Though not everyone takes them seriously, food allergies should be as critically attended to as any other form of allergy.
Unfortunately, some people are convinced that those with food allergies are simply making the whole thing up to be the center of attention, to simply be difficult, or to cover up the fact that they don’t like a certain food.
One woman decided to push back against a non-believing family member on the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor milfoodtaway decided if her family continued to refuse to recognize her needs, she would take care of herself.
But when she received pushback from the family, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if she was somehow wrong for standing up for herself and her allergies.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for bringing my own food to my MIL’s (mother-in-law’s) house?”
The OP had serious food allergies.
“My MIL hosted a bbq at her house last weekend.”
“I have several serious food intolerances, as well as food allergies, so I have to be very careful when I am eating food I have not prepared or if I do not know what is in it.”
“My MIL is very aware of my food allergies/intolerances (lactose intolerant, egg allergy, shellfish allergy, strawberry allergy), and has been for the 22 years that we have been married.”
“My MIL is one of those people who believe that you eat what is served or you do not eat, and that food allergies are something that people make up in their heads.”
The OP tried to discuss with her MIL what would be served.
“I asked her what she was serving at the bbq to see if there would 1. be anything I could eat and 2. if I needed to be concerned about anything she was serving.”
“Most of everything that she was planning to serve contained something that I could not eat.”
“This is not the first time that she has served food that I was unable to eat.”
“At Thanksgiving two years ago, the only thing I could eat were the dinner rolls and the salad. She got super offended that I did not eat and called me over dramatic.”
“If I eat before I go, and do not eat anything, she guilt trips me and tries to get me to eat.”
The OP later decided to serve herself.
“So this time, I discussed with my spouse the possibility of me bringing my own food to MIL’s house. They agreed with me that it was a good idea, but warned me not to let MIL see it.”
“I brought two small containers to the bbq in a cooler bag and put it under my chair. When it was time to eat, I quietly served myself from the containers and put my plate on the table.”
“When my MIL saw that I was eating food that was different than everyone else, she immediately got upset and told me how rude I was to bring food.”
“I explained to her that nothing she was serving was food I could safely eat, and she went on about how I always have to make myself the center of attention.”
“My spouse told MIL that she has known for almost two decades that I had food allergies, so it should not shock her that after years of being unable to eat at family gatherings, I would bring my own food.”
The family did not respond well to the OP’s and spouse’s plan.
“FIL then got up and told us both we were being rude and disrespectful to MIL as she has spent tons of money and time preparing for this bbq.”
“Spouse grabbed our things and we left after a few more choice words with their parents.”
“Our phones have been blowing up non-stop, some people agreeing that MIL was overreacting. Others think I should have eaten what I could out of politeness or eaten before I came.”
“I’m really torn and upset. I did not mean to cause drama, and I am hurt that spouse is arguing with their parents.”
“I did not mean to offend MIL, and certainly not ruin a bbq.”
“AITA for bringing my own food to MIL’s bbq?”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some thought the MIL’s behaviors could make the OP very sick someday.
“NTA. Food allergies aren’t a joke, and certainly nothing to play around with. If you are hosting a party and you know or are informed that someone has a food allergy, you tell them what will be safe for them to eat, or perhaps offer to buy things they can.”
“It is also okay to suggest that they bring something for themselves if you feel as though the risk of cross contamination is too great.”
“Your in laws have known about your allergies for over 20 years, so it’s not like this just started happening yesterday.” – purpleglitterkitty
“NTA. I typically just eat before I go in those cases. I can’t do eggs or nuts and have been this way since birth. My older brother still ‘forgets’. I’ve shown up to quiche more than once and nut bread baking on holidays.” – centerofthehive666
“NTA. For 20+ years you have had to celebrate with his family by not eating, eating plain boring dishes that do not fill you up, go hungry or have an allergic reaction… and you are rude? She is a terrible host and a terrible MIL.”
“Just respond with, ‘hey family, I have food allergies, they are not fun, but they are my reality, and since they are my issue and not the whole family’s,I do not make a big deal of insisting all food is prepared to my needs, I know bbq is delicious and wanted everyone to enjoy it.'”
“‘I also wanted to come to the bbq and see everyone, visit, and have a good time. Instead of not attending or going hungry I simply, quietly made accommodations for myself that would affect no one. I am sorry if that offended you. I made a decision to not go hungry or go to the hospital, hope you all understand.'” – k-weezy
Others questioned why the OP and her husband continued to attend food-related events at all.
“I agree and suspect there’s also some other underlying issues that the MIL has with OP…”
“But I don’t understand why you still go to her house and your partner doesn’t stand up for you more? Like it’s been 20 years and you guys still end up going to MIL house. Why weren’t proper boundaries set before?”
“Years ago your spouse should have properly sat their mother down and said that your allergies and intolerances are real and if she can’t accept that and make food you can eat, allow you to eat before hand, or bring your own food, then BOTH of you will no longer be attending meals at MIL and FIL’s house.”
“This is legitimately a health issue and cannot just continue to go on like this. What does your MIL need to see, for you to get seriously sick in hospital or maybe worse from an allergic reaction to a meal she prepared knowing you were allergic to it and forcing you to eat, before she realizes she’s f**ked up?” – tizianagt
“I would have stopped attending gatherings at MIL’s house years ago if she refused to respect my dietary restrictions.”
“NTA but OP, you need to speak with your partner about setting firm boundaries regarding this matter, it’s long overdue.” – HPfan94
“Seriously this is your health, and if he is unable to relay the seriousness of this to his mother (for whatever reason), just stop going. He needs to put on his adult pants and just tell her in no uncertain terms that you will not be attending future gatherings if she can’t be bothered to serve food you can eat, OR not get bent out of shape if you bring food. I’d be mad if he kept going too.” – JTMissileThis
“This!! What is your partner doing here? Why are you both still going to dinners where there’s no food that won’t make you sick? Your MIL is an a**hole, but so is your partner.”
“Why have they not said, ‘if there’s no food to be eaten that’s safe, then we will bring our own. If that’s a problem, then we won’t come.’? Why is there any mention of trying to hide the food?”
“Your MIL doesn’t care if food makes you sick, your partner trying to appease her.”
“NTA, but everyone else in this story is. Time to set boundaries and tell your partner to put up or shut up. Stop going to meals where someone is trying to make you sick and throwing adult temper tantrums.” – hufflegriff
The subReddit was able to agree on this one that the OP absolutely needs to take care of herself and prevent herself from having an allergic reaction, especially if she has loved ones around her who don’t really believe in those allergies.
This might mean not attending food-related events in the future, like Thanksgiving and barbecues, but surely, there must be other events they could attend, especially if the mother-in-law could deem her daughter-in-law’s bringing of her own food as an acceptable behavior.