Often, we view mental health as being separate from physical health.
A broken bone is a testament to the nastiness of a fall, but a bout of depression is a testament to a weak will.
This couldn’t be further from the truth, of course, but it’s a dark impulse that sometimes sneaks through and influences our actions.
So what happens when that dark little impulse urges you to exclude a family member?
That was the issue facing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) throwawaybride2be222 when she came to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for judgment.
“AITA for not wanting my autistic cousin at my child-free wedding?”
A good beginning.
“Next spring, I am getting married to the love of my life.”
A seemingly simple request.
“We have decided that we don’t want children at our wedding. Not many of our friends and family have young children, and the ones that do are fine with getting a sitter for the weekend since we gave them a lot of notice.”
Things escalated dramatically.
“The only ones to put up a fight are my aunt and uncle, who have a daughter with autism. She is 20 but will be 21 by the time my wedding day comes around.”
“She is what they call ‘high-functioning,’ which means she can talk and wash/dress herself and she has some friends.”
“She graduated from high school a couple of years ago and is currently living with her parents (my aunt and uncle) while working at a grocery store.”
“Despite her being technically an adult, I just don’t see her as such. Every time I talk to her at a family gathering, it’s like talking to a child.”
“She is obsessed with toy ponies and Barbie dolls, and brings them up at every opportunity. She draws in her notebook constantly and never makes eye contact when talking to me.”
“She does not have loud meltdowns like other special needs kids I’ve met before, but I really don’t want to risk her ruining my special day.”
“I told my aunt and uncle that I didn’t want her there, and they became very upset.”
“They said she already saw the invite and knew it was child-free, but because she is an ‘adult’, she thought she was still included.”
“My aunt tried to guilt me by saying she’d already picked out a dress and a gift, but I didn’t want to hear it.”
“My fiancé says I’m being an a**hole, and we should let her attend because she has attended other weddings before with no issue.”
“Everyone is making me feel horrible for not treating her like an adult when she doesn’t act like one.”
OP was left to wonder,
Having explained the situation, OP turned to Reddit for judgment.
Redditors weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors decided: YTA
Question and Answer.
“What exactly makes you think she would ‘ruin your special day’? Simply the fact that she is autistic?!” ~ Stranger0nReddit
“‘What exactly makes you think she would ‘ruin your special day”‘?
“Oh! I know this one! It’s ableism.” ~ NarlaRT
“I thought it was because Op was a mean girl with a mean spirit, but ableism works too.”
“(Was trying to joke a bit here. It’s definitely ableism)”
“OP, get over yourself.”
“Your cousin literally is an adult who, like you said, doesn’t actually cause disruptions or has sensory issues that make sitting through events like weddings hard.”
“You have no reason not to invite her other than you not liking her. Idk, frankly it sounds like you’re the difficult one in the family.”
“Go ahead and not invite her.”
“But be warned that blaming your cousin’s autism is ableist and will likely lead to a bunch of family not showing up for your “big day” since they also see you as an AH.”
“But no worries. You sound like you are someone who appreciates ‘aesthetics.’ Think of it as guest minimalism. Imagine the photos, spaced out and gaps between guests, such a vibe.”
“Or better yet, maybe your fiancé will get the drift, and there won’t be a wedding. He’s already saying you’re the one in the wrong.”
“Wanna bet what will happen if you actually go through with it?” ~ Choice_Werewolf1259
“Easy… Although the cousin is ‘technically an adult, the OP ‘doesn’t see her that way.”‘
“It’s all about the OP’s (heavily skewed and twisted) view of the world.”
“Anyone that doesn’t conform to HER definition of some standard is a ‘risk.'”
“So, yeah… ableism of the highest order.”
“Yet another bride that has convinced herself that it’s ‘her’ day and cares more about the wedding than the marriage.”
“Kudos to the finance for calling OP out for being an a-hole. Maybe the bride shouldn’t be allowed at the wedding since she’s ‘acting like a child’ with her ignorant view of the world and needing someone to justify her ‘feelings’ about what’s right and wrong.” ~ 6SpeedBlues
Some got petty.
“I hope everyone shows up wearing white dresses just to piss her off.” ~ elmama1720
“Actually, I think all the guests should get custom My Little Pony dresses made, in lieu of gifts, and wear them to the wedding. That’s some petty sh*t I would pull in a heartbeat!” ~ elmama1720
“To be fair, the mane six’s grand galloping gala dresses would actually make some gorgeous wedding attire. That would be a fantastic album after the fact.”
“(edit: I used the word ‘fantastic’ twice, and it bothered me, so i changed one to gorgeous)” ~ bambiipup
“She honestly sounds like a very nice individual, I don’t get what could possibly be the problem outside her having autism.”
“Op has given no reasons other than she still plays with dolls….so what? The dolls are hurting anyone.” ~ Novel_Fox
“Honestly, that sounds like fun.”
“Plus, the dolls or drawing would be a good way to help with any anxiety or other discomfort the cousin has.”
“They’re also other ways to communicate.”
“Weddings are boring, I’d rather play with dolls and ponies anyway!” ~ CelticDruidPriestess
“For real! If I were a guest at this wedding, I’d be playing ponies with this young lady. And I’m a ‘neurotypical’ old lady.”
“We’d be having fun playing ponies and doodling.” ~ PatioGardener
“Man, it’s your wedding, and you can invite whoever you want.”
“However, that does not take away the fact that you are a big @ss Hole.”
“There is a very low risk something will happen with her, and you can talk to your aunt and uncle to have her watched all the time.”
“But taking away from her the opportunity to be with the family in such an important event is cruel.”
“I am sure she will enjoy it more than the average Joe invited, and she has already suffered enough with her condition for you to be this insensible AH who will take this away from her.”
“You know what, I would be on your side if she were one of these special kids that throw tantrums, need too much attention, or really don’t know what’s happening and couldn’t care less.”
“But, she is not like that. She surely will be happy to be there with all her loving family, except you, of course, who care so little about her.” ~ Tfuentexxx
“But what if she talks about dolls and ponies like she does ALL the time? Or what if she draws and IGNORES OP??”
“I mean.. that would surely ruin the entire wedding, right?/s” ~ Nymph-the-scribe
An important distinction.
“Autistic meltdowns are different than tantrums.”
“They come due to either too much stimulation or not being able to freely express your feelings or have them be invalidated.”
“Nothing to do with tantrums which are usually due to someone throwing a fit because they can’t have a toy or something.”
“Also, there’s nothing wrong with being nonverbal?”
“I don’t see what being able to speak has to do with any of this? I’m at least 50% nonverbal. I’m considered partially nonverbal.”
“Which means I’m verbal in certain situations and not in others.”
“Nonverbal doesn’t mean you’re sitting in a corner, staring, drooling, and rocking while making weird grunting sounds.”
“It simply means you don’t use verbal communication as your primary form of communication.”
“Many autistic people can edge into nonverbal territory when overstimulated.”
“It’s like your brain goes, ‘hey there’s too much going on, so to process it, I’m gonna make it easier by taking away your need to communicate vocally'”.
“There are many different ways to communicate if you are nonverbal.”
“If I have to go to an airport or grocery store by myself, I carry a notepad and pen with me. If I need help, I write my question down and show it to a staff member.”
“Perfectly reasonable form of communication.” ~ TheTragedyMachine
Weddings do bring out the absolute worst in people.
Or, maybe, people bring out the worst in weddings.
Either way, accommodations can be made for mental health – the same way accommodations can be made for someone on crutches.
Both are a kindness.