“My mother-in-law has some major issues:
1) There is a room just as you walk in the house that is completely off limits. It’s vacuumed constantly and is a picturesque pink frilly sitting room, pink carpets, etc. Think Dolores Umbrage. My parents brought their dog over once (who is a fantastic chill dog) and she put a paw on the carpet and my mother-in-law almost had an aneurysm.
2) When my husband was growing up, he and his 2 brothers had 1 hour of screen time a day. TV, video games, whatever, 1 hour. I know this is normal but it was never normal in my house or any of my friends’ houses so I think it’s kinda crappy. Personally, I much prefer task-based limits. This was also before phones etc were ubiquitous and also had significantly less to do with the fact that they were screens and more of ‘they like this and we want to take it away from them.’
3) 1 bath a week. If you had more than that you got screamed at. The brothers would end up showering at a friend’s house. I had to basically train my husband out of that one.
4) If you had too much fun doing something, they wouldn’t let you do it anymore. It made my husband very good at lying and also very obsessive about things he enjoyed. Or, if you had too much fun in a weekend you weren’t allowed to do something fun later in the weekend. For example, if you visited a friend’s house on Saturday, you weren’t allowed to do anything on Sunday except clean or do yard work.
5) Not allowed to argue with parents. Mom has a personality disorder and constantly lies. Dad always backs her up. She will lie about what the boys were doing and say they were breaking a rule when they weren’t and they couldn’t argue. This rule is literally pinned to their wall.
6) They have to get the parents cards for birthdays etc. But the cards are not allowed to be handmade because it’s ‘cheap.’ This rule persists.
7) They have to take pictures every Sunday before going to church, in the church outfits. There are hundreds of pictures of this, in the same spot in the house.
There are other rules I literally can’t remember/pick out of the piles of abuse.
My husband and his brothers have grown up very well adjusted and sane despite this mess.”
Isolated On Christmas
“At one of my ex-girlfriend’s house on Christmas day, both myself and my girlfriend’s sister’s boyfriend were told to go down into the basement while the rest of their (extended and immediate) family opened presents. I had never met this guy before and we were the only two people down there, all because the older members of the family didn’t want ‘outsiders’ to see what they had bought their relatives. Did they think we were going to steal something?
There were something like 35 people in the house, so while I thought we would only be shunned for a few minutes, we ended up staying in the basement for TWO HOURS before my girlfriend called us back upstairs. Apparently, the guy I was stranded with had been there for multiple Christmas celebrations and was usually told to just go sit by himself. This was a normal thing for this family.
Joke’s on them, though. I had a much better time playing pool with the guy than I ever would have interacting with their family, who I came to discover over time were really bitter, uncaring people.”
Her Rules Were A Little Obsessive
“One of my friend’s mother had some borderline obsessive rules. No walking on the carpets. You must remain on the strips of clear plastic carpet protectors instead, which were arranged to create walkways around the house. Guests must wear slippers and there were spares if you didn’t bring your own. The leather sofas must remain completely covered in sheets to protect them. Even the dog was expected to follow these carpet protector paths and was constantly being told off for stepping off them.
I understand wanting to keep your carpets and furniture nice but this was crazy. You couldn’t even see them under all this ugly protective stuff. Plus I nearly fell down the stairs wearing oversized slippers and tripping on this protective plastic mat that was draped down the staircase. I was also constantly getting in trouble for not following the correct route around the room and instead of walking straight to where I wanted to be. She would literally check for footprints on the carpet.
I don’t think it was a cleanliness thing as their house wasn’t spotlessly clean. I think it was more about preserving the value of everything. Their house had a lot of cabinets filled with old ornaments and junk his mother was certain would be valuable one day. It was purely his mother’s rules as well. His dad was pretty cool about it and even got us all in trouble when he drew a dong on the carpet once. His parents ended up getting divorced a few years later.”
“It Was The Most Embarrassing, Awkward Thing Ever”
“My parents, for what it’s worth, made me go to bed at 7:00 pm every night from the age of 4 until the age of 16 because I had to share a room with my kid brother. To this day I also have to go to bed at 10:00 pm when I visit them because I have to walk through their bedroom to get to mine (it’s an old house).
Another weird rule they have is about trash bins. Most people have at least a separate bin in their kitchen and their bathroom, right? Maybe a few more all over the house just in case, right? Wrong. My parents keep just the one, single bin in the center of the kitchen/dining room, and the bin bag is changed once a week at the most. I think they maybe just can’t be bothered to go around collecting bins and so this is their awful solution.
Having a period in that house was a barrel of laughs, let me tell you. From the ripe old age of 11, announcing to the entire house ‘excuse me, coming through, used sanitary pad ready to go in the bin here, outta the way dudes.’ These days as an adult when I visit, I make a huge deal out of it until they realize how awkward it is and give me a bin for the bathroom. But as a 12-year-old? This was the most embarrassing, awkward thing ever. Not to mention when we had guests round. They would be sat in the dining room, and I would be forced to shamefully walk past them into the kitchen, used pad in hand, to use the bin. That was some trauma right there.
My current house has two bins in every room.”
“I Learned A Lot That Day”
“My friend David was a tough guy, which was all the more cool because he chose to hang out with a scrawny nerd like me.
We hung out at his house, once (and only once), even though it was literally 4 houses down the street from me.
It was a small, normal house, with a small comfortable living room.
When I plopped into the big easy chair, David went white as a ghost.
‘That’s my dad’s chair,’ David said, “No one’s allowed to sit there…ever.’
‘If he sees you in his chair, he’ll bring the belt.’
Well, I was a small kid, but even I knew that some other person’s parent wasn’t going to be allowed to beat the crap out of ME with his belt. So I said, nonchalantly, ‘So what? He can’t hit me.’
My tough guy friend (and, truth be told, a bit of a bully to other kids) just got paler and paler.
Then he said very quietly, ‘he might not wallop you, but he’ll wallop me instead.’
I hopped off that chair like a shot. I learned a lot that day.”
Harry Potter Had A Better Living Arrangement Than This
“I had a landlord rent me a room. I paid the first and last months rent. When moving in, he told me the room he showed me wasn’t available. He then gave me a converted CLOSET. Literally a 12′ x 4′ space. He knew I was stuck.
1) No kitchen usage.
2) No BATHROOM usage.
3) No strong smells (he complained about my roll-on deodorant being way too strong. No one else even notices).
4) I had to be out by 6 AM, couldn’t return until 10 PM.
All for $600 a month.
None of this was disclosed or remotely reasonable. We had a very heated argument when he told me all this, but at the time I had no choice. I stayed there for two months. He constantly made threatening comments to me, refused me access to the house at random intervals, and I caught his friends stealing from me twice. He told me to ‘lawyer up.’
I did. I won.
He threw me out after court. Literally drove back, took stuff from my parked car by smashing a window and sold it to his friend. Then he threw everything else in the yard and peed on it.
We went right back to court a week later. He ended up losing the place because he was subletting without permission. He still has bedbugs from a friend he let stay. I see him occasionally, covered in bites. He always sits and threatens me with more ‘legal action because you freaking took my house’, but I figure he isn’t worth the trouble.”
The Rule That Destroyed A 10 Year Friendship
“Playing with the neighbors across the street from me as a kid was weird. I grew up in a rural area. Their house was the closest. The next friend was at least a mile down the road. The big difference was that we were not allowed inside without their kids being present and had to be watched at all times.
Once we were playing on the swing set and I had to pee. The kid said, ‘just go in through the slider in the basement and use the bathroom. Nobody will notice.’
So little 9-year-old me gets into the doorway and takes off my shoes. I slowly make my way to the bathroom. I get the door almost closed and then 4 fingers spring around from outside and rip the door open. It was his mom and she…was…LIVID! She was absolutely infuriated at the fact that I was in their house without their kid. She escorted me back outside, slammed the door shut and locked it behind me.
At this point, I was ready to pee my pants. So I went out back behind their barn and started to pee. At that moment, my friend’s little 7-year-old sister comes around the corner and sees what I’m doing. We make eye contact, she doesn’t say a word, then turns and runs to the house screaming for her mom and dad.
She told them I pulled it out in front of her and when she disagreed to ‘touch it,’ I then tried to pee on her.
My family and their family had been friends for a solid 10 years at this point. I was never allowed over again and my dad refused to hear what they had to say. I only ever spoke to the kids on the bus and at school.
To this day, I think about those times and how absolutely ridiculous they were being.”
That Family Was Freaking Nuts
“This kid’s parents had surveillance cameras in every room, including their kids’ bedrooms. Anytime we were in a room without a parent, the surveillance camera had to be on. There were many times I’d walk into the kitchen after being in the game room or my friend’s bedroom and see the TV on streaming surveillance from the room I was just in. It even streamed sound!
A friend of mine got kicked out of the house because he jokingly put a napkin over one of the cameras. There were also times where if one of us said something the parents didn’t like while the cameras were on (they never told us when they were turned on either) a parent would burst into the room and yell at us for saying something they didn’t like. That family was freaking nuts.
If it wasn’t obvious, her parents were controlling abusers, to other people’s children as well as their own. Texts were also monitored as well as all internet activity. I wouldn’t be surprised if they also read their diaries. I’m aware this is abuse. It’s florid abuse. We’re all over the age of 18 now and they both no longer live with their mother (the son completely left the family, daughter still lives with the dad). There were no cameras in bathrooms, but those were the only safe rooms. No locks on doors. I was terrified of the parents from day 1 and still refuse to associate with either parent, as the father is known to contact my parents if I do/say things he doesn’t like.
It’s absolutely nutty but trust me, I as well as their children know this is abuse and have had therapy in an attempt to resolve what they’ve lived through.”
The Evils Of The Yellow Pages
“As a guest at a couple’s house, I found the Yellow Pages (an ancient printed Google-like document for finding local businesses) outside their front door. I kindly brought it inside.
The next day I again saw the Yellow Pages outside. Odd. I brought it inside again. At dinner, the couple told me to please refrain from bringing the Yellow Pages inside.
‘Oh. Ok. … why?’ I asked.
They proceeded to tell me that the Yellow Pages has ads for and pictures of tarot, palmistry, astrology, false religions…things that are offensive to God and by bringing this into their house they are inviting demons and evil spirits into their home. They gave anecdotal evidence of demonic activity traced back to such sources of evil in their homes.
They proceeded to tell me that the dictionary is also outside for the same reason.
I refrained from explaining what my computer and internet capability could summon up on demand…”
“I had a friend whose parents would lock her in her room at night. As in, the lock was on the outside of the door and once she was in for the night the door was locked and there was no leaving, even for the bathroom.
I think I was like 8 at the time. I didn’t know these kids very well at all and didn’t get to know them beyond this weird thing with the doors.
All I remember was that the door was locked at night once they were in for bed. I remember asking about the bathroom and she was just like we go before bed. I always woke up in the middle of the night to go so it stuck with me.
She obviously saw nothing weird about it.
She and her family were weird and I didn’t hang out with her for very long. I think they only stayed in my neighborhood a few years before moving.”
The Church Had To Get Involved
“Back around 2009, I had these friends. Their mom was a collective 370-ish pounds and had adopted all 5 of her kids, so she had this really narcissistic attitude about it. Weird, I know.
The rules were so weird that to this day they blow my mind:
1) We weren’t allowed to leave the rooms at late night or early morning, because it MIGHT wake her up. The few times she woke up, she’d fly into a rage and scream at us kids (all under 10) for upwards to an hour and then make us (even me, the visitor) clean the house without giving us food or water.
2) If we weren’t punished, we had to stay outside ALL day, save maybe lunch and dinner. We weren’t allowed inside for anything, and if we went in, we’d be yelled at and told to clean.
3) Pertaining to rule 2, we had a set quota of water we had to drink. Her kids were given pretty big jugs, so my siblings and I had to buy our own. The problem was, we couldn’t go back inside for cold water after we drank the jug, so we were forced to drink hose water. And when we were allowed back in, we were asked how much we drank. Anything under 4 jugs was met with yelling and a punishment of, you guessed it, cleaning.
4) Her golden kid was allowed to do anything she wanted. She wasn’t the oldest of the 5, but her word was law and her mom treated her like a goddess. We weren’t allowed to contradict her.
5) When I was 8, I was really into LEGO Star Wars. This led to my friends getting it too, and we would play it together at their house. One day, we were told no video games. I wasn’t entirely sure about the rule, so I asked if she said no video games in the morning, or if she meant all day.
They just kinda went all scared and didn’t say much, but then I go out to eat, and their mom was like ‘you told them you wanted to play video games all day? After I said no? You realize I have to tell your mom now.’ And little me was so scared that I was in huge trouble.
During this time my mom was.. emotionally compromised. She had severe depression, anxiety, the whole nine yards. Nowadays she’s my number 1 supporter, and she heavily apologized for this later, but when I got home, I got spanked and grounded.
Later, (as in, a couple years later) she told me that she was told that I threatened the two boys about the video games and said I wouldn’t be their friends if they didn’t let me play. The mom made this a huge deal. She posted it on social media and made an 8-year-old kid seem like an abusive and violent person, so much so our church got involved.
It was a massive mess, and I’m glad that part of my life is past.”
Super Strict Stepmother
“A friend of mine had a SUPER mean and strict stepmother. Here are a few ‘rules’ I can remember from her house:
1) She had to make her bed every day, but the dust ruffle had to be so many inches from the floor and even around the bed. The sheets and comforter had to be done just so. If it wasn’t she would come in and rip them all off the bed and make my friend redo it.
2) We were only allowed to play with one item at a time. For instance, if we wanted to play Barbies, we each were only allowed to take one out of the box at a time. If we wanted to switch out a child doll or a Ken doll, the Barbie had to get put back into the box.
3) They had phones in every room. The only phone I was ever allowed to use was in the creepy basement. Also, we were only allowed to use the bathroom in the creepy basement which sucked since there was one right next to my friend’s room.
4) Last I can remember is that she was only allowed to have 1 friend allowed to play in the house. She was allowed to have 2 friends play in the backyard. She was never allowed to have more than two.
My friend never had a relationship with her birth mom. This stepmom had been in her life since she was a toddler. I later (8-9 years ago) ran into my friend and she wasn’t in a good place. She was over 300lbs, depressed, had some legal issues with writing bad checks and some other things. I later found her on Facebook about 5 years ago and she seemed to be doing better. Got married and lost some weight, seemed happy. I have no idea if she has any relationship with her stepmom at this point.”
Strange Rules From A Strange Girl
“A now ex-friend of mine lives with her parents. We were pretty close at the time, but she usually hung out at my place. She invited me over to her place for the weekend for once. It was strange, but hey, why not, right?
A few days before the weekend she sent me a bunch of messages asking what I wanted to eat. I told her I was down for whatever and that I’d gladly cook for us. She wanted me to give her a list of acceptable foods. I told her I don’t really work like that and if she needed it to be itemized why not come up with the menu herself?
The weekend starts. We were hanging in the living room and she says she wants to order food. Her parents gave her some money which was nice of them. She wants to order from a local Chinese place, but the food is crazy expensive. I tell her let’s order from somewhere else.
Nope. She’s only allowed to order from a list of approved restaurants, and that was the only one open at 8:00 pm on a Friday.
The evening goes fine. Next morning, I get up and she’s not awake yet. I pour myself some cereal, but I used the ‘wrong’ milk.
Later in rinsing dishes for the dishwasher, it turns out that they need to be completely clean before they’re allowed into the washer. Like with soap and everything.
I ask, ‘Why don’t we just hand dry them as they’re clean already?’
She replies, ‘This is why I don’t invite people over.’
Later when I’m unloading the dishes and putting them away she gets mad again. I’m not putting them away in the right order.
I’m not sure which rules were hers or her parents. She was a strange girl.”