'Heartless and Irresponsible': Internet Backs Aunt Refusing to Look After Autistic Niece

A woman is seeking "impartial" advice after being faced with a major life upheaval which has divided her family and her in-laws.

The woman posted her dilemma to Reddit's Am I The A**hole forum, under the username basicallyalazya**, as she revealed she tied the knot with her husband a year ago, after 15 years of dating.

She explained she quit her high-flying job a few months ago so they could start trying for a family, but sadly she suffered a miscarriage.

"I had a very successful career in a very physically and mentally demanding field. I had to travel a lot," she said.

But their plans were put on hold permanently when her sister-in-law, a single mom to a 17-year-old, died two months ago.

She explained: "My SIL was a nurse. She quit her job to take care of her daughter full time. Her daughter has a variety of issues including non-verbal autism, a series of development disorders like dyslexia and severe sensory issues."

Her 30-year-old husband became the teen's legal guardian as her in-laws were too old to take care of the girl, despite her "concerns."

"He told me that he would take care of her completely," she said. But it seems that as she was at home most of the time after leaving her job, she bore the brunt of the caring role.

The aunt claimed: "Since I am working from home part time most of the caretaking falls to me. She gets angry and has meltdowns all the time. She doesn't like the food I make and most of the time she ends up throwing to [the] food at the floor or at me. I am at my wits end and it is just so emotionally exhausting."

The teen's needs sound complex, with Medical News Today stating: "Autism is a spectrum diagnosis, which means that a person may have a range of symptoms that affect daily life in ways ranging from mild to severe. A person may have significant difficulties in one area, such as verbal communication, while their other abilities remain intact."

Although they stressed those who may seem non-verbal may be able to communicate in other ways.

"People should not presume that a nonspeaking autistic person does not understand speech because they cannot speak themselves or that they are incompetent," they said.

But things escalated on December 15, when her husband was working late and she was asked to make dinner.

The woman explained: "She is very picky about food. The slightest change in texture or taste from what she is used to can cause a meltdown. She threw the plate at my feet and I ended up bleeding. At that point, I called my husband and asked him to be home asap. He said he wouldn't be able to.

"I went up to my room and told him I am not dealing with this anymore. He came hours later and she was still crying. He was absolutely furious at me. He called he [me] heartless and irresponsible. I told his [him] I have had enough of both of their ungrateful behavior and told him that I am going to my mom's and I wouldn't be back until New Year's."

She followed through and stayed away, despite her husband panicking and calling every day for her to come home.

But seemingly sick of looking after the girl, she continued: "I finally came back and he told me that my stunt had forced him to all available leaves to stay home with her. He told me that he was glad I was back.

"I told him that I contacted my former company and got my old job back and it starts next Monday. It is in-office and requires lot of travel.

"He asked me who was supposed to stay at home as she cannot be left alone, he has no more leaves and full-time caretakers are too expensive. I told him he promised to take care of everything when he became her guardian and that it was his problem."

The post, shared on Monday, has amassed 16,000 upvotes, as people reckoned the aunt couldn't be expected to be a full-time carer for the girl.

CrystalQueen3000 thought: "That seems completely fair. You didn't sign up for this and your husband's approach has been unreasonable."

Knittnens commented: "I find it weird that OPs husband expects OP to stay as a SAHM when HE took on the responsibility of the girl... the only logical thing would be for him to quit his job.

"What bothers me most is that him expecting OP to take on such a mentally tiring (with lack for a better word) 'task' after having a miscarriage is messed up. Huge red flag for me."

Ex_ter_min_ate_ said: "He did take care of everything. He expected his wife to be the caregiver. There, all taken care of, nothing more for him to worry about."

While CrownPrincessChi added: "Yikes. That's true. How sad. 15 years of dating and one year married just to be ruined by family rubbish.

"True. They can't stay together if the disabled kid is there and he won't forgive her if he has to send the kid to a care facility. Poor OP."

Newsweek reached out to basicallyalazya** for comment.

File photo of woman on swing.
File photo of woman on swing. The internet has backed a woman refusing to take care of her autistic niece, after she was orphaned. AntonioGuillem/Getty Images