I had been married for several years and my MIL came to visit
a few months after our first daughter was born. It wasn't the first time
and it wasn't the last time, but this may have been the worst time. My
husband and I had bought a new house and we had our first child shortly
thereafter. We had both worked and saved our money so that when our first
child came I would not have to go back to work and we had paid for everything in
the new house so we would only have a mortgage payment and not be overloaded
with debt and only one income. My MIL can be a real b*tch sometimes and I don't
really know why, she just overloads her mouth and can't back off. She has
always thought that her son married beneath him, even though financially &
socially my family is average around town. We certainly weren't wealthy
but my parents were well respected and both worked decent jobs. His
parents were both married several times and sometimes we
had to send his mother money to make ends meet in between husbands. I never
really thought much about it one way or another.
On this visit her plane is late (my fault for booking that
late afternoon flight - I should have known better), the house needs cleaning
(OMG I am the cleanest person I know from either side of our families and I keep
an extremely clean house to this day). She doesn't like what I have cooked for
dinner and it doesn't have enough salt (after 10 years of being married to
her son she still doesn't remember that I don't eat or cook with salt, there is
a salt shaker on the table). She wants to know when we are going to
decorate? What about a higher lock for the back door, she doesn't want her
newborn grandchild to get out and drown in the pool, she doesn't want to
go shopping the next day because she doesn't want the baby to be out with the
germy people. I keep rolling my eyes at my husband
because we both know how weird she can be, but we work at enjoying her visit.
She complains about everything, the food I cook, the layout
of the house, the lack of decorating, etc. We take her out to the country
club for dinner, but she complains it is not the best one in town - it isn't the
high end formal club, but is more casual and fits our budget and social needs.
She complains about the outfit I chose to wear that night also. But the
final blow comes right before she leaves and she questions why I am
breastfeeding my daughter. Now I know bf is not for everyone, but it is
working at our house, my daughter is beautiful and healthy, and I feel strongly
that money spent on formula is wasted if you don't need it and breast milk is
supposed to be better, so I'm happy with it. She says (and I'm quoting
here), "only white trash breast feeds. When I was growing up those
old farmer's wives used to sit out on those benches in
front of the stores on Main Street and breast feed those babies with those big
old boobs hanging out, it was disgusting. I didn't breastfeed either of my
boys, it's so low class." I went into shock. I'm not white trash, I'm
not on Main Street, I'm not letting a boob hang out, my parents were both
children of farmers and my mother probably would have killed her on the spot.
I am very, very discreet and modest about breastfeeding. I can't imagine why she
would say such a thing, I am absolutely STUNNED. Well, the fight is on while I
sit there is shocked silence, my husband lets her have it. He tears into
her about the complaining, the belittling of our home & lifestyle, the
whining about the meals and this white trash comment just takes the cake with
him. He takes her to the airport .
When we visit her the next year it is a smoother visit, but we
go to her home for the next several years before she is
allowed back at our home. I have never been so insulted in my life.
It has been almost 20 years since this incident, but I have had her say similar
things about me being low class since then and it absolutely infuriates my
husband and he corrects her every time, but really after 30 years of marriage
how do you dump your mother in law?
I have been divorced more than 12 years and still get zinged
by my MIL from Hell. A brief background here, I am divorced from her son
because he couldn't keep his fly zipped, he had an affair with two of my cousins
and apparently half of our town.
My MIL has always thought that her family is better than mine
because she was born into oil money and I was born into a farming family.
I think we all know that money does not make you "better" it just
makes you "richer white trash" in some cases.
My children and I live a pretty modest life, I have worked two
jobs at various times through the years to cover the lack of child support from
time to time and to get us ahead financially in life. Both of my kids have
struggled because of the missing male in their lives and yet they have managed
to get through school with great grades and good social skills. They
aren't perfect kids, but overall but pretty darn good, they are teenagers and
want everything and sometimes I have to say no.
Most recently my oldest daughter graduated from high school
and chose to go to a technical school rather than a four year university.
I had wanted her to go to college, but it's her life and at least at a tech
school she will learn some job skills and she will always have the opportunity
to go on to a university later in life. I'm pretty pleased that she didn't
want to get married and have babies right away, as it is with so many of these
young girls that grow up in divorced families with no father present. So I
move her into the city with the tech school and she gets an apartment and a job
and we work out a budget to cover her rent, utilities, tuition, etc.
Again, she & I seem to be happy with the plan, I'm helping some, but not
paying for everything.
My MIL calls me constantly to let me know what a mistake I
have made in raising her. She keeps referring to low class people not
attending college. I've been pretty good about keeping in contact with the
ex-in laws and making sure that my kids stayed in touch with their grandparents,
aunts & uncles and cousins and so on. I make them send cards at
Christmas and for birthdays and they have certainly enjoyed gifts from the
grandparents so I'm thinking that I have done as good a job as possible.
Yes, I've had to put up with some rude remarks from the MIL but she's a b*tch
and I can't change that, putting up with her only made my ex and I miserable
through the married years.
For graduation my daughter did not receive anything from her
father or her grandmother. Her PawPaw sent a very generous gift (FIL & MIL
have been divorced for twenty years) and I don't know what to say to my
daughter, she's seen what an XXX her dad can be, my saying something won't help
Last week my ex MIL called to see how my daughter was doing
and I said fine she's struggling a little bit with the money situation but she's
going to make it. My MIL said, " Well if you had raised her with some
class, she would be going on to college not some cheap technical school. I
certainly raised her father better than that." There really isn't
enough room here for me to tell you all the mistakes she made with her son, but
class and his name should not be said in the same sentence. My ex is not a
college graduate, although he is very intelligent and has a very good career,
there have been long periods of time when he has not worked or paid his child
support. He has never bought anything "extra" for his children,
although whatever current girlfriend he has is always well gifted.
I don't understand why parents of divorced adult children
can't let go and leave well enough alone. Would someone please enlighten
Let me take you back in time as I have never quite recovered
from the shock of my SIL's actions. It's January 30, 1980 and it's Northern
California. My future (first) husband and I are living temporarily in my future
BIL and SIL's one room garage apartment awaiting the birth of our first child.
It was to be a home birth with a Midwife as FH was a musician and we had no
money, no insurance.
My water breaks while I am watching "The Martian
Chronicles" and FH calls the Midwife. The Midwife shows up with two
pregnant "trainees" and the three of them proceed to bake bread with
my FSIL while I am in labor, leaving me to fend for myself with FH who promptly
After 10 intense hours of labor and NO MEDICATION my son is
born naturally. I am exhausted. I am instructed to bring the baby into an herbal
healing bath to clean him up myself. I do so.
About an hour later FSIL informs me that I have bled on her
bathroom floor and I need to clean it up. I get out of bed where I am nursing my
two hour old baby and I wipe three small droplets of blood off her bathroom
In the meantime my FSIL boils the afterbirth and feeds it to
her dogs. To this day she has no idea what an idiot I think she is.
My husband, three kids and I live across the country
from our relatives. A few months ago, my mother-in-law and sister-in-law visited
my home. My mother-in-law is a good sort, but the sister-in-law,
"Heather," is a completely different story. She complained constantly,
treated my teenage son like her personal slave and generally made life miserable
for everyone. She was forever breaking rules of common decency and
etiquette...which makes this story all the more amusing.
One day, we all went out-of-town to visit a museum, and had
lunch at a rather nice Japanese restaurant. As I used to work at a Japanese
restaurant years ago, I was very familiar with the food and helped my children
and mother-in-law to order. The food arrived, we all began to chow down,
and I actually thought that for once everyone---including Heather---was happy
and having a good time. Wrong. After a few minutes, both
my husband and I began to notice that Heather is glaring at us. I was taken
aback; my kids were behaving and thus far, it had been an enjoyable meal.
Whatever was the matter with her now? Not being able to figure out on my own
what the problem was, I asked Heather if there was anything wrong.
She glared at me again for a few minutes, slammed her fork down on the table and
announced in a very loud voice, "You are SO INCREDIBLY RUDE!" and
indicated myself, my husband and my teenage son. Why were we rude,
you ask? Because we were eating with chopsticks. No, I
am not making that up. According to Heather, everyone at the table should eat
with the same utensils, or it is "rude." And as she does not know how
to use chopsticks, that meant everyone at the table should use a fork, as she
was doing. I was dumbfounded. I tried to laugh it off, explaining my
previous employ at a Japanese restaurant and how I pretty much had to learn to
use chopsticks at that time or risk professional ridicule. Heather's
response? "If you worked in a Japanese place, then you of all people should
know better." I hope you think of me, the next time you have
This past January, I realized my mother would be 80
on her next birthday, in June, so I began planning a lavish party. After
visiting different venues, I decided I wanted the flexibility of hosting this
affair in my home. Many preparations included extensive home improvement;
painting, new lighting, and new furniture. I also decided instead of
driving myself crazy cooking and serving, I would engage the help of a caterer,
and I hired a pianist.
In February I received word that one of my aunts had died.
The last time I saw her and my uncle, my late father's brother, was about 4
years prior, even though they live just one state away. She was one of the
rudest people I'd ever known, and over the years had managed to alienate
everyone in her husband's family. Like my mother and sister, who'd also bad
dealings with her, I very much wanted to be at the funeral for my uncle.
He is a very kind and loving man, and we held no animosity towards him
whatsoever. As it turned out, he was very happy we had come.
During the family time preceding the funeral service, I
mentioned to my uncle and cousins my mom's 80th birthday, that I would be
hosting a big party, and that I wanted them all to attend. We all
exchanged email addresses and promised to keep in touch. Here
is the important point: This uncle has two daughters.
Older daughter, Ellie, has a husband and two teenagers. Younger
daughter, Candy, has a nine-year-old daughter, and is divorced. At
the funeral was her new boyfriend, John, who seemed like a very nice
Back home, I resumed party preparations. I began
thinking about Candy and her boyfriend. As I said, he seemed like a nice
man, and I thought she might like to have him with her, since her sister would
have her husband. So, in an email I invited Candy to bring him. In
her responding email, she mentioned that the party might coincide with his
weekend to have his two daughters, ages 8 and 10, so he might have to bring
them as well. I wasn't happy about this. Certainly I expected her to
bring her own daughter. But the truth is, I am not especially into
children, and certainly not children who have nothing to do with me or my
mother, the guest of honor. Also, I hate when guests take it upon
themselves to add to the guest list, whether they announce it or not. But
I wanted to be gracious about it, thinking Candy might one day marry their
father, and be their stepmother. I emailed her, telling her it would
be lovely to have the girls, that they would be good company for my sister's
three children. For a while, everything seemed perfectly fine. I
Fast forward to three days before the party. Candy
I would like to know what you are planning for the kids
if they are planning on coming. The reason I am asking is that John's
girls feel that they might be bored.
I was stunned! First off, this was always going to
be, from day one, an ADULT party. The only children I was truly interested
in attending were my mother's grandchildren. Period. I began
wondering on what planet do you inform your host that you are bringing
previously uninvited children to her party, then expect her to provide
entertainment? And THEN tell her, said children are afraid they might
be bored??? I mentioned this to my sister, mother of three
young children. She was equally appalled. I had been
focusing on the many details of this party, when I wasn't at my job, and
had no desire to waste any energy on an argument. I emailed her right away
with one sentence: I have no plans for the children.
The next day she wrote again, saying she didn't know if her
boyfriend and his children would be coming, but her sister, her dad and teenaged
niece would be coming. The morning of the party she called,
saying NO ONE was coming. Her dad was still grieving the loss of his wife
and really wasn't up to attending a party. Also, because it was a
three-hour drive, they really couldn't make the trip without overnight
arrangements, (we have a hotel nearby) and her sister had plans the next day,
but could have made it in one day, if the party hadn't been planned for so late
in the day (It was set for 5 pm). So not only was I a terrible host for
not providing entertainment for children I didn't know or care about, I should
have made it earlier for out-of-state relatives I had no idea I'd be
inviting. (I could tell by the tone of her voice she was really
peeved about that.)
Truth is, I had guests that had come all the way from the
opposite coast who had no complaints about the timing of this party.
Until now I hadn't seen this charming young woman since my wedding in 1996, and
I don't care if I don't see her again. Ever!
I don’t think it gets any tackier than this:
My brother is lazy and inconsiderate, but in the past I always
made excuses for him. He doesn’t contact anyone in the family unless he wants
About a year ago I learned I had cancer. Out of a sense of
familial duty, I called my brother to tell him. My type of cancer is incurable,
but currently can be kept under control with chemotherapy. First of all my
brother told me that no one would be concerned about me because some distant
in-law of his had cancer worse than me. Then he said he had to get off the phone
because a ball game he wanted to watch was starting.
I heard nothing from him until he showed up at the family
Christmas gathering. I had gone through weeks when I didn’t know if I would be
alive at Christmas, or if it would be my last one, and I requested that the
family slow down its usual orgy of gift opening and take time to see what gifts
people received, to acknowledge gifts, and to interact with each other. My
brother became angry and made a little speech about how I thought everyone had
to do what I wanted because I had cancer and thought I was special. Then he
stomped out of the room and didn’t come back until everyone else had finished
opening their gifts. He then refused to open the gifts I had given him.
Eight months passed with absolutely no word from him, and then
he left me a phone message wanting to know if he and his wife could spend the
night at my house on their way back from vacation. He has no idea how I’m
doing or what kind of treatment I’m currently going through, and he didn’t
bother to ask how I was.
My husband had planned on buying a riding lawn mower for his
Dad for his birthday. Unfortunately his Dad passed away before this
planned event, but went along with the plans to present it to his mother instead
since she still needed to replace the older tractor. He has 3 other
siblings who did not contribute nor were asked to contribute to the $1,500.00
price tag. With her eyes closed, and then the gift given, she was shocked
and crying because of the thoughtfulness of her son. This moment was
ruined by her granddaughter who openly stated within our daughter's earshot:
"Oh my F_ _ _ _ing God, I can't believe he got that instead of paying for
her electric bill." Our daughter was visibly shaken and then left the
party because of her thoughtless words and inability to be happy about her
grandmother's gift. I told my daughter that if she was so concerned about
the electric bill she could pay that bill herself. She was approached by
her uncle, and was told to mind her own business. And what did that 34
year old granddaughter give her for her birthday? A birthday card
with photo's of her children. This comment has taken on a toll on their
relationship. Lessons learned: keep your nasty, unhappy comments to
I have some real gems in my family but this particular aunt
takes the cake. My grandmother passed away late one summer. We were
all torn up inside and it was a hugely emotional event for my entire family. In
the middle of the wake, as we're making small talk and standing awkwardly in a
circle, aunt "B" comes up to my mum and dad and says quite loudly,
"So it looks like you're going to have a boarder this September." Mum
goes, "Pardon me?" and Aunt B announces that her 17yr old daughter,
cousin "C" was accepted into a Beauty School in the city where we live
and it was assumed by said Aunt B that Cousin C would naturally live with us
whilst attending this school.
We were all feeling so emotional and a camaraderie with one
another (also, nobody wanted to 'start' anything at that particular moment) that
dad and mum said it was ok (even though aunt B wasn't asking, she was telling).
Fast forward to the first week of September. On my mum's 55th
birthday, as we are out celebrating at a restaurant in town, dad's cell phone
rings and it's Aunt B saying that they are on their way through town bringing C
to our house to move in. We cut the dinner short (poor mum!) so we can meet the
relatives at our home. Aunt B and her boyfriend G are there with 17 year old C.
Poor C was fresh out of highschool and really not ready to move out on her own,
but she was still excited about starting Beauty School and about being in the
city (she had come from a small community of around 500 people to a city of
150,000 people so it was a culture shock to say the least). I helped C unpack
her bags and feel at home. I told her we'd be sharing the bathroom and showed
her how I had moved things of mine off the counter to make room for her things,
and how I did the same in the shower.
A few weeks pass. C hasn't got a bus pass yet, so mum and I
are taking turns chauffeuring her to and from school (whilst mum is working a
full time job and I am going to college full time and working part-time).
Finally I personally drive Cousin C to get her bus pass from Town Hall, and
still she phones every evening for a ride home from school.
Meanwhile, Aunt B was insisting she get a part-time job.
Cousin C resists. Instead, she is making friends with kids who go to the
college. She stays out every weekend at their dorm halls and parties it up! She
brings friends to our house when she knows mum and dad are preparing supper, so
that her friends will get a decent meal (mum and dad didn't mind if this
happened from time to time, but it was going on 3 or 4 evenings a week until
finally they told her enough is enough!). Cousin C is constantly spending money
and my parents knew she was on a tight budget made by her mother. Mum and dad
don't feel comfortable with Cousin C's actions. She is only 17, staying out all
weekend long and drinking underage, and spending money that she shouldn't be.
They realize she is 'spreading her wings' but at the same time, they feel
responsible for her. As semester one comes to an end, they decide if it
continues after the holidays they will say something to Aunt B (if she doesn't
already know, which she might have).
But after the holidays they didn't have to make the choice.
Cousin C came back to our house after the holidays. She went to her first week
back to school. She came home early one day and I, being the only one home at
the time, asked her why she was home at noon? She told me she dropped out of
She said since she was only 17 when she had started Beauty
School, she felt really overwhelmed and unprepared to make such a commitment. I
talked with her for awhile and then she threw some things into a bag, and my mom
drove her to the bus station so she could go home again. We were really
worried about her and how Aunt B would take the news. Mum phoned Aunt B and told
her that she would return the month's rent check. Aunt B accepted that and said
she would be coming by "soon" to pick up C's things which were
littered all over our spare bedroom. These included, a bar fridge, blankets, a
trunk, a bookshelf, 4 suitcases of clothing, over ten pairs of shoes, dozens of
stuffed animals, and pictures she had taped to our (freshly painted) walls!
A month passes with no word from C or Aunt B about C's
belongings. Mum and dad finally phone in April (!!!!) to ask what is going on.
Aunt B responds with, "Oh we probably won't be coming by to get C's things
until later this summer." Mum and dad want their spare bedroom back. They
love to entertain people and hadn't been able to because C's things had taken
over the spare bedroom.
So, mum and dad take a weekend, phone ahead of time, pack up
C's things and drive them back to her house. Nobody is home- surprise surprise-
so mum and dad pile everything into the front porch (where it would be
protected from the elements) and leave.
To this day, C hasn't called to thank us for our hospitality
or for bringing her things to her. And Aunt B hasn't mentioned it since.
When I had my son we decided to have him baptized when he was
two months old. The church we go to is very old fashioned and the sermons
can be lengthy. I always make sure to be on best behavior when attending
other churches. I just wish I could expect the same from
others. My husband and I both have large families, so we decided
that instead of making everyone cram into our small house we would invite
everyone to a buffet style restaurant with a banquet room after church was over.
The baptism went just fine and church was over. We headed to the restaurant
and after everyone settled in with their food my husband and I made our rounds
to the tables saying hi and thank you for coming. We made our way to
a table that my husband's aunt and her family were sitting
at. We made small talk and were about to head to a different table when
his aunt says, "I told my boys that if they ever misbehave I'm going to
punish them by sending them to church with you." I just about
died. I couldn't believe she had said that. Normally, I take what
she says with a grain of salt, but this took the cake. I've never felt the
same about her and her family. Especially, when I found out that this same
aunt was writing on the back of her kids school pictures while sitting in the
front row while the church services was going on. It's times like
these that I wonder if my husband was adopted.
MIL knows that I don’t eat mammals. Fish and chicken = okay,
beef and pork = not okay. So we have a cook out at her house and she prepares
all kinds of sausages, bratwursts, burgers, and hot dogs for the rest of the
family. She even makes me chicken. So we’re sitting down eating and she
insists that I eat this sausage. I am hesitant because it looks like the veal
sausages that I see my husband and FIL eating. But she insists that it’s made
out of turkey. Not wanting to be rude, I try a bite of the sausage. She asks,
“Do you like it?” I say, “Sure, it’s good.” She proceeds to cackle and
cough and laugh and gasp for air. After a laughing for a while, she
manages to say “Ha ha! I got you. That’s veal! But you liked it, so I guess
you have to eat more, right?”
I was truly mystified and looked around the table. My husband
didn’t say anything (he’s kind of a mama’s boy) and FIL was shaking his
head smiling. I was too appalled to say anything and finished my meal in
Maybe I'm just unlucky, but I truly believe I could fill this
entire site with all the things that I've come across - still, it keeps life
interesting! However, I won't subject you to all of them just yet. My story
today concerns my grandmother.
I love my Grandma very much, but she does not know the meaning
of the word 'tact'. There's honesty, there's downright rudeness - and then
there's my grandma. Her actions are legendary. This is despite the fact that she
prides herself on being an etiquette queen who is perfect in every aspect of her
manners. She's in her early 80's now, but it's not dementia that causes her to
act so badly. She's always been exactly the same.
On one occasion I was about 13, and I was dressed up for a
school ball (a bit like an American Prom). I should say here that I am on the
plump side, not huge but not small. I'm a British size 16, I think that's a 12
in America. So I come in, feeling like a million dollars. Grandma takes one look
at me and states "Oh, what a lovely dress. You know, you'd look quite nice
if you weren't so fat!" Thanks Gran. Did wonders for my self confidence.
At 21, I invited her to my graduation ceremony. I only got
issued 2 tickets, so this was a big deal. At the time I was flat-sharing with my
best friend, a lovely guy we'll call S. S was openly gay and I knew grandma
wouldn't take this well, so I warned S about her beforehand. We are all dressed
up beautifully, and S is his usual flamboyant self in a red tartan suit and
Disney print tie. Grandma walks in, looks S up and down and turns to me.
"We aren't going to your graduation with that thing are we?" she asks
loudly. S laughed it off (I think he's heard worse) but I wanted to sink through
Grandma can't get around so well any more, so my dad, my
husband and I take her on holiday once a year. Every year it seems like a good
idea. Every year, I come home swearing I'll never do it again. Last year, dad
paid over £3000 ($6000) to rent a villa with downstairs bedroom, disabled
facilities etc. so Grandma could manage. It was an amazing place, but Grandma's
room did not have a mirror, although there was one in her en-suite bathroom. At
least 6 times a day, she would complain about this flipping mirror. How do they
expect you to get dressed without a mirror, what a terrible place it was not to
be properly equipped, etc. We'd be sitting in a restaurant having a beautiful
meal, and she'd start complaining about that mirror.
This year, husband and I had just got married and only had 2
weeks of vacation time, so we gave up our honeymoon to take her to Cyprus. Every
day she complained it was too hot, it was a stupid idea coming to somewhere so
hot, the bed wasn't big enough, there were mosquitoes, the tea didn't taste
right, the bread was too sweet, and she couldn't go out of the villa as it was
far too hot to go sightseeing. We spent most of the holiday trapped in the villa
listening to her complain.
She refused to take her medication with her (she said she
wouldn't need it) then took all of mine and sent me out most days to look for a
store that would sell the exact brand of tablets that she wanted. She told me
everything I bought as souvenirs was complete junk, then stole 3 of them to take
back as presents! I honestly believed she hated every minute; she certainly
seemed determined to make the rest of us hate it. Then two weeks after we got
back, my aunt told me how much Grandma had talked about her 'wonderful' holiday
to Cyprus and how perfect everything had been!
I could write pages and pages about this woman, but I'll just
sign off with one more little anecdote for now. On one particular occasion, we
were at a major airport in London - I was taking her to visit a family member
who lived abroad. There we were sitting in one of the most diverse cities in the
world, surrounded by people from every nation, all waiting patiently for our
planes. Grandma's voice cuts through the general hubbub like a knife as she
announces loudly, "I do hope we don't have to sit next to any of these
filthy black people on the plane". How we were not lynched I'll never know.
Family - what can you do?
My story is about my MIL, an unbelievably self-centered human
being. I met her about 25 years ago and my husband (then boyfriend) was not
speaking to her. He was fairly bitter about his parents' divorce and blamed it
all on her. He wasn’t very forthcoming with details, just that his mother had
left his father and that it had a devastating effect on him and his brother. I
also know that his father was a very bitter and unhappy man. I figured there
must be two sides to the story and left it at that. When we announced our
engagement she suddenly wanted to be my best friend. Now understand, because my
fiancé was estranged from her I barely knew her. (I had met her twice.) It was
difficult for me to set boundaries with her, because she really wanted a VERY
close relationship with me, immediately. (Closer than I had with my own mother.)
I was trying to walk a fine line between offending my future MIL and angering my
future husband. I have to say that at that point I only found her annoying and
After our first child was born, my DH reconciled with his
mother and I had hopes that this would make everyone happier. Well I didn’t
have a clue as to what kind of games this woman could play. I could write a book
about all of the things she’s done over the past 20 years, but this is going
to be a long enough post anyway. We could go months without hearing from her and
then all of the sudden she wanted to be with us every day. She would show up
unannounced and uninvited and bring her latest boyfriend with her. Now my DH and
I both have very stressful jobs, two small children, AND we’re stupid enough
to try and remodel our house at the same time. Imagine me up to my eyeballs in
dirty laundry, scrubbing my kitchen in nasty sweats and now I get to entertain
my MIL and a total stranger. No matter how many times DH would tell her, please
call before you come over, let us know if you’re bringing someone with you,
etc. She would still do it REPEATEDLY!
She also treated DH like he was a slightly retarded 9 year
old. Even my children, who loved her when they were younger, started telling me
they didn’t like being with Grandma. (They had a great relationship with my
parents, as did DH.) It got so bad that once they were teenagers DH and I
stopped making them visit her.
Over the years more details about the divorce and his life
came out. When she left, she moved in with her boyfriend and expected her sons
to treat him like he was their father. I wouldn’t have been so bad if this
hadn’t been repeated DOZENS of times over next few years with the boyfriend of
the moment. And if that wasn’t bad enough, after each relationship ended she
would come back to FIL and reconcile with him until the next boyfriend. That
went on when DH was between 15 and 18. After hearing the whole sordid story one
piece at a time over about 15 years, I was actually stunned that he had ever
reconciled with her.
Fast forward a few years. My FIL met an absolutely wonderful
woman and remarried very recently. DH and I are so happy for him. He’s no
longer bitter and unhappy. He’s like a changed man. She’s so nice DH
actually said that he wished she was his mother. My children love her and have
told us over and over that she’s not a step-grandma but a real one. My oldest
was graduating from high school and we invited my parents, FIL and wife, and
MIL, along with my DD. During the ceremony MIL switched seats so she could sit
next to FIL and kept snuggling up to him telling that she was “cold”. (It
was at least 80 degrees outside.) After the ceremony while waiting for DS to
meet us I actually witnessed MIL hitting on FIL in FRONT of DH, DD, and FIL’s
wife (not to mention my parents)!!! DH was completely demoralized, DD was so
shocked she turned her back on MIL and refused to speak to her again that
evening. My parents and I were embarrassed for everyone there. Thank goodness DS
didn’t see this on HIS night. To her credit, FIL’s wife reacted with grace
and composure, proving to all of us how good a woman she is.
After the ceremony we were going back to our house for a small
celebration with the grandparents and DH told MIL she was not welcome. He no
longer speaks to her (again) nor do my children. She will NOT be invited to
I have never been so grateful to have been blessed with such
great parents then at that moment. It’s a wonder DH is sane. It must be FIL
that kept him that way.
After I completed my A-levels and before starting university I
opted to take a gap year. While I was trying to decide what to do with my gap
year my second eldest sister offered through my mum for me to spend the year
with her in Perth, Australia. I jumped at the chance as I hadn't seen her for at
least 3 years. She was supposed to be visiting the previous year and had
borrowed a considerable amount of money from my mother to do so. However at the
last minute decided she could not afford it and so cancelled the holiday.
Because it wasc cancelled at the last minute however the travel company would
not refund her and as far as she was concerned if she wasn't getting any money
back she wouldn't pay my mother back either. She's never been particularly good
with money although mum had hoped she had sorted herself out by now. Needless to
say she will never ever lend her money again. Funny thing was if my sister had
at least offered to try and pay mum back she would have written it off but the
fact that she just shrugged and said yeah well what ya gonna do really made my
mum's blood boil.
So my mum arranged for me to pay my sister room and board out
of the money she still owed my mum so basically my mum paid for at least my
first few months there. My sister was agreeable and said she wouldn't charge me
any rent until I got a job anyway so the plans were put in motion, tickets
purchased and my sister moved to a larger house to accommodate extra
When my sister picks me up at the airport I'm told that she
cannot afford to take the week off work as planned as she'd decided to go part
time at work to spend more time with her son. Which meant we wouldn't be able to
do any of the fun things we had planned for my first week, like going to the zoo
and theme parks and such. That's fine with me I can understand that she needs to
work so I'm ok.
When we get back to her house she takes down her calendar and
shows me how long the money from mum will pay for my room and board as from the
day I arrived. So much for no rent until I get a job but again ok. However later
she admits that the rent on this new place she moved to because of me is
actually less rent than where they were living before. Strange but I wanted to
pay my way anyway.
The next day and everyday of my stay I am woken at 7:30am by
my sister and her son having a screaming row generally involving him screaming I
hate you you're a cow. This is strangely reminiscing of the arguments she used
to have with our mother the irony is not lost on her and she admits it's
probably karma. The brat is a complete nightmare and scream and yells whenever
he doesn't get his way. On one occasion he sulked and kicked his mother over the
fact she wouldn't buy him a lollipop. So she leaves him sitting in the car with
me while she goes into the shop to buy cigarettes. I attempt to calm him down
only to be rewarded by having him chuck a bottle at me and kick my seat. I opted
to stay away from him for the rest of the time I'm there.
The first weekend she takes me into the center of Perth on the
bus. Other than the local shopping center this is the only place she takes me in
the time I stayed with her. She kindly hands me a list of employment agencies
she printed for me, however I don't know how to get anywhere but the center of
Perth on the buses and have no car. When asked if she could drive me to one she
says she can't she's working but promises to get me a bus timetable, which never
appeared. Now remember she told me she had gone part time to spend time with her
son. Well this meant that she only worked mornings however he was a school in
the afternoon so she actually was at the gym. If her finances were so tight I
wondered why she went part time, why not just shorten her hours to allow her to
pick him up from school. However once again her choice.
Finally after 4 weeks cooped up in her house with her brat and
her constant whining about how difficult her life was and how it was all our
mother's fault I'd had enough and told her I was feeling homesick and was
thinking of going home. She seemed understanding but suggested I sleep on it.
Incidentally our mother has her faults however all choices were made for the
best at the time whereas my sister seems to believe she did it just to spite
everyone else and that means she is to blame for everything that has gone wrong
in my sister's life. Hmmm time to grow up and accept responsibility for you're
own screw-ups I think.
The following day I make my decision and decide to change my
flight home to the following week. My sister is fuming although doesn't really
give a reason. The evil part of me suspected it was the loss of my potential
earnings and the fact that she now still owed mum money might have been the
reason. I ask what time would be best for her to see me off to be told,
"Well I can't miss a day at the gym or take time off work so you'll have to
get a taxi to the airport." Yes I assumed she'd drive me but then I
thought she'd want to see me off I hadn't seen her for 3 years before this I
wasn't likely to be seeing her again for a few more. I was hurt but duly booked
a taxi. Relations from there all but froze she would barely talk to me and when
doing our last shop together actually told me to stop following her round the
store and go away so I went a sat next to her car in the parking lot for 3/4
hour. I was baffled and hurt all I had said to her was that I'm really homesick
and have decided to go back home. It wasn't till much later that it occurred to
me about the money angle.
The day I left I hoped she would change her mind and come with
me to the airport but she didn't even say goodbye before she left for work. I
still hoped as she knew the time of my flight that she might turn up at the
airport but no. Right after I got home I contacted her to let me know how much I
still owed on the phone bill. I had left her all the cash I could considering I
need to keep some for the taxi. However she never got back to me but I assume
she's probably telling everyone how I refused to pay. 3 years later and I
haven't spoken to her since I still don't really know what I did to upset her so
much by being homesick and leaving early. My parents were livid at the way she'd
treated me and horrified at the behavior of my nephew and finally my mother
never did see any of that money.
In December 2007 I graduated from my small university with a
bachelor's degree and decided to walk in the graduation ceremony. I wanted a
small celebration with immediate family only, which everyone was fine with. My
mother and stepfather, my brother who was also a university student elsewhere,
and my father were all going to attend. My university is five hours from my
hometown. My parents divorced amicably six or seven years ago and neither gave
any indication that they couldn't sit through a ceremony and later a celebratory
dinner together. My father is an alcoholic and it definitely strains
our relationship. I was anxious leading up to the date of the ceremony because
not long before he'd made a passing remark about maybe not attending for no
specified reason. I'd been hurt but partly relieved, as he tends to be a
stressful person to spend a lot of time with. In the end he indicated that he
would be there.
The graduation ceremony went off without a hitch, and
afterwards I found my mother and stepfather in the auditorium where the new
grads were getting together with their family members and congratulating each
other. It took me maybe fifteen minutes to find my mother and
stepfather. None of us had seen my brother or my father at that point; my father
is six foot four and easy to pick out of a crowd. We tried calling them with
cell phones with no luck. We waited until the ceremony had been over for a full
hour and the rest of the grads had trickled out. I felt awful; not only was I
getting more disappointed by the minute as the auditorium emptied, but at this
point none of us knew if my father and brother had even seen the ceremony at
all. They'd planned on coming to town together but no one had talked to them at
any point that morning or the night before to even confirm they'd arrived.
We had an afternoon to kill between the ceremony and dinner,
so my mother and I went shopping after dropping my stepfather off at their hotel
to nap. My father and brother had coincidentally booked a room at the same hotel
(it's a small city, it's not that unusual for things like that to happen) so I
asked the front desk clerk if she could call my father's room. At least we
confirmed that he was in town, but of course no one answered the room phone or
any calls to my brother's cell phone. It was almost worse knowing they were
there, since now we still didn't know if they'd been at the ceremony at all and
they were certainly not going out of their way to find me at this point and
offer any sort of congratulations.
Our dinner reservation rolls around and my mother, stepfather
and I go to the restaurant. Right up to the last minute I tried
getting a hold of my brother, with--you guessed it--no luck. I felt like crying;
for a half hour we put off ordering while we sat around a half-empty table that
should have been occupied by the other members of my immediate family. If you
have an alcoholic parent or loved one you might have an idea of how bitter it
feels to be disappointed by their behavior, especially if you let yourself
believe that maybe this one time they'll pull through for you.
Thankfully they did show up, not too terribly late but after
not hearing from them all day it felt like an eternity. My brother is a charming
guy and we get along very well; I was excited to see him. My father's eyes were
glazed over in a way that unmistakably means he'd been drinking. He immediately
ordered a glass of wine and downed it like you'd throw back a shot. The table
conversation eventually picked up again and it went pretty well. We're all nice,
easygoing people, and my father more retreats than gets belligerent so although
it was incredibly painful to watch him drink through the entire dinner, there
was no fighting or lashing out at anyone. My mother and stepfather gave me a
very personal small gift. My father didn't even have a card for me.
It turns out my father and brother did make it to the ceremony, but left as soon
as I had received my diploma, missing the ceremony's latter half. My brother's
phone had been off all day, so he says, and they'd been at the casino
"having a couple of beers" and playing some games. My brother had been
doing us a well-meant but poorly executed favor by keeping our father busy and
he shared with me later that it'd been fairly stressful for him as well. But
there's no excuse for him, a grown man with a portable phone, to not get in
touch with us at any point during the day until they showed up late for
I didn't realize how hurt and angry the whole situation made
me until days later. Nobody had caused a scene or been wildly out of control,
but it left a very hurtful impression on my memories of what ought to have been
a celebratory time. My mother said my stepfather, an addiction therapist, felt
just awful for me. The little cap on the whole affair: two weeks
later at Christmas my father didn't remember what my degree was for (sociology,
nothing too complicated) and he suggested I go back to school to learn a useful
When my daughter was born, BIL and now ex-SIL had determined
that they would visit us within the hour of our return home from the hospital,
whether we were ready for them or not. New baby, exhausted mom, tired dad;
and BIL and ex-SIL traipse into our apartment with their 5-year-old, 4-year-old,
and 3-month-old. They stay for several hours until "Oh, look, it's time to
feed our kids. You can just order pizza for us."
So we ordered pizza to feed them, picked up every baby toy we
had after the 5-year-old and 4-year-old spread them from one end of the
apartment to the other, unclogged the toilet from a toy that the 4-year-old put
down it, and in general are exhausted from entertaining them for so long after
21 hours of labor. This is just one of many instances when BIL and ex-SIL
thought of only themselves and how they could get a free meal (or free ride
in general) from us and others in the family. It hasn't gotten
any better over the years.
My cousin "A" recently had a new baby. Just
prior to having the baby, "A", her DH and their other two children
moved into a small town house.
Fast forward a few weeks. "A" has planned a
baptism with a reception for family to follow at her house. Our grandma
calls her up and asks if she can bring an apple crisp (classic, and well-loved
dessert in our family, though our recipe only serves 6-8). "A"
replies, "No thanks, I'm going to make a cake." So Grandma
replies, "That's fine," and the phone conversation ends about there.
Twenty minutes later, "A" calls Grandma back, asking if she would
bring an apple crisp after all. Grandma gladly agrees.
The baptism. Well, 17 family members came to the church
and stayed for the service. Afterwards, they all met at "A's"
house. They have lived there roughly one month at this point and there are
still boxes everywhere. There are also dirty dishes in the sink.
"A" baby-sits from her home, and her DH delivers pizza at night,
so I doubt it was lack of time that lead to this situation. Now, I'm
not exactly Martha Stewart when it comes to keeping a tidy house, but if I'm
having 17 people over, the dishes get done and the boxes are unpacked, or at
least hidden. Well, as for the cake "A" claimed she
was going to bake? It never materialized. The only dessert at the
reception for 17, was a delicious apple crisp which serves 6-8. Needless
to say, my Grandma felt embarrassed. Knowing my Grandma, I understand why
she was embarrassed, though it certainly wasn't her fault. I did not hear if any
other sorts of foods materialized. I can only pray they did.
My sister was having a special birthday, and we asked her what
she would like. "A steak dinner at home, that I don't have to fix, with
mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, salad, wine, and a big cake sounds just about
perfect," she said. Both my husband and I worked, but at relatively
low paying jobs, so getting this together was going to be expensive, but hey,
she was my sister and we wanted her to have a good dinner, if that's what she
wanted. My husband loves to cook, and his job was more flexible than mine, so he
agreed to leave work early, buy the food, then come to pick up our son at the
sitter's and me before heading up to my sister's house, where we would join
her, her family, and our mother.
Trying to be responsible, my poor husband calls to tell me
that he's had a slight delay, and might be as much as half an hour late picking
us up. I call to let my sister know that we are running a little late, but it
shouldn't be more than half an hour. My husband arrives, only fifteen minutes
late, and we race off to pick up our son and head up to my sister's house. The
reason he was a little late was that he had had the bright idea to prep a lot of
the food at our house, where he was familiar with the kitchen (my sister is not
the kind of cook my husband is), so that he would only have to throw the
marinated steaks on the grill and finish the potatoes, corn, and salad for
dinner to be ready.
I tried to call my sister's house before we left (which would
have been about 20 minutes before we had originally been planning to arrive),
but there's no answer -- maybe they were all outside on the patio, so I left a
message on the machine to let her know that we were only going to be about ten
minutes late after all.
When we got up to their house (they lived way up in the
foothills in the high mortgage area), no one was home. We found a note on the
door saying, "We couldn't wait any longer, so just meet us down the
hill at the _____ restaurant." Mind you, they left BEFORE we were even
supposed to arrive in the first place!
We went down to the restaurant and found them seated at a
table for four -- no seats for us, no table nearby reserved for us. So, we
turned around, got the cake out of the car, took it back into the restaurant and
handed it to my sister, saying "happy birthday -- here's your cake,"
then left. We went home and enjoyed the dinner he had made ourselves --
without the cake.
My sister's explanation later was that simply, we had told her
that we were going to be late, so she had every right to go somewhere else.
It didn't seem to matter at all that we had bought her wine, a very fancy
birthday cake, and of course steaks for everyone, or that John had literally
spent most of the afternoon working lovingly getting it all ready for her. My
mother claimed that she tried to talk her out of going to the restaurant, but
that my sister was absolutely adamant about it.
I love my sister and she has matured enormously since those
days, thanks to a series of dreadful tragedies in her life, but that episode has
always stood out in my memory as one of the more astonishingly rude things that
she has ever done.
Page Last Updated September 18, 2008