It's bad enough to encounter a wild Karen at the store a few times. It's downright terrifying to live with one day in and day out! These people reveal just how bizarre and frustrating it is to live with these sorts of entitled, petty people. It led to some jaw-dropping confrontations once these kids grew up and finally had enough. Content has been edited for clarity.
"My dad displays selfish Karen energy towards everyone. He is the type of business bro to expect people to work around hi. When he would visit me and my now wife in town, we would suggest some trendy restaurants to visit nearby. Every single one he would refuse, insisting on a place that was only convenient for him and where he was staying. My now-wife had to lay down the law and threaten to pass on the visit if he wouldn't travel to our neighborhood. One time we did finally make it to dinner. I got up to use the restroom. When I returned, he was interrogating my wife, asking her things like, 'How many hours do you work?', 'What is your hourly wage?', and, 'Why aren't you taking on a heavier workload?'
He then complained about the quality of the food, stating that it could have been better at the restaurant he picked out. On another occasion, we all went to a cash-only pizza place with very high reviews. After we were seated, my dad proceeded to mansplain a white pizza to the waitress. He told her, 'I want you to take a base, put some garlic in it with some oil, and do you have cheese? Go ahead and use the cheese.' My wife and I were horrified. He then threw a tantrum as we were leaving because he couldn't use his credit card, even though the restaurant was clear that they only accepted cash. He claimed that he would never return, even if they some day accepted credit cards.
The day before my wedding, we warned our extremely lovely event organizer about my father. We also made it crystal clear that his behavior was not going to be tolerated. He cornered our events coordinator and spent ten minutes dancing around asking her what the a/v situation was, so he might present his PowerPoint slideshow. She politely informed him there were no facilities. Not good enough. He insisted the venue hire a projector and/or screen. She said it was simply not possible. Fast-forward to the ceremony, where he presents his PowerPoint, but no one can see the slides because he’s reading from his computer. The presentation (according to my cousin) ‘introduced a large amount of new material’ not covered in the dry run the night before. At the end of his PowerPoint, he summoned the venue staff and demanded they play a particular song. For whatever reason, his computer wouldn’t work with the sound system, and he spent twenty minutes, berating three venue staff members before a family member started getting on with other speeches. On the morning of my wedding, since he had a big SUV, he agreed to drive the bridal party five minutes from their Airbnb to the venue. When he arrived, my wife was at the tail-end of getting ready. She answered the door to him asking only, ‘Where’s my room’ with no comment on how beautiful THE BRIDE is. He kicked my wife (the bride) out of her room with her stuff still in, so he could get ready for the wedding.
I rarely reach out to him now, as he can only maintain a conversation if he is the subject. The relationship I tried to foster between my wife and he has declined steadily and is now non-existent. He stayed with us for a visit, during which time he and I were supposed to have gone to a concert for a musical act we both very much like. I had spent nearly $900 on tickets, but the show was eventually cancelled and I was refunded. My wife found a different show for all of us to go to, which he agreed to over phone and text. The evening of the show, he said he was out at dinner, then he went drinking with his friends who were also in town. He did not attend the show, or reimburse my wife for the cost of his unused ticket. He spent the rest of the trip in our spare room with the door closed on his iPad or computer. He called a few months later, and I explained how that’s no way to treat a daughter-in-law, and he needs to apologize and make it right. Begrudgingly, he agreed. Several weeks later, he attempted contact with my wife. At first, she was mostly ambivalent, but as several weeks had gone by with no communication, she was less than pleased. Eventually, she answered, and rather than apologize, he interrogated her again, insisting she recite every instance he had ever been disrespectful to her. He then spent the next hour attempting to explain his way out of them with no acknowledgement or apology offered.
It’s so exhausting being a Karen child. The overtone of entitlement highlights the primary selfishness of every person, especially parents. If nothing else, it’s made me extremely cautious and distrustful of other people. Any time spent away from my father is like a personal vacation."
"My mom used to run restaurants. My stepfather used to be a chef in high-end restaurants, and he is the kind of guy who expects to be treated better than he is currently being treated, regardless of whatever that treatment is. They are not fun to go out to eat with. My wife and I pride ourselves on being a 'relief' table when we go out to eat. Both of us have been servers, and there’s always the counterpoint to the difficult table, which is us. Barring horrible service or bad food, we are super easy customers, tip well, and try to have a good time with our server. Furthermore, we just treat people nicely. So you can imagine our disdain when my parents act like they’re royalty at a dinner service.
My wife and I went out to dinner with them. They were being particularly tough. My mom was acting like she was Gordon Ramsey analyzing the business, critiquing everything down to the amount of bubbles in her seltzer. She said, 'It looks like it’s time to change the CO2!' My stepdad was getting more and more heated over stupid things, like the amount of ice in his drink and how the waitress didn’t top off his water fast enough. He was barely sipping on it. It came to a head when my stepfather ordered a steak medium well, and it came back medium well. For some reason, he changed his mind that he wanted it medium rare while it was cooking, and they didn’t read his mind, so he gave attitude, as did my mom. They jumped really quickly to demanding free stuff. I’m an adult, and this may be the first time they realized this. I interrupted them in front of the server and said something like, 'Really? This is what you’re doing. That’s what you ordered!'
I turned to the server and said, 'We do not need anything comped.'
I then pulled out my wallet and handed her my card and said, 'This is for the bill. We’ll happily wrap up with what we have here. I’m very sorry for their behavior, you’re doing great.'
Then I uttered the line that stung them so deep they still bring it up years later. I said, 'I was taught to treat people nicely, a lesson that seems to be forgotten. Thank you.'
My parents turned red, the server walked away, I looked down and cut my steak, and I didn’t say a word. They were so flabbergasted that the meal was virtually silent, except me asking my step-father how his steak was a few minutes later. I signed the check, gave a big tip, and we walked out and said goodbyes. They’ve been nicer to servers each time that we’ve gone out since."
"My mom is THE Karen. I'm getting married late next year, assuming that people can gather in groups of over twenty people. We are continuing to plan as if the wedding is still happening. A few weeks ago, my fiancé, myself, and all of our parents and siblings met up at the wedding venue, a ski/gold resort. My fiancé and I both have divorced parents, so we had a lot of parents in attendance. The goal was to get everyone together, have some drinks, and to check out the official space. My mom, the official Karen, showed up with her boyfriend an hour late, after our tour was over. We all decided to check into the hotel for that night. My mom and her boyfriend just left and never came back.
We were all confused. Maybe the two of them went to the pool? My fiancé went to go drop off the keys to the venue, and to thank the front desk woman for letting us do our own guided tour. The woman said, 'You're welcome, are you a part of [Karen]'s party?'
My fiancé, who knows all about how Karen-y she can be, replies, 'Oh god, what did she do?!'
The woman at the front desk proceeds to tell my fiancé that Karen told her she had to cancel her room and leave immediately (unbeknownst to any of us) because there was an underage drinking party happening at home, and she had to go break it up. I texted my underage brother, who's 19, to give him a head's up that Mom was on the way home, like the good sister I am. He let me know that, in fact, there was no party, and he wasn't even home. The woman at the front desk refunded Karen's room, but Karen and her boyfriend still had to pay $50 for the cleaning fee. My mom apparently went nuts screaming at the lady, telling her that she's cancelling our wedding (which she isn't paying a penny for) if she doesn't get a full refund. She then storms off and starts calling their office repeatedly and screaming at her, demanding to 'speak to a manager'. This was the ultimate Karen move. My fiancé comes and gets me, tells me what happened, and I rush in and profusely apologize to the front desk lady and everyone that witnessed the outburst. I begged them not to cancel our wedding. Technically, she doesn't know that we know she even left, I receive a text from her saying, 'Something came up, we had to leave, long story.'
I reply, 'What the heck? They said you tried to cancel the wedding?!'
She replied, 'Buyer beware is all I'm going to say!'
I haven't spoken to her since. This was a month ago. The wedding is still on."
"My stepmother is very Karen-y, to the point that I try to avoid going out to eat with her and my father (who is oblivious to her antics). I know I'm most likely going to need to apologize to the server and manager and slip an extra tip to them. When I was younger, I thought it was just because she's a mean-spirited witch, but now that I'm older, I can see it comes from being deeply insecure and wanting to feel important.
She received a lot of attention for being very pretty when she was young. She will brag about how she went to at least three proms every year of high school whenever someone mentions dancing, or proms, or high school, which is often since I'm a teacher and my dad is a retired teacher. She got married at 25 to a rich narcissistic moron who saw her as arm candy and treated her like a cute dog to show off to people. She gained about 100 pounds while pregnant that she can't seem to lose 30+ years later. Her first husband ran off with his secretary, and since she couldn't use being pretty as a way to get attention, she coped by enabling bad behavior and spoiling her own biological daughter excessively. When I was a kid, she often made a point of letting her daughter know she was getting X while I was only getting Y. For example, ten extra holiday gifts would magically appear for my stepsister, while I didn't get extra presents.
Now that daughter is an adult who doesn't constantly need her mommy to do things for her, although she still does way too often and has a host of other issues related to her upbringing. My stepmother is an adult woman who has no friends. Her nightstand always has a book about how to make friends as an adult on it. Her attitude of entitlement alienated her at church and work, and it got her kicked out of book clubs. She doesn't socialize with anyone other than my father, who is fifteen years older than her, blindly adores her, and enables her terrible behavior. So she tries to find power where she can, but she's also a mean-spirited witch."
"My mother is truly a Karen. Going out to eat with her is always a nightmare. Her orders have fourteen special requests, but she's not at all kind about it. She is defensive from the get go, like the server is an idiot who has already messed the order up. The one I will never forget though was dinner at Joe's Crab Shack. In case you've never been it's one of those places that every so often plays a song that the entire staff is required to drop everything and do a little synchronized dance for. It's quick, everyone gets a little kick out of it, and it's part of the fun. Now my Karen knew this, it's not like she'd never been here.
But apparently she was not willing to wait two extra minutes for her completely dry salad, so she starts going off as soon as the dancing starts. She gets a manager, who clearly knows Karen well and offers a quick apology for doing their job. He also offers a discount on her sad, dry salad. But Karen's not completely satisfied. She tells us that, even though dinner for our party of eight is on her, she's not tipping the waitress one penny. She proceeds to whine loudly for the rest of the meal and antagonize our waitress over petty stuff.
I worked too many years in customer service, and I'm a decent human being. I made sure to get my bill separate, so I could tip for the entire table. I wrote a quick note on the receipt, something along the lines of, 'Way to stay positive even when the customer is a monster!'
When the waitress came and hugged me, Karen and I locked eyes. She knew. I didn't care. Don't be so horrible Karen!'
"Growing up, my dad was sheriff of a small town. I must have been around eight or nine. He was brought in after the previous sheriff was booted out for political reasons, as well as stealing city funds. That was a really unpopular move, since he was super popular and spread his money all over town, and he let people get away with murder. That sheriff was out and my dad was brought in. Everybody hated my dad, in part because they loved the old sheriff and also because my dad was an 'outsider', despite coming from about two towns over. He wasn't of their world, so he could never be fit to see over the village. It didn't help that my dad was a raging monster with a stick up his butt for the rules.
One day, my dad was dressed in his full uniform and took me alone to the local corner diner. We sat down and ate the full dinner, and my dad lectured me something about 'respect' and 'the rules are all we have'. Then the waitress came in and dropped the check. My dad looked at it, and it said the meal was free. My dad then excused himself and went up to the waitress. I kept to myself and doodled on the napkin. The next time I looked up, my dad was full on SCREAMING at the woman. He was straight-up shaking.
She tried to explain that free meals are how all cops are treated in this town, and my dad was FURIOUS that he would get special treatment, and that police are put above the normal laws. The police have rules they must follow, and not accepting kickbacks is one of those rules. He was especially upset that this happened in front of his kid, whom he's trying to teach right. Everyone in the diner was quiet and just staring at him. It stuck in my head as a clear picture of the contradictions that our parents are. Like a lot of the good comes from them but at the same time a lot of the bad.
My dad was not a hero, and he did some really terrible things in his life. He was a guy who beat me and my brother, had anger issues, and was painfully insecure and closed off. But he also was a noteworthy cop. He rose through the ranks and brought progressive racial policies to his department in the 1980s, that to this day are still radical. He was an innovator as a police administrator. I'll put it like this: he did heartbreaking things to me, and yet I found room to forgive him. Through a long and painful process, I found room to forgive him as an adult. There was no excuse for his behavior, but I put peace in my heart towards my feelings towards him. I hated him growing up. I don't have warm feelings towards him now. He was a very rigid person, and quite physically abusive towards both me and my brother. I resented him for years, but as I grew up I realized that a lot of him was in me, and a lot of the good in me was from him. One of the attributes about myself is that I'm a really divisive person and have a strong sense of justice. I'm not afraid to speak up when I see something wrong. And that comes from my dad. I took a thing that held him back and translated it into a strength."
"I was raised by my grandma. My grandmother wasn't only a 'let me talk to your manager' type. She was also very prejudiced, and the advancing dementia completely turned off her filter for that. One time, I took her to buy some yarn, but that's when everything went wrong. The store wouldn't honor an old coupon she had. This lead to a tirade towards the manager about how this store shouldn't be hiring Mexicans. I just remember having to talk over her and say, 'Oh my god ,you can't talk to her like that. Nothing you just said is acceptable!' followed by me trying to push her wheelchair out of the store as fast as possible, with her digging her feet into the ground trying to get me to stop. She wanted to go back inside to ruin someone's day. I was wondering if I would go to jail for elder abuse if her ankles snapped in the process, because nothing was going to stop me getting her out of that store. I got her into the car and then went back in and apologized until I was blue in the face. I wish I could say it was an isolated incident, but it definitely wasn't. As an interesting side effect of caring for her, I get anxious around cashiers now, especially if I'm with another person. I think she gave me an honest to god phobia.
This other instance thankfully happened at home, but it is nevertheless amusing and awful in hindsight. It was some kind of special occasion, probably one of our birthdays because we were all sitting at the kitchen table eating cake. The nightly routine was that we all sit down to eat dinner, and my grandma would switch the TV to the evening news, which we would halfway listen to. They were talking about something political and said, 'Blah blah blah, and the House Judicial Committee approved this.'
My grandmother caught that one line and said, 'The Judicial Committee? Those Jews! What are they doing with all these committees?!'
I got caught somewhere between wanting to laugh at her misunderstanding and wanting to make some kind of noise of horror. Instead, I just inhaled sharply and aspirated a gigantic mouthful of chocolate cake. I coughed so hard and so long that my mom wound up having to take me to urgent care because it set off my asthma. Good times y'all, good times. My grandma actually passed away two years ago, but her memory won't be forgotten any time soon."
"All it took was one mistake at a Taco Bell drive-thru for my mom to devolve into a complete meltdown. The people running the place had actually run out of lettuce. Instead of telling customers they were out and letting it go, they would just tell everyone how there would be a 'small delay'. It had been a super hot day, and the air conditioning broke in our car. We were all exhausted and really wanted something to drink. We were struck in the drive-thru line, waiting while these incompetent employees figured out how to make lettuce appear out of thin air. We spent twenty minutes cooking in our car, trapped between other cars in the drive-thru and unable to move anywhere. My mother is cursing up a blue streak about how stupid these employees must be. Her profane words stick out vividly in my mind, as I was about twelve or thirteen at the time, and I was learning all sorts of new words and phrases that day. My little brother also took mental notes. That's when some Taco Bell teenage idiot employee runs out of the building, across the parking lot, over towards the nearby grocery store. That's when my mom's cursing rises a few notches.
But that didn't provide much of a solution. It was forty-five minutes after we had gotten into this mess. The car at the drive-thru window finally gets handed something, and they don't leave immediately. They have to talk for a while before they finally drive off! My mom is a volcano waiting to burst, and she is frothing at the mouth as we pull up to the window. Now there is some very important context that I've left out of the story so far. My family, before this event, had participated in a city parade as clowns, handing out candy to the kids on the side of the road and dancing our way through the parade route. We were still in full costume. We had on makeup, super baggy rainbow pants, rainbow wigs, large flowers on our suspenders, and ridiculously large shoes. My mom, who for the last hour has been a spitting bulldog full of bile and vindictive rage, realizes she has to pull up and face these employees in full clown regalia to get our stupid tacos.
I remember that moment when Mom realized it. The mix of anger, embarrassment, ridiculousness, and eventually the humor of the whole situation went through her. She started laughing so hard she was crying. And when the people behind us started honking for us to just GO (they had been waiting too), it just got funnier somehow. So now mom is not just a crazy angry lady. She's a Crazy Angry Clown Lady, which makes her laugh even harder. My brother and I thought she was going to die. I mean, she couldn't breathe she was laughing so hard. We were all probably dehydrated at that point. To give Mom credit, she didn't just squeal out of there flipping everyone the bird. She got herself together, pulled up to the window, looked up at the girl through the car window with her ruined clown make up and big rainbow wig, and handed her the money very calmly. She said thank you, took the bag, and we drove off. I hope they remember us. I know I'll never forget the look on the drive-thru girl's face as we drove up and she started to try to apologize for the delay. She just stopped and stared at us."
"Not only is my mom actually named Karen, it perfectly fits her personality. Growing up, I didn't realize how self-centered she really was. She was my mom, and that's all that I really understood. As an adult, I absolutely cannot get along with her. She always has to be the number one in the room. If she's not the center of attention and not being catered to, there will certainly be an impending storm coming. She shuns any and all blame for anything that she does wrong. It is ALWAYS someone else's fault. Looking back on things, I understand why my mom's life was the way that it was. I got why she didn't have any friends. I got why she couldn't keep a job for very long. I understand now that she knows how to stab someone in the back with a smile on her face, and that's why I never knew any better as a kid. It looked like politeness when I was little, but now I realize how insanely rude she really was. The worst part of it all? THere is no possibility to reason with people like this. There's no way you can convince these people that they were maybe possibly wrong about something. Even if you have irrefutable evidence, out comes the excuse train!"
"I have been struggling with anxiety, depression and bulimia, all of them are caused by my family. I tried to see a psychiatrist for months, and my family would claim that there was nothing wrong with me. Apparently, I was just being an ungrateful attention seeker. Two years ago, I tried to go to a psychiatrist by myself, but the doctor canceled my appointment and told me to come back with an adult, since I was a minor. After that, my mom did come with me to the psychiatrist, who prescribed me two medications. From that day on, my family did everything to cut me off of my pills.
According to my mom, "All doctors think about is getting money in their pockets, so they prescribe pills to literally everyone! You're going to turn into a lunatic if you take those pills you idiot! Mental illness isn't real!'
The look my family gave me when I took my pills was awful. They would talk to each other about how pathetic I was for taking them, as if I wasn't in the room. They also hated my sessions with the psychiatrist. Whenever we got out of the building, my mom would light a smoke and look at me with a cruel pity in her eyes. My family eventually succeeded. They cut me of my pills after enough abuse. My psychiatrist understood what kind of people my family were, and he did his best to explain my problems to them. But it was like talking to a brick wall. After two years, my condition got worse and I was hospitalized. The doctor decide to make me stay in their psychiatry clinic. My mom had to stay with me because I was still a minor, and she talked about how I would destroy my life if I stayed in the clinic. I stood my ground, because I desperately wanted to get better. The doctor got security involved because my mother was so livid. We got to stay for the night, but in the morning the hospital had no choice but to let me go, since my mother was the one in charge. There is just no way for me to reach out to any helpful resources, they don't even let me talk to my friends because,'They are the reason why I turned out to be such a lunatic brat.' And I would put myself in danger if I even try to talk to my friends let alone try to seek help. They are extremely abusive.
I did get social services involved though. I explained to them how I wasn't safe, but I hesitated to go to CPS out of fear. The police and CPS did eventually get involved after I managed to get a therapy session and I confessed everything. Unfortunately, there's not much that they can do for me now, and I'm stuck with this family until I can move out. I have been working on exit strategies for a while now. I have slowly but surely getting all of my personal documents in order. I'll keep researching more about what else I can do, and hopefully I will get out of this horrifying house in the end."