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Bride tries to stop controlling stepmom after 'disrespectful' behavior at brother's wedding.

Bride tries to stop controlling stepmom after 'disrespectful' behavior at brother's wedding.


"Dad's wife causing so much drama already, just want to vent it out here"


Just need to get this wedding ridiculousness off my chest so I can move on and have a fun wedding. I got engaged my fiancee this summer. We haven't set a date yet for the wedding. My dad's wife has already managed to cause so much drama around a wedding we have barely begun planning.

My dad has been married to his wife for 15 years, since I was 19. I could write several books about our relationship but let's just say it's been tough. This woman is extremely manipulative, insecure, and emotionally unstable.

Most of all, she is CONTROLLING. It is how she soothes her unstable emotions, and it usually involves plowing through other people's personal boundaries like they're made of paper. (then throwing a fit when she feels "unappreciated" for these efforts.)

She's easily threatened by other/incoming family members, especially other women, and gets especially controlling when food, event planning, and/or family gathering is a wedding is ripe for it.

For brother's wedding. My brother has basically zero relationship with her but she still went behind his back to plan and control as much of his wedding as she could possibly get away with. This the same woman who believed he, a 16 year old boy at the time, "mistreated" her -- all while she emotionally hurting him and made his life a living hell.

Anyway, he's doing very well now, no thanks to her (she has said that she believes his current success is due to her positive parental influence, lol) and he got married last year. It was a very simple living room wedding with only immediate family (9 people) invited, at his in-laws house.

Since it was so small, my brother's MIL and the bride mostly planned it. My dad's wife was invited as a courtesy since my brother decided he didn't want to cause drama by not inviting her. This woman was NOT invited to plan the wedding in any way.

Had she asked my brother if she could do x or y thing, he would have said NO. But she never ever asks, she simply takes action and narrates it as being for everyone else's benefit but her own, when it's really all about her obsessive need for control and power.

She realized she could simply bypass my brother (who wasn't very involved in the planning, like I said it was very small) and the bride by bombarding his future MIL via email for months leading up to the event -- She is a genius at putting people in a corner where they feel like they can't say no, has a million strategies for doing so.

She ended up trying to take over planning of the rehearsal dinner (which also happened to be my birthday). Brother, bride and i had already discussed it, and we planned to get a bunch of takeout and have it at their house.

Meanwhile, she had already decided that she and my dad would take everyone out to a nice meal at a restaurant of her own choosing. She was told no, and that the bride and groom had already decided the plan, but she kept trying to make it happen.

She brought a bunch of food and appetizers she wasn't asked to bring. She was told no, but she did anyway. This especially angered MIL because of their previous drama-filled visit to this same home: MIL, being the hostess, had already planned and shopped for every meal.

But my stepmom wouldn't take no for an answer, lost her mind, took over meal planning and arrived with a full trunk of groceries and meal plans, which insulted and frustrated MIL (who she was meeting for the first time.) She also tried to drag ME into bringing more food too and i said no, which resulted in her giving me the silent treatment for the whole visit.

She is Christian and me, brother, dad, and my fiance are Jewish. The wedding fell on Hanukkah so me, brother, dad, and fiance all checked in about what we wanted to do and decided we did NOT want to try to make a big thing about celebrating hanukkah at another (non-Jewish) family's home, especially with all the wedding stuff going on.

On the wedding weekend, the bride showed me PAGES of emails to MIL (bride's mom) from my dad's wife all about how important hannukah is to me and my fiance (she doesn't speak to either of us IRL, she thinks we abuse her) because we are "very religious" (I would never describe myself as even religious, let alone "very," but yes my Jewishness is very meaningful to me).

Pages of her condescendingly explaining what Hanukkah is about and listing the many things she would bring/plan/CONTROL for this celebration. At NO point were any of the jewish people consulted about this.

Luckily, after all that trouble and planning, she didn't even try to make it happen, probably because they arrived late and left early. Which was pretty obvious given it was a 9 person wedding. After the wedding, she threw a fit because my brother and i "made her feel invisible" at the wedding.

And, like I said, we haven't planned basically anything for my own wedding except that it will be in our hometown and involve our extended families, so not a tiny one like my brother's. I knew my stepmom was going to cause huge drama over my wedding but am shocked she could start before we even set a date.

We had a family zoom call to share our engagement news with my cousins. It was really nice! My dad's wife chose to attend but remain completely silent. She spoke not one single word, just glared at the screen for an hour.

After the zoom call, I assume everyone else went about their business. Meanwhile, she had a total meltdown. Apparently some bland comment I made that had nothing to do with her, was in fact a direct attack on her and I humiliated her on purpose in front of everyone.

I now have my dad calling me up demanding I be more thoughtful in the future. Shockingly, I was in fact not thinking about cruel ways to humiliate his wife during this once-in-a-lifetime moment, but was actually feeling happy and joyful and focused on my family and engagement. Imagine a world where not everyone thinks about her all the time. Well, she can't, apparently.

A week later my dad calls me up again to tell me in a very serious tone that he understands if she's not invited, they both do. I was like wtf? Of course she's invited, don't worry about it. We haven't made a guest list yet even, they've put way more thought into this than me.

Finally, a few weeks after that, he tells me: she's already decided she's not coming. Her reason? "she's put a lot of thought into this, and she really thinks this is what's best for you and [fiance]."

So, good riddance. From now on you are no longer my stepmom, you are my dad's second wife and I will refer to you as such. Also, thanks for not coming. Now I don't have to worry about you snaking in and making this event about yourself and your sad, messed up control issues.

We will still send you an invite in the mail, because WE control the guest list, not you. And you can RSVP to the website like everyone else. And anyone who even notices you're not there will see EXACTLY how much you love, care about, and support me and my fiancee. No matter how you spin it.

Here were the top rated comments from readers here:


I strongly suggest password protecting your choices with your vendors, it’s still likely she try something.


Very good idea - just cause she's laying low now doesn't mean she won't flip her switch later. And by reading this, I have a sneaking suspicion that she might.


Wow. She sounds impossible. Keep ignoring her, don't feed her compulsive need for attention. But also be mentally ready that no matter what you do, she will make herself a victim of the situation and create a fuss about it. Wish you all the luck in the world!

The OP then returned with an update after hearing from readers:



Dang y'all! Thanks for the response! I just wanted to vent while having a boring day at work and sort of thought I was overreacting. Her behavior in my family is so normalized, and also she's been so manipulative for so many years, that I second-guess how awful she is a lot.

Thanks to everyone who's written in with helpful and commiserating comments! You all are HERE FOR THE DRAMA and I love it so much! I actually forgot to share another juicy drama nugget related to all this which may be the worst thing she's actually done.

This happened several years ago, WELL BEFORE my now-fiance and I had discussed marriage. So, he was then just my boyfriend of a year. I was on better terms with dad's wife back then, though, and had (foolishly) revealed to her how excited I was about this guy and that I thought he was the one. I know now to never share such personal information with her.

Another important detail of this story is that my mom (who was as awesome as my dad's current wife is awful) died when I was a teenager. I don't talk about my mom with my dad's wife.

The one time my mom has come up in the last several years, my dad's wife described how well-liked my mom was when she was alive...and in the same breath concluded that it sure makes her feel bad about herself in comparison.

Anyway, it was our I think second visit to my dad and his wife's home since we'd started dating. Within ten minutes of walking in, we're sitting around the table and she pulls out a small white box, slaps it on the center of table, and (while looking at my boyfriend, not me) cries out "you might neeeeed this!!" absolutely delighted with herself.

In her own handwriting, the box says "for OP." Inside is my mom's wedding and engagement rings. My dad basically stared at the floor during this entire interaction. I honestly don't remember my response; I was shocked. My bf was immediately angered (though didn't show it).

It was truly amazing how she managed to disrespect me, my partner, my father, AND my dead mother in one fell swoop -- all while thinking of herself as the most thoughtful person in the room. Hats off, really.

Here were the top rated comments from readers after these words from the OP:


You are in for one helluva ride. This won’t be the end of the drama. But you knew that right? There is no way she isn’t showing up.

My Top Guesses:

Several comments through your Dad about how she is just so sad you two couldn’t come to some sort of understanding and she’s just so sad about it, did you know she is just so sad about it?

When you start up a wedding binder, make two. One with the real info that you keep locked away like the Hope Diamond and a decoy with your discarded and would never do ideas. Leave that one just laying around. Your wedding bouquet will have lillies, well then roses galore in the decoy book. Business cards and pamphlets of every business you aren’t using. Some how, some way SM will get her hands on it.

She will call your vendors to interfere. Password protect every single one.

Your Dad will make an offer to contribute to your wedding fund. This will be accompanied by sad comments of “well since we are paying for it (insert hoop you must jump through).” Keep any money given so that you can give it back.

She will show up in an over the top twin of your bridesmaid dresses. Keep your chosen wedding colours a secret. You are going with teal? Tell her navy blue ((complimentary but no way to mistake her as part of the wedding party)

Bridal shower will somehow become a repeat of the slapping down of your mother’s wedding rings. What else does she have access to that she could “thoughtfully” bring to give you?

She will show up to wherever you are getting ready to take on the mantle of Mother Of The Bride and it will become all about how she could never fill your mothers shoes and she’s so sorry you have to settle for her but she has big shoulders and will make the best of it. Don’t let her find out where you are getting ready.

She will have a medical emergency at the most inopportune moment and your father will have to take her to the hospital. Have a back up person to walk you down the aisle.

She will have some new dietary restriction and couldn’t possibly eat anything served at the wedding, so she will just sit there and watch everyone else eat. Make sure you add a “please let us know if any dietary restrictions” note in your invitations/rsvps and perhaps a pre-made on a container meal that you know she eats every week.

She will have a spur of the moment wedding speech. Turn the mic off. Do not let her get up there.

She will show up in a “it’s not white it’s ivory” dress. Have your most trusted human be ready with a glass of red wine.

Have you considered starting up a bingo card yet?

The OP responded here:


This is hilarious! Now I want to make a bingo card for next time we visit.

I will say that she and my dad offered some $$ to pay for the wedding, and we declined. We want to pay for it 100% ourselves so that we have 100% say in what happens.

I believe her refusal to come is some combination of attention seeking/self victimizing behavior mixed with the overwhelming (for a control freak) realization that she will not be the special MOB queen she planned on being; she will be in charge of nothing, asked to give no speeches, and probably shot down in her attempts to control and be in charge.

She is just asked to simply enjoy the weekend like any other guest. But that was never going to happen.


If you don’t want your wedding day to suck, you will not invite that woman. She will ruin your wedding day. I’ve seen it a dozen times.


She up to something. Dunno what but this isn't over.

So, do you think the OP was right in her actions or do you think they were being unfair to their stepmother? What advice would you give the OP?

Sources: Reddit
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