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It's All Relatives

2002 Archive

My mother in law is about as weird as they come. For example, on the day of my engagement party, she didn't say one word to me--not hello, goodbye, congratulations, nothing! My husband and I have been married for a little over a year and she has yet to have a whole conversation with me. When we go visit his parents at their home for the weekend, she insists we eat constantly and gets mad when we don't. She offers me foods she knows I don't eat over and over again, it's so maddening! The absolute worst is that after everyone has gone to bed, she always finds some reason to walk in on us while we're in bed. She opens the door and peeks in--how weird is that! Or she just outright walks in with some stupid excuse like "aren't you going to eat the rice pudding I made?" It's midnight and we ate dinner like 4 hours ago, not to mention, neither of us eats rice pudding!     Relatives0204-03

I hadn't been with my partner for very long when we discovered we were pregnant. I did not know his mom well, and his sisters who were 8 and 10 at the time were annoying, spoiled and self centered. I did not want them there for the birth of our child. One afternoon I overheard my MIL telling the girls about meeting us at the hospital and being in the delivery room when I was in labor. I informed my partner he would have to put an end to this one. The dumb woman would not take no for an answer. Thank Goodness I needed a c-section so their presence was not an option. We've now been married 4 years and have 2 kids-she’s just gotten worse as the years go by.


My husband's mother (Charlotte) does not have a good relationship with her mother (Betty). Charlotte is the only girl of 4 children and Betty always looked at her as competition (Charlotte is very pretty, a size 6 at age 43 with 3 children, and is a wonderful homemaker. Betty possesses none of those qualities). Because of this, my husband (John) never really knew his grandmother while he was growing up, and it wasn't until just before he and I started dating that Charlotte and Betty were on speaking terms again.

2 years later - Oct 2002 - we were at my bridal shower with John's family. Betty passed out invitations to a "Smith family Women's get together" to be held one week after our wedding at her new house. I was not invited. As she was going around the circle handing out invites, it was very obvious to everyone that she very blatantly passed me by. My mom was the only other shower guest who was uninvited.

Two months later John and I were married. Betty did not seem to want to be at our rehearsal or our wedding, and even tried to sneak out the back door of the reception without anyone seeing her (John caught her and attempted to give her a hug goodbye but was brushed off). What little time she did spend at our wedding reception was used to hit on John's paternal grandfather.

On Christmas Eve - 10 days after our wedding - I was at my in-laws' house (whom I love dearly) and they mentioned going to Betty's house around noon on Christmas Day. I was slightly taken aback, since she had not been behaving well lately and had even been bad mouthing Charlotte at our wedding rehearsal. However, I just said "OK" and left it at that.

John and I spent Christmas Eve with his parents, and then spent Christmas morning with my parents. Around noon on Christmas Day we went to be with John's father's family. When my in-laws showed up, Charlotte was practically in tears as the luncheon at Betty's had not gone well. When my in-laws arrived, the first thing Betty wanted to know was where John and I were. Charlotte told Betty that we were with my parents, and Betty got really upset about that. Apparently we had been expected to come, even though we had never been invited and had not even known of the get together until the day before. To top it off, Betty was the only one who had expected us to be there.

She was so mad about it - "how come HER parents get to see them but I don't?!" - that she threw John's gift across the room, slammed the door and said if he wanted it he would have to come and get it. She didn't do anything with my gift, as I wasn't special enough to receive one. Needless to say, we have yet to go to her house to get his gift, and we haven't heard from her since our wedding day two months ago.

Incidentally, Betty has a lot of money but constantly complains about how poor she is. At the Christmas luncheon she told all the grandchildren that next Christmas Vanessa, one of the granddaughters, is getting "lots of money, because she is the only one who cares about me..." That same day, my sister in law had tried to give Betty a hug three different times, and each time Betty blew her off. All of this after Betty made the comment to Charlotte that "I could give every grandchild $1000 if I wanted to, but what for?!" So Instead we got a $20 coffee maker for a wedding gift and a card signed "Betty"


 I live in a town home that is attached to both my sister's home and my parents' home. Living that close to each other it is very common to borrow things or take things while nobody is looking. My sister is pretty generous when loaning things to us because I and my husband don't take advantage of this. We don't want to inconvenience anyone and we don't want to borrow anything we can't afford to replace. ( My sister's feelings on this are: if you loaned it to me and I broke it, then its your job to replace it because it is yours.) I guess she feels that she could buy herself one instead of replacing our broken items. 

Anyway, she has a problem with vacuum cleaners. My mom has bought her several expensive ones over a couple years that she broke because of neglect. She always borrows my mom's because she feels I am greedy. I guess my mom's wasn't working so she asked to borrow my $300 vacuum cleaner, even though my husband strongly disagreed I decided to be generous. She never returns things, if you want it back than you have to get it yourself. This time she insisted on returning it that same evening within 2 hours. In case it was late and my three young children were sleeping she would be so kind as to let the phone ring once so my husband can walk to her home at 10:00 at night to get it back. Very rude but this is the only way we would have it. 

The next couple days I am covered in red spots and itching very bad. I have very sensitive skin she knows this. My crawling baby is also covered even on his face since its so low to the ground. I don't have any pets it couldn't be fleas. I mention this to my mom to see if she has seen anything. She said my sister had fleas real bad and was looking for a way to get rid of them. She quotes, "You didn't let her borrow your vacuum cleaner did you?" Turns out the reason she let us have it back so soon is so the freshly vacuumed fleas wouldn't hop back into her house, but into ours with the three young children. I learned my lesson yet again, but not without having to pay for an exterminator.


About a year and a half ago, my mother got remarried to a man that she had known for years through her work. They only dated for about six months before deciding to get married (maybe not a wise move, but it's worked so far). The main drawback is that my mother didn't have the chance to *really* get to know my new stepsister, who is twelve years older than me. My new stepsister, who we'll call Miranda, is a real piece of work. We were both only children, and so I thought that it would be nice to have a sister without having the unpleasantness of growing up together fighting. She was not as thrilled, for no particular reason that I can see. But I can seriously say that even though I am twenty and she is thirty-two, she is far more immature and bratty than I am (or maybe ever was!). Examples: 1) My stepdad is a small-town kind of guy, and isn't crazy about going out to eat when visiting Miranda in the city. She regularly asks to eat at J. Alexander's (a pricey chain), and when he refuses, she says it'll be her treat. It never has been - and meanwhile, she's ordered a several-course meal with a steak entree. Why my stepdad still falls for this, I'll never know.

It gets worse...

2) Miranda got pregnant (while unmarried) shortly after our parents got married, and has been generally reluctant at the prospect of having my mom play grandmother. (At the risk of sounding disrespectful, I'll point out that Miranda's mother passed away a few years ago, so it's not like she was choosing her own mom over mine.) Case in point: Miranda, her husband, and the baby all moved to Texas, and had actually said that they were going to stay with our parents for the Christmas holidays. My mother got the whole house cleaned up and ready to have company - especially a 4-mo.-old baby - but when the day comes for them to arrive, they don't. When we saw them at a family gathering, my mom asked where she'd been, and she said she decided to stay at her husband's mother's house for a little while and would be coming to stay soon. But she didn't, and she never called about it, either. To top it off, Miranda had asked for a train set for her baby, and my mother got one and had planned to have it set up for his 1st Christmas morning. Too bad Miranda decided to stay with her aunt that night, even though she had told my mom she'd stay with them....thanks for putting a damper on our family's Christmas.

3) It's not just my mother that Miranda has issues with - she can't get along with her husband's family, either. This is the story she relayed to my mother when my mother was apparently on her good side: Miranda had become terribly angry at her SIL (who we'll call Carmen) while visiting her MIL. Miranda had been videotaping EVERYTHING, even the walls, for "when the baby grows up", and it was really starting to get to Carmen. Carmen's mother was getting upset because Miranda's constant filming was making her nervous. So Carmen said to Miranda, visibly stressed out, "Could you put that away? You're going to upset Mother." That's all. Well, Miranda took it as a personal insult against her and her child, grabbed her husband, and left. She "just couldn't believe how mean Carmen had been to her."

4) Finally, after being in the family for a year and a half, I finally have my own personal Evil-Miranda story. I am close friends with several guys who have opened their own computer store, and my boyfriend works at the University computer store. Recently Miranda started to get Spam at an email account she opened with a secure webpage that has pictures of the baby. Believing that "secure" means "even if I email someone with this address it'll never get in the hands of spammers," she freaked out and thought that some pedophile was looking at pictures of her son. And who could that be? Well, her innocent stepsister has friends who work with computers - it must be them! So she calls my mother (thankfully before she called me) and in no kind words states that my boyfriend has stolen my password to this secure website, found her address, and begun spamming her. Her evidence is that when she called the ISP, the "guy on the answering machine sounded just like that guy that Erin (me) brings to the house." My mother, more kindly than Miranda had been, stated that she was being ridiculous, but Miranda hasn't let the issue go. I got an email yesterday sent to everyone in her address book asking if we knew the person with that email address. The catch? I've known for a while that I'm not in her address book. My address was tacked on the bottom of the list without my full name. *sigh*    relatives0404-03

 I, my mom, and my two sisters have a yearly tradition of going out the Friday before Mother's Day to a fancy restaurant every year. We are family, we are all girls, we are all moms. This year my 20 year old brother wanted to attend, he felt left out the past years, since he is also family. This made my mom happy so I and my younger sister agreed. The dinner is for my mom, we all pay for her. My older sister forgets me telling her this months in advance and flips out that it is breaking tradition of our yearly event. I told her, I would break the news somehow to my brother who would be hurt. Later that day, I find out that she had already invited her friend from work, whom none of us know. I and my younger sister are furious, especially after the fit she threw over breaking tradition. I was nominated to say something. I asked her on the phone if she invited her friend, she replied yes. I told here I wasn't crazy about the idea. Basically, Oh Well, who cares what I think? If it was the other way around she would have flipped. 

At the end of the conversation it seemed she got her way. But as soon as she hung up, the drama queen called my mom and sister to announce she would not be there. She calls me the next day at work to inform me of this. I asked her what gave her the right to invite this girl nobody knows and on top of it flip out about our brother. I told her it was my mom's dinner, she talks about it all year, it's her special day. She still refused to go since her friend couldn't go. Even if we said yes, it was too late. I told her I now realize her friend was more important to her than our wonderful mother was. 


This concerns not the wedding, or even the honeymoon, but something that happened shortly thereafter.

Because of when we got married, we returned from our honeymoon shortly before a holiday at which family members visit and gather. So there we were, married about a month, and thanks to the wonders of technology we've already learned that I got pregnant ON the honeymoon -- not before -- honest -- during. My new sister-in-law, enjoying a pleasant conversation with me, asks me if I've found a doctor I like yet. In as inoffensive as possible a tone, I tell her that after talking about it and doing some reading, my husband and I have decided to go to a certified nurse-midwife at a birthing center.

[As an aside, certified nurse-midwives have at least 10 years of specialized training; my uncle, a longtime gynecologist, has said that 85 percent of births can easily be attended by midwives and don't need an OB present; and most birthing centers, including ours, are deliberately located next door or at most only a minute or two away from the nearest hospital.]

So I tell my sister-in-law about the midwife, and she's interested and asking questions, when my new mother-in-law, who's been eavesdropping from across the room, jumps in. In a voice loud enough to be heard next door, she says, "Why don't you just squat over a hole in the back yard?"

I'd been hoping to get along with my in-laws, and was predisposed to, but needless to say we don't get along very well.


I love your site and have submitted several bridal horror stories, so I was excited to see the new sections. Here's my contribution to the "It's All Relatives" section.

It was around Christmastime a couple of years ago, and my husband George and I were visiting his family over the holidays. We have two children--Charlie is 10 and Leslie is 7. After dinner was over, Charlie, Leslie and the other young cousins were excused to go play while the adults sat around the table visiting.

Bear in mind that although my mother-in-law (Sandra) and I get along fine, we are not particularly close. Also bear in mind that while I don't believe she is an alcoholic, she has been known several times a year to drink way-hey-hey-hey-hey too much and speak her mind in an abrasive, let-it-all-hang-out way.

So anyway, all the adults are sitting around the table after dinner enjoying each other's company when my mother-in-law, with a great deal of wine under her belt and apropos of absolutely nothing, looks right at me says, "I don't see why you couldn't have used Hayworth as a middle name for your kids." 

This came out of nowhere. I was really taken aback, as was my husband. We both just looked at her for a minute and finally George said, "What are you talking about?" Sandra repeated herself. There has long been a family legend that one of her ancestors was the person to settle this town called Hayworth (I think it's in North Carolina). Beyond this, Sandra is supposedly also a distant relative of Rita Hayworth, which I knew not to be a fact since Hayworth was a STAGE NAME (Rita Hayworth was born Margarita Cansino). I have been told this Hayworth story for years. I always privately filed it in my head under the "yeah, right" section since I knew none of it was true--but I never said anything because it pleased Sandra to think it was fact.

Now you should know that with Charlie, we used a middle name from Sandra's family and with Leslie, we used a middle name from my mother's family. I gently pointed this out to Sandra, but she wasn't buying it because the middle name we gave Charlie wasn't a "real" name, but an Anglicized version of a Croatian name that got changed a century ago when her ancestors came through Ellis Island. Oh, well, sorry we offended you by using what we had always believed was a cherished family name, Sandra. Then she criticized the fact that we hadn't used another of her family names with Leslie, but had instead chosen to honor my mother! 

At this point, I said, "Sandra, I'm curious how it is that you have four children and didn't choose to use Hayworth or any other family names with any of them." That stopped her cold (yea!) and she sputtered and finally said, "Well, I just didn't think of it at the time." George, bless his heart, ended further discussion by saying firmly, "Well, neither did we." I got more and more irritated over the next couple of days thinking about her rudeness and finally comforted myself with the fact that at least our children weren't in the room when their grandmother decided to start insulting their names!    Relatives0506-03

My story is of my fiancé's sister, I'll call her Betty. First off ,in the family Betty is seen as an angel who could do no wrong. Unfortunately her brother gets all the bad reviews. Let's start with the worst I think she has done so far.

#1 She stole over $1000.00 from my fiancé's checking account and still has not apologized or paid him back. Of course being in our early 20's he basically lives pay check to pay check and several important checks he wrote bounced as an effect of her theft causing him even more lost money.

#2 Betty got pregnant by her druggie boyfriend. She later married him. The only reason Betty married "Bob" was so she could get his benefits and not have to worry about health insurance. She only told us about the "wedding" a week in advance. Considering the fact that the rest of the family wasn't told until long after the happy event I guess we were lucky. Yes, that includes her immediate family, parents. grandparents etc.

#3 I was lucky enough to get CHOSEN to host her baby shower even though I had suffered a miscarriage within the past year. I was actually given a list by Betty of the people that had to be invited!

#4 She shared a house with my fiancé since her parents no longer lived in the same town. This was the house where they grew up. Betty stopped making the mortgage and other household bills even though she still collected my fiancé's half of the rent. Of course she told the rest of the family that her brother had not been paying anything to her, despite him having the cancelled checks to prove it. I found this out because some of the family members are wise to Betty.

#5 Bob later started abusing her physically and she confided in me with instructions that no one should ever find out about it. Well why would she tell me? And here I am supposed to keep this secret from my fiancé who is her brother!!

#6 Before her brother and I got engaged he spoke to her about his plans. She then told me what I would be getting for my Christmas present! My fiancé later found out and postponed it so it would be a surprise. 

#7 Betty is constantly trying to lose weight, calling herself fat, even though she weighs about 110 pounds soaking wet. And constantly talks about her problem to other members of the family who actually have weight problems and are very self-conscious about it. She was so under weight when she got pregnant that her doctor put her on special vitamins so she wouldn't lose the baby.

#8 The baby gets Christened. She chooses her brother, my fiancé to be God-father and Bob's sister to be God-mother, no problem I can understand that, but she continues to tell me while she's pregnant that she is going to change Bob's mind and that I would be the God-mother. Well of course she doesn't still no problem I can fully understand why they were chosen as god parents. At the church she makes them take about fifty pictures of the two of them holding her daughter. THEN she starts telling other family members what a cute couple they make. Right in front of me! Luckily I am well liked in the family so they basically scream at her to shut up and tell her how wrong that idea is.

#9 Fast forward to me making my wedding plans, she naturally volunteers herself to be my maid of honor. Since I don't have any sisters I accept, I don't know what I was thinking. Then she tells me that Bob's sister is expecting an invitation to the wedding and since Betty decided this girl was a part of the family she would be invited anyway, she tells her of course she's invited. I set the date far enough in the future because Betty decided she missed a lot of gifts by getting married the way she did and wants to plan a "reception" for her wedding that took place more than a year ago. I didn't want her to schedule her party close to mine so I picked a date far into the future. Well guess what, after we settled on a date for our wedding she decided that would be the perfect day to have her "reception". When I told her that I would not change the date of my wedding for her reception she asked if we could have a joint wedding with her and Bob renewing their vows and then a joint reception following. When I refused she started talking about me behind my back to anyone who would listen!

#10 At a family function today, the conversation turned to my future children. She actually asked me to promise to tell her the minute I got pregnant so she could get pregnant too and we could be pregnant together. She said this way our children would be close in age and she could get some of my presents from my baby shower that I didn't want!

Luckily most of the family is wise to her schemes by now and don't pay her any attention, but she continues to try to upstage us every day!




This story could be called in laws from hell.  When I gave birth to my daughter my in laws came to visit from Ireland. We lived in a small one bed room apartment in NYC. When they saw their granddaughter they barely acknowledged her. Although they spent weekdays with my sister and brother in law in a nearby town they spent EVERY weekend with us. The first weekend I was awaked at 4 in the morning by the rattling of coffee cups and was told "we haven’t adjusted to the time change yet!" Never mind the fact that I was getting up 3 times a night with a new born and that they awoke the baby.

 So every weekend they arrived on Friday and didn’t leave till Sunday night. Although they were treated to dinner out several times and ate meals at our house the rest of the time not once did they offer to pay for anything nor did they bring food (yet they seemed to have plenty of money for the "pubs".) 

One night they came over on Thursday night (without calling before hand) and I only had left over chili to serve them. My father in law wouldn’t touch his food and later in the kitchen when I was cleaning the dishes my Mother in law walked in with the uneaten plate of food and glaring at me said "SEE!" Keep in mind their visit lasted over 3 months! 

To top it off one night they came over with a baby toy for their new granddaughter a filthy toy they’d told us they found in my sister in laws garbage. Not once did they comment on their granddaughter or ask to hold her. Strangers on the street gave my daughter more attention then they did. 

Fast forward a year later my husband insists we visit his family in Ireland. We stay at his parents house one week. We buy our own food pay for the heating and give them 60 pounds to cover anything else . I decided to read a book while my daughter slept and went up stairs and turned on ONE 60 watt light bulb. Believe it or not my mother in law rushes in to the bedroom turns off the light and sneers at me "Electricity IS EXPENSIVE IN THIS COUNTRY!" then says under her breath "waster".  I never met such a taker in my entire life. needless to say we don’t have a close relationship.    Relatives0609-03

Still love your site.... I have a story about something that happened with a relative several years ago that I am still angry about. My husband and I were living in Southern CA at the time and were invited, by his mother, to visit her in Seattle at Christmas. We were told before Christmas that my husband's uncle "Jim" had offered to let us stay at his house while he and his wife were out of town (his wife is my MIL's sister). This was a nice offer, but they expected us to take care of their dog and cat while we were there, so it was more a reciprocal arrangement than purely a gift on their part. 

We stayed there and everything was fine until Jim called to say he wanted my husband to pick his car up at airport parking and take it to my husband's dad's house (husband's parents are divorced and his dad lived near the airport). Airport parking is expensive and Jim did not want to pay any more than he had to (he is cheap). My husband and I picked the car up at the parking lot--it cost $80 to get it out but Jim had indicated he would reimburse us--and agreed to meet at his dad's.

 I arrived and waited for my husband, getting worried when he did not show up in a few minutes. After 20 minutes my FIL came home and told me that my husband had called him to say he'd been in an accident, and to ask FIL to pick me up and then pick him up. When we got to the scene of the accident, my husband was okay (not injured) and the accident was not his fault. Some guy, late for a flight and driving recklessly, had hit him and Jim's car was totaled. There was no insurance info in Jim's car and he could not reach Jim to tell him what happened, so we called a tow truck and had the car towed to FIL's house. 

When we reached Jim to tell him what had happened, it was clear Jim did not believe the accident was not my husband's fault, even after he had also talked to the insurance company and was told the other guy had admitted fault. My husband filled out an accident report and talked to the insurance company and did everything he could on our end to document the accident. When we returned to CA, we left the receipts for the airport parking lot and the tow truck, as well as copies of the accident report and notes on what had occurred. 

Though my husband was a full time graduate student at the time and we had very little extra money, Jim saw fit to not reimburse us for the parking charge or the tow truck charge, despite the fact that his insurance would be reimbursing him for the tow truck and he had previously promised to pay for the parking. Those two things cost us over $300, and we could NOT afford to lose that money. We had to put the tow truck on our credit card and pay the charge off ourselves. It is possible Jim thought that staying at his house was repayment enough, but we were only there 5 days AND were taking care of his pets, AND I did all the smelly laundry they'd left.    Relatives0327-03

First of all here is a little background. I have a son from a previous relationship, he is the greatest! About two years ago, I met my future husband, PJ. A year into our relationship we became engaged and found out that I was pregnant soon after. We were extremely happy but decided to get married after our daughter was to be born. My MIL did not really like me for that reason, because I suspect that she felt you should be married to have kids. I think that she treats my son differently from my daughter but that’s a whole other story. Right before my daughter was born, we were picking out names. I asked for her thoughts, and she stated (and I quote) "I don't care what you name the baby as long as she keeps my son's last name. I will not let you take that away from me or my son." I was completely in shock, and excused myself from the room ( my dad told me if you don't have anything nice to say, then don't say it.) I was not feeling very nice. Soon after, she came in to my room with PJ and apologized. That was 18months ago, PJ and I are happily married, and she still does not like me. 


Page Last Updated May 18, 2007