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'AITA for telling my SIL's parents about his drinking to protect my grandkids?' UPDATED

'AITA for telling my SIL's parents about his drinking to protect my grandkids?' UPDATED


"AITA for trying to help my SIL?"

Here's the original post:

My (60+f) daughter(f33) and her husband (m39) have been married for almost 9 years and were together for 5 years before that. We had weekly Sunday night dinners together and took family vacations.

He liked us and we loved him. A month after their wedding, they moved over 700 miles away and we were limited to infrequent holiday visits when my husband and I would have a Monday off from work.

When my daughter was pregnant with their first child, I hated that I had to miss helping her through everything because my SIL didn't know how to handle my daughter being less than on top of her game because she ran their household. I was with them for the birth and my husband drove in to help them move into their new house.

We were happy to be there for their first step into this new chapter of their life. Before we left, I wrote my SIL a note with a plea to help my daughter more and some tips for a new father. My daughter confided that he was... less than pleased that I didn't think he could figure things out on his own without my help.

Years passed and they finally moved back to our home state, where day trips to visit were possible. Our second grandchild was born and SIL decided to be a SAHD. My daughter was working a menial tech support job with as much overtime as she could handle because he'd been laid off and refused to consider a profession outside of what he'd been doing for the last 20 years to support their family.

We came to realize that his definition of SAHD meant putting the oldest on the school bus, putting the toddler in a highchair and aiming it at the TV while he went back to sleep or played computer games until my daughter came home to take over. No housework was done and more than once they fought because he though his wife should be doing it. She did not agree.

When I came to babysit one weekend, I wanted to help get her out from under the mountain of housework that wasn't being done while she was working and found bank statements (they've never had a join account). The little bit that my SIL was making from a side-gig was being spent at the liquor store and, based on the time stamps of the charges, he was leaving at least one kid alone to get his fix.

I worried about my daughter and the safety of my grandchildren, but I knew better now than confronting my SIL directly. Instead, I contacted his parents and told them what I'd learned and asked for help in getting their son to straighten up. Rather than help me, they called their son and enflamed our conversation.

That night my daughter called me and asked how dare I go through their mail, contact her in-laws, and accuse her husband of being an alcoholic and neglectful parent. I tried to point out that she doesn't know what goes on at their house while she's working so many hours, which didn't help. Now she barely talks to me when we used to have daily phone conversations. I feel I was justified. WITA?

Is she the a-hole for this? This is what top commenters had to say:

Suitable-Cod-1381 said:

I see your point and I know you mean well but you've gone about this in the worst possible way. ESH but way more on son-in-law than you. It's clear that you want to help but you need to talk to your daughter and ask her how you can help rather than going through other family members.

countrybumpkin1969 said:

I know you meant well but YTA. You have no business reading their mail and contacting his (a grown man’s) parents. You didn’t even talk to your daughter first! It appears he might be a bad husband with a drinking problem but you really should have brought that up to your daughter. You offer her a shoulder and helping hand in she asks.

Right now you apologize to her, tell her your available if needed and step back.

[deleted] said:

You know that neglect is happening, and that your daughter is too overwhelmed to help them. We can guess that she probably won't leave her husband, and that she won't listen to you. You need to get the children out of there, or at least support them as much as possible. They're all that matters right now. NTA.

RealTalkFastWalk said:

NTA! You found the statements, realized what was happening, and tried to get an intervention going which was the smart thing to do. Your SIL is TA here and his parents are not helping anything. All you can really do now is keep reaching out to your daughter and offering to help her and the kids in any way you can. Hopefully she will see the truth and get the help their family needs.

Glittercorn111 said:

YTA for going through their mail and not speaking to your daughter and asking if she needed help. You may have good intentions, but you are seriously breaking their trust.

And RideTheWindForever said:

Sorry, because it really sucks to have to watch your daughter put up with this deadbeat, but your daughter was exactly correct with every accusation she leveled at you. YTA. This is your daughter's life, husband and kids. Not your call. You majorly exceeded boundaries here.

Commenters are divided. What do you think?

Two months after her original post, the grandma shared this update:

took the many YTA votes to heart and called my daughter "Abby". I apologized for stepping over previously unknown boundaries and from that point on, I would wait for her to ask me for help than try to step in unsolicited.

Things were still chilly, but warming from her, but her husband refused to speak to me, much less occupy the same room. I didn't try to change his mind; I just wanted to be a position to help my daughter and grandsons. As overworked and distracted as she was, those boys are Abby's life and she'd lay her life down before letting them be hurt.

I was given permission to have the boys for a weekend to give the grown-ups some alone adult time. The rest I've heard from Abby. She decided to treat them to a dinner out since she had some unexpected overtime pay and wanted to eat something that didn't come out of the freezer. While at the restaurant, in the bar waiting for a table, he immediately started drinking.

He didn't stop until she mentioned that she didn't have the money for a binge, just a decent dinner. He didn't like that and sulked while Abby tried to make the most of their free night. After leaving he asked why she was in a "mood". Floodgates opened and she told him every grievance and frustration she'd had since the baby had been born almost 3 years ago.

For the second time in a month, he told her, "If you're so unhappy, just leave! Get the eff out!" The first time he said that, she just drove away until it was bedtime for the boys. This time, she packed a week's worth of clothes and came here, telling me and her father everything.

This isn't the first time they've had to take a break, but she says she's not going back this time. School's out for the summer and her father and I are happy to watch the boys for her while she is commuting to work, but she's considering quitting that job to get something closer to here. Her stbx has only come out of his fog to request time with the boys once.

He is having to move in with his parents as Abby told him that she flat-out refuses to pay more rent for a place she hated and never wanted to live in in the fist place. He and his parents will have the boys for 3 weeks this summer when everyone's plans get finalized.

They're heading toward divorce and I'm not sad over it now. Even Abby says that the man she's separating from isn't the man she married. Only place to go from here is onward and upward (fingers crossed).

Fingers crossed!

Sources: Reddit
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