Restaurants are the worst place for personal drama to explode. That didn't stop these awful people from making a supposedly fun night out into an unforgettable horror. Whether it was a partner or family member, they would stop at nothing to confront the drama as explosively as possible. Hopefully the wait staff still got tipped? Content has been edited for clarity.
"My wealthy, very cheap ex never took me anywhere to eat, except occasionally to the all-you-can-eat buffet-style restaurants, only on the '2 for 1' discount price day. He would always attend any event involving food that others paid for, such as the elegant banquet brunch we were invited to, where he humiliated me in front of a multitude of guests.
We were standing in a somewhat long line, waiting while the chef was preparing the fresh made-to-order omelets for each guest as he/she waited. I told my ex that I was going to pop over to our table to get a drink of water because I was so thirsty, and I’d be back in a second. He said to me in a very loud voice, 'Okay!'
He then dramatically pointed to the end of the line, glanced around to ensure people were looking at him, and loudly stated, 'And there’s the end of the line when you get back. I’m not letting you cut in front of these other people. Who do you think you are?!'
I was stunned. I asked him what he was talking about. He informed me, very loudly, that if I left the line, I lost my place, and he was not going to let me cut in front of the other guests. And he looked at me with contempt. To say I felt humiliated is an understatement. And then there were the all-you-can-eat '2 for 1' discount buffet occasions when he would flirt and chat animatedly with waitresses who brought water and coffee, and totally ignore me, treating me as if I was not even there.
It was cruel and devaluing. I thank God he is so far in my rear-view that I can’t see him anymore."
"He humiliated me regularly in public. Most people would not even have known. One particular night, he listened to me so intently and actually had a conversation with me. I second-guessed all the things that I thought I figured out about him. He engaged in a conversation with me like he never had before. How pathetic is that? I went to the bathroom. Big mistake. From my experience, I found leaving the room was always a reason he would use to change his mask.
As I was washing my hands in the bathroom, all of a sudden I had this sick feeling in my stomach. He just had been way too nice. He's setting me up to tear me down. I got back to the table, and I could tell by the look on his face that he was not the same person I was having this beautiful conversation with only moments before. He informed me that he told the waitress that he didn't know if I was even coming back to the table. He told her that he said he thought I might have even left. There was this feeling of everything being so off-balance, so obviously illogical, with no relevance. After we finished our dinner, he wanted to go for a drink at a pub. We got there and he introduced me to the bartender as his girlfriend. He ordered doubles. Once he got his drink, he proceeded to tell me that every single girl in the pub was wondering why he was with such an old hag like me. They all want to be with him, apparently.
Now I know the truth. He went to the pub because he wanted attention. He needed fuel. He had forgotten he just turned 40 and 18-year-old girls were not looking at him. He blamed me for this. I was the older one in the relationship, and when we went out in public, I got more attention than he did. Unlike him though, I was in a relationship. When I love someone, other people cannot capture my attention to lure me away from the person I love. He did not need to be lured. You just have to tell him he smelled really good and he was like putty in your hands."
"Two of the all-time humiliating experiences during my childhood decades ago were due to our Cruella DeVille stepmother starting WWIII in two different restaurants. My brother and I had parental visits with our father and stepmother once a week, which would often include going out to dinner, as our stepmother rarely cooked. The first was when we were both well under 10, and we were impatient to eat while our father and stepmother had their 'happy hour'. This was a very common occurrence, as they liked to have two drinks, and they took quite a bit of time sipping them and smoking before dinner. These dinners were usually far later than our normal dinner time at home, and we would be extremely hungry and start to beg to be able to eat. Usually, we were ignored or told to eat some more bread, or that they’d be ordering just as soon as they were done with their happy hour.
However, one time when we’d eaten all the bread and had begged for a long time, our father said that he might see about ordering something for us. Our stepmother immediately said that was out of the question. She had not finished her second drink and that we could just wait.
Then surprisingly our father said, 'Kids have to eat.'
I was surprised by this comment because it was rare for him to give us any consideration. You would not believe the fallout from that comment. Our stepmother immediately went into the high dungeon, taking issue with our needs being prioritized over hers. 'Ordering will ruin everything. I am not going to be cheated of having my drink hour by those two. They can wait!'
Our father clearly felt he was not going to be told what to do, and since he’d said he would order, he was not backing down. It was a battle royale with both of them screaming back and forth, often with our stepmother hating on us, while my brother and I sank lower and lower in our chairs. Our father ended up getting something for us, but this incident was added to her tally of our unforgivable sins for literally years and years after. Each week, when our father became enraged reciting all of our supposed faults, the one she’d invariably add, was how WE ruined their dinner at a nice restaurant.
The second happened shortly after and was worse. We were traveling on summer vacation. We had stopped at a restaurant that was mostly open-air seating. We again were starved. Stepmother again wanted a leisurely drink time. Our father said he wanted to order, as it was late and we had to navigate back to the hotel. Our stepmother started screaming that she wasn’t going to take this, and while the whole restaurant watched, she ran out to their car (insight) and locked herself in. Our father then stormed into their car and screamed at her to open the door. A loud and long and very contentious feud that ensued through the closed door of the car. A good portion of her screaming was that our father was taking our side over hers, ruining her vacation and that she would not stand for that.
My brother and I stood frozen and ashamed as we saw everyone watching in horror as our father and stepmother battled on. After what seemed like hours, but was likely more like 15 or 20 minutes, she finally opened the door and their feuding continued all the way to the hotel. Again, we knew we’d be cast as the villains soon enough. And we were right. It was another incident that was tallied against us in their weekly tirades. This was what having dinner in a restaurant with narcissistic parents could be like for a couple of scapegoated kids. A real treat. Not."
"Going to a restaurant, I soon realized, was a hotbed for my ex-husband’s nastiness. He has yelled, stormed out, and flung glasses filled with water on the table over the food. After a point, I simply didn’t know what would set him off. And, if for whatever reason he could not express his displeasure at the restaurant, I would get an earful on my way back home. Whereas I came from a household where etiquette at the dinner table was instilled in me from the time I was 3 years old. Needless to say, witnessing my ex-husband’s shenanigans at restaurants has not only been deeply embarrassing and painful but also prompted me to question the man I had married; who was soon becoming an embarrassment in public places. He was like a mobile droplet of inflammable liquid ready to become a raging fire at the presence of a non-existent spark. There are far too many incidents involving restaurants from my short-lived marriage to a covert narcissist.
But, I guess, I would consider, this one incident the most humiliating. We had a small wedding ceremony. So my folks decided to throw dinner parties for family and friends to introduce him to the rest of our clan. So here we are staying at this nice hotel and my uncle and his family have come over, and we go for dinner to one of the restaurants housed within the hotel. We order we are all eating, chatting, and drinking, and suddenly my (ex) husband asks for the manager of the restaurant. He starts complaining about the quality of the meat and how the hotel should not be charging that amount for the dish. Now he had been eating for a while, about 15 - 20 minutes when he called the restaurant manager. Because he was sitting a seat or two away from me on the same row, I didn’t see him spit the meat out onto his plate, but this was seen by other members of my family sitting on the opposite side of the table, that included my father, brother, uncle, and cousin. After creating a ruckus, the manager asked him if he could replace the dish or bring him another dish, but my ex-husband refused. My father was the host of this dinner, and he was the one footing the bill, not only of the dinner that evening but also our stay at this rather prestigious establishment and our wedding party.
Even as kids we were taught not to waste food, thank the host/ hostess for the invitation, be measured in how we ate, and not say an unkind word. My ex-husband checked off all the boxes on the stunt-sheet of what not to do at restaurants/public places as a guest, and all of this happened under 2.5 hours. Forget this crude display of behavior as an adult, we didn’t dare do any of it even as children (spit food on our plates ‘because’). The atmosphere became so chillingly tense after his yelling that we all fell quiet for a few minutes. I found it deeply humiliating. Particularly since this meeting was to mark the occasion of our nuptials and we were introducing him to family, and this is how it went.
It was sad to see how my ex could derail a happy occasion and dampen the spirit of 10 people within minutes; how he lacked the maturity or basic decency or etiquette to function at a dinner table; how spitting the piece of lamb, after chewing it, on a plate was a normal thing for an adult to do in a public place let alone at a high-end restaurant; how he did not even have the wherewithal to apologize for interrupting the meal; how he did not thank the host of the dinner; how he ate that meal for 15 - 20 minutes and then noticed that the restaurant had used poor quality meat; how the meal was expensive, if so, why did he order it in the first place?
Today, when I reflect on my marriage, this was merely the start of many restaurant disasters. All the others I would do my best to either placate him or overlook his obnoxious display of behavior; at this juncture, I didn’t know I was married to a narcissist. I see this incident as the most humiliating one because the others happened between us unlike this meltdown, which happened in front of our extended family who was meeting him for the first time. Mind you, dinners with his friends he epitomized the perfect guest."
"Restaurants were an enormous trigger for my most damaging ex. For one, he was a master culinary artist, so no one was ever going to do it better than him, and I swear he was a magnet for a hair in his food. If something weird was going to happen with the service, the food, or the seating, it would happen to him.
Once there was a side of croquettes, and they were slightly charred on one side of the crust. As soon as the wait staff set them down, my ex flicked one of the croquettes across the room and said, 'I wouldn’t give this garbage to my dog, how is the chef putting this in front of me?!'
Then, he refused to eat. They tried to take it off of the bill, but he insisted on paying full price, because it’s not about the money, it’s the principle that the chef would think this dog food was sufficient for him.
Another time, I believe there was a hair in his food and he made a huge theatrical production in front of the entire restaurant. He told the manager he was 'worthless'. He asked for the owner's phone number. He paraded around the dining room in a full-blown rage. The entire restaurant was paralyzed in disbelief. My son and I wanted to crawl under the table. Usually, I would end up trying to coddle him out of there.
When we were in Italy on our honeymoon, he left me in a restaurant without me knowing he’d left. It took me quite a while to find our hotel, and when I did get back, he put me on the silent treatment for a day or so. I never figured out what I did to cause that.
Of course, in true form, everyone else has to be on their absolute best behavior in a restaurant, and I couldn’t even make eye contact with another man without getting interrogated for hours on end, usually when I was trying to sleep."
"When I was 18, I was waiting in line at a McDonald’s with my arm around my boyfriend of around 6–8 months. He had his arm slung around my shoulder and we were being huggy-kissy with each other. We were obviously a couple. All of a sudden, I hear this high-pitched 'OMG' kind of an exclamation, so my boyfriend and I both turned around to see what all the commotion was about. This girl came barreling through the line, and she literally jumped into my boyfriend’s arms, wrapping her arms and legs completely around him and full-on kissing him like they were in bed or something. He returned the enthusiasm ten-fold, twirling her around in circles while they continued to suck face. Everybody was stunned and we all just stood there staring, most of all me! I mean, this was my boyfriend that I was in love with and had a great relationship with. I was just dumbfounded, and I said, 'Well who do we have here?'
And they both completely ignored me. She jumps down, grabs his arm, and they go skipping out the door together got into a car, and sped away, leaving me standing there in a daze. Once he spied her running toward him, he never even looked at me again. I mean he practically floated out of the place and got into her car without ever looking at or saying a single word to me at all. Worst of all, he left with the girl, leaving me stranded there with my things locked up inside his locked car. I was horrified, embarrassed, and humiliated beyond belief. I couldn’t believe what had just happened. So I gathered what little pride I had left and managed to hold my composure until I reached the door then I burst into tears. I didn’t know what to do. This was in the early 80s, long before the days of cell phones. So I went to his car and peered through the window at my purse and other various things, still bawling and wondering what on Earth to do.
While I was propped against the side of his car (he had a beautiful bright orange souped-up Chevy Nova), these two guys I recognized from school (more humiliation) asked if that was my EX-boyfriend’s car (emphasis on 'EX', bless his heart) When I nodded, one of them said, 'Okay, hang on,' and to my amazement, he walked over to his car, came back with a tire iron, and before I could even register what I was seeing, he raised it and crashed the tire iron through the window.
I was standing there in shock, then I started to laugh. I couldn’t stop, so he started laughing, then people I hadn’t even noticed were standing around watching the show all began to laugh. After that, things didn’t seem so horrible anymore. So, I got my things out of the car and he offered me a ride home, which I accepted. We actually went out a time or two after that but decided we were much better as friends. So we’ve been friends ever since. We even worked together for around 10 years.
I never saw or heard from my EX-boyfriend again after that day. I heard later that the girl was his long-lost first love that had moved away with her family a couple of years earlier, and he was still carrying a torch for her. So it’s no wonder he forgot I existed. But it was a very humiliating day at McDonald’s for me."
"Mine never wanted to go out and eat with me much, as she knew I liked to do that. Anything I liked was something she withheld and was nasty about. Here is one story that comes to mind: A new seafood restaurant opened in town and I wanted to try it. She was actually caught up on her work that day and tagged along. Of course, she was on a diet again and from the start, she was whining about not having enough points in her eating app that day. Ugh. So we get to the restaurant and they don’t have salads. This causes her to refuse to eat, and I end up eating by myself. Of course the whole time there are eye rolls and sarcasm coming very thick from her, and I was fuming. It was one of the last times I took her out before I filed for divorce.
Fast-forward a couple of months, and she is talking about going out of town with friends. She mentions that she could eat at a similar restaurant while there. Not caring about her reaction anymore, I called her out on her hypocrisy. Of course, she snapped at me about not having points that day. I smiled and walked off, knowing she was acting terribly just for me, because as her then-husband, I got the brunt of all her self-hatred. Lucky me.
Now I have someone who likes to go to dinner with me and I am making friends with the waitstaff at our favorite places. This was something that never happened while with her."
"A while back, I was asked to give my boyfriend’s best friend’s new lady friend a ride with me in my boyfriend’s vehicle, since I said I was running to McDonald’s really quickly, not even a mile away. I had only met her a few times with little conversation, but generally thought she seemed decent. She was approximately 15–20 years older than me. Well we get to McDonald’s, and I said something like, 'Forgot to ask my boyfriend what he wanted, so I have to make a quick call, I am so sorry. Why don’t you go ahead inside and get what you want, because I know you’re really hungry.'
My call was less than five minutes, but since no one was in line, she had already come out to the vehicle with her fries and large strawberry shake in hand. She instantly had a rude and agitated attitude when she saw me getting my purse and preparing to go in. She opened the door and sat down in the passenger seat, and proceeded to start screaming at me that I’m so selfish and stupid for inviting her to come with if I wasn't even going to be respectful of her. How dare I think my time is more important than hers?! Uh, excuse me? I kept my cool and tried to pacify her and said sorry again.
As I grabbed the keys to get out, she dumps her entire milkshake everywhere on me, as well as the inside of the vehicle, including the $1500 sound system and electronics. I was in total shock. I had been nothing but kind and told her what I was doing from the get-go. And the fact that she had asked to come with me! I screamed, 'Get out NOW or I will make you!'
She continued to puff her chest up and get in my face. I was out of the car now and dripping head to toe in a shake, and I was shaking from the incident. She ended up taking off on foot pretty quickly back home, so I went into the McDonald’s and realized they had locked stalls you must ask for the code to unlock. The first person I asked, happened to be their general manager. I was polite and said, 'Someone just threw a shake on me in the car parked outside, may I please go clean up?'
I was very polite and always am with customer service since I've worked jobs like that for many years. This lady had the audacity to glare at me and say, 'We don’t let people like you use our bathrooms. And by people like you, I mean those obvious addicts!'
I was silent because of my shock and confusion. I was a prior user many years before and certainly did not look like someone under the influence, so I took particular offense to her words. I have even dressed in nice business clothes and milkshake also! I told the manager that she was obviously mistaken and had no right at all to pass judgments about strangers, especially those who just bought food at their establishment. She looked at me and said, 'If you don’t leave right now, I will call the police.'
We went back and forth for a few more minutes, and I realized it was out of my control. I walked out and drove myself sticky and covered head to foot in the equally messy vehicle. I ended up threatening to file charges for damages and filed an incident report through the police department later that day since she caused so much damage. I also filed a complaint through the main McDonald’s headquarter customer service/support about how I was treated. They apologized said they were not able to do anything about it because they were privately owned and not affiliated with them. I make sure to tell everyone to avoid that McDonald’s, and I placed as many reviews as I could on different forums. I hope the nasty woman got a different job far, far away from customer interaction!"
"The most telling behavior of a narcissist can be observed through how he/she treats serving staff in a restaurant or hotel. Narcissistic behavior is that of an entitlement mentality. They are insistent on creating drama to indicate to the people sitting nearby their attention-getting behavior. This is a secondary fuel in addition to the primary fuel which is you.
I was in a restaurant eating dinner with my ex-husband over 30 years ago and too young to know what a red flag is. We were dining in a cute little barbecue joint in the southern part of Oklahoma. When I eat barbecue, I typically get pretty messy with the sauce ending up on my chin, hands, and possibly on my shirt. I love barbecue brisket and was enjoying every bite when he said in a very loud voice, 'I think you need a bib to stop you from making a huge mess.' He motioned for our server to come and bring us more napkins. When she did, he grabbed them out of her hands without a word of thanks. He unfolded one and came around where I am sitting and bent down to wipe my chin. His tone of voice was rude as he spoke to me. 'I guess I need to feed you so you won’t be such a mess.'
The loud abrupt tone of his voice alerted all the patrons eating barbecue to stare at us. My embarrassment welled up in my heart and soul, tears stinging the back of my eyelids. I didn’t blink for fear that a tear would escape my eye.
He huffed under his breath the annoyance of me making a mess and stuffed a napkin in the neck of my t-shirt to form a makeshift bib. He was annoyed and inconvenienced at 'having to clean the mess' that I had made. When he returned to his chair, he snipped in a cruel tone, 'Now look what you have done, now my food is cold!'
My ex-husband had made himself to be a victim so he could extract fuel from those in his periphery. He was a victim of my mess that he chose to make a big deal of and clean up. I didn’t choose to be messy yet he made a big deal of it to make himself the center of attention. This is a great example of gaslighting in both words and actions. He wanted everyone to believe it was my fault for his own bad behavior. I did blame myself for embarrassing him for making a mess, so I apologized for my behavior later when we were driving to our hotel. Gaslighting is a psychological tool of the narcissist to cause the survivors to self-doubt. In many of these happenings, the survivor has increased self-doubt, cognitive dissonance, anxiety, frustration, depression, and isolation.
I became very apologetic for all these terrible situations that he created, simply so he could extract fuel from all those surrounding us, and he used me for a scapegoat. When we were getting ready to leave the barbecue place, my ex-husband refused to give our server a tip because she didn’t respond quickly enough to his requests. On the way out, I gave the server five dollars and apologized for his terrible behavior. She smiled and thanked me. His back was turned so he never did know what I had done.
This one incident reminds me that I started apologizing for his behavior to try to resolve any conflict. I recently in the past year have stopped blaming myself for his bad behavior, which has taken twenty years to overcome. I now have the courage to be me, and if I make a valid mistake I always take responsibility for it. I now have the courage to be me, as I have concentrated on self-care and healing.
Conclusion: I learned over the years how to take the garbage out of my mind, then take the trash out. I no longer allow this behavior to be acceptable by apologizing for someone else’s behavior. The only person I am responsible for is me and how I respond. For narcissistic behavior today, I do not acknowledge or accept this type of behavior and simply walk away."