Internet Backs Woman Who Gave Husband Silent Treatment For Tattling On 'Cultish' Neighbor

People often give the "silent treatment" as a response to conflict or punishment. Kipling Williams, Psychology professor at Purdue University, told The Atlantic that "two in three individuals have used the silent treatment against someone else; even more have had it done to them." More so, "people use the silent treatment because they can get away with it without looking abusive to others, and because it's highly effective in making the targeted individual feel bad."

A Redditor who goes by the user name "u/Throwaway4773782" found herself in a bit of a situation that involved this non-communication. In the now-viral thread posted to "Am I the A**hole (AITA)," she explained an uncomfortable situation between herself, her husband, and the neighbor's youngest child.

"I (30F) and my husband (30M) recently moved into this neighborhood in this small town and we're not loving it. The whole town gives off extremely cult-ish vibes tbh," she wrote. "But we're stuck here for a bit because of work so we're sucking it up."

She continued: "Anyways, our neighbors are..interesting. They're super religious and very uptight. They give off extreme classist vibes and are just fake all around. They have around 6 children and the youngest is a boy around the age of 13 or 14. Let's call him 'James'. My husband and I often hear James playing guitar in his backyard almost everyday when his entire family is gone. We didn't think much of it but he's quite good."

Things got complicated when her husband discovered an opening in the fence between them and the "interesting" neighbors. He realized "James" had been sneaking into their backyard to hide his guitar behind the shed. She's certain it's his because they'd seen it and deduced his thin frame could slink between the opening in the fence slats.

"My husband was really upset. He said that the thought of someone sneaking into our backyard gave him the creeps and he didn't want the kid to do it anymore," she wrote. "I agree(d) but I also felt bad for James. I suggested we talk to James while his family was out and I was also planning on telling James to hand us the guitar when he wanted to hide it instead of sneaking into our yard."

The woman said this made her husband upset saying, "it wasn't our responsibility to keep his guitar safe and that we needed to tell his parents so that they can keep him out of trouble."

The conversation ended abruptly when the woman left for work. She assumed they'd circle back to the topic later. Instead, her husband went directly to the boy's parents to tell them what happened. The woman was "furious," adding she felt worse when she saw "James" crying in the backyard afterward.

"I used to be that kid whose parents didn't let her have any interests so I really felt for him. Ever since, I haven't spoken to my husband unless it was regarding bills, food etc," she said.

"He's calling me childish and petty which fine but he made a decision with no regards for my opinion or for what might happen to the kid. I ignored him which made him more upset. I told my best friend what happened and she told me that she doesn't agree with his approach but I should stop with the silent treatment."

After all of that, when she decided to have a talk with her husband, "he said I needed to get over it," the woman wrote, and "he's getting the silent treatment again." She took to Reddit to ask if she's the "A**hole" and the internet delivered the verdict.

Boy playing guitar
A boy plays guitar as he sits near a window. iStock/Getty Images Plus/Solovyova/

"ESH everyone besides the kid. Don't give your asshole husband the silent treatment. Give him the very loud treatment then divorce his cruel ass before he knocks you up. He'd be a horrible father," one person said.

"I feel so bad for James - it's not nice to grow up in a cultish family with six children, and what OP's husband did was really cruel. And OP didn't give her husband the silent treatment. She tried to talk to him about it (at least after a while), but he brushed it off," another added.

This reader totally agreed saying, "Yeah. She's not giving him the silent treatment. He's giving her the silencing treatment. She's said 'it is important to me to talk about X'. He's said (rudely): "there is nothing to talk about with X." So she's said: 'then I guess there's nothing to talk about'. His behavior is unilaterally setting the rules of conversation between them and she's just not accepting that."

Some think the original poster's husband actually likes the town.

"I'm reading the entire post and thinking 'I don't believe for a second that both of them are not happy with the town'. I'm sure OP isn't happy with the town, but I will bet my house that OP's husband loves the town. What he did to James is exactly the attitude of a religious small town cultish behavior. He fits right in like a glove," one person said.

"NTA, but I am actually concerned for those children if the boy is hiding something as simple as a guitar. I really hope nothing bad happens to him because your husband decided to snitch," another added.

Many others urged the woman to check on the safety and welfare of the boy while some suggested she buy him a new guitar. Newsweek reached out to the original poster for comment but did not hear back at the time of this post.