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It Is All Relatives

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I e-mailed my mother-in-law to ask what *her* mother (who lives with my in-laws) would like for Christmas.

Her reply? "Great-grandchildren."

My husband (her only son) and I are 25 and 24. We've been married one year. We don't have health insurance. My husband is still in graduate school, for crying out loud!

But it gets better. I had a cold, and hubby mentioned to his mother that I was "ill." Their conversation follows:

"Is she pregnant?"

"No, she has a cold."

"Do you know how?"

"How what?"

"How to get her pregnant!"



My husband is from former Yugoslavia. He came here twenty years ago and we married soon afterward. His family struggled through the Balkan war and economic collapse of his native country and he was always quite guilty to be over here while they were over there. As a result, he lavished them with money and gifts whenever we could afford it, and sometimes when we could not.

When we were finally established, he sent his brother "Boris" $10,000 to come to America. We also bought him his first car. He came, he saw, he conquered. He married another Balkan girl he met here and we'll call her "Natasha."

Boris and Natasha were together several years living in a three bedroom flat with two other roommates. Finally, they bought a place of their own, soon after she was pregnant. When they had their first baby, I suggested to my husband that we send them some airline tickets to come and bring the baby (we live in a sunny vacation spot). They came down and "coincidentally" so did a group of their friends. They spent quite a bit of time out with their friends, but I was okay with that. This was intended to be a vacation for them and we just wanted to see the baby.

Soon after, their friends decided to move to our town. They found jobs and bought a house.

The next Christmas, my mother-in-law was visiting Boris and Natasha up north. My husband felt it would be a good idea to invite them for Christmas, as it might be his mother's only chance to be with all of her grandkids. Unbeknownst to me, Boris asked my husband if he could use my husband's frequent flier awards for his and Natasha's tickets (they had just bought a house they couldn't afford and had no money left over for travel. BTW, they are both engineers with a combined income of more than 6 figures). My husband agreed, but didn't tell me. Thank God, he didn't tell me!

Again "coincidentally" another group of friends of theirs were flying in and out on the same planes. Almost every night they were in town, they left the mother with us, they took my car and spent every evening whooping it up with their buddies that live here and the ones that flew down with them. The baby was sick and never got a moment's rest as they drug it from one event to the next. They spent only Christmas Eve with the family, and part of Christmas Day, and they were with us for 10 days. And almost every day, they took my car until I finally stated that I needed my car. I said their friends would need to arrange their transportation for the remainder of their stay. I got my car back without any gasoline in it, which is a big NO NO in my book of manners.

I could scarcely contain my anger, but after they left, I found out my husband covered all the airline travel. I feel like I am going to go off on these people some day over this, so thank you for this forum. I needed to get this out of my system!!



I have come to realize especially in last few years how my parents, especially my mother is very phony. She likes to make a good impression on people, and pretend and try to pass herself off as a sweet little older lady, but she is one of the coldest and cruel, selfish people I've ever met. At one point she agreed to come to a psychologist with me to work on family dynamics, (translated, to see if she could come to be more aware of her very cruel behavior and work on being more of a decent caring person). During the session the counselor cut it short by 15 minutes, because she couldn't get a word in edge wise with the lady- my mom was so arrogant, so condescending, did not show any normal maternal affection or warmth. She excused my mother finally, in exasperation, and then told me privately she was sorry, but the best thing I could do is severely limit how often I see the lady, that it's far too damaging. She said most people are at least a tiny bit willing to hear and consider what is said in the session, but she was so arrogant, so indifferent to my feelings she said just let her pass on by, she's not really a mother in the sense of the word. 

Recently I needed help taking my young daughter for surgery. I asked my mom and she said that she could not , because she had to go to her 'group' this facade she has each week, is she runs a bereavement group one time a week. I told her "can you reschedule it for the day after, or another day? I'm sure the people would more than understand given the circumstance." Her response was,  "No way, there's no way I can do that".... So she left me on my own to do so. 

The killer is when we returned from surgery she had to play the part of the concerned little old grandma and ask my daughter how she was feeling, her voice was all sugary sweet, it just made me sick, i wanted to tell her, "Cut the act, save us all some time. If you cared, you would have easily been there to help her," but I didn't say anything because I didn't want to upset my little girl. That's my story on phony relatives-- an arrogant overly self-assured woman who's main concern is always herself, but she makes sure to try and look good by token gestures, that at the end of the day, they don't count for much or anything at all. I would be more okay with a bum of a person who doesn't care, but is honest enough not to put on a sickening act by being phony. Either care, or don't care, but please don't be sugary and phony about it.



Hi Ladies, let me tell you about my strange in-laws....My Father-in-Law didn't exactly get off on the right foot with me after he introduced me to someone as his son's "friend" when we flew to Florida for a visit to finish up wedding plans with my in-laws.  The wedding was less than two months away!        

But that pales in comparison to what happened a few years later.  DH and I get married, have our little boy, (first grandchild for FIL, but he didn't call or visit), and then 18 months later give birth to our daughter.  A few days after we come home from the hospital, FIL calls to tell us that there is a little get-together being organised at DH's grandparents' house in two weeks, and pushes us to go.  Of course, we are none too excited to haul our 18 month old son and two-week old daughter to go visiting a few hours away, but if the relatives can't come to us....  

Anyway, the day arrives, and we go to DH's grandparents.  Apparently, we were only invited to celebrate Father's day with them.  (Father's Day was next weekend)  This is the FIRST time that most of the relatives have seen either child.  No one really mentions the baby or says congrats or anything.   (Although, we called them all when she was born to announce the event.)  No one, of course, gives a little gift or a card on her behalf.  But they do manage to tease my poor Hubby for not "remembering" to bring a card and *presents* for FIL and Grandpa.  I mention that my DH is also a father now, and they look sort of shocked and confused.  Then they want to take pictures of the "kids" in the family (DH, who was 29, his sister and cousins) and pointedly tell me that I am not to be in the pictures, as I am not really related.  FIL actually flew in to the same state that we live in to visit his Dad for father's day, and it did not occur to him to visit his son and new grandchild.  (We live 30 minutes from the airport.)   Amazingly, though, he still keeps "correcting" us in public about our children's last name.  I chose not to change my last name to DH's when I married and we decided to give our kids a different last name.  FiL can't understand why I don't want my kids to have his last name, even though the first time he even met them was when we drove to the Father's Day Fiasco.



I am the youngest of four siblings by quite a wide margin. My closest in age sibling is my sister, 11 years older than I, who was a teen mom and had two kids with her abusive first husband. They divorced, and the kids were raised by AAHFH's parents and grandparents while my sister went on to make something magnificent of herself. I have no idea what happened to AAHFH.

Her older child, a daughter, K, also married and reproduced young, and eventually divorced. The last time I saw my niece was at my sister's second wedding in 1976, when I was 17 and she was 14. We roomed together and got along fine.

Fast-forward to 2001, when my eldest brother and his wife throw an 80th birthday bash for our mom. People flew in from as far away as Hawaii and Arizona (the party was in Massachusetts). I saw aunts and cousins I'd been close to while growing up but hadn't seen in 25-30 years. Very cool. Everyone looked nice, in business casual wear or nice sportswear.

Then in walks K. with her son, who is about 20. Both are wearing ratty T-shirts and jeans, and K. looks as if she hasn't showered in several weeks. Luckily, she doesn't smell that way. I hesitate to use the term "trailer trash," as I know some very classy people who happen to live in trailers, and some very tacky people who don't. But she was stereotypical TT.

Her very first words to me, the close-in-age aunt she grew up with but hasn't seen in 25 years: "You got old, Aunt B.!" Well, I was 42 at the time and was 17 last time she saw me, so yeah. But so did she, although I can't playfully throw the line back at her because SHE is still under 40 and will have none of that!

Later, she makes some comment about how she's planning to go to New Mexico to "shag some Indians." In front of her SON. Sheesh.

I did not share this with my sister or my mom, whose special day went splendidly.

About a year later, when our brother was dying, I was reunited with K.'s younger brother, my nephew, and I am happy to report he did not turn out like his sister. A total sweetheart. Maybe my sister's ex's tacky genes only affect female children ...



My parents adopted my sister when I was three. This never was kept a secret – we just never brought it up because it did not matter – and there never had been any stigma experienced by my sister. She was my sister and our parents’ daughter, and that was all there was to it. Except for our grandmother.

For some reason, our grandmother could not shake the adopted status of her granddaughter. She never was overt in how she treated us, but she often would comment to people that my sister was adopted. Our mother told me she sometimes felt there was a lack of acceptance by our grandmother, but Mom never could point to any one thing that proved this.

Our grandmother’s feelings finally hit home, though, when my sister was preparing for surgery on her back. As she had time to prepare for it, she asked our father to donate blood specifically for her use during the surgery as he was her blood type. When our grandmother heard of this that Christmas, she laughed out loud and said (this is a direct quote), “Well, after all these years you FINALLY are going to make her your daughter.” The stunned silence in the room was deafening after that.


About 6 months my husband thought it might be a good idea to move in with MIL so that we could share the rent and have a bigger place to live.  The biggest mistake I've ever made in my life is agreeing to this.  I did so because before we moved in with MIL I got along with her just fine.  So we moved in to a house with MIL and her 3 year old son "Jason".       

The nightmare started almost right away.  She would be on the phone all day, claiming that it was "work calls".  What it really was was a call from a coworker which started to be work important and then turned into gossip for the next several hours.  "Jason" slept in the same bed as her and at 3 would still not go to bed without her.  She would often keep him up until midnight while on a "work call".      

One day my DH and I came home from a lovely date only to find that an expensive photo book he bought me as a Christmas present was smashed on the floor.  DH asks MIL if she knew about this (she was, of course, on the phone) and she just says "Yeah".  I'm pretty upset at this point, I mean c'mon she couldn't have given us the courtesy of a phone call when this happened or even picked it up off the floor?  So I started to cry while MIL is out on the back porch with the door cracked open (while smoking I might add) and she had the nerve to stick her head in and say, "Do you mind?  I'm on the phone."  I was in complete shock so all I could say was, "Actually, no, I don't mind".  

A few minutes later she finally got off the phone and DH and I decided we needed to have a talk with her because she had been making us mad for several months and this was the last straw.  So we go to talk to her and she had the nerve to be pissed at us.  She immediately assumed that this talk was about "Jason" breaking the box and not her rude and callous behavior.  So the first thing out of her mouth was "He's only 3 you know".  I of course had to correct her and say that I was not at all mad at him, but at her for the way she handled the situation.  She seemed to think the way she handled it was  just fine.     

The real kicker?  After finally moving out a few months later and into our own apartment DH calls MIL about the last utilities bill and let's her know her portion is $100.  Her response?  "Actually I don't owe you anything because your cats ruined my chair".  So DH responds with "With everything "Jason" broke (there were a few more expensive items other than the photo box) I think we're pretty even there."  That conversation in and of itself would be considered outrageous as I can see MIL's point of view, she may not have been thinking about the items "Jason" broke at the time.  But the conversation went downhill from there and DH proceeds to hang up on her.  She called back and left this voicemail: "I don't think my chair and your things are the same because you can control your cats."  At the time that DH told me this I started laughing uncontrollably.  She just admitted that she has no control over her own child without even knowing it!  I am SO glad we're out of there!  



My story involves my boyfriend's mother, so although she is not strictly speaking, a relative of mine, she treats me (and others) very badly indeed.

I have been with my boyfriend for 5 years now. When I first met his mother, my aunt was very ill in hospital. She had a stroke at the age of 49. We spent the day looking round some old house, and I was trying to be very polite, and make a good impression. At about 5pm, I turned on my mobile phone to recieve a message to call my father. He told me that my aunt (his sister) had passed away. We were supposed to be going to a pub for some food, but I decided that I wanted to go home and make sure my father was ok. I told my boyfriend what the message was, and he said fine, we will go. His mother turned to me and said, "But you may as well come to dinner with us. There is nothing you can do about it now!" I was shocked. My father's little sister had died suddenly, after a short illness, and here she was, a perfect stranger, telling me to forget about it. Well, I insisted that I wanted to go home, and this made her think that I was the rude one, and her behaviour has got worse over the years.

*When I moved in with her son, she gently reminded me that it was HIS house, and I had no right to tell him how to decorate etc.

*When I dropped my hours at work, to work only 4 days a week, she asked her son how this would affect any payments I was making (none of her business).

*When we go stay with them, I have to stay in a separate room from my boyfriend. (we live together.. does she think I sleep on the sofa every night?)

Sorry, her home, her rules.  

*For my birthday one year, she bought me a Tea-Towel!!

*She refuses to speak with her husbands sister, and calls my boyfriend on his birthday, not to wish him well, but to make sure His aunt has sent him a card, However, she refused to give us her address when we wanted to send an Xmas card to her husbands sister, telling my Boyf, that she doesn't think that we should talk to her either. (It's her fight... not ours).

*We are expected to always travel the 200 miles to visit her, and she rarely visits us.

*Told me the outside of my house was covered in cobwebs, and preceded to tell me that I was lazy and not keeping her sons house clean as was my job (despite the fact that she has also told me I have no right to do anything to the house, so I can act as housemaid, but not have any of my own stuff).

I could go on, but I will be here all night.

Luckily, I blame my shift patterns for net being able to visit her, and send my boyfriend on his own!



Page Last Updated July 30, 2007