Helping family can be a societal obligation, but it’s not one you have to take on their terms. You draw your own boundaries, but where to draw them is the real conundrum.
Redditor AITANeice45433 asked where she should have drawn that boundary for herself. This came after an incident involving the original poster (OP) and her niece.
To figure out if what she did was wrong, OP took her situation to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit.
“AITA for dropping my niece off at the train station after she flushed my medication down the toilet?”
This is what happened between OP and her niece:
“I [female]35 have a medical condition that I take medication for (I’ll keep this private).”
“I only have my sister, her husband and my niece as my family, the rest are some deceased and some moved away. So my niece (20) has been having issues with her mom and dad after she moved in with them after her boyfriends death.”
“My niece has mental issues (her boyfriend died in her arms which was very traumatic for her) she’s struggling but she and my BIL keep arguing over everything. Last week I had my niece call me to ask if she could get on the train and come stay with me for few days after she had an argument with her dad.”
“I agreed and welcomed her with open arms. I notified my sister that my niece was staying with me.”
“My sister warned me about my niece mood swings and constant lash out. I said it was OK my niece just needed some space since she’s been through a lot.”
“Well, she started behaving strange yelling at my dogs and leaving dirty plates and cups everywhere, she stays on the internet for long period of times and throws fits when she doesn’t like the food I cook.”
“I tried to be graceful and patient but I found myself cooking and cleaning for her as well as listen to her complain about everything. Days later she told me she invited couple of close friends to have a mini party at my house.”
“Problem is she refused when I said no drinking (I’m in recovery and don’t want alcohol in my home) she then said OK. But at the day of the party I got home at 7 and I could smell and see alcohol all over my house.”
“I ended the party and made everybody leave. She yelled at me and said I was being harsh. I told her I already said no drinking at my house.”
“An argument ensued and she ended up taking my medication and flushing all of it down the toilet.”
“I was livid I packed her bags for her and drove her to the nearest train station and dropped her off then drove off. She kept texting apologizing wanting me to come back but I didn’t respond.”
“I told my sister and she got mad at me saying her friends brought the alcohol not my niece and I shouldn’t have dropped her off at train station and let her come home and argue with her dad.”
“We had an argument where she called me irresponsible for how I reacted and said e her husband has to move out since my sister cares about her daughter mental health and won’t allow her to suffer. She says it’s my fault for not being more patient.”
The AITA board has posters ask if they were wrong for whatever action they took in their situation. They’ll explain the situation and receive judgement from the other commenters.
The commenters do this by including one of the following in their response:
- NTA – Not the A**hole
- YTA – You’re the A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everybody Sucks Here
OP offered to help, but found herself quickly overwhelmed. She put up with a lot of things her niece did, and asked one thing in return.
Her niece couldn’t do that and retaliated, making OP NTA for sending her back.
“20 is an adult. An adult with limited life experience, but an adult. You weren’t putting her at risk ny dropping her off at the train station.”
“Also, her friends might have brought the alcohol, but she could have told them to leave, or, idk maybe flush the alcohol down the toilet.”
“Finally, even if she didn’t take a stand against her friends, she had no right to flush your medication. She took a stand against you.” – ForagedFoodie
“Her behavior was unacceptable from the moment she arrived. You tolerated it, since ‘she’s gong through a tough time.’”
“She’s a brat.”
“She flushed your medication.”
“Don’t allow yourself to be guilted by your sister.”
“Hugs” – QuinGood
“NTA. You have to take care of yourself first. She ignored your boundaries and destroyed your medication, threatening your own health and recovery.”
“You’re not obligated to save a drowning person who tries to drown you too.” – dataslinger
“I would like to say you dodged a bullet. You didn’t, you were grazed. But you didn’t stand around waiting for the shooter to reload and take aim again.”
“Good luck with the meds and such.” – witchbrew7
Other comments agreed, but were also concerned about OP’s niece. They thought she sounded like someone who needs help.
Not just family, but professional help.
“Your niece needs professional psychological help, not a patient aunt. If your sister really cared about her so much, she’d be looking into that.”
“She is the woman’s mother, not you. This their responsibility to deal with.”
“You were nice enough to provide your niece a place to get away. NTA.” – terra_terror
“NTA. Is your sister nuts?!? Her kid tossed your medication away and you’re supppsed to just let I slide?”
“Mom needs to get her child to therapy at the very least. And mom needs to reimburse you for the medications that were destroyed.” – LeReineNoir
“I would say NTA because the issue seems to center around the returning of the niece. But I think she created an environment that was untenable for you.”
“You are in recovery and pretty much had the one MAJOR rule that alcohol couldn’t be in your house. But more than that, she retaliated to you ending her party by acting like a child.
“20 years old is too old, way too old to decide to ‘get revenge’ and flush someone’s medicine. You don’t specify, but I’m guessing it’s pretty damned important…”
“My guess is your sister is struggling to deal with this situation on her side so she’s just expressing frustration and aiming it at you. NTA and hopefully your family sorts this out because you really didn’t do anything wrong, as far as I can tell.” – ItsTtreasonThen
OP set a pretty lax boundary, one that was crossed by the niece. After the fact, OP received retaliation for enforcing her boundary.
It’s understandable that the niece is going through some issues herself, but that doesn’t give her permission to throw a tantrum like this. OP’s sister needs to figure out how to get her daughter, and probably herself and husband, professional help.