people think abusive behavior cannot be compartmentalized," the user wrote. "Many people do horrible, awful, and even criminal things, while maintaining good relationships with certain (or even most other) people. These people have friends and family who only experience them as delightful and caring, while their victims experience something entirely different."

  • Other people thought the bride's mom needed to build a bridge and get over it.

    "What I find worrying is that the mom, 27 years later, manages to routinely inject comments about this happening into ordinary conversations," one man wrote. "She clearly needs therapy, and probably never got any."

    "When the mother says her father kidnapped her she is using emotive language, and it sounds as though the LW is taking it at face value," another person agreed. "Maybe she should talk to the father and get his version and possibly check any records or documents that exist."

    "Here's another unpopular opinion: maybe LW1's dad isn't the scum of the earth," a third commenter added. "I can totally see the mom's perspective, that being forcibly separated from your kid can be deeply traumatizing, particularly if you think that the other parent is negligent and/or dangerous. But that cuts the other way as well.  Maybe dad thought mom was negligent and/or dangerous. Maybe he loved LW and was deeply hurt at not being able to see her (we don't know the details of the custody arrangement). Maybe he convinced himself that LW would be better off with him. Most parents would move heaven and earth to protect their children. Maybe that's what he thought he was doing."

  • In the end, the columnist believes the bride needs to set up clear boundaries with her mother.

    Slate post

    Columnist Daniel Mallory Ortberg advised the bride to speak with her mom and tell her that "you’re not available to discuss this with her any longer, that you understand her pain and anger and you want her to find people who can help her deal with them, but that -- for pretty obvious and unique reasons -- you can’t be one of those people," he wrote.

    He then advised the bride she might have to consider not having her both her parents at her wedding. "Just as you don’t want your mother to relitigate that terrifying, traumatic time in her life when she didn’t know where you were, I think it’s also reasonable for her to say that she cannot be around your father," Ortberg wrote. "It might help to talk this out with your partner and to figure out how you can celebrate separately with whichever parent decides not to attend the ceremony itself."