We all know some people who have a tendency to make everything in life all about them.
But some folks are more sneaky about it by disguising themselves as helpful, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor Throwawayhelpfulbf was starting to become concerned about her boyfriend’s behavior since she’d noticed that his helpful nature included crossing other people’s boundaries.
But when his behavior started impacting her family, the Original Poster (OP) wasn’t sure what to do.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for not defending my boyfriend when my brother asked him to leave?”
The OP gave her boyfriend some advice before attending a family dinner.
“My (28 Female) boyfriend (27 Male), Ryan, likes to help others. He is the type of guy who would give a coworker money for their rent or buy groceries for our neighbor.”
“However, he can take it too far at times. He often tries to help people without asking if they need or want his help.”
“Every year, my brother (35 Male), Paul, and his wife (33 Female), Lily, host a holiday dinner.”
“This year Ryan attended for the first time. Before we left for their house, I told Ryan that Lily was legally blind and had been her entire life. She knew what she could and could not do.”
“I told Ryan to only help Lily if she asked for help.”
Ryan didn’t take the OP’s advice seriously.
“We arrived early so I could help Paul and Lily cook. While we were cooking, Ryan kept telling Lily things, like, ‘Lily, if you’re looking for the salt, it’s to your right,’ or ‘Lily, don’t put that there, it’s too close to the edge.”
“Lily and Paul both told him that while his commentary was somewhat helpful, it was completely unnecessary. Still, Ryan did not stop.”
“However, things became tense when Lily went to go chop vegetables.”
“When she pulled out a knife, Ryan stopped her and asked if he could take over because he didn’t want Lily to ‘hurt herself.'”
“Lily said she’d be fine, but Ryan insisted she give him the knife.”
“Finally, Paul got annoyed and told Ryan to stop. Ryan did stop, but he kept hovering over Lily while she was chopping.”
Tension rose in the kitchen.
“I asked Ryan to sit down until dinner was ready, but Ryan insisted that he just wanted to help.”
“Finally, Lily asked him and me to help set the table and greet people arriving. We did, but things were still tense.”
“I did pull Ryan to the side and reminded him again to only help Lily if she asked for it.”
“He agreed, but I could tell that he was still upset.”
The situation worsened after dinner.
“Everything finally boiled over after dinner. My nieces (ages five and three) have a game they love to play with their mother. They will hand Lily something, and Lily would have to guess what it is.”
“Lily would sometimes make a couple of clearly outrageous guesses (like saying an egg is an elephant or a shoe) to make her daughters laugh.”
“After dinner, the eldest handed Lily the salt shaker. When Lily guessed it was a phone, Ryan piped up and said it was a salt shaker.”
“Lily laughed it off and explained the game to Ryan, but I could see she was annoyed.”
“My niece then handed Lily a coin. When Lily guessed incorrectly, Ryan loudly told Lily it was a coin.”
Paul and Lily decided enough was enough.
“This was apparently the last straw for Paul.”
“Paul demanded that Ryan leave since he clearly couldn’t respect Lily.”
“Ryan insisted that he was trying to be helpful.”
“However, Lily said it was probably best if Ryan and I left.”
Ryan blamed the OP for how the night turned out.
“I quickly gathered up our things and managed to convince Ryan to leave.”
“Ryan is currently p*ssed at me. He said I should have defended him, especially since I knew he was only being helpful.”
“He also insisted that I should have stood up against Paul’s ‘overreaction’ (Ryan’s words).”
“I’m now wondering if I should have defended Ryan.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some thought the boyfriend wasn’t being helpful at all.
“NTA. Ryan didn’t deserve to be defended there.”
“I’m sorry, I’m sure you love Ryan, but good lord he sounds insufferable.”
“He wasn’t being nice. He was being patronizing. Lily neither wanted nor needed his help. He stuck his nose where it didn’t belong, and he was asked to stop numerous times. I would’ve kicked him out too.” – PeppermintMocha5
“It doesn’t sound like he wants to be helpful, it sounds like he wants to be the benevolent yet superior being. He wants to feel the gratitude of the ‘lesser’ masses.”
“He can’t handle being around a capable person who won’t accept his magnanimity.” – ISwearIUsedToBeSmart
“And I have to say, he’s incredibly basic. Like, did he not comprehend the simple joke Lily was playing with the kids? Everyone knew it was not a f**king phone. This guy screaming ‘It’s a salt shaker!’ made me doubt his IQ.” – conchitu
“My father sometimes drives my mother up the wall by being ‘too helpful’ when she’s sick… but she’s also a notoriously terrible patient, and she knows it. So she allows it with some grumbling. If someone else tried that s**t, they’d be dead meat. I’m only halfway given a pass, and I’m her adult daughter.”
“What’s bonkers to me here is that Lily and Paul are telling him to drop it. Even if I believed dingus truly thought Lily was overestimating herself (still a problem, but whatever, and I don’t believe it for a second), her husband isn’t concerned either. That means it’s just a normal day, nothing to worry about.”
“A helpful, considerate person would offer once, then take their cues from the response. No one else thought it was weird or that she needed help. Unless he’s trying to imply Paul is horribly neglectful, it has nothing to do with helping and everything about him.” – Elaan21
“There’s a thing called ‘communal narcissism.’ They pride themselves on being ‘the most helpful person in their circle,’ yet in reality it is just about looking down on others and thinking they know everything better and should be praised and looked at for being ‘helpful.'”
“Her boyfriend seems exactly like that type.” – Affectionate-Sand838
Others challenged the OP to be more proactive in the future.
“No, he was being *ableist and patronizing*… Like truly f**king offensively so.”
“You shouldn’t have defended him, you should have told him if he didn’t cut it out YOU’D be asking him to leave rather than making your family put up with him for so long.”
“If I was your SIL I’d be telling you that he is never allowed in my house again and that as long as you were with him, I’d be going LC (low contact) with him and you.”
“You know how Reddit says something isn’t a joke if no one is laughing… it’s also not helping if no one wants or needs it and is especially not helping if you are actively being told to STOP.” – LimitlessMegan
“OP is the AH if Ryan isn’t an ex-boyfriend.” – GarlicAndSapphire
“He was given numerous chances, gentle hints, and direct instructions to amend his behavior at the time but he refused. And he’s still even now insisting that he was right.”
“It’s not OP’s responsibility to fix his attitude. It is OP’s decision whether this is something they can overlook and if they’re willing to damage relationships with family and friends to stand by their stubborn partner.” – KCRowan
“If someone is so disrespectful to your family, fails to change or acknowledge what they are doing is wrong, and doubles down being mad with you for not backing them up, that seems like a pretty big issue if you value your family at all.” – Maximo9000
“Ryan is an ableist. This needs to be emphasized more. Ryan infringed on Lily’s individualism with the too-often ableist and naive notion that her disabilities were a hindrance.”
“With that in mind, OP needs to think about two things.”
“What kind of message it will send to Paul and Lily if OP decides to keep dating such a person? Personally, I would very much distance myself if I was Paul and Lily and never allow Ryan over indefinitely and in the long and foreseeable future.”
“Not sure if OP would ever want kids, but is this someone you’d want to have kids with? How do you think Ryan’s actions would impact your child’s health and sense of independence if they have disabilities?”
“NTA, OP. But as someone who works in providing care or even independence for people with disabilities. I can’t say you wouldn’t be the AH if you stay.” – DM_ME_YOUR_POTATOES
The subReddit was collectively cringing after reading the OP’s story about how her boyfriend stomped all over her sister-in-law’s boundaries and what she actually needed as a blind person.
What concerned the sub the most, however, was the OP continuing to date Ryan and what that would communicate to her family after how he’d already treated some of her family members.