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Woman Upset After Husband And Sister-In-Law Mock Autistic Brother For Asking Questions During Movie

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We all know that no relationship is perfect, but there are absolutely dealbreakers.

One of those should definitely be bullying our siblings, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.

Redditor ThrowawayAITAjen was furious when her newlywed husband and sister-in-law spent an entire movie night making fun of her autistic brother’s behavior.

When they yelled at her for overreacting, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if she was reading too much into it.

She asked the sub:

“AITA for warning my husband and sister-in-law (SIL) after assuming they mocked my brother with an intellectual disability (Autism)?”

The OP thought highly of her new husband.

“My husband and I are newlyweds, and we just got married in January this year.”

“Just for the sake of the situation, my husband is generally a decent man, but to people who are not familiar with his personality, his demeanor might come off as arrogant and harsh.”

But then what should have been a harmless movie night went terribly.

“Anyway, last Saturday, I wanted to invite my family to our newly furnished house just for the usual banter and some food.”

“My sister-in-law had also decided to pay us a visit that day.”

“After the refreshments, my brother, my husband, my SIL, and I decided to watch a movie.”

“We picked the recent ‘Venom’ movie as per my brother’s request (he is extremely fond of superhero movies).”

“As I have already mentioned in the title, my brother has mild autism and an intellectual impediment.”

“At certain parts of during the movie, he would have questions or he would get confused and ask us to rewind, so he could internalize a particular scene again.”

“I will admit, there was a fair bit of talking going on, but I was also considerate to the feelings of my husband and SIL and kept my voice low when explaining the details to my brother.”

The OP was disturbed by how her husband and sister-in-law behaved.

“During the entire course of the movie, I could see that my husband and SIL were very visibly annoyed.”

“SIL would sigh and say, ‘Here we go again,’ sarcastically every time we paused the movie for my brother.”

“My husband would also laugh along with my SIL at my brother asking certain questions.”

“He would also deliberately quiz my brother on certain words that were said in the movie so that he could ridicule my brother when he didn’t know the meaning of a particular word.”

“SIL would follow up with rude comments like, ‘I learned that in the 4th grade.'”

“My SIL is closer in age to my brother, so she could have been merely teasing him, but I found both their behaviors to be very offensive.”

The OP was furious on her brother’s behalf.

“I almost teared up because my brother already goes through a lot with bullies, and to hear rash things like this even at home, would only make his self-esteem worse.”

“After the movie was done, I talked to both of them privately and complained about their extremely disrespectful behavior.”

“Both of them got very defensive, saying that they were doing it in ‘good fun,’ and if anything they were just annoyed that he kept interrupting the movie.”

“They complained that I was overreacting, but I don’t know how to feel.”

“I’m NOT saying it’s not fair of them to feel annoyed, but I just wished they expressed it to me at the start so that maybe my brother and I could have found an alternate way to enjoy the rest of the evening instead of them projecting their frustration onto my brother.”

“AITA for confronting them though?”

The OP posted an important detail about her marriage in the comments:

“I do get asked how this marriage happened a lot from my friends too. My marriage was arranged by my parents.”

“He is manageable at times but sometimes he can be too straightforward or rude right to a person’s face and I am the one who has to advise him to not do it again.”

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 were furious about the arrangement of this marriage.

“F**k cultures or whatever, I’m sorry, but anyone willing to just f**king cart their kid off to whatever penis f**king walks up, or offers them enough financial gain, is a massive a**hole to me.”

“The Guy and his sister are both huge a**holes, but so are the parents.” – Blujay12

“He’s an a**hole and so is his sister. They were sat there bullying your brother. Do your parents know what a major c*ck-up they made when choosing your husband for you?” – nibbler981

“My only possible explanation is that they (the OP’s parents) were deceived on the product by the guy’s parents… Still very irresponsible not to check the deal by themselves, though.” – Onlyfatwomenarefat

“To be fair to OP, it was an arranged (probably forced) marriage. If she needs to lie to herself a little bit to make it through each day, I don’t really blame her.”

“As long as she doesn’t put up with him bullying her brother. But I agree, he’s a huge a**hole. Nothing decent about him.” – TimePrincessSophie

“Get it annulled and tell your parents you’re not staying married to someone who bullies your brother.” – LucyLovesApples

Others were disgusted by the husband’s behavior and demeanor. 

“Well, this is a nightmare. If he is rude and says rude things, he’s a rude person. Not some secret hidden gem lurking inside. His actions are what matter.” – superfastmomma

“This post is all about the lies we tell ourselves.”

“Like the sister and husband claiming to bully and ridicule a disabled person and cruelly mocking his disabilities was all in good fun. Yeah, if you’re an evil, unempathetic villain, maybe it was fun.”

“But it wasn’t fun for OP’s brother and it wasn’t fun for OP. And there’s nothing good or innocent about it. You don’t get to say it’s all in good fun when it hurts people and is mean on its face.”

“And like the OP telling herself that her husband is a decent man. He’s not. A decent man wouldn’t treat the brother like that.”

“And if it was done by mistake, a decent man would sincerely apologize and change his behavior. Husband had an opportunity to apologize, feel embarrassed, and reflect. He chose to double down on his cruelty with defensiveness and denial.”

“Your husband is a villain.” – Curious-One4595

“What’s his excuse for his poor behavior? You’re NTA but they BOTH are. Your husband is not a decent person even if he manages to behave as one sometimes. THIS situation proves that.”

“You should defend your brother. It’s not ‘good fun’ if it’s at someone’s expense and when they can’t fight back. It’s disgusting and clearly, they BOTH have the same low standards.” – Sel-Reddit

“OP, I also have a brother with an intellectual disability and come from a culture where arranged marriages are common.”

“This is absolutely vile behavior. When people show you their character, believe them. They both seem like terrible people who think it’s okay to make fun of a kid with a disability and want to double down when someone respectfully checks them.”

“If you plan to have kids with this person, imagine how they would treat your child if they had an intellectual disability? Please do not have kids with this person and save yourself and your family from your spouse and his family.” – TreeHuggingOrange

“Oh, OP. My brother has the same needs. This is a major dealbreaker for me.”

“My OH (Other Half) was fully aware of my brother and his needs before we had been together long. He has been an additional sibling to my brother and has fully accepted that he will live with us when my parents are older.”

“You have some very tough decisions to make. If it helps- I’d choose my brother’s well-being every time.” – DrMamaBear

“I’m appalled you’re married to someone who comfortably bullies your autistic brother.”

“And is so awful, you frequently get asked by everyone in your life, including strangers on the internet, why you’re wasting your life with someone this cruel.”

“I mean, YTA to yourself for still going along with this marriage even after you realized your husband is a cruel bully. It’s not too late to get out of it.” – excel_pager_03

While the OP wondered if she was being too critical of her new husband’s and sister-in-law’s behavior toward her brother during the movie night, the subReddit insisted that she deserved to be much more critical of them than she was already being.

After all, they were bullying and making ableist remarks toward an Autistic person, which is unforgivable. To do that to someone who is family, and to do that to someone who is also the sibling of a life partner, that’s practically unbelievable.

Whether she can get out of the marriage or not, the least she could do for herself and her brother is to keep critiquing and questioning this style of behavior every time it comes up.

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.