An anonymous Redditor has taken to the site’s “Am I the A**hole” forum following a spat with her sister-in-law over the care of her brother. The post has gone viral, amassing over 10,000 upvotes and 2,800 comments.
According to the post, the 32-year-old Redditor, known as u/ThrowraBrother30, has a brother who became wheelchair-bound in an accident four years ago. Since then, his wife has been in charge of caring for him full-time.
Per the Mayo Clinic, one in three U.S. adults “provides care to other adults as informal caregivers.” As common as it may be, adapting to the role often poses significant challenges. Specifically, “caregiver stress—the emotional and physical stress of caregiving—is common.”
Signs of caregiver stress can include “feeling overwhelmed or constantly worried,” “feeling tired often,” “becoming easily irritated or angry,” and developing “physical problems” like headaches or body pain.
In her post, Redditor u/ThrowraBrother30 explained that her brother and his wife “are essentially living off his social security benefits.”
“My [sister-in-law] and I have never really gotten along but we stay civil,” she wrote. A few days ago, the sister-in-law revealed to the family that “she was going to [pursue] her old job again,” sparking a huge argument.
“My parents and I were confused,” wrote u/ThrowraBrother30. The Redditor asked her sister-in-law how she planned on returning to work “when she has [her] disabled brother to care for.”
“She told us she is going to hire a carer to handle all my brother’s needs which triggered a very negative reaction in me and my parents. I told her [that] she chose to become a [stay-at-home-wife] but she explained that circumstances change,” noted the post.
The sister-in-law also pointed out that “a carer is better qualified” for the role. Moreover, “she feels overwhelmed and exhausted.”
“I pointed out how a personal carer requires so much money and that her new…job [cannot] be put before her husband,” said u/ThrowraBrother30. The two went back and forth until, finally, the Redditor called her sister-in-law “neglectful,” “selfish,” and “financially irresponsible” for wanting to return to work.
In return, the sister-in-law reportedly called the Redditor’s comments “cruel” and said she “should show some empathy.”
With the conflict left unresolved, readers were quick to offer their own reactions. According to the replies, commenters appeared to unanimously side with the sister-in-law.
“Caregiver burnout is 100 [percent] real. Why not give your [sister-in-law] a break and you care for your brother for a week? While she stays in a hotel,” suggested u/Doctor-Liz in a top-voted comment.
Others pointed out that being a caregiver is a skilled job that requires “years of training”—meaning that hiring a professional would likely be better for both her brother’s health and marriage.
“The money that the husband gets is literally supposed to be used for a professional carer,” wrote u/FunnyGum0_0.
“She’s not neglecting anyone if she’s hiring someone to care for him, and of course she will need to go back to work since he can no longer provide,” noted u/AlphaQueen3. “Her life has changed, and going back to work to provide for herself seems like the most logical thing in the world here.”
Others wondered how the Redditor’s brother feels about the situation, as his perspective wasn’t represented in the post.
Newsweek reached out to u/ThrowraBrother30 for comment.