The holidays are coming up. Holidays are a time for charity, for health and celebration—to show our family and friends how dearly we love and appreciate them.
Even if family haven’t been great to us in the past, we may choose to reach out and show our love in some way—maybe we help a family member in need.
That is what Redditor 6th92ro01w wanted to do, but her husband was opposed. Seeking guidance, she took this question to the popular subReddit “Am I The A**hole?” or “AITA”:
“AITA for refusing to get my in laws anything for Christmas to prove a point to my husband?”
Our original poster, or OP, set the scene that put her husband and family into conflict.
“Been together 9 years(29f[emale]/30m[ale]), have 2 kids. I absolutely adore my in laws. They are fantastic people and I get along with them swimmingly.”
“My family is far from perfect and raised me in a very toxic environment so having positive people like my in laws in my life has been a god send.”
“However, because my husband knows how toxic my family was when I was growing up, he refuses to include them in anything. This is the only downfall in our marriage.”
“They have never done him wrong or done myself wrong for years either but he doesn’t give a sh*t. Just completely disregards that they even exist.”
“We get his family something for Christmas every year, as well as spending the eve and day with them every year; mine is lucky to get a ‘Merry Christmas’ text.”
This ongoing difficulty clashed with a bad situation that OP’s sister found herself in.
“Now, my sister is almost 18 and just found out she is pregnant. She’s against abortion and did use a condom, which obviously broke.”
“She lives with her BFs parents who have made both her and her BFs lives a complete hell since finding out.”
“My sister and her BF both worked part time and went to school but after his parents found out they were pregnant made their son drop out of school and get a full time job (he was 4 months from getting all credits to graduate).”
Sister’s boyfriends’ parents also made things significantly more financially and mentally difficult.
“They also upped their rent from $400 a month to $800 a month(even though their rent is only $950 for a 6 bedroom house and they cant use any of the spare rooms).”
“Plus they have to buy their own food, pay the internet and electric bill (not included in their rent), cant take showers all but once a week to save on water and basically are limited to their bedroom.”
“They practically have to ask to take a piss. They have even deliberately made my sister feel like sh*t by saying they wont be ‘carting her ass around to any appointments for free.'”
OP wanted to help.
“Knowing this info, I wanted to get her something for the baby; knowing that there was no way in hell they could afford one living under her BFs parents roof.”
“I wanted to buy her a crib. The same one I had for my kiddos. The one that changes into a toddler bed and then a day bed- it grows with the baby. She could use it for years. It was only $199(on sale). I purchased mine for $699.”
But husband did not want it to happen.
“So I told my husband I wanted to buy it and he lost his sh*t.”
“Said that he wasn’t going to break the bank to support a child having a child and said ‘She decided to have a baby. She can go get a job and buy a crib. It’s not my job to give her gifts.'”
“Mind you, I work full time(more hours than him by a long shot) but he works salary and technically makes more.”
In retaliation, OP is now refusing to buy gifts for her in-laws.
“I was livid, I’ll admit and immediately snapped back with ‘Well looks like we will be crossing mommy and daddy off the Christmas list because they have jobs and can buy their own gifts.'”
“Since that conversation I have held the same tune. Though he claims this is entirely different and that I’m an AH for trying to compare the two (christmas gifts/baby gifts). AITA?”
Redditors helped OP decide where guilt belongs by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
Reddit can’t believe OP even thinks she’s done something wrong.
“NTA. As it turns out, you don’t need your husband’s permission to buy your sister this very thoughtful, useful gift.”
“You work full time, so you can afford it yourself. Your husband is being really sh*tty and completely unreasonable about this. Talk about toxic.”~prairiemountainzen
“NTA for all of this.”
“But also, and I know this isn’t the main point of the post, but is it too late to call CPS on the sisters bfs parents?”
“I know she and I guess him also are almost 18, but while they are still just underage, can anything be done? His parents sound really abusive.”
“Your husband is TA and you should go ahead and just get the cot with your own money if you want (and maybe think about therapy to create a healthier relationship with him / discuss ACTUAL boundaries with your family).”
“But honestly I’m more worried for the kids being forced to drop out of high school (which makes ZERO sense if they’re expecting), pay stupid rent, and given crazy restricted access to water.”~Minimayam
“Your husband can’t set ‘boundaries’ that control what you are allowed to do. That’s bullsh*t and not what it means.”
“You have spent years caving to his control so he thinks he’s completely in charge of what interaction you are allowed to have with your family and what money you are allowed to spend on them.”
“You let him push you around so long he just takes it for granted he gets to decide for you. This is not okay and you need to stop.”
“Start buying your family whatever gifts you want. Start seeing your family on holidays or other times when you want. Start taking your kids to visit them when you want.”
“Your poor sister has no positive adults in her life and she’s pregnant. She has horrible “in laws” and your parents may not be supporting her? (I’m unclear.)”
“You are her best family and you shouldn’t let your husband isolate you away from her just because he wants to.”
“NTA, which means ‘not the a**hole’ and is the judgement that there is an asshole. Your husband is an a**hole.”
“But you need to stop letting an a**hole control you to be unkind to your own family because he says so.”
“It’s ridiculous that you would buy gifts for his family for years but never one for your innocent sister just because your husband wants to favor them. He’s making you an a**hole and you need to stop allowing it.”~TheHatOnTheCat
“NTA. Reading this made me livid. He is punishing someone that is living under similarly horrible conditions as you did, simply cause you have the same parents?”
“Your sister is 11 years younger than you. There is no way she can have been a part of the people harming you.”
“His mindset in this is flat out bizarre.”~MistressLyda
In fact, Reddit thinks OP’s husband is borderline abusive in this situation.
“There’s a statistic that once someone is abused, they inadvertently attract abusers.”
“Your husband’s stance in this IS ABUSIVE.”
“This isn’t him cutting your family out because of your feelings, or to support you. Your sister is 18, meaning up to now, she was a child in all of this.”
“He’s just cutting people out of your life, so that he and his family are all you have — that’s abuse.”
“He’s trying to control whether or not you help your own sister — who grew up in the SAME toxic environment as you, and is just as much a victim– that’s abuse.”
“He’s gaslighting you with comments about her ‘getting a job’ when she already has one, AND when she’s clearly in another toxic environment for her and her unborn child — that’s abuse.”
“He’s trying to control your access and use of your own money, even when it’s a necessary item on sale — that’s abuse.”
“As soon as you had a legitimate reason to reach out to, and assist, your sister (who has now gotten out of your old, toxic home) he changes his reasons for not wanting to help her.”
“He’s not setting ‘boundaries,’ he’s trying to enforce limits he’s willing to let you live within. Consider this: if YOU invited your sister to Christmas, what would he say/do?”
“What would his family say/do? The answer to that should inform you of whether or not you’re in a good place or not.”
“Just because you’re in a better life than the one you had, that doesn’t mean it’s less toxic.”~INTJedi
“No, that’s not how it works. With regard to your family generally, you get to be mad at your family for the hurt they have inflicted upon you.”
“Your husband gets to share his opinion and gets to decide whether he will support you. He does not get to hold a grudge on your behalf if you choose to let it go. That’s really disrespectful.”
“NTA. It’s good to have boundaries. It’s not good to set boundaries for other people against their wishes.”~Spectrum2081
“I’m replying to this so you can see this OP. You’re NTA. Complete and honestly. However, I need to point something out and before I’m downvoted please read this.”
“You are right to do whatever you are doing. Your sister did nothing wrong. That’s pretty much a fact. She did what she was supposed to do but it broke on her. There is zero blame on her.”
“Your husband is pretty toxic to your family. I wonder if it is because of you? Does he care about them being so toxic to you that he is becoming toxic himself? Being mad I can understand. But not at your younger sister.”
“And I’m sure you’ve read some comments talking about how he’s a shitty heartless person but ahhh, this sub does like divorce a lot.”
“Break up is the literally the first thing they’ll say. A lot of the times, it’s right, but sometimes it’s not. You should try to talk to your husband about this.”
“He seems to have some repressed rage. While he is the AH for some reason this doesn’t seem like the normal selfish case…”~Electrolect
“NTA. Even if he hadn’t had a history with your parents and ignoring your side of the family this is awful. Why would he be such a jerk to your sister. Will you never ‘be able’ to buy her anything?”
“He sounds like a complete jerk. I totally get the point you’re trying to make. And this has zero to do with your family being toxic. Does he alienate you from your friends too or just your family.”~dart1126
And if OP wants to buy this crib with her OWN money, she should.
“It’s not your husband’s place to dictate your relationship with your family.”
“If you want to cut them off, fine, and if you want them in your life, also fine. His role should be to support whatever decision you make, especially since they haven’t done anything to him.”
“He’s being controlling and needs to own up to the fact that if this small gesture is important to you, it should be important to him.”~anchovie_macncheese
“NTA, however, it sounds like at least some of this falls back on you letting your husband go this long just hating your whole family.”
“It really shouldn’t be up to him to make the plans that start including your family in things, especially if they were less than stellar to you growing up.”
“You say he doesn’t include them, but don’t make any mention of things you have done which include both him and them so at first glance it just reads like you really haven’t put the effort in there either.”
“And so, it sounds like his only experience of your family is what you’ve shared with him about what things were like growing up and absent anything new or redeeming he is content to continue writing off people who were previously horrible to you.”
“That being said if your sister wasn’t part of that, or if she was and you want to actively start mending fences you can’t really expect him to lead the charge in that department before you yourself have started down that path.”
“Or maybe your sister was equally as adversely effected by your family as you were and you can make clear to him that she was another victim of the same horrible household dynamic, but instead of finding herself a part of a wonderful new family as you have she just jumped from the frying pan to the fire.”
“As for the family/gift angle I mean sure it feels great in the moment to get that zinger in but it sounds like his family and parents mean a fair deal to you so… something something biting off your nose to spite your face.”~YakDull
“Unfortunately it looks as though you’ve subbed out your toxic family for a toxic husband. He’s trying to control your money that you would spend on a very thoughtful gift.”
“You’re trying to break the cycle of abuse by helping your sister and if your husband can’t see that, then this isn’t about cutting out toxic family members. He’s just using that as an excuse.”
“NTA but you would be if you decide against the crib because your husband demands it.”~PopRococo
“NTA: Weird he is using your families past toxic behaviour as an excuse to be toxic himself.”
“It seems from your post you are in a better place with your family now so I find it strange and also hurtful for you that he is so dismissive of them.”
“Of course big purchases must be talked about but if you have constantly spent money on gifts for his family for holidays over the years it’s f**ked of him to not allow you to do the same.”
“Also your sister is not just sitting on her a** doing nothing. Her and her partner practically pay the rent for her partners house and are in a very unsupportive environment.”~margherita_
OP will most likely end up buying the crib anyway, but now her relationship with her husband will need to be examined.
We hope any conversations that happen around his behavior are constructive and lead to deeper understanding and boundaries.