This past weekend, my sister-in-law, Suzy (24F), came over to visit my wife (30F) and me (34M) for dinner and drinks. Suzy had recently broken up with her boyfriend of two years, and it seemed like the sole purpose of her visit was to vent about him. No matter how many times my wife or I tried to change the subject or discuss something else, Suzy would find a way to bring the conversation back to her relationship and her ex-boyfriend.
After about an hour of listening to Suzy talk about her ex, I left the room to find something else to occupy my time. Shortly after that, my wife came and asked me if I could start dinner earlier than we had planned because she was getting hungry. We have a pretty large island counter in our kitchen, and Suzy and my wife sat there drinking wine while I was cooking.
Once again, every single word that came out of Suzy's mouth was about her ex. It wasn't just normal badmouthing; she was using a lot of clinical and therapy buzzwords like 'narcissist,' 'gaslighting,' 'toxic,' 'disregarding boundaries,' etc. I tried to change the topic multiple times, but to no avail.
I attempted to drown out Suzy's psycho-babble by turning on music, but she just talked over it. I finally suggested they might be more comfortable on the couch instead of bar stools, but Suzy insisted on watching me cook, even though she hadn't paid attention to anything other than her wine glass and her ex-boyfriend.
At one point, Suzy described something her ex had done and asked me if it sounded like something a narcissist would do. I told her I wouldn't know because I'm not a psychologist, and I don't think I've ever really interacted with a narcissist.
She insisted on me giving my opinion, and I deflected again. After she insisted a third time, I asked her in a sharp tone, "Do you have a degree in psychology, Suzy? Are you a therapist, or are you just regurgitating terms you heard on Tik Tok? Just call your ex a fu#$ing a%^hole and move on or get out of my kitchen, my God."
My wife scolded me almost immediately, and Suzy sat there for a moment before calling me an a%#hole and walking away, followed quickly by my wife. I had to finish cooking, so I couldn't go after them. Eventually, only my wife came back and told me that Suzy had gotten an Uber home because she no longer felt welcome for dinner due to my reaction.
I explained to my wife that I had politely tried to redirect the conversation multiple times and even gently asked them both to leave the room so I could cook, but Suzy insisted on pushing me about my opinion on something I care literally zero about.
OP gave an update:
My wife and I had another conversation about this. Suzy called her last night and had another breakdown about the breakup, revealing a few details she had not previously shared with my wife. Apparently, Suzy's ex found her 'Finsta' (I'll admit I don't know what that is) and broke up with her after reading the messages she was receiving from and sending to other guys.
My wife said she had a strong talk with Suzy for not sharing this significant piece of information. My wife ended up apologizing to me for how Suzy acted, and I apologized to my wife for my reaction as well. Needless to say, I don't think Suzy will be coming over for dinner again anytime soon.
Here are some of the top comments
"My wife told me I should have just humored " Forget that. If your wife wants to take on that role of confidant and lend an ear, fine, but she can't force you to also listen to Suzy vent for hours on end. That's not a reasonable ask.
Your wife needs to learn to read the room and not rope you into things you clearly don't want to be a part of. Going with NTA. Not your circus, not your monkeys.
Sounds like Suzy is the narcissist here. Suzy was cornering OP again and again, OP is NTA for finally calling her out for it.
After narcissistic abuse rumination is a well known trauma response, a lot of the abuse and especially gas lighting is so insidious that victims question themselves and their perception of things over and over again and often need a lot of validation and support.
Whilst OP didn’t want to offer that and Suzy was looking for support in the wrong place it doesn’t suggest she’s a narcissist (she could be but it’s not suggested based off this interaction alone).
Honestly at this point I just assume that anyone calling their ex a narcissist is an overdramatic attention-seeker. None of this anecdote requires any level of psycho-babble.
"Rumination?" You mean venting. She was f$#king venting. It's a well know reaction to a breakup. Not everything is pathological, some people just suck.
NTA. You tried multiple times all night to redirect the conversation and talk about something else, but all she wanted to do was berate her ex, and you're not into that. You left to get away from her because you're bored and sick of hearing her whine and complain. Who wouldn't be? Your wife couldn't handle it alone, so she roped you back in so she didn't have to suffer alone.
Then she kept going on and on while you tried to cook. You tried to change the topic multiple times, and she still didn't get the hint that you were tired of hearing about the ex.You were a lot nicer than I would have been. I would have ended the topic after the first hour, let alone two.
If she wanted to talk about her ex, that's fine, but you didn't need to be there. It's fine to complain about an ex, but she went beyond that and was just using buzzwords and berating someone who wasn't there to defend themselves.
She needs to get over herself. You endured more than anyone should have to. You were far nicer than I would have been, and she should have taken the hint when you tried, many times, to change the topic and left that you didn't want to listen to her complain about the ex.
What do you think? Was OP justified in what he did?