By now, we all know what a “Karen” is. There’s even a Wikipedia page now: “Karen is term for a person perceived to be entitled or demanding beyond the scope of what is considered appropriate or necessary. A common stereotype is that of an American middle-aged white woman who displays aggressive behavior when prevented from getting her way.”
Unfortunately, there are a lot of Karens out there, but what is it like to be the child of one? People took to Reddit to explain what growing up with “Karen” mom (or dad) is like—and it’s not pretty.
“My Mom is a reformed Karen. When I was a kid she used to treat people in customer service like trash. When I was a teenager and in customer service positions, it finally dawned on her what a terrible human being she was being. She’s turned around and been great ever since. I’m proud of her to recognize her faults and fix them.” — mercadilly
“I knowwwww every restaurant has fucked with our food, and for good reason. I’m in my 30s now and I won’t go out with my mom in public. She doesn’t want to either, because I’ll give her shit for whatever she did to some poor teenaged cashier until she cries. Two can play this game and no one wins.” — Whatsredditimworking
“My dad is a Karen. Also in restaurants. Complains about every meal in attempt to get a discount. Asks for them to send out another steak because his wasn’t perfect. I just pretend I’m going to the toilet and apologize to the waiter or waitress, I tell them I empathize with them and I know it’s frustrating. Luckily I’m older, and I don’t go out for meals with him so much anymore. When I was young, I’d do chores for him and he’d complain the same way at me. Like ‘you’re not washing the dishes right!’ and other nonsense. His worst was when I swept the floor, I never got it exactly how he wanted it.” — poop-machines
“It’s exhausting. I can’t do anything normal with her or even have a normal conversation. Sometimes I’d like to call and ask how my sister is. Instead I get a list of people who have wronged her in the last week. It’s the most petty bullshit too. ‘Oh some child was running around at McDonalds today, if that was my child I’d have warmed her bottom!’ I know mom, I was that child. Same with the entitlement. She’ll give me a list of things that should’ve been done for her. It makes it so hard to even contact her because I have to mentally prepare myself for hours of ranting on the phone. If we ever go out together, like even to get lunch. I’m going to be embarrassed by her behavior. Not to mention she’ll try to embarrass me somehow.” — nannylittle
“My sister is a Karen in recovery, and her teenage kids are mortified by her. They had a Karen intervention with her a few months ago, and pointed out that about one out of every 3 visits to a restaurant results in a meal or a drink sent back, and about 1 in 10 results in a conversation with the manager. Unresolved complaints over the phone practically have a pre-written script: ‘This is unacceptable! Poor customer service, etc.’ She’s trying to be more self-aware because she now recognizes that not only can her behavior be embarrassing, but she’s a Karen caricature.” — doctor-rumack
“Frankly it’s embarrassing. You have to sit there while they shriek at a manager and cause a big scene. If you try to chime in you get yelled at, then they are in a bad mood the rest of the day. I’ve sat through hour long debates with managers over 11 cents disparity on a bill. Everyone is looking at you and you are just kind of trapped there.” — demonardvark.
“Not my mum but my grandmother, it’s really terrible and it fucks with your perception of reality. There is a very obvious hierarchy in her mind, which she never veers away from. So whoever in a discussion is higher in the hierarchy, is automatically right. It usually goes: Herself, her children, well-respected people in her local community + television personalities she likes like Dr. Phil, her other grandchildren, me and my brother, everybody else. For example when me and my cousins would fight, she would always side with them, but any time I got a bad grade, she would insult my teacher and say that they were probably stupid for not seeing how smart I am. It was very confusing and really messed with my self esteem. Karens are typically narcissists who can’t handle being challenged on their beliefs, and the only way they can bring people up is by tearing other people down. I recently moved far away from home and haven’t seen much of her, and I feel like I’m much more stable now.” — cherrymohn
“My aunt is a Karen. Quite frankly, both our families flat out ignore her. She has no relationship with her kids. We didn’t realize how much it impacted our lives until we grew up and saw that kind of behavior just makes everyone hate you. The only people that put up with her is Karen’s husband and my mom (her sister); even then the marriage is basically done. The number of times I heard ‘The squeaky wheel gets the grease,’ just makes me cringe to look back on. She was so proud of it every time too.” — TheLateThagSimmons
“You have to realize no matter how many times you tell them their behavior is wrong or that they’re just wrong in general, it will get you nowhere. I cannot tell you how many times my mom has said some ridiculous shit and if you say anything other than ‘yeah I agree’ she plays the victim card.” — JigglyJamJam
“Fucking terrible. She would yell at any person trying to help her if they said anything she just didn’t like or agree with. Not only do I have anxiety from all that horse shit, but I also now go out of my way to be nice to anyone providing me a service as much as I can. I also make it my mission to make them laugh so they can be comfortable.” — LBears