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It's All Relatives

2002 Archive

Jan -Jun 2003 Archive

Jul-Dec 2003 Archive

My mother and sister “Jenny” have not always been the easiest people to get along with, but usually I can tolerate many a faux pas that is committed.  However, I had a recent experience that I believe breaches any reasonable etiquette, multiple times. 

While home from college, I went shopping for a Christmas present for a close friend “Nicole” at a department store, and while I was there I picked up some clothes for myself as well.  I found a beautiful shirt that was Nicole’s size, and it was on sale and the only one left, so I was ecstatic that I found something only two days before I was to give it to her – I had been searching for the past 3 weeks for the perfect gift.  I also found a beautiful dress for myself that I loved, in addition to other things I picked up, so I was happy and thinking I had good luck on this shopping trip.    

When I came home I modeled the clothes I bought so Mom could see them, as she gives her *very* objective opinions of how they look on me.  One of the things I bought was a dress that I fell in love with immediately upon seeing it on the rack.  She said it looked nice on me, but then demanded Jenny try it on and bullied me into giving it to her.  So after I change out of it, Jenny puts it on and comes down for “review”.  Mom decides that, although we have different body types and are different sizes, the dress fits both of us.  She then turns to me and says, “You don’t have anywhere to go so you don’t need it, but Jenny has the prom coming up, so let her have it.”  I was speechless since I loved that dress and Mom knew it, but I managed to get back to my bedroom where the other new clothes were. 

I proceeded to try on for Mom what remained in the bags.  Even when something looked nice on me, Mom would insist Jenny try it on as well (after the dress, this wasn’t surprising).  So of course after I tried on a skirt, Mom told me to give it to Jenny to put on.  I went in my room to change and shut my door to give myself privacy.  Not a minute later, Jenny is pounding on my door, saying “Mom told you to give me the skirt, so give it to me!”  I replied with “I’m changing!  So I will not give it to you now, go away.”  She immediately goes to Mom to tell her I’m not listening to her, and of course I get yelled at when I come back downstairs (and after I hand Jenny the skirt). 

I collected myself and went to my room to get Nicole’s present, thinking it could not get any worse.  I came downstairs as I was pulling the price sticker off the tag, as should be done with gifts, when Mom spotted me.  I was about to put the shirt into the box and wrap it up, but then Mom cheerfully suggests that Jenny (conveniently standing nearby) try it on, “to see how it would look.”  I don’t like where this is going already and protest that it’s a gift for Nicole, which she knows, but Mom insists and takes it from me and gives it to Jenny, who happily bounds upstairs to put it on.  I am very annoyed at this point since I know it cannot turn out good from here unless it is too small on her.  Ten minutes pass and Jenny is still not down, so I go to her room and find her wearing the shirt and going through her closet, looking for the perfect pair of pants to go with the shirt.  

Now I’m getting upset, and Jenny finally comes down and models the shirt.  Mom says it’s absolutely gorgeous and that “it’s too nice to give away, get Nicole something else, I’m giving this to Jenny.”  Now I’m furious, since it was not hers to give, and I bought it specifically for Nicole as a present.  Jenny has a smirk on her face and says thank you to Mom, while I’m about to burst into tears from frustration.  Mom then has the gall to say that I’m being nasty and that Jenny deserves it because it’s such a pretty shirt and that I can give Nicole a sweater that Jenny didn’t want, which would be much too large for Nicole.  She refused to reimburse me so I could buy something else, either.

So here I am, 2 days before the gift exchange, with no gift.  I hope I can find something tomorrow (the last feasible shopping day); this would be a hard one to explain.  


I have (or had, actually - my husband and I are divorcing) incredibly overbearing in-laws.  My ex-husband and I spent much of the time during our relationship keeping them at bay, but once in awhile, they'd manage to be very infuriating.  

One of those times was when I became pregnant.  Gender matters a lot in that family - their youngest daughter has heard all her life about how she was "supposed to be a boy," and that my ex, who is the youngest and was born two years after her, "was the son they waited for all their life."  So, although they already had two granddaughters, you can imagine how overjoyed they were to hear that we were having a boy.  A few days after they got the news, my (then) husband got a call from his mother, informing him that they had held a family meeting to decide what the baby's name should be, and that he was to be named (husband's name) III.  Irritably, and as an afterthought, she added, "but I suppose (my name) will have her own ideas about that."  As though my opinions were simply an impediment to overcome.  After all, I was just the mother of this baby, right?!   

A few weeks later, my husband's oldest sister called to inform us that she was making a quilt for the baby.  We thought that was very nice of her, and thanked her accordingly.  We got another call from her not long after.  During the conversation, it came up that not only was she making a quilt, but a set of fitted sheets, a bumper pad, a diaper holder, a changing table cover, wall hangings AND a diaper bag, and wanted to know if there were any windows in the nursery so that she could make curtains, too.  Essentially, she had decided to do up the entire nursery without so much as asking us if we had anything picked out yet, or any preferences in that regard.  She just assumed it was okay for her to do this, and our job was to simply be grateful that she was taking it upon herself to decorate our baby's room.  SHE had decided on a Noah's Ark theme, and was very enthusiastic about how adorable it was.  We had already decided to go with a moon and stars motif, but that didn't matter.  It also didn't matter that Noah's Ark is the one nursery scheme that I absolutely loathe.  I know a lot of people think the animals and the boat are cute and all, and I do see why, but personally, I just see it as the greatest natural disaster in the history of mankind, and have no interest in decorating my child's room with it.    

If it weren't for their history of testing our boundaries and limits at every turn, we would have just seen this as a case of over zealousness from an excited aunt-to-be, politely accepted the nursery decorations, and stored them in a closet somewhere, since we lived halfway across the country from them, anyway.  It wasn't like they'd be coming over any time soon.  However, it was apparent to us that if we didn't set some limits early on regarding what they were and were not going to be able to do where our son was concerned, it was likely to become an even bigger problem later on.  So my husband called her back and, as gently as he could, explained that while we appreciated the gesture, we already had nursery things picked out, and wouldn't be able to use hers.  She was irate - the material was already bought, and was non-returnable.  He stood firm, and after a brief argument, they hung up.   She got her revenge.  

Soon after the conversation, she sent us a "thinking of you" card, with a letter enclosed in it.  This letter mostly focused on an organization that she had recently joined.  Apparently, it was a charity that made blankets for stillborn babies to be buried with.  She proceeded to write in great detail about how horrible and sad it was for the parents of these babies, how it happened so frequently they could hardly get blankets made fast enough, and the highlight of the letter - several paragraphs detailing what a baby who had died at 22 weeks gestation looked like.  I was, of course, about 22 weeks pregnant at the time.  This was the ONLY letter I can recall that she ever addressed to both my husband and I - otherwise, she always just wrote to him, so it was pretty clear what her intent was.



My longtime boyfriend's parents always like to make a big deal for their (grown) kids' birthdays, but there's a bit of a middle-child syndrome going on. They always seem to make a bigger deal for his older brother and younger sister's b-days than they do for my boyfriend. As a case in point, they've never done anything REMOTELY like this to either of the other two siblings.

A few days ahead of time, his mom invited us over for (informal) dinner for his birthday. It was a work-night and I get off at 6, so when she invited us for a suggested 6:30 start time, I asked if we could make it 7 due to my commute, to make sure we could get there on time. (I work in a notoriously high-traffic area.) She said this was fine. Of course, darn the luck, we got stuck in even worse traffic because of a rush-hour accident, so we called at 6:30 and, apologizing profusely, said we'd probably be 15 minutes late. Again, his mom was friendly as ever and said to just get there when we could.

We arrived at 7:14 PM, letting ourselves in with our key because no one answered the doorbell. The table had been cleared and both the younger sister (still living at home) and the father were sitting and watching television. My boyfriend's mother, standing at the sink washing dishes, didn't acknowledge us until we came right up and greeted her. Instead of a happy-birthday or even a hello, we got a sarcastic tirade to the effect that our food had gotten cold and our plates had been scraped into the dogs' dishes so it wouldn't "go to waste" (they have a microwave), but that we were welcome to get some leftovers, which had already been sealed into plastic tubs and packed into the fridge. She threw open the refrigerator door and started slamming said tubs onto the counter. Then she turned her back on us and continued washing the dinner dishes in a loud, passive-aggressive manner, muttering, "You could've CALLED. That's the polite thing to do, to CALL." Gradually we gathered that despite our two different conversations with her, dinner had indeed started at 6:30 and we had missed it. We also gathered that his mother had started drinking substantially earlier than usual that evening.

Far from coming to my boyfriend's defense against this harridan, his father and sister, who also hadn't greeted us, quietly went upstairs without a word and closed themselves in their respective rooms. I took my boyfriend's arm, led him gently out of his family home, and took him to his favorite restaurant. We've tried to limit our exposure to his family since then, but he's quicker to forgive and forget than I am, so we continue to visit on occasion. Before and since that birthday, I've observed MANY instances when his siblings have been late to dinner with NO phone call or explanation and the mother has delayed the meal for more than an hour with no complaints.

Here's another story-- same boyfriend, same family:

BF's brother and brother's wife, visiting from out of town, invite us to spend New Year's Eve with them at the parents' house, as the parents always go to bed early and are no fun. We go out for a lovely dinner (to which brother and brother's wife unexpectedly invite an extra friend to whom they talk the entire time) and then return to the house, ostensibly to celebrate New Year's. The friend goes home, and brother and brother's wife, instead of being willing to watch some of the New Year's festivities on TV (or, better yet, asking us what we wanted to do), suddenly insist that we watch a particular children's animated movie with which they're enamored, because we haven't seen it. BF, who doesn't get to see his brother often and has hardly gotten to talk to him all evening, gives in and they all sit watching this movie, while I, who am not interested in children's movies, excuse myself to the other room and look for something to do. At the stroke of midnight, I go back in, wish them all happy new year, and kiss my boyfriend on the cheek. Nobody notices. Afterwards they all go to bed in the various guest rooms, still without acknowledging me, and I sleep in a chair downstairs. Later a couple of them wonder why I had been so "depressed" that night. The next New Year's I spend at home with just my boyfriend and am much happier.

Thanks for listening!


After reading many of the delightfully wicked stories posted on this site (delightful only because I’ve not been the one to experience them first hand), I decided that I’d like to share my tale of familial faux pas.

To preface – I’d like to consider my relationship with my dad a good one. We don’t talk nearly as often as we’d like to or should, but merely for the reason of being busy (not a good excuse, I know) and not for any falling out or the like. All in all, we’ve got an unspoken understanding that I love him and want him to be happy and vice-versa.

Now on to the story: I was married in a very small, very lovely on the St. Thomas Island in May of 2003. Close family joined my groom and I, included my dad who gave me away. The summer following, I saw my dad maybe on two occasions. (Again, is inexcusable because we live only 35 minutes from each other). But by the time I saw him at the end of the summer (just after Labor Day weekend); it was to join him and his new wife for dinner. You can imagine my shock; considering I didn’t even know he was dating much less had met his new bride. And to top that off, he wasn’t even the one to deliver the good news to me. I heard about it from my mom, his ex-wife of over 10 years! Turns out he’d been married for one week and a half before he picked up the phone to tell me about it. (I had just heard it through the grapevine the day before.)

I request that my dear, dear dad receive a brief sentencing to Etiquette Hell.

I know this story isn’t nearly as horrendous as many submitted to this site (fortunately for me), but I do hope that it’s worthy of acceptance and may serve as an example for others in the future. Fathers, please don’t surprise your daughters with new step-mommies without the benefit of them meeting one another first.



I live on the West Coast, and my family are all on the East Coast and Midwest. Every year, I include a letter with my holiday cards talking about what I've been doing and including humorous events from my life.

Last winter (December 2002) I specifically mentioned in my letter that people should not expect to hear from me for a while. My final trimester of college began February 2003, and between a 12-hr courseload, my full time job, and my senior project which required a minimum of 100 hours of work, I would be lucky to sleep four hours a night.

So I start slaving away at my final trimester. February, March, April... I am coming close to the end. Halfway through April, I receive an engraved invitation. From my mother. To a party to be held to celebrate my sister's receiving her Master's Degree.

I call my mother in tears. My sister and I are graduating within weeks of each other. She has invited family and friends from all over the country, most of whom are using this as an excuse to come visit my mother. My mother throws excellent parties, which are a wonderful chance to see these people whom I so rarely get to see. She complains that I never told her I was graduating, despite my holiday letter as evidence to the contrary.

What am I supposed to do? Go and sit with my relatives and when they ask me what is new, say oh, well, I just graduated myself, but the party is only for my sister? (I had been struggling with my senior project, and panicked I might flunk this critical class. Now I'm actually starting to hope I will flunk.) Um, actually, I won't have to say that. Seems the party is planned the weekend that final exams start (I had an exam that morning) and three days before my final presentation. Not only won't I get any recognition for my achievement, I won't even get to celebrate for my sister.

Well, I didn't flunk. In fact, I graduated magna cum laude. And I sent out my own graduation announcements. And if any of my mother's friends and relatives wondered why they got invited to a big party for my sister and then received a formal announcement from me, separately, they can ask her about it.


Hi, Jeanne ... this story has to do with the husband of my sister-in-law, "Lisa".  He's normally a very nice guy, but when he's had a few drinks, all tact and taste go right out the window.   A little background:   Lisa has always desperately wanted children, but she has fertility problems.  Meanwhile her husband, "John", has been married before, had a daughter by that marriage, and has no interest in having any more children.  It's no secret that this conflict caused a lot of stress in their relationship, in fact, at one point they broke up because of it.  Since Lisa is now in her mid-to-late 30's, odds are she'll never have children.   Last year, Lisa and her husband hosted the big family dinner on Christmas Day.  This was a huge deal for Lisa; she hardly ever cooks, and she'd never made such a big meal before.  Everything went off without a hitch.  We were just relaxing with our coffee when one of John's sisters, "Mary", started reminiscing about how Lisa had announced, a couple of months before, that she was hosting Christmas.  According to this woman, Lisa had started the announcement with "Guess what?!?  I've got great news!".  Mary told us with a snicker that she and everyone else who was there at the time were sure that Lisa was about to announce that she was pregnant, and they were all quite let down to hear the "real" announcement.    That was when John joined in the story.  "PREGNANT?  YEAH, RIGHT!" he roared.  "NOT IF I'VE GOT ANYTHING TO DO WITH IT!  MAYBE I SHOULD TALK TO OUR MILKMAN, RIGHT HON?"  Lisa just smiled weakly.  I was horrified.


Hi, love your site.  Here is my favorite MIL story, and the one I think has earned a generally sweet woman a place in Etiquette Hell.  My DH and I had moved halfway across the country after marriage, in large part to separate ourselves from his parents, who criticized every single thing he did (including marrying me).  Two and a half years later we had our first baby.  

Before the birth, we had arranged that my mother would fly out as soon as she could after the birth and spend 3-4 days helping out – cleaning our small apartment, making a few casseroles for the freezer, and lending some support once my husband was back at work.  We figured after 6 weeks or so we would be prepared for a visit from his parents.  We just really wanted to be comfortable as parents before the onslaught.  However, the day after we came home, my MIL and FIL called to ask when she could come out.  When we said about 6 weeks that was supposedly okay, but minutes later my FIL was calling back, yelling at my husband for being so rude, and that this was their first grandchild, and my husband’s deceased brother’s girlfriend had just gotten married which was very difficult on them, etc. until my husband said she could come out right after my mother left.  Then my MIL called and said by the way, she had promised to bring my 13 year old SIL along also, and she was SO excited, thanks.  I was not happy at all but I could see my husband was really feeling torn between us so decided it would be okay.

My mother came out, cleaned the apartment, did the laundry, went to the grocery store, and cooked dinner with freezable leftovers, and yet still seemed to be available to walk the baby, talk to me about babies, and even change a few diapers.  She made a point of saying she was there to free me up to learn about my baby.  Then she left and my MIL arrived.  

Every time I tried to rest I could hear her berating my SIL (remember, small apartment, and also thin walls) that she hadn’t cleaned something well enough.  Then she would knock on my bedroom door and ask a question like “Do you ever scrub out your toilet?  You do?  I’m sure it’s been a while – do you still have any cleaner or a brush?”  Keep in mind that not only did I keep a weekly cleaning schedule at that time, my mother had just cleaned the weekend before.  “Do you wash the bottoms of your pans?” “Do you wipe out your refrigerator?”  “Would you like me to show you how to clean your oven?”  Seriously, while I’m trying to nap, in an apartment that I felt was well kept.  This was a baby that took 45 minutes to feed, every three hours, around the clock, so sleep was precious!  I couldn’t help comparing this visit to that with my own mother, and tried to make allowances for her not being familiar with me.  My mother just did what needed doing the best she could without instruction.  These two wanted to hold the baby all the time to free me up so that I could do some housework, then criticized the work behind my back (but within my hearing) after I was done.

The straw that broke the camel’s back was when she asked if she could make dinner.  Yes!  That would be great.  She’s a great cook.  I can honestly say I would appreciate that.  I go to lie down.  Knock, knock, what should I make?  Whatever you like, here’s money for groceries, as long as I don’t have to work at it that will be fine.  Knock, knock, I really want to make something you’d like, what sounds good?  Okay, how about a meatloaf?  Well, do you have a recipe you like to use?  Hmm, I don’t usually use a recipe, but let me get up and pull out the cookbook and show you the recipe I sort of started off with. After a half an hour, baby wakes up and I take her out to the kitchen, where I find my MIL making meatloaf all right, but she is using a recipe she has pulled out of her purse (so why ask me for one?) and slathering it with barbecue sauce (which I despise).  Now, if she had just made it without interrupting me, I would have put up with the BBQ sauce because I really would have just appreciated that it was done.  But why have me choose a meal and haul out my recipe for it, and then pull out the recipes she had brought along in her purse and use it instead?  It took me weeks to recover a sense of competence after she left, but at least it prepared me for dealing with the overbearing Grandma when we moved closer a year later.


My grandparents had somewhat of a nasty divorce. My grandmother was cruel and had affairs before she finally left my grandpa and remarried. They had 6 children and they divorced while they were in there 60's. Most of their children spent a portion of their adult years living in my grandfather's house. My uncle (the baby) had never really had an apartment of his own and lived with my grandfather during his first marriage (they eloped so no family members attended). However there was a reception for them which my grandfather wasn't invited too, we think it was because my grandmother paid for it. My uncle got divorced a few years later and got engaged again. They lived in her house for a while before moving back into my grandfathers house with her 2 teenage sons. They set a date and surprise, Grandpa wasn't invited to this wedding either. My family couldn't believe they had the audacity to not invite him when he let them live in his house!  This couple also neglected to attend my cousins wedding because "they had plans", or my uncle's funeral (we don't know why). Needless to say we avoid them at when at all possible.



I love this site so much. I swear, every bad thing that has ever happened to me will end up being submitted. This is something that really hurt me when I was growing up. I have an uncle Mick and a (now ex) aunt Dana. He's my mothers younger brother. I have two older sisters and a younger brother. Every year for our birthdays they would send birthday cards and a little bit of cash. Except, for some reason unknown, they never sent me anything. As a child it really upset me. I (honestly) didn't care about or miss the $10 they would give my sisters or brother, I just wanted to be acknowledged with a card. I would cry to my mother and ask her to ask Uncle Mick why he wouldn't send me a card, but she wouldn't do it. I then pleaded with her to say something to grandma about it but she wouldn't do that either. My older sisters birthday was right after mine and it always made me cry when they sent her a card. I was painfully shy as a child and too embarrassed to ask aunt Dana or uncle Mick why they excluded me. They lived close by and I saw them frequently and they also had a son only 2 months younger than me. I'll never know because when I was a teenager my moms parents died and there was a fight over the will and my uncle refused to ever speak to my mother again. But that's another submission. To anyone reading this-if you send cards or gifts to any nieces, nephews, or grandchildren, please don't exclude one of them because they WILL notice and they WILL be hurt. What uncle Mick did was downright cruel and I am pleased to send him to Ehell!


My grandfather and I were very close.  We even shared a birthday and that to me was great that I shared my birthday with the person that at the time was the closet person in my life.   It tore me up that when he was dying I was in Indiana and he was in Colorado.   A thing that I told many of my co-workers (read my close friends as well.)  I asked to take a week off to go visit my dying grandfather and the owner of the place I worked at said if I left I would not have a job to come back to, that he needed me to wait till August to take the time off.  I finally decided that I would be better off to lose my job then to lose my chance to say goodbye to my grandfather. He had been given 6 months to a year but my mom did not think he would make it to August. (This was just before FMLA) I decided to go June 20th. It was the first flight that I could afford since I let my boss scare me out of going for about a month.

June 16th I am at work.  In walks my step-mother.  She and I clashed a great deal.  So I thought she was coming to cause me problems at work.  She looks at me and tells me to clock out.   I was flabbergasted.  WHAT!  I will lose my job.  I turn to my supervisor for support only to be told "Clock out".  Then I refuse to clock out till I am told what is up.  I am told my Grandfather took a turn for the worst. (I was not told that my grandfather died till later.)  My stepmother has me a flight out to Colorado in 2 hours.  The whole time I am just amazed at how great my step-mom is being.  I go to the funeral and come home to find out what all my stepmother, the person I thought hated me with a passion protected me from.   

My close friend/supervisor at work who knew how important my grandfather was to me had been upset that my Step-mother would not let me finish my shift before learning my grandfather died and going to the airport to go to Colorado.  I also returned to realize that the promotion I had been promised went to a person that had only worked there for 2 weeks.   When I asked why she was promoted when I was told they did not need another supervisor just yet and that when they did I would be the next to get it.   The owner of the company said, well she was here when we needed her and you were across the country.  WHAT!  I know it was only my work but these were the only friends I had, that job was like family and friends and what did they do when I needed them.  They caused me to miss my chance to say good bye and then wanted me to finish my shift and even said, well it is not like she can help him now.  

I guess it just does not seem like it should have been that hard when my step-mother that I never talked to about how I felt. She and I clashed time and time again.  Yet not only was she able to refrain from saying or doing anything hurtful to me she was able to protect me from the people that were supposed to be my friends.  


I have had problems with my in-laws since I got married over 7 years ago, so I avoid them as much as possible.  I found out that reconciliations do not last long, so there is no need to torture myself into thinking we can have any semblance of a relationship.  The latest, however, "takes the cake".

My brother in law came to me begging for help with babysitting.  He said that there were problems with the sitter after school, so would I please pick up my niece and watch her until he came home in the evenings?  I told him I would speak to my husband, whom I told I really did not want to do it.  I pointed out that we both knew that everything would be fine with his brother for a while, then things would quickly turn bad again.  After the last time I had a falling out with them and they talked bad about me behind my back and lied to my face, I just did not want anything to do with them.  My husband assured me that his brother and his sister in law would be so grateful for the help that they would not do any of those things again.  My husband begged me to help the family out, because family looks out for each other.  I told my husband I would only do it for a few weeks until they could find other arrangements.

Well, a few weeks went by, and my in-laws begged me to continue to help.  There was no more name calling, lies, insults, or back stabbing, so my husband pleaded with me to help.  I reminded him that everything would go fine for a while, then it would be back to their childishness.  However, my husband said he would deal with his family should any problems arise, and he really wanted me to continue the arrangement for the children's sake.  Reluctantly I agreed, although the morning sitter was paid for her time and I was not, even though I babysat longer.  I said nothing, and I continued to babysit for them.  If any problems came up, my husband dealt with them.

Pretty soon, they asked if I could take over morning babysitting, because there were problems with the morning sitter.  I did not want to get up earlier and rearrange my schedule, but my husband pointed out that we could use the money.  Reluctantly I agreed, and I charged only half of what a day care would charge and slightly more than what the morning sitter charged.  Things went smoothly for a while, and we settled into a routine.  I included my niece in everything, and I always had something fun going on.  On days off, I took them places and got something nice for lunch as a treat.  It was the same price flat rate no matter how many hours, and I never asked for more if I spent money on admission to a park or lunch.  When they changed their hours, I never raised the babysitting rate.  

All of the children got along well, and their child liked being at our house for approximately 6 hours a day.  They especially liked doing crafts, which they did almost every single day.   Well, after a while, things started to change.  First, they didn't bring the money on time according to the agreement.  Then they might not have the money until a week later or the money was not paid in full.  It was one thing after another, and my husband and I were getting tired of dealing with it.  They would spend their money on other things that they didn't need, such as new clothes and DVDs or video games, and would tell me that they didn't have the money for me.  I even saw them hand a wad of money to each other when they thought no one was looking, on the very same day they said they were broke.  I kept telling them if they had a problem then they needed to let us know before pay day so we could work something out, but every time it came to pay day they had an excuse.  Furthermore, they complained they had to pay too much and we needed to lower our rate!  (As I said, we charged half price of what a day care would charge, and we never charged more if the children had off of school.)   

Pretty soon my husband had enough, and he confronted them.  My sister in law insulted us and screamed at us.  My husband told them to find another sitter, and he hung up on them.  They begged us to reconsider, and I was so upset by their lack of respect that I really did not want to do it again.  I did agree to one day a week for free so the children could continue to play together, because it was good for them.  I said if I was going to reconsider, though, we would have to sit down and have a talk about all of the problems.  Well, the talk did not go well, because they screamed at us about how we never wanted to help out family and this was all our fault.  They even had the nerve to say that we gave them an attitude and they did nothing wrong.  I got fed up with everything and said there was no way we would reconsider after their insults at the "talk", and I refused to talk to them any more about the issues.

Now they are talking behind our back and trying to turn our friends against us.  They made up bold face lies about us that everyone knows is not true.  For instance, my brother in law said that I got beat up by someone and had bruises to prove it, which everyone could see did not happen.  Or they said that I was talking bad about our one friend's wife and saying she was a drug user and a lousy mother, which is completely false.  They even said that my father in law came to my house to cuss me out and my mother in law said I was a backstabbing bitch, which never happened.  Anyway, the lies are so outrageous that you cannot possibly believe them, and they only make my brother in law and his wife look like idiots. They treat everyone badly and do not take care of their financial responsibilities, so they are out of options for babysitter.  Maybe now they will learn how well they have it when friends and family try to help out and quit trying to screw everyone over.  Regardless, I do not have to deal with their childishness any more, and I let them look like fools as they lie about my husband and me.


My Grandmother is a VERY odd woman (to say the least)      Every summer we have a family reunion at my uncle's house. There are 11 grandchildren from my side of the family running around, and about 6 from the other side who I'm not related too. Our side's grandkids range from 1 month old-12 and 9 out of 11 have ADHD (hyper disorders) nevertheless it's always a little nutty.

This year my grandmother decided to buy us all cheap little plastic waterguns, to use in the pool. So there was this whole to do with throwing hard waterguns at everyone's head. About half the kids ended up crying hysterically while my grandmother laughed and ate (she eats A LOT!)

 Later on I was swimming with my younger cousin (it was her house) and I'm short (I was 12). Their  deep end is a 80 degree drop from the shallow end. She jumped on my back and pushed me into the deep end. She then held me under water (She's two years younger but wider then me). So I was gasping to get up. My grandma was about five feet away. I was screaming and she continued to clap and say, "You girls play so nicely together!" while I was drowning. Finally my mother ran from the other end of the house because she heard me screaming bloody murder. There were about ten other adults around the pool, none did a thing. 

 I'm the oldest of all these kids and so my grandmother told me to chase after my cousins and keep them occupied. A bunch of them ended up mowed down by swings and fighting physically with each other.

Later she went on to try and embarrass me. My birthday was a week away and most of the family has summer birthdays so we get our gifts there. She also gave all the kids a big grocery bag with a card, toothbrush, toothpaste, and a wallet.

In each envelope there was $20, for all 11 of us. She didn't put any money in mine, and I didn't think much of it, I went on to look through what else was in the bag, after all she'd also gotten me a wallet for a birthday present. She'd put the money in the wallet.

Later she went on to tell my mom, and my 4 aunts how selfish I was. "You should've seen the upset look on her face at the fact she didn't get any money! She just kept digging through that bag! She kept searching the envelope when she saw all the others got cash!"

Thankfully we only see her a few times a year.  



My aunt (Mom's sister) makes widgets. She is quite talented, and they are beautiful widgets. She had been diagnosed with cancer (treatable but serious) a few months prior, and had made individual widgets for each of her sisters and brothers. She'd done this once before, but we all knew that it was meant as a sort of "parting gift" should the worst come true. Luckily, she's in remission at the moment.

Anyways, she also made smaller widgets for each of her nieces and nephews (myself included). They are absolutely beautiful.

Well, her oldest niece (my cousin), came upstairs as my SO and I were leaving and talking with my older aunt. She said something to the tune of..."Well, she's now made two widgets for each of her sisters and brothers, maybe now she'll get around to making some for her nieces and nephews! I'm the second oldest, so I should get one soon! And I just KNOW that Mom will give me one of hers when she passes."

I was in shock. In retrospect, I probably should've torn her a new one for such comments, but my mom assures me that it probably wouldn't have been the best thing to do at the time. My SO almost slapped her, which probably would've been much more entertaining.


My daughter just had her first birthday party.  My MIL moved to Florida soon after she was born, and knowing full well that she wouldn't make a special trip up for her first birthday, I still sent her an invitation so that she would have one.  Not only did I send her the invitation, but I sent to her the adult gift bag that I gave out to all those that attended (this included 6 pictures of my daughter from the previous year), so that she would feel like she had attended. 

My MIL had sent my daughter a present, a necklace and a summer dress and hat.  When writing out the thank you cards, I included 4 pictures of my daughter during the party.  Each thank you card was hand picked as the packaged thank you cards were not big enough to put pictures in.  I wrote very special messages in each card and brought them to the post office to have each weighed individually.  All of this, was done within 2 weeks of my daughters party.  (Her birthday is in April........not exactly "summer" weather.)

About a week or two after the thank-you's were sent, my husband received a telephone call from my MIL.  She was telling him how hurt she was, and making my husband feel simply awful.  When he got off the phone, I asked him what she was upset about and he told me that, she was upset because I didn't write in the thank-you card that the dress fit my daughter. 

I almost fell on the floor.  Who, in there right mind, criticizes a thank you card?  Not to mention, it hadn't been warm enough for my daughter to even wear the dress yet.  I was completely baffled.  Simply, without a doubt, baffled.


My sister decided that nothing would do but that she and I and some cousins throw a surprise anniversary party for an Aunt and Uncle who have no children.  Fine.   My sister and I are both anal retentive types, but she has me beat by a couple of country miles.  Okay, I don't mind.  Let her run things and hand out assignments.  We all work and she doesn't, so if she wants to do most of the work (and complain about it later) that's the price we have to pay.

My job was to buy paper goods.  I couldn't pin her down on what kind of plates, cups, etc, she wanted, and since I live two states over, I finally went ahead and picked up ivory colored, thick paper clothes that felt more like real linen clothes, gold themed plates and cups, and a car load of paper decorations.  This store only gives refunds within seven business days and I spent over two hundred dollars.  Sister decrees (finally) that she wants a floral theme and I must return the plates, cups, etc.  I squeaked them in by begging  my (actually very understanding boss) for an extended lunch hour.  Then I bought the new items. 

Next I get the invitations she has selected (simple ones wouldn't do--she ordered these special and they cost a pretty penny) with a note asking me to write them out and address them as her handwriting isn't very nice.  Okay, I don't have a whole lot to do after work during the week, so that was not a problem.  But then she keeps adding to the list.  And there are only so many invitations.  AND in the interim, she has been quizzing my Uncle's side of the family and learns that they have told everyone they don't WANT a party, that they are going to take a two week trip.  Now she is frantic and finally calls my Aunt and Uncle.  She gets my Aunt on the line.  Aunt is not known for tact (any more than my sister is) and she says "We don't want any damn party.  We want to be by ourselves."  Sis bursts into tears because she has reserved the  hall and the caterer,  and begs to speak to Uncle.  Uncle listens to her cry and finally says "All right, we will be there and we will act surprised." 

And then it gets really good.  My Aunt called all around town to find out who was and wasn't invited and found out that Sis had invited people they didn't like and asked that they be cut from the list (this after I have sent the invitations) and that other people be added (I had to get my own stationary out and write the invitations for these people). 

Sis throws a fit because Aunt is now trying to orchestrate her own surprise party and has words with her.  Aunt says words back.  They are now not speaking to each other but the Sis is steaming ahead with the party that  no one really wants except her. 

And then: tragedy!  Aunt falls down a flight of stairs and breaks her leg.  She lands in the nursing home for six weeks.  And guess what?  She will be in the home on the date the party is to take place.  Sis goes to visit Aunt with my brother-in-law and the cousins.  Instead of expressing sympathy for Aunt, Sis proceeds to scream at her for ruining the party plans and making her life miserable.  She finished by announcing that she had cancelled the hall, the caterer and everything else and that if Aunt wanted any kind of party she would have to ask ME (two states away) to do it.  Then she left. 

That was almost a year ago and my Aunt has suffered many complications thanks to that broken leg.  Sis still visits her and still rags her for "ruining" the party plans.  As for me, I am out two hundred dollars for paper goods, not to mention the thirty plus dollars I spent on postage. Sis, by the way, got ALL her money back and she still complains about how much she spent.


I am the granddaughter of a poor Greek immigrant who came to America and "made good," as the saying goes.  Unfortunately, my half-Greek father married a harpy from south Georgia, who eventually gave birth to me.  While I am grateful to be Paipou's granddaughter, I'm not so happy about the mother who put me in that position.

In 1988, Paipou lay dying in a Florida hospital.  He was just a few months shy of his 93rd birthday, and his body was wearing out.  My parents, who I was barely on speaking terms with due to the manner in which he had entered the hospital, had left Georgia and gone to his bedside.  I followed, with my husband in tow, a few days later.    You see, Paipou had fallen, and lain on the floor, in his own blood and s**t, for almost 8 hours when my father made his daily phone call to check on him.  Paipou's elderly Armenian girlfriend was there, and the stubborn old Greek had threatened her if she called an ambulance.  So she sat next to him, crying, until the phone rang. She spilled the whole story to my father, who told her, "I'll think of something".

Serendipitously, I happened to make my regular call a few minutes after my father had hung up.  I immediately called my father, who lived 400 miles from Paipou, and only about 10 miles from me.  Daddy's brilliant plan was to drive to Paipou's house, pick him up off the floor, and take him to the hospital.   I lost it.  I'm a nurse.  There is a point when someone is so ill that they are considered to not be able to make appropriate decisions as to their urgent health care needs, and this was it.  If the old Greek wanted to refuse medical treatment after we got him off the floor, cleaned him up and figured out what was wrong, fine.  But you don't let a patient lie on the bloody, s****y floor just because he says he wants to!   

I explained to my father that the appropriate course of action was to tell the stubborn old Greek over the phone that the ambulance was being called, NOW, and when Paipou was all well again, we could fight about it then.  In the meantime, I explained to my father that I expected him to get on the next plane to Paipou and I'd be right behind him.  My father refused, saying, "Paipou doesn't want that-I'll drive down. "  At this point, I became even more furious, and explained to my father that should my grandfather die on the floor due to my father's inactivity, I would ensure that a complaint was filed with the police for neglect of an elder.  

You might ask why I didn't call the ambulance.  Well, my father was the only living child of Paipou, and legally the closest kin.  My husband pointed out that I had very little legal standing to intervene.  Again, being a nurse, I could recognize the validity of this argument.  So Daddy drove to Florida!   It's a few days later, and I've arrived in Florida, along with husband, and checked into a motel halfway between Paipou's house and the hospital.  I arise early the next morning and go to the hospital, as I know that I only have two days to spend with Paipou, and I want to spend every minute I can with him.  I feed him breakfast, get him up in a chair, wash him, and just treasure him.  

After a few hours, I notice that my parents, my brother and my sister in law are nowhere in sight. I go to the pay phone, so as not to upset Paipou, and call the house.  In response to my questions as to where everyone is, my mother the harpy responds, "You need to get over here quick.  Your sister-in-law is picking through your (deceased) grandmother's jewelry box, and if you don't get here, you're not going to get anything."   Now, I'm not a materialistic person (I'm a nurse, for heaven's sake!)  My blood began to boil.  I informed the harpy that the most precious thing I had was in the hospital, and for all I cared, they could have all the jewelry and I'd take Paipou.  Needless to say, the fireworks continued once the avaricious thing arrived at the hospital.     

Paipou finally died about two weeks later, and I drove from north Georgia to south Georgia for the funeral.  My husband and I sent a large basket of all-white flowers, because white flowers are the death flowers in Greece.  I came early to the chapel to say goodbye to Paipou, then husband and I retreated to the family parlor. Shortly thereafter, my mother (by the way, mother is not Greek, and seized every opportunity during Paipou's life to proclaim how much she hated Greeks in general and Paipou in particular) arrived.  She immediately saw the basket and loudly exclaimed, "What Greek sent that?!"  I stepped from the parlor where I was hidden from view and declared, "This Greek!"  It made for a very tense funeral .   

We proceeded to the cemetery for the burial, and were able to lay Paipou to rest beside Yiayia without too much more fanfare.  By now, the harpy that is my mother had calmed down somewhat, and was actually trying to chat in a friendly manner with me.  I don't believe a leopard can change its spots, so I was keeping a physical and emotional distance.  As we each got into our cars in the cemetery, my mother looked at me and chirped, "See you when we get back to town!"  I stopped in my tracks, looked straight at her and said, "No.  No, mother. I don't want to see you again."  That was 1988, and I haven't.  

   Miss Jeanne, some say my cutting of family ties is sad, and I should try to reconcile.  But when this and so many instances occur to show you just how evil someone is, despite the blood connection, you just want to get away.  I'm blessed with my life now, and don't want to revisit hell.   Please feel free to edit this story as you feel fit.   I think the first two paragraphs and the two preceding this one could stand on their own.  Thanks so much for the site, I've enjoyed so many of the stories.  



I really don't know where to start with the horror stories about my husband's younger sister - let's call her R. I have been married since 1987 and have put up with her completely stunning lack of manners, etiquette, etc. for over 17 years. I recently cut the ties and I have never felt better.

When I married my husband, he was Jewish and divorced and I was neither. He was in the USAF at that time and stationed in England where we met and married in a civil ceremony 7 months later. I was 22 and he was 26, but we were completely in love and still am to this day. Needless to say, his family was upset he had married a non-Jewish, non-American girl but I won them over with letters, etc., - they didn't come to the wedding and I didn't meet them until 2 years later, but I fell in love with my husband's parents and they loved me too. I eventually converted to Judaism and my husband's family couldn't be happier; 2 days after my conversion, we had a small, intimate Jewish ceremony which was beautiful.

When I initially flew to the States to meet the in-laws, R told me that my husband's grandmother called me 'The Slut.' No idea where that came from, I was educated with a great career and had never even met R or the grandmother - turns out that when I did meet the grandmother we hit it off immediately and I loved her 'til the day she died, a couple of months ago.

I could go on and on about R, but will give you a brief synopsis or I will use this forum as a cathartic experience and will be writing this email all day - I kid you not.

My husband and I were stationed in Sicily in 1989 - it was beautiful and we loved it. R graduated from college in the spring of 1990 and came over for a visit as we had had a daughter that past January. After a week R asked to leave early as there were no malls and she was bored. She insulted our very best friends (still are to this day) by being absolutely gob-smacked that they were an inter-racial couple. I was mortified that she would say something and couldn't wait for her to leave. She called our baby fat and we were thrilled when she left.

In July of 1990 I became pregnant with our 2nd child. We called our in-laws to let them know the happy news. A half hour later, my MIL called back to say that she had told R the news and R was concerned about my ability to be a fit mother to a 2nd child. I cannot write this sentence 14 years later without my stomach knotting up - our kids are the most wonderful, happy well-adjusted young people - they are so lucky that she is not their mother. We knew we were having a son and wanted to name him 'Joe.' We got a call from R saying this name was unacceptable to the family.

I can feel myself getting mightily furious at this point and need to get to the major points. One of the worst things happened in 2000, after R had married, had one daughter and a second daughter in April 2000. In June 2000, my husband's younger brother (there are 3 kids in the family; my husband is the oldest and he is adopted. I believe he has been made to feel this by his siblings) and his wife had their second child; they now had a son to join a daughter. In Jewish tradition, a Bris was to be held a week later in Boca Raton, Florida, where they lived. We live in Colorado and my husband wanted to fly down for the Bris to be there for his brother and new nephew. (When our son was born in February 1991, his brother had been with me for the birth as my husband was involved in Desert Storm. His brother had been very sweet to me and had served as g-dfather at the Bris). 

Anyway, my husband told his parents and brother he was coming and start to look into tickets. Unbeknownst to us, R had called her parents and had a hold fit - she felt that because my husband had not gone to see her baby in NY when she was born 2 months earlier, he should not be able to go to the Bris, and that we were favoring our nephew because he was a boy. My husband's parents called me at work to ask me to tell my husband he couldn't go to the Bris as it would upset R too much. I am not kidding and my husband never went. I was seething, furious. My husband would never have gone to NY - he has never been close to his sister - or brother for that matter.

In January of 1995 we were back in the US and stationed in Colorado. My husband and I were going through some major crises at this point - and I mean major. Life altering events that would sink any other couple. I was down to 120lbs and was stressed to the max. Anyway, R calls our home and goes off about the fact that her mother had been ill (in all fairness, my MIL has been ill for years and years - nothing life-threatening. I even remember in 1991 that R told me that she wished her mother would just die and make their lives easier - she said knowing her luck, her mother would outlive everyone. Not sure my jaw has ever really made its way back into the upright position) and we hadn't called in 2 days. I could not deal - and handed the phone to my husband who told her not to call our house and raise her voice to his wife. This was a big deal for my husband as he is mild-mannered and avoids confrontations like the plague. R was mad. She hung up the phone, called Daddy and the entire family didn't speak to us for 2½ years, when I again had to make things right with phone calls, letters, etc. I did this mainly for our kids.

Two years ago, the whole family was planning a trip to a resort in Tampa. Following that long weekend, my husband and I planned to take the kids to Orlando for 5 days and then head down to Miami to spend 5 days with the in-laws. R - who lives outside Atlanta with her socially inadequate husband and 2 girls - was so worried that our kids were going to spend time alone with her parents, wanted us to change our dates so we could all be in Miami at the same time. I put my foot down and said absolutely not, the kids deserved to spend some one-on-one time with their grandparents. My husband's brother called later to say how thrilled he was that I had put her in her place.

During that same phone call, R had requested that I return a gift that she had given my daughter about 10 years prior. When my daughter, J, was about one, R had given her some nesting dolls she had acquired during a trip to Moscow with her father when she herself was a young girl. At the time, R was single and I told her that she should hold onto these dolls as she might have kids herself one day. She said no and really wanted J to have them. In 2002 when J was 12, R said she really wanted them back as her own daughter's deserved to have them. Again, I was dumbstruck. I never returned the stupid things - my husband said that if R wanted them back then she should ask J herself. I sometimes feel like sending them to R in the form of fine firewood.....

So here is a little history I have with R. Needless to say, we are now again not on speaking terms with my husband' s family and I am, frankly, relieved. I never really lived up to their expectations - I never had cards and gifts to the respective kids on time. Sometimes I never even sent gifts. It was never a huge deal in my own family growing up and I am so not close to those kids. I know that I probably haven't been as responsive as I could, but I so dislike R. My friends abhor her and now my kids do, too. I haven't poisoned their minds - I'm a pretty level-headed Mom - but my kids are smart and they see what's going on. My in-laws have been kind and generous to us through some hard times, but every thought and decision they have is governed and dictated by R.

The final story is the worst. A couple of years ago, my husband, children myself were involved in a pretty horrific car accident - on his 40th birthday. Following this, I suffered (and still do suffer with) chronic pain and severe bouts of depression. Never saw the depression coming and it affected my relationship with my husband, my career and my friendships. I basically cut myself off from the world. To cut a long story very short, I crawled out from the fog, 35lbs heavier, and started to prepare for the trial in January 2004 - the other guy was 150% to blame and that was never really disputed.. We had had a litany of combined injuries and emotional conditions and expected a decent settlement - we got an unsympathetic jury and $3,000. I sunk again into the depression and after last speaking to my in-laws on the day of the verdict at the end of January, we never spoke to them again until May. I know this is wrong, but if you've suffered with debilitating depression, maybe you'll understand.

When we called the house on Mother's Day, my father in law went off on my husband, calling hum the laughing-stock of the whole family (really? I think not) and saying he was a disgrace. Bear in mind that they never once called us even knowing I was virtually hysterical and beside myself with pain and desperation. Anyway, we discovered on May 9 that my husband's grandmother (who had been in a nursing home for a few years and was suffering from dementia) had suffered a serious of massive strokes. My husband was so close to his grandmother - in fact the only name she remembered during her dementia was his - and she called everyone this. She was an apparently very wealthy woman and R used to tell us to visit her more often so we could get a cut of the will. Horrifying. I loved Grandma. The most precious gifts that woman gave me was a beautifully crocheted blanket for each of my children. I couldn't care less about her money - nor could my husband for that matter. I had her a beautiful blanket made for her and when my kids went to Florida last fall to visit their grandparents, they took it with them to give to her. My in-laws said no, she wouldn't even know she had received it. I would have taken that chance, quite frankly - and how sad for my kids? I have no idea what happened to that blanket - I bet R's kids have it.

Incidentally, after my exceedingly well-behaved children spent that week in the fall with their grandparents, R called to say that it was a lot of pressure on her parents and that the next time they go it should be no longer than 4 days. This is not what my in-laws had said. R does everything in her power to ensure her kids are 'the favorites.' My 13-year old son has said to me that he know that he is way down on his grandparent's list.

To cut a long story short, my husband told his parents that he would call them back next weekend. All was not well there, but that poor guy was trying. We called back on May 17 and Grandma had died on the 13th and had been buried a couple of days later, as is Jewish tradition. No-one told us - my husband doesn't even know where she is buried - only in New York City somewhere. What?? I sat my kids down and told them, point blank, that I didn't care what they did in their lives that might upset me, I would never, ever treat them the way their father had been treated. They too, of course, were upset that their Nana had died - and no-one had told them.

So I am cutting them off - happily. I don't need the hassle - I don't need any more R stories from hell and my kids do not need this poison in their lives. I have even considered separating from my husband to get away from his family - I am completely serious. I am mightily thankful for one thing - my kids do not share the blood and/or genes of this family.

Thanks for taking the time to read my stories. I know it's long and convoluted, but it has been such a long time coming.......


Page Last Updated May 18, 2007