Some relationships can help you grow into the best version of yourself. Others, are not so helpful. But, at the end of the day, we must take accountability for our decisions.
Redditor nouchooseausername6 encountered this very issue with her brother. So she turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for moral judgment.
“AITA for telling my brother he downgraded?”
The Original Poster (OP) explained:
“Hi there, sorry for the shit grammar. English is my first language, I just suck at it.”
“My (28F) brother Mike (33M) was married to Lisa (31F) for 4 years until last year when he was caught cheating with Penny (29F).”
“My ex-SIL was reserved, sweet and was straight edge (no alcohol/drugs). Mike loves to party and went to court ordered rehab before he was even 21. When Mike met Lisa he sobered up, got an apprenticeship and really turned his life around.”
“He also threw that all away on Penny. Penny knew he was married, she got him shit faced and that is how the affair started. Penny is loud, disgusting, obnoxious and encourages my brother to drink, he thinks she is just soooo fun and ‘the life of the party.'”
“We were at a family party this past weekend and Mike and Penny were there. Some cousins we hadn’t seen in years were there and were introduced to Penny. Mike introduced her as his ‘upgrade.'”
OP couldn’t help herself.
“Cue major side eye from me, my brother noticed and pulled me aside later.”
“He asked why the attitude- Penny was clearly an ‘upgrade’. I asked him to explain that comment, She’s blonde, curvy and fun whereas Lisa ‘looked like a librarian with no tits.'”
“I decided to clear things up for him. Penny is obnoxious, rude, slovenly, her hair is poorly bleached and she smells like fungus. No one looks at her like a prize to be won. No one is jealous of him which he thinks they are? His best friend won’t even talk to him any more because Penny made a dead baby joke to his wife after a miscarriage.”
“I let him know that he actually chose alcohol over his ex, Penny just encouraged him to do it because she had a crush on him for years.”
“He called me a bitch, I told him ‘samesies.'”
“Pretty sure I am the a**hole on this one tbh.”
“Edit: Pretty disappointed with myself for going after her looks though-felt very immature after the fact.”
“Going to just silently judge my brothers choices from afar from now on (and to those saying I need to accept my brothers partner…lol no I don’t)? I just won’t be involved. I really did love my SIL and I really don’t like how she was treated. And to those who followed me, lol why?”
Redditors gave their opinions on the situation by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors agreed OP was not the a**hole.
“NTA Your brother picked someone who makes dead baby jokes to his best friend after a trauma, costing him the friendship. That’s not an upgrade.” ~ EzHedgehog
“While I do agree with everything you say. IDK, for some reason, something about calling a human an upgrade vs downgrade just doesn’t sit well with me. It almost feels like you value them less as a person (which I think is incorrect). ESH IMO.” ~ Quirky_Average_2970
“I value someone who makes dead baby jokes to people who just had a miscarriage less than I value other, less cruel people. I value people who encourage addicts to relapse less. I may be an a**hole for that, but I’m okay with it.” ~ EzHedgehog
“The original saying was ‘my word is my bond,’ which was shortened to ‘word is bond’ when I was little, then shortened to ‘word’ sometime during my childhood.”
“I’m not exactly sure what the original meaning was or how it was used, it was before my time. But now “word” basically means ‘I agree with you. That is an accurate assessment.'” ~ RusticTroglodyte
“I agree, the problem with ‘upgrade’ and ‘downgrade’ is that it’s usually based on superficial qualities like appearance and age, and typically is only applied to women.”
“The brother introduced Penny by saying she’s an ‘upgrade’ to Lisa because of her looks; OP was just responding in kind by informing him that that he’s downgraded in terms of basic human decency.” ~ mercurial_planner
OP is entitled to an opinion, but was that the right way to phrase it?
“Basically. There are times it makes you an a**hole to judge people. There are also times it makes you an a**hole to not judge people. Staying neutral in the face of cruelty and shitty behavior is just enabling.” ~ terfsfugoff
“You are not an asshole for that, just a person with a healthy understanding which people contribute to the well-being of others around them and which people do the opposite.”
“There is a distinction here between valuing the humanity of a person, which would translate to granting them the same rights and duties as other humans, and valuing someone as a moral agent, which is about judging their actions and their effect on other humans on a gradient. You were doing the latter and that is perfectly fine – and I would agree that Penny is a downgrade in that regard.” ~ Shizanketsuga
“NTA Why E-S-H then? The brother started with the “Upgrade” thing, not OP. She only used his words and we don’t even know if OP used the word “Downgrade”, since it’s not mentioned here.” ~ Nyllil
“I think that if OP had said, ‘Man, you sure downgraded’ out of nowhere, that would be one thing, but Mike opened that door by calling Penny an upgrade, so that’s the language we can use to judge him with.” ~ shineevee
“Recovery is about accountability. It’s pretty clear that everyone in this situation is 100% blaming Penny. Brother is being passed off as an innocent victim here and Penny as some demon who ruined his life. I’m well aware of the effects of addiction on a family, I watched for decades as it destroyed mine regardless of what the rest of us did until my family member accepted that we were not the ones who ‘did this to him.'”
“Penny is 100% an AH for her actions, absolutely, but it doesn’t mean OP isn’t also an AH.”
“The only true winner in this situation is Lisa, who got the fuck out.” ~ SinsOfKnowing
OP definitely knows how to speak her mind.
If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction you can reach out to the SAMHSA National Helpline 1-800-662-4357.