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Woman Secretly Records SIL Purposely Breaking Her Fine China And Plays It For In-Laws

Woman standing next to broken china plate
Liudmila Chernetska/Getty Images

We all make mistakes in our lives and absolutely have our clumsy moments.

But when someone constantly seems to break things “by accident,” it starts looking pretty suspicious, agreed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.

Redditor babysharkplate noticed that when her sister-in-law visited her home, some of her fine china always managed to get broken by the end of the occasion.

With her mother also suspicious of what was going on, the Original Poster (OP) decided to set up a camera to see if she could uncover any clues, and what she found inevitably surprised the family.

She asked the sub:

“AITA for serving my sister-in-law dinner on a kid’s plate?”

The OP didn’t think much of the fact that her sister-in-law didn’t like her party decor.

“My husband and I (30 Female) have family dinners at our house every month or so with our family.”

“I have some sets of fine china that I like to switch out between the seasons that I’ve inherited from my grandmother.”

“When we have our get-togethers I serve dinner on these plates. My MIL (Mother-in-Law) compliments them every time.”

“My Sister-In-Law (SIL – 32 Female), however, has made comments to me that ‘they’re not her style.'”

“I honestly didn’t think twice about her comment until this past February when one of my plates was put in the sink, broken. I chalked it up to an accident.”

But as more accidents occurred, they became increasingly suspicious.

“In April, we had another dinner. This time, my SIL was carrying both her and her boyfriend’s plates to the sink and accidentally dropped both. Again, no biggie at all.”

“In May, she broke two more plates, and in June, she broke a plate and a cup.”

“At this point, I was catching on.”

“I brought up these concerns to my husband, and he brushed it off as accidents.”

“I told my mom, and she said she thought my SIL was doing it on purpose and got me a camera to put in my dining room.”

The OP was curious to see if the theory she shared with her mother was correct.

“In July, we had dinner, and I had an opportunity arise. My MIL, SIL, and her boyfriend joined us for dinner.”

“While our plates were still ON THE TABLE, my MIL asked how my plants were doing, and I said I’d show her!”

“I told my husband to follow us outside so he could show her the plant he was growing, leaving my SIL alone with her boyfriend.”

“When we came back inside five mins later, her plate was broken.”

“When they left, I pulled up the camera footage. I saw her stand up when we walked out and peek around the corner, and then throw the plate on the ground.”

“I kept this video to myself.”

The OP had a plan in place for the next party in her home.

“That brings me to this past weekend. We had our family dinner and we were joined by my in-laws, my SIL and her boyfriend, as well as my parents, siblings, and niece.”

“I served everyone, saving my evil SIL for last.”

“I brought her food out on a child’s plate with a sippy cup and those kid’s silverware with the plastic handles.”

“She looked at me confused and said, ‘I think you mixed my plate up with your niece’s plate.'”

“I said, ‘No, my niece is responsible enough to eat on a grown-up’s plate. If you’re going to act like a child in my home, I’m going to treat you like a child in my home.'”

“She tried to play coy, but I had my iPad ready and played the video to everyone at the table.”

“She started sobbing, swiped the kid’s plate off the table, and stormed out.”

“My in-laws both apologized and offered to pay for replacement plates, but I told them not to worry about it.”

“Despite this, we still had a nice time.”

Several family members lashed out at the OP for publicly confronting her SIL.

“When everyone left, my husband told me I was out of line and cruel.”

“I told him that this has been happening for months, and I’ve told him it was bothering me multiple times.”

“It’s Wednesday, and he’s still being a little cold to me.”

“I also got a text from my SIL’s boyfriend, asking me if I would apologize to her, because ‘I really embarrassed her.'”

“I sent him the video again, and he left me on read.”

“My husband just called me to ask if I was taunting her boyfriend because his sister called him crying that I was.”

“AITA?”

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 agreed with the husband and boyfriend that the OP’s actions were too extreme.

“YTA. You could have at least talked to her once when you got the video, trying to understand why she was doing that instead of acting like a high schooler and taking revenge in front of everyone.” – unicorn-love2201

“YTA, to a certain degree. You could’ve spoken to her months ago and ended it. You chose to wait until you had ‘evidence’ you could use to publicly humiliate her. She’s an AH for breaking your stuff but YTA for how you handled it and treated her.” – so-many-ollies

“YTA. Yes, your sister-in-law might have broken a few of your plates and disrespected you in your home. But we do not know if she has mental health conditions, or physical ailments, or know her childhood traumas. We can not know all a person has gone through.”

“It’s not what you said but how you said it.”

“You shamed her. Publicly. In front of family and those who love and support her. The most important people in her life. This was exceptionally cruel. Clearly, you wanted a response. This was due to your pettiness.”

“Communication is always key. But you chose not to.”

“Why could you not discuss this with her in private? Show her the video in private? Discuss your suspicions. Confront her, rather than dragging the entire family in to create drama? Demand that she pays for the china in private? If she opposes, then, and only then, go through drastic measures.”

“The fact that some of your family has your back is irrelevant. Clearly, if you are going to create family drama, sides will be taken.”

“What she did was dirty. But you reduced yourself to her level. That was dirty, too.”

“Feelings for broken dishes: anger, frustration, disrespect.”

“Feelings for what you did: embarrassment, humiliated, shame, horror, trauma.”

“What you did was far worse.” – RavenMoonGreenParty

“YTA. I can’t defend your SIL’s actions, but revenge is rarely, if ever, justifiable, and public humiliation is particularly cruel.”

“Not gonna lie, I got a kick out of the story, and I bet it was extremely satisfying, but you should probably eat off a kid’s plate, too, because that was childish as f**k.” – Best-Distressed

“ESH to YTA… Once you found out about what she was doing, you should have either confronted her directly about that behavior or sent the video to your in-laws, just in case they wanted to handle the situation with her in private, and/or stop inviting her at least until you got a clear apology and you felt like you could trust her again.”

“Honestly, if it was me, I would cross her out entirely to these types of events, seeing that it happened many times before.”

“However, you handled it in a petty way and embarrassed her in front of her family, which although she deserves it there were more constructive ways to handle it from you.” – silvaras_12

But others thought the OP deserved apologies from her SIL and her own husband.

“NTA. I would ban SIL from your house until she pays you back or tries to make amends. Make it clear that it’s her and her boyfriend in the wrong, and that everyone else except your husband is on your side.”

“Side note: Your husband is a hard YTA. He should go step on a Lego and re-evaluate his priorities. From this story, he really doesn’t sound like much of a keeper, but I know there’s always more to any story. I’ll leave it at that unless I see more information on his usual behavior.” – TheQuietMelody

“NTA, and I don’t get why your husband is not with you on this! Those plates had sentiment value, you’ve been noticing it for a long time and talked to him multiple times, and he brushed you off!”

“You even have proof your SIL did it on purpose. MULTIPLE TIMES, should I say AGAIN. And he still sides with that immature child, who couldn’t ask you for a change of plates if it bothered her so much.”

“You don’t owe her any apologies, but you should have a proper convo with your hubby to get his attitude straight.” – Ok_Yesterday_6214

“Her husband also has a lot to apologize for.”

“He dismissed her concerns, and honestly, it’s his responsibility to deal with his family, he didn’t, and OP had to get creative because not only did he do nothing, but he also didn’t believe her. This video was also made to prove her suspicions to her own husband.”

“Make her replace the plates, and only serve her on inexpensive white Target dorm room plates. She’s vindictive, and your husband’s an enabler. Do not apologize.”

“Husband’s a huge AH. She’s destroying sentimental plates that belonged to your grandmother on purpose, and somehow he thinks OP is the cruel one? He gets a target plate, too. NTA.” – AGirlHasNoGame_

“NTA.”

“And excuse me! You dropped your crown. Well played.”

“But what I don’t understand is why you must apologize when your SIL is deliberately damaging your property and doing it behind your back? And why this is being demanded by your husband?”

“Don’t invite your SIL and her boyfriend anymore since she’s uncivilized. Maybe your husband should go have dinner with them, too.” – KyotoDreamsTea

“You couldn’t have embarrassed her if she hadn’t done it.”

“Actions have consequences, and you just demonstrated that to her.”

“She for sure didn’t count on you recording her actions. She is now desperately trying to turn her own guilt on to you in any way she can, and she uses all the flying monkeys she has.”

“Don’t let her. You are in the right. NTA.” – Beneficial-Sight2879

Everyone could agree that the broken plates were a problem, especially since they were some form of family heirloom, and the sister-in-law absolutely shouldn’t have been breaking them.

But they were much more divided over the OP’s approach to the issue. Some felt that the sister-in-law deserved a chance to explain herself in public, while others felt that the video evidence showed that she would continue doing this unless she was publicly addressed.

The husband’s behavior throughout this whole thing, however, might have been everyone’s biggest concern of all.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan lives in North Chicago, where she works as a poet, freelance writer, and editor. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Western Michigan University, and her BA in English from Indiana University South Bend. Her poems have appeared in Rogue Agent, Whale Road Review, the James Franco Review, Thank You for Swallowing, and elsewhere; and her essays and book reviews have appeared with Memoir Mixtapes, The Rumpus, BookPage, and Motherly, among others. When she's not reading and writing, she's in her garden or spending time with her family. For more, visit www.mckenzielynntozan.com.