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Facing problematic relatives at Christmas

Not everyone will agree with me, but I find if I talk someone up too much, I end up a little disappointed in them when I see them next. Conversely, if I villainize someone, they don't seem so bad next time we meet. So I am going to spend a few minutes complaining/venting about some of my relatives, in the hopes that when I see them at Christmas they don't live up to my bad opinions. I encourage you to do the same.

Brother - Talks loudly, and at great length, expounding on every topic as though he were the leading authority and we an attentive audience. Sometimes I hide in the bathroom just to give my ears a rest.

Father - I feel guilty complaining about him, but given that the goal is to be more forgiving, he is not exactly a clean freak. I feel compelled to rewash the dishes before using them. I wonder what year he last washed the towels in his bathroom. I long to get out his vacuum and get rid of the dirt and dust hugging the baseboards in every room. I get the heebie-jeebies just thinking about it.

Sister-In-Law - Ultra important. Never ever brings food, or helps pickup, or does dishes. Cried two Christmases ago when she felt one of her sons did not get enough presents.

And you?

Wed. Dec 5, 1:25pm

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Father- never satisfied- feels unloved, but doesn't actually pick out any gifts for any of us. Mom does all the shopping
mom- drinks too much and lets others including strangers clean the house while she passes out.
Brother- teenager- selfish and on drugs, brought a scary college woman to dinner
Brother- another teenager- perfect kid, but lets this one stupied girl walk all over him

wow- that felt really good. I really do love them all and cant wait to see them, but to get the aggrevations out feels "cleansing"

Wednesday, December 05, 2007, 2:46 PM

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Traveling 1600 miles to see my parents...

Father - will watch TV the entire time even during meals then complains I never visit.

Mother - will spend the entire time cooking enough food for 100 for 6 people and freaks out if anyone says anything about the food good or bad. Then complains that she feels like we never really got to see each other or talk.

Sister will spend the entire day eating and complaining about her weight, husband, kids and my parents (they live in the same town).

Brother won't go home.

Not a single one of them will so much as ask me how I'm doing. They will spend the entire time complaining to me about their lives.

Visits home are incredibly depressing and negative. OTOH my family will periodically trek out to see me and always raves about what a wonderful time they had and how great they felt afterwards. I plan all the meals (simple and healthy) and activity and even put in a periods for relaxing or doing spontaneous stuff. I do as much as possible in advance and try to relax and enjoy my family when they are home. My mom frets that there isn't anything for her to do, but she smiles the whole time and it warms my heart. My dad doesn't watch TV and instead plays with his grandkids and they all come bursting into the house to tell me about what they've been up to with conspirital smiles in their eyes. We have terrific visits after dinner.

I wish my family could be that positive when I go there. But it feels like if they're not punishing themselves something much not be right. I don't know what happens but it feels like I have two families - the depressed, disfunctional one at home and the bright happy one that comes to visit. I don't get it??

Wednesday, December 05, 2007, 3:53 PM

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Sounds like they are in a rut that is broken with the new scenery and environment that your house provides. Why dont you call Mom now and try and figure ways to transfer your environment to that house. In order to not come off to bossy- remind her of a fun event at your place, and suggest that you all do it again at their house. do the same thing with the menu. Or try and be open with them- explaining how much fun you ave with them when they break the mold. Might just make a difference. good luck and Merry christmas

Wednesday, December 05, 2007, 4:44 PM

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here's what i get to look foward to:

Sister in law (oldest one) will complain that she didn't get time to run because she had to cook food for everyone and no one pitched in (this is, of course, after she DEMANDS to everyone that do not bring anything because her meal needs to be perfect. Then after dinner she'll complain that her size ZERO jeans got a little snug and then proceed to ask my husband and I how we must feel being overweight--she did tell my mother in law that I could stand to lose a few calories. Then when we try to help with dishes, we won't know what we're doing and load the dish washer wrong, etc. Then when everyone leaves, she'll proceed to email everyone about the other people and bad mouth them. I wanted to bring treats for everyone and was told I better not because hers are the best and i would only piss her off if i did that.

Sister in law (youngest) will complain her hair didn't turn out right and she didn't get that 5 carot diamond ring for christmas she MUST have. THen she'll proceed to tell her husband he can't drink, shouldn't ever wear that shirt and pants together again, then she'll brag that she's a smaller size ZERO than the older sister and how much prettier she is.

My family: lazy asses won't do anything except for my mother and me--we'll cook the entire meal while my sister who lives at home in her mid 30s and my dad sleep the entire day (let's not forget about the embarrasing farting contests the two of them have).

that will be my christmas. Need a beer just thinking about it.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007, 5:10 PM

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Wow! You guys rock! My family is a sunny day on the beach compared to all of yours! I think this thread did exactly what the OP was hoping it'd do. Thanks.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007, 5:36 PM

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Great Thread - Needed a Holiday Chuckle

Tis the season, luckily its once a year.
My problems were with my ex-in-laws, sigh ...... nothing lost there :))))))))

Wednesday, December 05, 2007, 6:26 PM

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There's some proverb that I don't remember very well so sorry if I butcher it..but the basic story (I think) is...
There's this man who has a lot of problems. Some wise person tells him to go on this journey and his problem will go away. He goes on his journey and meets a lot of people then goes back to the wise person and says. "All the people I met had their own problems that were worse than mine. Now my problems don't seem very bad."

I wish I could remember how it actually goes, much more elequent.

Anyway, I'm feeling pretty thankful for my family after reading about everyone else's!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007, 6:52 PM

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I got it done with my in-laws over Thanksgiving! Yay me, smooth sailing for the next year (hopefully!)

Wednesday, December 05, 2007, 6:52 PM

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I have to admit that I don't enjoy going home for the holiday either, and am pretty content that I don't. I would much rather say hello on the phone during this time of year as opposed to having to sit in the same room with everyone to only have a fight break out about something that happened 10 years ago.

I do enjoy the family I have made by the people I invite over to share the holiday's with me and my immediate family. I hope that this will rub off onto my children and they WILL want to come home and spend time with us after they have grown. I hope that they will continue to make good memories and want to continue making good memories until I die.

I wish that as families we could see what precious gifts we have in each other and learn to appreciate that we do have each other so we could enjoy the time that we do get to share together. This too is my hope for my children that they will want to get together and continue sharing!!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007, 9:21 PM

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What hilarious families - Great Thread - I got a chuckle out of reading these stories!!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007, 5:10 PM I laughed so hard I woke the dog up. What a hilarious family. Write a book. My favorite family story.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007, 6:26 PM, I feel you - NO MORE IN-LAWS and EX-HUSBAND. I am leaping for JOY! In fact I literally changed my name to JOY!! after my divorce. HalleluYah!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007, 10:33 PM

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My Christmas

Father-in-Law who nearly ruined my wedding by telling my husband I'm not good enough for him because I refused "obedience and submission" in my wedding vows will pretend like he and I never had a disagreement about God and that he never says to my young sister in law "some day your brother will tell me I was right about that woman." In his pretending he'll beleaguer me with prayer and stories about business flights.

Mother-in-Law who is very sweet but a door mat will get distressed over various demands and will just sigh when I tell her "Ignore them and make what you want to make for Christmas dinner, THEY'RE not the ones cooking."

Sister-in-Law who will bitch about living at home and having to hear about the wasted money on her fledgling college education (even while she boasts that she only has to work part-time because she gets to live at home and dad pays for college).

Racist uncle-in-law who pisses beer.
Self-important aunt-in-law who always has something better to say to top yours ("Oh, your wedding was so nice!" says one person to me; aunt-in-law says "I had 300 people at my wedding and daddy hired a band" etc - woman is in her 50s for chrissake). My husband wants me to wear the diamonds he's gotten me for Christmas but I'm pretty sure the aunt-in-law will belittle them (while the grandmothers and the father in law make disapproving noises about the cost).

Various other comings and goings of friends of the family.

House will be filthy and smell terrible. Nobody has mopped the kitchen floor in the last year and I'm pretty sure things are growing under the refrigerator.

Somebody will give $5 Stetson cologne for Christmas to my husband who wears no fragrances, instead of just giving a nice little card.

Christmas was with my family last year...this will be my first with his family. Yikes. :(

Friday, December 14, 2007, 12:46 AM

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lol, I'm so glad I never spend christmas with my family. There's a whole host of issues that I avoid by going on vacation during the holidays. :-) I'm loving all these stories though, they're god for a chuckle.

Friday, December 14, 2007, 7:31 AM

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Wednesday, December 05, 2007, 5:10 PM Poster here:

Just had to update you with family stuff: my husband's and my birthdays are 4 days apart, he's 8 years older than I am. On his birthday the oldest sister of his called and called him an old dog (she's older than him!). Then on my birthday, she left a message that said "i guess i can't call you an old dog like i did curtis because you would probably be offended, plus you are quite a bit younger than him. Anyway, just wanted to make sure you knew i remembered your birthday." Can't wait for Christmas with the Crank!

calgon: take me away!

Friday, December 14, 2007, 9:11 AM

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To PP: That kills me that she takes the time to call to wish you guys Happy Birthday and then throws something in there to make sure it's not TOO happy.

Sunday, December 16, 2007, 5:14 PM

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5:14--this is the 9:11 poster:

now you can see what i have to look forward to. I was 3 pounds away from my goal weight before going to her house, but i am so nervous about it, I packed on 4. I can't stand the thought of being in her house with her! I think I am going to buy some new clothes for the visit to feel better about myself and work on these added pounds.

Monday, December 17, 2007, 9:45 AM

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Hi everyone! I'm the 12/05 5:10 and 12/17 9:45 poster. I was hoping everyone who joined this topic could update all of us on how your Christmas went. Did it go better than expected, worse?

Here's my update: the two sister in laws were fine. I stayed away from them and it worked out great.

My family, on the other hand, was worse than I expected. We had a gathering at my Aunt's house (mother's sister) on Tuesday and we had a great time. My mom and dad asked last friday if they could take our two kids overnight since i didn't have daycare today. we said it was fine because it worked out nice and i didn't have to keep begging friends to watch my kids while we worked. so, my mom and dad show up 2 hours late to my aunt's house, bring NOTHING with them for pot luck, show up after having several beers. Then, they each had over 12 bottles of beer. then my mom said she wanted to take the kids home. I said NO WAY are you drunk asses driving my kids home. since we didn't have anything to drink, i said we would drive them over there. my mom said they were "comfortable" and weren't going to leave, but that my sister was at home and she would watch the kids until the got home. we were reluctant to do this because she's lazy as hell and we knew they wouldn't be very cared for. so we drove them over there because it was our only option. turns out she has strep throat and my mom knew this! bitch! we drop them off and start calling more people and no one can watch them. my mom and dad didn't get to their house for another 2 hours! my daughter called me from her house last night and said they had to go to bed because their nana and papa wanted to go to bed.

can you believe the nerve! wanting to drive my children around after showing up drunk and then drinking more! when i pick them up in 4 hours, i am going to bite my tounge, not say two things and leave. my husband and i agreed my children will not be spending the night over there until they can get their drinking under control. we had my mom and dad over monday night to open gifts and they showed up drunk.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007, 12:13 PM

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I moved out of state and that has made life soooo much easier. Yes, we still deal with the dreaded calls (sister in law) annoying, never happy, miserable and always something medically wrong with her, either real or imagined. But, we only deal with her on the phone a couple times a year, so we grin and bear it. It's so nice having just the five of us for the holidays.
My father drinks excessively too and it's nice to know I only have to deal with him on the phone too!
To 12:13, how awful for your parents to offer to watch your kiids and leave you in such a predicament. Very immature and irresponsinble, hopefully now you won't be dealing with your kids having strep. What a bunch of inconsiderate jerks, sounds too much like my in laws!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007, 12:31 PM

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12:31--thanks! it's nice to hear I am not blowing this thing with my parents out of proportion. i feel what they did was absolutely wrong and then to bad mouth us when she thought we weren't within ear shot.

let's hope they don't get strep throat!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007, 1:42 PM

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Update on the relatives...

12:13 you have my sympathies. That is crazy that they would drink and drive, let alone drink and drive with their grandkids in the car. I hope for your sake that this is an exception for them.

Funny, I also had almost no problems with the people I had pre-griped about (my side of the family, I'm the OP), but some unexpecteds with my husband's family.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007, 6:13 PM

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These stories gave me a laugh!
My parents and in-laws are pretty wonderful, actually. I always wonder if I'm the bitch?! I always have a great Christmas with both families. Of course there are annoying things about most of my relatives, but who doesn't have a little bit of that?

Thursday, December 27, 2007, 7:47 AM

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12:13 here. I have to tell you guys, I went and picked my kids up last night RIGHT after work and my mom flat out lied to me and said they got home minutes after we left. I looked her in the eye and said "my daughter called me when you got home, it was 2 1/2 hours later...why lie about it?"

She knew she got busted again!

Thursday, December 27, 2007, 9:17 AM

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