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Deaf Woman Deemed 'Negligent Monster' By SIL For Babysitting Miscommunication

Some situations of miscommunication are pretty harmless in nature. Oh, we were supposed to be meeting at 5 o'clock, not 6? Well...sorry you had to wait so long. My bad.

Others can be a bit more serious, and definitely warranted better communication skills than those that were used. Wait, I thought you said you wanted peanuts in the brownie. You're deathly allergic? Uh oh.

In most cases, the blame for a miscommunication can be placed on the person who...well, *misunderstood*.

But in this particular story, the person getting the blame happens to be hearing impaired, which certainly complicates things. And now she's wondering whether she truly is to blame for a mix-up that happened between herself and her sister-in-law that has caused quite the familial rift.

The woman in question shared her story to the subreddit r/AmITheAsshole to find out once and for all who the real asshole of this situation is.

As she wrote in the post, an accident when she was a teenager has left her legally deaf, although she can usually hear some things if she's wearing her hearing aid.

She explained, "Unless you’re shouting next to me, if I don’t have my hearing aid in, I can’t hear you."

Now that she's an adult, she lives on a horse ranch by herself but has recently taken in her brother, his wife, and their 6-month-old daughter during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As the woman explained, she was more than happy to let them stay with her during the crisis, as long as they respected her space. Particularly, her brother's wife, who she's not exactly BFFs with.

"Me and my SIL get along okay but we’ve never been close, she doesn’t know much sign language so I have to rely on lip reading when we talk."

Given that she usually lives alone with horses and a few other pets, the woman has gotten into the habit of not wearing her hearing aid while at home.

Which makes sense, if you think about it. She doesn't have to really answer to anyone, beyond the animals, so there isn't much need to wear the device.

But unfortunately, that's how this whole misunderstanding really started.

One weekend, the woman's brother had to go into the city to work, which left his sister alone with his wife and their infant daughter.

On Saturday morning, the she woke up and noticed that both her brother and his wife's cars were gone. Of course, she knew her brother was away for work, but her SIL's missing car didn't strike her as unusual, either.

After all, she's free to go wherever she wants, so perhaps she and the baby went out to run some errands.

Unfazed, the woman went about her usual morning routine, and later ended up outside training one of her horses.

It was around this time that she noticed her SIL's car return to the house. Since she was dealing with an animal, she stayed outside and let her brother's wife putter around the house alone.

"A bit later and the colt spooks bad and starts pulling away from me," the woman recalled in her post.

While trying to calm the apparently frightened horse, she felt a hand on her shoulder and was spun around to face her spitting-mad sister-in-law.

"[She] was screaming at me, I was only getting every other word and struggling to read her lips because she was talking so fast," the woman explained.

Apparently, there had been some *serious* miscommunication leading up to this aggressive confrontation.

The woman explained,

"The night before, at some point [my SIL] had told me she was going into town to shop but didn’t want to take the baby, so she asked if I could watch her. To her, I answered and she took it as a yes, so this morning she went shopping and left the baby for three hours."

That means that the entire time the SIL was gone, her infant daughter was alone inside the house.

Of course, the woman said she was immediately gripped with guilt, and tried telling her SIL that it was all a case of miscommunication.

"I told her I never heard her request, and had I known would have absolutely watched the baby."

However, the furious SIL refused to listen to the woman's explanations and branded her a "negligent monster."

In fact, she said that when the woman noticed both cars were gone, she should have checked the house to see if the baby had been left there instead of just assuming a 6-month-old was with her mother.

Which isn't exactly fair, but OK.

Although she tried to explain to her SIL how unreasonable of a request that really was, the woman was unsuccessful and the situation ended with a bunch of insults being hurled her way.

In the aftermath of the argument, she admitted she feels "awful", particularly considering that it was her poor niece who had been affected by this unfortunate misunderstanding.

"The baby had cried all morning and I had no idea," she wrote. "It makes me sad and sick thinking about it."

Any attempts at trying to reconcile with the SIL have been unsuccessful, and now even the woman's brother is upset with her.

She wrote,

"[He] agreed with his wife, that I should have checked the house before going out to take care of the animals and that his daughter comes first. I told them their baby is their responsibility and my animals are mine, and that SIL should have really made sure I understood her request before leaving. We fought, and now things are tense."

Now even the woman's parents have gotten involved, and are calling her "negligent" as well.

"I don’t feel like [the asshole] because I’m opening my home to them, I’m not a babysitter, and if SIL had a request I feel she should made it clear," she said. "But on the other hand my poor niece was left for three hours."

Wracked with guilt, and her entire family seemingly against her in this situation, the woman has asked the good people of Reddit one question: is she truly the asshole in all of this?

The consensus? No frickin' way.

Many users pointed out how unreasonably, not to mention irresponsible the woman's brother and sister-in-law were in this situation.

As this person wrote,

"Your brother and SIL should be ashamed. I don’t have children, but if I did I would never just leave in the morning before who I thought was going to watch them was up for the day and I double checked that they remembered/still agreed. You’re even more excused because you can’t hear!"

Others said the SIL should have made sure she got a verbal agreement from the woman before entrusting her to watch the baby all morning.

Especially considering the fact that when she left that day, the woman who was supposed to be babysitting her infant daughter wasn't even up yet.

"It's not like OP would wake up if the baby was crying," this person said. "SIL should have waited to leave until [she] was up and functional."

Overall, many users said the woman should seriously considering kicking her brother and his wife out of her home if they're going to continue acting like this.

This person definitely said it best:

"Honestly, I would tell them they need to go back to their own home if they’re going to treat you so unfairly when you’re sheltering them out of the kindness of your heart. I feel bad for your niece, but this was in no way on you."

The woman has since responded to a few comments and shared that she's never even babysit her brother's daughter before.

In fact, she said she's never babysat anyone because the responsibility worries her.

"I’ve always refused due to my hearing loss because I’m scared something might happen and I would have no idea unless it was loud."

What do you think of this situation? Do you agree with the people of Reddit or are you siding more with the SIL? Let us know!

h/t: Reddit