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My Parents & Siblings Consistently Call Me the Wrong Name

Asked by on with 1 answer:

I feel this is a boundary and respect issue. A friend of mine disagrees.

When I married, I never changed my last name. Professionally and socially I continued to use my maiden name. My parents and siblings completely tune this out. When I inform them, they tell me I am wrong. When my mother was signing her car over to me, my father tried to “correct” my name. Christmas cards, when family members sent them, were addressed to Mr and Mrs (husband’s last name). Most recently, when my father passed away, the obit listed me with my husband’s last name.

While I could chalk up my father’s actions as outdated, I cannot so easily dismiss my siblings. The obit bothers me more than the rest for three reasons. It is now out on the Internet for who knows how long; and I am now separated from my husband, so that marriage “connection” is weak, at best. My siblings and parents knew about the separation; two of my sisters had their maiden name listed in parentheses after their married names, while I only had my “married” name listed (they use their husbands’ names socially).

Shouldn’t I get to choose the name I want to be known by? What gives them the right to decide for me?

My Parents & Siblings Consistently Call Me the Wrong Name

Answered by on -

A.

It’s your opinion that your parents should respect you and call you by the name you want. It’s their opinion that you should use your husband’s last name. Which of you is correct? There is no correct answer. It’s a matter of opinion, apparently differing opinions.

Perhaps your parents and siblings see it as disrespectful for you to not use your husband’s last name. Their reasons may lie with tradition or even could be tied to their religious beliefs. You see it differently.

Neither of you deserve more respect than the other. You want them to respect your “rights.” They want you to respect their “rights.” Ultimately, you would like them to show respect and tolerance for your feelings. They do not. They call you by whatever name they have chosen. They believe that a woman should be called by her husband’s last name. You believe otherwise. Neither of you respect the other’s position. And so the fight continues.

The misery can continue forever or it can end now by simply believing that they have the right to their opinion, as horribly wrong as you believe it to be.

Good luck. Choose, wisely.

Dr. Kristina Randle

My Parents & Siblings Consistently Call Me the Wrong Name

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist and Assistant Professor of Social Work and Forensics with extensive experience in the field of mental health. She works in private practice with adults, adolescents and families. Kristina has worked in a large array of settings including community mental health, college counseling and university research centers.

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2018). My Parents & Siblings Consistently Call Me the Wrong Name. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 20, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2015/02/11/my-parents-siblings-consistently-call-me-the-wrong-name/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 11 Feb 2015)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.