‘AITA for throwing away my wife’s haunted dolls?’, Annika Barranti Klein

Illustration © 2022 Dr T. Eratopo

Posted by u/TerribleRedditWife on June 27, 2021

 [ Dolls, © 2022 Dr T. Eratopo and Dall-E ] My wife (f42) and I (f43) have been married for 15 years. We have two kids (f13, f11) and live in a very small apartment. She is a painter and keeps a small studio space about ten minutes away by car. These two rents are the absolute maximum our budget allows, so the girls share a bedroom and we all generally live on top of one another. Prior to the pandemic everyone’s schedules overlapped in such a way that it wasn’t too crowded most of the time, but this last year has been very challenging. I don’t think we’re special in this regard and I know it’s been difficult for everyone, but there is one issue I am having that I believe is unique, and that’s what I need your help with.

My wife has these dolls.

I can’t really pinpoint when she started collecting them, because at least one of them is from her childhood and another one has similar sentimental value, though I do not remember the details (something about her middle school best friend, I think). Those two used to sit on her dresser, and it was no big deal except for one time when I “joked” that they were watching us sleep, which she did not like.

At some point after she rented the studio, which was about 5–6 years ago, so let’s say this started 4–5 years ago, she began buying inexpensive antique objects to use as props for her paintings. That is, she would set up these tableaus and then paint them instead of using models. She mostly bought things from Etsy and eBay, cheap china and old children’s toys. And dolls.

So, when the pandemic started her studio space shut down for a couple of months, and when it reopened we discussed whether she would go back to using it and agreed to wait until there was a vaccine, because it’s shared ventilation and partially open air. So she went and got a few things she wanted to bring home, including the dolls.

All of the dolls.

They took over the apartment. There were dolls everywhere. I counted them when I threw them away (I’m getting there) and there were 13 dolls. It felt like more. I couldn’t turn around without accidentally looking one of them in the eyes. It was creepy and unsettling. I felt like I didn’t belong in my own home. And I swear they moved around the apartment on their own. There were SEVERAL occasions when I would leave a room and come back to a different arrangement of dolls, or a doll that had not previously been there. Either they were moving or I was seeing things. So I collected them and threw away the 11 new ones. My wife’s two original dolls are still on the dresser. I am not a monster.

She came home and when I told her the others were gone (I didn’t say it like that, I took responsibility) she went into the bedroom with them and locked the door. She won’t talk to me. I feel like one of the Reddit Terrible Husbands™, but I swear I was going to lose my mind if they stayed another minute. AITA?

INFO: I do have a mental illness, but it is anxiety and I have never hallucinated before. I will call my doctor, but I really don’t think I was seeing things.

INFO: yes, it is possible that the girls were moving them around. We didn’t do the elf on the shelf but I’m sure they could have gotten the idea elsewhere else. They’re clever, they were bored, it’s possible. That said, they seemed pretty freaked out by the dolls so I’m not sure it was them.

UPDATE: the dolls are back. I assume my wife got them out of the trash, but I didn’t hear her leave the bedroom.

INFO: I’m sleeping on the couch. Yes, I do think she has the right to kick me out of my own bedroom. I might have done something that made me feel like a Reddit Terrible Husband™, but I’m not one.

UPDATE: my wife definitely is not the one who got the dolls out of the trash, and both girls deny it. I really think I would have heard any of them leave. I’m a fairly light sleeper and the couch is near the door.

INFO: it’s the only door.

INFO: <del>see attached photo of some of the dolls.</del> EDIT: Okay, sorry, for some reason the picture keeps loading as a blank image. So, here’s how I know it wasn’t her.

My wife yelled at me for lying about throwing the dolls away. She thought I had only hidden them and was hoping it would blow over. When I figured out that’s why she was upset, I obviously denied it (because it’s not what happened) and we compared notes to figure out if the girls (one or both) could be responsible. But I threw them away BEFORE trash day and they reappeared AFTER the trash collectors and the girls haven’t left the apartment. It’s all very mysterious.

UPDATE: Everything is fine, false alarm, sorry to worry you all.

UPDATE: Why everyone type such mean things? The dolls are good, actually.

© 2022 Annika Barranti Klein

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