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Woman Asks If She’s Wrong To Hide Family Heirlooms When Jealous Sister Comes To Visit

Woman hiding her face behind a plate.
Francesco Carta fotografo/Getty Images

At one point or another, anyone with a sibling has found themselves jealous of their older or younger sibling.

Most of the time, this jealousy stems from things that are, at the end of the day, trivial, and this sort of jealousy is often confined to childhood.

In some cases, however, jealousy continues well into adulthood, and in these unfortunate cases, the jealousy only grows more and more toxic.

When the mother of Redditor jkatreed downsized into a smaller home, she divided various heirlooms out between her children.

Over time, the sister of the original poster (OP) became somewhat jealous of some of the heirlooms the OP chose for herself.

Making the OP question how secure they were whenever her sister or mother paid a visit, and leading her to question if somewhat drastic measures were called for.

Wondering if she was overreacting, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where she asked fellow Redditors:

“AITA for hiding family heirlooms when my family visits?”

The OP explained why she felt some of her family heirlooms were less than secure when her family came for visits:

“I (42 F[emale]) am one of five children, and my father died when we were very young leaving my mom and my four siblings.”

“My parents had collected a lot of cool things over the years.”

“When my mom downsized to a condo after all the kids had left home, she got rid of a lot of items that she no longer had room for.”

“We all had things that we were sentimental about and as one of the younger siblings I didn’t request anything although I had strong connections to a few items.”

“After everyone had decided on what they wanted I wound up with three things that were of little to no financial value, but I treasure them for the memories they represent.”

“The first item is a tractor seat that is bolted to a butcher block to make a funky chair.”

“The second item is a 1970s tacky spice cabinet, and the third thing is a set of stoneware pastry bowls that my mom had saved green stamps to buy.”

“Over the years my siblings have sold, destroyed, or lost the items that they got.”

“And now, when they come to my house, they often comment on the things I have ‘I didn’t know you got those’, ‘I’ve always wanted that’, etc.”

“My mom even told my sister behind my back that she could have tractor seat chair that I had because ‘I wasn’t really using it’.”

“My mom saw that I had it in the garage because I was protecting it from the weather and it needed sanding.”

“For other reasons, I have gone no contact with this sister.”

“Well, she texted me out of the blue to ask if she could have the chair.”

“I told her it was sentimental for me and I would prefer to keep it.”

“She tried to guilt trip me about how she didn’t have anything left from our parents.”

“I didn’t reply, conversation over.”

“I also knew that if she had it, it would likely be ruined since she is a bit of a hoarder and doesn’t take care of things.”

“She has let a flooding basement go on unresolved for years and her entire house smells like mildew.”

“So bad that I can smell it on her whenever I’m around her.”

“She refuses to acknowledge there is a problem.”

“Shortly after the text exchange, my mom came to house-sit for one night, and I hid the chair in question because I was worried she was going to have my sister come over and grab it, or take it for her.”

“Then again recently, my mom asked me if she could have the spice rack to give to my sister.”

“I said that I was using it, which is true.”

“We will be hosting Christmas this year and I plan to hide the bowls, the chair, and the spice rack while my family is visiting.”

“I’m starting to feel like I don’t really want anything to do with my family at all, including the heirlooms.”

“I’m not someone who is generally attached to things, especially when it starts to affect a relationship, but I feel on principle this is about more than the heirlooms and more about boundaries.”

“I feel bad about hiding things, but AITA?”

Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation, by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

The Reddit community unanimously agreed that the OP was not the a**hole for hiding her heirlooms when her family visited.

Everyone was shocked that the OP’s mother would so readily aid and abet her sister in stealing the chair, and the OP was doing the exactly right thing by hiding it ahead of their arrival.

“NTA, but your mom, and not your sister, is the biggest AH.”

“Your mom is literally trying to take your things and give them to your sister.”

“Hide your spice, hide your chair, hide your bowls!”- KronkLaSworda

“NTA but your family is weird.”

“Does your mom always favor this sister over you?”

“That’s all I’m hearing here, is that sister gets whatever she wants even if your mom has to take it from someone else for her to have it.”

“Rude.”- Hot_Box_4574

“Nope, NTA.”

“Lock them in your car trunk when they visit.”

“If if you’re distracted while hosting, and they snoop around for the items they won’t consider them being in your car trunk.”- HeirOfRavenclaw


“Definitely hide your items.”

“Hide them at a different location, a locked attic, somewhere they absolutely cannot see or find them.”

“My mother has done similar to me, given things that were mine to siblings, because they expressed interest.”

“Yes, as adults.”

“So hide your stuff or (even better) don’t let any of them near your place.”

“If they do come over and ask, be vague and change the subject.”- Foggy_Radish


“Hide the items.”

“They obviously didn’t care about the items they received since they didn’t take care of them.”

“You value the 3 things you have and want to keep them.”

“Don’t let them emotionally manipulate you into giving them your things.”- SatelliteBeach123


“And I’d say you might even stash them at a friend’s house.”

“People like your sister (and your mom!) aren’t above snooping in the garage, looking in closets, etc.”

“If they have the nerve to ask ‘Where is/are the ___?’ Just smile and say ‘In a very special spot’.”-fanofpolkadotts

“NTA, so rude of them the way they’re going about it too.”

“Do you really want to host people you can’t trust?”- WhyCommentQueasy


“It’s completely reasonable to want to protect your sentimental heirlooms from being ruined by family members who have shown a lack of care for their own belongings.”

“Your boundaries matter, and it’s important to stand up for what you value.”- Available_Tap_9084

“NTA I am a professional organizer dealing with a hoarded house right now and all the damage that happens when you pack an entire landfill into a home.”

“UGH.”- 74Magick


“Your family is essentially using guilt to try to get you to give them things, which is emotionally abusive.”

“You are not wrong for taking steps to shield yourself from that abuse.”- leftajar


“Hide those things!”

“Refuse to discuss them.”

“You took things that were left over once everyone else went through everything.”

“Now they want the few items you have?”

“Nope.”- AnotherMC

“Bedroom door keypad locks are good things to have for any & all valuables including financial & legal papers and prescription meds.”

“NTA.”- Right_Weather_8916

“My grandpa carved wood, and had a lot of small things he’d made.”

“When he passed, one of my uncles took ALL of them.”

“I understood wanting them.”

“But then my uncle’s house has some kind of… bug?”


“And all the carvings rotted and had to be thrown out.”

“I don’t remember what my dad had said happened to them, but it crushed me that their all just… gone forever.”

“When my dad and his siblings went through the house to split things up, I asked my dad to save me any woodcarving tools he could, and he did.”

“I have them and am hoping to eventually figure out how to use them.”

“I miss my grandpa.”- MKatieUltra


“Keep the heirlooms get rid of the family.”- Mysterious-Choice568

Seeing as the OP’s mother told her sister that she could have the chair without first checking with the OP, one has to wonder what sort of lessons she taught her children about sharing when they were younger.

From the looks of it, it’s entirely possible she didn’t teach them any kind of lesson at all.

Seeing the grim fate all of the heirlooms taken by her other children suffered, one also has to wonder why the OP’s mother would want the chair, spice rack, and bowls in their possessions to begin with.

Written by John Curtis

A novelist, picture book writer and native New Yorker, John is a graduate of Syracuse University and the children's media graduate program at Centennial College. When not staring at his computer monitor, you'll most likely find John sipping tea watching British comedies, or in the kitchen, taking a stab at the technical challenge on the most recent episode of 'The Great British Baking Show'.