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Dad Blows Up After BIL Calls His Son A ‘Girl’ For Going To Therapy After His Best Friend Died

Sad teenage boy sitting on the sidewalk.
Yasser Chalid/Getty Images

There are still far too many people who have extremely antiquated views surrounding masculinity.

Some people believe that any men who behave a certain way, partake in certain hobbies, or enjoy certain things are not “real men”.

Opinions that stem not from science, but often from ignorance or bigotry.

When the brother-in-law (BIL) of Redditor No-Draft450 overheard that the original poster (OP)’s son was partaking in a certain activity, he wasted no time in criticizing both of them, telling them that wasn’t something men do.

An opinion the OP was not going to tolerate, turning the tables on his BIL by putting his own manhood into question.

A decision which greatly angered the OP’s wife.

Wondering if he was out of line, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where he asked fellow Redditors:

“AITA for telling my BIL to f*ck off after he called my son a girl for being in therapy?”

The OP explained why he felt the need to put his BIL’s masculinity into question after he did the same with his son.

“My (38 M[ale]) 15 year old son has been in therapy for the past few months after his best friend died.”

“It was very hard for him and while I’ve always been there to help him, my wife and I felt that having a therapist would be best.”

“He seems to be making a lot of progress, so I know it’s working.”

“Unfortunately, my BIL is a men shouldn’t express emotions kind of guy.”

“I’ve always thought that was bs, so I made sure my wife and I were on the same page about not letting that happen.”

“Last night there was a family gathering.”

“My son had just had his therapy session, so we picked him up and drove there.”

“While we there, my son was telling me about something they talked about, and my BIL must have overheard, because he started on a tangent about boys not needing therapy and calling him a girl.”

“I probably wouldn’t have reacted as much if my son hadn’t been there, by my son was visibly hurt by what he was saying.”

“I was pissed at him and told him tof*ck off and that right now my son is more of a man than he is.”

‘I would have liked to say more, but I didn’t want to upset my son further.”

“I admit that I might have gone a little too far, but I was defending my son.”

“But I don’t think someone who shames someone else for being healthy while also being sexist is being a ‘man’.”

“My BIL just glared at me and stormed out of the house.”

“My wife told me that we were leaving so I got my son and we left.”

“My son didn’t say much the rest of night, but my wife sure did.”

“She was mad at me for doing that, and saying I disrespected her brother.”

“I tried to explain I was just defending my son from him, but she wouldn’t take it and is ignoring me.”

“I’m still mad over this.”

“My son was shamed for expressing his emotions and then everyone gets mad at me for defending him.”

“But all of their reactions are making me second guess myself and wondering if I’m the a**hole.”


Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation, by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

The Reddit community unanimously agreed that the OP was not the a**hole for standing up to his BIL and sticking up for his son.

Everyone agreed that the OP’s BIL deserved a taste of his own medicine, as his comments were closed-minded and offensive, particularly owing to everything the OP’s son has gone through.

“NTA Your BIL disrespected your child, who is going through something incredibly difficult at a young age.”

“You did your job as a parent by standing up for him.”- adjective-study


“Good dad, many dad points.”

“I can’t say this enough, GOOD DAD.”

“You need to have a chat with wife though and get her head straight.”- Iustthetip

‘You are a hero.”

“Your BIL is TA.”

“Sadly, your wife values her brother more than she values her son.”- Zabes55


“We call out toxicity wherever we see it, especially when it involves children, even more, when it’s family, and even more when it’s our child.”

“Your wife needs to pull herself together quickly and get some therapy to figure out why she’s willing to toss her child under the bus to appease a bully?”- whatsmypassword73


“What’s wrong with your wife?”

“She took her brother’s side over her son.”

“Point that out and let her think on it because that’s as disgusting as her brother’s comment.”-blackforestham3789


“Your bil sure is, and kinda your wife too tbh.”- HeirOfRavenclaw


“Your wife is an AH for making excuses for your BIL, and your BIL was completely out of line.”

“When you and your wife both calm down, you make it very clear that unless your BIL treats your son with respect, you will not tolerate that behavior and even go NC with him.”

“Your wife better get her head checked.”- Popular_Document1399


“Her brother disrespected her child!”

“What the hell is your wife thinking.”

“You’re the only one who doesn’t have their head up their a**.”- Pleasant_Lemon6687


“Your wife should be by your side for standing up for your child.”

“That whole man should be emotionless is the stupidest thing ever and so extremely damaging and sexist.”-TheLovelyOne422


‘That kind of toxic masculinity needs to be gone.”

“I’m glad you stood up for your son, and I’m VERY glad he’s in therapy and responding well to it.”

“The only part that wasn’t cool was the ‘son is more of a man’ part.”

“Don’t get into comparing masculinity. It just feeds into the whole garbage.”- Logical_Block1507

“Nope, NTA at all.”

“Your wife is being one. She’s probably been raised in that toxic environment, so is brainwashed to some degree to defend it even though she knows therapy is good for your son.”

‘Your BIL is horrible, and I wouldn’t choose to be around him ever again.”

“BIL owes the apology.”

“Tell your wife she needs to be protecting her SON instead of protecting his abuser.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Give your son a hug from me.”- SufficientComedian6

“You know what a REAL man would have done?”

“Defend his family.”


“But I hate to say, your wife placing her brother before her son is.”- SpendPsychological30


“You were right to defend your son!”

“Wife owes you and son an apology.”- Walktothebrook

“I’m echoing a lot of people, but your wife needs help.”

“Protecting her brother over her child?”

“Especially when her child is dealing with his best friend dying?”

“Wtaf.”- sliferra


“But your wife and her brother are major a**holes.”- Snowybird60


“Disrespected her brother?”

“He disrespected your son.”

“Did she agree with the BiL?”

‘Might need to go over some values here.”

“I don’t think the death of a best friend at a developing point of life is something to be taken lightly and to think, oh anyone can get over that easily.”

“Grief like that can literally alter brain chemistry and change a person.”

“Of course, there are private matters, but does the BiL know that side of the story for why he’s in therapy?”

“Not that he’s warranted to know that information, but I am curious as to if his tune would change with that knowledge or not.”

“Some dudes make it a competition of ‘I’ve endured so much grief, and I’m the stronger person because of it because I didn’t rely on others’.”

“Also, in case it wasn’t obvious, the BiL probably needs his own therapy for whatever he’s got going on.”

“Someone had to have told him to ‘man up’ and that’s what he knows as the mantra.”

“Doesn’t sound like a pleasant person to be around in the first place.”- NotaGoodper5on


“Your wife should be on her son’s side, not her brother’s.”

“Shocking.”- Spirit_Sky7

“NTA and send your wife to see your son’s therapist.”

“She clearly needs her head examined.”- FNGinvestor


“Tell your wife not to be surprised by the way y’all son thinks of and interacts with her going forward.”- Blaq_Orchiid

“NTA Your BILs masculinity is so fragile it cant handle a child getting help?”

“I hope you have separate conversations with your wife and your son: your wife needs to stand up for her kid.”

“I had a friend die at his age, and it never occurred to anyone that I might need therapy, and i was left to deal with it on my own.”

“Recognizing when you need help and asking for it can be really difficult to do, and having supportive parents is essential.”

“She owes your son an apology at the very least, and she needs to have a conversation with her brother.”

“He can either knock off the comments, or your son isn’t around him anymore.”

“That should also go for anyone who agrees with the brother.”

“You should talk to your son about what your BiL said and why it’s nonsense.”

“Also, why it’s so important to keep going to therapy so long as it’s helping.”

“Make sure he knows that you’ve got his back and you love and support him.”

“Personally, I would tell him if he’s uncomfortable being around BIL for a while, that’s okay with me but idk how enforceable that would be with your family dynamic.”- elvis_wants_a_cookie

Knowing when you need help does not define your masculinity.

Some might even argue that a “real man” never even takes the time to think about what constitutes being a “real man.”

If anything, perhaps some therapy might do the OP’s BIL some good, as it could positively change the way he views and treats others.

Written by John Curtis

A novelist, picture book writer and native New Yorker, John is a graduate of Syracuse University and the children's media graduate program at Centennial College. When not staring at his computer monitor, you'll most likely find John sipping tea watching British comedies, or in the kitchen, taking a stab at the technical challenge on the most recent episode of 'The Great British Baking Show'.