Spaces that belonged to our lost loved ones are very difficult spaces to navigate. They hold so much meaning and sorrow for those of us who loved them the most, and they are tricky spots to manage expectations over, because our relationships with our loved ones are so different from person to person.
Reddit user Connor66097 found herself in an awful situation where she lost her son far too young. His room became a special place for her, and she found another one of her family members disrespecting it.
After being reactive, she wondered if she’d gone too far. She went to the popular subReddit “Am I The A**hole?” or “AITA” for some perspective.
“AITA: For kicking my niece and her fiance out of my house after I found them inside my deceased son’s room?”
Our original poster, or OP, set up the tragic circumstances that lead to the loss of her son.
“I lost my son Connor 5 months ago. He was in the military. Only 24 years old. He was kind and sweet. losing him so suddenly was devastating.”
“His room is pretty much the same. I have pictures of him there. His posters, his art work, books, sneakers and such.”
“Every time I enter the room I feel some kind of relief. I just love drinking my coffee there in the morning and sit on his bed and look at his touches all over the walls. It just warms my heart.”
“I’m proud of him because he had no selfishness, never mistreated anybody. He was so forgiving and never held grudges.”
“I started recently giving some of his clothes to those who could use them and it’s hard but I’m taking it slow.”
OP was asked by some family to house them for a short time.
“My 23 year old niece and her fiance (male) moved in with me because of their current financial struggles.”
“They said they only had money left to pay for one month’s rent and asked me to let them stay with me for a month til niece’s fiance finds a job.”
OP said yes on one condition.
“I agreed, I didn’t mind having someone to talk to anyway, But I told them that my son’s room is a clear boundary and they’re not allowed to enter it or be in it for any reason.”
“They have the guest room and soon enough they started complaining about sleeping on the floor. Eventually they stopped.”
OP then found out her boundary had been violated.
“Yesterday. I was out to get groceries I got home at 8am. I made coffee and was heading upstairs to spend some time in Connor’s room. I was surprised to find the door locked.”
“I then found out that my niece and her fiance were inside. I thought they were in the guest room. But my niece told me they spent the night in Connor’s room because they couldn’t endure sleeping on the floor any longer.”
“I blew up when I saw her fiance on Connor’s bed I just kept yelling at them and berating them. My niece was shocked by my reaction. She said I overreacted and she’d clean it up later.”
OP threw them out.
“I told them to get out of the room. Pack their things and leave. My niece called me harsh, cruel and unreasonable. She kept asking if Connor would’ve wanted me to treat her like this.”
“I insisted they just leave. Leave immediately. They left an hour later. My family heard. My sister said I shouldn’t have kicked them out.”
“The reason she can’t take them is because her husband doesn’t want niece’s fiance at his home due to family disagreement.”
OP now wants to know if she really did something wrong.
“My sister said I was in the wrong and I overreacted and shamed me for being unsupportive and inconsiderate.”
“The guest room only has mattresses so they weren’t directly sleeping on the floor. They were okay with it at first but they started complaining. Complained about other things as well.”
“I should mention my brother in law said he won’t let niece’s fiance into his house after what happened between them.”
“And he kept swearing up and down that niece’s fiance is never allowed into the house again. My niece refused to move in without her fiance that’s why I took them both in.”
Anonymous strangers weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
Redditors definitely think OP has a reasonable reaction given the level of the boundary being violated.
“NTA. 100% agree with this. It doesn’t matter what the backstory was. You gave them one forbidden tree, but they ate the apple anyway.”
“THAT SAID OMFG I AM SO MAD. How dare she say ‘your son…’. I would’ve slapped her teeth out of her mouth at that moment.”
“And her mother…look, if you can’t take in your OWN DAUGHTER because her father has forbidden it how dare you expect others to do so and put up with their bullsh*t.”
“I’m glad you kicked them out.”~ralexander26
“I hate the ‘what would (deceased person) want you to do.’ People said this to me when Mom – May her memory be for a blessing- died.”
“My Mom wanted me to have my own autonomy and feelings, not hers! She would have wanted me to feel the feelings and not ignore them.”
“It’s an unbelievably insensitive way to gaslight someone from the grief process. It’s cruel. Overall in America, the bereavement benefits are garbage, which is an indication of how we treat grief.”
“Because of this, I have such a soft spot for the bereaved, and boundary stompers like OP niece make me want to fight.”
“OP, I’m so sorry for your loss. May Connors memory be for a blessing ❤️ NTA”~myeggsarebig
“NTA. You had terms and conditions for their living there rent free, they didn’t abide those terms and conditions, so they lost their housing.”
“Beggars don’t get to be choosers. They don’t like sleeping on a floor? They can buy a blow up mattress with the money they are saving not paying rent.”
“Or they can talk to you about it. But they were told expressly to not enter your sons room. They did, and even attempted to lock the door for privacy.”
“Your sister can get over it. If her husband doesn’t like her daughter’s fiancee, that’s on them, but that doesn’t mean YOU have to house them.”
“Your sister doesn’t get to shame you when she is perfectly able to house her daughter and fiancee, she just refuses to because it will ruffle her own feathers instead of yours.”~Snoo_68114
“NTA, you put clear boundaries in place. They could be sleeping out in the cold instead, too bad they had to sleep on the floor, they’re the a**holes.”
“And maybe the way you spoke to them was a bit much but you’re grieving and once thing relax maybe you can calmly explain to them why you didn’t like what they did.”~tobeundonee
Boundaries were violated and the piper must be paid.
“I agree that OP is NTA and clearly defined the boundaries, but want to add that Niece and her SO were sleeping on a mattress on the floor, not directly on the floor.”
“A mattress on the floor of a heated/air-conditioned house that you are living in for free is not a hardship.”
“Someday, if Niece and her SO choose to have kids and are lucky, they will have kids of their own. That’s when they might start to understand.”
“In the meantime, OP, cherish your son’s memory, and don’t worry too much about people who would disrespect that so they can be more comfortable.”~alphabetfire
“NTA, it was a clear boundary and they broke it. You did them a huge favor letting them essentially live rent free and they threw it in your face.”
“Your niece is unbelievably manipulative trying to use your dead son against you. I’m sure Connor would be proud of your kindness, and I’m sorry for your loss.”~Tomatillo-Proof
“NTA you only lost your son 5 months ago so of course you want to keep his room as it was when he left for the military.”
“Your niece and her partner are insensitive AHs you were doing them a favour by letting them stay there rent free and they couldn’t even obey the ONE rule you had.”
“And then to add insult to injury she brings up your deceased son by saying he wouldn’t want you to treat them that way!?”
“Don’t back down on this OP.”~McNoodleNZ
“Your niece is a brat with low to no empathy and your sister needs to realize that you don’t need to house someone who disrespects a very clear boundary of yours.”
“Which is pretty much worse than a family disagreement. If people in her house cannot put their disagreements aside, she has no moral ground to even ask you to do it yourself.”
“NTA. And I would write (not call, WRITE) an email explaining EXACTLY why you kicked them out and why you are not welcoming them anymore.”
“1 – They knew the room was off-limits. Instead of approaching you as adults, asking as adults, reasoning as adults, they sneaked behind your back and tried to FORCE you to accept them using the room. Meaning, they acted like spoiled brats.”
“2 – They locked the room. If they wanted privacy, they should stay in their designed room. They denied you access to a place that can ease you from the pain of losing your son.”
“And your niece is staying with you for enough time to know that this is a routine for you. She did not only disrespected your wishes and boundaries, she also deprived you of the routine that allows you to cope with the grief of losing your son.”
“3 – Instead of apologizing, your niece used your grief for leverage to argue that a) she should be able to use the room and that was not a big deal b) to guilt-trip you into allowing them to stay.”
“4 – The first thing she told you after opening the room was ‘we are tired of sleeping in the mattress,’ meaning… her comfort was more important than your, to the extent that she thought that it would be fine to disrespect your wishes without even a warning.”
“5 – That their family disagreement is not more important or pressing than your grief. They are adults, they should sort this out, this is no way excuse to keep someone who disrespected you in your own home as a guest.”
“6 – That if your sister had any sense, she should be ashamed of having raised such an inconsiderate child.”
“That your sister has no idea how painful this is, and if she is feeling hurt by you kicking them out, she should know better than having lost your son is much worse.”
“And you are living this pain. And both her and her daughter have no regard at all for your grief.”
“The only unsupportive and inconsiderate family members are them, and if this is the type of support they give to a grieving family member, that you don’t feel bad in the slightest for kicking your sister’s brat out, because it was not even as close to what they did.”
“7 – If your sister wants someone to support her brat of a kid, she should do it herself. Other people are not responsible for solving her problems nor putting up with the bad behavior she is so ready to enable.”
“8 – That if they want to ever have a chance to ask for anything or set foot in your home, you expect a sincere apology from both, in writing.”
“For the manipulation, for the lack of empathy and respect for your grief and boundaries. For all the distress they put you through in this very difficult time.”
“For thinking of you as a resource (a hotel stay, in this case) they can use as they please, not as a family that also needs support.”
“Op, I’m so very sorry. For your son, for what your niece and sister did. You did not deserve that. Don’t let them walk over you… and man… trying to use your son’s memory to manipulate you was very disgusting.”
“I have no idea what to expect. Her being an entitled brat is already bad, but this is just all shades of gross.”
“Don’t feel bad for them, don’t feel sorry for them, and if you think they will try to round your family in order to pressure you into changing your mind, pick up the phone and explain let your family know what happened and why, and let them also know that you don’t want people mediating this issue.”
“If they had the balls to disrespect you, they should have the balls to solve this issue without interference.”
“I hope you can find your way towards healing. I don’t know how you feel about pets… but having company would be good.”
“And pets require some attention and love, so you will add more moments to your life that will take you away from your pain.”
“If you think there is space and you like the prospect… pets are usually the type of company that won’t ever desert you.”~randomfirefly
And it is a big violation of.not just a physical boundary, but an emotional boundary as well.
“NTA. You had clear boundaries and they overstepped. I don’t care what their excuses are.”
“They knew they weren’t allowed in that room, and they went in anyway and locked the door. If they didn’t like sleeping on a mattress on the floor, they could have bought a bed frame or something else.”
“They disrespected your boundaries, and that disrespect had consequences.”~FervidusThespis
“NTA. You were not obligated to provide shelter for them and doing so was a charitable act. You laid your boundaries very clearly and they still disregarded it.”
“I understand what it’s like to try to preserve the memory of someone you loved, so you’re NTA for kicking them out after they blatantly disrespected your space.”~blob_of_uncertainty
“NTA. They are insanely entitled. Given your sister’s reaction I have an idea where they might get it from…”
“When I was in my 20s and broke I slept on a folded blanket to act as a mattress. And I know your son likely had to settle for less than that while serving.”
“Honestly it is likely for the best because likely something would have ‘happened’ that kept them from being able to move in the promised time frame.”~Northern_LMT
“NTA. They were guests in your house and you gave them one rule. Not even an unreasonable rule. Not sure how at 23 your niece doesn’t have at least a mattress.”
“If she doesn’t want to sleep on the floor, get an air mattress. Obviously your niece and her fiancée make poor house guests if this is the second house they’ve been kicked out of now.”
“If her mother is that worried, she’ll take them in regardless of what her husband says.”~gendr_bendr
OP stood her ground and is catching some flack for it from family.
But Reddit has spoken, and Reddit has said “let them flack.”