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I have a couple for the "it's all relative" category. Actually, I could go on for pages and pages, but I'll just submit the two stories that stick out the most in my mind. Luckily, my husband now has a backbone and won't let these things happen, and MIL has learned to back off somewhat, so these kind of things no longer happen. (Probably the fact that we moved far, far away, over 15 hours drive, might have something to do with it!)   My MIL (or should I say smother-in-law) was the MIL from hell in the early days of our marriage. I did not make up that term on my own - a priest called her that when talking to me! She is the complete stereotypical European mother in law from the movies. 

She knows everything better, so everything I do is wrong. The way I cook, the way I clean, even the way I arrange flowers in a vase is not good enough! All of this is done with a big smile on her face, as she's convinced that she's acting out of love. After all, she knows best - I should be happy for her help.   As far as she is concerned, our house is her house, so she can drop in any time and invite herself, my FIL, and her four remaining children over anytime. (Sorry, I don't care if you are family, you don't invite yourself to someone else's house - that's rude!) Never mind the fact that she hasn't worked a day in her life, she can't understand that hubby and I both work full-time. Too bad, she wants to visit every single weekend, and stay overnight. I tried to explain that we don't have a lot of time to spare, but her reply is: "But you don't work Saturdays". Even when I explained that, while I don't work weekends, Sunday is for Church, Saturday is my only day to do the grocery shopping, errands, pay the bills, etc. If she insists on seeing us then, she is taking away our only days off. 

On weekdays, she'd show up after I'd had a hard day at work, then get mad if my house won't pass the white-glove inspection and that I didn't make tea and play hostess for her family when she showed up uninvited and unannounced! It's like, go away, I just got off work, I want to relax, not make small talk with my in-laws! But let me invite my parents over and she says that they're using me, and tries to get us to stop seeing them. (In case you couldn't tell, she's extremely insecure!) 

And if you don't give in to her demands? Passive-aggressive crying and making everyone feel guilty at how mean we're being to her, plus bad-mouthing us behind our backs to anyone who will listen. Luckily for my husband, I don't put up with such mind games, and he's come to learn that he doesn't have to either.   

Anyway, the first story involves my birthday. She phoned up and invited her whole family over for my birthday. In her family, birthdays are a huge deal. In mine, we got to have one friend sleep over, order pizza, and rent a movie. Now that I'm married, all I want is to go for dinner and a movie with my husband, not entertain my husband's family. I tried politely to decline, but she continued to browbeat me until I just gave in. She's like a three-year-old, asking "Why? Why? But we have presents for you! Why can't we come over? Why not? Don't you love us anymore? But we never get to see you!" Never mind that she's already dropped in three times that week, and called me every night, "just to talk" (more like to complain about her life, which is actually pretty good, and for three hours I might add!). 

I thanked her for buying me gifts, even though I had not expected them, but told her that she could just give them to me when we next visited - I didn't need to receive them on my actual birthday. But no, that's not okay - her way is the only right way.   But it gets worse. She invites her whole family over for LUNCH. So I have to clean my house, (because she'll criticize it if it's not as perfect as hers - she doesn't work, and I do, full-time remember) and cook for six people ON MY BIRTHDAY! (Food was praised to my face, then bad-mouthed behind my back, by the way.) 

At first, hubby couldn't understand why I was upset about this "self-invitation". He's sweet, but can be very clueless unless such things are spelled out to him. The gifts that couldn't wait? A tiny stuffed bear (stuffed animals from husband - cute. Stuffed animals from in-laws? Strange.) and a set of wooden spoons. Thanks. It was worth having you take impose on me for trinkets.   And just to make the day more perfect - we were in a horrific head-on collision that night (not our fault) that injured my husband's back so badly that it ended his military career, and three years later, we're still dealing with the court case! Happy freaking birthday to me!   

The second story involved when my in-laws moved (two hours away, thank God). Because they had helped us with our move, they expected us to help with theirs. When I say they helped us with our move, I mean that my FIL came over, helped carry in a couch, and left. He was there for maybe an hour. Not that I'm complaining - that's all we asked him to do. But when they moved, they wanted both of us to help. (Never mind that this again takes away our Saturday - the errand day). Okay, fine, whatever. 

We come over to find that barely half of the house was packed. I can maybe understand if certain things like dishes are still out, or toiletries in the bathroom aren't boxed up, but we're talking pictures on the walls, books in the bookcases, ornaments are still on the mantel. In other words, only the storage boxes that haven't been unpacked since the last move are ready to go. So we rush around, helping to stuff things in boxes, knowing that this won't be the couple of hours that we were told, but at least all day. We worked through lunch, and no, they didn't feed us anything.   

Finally we get the truck loaded up, and it's ready to go. My husband and I agreed that we would help with the loading, then go home. He worked shifts at the time, and we rarely got to spend any time together (and we'd only been married for about 6 months). No, we can't go home, we have to drive two hours to their new house and help unload. We're not asked, but told this, as if we're the hired (unpaid!) help. I'm starting to steam, but keep my mouth shut. Heaven forbid I should say anything, otherwise it will be crying and guilt-trips for the next six months. 

So we get to their house and help unload. They finally feed us - and it's two tiny little frozen instant pizzas per person. The kind that are about as big as your hand. Can you say starving? Then they insist that we have to stay over. Never mind that we don't want to. Never mind that we'll have to sleep on a thin little mattress pad on the floor, and both my husband and I have bad backs. (That's an understatement.  Looks more like spinelessness to me.) We're staying and that's it.   

The next morning, we get up. I am so sore that my spine feels fused from my tailbone to my head. I can't even bend my neck without feeling stabbing pains. My husband wasn't much better. At least the move is over, and we can go home, right? Wrong. It's one of the kids' birthdays. He's having his party back in the old town and we need to drive him and his friends home. But we have to wait for two hours for his friend to get back from an appointment. We are not asked, but told. Correction - my husband is told and he is sent to tell me, the "little wife". Grrr. I almost bit my tongue in half to keep from yelling at my MIL that we are not her slaves! 

Three hours pass (my in-laws have never been able to do a thing on time - if we visit, dinner is always at least three hours late, even if they invited us over a week before). Finally, it's discovered that friend is not coming. Great, now hubby and I can finally go home and enjoy at least a couple of hours alone together, right?   Wrong! Now hubby is told that we have to drive MIL to the grocery store on the way back and wait while she shops! ARGH! I spent the rest of the trip home with my arms crossed, refusing to speak to anyone. And my MIL had the audacity to tell my husband that I was being rude! Would she have preferred for me to bite her head off and tell her what I really thought of her?   

Thank goodness my husband finally learned to grow a backbone, and they no longer take advantage of us like this. Unfortunately, it took me blowing up after taking almost two years of this kind of abuse from his mother. Though I apologized (I can admit that I could have handled it better) she has never once said that she is sorry. She seems to think that because she is the parent, she is always right. After all, my husband was "her son" first, so she has the right to rule our marriage. Don't think so! I have learned to be the bigger person and let it go, but I will no longer bite my tongue around her (while not rude, I don't let her walk all over us), and nowadays, my husband no longer defends her and will tell her off when it's needed. I could go on and on about the things she has tried to pull, but I think you get the picture.   But I was never so relieved as I was when I discovered that we would be moving fifteen hours away from them. I literally turned cartwheels across my living room floor!



My aunt has raised some of the rudest children to ever (dis)grace the planet. She has 4 kids, 2 sons, J and T, and 2 daughters D and W.

D was the first to get married. My aunt had a shower for her. My mother and I went, bearing gifts, and received no thank you. D had a nice, small wedding. We went, again bearing gifts, again no thank you. D announces she is pregnant 2 weeks after wedding, she is almost 10 weeks pregnant at this point. Aunt has baby shower and once again no thank you's are sent. Hopefully she doesn't wonder why there were no further gifts after baby was born.

J was next to marry. We traveled 6 hours out of state to attend that one. Any thank you sent for travel time and gifts? Of course not. Years later when they are expecting their first there is a baby shower and, you guessed it! no thank you notes sent. They are now expecting their second and I have already informed my Mom that I will not be attending that shower and no gift will be forwarded either.

T's girlfriend is pregnant. I already know what I'm in for but being that it's family, once again I attend baby shower with gift in hand, once again, no thank you note. When T and girlfriend marry I am not invited but send some money and a card and lo and behold, no thank you! They are now expecting # 2 and (see above paragraph for my feelings on that)

W is not involved seriously with anyone at this point but I can already see where this is headed when she does.



This is one of those "What's a nice boy like you doing in a family like this?" stories.

My husband is an enormously thoughtful man who has always been polite to his family regardless of their behavior towards him. We've been together for seven years, married for three.

When they visit us, his parents often invite us to eat breakfast with them at their hotel or meet them at a restaurant for dinner. We always arrive within five minutes of the appointed meeting time, yet we invariably find that they have already ordered food, and sometimes that they have finished eating. We always found this a bit quirky, but not insulting - we figured they just tended to arrive everywhere early and we went ahead with our meal.

Two years ago, we vacationed with them, their other children, and their other children's spouses. We went straight to dinner, then to our rooms to rest, but we agreed to meet for breakfast the next morning. When we arrived at the hotel restaurant the next day, we found that everybody else was finishing up. The reason? "Oh, we decided after you left to meet half an hour earlier."

Guess it wasn't a mistake after all!



I had been good friends with a girl ("Angie") that I used to work with and was delighted when she started dating my cousin.  Soon after she got engaged and I was so excited for her.  We weren't as close as we used to be but still talked at family functions.  

One Christmas shortly after her and my cousin had gotten engaged my then boyfriend (now fiancé) gave me a beautiful white gold promise ring.  So at the family gathering I was showing off my ring.  When Angie saw it she was so excited and showed me her engagement ring (I had only really looked at it once and my bf had never seen it) and she laughed and exclaimed "How cool is this - we have the same ring - have you set your wedding date?" I just laughed and explained that it wasn't an engagement ring that it's a promise ring.  Nothing more was said and we all ate dinner and went on our merry ways. 

The next day I get a phone call from my mother saying that my cousin, Angie's fiancé requested that I return my ring because the store I got it at had a thirty day return policy.  I was shocked and asked why in the world would I need to return my ring.  My mom replied that she was just the messenger but that Angie was upset that the same ring was going to be in the same family.  It blew me away! So I called my cousin and asked first off why he didn't call me directly ("I didn't want to cause a fight) and secondly why I should return my ring.  

Well, according to Angie it would have been fine had it been my engagement ring but since it was just a promise ring I should return it.  I just laughed. My BF replied to me that maybe we should return it (What!?!?) and then he smiled and said "and buy a bigger one so we can see just what the issue is - same ring or just a promise ring?"   We didn't.   But when we got engaged and I showed my aunt (Angie's MIL to be) the ring she just looked at me and went "Oh and what's this - another promise ring?"   Needless to say Angie and I aren't as close anymore.



My in-laws are of the type that believe they are quite genteel and everyone else in the world isn't. Their way is always the right way, the "nice" way. In reality, they are bores and boars.

When I was pregnant with my first son I was a size 11. For Christmas, my MIL gave me a size 5 maternity dress. When we spoke to them on Christmas Day, I thanked her but asked where she bought it so I could exchange it for a larger size. She said, "What do you mean it's too small? It's HUGE!" She then claimed she had purchased it in an exclusive store near her vacation home in Florida and I couldn't exchange it. I checked the label and it was a store brand from a mid-range chain. I took it in and exchanged it without a problem.

My SIL is one of those people who just can't let an opportunity go by to tell you how much she's making and how much she has. At a recent family weekend, my DH and our friends were told the minute they walked in the door that SIL and her husband had paid off the mortgage on their home that day because she was doing so well in the stock market. The friends mentioned that they had paid theirs off a few years previously and yes, it's a good feeling. She replied that they should remember this was the mortgage on her vacation home and that the friends don't yet have a vacation home.

I wasn't there and sent her an email a few days later on a completely unrelated matter. She sent me an email back with lots of !!! in it to let me know they had just paid off their mortgage and how great it feels and maybe in a few years we could have ours paid off, too. We paid ours off 10 years ago but didn't tell anyone because we didn't think it was their business. I have a rule about money. The reason you aren't supposed to talk about it is everyone either has less or more than you. The people who have less are resentful when you brag, and the people who have more are chuckling that you are bragging about so little.



My boyfriend and I have been together for almost three years now. He lives in Scotland and I live in America, so we are only able to spend about 1/3 of the year together but we are very happy and looking forward to living together sometime in the near future.

My mother hosts our family's Thanksgiving dinner every year and makes turkey, stuffing, potatoes and all the rest of the standard Thanksgiving dishes, and the rest of us each bring something to contribute as well. I usually bring a sweet potato dish, my aunt makes beautiful pies, even my old uncle who couldn't boil an egg brings a few bottles of wine.

Last year my boyfriend came with me to our Thanksgiving dinner which was a first for him as there is not really a similar holiday in Scotland. It was our first big family even together with my family, and I was very happy with how things went.

When making plans a few weeks ago for his return to the US this fall, he specifically mentioned how nice it was to be there at Thanksgiving, how nice my family was, and how he was looking forward to it again this year. He also said he would like to cook vegetarian haggis to bring and share with my family. (If you aren't familiar with haggis, it is a Scottish dish made of sheep organs stuffed into a stomach and cooked with grains and spices - it is very yucky even to think about, but the vegetarian version has no organs and I enjoyed it very much when he cooked it for me.)

I mentioned to my mother how much my boyfriend had enjoyed Thanksgiving, and that he was so excited about it he was thinking months in advance about what he would like to contribute to this year's meal. I thought she would be flattered that he enjoyed her event so much but she said "I don't want him to cook anything. How do you know it will be any good? Besides, most people wouldn't like that. Tell him not to bring anything."

I know it is hardly a traditional Thanksgiving food, but now I have to think of an excuse because I am embarrassed to tell him my mother doesn't think his cooking or choice in food is up to her standards.



My story involves a grandmother that I have never really gotten along with. I try and visit her when I can, but don’t often get the chance. When I had my first daughter I had some doubts as to how Grandma would treat her as she had made it very clear she did not approve of me having a child (I was going through a very messy divorce when she found out I was pregnant). My divorce went through and the dad has nothing to do with either one of us, which I don’t mind at all as I believe if he doesn’t want to be a part of her life I don’t need to force him because that will just create hostility and anger between us. 

When my daughter was 4 months old we discovered that because of a birth defect she is completely blind, which devastated me. Around the same time I found out my grandma was very sick and in the hospital so I decided to give her a call and let her know I was thinking/praying for her. During the course of the phone call I told her that I would be coming home soon and tried to let her know I would bring her new great-granddaughter by to meet her if I could, but that I would at least stop by with pictures. (I am military and was stationed overseas so the family had not yet met the baby.) I hadn’t told her the issue with my daughter’s eyes as I didn’t feel it was appropriate to bother her with it at the time. 

At this point she says and I quote “Don’t bring that bastard child to see me. She is retarded because god is punishing you for not being married when she was born and I have no interest in seeing her.” After that I decided that trying to go out of my way to be nice to her was overrated, wished her well and hung up the phone. My daughter is now 14 months old and has never met her and I haven’t spoken to the woman since. My immediate family doesn’t understand and continues to badger me about seeing her and tells me that grandma is just old and lonely and taking it out on me, in my opinion that is fine. Take it out on me but leave my little girl out of it! I will not let her hurt my baby!


Have you ruled out senile dementia or Alzheimers as a potential cause for Grandmom's behavior?


This story involves my great-aunt R, the wife of my late maternal grandfather’s brother Uncle H.  Aunt R is a step-relative, as she is Uncle H’s second wife and his children are by his first wife, and Aunt R apparently feels insecure about her status in our family.

My brother and SIL’s wedding in 1999 by coincidence fell on Aunt R’s birthday, and at the reception she asked my father if he could arrange for the venue staff to bring out a cupcake with a candle on it and have everyone sing “Happy Birthday” to her.  My father agreed, but this was a last-minute request and he was very stressed out being the FOG. In any case, Aunt R didn’t get the cupcake, but my father didn’t forget on purpose.  After the wedding, Aunt R called my mother’s sister, Aunt M, and ranted on her answering machine about how my parents deliberately ignored her request.  My parents immediately called her and fell over themselves apologizing.  Ever since then she has been known in our family as “Aunt Cupcake.”

The story doesn’t end there though.  In 2002, the bat mitzvah of one of Uncle H’s grandchildren took place.  As I work as a tax accountant, and the bat mitzvah was held during tax season, I was not able to attend the services but was able to drive to the reception after work that Saturday night, which was fun.  Aunt M and other relatives were there, and I had a good time, up until Aunt R asked me how I’d gotten to the reception.  I live and work in New York City, and the reception was in Connecticut.  I told her I drove up.  

Aunt R asked if I was staying at the hotel other family members from out of the area were staying at, and I told her, no, I planned to drive home later that night after the reception.  Shocked, Aunt R immediately offered to have Uncle H pay for the cost of a room at the hotel for me.  I declined: “Thank you, Aunt R, it’s really nice of you to make the offer, but I can’t accept it.  I don’t have a change of clothes or anything with me as I wasn’t planning to stay at the hotel.”  She refused to take no for an answer, though, and kept pressing me.  I continued to decline with the same line.  Finally she walked off in a huff.  

The next day, Aunt M and her two sons drove to NYC to visit me.  At lunch, Aunt M told me that Aunt R complained to her and others about my bad manners, and that she does this sort of thing a lot, and Aunt M reassured me that I handled Aunt R just fine.  Later,  I sent Aunt R and Uncle H an E-mail telling them that it was very nice to see them at the bat mitzvah, I thought my cousin did a very nice job, it was very generous of them to have offered to pay for a hotel room for me and I was sorry that it wasn’t possible for me to accept it.

At yet another bat mitzvah in 2004, for the sister of the one in 2002, I did reserve a hotel room, and no sooner had I finished unpacking when Aunt R called my room and asked me to switch with her and Uncle H, because my room was on the first floor next to the elevator and theirs was on the third floor at the end of the hall, and according to Aunt R, “it’s too far for Uncle H to have to walk.”  (I saw Uncle H walk at least that far several times that weekend.)  In any event, I did change rooms, but being asked to do so right after finishing unpacking left a very bad taste in my mouth.



My now-fiancé "Carl" and I have been friends for over 11 years now, even though we've only been a couple for the past 2.  He had dropped out of college after a year for personal reasons, but his entire family blamed me as a bad influence (like I made him skip class), most likely due to my vastly different religious views from theirs.  I should probably point out that, at that time, I had only met one sister and her future husband "John"... no one else.  I really didn't get a good impression of John at the time, probably because of the literally screaming fit he had with Carl regarding his education and relationship with me right below my dorm window. And remember that Carl and I were not dating, had not dated, and had no intention of dating ever.

Fast forward about 9 years.  Due to various quirks of fate, we're dating.  Because we've known each other for so long, there's none of that getting-to-know-you-better time so we're dating pretty seriously.  For Thanksgiving that year (we started dating in the early spring) I'm invited to dinner with the family at John and the sister's house.  I walk in the door with Carl and am heartily greeted by John with, "Hello, AMANDA!  So nice to see you again."  Carl is furious, and I'm quite uncomfortable when I remind him that my name is Becky.  Amanda was Carl's ex-girlfriend from several YEARS before.  And this wasn't a case John having a senior moment; he knew.

Thankfully, Carl had a little chat with John and relations have warmed considerably since.



I love my wife dearly, and we've been together for many happy years.   Her family are also wonderful people, and we get on famously...Save for one horrid aunt we'll call "Elsa." 

During our courtship, my wife tried to warn me about Elsa.  She told me awful stories.  There was the time when my wife received a very nice pair of gold earrings from Elsa for her birthday, only to have Elsa ask for them back three days later because a friend of hers had expressed an interest in them.   My wife gave them back, telling Elsa, "Fine, then.  But don't ever give me a gift again."  Elsa was more than happy to heed this advice.  She instead chose to berate my wife about her failure to attend religious services whenever the two would speak.  Additionally, my wife's whole family would roll their eyes when Elsa came up, telling me that everything I'd heard and more was true.  Apparently, Elsa had been married for years to an electronics magnate, and even though he left her nothing when she died (due to her having violated the "infidelity" clause of their pre-nup), she still put on airs as though her net worth were greater than everyone else in the room put together.

Nevertheless, when a family function came up not too long afterward, and I was told Elsa would be there, I was bound and determined to give her the benefit of the doubt. "She can't be as bad as all that", I thought.  "I'm sure she's just an eccentric."   And, truth be told, when I first met her, she didn't seem all too horrible.  She just seemed like a quirky older lady.  So I poured on the charm, and did my best to win her over.  She was smiling, and laughing, and responding in kind...So in my naïveté, I assumed it was working.  That is, until my wife trepidatiously came over to see how we were progressing.  Elsa took her by the hands, looked her right in the eye, and said, "You were right about him.  He's very funny."  My wife and I both beamed.  Then Elsa sighed and continued, "It's just a shame he's not good-looking."  My wife and I practically cracked the linoleum with the speed of our tandem jaw-dropping.  For her part, an oblivious Elsa simply patted my wife on the hand, and swanned off to fetch another drink.

Of course, we can laugh about it now...but at the time, I was crushed.   Still, I've learned to "consider the source."

As for the rest of her family, well...They're far too good of people to have made with any "I told you so"s.



I have an aunt that refuses to put her two dogs in a boarding kennel when they go on a trip, because she feels it would be too traumatizing for the dogs.  So my brother or I dog-sit and house-sit while our aunt, uncle, and cousin are out of town.  They made an agreement to pay us the same that it would cost to board each dog in a kennel per day.

My aunt, uncle, and cousin went to visit her family the weekend before Thanksgiving, and my brother and I decide to split the duties of taking care of the dogs, as we both needed the money.  My aunt explained that the younger of the two dogs (let’s call her Sherry) isn’t doing well, and already spoke to the vet, so that if I felt she needed to be taken to the vet, that I could do it.  When I arrived, Sherry wouldn’t walk- or if she did, it wasn’t far.  She had to be carried outside to go to the bathroom (try being a 110 lb older teen trying to carry a 70 lb golden retriever).  I would bring food to her, and she wouldn’t eat, nor would she drink when I brought water to her.  I called my aunt, asking if it would be okay if my (now ex) boyfriend could come over to help me take care of her, because I struggle with carrying her, and she agreed.  When my boyfriend came over, he looked at Sherry and said “Why don’t you let Port (the other dog, with another pseudonym) out, and I can take Sherry to the car.  Do you know where the vet’s is?”

So we took Sherry to the vet, who kept her there for the remainder of the office hours.  They called us to tell us that they don’t have the facilities to keep her overnight, as she was severely dehydrated, and should be watched on a 24-hour basis.  So my boyfriend and I picked her up, and brought her across town to the preferred 24-hour veterinary clinic.  We continued to take care of Port (whom happened to be Sherry’s mother), went out to dinner, and tried to keep our mind off of things.  I also called my aunt to ask if my boyfriend could spend the night, as there were two beds in the guest room.  She also agreed to that, knowing that if there were any other problems, he could probably help.

I wake up the next morning, and the first thing I think of doing is to call the vet to see how Sherry was doing.  The vet office didn’t recognize that I wasn’t Sherry’s owner, and said “We called you last night around 1.  We did an ultrasound and found that the cancer had metastasized, and you agreed to put her to sleep without you being present.”  I ran back to the bedroom and cried.

I spoke to my brother; he agreed that I could continue to watch Port for the weekend.  The only consolation my aunt gave me was some extra money- conveniently wrapped up in my birthday check that I received a week later.  Yes, I took care of her dying dog a week before my 19th birthday.

The following March, she needed someone to watch Port, because the family was going out of town to visit her family again.  Port wasn’t very healthy, either.  My aunt specifically asked for me to take care of her, because she had taken Port to the vet the Wednesday before, and Port had to take medicine twice a day because she had cancer.  

While my aunt, uncle, and cousin were on their trip “visiting family” (I couldn’t reach her when I needed to speak to her, so I figured I’d call her mother, whose phone number my aunt gave me, in case her phone wasn’t working.  Her mother told me that they were in town for a half-marathon), Port began to not walk up all the stairs (she’d stop at the landing in the middle of the staircase), didn’t want to eat, and I had to force her to take her medicine.  Freaking out, I called my boyfriend again, except his phone wasn’t working, either.  So I tried to settle down with a bowl of popcorn and a movie, with Port at my feet, looking at me with sad eyes.  So here I am, freaking out that another dog is going to die on me, there is no one around to help me, and I hated being in this big house alone, with just one dog that wasn’t moving around much.  The day my aunt and uncle were returning home, I left a note on their counter, explaining “Port was acting like Sherry had, but I couldn’t take her to the vet myself.  You may want to take her when you get home.”

My aunt called my mom that evening, to have my mom tell me that they had taken Port to the vet, and the vet that saw her wasn’t the same one that saw her on Wednesday, and that the vet that just saw Port said, “She should have been put to sleep on Wednesday.  She’s been in pain all weekend,” and they put her to sleep.  This time, because I didn’t go through the effort of taking her dog to the vet’s, I wasn’t paid additional money, and wasn’t even apologized to for having to take care of her pets that were essentially “dead dogs walking”.

The only consolation I got out of that ordeal was that my boyfriend heard the message on his voicemail of me crying, saying “I need to take Port to the vet, and can’t do it myself.  Can you call me back as soon as you can?” then called my house, to have my mom tell him that Port had been put down about 3 hours after my aunt, uncle and cousin got home, and he came over with my anniversary present early (yeah, stupid teenagers, celebrating 6 months together) to give it to me to cheer me up.  I am never, EVER taking care of my aunt’s new monsters, unless she pays me $50/night per dog.



My Dear Husband was married for 15 long years to a horrible witch.  We married when he was 41 and I figure it is my mission in life to make the last half of his life wonderful to make up for the years he was married to the witch.  They did have four children, and while they are all screwed up emotional wrecks, my husband loves them and we both hope that one day they will get a clue and turn out okay.    

The youngest has been getting allergy shots since January of 2004.  They started out as weekly and by last summer they went to every other week. So, she has been taking these shots for the past 18 months.  The insurance is held by my husband and according to the plan, the shots are to go toward the yearly $500 deductible.  The negotiated price between the insurance company and the doctor is $9.00 per shot.  The bottles of serum cost $60.  So, according to what my husband gets from the ex-wife's, she has spent roughly $300 this year between shots and the bottles of serum.    Apparently though, she has not bothered to pay the doctor for a single visit since around last November!  No kidding.  The Psycho (as we call her) doesn't even take the kid in, her Nutcase sister does that (Step-daughters Aunt).  So, for the past 8 months they have been receiving these shots and never paid a single dime.  Apparently the doctor's office got a little tired of this arrangement and sent her a collection notice telling her they were going to turn the account over to collections.    Now, according to Psycho and Nutcase this is all the doctor's office staff's fault because according to Psycho and Nutcase, they never sent her a monthly bill so she didn't know she owed them money!!! 

Below is the letter they sent to the Doctor's office and they sent a copy to my Husband looking for sympathy from him.  BTW, the four children are ages 20 1/2, 18, 15 and 9.  My husband sends over $2000 per month in alimony and child support.    

To Whom it May concern:   

This letter is to let you know that I am very unhappy with the way your billing department is handling my account.  My daughter, (Step-daughters name) is a patient of Dr. Allergist.  She takes weekly allergy shots.  A couple of weeks ago, I received a statement from your office.  It was the first statement I have received this entire year.  Earlier in the year I called your office to confirm my address and to let you know that I hadn't received a statement.  At that time I was assured I would receive one soon.  When I didn't, my sister (Nosy NutCase Sister of Psycho Ex who in reality acts as her Guardian), who brings my daughter for her shots, mentioned it as well.  Still, no statement arrived.  

Now, all of a sudden I receive a statement for over $350 and I am being threatened with being turned over to a collection agency if I can't pay it.  Just so you know I am a single parent with four children.  I cannot afford to pay a bill like this.  I am being forced to use my home equity line of credit to keep from being strong armed by your department and having my credit tarnished because of your oversight.  I resent this bullying tactic and I can't believe Dr. Allergist would condone this way of doing business.  In the future, if (Step-Daughters) shots are not paid for each week in person, I would appreciate a monthly statement.  I don't think that is asking too much.



A few years ago, my grandma sold her house to her eldest daughter and my aunt, who we will call L. L is a nice woman in person, and I have no doubts that she cares for me (her only niece!), but she can be very greedy and mean. I do care for L but there are just a few things I cannot overlook!

1) When she and my Step-Uncle moved into my grandmother's house, they remodeled all but one room in the house: my grandmother's. Now I understand that the house is no longer my grandmother's, but I love her dearly, and I cannot get over the fact they have completely changed the house that L grew up in, along with my mother and second Aunt, and practically shoved my grandmother into one corner of the house. Not only that, but my Step-Uncle does not like my grandma and have verbally abused her in front of friends and family! I cannot believe that L would allow anyone to treat her own mother in that fashion. My grandma can be hearty, but she is never rude and is the person who got on my case when I was not being polite or breaking any etiquette rules!

2) On more than one occasion my aunt has gone behind my mother's and my back and has taken things that belonged to my grandma and grandpa. For example: my grandma has in her will that I would get a set of deer horns, the collection of spoons that contain spoons from around the world, and 1/3 of the ownership of our family cabin. As of right now, the horns were taken by my cousin and the spoons have "been misplaced".

3) My aunt has called my mom stupid and that no one cares about her opinion during family get togethers.

I wish I could be more outspoken to my aunt, but I do not want to put any more strain in the family than L does already! While the inheritance lose is annoying, more than anything I am angered and saddened by how L treats my own mother and grandmother. I don't know how she turned out this way!



When I graduated from college I was so happy and excited.  I wasn't sure who to send Invitations to, but my Parents helped out and we were able to get word out to most of the family and the extended family.  Well, I started getting checks in the mail, most were between $5.00 and $20.00 dollars.  So I started writing thank you cards and sending them in the mail.

I got one card from my grandmother.  This particular Grandmother is one who usually forgets about my birthday or my sister's birthday, but always remembers everything about my cousin "Ally."  This woman plays favorites, but I did sent her an invitation anyway.  I was surprised when I got a card back from her.  Before even opening the card, I knew that there had to be a check, or some money inside because it's one of those cards that in the same shape and size as a dollar bill.  But after opening the envelop and the card, it was empty.  I felt disappointed.  My dad said that you don't write thank you cards when all they sent you was a card, so I didn't, but I wasn't sure if I performed a Faux pas myself.

Well, my graduation fell on Mother's day.  Somewhat inconvenient, but I never heard any complaints from my family or anybody else's family.  My dad tries to get my Grandmother to come to the ceremony, but she said that she's not coming.  Since it's Mother's Day she wanted to treat herself by going out to her favorite restaurant.  She did live a few hours away from the College, but my dad offered to drive her to and from the ceremony.  I guess being the first to graduate college on her side of the family wasn't enough for her to want to give up her day for herself.



I just had to add my relatives from hell horror story to the mix here.  For a brief background, I am the only child of my dad's second marriage. His prior marriage had produced a son, Paul, and daughter, Susan, and his ex-wife did all she could to erase him from their lives. My dad's SIL and my aunt, Nonie, is quite the Alpha female of the bunch and stayed close to my dad's ex and made sure that the whole rest of his family did also. As a result, when my parents married and had me, my dad had been all but removed from his own family and my mom and I were always "outsiders."  

In spite of my dad's numerous attempts, his son and daughter refused to have any contact with him and would not even acknowledge my existence.  We had virtually no contact with any of the family for years unless it was a holiday or an event that required a present, for which one was always sent, but never acknowledged by the recipient. However, they failed to ever send anything to me for either Christmas or my birthday, let alone any other occasion. The one person who was kind to both of us was Nonie's husband and my uncle, Gene, who regrettably passed away when I was 17.  Nonie was nice enough to call my dad and tell him his brother had passed, however, she made sure to time the call and funeral so that it would be impossible for any of us to make it from California to Kentucky to attend, which hurt my father greatly as this was his last living sibling.

Fast forward 20 years and my dad is now ill with cancer and after three weeks in the hospital, passed away. I'm completely devastated as we were very close and on top of it, I am trying to help my mom deal with all the related issues (cremation, insurance, Social Security, etc.).  However, no matter how my dad's family had treated us, my mom was gracious enough to want let them know of his passing and asked if I could call as she wasn't up to it. We did not have phone numbers for anyone as so many years had passed without contact.  However, I was able to find my great aunt and also Aunt Nonie's phone numbers on the internet and I placed the calls.  

My great aunt was very nice, offered her condolences and asked for my address and followed it up with a very nice card.  On the other hand, Nonie was quite cold, almost to the point of rudeness, as if my calling her was of a major inconvenience.  During the conversation, I also asked if she could tell any other family, explaining I did not know how to contact anyone else and I left her my phone number and address and we hung up. To her limited credit, she did send a small card, but only signed her name and offered no other condolences.  We did not receive any other cards or calls from anyone else in the family either.

One of the most painful things in losing my dad was preparing the obituary and finding the right picture. I picked up the forms from the local newspaper and spoke with the woman in charge of publication, Ms. S., about dates, picture size, etc. My mom and I spent a couple of days to word things properly and decide on a picture.  I take all of this into the newspaper and ask to speak to Ms. S., who in turn comes out and announces in front of everyone in the general vicinity that "we have a problem....the son called."  I was totally stunned and quite honestly it took several minutes to process what she was saying as I had not seen or spoken to either my half brother or sister for over 30 years and that was at my grandmother's funeral!  It seems that Nonie had called my dad's son and daughter and told them of his passing.  So instead of calling me or at least having Nonie call me back, they went to the trouble of finding the newspaper in our area, 3,000 miles away, and called them directly to see if they would be listed in the obituary!  I was just floored at the gall of two individuals who had refused any contact with my dad for more than 40 years and now wanted to be listed as grieving family!  However, my mom, once again gracious, said that it was the right thing to do and so they were included. 

I personally suspect that their whole motivating factor in wanting to be included was in case there was any form of estate, they could try to lay claim to it.  My parents were not rich but my dad set things up so that my mom would get everything, which I had no problem with at all.  And surprisingly, after they found out there was nothing to be gained, we have not heard a peep out of any of my dad's side of the family, including his two children, in over 6 years now, which is just fine with me.  Though I have to admit, I still steam when I think the rudeness, callowness and heartlessness of their actions at what was a very painful time in our lives.



My mother is what most people call "a vivacious redhead." She is fit and trim with a huge family and the kind of a person who turns heads when she walks into a room.

Five years ago my dad sued her for custody of my sister and I. We had wanted to spend a year in our dad's town to see what life was like and he didn't want us to go. It had nothing to do with us liking each other. I'm pretty sure that it had everything to do with child support.

The fight took three years. For reasons that I will never understand, when I read the court transcripts a few weeks ago, our father told the judge how well we go along with him and his wife and he never asked our mother how well we got along with her. (If we got along with our dad and step mother, we have no enemies.) Our step mother is a woman with crunchy hair, she dyes her hair a new color every week and is obsessed over other people's manners. She herself has no class as she spent a good portion of every day yelling about our mother, saying that all of our mother's ten children (my sister and I are the eldest and the next eight are with our step dad) looked like they came from different fathers and really tried hard to convince us that our mother was a slut. They called her Fannie Annie and our mother burst out laughing as she said FA is a Playboy Magazine caricature of an attractive lady with red hair who had no shortage of sexual partners. She showed us a vintage Playboy with FA in it. In spite of her age, our mother looks a lot like "Fannie Annie" but since she married our step dad, she's been monogamous!

Our father and step mother could have written a book on how to alienate your kids. At the ages of 11 and 12 for my sister and I, it was hard to hear a 40+ year old woman say bad things about our mother, tell us every day what was going on with the lawyers, throw our mother's beautifully drawn letters at us and refer to her as "our mommy." When things didn't go well for our dad with the custody investigator, we got to watch our step mother throw things around the room. Likewise, in spite of things going so badly for us and us telling the investigators how things were going with our father and step mother, the judge kept thinking that life was great and wouldn't move us. Our mother kept her cool the whole time. When our dad sent her letters that we had to give to her, she would send them back to him through her lawyer explaining that it wasn't  right to make the children messengers. (Now that I am an adult, I have read the letters and they were complaining to our mother that on our twice a month visits with her that she was alienating us from her!) When we cried and told her that our step mother said that all of her children looked like they came from different fathers, she asked us to find out how they looked different because she had the younger kids within a year of each other and couldn't get their names straight! (We didn't ask our step mother but it was wonderful to see that the mean words didn't hurt our mother.) Our mother taught us to anticipate actions. She never said anything mean about our step mother but she would tell us, "You know what to expect. You know how [step mother] reacts. That's half of your battle right there. Now how will you react?" She understood our pressure but she wouldn't tolerate cattiness in response to our step mother's catty antics.

It drove our father and step mother bonkers when they would say things to our mother at school meetings meant to infuriate her and she would smile and not say anything back. Our mother has mastered smiling and saying "Thank you!" to the meanest comments! Seeing that he wasn't getting to us or to our mom, our dad started telling us stories about their marriage-- at this point, 12 years before. We asked Mom if this were true and she said that if he felt that way, they were best off divorced but that there was a gag order and she wasn't allowed to discuss our father with us. (Why Dad never got into trouble or why she didn't press charges we will never know.) Our mom taught us to loose with grace and also how to fight without ever letting the other side know she was fighting. (When she got us back, her lawyer lowered the boom and our dad didn't see it coming.)

When I quit going to our dad's house, my step mother spent all of the gift cards that I'd been given for my 16th birthday from my dad's family. She gave her five year old son, my half brother, a telescope that my dad had given me and he proceeded to trash it. She threw out my clothes and my shoes, any trace of me. My younger sister has a relationship with our father and step mother but she doesn't like being with them. She said that in spite of everything that happened and all the mean and terrible things that were said and done to us, our father and step mother don't understand why neither of us wants to live with them. They have seen our mother shopping and have said of her that "she is still very attractive" like they are accusing her of something heinous. They like to ask if she is pregnant again. Our mom is always friendly when she sees them, compliments our dad or our step mother-- she finds something tolerable and refuses to speak badly of them to my sister and I even though we are both adults now. She doesn't owe them or think they are right-- she says thinking ugly causes us to act and do ugly.

By the end of my senior year, I will have my freshman year of college completed, thanks to my mother taking on a part-time job and helping me with transportation. I feel very blessed to have a mother like her and for everything she does for us without complaining. Our step mother was put out and we or our dad "owed" her for weeks afterward whenever she took us any place.  

If I ever have children or any objects of value, I will have a will in place to protect my mother so she can have custody of my children or my "goodies" and not have to keep up with legal hell with my dad and step mother!

I think my stepmother and dad will spend a lot of time in etiquette hell over how they reacted to my sister and I during the court battle as well as after.




I come from a family of county bumpkins (Okay, most of them are full-blown white trash, banjo-picking, jug-blowing, cousin-marrying, barefoot hill billies, but at least a handful are pretty awesome and worth knowing). Being from a small town hidden out in the middle of nowhere in an almost entirely Caucasian community, quite a few of them are somewhat racist. 

Every summer I used to travel up to vacation in a cottage near my relatives on a lake with a number of childhood friends. My mother had moved across the country before I was born, and it was kind of an annual family-and-friends reunion which was usually very pleasant as long as I avoided the great uncles. But it's not always conceivable to avoid family members when they know they can only see you once a year.   I was rarely on good terms with the great uncles. Not bad terms, per se, we just had cultural barriers we couldn't overcome. They frightened me a lot when I was small. Mostly they just looked old and smelled funny, but they didn't speak to me until I was in Jr. High, and when they finally did we had a hard time relating. 

During this family faux pass, I was eighteen and they (all three of them) were over to visit. I was doing my best not to be rude, I was far too old to excuse myself to go goof off to escape conversation with them. My mother was just agreeing mindlessly to everything they said. I'm really pretty sure she wasn't listening too close, she just really thinks a hostess should go that far to be polite. I just kept my mouth shut when I didn't agree. I was quiet a lot during this conversation.   

One of the uncles turned the conversation in the racist direction. They announced that they liked living in such a nice community without any "damned Mexicans," and how nice it was that they weren't around to take all our jobs serving fast food, and how they really hated "being served by people who are... uh... (scratched stubble) you know..."   "The scum of the universe?" my mother offered with a pleasant smile. My jaw hit the floor. Not only did I find the subject mortifying, but she seemed to neglect the fact that almost half of my friends are Mexican decent, and she absolutely loved them. And not just my friends. 

Here's the kicker. A few minutes later, the subject got on to the members of my generation and how everyone is doing. Mom offered them a photo of "Luke", my ex boyfriend, and me. Oh, yeah. Luke's a mixture of Mexican and Native American. My uncles were not amused.   "Oh, he's one of them, is he?" "THAT'S her boyfriend?" and various other drivel accompanied by glares in my general direction and looks of disgust came my way. My mother seemed entirely bewildered. She had no idea what they were talking about. I really wish I'd laid into them. I was being gracious, getting ice tea, getting sandwiches, listening and keeping my mouth shut when I had nothing nice to say. I may not have been the best hostess, but I shouldn't have had to listen to abuse directed both at me and a very nice boy who wasn't there to defend himself. 

But I did something I still regret to keep the peace. My mom would die if we were poor hosts.   "He's really tan. He's a surfer." They had no clue it was hours to get to the beach from my home. Everyone seemed to think that being from California made you a surfer around there. I often got comments about how I was too pale to be from California, and I must feel so at home by the lake being so close to the water and all.   They all immediately relaxed. "O-oh!" "I see." "Well then! He looks like a very nice young man!" I replied that, yes, he was, and excused myself. I confronted my mother later about her offering the "scum of the universe" comment and how much that really upset me. She couldn't even remember. I knew she wasn't listening!



Well, the last time I had a story for Ehell it was about my wicked StepMonster, “Judy”.  Surprise, Surprise, she has done it again.  She managed to make it all the way to Chanukah before tripping over her own rude tongue.  For some background, my daughter’s birthday is December 10th, and we held her party the following day which was the Sunday before our annual Chanukah party (held early so as to avoid a conflict with Christmas).  The party is always held in my dad and Judy’s condo, and the whole family and selected friends come. 

I had written out all the Thank You notes for my daughter’s party (she’s only 4, but she helped.  In other words, I wrote out the cards and she put the princess stickers on!), and set aside the family ones to be given out at the Chanukah party.  To be clear, Judy did not give my daughter a birthday gift.  My father gave me money for her college account for both her birthday and Chanukah gifts, and both Dad and Judy came to the party, but the gift was from my father.  I put both their names on the TY card, however, thanking them both for attending her party. 

So at the Chanukah party, I had given cards to both of my stepsisters and Judy was standing right there (Dad was somewhere on the other side of the condo), so I gave her the card I had written out for them.  At this point, my husband said, “I told you you should have mailed them!”

I said, “Why waste the stamps?  I knew I was going to be seeing everyone today.”

At this point, Judy laughed and said, “So cheap!  Just like her father!”

Need I say more?



Back when I was seventeen and still living with my mother and little sister, I had a best friend we'll call "Josh." We were attached at the hip and he almost lived at my house. In fact, I would often wake up on the weekends and he'd already be there impatiently waiting for me to get up so we could watch Saturday morning cartoons together. My mother simply adored him and often commented that we should start dating. Since she often threw around unwarranted dating advice, I just laughed and changed the subject. Gradually she started getting more insistent that we date as she would like him to "officially become part of the family someday." In other words, she wanted us not only to date, but marry. On account of her being so fond of him and her being very Christian, I didn't have the heart to break it to her that Josh was perhaps the gayest man I'd ever met, and that might cause some problems at the wedding.   

She pulled me aside one day and initiated the following conversation: 

MOM: "I know you've been dating Josh for a while now-" 

ME: "I'm not dating Josh." 

MOM: "Honey, you don't have to hide things from me-" 

ME: "I'm really not dating Josh, Mom. We're just friends." 

MOM: "We'll when you do start dating him-" 

ME: "Mom, listen! I'm not dating him now and I'm not going to date him! We're just friends!" 

MOM: "Honey, things can change so fast when you're young!" 

ME: "I'm pretty sure about this one..." 

MOM: "We'll, if you guys do start dating... I can get you a prescription for the birth control pill and-" 

ME: "MOM!"   

It degenerated somewhat from there. In the end we both wound up yelling at each other and I locked myself in my room. Hey, I was seventeen, it's allowed. I thought it would be the end of it, in any case. Turns out, I was dead wrong. Not only had she been sure I was sleeping with Josh, but she was so confident I would take her up on her offer that she'd taken the liberty of buying some birth control pills for me. She left them inconspicuously beside my lunch bag the next morning. I don't know what would have happened if I had known what they were, but having never seen them before, I just picked them up, wondered what in the blue world "estrogen supplements" were, decided they were something to do with menopause, and left them where Mom wouldn't lose them.  

 Josh followed me home that afternoon, like always, and while I plopped down on the couch with my knapsack, he wandered into the kitchen. After a moment he yelled, "Why do you guys have birth control pills??" I had to think about it for a moment as I'd repressed the last day's memory. My sister was too young, Mom was too old, I was single... This, of course was all the time my sister needed to make the most of the situation. Using her magical little sister powers, she teleported in almost instantly, screamed excitedly, "Mom bought them for -------!" and vanished in a puff of Bratz Dolls and designer smoke. I just looked at Josh in shock and announced that I didn't even know what they were, and why in the world should he? That brought us to a stalemate that ended a long cartoon marathon. I'm still waiting for an apology from my mother for making such an assumption.   


Page Last Updated May 18, 2007