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'AITA for refusing to host Easter dinner if my nephew is invited?' UPDATED 3X

'AITA for refusing to host Easter dinner if my nephew is invited?' UPDATED 3X


If you sense danger, it's best to listen to your gut - especially if you're a parent saddled with protecting a baby.

"AITA for refusing to host Easter dinner if nephew is invited?"

I (37) and my wife (35) have been arguing about this all week.

Our nephew (22) has always been troubled, even though SIL (44) and BIL (48) have always treated him well. Some examples of his unsettling behavior:

He was caught feeding one of BIL's horses avocados (p*isonous to horses) to make it sick. I have dogs and don't want him to hurt them as well.

He demands to be called the names of two specific fictional characters. He believes he is these characters, reincarnated. If you call him by his real name or refuse to go along with his delusions he becomes aggressive.

He carries around a plushie of one of these characters everywhere. There is a hole in the back. The hole is stained. I have tried not to jump to conclusions about what he does to that plushie and failed. It smells, and honestly just thinking about the thing makes me want to vomit.

I have tried so hard to be patient with his "quirks" as my wife puts it, but what really pushed me over the edge was an incident that occurred a few weeks ago. For context, wife has struggled with infertility for our entire marriage, and we had given up on having our own kid until we recently discovered she is pregnant. Given the fact that she's 35, we have been surprised and overjoyed.

A few weeks ago, wife started randomly getting rude texts from nephew, insulting our baby. One text implied that our baby would have FAS, due to my wife's previous drinking problem, even though she has been sober for years. I wanted to call up that insensitive brat and tear into him, but wife insisted we gently let him know via text that we didn't appreciate his comments.

When he kept going and my wife started crying, I called SIL. She was able to shut him down and get him to apologize. I have no idea what the hell got into him, but I suspect it has to do with his hatred of women.

Wife believes that he may be on the spectrum/ have undiagnosed mental illness and that he needs to be treated patiently. I think he has been coddled his entire life and it has only made him worse. I think if someone doesn't put their foot down, his behavior will escalate into something dangerous. Here's where I may be TA. Each year, wife and I host Easter Dinner for her entire family.

Wife has already forgiven nephew for the incident and is insisting we invite him so that he isn't isolated from his family, something she believes will worsen his behavior. I see her reasoning, but enough is enough. I refused. I said she's being a doormat like everyone else in the family, and that our man-child of a nephew can't just make her cry and get away with it with an empty apology.

Some of my friends are saying that I am being controlling and that I can't stop her from seeing her own family. I feel like I am going insane. AITA?

Commenters had OP's back all the way.

SlowLime wrote:

NTA - and honestly I wouldn't want him around my wife if I were in your shoes. He sounds a bit dangerous (the horses for example) and ab*sive. He needs help, and his parents need to step up and realize that he needs serious intervention and attention.

You setting this boundary might be the exact thing they need to actually do something about him. Yes it will be hard and yes it might cause a family rift, but you could preface it with "we love him and care for him but don't him around us until he is getting help." Stand firm. This is about protecting your wife (and tell her so) and your sanity.

JetFaerie777 wrote:

NTA. He has a history of p*isoning. He has a history of hating women. He has a history of mentally ab*sing your wife. He has a history of saying the baby will have birth defects. It seems like it would be fully within his capabilities to poison your wife to hurt the baby. Sounds crazy but this guy definitely is.

OP responded:

This is exactly what I am afraid of. I feel like nobody in the family wants to admit that his problems aren't just him having quirks; they're warning signs of potentially dangerous behavior later on and they need to be dealt with. I am glad I am not alone in thinking this-- I was starting to wonder if I was overreacting.

Like, the plushie thing and him thinking he is certain fictional characters is one thing, but the animal cruelty and anger towards women is what really have me concerned.

JetFaerie777 responded:

Yes, the animal cruelty is a clear sign of him being an actual psychopath. The issue is how to make your wife see this without pushing it. Most people don’t want to believe their family is capable of such cruelty. You’ll have to be very very gentle if you intend to discuss it at all. Worst comes to worst, very carefully watch the food and drink.

Personally I can’t believe anyone in the family puts up with that utterly disgusting plushie! I mean how can they expect you to bring your future child around that.

OP responded:

His parents got it for him when he was a kid. They thought it was cute when he brought it everywhere. I think on some level, they still see him as a child so they kind of refuse to acknowledge what he does to that thing.

savinathewhite wrote:

You are NTA for trying to limit her nephew from coming to the house.

To be honest, I’d be concerned about your wife’s safety in this situation.

It sounds like her nephew has undiagnosed mental health problems that are serious and aren’t being addressed. If he’s willing to poison animals and showing active hostility to your wife and baby, then there is a risk that he might try to poison your wife. This is unfortunately easy to do.

And if I can think of half a dozen things that could potentially end a pregnancy if ingested, then they can’t be that hard to find on Google. Do you know if he’s harmed other animals? If he’s demonstrating a psychosis about being a fictional character, he might easily slip into the delusion that the fictional character would do things and it’s ok.

To be honest, this is not your problem to fix - it’s the massive failure of your BIL/SIL as parents to not get their son the help that he needed years ago. If your wife insists on allowing the untreated mentally ill, potentially dangerous, relative into your home, it would be perfectly reasonable for you to literally stand guard over him to make sure he doesn’t do anything that could put your wife at risk.

Pretty sure that wouldn’t go over very well. Personally I can’t imagine my husband letting anyone into our home that would upset me, so I hope you and your wife can come to an agreement.

OP responded:

I do not know if he has harmed other animals. He was actually vegan for a few months at one point, and was very anti animal cruelty. I don't know why he flipped and tried to hurt one of the horses, and honesty the fact that he can go against his own supposed values like that also scares me.

I think I need to emphasize to my wife that this is a matter of safety rather than me just being mad at our nephew for his comments (although that is also a part of it). My wife has always wanted kids so badly, and before she got pregnant.

I think she projected a bit of that onto our nephew as we watched him a decent amount when he was younger. I get that he's family and she loves him, and it's hard to admit that someone you love could be a danger to you, but she also has our baby to think about.

I think I will show her these comments in the morning after I make her tea and apologize for calling her a doormat/getting upset while arguing. I need to approach this a bit more gently, as you guys are confirming for me that it really is more serious than him just being rude.

cosmiccharmander wrote:

NTA but honestly the whole family are for allowing this to continue. How long has he behaved like this for? I can’t believe no one has taken him to a doctor I mean just the fact that this adult man is carrying around a stinky stained plushie of a fictional character is bad enough but the trying to hurt a horse thing?

And no one thinks that’s worth looking into?

Cut ties before your baby is born, you do not want this man around a helpless baby.

OP responded:

His mom does try to push him to go to therapy and to get a job, and he usually will get a therapist-- for a few weeks. And then she is back to begging him to get therapy. She didn't want to push him when he was younger, but now that he is an adult she cannot make him do anything.

At least he has learned (after getting fired for this previously) not to take his plushie to the jobs he manages to hold down for a month or two.

FeuerroteZora wrote:

Holy shit, NTA. Your wife and her entire family are enabling this absolute AH of a nephew and now they're mad at you for putting your foot down?

Look, I think your wife is absolutely correct that he may be on the spectrum and/or have undiagnosed mental illness, but therein lies the problem: why the F#$K is he undiagnosed?? If anyone actually cared about his health and wellness, they would've taken him to see some specialists and gotten professional help and advice specific to whatever his issues are.

Simply saying "Oh I think he's on the spectrum" first of all does a massive disservice to people actually on the spectrum who are fully capable of not walking around regularly with a f**kplushie, and second of all does not help this guy at all.

So I have two suggestions for you: First off, anyone who says you're controlling is just being ridiculous. You're not stopping your wife from seeing her family. You are saying "I do not want this rude and potentially dangerous-to-animals guy in my house.

You can hang out with him literally anywhere else in the world, but not in the place I live and where my dog is at home." And that is eminently reasonable. Next time some AH tells you you're controlling, thank them for offering to host nephew at their place and ask when he and your wife can stop by.

Second, and more important: Tell the family that nephew is not banned forever; you will absolutely consider hosting him again when he has been diagnosed, is working with professionals, and is making clear progress. They are not helping him at all by coddling him, no matter what his problem is - I mean, what do they think he's going to do when his parents are no longer around?

He's not capable of living in the real world as things stand now, let alone holding down a job, but with the right help he might be able to. He desperately needs therapy no matter what, and if he has a mental illness, then he probably also needs specific treatment or medication; and if he's on the spectrum he needs some kind of life skills development and behavioral interventions.

If the family's not willing to help him get the help he needs, they're irresponsible AHs. But that's their choice to make - I just think you need to make it clear what exactly it is they're choosing.

Half a day later, OP jumped on with an update.

My wife and I had a long talk this morning in which I made it clear that I was more concerned about her and our baby's safety than anything (I also apologized for resorting to name calling last night. Wife isn't a doormat, she just has a lot of love and patience for her family).

It was a hard talk with some tears from both of us, but she agreed that this has escalated to a point that may become dangerous, in part due to the enabling from all of us. Honestly I am also guilty of coddling him, especially when he was a kid. It's hard to admit when someone you took care of as a kid has grown into someone unsafe to be around.

But I think the idea in this comment might work as a way to set boundaries without shutting him out permanently. We are going to call his mother and explain that Easter Dinner isn't happening this year if nephew is coming, and that he is welcome to come over when he has a diagnosis and has stuck with a therapist for at least a couple months. Thank you all for your advice.

Two weeks later, he jumped on with a more comprehensive update.

This bizarre series of events started on Easter and has only gotten weirder since. For those of you who did not read/don't remember my original post, my Nephew was banned from our recent Easter dinner due to a concerning pattern of behavior, including recent disturbing text messages to my pregnant wife about her unborn child.

Since then, his parents eventually agreed to not bring him after a lot of arguing. SIL (nephew's mother) eventually admitted that he may need professional help and that Wife and I "may have some reason" to be worried for out safety around him. And on Easter, our worries were proven more than reasonable.

He showed up uninvited, using BIL's car (his parents came in SIL's car). Our dinner was interrupted by aggressive pounding on our door. I don't know how to put this without it sounding insane so here goes: Nephew was at our door, holding a sword, and dressed as the Joker. He tried to say something, but I slammed the door in his face and told everyone inside what was going on.

Chaos, predictably, ensued. BIL, a generally calm guy who I have never seen freak out or get angry, turned beet red and went outside. He ended up literally chasing Nephew around our house, screaming at him, in an attempt to get him to leave. Neighbors came outside and SIL went into damage control mode, talking down one concerned neighbor from calling the p*lice somehow.

He dropped his sword in the chase and BIL tackled him on our front lawn. They got him into SIL's car somehow and they left with him. Easter dinner was ruined. Wife was in tears. I was so mad I was shaking.

Good news is that this was a wake-up call for SIL and BIL. Under threat of them withdrawing financial support, Nephew has agreed to seek therapy and surrender access to his Tumblr blog, which he previously would spend hours a day posting on.

His mother went through it and found a lot of alarming posts, including content about his hatred for women, screenshots posted of his text exchange with my wife with captions bragging about his hurtful behavior, and several disturbing "fan fictions" with violent s*xual content.

They believe him being too online is worsening his behavior and are hoping that limiting his access and forcing him into therapy will help. Thank you for all who convinced me to stand my ground in the comments of my original post.

The internet had a lot to say in response.

wcs4696 wrote:

Ummm, I think it's a little more than seeing a therapist & "we take away a little social media." That young man needed the cops called & a 5150 hold. I hope y'all start putting things like security measures in place. Good luck and you're still NTA.

OP responded:

I might suggest the 5150 hold to his parents, but his mother is already worried that taking away the phone was "too much" as if he didn't show up at my house with a weapon.

HulkeneHulda responded:

I don't want to fearmonger, but with him so strongly idolizing the Joker, him coming with a sword was a pretty mild outcome. I was afraid the moment you wrote that you shut the door in his face because having the door open at all could have meant he had an opportunity to throw acid in your face. A big part of the Joker character is disfiguration through acid.

The problem with him identifying with a cartoon character isn't that it's a cartoon, it's that it's a dangerous one like the Joker. Even without the delusion that he is the Joker, the glorification would have been concerning in itself just like it's concerning when people adopt the things in Fight Club that was supposed to be criticised.

He needs all his electronics confiscated and looked through by police tech department to find out what circles he's in that is encouraging this mindset because this is the same pattern as all those inc*l shooters. The only difference is that at the moment he's kept it to terrorizing family. I'm glad you guys have his tumblr, but he might have a reddit account as well and other forums.

TallOccasion4453 wrote:

So they took his online account, but do they know it’s really easy to just make another? Sounds to me like he needs to be committed and really evaluated, and then het the help heed needs.

This kid is so messed up and quite dangerous, just a normal therapy like once a week won’t help him, especially when he isn’t ready and willing to change completely. Good luck OP, for your family. Keep us updated? And I hope your wife has a wonderful pregnancy. And a beautiful birth.

Eight days later, OP shared another update.

First and second post on my profile for those of you who are out of the loop. Thank you for the kind messages and advice in the comments. The situation is being taken seriously by BIL, wife, and myself. SIL still has her head buried in the sand a bit, but we are working on it.

At the very least, she has not lifted the phone ban, and she has been looking through his tumblr as well as his other social media to see if he really had vi*lent intentions on Easter. SIL still believes Nephew that he only came to talk. In any case, he had his first therapy session with the new therapist this week.

He has promised to stick with it, mostly because SIL said she would return his phone if he stuck with it long enough (not sure how long "long enough" is).

The plus side of him being a manchild is that he is either unwilling to just buy himself a new phone with the little money he has, or he doesn't realize that he is an adult who can gain financial independence so his mother can't threaten to take things away from him like he's a child in time-out.

He has told his mom to tell us that he's very sorry for his behavior and that it won't happen again. I'm skeptical. Wife is still holding out hope, but refuses to see him unless he shows substantial improvement. BIL is looking into resources for places he can get Nephew committed should that become necessary, but he believes that the situation is under control as long as SIL doesn't budge.

They have also confiscated his sword and I don't think he has access to other weapons. I was also sent a link to Nephew's tumblr blog. SIL has already seen it on his phone but did not want to share its contents because she feels like we have "villianized her baby enough." I went through his blog with my wife and didn't know whether to laugh, cry, or pour bleach into my eyeballs.

His blog basically confirmed what you all have been trying to tell me about his pattern of vi0lence and hatred for women. He posts a lot about how 'females' are all entitled and how he hates ever having to interact with them. Additionally, he seems to be stalking one of his exes, which is a whole other layer of concerning.

He also writes s#xually explicit fanfiction about muppets, which is not a safety concern, but has permanently ruined the entire show for me. Sorry this update isn't very exciting, but a lot of people expressed concern for my family and I's safety, so I am letting you all know the situation is being handled and everyone is okay.

For those wondering about the plushie of kermit, it has gone missing according to SIL and BIL. I hope it stays missing forever.

Four days later, OP shared a short update.

Edit: People are messaging me saying that he is back to updating his tumblr account, so that likely means SIL has gone back on her word. I'm going to call BIL and update him. Also he is still hiding the plushie somewhere because BIL was trying to throw it away and he can't find it anywhere.

The internet continued to express concern and support for OP and his wife.

LostNatural4856 wrote:

When he ever gets his phone back, I suggest either tracking his existing Tumblr (if he tries to post back on it) or finding possible burner/alternative accounts he could make to see if he continues his unhealthy behavior after he says he "bettered himself."

I mean this in the nicest way possible, but as someone who has seen his tumblr I really doubt he's focused on anything but his lost phone privileges and bullsh#$ting his way out of therapy. I completely understand if you just want to put this all behind you two and focus on your baby! By all means, the family you're making for yourself is more important than this ridiculous mess.

I guess I'm suggesting that there should at least be a few eyes on him, even if he supposedly changes, and to still monitor his internet access/history after.

I have been in fandom spaces long enough to know a bit of what he says on his blog, and it's honestly repulsive.

For his delusional takes, I'd like to share some of my own personal experiences with people who have shared similar terminology to him. Firstly, kinning CAN be harmless, and in a lot of cases, is typically someone relating to a character to a degree where they empathetically understand or idolize parts of said characters personality/history/looks/etc.

I've known people who say they have kins, however they just really relate to a fictional character and consider them a big comfort, and are aware they're not said character- personally, I consider "healthy" kinning to just mean a person liking/relating to a character that's higher than a typical attachment. Kinning, in his way, is a delusional practice which I think does more harm than good.

Believing you are a character that never and will never exist, and creating false memories of said "real experiences," traps the person into a state of false security where they build up more and more barriers between reality and their ideal, delusioned world, to the point if they ever come back to said reality they will spiral into hysterics.

There is a reason these people are so attached to their fake lives; it's because they're so trapped in their own heads they can't dig themselves out of the grave they dug for themselves.

Real life is too scary to go back to when their own reality they've made for themselves feels safer and less confusing. I honestly feel bad for them, most of these people are just mentally unwell and have only chosen extremely poor coping mechanisms, due to the environment they're in or just their fear of facing the real world.

However, in your nephew's case, he is feeding into delusions that are dangerous. I doubt your SIL and BIL are bad people, and I want to make that clear! It's just extremely concerning they haven't noticed this any sooner.

The f#$king Joker should not be his main idolization. He should be learning to be a functioning member of society, grow self awareness and humility, instead of lazing about arguing about fandom discourse that will never be useful in getting a job, making friends etc. This guy needs a reality check, to be sat down and show just how disconnected he is.

Other fandom stuff that might be helpful and I've seen him write about includes:

-Shifting is the concept of writing out a "script"(it's typically extremely long and intensive) to play out in your head, doing meditation/other methods to "shift" into enhanced state where you play by play your written out fantasy on a spiritual level.

Shifting is a weird concept and ultimately I think it's a really unhealthy coping mechanism to try and literally cheat reality away into a fake universe. It's like trying to go on a dr#g trip without the dr#gs (only partially joking here haha). Yes, this isn't something I suggest he should do in the slightest and probably makes his delusions worse.

-"Kin trauma" is the concept where you get a fictional characters trauma based on false memories the person created. Basically, a whole new level of hallucinations mentally ill people can get.

-"DNI" is "Do not interact" pretty self explanatory

-"Selfshipper" is someone shipping themselves with a fictional character, concerning with his track record.

-"Muppets#xual" is a really hard thing to explain but some people make their own private/special s#xual identities, usually they're pretty harmless but being attracted to muppets is weird and vaugely disconcerting.

-"Pr0ship" are people who think it's fine to write p#d#philic/inc#st##us/r#pey/g#rep#rn/etcetc in a sexualized or romanticized way. Pretty simply quite gross- some people insist that it's okay if you indulge in this privately or make content of it to cope with trauma (honestly a pretty grey area I don't personally want to tread in much), but not good for your nephew at all.

Especially if he's public about it and has active supporters egging him on. Lots of people don't support this obviously and have "DNI proship" on a bunch of their blogs. Uhhh that's all I can think about currently, I just hope these explanations can help with reading his ramblings in case you need to stack up more evidence.

I do apologize for the probably insane explanations and words you've heard from me today, and I'm very sorry you have to deal with this in general!! Really I just wish you luck with your wife and baby, and that you have an amazing life, with or without your nephew in it :)

Also, contact his ex, if you search his blog enough you will find them, if he's stalking them irl I do want to make sure they're somewhere safe!! Looking into what his ex said directly, he has threatened them with the sword you've talked about too, the main reason I'm suggesting this.

QueenSpaceCadet2000 wrote:

I also found this post through a TikTok and I found nephew's Tumblr as well. I scrolled for a couple hours. He posts religiously on that blog and it is all very concerning content. You and your wife have handled this very well and like a few others have stated I highly recommend investing in some kind of security system and maybe some form of self defense weapon.

I would not put it past nephew to try to cause physical harm to you or your wife, especially considering that he tried to poison the horse with avocados and rat poison and has shown up not only to your home with a sword but his exes campus. He also had apparently withheld his exes EpiPen from them when they were having an allergic reaction.

That was stated as the cause for the breakup.

Hopefully he can get the help he clearly needs. You and you're wife will be wonderful parents and I'm terribly sorry that this situation has occurred. Stay safe and good luck with all of this.

MonOubliette wrote:

I only spent about 15 minutes on his Tumblr, so kudos to you for sticking it out that long. I saw something where he mentioned his boyfriends (I think it was one of his I H@TE FEMALES rants) and it took me a couple of extra minutes to realize he was talking about imaginary relationships.

I momentarily thought he was in a polygamous relationship and was like, how did this guy find not one, but two people to date him? 🤦🏼‍♀️ To be fair, I gave up coffee earlier this week, so I’m not firing on all cylinders. As a side note, this is the 3rd post involving puppets/dolls I’ve seen/discussed in the past week or so, which is unsettling.

One-Equivalent-6278 wrote:

I hope your SIL gets it together. I know as a mother myself, the idea that you failed and your child grew up into a monster is unfathomable. However, if she continues not to face the reality of how dangerous he is and gives in, she would be partly responsible for what damage may come as a result.

I would have committed my child the day he brought a sword to Easter while being aggressive. If I didn't do it, then I would have done it with the tumblr posts and admitted to p0isoning the horse.

I REFUSE to allow one of my children to become a monster and not do something to stop it. If one of my kids maimed or killed for fun and I refused to see the clear signs everyone was pointing out to me, I would feel responsible for what happened to the victim(s). OP, I hope you guys stay safe.

For Your SIL, if she ever sees this: YES, he is you, baby. You remember when he was small and innocent and all his firsts. It's hard not to think of those precious innocent moments when thinking about one's child. However, It's time to look past that now. Look at what he really has become and where his current behavior is headed. It's ok to grieve that he isn't what you tried to raise him to be.

You truly did what you thought was best before, but now is the time to really look at him and act accordingly. Use the therapist to help you save/salvage/fix/help your kid to not be this way. It's not punishment. You are saving him and possible future victims and animals. Breathe, remember you have family supporting you through this and stay safe.

Huge yikes, hopefully OP's SIL finally takes it seriously.

Sources: Reddit
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