Disabilities take many forms, some visible and others not. What they all have in common is they alter a person’s ability to function in a society that has set a baseline centered around the average physical, mental and emotional abilities of the population.
Colorblindness is an invisible disability that may have minimal to major effects on a person’s life, depending on the type and severity.
But what if your family thought a person’s colorblindness was a joke? What if it was something they tested and teased another family member about?
A man is facing that issue with his wife—who is colorblind—and his sister—who thinks it’s funny. After a confrontation with his sister, he turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for feedback.
Redditor AITA-colorblindwife asked:
“AITA for bringing up my sister’s dead daughter?”
The Original Poster (OP) explained:
“My sister’s daughter passed away at the age of 9 about three years ago. It took an extremely huge toll on my sister and it was obviously devastating for the entire family.
“My late niece wore these thick glasses as her eyesight wasn’t the best—even at a really young age.”
“My sister has never truly recovered from this loss—no one is basically allowed to mention her late daughter’s name, otherwise she breaks down, or reacts really aggressively.”
“My wife is colorblind. She’s a strong deutan, but it doesn’t seem to affect her life that much.”
Deutan—a subset of deuteranopia—is a red-green colorblindness with colors near or related to the green spectrum the most affected.
“However, she is a little insecure about this fact as it makes her feel less than. I always try to reassure her that she’s perfect just the way she is.”
“When my sister discovered this fact, she would always tease my wife. At first, it was mostly harmless—but then it got really annoying really fast.”
“My sister would hold up different colors of fabric that were all within the same hue more or less, or she would jokingly ask my wife if she wanted to go strawberry picking, or hold up those paint strips and ask my wife to differentiate between the shades.”
“Everyone thinks it funny, but my wife is very uncomfortable with it. I told (more like took her aside and yelled) my sister repeatedly to stop doing that, never made my wife participate in these stupid tasks for my sisters enjoyment, and distanced myself from the family a bit.”
“I remember one time we were driving back from my sister’s place and my wife just broke down crying in the car because she felt like she was a big laughing stock and was very frustrated with herself for not being able to identify the shades.”
“I essentially ripped into my sister after that one incident and kept contact to a very bare minimum after that.”
“My sister invited us to her small family get-together and—once my wife was 150% that she was okay with attending—I agreed on the condition that my sister wouldn’t make any colorblind ‘jokes’ or jabs at my wife. My sister agreed and promised, and we went.”
“Everything was going well at first—my wife was enjoying herself—which meant I was enjoying myself.”
“Until everything wasn’t going well.”
“My wife made a comment about how I don’t like driving, and my sister spurred on the comments. (How do you see traffic lights? Can you tell the color of the car next to you etc.)”
“My wife answered all my sister’s questions (questions she’s probably been asked 700 times) but then, my sister started laughing at my wife’s answers—essentially making fun of her, my mom was getting in on the fun too.”
“I was bothered, disappointed in myself for trusting my sister to refrain from making comments. I basically interrupted my sister, asking her, ‘How would you feel if (my late niece’s name) was getting made fun of for her eyesight?’”
“My sister was silent.”
“My sister got extremely mad at me. My wife and I left, and everyone from my family is mad at me.”
“My wife thinks I probably shouldn’t have mentioned her daughter.”
Redditors were asked to pass judgment by voting:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors decided the OP was definitely not the a**hole.
“NTA. It’s a terrible situation that you were put in after being assured that you wouldn’t be put in that position.”
“Sometimes people don’t realize the implications of their actions. By bringing up something painful, your sister will certainly pause and reconsider when she is tempted to say something smart.”
“It’s definitely harsh, but I think it will have the desired long term impact. If your sister is at all mature, she will contact you or your wife to apologize for nitpicking at something painful for your wife.”
“You should also consider contacting her to apologize for going there, but you were tired of having to help your wife recover from crying bouts and after you explicitly confirmed that she wouldn’t do that this event, it happened anyway and your mom even piled on.”
“It’s just rude, and bullying your wife is unacceptable. People have problems beyond their ability to control. Don’t be cruel.” ~ kellyma1973
“NTA and your whole family sucks for laughing at your wife. None of those ‘jokes’ are the least bit funny.” ~ Final_Commission4160
“Agreed. And you didn’t mock her daughter like they mocked your wife. You asked her a question—and a valid one.” ~ wonderingafew888
“It wasn’t even nasty. He was asking for empathy.”
“If her daughter had been the butt of everyone’s jokes, I guarantee that she’d be on that faster than a fruit fly on watermelon.”
“It was a question in empathy not dredging up painful topics.” ~ Tashianie
“Seriously. The entire family was laughing at OPs wife for her disability.”
“That’s horrible. That’s middle school behavior honestly.”
“OP simply pointed out how horrible it would feel to the mother if someone mocked his niece for her eyesight and suddenly he’s the a**hole?”
“Nah. This is classic projection.” ~ pumpkinbitch923
“Exactly. If he had said something like ‘good thing your kid died since you can’t handle people’s disabilities’ or something like that, totally AH.”
“But this was a valid question, trying to invoke her understanding and compassion for why this wasn’t okay.”
“His sister needs therapy, she’s going to end up a bitter, hateful old lady by clutching her grief to her chest like she is.” ~ crystalnoellyn
The OP provided an update.
I see how I was the asshole. My wife actually got more mad at me after she had some time to herself to think about it.
She’s really happy and grateful that I stood up for her, and I probably had the best intentions, but I shouldn’t have asked that question as my sister is probably dwelling on that for way too long.
My wife is planning to send my sister a card, a box of chocolate, and some homemade baked goods as an apology for my behavior. My wife feels guilty about everything, but we agreed after we send the stuff over, we wouldn’t be talking to my sister for a while.
I know the top comments are all NTA, but I looked through the ESH comments and I agree with both of them.