Members of a popular internet banded together in support of one married woman revealed why she stopped attending her mother-in-law’s weekly family dinners.
In a viral Reddit post published on r/AmITheA**hole, Redditor u/energydiet33 (otherwise referred to as the original poster, or OP) said she was sick of being insulted by her husband’s mother and explained how her decision to no longer interact with her mother-in-law sparked a ton of familial tension.
Titled, “[Am I the a**hole] for telling my [mother-in-law] about my ‘Energy Diet’ and saying it’s the reason why I don’t come to her weekly family dinners anymore?” the post has received more than 8,600 votes and 1,600 comments in the last ten hours.
Writing that she previously attended family dinners with her husband, the original poster said an onslaught of insults from her mother-in-law led her to cut the harsh woman out of her life altogether.
“In every dinner she hosts she’d find a way to comment about my hair, body, job, age, and worst of all my infertility,” OP wrote. “It upsets me, makes me feel uncomfortable and puts me on the spot. [Mother-in-law says she’s just looking out for me and my husband thinks I’m being too sensitive.”
“During ‘my’ last dinner there, [mother-in-law] commented on my infertility by telling me to hurry up and get pregnant soon because ‘I’m not getting any younger,'” OP continued. “After that I no longer felt comfortable going over there…My husband threw a fit but eventually started going alone.”
After missing multiple family dinners, the original poster said she received a phone call from her mother-in-law and used their conversation as an opportunity to get her feelings off her chest.
“She asked if I was going to show up for next week’s family dinner,” OP wrote. “I said ‘no, I’m actually on a diet’ [and] she laughed and said that I indeed need to lose ‘a few pounds.'”
“I said ‘oh no, I’m actually on an energy diet, this means that if there’s anything that bothers me, makes me uncomfortable, puts me on the spot then I don’t want it and don’t want to waste my energy on it,'” OP continued. “She got offended and said that I was being rude to her for no good reason.”
“My husband got home later and started yelling at me for [what] I said to his mother,” OP added. “He again said that I was being too sensitive but added that I was embarrassing him in front of his whole family and said that by deciding to no longer show up, I’m basically telling his family ‘F**k y’all’ to all of their faces.”
Stories of toxic, overbearing and insulting mothers-in-law are strewn across Reddit’s r/AmITheA**hole forum and in most cases, they read similarly to the account provided by the original poster.
However, a mother-in-law taking aim at their daughter-in-law’s fertility issues is extreme and warrants an overarching reaction, like refusing to attend family gatherings and cutting off contact as much as possible.
Earlier this year, parenting website We Have Kids published an eight-step guide advising married women how to take back power from their toxic mother-in-law.
Among the steps are halting any efforts to appease toxic behavior, not reacting to obvious instances of instigation and setting both boundaries with strict consequences for violations.
However, the eighth-and-final step provided by We Have Kids is simple: “Find your joy.”
By focusing on internal happiness, and banishing outside negativity, a mother-in-law’s toxic behavior can be mitigated and rendered futile.
“Focusing on things (people, activities) that spark joy is empowering and liberating,” the We Have Kids website reads. “You’re consciously choosing to shift your attention, change your emotional state, and, therefore, change your reality.”
The original poster’s “energy diet,” is an example of this practice, rooted in keeping positive energy in and negative energy out.
Throughout the viral post’s comment section, Redditors applauded the original poster for protecting her peace and eviscerated both her husband and mother-in-law for repeatedly trying to disturb it.
“[Not the a**hole],” Redditor u/frenchEthanhope wrote in the post’s top comment, which has received more than 16,000 votes.
“I really like the energy diet! I might have to steal it from you one day,” they added. “But you have a husband problem…not defending you, throwing you under the bus…he should start showing you some respect.”
“Tell your husband I hate him,” Redditor u/NihilismIsSparkles chimed in. “Maybe your husband should spend the next few years being bullied about how he must lack the ability to be a good husband if he’s so happy to let his [wife] get bullied by his family.”
Redditor u/IncandescentBun, whose comment has received nearly 2,000 votes, echoed that sentiment and encouraged the original poster to leave her husband behind.
“[Not the a**hole]. But everyone else is. Your husband should be standing up FOR YOU when his mother’s being like this. You don’t need her negativity,” they wrote. “You may want to consider dropping some weight, the dead weight that’s your husband if he won’t be on your side.”
“Keep with the ‘energy diet,'” they added. “It’s a great idea!”
Newsweek reached out to u/energydiet33 for comment.