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'MIL tried to jeopardize my career so I kicked her out of the house.' AITA? UPDATED 3X

'MIL tried to jeopardize my career so I kicked her out of the house.' AITA? UPDATED 3X


"Kicked MIL out of the house for putting my career in jeopardy."

You guys, I need to vent. I am still shaking with anger as this only happened a few hours ago. MIL is from a small town in the American south and she has all those gossipy small town tendencies. It has never been a problem for us (me & DH) before because we live in Major City clear across the country from her.

Aside from her usurping dinner conversations during visits to catch us up on the scandalous comings and goings of people in her congregation, we didn't really have to deal with this side her of her too much....until today.

I am a family law attorney with a boutique firm. My specialty is divorces. I'll admit, on a day-to-day basis my drama llama is clinically obese with all the feed I get from work, but when I have some downtime I still lurk this sub reddit because I just love the the theatrics on here. Sure, divorces are entertaining sometimes but the stuff on here gives Shonda Rhimes a run for her money in terms of shocking behavior.

MIL loves that I am a divorce attorney. She is always pumping me for stories from work so that she can gossip with her congregation, and rarely I do throw her a bone (never with specifics, all within my ethnical boundaries). For example, I'll tell her, "My client has five kids but only wants custody of 3." I don't elaborate and just let her feign absolute shock over someone not loving their children equally.

Fast foward to the title incident. MIL is in town for DH's birthday. We flew her in because it was a nice thing to do and up until today I was fond of her. She's staying with us, which is fine because we have a guest room and our home is large enough that no one's personal bubble feels invaded.

As most MILs do, she is always insistent on cleaning my home. She's never snooped before so it doesn't bother me, but I do very firmly tell her that we have a housekeeper and to just enjoy her vacation.

Today I worked from home as I often do when I have no meetings. I was in my home office slaving away on one of my more contentious (re: juicy) cases and I took a break to shower and get ready to take MIL out to lunch. DH was at work so it was just us two gals until quittin' time. I figured we would grab some overpriced salads and do some window shopping. What could go wrong?

Immediately after the iced teas were served MIL says, "So what ever happened to Mr. & Mrs. [Smith's] embryos? Did she get custody or were they destroyed? and some more very detailed questions about the case that I am definitely too paranoid to even mention vaguely because of her" YOU GUYS. I literally snorted my tea. It went everywhere. I looked like the Bellagio fountain.

MIL had the audacity to go through my case files. MY CONFIDENTIAL CASE FILES and read the facts while I was in the shower. I asked her how the hell she knew so much about the case I was working on and she said she was cleaning my office while I was getting ready and that I had just "left it out." Um, no I did not. They make you take an entire class in law school about doing stuff like this.

I would never. It's been ingrained in me since my 1L year that attorney-client privilege is paramount. AND IF PIGS FLEW AND I DID LEAVE IT OUT, this case is a monster. To garner that much information about the divorce would require her to turn several pages. So me "leaving it out" is no excuse as she would have had to sit her dumbass down and read through it.

It's not like all the facts could have fit on one sheet of paper that just so happened to be lying on my desk. She said she NEEDED to be in my office because it was filthy. Ok, I"ll admit it's a little dusty and there are a few coffee mugs in the room but it is by no means filthy, and the reason it's in this minor shape of disarray is because I don't allow the housekeeper into my office FOR THIS VERY REASON!!!!

I opened my wallet, threw some cash onto the table for what we ordered, and told her to get in the car. I cannot even remember the ride home. I was just yelling and lecturing and lectu-yellling. This was an incredibly shitty thing for her to do. Working at a boutique firm, my reputation is everything to my career.

I cannot have word on the street that I just go around town spilling client secrets at the local watering hole. She can very well ruin my budding career by doing this. I think I threatened to sue her if she blabbed about this case? I definitely threatened to tell her son what an imbecile his mother is. I threatened to never have her in our home again.

It doesn't matter because as soon as we got home I told her to pack her things or I'll have her arrested for trespassing and then I called her an Uber and listed the address on my app as the airport. I didn't even pay for her plane ticket. I don't know what's going to happen actually, I do know that she's at the airport right now because that's where the app dropped her off.

My husband won't know about any of this until 5:01 pm because he works on a secure job-site and there's no phone calls or texting. I have steam coming out of my ears. I do feel guilty because she might be stranded at the airport without my financial help,

but what she did was so out of line that I think a few hours of time-out would do my pettiness some good before I finally call the American Airlines terminal and get her a one-way ticket back to Gossipville, USA. As I said, I love drama too but not enough to put anyone's livelihood at risk!!! It was such an intrusion that I am at a loss for words. Am I mad for myself? Am I mad for my client?

This is the first monstruous MIL thing that she's ever done and I'm glad I demonstrated that this behavior is not to be tolerated, but part of me kind of thinks she's just too stupid to realize how bad her actions were. I'm going to wait until DH comes home before I try to contact her. I'm still too much in a state of "WTFFFFF" to deal with her right now.

A day later, she shared this first update:

If your eyeballs are itching for an update then you better sit down, it's a long one. I want to thank everyone for their support, I wavered in justifying my reaction because it was so strong but I honestly don't regret it. I was feeling kind of down for being so harsh on her right after she left but you guys really drilled it into my head that everybody knows what privilege is.

I mean, Law&Order has been on-air for 400 years there's no way she doesn't know that what you tell your lawyer is confidential. I acknowledge that it may seem extreme to some of you who don't practice law, but this is my livelihood.

This is the only thing that I know how to do professionally, it took me a lot of money to be able to do this (school), and the consequences for a breach like this is very severe. In all reality, I could lose my license for something like this. I exploded like I did because it was just so disrespectful to the life that I had tried so hard to build for myself and her son.

To answer the most common questions I got on my original post:

1.) While I was tearing her a new one, she was very belittling of the severity of the situation. She would say things like, "It's no big deal, I don't even know them!" or "You can trust me, we're faaaaamily!"

I think that her not understanding that this isn't just gossip made my mind stop working. It literally broke me and I had no more rational F's to give to her. You want to snoop? Fine. But don't make ME feel like the a$$h@le when you get caught. You were the one in the wrong! The whole time she was just trying to make me feel like I was overreacting, and that what she did wasn't THAT big of a deal.

Um, yes it was. She acted like she was just humoring my temper tantrum, that type of "Oh, when you tire yourself out I'll put you down for a nap" attitude. I'm not a toddler MIL, but that mentality would explain why it was so easy to get her into that Uber. She probably thought she would be able to return in a few hours after I had calmed down.

1.) My home office has a 6-digit numerical code lock. We installed this not because I ever anticipated something like this would happen but because DH also owns a lot of firearms. How did she get the code? Guess.

She absolutely NEEDED DH's original birth certificate (why. we are grown ass adults. what could you possibly need it for?) and instead of getting it for her like a person who has been specifically trained on the importance of security would, DH just stayed on the couch playing video games and gave her the code, and told her exactly where to find the birth certificate.

All MY whats. All YOUR whats. Everybody's whats. Don't worry, he understands his colossal mistake now. Yes, we can trust her with guns. No, we can't trust her with anything else.

1.) Thank you for all of your concerns about my job, some comments were very sweet and I can't believe you guys care so much about me. I'm just a screen name to you! However, it's not necessary to make suggestions on how I handle the consequences this situation will bear on my career. I know exactly how to deal with the situation professionally. I just didn't know how to do it personally.

Okay, now onto what happened:

I decided not to shoot DH a warning text as some of you suggested because I wanted to make her tie her own noose.

I wanted her to tell him such a vivid story so rich with fake details that it would be impossible for her to backtrack when I disprove her version of the events. I even wrote out of bunch of pointed questions that DH can ask her in order to corner her into telling the truth (not unlike questions you would use in a deposition).

I don't know why I was preparing a litigation strategy, I guess I was swinging the pendulum too much to the other side because of how emotional my reaction was earlier. I wanted to be extra rational now. It's a little embarrassing in hindsight.

This was the first time MIL and I ever had a disagreement so divisive that it required DH to pick sides. And tbh, I have so much faith in my husband but because this was unchartered territory, I didn't know what to expect! I was pretty sure he is my partner in love and in life, but y'all really freak me out sometimes with those mama's boys stories. I'm glad I was right about him.

A little after 6, DH walks into the house and asks me so bluntly, "Why are the cops going to sue my mom?" It was so far removed from what actually happened that I started laughing hysterically! "That's not what happened, baby.

I told your mom I would call the cops on her if she didn't leave immediately, and I'm ashamed to admit that I did threaten to sue her when I was yelling indiscriminately (I have no actionable cause that I could prevail on really)."

I told him what happened and he was just confused. He already talked to MIL so he knew she was at the airport and he knew the situation. Luckily for me, she didn't come up with any elaborate lies to tell him. She "truthfully" told him her version of what happened and tried to make it seem like I blew it out of proportion.

I half-expected this because if she thought she was doing something truly, really wrong she would not have brought it up so casually over lunch. I told him we need to buy her a plane ticket because she wasn't welcomed back in our home and he agreed.

He didn't try to justify her actions and he understood so clearly how bad this could have been for me, and for us (we just closed on our home two months ago so going down to one income would've been a financial disaster). We are both kind of sad that the trip ended this way but it's not something MIL and I can just "heart-to-heart" right now. I need time. I need space. I need wine.

Bonus: She was having a pity party at the airport for almost 9 hours because she "forgot" her wallet at our place. She wanted DH to drive it to her because how else would she board a flight home without ID? And of course she couldn't call me because I'm so scary when I yell. So please, please DH you have to find her wallet and bring it to her. It was on the neatly made bed. I mean, c'mon!

At least toss it behind a nightstand or something so your story would be more believable! She probably just wanted to see DH without me and convince him I've lost my marbles being so upset like that with her. Jokes on her, I made him buy her a non-refundable plane ticket online before he left the house. Bye!

And a day later, she shared this second update:

You guys, WE WON (kind of)! Me, you, and everyone here on JustNoMIL! All victory is shared as it was a collective effort. I got a groveling apology this morning from MIL. I listened to her, I mean truly listened to her and you know what? It was a weird apology. I said a bunch of neutral "uh-huhs" and "yups" but I didn't really accept the apology yet because why should I?

You can be as sorry as you want for something you did, but it's the other person's prerogative to forgive you. Saying sorry isn't a carte blanche to be a dick, MIL. I think I need more time. DH knows I'm not a quick forgive.

Okay, so when we left off DH was driving her "forgotten" wallet to the airport. Here's where some background is helpful. You guys, my husband is a monk. He has the temperament of an iceberg. I'm the one with a fiery disposition (can you tell?). What can I say, opposites do attract! It takes a lot to set him off and it's usually only when there is a direct threat to me or his beloved best friend, our dog.

Well, HOURS go by and he's still at the airport. I knew this was going to happen because the plane ticket we bought MIL wasn't until very early the next morning and she probably wanted to spend more time with her son or rewrite history or alienate more people's trust, I don't really know. But I DO know what when DH came home from the airport I knew that SHIT. WENT. DOWN.

He came into the house like a hurricane. Doors were slammed, keys were thrown, he even felt compelled to kick a dog toy (which only made the dog happily run after it and break all tension). Apparently his hours-long conversation with his mother was frustrating but productive. I will summarize below:

MIL spent an hour trying to minimize the situation. She doesn't think what she did was that big of a deal because of faaaaamily loyalty or whatever. Of course she will never say anything about the case because we are her faaaaamily. It was then that DH showed the world his sexy diamond spine.

He told her that if faaaamily was so important to her then she would not have hurt me like this, and that I am her faaaamily because I am his family. Swoon. She seemed to start getting how serious the situation is at this point (because of course it's not that big of a deal until her precious baby is hurting).

He then went on to say how this could have hurt HIM. (Note: my DH put me through law school. I'm not saying he was with me when I was in law school, I'm saying this man paid my tuition and supported me all three years. We did this sh!t together.) He told her how much we as a couple invested in my career and how we could have lost the house because of her.

He told her that now that I was finally practicing that it was his turn to go back to grad school and how she could have completely annihilated that option. It was around this time that she started ugly crying. You know what I'm talking about- snot, tears, saliva. She never meant to hurt him. She is so, so sorry.

She won't say anything to anybody about what happened. She will never jeopardize his career (ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! That's literally my title!!!!!!!) Oh my god, I am hyperventilating just typing that out.

So she finally understands the gravity of what happened. He told her that what she did was a non-negotiable deal breaker and that he wouldn't hold it against me if I never allowed her in our home again. Aaaaaaand this is where things got a little dicey for her. She got her giant puppy eyes all and welled up and pouted, "But I'm your mother! Can't you just TELL her to let me back in?"

That's cute, MIL. The last time someone told me what to do (i.e., to calm down) they ended up in an Uber to the airport. Let's see how your son's luck will run with that request. DH knows this little quirk about me and he got frustrated because it's like MIL is not hearing what he was saying. He was trying to explain to her that this was between me and her. She breached MY trust, and these are MY consequences.

DH and I are equals, he is not my boss. She can't "Can-I-speak-to-your-supervisor" her way out of this. She was STILL not getting it by the time she had to board so he just came home and made a bunch of loud noises because it's hard on him to have two very important people in his life go toe-to-toe. He told me it felt like she was deliberately playing dumb to not face the music. (Duh, babe.)

Anyways, long story short is that she called to beg my forgiveness this morning but the apology was filled with, "I would never do anything to hurt my baby. I'm so sorry for all the pain this caused him. I was wrong. Etc, etc." I mean, am I wrong to hold out for an apology TO ME??

I don't want to dwell on this, but it seems like she doesn't really give a damn about how this could have affected me. Only when it was explained to her how it could have hurt her son did she feel even an iota of remorse.

The end.

Narrator: It was not actually "the end."

Edit: Ah! I almost forgot about the worst part! Ok, so you know how she "forgot her wallet?" Well, if you've been following closely, we didn't finish lunch and MIL decided to pull a poorly executed power move by leaving her wallet behind. So of course she must have been hungry waiting at the airport all that time. Did she have to beg for money? Did she have to depend on the kindness of strangers? OF COURSE NOT!

This is JustNoMIL. She used Apple Pay. From a phone we pay for. Linked to an account we also pay for. DH had to explain to her that if I lose my job we won't be a dual income household anymore and we will have to "trim the fat."

So bye, bye QVC and random church rummage sales! We would have cut your allowance, Lady! THIS got her attention and I firmly believe it's what got her to even muster an apology to me as insincere as it was.

Two weeks later, she shared this third update:

HOLY SHIT! I was so, so, so, ready for all this to be over that I didn't realize how blind she's made me! Of course it doesn't matter what she thinks is true or not! She still went into my locked office and opened a file that was put away! How is any of that ok no matter what the explanation is?! I tell ya, dumb is contagious sometimes.

Not that I own anyone an explanation for what I do with my own damn money. But MIL gets an allowance from us because she makes just enough to cover her mortgage and her bills.

A few hundred a month for us is not a lot, but to her it's the difference between eating fresh, healthy foods or processed crap. One missed paycheck can equal disaster for her, that's how tight her budget is. We pay for some day-to-day stuff because to be frank, I don't want her living with me.

Ok, so I know that I said my last update was going to be my last update but I needed an outside perspective on this situation. I don't even know how to process what MIL said to me. It broke my brain.

Well, I obviously have not spoken to her since The Purge (a national holiday for all DILs). However, with Thanksgiving being next month she had a reason contact us. She sent a few text messages here and there and was met with noncommittal "We'll see's...." from the both of us. I guess the lack of concrete plans made her bite the bullet and call me (even though she's sooooo scared of me eyeroll).

So some background here is necessary: DH's parents are divorced. Christmas is always with my family since neither side of his family has any children and my side has like, a million. Christmas is more magical with children because they believe in Santa. I don't think that's a statement you can find fault with.

Anyways, so to compromise we spend even numbered years at FIL's house for Thanksgiving and odd numbered years at MIL's house. As you can probably guess, I am not keen on going to see her this year.

So back to the phone call-- She calls me and just outright asks if we are coming to Southern State this year, I wasn't sure about going before but her audacity made me snap. I said, "Hell no. In fact, I'm still mad at you, I sure haven't forgiven you. ANNNND you never apologized to me even though I'm the one you have wronged!" She knew we weren't going to go, otherwise why would she ask?

It's an odd numbered year, this is one of her years. She was either trying to mend things with me in time for the holidays or she was trying to bait me. Either way, it kind of worked. This is where she drops this idiot BOMB on me: She's sorry. But she doesn't understand why I'm so mad because it's not like she could have said anything anyway.

After all, by law you're supposed to keep your families secrets or you can go to jail. I will admit, this is where I short circuited. I should have asked more inquisitive questions, I should have investigated further but it was really hard for me to respond because, like I said, my brain broke.

From what clues I was able to gather during her ramblings, she has confused spousal privilege with...."familial privilege" (ALERT: this is not a thing so please don't say you learned it from me!). So she thinks that because spouses cannot be COMPELLED to testify against one another that this means families can't tell on each other.

Ok, I want to make one thing very clear here, I did not marry into the Mafia so at this point you should be laughing so hard that you're peeing in your pants. Why would "the family" need that much protection MIL, WHY. Second, HOW DOES THIS MEAN YOU CAN SNOOP AT MY FILES?! No one in the family is on trial.

Spousal privilege only comes into play when there's a criminal or civil suit occurring! It's not dormant right. I JUST CANT. Third, yes spouses cannot be compelled to testify against each other but they can absolutely waive that privilege not that she cares but I just wanted announce that fact as a PSA so that no one will ever get this SO WRONG again.

I'm still not going to eat turkey at her house and make nice because the situation is just too recent for me to be genuinely cordial to her yet. But you guys, I'm inclined to begin to forgive her. Her explanation of why she thought it was ok to read my files is just dumb enough that I can understand it being a mistake of ignorance, but it's honestly too "smart" for her to make up out of thin air.

She's not complex enough of a thinker to backtrack and make up an explanation like this, she really isn't! This is where I need your help, I am clouded by my legal education. Of course I think this is beyond stupid and the fact that anyone can even fathom the concept of familial privilege makes me want to stick a phillips head screwdriver into my ear and swirl, BUT not everyone went to law school.

Can someone reasonably have made this mistake? I don't want to be mad at her forever. It honestly takes too much energy to be mad at someone you love.

Bonus: We sent her a credit card instead of depositing cash into her account every month.

It was a small and petty thing, but knowing that we can see her purchases really cut down the splurge spending. It's really only groceries and gas now. I did this under the guise of "Oh, we'd really like the airline miles," but really it was a, "I'm super duper mad at you but I already kicked you out of my house so really, what else can I do?" maneuver.

THE END. For real, this time. But, if the story continues to unfold, we will keep you posted.

Sources: Reddit
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