Watching someone who really deserves it get taken down a peg can be very gratifying. However a poster on Reddit’s popular “Am I The Assh*le?” forum recently wondered if she’d gone too far when dealing with her blowhard of a brother-in-law.
Basically the original poster’s (OP) brother-in-law is a classic narcissistic know-it-all who is coddled by his family as “brilliant” and dismisses everyone else’s ideas.
So some background: my BIL, 43, sees himself as an expert in all things and grew up with the kind of family that always praised him for being “brilliant” (he’s really not).
Personally I’ve always disliked him because he’s arrogant and always calls me “over emotional” whenever I disagree with him on anything. Instead of owning up to his mistakes when he’s caught, he’ll also pretend like he never said it or you just misunderstood him or you’re too “irrational” for him to continue the convo.
So one day when he was spouting some garbage about the stock market, OP gently aided in his humiliation by asking him to repeat it so that her friend—who happens to be a renowned financial expert—could publicly shut him down.
On our anniversary dinner last year, BIL was sat close to me and further down the table was one of my good friends who happened to be in town.
Well he was spouting some major BS about stock markets this time. He had just gotten really into investing and none of us really knew what he was talking about. I couldn’t pinpoint why it was wrong but it all sounded pretty made up to me.
This is the part where I could’ve been TA. So my friend is actually a fairly famous financial strategist. She has been watching stock markets for over 2 decades. She’s constantly on TV and her face has been on the cover of industry magazines.
Anyways, I asked BIL to repeat what he said to my friend (she was too far away to hear organically). I definitely did channel that initial conversation and I did NOT introduce her as an expert. I won’t drone on but you can imagine what happened. My friend refuted a few of his points fairly nicely, corrected some of his glaring misconceptions, he then blew up, told her to stop misquoting him and read more, and she finally dropped the bomb of what she does for a living. He mumbled about everyone “overreacting” over things he supposedly never said (despite everyone hearing him say those things minutes earlier) then stayed quiet.
It was glorious to see but it was also pretty apparent BIL was beyond humiliated because he made a lame excuse about how his stomach hurts and left dinner not 15 min later.
The posters’ relationship with her brother-in-law is now on ice, her husband wants her to apologize for aiding in the humiliation, and she wonders if she was in the wrong.
It’s been a long time now but BIL avoids me like the plague and my husband wants us to resolve things. He thinks I should take the initiative to apologize because I was the one that started it by redirecting the convo to someone I knew would be an expert over BIL. AITA for what I did? I didn’t need to make that convo happen, but it just seemed so perfect at the time I couldn’t resist. But I admit had I not done it none of this would be happening and it does feel petty looking back. AITA?
The responses were pretty consistent with the infallible moral judges that make up Reddit’s users ruling that the poster was NTA (Not The Assh*le) and that her brother-in-law deserved every ounce of humiliation that he received at her crafty hands.
NTA. Your BIL is probably the way he is because his family coddles his precious little ego! He needs to grow up!
Well said. Op, if you’re tempted to feel the slightest bit guilty, please realize you were doing your BIL a huge favor. Arrogance is simply a cover for insecurity and it effectively drives people away. Your BIL may feel like he’s seen as an expert and therefore intimidating, but most everyone sees he is a frightened child that will not play well with adults. Unfortunately, this overdue humiliation probably hasn’t actually taught him anything.
NTA – what is there to apologize for? Did you egg him on and ask him to start pontificating on the stock market or did he bring that subject up himself? If he started the topic, and all you did was pull in another interested party at the table, you have nothing to apologize for. (If you egged him on, then yes apologize for that, for the sake of family harmony. But still n t a ). If your friend was truly polite, your friend has nothing to apologize for. If BIL actually blew up and raised his voice angrily, HE should apologize.
NTA because you did him a favor.
It’s sad it took him until 43 to realize arrogance can be a liability, but better late than never. Also everyone has those moments where you realize you’ve been spouting BS in front of secret experts. It’s not that big of a deal, and “public humiliation” is an exaggeration.
And from what it sounds you guys never had a really good relationship to start, so what’s there to salvage with an apology. Maybe negotiate with your husband that you’ll be publicly polite with BIL from now on, but he still needs to get over his residual embarrassment on his own.
I think she also did him the basic favor of giving him financial advice from an actual expert. His own assinine advise might have ended up bankrupting him. Not like I think he would follow actual expert advice. It would reinforce the idea that he doesn’t know everything about everything. Narcissists don’t listen when someone implies that they might not be God’s gift to everything.
Others offered helpful responses OP could give instead of apologizing.
“I’m sorry you felt the need to leave. I thought we were all having a very interesting and informative conversation. I just didn’t realize you’d get so over-emotional! But don’t worry, this hasn’t changed my feelings about you one bit!”
Or use the old “I’m sorry you got upset”
This is good. Personally though, I would just continue not speaking to him. It’s so bizarre and childish to give silent treatment for a FULL YEAR over a social faux pas that was your fault. He’s a child. OP should be happy she doesn’t have to talk to him. I feel truly awful for the woman married to him.
It’s all in the framing, really. The poster describes her brother-in-law as such an arrogant and overbearing buffoon that it’s hard to argue that he didn’t deserve his public dressing down. Of course it could have been handled somewhat more maturely by simply introducing the friend and explaining her qualifications rather than setting him up for a fall but it’s still pretty hard to feel sorry for this guy. Sooooo…
The schadenfreude is real and it is spectacular.
Dude got called out for running his mouth and acting like an expert in something he clearly wasn’t, then didn’t want to admit he was wrong. NTA. pic.twitter.com/TeQqj15kpW
— Ashley Porciuncula (@ashleymarinep) May 4, 2020
NTA. BIL is a pompous know it all. Could have been a learning experience for him if he listened to your friend and sincerely associated others expertise. That’s on him. All you did was give him some rope. He hanged himself. pic.twitter.com/AakL4OttUF
— Em (@Emilygoestocamp) May 4, 2020
NTA, NEVER apologize please
yes, OP prompted her friend to humiliate BIL, but if he hadn’t been an obnoxious buffoon, it would not have been an issue pic.twitter.com/P4h7gRpMDb
— motherland fort simon (@SimonJadis) May 4, 2020