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My story is that of my relative, my great aunt to be specific. She falls into the category of “the relative that everyone puts up with.” She’s a nearly 70 year old spinster, which is the subject of much of her bitterness. While I won’t go into every last detail, I will provide you with a list of the various annoyances she has committed in recent years.

Incident #1: I split up with my boyfriend of 2 and ½ years in April of 2005. It was not ugly, just with the realization that we were trying to put gas in a broken down car that was our relationship. I was 20 at the time and was ready to enjoy my freedom of going out with my friends, flirting, and just enjoying life. I dated occasionally, but nothing serious, as I was in college and needed to pay more attention to that. 

Well, in the spring of 2006, my great aunt had decided that I was unhappy without a boyfriend, so she approached my mother and handed her a list of Catholic dating web sites that I should join in order to find a boyfriend, settle down, and get married. My mother, being the classy lady that she is, simply said that she would tell me about it ( I wasn’t there at the time) and left it at that. When I did find out, my mother was rather amused at the whole thing, while I was furious. My mother has always let me live my own life, and the one area where she never even set an eyelash in was my relationships, which was big of her because the previous boys I had dated, including the long term one, left a lot to be desired. I was furious because it was none of this woman’s business nor was it right of her to put my mother in that position. 

I thanked my mother for telling me, then drove to my great aunt’s house and, while struggling to keep a civil tone, informed her that she in no uncertain terms had no business interfering with my love life, lack thereof or not. I also expressed discern at her audacity to put my mother in that situation. Her defense was that my mother was married at 20, and since I was almost 21 I should get cracking. Note: my parents are still happily married 24 years later, but my mother said that she had wished she would have gone to school at 20 rather than 40, but that she wouldn’t trade us or my dad for anything.  I explained to her that this was not the 1950’s and while I wanted to marry and raise a family someday, but that this was not the time. This was responded with, “Well then you can marry Jack the f---ing Ripper for all I care”, upon which I promptly left her house.

Incident #2: About three weeks ago, my family was gathered for brunch at my parents’ house (I live there but was not present at the time). This great aunt was going on and on about how much she loved having “Matthew”, one of my 6 year old cousins, over at her house while his parents are working from time to time. At this point, one of my mother’s sisters, who had two children similar in age to “Matthew” asked if she would mind keeping her two well-mannered (I can attest to this, they are two of the most well-behaved and self-entertaining children I know) children for an hour or two while she went to a meeting. The great aunt promptly turned to her and said, “I don’t baby-sit and you know it.”

Incident #3: This was the final straw for me. I should point out that at this point I have met the love of my life, and we are in the beginning stages of planning our life together. I am a lifelong practicing Catholic, but in light of circumstances surrounding my boyfriend (he’s Methodist and a divorcee), there is the possibility that I will have to change practices so that we can marry. HOWEVER, none of our decisions about being married have left the two of our mouths except in discussion with each other. Also, while it is a difficult decision, I am willing to make those changes so that we may be married.

A few weeks ago I was at work feeling devastated because it looked like my best friend of 13 years and I were calling it quits (we have since patched things up). This woman chose that day to call me at work to chat, and when told I didn’t really have the capacity to talk, she pried until I told I was upset because someone I was very close to was probably not going to be in my life anymore. After prying some more, I told her who, and all she said was “D-----, you got my hopes up. I wanted it to be “Patrick.”” I was speechless, and then she went into a rant about no one was going to accept it *when* we got married and I was a horrible Catholic and I was going to be excommunicated and it was the biggest mistake of my life and on and on and on until I interrupted and said, “Number 1, I don’t have a ring on my finger, and 2, how is this any of your business?” She stated that it was only a matter of time, I was marrying him just so I wouldn’t be all alone, and it was her business because it was her duty as a Catholic to tell me what a mistake I am making and what an insult I am to the Catholic church. I told her (which would probably get me sent into ehell myself) that she was an old maid, irritated that I had found the one I was going to marry, that she was an old maid and it was none of her business, and that “Patrick” had done absolutely nothing to her to warrant her rudeness towards him (she ignores him when he says hello, brushes him off when he’s speaking, etc.) and that I never wanted to see that uncalled for and childish  behavior that she was exhibiting. When I fought back, she tried to play it sweet and said she was just looking out for me when I told her I was busy and hung up.

Maybe I’m the rotten one for speaking to her like that, but I truly felt that this was none of her business, and I am 22, a grown woman, and NOT her child.



 So SIL's b-day rolls around, and she just *has* to go to dinner with DH, me, MIL and a friend. She lives about an hour and a half away in another city, but wanted to come home and get her hair done and stuff with her mom that day before dinner. Plans were made earlier in the week and we were to meet up with them at a certain restaurant downtown, where DH and I live, at 6:00 (MIL lives about 25 minutes further east in the 'burbs). All sounds good. 

Well DH and I get to restaurant A on time, go sit down and get a slightly larger table, as 3 others will be joining us. So we decide to just get water and wait. Well we wait for another 15 min before we finally call them to see where they are. They're running late and on their way. Why they didn't think to call us earlier and let us know is beyond me. We were literally 5 minutes from all the restaurants downtown, and they know this.   

Well she then tells DH that she's changed her mind and she wants to go to restaurant B, can we meet them there? DH and I grit our teeth, leave restaurant A and go to B. We find out there's a slight wait. We call them. That's no good. So DH and I go to our car and park while SIL figures out where she wants to eat (they're still headed downtown at this point). She finally decides on this new restaurant, C, that she wants to eat at. DH and I go there, there's no wait and we put our names in. 

At this point it's been a good 30-40 min from when we were initially supposed to eat. Lovely. They finally get there, offer no apology and we go in and eat. Again, DH and I are smiling through our teeth as apparently it is ok to plan a b-day dinner and then completely change things last minute with no consideration for everyone else. Again, we live 5 minutes from all these restaurants and would have been perfectly content waiting at home until they decided.   The kicker? SIL is leaving back to the city after dinner, and MIL and SIL CAME IN THE SAME CAR!! Of course SIL needs to get back home, so now DH has to drive MIL home, a good forty minute round trip. Thanks guys! What a lovely evening and Happy freaking Birthday. I know it's your day and all, but please, have some consideration for others!   



My parents I'm sure mean well but there is a reason I don't live anywhere near them - they are crazy and totally oblivious. To give a quick background, my mother has become so disconnected from the world that she rarely leaves our house/yard and is totally out of touch. My father is very sociable but totally inconsiderate at home - has never lifted a finger, always makes a mess and don't seem to notice. I could go on...

I just had my first baby 3 weeks ago (their first grandchild) and they insisted on coming up immediately to visit even though I thought I made it clear that it would likely be a stressful time for us to have company. They came anyway, literally arriving at our house 10 min after we got home from the hospital.

In my opinion, if you are visiting anyone with a new baby, you bring food and you try to assist in any way possible - diapers, cleaning house, cooking, holding the baby, anything. They brought bagels from NY. Ok, very nice, but not really gonna get me far in terms of meals. My dad told us, as if this was the greatest gift of all, that he would (gasp!) cut them all in half for us! Well, that alone deserves best present ever... riiiight, except for the fact that he did it on the counter, and didn't bother to clean up the millions of seeds left behind. He also tracked mud all over our house and when I pointed it out to him, instead of cleaning it up, he responded with "did I do that?" and didn't even move a muscle, but kept right on eating food we ordered in, despite the fact that I hadn't even sat down to eat yet!

My mom, did not make any mess but mentally drove us batty. She followed me and my husband around the house firing off random questions at us like when did we get that painting, and who's that person in the picture on the fridge, and how far is the hospital from our house. All this while our baby is screaming in my arms since she had yet to properly nurse (ps, still having breastfeeding problems). She also (as usual) refused to decide on what she wanted to eat for dinner when we decided to order food even though we were starving and again, have a screaming newborn on our hands.

After dinner, they both just dumped their dishes in the sink, even though we have a dishwasher, and left! Left!!! Left me and my husband with seeds and mud and dishes to clean up! with a newborn!

It was almost surreal how awful their visit was. The only good thing they did was hold the baby (while she slept) for us so we could get a one hour nap in. They finally left after 6 hours (!). The next day my dad called me at 9am to ask if they could come over again and I said no, since we hadn't slept all night and I didn't need to clean up after them again. He was disappointed - I understand since they drove 4.5 hours to visit, but this was precisely why I told them *not* to come over right away. I kid you not, my dad called again 1 hour later and asked if I was sure they wouldn't come over. Did he think I suddenly got a bunch of sleep in that hour?

As a side note to this story, they stayed with my dad's brother and family who live about 20 min away from us. According to my aunt, they did the same at her house. My dad tracked mud everywhere and didn't take off his shoes when she mentioned it to him. My mom kept my aunt up until 1:30am talking to her, even though she was exhausted after having spent the day at the vet with their dog who was very ill. My aunt, btw, has come over numerous times, brought us several meals, changed diapers, held the baby for me and told me go take a nap, etc. I mentioned to my mom that my aunt had brought us meals and how helpful it was, and she did not get the hint. And I reiterate, they wonder why I moved 3 states away...



Here's just one of the many stories I could tell about my MIL:

I'm lactose intolerant. As those who suffer from this allergy know, while this condition is not life-threatening, like some other allergies, it can still make the sufferer quite sick if they eat milk products. Because of this, I'm careful to let people know of my allergy if they invite us for dinner, as I've always been taught is prudent.

So of course, I'd told my MIL that I cannot have milk products. Once, she invited me and my husband over for dinner. When I got there, I found out that she was cooking a French dish that is cream-based. I figured that she had just forgotten about my allergy, and told that while the food look delicious, I was sorry, but I would be able to eat it, due to my allergy.

"Yeah, but I only put half the amount of cream in," she protested. "I remembered what you said about not being able to have milk, so I reduced the amount."

Well, as anyone with allergies knows, it doesn't matter if you eat two tablespoons of what you're allergic to or three cups of it--allergic is allergic.

"I'm sorry," I replied, "but I can't eat milk at all. It will make me sick."

She got upset, and kept insisting that it was "only a little bit" and couldn't I eat some?

I did my best to stay polite, but had to refuse. Sure, I COULD eat some, but then...well, to avoid getting too graphic, let's just say that I'd end up spending the rest of the night in the bathroom.

That's when she got all huffy, acted like I was just being difficult for kicks, and basically started slamming around in the kitchen in some adult version of a tantrum. I ended up having to eat a tuna sandwich (I made it myself) while everyone else ate pasta in gourmet sauce. Now, if my husband and I had just dropped in on MIL unexpectedly without being invited, I wouldn't have been upset by this. If my MIL had forgotten that I'm lactose intolerant, then no problem, mistakes happen. But to invite someone over for dinner and then purposely make something that you know they can't eat because of allergies, try to force them to eat it, and then to get ticked off and act like they're the one being difficult when they can't is rude.



My grandparents like to travel a lot, so after they retired, they sold their huge house, bought a trailer in an upscale retirement park (yes, there is such a thing) and bought an RV so that they could be on the road six months out of the year. Even though they had their "home" model trailer, they asked if they could park on our property for "a few day" so that they could visit.

As you can probably guess, "a few days" turned into almost six months. They hooked their TV up to our cable (for free). When they ran the cable line inside our house, they had to take off a storm window to do it. They didn't bother to put the window back, and my sister fell on it and got a horrible puncture wound to the back of her leg. It was so severe that she required eleven stitches, and has a horrendous arrow-shaped scar to this day. No apology...grr. They then demanded a key, and trooped in and out of our house at all hours to use our bathroom, do laundry, take showers, etc. Not once did they chip in for these free utilities. They also wore their shoes all through our house, even after my mother repeatedly asked them not to. As a result, the carpets were nearly destroyed. They felt entitled to help themselves to our food, etc, whenever they felt like it. So sometimes the leftovers my mom was planning to serve for dinner than night would disappear, and she'd have to throw something together.

Since they didn't believe in "wasting water", they wouldn't flush the toilet unless it had...uhhh....solid waste in it. So urine would sit in there, sometimes for days, until someone else would flush it. You can just imagine the smell. And not once did they clean that toilet, even though they used it every day. I seriously have never since seen such a disgusting toilet in my life. The bowl was literally BLACK, and it looked like it had seaweed in it. I'm not kidding. That's how disgusting it was.

Finally, after six months (I know, what took so long?), my mother had enough, and told my dad that if he didn't get rid of his parents, she was going to take matters into her own hands. My mom may be less than five feet tall, but you don't mess with her. I'm not even sure what exactly she would have done, but trust me, you don't want to find out! She doesn't make idle threats. However, my grandma got very huffy and wrote my mother a poison pen letter about what a horrible daughter-in-law she was. At this point, my mom didn't care--she was just happy that they were going. As a positive note, my parents grew some backbone, and my grandparents were never permitted to stay on our property ever again.



My family takes punctuality so seriously that I engage in a syndrome my husband calls "Can't be late for being early." His family has been known to wait until Tuesday of Thanksgiving week to decide what they might like to do, while my mother has been known to have me reserve a date for something they're planning a year in advance.

So after five (six?) years and three colleges, my husband's only nephew is FINALLY graduating from a large university that ALWAYS holds its graduations on Mother's Day. (I'm sorry ... that's really wrong. Isn't it?) The ceremony is always held in the large football stadium, and in this state in mid-May, it's always HUMID by 9 a.m. Don't even get me started on the ants or the absence of university vendors who could make a killing on vending cold bottled water and university visors and fans.

Sorry. Tangential rant over.

So, husband's only nephew is graduating. First, it takes quite a bit of doing to convince my husband that we should BE THERE. Then, it takes a week of dedicated nagging to persuade him to telephone either his brother (the proud father) or his mom to FIND OUT what's going on.

Finally, he calls his mother four days before the graduation, and she kind of sort of thinks that they might think about meeting up at the grad's dad's house after graduation.

The dad, my husband's brother, apparently gets wind of this.

At 10:30 p.m. on the Thursday before this graduation, he telephones. It takes half an hour of phone conversation, with my husband in his laid-back fashion agrees to what sounds like some half-*ssed plan, before he hangs up and I find out what's going on.

Because the Mama has hip problems, they're going to sit in the handicapped section. We should "find them" (red flag #1). After graduation, they've made reservations for lunch at a nice restaurant in town. Oh! Terrific! Someone actually made some plans! Er, no. Sister-in-law did indeed make the reservation a year in advance (which is what I would have done, too, for a university town on Mother's Day!!) .... but no one, not then or since, ever thought to call the grad's dad's only brother and ask if we might be interested in attending either the graduation or the lunch afterward. Red flag #2.

I can see it now: We arrive at the graduation two hours early in hopes of finding some parking within the town limits, sit and roast through two hours of waiting and a three-hour outdoor graduation for 2,000 graduates, AND GO BACK HOME ... having never succeeded in finding the rest of the family in the large football stadium with 12 entrances and holding 10,000 people.

With all the diplomacy I can muster (not much), I mention to my husband that it might be a little hard to determine what the "main North entrance" of this stadium might be, especially as neither one has happened to have been in the stadium in a decade or so.

His response? "Hey. I don't even want to go." His only nephew and he's only got three such nieces/nephews in the whole family. 


In our mid to late thirties, my husband had a chance to go back into the military. It was something that he really wanted to do - even though we would be moving almost a thousand miles away from the extended family. Note - we had gotten out of the military when DD was 18 months old and moved back to Old Hometown with her to be closer to family and find new jobs after a series of unfortunate events.............

The BIL had a little girl three months older than DD and they added a nephew some three years down the road. SIL had a girl two years younger than DD and a second little girl a year later. So they had five grandkids within about five years of each other's ages and they all lived in Old Hometown. This happy state of affairs continued until just after the two older girls turned eight. Yeah - that military move took their son and his family away from Old Hometown.

We moved - a year later I discovered that there was going to be another grandbaby! They were aghast...........they were too old to be grandparents again! (Note - we were 36 and 40, the Ils were in their early sixties. They had grandkids ranging from 9 to 4.5 when DS was born.......)

I quote "you had *DS* ten years too late!" MIL said this in front of her son and the granddaughter who was about to have a little brother.

Some time later, she looked at me and asked how *this grandkid* could be ten years too late when NONE of their other grandkids were ten years old yet?

Even a fourth grader noticed how the math worked out........



My husband and I went through a financial crisis and health issues that nearly bankrupted us, leaving our credit in ruins.  My greedy brother-in-law called one day and asked for my husband's social security number.  He wanted to "borrow" my husband's identity in order to receive financial assistance and free housing.  I gave him the telling off of a lifetime.  I wanted to do more, but out of respect for my husband, I behaved rather well, all things considering. 



My maternal side of the family is a little dysfunctional to say the least, and it's all because of my grandfather. My mother and her father have had a slowly degrading relationship for as long as I can remember, officially becoming fully estranged about three years ago when my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer.  My mother is the type to quietly shoulder burdens without complaint, but finally decided that it was time to tell my grandparents what was going on with her health.  She was a couple months into chemotherapy when she arrived at their home with a shiny bald head covered with a scarf.  When she walked in, my grandfather said nothing and wholly ignored her obvious condition in favor of complaining about how no one in the family called him when he was diagnosed with "elevated calcium levels" that I later found were common in the elderly.  My grandmother has Alzheimer's and even though she repeatedly asked my mother why she had chosen such an awful haircut, my grandfather said nothing to address her condition.  I have never been close with my grandparents and hadn't seen them in four years before that incident.  My grandfather is a difficult man, which is why I have chosen to avoid him where possible.  This is the man who told me at the age of nine that he would love me more if I were white.  My family is Mexican.  I should also note that my mother is his eldest child, and I am my mother's eldest child.

About 16 years ago, my Cousin N, four years my senior, found herself pregnant at the age of 15.  My grandfather was Extremely Disappointed in her and wrote her a vile letter condemning her for her sinful premarital sex and bringing shame on his family.  It is my understanding that his berating continued for the duration of her pregnancy in the form of notes and phone calls to both my cousin and her mother, my Aunt D.  My aunt and my cousin somehow found it within them to forgive, and they are now my grandparent's primary caregivers (aside from my grandmother's nurse a few days a week) and they to everything for them from managing their finances to cleaning their home.  A couple years after that, my Cousin B found herself in the same delicate situation, and my grandfather gave her the same berating, extending it to her father, my only uncle.  Before this incident, my uncle was the favored of my grandfather's children because he was the only son.  Now, my mother is the favored one because my sister and I are the eldest grandchildren who have not brought "shame" onto the family.  I find this whole hierarchy business completely absurd, especially since I have not spoken to him in several years and my other cousins do more for him than I ever have.

Fast forward to one month ago.  My grandfather's brother, "Uncle E," with whom my mother and sister and I are close to (we keep in contact with letter writing and the occasional visit), invited us to a family reunion that his "branch" of the family was having.  Due to scheduling on all our parts, we were unable to attend, but it came down through the grapevine that my grandfather got wind of the reunion and invited himself, even though he was deliberately not invited, simply because he is the oldest of the brothers and thinks that offers a position of immediate respect, regardless of the disrespectful way he treats others.  He called my Aunt D, my mother's younger sister, and told her that he would have a ride home from the reunion, but that he would need a ride there.  Aunt D said that my Cousin N offered to drive him.  He told her that was not acceptable, that my Aunt would need to call my mother and *tell* her to *tell* me to drive him, and if I couldn't do it to *tell* my sister to drive him, and if she was unable, *then* my Cousin N would have the honor.  Luckily my Cousin N is a good woman and she does not blame us for my grandfather's behavior.  She passed on the opportunity to play chauffeur.  I have no idea whom the honor was bestowed upon.



Page Last Updated September 18, 2008