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Guy Accused Of ‘White Knighting’ After Defending Mother-In-Law From Her Verbally Abusive Mom

Engin Akyurt/Unsplash

A lot of us like to believe the best about people and imagine that their intentions are good, no matter how their life may appear from the outside.

But sometimes we can’t deny that a person’s priorities are misaligned, cringed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.

Redditor Throw_away976 was shocked not only when he saw how his grandmother-in-law (GIL) was treating his mother-in-law (MIL), but that his wife actively was not doing anything about it.

When he tried to bring his concerns up to her, the Original Poster (OP) was shocked at her response.

He asked the sub:

“AITA for defending my mother-in-law (MIL) and ‘white knighting’?” 

The OP didn’t expect the hostile relationship between his MIL and GIL.

“My wife and I have been together for 5 years (married for 3). About every 6 months, we travel across the state to visit her grandmother.”

“My MIL never came along until recently. I always thought she saw it as our vacation since my GIL’s city is a tourist destination.”

“We left Friday morning, intending to spend Mother’s Day weekend there, and my MIL reluctantly came along (my wife insisted).”

“My MIL seemed to be stalling us as we got closer to GIL’s city. She kept wanting to stop along the way.”

“Eventually, we got there, and my wife and I walked in and got hugs.”

“Then my MIL walked in behind me and GIL said, ‘Wow Terry, have you gotten fat.'”

“I was utterly appalled, the lady is not fat.”

“A bit later, everyone was sitting in the living room when GIL started bossing my MIL around to, ‘make yourself useful and wait on us.'”

The OP wanted to do something about the behavior.

“I felt very uncomfortable, so I pulled my wife aside. I asked her, ‘Is this why your mom never comes, because her mother treats her like s**t?'”

“My wife said to ignore it and said the crap had been going on for 30+ years.”

“MIL went to bed very early.”

“The next morning GIL criticized her clothes by saying, ‘You should have a skirt on, you look so unattractive wearing THAT.’ She was wearing jeans and a jean jacket, she looked fine and was dressed appropriately for the weather.”

“All day Saturday, I became increasingly irritated with the sly remarks. GIL criticized her hair, body shape, education, wage she earned… She just went on and on. ‘You can’t do anything right,’ specifically angered me.”

The OP finally had heard enough.

“Later that evening, GIL was cooking dinner. I was within earshot and heard her ask why my MIL hasn’t remarried yet.”

“She responded with a simple answer, ‘I’m happy with being alone.'”

“GIL said, “That’s a bunch of bull, something is wrong with you, that’s why no men are attracted to you.'”

“Before I knew it, MIL was gone.”

“I went into the guest bedroom and told my wife she needs to do something now about her grandmother’s behavior and stop letting this s**t slide.”

“I went to see where my MIL went, and I found her on the side of the house, crying. She told me she’s never understood why her mother hates her so much.”

“I told her to get her things, we’re leaving.”

The OP spoke up.

“I went back in and I’ll fully admit, I caused a huge scene. I just had enough.”

“I called her out on every single remark she made in the last 24 hours. I said more that I can’t repeat here.”

“My wife’s step-grandfather got in my face, telling me to leave… Things got nasty.”

“The 3 of us left and went to a hotel for the night. We spent most of Sunday around the city.”

“I told my wife she can go back to satan’s house if she wants, but I’m not.”

The OP was shocked by the reveal of his wife’s priorities.

“We got back home late Sunday night. My wife and I had it out. She told me I should have left it alone, it wasn’t my place.”

“She said… ‘Now I’m worried about losing my inheritance.'”

“I was FREAKING SHOCKED.”

“I clarified, ‘So you would let your mother be abused by this woman… OVER YOUR INHERITANCE?'”

“We continued to argue, she said I need to stop being a white knight, and told me I need to apologize to her grandmother.”

“A few minutes later, my MIL texted me, ‘Thank you.'”

“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 questioned the OP’s wife for valuing the inheritance over the family abuse.

“She’s willfully ignored it for 30+ years. She definitely knows it’s going on and yeah, cares more about the cash than her mum. Just awful.”

“NTA, OP.” – DowntownClock1632

“I want to know how big this inheritance is.”

“Because I want to know what she thinks a mother is worth.” – Adaku

“My dad let my grandmother abuse me like this growing up because he was terrified of being cut out of her will. She died in 2011.”

“My dad has his inheritance, but no daughter. Hopefully, the money will be there to hold his hand when his health begins to fail.” – feyre_0001

“NTA OP, your wife is atrocious. The fact that your wife INSISTED that MIL come along when she knew this was going to happen is one of the more disgusting things I have seen on AITA.” – Throwawayhater3343

“I’m really bothered by the fact that OP’s wife INSISTED her mom come along even though she knows how abusive and toxic that situation is for her mother.”

“Like, if she wants to suck up for an inheritance, that is one thing, but why would she purposefully subject her mother to that when it wasn’t even necessary?”

“I think OP’s wife goes beyond a**hole. A**holes can at least be redeemed in many cases. This woman is just a horrible human person.” – PaganCHICK720

“This is all a huge thing that OP needed to know. He’s apparently never seen this side of the grandma, and it has to affect his decision on how he lets his potential kids interact with her if he even allows it at all.”

“With his wife’s mention of inheritance, OP can’t deny the possibility that his wife would allow similar abuse to the kids for the sake of that inheritance.” – letstrythisagain30

“I would think twice before having children with a woman with such an attitude toward an abusive mother.” – Fergus74

“She (the OP’s wife) was only worried about her inheritance in the end. No matter if she didn’t want the abuse thrown at her. She threw her own mom under the bus.”

“Her mom has suffered this for 30+ years and OP’s wife knew it. They don’t need to stay at the grandmother’s house for their trip. They can avoid the abuse and go to a hotel for the duration of the trip, see grandmother a bit, and have a quick getaway if she tries her abusive behavior.” – SegaNeptune28

Others didn’t understand what the grandmother-in-law’s problem was.

“This post reminds me of my mother and late grandmother. GM treated her awful all the time, and when I was about 14 or so, I went off on GM so hard for hurting my mom.”

“She was shocked, and just yelled to get out… so… win-win for me.”

“I’m glad I’m alive, but it makes you wonder why some people have kids just to hate them.” – Various_Counter_9569

“My grandmother was horrible to my mother her whole life. My mom often says that she ‘deserved’ it, because she was ‘a rotten kid.’ From the stories I’ve heard, she wasn’t a rotten kid, she was just… a kid.”

“Eventually, Grandma started being nasty to us. Once I got a poison pen birthday card (maliciously-written card) from her, and when I showed my mom, she just signed and told me to ignore her.”

“The irony is that when s**t started to go south with my grandma, my mother was the only one of her siblings to step up and take care of her. The last time I saw my grandma was in the nursing home, and I couldn’t wait to get the h**l out of there. Couldn’t stand being in the same room with a woman who treated my mother so badly for so long.”

“Ironically, my mom and MIL got on like wildfire, which goes to prove that not all MILs are evil.” – PrscheWdow

“I wondered if grandmother put OP’s wife up to it. MIL definitely knew what was going to happen, from the way she kept wanting to stop as they got nearer to the destination.” – Aggressive-Fudge5759

“NTA. Good on you for standing up for your MIL. Nobody’s talking to my mama like that, not even my mama’s mama.”

“Your wife is a huge AH for not only letting her grandma’s comments slide, now behavior she’s complicit in, but for arguing with you for defending her own mother.”

“Money aside, you should be concerned about what your wife already inherited from grandma.” – kitcassidy

“NTA.”

“The MIL’s thank you made me tear up. I grew up with a mother who never said a single nice thing to me. The nicest thing she’s ever said was, ‘You know, you’d be kind of pretty if you weren’t so fat.’ I had a normal weight, she was obese.”

“I cut all ties with my mother in my early twenties, the best thing I have ever done.”

“Not once, not ever did anybody stand up for me, not when she’d beat me, not when she’d scream at me for hours, not when she called me fat, ugly, stupid, or a w**re. Never my name, only name-calling. The rest of the family either joined in or ignored it.”

“Just imagining someone sticking up for me, just once, validating my pain, confronting my abusers. It would have meant the absolute world to me.”

“That message may seem simple, short as it is. But I am willing to bet that it means so very much to her.”

“OP, you are indeed a knight. A modern knight, verbal sword drawn, to defend someone he cares for, against a monster. All the while her so-called loved ones, her own DAUGHTER, stand there and let the abuse happen.”

“I wish I’d had someone like you in my life.” – TheGrimDweeber

The subReddit not only was shocked right alongside the OP about what his wife told him after the trip, but they were grateful that he chose to stand up for his mother-in-law.

Her message after the fact spoke volumes about how she had been treated and what had been tolerated in her life. Having someone in her corner likely felt invaluable to her, no matter the monetary value of the inheritance the grandmother may have been holding over everyone’s heads.

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.