Some of us are happy to be married, but we find ourselves struggling in our relationships with our extended families.
Inflammatory things can be said that really shouldn’t be said, admitted the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
The Redditor, who has since deleted their account, spoke out against his mother-in-law after she scolded him in his own home.
But after seeing how angry his wife was, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if he was wrong to speak up for himself.
He asked the sub:
“AITA for telling my mother-in-law to shut up and not tell me what to do?”
Although happy with his wife, the OP struggled with his mother-in-law.
“(22 [male]) here, and my wife is 23. We’re new college grads with new careers and have been together since high school. We bought a house together last year and are happy.”
“My wife’s mother is a legitimate narcissist. A lot of people use that term flexibly, but in this case, it’s legitimate.”
“She is super controlling of her adult children and will guilt them into doing things with her or for her.”
“One example is telling my wife earlier on that ‘she will disown her if she has sex before marriage and she needs to stay home with boyfriends until she’s married.'”
“Another example is her yelling at our 8-month-old golden retriever puppy for being excited to see her and calling the dog annoying.”
“Or every weekend, she makes her children feel bad for not coming for dinner every weekend. She’ll say that the kids don’t even love her anymore and pout like a child if they all say no. No one wants to drive 2 hours for dinner every weekend.”
“She’s also a complete Jesus Freak. So now that you get what kind of person she is…”
His mother-in-law scolded the OP during a recent visit.
“My mother-in-law (MIL) was over talking to my wife, and I was watching a football game while on Discord with all my buddies.”
“We never miss a game, whether it’s in-person or online together. I yelled ‘GODD**MIT’ when a bad play happened.”
“My MIL said, ‘John, YOU WATCH YOUR MOUTH AROUND ME, DON’T USE HIS NAME IN VAIN,’ and looked at me, crossing her arms and angry.”
The OP scolded her in return.
“I looked at her with a face of disgust, and yelled back, ‘Don’t you ever tell me what I can do or say in my own home, godd**mit. You’re a guest and are about to lose your welcome, and don’t lecture me about God when you committed adultery for years.'”
“She cheated on her husband for many years with two of their neighbors and has the audacity to talk to me about values and religion.”
The OP’s wife was not happy with his behavior.
“My MIL then left red in the face, and oh man, was I in the hot seat with the wife…”
“She wanted to jump across the room and strangle me. She told me how uncalled for what I said was and how it wasn’t appropriate and said it was an ‘a**hole move.'”
“I didn’t think I was out of line? I would never walk into someone’s home and start berating them for what they say.”
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 said the mother-in-law was wrong to speak up in someone else’s house.
“NTA. My dude, you’re walking a very fine line. Most people don’t wanna be called out on being a hypocrite. And you’re trying to make a life with that hypocrite’s daughter.”
“I respect that you took a stand in your own home. I would have responded the exact same way. I pay all my bills. I’m not gonna have anyone tell me how to speak or act in my own home.”
“Kudos to you. If I were in your shoes, I would apologize for making the adultery statement. I’d say something like, ‘Hey, it was inappropriate for me to bring up your infidelity. But I pay my own way through life. I chose to make a life with your daughter.'”
“I’d continue, ‘And I won’t allow anyone to check me in my own home. Just as I’m sure you would expect everyone who visits YOUR home to respect YOU.'” – HellBoundWhiskeyBent
“NTA. People like this aren’t told off as often as they should be. You shouldn’t keep sitting there being her doormat.”
“While I don’t agree with your wife, you have to remember she has trauma and is likely afraid of her mom as well as conflict and confrontation.”
“If this happened to me, it would probably throw me into a panic attack. I’d be a constant mess because I know it’d make things worse.”
“I’d apologize to her, but not her mom. Just try to talk it out with her and try and get her to understand that you both don’t need to be around people who just try to manipulate you into doing what they want.” – Sensitive-Cup69
“You went ballistic on her, but I suspect if your wife would actually stand up to her you wouldn’t even bother.”
“MIL needs to learn boundaries IMO (in my opinion), and if you don’t call her out on it. She will continue to walk over both of you.”
“Maybe I’m a bit biased since I went and am going through a similar thing. For what it’s worth, if you stick to it, your wife might start standing up for herself. But it’s a bumpy ride with alot of fights. And she could turn on you instead of her mother.”
“So pick your fights. If her mother is that controlling, she is bound to make a mistake and take it too far. Mine did when she started demanding things involving my son.” – Agorm
Others said it wouldn’t take much effort for the OP to respect his mother-in-law.
“YTA. She was rude and I have no problem with you reminding her that she’s a guest in your home and you’ll speak as you please in your own home.”
“But bringing her adultery into it was going too low.”
“Firstly, I assume you know about it because your wife told you. If so, you’re throwing your wife under the bus by revealing that she told you.”
“Secondly, that’s really personal; what she said to you wasn’t an attack on your character, just your language.”
“Thirdly, you don’t know what’s going on in her marriage. Maybe her husband’s impotent and gave her permission to seek sex elsewhere. Maybe he’s abusive and affairs were her only solace. There are many reasons, and it’s not yours to judge.” – ozperp
“Jumping in here because OP mentioned that he was on discord with a bunch of his friends, which is why he had the audible reaction to start—so if he yelled this back from the same place as his initial reaction, then he didn’t just call out MIL’s adultery in front of her own daughter, he also had all of his buddies as an audience.”
“This would have been a N T A if the sentence stopped after ‘about to lose your welcome,’ but OP put on a show for his buddies instead of only putting MIL in her place. Firm ESH, bordering on Y T A.” – throwaway65165716
“Nothing you described says narcissistic to me. Aggravating, maybe.”
“You hugely overreacted here. And let’s be honest, I don’t swear around people who don’t like swearing even in my own home.”
“Why? Because it’s just generally considerate. The same goes for taking the Lord’s name in vain.” – SneezlesForNeezles
Some said they were both at fault.
“She’s sounds insufferable.”
“You’re just making it worse. Your home or not, it’s pretty common knowledge to not use the lords name in vain around people who take it seriously. It’s just not that hard to not do.”
“I love cursing. F**k is my absolute favorite word but I have the basics of decency down and limit cursing around people I know are bothered by it even in my own home. It’s Social Etiquette 101.” – FoxUniCarKilo
“I think a lot of people interpret Christianity to be an all or nothing kinda thing. Like ‘If they do xyz, why are they doing zyx?’ The answer is simply because just because someone claims to be a Christian doesn’t mean they’re a perfect Christian (and they should be able to admit to that), and humans are not perfect.”
“However, you make an excellent point that it’s hypocritical of her to call OP out for cursing or taking the lord’s name in vain when she clearly broke a promise to her husband that she probably made in front of God, which you could argue is worse.”
“I think OP’s actions here were coming from a place of anger, not necessarily a place of confrontation or talking to her about her behavior in a healthy way.”
“Otherwise you could have said, ‘You know, MIL, just like you’re not perfect and have committed adultery in your past, I’m not perfect either and take the lord’s name in vain, let’s both try to improve our behaviors… etc. So I would agree with ESH.” – Skid_kennels
“ESH. You both acted like hotheads. And while she is a hypocrite and controlling, nothing you described is enough to diagnose her as a narcissist.” – HarlesBronson
While the OP didn’t think speaking out in this way was wrong, the subReddit wasn’t sure.
On the one hand, no one contested the OP’s desire to stand up for himself or his home. On the other hand, his response could have been more civil and hospitable, especially considering the fact that he was speaking to his mother-in-law, who is a member of his family.