Fear can be a powerful motivator.
The heart races, the palms sweat, and you react in unexpected ways to overwhelming stimulation.
What happens, though, when someone’s joke triggers those fear responses?
This was the problem facing Reddittor and Original Poster (OP) prankthrowaway5780 when he came to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for guidance.
“AITA for yelling at and ignoring my girlfriend over a prank?”
First, some background.
“I’ve (22 Male) been with Nicole (25 Female) for a couple years now and she’s always liked survival stuff and weaponry and all that.”
“I absolutely don’t.”
“Really, really bad experiences with knives when I was younger, and Nicole knows about them.”
“We both love Halloween and usually throw a party and dress up and goof around, cook up pumpkin seeds and watch movies.”
“Anyway the point is Nicole loves doing tricks with her knives (like five finger fillet, flicking it open and closed, twirling it etc) and she’ll do it when we’re watching a show or movie together – forgetting that I’ve asked her please not to.”
“Or she’ll buy a new one and show it off, asking if I wanted to give it first bite(??) and pout when I say no.”
“Two days ago she was playing with it again and I asked her why she keeps forgetting and she said ‘wow okay don’t insult my intelligence again’ and then that it was just a knife and therefore not a big deal and therefore not that important to remember.”
“After that, she put away the knife and we continued to have an okay night, but I was on edge and jumpy whenever she touched me.”
OP laid out the problem.
“Yesterday she called me into the kitchen.”
“Only she was playing five-finger filet… and I startled her and she ‘messed up’.”
“I lost my cool.”
“Screamed my head off, tried shouting what I knew about first aid at her while I raced to grab my phone, complete panic, dialing 911, only for her to start laughing and show me that it was a ‘prank’ involving red food dye and a carrot.”
“She had a nice laugh about how I would have known it was a joke if I wasn’t so squeamish about knives, that it’s proof I need to get more comfortable, that anyone with passing knowledge knows that it doesn’t look like that when something like that happens.”
“She kept explaining how she did it, how she practiced, how she could show me, but I didn’t even answer her, it was like my head was underwater and my heart was beating out of my chest.”
OP removed himself from the situation.
“Just moved on autopilot and grabbed my keys and drove a few blocks away before pulling over to breath. Nicole tried to call me and the first thing I said was ‘it wasn’t funny at all’, and she asked ‘are you crying?’ Then I hung up on her.”
“She kept texting me, saying she was sorry, that she didn’t think I’d react so badly to a joke, that it was just meant to be good fun in the Halloween spirit.”
“I ignored her.”
“I texted her after that I was home but ignored everything else.”
“This morning she sent the picture of the props to the group chat with a few of our mutual friends, and they chimed in saying ‘It doesn’t even look real’.”
He was left unsure of where he stood.
“I’ve muted the chat since and I’m wondering if I have a leg to stand on before I go back and apologize.”
Having laid out the issue, OP sought guidance from Reddit.
Redditors weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors decided: NTA
Some responses were succinct.
” ‘I had a horrible, disturbing prank played on me by the person I love’.”
” ‘AITA?’ “
“God, that wasn’t a prank, that sounds terrifying.” ~Vos-loves-Ventress15
Others were bothered by Nicole’s lack of empathy.
“The fact she didn’t think it was worth remembering bugs me so much.”
“There’s so little care for OP in that sentiment.”
“I went on a second date with a dude last week, to a big museum.”
“Bam, first cabinet I’m uncomfortable because there’s a crustacean and I have a phobia.”
“The whole rest of the time we were in the museum he checked displays for crustaceans and crabs (which are the worst), and steered me away from them.”
“He shared he’s really not a fan of spiders.”
“Two dates into something not super serious and we’re both making an effort to track what freaks out the other.”
“That’s like, basic skills for anyone you give the slightest of a damn about.”~GinjaJaz
“Her ‘Don’t insult my intelligence’ when OP gave her the benefit of the doubt about ‘forgetting’ how uncomfortable he is around knives was literally her saying, ‘I am completely aware of what I am doing [to you]’. ~Waury
Responses pointed out how concerning Nicole’s behavior is.
” ‘First bite’ and flicking knives while watching a movie are not normal, it’s a fetish for her.”
“I know people who are weapon lovers, but they also respect them and their inherent danger.”
“They never joke around, play pranks (it wasn’t a prank it was torture to a trauma victim), or play with them like a fidget spinner.“~Rosalie-83
“NTA, and consider this – people who use knives for a purpose (chefs, hunters, woodcarvers etc), tend to take their knives very seriously, keep them sharpened, stored in a case when not in use, handle them carefully and with respect they deserve.”
“Think about this seriously.”
“Your gf, as others have pointed out, has a knife fetish.”
“She is already fantasizing about inflicting harm with it (her cruel and sick joke is just a dry run).”
“She toyed with you, knew it would upset you, and enjoyed your stress response.”
“She probably looked forward to it.”
“Her cruelty is staggering.”
“This behavior will certainly escalate, as it always does with people who fantasize about harming others.”
“Run, don’t walk away from this relationship.”
“She told you who she is with this unspeakably cruel sadist prank.” ~Cocobutterbam
Fear can be a powerful motivator.
Remember to respect the fears that others share with you, and do not waste patience on those who do not respect the fears you share with them.