Older folks are often set in their ways. Younger generations accept and tolerate a lot from them, knowing they grew up in a different time and that things are unlikely to change.
However, sometimes, we tolerate too much from our elders, allowing them to get away with horrific behavior under the guise of not rocking boats, and “That’s just how they are.”
One woman refused to tolerate her older uncle’s behavior towards her child, but now he’s sulking and blaming her for his lack of family support, so she came to Reddit seeking validation for her actions.
Hosting a BBQ
The Original Poster (OP) explained that her older uncle (71) was hosting a family BBQ. She didn’t want to go due to her uncle’s “difficult” personality, but the gathering was important to her mother, so she decided to suck it up.
Daughter “Steals” a Banana
At the event, OP’s six-year-old daughter had the audacity to take a banana from the fruit bowl without asking.
OP didn’t say whether the fruit bowl was set up for guests, but she did hint that her daughter was in the wrong for taking the banana, and she was still learning proper manners.
Proper Response to Taking a Banana
There’s an appropriate response to a young child taking something without asking. You take the banana back and gently explain that she needs to ask for things before helping herself. Allow her to ask politely, and then give the banana back.
Uncle Blows Up
Apparently, the uncle doesn’t understand soft teaching, deciding instead that bullying and threatening the child would be a better lesson.
“He called her a thieving brat and started threatening to call the cops,” reported OP.
OP protected her daughter as a good mom should. She intervened, so the uncle turned on her instead.
“He told me to pack up my stuff and go because he didn’t want thieves in his home,” shared OP, adding that her uncle said the entire family (OP, her husband, and her daughter) were now banned from his house due to the “theft.”
She Fights Back
A furious OP finally let loose on the abusive uncle.
“I told my uncle that this intolerance was why he has no friends, and why we only visit his home out of obligation. I told him that without my mom’s family values, there wouldn’t be anyone at the BBQ,”
OP then gathered her family and left the BBQ.
Everyone Supports OP
Often, in situations like this, the offending party gets off scot-free. He feels powerful and in control by belittling and abusing someone, and everyone else kowtows to them, pretending the horrific incident never happened.
But not in this case.
After OP left, her cousin stepped up to tell the uncle how horrible his behavior was.
“She told him that she refused to eat at the home of someone who thought it is okay to bully a child,” said OP, adding that the rest of the family agreed, and they all left the BBQ.
But Now the Aunt is Harassing OP
According to the aunt (the uncle in question’s wife), the mass exodus was all OP’s fault for daring to stand up for herself and her child, not the uncle’s fault for bullying a child and blowing up in the first place.
The uncle is moping, sad that no one likes him, and both believe OP was too harsh.
She came to Reddit seeking an unbiased third party to determine if she was wrong.
You Were Right OP
Reddit flocked to OP’s defense. The uncle’s behavior was way out of line, to the point of absurdity.
Who threatens to call the police on a young child over a banana?
Uncle Mad His Behavior Isn’t Tolerated
The crux of the issue is the uncle’s bullying and abusive behavior. It’s likely that he’s used to the family bending to his will and couldn’t tolerate it when they collectively said they’d had enough.
Rocking the Boat
The story perfectly exemplifies many family decisions to “not rock the boat” when dealing with a toxic family member. For some reason, everyone decides to bend and sway to the whims of the one poisonous person for fear of “rocking the boat” if they say something.
They don’t realize that it’s the toxic person rocking the boat, and everyone else is running around trying to steady it. The destructive behaviors are normalized, and the lousy actor usually gets a sense of pleasure from watching everyone else kowtow to them.
We don’t need to tolerate abuse to keep the peace. Let the boat rock, like OP did. Eventually, everyone else will realize they don’t need to accept it either.