Entering a family where one partner consistently supports their parents, regardless of the circumstances, can be a challenging experience, as depicted in the social media narrative that follows. Nevertheless, there are instances where navigating such complexities may necessitate adopting a somewhat retaliatory attitude.
In December 2022, theantigrinch, a user on Reddit, recounted an episode on the platform, shedding light on a troublesome family dynamic. He shared a tale of a time when he embraced pettiness or sought revenge. The backdrop to this was his acquisition of a lucrative job that year, prompting him to indulge in generous Christmas gifts.
Allocating the majority of his funds, the Reddit user directed his generous Christmas spending towards his nine-year-old daughter. He detailed how the young girl had taken the initiative to assist with household chores without prompting, demonstrated dedication to her schoolwork, and exhibited kindness in her actions.
Despite the father’s conviction that his daughter unequivocally deserved all the gifts he had bestowed upon her, a turn of events unfolded when his mother-in-law, the wife’s mother, made a visit one morning. Observing an unusually abundant array of gifts beneath their Christmas tree, she couldn’t help but inquire about the reason for the surplus.
In response to his mother-in-law’s inquiry, the son-in-law clarified that he had purchased gifts for everyone, including her. When pressed about the number of gifts he had bought for his daughter, he disclosed that she would be receiving approximately three substantial presents along with an equal number of smaller ones.
Without apparent cause, the mother-in-law became “outraged” and firmly communicated her disapproval, asserting that her grandchild did not merit such a multitude of presents. In a resolute stance, she declared, “A nine-year-old does not deserve that many gifts,” and went on to announce her intention to revoke the gift she had purchased for the child.
Expressing his dissatisfaction, the son-in-law protested, contending that the decision was unjust, particularly since the mother-in-law had previously promised to gift his daughter a doll—a gift the child eagerly anticipated. In response, the mother-in-law justified her actions by framing it as a lesson for the child, emphasizing that one cannot always acquire everything they desire in life.
While acknowledging the potential value of the lesson, the child’s father remained convinced that his daughter should not be deprived of abundant gifts, especially on Christmas—a day traditionally reserved for indulging one’s children. Regrettably, his wife urged him to relinquish the dispute, asserting that her mother’s gift for their child was ultimately hers to decide the fate of.
In a display of pettiness aligned with his mother-in-law and wife’s perspective, the Reddit poster opted for a retaliatory move. He took out the $600 designer bag, originally intended for his mother-in-law and a gift she had eagerly desired, and substituted it with a more modest $40 robe.
Upon unwrapping the gift, the mother-in-law expressed disappointment and questioned her son-in-law about whether the meager present was all he had given her, especially in contrast to the more extravagant gifts others received. Confirming that it was indeed his gift, he offered an apology if it fell short of her expectations, emphasizing that people cannot always receive the gifts they desire.
The Reddit user, identified as theantigrinch, perceived the mother-in-law’s actions as indicative of a mean-spirited nature, particularly considering her failure to fulfill the promise she had made to gift her granddaughter.
The son-in-law’s response stirred intense fury from his wife and mother-in-law, despite his conviction that the latter had received ample presents and didn’t need further indulgence. Seeking validation, he turned to Reddit users, inviting opinions on whether he was in the wrong. The responses from the online community varied.
One Reddit user, acknowledging the aptness of the username “theantigrinch” to describe the son-in-law’s sentiments toward his mother-in-law, expressed support for his retaliatory actions. The commenter suggested that the revenge could have been more effective if the mother-in-law had been made aware that the son-in-law had initially purchased the expensive bag for her.
A social media user contributed to the discussion, highlighting a contrast in their own experience with a mother-in-law. Unlike theantigrinch’s mother-in-law, theirs tended to overdo the presents, leading to annual arguments. The commenter commended the poster for refraining from giving the designer bag to his mother-in-law. In a humorous suggestion, someone else jokingly proposed gifting the bag to the daughter in front of the mother-in-law.
Another individual in the discussion characterized theantigrinch’s mother-in-law as someone displaying traits of being “abusive & entitled.” The observer noted that the wife seemed to have learned early on to tolerate her mother’s behavior. While finding satisfaction in the petty story, they foresaw potential repercussions for the wife in dealing with her mother, now that the parent realized she couldn’t take advantage of the son-in-law and was encouraged to support his wife.
Another Reddit user expressed the opinion that the poster was well within his rights to take the actions he did, emphasizing that it was his “prerogative” to choose to spoil his daughter. The commenter perceived theantigrinch’s mother-in-law as unkind, particularly for not fulfilling the promise made to her granddaughter and believed it was made worse by the absence of an explanation for the little girl. This sentiment reflected a disapproval of the mother-in-law’s behavior and a support for the son-in-law’s response.
What do readers think about this situation? Was the original poster right to deprive his mother-in-law of her Christmas present?