When the subject of invading another person’s privacy comes up, we likely all can think of someone in our own life who had a bad habit of snooping.
We might try to give them the benefit of the doubt, but at some point, we’ll likely have to set a boundary, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor Sandra2012atp noticed that her mother-in-law (MIL), while kind, had a terrible habit of going through her bedroom drawers while trying to find something.
When she decided to reorganize to help her MIL, the Original Poster (OP) was surprised to be accused of mocking her MIL.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for labeling my drawers to end my MIL’s confusion?”
The OP was tired of her mother-in-law going through her things.
“So, I have a really sweet MIL (Dear Husband’s mom) and we get along most of the time.”
“However, when she visits our home, I notice that she goes throw my drawers in the bedroom looking for a charger or something.”
“I find it a bit invasive and embarrassing, especially when she opens the ‘wrong’ drawer and finds personal items in it, like lingerie, and then goes on to complain about how uncomfortable it is for her to see. This happens every single time.”
It led to a few arguments.
“We’ve gone back and forth on this and when I stated that she was wrong for even looking at personal stuff.”
“She’ll say she got confused and didn’t know what drawer had the item she was looking for.”
“Dear Husband (DH) suggested I should just bring her whatever she needs instead of having her go inside and look herself, but she never asks for help!”
The OP decided to do something about it.
“So I decided to label my drawers. I put a sign on every drawer to eliminate dear MIL’s confusion.”
“For example, I put a ‘socks’ sign on the sock drawer, then a ‘lingerie’ sign on the lingerie and underwear drawer, a sign for the electronics drawer, a sign for the makeup drawer, etc. you get the idea.”
But her mother-in-law didn’t like this new system.
“The next time MIL visited, she walked into the bedroom looking for something while I was in the kitchen cooking.”
“Minutes later, she came in with my husband, asking about the signs I had on each drawer.”
“I told her I just labeled each drawer to end her confusion and help her find what she’s looking for quickly.”
“She looked offended and said that she was neither a small child nor stupid, and shouldn’t be treated like this.”
“I said I was really trying to help and also try to prevent her from seeing ‘stuff’ that upset her in the past.”
“She got madder and kept arguing with me, and then left to stay at my brother-in-law’s (BIL’s) house.”
The family lashed out at the OP.
“My BIL called and berated both DH and me for the drawers.”
“Then my DH lashed out at me, saying I caused this mess and I needed to apologize.”
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 didn’t think the mother-in-law was very sweet at all.
“This is next-level gaslighting.”
“So, this woman has zero boundaries and rummages through your personal items on the regular. Then gets upset when she sees something that should actually be there.”
“Then she overreacts, gets offended when you ‘treat her like a child,’ even though she has behaved like one on numerous occasions in your house.”
“She follows that up with this chaser: let’s talk smack about OP and get everyone p**sed off at her.”
“There is no way you are TA, but that doesn’t really cover it adequately… there really is so much wrong with this. I think you might need a reality check. This family is sick.”
“NTA.” – Total-Being-4278
“She feigned confusion to excuse her snooping. You believed and accommodated her. She’s mad you believed her lies and took her excuse away.” – newbeginingshey
“I had a horrible thought that she’s not just snooping, and I’m wondering if OP uses condoms, or at least MIL thinks they do, and has been looking for them because she wants grandchildren.”
“I know it’s a massive leap, but that’s where my brain went.” – Final_Commission4160
“If not looking for birth control, why else would she be endlessly snooping in their bedroom drawers? It isn’t even the first place (or second, or third place) you’d go look for a charger.” – ThaneOfCawdorrr
“She should be staying out of their bedroom to begin with. I wouldn’t have it. She doesn’t need to be rifling through their drawers.” – IndicaJones_09
“Now she’s turned herself into the victim by saying you did that to insult her intelligence.”
“Look up ‘DARVO’: Deny, Attack, Reverse-Victim, and Offender.”
“Your MIL is a great manipulator.” – Nerdycrystalwitch
“This is my favorite tactic to deal with toxic entitled people. They will use any claim to dodge responsibility for their actions, but always hate being treated as if they can’t be responsible.” – SubtleCow
“NTA, she’s looking for reasons to be angry with you because she’s a boring old crone with nothing interesting going on. Start digging through s**t at her house and see how she likes it, she’s gonna be mad at you anyway. May as well give her a real reason.” – Subject_Material_168
“We all know she was snooping. She never asked for a charger. Why does she need OP’s charger? That was a quick lie when she realized she was about to be caught snooping (and then talking about what she found) the last time.”
“There’s no reason to be upset about things in OP’s drawers if you aren’t in them.”
“MIL is upset because OP knows exactly what she’s doing and took her excuse away. But the snooper told on herself again.”
“Shouldn’t it be a rule that guests in people’s homes stay in designated guest areas? Someone’s bedroom is not a guest area.” – foriesg
Others also took issue with the husband’s and brother-in-law’s behavior.
“BIL is complaining because he now has to deal with her.” – future_nurse19
“I wonder how BIL’S wife likes the intrusion.” – Puzzled_Building560
“Remove all your lingerie, and start wearing the most conservative underwear you can find. When your husband asks you why, tell him you don’t want to upset his mother.” – somebodysomewhere5
“NTA and you’re kind of my hero. The signs essentially eliminated her excuse to snoop and now she’s salty about it.”
“Hopefully, your husband gets his head out of his a** and realizes that his mother is literally offended over you labeling your own drawers. If she didn’t want to be able to snoop, why would that bother her?” – photosbeersandteach
“I wonder who the h**l thinks they can dictate how someone else runs their household where they hold no real weight and are not paying into or for that home?”
“And then I’m sadly reminded of real-life examples I’ve seen, experienced, and witnessed of people overstepping their boundaries and doing just that and troping it up to 11 and beyond! It really is sad and infuriating that people think they can do this.”
“If no one is being abused verbally, physically, emotionally, or mentally, leave people alone in their own households! Everyone doesn’t live the same or follow made-up ‘traditional household rules and regulations.'”
“MIL is messy, nosey, and a troublemaker. I’d make her stay the f**k away from my residence.”
“And if hubby is riding/co-signing with her on this nonsense, there needs to be some serious thinking about that as well, because that is a problem.” – bustakita
“We have this same issue a million times on this sub where the spouse’s family is acting unreasonably, and the spouse blames OP for responding appropriately and asserting boundaries.”
“OP, your husband is the main issue.”
“If he doesn’t see a problem with his mom invading your privacy and refuses to put her in her place, this problem won’t go away.” – asometimesky
“It’s not like OP labeled her husband’s drawers.”
“So either husband has to shut up and admit there was a chance mother-in-law was snooping, or he must shut up and get that now mother-in-law knows which drawer it could be found in.”
“It’s not like the mother-in-law was going through his drawers.” – jess1804
“She is nosey as f**k, and her boys enable her. You were being logical and rational.”
“Clearly, she got busted and no longer had an excuse, so she’s blaming you instead of admitting she’s being inappropriate.”
“Her entire response is overblown, and she knows how to manipulate her sons.”
“Say that when she visits, she needs to stay at BIL house from now on, and see how long her behavior lasts there.” – beleif
Conflicted over her husband’s reaction, the OP wondered if she was wrong for adding labels to her drawers, which not only would help her mother-in-law find what she needed, but also eliminate the possibility of finding something private.
The subReddit felt she did exactly the right thing, not only for these reasons, but also to call her mother-in-law out on potentially inappropriate behavior.
The fact that her mother-in-law was so upset over this simply indicated that her intentions weren’t as pure as she made them out to be.