Dealing with a food allergy is absolutely no walk in the park — ask literally anyone with any food allergy. So being surrounded by people who don’t understand that you’re not being picky, that you simply cannot eat a specific food, can be infuriating. But most of the time, after a brief explanation, the situation at the dinner table sorts itself out.
However, that’s not always the case, as one woman has sadly realized. The woman in question, who dubbed herself “Disrespected Daughter-in-Law” (who we will refer to as DDIL), wrote to The Cut’s “Ask Polly” about what she should do about her careless in-laws, who refuse to acknowledge her food allergy. And honestly, there’s really no good advice anyone could give her that would solve her problem.
Even though Polly tried to direct DDIL to tackle the situation from a few different angles, we really don’t know if there’s any winning involved here. You’ll see what we mean when we recount DDIL’s honestly harrowing story.
The allergen in question? Mushrooms.
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, not much is known about mushroom allergies.
In fact, the amount of people worldwide who are allergic to mushrooms could span from 1% to as high as 10%.
This is because mushrooms are a form of fungi, and therefore, those who have mold allergies could also be more susceptible to a mushroom allergy.
Her in-laws were warned.
DDIL wrote that her husband explained her allergy to his parents when the pair first started dating, and DDIL was invited to several family meals.
Things were looking great for the new couple, as DDIL was invited to several family meals throughout their relationship.
However, “most meals we have shared at my in-laws’ house have had very limited options for me,” she wrote.
“Somehow, they manage to find a way to add mushrooms to almost everything.” Uh-oh.
These people obviously have a thing for the ‘shrooms.
“One time, they made a point to make a special plate of mushrooms and pass it around,” DDIL explained. “My mother-in-law said, very rudely, ‘I would’ve liked to add mushrooms directly to the salad, but SOMEBODY has problems with it!'”
Her mother-in-law even put mushroom powder in the mashed potatoes one evening. Um. Rude!
Is it really so hard to add mushrooms to an un-mushroomed salad? Salad dressing is served on the side all the time. And TBH, you don’t really need to put mushrooms on a salad, especially if someone sitting at the table could potentially keel over from eating one, you know?
Or, so she thought.
It turns out, DDIL’s in-laws didn’t really eat that many mushrooms before she appeared in their lives.
“What’s worse is my husband told me that mushrooms were not a common dish served by his parents before he started dating me,” DDIL reported.
So, this is starting to look like a personal attack, no? Like, are they literally trying to kill DDIL?
And when she spoke out, the in-laws did not take it well.
When DDIL was pregnant, her husband promised her that they wouldn’t do family meals with his parents unless they were totally allergen-free. When he informed his father of that new rule, his dad said, “We can’t promise that. Everyone except your wife likes mushrooms, and we’re not changing what we eat for one person.”
Her sister-in-law then called DDIL and her husband to tell them off for not attending a family party. She specifically yelled that mushrooms are “not a poison.” Well… actually, madam…
This food allergy situation has literally ruined the family dynamic.
“We no longer spend holidays with them and rarely speak,” DDIL wrote. “They don’t get to see their grandkids, even though they live very close by. His sister stopped talking to us.”
Luckily, DDIL’s husband has remained supportive and is upset by his parents’ refusal to understand his wife’s allergy.
Clearly, DDIL is at a loss about how to go about clearing this up. Luckily, Polly had a few great suggestions.
It’s not her. It’s them.
Obviously, DDIL is not to blame here. As Polly put it, “You’re not the cause of this rift. The cause of this rift is TRULY TERRIBLE HUMAN BEINGS… Your in-laws are next-level, off-the-charts batshit.”
Honestly. We couldn’t agree more.
We want to understand why they’re doing this. What is their M.O. here? Are we dealing with a jealous mother who thinks no woman is good enough for her son? Did DDIL unknowingly offend them in some way? The pettiness is unbelievable.
Because of their actions, we can only assume they are sociopaths.
It’s truly a simple thing: your daughter-in-law is allergic to mushrooms. Therefore, don’t serve mushrooms at the family dinner. Easy peasy — or, so it seems to the average human.
“Every now and then, a group of people assumesthe traits and behaviors of sociopaths,” Polly wrote in her response. “Maybe one person in the group completely and permanently lost their doughnuts several decades prior, and slowly, each member of the group learns that playing along with this singular menace is the only way to survive.”
Think of it like a gaslighting cycle that never ends.
Unfortunately, DDIL is trying to interfere with that cycle, and the gaslighters aren’t having it.
And we can only assume that they are, in fact, trying to kill DDIL.
“The important thing to know about your in-laws is that they’re literally trying to kill you,” Polly wrote. “How is it possible that they’re all engaged in this charade of loving the ever-living hell out of mushrooms out of nowhere, in spite of the fact that they know you could die if you eat one?”
Do they have cotton in their ears, and simply could not hear DDIL every time she explained that mushrooms are lethal? No!
There’s really no good explanation for this behavior.
Even so, should DDIL hold out hope for a bright future with her in-laws?
Polly suggested getting a literal doctor’s note to send to the in-laws, explaining just how toxic mushrooms are to DDIL’s health. “Maybe the doctor could describe in graphic detail exactly what would happen to your body if you were to eat mushrooms by accident,” Polly said.
Really paint the picture for them. Scare them, if need be.
“And if the doctor would also explain, in no uncertain terms, exactly what kinds of deeply ignorant, wildly passive-aggressive human beings would repeatedly attempt to present a known allergen to someone who should not come anywhere near said allergen, that would at least be gratifying and maybe even a little entertaining.”
And perhaps get help from a therapist.
Polly suggested that soliciting a letter from a therapist to send to the in-laws could help them see the gravity of the situation. “Explaining that no matter what mitigating circumstances they might ascribe to their behavior, they’ve done a lot of damage to their relationship with their son and with you, and a large effort, either individually or as a group, will be necessary to fix that damage.”
Sometimes people need to hear some facts from a third party in order for an idea to crack through their skull.
But the fact that her in-laws aren’t doing much to mend this burnt bridge isn’t a positive sign.
They haven’t made an effort to research mushroom allergies. They haven’t reached out to apologize for their absolutely bonkers behavior. And they haven’t even vowed to not serve mushrooms in order to see their own grandkids.
Obviously, something is truly amiss with these people. And we’re just not sure this relationship is worth saving.
Keeping all this in mind, as Polly said, “it’s hard to see why they’d suddenly wake up and look for understanding now.”
And even if they patch things up, it would still be hard to trust them.
Knowing how dead-set the in-laws are on testing DDIL’s food allergy, what’s stopping them from saying “oh, we understand,” and then putting chopped mushrooms on a pizza, or mushroom powder on literally anything?
Polly doesn’t think she should EVER trust the food.
“I would still be afraid to eat anything they served me,” Polly wrote. “I would still stop at Burger Doodle on my way to Thanksgiving dinner, and bring my own bottle of wine to drink, and maybe even hire someone to test every food served to me for traces of mushroom.”
That’s too much work to accommodate family who obviously doesn’t like you.
For now, all DDIL can do is mourn the loss of the relationship.
It’s sad. It’s truly sad that DDIL cannot have a bond with her in-laws, and it’s even sadder that DDIL’s husband and children cannot have that bond with their parents/grandparents.
However, again, this is not DDIL’s fault.
The only thing to do right now is mourn the loss of this relationship. Perhaps one day they’re snap out of whatever bizarre headspace they’re in. But for now, there’s no use beating a dead horse.
Immediately, social media users went crazy after reading the insane letter.
While this woman called it the “most unhinged Ask Polly letter” she had ever read, another had a very specific message for the Mother-In-Law.
This sentimental statement sides with the daughter and argues a case for attempted murder.
Honestly, the verdict is in… and we swear you’ll love your current in-laws a little more after this.
The tweets were hilarious.
And some wanted to turn it into a short story.
It was all too much for this Twitter user.
Does she have to die for her allergy to believed?
This woman even started googling “mushroom powder and mashed potatoes” spoiler: not a single recipe appeared.
While this is shocking, others shared some similar experiences and are heads are spinning.
Wait WHAT? Allergies are legitimate and came come later in life. Unfortunately, we found even more examples of this weird behavior that led a woman and her husband in the hospital.
This couple landed in the hospital.
As the saying goes, you can pick your friends, but you can’t pick your family.
DDIL should surround herself with people who understand her allergy (which really isn’t that hard to do), and are willing to accommodate her at group functions. Many people would be happy to leave mushrooms off the menu — trust us.
But, wow oh wow, we weren’t expecting so many people to share similar experiences.
Good luck, DDIL and everyone else in a similar situation. We hope you find a silver lining in this situation somehow.