We all hope our loved ones experience a lifetime of happiness and are in good, healthy relationships.
When we see something that concerns us, we may decide to speak up, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
But Redditor THROWAWAYBIL20223 realized that could lead to serious consequences.
When his actions led to a big argument, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if he should have stayed out of it.
He asked the sub:
“AITA for serving my sister’s husband dinner using toy utensils?”
The OP wasn’t impressed with his sister’s husband’s behavior.
“I (Male 17) moved in with my sister after my parents kicked me out for coming out (another story). They said I’ll be here temporarily until I get back to ‘normal,’ which I don’t think I will.”
“So I moved in with my sister and her husband about a month ago.”
“She does everything around the house (I started helping here and there) as well as looking after my 2-year-old niece and now she’s 6 months pregnant.”
“BIL does nothing because he’s the breadwinner as he claims, but IMO (in my opinion), he’s taken it a bit too far.”
“For example, he will tell her to start his laundry once he takes off his clothes, put dinner on the table once he’s home, get the shower ready, and so on.”
The OP decided to do something that would make a statement.
“They fight a lot because my sister is exhausted and burnt out. I usually put my headphones on and mind my own business, but two nights ago, there was a lot of commotion once he got home, so I went to see what the issue was.”
“It turns BIL (brother-in-law) was complaining about dinner and my sister was too exhausted to get up.”
“I mean the dinner was already cooked, but he wanted her to put it for him on the table.”
“I told my sister I’d do it, but instead of using their kitchen utensils, I used my niece’s toy utensils like a toy cup, toy plate, toy fork, toy knife, and a tiny napkin.”
“I put the food on the toy plate and the drink in the toy cup while BIL was in the shower.”
The OP decided to confront his brother-in-law.
“He then came into the kitchen and sat down and stared at the plate for a few seconds.”
“He then looked at me and asked what the h**l this was and whether I was joking.”
“I told him if he wanted to act like a helpless child, then he might as well get treated like one.”
“He began yelling and my sister came inside. He then threw the napkin and stormed off, saying that I’d disrespected him and that he’ll let my parents know about what I did.”
The OP was concerned about the argument he’d caused.
“My sister saw what I’d done and started laughing.”
“I went inside my room but the argument didn’t stop. Now he’s expecting an apology from me for meddling in his marriage and pulling this crappy stunt on him.”
“I could be TA for this, but I was just so mad for my sister, and I was also sick and tired of being so sick and tired of the nightly fighting over dinner.”
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 thought what the OP did was great, but he probably shouldn’t have meddled.
“Okay, so this is funny as hell and he TOTALLY had it coming, but we all know you should have stayed waaaayyyy out of this. LOL (laughing out loud), though.”
“I get that you were trying to stick up for your sister, who deserves that.”
“Please accept my softest ESH. You might have actually made them fight more. Abusive people like your BIL often take these things out on people like your sister.” – Total-Being-4278
“While it was DEFINITELY well-deserved, it probably wasn’t the smartest thing to do, for OP, since he needs to make sure he still has a place to live, and for the sister for the reasons you said.”
“Although from the post, it does sound like the sister also found it funny and wasn’t mad at him for doing that… who knows maybe sister is also reconsidering staying married to this sexist jerkwad.”
“So yeah agreed with the very very soft ESH.” – sarita_sy07
“It seems like OP’s sister felt seen and supported because OP did this (good), but now OP should go back to staying out of it so he doesn’t end up making things worse. Unfortunately he has no power in this situation, beyond privately expressing support for his sister. It’s on his sister to solve this, or not.”
“OP sounds hilarious and I like him.” – EllySPNW
“OP, I am not gonna even vote here because technically you should have stayed out of it but holy crap, you backed up your sister big time. She probably continues doing the stuff she does because he’s manipulated her into thinking that it’s okay and reasonable.”
“I was married to a guy who made me do all the work in life and one of the very earliest things that started to wake me up was an offhand comment by my brother in law about how he felt bad for me being married to him and how I always was overcompensating to make up for the things he wasn’t doing (BIL has no idea I could hear him).”
“That was the first time I started to realize that maybe what I was dealing with wasn’t actually normal or ok.”
“I would recommend having a heart-to-heart with your sister and really validate to her that she’s in a healthy situation. Sometimes we just can’t see it until someone on the outside points it out for us.” – bethafoot
Others were worried about the husband lashing out at his wife because of this.
“My fear is that this a**wad will get p**sed off about this and retaliate against the sister.” – Total-Being-4278
“I vote ESH. What OP did was hilarious, but considering how abusive BIL sounds, it might’ve backfired on his sister. Especially since she’s dependent on her husband (SAHM).”
“Look, I know you did it for your sister. And as petty as your stunt was, it’s not unfunny or undeserved. He’s treating your sister as a slave – it’s only understandable you would want to speak up for her.”
“But you still need a place to live, and beyond that, your sister will most likely be the one BIL decides to punish. Which, seeing the current situation, is not a good thing.”
“You did not only pull a prank for laughs or stand up to your sister. Maybe that’s your intention, and if so commendable, but the action goes further than that.”
“You made a joke out of BIL in his own home, as your sister laughed. You humiliated him. And narcissistic abusers don’t react well to being humiliated.”
“There’s not much your BIL can do to ‘punish’ you. At worst, he’ll just kick you out. (Which, since you don’t have other accommodation, is also a problem.)”
“He’ll more likely lash out on your sister – she’s completely financially dependent, has a small child, and is currently pregnant with another one. He has complete control over her. The fighting has already got worse – what’s to guarantee he won’t resort to, say, physical violence?”
“I like what you did. The consequences, not so much.” – GoodGirlsGrace
“ESH. BIL absolutely had it coming, but it will likely make things worse for OP’s sister, despite his best intentions.”
“OP needs to start making a plan not just for himself, but for his sister and her kids to leave. It’s a horrible onus to put on someone his age, but there are major red flags here and his sister is going to need help.” – QueenMotherofSneezes
“Also, it’s not great that after OP’s attempt at soft retaliation, they just went back into their room and left sister alone to deal with the fallout.”
“I don’t wanna be too hard to them as they’re a teenager but this really is the mildest of ESH (except the sister!).” – addisonavenue
“He’s not the a**hole for making a joke out of husband, husband is already one. He’s the unwitting a**hole for not thinking about the way the husband would react to this, as in, taking it out on his sister, not on him.”
“Kind of like, ‘the road to h**l is paved with good intentions.’ Even in this case, it’s the soft-ESH for him (except for sister, and huge AH for the husband), as he wanted to help his sister, but lacked the foresight on how to best accomplish it.” – MeiSuesse
A few urged the OP to help around the house in more tangible ways.
“Another thing: OP mentions that his sister is exhausted from having a toddler, being pregnant, and doing all the work around the house. And DH (Dear Husband) is the breadwinner.”
“But OP is staying at their house and relying on their hospitality. OP, step up, do much more work around the house.”
“It does not at all sound like you are pulling your weight or doing your fair share. Instead, you are making your sister’s life more difficult. Step up.” – oceanleap
“I so want to give you a N T A, but I gotta go with ESH except for your sister. Obviously, the husband had it coming, but unfortunately in abusive relationships (which, as an adult woman, I can say pretty definitely that that’s abuse, given just what little info has been provided), he’s going to take your stunt out on her.”
“Maybe just help out as much as you can while he’s gone so your sister can get a minute to be a person, and hope she has the sense (and resources) to get away from that horrible man. Sorry you’re in such a s**tty situation overall though OP, and I wish you the best.” – k8esaurustex
“He didn’t defend her, he antagonized her abuser. The most dangerous time in the life of a woman with an abusive partner is when she’s pregnant.”
“OP didn’t speak out in her defense, he made her abuser into a joke in his own home. He’s escalated an already tumultuous and abusive situation.”
“I understand why OP did what he did. I even understand why it’s a satisfying story to read. But if OP really wants to help his sister, there are better ways.”
“Helping around the house, being a listening ear if it’s within his emotional bandwidth, even helping her financially if he chooses to get a part-time job.”
“I’m not trying to expect too much of a minor, but if he really wants to defend and help his sister, there are better ways than p**sing off the person who already treats her like a whipping boy.” – littlewoolhat
While everyone could agree that what the OP did was funny as a prank, everyone was worried about the repercussions of the prank.
On the one hand, some thought that the sister needed to see her husband’s reaction to realize she might be in a relationship that wasn’t good for her or her children. Others disagreed and thought the danger was too much of a risk.
Beyond the prank, others challenged the OP to think of other ways to help his sister, from having constructive conversations with her about her relationship to helping around the house so she wouldn’t have so much to do.