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All This Drama Over An Invitation

My cousin John’s daughter and my daughter are the same age, 15. We live about 1/2 hour away from each other. We get together 7-10 times a year for birthdays, holidays and to hang out. They invited my daughter to go to an event in LA to meet some actors from a TV show both girls enjoy. This invitation was extended the middle of June for leaving the 1st weekend in Nov and was to be a gift for their daughter’s birthday which is mid-Nov. We said she would love to go.

Fast forward to Halloween. My Aunt Jane (my mother’s sister and John’s mother) was in town visiting and currently staying with John’s family. DH and I had been out of the country for 5 days and had just returned. My Aunt Jane called my mom to tell her to tell me that my daughter was invited to John’s daughter’s mid-Nov birthday lunch. This was happening over Veteran’s Day weekend, which is a 3 day weekend sometimes here in the US. That date happened to be the same time my daughter would be out of town with our church for an annual youth event. One she goes to every year. This event was pre-paid in Aug. So, I told my mom that my daughter couldn’t attend the lunch as she would be out of town. Keep in mind we haven’t seen an invitation and are getting this information 3rd hand.

Later that day, my mother gets a call from my cousin’s wife, we’ll call Angela, screaming and yelling that how dare my mother say my daughter can’t go to the lunch! She was screaming so loud my mother had to remove the phone from her ear. She then proceeds to berate my poor mother and that she had expected us there and now we weren’t coming. She was saying how rude we were for not coming as she was expecting us. I don’t know how she was expecting us as we had never even heard from them nor seen any sort of invitation. She then calls me and left a screaming and yelling voice mail. When I call her back she proceeds to scream at me that I am very rude and she is done talking and hangs up. I text her and ask her what is going on as I have no idea. I was very gracious and giving her the benefit of the doubt. She then calls me the next day and starts in with what a liar my mother is as she told her we would be there and she makes all the plans for our family! I have no idea where she got this idea from as my mother also had just found out about the party and she hasn’t made plans for me since I was a young child! She also called my mom a liar as she knows for a fact that my daughter is not going on this trip. She then states that she couldn’t have possibly sent me the invitation as we were out of the country. She told me she has never been this mad in her entire life and then hangs up.

We debated about letting our daughter go on the trip to LA with them. We ultimately let her go. But I told my cousin in no uncertain terms (as his wife never answered her phone or came over) that I needed to talk to his wife. That until we talk there will be a wall up between our families and it just breaks my heart. He kept telling me to talk to her. I kept telling him I would love to but she won’t come over or return my phone calls. So I told him to have her call me.

Some back story: I texted them a picture of my daughter’s 8th grade graduation invitation 6 weeks prior. I hand delivered it 4 weeks prior. I texted them 2 weeks prior to remind them. Fast forward to the night of, in a packed house saving 3 seats 10 min into the ceremony. I text them to see if they’re lost. She texts me back, “Is that tonight? We’re already in bed.” It was 710 PM! My response was sorry you missed it. I would have had every right to scream and yell like she did, but I didn’t. Angela is extremely manipulative and controlling and does whatever she wants. If she doesn’t want to do something, they don’t do it. She is also from a Latin American country and uses that as an excuse for her poor behavior. She has been in the US for 30 years!

My mother was trying to be nice and invited them to my brother’s birthday party this June. Angela hasn’t called and we haven’t spoken since she talked at me and hung up back in November. Angela and I didn’t speak at the party. I did speak to John, her husband. My daughter asked Angela if their daughter was coming to her birthday party. She didn’t give Angela the date, just asked if their daughter could come. Angela laughed and said, “Oh no, we’ll be on our cruise! Ha ha ha!” My daughter was very hurt by this so she sent her a very nice text telling her how sad she was that she would treat her this way. And how sad she was that she would treat my mother and me the way that she has. And my 15 yr old daughter wanted to talk to her on the phone and asked Angela to call her. I read the text and it was very nice and heartfelt.

Now, Angela is not speaking to either of us due to our “rudeness”. She has blocked me and now my daughter, from all social media. She has blocked our numbers from her phone as she told my mother we were so rude and hurtful to her. She has called up my mother and lied about me saying I told her to stay away from my kids (2 of my kids are adults and I never tell them who they can and cannot see!) and she was hurt that I didn’t hug her at the party! (Takes 2 to hug and she came nowhere near me either). She is also calling Aunt Jane and lying to her about my daughter and saying that my daughter told her to stay away from us! Total lies! All we wanted to do was have a conversation with her. But, apparently she wants to have her 2 year old tantrum and think we’re the bad people. She has always been controlling and manipulative, but this was the last straw. Who treats anyone like that? 0828-18


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  • Marie September 3, 2018, 4:12 am

    One question: where is cousin John in all this?

    • Yolanda September 3, 2018, 12:20 pm


    • JD September 4, 2018, 8:47 am

      I second this — all John can say is “call her?” That’s obviously not going to help when Angela won’t answer the phone. What’s really going on at John’s house?
      This Angela sounds way over the top. I’m sorry for the girls’ relationship, but this would keep my family and me at a distance from her, and I would make sure John and his daughter know why. I’d keep the lines of communication open with him, though if I could — he and his daughter may be enduring a lot of verbal and emotional abuse, and they need to know they have a friend.

      • OP October 23, 2018, 4:38 pm

        OP here. My cousin is a spineless wimp when it comes to Angela. She rules the roost with an iron fist and wears the pants in the family. I told John in no uncertain terms that we could no longer have a relationship with them if this is how we are going to be treated. We did leave the door open for further communication, but Angela would need to explain her childish actions.

  • Rebecca M September 3, 2018, 7:29 am

    I feel like there’s more to this story.

    • Miss-E September 4, 2018, 12:24 pm

      Yeah, Angela went 0 to 60 there apparently for no reason? Makes me think we’re missing something…

    • Ange September 5, 2018, 10:48 pm

      Definitely. Why is the 15 year old sending snippy little texts about behaviour to Angela? Sounds like a young drama queen completing her apprenticeship under her mother’s tutelage.

  • jen d. September 3, 2018, 8:13 am

    15 year old girls can contact each other and make plans. I know it may involve parental permission, but at the very least the communication can start with them. Too much information is passing through Angela. It must be so frustrating to deal with her, OP, but maybe it’s time to start avoiding communication. I’m sure the rest of your family is well aware of the fact that she is a drama queen, so they’re not going to take her stories too seriously.

    My mom is a bit like this: a screamer who twists the truth and loves being offended so she can blow up. When she calls me screaming I just tell her that I’m hanging up until she can speak in a normal voice. I can’t control her behaviour, but I don’t need to interact with her. It does mean she gets left out, but that’s her choice. I realize I might be projecting my experience, and OP you really know best, but just know that I totally sympathize with you!

  • NicoleK September 3, 2018, 9:00 am

    Was she volatile before this event or is this totally new?

    • OP October 23, 2018, 5:55 pm

      OP here. She wasn’t volatile as much as she was manipulative and controlling. I am an extremely flexible person, so I didn’t realize how much she was controlling us until this event happened. She would never allow her daughter to stay anywhere for the night except for their house. So, we let our daughter stay there. Now I’m finding out that she would sit in the room with them and hang out like another friend! She gave them no space to be teens and hang together. She has manipulated me into going to events that I really had no interest in going to. I guess I just didn’t realize it at the time. But, looking back she was/is very controlling. Now I can see exactly why/how this outburst happened as we didn’t acquiesce to her demands.

  • Store Manager September 3, 2018, 9:48 am

    Let me be the armchair psychiatrist and prescribe Angela some lithium.

    • Mark132 September 4, 2018, 8:18 am

      I realize you are trying to be funny. But people who suffer from bipolar disorder don’t need random a-hole behavior blames on bipolar disorder. This is not symptomatic of BPD.

    • MamaToreen September 4, 2018, 11:33 am

      Forget the Lithium. Try a Toddler Time Out. Or a Clue-By-Four

  • gramma dishes September 3, 2018, 10:51 am

    Sometimes we just need to accept the fact that we’ll be much happier and more content without some people in our lives.

  • kingsrings September 3, 2018, 12:56 pm

    Angela sounds mentally ill. I hope for the sake of all the family she gets the help she needs soon. I’m guessing that John isn’t stepping up in all of this because he’s afraid of his wife’s wrath. Imagine how she must treat the rest of her family!
    And I so hate it when people use their culture to excuse their bad behavior. “Its the Latino in me! That’s how we act!”. Better than owning and correcting your own bad behavior, I guess.

    • Lanes September 3, 2018, 8:02 pm

      You don’t need to be mentally ill to be manipulative and petty. Just self-centred.

      • Bea September 4, 2018, 2:32 pm

        True but being so manipulative and self centered can also be attributed to known mental illnesses. Narcissists are untreatable and distance is the best way to deal with them. Most people are selfish to a point but when you’re abusive and lying so feverishly, it’s probably something deeper than simply self centered behavior.

        • Lady Macbeth September 5, 2018, 12:58 am

          Mood disorders and personality disorders are different. However, they can and do have some overlapping characteristics (e.g. bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder share characteristics), but this is certainly not true 100% of the time.

      • Mary Sgree September 5, 2018, 10:07 am

        The vast majority of people do not act like Angela. There is far more mental illness than the public realizes, and due to stigma, financial and social reasons, people who are mentally ill are not being diagnosed properly. She very well could be mentally ill.

        • InTheEther September 5, 2018, 3:17 pm

          First, I do agree that mental healthcare really does need to be handled with more seriousness and compassion.
          But “she may be mentally ill” isn’t really an excuse.

          Diagnosies basically come in 3 categories.
          There’s the mental illnesses like bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. There is literally something wrong with the person’s brain and they can’t control their behavior. This deserves a lot of compassion, but even here if the person chooses not to pursue any avenue into getting better (after getting diagnosed) and decide that everyone should just give them a free pass because of the diagnosis the sympathy goes out the window.
          2nd, there’s the psychosisies, like PTSD or OCD. Here the person went through some stimulus that screwed them up. Can actually be harder to manage since it isn’t an imbalance that can be artificially corrected. Still, they can tell there’s something off about their behavior and there are ways to manage it. Again, refusal to even try to manage their issue really dries up the sympathy.
          And lastly, there’s the diagnosies that exist because it isn’t professional for the psycologist to write down ‘she’s an evil witch.’ The sole cause of these is that the person figured out they could get away with being the worst of society, running roughshod over everybody, and they’re not going to change because they’re getting away with it. These people aren’t deserving of any sympathy, as they are perfectly in control of their actions. They can choose to be decent people. But this way is working for them. They can throw a fit and spread lies, which no one will call them on, and they don’t have to admit fault because they have husbands who will tell their victims to just apologize and placate them.

          These aren’t proper terms and there’s some blurring and movement between categories. But my point is that even in the categories where the person genuinely cannot control their behavior there is plenty of room to find fault with them. And there are plenty of people who are just terrible people, regardless of whether psychologists have created a term for their particular brand of terrible.

          • Kate September 7, 2018, 5:45 am

            I respectfully disagree with your categorisation of OCD. Sometimes OCD can arise as a response to a traumatic event, but many sufferers, myself included, just ended up with it and did not suffer a trauma. I’ve had OCD since early childhood, and my diagnosing psychiatrist’s theory was that the OCD developed as my brain’s way of dealing with severe anxiety – again, not prompted by a trauma.

          • InTheEther September 9, 2018, 2:08 pm

            You’re 100% right. Like I said, things don’t fit neatly into my on the fly categories and there’s a lot of blurring between causation and correlation and so forth. I just gave OCD as an example there because I felt I needed a second example and I know it can be a result of life events (should have probably described that category as life events rather than trauma anyway as trauma implies a single inciting incident.)

            My main point in all of this was mostly to rag on everybody’s need to jump on and diagnose people with stuff like narcissistic personality disorder and similar. Since the descriptions of those disorders really just come down the diagnosed being a sucky person who take their issues out on everybody else rather than dealing with them constructively or trying any self restraint.

  • staceyizme September 3, 2018, 6:13 pm

    you’ve known that she is difficult to deal with many years and yet you haven’t moderated your investment in the relationship accordingly and have now been burned. I’m really sorry that you are experiencing all of this fall out and it sounds terribly unpleasant and possibly even embarrassing. But- just because someone is related to you by blood or by marriage doesn’t mean that you should overlook instances of bad conduct. I can’t help wondering what other circumstances you’ve experienced where you’ve swallowed your common sense and allowed her to get away with bad behavior when you should have been distancing yourself? I guess the only take away from this is to accept people for who they are while simultaneously refusing to associate with them in any intimate or consistent manner so long as they show themselves willing to be manipulative, unpleasant and unreasonable. you have a duty to protect your own immediate family and to live your life and as peaceful a context as possible. In your shoes, I’d distance myself immediately and not bother waiting for someone who is so consistently unreasonable to exercise the integrity needed to restore the relationship.

  • lakey September 3, 2018, 9:37 pm

    These people are extended family, not immediate family, so you really don’t have to interact with them as much as you have been. In many families adult cousins don’t spend that much time together. If she’s like this, why do you want to talk to her? You already know that she’s unreasonable. You describe her as screaming and yelling and accusing you of lying. By blocking you and refusing to talk on the phone she’s doing you a huge favor. If the fifteen year olds can have a relationship. that’s fine, but I’d stay out of it as much as possible. You can see her at family events with minimal contact.

  • Michelle September 4, 2018, 8:29 am

    Angela has shown you, several times now, what kind of person she is. Believe her. Why would you try to continue to have a relationship with someone who has called you, your mother and your daughter liars, told lies about you and screamed at you and your mother over the phone? I sure wouldn’t trust that person with my teenager for any amount of time. I’m not saying she would physically hurt her, but I wouldn’t want my teenager around so volatile. If they girls can continue their relationship, great– but I would still be wary of my daughter spending a lot of time with someone who seems so like they have a hair-trigger temper.

  • Livvy17 September 4, 2018, 9:21 am

    Just send all your communications / invitations to John and his daughter directly. Theoretically, he’s a grown man, let him deal with his spouse.

  • Girlie September 4, 2018, 11:01 am

    As difficult as it may be, I think OP and her immediate family would benefit from taking a step back from this woman and not getting involved in her drama. Honestly, everyone will probably learn, pretty quickly, that the peace that can develop is astoundingly wonderful.

  • bopper September 4, 2018, 1:11 pm

    You can not make Angela change. Also, invitations are not summons. They don’t have to attend your parties.

    I would continue to invite them to occasions that you would like to attend, but if they don’t respond, assume they are not coming. I would also try to get the cousins to communicate with each other.
    Finally, I would talk to your cousin and explain you don’t know what happened, but if they want to invite you all to anything, please just contact you directly and you hope the girls can get together soon.

  • Catherine St. Clair September 4, 2018, 8:04 pm

    Continue to invite them to your parties. If they decide not to come, that is their decision. You cannot control anyone except yourself. You cannot even give them a good smack, however much you would like to.

  • WendyB September 4, 2018, 9:41 pm

    I haven’t gathered if the November trip has happened or not…??

    If it hasn’t, I think I’d have a talk with your daughter and suggest that she might want to consider whether the trip is worth it. I can easily see Angela making the entire event a nightmare.

    • OP October 23, 2018, 4:34 pm

      OP here. Yes it did. It was November 2017.

  • Bernadette September 5, 2018, 10:15 am

    I don’t think I’d let my daughter travel across the country with Angela.
    It sounds like everything is fine as long as OP is only dealing with her cousin John, and not his wife. Angela decided to lob a grenade into the entire family relationship – and John seems either unwilling or afraid to address it. I would NOT want my daughter spending any time in Angela’s proximity without me to protect her from someone so nasty and volatile.

  • Angela (not that one) September 6, 2018, 2:22 pm

    “My Aunt Jane called my mom to tell her to tell me that my daughter was invited to John’s daughter’s mid-Nov birthday lunch.”
    I think that sentence tells you a lot about communication strategies in that family. Why can’t John’s daughter invite OP’s daughter directly?

    • OP October 23, 2018, 4:31 pm

      OP here. This is not how anyone else in our family communicates. Just her. Their daughter is completely controlled by Angela. All communication between the girls is actually between my cousin/Angela and me. I believe teens should make their own plans (obviously checking with an adult to make sure there is nothing else going on). But, they want to control all aspects of their daughter’s life.

  • Kitty September 9, 2018, 3:02 pm

    She sounds like someone you really shouldn’t bother trying to uphold communications with. Cut her out of your life, everyone will be much happier.

  • Cynt2beme September 24, 2018, 7:18 am

    It’s unbelievable that anyone would go into this much detail to explain a situation regarding what took place with a cousin. There appears to be something gravely wrong on both sides of the spectrum. Mature adults don’t act this way, especially around children. I’m like the some of the other responders who commented, there is something more to this story.

    • OP October 23, 2018, 4:33 pm

      OP here. My cousin and I were more like brother and sister. Some cousins are closer than others. I have other cousins I barely speak with due to our locale’s, ages, etc. No drama or animosity. Just life. If we saw each other, it would be great. This cousin & I are very close in age and our mothers are sisters who are extremely close. Therefore, we were close. There really isn’t more to the story.

      • OP October 23, 2018, 4:34 pm

        OP again. Nothing happened in front of any teens. At least not on my end. I can’t speak for Angela and her reaction in front of their daughter.