You can choose your friends, but you can't choose your relatives, right?
But you can choose what behavior you'll tolerate from your family.
A grandchild trying to decide what to do about their grandmother's unacceptable behavior turned to the "Am I The A**hole" (AITA) subReddit to pose a hypothetical "Would I Be The A**hole" (WIBTA) question.
Redditor AnonBecauseShame asked:
"WIBTA if I told my Grandma I know her dirty little secret?"
The Original Poster (OP) explained:
"Ok, this sounds rough, but hear me out. My grandma has, by all accounts, been a very sweet lady for most of my life."
"She grew up in the South and can be a little judgmental, but she's mostly been great...until a certain election took place and gave a public platform to opinions that she's been wise enough to keep to herself in the past."
"These days, she's a nightmare to deal with. She's become very critical of me and VERY condescending, [like] 'I've been around long enough to know how bad immigrants have been for this country, dear, you'll understand when you're older'."
"I'm 25 and just finished my MD/PhD, I think I have the research skills to form my own opinions, Deborah. (Finished high school at 15, uni done when I was 18, and MD/PhD done in 7 years)."
"It's gotten so bad that I can't even walk into a room without her criticizing me—'In my day, we wouldn't slouch like that,' or, 'I NEVER would have been so disrespectful as to contradict my elders,' or, 'Your generation really is the most immoral generation the world has ever seen'."
"So here's the dilemma. A few years ago, I mentioned to my dad that I was going to take one of those Ancestry DNA tests."
"He pulled me aside to let me know a secret he'd only recently discovered himself—his father isn't actually his father. See, my grandma had been married before and had a few children through her ex, but she divorced him and started seeing my grandpa...my dad was the only child they shared (except not really)."
"My dad found out, through this DNA kit, that his half-siblings are actually his full siblings."
"He hasn't brought it up with his parents, because there's no way my Grandpa knows, and it would probably kill him to find out. It's been 58 years, he never had a relationship with his bio dad, so he sees no reason to bring it up."
"And for what it's worth, he's not sure my grandma even knows who my dad's father is. But the point is, she was clearly sleeping with two men at the same time."
"Here's where I might be TA. Every time my grandma has gone off on a Righteousness Rant, I've actively had to bite my tongue to stop myself from calling her a hypocrite."
"And I mentioned to my spouse that the next time Gran starts to lecture me on immorality, I have half a mind to say 'Hey, at least I didn't cheat on Grandpa and lie about it for almost 60 years'."
"To be clear, I wouldn't do this with an audience. I wouldn't tell my Grandpa or anyone else—I'd just pull her aside privately and let her know that she can't keep lecturing someone who already knows which closet she hides the skeletons in."
"My spouse told me that I would unequivocally be TA and said that I should just let sleeping dogs lie. And that it's better if I just keep smiling and ignoring all of Gran's shitty comments because 'It's just generational ignorance'."
"I disagree and think that I need to stop letting Gran's tirades go unchecked."
"She's staying with my parents for the time being, so I unfortunately have to see her whenever I visit them."
In response to repeated questions, the OP added:
"Dad was born 2 years after the divorce. The divorce happened because the ex cheated on my Grandma."
"They'd both already remarried by the time Dad was born, and Grandma has mentioned to me that she was pining after her ex for the first part of her new marriage."
"Also, my aunt has mentioned that Gran and The Ex used to suspiciously always have business trips at the same time and in the same places."
The OP's aunt is the daughter of her grandmother and the grandmother's ex-husband.
A DNA test taken by the OP's father proved this aunt wasn't his half-sister as expected, but rather his full sister.
"Also, I've definitely tried to use logic and factual arguments to explain why [grandma's] wrong about much of what she says. Her response is always some variation of 'You'll understand when you're older'."
"This idea is coming as a last resort—an effort to remind her that she isn't the Patron Saint of Morality."
"Grandma doesn't have dementia and wasn't raped [which several Redditors offered as an alternate explanation for the pregnancy with her ex-husband]. I have my dad's blessing [to call her on her BS]."
"She responds to being called out for hypocrisy."
"For example, she used to talk about 'welfare queens' all the time. Until one time, when my aunt reminded her that my grandma was on welfare for a while."
"And she hasn't talked about welfare queens since."
"My goal isn't to damage her reputation—it's to privately remind her that she has no leg to stand on when it comes to moral judgements."
In comments, the OP also made it clear grandma's bigotry and condescension were a choice and not the result of cognitive decline.
"She hides it with the younger grandkids. It's not that she's incapable, it's that she doesn't give a sh*t."
"She's still sweet and kind to the younger grandkids, just more open with the others."
"She recently underwent a full mental battery and passed with flying colors, so we've effectively ruled out dementia."
"No cognitive decline. Just old and crotchety."
"I know what being old does to your brain...but in the absence of dementia (she doesn't have dementia), there's no excuse for her behavior."
Redditors were asked to weigh in by declaring:
- NTA - Not The A**hole
- YTA - You're The A**hole
- NAH - No A**holes Here
- ESH - Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors assured the OP they would not be the a**hole if they called out grandma, but people weren't sure it was worth it.
"Look, you're NTA but I probably wouldn't do it; if you tell her, even if it's in private, you run the risk of your grandpa finding out, and breaking his heart."
"If you can't keep away from her, it might be easier to just wear headphones when you're around her." ~ MageVicky
"Every time you turn up, bring a handful of rest home pamphlets." ~ Nelfoos5
"So my parents were abusive and hyper conservative, and my dad was a cheat, and my mom had mental issues and was a pill head. Eventually I left them, and I pretty much showed everyone what a bunch of hypocrites they were."
"I did this for a multitude of reasons."
"Two, because it legitimized my leaving them and going my own way."
"Three, it shows others what I went through and in some ways highlights who I am as an individual."
"Four, it's part of a promise that I made to myself to not walk around carrying secrets and lies with me all the time, like my family always did."
"So, with all that being said, I think it would behoove you to take your grandmother aside, let her know what you know, and make her understand that should she ever utter her bigoted views again, you will enlighten everyone as the the hypocrisy that comprises her personality."
"People like that are so often caught up in trying to preserve their egos that they very rarely ever would do anything to tarnish their reputation. Go for it." ~ GreyIgnis
"How are you going to choose between:"
'I have bad posture and you're a liar who cheated on grandpa...'"
"'You're just like Trump—you slept with your ex and your current at the same time too!'"
"Bonus points if you work the phrase 'baby daddy' in there too." ~ xasdfxx
While some Redditors urged caution to protect any innocent parties, many Redditors told the OP to go for it. There has been no update to confirm the OP did confront grandma for her hypocrisy.