A White man married to an Indian woman took to Reddit and asked WIBTA (Would I Be the A**hole) if he banned her disparaging parents from the home.
The misogyny became too much for Redditor HolidayTill5 after witnessing his in-laws constantly berating their daughter with comments about her weight and being a "trophy wife."
The Original Poster (OP) and his wife have a baby girl, and he wants to raise them in a nurturing environment without the toxicity brought on by his in-laws.
So he decided to temporarily ban them from the house until he feels they have learned to respect their daughter.
"My wife is the only daughter, and she has two brothers. Her parents have always been slightly biased and sexist towards her."
"Before it would be little things, her parents would give brothers new things and give her their old ones. Or if they had tickets to any event they would give them to brothers. My wife didn't mind and could overlook it."
"But my wife just had a baby and I can't handle my in laws."
The OP began listing abusive examples to demonstrate his antipathy towards his in-laws.
"When my wife is trying to eat meals, they'll say stuff like 'now that the baby is born, you cant still use her for an excuse as to why you're fat' (my wife is not close to fat at all, and their comments are making her diet when she doesn't need to)."
"Or if my wife is tired they say stuff like 'wow you can't even handle 1 child, maybe if you pushed yourself to be a better mom, you wouldn't need to call your parents to bail you out' (we have never called them to come over, they just come over)."
"My wife decided to take a break from work and be a SAHM for a while, and I bought her a Lexus because it was top rated for safety."
Even the mother-in-law played into misogynistic notions.
"My MIL said 'wow isn't it nice your husband treats you like a trophy wife when you aren't even a trophy.'"
"They don't say these things when I'm in the room, but I hear them over the baby monitor, sometimes I over hear them, sometimes my wife tells me. I want them to stop and I would like to talk to them but my wife doesn't want to start any 'drama.'"
"But this is OUR house and I hate the energy they bring inside of it, and the way they make my wife feel. After they leave shes always down, shes less happy, she isn't as fun."
The situation became complicated after his wife and sister expressed resistance to the idea of banning the in-laws from the house.
"I want to ban them from our house until they learn to respect my wife but my wife thinks I'm creating unnecessary drama. But I cannot raise a family with the energy they bring into our house, its toxic."
"My sister told me that I would be overstepping, and that this should be agreed on by my wife. But I feel like my wife is trapped in an abusive relationship and she can't control things."
"I think its my place as her husband to step in and put a stop to this behaviour. It wouldn't be a permanent ban, just temporary until they are able to apologize and act polite in our house. AITA?
Anonymous strangers on the internet were asked to weigh if the OP is:
NTA - Not The A**hole
YTA - You're The A**hole
ESH - Everyone Sucks Here
NAH - No A**holes Here
This Redditor sided with the OP, however, they suggested for him to be sensitive to his wife's concerns by warning her of a possible confrontation with her family.
"Uh... NTA? Hard to 'stir up drama' when it's dumped on your front doorstep. That behavior is unacceptable and you would be entirely in the right to call it out."
"I mean if anything that house is also half yours as part of the whole marriage thing right? As such you at least have the right to not welcome such absolute toxicity into your home."
"Now of course you do need to somewhat honor your wife's wishes so I would fully warn her before hand."
"But even still like, sorry honey but I'm putting my foot down on you being called fat and useless. Sorry if that somehow offends you. I'm just dumbfounded here but yes."
"Lay down some smack and let them know that in that house folks respect each other. You absolutely no NOT need your children being possibly exposed to that as well. Family doesn't mean you put up with being treated like trash." – rants4fun
"And get your wife into some therapy. She needs to see what is going on, and how to set her own boundaries."
"You are NTA, you are defending her and your new child. Good for you." – Zhoenish
"Agreed -- definitely therapy. Also, maybe say something to them (after giving wife a heads-up) before outright banning them."
"Calmly tell them that the way they talk to your wife is unacceptable and if it doesn't stop, they will not be welcome in your home." – WabbitFan
In response to suggestions of therapy, the OP updated his post saying his wife has gone to therapy in regards to the family drama.
"She understands that this isn't okay, we won't allow our child(ren) to be raised like this, but she doesn't want to cause drama in the community, alienate her family."
"She does not want to have this discussion with her parents because she can't see the benefits in the long run, and doesn't want to be a bad child in the short run."
"So that's why I feel like I need to take this on because when you're in an abusive relationship, its okay to get help from others when you can't help yourself."
"She doesn't want me to do anything that might damage my own relationship with her parents by sticking up for her."
This Redditor insisted for the OP to "set the boundaries firmly and unequivocally."
"OP should feel free to intervene when he has the opportunity. Holding others accountable in the moment is direct, straightforward, and appropriate."
"It is a way for OP to draw unambiguous boundaries.OP, please set the boundaries firmly and unequivocally. If the in-laws continue their disrespect, cut them off at the knees." – _bufflehead
"Plus you don't want someone coming into your house, in a position of authority, modeling treating your wife specifically, but women generally, like trash. This isn't stirring drama, it's parenting." – Oblivinatior
"Especially since their child is a girl, for her to see that and think it's okay to be treated like that as a woman would be unacceptable."
"And the mother/wife, I'm sure, would be horrified and infuriated at the thought of someone talking to her little girl like that...so now is the time to model what is appropriate, by setting boundaries and expectations that her daughter can look up to and live by."
"Definitely NTA...but the in-laws most decidedly are!" – Thr33Littl3Monk3ys
The wife not knowing she is a victim could impair her parenting skills down the line.
"This is so important, she probably doesn't even realize it's an abusive relationship."
"Not limiting this could have serious effects in the long run. What if they do it when the child gets older? What they teach the wee bean to continue the abuse. What if they do it to the little angel? This isn't healthy for anyone involved." – pyrokiti
Not to mention, children can absorb the negative energy and develop misguided perceptions on how to treat people.
"Just as an addition, it's really important to not allow that kind of behavior around your child."
"Letting a little girl hear those awful things said about her mom by family of all people will ingrain in her early on that she, too, is useless and ugly."
"Letting any child hear it could make them think it's OK to be treated like trash by people, or that it's OK to treat others that way. It's a great way to get either a beaten down child with self esteem issues, or a bully, or both."
"OP, if your wife won't stand up for herself, or let you stand up for her, maybe she'll rethink things if you put it into this context."
"She doesn't deserve to be treated like this, period, but add to that that this kind of toxic environment is the perfect way to f'k up a child and maybe she'll realize things need to change." – Dracarys_Aspo
Unfortunately, there's not much the OP can do without creating drama and to avoid accusations of being controlling and abusive, himself.
We hope he is able to encourage his wife to stand up for herself and continues giving her the love and support she needs.
The book But It's Your Family…: Cutting Ties with Toxic Family Members and Loving Yourself in the Aftermath is available here.