What is it about the holidays that can make family members so vicious? Is it the close quarters, the forced conversations, the pressure to cook excellent food? Whatever the reason, these people quickly learned to stay as far away from their family as possible during the holidays. Thankfully they're in much better spaces now. These family members are some of the most ruthless, maniacal people to walk this holiday-fueled earth. This not so jolly content has been edited for clarity.
"My dad rigged my car to explode the last time I saw him. He and my stepmom took out life insurance policies on me and my step-sister.
That year, I went to their house for Easter. While we were eating, Dad went out into my car and loosened up all the fuel lines, which would heat up the engine. He took off the engine cover so that it was bare metal under the hood. I caught him outside with the hood up when I went out to smoke. He said he was just glancing around.
A few weeks later, the fuel lines popped off while I was driving. The car just died out, so I jumped out and popped the hood to see that fuel had sprayed all over everything. I called my dad to ask what to do. He told me that I had to get the car to his house, which was 30 miles away.
Instead, I got it towed to my shop, and that's where they told me that it looked like the hose clamps were intentionally loosened. I thought about who was ever under my hood and determined that it was only my dad, myself, and my mechanic.
So I thought about why my dad would have done that, and I called my step-sister to ask about a life insurance policy. She confirmed that there was a policy for both of us.
I did call the police and showed them the pictures of the motor that I had taken. At the time, I lived in a town where the cops are notorious victim-blamers. They said that there wasn't any proof, since I didn't have anything that showed him unscrewing my hose clamps.
All I had was my step-sister saying that there was a new insurance policy, along with pictures of a wet motor with no hose clamps on a few of the fuel lines."
"One year at Thanksgiving, my uncle yelled at me right before a family photo, so I walked away to cool down for a moment. Obviously, the natural response would be for my grandfather to scream at me, call me a worthless brat, and insult my manhood. When my mom and aunt came over to calm me down, my grandfather accused me of slapping my mother, which has never happened.
Then, my wasted cousin tackled me, threw me over a couch, and screamed in my face for five minutes. He told me that I'm tearing my family apart, and he threatened to kill me in the front lawn. After crying for about thirty minutes, I went back inside to confront everyone, which resulted in my mother and I being attacked by that wasted cousin's mother.
It kind of ruined the whole thing for me. I'll go back once my grandfather dies. The wasted cousin and his awful family don't come to family events anymore because his wicked mother poisoned my uncle to death over the course of a few months. At least her sons, including the one who attacked me, are fat, ugly, and bald now. So I guess there's that?"
"My parents are hoarders. While I do still see them, I refuse to be in their house for more than a minute or two. My mom is the main hoarder, but my dad continues to enable her and lives there without complaint. They have been emotionally and financially manipulative in the past, which makes me cautious with how much help and financial assistance I’m willing to give. My mom is a mental health professional (so ironic), so she knows how to game the system so she comes out looking golden, while I look like a bitter child. My dad has his own set of demons he blames all his issues on and he has become very childlike in his behavior. It’s hard to talk to him or reason with him.
I’m 31– the hoarding started around age 16 or 17, when my dad was deployed and my brother and I left for college. Growing up, we had a messy, cluttered home, but nothing like the level of how it is in their home now. The hoarding has worsened over the years. I realized the extent of the problems when I was 18 or 19, and I avoided returning home. Around 22 or 23, I went no contact/very little contact for a few years due to financial disputes. From 26 to 29, I was desperately trying to help them. I got power of attorney, had convinced my mother to give me sole guardianship of my father, and I was going to get their finances in order. A couple weeks before we were going to do all this (not to mention me leaving my job to care for my father), my mom backed out and went crazy with accusations.
From 29 to the present, I’ve returned to no/little contact. Nothing I do or say makes an impact. They don’t listen to me. They refuse my help. They want me to ignore their problems and pretend we are a happy family while continuing to live a life I can’t condone. It’s been a long and terrible road realizing I just won’t have a normal relationship with my parents. I’m still willing to help them, but I need to see some change on their own before I put everything on the line for them again. I don’t think the relationship will survive any more manipulation on their end."
"My wife and her parents have been going at it for years. They're very controlling and do all these passive aggressive things, which has driven her away. They've even attempted to sabotage her relationships with other members of the family, including her dying grandparents. It's been tough for her, but she started cutting them out of her life and ultimately has not seen or really even talked to them in quite a few years.
Her mom would get upset and send her nasty messages like 'You're not my daughter anymore, don't you dare even think of getting me anything for Mother's Day. I'm not your mother anymore' sort of messages. This was followed by her dad lecturing my wife for not even saying, 'Happy Mother's Day.' Real dumb and petty.
My wife's dad constantly texts her things like, 'I sent you a package, let me know when you get it.' My wife thought maybe after all these years they were willing to maybe start making amends, and he wrote a letter or something to start the healing process, but no, it was some gift cards. My wife said thanks for the gift, but that she would not be coming home to see them for the holidays. Her dad threw a tantrum and insisted she send back the gift cards and how awful of a daughter she is. My wife obliged, but she was heartbroken.
The worst part is her dad will randomly text her with, 'How about that football game?' or 'Forget those Yankees!' which she ignores. He isn't above using anything to try to guilt her into responding back. The latest was a truck attack in NYC. He sends some heart-felt message about 'Days like today, it would be nice to hear from you' but otherwise won't take any responsibility to try to actually mend the relationship.
Shame, if it keeps up they may never get to meet their grandchild or have a relationship with their daughter. Oh well, I prefer to keep things low key for the holidays. Negative forces in your life aren't worth it."
"My uncle invites us to Thanksgiving every single year, but we never go because of one specific reason. He’s a Jehovah’s Witness. Now, I’m not saying that they are terrible people but my uncle in particular is. One year, we went to Thanksgiving at his place, and he handed out religious pamphlets to everyone at the table. All he talked about was how the end of days was coming soon and that we all needed to repent our sins, or we would burn in the underworld. It was a miserable 5-6 hours.
Fast-forward two years later: my dad (that uncle’s brother) was on his deathbed. His kidneys were shutting down and he was going to die within the week. My uncle had the audacity to CALL MY DAD ON HIS DEATHBED and tell him, 'If you don’t repent your sins, you’re going to burn in the underworld.'
He didn’t call to say goodbye to his brother, he didn’t call to offer help to our soon-to-be mourning family, he called to tell my dying father that he is going to burn. That angered my mom so much, that she called him right back and screamed at him. The last thing my dying father needs or wants is to have his brother calling him at the hospital and telling him that he is going to the underworld."
"The last time I tried to see my biological dad, he threatened to beat my mom to death, got arrested for driving home from the bar with me in the car, tried to sell me to someone at the bar, tried to tell everyone I wasn't really his kid, tried to emotionally manipulate me against my adoptive father (the person I consider my dad), tried to buy my love with electronics, and tried to put me on his phone plan (so he could track me down anywhere).
This happened over a week ten years ago. Since then, he has had multiple random children with random women, despite being in jail a few times. He hacked my Facebook account to stalk me and try to get my friends against me, so I'd want to move to where he was (we hadn't spoken in 5 years at that point), to the point I had to open a new Facebook account."
"About 10 years ago, I went over to my cousins' place in the country for Christmas. It's the usual: awkward conversations, slight emotional tension, one uncle's political leanings becoming more apparent the more egg nog he drinks. Well that year, a few weapons were given as Christmas presents to my cousins. Nothing wrong with that, it was a whole family of avid hunters, and the kids get taught to shoot early. A cousin about my age got a 12-gauge for Christmas, and his little brother (7-years-old at the time) got a small weapon.
Of course, we got to talking about the gifts everyone got (especially the kids), and little Andy got to talking about his weapon and how they went and shot it this morning and cleaned it and so on and so forth. Then he gets to talking about his brother's weapon and how he shot one round out of that and almost fell over. Haha, you're small and weapons are big. So we go back to talking a while and suddenly, there it is.
My 7-year-old cousin is now pointing a 12-guage at the entire Christmas party. Everyone tenses, and his mother tells him to put it away.
'What? You guys are scared? Don't worry, it ain't loaded.'
The 12-guage is now wavering between myself and my brother-in-law, who has a touch of the PTSD left over from Kuwait. While I start looking for a nice clean way to grab the barrel and disarm the little psychopath, my uncle defuses the situation. 'Hey, Andy. Why don't we show everybody how we clean it?'
He hands my uncle the weapon and gets his cleaning kit. When he comes back, my uncle breaches the weapon and what do you know? Two unfired shells popped out. He could have maimed half the family.
We do see the family for the holidays. We just haven't gone over to their house in 10 years or so. Andy's in college now and in no way homicidal that I am aware of."
"I dread family events simply because I'm in my 30s and still unmarried and no children. I'm in a committed relationship, and we own a house and both have amazing credit. We both have multiple degrees and amazing careers. The boyfriend and I do all kinds of fun travel and events and enjoy our time together. Kids are one the docket eventually, but we aren't in a hurry.
None of that matters to my family. No babies? I'm wasting my life, letting the womb cobwebs take over. When am I going to grow up and stop wasting money on cosplay and comic-con and start popping out all those kiddos? Honestly, I'm the only girl above the age of 19 without kids.
About a year ago, my aunt pulled me aside and told me I'm an inspiration to her teen girls, and she uses my life as an example of what they can have if they work hard and are responsible. She even quietly admitted that I'm an example to her eldest daughter of someone in an adult relationship who can be responsible about birth control. I cried and thanked her for appreciating my life, instead of pointing out what I'm apparently doing wrong."
"I only go home still to see my grandparents who I'm close with. I genuinely never thought they'd live into my early 20s, but once they pass, I'm cutting all ties.
My family is full of abusive monsters, but the final straw was when I had to send my beloved cat home with my dad temporarily. I needed emergency housing after my boyfriend and I broke up, and I moved into an apartment with an extremely aggressive cat. A couple months later, after harassing my dad for pictures and updates all the time and not getting them, I found out he gave my cat away without telling me a few weeks into him being home.
I thought my cat would be happier in a large house, and I didn't want him getting hurt by a crazy cat. My father has never been abusive towards animals, but little did I know my father would dump him off with some random people. I can't find that poor cat!"
"It used to be a tradition that my mother, sister, and I loaded up and went to my grandparents, along with my uncle and his family. Once I became an adult, I managed to wiggle out of most of these events because my grandparents were horrible. My grandmother is a delusional, manipulative narcissist who spent my whole childhood telling me that no one was going to ever love me if I didn't lose weight, then applauded me when I developed an eating disorder as a teenager. She encouraged me to use my new body to my advantage and was always telling me I should learn how to pole dance because those women are 'so empowered.'
I was 15.
She was constantly trying to pit me against my mother because my mom stopped taking her nonsense a long time ago. My grandmother couldn't stand it that her daughter didn't lavish her with affection. She even tried to pit my sister against me and my mom because my sister was young and easily manipulated and why not. My grandmother always has to have her way, even if her way is absolutely ridiculous and inconveniences or hurts everyone else. If you disagree with her, it's because 'you don't love her enough'. And she always pointed out every single thing she considered a flaw in you, like if I had a zit or had gained a few pounds, or she didn't like my outfit, makeup, or lack of makeup.
My grandfather could be awful once in while too, but he was usually a lot quieter about it. I wore a knee-length skirt with navy blue panty hose once, and he told me I looked like a 'streetwalker'. He was always matter of fact when he said something rude, like he legitimately just didn't think he was being rude. If he pointed out a blemish on my face, it was followed by some old remedy of how to fix it. My grandmother is nasty on purpose with the intent to hurt. Big difference.
My uncle is a vicious monster. Period. He's just loud and rude and says the most awful racist things. I have a nice uncle, but he cut ties with the family a long time ago after they threw a fit when he married a black woman. So you can imagine some of the things that my loud nasty other uncle says around the table.
I always dreaded it. Always. The meal was served at 11AM prompt, and if you were late, everyone just started without you. Luckily, I don't have to make up excuses anymore. After an absolute nightmare that occurred a few years ago, my mother and I have zero contact with my grandmother or that uncle. My grandfather has passed away, which is actually a pretty big part of the story because he had Alzheimer's, and my grandmother handled the whole situation in all the worst ways possible. She called my mom and told her that she was going to kill Grandpa then herself, and she was upset at my mom for calling social services.
So, yeah. I don't really do anything for the holidays."
"My mom and I have had a rocky relationship since I was small and I've always had a better relationship with my father growing up. When I was between the ages of 15 and 17, my parents were in the process of a nasty divorce, so I spent Christmas Eve and morning with my father. Then, I went to my mom's side of the family for Christmas dinner. She was so upset that I spent half my Christmas with my dad, that during dinner she didn't sit or speak to me.
Later that night, as were getting ready for bed in a room we shared, she was typing on her computer, still not having said a word to me. I asked her to be a little quieter because I was trying to sleep, but then she blew up at me with no warning. It ended with her telling me how I ruined Christmas and my grandpa driving me to meet my dad at 1:00 AM that night. I am forever grateful to my grandfather for taking me out of that horrible situation.
Currently, I am 22 and have been living on my own for a few years since another similar blow out with Mom. My parents are still in the process of trying to get divorced to this day. My mother is an extremely narcissistic person. It took me a long time to realize that, just because she's my mom, doesn't mean that she's not a toxic person for me."
"My wife and I are both transgender. We met while we were both transitioning. Before this specific family incident, I had been careful during family get-togethers (and any other time) to stay as far away from my nieces and nephews as possible. I had overheard a conversation that my two evil brothers-in-law were having about how they didn't want their kids around me because I, 'might try to turn them gay or whatever.' It was awful because my nieces and nephews are great people, but if parents don't want you around their children, you don't go around their children.
Years later, I meet my wife and want to introduce her to the family and I think, 'Well, everyone else in the family chose Christmas to introduce random boyfriends, girlfriends, and work friends to everyone. I'll invite her to Christmas!'
So I wrote a quick email to my sister about it and quickly got back a reply.
'We don't want that at our little family celebration. The children would be embarrassed to go to school if they were exposed to that. What would the sister-in-law think?' I knew from the wording that this was my mother using my sister as a scapegoat.
I decided it was obvious that I wasn't considered a part of the family, since they don't want 'that' (transgender relative) at 'their little family celebration.' I do kind of keep in touch with them a bit, but I've never been to another of their family gatherings, and I never will be."
"I used to be an active opiate addict. I'm almost five years clean now, and I had built up trust with family I thought I had lost forever. My sons were thrilled to be able to see our whole family again for Christmas or Thanksgiving. My family is very small. I have a female cousin, but we felt more like sisters our whole lives because we were both only children. For three holiday seasons after I got clean, everything went great. I was allowed in my grandmother's house (because I wasn't stealing anything to pawn or trying to find her pain pills), and I was so proud of myself and my family for being able to get past this nightmare I heaped on my family, even just for a holiday dinner.
Then, last year happened. My cousin comes to visit. She just had children and complained of postpartum depression, which I totally understand. Then, she asks if I can get her Xanax or pain pills. I had to tell her no. I have no more connects in this town, for the SOLE PURPOSE of staying clean! I was surprised that she became agreeable a little later on in the day, and she even apologized for getting so upset I couldn't hook her up. Apparently, her anxiety is just terrible. We had a nice few days and she and her family flew back home. Two days later, I get a phone call.
All of my grandma's Hydrocodone were missing. All of my aunt's Ativan were replaced with Prednisone. Even my mom's extended release Tramadol were missing.
As you can probably guess, it was me they thought that did it. My children are still allowed to go to Christmas, but I am not allowed to attend any family get-togethers. My cousin is visiting them right now. I wonder who she will blame those missing pills on this time, since I can't be there to be her scapegoat?"
"Three years ago, my brother came out to our family in stages when he felt comfortable doing so. He told my mom, my fiancé, and I first. Then he told our dad when we went to visit him later that year. Everyone handled it much better than he expected, as we're normal humans living in the 21st century.
He was most nervous about telling my grandma, who works at a church and regularly attends it. You get it. To his surprise, but no one else's, even she takes it well, saying she will love him no matter what.
Fast-forward to the next Christmas season: my brother texts me one day when I'm at work. He said that our uncle has requested that he not bring his boyfriend and his 'lifestyle' to Christmas this year, as he has young kids with impressionable minds. I'm going to take this time to make note that my Uncle was an addict, smoked around us, was borderline reckless on the roads with us in the car, and he had new girlfriends every week. He still does most of these things, even now having two kids with 'young, impressionable minds.'
My brother, being the type to not cause a stir, told me basically that he was going to do as my uncle asked, and not come to Christmas. I refused to accept this and texted my uncle, confronting his line of questioning. I asked him where he gets off trying to control who can and can't come to my grandma's for Christmas.
Fast-forward once more to Christmas, where everyone (including my brother and his boyfriend) excluding my uncle are gathered at my grandma's for dinner. My uncle shows up late, as per usual, and his youngest runs into the living room and gasps as he sees my brother and his boyfriend. He then runs to his mom and tells them that my brother is here.
He was angry and basically stormed out to start packing stuff back up to leave. My mom called him on his nonsense at this point (we had brought her up to speed and were basically planning on this happening), and she brought up most of the points I explained above. We proceeded to have a good old-fashioned blowout on Christmas morning with people yelling from front porches and slamming car doors.
Almost the same thing happened on Easter the same year. Not as bad, but something that still made my brother, wrongly, feel terrible. No one in my family has spoken five words to my uncle since, except my grandma. We have completely changed where we have holiday dinners because if we have it at my grandma's, there's always a chance of my uncle showing up and causing a scene."
"I was raised Mormon and my family is still extremely religious. When I left the church in college, I told my mother I could no longer believe it anymore. She broke down into tears and told me I wasn't her son anymore. She believed Satan had possessed me and I was going to die. A few weeks later, my brother called me and asked to meet me. He was 18 years old and was about to go on a mission for the Latter-Day Saints church. He told me that he didn't know if he believed in the church and felt I was the only person he could come to ask for advice.
I didn't tell him to leave the church. I didn't tell him not to go on a mission. I didn't tell him how horrible it was. All I told him was that he had to find out for himself. Maybe it's true and maybe it isn't. Maybe there is a God and maybe there isn't. But there's no way to know for sure. All we can do is live our lives the best we can, and to not worry too much about who is right or wrong. Simply enjoy the journey.
Three days later, I got a phone call from my dad. Apparently, my brother had told him he wasn't going to go on a mission. When he asked why, my brother told him that I said there was no God and that the church wasn't real, so he didn't have to go.
My Dad told me in clear words that I had been possessed by Satan and that I was a silver-tongued serpent trying to lead his family astray and that if I ever walked into his house again he would drive me out into the woods and kill me.
I haven't talked to any of them ever since."
"When I was 14, my parents got into a huge physical fight a week before Christmas. My dad threw the fully decorated tree across the room. They both proceeded to walk all over the ornaments as they were fighting. After the police were called, my mother took my little brother and I across the street to my aunt's house. I sat in her front window and watched my dad pull our tree outside (still partially decorated) to our trash cans to be thrown away the next morning. There were family heirlooms and ornaments we had decorated in elementary school on that tree. He just dragged it all through the mud and the rain and threw it all away. My mom moved us back in with him after only a week.
I've hated Christmas ever since and I experience severe PTSD because of that night. That's one of the reasons I don't go home for the holidays."