Breaking bad news to your loved ones can be difficult. One woman faced that problem recently, but felt she had set up a time and place to tell her family.
But things didn't go as planned, so Redditor RA199299 took to the "Am I The A**hole" (AITA) subReddit to get some feedback from the masses.
Redditor RA199299 asked:
"AITA for ruining my brother and his wife's pregnancy news with the news of my recent diagnosis?"
The Original Poster (OP) explained:
"Bit of backstory, my brother and I are very close, his wife and I not so much, we've had our fair share of tension. Anyway I fell sick in the middle of May, but held off getting checked out because of [the pandemic] and safety reasons. Eventually when June started I decided to go check it out, turns out it was stage 2 breast cancer."
"I decided to tell my family 2 days ago since lockdown laws have been lifted, so I invited everyone over and when I told my brother and his wife he said okay that's fine because he has news to share too. So our family gathered and my brother decided to go first (he did ask me) and he announced that his wife is 4 months pregnant. Of course everyone was overjoyed."
But after the good news came the bad.
"After about an hour they asked about my news, and I knew this was probably the last time in a long while before I had everyone here in person, so I told them. And of course the initial joyous atmosphere was gone. The rest of the evening was a lot of support for me and not a lot of attention on my brother and his wife."
"My brother didn't seem to mind this, as he was quite distraught with my news, but I saw his wife pretty upset and cornered off. So I decided to approach her, and I apologized for the timing of it all."
OP's sister-in-law appeared to forget who arranged the gathering in the first place.
"She told me I could have waited a bit and Skyped everyone with the news, as it's just stage 2, and let my brother and her have this moment with their family. I told her I initially called this meeting for this exact reason and she said she knows but I knew my news would damper everyone's mood."
"So I told her she's being ridiculous and I wanted to tell my family in person, since they are my family after all. And she burst in tears and demanded to go home, which my brother obliged to even though he was confused."
"He promised he would come see me soon since he [lives] close by to me. Later that evening I get a message from him asking if I told his wife that she isn't part of the family and that I deliberately wanted the attention on me, because that's what she's upset about."
Her sister-in-law made sure the OP's parents also heard her complaints.
"Also the next day my parents called me to check up on me and my mom mentioned that my brother's wife called yesterday evening really upset telling them what 'I said' and claiming I'm jealous because she's pregnant and I'm trying to ruin her life. I told my parents what actually happened and what I really said and it's caused not only tension between his wife and me, but my parents and her too, and now she's also blaming me for my parents not being her biggest fans."
"My brother is torn but has been trying to talk to her, which results in more tears and a strain in their marriage. All this drama is making me think that I should have just called up everyone rather, or just told my brother that his news had to wait, even though that would have been selfish of me."
The OP came back to add some clarification.
"When brother told me he had news too he was really super excited and added it as a just by the way I'll announce mine too, he did apologize and admit afterwards if he had known what my news was he would have held off his, because right now what's important is my recovery."
"He also admitted he wrongfully assumed that my news would automatically be good (I'm usually always the happy chirpy one). His wife wasn't too fond of this either."
"Brother's wife also had a miscarriage beginning of the year, which is why this pregnancy I suppose was extra special. I'm truly happy for them, I just wish she could understand that this isn't a competition."
"...I couldn't tell him over the phone, we are really close and I knew it would have crushed him, I couldn't steal him away at the gathering either because he was the last to arrive, and when he did he just quickly mentioned 'Hey OP mind if I go first' and I was frozen on the spot so I said sure."
"Also pretty silly on my part. It's hard to explain that feeling where you absolutely frozen and theres a big lump in your throat that prevents you from speaking, but saying the news in the first place was really difficult to begin with."
"...I'm not a saint, but my brother does mean a heck of a lot to me. It's exactly why his wife and I cleared the air between us before, because I wouldn't deliberately make his life hell by pissing her off."
"Hence why when I saw she was upset I approached her. And when she told me I could have Skyped I responded with I wanted to tell them in person since they're my family and they would probably want to be there with me when I broke the news."
"I never once implied she wasn't a part of it. My brother and parents know this."
Ultimately, the OP wanted to know:
"I really wanted my family's support that day, but I'm starting to rethink whether it was worth all this drama and potentially causing further problems. So reddit, AITA?"
Redditors were pretty universal in their assessment of the situation, declaring the OP was NTA (Not The A**hole).
"NTA - You called the meeting for your news. Also, if sharing it in person was unimportant then why couldn't your SIL share the pregnancy news over Skype? Her own reasoning should have been good enough for her. And good luck with your treatment." ~ LeftHand_of_Kindness
"NTA. You're the one who called the family gathering. They hijacked your gathering to share their news first. She doesn't get to be angry with you. SHE could have waited another month or so. She also could have said something sooner." ~ IridianRaingem
"NTA. 'Just stage 2'? It's still cancer. You could have responded by telling her she's 'only four months pregnant'. That's how ridiculous that statement sounds. She seems incredibly manipulative."
"I'm so sorry about your diagnosis. Hopefully your brother stays close, and at least you have the support of your family (and of Reddit). Good luck with your treatment!" ~ sustainablyshort
"NTA - not even a little. I really can't even wrap my head around this situation."
"I have so many questions for your brother and his wife. Why would they want to 'tack on' their pregnancy news to your news of having cancer? And then to go first? It just seems like there was a time and place for their announcement and it wasn't preceding some very traumatic news for you."
"Then, your SIL throwing a fit and calling it 'just stage 2' cancer. WTF? Just Skype the news? How selfish can one person be when they are jealous of having to 'share' the spotlight with a someone who just got told they have cancer? You actively need your family's support right now. She doesn't.
"Finally, it is your family! And you called the meeting! Why couldn't they just wait a week and make a Facebook announcement or do a gender reveal like other couples do?"
"She just sounds like she's craving attention and doesn't want to share any of it with anyone else...which I guess includes cancer patients. To then turn it on you and call you jealous is an outrageous level of pettiness and immaturity it's almost hard to see how anyone takes her seriously."
"Sorry to hear you are going through this. I wish you a speedy recovery and quick remission. You weren't anywhere near the same galaxy of a**holery that your SIL has shown." ~ dookle14
"SIL seems like the type to want to hold a seance during a wake so she can tell the deceased off for daring to die on a day that doesn't fit her plans." ~ cyberllama
The AITA subReddit defines their NTA acronym as:
"NTA or Not the A**hole is for scenarios where the OP is NOT to blame and the other party described in their scenario is to blame."
A few Redditors were torn about voting NAH (No A**holes Here), meaning no one did anything wrong, instead of NTA.
"I had to think on this and decided it was NTA instead of NAH. While you let him do the announcement, it was still your gathering for your news, to get support from your family for what you're facing, and he had no interest in finding out what you were announcing before he asked to do his (first)."
"Stay strong, and best of luck to you. I've got some friends who went through the same cancer a couple of years ago, and they're both still kicking. I have faith you will be, too." ~ Crisis_Redditor
"If anyone should apologize for the timing being off, it's them! Though i can understand your brother just wasn't thinking and was assuming your news was good...NAH for him. NTA for his wife!" ~ Instruction-Big
And one Redditor almost went with ESH (Everyone Sucks Here), meaning everyone involved in the conflict did something they should not have.
"NTA - I was almost leaning to ESH, but I re-read it and changed my mind. It was your meeting and you really didn't expect their news. Wow, sorry OP! speedy recovery."
"I don't think everyone expected the sad news about your health. But she shouldn't react the way she did. It was YOUR FAMILY MEETING, not hers." ~ sexylassy
But ultimately, of the hundreds of Redditors who responded, everyone decided the OP was definitely not the a**hole.
With judgment passed by Reddit, the OP can now focus on what is important—her cancer treatment and recovery. Hopefully in time her sister-in-law can also focus on the important things in life—her pregnancy and family—instead of petty squabbles.
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