Relatively Bratty

by admin on September 5, 2011

My mother’s sister, Gayle, is the oldest of three kids and has a streak for wanting everything her way. If she doesn’t, she’ll go into tantrums that rivals most toddlers. Needless to say, this has put the brakes on numerous Thanksgiving dinners, family vacations, birthday parties, and other family events over the years. I am the target in this story however.

In July of this year, my mom organized a girls getaway which all the girls on her dad’s side of the family would send the weekend together since we haven’t had a family reunion in years, we were all in different stages of life (college, new professional, new mom, retired, etc), and it would be great to reconnect without having to accommodate the guys. My mom emphasized very heavily that only the girls were allowed to attend this weekend but there was some leniency granted to two of my cousins because they were still nursing.

My mother picked a 4 bedroom, 3 bathroom fully furnished rental house (my “bed” was one of the sofas in the living room) in a large city two hours away for the 13 people that would attend the weekend event because she wanted a casual family atmosphere as opposed to everyone going off to do whatever. (And I will say it was very nice. All the rooms were decorated, the pantry was stocked with things you might overlook while packing for a long vacation, the living room had a 72″ flat screen TV with an Xbox and a large DVD collection.)

The first night (Friday night) was uneventful. After several hours of driving, everyone just wanted to find their bed and sleep.

Saturday was spent shopping. I spent most of the day with my cousins Tara, Gayle’s oldest daughter, and Tamara, my uncle’s daughter. Saturday night we had a pool party complete with food, tropical drinks, and desserts. We stay up late (about 2 in the morning) eating and drinking around the pool deck.

The only plan for Sunday was to lounge around and talk… at least that was plan. Sunday morning 6am, I awake up to what can only be described (by me) as a fire alarm. It’s Gayle. “Wake up! Wake up! Time for church!” Now I was raised to never miss church (yet I find that Sunday mornings are the best day to sleep in) but this threw me off. Growing up, church and vacation never went together. If you went or are on vacation, it was understandable that you won’t make it to church that week. Plus we were in a city that none of lived in so what’s this church she speaks out?

In my groggy state, I hear tell me to put in her DVD. She hands me a DVD and again tells me to put in her DVD. I look at DVD and information on the disc states that it was video recording of a message that was taped in 2007. As I’m trying to get out of my groggy, rudely awaken, “wtf is going on” state, Aunt Gayle throws a book at me and demands to know why I’m not listening to her. That woke me up. I stare at her, reply “I’m ignoring you” (not that I was before but after the book throw, I did not feel any obligation to help her), hand the DVD over to my cousin Monica (who proceeds to fumble with the TV and DVD player in the living room to put the stupid DVD in), and get my stuff to get dress because there is no way I can go to sleep after that.

As I’m getting dressed, I get confronted by both by mother and my cousin Tamara to apologize for hurting her feelings. That I should have answered her and did what she asked. When I told them about the book throw, they insisted that even though she was wrong, I should apologize because she is really upset. I didn’t. I’m sorry. I can deal with children throwing things to get someone’s attention but a woman in her mid-50s throwing things because someone isn’t moving quick enough is inexcusable. And to then rant to both your sister and your niece about the incident like you were completely innocent is even more sickening. (No one watched the DVD by the ways. She tried watching. Anyways…

My brother lives a couple minutes away from the rental house so he drops by Sunday night to hang out “with the laaaadieees” for awhile. Most of the family hasn’t seen him in years so they are thrilled that he would drop by for a moment. He ends up staying for a few hours. Long enough to update everyone on his whereabouts, career plans, watch a movie, play several card and board games, and have dinner with us. He leaves around midnight.

Monday morning, all the girls have breakfast, everyone packs up, and everyone leaves by noon. My mom and I decided to stay in town for an extra day. Shopping of course.

As we’re shopping, mom gets a call from Aunt Gayle… and she is livid.

#1: She was upset that nothing was planned for the weekend. There should have been an actual agenda. She was bored the whole weekend. The plan was to interact with each other, not be entertained by an outside source. And not surprised with the boredom. She’s the type of house guest that expects to be entertained the whole time even if she’s been there hundreds of times. Grandma hates it when she decides to “just drop by” because she expects grandma to drop everything she has planned for that day to entertain her.

#2: She’s angry that my brother dropped by and then would not leave. “It was a girl’s weekend so he had no right to come over.” (Okay, she’s right. Girls’ weekend. He should have stayed home.)

#3: She hated the pool party. She doesn’t swim, she hated the food options, she hated the decoration, and she thought alcoholic drinks were inappropriate for the event (We asked what she wanted for the party, she said it didn’t matter so we got food that was typical for a party. When I brought up the idea of decorating for the pool party, she immediately said that she hates Hawaiian themed parties which made decorating pretty difficult. Eventually I gave up and did a Caribbean theme which looked a little Hawaiian but everyone else loved it. I still think it’s weird that she would hate the Hawaiian theme yet she went to Hawaii for her honeymoon and has gone to several Caribbean cruises over the years. And all of the drinks at the party were non-alcoholic. We didn’t want the new moms to feel out of place. She was the only one that didn’t get in the water because she was too fat for a swimsuit. She wasn’t only that didn’t swim but no big deal.)

#4: She’s livid because not only did I ignore her but that I was telling lies about her. She did not throw anything at me and she is appalled that I would make up such a lie. Her side of the story is that she asked me politely to put the DVD in, I rolled my eyes, said “I’m ignoring you”, and handed the DVD to someone else. (I could have made an eye rolling movement while trying to wake up but I don’t know what I look like when I’m in that state so who knows.)

She then demanded that I apologize to her both for ignoring her and for lying about her. “I’m an adult and she is a child.” She then tells my mom that she has supported all these years but not anymore. She is done with me.

I told my mom that I refuse to apologize for something I did not do. She’s the one that’s acting like a baby, she’s the one that started ranting about me to other people instead of talking to me directly (which weakens her defense in my opinion), and she called me a child which set me off. I’m 26 years old, I took time off work, I paid my share to participate in this weekend event, I drove there, and I paid for my share while I was there (food, drinks, snacks, etc). Maybe to her I’m a child but money talks and I am not a child.

I then raised the question of what support did she give me. She never attended any of my graduations (high school or college). She never gave me anything, not even words of encouragement, when I was in college. When I got fired from my job last year and was struggling to pay bills while job searching, I had several people help me out. She wasn’t one of them. She had her “own problems to deal with”. She then went on a cruise with her boyfriend. Pretty bad timing in my book.

I have no real interaction with my dad’s family so I spend a lot of time with my mom’s family. Why would I start anything with the side of the family I actually like? And she writes me off over a DVD. She didn’t leave her husband until he cheated for the 4th time which resulted in a child. Her son did 5 years in prison total for several things and she still contends that he’s a good person. Her best friend stole a large sum of money from her bank account and ruined her credit with a slew of credit card purchases but she still talks to her. I’ve brushed off years of nasty comments her daughters have said regarding me. But I hesitate to put in a video and she’s done. Really? Seriously.

It’s been over a month since the girls’ weekend and Aunt Gayle has yet to talk to my mom since the rant phone call but has ranted to grandma twice since then. My mom says that that is pretty typical. Mom has been on the receiving end of many of her sister’s rants. “The littlest thing will set her off.” Usually something will happen that she takes as a slight to her, she’s go into a tantrum and rant to whoever will listen to boost her ego, then she’ll call a couple months later when everyone else has moved on to demand an apology through force. “The whole process is very draining. She expects everything to go according to the plan that’s in her head and when people don’t obey, she gets very upset even if the slight was unintentional. She always believes she’s right for whatever justifiable reason in her head. And she will demand apology for the wrong but that will resolve nothing. She will expect you to apologize over and over and over and over for went wrong. But if she does something wrong, oh well. Life goes on.”

I’m looking forward to Aunt Gayle calling me. 0831-11

The few comments I’m going to make at this time pertain to the OP’s expectation that she is entitled to other people’s money when she was financially struggling.   Aunt Gayle owes the OP nothing in terms of money.  What Aunt Gayle does with her money is none of the OP’s business.  One cannot demand respect as an adult by claiming that contributing one’s own monetary share of the weekend getaway qualifies as adult behavior but then somehow have an expectation that an adult should expect financial help in times of difficulty.

There is a whole lot of history to this relationship that predates the weekend getaway incident.

{ 75 comments… read them below or add one }

Eccentric Lady September 5, 2011 at 3:50 am

Man, OP, I feel for you, I really do – I have a sister like that too. The way things are going in my life at the moment she’s the last person I really want to deal with for she knows how to take out what little air I got going in my sails at the moment.

Best thing I guess is just to avoid her – caller ID is your best friend I guess. From how it sounds though, it’d seem you’re almost – almost – spoiling for a fight/confrontation. Your mileage may vary, but with my fanged drama llama it only makes things worse.

Why am I reminded of that scene with Zazu and Mufasa from The Lion King?

“There’s one in every family sire. Two in mine, actually. And they always manage to ruin special occasions…”

Too bad Zazu’s advice about makin’ them into throw rugs isn’t applicable at times!

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Lilya September 5, 2011 at 3:57 am

Well done, OP. Stand your ground. Maybe you could talk to your mother? I can’t believe she went and told you to apologize to Auntzilla!
Scratch that, I can’t believe your family puts up with her! Don’t let her get away with this.

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ellesee September 5, 2011 at 4:59 am

*snip* There goes the relationship ties with Aunty :o)
Sadly, it seems that she’s been getting away with it through all these years by family members who would rather not deal with it. I think it’s about time someone stood up to her antics! Her fanny should be glued to a seat in E-Hell.

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Sophs September 5, 2011 at 5:31 am

To be honest, the tone of this post sounds a bit bratty and childish itself. I don’t see how mentioning how your Aunt didn’t leave her husband until he cheated on her and being “too fat to fit into a swimsuit” is relevant to your argument at all. It sounds like there has been tension between you and her aunt for a while which may have bubbled up during this extended weekend. Perhaps this is why she didn’t choose to help you out during your financial difficulties. Her going on a cruise with her boyfriend and what she does with her money is not your concern or your business. Perhaps the Aunt is a piece of work, but in this case I question the OP’s credibility. It would be beneficial to hear the story from another person’s perspective.

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Dorothy Bruce September 5, 2011 at 7:01 am

The woman wakes you up out of a sound sleep and actually expects you to do something BEFORE you had a cup of coffee to wake you up? Your aunt sounds like an extremely spoiled brat. Personally I don’t think telling her you were ignoring you was wrong. I would have broken the DVD myself.

As far as that “apology” she’s demanding, I would tell her to take a flying leap through a rolling donut and that she’ll get an apology from you when people in H-ll get air conditioning.

She’s behaved this badly because the family has been afraid to deal with her themselves. It’s about time someone did.

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josie September 5, 2011 at 7:46 am

She’s a high maintenance person and they are exhausting to be around. If she wants an apology so that she can move on with life, how about “I’m so sorry that you got upset” or “sorry that you didn’t have a good time”. I don’t get the urgency of the putting the dvd in the tv since it was prerecorded. It’d be the same 5 minutes from now. The whole incident isn’t worth writing off family members……

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Aje September 5, 2011 at 7:58 am

Good riddance to bad rubbish. Who cares if she speaks to you again?

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Typo Tat September 5, 2011 at 8:08 am

OP, if your aunt is an etiquette offender, you’re equally as bad.

I could write a list of everything that’s wrong with this post, but I won’t. I just want to tell you that your aunt, with whom you’re not even a bit close, DOES NOT OWE YOU MONEY. Your assumption that her cruise money would be better spent on you, is absolutely ridiculous.

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essie September 5, 2011 at 8:48 am

Dang! And all t his time I thought (hoped) I had the only one in the world (she died several years ago). Mine got the apology she wanted but, at that moment, she lost all the love she could have ever gotten from me. I hope it was worth it.

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QueenofALLThings September 5, 2011 at 8:48 am

Ok, so Gayle is difficult and attention grabbing. You don’t need to feed the drama.

However – this post is basically a rant. Gayle’s husband’s and son’s issues have nothing to do with the incident at hand. Neither does the fact that Gayle didn’t attend the OPs graduations, or that she’s “too fat to fit in a swimsuit”.

Sounds to me like you just need to avoid spending time with her.

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--Lia September 5, 2011 at 9:04 am

You might find some information and comfort from researching personality disorders. That’s not to say I’m diagnosing from here, but reading up on the subject might give you some insight and some coping strategies.

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Leigh September 5, 2011 at 9:26 am

If I were you would tell her exactly how I feel about her behavior, as nicely as possible, and that you won’t be entertaining any more of her childish tantrums. What a negative person to have around!

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m September 5, 2011 at 9:35 am

Follow your own advice and ignore her.

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Zhoen September 5, 2011 at 10:20 am

Next time, instead of an expensive family event – with drinking and excessive closeness, sent the whole clan to therapy. No one mentioned, including LW, are acting in anyway sanely. This goes way beyond lack of politeness, this is toxic. Aunt is an abusive bully, no question, but everyone else is behaving badly in reaction.

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Enna September 5, 2011 at 10:36 am

I agree with QueenofALLthings – Aunty is hard work but being rude about her is uncalled for: espeially saying she’s too fat to wear a swimsuit – that’s nasty. She be a large lady but if she doesn’t want to or can’t swim or scared of swimming there is no need to be rude. As for claiming to have supported you – just point out that you have receieved no such support but don’t go into a long list. As for the graduation did you invite her before or after she went on a cruise?

Okay she might have waited for her husband to cheat on her 4 times but she might love him and love is blind and there is a chance she might not have been in a position to leave him. As for her son – what did he do and how long ago was it? If it is years ago he might have changed. As for her firend who ruined her credit rating – again it’s a bad judgement on her part but she may not have known until it was too late. I’m uncertain about how any of this has any releavnce to your story unless you are saying this has made her a bitter person towards you and others.

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Sarah Jane September 5, 2011 at 11:00 am

If this woman has been such a killjoy all these years, I’m not sure why the family, including the OP, continues to make plans with her. It almost sounds to me like they welcome the drama.

OP, you expect to be treated like an adult, but in many ways you don’t sound like one. The tiff with the DVD sounds a little childish, and then you went and involved your cousin Monica. Why would you let your aunt dictate how you decorate? Why does the fact that your aunt didn’t offer you money to pay your bills strike such a chord with you?

You clearly don’t like the woman, so I’m not sure why you don’t just steer clear of her.

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semi-regular commenter remaining anon September 5, 2011 at 11:01 am

I disagree with the Admin over thinking that the OP wanted money from Gayle. Rather, it sounded like the OP was giving an example of how unsupportive Gayle has been throughout the years, despite Gayle’s claim to the contrary.
“She then tells my mom that she has supported [me] all these years but not anymore. She is done with me.” vs. the anecdote about not receiving any support, emotional or financial.

It’s hard dealing with family members we dislike. I particularly don’t like my spoilt, bratty youngest sister in law. But we’re polite in company and I save my ranting for my husband (who is in a position to say something to her) and close friends later.

I wouldn’t back down fro confrontation with Gayle. But that’s just me. I reckon being polite and ignoring her would be the best option :)

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Livvie September 5, 2011 at 11:15 am

I don’t understand why anyone thought this weekend was a good idea to begin with. If Gayle likes constant stimulation, why plan to spend a weekend essentially doing nothing while cooped up in a house with her?

It just seems that this whole weekend was asking for drama. Sometimes we need to work with what we have- sure, it would be lovely to have a cozy family where all the girls just want to hang out, but you don’t have that family. You have a family that requires hotel rooms with locking doors, printed agendas in rooms with at least a couple group activities, and ample ways to escape Gayle- and that could still add up to a fantastic weekend.

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L.J. September 5, 2011 at 11:17 am

I don’t think it’s fair to criticize OP for the cruise comment. Look at, “She then tells my mom that she has supported all these years but not anymore.” What followed were facts to bolster the OP’s statement that her aunt had never supported her in any way, emotionally, financially, or even through words of encouragement.

Stay strong, OP! Don’t let the rest of the family bully you into apologizing to your awful aunt to “keep the peace”. She’ll just do something even more outrageous in the future to punish you for ever daring to stand up to her.

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mstigerlily September 5, 2011 at 11:39 am

Am I the only one who read the comment about the swimsuit as “she is too fat for a swimsuit”, ie: Gayle :thinks: she is too fat for a swimsuit.

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Cat September 5, 2011 at 11:54 am

Most of the comments make me think that we all bring our own family experiences to this sort of situation, and it colors out thinking. I side with the OP because I was raised with a brother who leaves this aunt sitting in the shade. He too was able to do and say whatever he wanted no matter what damage it did to anyone else. And I have an uncle whose son is a convicted pedeophile but uncle pretends he made a little mistake and sonny doesn’t deserve a 25 year sentence. I simply decided not to be where ever brother was and to ignore uncle.

As to the crazy aunt who is “too fat to fit into a swimsuit” (I don’t think that was mean to write as I am too fat for a swimsuit and those are the words I use when anyone asks. It’s not whaling season.) I would say that I am sorry she is offended and I will understand if she prefers to avoid me in the future.

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Serenity S September 5, 2011 at 12:04 pm

Aunt was in the wrong because of throwing a book at OP and then lying about it. I feel that throwing things at people is abusive behavior. But in OP’s post, OP also comes off as rude and insensitive. Making comments about someone’s weight issues, child, and marital problems is quite cruel.

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Erica September 5, 2011 at 12:39 pm

I think siding with the OP would only fuel a well lit fire. This could have been edited down to a concise breach of ettiquette but was rather well worked up anger on the part of the OP. OP- get over it, people know what she is like. You will only make yourself look and feel worse if you continue to rage.

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ellesee September 5, 2011 at 1:04 pm

I agree with “semi-regular commenter remaining anon.”

I don’t believe OP expected money from Gayle–OP was listing points to counter Gayle’s false claims. If anything, OP may have been rude about commenting how she was too fat to be in a swimsuit. As for revealing too much about Gayle’s life, OP is again listing points as to the irrationality of Gayle writing OP off (DVD vs cheating husband). I think it was TMI, but like another poster said, this sounded more like a raw ranting (because sometimes we don’t censor ourselves in a good long rant). I suggest next time, OP, takes a step back, and edit the email before submitting.

While I’m sure OP does not want to spend any time with this vile woman, keep in mind that she is just one person in the family tree. Other, like OP’s mom, feel like they must include everybody or keep peace ALL the time.

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Carly September 5, 2011 at 1:05 pm

semi-regular – I agree, that comment about financial help seemed less to me like a statement of entitlement than a further example of Gayle’s hypocrisy.

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Madhatter September 5, 2011 at 1:17 pm

I agree with semi-regular commenter remaining anon (awesome name btw). While I didn’t care for small parts of the OP, it sounded more like she was saying, “Aunt Gayle has never supported me, financially or otherwise” in response to Aunt Gayle’s claims that she’s always been supportive. It didn’t come across as, “She should have given me her money” to me. YMMV.

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SV September 5, 2011 at 2:07 pm

OP, although I am on your side here ( we all have at least one relative or friend who feels the world should revolve around them ) I must say that you added some details to your post that were not only irrelevant but made you come across as somewhat…childish. The comment about your aunt being too fat to fit in a swimsuit as well as the comments about her son in prison and her husband being a cheater, not to mention the fact that you told us that she did not support you financially when you needed it, were unnecessary and all have a slightly catty feel to them. It detracts from the purpose of the story and makes you seem less of an innocent victim.
That being said, you cannot control how others behave, especially adult relatives. So long as you feel your own behaviour was above reproach I think you should simply try to ignore the drama and move on.

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Auryn Grigori September 5, 2011 at 2:33 pm

I do take issue with the “too fat for a swimsuit” comment, and find the digs on Gayle’s family to be rude, even if accurate. However, the OP did not say that Gayle owed her money or support, but Gayle had said that she supported the niece in question. I do think that “What support?” is probably the question I would ask if a relative had claimed to support me, but didn’t.

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just sayin' September 5, 2011 at 2:34 pm

I think that it should be pointed out that the money issue was brought at the end of a list of ways that the Aunt did NOT “support” the OP. And the part about paying her own seemed (albeit clumsy) a way of disputing the “child” comment.

Money seems to be the smallest issue in this rant, but the one jumped upon by everyone.

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Merrilee September 5, 2011 at 3:01 pm

I think that the LW was trying to point out that Aunty was claiming she “supported OP for all of these years and now she’s done” and she hadn’t done anything supportive for her – nothing verbal, nothing physical, nothing financial. I don’t think she was expecting money from her ….. just making a counter to the argument that she was getting support from Aunty all those years.

Anyone who threw a book at me would not get an apology . Especially not in this case.
She had to wake people up so they could conform to her agenda, and then she gets upset when people who want to sleep in don’t move fast enough, so she hurls books at them.

Yeah. I’d not be talking to Aunty, either.

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Adrian September 5, 2011 at 3:18 pm

Many people here are saying that the OP sounds childish and is at fault for a few things she mentioned, such as the money the aunt ‘owed’ her or her aunt being ‘fat’. I think this is less of the OP being rude, and more that her writing skills are not perfect.

When she said her aunt was ‘fat’, I believe, from her following sentence “She wasn’t only that didn’t swim but no big deal”, that she meant to write that her aunt believed she was fat, but in reality no one else viewed her that way.

As for the ‘owing’ money issue, it seems the OP was simply trying to prove that the aunt had not given her any support. She is not claiming that she SHOULD have given her money in her time of financial need, only that she should not claim she has helped her in times of need when she has in fact not.

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dirtyhippiegirl September 5, 2011 at 3:26 pm

This post seemed like a really long rant about a difficult family member and less of an etiquette faux pas situation.

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Nadine September 5, 2011 at 3:35 pm

I was on board until the LW complained that Aunt Gayle went on a cruise instead of helping her with her bills.

Aunt Gayle can go on as many cruises as she wants. She doesn’t owe that money to an unemployed niece.

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Pickles September 5, 2011 at 3:50 pm

I think that the OP was mentioning Aunt Gayle’s vacation, etc., when the OP lost her job to underline the point that Gayle has done nothing to “support” the OP. It’s a fairly common accusation by hypertwits who are in the wrong to wind up their diatribes by pretending they’re done ever so much for the “bad” person, and (dramatically) NOW they won’t “support” the bad person any longer! (Exit, stage left, in a swirl of draperies and ire.) There’s really nothing to be done with a person like Aunt Gayle; just ignore her full-throated silliness as best one can.

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Pickles September 5, 2011 at 3:52 pm

Zhoen, the drinks the OP mentions were non-alcoholic–I don’t think anyone’s behavior can be attributed to boozing.

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Sunshine September 5, 2011 at 4:01 pm

I have to agree with anon here. It sounds like the OP was simply pointing out that no, Gayle did not support her in the way she claimed, not that she somehow ought to have given her anything. I also saw the background information she gave as trying to establish some of her aunt’s character and history.

Even the comment about the swimsuit appears as though she was quoting her aunt, not taking a shot at her aunt’s size. I’ve seen 400 lb women happily run around in a bathing suit, and 120 lb women saying they’re too fat.

It looks to me like Aunt Gayle is just a diva with major personality issues, and the OP is well rid of her.

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Starchasm September 5, 2011 at 4:17 pm

I also disagree that the OP wanted money. All of her anecdotes were given to show that 1) the aunt did not “support” her the way she claimed, and 2) a lot of people have treated aunt far worse than the OP, but she forgave them and continued to maintain contact, yet she chose to cut off the OP over a video.

The only thing that raised my eyebrows was the “too fat to fit in a swimsuit”, but that may have been aunt’s own words.

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Bean September 5, 2011 at 4:26 pm

I definitely have to stick up to OP for this one. First of all she never said she was entitled to any money from her Aunt, however her aunt can’t then claim to have supported her all these years, when she definitively hasn’t. That’s a phrase that people love to throw around in an argument and it’s just a tactless emotional attack.

Some of the things OP said weren’t neccesary, calling her aunt’s weight into question for one, but that was something she did here, venting to us on a message board. And she was using that as an example to show that the party itself wasn’t flawed, but rather her aunt seemed bound and determined not to enjoy herself.

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Cindy September 5, 2011 at 4:35 pm

I agree with semi-regular anon. I did not get the impression at all that she thought she was entitled money, but she was giving an example of how many family members helped her out and this aunt did not despite saying she’d supported her.

I also disagree with people upset about her “too fat for a swimsuit” comment. I read it as spoiled, attention grabbing aunt refused to put on a swimsuit because she thought she was “too fat” /was fishing for compliments and was the only one stopping herself from having any fun at the pool party.

I do think the post got a little ranty at the end, but I don’t think it’s necessarily unwarranted. It sounds like OP has a lot of pent-up frustrations and nowhere else to go to with it because the whole family’s attitude is “Oh well, that’s how she is.” Her aunt’s personal problems may not be relevant to the story, but anyone who would say they wouldn’t be offended at being written off by someone who has been very forgiving of other people is lying.

It’s not like this is a friend she’s having a falling out with. This is family, and it sounds like despite this aunt being a pain in the you know what, it’s a close family. I don’t blame the OP at all for being upset, venting, and not having just ignored her aunt from the get go for being a pain. Easier said than done when it’s family.

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gramma dishes September 5, 2011 at 5:08 pm

If everyone knows she’s like this, it surprises me that your Mother and your cousin would back her up by requesting that you apologize to her.

If there is such a long history of Aunt Gayle’s behavior issues, why does the family continue to invite her? Wouldn’t it be easier on everyone else to just leave her off the guest list?

Of course she’d be offended, but maybe it’s time someone, preferably your Mom, bit the bullet and told her why. Aunt Gayle has a reason for behaving the way she does. It gets her the additional attention she craves and she gets by with it because she’s allowed to do so.

Sounds like several people in this family need to grow sturdier spines.

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CreativeCat September 5, 2011 at 5:41 pm

Good Grief. OP sounds to be really upset, and it does sound like a rant. Honestly, while it’d be nice to hear both sides, I say Good Riddance. I agree that the money example is simply an example – not money-grubbing. In fact, if read in context, the examples she shared seemed to show the ridiculousness of the aunt’s lack of forgiveness toward the OP.

We all need a little slack once in a while. How many of us can say we are always polite when rudely awakened? (I am a total bear if somebody forcibly wakes me up. And if somebody threw a DVD at me in a half asleep state, I’d be pretty livid myself.)

Yeah, the OP needs to grow up a bit and could have handled things better, but that is what life is all about, isn’t it? Perhaps the family should stop enabling Auntie in her tantrums as much as OP needs to stop being childish about it.

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Nashvillegirl September 5, 2011 at 6:28 pm

The OP lost a few points when mentioning weight, money, husband/child issues but the aunt seems to be wound very tightly and is used to getting her way. I think the best way to deal with this is ignore, ignore, ignore. If she confronts you face to face, simply say “I’m sorry you didn’t like the girls weekend.”

The smart alec in me would have loved to thrown the book back at her or confronting her in front of the whole group but I don’t play that way. I normally just have those thoughts in my head. There are always going to be people you come across that need attention and be entertained 24/7. In those instances, turn the tables and ask them to come up with plans for the group.

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AS September 5, 2011 at 6:32 pm

OP, I am not exactly a proverbial “wise old woman”, but I can relate to lot of the things you said in the story and I’d like to share my opinions/ideas/advice about them. So, please bear with me.

First of all, replying to those pointing out OP’s statements about calling her aunt “too fat to be in a swim suit” or about money – I get the feeling that this incident took place very recently, and OP is still extremely irritated about her aunt. Though, it might have been nice if the OP had composed this mail, and then edited it after calming down a bit, because we tend to get quite worked up while we are angry (I was advised by the “wise elderly” to take a few deep breaths and count from 1 to 0 before replying when I am angry, and it has worked wonderfully). Telling cruel things because you are angry is a sure way of ticking people off on the wrong side. When you are writing something, especially to an etiquette website, it is better to avoid any such comments because it takes away a lot from the crust of the story.

Like other posters, I don’t know what the back story is. But aunt seems to be a nasty person. Unfortunately, I knew a lady who’d behave this way too. Her daughter was my best friend in high school, but I had to cut off with my friend as I couldn’t take her mother’s behavior anymore, and the daughter started becoming like her mom too. In my experience, the best way to counter these people is to (1) not give them any reason to blame you, and (2) avoid being around them the most that you can. The moment you told her “I’m ignoring you”; she found a reason that you cannot deny to go around telling people how rude you are. Given that you seem to accept what you might have done wrong, and she is not going to do so, this will get you nowhere (but please don’t give up being honest about it, because having a reputation of being honest is always good).

Going by the kind of comments you made about her in this site, you are probably countering her rudeness by further rudeness – which is forbidden by etiquette laws. I can understand that you are angry. But vent the negative feelings to someone you trust – like your mother or best friend, or a psychiatrist, or even a password protected diary if that helps; but make sure you vent them and get over it and don’t let them go public. Never let the aunt hear you say anything negative about her, because if she is the easily offended –domineering- “my way or highway” kind, doing something to “hurt” her in the slightest will only end up in her blowing the incident out of proportion.

IMO, OP mentions the list of bad things that aunt did to highlight that aunt seems to tolerate some people who have committed worse offences but is willing to cut off OP solely based on a CD incident, and I am willing to cut her some slack on this regard.

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Janos September 5, 2011 at 6:35 pm

I don’t think the Op is saying her aunt owed her any of her money but was meerly pointing out that she had never supported her anyways so the comment about how she HAD was just the aunt being stupid.

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Lilya September 5, 2011 at 6:47 pm

@Typo Tat
I took that as a clarifying detail. I mean, Auntie Dearest can’t exactly pull the “After everything I’ve done for you!” card if she didn’t actually do anything now, can she?
I wouldn’t be surprise if, when she first heard about the OP’s problems, she had immediately started lamenting her financial woes and she was *so* much worse than OP.
I know I’m assuming a lot, but can you honestly tell me this lady doesn’t come across as self-centered? Doesn’t that sound exactly like some a self-centered, entitled person would do?

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David September 5, 2011 at 7:21 pm

Once someone throws something at another person to ‘get their attention’ they have lost whatever grounds they had to be offended. Gayle sounds like too much trouble to be around.

As someone else mentioned, when Gayle calls state; “I am sorry you are offended, I understand that you will want to avoid me in the future” and hang up. Drama llamas need attention, don’t give it to her.

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Sharon September 5, 2011 at 7:44 pm

Dealing with peole like this is simple:

Do. NOT. Invite Her.

She is going to be miserable no matter what you and the rest of your family do… so, have fun without her and when she calls to complain, HANG UP. (If your grandma or any other family members won’t hang up on her, that is on them. Believe me when I tell you, cutting this woman off will be one of the best things you and your mom can do for yourselves. She only has power when she has an audience. Do NOT give her an audience.)

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Riri September 5, 2011 at 7:53 pm

Sounds like you’ve all had to put up with a lot of Gayle’s misbehaviour, and unreasonably, some of the family (your mum and cousin) have gotten used to it. Totally unfair that her behaviour is basically dismissed as “Gayle being Gayle”. Well, as your mum said, life goes on with or without Gayle. Hope that the rest of your family is easier to get along with!

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Jen September 5, 2011 at 8:50 pm

Maybe the Aunt was bad, but the OP was just as bad, especially with her comments about the aunt’s money and marriage.

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Marna September 5, 2011 at 9:42 pm

Granted, the OP may have thrown in a whole lot of etraneous details about Aunt Gayle, but I don’t see her comment about Auntie dearest not having lent her money in her lean times as an indication that such loans were expected. Rather, I read it in the sense of “Auntie Gayle claims to have ‘supported’ me over the years–in what way? She has neither given me moral or material support. Her comments about having assisted me in any way are bogus.”

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