Grieving people, above all, need time and space. Processing the death of a loved one can be earth-rattling.
Often, there’s only one way to regain the strength to live normally again: buy some tissues, take some time off of work, engage the support of the still-living and power through the messy emotional arc until you come out the other end.
But what if not everybody around you is on board?
That conflict put one Redditor in the middle of a family tug of war.
Aptly named sonandwifeproblems on the site, the Original Poster (OP) shared the details on the “Am I the A**hole (AITA)” subReddit and requested some anonymous internet feedback.
OP’s title for the post offered a glimpse of the conflict.
“AITA for not allowing my wife to send our son away for what he said to her?”
OP began by outlining the event that spurred it all.
“2 weeks ago my wife’s parents passed away in a car accident. Her father was 65 and her mother was 63.”
“My wife has been completely devastated since. She is an only child and was extremely close to her parents. They were wonderful people and I also grieve their loss.”
Not everyone responded alike.
“The issue of this post stems from our son. Our son is 15 and has been pretty unempathetic to his mother.”
“He is fairly introverted and started pulling away from his grandparents and us at 13 and now spends most of his time playing video games.”
“He didn’t react much to the news of their death. I have tried talking to him about it a few times but he has told me that he didn’t feel that close to them.”
When OP’s schedule changed, problems arose.
“I still have to go into work while my wife is on bereavement leave. Our son is doing 100% online learning and is also home all day.”
“Since the accident, my wife and son have had several bad interactions.”
He listed a few examples.
“Examples: Wife was crying in the bedroom and Son barges in and asks when dinner is. Wife asks him to make himself something, he rolls his eyes and walks away.”
“Wife set up online zoom funeral with her aunt and cousins (her only remaining family) and asks Son to attend. He gets on the call from his room but was on his phone the entire time and didn’t wear a shirt.”
“Wife asks if son would like anything from his grandparent’s house as a memory. He loudly replies ‘Nope’ and walks away.”
But one event pushed things over the edge.
“The big incident came 2 days ago. I was at work when my wife called me sobbing.”
“What happened is that she was in the living room playing some old videos with her parents when son comes in.”
“He asks to use the TV to play a video game and she says to give her an hour. She then asks him to join her.”
“His reply was ‘Mom I honestly don’t give a sh*t. They were old and gonna die anyways can you just get over it already?’”
OP attempted to intervene.
“She sent him to his room and called me. I talked to him about it when I got home and made him apologize but it clearly wasn’t sincere.”
“It upset my wife even more and she asked to speak with me that night.”
At the end of her rope, OP’s wife shared an idea.
“She told me that she is having a hard time grieving with them constantly sharing the same space and him being rude and dismissive of her.”
“She proposed that he spend 2 weeks with my sister since they have a similarly aged son he is good friends with.”
“She wants the 2 weeks to go through everything from their house, deal with the legal stuff, and really process her grief.”
OP’s response placed him right at the center of the conflict.
“I do understand where she is coming from but I shut her down.”
“I told her that it is unfair to send him away and that if she needs some time apart from him, she needs to be the one who goes.”
“She argued that she needed my support through this and if she goes, she has no one. I told her I loved her but our son comes first.”
But OP’s been left reflecting on that argument ever since.
“She slept in the guest bedroom that night and hasn’t spoken to me since. I feel horrible and am second guessing my decision.”
“Was I the a**hole here?”
Anonymous strangers on the internet were asked to provide feedback by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
Most Redditors criticized OP’s response to the ordeal.
They dubbed him the a**hole with the “YTA” acronym.
Many reiterated the difficult position his wife has been in.
“YTA your son is being intentionally hurtful and disrespectful, this means your wife is NOT the problem. On top of that she is the one experiencing the grief.”
“Did her parents reject your son in anyway? He isn’t being just disrespectful but obviously hostile.” — FalseAwe
“YTA. Her PARENTS JUST DIED. Your son’s behavior is unacceptable. Support your wife.” — moongirl12
“YTA. Your son is old enough to know he is being extremely heartless here. Something is seriously wrong with his lack of any kind of empathy for his own mother.”
“Your wife has gone through something very traumatic and deserves some time to grieve. Why can’t your son stay away for 2 weeks?”
“Why can’t you support your wife when your son specifically is making a horrible time for her worse?” — kvs90
Plenty of people did not hesitate to call OP out for leaving his wife in the dust.
“YTA. Seem like your wife has nobody to rely on but her aunt. Both you and your son completely dismissed her feelings.” — bodyguard114
“YTA. Good Lord, support your wife. She needs help and support and yes, as her husband, you need to step up to the plate, big time.”
“And you haven’t. Your son is being an absolute insensitive a**hole.”
“You are standing by and letting it happen. His behavior is downright abusive to his mother, and you don’t care.” — superfastmomma
“Dude, you are definitely TA. You need to figure out your priorities. Your son is consistently disrespecting and downright bullying your grieving wife.”
“My son would NEVER treat his mother like that. YTA and honestly, if this is how you treat her, you don’t deserve her.” — KrispyDickle
Others highlighted how OP’s parenting might relate to his son’s behavior.
“YTA. I wonder who your son inherited his lack of empathy from…” — Adorable_Technology7
“YTA. Her idea is valid and not punitive towards your son. Seems like you have not done anything related to his nasty behavior, even before this.”
“This time this is towards your wife. Would you do anything if his behavior was towards you?” — wickedlucky214
“YTA and sound like you let your son do what he wants. I can tell you guys never discipline him.”
“Your son is a huge d*ck but I don’t blame him. You guys raised him to be one.”
“Are you afraid of your own son?”
“And your WIFE comes 1st not your son.” — Based_God12
And a few Redditors advised he seriously consider some new ways to address his son’s conduct.
“YTA. First of all your wife needs space from the kid. Second of all why the HELL is that kid not already in intensive therapy?”
“He told his mom to get over their death because they were already old?”
“And you see no major issue with that? Your son needs medication and therapy immediately.” — shantae420
“YTA, and take your kid to therapy, he’s acting like a sociopath.” — pineapple1347
“YTA. She’s not sending him away, it’s two weeks. Also, your son needs therapy, his lack of empathy or concern for others, especially his mom, is scary.” — TypicalManagement680
Apparently, OP listened closely to that feedback. He added an update to his original post:
“I apologized to my wife and called my sister. My son is going there for the 2 weeks, leaving tomorrow.”
“I’d appreciate if you all stop calling him such horrible names based on this one post. I recognize that this behavior clearly isn’t as normal as I thought it was.”
“I was really similar as a kid and just ended up getting over myself as an adult.”
“I’m looking into some child [psychologists] for my son and some couples therapy for my wife and I. She hasn’t forgiven me yet but no, she isn’t divorcing me.”
“Thank you for your comments”
There you have it.
Sometimes internet feedback—though tough and stemming from a whole constellation of different priorities and viewpoints—can offer clarity a person needed.