A boundary crossed is a boundary crossed, regardless of the intention.
In a popular post on the AITA subreddit, a woman asked if she was wrong for kicking out her MIL after she discovered that she
My SIL is a vile person. My husband and the rest of his family do not speak to her (or so I thought). I was having a very nice day some time ago when a friend suddenly sent me a screenshot. It was a picture of someone on twitter saying horrible things about my children (3 and 5). I was horrified because I don’t put pictures of them on social media.
My friend explained that person A that insulted my kids was arguing with person B whose header was a picture of my children. Person A assumed they were person B’s kids and insulted them as a comeback. Friend said she was pretty sure I wasn’t person B because they had some weird things in their bio/tweet history that I would never say/or believe in.
I informed my husband and we basically freaked out trying to figure out who person B was and why they had a picture of our children. I then remembered that I sent that picture of the kids to my MIL and I even checked our texts to make sure. MIL has been staying with us for a week or so, so we waited for her to come home from wherever then my husband explained what happened.
She seemed concerned as well until my husband asked if she sent that picture to anyone else. She immediately went red in the face and started avoiding eye contact and everything. She then said she sent it to my SIL. In fact, she’s been sending her several pictures of my children. I can’t even lie, I saw red. It made a lot of sense too because after looking through person B’s account, they sounded just like her.
MIL apologized and said she was just trying to make her daughter feel less isolated. But I was so incredibly angry. I told my MIL that all I’m hearing from her is utter bulls#$t and she doesn’t have to worry about her poor daughter being isolated because she can pack up her shit and go live with her. MIL immediately started apologizing and said she didn’t think SIL would save the pictures.
She swore to never do it again and even deleted the pictures of my children off her phone. I couldn’t bring myself to care. The next day while she was leaving, she said I was being too harsh. I told her to stop talking to me. My husband is completely on board with this but he’s busy with his sister and making sure she changes her twitter header (it did end up being her).
I can’t explain the amount of rage I still feel but MIL did seem very apologetic. And my FIL, her ex husband, even reached out to me saying that my anger is valid but that I shouldn’t kick her out because I’ve left her in a very tough spot especially since she had 0 bad intentions. I’m afraid my anger is blinding me (and my husband) so I’m just curious. AITA?
NTA. MIL f#$ked around and found out. You have every right to protect your children. How much has she been sharing with the SIL that you don’t know about? Would she have ever admitted to it if you hadn’t caught her?
That’s what I’m worried about. I can’t go into detail about why SIL is a bad person because of privacy reasons and if I’m too specific, you could probably find her on the internet. But she’s the worst. Of course a mother will always love her child but she’s just…gosh. I still don’t know why on earth she had my kids as her header and honestly, I don’t really want to know.
She changed it after my husband yelled at her and person A even deleted their tweet so that’s some relief. But I’m still kind of shaking because you’re right, what if I never caught her? And who knows who and what kind of people now have a picture of my children on their phones.
‘It’s easier to ask forgiveness than permission.’ She had bad intentions. She knew this was something you wouldn’t approve of so she didn’t ask and she did it anyway. She’s not remorseful. She’s just regretting she got caught out.
NTA. If FIL is a flying monkey then he can take her in.
NTA. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. It really doesn’t matter what her intentions were, she did something she knew you would not want her to do and it has led to your children’s faces being put in in a public place and associated with a person you choose to have no contact with because they are not safe.
She’s demonstrated she cannot hold boundaries, so if you rug sweep this she will do it again. A time out is appropriate here and you are not being too harsh. You need to show her that your boundaries are not flexible and if she crosses them, there will be consequences.
It’s the only way you’ll ever be able to have a relationship with her again. If you decide to let her back in at some point, I’d place restrictions on her taking photos. Hold your ground.
NTA. Your children have no business being anyone’s header on tik tok. Are you sure person a & b aren’t both SIL?
And OP responded:
Twitter but yes anywhere really. And I have no idea but I doubt it. They were arguing over some political thing.
Intentions are not the important thing here. Consequences are. I may intend just to drive home. But if I hit a pedestrian, the consequences are still dire. NTA. Protect your babies.
UPDATE: Just to clarify, person A saved the picture of my kids (taking it from my SIL/person B’s header) and then tweeted a response to a random tweet with the picture attached. It “only” had around 10 likes but the views were extremely high and you can’t even tell who might’ve saved the picture.
Yep that would be too harsh on MIL. I guess she must be given a warning and then forgiven not a very big deal.
Me being harsh is one thing…but it is a big deal. This random person said extremely terrible things about my children and who knows how many people have seen the picture or even saved it. It didn’t have many likes but it had a concerning amount of views. It was a beach photo too.
YTA. This is a really strong over reaction. Tons of parents do post pictures of their kids to social media without anything terrible happening. No one put your children in real danger, even if boundaries were violated.
That doesn’t justify my SIL, a terrible person who shouldn’t be near kids, putting their pictures on the internet. And unfortunately, something terrible did happen. My kids were horribly insulted. It wasn’t one of those “your crotch goblins are ugly” insults, what I read was honestly disgusting.
ESH. MIL shouldn't have shared the pictures. But she's also a grandma and they show pics of their grandkids to everyone because they're always so proud of them. You're way, way, way overreacting. Your husband should have stopped you from making a fool of yourself.
I don't post pics of my kids either, but there are hundreds of them online. Everyone you see has a camera in their pocket. Trying to keep pics of them from the Internet is pointless. Are you going to get this angry when your kids go to a birthday party and their pics get posted online?
The fact that my SIL is the one who put them on the internet is what is making me so angry. She’s clearly controversial on social media and who knows how long my kids have been used as a tool for her online arguments. The tweet I read about my little kids was disgusting. It’s no secret that twitter isn’t very restrictive but I can’t believe that tweet was up for so long.
"The tweet I read about my little kids was disgusting."
Is it possible that this is what makes you the angriest but since you can't lash out at whoever said it you're directing it at the MIL instead?
And OP responded again:
No, I’m angry at my MIL too. If she didn’t send those pictures to my SIL, this wouldn’t have happened. She broke my trust. Majorly.
ESH - unless you had explicitly asked your MIL not to share the photos with anyone, you’re being unreasonable in assuming she should just know that. I have an estranged sister. We don’t speak at all and probably won’t ever again.
But I still love my niece and nephew, and I’m sure she still loves my kids. Im sure my mom sends her photos and updates on my kids (although I’ve never asked). And she has the kids FaceTime me when she’s babysitting them so I can talk to my niece and nephew without interacting with my sister.
Estrangement works different ways for different families. MIL may have friends who manage their family rifts by sending photos and updates. So if you didn’t explicitly tell her not to share, it’s not reasonable to assume she would just know that because it’s what you would have done. She isn’t you. She doesn’t think like you.
And she comes from a generation where estrangement was very different. That said, she could have asked and didn’t. When you’re talking about someone else’s kids, it’s always a good idea to ask. And I don’t truly understand why these boomers and Xers don’t seem to understand that. The level of ownership they demonstrate over their grandkids can be infuriating.
I get why you’re mad. But I think communicating and setting reasonable expectations going forward is a better move than just obliterating your family relationship with Grandma. Your SIL making the kids her cover photo is interesting. Do you think maybe she misses them and wants to reconnect and try again? People can occasionally mature and change.
And OP responded:
I explicitly told her. Husband told her. His other siblings have the same boundaries. This isn’t about immaturity. Sure, maybe she feels isolated and lonely, maybe that’s why she used my kids photo. Maybe it made her feel less alone by having online strangers perceive them as her kids. Thing is, I don’t give a s#$t.
She’s a genuinely bad person and there’s a reason her mother is the only person willing to be somewhat involved in her life. More than that? She’s never met my children (and she never will), she has no connection to them besides blood.
YTA - B is still the kids' aunt. And maybe her mother doesn't find her so vile. Of course she's obiously a weirdo to have put your kids pic on twitter but your MIL still wants to see the best in her daughter and couldn't guess she'd do that. Yes looks like you get angry easily.
Don't know why everybody's supporting you but then Americans seem to love family dramas and going no contact for decades with John or Jane because they broke their favorite mug or their dog peed on their plants and whatever smallest thing. Well now maybe your MIL has realized there was sthg very wrong with her daughter and won't be doing that again, you didn't need to be so harsh.
It’s funny because I’m not American. Anyways! Her entire family didn’t go no contact with her because of petty reasons, she’s just a bad person. Period. If I told you her name and you were to google it and dig just a little, you’d find some stuff on her and trust me, you’d be just as angry as I am. I didn’t call her vile for no reason.
INFO: MIL was staying with you for about a week. Does that mean she was visiting? Or had she moved in? I think "visit is over" is fair. Making her homeless? Maybe not, if this is the first offense. What "tough spot" is FIL talking about?
Is it that she doesn't have a place to live, or that she now can't use her preferred method of keeping SIL from feeling isolated? (Because I don't agree the second is a tough spot, she knew she shouldn't have been doing it in the first place, she put herself in that particular spot).
It was supposed to be a temporary stay (less than a month) while her apartment gets fixed. She’s staying at a hotel for now. FIL is referring to her having to spend a lot of money and being alone.
The comments are still piling in, with a lot of division. But the consensus seems to be shifting from ESH/YTA to NTA now that OP has added more context in her responses.