Is This Aunt Wrong for Giving Her Niece the Tummy Tuck Her Parents Refused?

Being an aunt is one of the greatest jobs in the world. You get all of the great relationship perks with not much of the hard stuff that’s required of the actual parents in the situation. It can be a completely rewarding experience for everyone involved, but as with anything that pertains to family relationships, things can get complicated.

With this family, the complications arose from a niece who grew up with weight and diet issues.

OP’s niece went through a trauma as a kid but did the hard work to heal and get through the emotional eating response.

Jenny went through a trauma as a kid and ended up becoming an emotional eater, obese, held back a grade, socially stunted etc.

Her parents, with a lot of pushing, put her into therapy, and she was able to heal from the trauma, and then gain control of her eating.

She went to therapy, but was still struggling to accept the body left behind in the wake of her weight loss.

The niece was miserable, but her parents were adamantly against plastic surgery.

Because they waited so long to take the problem seriously, after she lost the weight her skin didn’t bounce back and she was left with a saggy belly and protruding abdomen. She had a “double roll” belly where there’s a roll above and below the navel, and the bottom one tends to stick out in clothing.

Before the body image brigade rains down on me, this is NOT just the fat that naturally gathers there for a lot of women. This is overhanging fat that is almost always visible in clothes.

Nothing she did would fix it. Her parents are very much anti plastic surgery, and given that she was a teenager I totally get it. But she was miserable in her body.

OP and her niece grew close as they spent time together over the summers, so OP understood how much this was affecting the girl.

When she turned 18, with the approval of her therapist, OP offered to pay for a tummy tuck surgery.

Jenny stays with me during the summers because I live near a beach and love spending time with her. Over the years she would cry and cry and cry to me about how much she hated her stomach and how she just wishes she could look normal and her parents would just let her get a tummy tuck.

Last year I decided that I would give her the tummy tuck for her 18th birthday as long as she cleared it with her counselor. The counselor agreed that this was something that would truly help. She had it done late in the summer, healed while staying with me and then went to college.

I can’t tell you how different she was. Confident, happy, she finally wore clothes that didn’t hide her body, the whole nine yards. She even asked out someone at the beach.

It made a huge difference her niece’s life. She was happy and confident.

When her mother found out, though, she was furious and OP admitted that she was the one who paid for it.

She came home for Spring Break and finally wore something that made her mom take notice, and I’m guessing mom saw the scar.

She hit the roof and started yelling at Jenny for what she did, asking her if she really spent her college money on something this frivolous, etc etc.

Jenny came crying to me about it and I knew I couldn’t let her mom “blame” her, so I fessed up.

While her niece is happy and thriving, OP has been kicked out of the family and denied access to one of her favorite people.

She’s torn, because she knows she did the right thing for her niece but also realizes she probably overstepped a boundary.

I’m blacklisted. My sister basically thinks I’m satan, warping her kid’s self esteem and self image, that I should have told her to learn to love her body instead of giving into diet culture.

Jenny is happier than she’s ever been. She’s healthier. Furthermore, she was 18, and this is something she has wanted since she was 15 years old. It didn’t lead to her wanting more surgeries, it led to her sobbing happy tears after she tried on a curve-fitting dress for the first time. I don’t see how what I did was wrong. At all.

At the same time I know she’s not my kid. We went behind my sister’s back. Plastic surgery IS a big deal. So I don’t know.

What does Reddit think?

Let’s read on and find out!

First of all, it’s important to remember that the niece is an adult, so no permission was needed from anyone (2).

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It sounds to some people like being blacklisted is a blessing in disguise, especially since her niece is old enough to decide for herself who she wants in her life.

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From someone who knows.

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There’s no reason for people to suffer needlessly anymore. Full stop.

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It sounds like the parents are awful and OP did what needed to be done for the good of their child. OP isn’t wrong, but the consequences may be the same regardless.

Image Credit: Reddit

I definitely commend this woman for lovingly taking care of her niece.

Her parents are pieces of work.

What do you think? Did OP overstep? Tell us why or why not in the comments!