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Sue’s Bad Holiday Visit

Thank you so much for all the enjoyment that your site has provided me over the years! I’m happy to say that I’ve developed more of a polite spine in the eight years since the events below occurred, and thanks for that are due in no small part to you and your contributors. And now, my horrifying tale:

When I was very young, my maternal grandparents moved far away for health reasons and my family began a tradition of driving the long distance to visit them on certain holidays, including every other Christmas. As my siblings and I grew up and our parents eventually divorced, my mother carried on this tradition with whichever of us were able to come along. By the time I was in college (and working), my increased responsibilities meant that I was only able to make it to my grandparents’ house for one holiday a year, either Christmas or Thanksgiving, and I was not always able to spend much time with them during the summer when they came to visit my mother. Thus, our trips to see them became more important to me than ever and I would get very excited each year as the time approached for us to leave.

I graduated from college in December. That same year, barely a week before our departure date, my mother announced that her friend “Sue” would be joining us for this visit. I was quite disappointed, as this was likely to be my last chance to visit my very elderly grandparents for a long time and I had wanted nothing more than to relax and enjoy the holiday together. Sue was a know-it-all and a busybody who had often annoyed me in the past by giving loads of unsolicited advice and harping on and on about her religion and how I needed it in my life. I knew that it was unlikely that her presence would make the visit relaxing for anyone. I did not discuss all of this with my mother, but did ask why she had invited Sue, as we had never had anyone other than family join us before. Apparently she had asked her to come because she felt sorry for her as another divorced woman and she was worried that Sue would otherwise spend the holiday alone…never mind that Sue’s daughter, son-in-law, and grandkids had already announced plans to visit her for Christmas! I decided to keep quiet and try very hard to have a good time, no matter what. I was determined not to let anything ruin Christmas for me.

Unfortunately, Sue’s bad behavior started before we even left our home state. She at first asked for, then outright demanded very frequent bathroom breaks. Each time we stopped, she would spend several minutes rummaging through the trunk and rearranging things. She spent the entire trip blaring religious music and rambling on about her medications and various ailments. Some of them seemed entirely imagined, e.g., “My lower back hurts—I must be getting pneumonia!” Once she actually screamed and pulled at my mother’s arm, while Mom was driving, because she was excited about something she saw on a billboard! Her antics caused the trip to take a couple of hours longer than usual and we were all exhausted by the time we arrived.

Things did not improve when we finally reached our destination and settled in to my grandparents’ house. Every minute of the day, no matter what anyone was doing, Sue knew the right way to do it and insisted on telling them all about it. For example, while my grandmother was preparing the Christmas turkey, Sue took it upon herself to hang over her shoulder and prattle on about everything that she was doing “wrong” and how Sue would have done it better. And when Mom and my grandmother were doing crossword puzzles together, as has been their favorite shared hobby for many years, Sue would not stop bothering them until I offered to do a puzzle with her (because for some reason she wouldn’t do one alone). She took complete control of the puzzle, insisting that I not answer anything and only write down the words that she gave me. Despite her claims of crossword expertise, she did nothing but make random guesses; I actually had to try for several minutes to convince her that the most likely answer to “a three-letter word meaning ‘distant'” was “FAR.” I could provide many other examples of Sue’s interfering, know-it-all behavior during this visit, but I will leave it with just those two.

Sue was also extremely childish. On Christmas morning, Mom always hands out the gifts to everyone until they are all distributed; then we go around the room in a circle, each person opening one gift when his/her turn comes. This was explained to Sue and it was obvious that no one else was opening anything as piles of presents grew around us. But each time Sue was handed a gift, she tore into it immediately, crowing loudly about the nice things she received. When she finished, she looked around at all of us in seeming surprise and acted as if she hadn’t noticed what we were doing. She then pouted as we opened our gifts because she had nothing left.

When we played our family card game, we invited Sue to join us and spent quite some time teaching her the rules. We made small allowances for her here and there, as she was just learning. We quickly learned, however, that Sue expected us to allow her to cheat outright! Each time she tried, we politely but firmly explained that the rules prohibited XYZ, and Sue always became loudly defensive and said that she may as well just quit if she wasn’t going to be allowed to do that. I wish that we had taken her up on that offer, but my mother always stepped in and soothed her instead.

One night, Sue sat in the chair that I had always occupied during card games. When my grandmother commented on this in passing—not to complain or ask her to move—Sue had the nerve to say that she wanted to sit in the padded chair because she had less padding on her butt than I did! There were so many things that I wanted to say, but I wisely opted to keep my mouth shut.

On evenings that we didn’t play cards, Sue always took over the television. Regardless of what was on and whether anyone else was enjoying it, she would pick up the remote and say, “Oh, we don’t want to watch this,” and change the channel. This was especially annoying when we returned home from the Christmas Eve service and the entire family had to resort to slight rudeness to convince Sue that we really did want to watch the 1940s Christmas musical program that a local station was airing, rather than the Weather Channel.

My sister received DVDs of some equestrian sporting events for Christmas and when we tried to watch them with Mom and our grandmother, Sue babbled continuously so that we could not hear the commentary at all. We could not turn up the volume because our grandfather was napping in the next room. Our repeated requests that Sue lower her voice were ignored. We never had another chance to watch the DVDs during the visit.

Shortly before our visit, my grandparents had purchased a treadmill so that my grandmother could walk indoors, where she was at less risk of falling and injuring herself. They told all of us that if we wanted to use it, we had to start it while standing on the sides of the treadmill, rather than on the belt, so that we didn’t break it. Not even ten minutes later, Sue came into the room and made some comment about how she’d love to use the treadmill while she was there. Without turning the treadmill on, she stood on the belt and walked a couple of steps before I was able to stop her. My grandparents had to call in a repairman to fix it, which was not cheap! Everyone was sure that Sue had broken the treadmill, but Mom and my grandparents didn’t want to confront her about it and she never admitted to anything. I believe that Mom ended up paying for the repair.

One of my aunts had given my mother a book for Christmas before we left on our trip. She brought it with her to read. When Sue saw the book, she promptly walked off with it and kept it in her room, reading it in bed at night. On one occasion, she asked my mother how far she’d read in the book and then announced, “Oh, I’m farther along than you.” Well of course she was; she’d had the book for days and Mom had only read it for about half an hour! When Mom pointed this out, Sue bean-dipped her. I was of the opinion that Mom should just walk into her room and take the book back, as it was her property, but she wouldn’t do it.

Sue also had a bad attitude toward animals. When my mother told her how much my great aunt’s Yorkshire Terrier loves my little sister, she replied, “He’s just a dog; he doesn’t know anything,” and said that he couldn’t possibly remember her. After church one Sunday, we saw a couple who had left their Jack Russell Terrier in the car during the service. It was freezing cold at the time and I expressed concern for the dog. Sue said, “Oh, I’m sure they cracked a window.” I pointed out that that would only make it worse by letting the wind blow in, and that it wouldn’t be all right even if the weather were warm because the dog could overheat in a car. She said, “Animals are all meant to live outside.”

Worst of all was when a severe natural disaster struck a couple of other countries during our visit. My family and I were riveted to the news and made plans to donate to a relief fund for the victims. Sue, on the other hand, kept telling us that these third-world nations did not deserve our help because they hadn’t sent large amounts of money to assist the United States after several exponentially smaller disasters that our country had experienced within the last several years. She then declared that the event was “a judgment by God on those countries” because of “the gays” and child prostitution. I was so angry that I had to leave the room.

I must say that given Mom’s legendary temper, I can’t believe that she didn’t say a single word to Sue about her behavior! But despite what began to seem like a genuine effort on Sue’s part to ruin everyone’s holiday, we all did our best to grin and bear it and we had a good time anyway. I really enjoyed myself during the all-too-rare moments that my sister and I had our grandparents to ourselves, and at least now we all have some good stories to tell! My mother learned her lesson, though, and never invited Sue on so much as a weekend getaway again. 0116-13

{ 82 comments… add one }
  • The TARDIS December 4, 2013, 3:15 am

    That thump you hear was my jaw hitting the ground, smashing through it and banging into Earth’s core. The NERVE of that petulant woman! She must be a very bitter, vengeful person to spend every moment pulling everyone down that way. It’s a good thing your mother learned and never invited her again. I think Sue needs a cut direct after that.

  • Meg December 4, 2013, 3:53 am

    Im sorry but this story while it’s entertaining sounds totally unbelievable. Did noone have any guts to actually tell the woman to pipe down or stop being annoying? It doesnt sound like it.

  • David December 4, 2013, 4:24 am

    I think the OP handled the situation as well as she could. Sue is a boor.

  • Puzzled December 4, 2013, 5:15 am

    Holy smokes, it’s my mother!!!!!

  • Maimou December 4, 2013, 5:48 am

    Meg, it actually sounded very believable to me. I’m from a large Southern family (mom’s side) and while it’s common here to include a person like Sue, that also comes with a (usually known and prepared for) price-you have to tolerate her bad behavior. See, you’re trying to be a better person and provide support and inclusion to someone who (quite justifiably) doesn’t get much of that, and you know the price is that horrible behavior. And you know what’s funny? We all take a turn, and by the time your “turn” rolls around again, usually you’re ready for it. We just fuss a bit, eventually sigh, say “bless her heart” and roll on.

  • Otterpop December 4, 2013, 6:23 am

    I’m stunned she managed to ruin the family holiday with antics designed for each member specifically. I’m equally stunned that no one stopped her.

  • Cerys December 4, 2013, 6:34 am

    The OP has my utmost respect for not murdering Sue while she slept!

  • LadyLelan December 4, 2013, 6:36 am

    @The TARDIS : if you ever stumble upon another jaw while you’re looking for yours in Earth core, that might me mine; Could you please return it? It’s a bit difficult to chew without it.

    OP, I think you did very well regarding the circumstances.

    What I just cannot understand, though, is why, oh glorious goodness WHY, your mother didn’t step forward and take “care” of this utmostly entitled, selfish and tactless boor. To me, since your mother decided to invite Sue (did she even ask your grandparents whether they agreed or not?), despite her previous … errr… antics (you’ll note the efforts I am duly making to try and remain polite), it was you mother’s responsibility to grow a spine, and rein Sue down whenever she was beginning with a new “Sue moment”. Not soothe her, but tell her that her behavior is inappropriate, and to stop immediately.

    I even am a bit gobsmacked that she invited Sue despite her well-known behavior and despite the fact that *her own family had duly planned to come and visit her.* She ruined your family’s holiday time, a very precious time for you, and totally neglected her own family at the same time. Talk about a slap in everybody’s face. With a shovel.

    I am happy to learn that your mother learned her lesson the hard way, but IMO she shouldn’t even have invited Sue to begin with.

  • Lo December 4, 2013, 7:40 am

    I’m not at all surprised that this kind of situation could occur, my family also has issues with directness. I could definitely see how a bad guest could overwhelm a group of polite people.

    OP’s mother is a saint though!!

  • Dominic December 4, 2013, 7:53 am

    After the first signs of this rude behavior from Sue, it should have been the mother’s responsibility, as the one who invited her, to sit her down and explain that she had to play nice. There is a difference between offering polite hospitality to a guest and being trampled all over. And if she wasn’t willing to do that, then the grandparents as hosts, would be well within their rights to put her in her place.

  • The Elf December 4, 2013, 8:34 am

    Meg, I have a relative who is a boor like this. We don’t ask him to pipe down because that starts a fight that will be brought up again and again and again and again and again…… We just avoid him as much as possible. Now he’s elderly and alone and wonders why no one visits.

    That you find this unbelieveable is a good thing. It means you’ve been stuck with a “Susan”. Count your lucky stars.

    OP, I think you did everything you could to defray it. In the future, if you run into another “Susan”, I recommend a hotel room, scheduled “naps”, a few walks to “take the air”, bringing or renting your own transportation, and volunteering to run errands. “Oh, someone forgot to buy cranberries? I’ll run out and get them. It’s no trouble, I assure you.”

  • ferretrick December 4, 2013, 8:42 am

    It is a bit harder to tell someone to pipe down or stop being annoying during a multi-day, long term visit. Not impossible, but when you are stuck with the person for several days, you have to bite your tongue more than you normally would, because it’s just going to cause drama to react to every annoyance. It’s not like you can do the etiquette hell approved “I’m so sorry you have to cut your visit short” when the person is miles away from home and dependent on you for transportation back.

  • The Elf December 4, 2013, 8:43 am

    OOpps! I meant to say “It means that you HAVEN’T been stuck with a “Susan”. What a difference a “no” makes!

  • DGS December 4, 2013, 8:44 am

    I wish I could be stupefied and disbelieving that this story is real, but sadly, I’ve met a few people like Sue in my life…what a horrible, sad woman! She behaves like a spoiled, bratty, petulant child! I pity her relatives who had pitied her enough to decide to spend a holiday with her, but most of all, I pity OP’s gracious, kind family for taking in this monster. I am truly sorry, OP, that you had to share your Christmas with this monster.

  • Stacey Frith-Smith December 4, 2013, 8:51 am

    This submission is so bad that I have to call shenanigans.

  • clairedelune December 4, 2013, 9:02 am

    OP, did your mother ever explain why she invited Sue (even though her own family actually had planned to visit)?

  • Mae December 4, 2013, 9:30 am

    Wow. I am just wondering if Sue was always so bad;? I know you mentioned she was a busybody and know-it-all but really, why would your mom invite her to make a long trip, then tolerate her continued bad behavior, if she was always this bad? I’m all for making small allowances but it seems Sue was determined to ruin the holiday for everyone and it was allowed to happen. After the first few incidents, I would have offered her a bus ticket home, since it was apparent she was not enjoying the holiday.

    I do commend you for not committing an act of violence towards this vile woman.

  • Hanna December 4, 2013, 9:31 am

    Some people simply don’t know how to behave appropriately around people. My divorced MIL is very much like this. She will just say things that she shouldn’t, because she doesn’t know what else to say. She also doesn’t know how to create healthy relationships.

    But, this behavior needs to either be confronted when it happens, or ignored. If you’re not going to do anything about it, there really is no use complaining about it.

  • Elizabeth December 4, 2013, 9:38 am

    While your Mom was trying to be nice, perhaps she should have discussed possibly inviting Sue with the rest of the group before taking it upon herself to extend the invitation – her decision affected everyone’s holiday. Once the visit was underway, it was your Mom’s responsibility to reign Sue in when her behavior began spoiling others’ enjoyment. Mom’s unwillingness to take responsibility for her decision to invite Sue was unfair to everyone else.

  • Cady December 4, 2013, 9:52 am

    Why, exactly, is OP’s mother friends with this woman?

  • Whodunit December 4, 2013, 10:05 am

    Hmmmmm, I don’t know people — some if this sounds a little sensitive — like the OP saying Sue sat in her chair? Blaring religious music? (Everyone always uses the word blare for music they don’t like) and a bunch of this other stuff just makes OP sound unfriendly ( she wanted me to do a cross word puzzle , she borrowed moms book, she talked too loud during a DVD) aren’t those all on enough occurrences during family gatherings?

  • acr December 4, 2013, 10:06 am

    In this case, I blame the OP’s mom as much as Sue, maybe more. There is no way that Sue had behaved like a polite and gracious person up until this visit. IMO, the OP’s mom basically chose to sacrifice every one else’s holiday to Sue. She invited a stranger into a special and rare family time and thoroughly spoiled it. Mom should have taken Sue in hand or taken her home. Or better yet…not invited her at all!

  • just4kicks December 4, 2013, 10:07 am

    I must admit, I thought this story was going to be a tad different….as in OP’ s mom brought Sue because they had started dating. I was way off base, LOL. What an annoying woman! I used to work with a woman just like this….I believe every word of this story.

  • Wild Irish Rose December 4, 2013, 10:10 am

    I’m sorry, but I don’t see OP’s mother as a saint. She chose to invite a difficult person to a family gathering, and the ultimate result was that several people had a stressful holiday, while the difficult person walked all over them. From what OP says, Sue’s true colors were already obvious before the trip, and OP’s mother, out of what I consider a misguided attempt to be charitable to someone who presumably had no place to go, imposed this woman on her family. Kudos to OP and her entire family for not boxing Sue’s ears, but she shouldn’t be invited back.

  • Shalamar December 4, 2013, 10:15 am

    The only – ONLY – thing I’m prepared to give Sue leeway for is the frequent bathroom breaks. I’m an IBS sufferer, and I need those, too. Maybe she’s like me in that regard. Everything else, however? NOPE.

  • alex December 4, 2013, 10:29 am

    wow, how long was this visit? I cannot believe this lady came and stayed with everyone that long and then behaved the way she did. I really wish someone would have spoken up and told her where to shove it!

  • A December 4, 2013, 10:41 am

    It’s no wonder Sue might have otherwise spent the holiday alone…hmm…

  • livvy17 December 4, 2013, 10:47 am

    Ugh, Hopefully your mother has learned that generally those who cry and moan loudest about their loneliness often are the cause of the problem. Sigh. Been there, done that. I once had a friend in college who confided early in our acquaintance that she’d never had a girl friend, that girls were generally sort of catty and mean to her. I felt so sorry for her. As time passed, I realizd the catty and mean parts were coming from her! Amazing levels of self delusion in that gal.
    On the plus side, I learned that girls who can’t be friends with girls are to be avoided like the plague!!

  • Anonymous December 4, 2013, 10:55 am

    So, how long was this visit? The OP mentioned something about “after church one Sunday,” which I take to mean that the visit lasted for longer than a week; ergo, more than one Sunday, and therefore, more than one regular Sunday-morning church service. Anyway, I’m not trying to blame the OP’s mother, because my family did the same thing with my dad’s mother, as she was a difficult person too, but not QUITE as bad as Sue sounds. However, our visits with her were much shorter–either an afternoon at her house, or she’d spend Christmas Day (and only Christmas Day) at ours. That was because my mother wouldn’t tolerate her in our house at any other time, and only tolerated her in the house on Christmas at the behest of my dad. Anyway, my point is, spending more than a week with a person who’s known to behave badly, seems like an exercise in masochism. Also, from the sounds of things, it sounds as if this was a visit where everyone was expected to spend as much time together as possible (apart from sleeping, showering, etc.) For visits that last multiple days, I think that people should be allowed, and expected, to spend some time alone, and doing the things they normally do on a day-to-day basis. For example, I recently visited an older friend in Large City An Hour Or Two Away From Medium City Where I Live, for a weekend conference for a women’s group we both belong to. We spent a fair bit of time together (and with the group as a whole) during the day, so when we got back to her house, we’d head to our respective laptops to decompress. I’d also go for early-morning runs alone. My friend wasn’t offended by this, because she felt the same way; that taking time for ourselves made us better company to one another. So, back to the situation at hand–Sue was monumentally rude (and should have paid for the treadmill, or at least apologized for breaking it), but at the same time, the OP’s mother kind of created a perfect storm: A prolonged visit, with a LOT of “togetherness,” with a person who’s known to be difficult. Any two of these things might have worked, considering that the OP’s family seems to have a much larger appetite for “togetherness” than my family does, but when you put all three together, it’s just not going to end well.

  • SV December 4, 2013, 11:58 am

    I completely believe this submission – in many families ( including the one I married into) it is considered extremely bad manners to make a scene or correct someone’s behaviour. If Sue had landed at my in-law’s house, all that would have happened to her is a lot of gossip after she left 🙂

  • Abby December 4, 2013, 11:59 am

    While Sue sounds like a real treat, and I don’t doubt that there are people like Sue in this world, I agree with those that say OP’s mother shared the blame. If Sue had flipped a switch during the visit, or if the visit was a one day event, or even if the destination wasn’t too far from home, then I could understand. But OP’s mom chose to invite a woman with a reputation for being difficult to get along with for a multi day visit, very far from home, pretty much ensuring no recourse if Sue behaved badly. At bare minimum, it was pretty poor judgment, and the entire family suffered for it.

    Time with elderly, ailing relatives is a finite resource, and it’s so sad when it gets spoiled by someone like Sue. OP’s mom dropped the ball majorly by inviting her and then sitting back and letting her steamroll over everyone.

  • JeanLouiseFinch December 4, 2013, 12:17 pm

    OP – I admire how very tolerant your family is. I doubt I would have handled this woman so well and I am completely sure my husband would not have! One thing I did want to mention after reading what you said about visiting your grandparents. I realize it’s unasked for advice, but it is well meant. I too, come from a family where I was around my grandparents only in the presence of many of my siblings and cousins. However, once I became a more or less autonomous adult, I went to see them a few times without anyone else there. These visits form a large and valuable memory of them in my mind. I suggest that you might try and spend a few days with them when it’s only you. You might be surprised at how good it feels just sitting down and talking without anyone else there and you also might be surprised at what you learn about your mom and other family members! Hope you have a good and drama free holiday.

  • EllenS December 4, 2013, 12:28 pm

    The only things I would cut Sue slack on, are 1) frequent bathroom breaks – that can’t be helped (though the rummaging and delaying getting back on the road can); and 2) opening her gifts in any order she wanted. It doesn’t seem necessary to force guests to open their gifts in a certain, very formal ritual. However, pouting over being “out” of gifts is silly and childish. The thing to do in that instance is compliment and show appropriate interest in everyone else’s gifts.

    The rest of her behavior is just appalling.

  • mark December 4, 2013, 12:35 pm

    Assuming this isn’t a troll, (I can’t tell but it has a lot of tells that make me think it is. Mainly the story is “too perfect”.)

    I think in a case like this it’s OK to stand up and tell this person that they need to either chill out or you’ll buy them a bus ticket back home. I would have been tempted to put her up in a hotel. I don’t think there is a need to mistake good manners for being a “carpet” to walk on. At some point enough is a enough. I had it out (gently) with my wife’s step-mother once. And it this case it worked, she never brought it up again.

    When someone behaves like this there are series of escalations I often follow. First I ignore it. Sometimes if they get ignored the behavior stops. Second, I make gentle comments/hints. Most people get that, I virtually never have to go beyond this point. Third you take them aside in private and point out what is going on and why that bugs you. Fourth I really hate to do this, but sometimes you need to confront them in public about it, basically embarrass them.

  • Huh December 4, 2013, 12:40 pm

    Tell us how you really feel about Sue, OP! LOL. She doesn’t sound fun to be around, but it definitely came across in the submission that the OP really didn’t like her one bit.

    I know my experiences are clouding my opinion, but I’m going to say it anyway – I don’t understand inviting a random friend/acquaintance to a big family holiday celebration. It’s one thing if it’s an old family friend or someone you are romantically involved with, but inviting basically a stranger (at least to the OP’s grandparents) to what sounds like a week-long family event seems odd to me. Don’t you want to spend time with your family that you traveled long distances to see? Why are you inviting a guest for you to then entertain? I know the OP’s mom said she was afraid Sue would be alone (and as another divorced woman do NOT get me started on people who can’t be alone). But it sounds like Sue’s family was going to visit.

    My ex-MIL would invite random friends/acquaintances to Thanksgiving/Christmas because “if not they would spend it alone.” And what would happen was her kids and grandkids were sent to another room to eat and socialize, while she and her husband and the “guests” did in the dining room. Even at Christmas we were all sent to one end of the room to open gifts/socialize, she and the “guests” on the other.

  • Enna December 4, 2013, 12:51 pm

    Sue is going to be off a few people’s christmas list I think! I find her attitude to God’s judgement on “gays and child prostitutes” and not donating to pooerer countries because they have not helped the USA hard to stomach though – doesn’t sound very Christian to me.

    What on earth processed your mother to invite her?

  • Calli Arcale December 4, 2013, 12:52 pm

    I can understand why nobody called Sue on her behavior; when you know you will have to endure them for the remainder of the trip and a long road trip home, you dread anything that could possibly make it worse. I’m sure OP’s mother thought she was doing a very good deed by inviting Sue along, and perhaps thought that the wonderful pleasantness of her family would rub off on Sue. Alas, that generally backfires spectacularly. What a shame.

  • Jane December 4, 2013, 12:52 pm

    @just4kicks – That’s how I started reading it, too. That Sue and OPs mom were dating. I was way, way off!

    Anyways, Sue sounds marvelous. I applaud OP and her family for putting up with her for that long. However, just for fun, I would love to hear Sue’s version of this.

  • Lo December 4, 2013, 12:55 pm


    That’s my family in a nutshell!! Ignore bad behavior from adults while it’s happening, gossip about it forever after. The most anyone might do is make a vague passive aggressive comment. I feel like a lot of people have families like this which is how the “Sues” of the world manage to ruin it for everyone.

  • Jewel December 4, 2013, 1:00 pm

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Sue’s family leaves your family a little something in their will in appreciation for giving them at least one pleasant Christmas.

  • Library Diva December 4, 2013, 1:10 pm

    I’ve noticed that any irritating quirks one possesses are always magnified on out-of-town trips. Even allowing for time for everyone to “do their own thing,” you’re spending more time together with someone than normal, doing things you’re both used to being able to do your own way (meals, morning routine, travel, etc.) So I can believe that OP’s mom invited Sue without thinking through how bad things can get. OP, I’m sorry your trip was ruined. That’s an excellent primer on how not to behave when you’re invited somewhere.

  • Theo December 4, 2013, 1:32 pm

    Maybe the OP’s mother shouldn’t invite her friends to other people’s houses? I know it’s her parents, but still…

  • Lisa December 4, 2013, 1:55 pm

    So you guys took my husband’s crazy aunt on a trip with you? Sure sounds like it! 🙂

  • Kate December 4, 2013, 2:20 pm

    Whodunit, please reread the story more carefully, Sue’s behavior was not normal guest behavior.

    She didn’t “borrow” the mom’s book for example, she took it without permission while the OP’s mom was still reading it, and refused to give it back.

    As well, the OP wasn’t complaining about Sue taking her usual chair. OP’s grandmother just noticed it (I think a lot of people have favored pieces of furniture) and made a comment “Oh, Sue, I thought you didn’t like recliners because they hurt your back”. Sue responded by insulting the OP with her “cushion” comment, basically saying the OP is heavier than she is. Commenting on someone’s weight is never polite, even if you mean well, and making a comment like that is just plain insulting.

    And those are just two examples of Sue’s bad behavior.

  • Ted December 4, 2013, 2:30 pm

    Sadly, OP this Sue is a doozy. You are a better person than I am for tolerating this rancid and disgusting behavior. Furthermore, she should be ashamed for disrespecting and abusing your grandparents home and hospitality. Then again, people like this have no shame or remorse.

  • pbird December 4, 2013, 2:31 pm

    I suspect that Sue pressured OP’s Mom into including her in the plans and she foolishly agreed.

  • Lola December 4, 2013, 3:01 pm

    While the OP and her mother can be commended for stoically bearing the horrors of Sue, allowing her to subject their elderly parents/grandparents to rudeness, property damage, and loss of agency for days on end was selfish. If someone was doing that to my parents, I’d promptly drop them off at the bus station, Christmas or no. But then I was raised to believe that family is the most important commitment one has.

  • Wendy B. December 4, 2013, 3:16 pm

    My cousin. yeah.
    She has other family, a large extended family of cousins. Guess who gets her for the holidays? Yeah, us. My mom is ready to start telling everyone that they need to take turns with her…but she won’t, in the end, because my mom is incredibly nice to people.

  • June First December 4, 2013, 3:36 pm

    As stated, OP’s mom probably had good intentions but shouldn’t have taken Sue along for an extended trip to visit her elderly parents.
    I’m reading a common thread in the incidents where Sue is acting out: They all involve family traditions, or family activities. By no means am I blaming the family members. But it highlights that this was the wrong time to bring Sue to Christmas. Expectations probably should have been outlined ahead of time.

  • Pen^2 December 4, 2013, 3:45 pm

    I’m amazed that the mother didn’t step in here. There’s being tolerant, sure, but not at the expense of every other person in the room, including your own elderly parents. It’s *much* ruder to inflict someone like that on the elderly than to tell them to either behave like an adult or leave.

    I can only guess that something had happened for Sue recently that the mother was aware of but didn’t spill. Some kind of personal trouble that the author of this story wasn’t privy to. Possibly something involving familial relationships, which is why she didn’t want Sue to have to spend the holiday with her own family. That would explain why the mother seemed to be using kid gloves, but even so, there is a limit that even the most troubled individual needs to be kept bound by.

    Commenting that people who have been killed or left in awful situations by a natural disaster deserved it is revolting and inhuman. There is absolutely no excuse for that kind of thing. If I were the mother, I would have driven her back right then, even if it took all night. To impose something like that on others is never acceptable.

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