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Dad defends teenage son when he 'publicly humiliates' MIL; 'You put bacon in this to make A POINT?!' AITA? UPDATED

Dad defends teenage son when he 'publicly humiliates' MIL; 'You put bacon in this to make A POINT?!' AITA? UPDATED

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When this dad takes his son's side over his MIL's after a heated Thanksgiving incident, he asks the internet:

"AITA for not making my son apologize to my MIL after an argument?"

I (m41) am married to my wife (f37). I have two kids from my previous marriage, (b15) (g13). I am Jewish, as was my first wife before she passed. My current wife is not. We have no kids together. My kids have always got along with their stepmom and her family fairly well, until recently.

Thanksgiving with my wife’s family is a huge affair, and it’s the only chance a lot of the family has to see each other during the year. My kids and I do not eat pork, but there are always options for us or we bring something we specifically can eat, like vegetarian lasagna.

Wednesday night I had dinner with my wife’s parents at their place. I should mention that my wife is not very personally religious although she attends services with her parents monthly. My PIL are very, very conservative-style Evangelicals.

We mostly don’t talk about our religious difference although I once had to stop my MIL from encouraging my daughter to be baptized.

Everything was fine until the end of the meal when my MIL crossed her arms and said “See, we told you nothing bad would happen.” I asked her what she meant. My MIL said she had mixed bacon into one of the dishes (a casserole) to prove a point to us.

I tried to ask very calmly why she would do something like that. My MIL said it was to show that there was no point in following ‘the Old Testament law’ anymore. I asked my FIL if he knew what she had done and he said yes.

He seemed more uncomfortable but he talked a bit about how JC came to free us from the Jewish law and that they wanted to show us how we could be freed from the law as well. (He has worked as a pastor in the past).

By this time my daughter was crying and left the room. My wife got up and followed her. My son has been growing more observant as he gets older (he is more observant than me or my daughter). He flipped out.

He screamed at my PIL that they were terrible people, called my MIL some very nasty names, and said he never wanted to come back. My FIL started shouting back and my MIL started crying.

I told my kids to get in the car and then told my wife we were leaving. She told me she would stay at her parents so she could help with Thanksgiving prep the next morning.

I was texting with my wife on TG and she told me my son is not welcome to come until he apologizes for the things he called my MIL. I told her that’s ridiculous but she is siding with her parents.

I told my kids we would not be attending Thanksgiving. Instead we ordered Chinese and watched movies.

My son was fine with it but I could tell my daughter was down. She missed out on seeing a lot of friends she has in my wife’s family. My wife is still at her parents as of now.

I should mention that I too am very angry at what happened and what I feel is the disrespect shown to me and especially my kids. I am torn on whether to encourage my son to apologize contingent on a mutual apology to us. AITA? The title says my son and his MIL. I meant my MIL, his step-grandmother.

Before we give you OP's update, let's take a look at some of the top responses:

risen7 writes:

NTA - your MIL crossed a huge line. Was it rude for a teenager to swear at his grandmother? Yes. Was it warranted? Absolutely.

They're focusing on his bad behaviour rather than dealing with how awful and abusive and disrespectful your MIL was. If your wife doesn't see the problem here, you need to leave her.

This kind of behaviour cannot be tolerated or excused. Be proud of your children for standing up for their boundaries and for not allowing someone else to walk all over them - that's something you want to reinforce, not undermine. Don't participate in your wife's family's gaslighting.

fooolshum writes:

NTA. But I'll be honest with you, as a Jewish person I'm incredibly unimpressed that you're even contemplating making your son apologise after what these people very deliberately did and said.

It wasn't just hateful, it was very pointedly antisemitic, meant to specifically undermine and invalidate your religious beliefs, and from what you've said, this isn't the first time.

Furthermore, I'm going to go as far as to say that I'm embarrassed of what you're modeling for your kids as a Jewish parent in a time when our community is facing more hatred and rates of assimilation than ever before, by marrying into an Evangelical family (and no, I don't care if your new wife "is not very personally religions" -

she's the daughter of an Evangelical pastor and still attends church services regularly . . .she's religious enough) and forcing your Jewish children to spend time with people whose religious beliefs don't just "differ" from theirs but REQUIRE THAT THEY ACTIVELY PROSELYTISE AND TRY TO CONVERT NON-CHRISTIANS.

What are you teaching your kids, who are part of a tiny, marginalised ethno-religious community that has withstood religious and racialised oppression for thousands of years...

that when their mother died you went ahead and married a woman who is not only at least a somewhat active part of the community that still seeks to oppress us, but clearly has no issue with her parents doing exactly that, and has neither interest in nor even respect for your religion or culture?

And why, because she's pretty and nice? Honestly, I'm so proud of your son, for being the opposite of you - being the person who cherishes his roots and digs in, and takes pride in who he is and where he comes from, and doesn't throw it away because of prioritising whatever's in his pants.

You're NTA for not making him apologise, but Y-T-A for bringing your children into this nonsense at all, for making two Jewish children be family with a bunch of proselytising, antisemitic Evangelicals. Shame on you.

whimpuycrow writes:

NTA. What upsets me the most is actually your wife's actions, aka she did not stand up for you. What the inlaws did was just plain nasty and incredibly disrespectful. Though I do not think anyone needs to apologise more than MIL, FIL and wife.

Your son, however, needs to learn how to maintain his cool, to stand up for something is important but how it's done is equally important (he's a teen and this is the time to learn these life skills) ... and like you I would suggest he apologises over foul language at some stage IF/WHEN appropriate... If a moment like that ever comes.

I think my first step is to talk the wife in person in order to understand why she did not stand up for you, did not provide a united front as a couple or family, effectively condoned the behaviour of her parents, and showed through it disrespect to you and your children.

If you are clear as a couple - I would sit down as adults you, wife and FIL and MIL to figure what on EARTH they were thinking! And take it from there... I wouldn't involve any kids until the adults have sorted themselves out!

ambuzucchini writes:

Nta, this is a bigger issue than you think and your wife is enabling it. Your mother in law rubbed it in your children's faces, please do not force your kid to apologize. This was religious discrimination bordering on assault.

gravaaa writes:

Ok this is not only gross on a religious level but they could have gotten really sick. They, most likely, had never had pork before and they could be intolerant to it the same way vegetarians get sick if they eat meat after a long time.

Even without the physical health aspect, it’s wrong and violating and 100% reason for NC but with the physical aspect, it also seems illegal (like purposely feeding someone something they’re allergic to).

ahahj07 writes:

NTA- I would tell them that we will not be stepping foot in that home again until they demonstrate respect for our beliefs and apologize for massively overstepping and intentionally and surreptitiously feeding us food they know we do not eat.

The disrespect on this account is far more unforgivable than some harsh words shouted in anger. This was premeditated. Further, they are also not welcome in our home. Line drawn, boundary set, discussion over.

superdranw76 writes:

NTA - and I'm willing to bet hard money that your wife's parents would take a far different point of view on "old testament law" if someone in the family tried to come out of the closet.

The only point they proved is that they have zero respect for your religion, zero respect for your dignity, and zero respect for your beliefs and autonomy. Bottom line, what this incident made clear is that you guys were already considered interlopers in your in-laws house.

It's not the place of this forum to tell you what you should do, but it should be very clear that blame here rests entirely on your wife's family. And look, they are entitled to their views - and, I think, entitled to express them in their own house.

But to trick you guys into eating pork...that's insane? How could you guys ever trust them again - and what did they think the outcome would be? That you guys would discover that bacon is delicious? Everyone already knows bacon is delicious - even people who choose not to eat it.

What is really disquieting here is that, your wife chose to support this disgusting behavior from your MIL and FIL.

This should send an extremely clear message to your children (and to you) about the degree to which she considers any of you her family. I think that is a much more serious and painful issue to deal with than where you spend the occasional holiday.

maclus76 writes:

You are NTA, but let's break down who is. Your in-laws are the biggest AHs here for pulling this BS stunt and starting the whole ordeal. Your wife is in second place for siding with her parents over you and your kids.

Your son is also N-T-A; he was sticking up for his beliefs when people he trusted disrespected him. It would have been ideal to do that without name calling, but he's only 15 and his behavior should not be held to a higher standard than his adult grandparents.

Only if his grandparents offer up a sincere apology for their own behavior would I even consider having him apologize. And even then, I would ask him to apologize just for the name-calling, etc. but make it clear that standing up against intolerance is commendable.

And now, OP's update:

Wow, I’m overwhelmed by the outpouring of support. Thanks everyone. When I wrote this post, I was still numb and paralyzed.

I didn’t realize how much. Looking back, I agree with many of the commenters and wish I had had the presence of mind to communicate how heinous and violating my MIL and FIL were in the heat of the moment, instantly.

My wife came back home a few hours after the post. When I said she was taking her parents side, it was about my son apologizing for calling my MIL the b-word and c-word. She claims she had no idea what they planned to do and spent most of the holiday fighting with her parents.

On reflection though, I am very disappointed in her reaction as well as my own. After some discussion we will be taking some further steps. My son will be making no apologies for anything.

My MIL and FIL are not welcome in my home nor will we be going to theirs. All contact with my kids is cut off. I have contacted my rabbi and lawyers about how best to move forward.

As to my marriage, we will be attending couples counseling. My wife has been a rock and a loving stepmother for our four year marriage, and she has particularly bonded with my daughter.

I don’t know if our marriage can survive this though, because my trust has broken, my son especially has had his trust broken, and my relationship with my PIL is irrevocably broken. I will pursue a restraining order if they try to initiate contact with my kids.

I have tried to communicate on here calmly without breaking out into how angry and violated we all feel. Thank you to everyone who validated that.

I have made the decision as a parent to not penalize my son for anything he said in response to being violated and assaulted by my PIL. I am very proud of him and for the way he stood up for the dignity of both himself and his sister. He is a true mensch.

What do YOU make of OP's story? Any advice for him?

Sources: Reddit
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