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Woman Irate After MIL Gives Away Her Heirloom Necklace From Late Mom To One Of Her Friends

woman adjusting gold necklace
simon2579/Getty Images

Chinese philosopher Confucius is credited with saying:

“Every house guest brings you happiness. Some when they arrive, and some when they are leaving.”

Translated from the 5th century B.C.E. Chinese, of course.

Over the ensuing 2,500 years, many others have given the sentiment their own spin. But the bottom line is, even invited guests can get on our last nerve.

A woman whose mother-in-law overstayed her welcome turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for feedback.

Cold_Device5620 asked:

“AITA for not forgiving my mother-in-law (MIL) after she gave away my late mother’s heirloom to a stranger?”

The original poster (OP) explained:

“I (30, female) am known in my family for my patience and generosity. I’ve always gone out of my way to help others, and I take pride in being a good person.”

“My husband (32, male) and I have a beautiful relationship built on mutual respect and understanding.”

“My late mother left me a precious heirloom, a vintage necklace that has been in our family for generations. It’s not just valuable, but it holds immense sentimental value to me.”

“I’ve always kept it safe and only wore it on special occasions, cherishing the memories it holds.”

“Enter my MIL (57, female), who has a history of overstepping boundaries.”

“Despite our differences, when she lost her apartment, my husband and I opened our home to her, asking for nothing in return but basic respect for our belongings.”

“One day, I came home to find my MIL hosting a tea party with her friends. To my horror, one of her friends was wearing my mother’s necklace.”

“When I confronted my MIL, she nonchalantly said she gave it away because she thought it was ‘just old jewelry’ and that her friend admired it.”

“I was heartbroken and felt utterly betrayed.”

“I got it back after explaining the situation to my MIL’s friend, but my MIL thinks I made her look extremely foolish and idiotic.”

“My husband was equally appalled and supported my decision to ask her to leave.”

“Now, the rest of the family is painting me as the villain, saying I’m overreacting and should forgive her because ‘family is family.’

“So, AITA for not being able to forgive this breach of trust?”

The OP summed up their predicament.

“The action that should be judged is my decision to ask my MIL to leave our home after she gave away my late mother’s heirloom necklace to a friend without my permission.”

“I might be considered the a**hole because, despite the sentimental value of the necklace and the breach of trust, some might argue that my MIL made an honest mistake and didn’t realize the significance of the item.”

“Additionally, by asking her to leave, I’m putting her in a difficult situation without a place to stay. Which could be seen as an overreaction to the loss of a material object, even one with sentimental value.”

“The conflict arises from the fact that my MIL’s actions directly affected me by disregarding my feelings and the importance of the heirloom. The family’s opinion has caused me to question if my response was too harsh.”

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 the OP was not the a**hole (NTA).

“Thank goodness you came home before her friend left with the necklace. That is insane behavior. NTA.” ~ DazzlingPotion

“Foolish and idiotic sounds like a great description of MIL. OP NTA. This woman lets strangers into OP’s house and go through her things because how else would she know OP had the necklace?” ~ Apart_Foundation1702

“And how did MIL’s friend know about the necklace? Did your MIL take her on a tour of your bedroom, open your jewelry box and let her root around in your things?”

“Appalling overstepping and invasion of privacy! She should be shamed by the family, not defended and excused.”

“Glad you got the necklace back. NTA.” ~ HesterFabian

“Holy sh*t, that woman needs help that no family can give.”

“My adult kids live in MY house and I’d never in a million years just go take something of theirs without asking A) if I can go in their room and B) if they’d mind if I borrowed something.”

“Just because they grew in me doesn’t give me the right to just ignore THEIR rights.”

“She’s lucky she didn’t end up having to deal with police arresting her for theft.” ~ rikaragnarok

“I can’t even imagine taking that first step, not even getting into the idea of just…giving it away?”

“I’m dumbfounded at MIL’s actions, and I’m glad OP’s husband is supporting her decision to kick MIL out.”

“Because if MIL can blithely just wander through OP’s stuff, use it, give it away, I can’t imagine what living with her must be like.” ~ ninaa1

“NTA. Let the other family members who are springing to her defense take her in, then.”

“Because I guarantee they’ll find a whole bunch of excuses to ensure that their personal priority will remain un-pawed through and given away.” ~ artsunlimited

“NTA. Your MIL was completely out of line by doing this. No one has the right to give away something that isn’t theirs without the express permission of the owner or a person with authority over the item in question.”

“Your MIL should be utterly ashamed of her behavior, not the other way around.” ~ Betelgeuse8188

“NTA. She has obviously been going through your personal possessions in order to find the necklace.”

“There’s no telling what other things she has claimed for herself or given to others.”

“I’m glad that you were able to get the necklace back.” ~ Forward-Wear7913

“NTA. This part right here: ‘Now, the rest of the family is painting me as the villain, saying I’m overreacting and should forgive her because family is family’.”

“Ah…! Actually, they don’t want to be one of the one(s) that might have to take her in, now that your husband has asked her to leave.”

“Nobody wants to put up with her shyte and thus the REAL reason they are talking that sit in a circle and sing ‘Kum ba ya’ garbage—A/K/A forgiveness.”

“Stand your ground. Get her out of your house.” ~ JustMyAura

“NTA. Even if it wasn’t a precious heirloom, you don’t give things away that aren’t yours to give.”

“Also, just so I’m clear, when you say you asked her to leave, do you mean you both asked MIL to move out? Or that the tea party was over?”

“She’s an a**hole either way, I’m just trying to understand why your family wouldn’t support your position. Like you’d be justified either way but girl… ‘family is family’? Tell them family wouldn’t disrespect you or the memory of your mother.” ~ foxheartedboy

“NTA. I can’t imagine someone being kind enough to let me stay with them, inviting friends over, and then responding by giving away the host’s possessions… Let alone jewellery.”

“That’s someone who wouldn’t be allowed back into my home unless I was there to physically watch them. And even then… maybe not.” ~ Chaos-n-Dissonance

“NTA. She gave it away because her friend admired it. How did the friend even see it?”

“The only way that I can imagine is if MIL and her friends took a group field trip through OP’s bedroom picking through her clothes and jewelry. If that is the case and no one stopped it, MIL’s friends are just as bad as she is.” ~ TarzanKitty

“Or she was wearing it when her friends arrived. NTA. My MIL was like this—she wanted to look generous and play Lady Bountiful for her friends, but not if it cost her anything.”

“She’d give me gifts for Christmas—to not look ‘off’ in front of the family by snubbing me—but then take them back and give them to her friends. She wanted to look good outside the house.”

“Only once did it bite her in the arse. She gave me a really high-end watch that she didn’t want any more when our son was about a year old.”

“I was not going to wear an elegant ladies’ gold watch to chase a toddler, wash cloth diapers, etc… When a month went by and I didn’t wear it, she gave it away.”

“BUT, without her glasses on, she actually gave away her new watch that she’d bought to replace the one she’d given me. She was enraged, I privately laughed my head off.” ~ crella-ann

“And when being caught, she didn’t even apologise, but complained about being made a fool in front of her friends. Such entitlement.”

“So how would OP need to forgive if MIL can’t even apologise. It seems like MIL thinks she is the one who is owed an apology. NTA.” ~ InvSnake

“NTA. She gave away something that was not hers. Your home was opened to her on the condition that she respect your belongings.”

“She broke that condition on many many levels, so you were right to ask her to leave. The rest of the family is only hearing her side of the story, in which of course, she is painting you as the villain.”

“She’s still perfectly capable of learning boundaries and that actions have consequences. If your family members are so concerned, then they should be hosting her.”

“Quite apart from anything else, I would not expect a person to forgive another person for something that has happened unless a) that person apologises (genuinely) for the action AND b) takes action to rectify the issue as much as possible.”

“If you ‘forgive’ in any other situation, all you are really doing is condoning the action, and stating that your boundaries/conditions actually have no meaning.” ~ Independent_Rain4838

The OP and her husband did his mother a favor. Her choice to pay them back by stealing the OP’s mother’s jewelry doesn’t bode well for her relationship with them.

Well, reader, what would you do in this situation? Let us know in the comments below.

Written by Amelia Mavis Christnot

Amelia Christnot is an Oglala Lakota, Kanien'kehá:ka Haudenosaunee and Metís Navy brat who settled in the wilds of Northern Maine. A member of the Indigenous Journalists Association, she considers herself another proud Maineiac.