Stepdad + holiday visit = disaster
April 23, 2008 3:25 PM Subscribe
My stepdad is a tornadic houseguest whose behavior has inspired me to ban him from my abode forever and ever. How do I have this talk with my Mom?
posted by December to Human Relations (37 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
First off, I just can't have this talk with my stepdad. It has to go through Mom.
Where to begin? This dissertation makes my blood pressure rise. Last Thanksgiving, my Mom and stepdad came to visit from another state. What ensued were five long days involving my stepdad's apparent inability to stop fucking talking even for one minute (already a problem, but even more so after a glass of red wine), his lack of respect for my property (messiness, drink-coaster-free living, breakin' stuff), his impressive oblivousness to, uh (sorry), how his bathroom habits affect others, his tendency to stream audio and talk whilst blasting the TV rendering the airwaves pretty much incapable of supporting anyone else's conversation, and just general grossness like putting his stinky bare feet on my tables, bed pillow, etc. Even gentle pointers to him such as, "Uh, please watch out for X" yielded dismissive responses such as, "Oh, that's ok, don't worry about it!"
Fast forward to Christmas: I thought maybe I was just being a beyotch, so I did some eagle eye observing when we were all staying at my aunt's house to see if my experience was just a one-off situation (e.g., Mom's sister's house). But I saw the same disprespectful behavior exhibited at my aunt's house over Christmas. The difference is that, unlike my IKEA meets Craig's List decor, my aunt actually possesses very beautiful furniture and rugs that on more than one occasion were the recipients of my stepdad's muddy shoeprints, spilled wine, uncoastered drinks, and leaking coolers.
So I took Auntie aside and gently asked if my parents were difficult houseguests. It took her so long to respond that I thought she hadn't heard me. Indeed, she acknowledged, these people are unfathomably rude in her home. Now, my aunt's a pretty tough cookie, so for her to say that is a pretty big deal (she works for the US Postal Service, for God's sake, so she can handle any kind of rudeness). She admitted she even had to reupholster some furniture due to my stepdad's messiness and essentially chases him around when he visits, mopping up spills and footprints so as to protect her hardwood floors and carpeting.
It's just grozz. I love him but he is never allowed in my home again. My Mom is mildly hysterical in general and any type of even non-confrontational discussion would render her in tears, whining, and overly dramatic statements along the lines of her promising never to visit again.
My aunt won't address this with her because, as said, my Mom will respond by being overly dramatic and never staying with my aunt again. From my POV, though, this behavior has to stop. I don't want to drag my aunt into this, but I do want to point out the behavior impacts not only me, but also my aunt and at some point, something valuable and/or sentimental is going to be broken beyond repair. I'm leaning toward a gentle suggestion that the parentals stay in a hotel when they visit me or my aunt. I have no idea how to broach this with my Mom without igniting her fountain of tears and my own guilt.
How do I have this conversation?