For people who grew up in a toxic environment, or who experienced one or more toxic relationships, it can be really hard to move past accepting those behaviors.
It can be especially hard when toxic people continue to try to fight their way back in, confided the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor Scary-Moment-8975 struggled with this when his mother repeatedly tried to put herself first in his life, even before his beloved wife.
When she would not let up, the Original Poster (OP) questioned if his priorities were askew.
He asked the sub:
“AITA for choosing my pregnant wife over my mom?”
The OP had a difficult relationship with his family.
“My mom was a traditional ‘helicopter mom’ growing up.”
“Even though I’m almost 30, she continues to struggle with control issues and not having as much of a say in my life as she used to and struggles that she is not my go-to person anymore.”
They went so far as to try to end the OP’s relationship.
“6 years ago, my wife and I got together and once it became serious, I started to put our relationship as a priority.”
“My mom expresses disdain for my wife and for my attention being on my wife and not her (she gets upset that I use vacation time to spend with my wife rather than for family vacations, would constantly complain that I don’t visit home enough, etc.).”
“It has been very difficult on my wife throughout our relationship to feel like my parents don’t approve of her or our relationship.”
“When I told my parents I was going to propose, they tried to sabotage it and told me I was too young.”
“When we bought our first house, they told me we were making a mistake.”
“When we made the decision to move to another state, we were met with a lot of guilt for ‘abandoning the family.'”
“In general, we have not gotten a lot of support from my family, specifically my mom, when making big decisions.”
The OP and his wife knew things had to change once they were expecting a baby.
“My wife and I found out she’s pregnant a couple of months ago and decided to wait until she was 12 weeks along to tell friends and family.”
“We told her parents first and that took a lot out of her. They reacted well but it was emotionally exhausting and she had a rough first trimester, so she just didn’t have a lot of energy in general.”
“We were obviously planning on telling my family shortly after and my wife expressed concern about their lack of support for big life decisions and said she didn’t know if she had it in her to be a part of telling my parents.”
“She also doesn’t like being the center of attention so being pregnant has been difficult in that sense as well.”
“After talking about it for a bit, I decided to do a family FaceTime call with my parents and siblings to tell them the good news.”
“They reacted fine but weren’t as excited as my wife’s parents.”
“My wife was napping when I told them.”
But the OP’s mother did not accept that.
“Now my mom is telling me she’s upset that we didn’t tell them in person and that my wife wasn’t a part of the conversation.”
“I explained that my wife was having a rough time and felt uncomfortable with that so I was going to do whatever made her the most comfortable. She is my priority.”
“My mom is insisting that her own needs are just as important in this scenario and that I should’ve been more considerate and should have known it would upset her to hear the news over FaceTime.”
“She also insinuated that my wife steamrolled me in this scenario and that I shouldn’t just defer to her when making decisions.”
“I tried to explain that my wife asking this of me was not steamrolling me and that I made the decision to do this based on her comfort.”
“Am I the a**hole for putting my wife’s concerns and comfort over my mom’s feelings?”
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 pointed out the mother had no “needs” that should have been met.
“I read the OP and was like…….. needs? What needs? And how are they as important as the lady growing a baby in her body?”
“I wish OP said he had laughed and laughed and laughed at his mother for this until she hung up on him.”
“My vote is obviously NTA.” – CaRiSsA504
“What exactly does she need, and why is it more important than the needs of a pregnant woman?”
“To control how her 30-year-old son lives his life? To make everyone bend to her will? To make her DIL (daughter-in-law) uncomfortable so she could have what she wants?”
“However I phrase it, it comes down to the same controlling s**t.” – GoodGirlsGrace
“Your mother doesn’t have any ‘needs’ when it comes to your wife’s pregnancy. She has wants and she needs to grow TF (the f**k) up and realize it’s time for her to be nothing more than a spectator in your life now.”
“That’s what parenting is – eventually, you’re just a spectator.” – Hefty_Candidate_4902
Others confirmed the OP should put his wife first.
“OP’s mom is acting extremely immaturely about this. A textbook case of narcissism. She needs to learn that her actions (having disdain for OP’s wife) have consequences.”
“NTA, OP. Your mom has serious issues; she is controlling and VERY entitled. Your wife SHOULD be your first priority.” – ALNE-ALT-ACCOUNT
“OP, you need to realize that nothing less than complete capitulation will ever satisfy your mother. Since she won’t ever blame you because that would just drive you away, she is going to blame your wife.”
“You should be trying to shield her from that as much as possible, and it’s obvious you are trying. It’s also obvious that it isn’t working.”
“The only way to get your mom to change is to institute some hard and harsh boundaries that you stick to.”
“She starts with the insults? End the call, leave the dinner/gathering, and if it’s bad enough, skip the next gathering.” – ICWhatsNUrP
“The wedding ring is on your wife’s finger, and your Mom is refusing to accept that. It’s incredibly self-centered of her to expect to remain the #1 woman for your whole life.”
“You don’t owe her anything in terms of what she deems as ‘needs’, especially if she’s tried the ‘I raised you, I loved you, I get a say’ guilt-tripping card.”
“Good on you for showing that steely spine to them when it comes to your priority being your wife. At a very difficult time (cuz pregnancy can be a beeyach), you’ve shown your wife that you’re in her corner for all of it, and that’s going to be able to help her not stress out, which is good for the baby too!”
“NTA, and congratulations to you both on your baby!” – Jellybeans-For-Life
Some also advised setting firm boundaries in regards to the baby.
“Obviously, OP should’ve filed the necessary paperwork to his mother and applied for permission to have a baby. His wife should’ve kowtowed to her MIL (mother-in-law) and begged for acceptance way at the very beginning of their relationship. [ends sarcastic comment]”
“OP, NTA — support your wife and enjoy your new addition together. Set boundaries and prepare to continue holding them because I also don’t see your mother changing during or after your child is born.” – BooYourFace
“OP needs to firm up those boundaries NOW before grandma tries to helicopter the baby and second-guesses EVERYTHING you do.”
“I would go LC (low-contact) and anytime she tries to argue, cut the call/visit short.” – johnny9k
“NTA. My first pregnancy was rough and it took weeks telling everyone because I’d get exhausted after each time telling someone. Hell my second was the same way.”
“Your mom needs therapy and you both need to sit down and have a conversation with her about her treatment of your wife.”
“People calling you the a**hole aren’t taking in to consideration that you feel the way you do for a reason and probably grew up in a toxic environment with her being a helicopter mom. That you live a state away during a pandemic with an exhausted pregnant wife.”
“It makes sense to FaceTime and you chose to do it while your wife was taking a nap for her sake. Pregnancy is draining and stress isn’t helpful at all.”
“You weren’t taking just your wife into consideration but your unborn child.
“As for the family vacations, if your mom makes her that uncomfortable which in turn makes it hard on you, I don’t blame you for not wanting to go. At that point it wouldn’t be a vacation but a nightmare.”
“Keep up the good work and congratulations! Best wishes to you and your family.”
“I hope your wife’s pregnancy gets easier.” – Chonkybabycheeks
“NTA. You’re making the right choice. Here are a few more ways to continue doing that:”
“Your mom should be on an information diet about the pregnancy. If you haven’t already told her the due date, tell her a date a couple weeks later than reality, so she’s not bugging you too much in the last few weeks.”
“Do NOT tell her any names you’re considering. She’ll ruin them for you. Just say you’ll announce the baby’s name after they arrive.”
“Do not tell your mom when the baby is born until after you and your wife have told everyone else who you want to tell personally, and have your social media posts drafted and ready to go. Because a mom like yours will post the announcement on Facebook before your wife gets to call her siblings.”
“So you tell everyone else, then you call your mom, and as soon as she answers you click ‘post’, then tell her the news.”
“Do not let your mom plan to visit for the birth or first few months afterwards. Use the doctor as your ‘get out of jail free’ card.”
“‘Sorry mom, but the baby doc says absolutely no traveling visitors until the little one is 5 months old, so they’ve had their first round of vaccinations’.”
“Or just get good at the simple ‘No’. ‘No, that doesn’t work for us’. If you don’t give specific reasons, she has nothing concrete to argue against.”
“Having your mother in your house would be the worst possible thing for your wife’s recovery.”
“When you do allow your parents to visit, they stay in a hotel and visit the house during designated, limited hours. Because mom and baby still need their rest.”
“Your #1 job is to protect your child, and your wife. Even when the person they need to be protected from is your mom.”
“You got this!” – grandma_visitation
“NTA. You are starting your own family, with a child that will be your and your wife’s responsibility.”
“The two of you are the important ones and the bun in the oven, not her or her feelings. You will have to do what is best for you own children.”
“You need to get ready for the drama incoming and the guilt tripping, because your mother already started. And maybe therapy and consider reducing contact…” – DarkestSideMoon
“NTA – Your wife is more important than your manipulative, abusive mom.”
“You would be better off going Low Contact with family (at least mom) for a while until she learns her lesson.”
“And for crying out loud, stand up to your mom and tell her that your wife comes first, she had better stop putting her down and trying to control your life!” – sneakyscott
While the OP had mixed feelings because of how he was used to being treated by his mother, the subReddit was sure he had done the right thing by prioritizing his wife.
Not only should a pregnant woman’s physical health concerns come before potentially hurt feelings, but also a marital relationship by design should come before the needs of extended family.