Getting a higher degree is an impressive feat worthy of celebration. There's nothing wrong with taking pride in your achievements, but the people that use their achievements to put others down are the worst. On a popular Reddit thread on the Am I the A**hole Subreddit, a woman is tired of her sister rubbing her Ph.D. in her family's face.
My sister (34F) and I (31F) come from a working-class family. Nobody in our family has a higher than high school education, save for us. I have a bachelors, and my sister is currently working on her Ph.D. We’re both proud of this. Still, my sister often brags to the extent many in our family find uncomfortable or discouraging, and she talks down to the people around her.
When she began her program, she explained it in technical terms that confused our aunt. When asked to clarify, my sister made a fuss about how it was so easy for her to understand, and she forgets that not everyone can wrap their heads around it. It’s been an issue since she started her masters, and I’ve admittedly been at my wit's end with her for quite a while.
I hosted Thanksgiving this year. My sister was asked about her research when we were eating, and she went on a long, complicated spiel about her work. She was missing context, pulling out every ten-cent word, getting super technical, and under-explaining every concept. She talked for about ten minutes straight, barely pausing for questions or comments. It dominated the conversation.
Eventually, I interrupted her and tried asking our dad about his work. My sister interrupted him, said she wasn’t finished, and then continued talking. I told her I was finished listening and that she could talk all she wanted, but she’d need to do it in another room. She made some comments about my hosting and continued.
I stopped her again and told her that nobody was interested and she needed to be quiet, which she did. It was extremely awkward and quiet, and my husband decided to plow on and make conversation with an aunt of mine. After that, the conversation continued as usual, with my sister being reticent.
Afterward, our parents scolded me for being rude but said my sister was over the top, but I should’ve just let her talk. A few of our other relatives thanked me for cutting her off. Her fiancé called me yesterday morning and said I embarrassed my sister and made her feel ashamed. He implied I was jealous of her success and asked me to apologize to her formally. I said I’d apologize to her, but I wouldn’t mean it, and he hung up on me.
I’ve thought it over, and I can see how my approach was wrong, but I genuinely did not see any other option at the time. Always willing to learn, though, and seeking a new perspective. AITA for telling my sister nobody was interested in her Ph.D. research?
The internet got together to discuss and decided there are no winners when it comes to graduate degrees.
ESH (Everyone Sucks Here). Your sister: needs to know how to explain her doctoral work to a lay audience if she has any hope of passing her dissertation committee. She also needs to learn how to craft an elevator sentence. She also needs to learn how to take a hint gracefully.
You: need to stop being jealous of her success. Conscious of it or not, jealousy and resentment ooze out of this entire post. Regardless of how long she droned on and how rude it was of her to stop you from talking with your dad, the general core of this post isn't really centered on that but on your overall worldview on her academic career.
OP added an update after this comment:
My problem is that she has never been supportive of my achievements. She tells me constantly we aren’t “on the same level” and assures me it’s OK, but makes backhanded remarks about my intelligence and level of education. I think it’s great she’s getting a Ph.D. and I’m glad she’s proud of it, but that pride doesn’t need to be at everyone else’s expense, in my opinion.
ESH. Sis needs to learn to temper her enthusiasm for her field of study. It’s great she’s so excited about her Ph.D. work, but she needs to learn which level of explanation is appropriate for which groups of people.
OP needs to learn how to redirect a conversation without being an AH about it. Especially if you are the host, then you are responsible for all of your guests feeling welcome and respected in your home.
While others believe OP had every right.
NTA (Not the A**hole). Monologuing at a large family gathering is spectacularly rude. After she was cut off she should have realized she exhausted her time. She is not even trying to have a meaningful conversation. She is just showing off. Gross behavior.