My mother and sister “Jenny” have not always been
the easiest people to get along with, but usually I can tolerate many a
faux pas that is committed. However, I had a recent experience that
I believe breaches any reasonable etiquette, multiple times.
While home from college, I went shopping for a Christmas
present for a close friend “Nicole” at a department store, and while I
was there I picked up some clothes for myself as well. I found a
beautiful shirt that was Nicole’s size, and it was on sale and the only
one left, so I was ecstatic that I found something only two days before I
was to give it to her – I had been searching for the past 3 weeks for
the perfect gift. I also found a beautiful dress for myself that I
loved, in addition to other things I picked up, so I was happy and
thinking I had good luck on this shopping trip.
When I came home I modeled the clothes I bought so Mom
could see them, as she gives her *very* objective opinions of how they
look on me. One of the things I bought was a dress that I fell in
love with immediately upon seeing it on the rack. She said it looked
nice on me, but then demanded Jenny try it on and bullied me into giving
it to her. So after I change out of it, Jenny puts it on and comes
down for “review”. Mom decides that, although we have different
body types and are different sizes, the dress fits both of us. She
then turns to me and says, “You don’t have
anywhere to go so
you don’t need it, but Jenny has the prom coming up, so let her have
it.” I was speechless since I loved that dress and Mom knew it,
but I managed to get back to my bedroom where the other new clothes were.
I proceeded to try on for Mom what remained in the bags.
Even when something looked nice on me, Mom would insist Jenny try it on as
well (after the dress, this wasn’t surprising). So of course after
I tried on a skirt, Mom told me to give it to Jenny to put on. I
went in my room to change and shut my door to give myself privacy.
Not a minute later, Jenny is pounding on my door, saying “Mom told you
to give me the skirt, so give it to me!” I replied with “I’m
changing! So I will not give it to you now, go away.” She
immediately goes to Mom to tell her I’m not listening to her, and of
course I get yelled at when I come back downstairs (and after I hand Jenny
I collected myself and went to my room to get Nicole’s
present, thinking it could not get any worse. I came downstairs as I
was pulling the price sticker off the tag, as should be done with gifts,
when Mom spotted me. I was about to put the shirt into the box and
wrap it up, but then Mom cheerfully suggests that Jenny (conveniently
standing nearby) try it on, “to see how it would look.” I
don’t like where this is going already and protest that it’s a gift
for Nicole, which she knows, but Mom insists and takes it from me and
gives it to Jenny, who happily bounds upstairs to put it on. I am
very annoyed at this point since I know it cannot turn out good from here
unless it is too small on her. Ten minutes pass and Jenny is still
not down, so I go to her room and find her wearing the shirt and going
through her closet, looking for the perfect pair of pants to go with the
Now I’m getting upset, and Jenny finally comes down
and models the shirt. Mom says it’s absolutely gorgeous and that
“it’s too nice to give away, get Nicole something else, I’m giving
this to Jenny.” Now I’m furious, since it was not hers to give,
and I bought it specifically for Nicole as a present. Jenny has a
smirk on her face and says thank you to Mom, while I’m about to burst
into tears from frustration. Mom then has the gall to say that I’m
and that Jenny
deserves it because it’s such a pretty shirt and that I can give Nicole
a sweater that Jenny didn’t want, which would be much too large for
Nicole. She refused to reimburse me so I could buy something else,
So here I am, 2 days before the gift exchange, with no
gift. I hope I can find something tomorrow (the last feasible
shopping day); this would be a hard one to explain.
I have (or had, actually - my husband and I are
divorcing) incredibly overbearing in-laws. My ex-husband and I spent
much of the time during our relationship keeping them at bay, but once in
awhile, they'd manage to be very infuriating.
One of those times was when I became pregnant.
Gender matters a lot in that family - their youngest daughter has heard
all her life about how she was "supposed to be a boy," and that
my ex, who is the youngest and was born two years after her, "was
the son they waited for all their life." So, although they
already had two granddaughters, you can imagine how overjoyed they were to
hear that we were having a boy. A few days after they got the news,
my (then) husband got a call from his mother, informing him that they had
held a family meeting to decide what the baby's name should be, and that
he was to be named (husband's name) III. Irritably, and as an
afterthought, she added, "but I suppose (my name) will have her own
ideas about that." As though my opinions were simply an
impediment to overcome. After all, I was just the mother of this
A few weeks later, my husband's oldest sister called to
inform us that she was making a quilt for the baby. We thought that
was very nice of her, and thanked her accordingly. We got another
call from her not long after. During the conversation, it came
up that not only was she making a quilt, but a set of fitted sheets, a
bumper pad, a diaper holder, a changing table cover, wall hangings AND
a diaper bag, and wanted to know if there were any windows in the nursery
so that she could make curtains, too. Essentially, she had
decided to do up the entire nursery without so much as asking us
if we had anything picked out yet, or any preferences in that regard.
She just assumed it was okay for her to do this, and our job was to simply be
grateful that she was taking it upon herself to decorate our
baby's room. SHE had decided on a Noah's Ark theme, and was
very enthusiastic about how adorable it was. We had already decided
to go with a moon and stars motif, but that didn't matter. It
also didn't matter that Noah's Ark is the one nursery scheme that I
absolutely loathe. I know a lot of people think the animals and the
boat are cute and all, and I do see why, but personally, I just see it as
the greatest natural disaster in the history of mankind, and have no
interest in decorating my child's room with it.
If it weren't for their history of testing our
boundaries and limits at every turn, we would have just seen this as a
case of over zealousness from an excited aunt-to-be, politely
accepted the nursery decorations, and stored them in a closet somewhere,
since we lived halfway across the country from them, anyway. It
wasn't like they'd be coming over any time soon. However, it was
apparent to us that if we didn't set some limits early on regarding what
they were and were not going to be able to do where our son was concerned,
it was likely to become an even bigger problem later on. So my
husband called her back and, as gently as he could, explained that while
we appreciated the gesture, we already had nursery things picked out, and
wouldn't be able to use hers. She was irate - the material was
already bought, and was non-returnable. He stood firm, and after a
brief argument, they hung up. She got her revenge.
Soon after the conversation, she sent us a
"thinking of you" card, with a letter enclosed in it. This
letter mostly focused on an organization that she had recently
joined. Apparently, it was a charity that made blankets for
stillborn babies to be buried with. She proceeded to write in great
detail about how horrible and sad it was for the parents of these
babies, how it happened so frequently they could hardly get blankets made
fast enough, and the highlight of the letter - several
paragraphs detailing what a baby who had died at 22 weeks gestation
looked like. I was, of course, about 22 weeks pregnant at the
time. This was the ONLY letter I can recall that she ever addressed
to both my husband and I - otherwise, she always just wrote to him, so it
was pretty clear what her intent was.
My longtime boyfriend's parents always like to make a
big deal for their (grown) kids' birthdays, but there's a bit of a
middle-child syndrome going on. They always seem to make a bigger deal for
his older brother and younger sister's b-days than they do for my
boyfriend. As a case in point, they've never done anything REMOTELY like
this to either of the other two siblings.
A few days ahead of time, his mom invited us over for
(informal) dinner for his birthday. It was a work-night and I get off at
6, so when she invited us for a suggested 6:30 start time, I asked if we
could make it 7 due to my commute, to make sure we could get there on
time. (I work in a notoriously high-traffic area.) She said this was fine.
Of course, darn the luck, we got stuck in even worse traffic because of a
rush-hour accident, so we called at 6:30 and, apologizing profusely, said
we'd probably be 15 minutes late. Again, his mom was friendly as ever and
said to just get there when we could.
We arrived at 7:14 PM, letting ourselves in with our key
because no one answered the doorbell. The table had been cleared and both
the younger sister (still living at home) and the father were sitting and
watching television. My boyfriend's mother, standing at the sink washing
dishes, didn't acknowledge us until we came right up and greeted her.
Instead of a happy-birthday or even a hello, we got a sarcastic tirade to
the effect that our food had gotten cold and our plates had been scraped
into the dogs' dishes so it wouldn't "go to waste" (they have a
microwave), but that we were welcome to get some leftovers, which had
already been sealed into plastic tubs and packed into the fridge. She
threw open the refrigerator door and started slamming said tubs onto the
counter. Then she turned her back on us and continued washing the dinner
dishes in a loud, passive-aggressive manner, muttering, "You could've
CALLED. That's the polite thing to do, to CALL." Gradually we
gathered that despite our two different conversations with her, dinner had
indeed started at 6:30 and we had missed it. We also gathered that his
mother had started drinking substantially earlier than usual that evening.
Far from coming to my boyfriend's defense against this
harridan, his father and sister, who also hadn't greeted us, quietly went
upstairs without a word and closed themselves in their respective rooms. I
took my boyfriend's arm, led him gently out of his family home, and took
him to his favorite restaurant. We've tried to limit our exposure to his
family since then, but he's quicker to forgive and forget than I am, so we
continue to visit on occasion. Before and since that birthday, I've
observed MANY instances when his siblings have been late to dinner with NO
phone call or explanation and the mother has delayed the meal for more
than an hour with no complaints.
Here's another story-- same boyfriend, same family:
BF's brother and brother's wife, visiting from out of
town, invite us to spend New Year's Eve with them at the parents' house,
as the parents always go to bed early and are no fun. We go out for a
lovely dinner (to which brother and brother's wife unexpectedly invite an
extra friend to whom they talk the entire time) and then return to the
house, ostensibly to celebrate New Year's. The friend goes home, and
brother and brother's wife, instead of being willing to watch some of the
New Year's festivities on TV (or, better yet, asking us what we wanted to
do), suddenly insist that we watch a particular children's animated movie
with which they're enamored, because we haven't seen it. BF, who doesn't
get to see his brother often and has hardly gotten to talk to him all
evening, gives in and they all sit watching this movie, while I, who am
not interested in children's movies, excuse myself to the other room and
look for something to do. At the stroke of midnight, I go back in, wish
them all happy new year, and kiss my boyfriend on the cheek. Nobody
notices. Afterwards they all go to bed in the various guest rooms, still
without acknowledging me, and I sleep in a chair downstairs. Later a
couple of them wonder why I had been so "depressed" that night.
The next New Year's I spend at home with just my boyfriend and am much
Thanks for listening!
After reading many of the delightfully wicked stories
posted on this site (delightful only because I’ve not been the one to
experience them first hand), I decided that I’d like to share my tale of
familial faux pas.
To preface – I’d like to consider my relationship
with my dad a good one. We don’t talk nearly as often as we’d like to
or should, but merely for the reason of being busy (not a good excuse, I
know) and not for any falling out or the like. All in all, we’ve got an
unspoken understanding that I love him and want him to be happy and
Now on to the story: I was married in a very small, very
lovely on the St. Thomas Island in May of 2003. Close family joined my
groom and I, included my dad who gave me away. The summer following, I saw
my dad maybe on two occasions. (Again, is inexcusable because we live only
35 minutes from each other). But by the time I saw him at the end of the
summer (just after Labor Day weekend); it was to join him and his new wife
for dinner. You can imagine my shock; considering I didn’t even know he
was dating much less had met his new bride. And to top that off, he
wasn’t even the one to deliver the good news to me. I heard about it
from my mom, his ex-wife of over 10 years! Turns out he’d been married
for one week and a half before he picked up the phone to tell me about it.
(I had just heard it through the grapevine the day before.)
I request that my dear, dear dad receive a brief
sentencing to Etiquette Hell.
I know this story isn’t nearly as horrendous as many
submitted to this site (fortunately for me), but I do hope that it’s
worthy of acceptance and may serve as an example for others in the future.
Fathers, please don’t surprise your daughters with new step-mommies
without the benefit of them meeting one another first.
I live on the West Coast, and my family are all on the
East Coast and Midwest. Every year, I include a letter with my holiday
cards talking about what I've been doing and including humorous events
from my life.
Last winter (December 2002) I specifically mentioned in
my letter that people should not expect to hear from me for a while. My
final trimester of college began February 2003, and between a 12-hr
courseload, my full time job, and my senior project which required a
minimum of 100 hours of work, I would be lucky to sleep four hours a
So I start slaving away at my final trimester. February,
March, April... I am coming close to the end. Halfway through April, I
receive an engraved invitation. From my mother. To a party to be held to
celebrate my sister's receiving her Master's Degree.
I call my mother in tears. My sister and I are
graduating within weeks of each other. She has invited family and friends
from all over the country, most of whom are using this as an excuse to
come visit my mother. My mother throws excellent parties, which are a
wonderful chance to see these people whom I so rarely get to see. She
complains that I never told her I was graduating, despite my holiday
letter as evidence to the contrary.
What am I supposed to do? Go and sit with my relatives
and when they ask me what is new, say oh, well, I just graduated myself,
but the party is only for my sister? (I had been struggling with my senior
project, and panicked I might flunk this critical class. Now I'm actually
starting to hope I will flunk.) Um, actually, I won't have to say that.
Seems the party is planned the weekend that final exams start (I had an
exam that morning) and three days before my final presentation. Not only
won't I get any recognition for my achievement, I won't even get to
celebrate for my sister.
Well, I didn't flunk. In fact, I graduated magna cum
laude. And I sent out my own graduation announcements. And if any of my
mother's friends and relatives wondered why they got invited to a big
party for my sister and then received a formal announcement from me,
separately, they can ask her about it.
Hi, Jeanne ... this story has to do with the
husband of my sister-in-law, "Lisa". He's normally a very
nice guy, but when he's had a few drinks, all tact and taste go right out
the window. A little background: Lisa has always
desperately wanted children, but she has fertility problems.
Meanwhile her husband, "John", has been married before, had a
daughter by that marriage, and has no interest in having any more
children. It's no secret that this conflict caused a lot of stress
in their relationship, in fact, at one point they broke up because of it.
Since Lisa is now in her mid-to-late 30's, odds are she'll never have
children. Last year, Lisa and her husband hosted the big
family dinner on Christmas Day. This was a huge deal for Lisa; she
hardly ever cooks, and she'd never made such a big meal before.
Everything went off without a hitch. We were just relaxing with our
coffee when one of John's sisters, "Mary", started
reminiscing about how Lisa had announced, a couple of months before, that
she was hosting Christmas. According to this woman, Lisa had started
the announcement with "Guess what?!? I've got great
news!". Mary told us with a snicker that she and everyone else
who was there at the time were sure that Lisa was about to announce that
she was pregnant, and they were all quite let down to hear the
"real" announcement. That was when John joined
in the story. "PREGNANT? YEAH, RIGHT!" he roared.
"NOT IF I'VE GOT ANYTHING TO DO WITH IT! MAYBE I SHOULD TALK TO
OUR MILKMAN, RIGHT HON?" Lisa just smiled weakly. I was
Hi, love your site. Here is my favorite MIL story,
and the one I think has earned a generally sweet woman a place in
Etiquette Hell. My DH and I had moved halfway across the country
after marriage, in large part to separate ourselves from his parents, who
criticized every single thing he did (including marrying me). Two
and a half years later we had our first baby.
Before the birth, we had arranged that my mother would
fly out as soon as she could after the birth and spend 3-4 days helping
out – cleaning our small apartment, making a few casseroles for the
freezer, and lending some support once my husband was back at work.
We figured after 6 weeks or so we would be prepared for a visit from his
parents. We just really wanted to be comfortable as parents before
the onslaught. However, the day after we came home, my MIL and FIL
called to ask when she could come out. When we said about 6 weeks
that was supposedly okay, but minutes later my FIL was calling back,
yelling at my husband for being so rude, and that this was their first
grandchild, and my husband’s deceased brother’s girlfriend had just
gotten married which was very difficult on them, etc. until my husband
said she could come out right after my mother left. Then my MIL
called and said by the way, she had promised to bring my 13 year old SIL
along also, and she was SO excited, thanks. I was not happy at all
but I could see my husband was really feeling torn between us so decided
it would be okay.
My mother came out, cleaned the apartment, did the
laundry, went to the grocery store, and cooked dinner with freezable
leftovers, and yet still seemed to be available to walk the baby, talk to
me about babies, and even change a few diapers. She made a point of
saying she was there to free me up to learn about my baby. Then she
left and my MIL arrived.
Every time I tried to rest I could hear her berating my
SIL (remember, small apartment, and also thin walls) that she hadn’t
cleaned something well enough. Then she would knock on my bedroom
door and ask a question like “Do you ever scrub out your toilet?
You do? I’m sure it’s been a while – do you still have any
cleaner or a brush?” Keep in mind that not only did I keep a
weekly cleaning schedule at that time, my mother had just cleaned the
weekend before. “Do you wash the bottoms of your pans?” “Do
you wipe out your refrigerator?” “Would you like me to show you
how to clean your oven?” Seriously, while I’m trying to nap, in
an apartment that I felt was well kept. This was a baby that took 45
minutes to feed, every three hours, around the clock, so sleep was
precious! I couldn’t help comparing this visit to that with my own
mother, and tried to make allowances for her not being familiar with me.
My mother just did what needed doing the best she could without
instruction. These two wanted to hold the baby all the time to free
me up so that I could do some housework, then criticized the work behind
my back (but within my hearing) after I was done.
The straw that broke the camel’s back was when she
asked if she could make dinner. Yes! That would be great.
She’s a great cook. I can honestly say I would appreciate that.
I go to lie down. Knock, knock, what should I make? Whatever
you like, here’s money for groceries, as long as I don’t have to work
at it that will be fine. Knock, knock, I really want to make
something you’d like, what sounds good? Okay, how about a
meatloaf? Well, do you have a recipe you like to use? Hmm, I
don’t usually use a recipe, but let me get up and pull out the cookbook
and show you the recipe I sort of started off with. After a half an hour,
baby wakes up and I take her out to the kitchen, where I find my MIL
making meatloaf all right, but she is using a recipe she has pulled out of
her purse (so why ask me for one?) and slathering it with barbecue sauce
(which I despise). Now, if she had just made it without interrupting
me, I would have put up with the BBQ sauce because I really would have
just appreciated that it was done. But why have me choose a meal and
haul out my recipe for it, and then pull out the recipes she had brought
along in her purse and use it instead? It took me weeks to recover a
sense of competence after she left, but at least it prepared me for
dealing with the overbearing Grandma when we moved closer a year later.
My grandparents had somewhat of a nasty divorce. My
grandmother was cruel and had affairs before she finally left my grandpa
and remarried. They had 6 children and they divorced while they were in
there 60's. Most of their children spent a portion of their adult years
living in my grandfather's house. My uncle (the baby) had never really had
an apartment of his own and lived with my grandfather during his first
marriage (they eloped so no family members attended). However there was a
reception for them which my grandfather wasn't invited too, we think it
was because my grandmother paid for it. My uncle got divorced a few years
later and got engaged again. They lived in her house for a while before
moving back into my grandfathers house with her 2 teenage sons. They set a
date and surprise, Grandpa wasn't invited to this wedding either. My
family couldn't believe they had the audacity to not invite him when he
let them live in his house! This couple also neglected to attend my
cousins wedding because "they had plans", or my uncle's funeral
(we don't know why). Needless to say we avoid them at when at all
I love this site so much. I swear, every bad thing that
has ever happened to me will end up being submitted. This is something
that really hurt me when I was growing up. I have an uncle Mick and a (now
ex) aunt Dana. He's my mothers younger brother. I have two older sisters
and a younger brother. Every year for our birthdays they would send
birthday cards and a little bit of cash. Except, for some reason unknown,
they never sent me anything. As a child it really upset me. I (honestly)
didn't care about or miss the $10 they would give my sisters or brother, I
just wanted to be acknowledged with a card. I would cry to my mother and
ask her to ask Uncle Mick why he wouldn't send me a card, but she
wouldn't do it. I then pleaded with her to say something to grandma about
it but she wouldn't do that either. My older sisters birthday was right
after mine and it always made me cry when they sent her a card. I was
painfully shy as a child and too embarrassed to ask aunt Dana or uncle
Mick why they excluded me. They lived close by and I saw them frequently
and they also had a son only 2 months younger than me. I'll never know
because when I was a teenager my moms parents died and there was a fight
over the will and my uncle refused to ever speak to my mother again. But
that's another submission. To anyone reading this-if you send cards or
gifts to any nieces, nephews, or grandchildren, please don't exclude one
of them because they WILL notice and they WILL be hurt. What uncle Mick
did was downright cruel and I am pleased to send him to Ehell!
My grandfather and I were very close. We even
shared a birthday and that to me was great that I shared my birthday with
the person that at the time was the closet person in my life.
It tore me up that when he was dying I was in Indiana and he was in
Colorado. A thing that I told many of my co-workers (read my
close friends as well.) I asked to take a week off to go visit my
dying grandfather and the owner of the place I worked at said if I left I
would not have a job to come back to, that he needed me to wait till
August to take the time off. I finally decided that I would be
better off to lose my job then to lose my chance to say goodbye to my
grandfather. He had been given 6 months to a year but my mom did not think
he would make it to August. (This was just before FMLA) I decided to go
June 20th. It was the first flight that I could afford since I let my boss
scare me out of going for about a month.
June 16th I am at work. In walks my step-mother.
She and I clashed a great deal. So I thought she was coming to cause
me problems at work. She looks at me and tells me to clock out.
I was flabbergasted. WHAT! I will lose my job. I turn to
my supervisor for support only to be told "Clock out".
Then I refuse to clock out till I am told what is up. I am told my
Grandfather took a turn for the worst. (I was not told that my grandfather
died till later.) My stepmother has me a flight out to Colorado in 2
hours. The whole time I am just amazed at how great my step-mom is
being. I go to the funeral and come home to find out what all my
stepmother, the person I thought hated me with a passion protected me
My close friend/supervisor at work who knew how
important my grandfather was to me had been upset that my Step-mother
would not let me finish my shift before learning my grandfather died and
going to the airport to go to Colorado. I also returned to realize
that the promotion I had been promised went to a person that had only
worked there for 2 weeks. When I asked why she was promoted
when I was told they did not need another supervisor just yet and that
when they did I would be the next to get it. The owner of the
company said, well she was here when we needed her and you were across the
country. WHAT! I know it was only my work but these were the
only friends I had, that job was like family and friends and what did they
do when I needed them. They caused me to miss my chance to say good
bye and then wanted me to finish my shift and even said, well it is not
like she can help him now.
I guess it just does not seem like it should have been
that hard when my step-mother that I never talked to about how I felt. She
and I clashed time and time again. Yet not only was she able to
refrain from saying or doing anything hurtful to me she was able to
protect me from the people that were supposed to be my friends.
I have had problems with my in-laws since I got married
over 7 years ago, so I avoid them as much as possible. I found out
that reconciliations do not last long, so there is no need to torture
myself into thinking we can have any semblance of a relationship.
The latest, however, "takes the cake".
My brother in law came to me begging for help with
babysitting. He said that there were problems with the sitter after
school, so would I please pick up my niece and watch her until he came
home in the evenings? I told him I would speak to my husband, whom I
told I really did not want to do it. I pointed out that we both knew
that everything would be fine with his brother for a while, then things
would quickly turn bad again. After the last time I had a falling
out with them and they talked bad about me behind my back and lied to my
face, I just did not want anything to do with them. My husband
assured me that his brother and his sister in law would be so grateful for
the help that they would not do any of those things again. My
husband begged me to help the family out, because family looks out for
each other. I told my husband I would only do it for a few weeks
until they could find other arrangements.
Well, a few weeks went by, and my in-laws begged me to
continue to help. There was no more name calling, lies, insults, or
back stabbing, so my husband pleaded with me to help. I reminded him
that everything would go fine for a while, then it would be back to their
childishness. However, my husband said he would deal with his family
should any problems arise, and he really wanted me to continue the
arrangement for the children's sake. Reluctantly I agreed, although
the morning sitter was paid for her time and I was not, even though I
babysat longer. I said nothing, and I continued to babysit for them.
If any problems came up, my husband dealt with them.
Pretty soon, they asked if I could take over morning
babysitting, because there were problems with the morning sitter. I
did not want to get up earlier and rearrange my schedule, but my husband
pointed out that we could use the money. Reluctantly I agreed, and I
charged only half of what a day care would charge and slightly more than
what the morning sitter charged. Things went smoothly for a while,
and we settled into a routine. I included my niece in
everything, and I always had something fun going on. On days off, I
took them places and got something nice for lunch as a treat. It was
the same price flat rate no matter how many hours, and I never asked for
more if I spent money on admission to a park or lunch. When they
changed their hours, I never raised the babysitting rate.
All of the children got along well, and their child
liked being at our house for approximately 6 hours a day. They
especially liked doing crafts,
which they did almost every single day. Well, after a while,
things started to change. First, they didn't bring the money on time
according to the agreement. Then they might not have the money until
a week later or the money was not paid in full. It was one thing
after another, and my husband and I were getting tired of dealing with it.
They would spend their money on other things that they didn't need, such
as new clothes and DVDs or video games, and would tell me that they didn't
have the money for me. I even saw them hand a wad of money to each
other when they thought no one was looking, on the very same day they said
they were broke. I kept telling them if they had a problem then they
needed to let us know before pay day so we could work something out, but
every time it came to pay day they had an excuse. Furthermore, they
complained they had to pay too much and we needed to lower our rate!
(As I said, we charged half price of what a day care would charge, and we never charged more if the children had off of school.)
Pretty soon my husband had enough, and he
confronted them. My sister in law insulted us and screamed at us.
My husband told them to find another sitter, and he hung up on them.
They begged us to reconsider, and I was so upset by their lack of respect
that I really did not want to do it again. I did agree to one day a
week for free so the children could continue to play together, because it
was good for them. I said if I was going to reconsider, though, we
would have to sit down and have a talk about all of the problems.
Well, the talk did not go well, because they screamed at us about how we
never wanted to help out family and this was all our fault. They
even had the nerve to say that we gave them an attitude and they did
nothing wrong. I got fed up with everything and said there was no
way we would reconsider after their insults at the "talk", and I
refused to talk to them any more about the issues.
Now they are talking behind our back and trying to turn
our friends against us. They made up bold face lies about us that
everyone knows is not true. For instance, my brother in law said
that I got beat up by someone and had bruises to prove it, which everyone
could see did not happen. Or they said that I was talking bad about
our one friend's wife and saying she was a drug user and a lousy mother,
which is completely false. They even said that my father in law came
to my house to cuss me out and my mother in law said I was a backstabbing
bitch, which never happened. Anyway, the lies are so outrageous that
you cannot possibly believe them, and they only make my brother in law and
his wife look like idiots. They treat everyone badly and do not take
care of their financial responsibilities, so they are out of options for
babysitter. Maybe now they will learn how well they have it when
friends and family try to help out and quit trying to screw everyone over. Regardless, I do
not have to deal with their childishness any more, and I let them look
like fools as they lie about my husband and me.
My Grandmother is a VERY odd woman (to say the
least) Every summer we have a family reunion
at my uncle's house. There are 11 grandchildren from my side of
the family running around, and about 6 from the other side who I'm not
related too. Our side's grandkids range from 1 month old-12 and 9 out
of 11 have ADHD (hyper disorders) nevertheless it's always a little nutty.
This year my grandmother decided to buy us all cheap
little plastic waterguns, to use in the pool. So there was this whole to
do with throwing hard waterguns at everyone's head. About half the kids
ended up crying hysterically while my grandmother laughed and ate (she
eats A LOT!)
Later on I was swimming with my younger cousin (it
was her house) and I'm short (I was 12). Their deep end is a 80
degree drop from the shallow end. She jumped on my back and pushed me into
the deep end. She then held me under water (She's two years younger but
wider then me). So I was gasping to get up. My grandma was about five feet
away. I was screaming and she continued to clap and say, "You girls
play so nicely together!" while I was drowning. Finally my
mother ran from the other end of the house because she heard me screaming
bloody murder. There were about ten other adults around the pool, none did
I'm the oldest of all these kids and so my
grandmother told me to chase after my cousins and keep them occupied. A
bunch of them ended up mowed down by swings and fighting physically with each
Later she went on to try and embarrass me. My birthday
was a week away and most of the family has summer birthdays so we get our
gifts there. She also gave all the kids a big grocery bag with a card,
toothbrush, toothpaste, and a wallet.
In each envelope there was $20, for all 11 of us. She
didn't put any money in mine, and I didn't think much of it, I went on to
look through what else was in the bag, after all she'd also gotten me a
wallet for a birthday present. She'd put the money in the wallet.
Later she went on to tell my mom, and my 4 aunts how
selfish I was. "You should've seen the upset look on her face at the
fact she didn't get any money! She just kept digging through that bag! She
kept searching the envelope when she saw all the others got cash!"
Thankfully we only see her a few times a year.
My aunt (Mom's sister) makes widgets. She is quite
talented, and they are beautiful widgets. She had been diagnosed with
cancer (treatable but serious) a few months prior, and had made individual
widgets for each of her sisters and brothers. She'd done this once before,
but we all knew that it was meant as a sort of "parting gift"
should the worst come true. Luckily, she's in remission at the moment.
Anyways, she also made smaller widgets for each of her
nieces and nephews (myself included). They are absolutely beautiful.
Well, her oldest niece (my cousin), came upstairs as my
SO and I were leaving and talking with my older aunt. She said something
to the tune of..."Well, she's now made two widgets for each of her
sisters and brothers, maybe now she'll get around to making some for her
nieces and nephews! I'm the second oldest, so I should get one soon! And I
just KNOW that Mom will give me one of hers when she passes."
I was in shock. In retrospect, I probably should've torn
her a new one for such comments, but my mom assures me that it probably
wouldn't have been the best thing to do at the time. My SO almost slapped
her, which probably would've been much more entertaining.
My daughter just had her first birthday party. My
MIL moved to Florida soon after she was born, and knowing full well that
she wouldn't make a special trip up for her first birthday, I still sent
her an invitation so that she would have one. Not only did I send
her the invitation, but I sent to her the adult gift bag that I gave
out to all those that attended (this included 6 pictures of my daughter
from the previous year), so that she would feel like she had attended.
My MIL had sent my daughter a present, a necklace and a
summer dress and hat. When writing out the thank you cards, I
included 4 pictures of my daughter during the party. Each thank you
card was hand picked as the packaged thank you cards were not big enough
to put pictures in. I wrote very special messages in each card and
brought them to the post office to have each weighed individually.
All of this, was done within 2 weeks of my daughters party. (Her
birthday is in April........not exactly "summer" weather.)
About a week or two after the thank-you's were sent, my
husband received a telephone call from my MIL. She was telling him
how hurt she was, and making my husband feel simply awful. When he
got off the phone, I asked him what she was upset about and he told me
that, she was upset because I didn't write in the thank-you card that the
dress fit my daughter.
I almost fell on the floor. Who, in there right
mind, criticizes a thank you card? Not to mention, it hadn't been
warm enough for my daughter to even wear the dress yet. I was
completely baffled. Simply, without a doubt, baffled.
My sister decided that nothing would do but that she and
I and some cousins throw a surprise anniversary party for an Aunt and
Uncle who have no children. Fine. My sister and I are
both anal retentive types, but she has me beat by a couple of country
miles. Okay, I don't mind. Let her run things and hand out
assignments. We all work and she doesn't, so if she wants to do most
of the work (and complain about it later) that's the price we have to pay.
My job was to buy paper goods. I couldn't pin her
down on what kind of plates, cups, etc, she wanted, and since I live two
states over, I finally went ahead and picked up ivory colored, thick paper
clothes that felt more like real linen clothes, gold themed plates and
cups, and a car load of paper decorations. This store only gives
refunds within seven business days and I spent over two hundred dollars.
Sister decrees (finally) that she wants a floral theme and I must return
the plates, cups, etc. I squeaked them in by begging my
(actually very understanding boss) for an extended lunch hour. Then
I bought the new items.
Next I get the invitations she has selected (simple ones
wouldn't do--she ordered these special and they cost a pretty penny) with
a note asking me to write them out and address them as her handwriting
isn't very nice. Okay, I don't have a whole lot to do after work
during the week, so that was not a problem. But then she keeps
adding to the list. And there are only so many invitations.
AND in the interim, she has been quizzing my Uncle's side of the family
and learns that they have told everyone they don't WANT a party, that they
are going to take a two week trip. Now she is frantic and finally
calls my Aunt and Uncle. She gets my Aunt on the line. Aunt is
not known for tact (any more than my sister is) and she says "We
don't want any damn party. We want to be by ourselves."
Sis bursts into tears because she has reserved the hall and the
caterer, and begs to speak to Uncle. Uncle listens to her cry
and finally says "All right, we will be there and we will act
And then it gets really good. My Aunt called all
around town to find out who was and wasn't invited and found out that Sis
had invited people they didn't like and asked that they be cut from the
list (this after I have sent the invitations) and that other people be
added (I had to get my own stationary out and write the invitations for
Sis throws a fit because Aunt is now trying to
orchestrate her own surprise party and has words with her. Aunt says
words back. They are now not speaking to each other but the Sis is
steaming ahead with the party that no one really wants except her.
And then: tragedy! Aunt falls down a flight of
stairs and breaks her leg. She lands in the nursing home for six
weeks. And guess what? She will be in the home on the date the
party is to take place. Sis goes to visit Aunt with my
brother-in-law and the cousins. Instead of expressing sympathy for
Aunt, Sis proceeds to scream at her for ruining the party plans and making
her life miserable. She finished by announcing that she had
cancelled the hall, the caterer and everything else and that if Aunt
wanted any kind of party she would have to ask ME (two states away) to do
it. Then she left.
That was almost a year ago and my Aunt has suffered many
complications thanks to that broken leg. Sis still visits her and
still rags her for "ruining" the party plans. As for me, I
am out two hundred dollars for paper goods, not to mention the thirty plus
dollars I spent on postage. Sis, by the way, got ALL her money back and
she still complains about how much she spent.
I am the granddaughter of a poor Greek immigrant who
came to America and "made good," as the saying goes.
Unfortunately, my half-Greek father married a harpy from south Georgia,
who eventually gave birth to me. While I am grateful to be Paipou's
granddaughter, I'm not so happy about the mother who put me in that
In 1988, Paipou lay dying in a Florida hospital.
He was just a few months shy of his 93rd birthday, and his body was
wearing out. My parents, who I was barely on speaking terms with due
to the manner in which he had entered the hospital, had left Georgia and gone
to his bedside. I followed, with my husband in tow, a few days
later. You see, Paipou had fallen, and lain on the
floor, in his own blood and s**t, for almost 8 hours when my father made
his daily phone call to check on him. Paipou's elderly Armenian
girlfriend was there, and the stubborn old Greek had threatened her if she
called an ambulance. So she sat next to him, crying, until the phone
rang. She spilled the whole story to my father, who told her,
"I'll think of something".
Serendipitously, I happened to make my regular call a
few minutes after my father had hung up. I immediately called
my father, who lived 400 miles from Paipou, and only about 10 miles from
me. Daddy's brilliant plan was to drive to Paipou's house, pick
him up off the floor, and take him to the hospital. I
lost it. I'm a nurse. There is a point when someone is so ill that
they are considered to not be able to make appropriate decisions as
to their urgent health care needs, and this was it. If the old Greek
wanted to refuse medical treatment after we got him off the floor, cleaned
him up and figured out what was wrong, fine. But you don't let a
patient lie on the bloody, s****y floor just because he says he wants
I explained to my father that the appropriate course of
action was to tell the stubborn old Greek over the phone that
the ambulance was being called, NOW, and when Paipou was all well
again, we could fight about it then. In the meantime, I
explained to my father that I expected him to get on the next plane to
Paipou and I'd be right behind him. My father refused, saying, "Paipou
doesn't want that-I'll drive down. " At this point, I
became even more furious, and explained to my father that should my
grandfather die on the floor due to my father's inactivity, I would
ensure that a complaint was filed with the police for neglect of an elder.
You might ask why I didn't call the ambulance.
Well, my father was the only living child of Paipou, and legally the
closest kin. My husband pointed out that I had very little
legal standing to intervene. Again, being a nurse, I could
recognize the validity of this argument. So Daddy drove to
Florida! It's a few days later, and I've arrived in Florida,
along with husband, and checked into a motel halfway between Paipou's
house and the hospital. I arise early the next morning and go to the
hospital, as I know that I only have two days to spend with Paipou, and I
want to spend every minute I can with him. I feed him breakfast, get
him up in a chair, wash him, and just treasure him.
After a few hours, I notice that my parents, my
brother and my sister in law are nowhere in sight. I go to the pay phone,
so as not to upset Paipou, and call the house. In response to my
questions as to where everyone is, my mother the harpy responds, "You need
to get over here quick. Your sister-in-law is picking through your
(deceased) grandmother's jewelry box, and if you don't get here, you're
not going to get anything." Now, I'm not a materialistic
person (I'm a nurse, for heaven's sake!) My blood began to boil.
I informed the harpy that the most precious thing I had was in the
hospital, and for all I cared, they could have all the jewelry and I'd
take Paipou. Needless to say, the fireworks continued once the
avaricious thing arrived at the hospital.
Paipou finally died about two weeks later, and I drove
from north Georgia to south Georgia for the funeral. My husband
and I sent a large basket of all-white flowers, because white flowers are
the death flowers in Greece. I came early to the chapel to say
goodbye to Paipou, then husband and I retreated to the family parlor. Shortly
thereafter, my mother (by the way, mother is not Greek, and seized
every opportunity during Paipou's life to proclaim how much she hated
Greeks in general and Paipou in particular) arrived. She
immediately saw the basket and loudly exclaimed, "What Greek sent
that?!" I stepped from the parlor where I was hidden from view
and declared, "This Greek!" It made for a very tense
We proceeded to the cemetery for the burial, and were
able to lay Paipou to rest beside Yiayia without too much more
fanfare. By now, the harpy that is my mother had calmed down
somewhat, and was actually trying to chat in a friendly manner with me.
I don't believe a leopard can change its spots, so I was keeping a
physical and emotional distance. As we each got into our
cars in the cemetery, my mother looked at me and chirped, "See you
when we get back to town!" I stopped in my tracks, looked
straight at her and said, "No. No, mother. I don't want to see
you again." That was 1988, and I haven't.
Miss Jeanne, some say my cutting
of family ties is sad, and I should try to reconcile. But when this
and so many instances occur to show you just how evil someone is,
despite the blood connection, you just want to get away. I'm blessed
with my life now, and don't want to revisit hell. Please feel
free to edit this story as you feel fit. I think the first two
paragraphs and the two preceding this one could stand on their own.
Thanks so much for the site, I've enjoyed so many of the stories.
I really don't know where to start with the horror
stories about my husband's younger sister - let's call her R. I have been
married since 1987 and have put up with her completely stunning lack of
manners, etiquette, etc. for over 17 years. I recently cut the ties and I
have never felt better.
When I married my husband, he was Jewish and divorced
and I was neither. He was in the USAF at that time and stationed in
England where we met and married in a civil ceremony 7 months later. I was
22 and he was 26, but we were completely in love and still am to this day.
Needless to say, his family was upset he had married a non-Jewish,
non-American girl but I won them over with letters, etc., - they didn't
come to the wedding and I didn't meet them until 2 years later, but I fell
in love with my husband's parents and they loved me too. I eventually
converted to Judaism and my husband's family couldn't be happier; 2 days
after my conversion, we had a small, intimate Jewish ceremony which was
When I initially flew to the States to meet the in-laws,
R told me that my husband's grandmother called me 'The Slut.' No idea
where that came from, I was educated with a great career and had never
even met R or the grandmother - turns out that when I did meet the
grandmother we hit it off immediately and I loved her 'til the day she
died, a couple of months ago.
I could go on and on about R, but will give you a brief
synopsis or I will use this forum as a cathartic experience and will be
writing this email all day - I kid you not.
My husband and I were stationed in Sicily in 1989 - it
was beautiful and we loved it. R graduated from college in the spring of
1990 and came over for a visit as we had had a daughter that past January.
After a week R asked to leave early as there were no malls and she was
bored. She insulted our very best friends (still are to this day) by being
absolutely gob-smacked that they were an inter-racial couple. I was
mortified that she would say something and couldn't wait for her to leave.
She called our baby fat and we were thrilled when she left.
In July of 1990 I became pregnant with our 2nd child. We
called our in-laws to let them know the happy news. A half hour later, my MIL called back to say that she had told R the news and R was concerned
about my ability to be a fit mother to a 2nd child. I cannot write this
sentence 14 years later without my stomach knotting up - our kids are the
most wonderful, happy well-adjusted young people - they are so lucky that
she is not their mother. We knew we were having a son and wanted to name
him 'Joe.' We got a call from R saying this name was unacceptable to the
I can feel myself getting mightily furious at this point
and need to get to the major points. One of the worst things happened in
2000, after R had married, had one daughter and a second daughter in April
2000. In June 2000, my husband's younger brother (there are 3 kids in the
family; my husband is the oldest and he is adopted. I believe he has been
made to feel this by his siblings) and his wife had their second child;
they now had a son to join a daughter. In Jewish tradition, a Bris was to
be held a week later in Boca Raton, Florida, where they lived. We live in
Colorado and my husband wanted to fly down for the Bris to be there for
his brother and new nephew. (When our son was born in February 1991, his
brother had been with me for the birth as my husband was involved in
Desert Storm. His brother had been very sweet to me and had served as g-dfather
at the Bris).
Anyway, my husband told his parents and brother he was
coming and start to look into tickets. Unbeknownst to us, R had called her
parents and had a hold fit - she felt that because my husband had not gone
to see her baby in NY when she was born 2 months earlier, he should not be
able to go to the Bris, and that we were favoring our nephew because he
was a boy. My husband's parents called me at work to ask me to tell my
husband he couldn't go to the Bris as it would upset R too much. I am not
kidding and my husband never went. I was seething, furious. My husband
would never have gone to NY - he has never been close to his sister - or
brother for that matter.
In January of 1995 we were back in the US and stationed
in Colorado. My husband and I were going through some major crises at this
point - and I mean major. Life altering events that would sink any other
couple. I was down to 120lbs and was stressed to the max. Anyway, R calls
our home and goes off about the fact that her mother had been ill (in all
fairness, my MIL has been ill for years and years - nothing
life-threatening. I even remember in 1991 that R told me that she wished
her mother would just die and make their lives easier - she said knowing
her luck, her mother would outlive everyone. Not sure my jaw has ever
really made its way back into the upright position) and we hadn't called
in 2 days. I could not deal - and handed the phone to my husband who told
her not to call our house and raise her voice to his wife. This was a big
deal for my husband as he is mild-mannered and avoids confrontations like
the plague. R was mad. She hung up the phone, called Daddy and the entire
family didn't speak to us for 2½ years, when I again had to make things
right with phone calls, letters, etc. I did this mainly for our kids.
Two years ago, the whole family was planning a trip to a
resort in Tampa. Following that long weekend, my husband and I planned to
take the kids to Orlando for 5 days and then head down to Miami to spend 5
days with the in-laws. R - who lives outside Atlanta with her socially
inadequate husband and 2 girls - was so worried that our kids were going
to spend time alone with her parents, wanted us to change our dates so we
could all be in Miami at the same time. I put my foot down and said
absolutely not, the kids deserved to spend some one-on-one time with their
grandparents. My husband's brother called later to say how thrilled he was
that I had put her in her place.
During that same phone call, R had requested that I
return a gift that she had given my daughter about 10 years prior. When my
daughter, J, was about one, R had given her some nesting dolls she had
acquired during a trip to Moscow with her father when she herself was a
young girl. At the time, R was single and I told her that she should hold
onto these dolls as she might have kids herself one day. She said no and
really wanted J to have them. In 2002 when J was 12, R said she really
wanted them back as her own daughter's deserved to have them. Again, I was
dumbstruck. I never returned the stupid things - my husband said that if R
wanted them back then she should ask J herself. I sometimes feel like
sending them to R in the form of fine firewood.....
So here is a little history I have with R. Needless to
say, we are now again not on speaking terms with my husband' s family and
I am, frankly, relieved. I never really lived up to their expectations - I
never had cards and gifts to the respective kids on time. Sometimes I
never even sent gifts. It was never a huge deal in my own family growing
up and I am so not close to those kids. I know that I probably haven't
been as responsive as I could, but I so dislike R. My friends abhor her
and now my kids do, too. I haven't poisoned their minds - I'm a pretty
level-headed Mom - but my kids are smart and they see what's going on. My
in-laws have been kind and generous to us through some hard times, but
every thought and decision they have is governed and dictated by R.
The final story is the worst. A couple of years ago, my
husband, children myself were involved in a pretty horrific car accident -
on his 40th birthday. Following this, I suffered (and still do suffer
with) chronic pain and severe bouts of depression. Never saw the
depression coming and it affected my relationship with my husband, my
career and my friendships. I basically cut myself off from the world. To
cut a long story very short, I crawled out from the fog, 35lbs heavier,
and started to prepare for the trial in January 2004 - the other guy was
150% to blame and that was never really disputed.. We had had a litany of
combined injuries and emotional conditions and expected a decent
settlement - we got an unsympathetic jury and $3,000. I sunk again into
the depression and after last speaking to my in-laws on the day of the
verdict at the end of January, we never spoke to them again until May. I
know this is wrong, but if you've suffered with debilitating depression,
maybe you'll understand.
When we called the house on Mother's Day, my father in
law went off on my husband, calling hum the laughing-stock of the whole
family (really? I think not) and saying he was a disgrace. Bear in mind
that they never once called us even knowing I was virtually hysterical and
beside myself with pain and desperation. Anyway, we discovered on May 9
that my husband's grandmother (who had been in a nursing home for a few
years and was suffering from dementia) had suffered a serious of massive
strokes. My husband was so close to his grandmother - in fact the only
name she remembered during her dementia was his - and she called everyone
this. She was an apparently very wealthy woman and R used to tell us to
visit her more often so we could get a cut of the will. Horrifying. I
loved Grandma. The most precious gifts that woman gave me was a
beautifully crocheted blanket for each of my children. I couldn't care
less about her money - nor could my husband for that matter. I had her a
beautiful blanket made for her and when my kids went to Florida last fall
to visit their grandparents, they took it with them to give to her. My
in-laws said no, she wouldn't even know she had received it. I would have
taken that chance, quite frankly - and how sad for my kids? I have no idea
what happened to that blanket - I bet R's kids have it.
Incidentally, after my exceedingly well-behaved children
spent that week in the fall with their grandparents, R called to say that
it was a lot of pressure on her parents and that the next time they go it
should be no longer than 4 days. This is not what my in-laws had said. R
does everything in her power to ensure her kids are 'the favorites.' My
13-year old son has said to me that he know that he is way down on his
To cut a long story short, my husband told his parents
that he would call them back next weekend. All was not well there, but
that poor guy was trying. We called back on May 17 and Grandma had died on
the 13th and had been buried a couple of days later, as is Jewish
tradition. No-one told us - my husband doesn't even know where she is
buried - only in New York City somewhere. What?? I sat my kids down and
told them, point blank, that I didn't care what they did in their lives
that might upset me, I would never, ever treat them the way their father
had been treated. They too, of course, were upset that their Nana had died
- and no-one had told them.
So I am cutting them off - happily. I don't need the
hassle - I don't need any more R stories from hell and my kids do not need
this poison in their lives. I have even considered separating from my
husband to get away from his family - I am completely serious. I am
mightily thankful for one thing - my kids do not share the blood and/or
genes of this family.
Thanks for taking the time to read my stories. I know
it's long and convoluted, but it has been such a long time coming.......
Page Last Updated May 18, 2007