Respect is not a privilege, it is a right.
The safety of family is that you will be respected as you are, with no qualifications or asterisks on that idea.
So, what happens when that respect is expected but not given?
That was the issue facing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) MadDadThrowaway8630 when he came to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for judgment.
“AITA for not making my son apologize to his MIL after an argument?”
OP began with the background.
“I (m41) am married to my wife (f37).”
“I have two kids from my previous marriage, (b15) (g13).”
“I am Jewish, as was my first wife before she passed.”
“My current wife is not. We have no kids together.”
“My kids have always got along with their stepmom and her family fairly well, until recently.”
“Thanksgiving with my wife’s family is a huge affair, and it’s the only chance a lot of the family has to see each other during the year.”
OP stated a dietary restriction usual for their religion.
“My kids and I do not eat pork, but there are always options for us or we bring something we specifically can eat, like vegetarian lasagna.”
“Wednesday night I had dinner with my wife’s parents at their place.”
“I should mention that my wife is not very personally religious although she attends services with her parents monthly.”
“My PIL are very, very conservative-style Evangelicals.”
“We mostly don’t talk about our religious difference although I once had to stop my MIL from encouraging my daughter to be baptized.”
Everything was fine, and then…
“Everything was fine until the end of the meal when my MIL crossed her arms and said ‘See, we told you nothing bad would happen.'”
“I asked her what she meant.”
“My MIL said she had mixed bacon into one of the dishes (a casserole) to prove a point to us.”
“I tried to ask very calmly why she would do something like that.”
“My MIL said it was to show that there was no point in following ‘the Old Testament law’ anymore.”
“I asked my FIL if he knew what she had done and he said yes.”
“He seemed more uncomfortable but he talked a bit about how Christ came to free us from the Jewish law and that they wanted to show us how we could be freed from the law as well.”
“(He has worked as a pastor in the past).”
The situation escalated quickly.
“By this time my daughter was crying and left the room.”
“My wife got up and followed her.”
“My son has been growing more observant as he gets older (he is more observant than me or my daughter).”
“He flipped out.”
“He screamed at my PIL that they were terrible people, called my MIL some very nasty names, and said he never wanted to come back.”
“My FIL started shouting back and my MIL started crying.”
“I told my kids to get in the car and then told my wife we were leaving.”
“She told me she would stay at her parents so she could help with Thanksgiving prep the next morning.”
“I was texting with my wife on TG and she told me my son is not welcome to come until he apologizes for the things he called my MIL.”
“I told her that’s ridiculous but she is siding with her parents.”
“I told my kids we would not be attending Thanksgiving. Instead we ordered Chinese and watched movies.”
“My son was fine with it but I could tell my daughter was down. She missed out on seeing a lot of friends she has in my wife’s family. My wife is still at her parents as of now.
“I should mention that I too am very angry at what happened and what I feel is the disrespect shown to me and especially my kids.”
“I am torn on whether to encourage my son to apologize contingent on a mutual apology to us.”
OP was left to wonder,
“EDIT 1). The title says my son and his MIL. I meant my MIL, his step-grandmother.”
Having explained the situation, OP turned to Reddit for judgment.
Redditors weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors decided: NTA
Some were surprised at where OP’s wife landed on this.
“I’ll be honest- if my ILs had pulled a similar stunt and my spouse decided to stay with his parents afterwards, he would not be welcomed back into my home.”
“The level of dishonesty and disrespect is astounding. I cannot imagine a way back from that.” ~ Suchafatfatcat
“This right here makes me think the wife was in on it.”
“How do you sit and watch something like that?”
“I would cut ties right there and support my spouse.”
“She has to be in on it and agrees with her parents which is absolutely foul.”
“OP, you’re NTA and please don’t have your son apologize for standing up to a hateful person.” ~ lin3han27
“Please don’t make your son apologize.”
“I am a Jew who privately thinks the laws of kashrut are silly, but when my observant relatives come over, I bend over backwards to accommodate them.”
“(Have you seen the price of kosher turkey lately? 🤣)”
“Your wife does not respect you or your children.”
“That’s the main thing you should be focusing on. I’m so sorry for you.”
“Edit: messed up grammar” ~ sweetpotatopietime
Many pointed out that this wasn’t about the dietary restriction at all.
“I dont think its really about the details of the dietary laws though, more that this was a premeditated act of spite and disrespect.”
“I am kinda curious if the wife knew about this beforehand.” ~ Stoat__King
“Yeah, it’s not like MIL didn’t realize that the kids couldn’t have dairy and turkey mixed together or something, she intentionally hid the most obviously non kosher food imaginable in something she told them was safe to eat.”
“The intent is the biggest issue here.” ~ Acrobatic-Day-8891
“She had plenty of time to come to her senses and abort that mission yet she plowed ahead.”
“You know damn well they planned it.”
“Wondered if they talked about it over dinner one night or sat around watching tv and brought it up.”
“Like how did that even occur to them to do that?”
“Do they hate them that much?”
“Makes me sick to imagine her shopping for ingredients all the while knowing full well what she was planning to be so hateful.”
“I’m really tired of the evangelicals claiming to be so Christian but literally end up being done if the most hateful and mean spirited people out there.”
“ETA -OP why don’t you send this post to your MIL instead of an apology. Tell her you’re sorry but over 1000 Internet strangers deemed your son in the right. It’s her that needs to apologize.” ~ ksarahsarah27
Commenters came to the son’s defense.
“Your son stood up for himself, don’t make him apologize as you’ll indirectly belittle his beliefs.”
“I’m a vegetarian Jew and I would feel so defiled if someone did this to me—and I don’t necessarily keep kosher.”
“Just the thought that there was flesh inside my stomach would be disturbing.”
“That is very much the same with Jews and pork, with an added spiritual component of impurity.” ~ ZoldyckXHunter
“I would be SO PROUD of my son for advocating for himself and understanding how badly his boundaries were crossed!” ~ Leonicles
Some saw this as a deeper problem.
“Even if she didn’t know her actions afterwards are atrocious.”
“These kids lost their Mom and she is a mother figure to them but did not stand up for them?”
“I would be out so fast, there is no coming back from that.”
“A mother protects her children, doesn’t hide behind fanaticism and manners when they have been harmed. This post is infuriating.” ~ Notthe0ne
“This is just straight up anti-Semitism!”
“Don’t expose your kids to that in their own ‘family’, there’s enough of it in the world as is.”
“NTA but you will be if you don’t leave this lady and her terrible family” ~ random_words_kitten
“What MIL did can be classified as a hate crime.”
“OP, do not make your son apologise.”
“Instead tell your MIL where to go and that she should be glad you aren’t reporting this to the police and pressing charges.”
“I’m so angry right now.”
“I’m vegan and hindu and while I used to eat meat at one point in my life I never touched pork or beef and I’ve had people wave bacon in my face and try to force me to eat steak.”
“I would not trust your MIL again or eat anything she cooked and your wife not standing by you on this should be a major deal breaker.”
“How dare your in-laws disrespect your and your children’s religion and autonomy like this! NTA OP but YWBTA if you made your son apologise” ~ Jigglypuff-n-stuff
Respect is a right, not a privilege.