I've been reading for over a year now and actually responded to a few postings. Maybe someone could help with this struggle. I don't think there is a solution.
I've been married to a wonderful man for over 40 years. There are no problems between us. The problem is with his family - his two sisters (particularly the younger one and his father (now deceased). To put it bluntly, they hate me. My father-in-law told me over 35 years ago that it would be best for everyone if I would leave my husband and our two-year old son. He came in one evening (drunk) and that is what he said. I didn't know what I did wrong - I was so stunned I didn't even reply. I should have told my husband but decided to "ignore" it by not saying anything to anyone (which I did for many decades) and making sure that I was never "physically close" to him at family activities. I guess we both pretended everything was fine. My husband's mother, by the way, although shy and dominated, was always very kind and good to me.
I forgot about this (or at least, put the statement) on a back burner. Two years ago, my father-in-law passed away. Problems have surfaced unbelievably since then. A few months after he passed away, I was told by my nephew and sister-in-law that "everyone in this family hates me and it would be best if I would pack and move away - leave my home and my husband" - just leave. I was again stunned! I discussed this with our two sons and my husband this time (they led me to believe that our sons also hated me - I knew my husband didn't). My husband confronted his sister and nephew but it only resulted in a screaming match. Now, my husband is not speaking to his younger sister (and only marginally to his older and timid sister) and our sons have practically nothing to do with their aunts or cousins. Everyone still is in contact with their mother or grandmother (in her 90's now - aware of the fighting but not able to or cares about mending fences).
My husband thinks the problem is pure jealousy. Frankly, we are quite well off and both my sister-in-laws are not. We worked hard and nothing was given to us. Also, my younger sister-in-law is twice divorced and feels that her brother should be first in her life and vice versa (her father always put her first, even over his wife). I was always very careful about mentioning any material acquisitions, etc., I was the one who hosted the family get-togethers (never my sisters-in-law), my husband always helped whenever asked as did I; in fact, my husband and I felt it was "us" who held the family together. Our family is now torn apart. I guess what bothers me is that for over 40 years I have been bad-mouthed behind my back and I wasn't even aware of it. Always, whenever I speak to them or help them, there is/was always a little "dig" which I continue to ignore. My husband did speak to his mother and said he was tired of his sisters mistreating his wife. Frankly, she is or never was "strong enough" to confront her husband or daughters. But, this is not what I want. Even the "pretend" family was better than no family.
The worse part is that we all live within sight of each other. We have very few other neighbours. The pain is constant - I can't seem to get away from it. I am so tired of this. Please - anyone - give me some words to "fall back on" when I get down. We are not able to move just yet - maybe in five years or so. Thanks for reading ...
Welcome. We have a lot of readers who don't post and I love it when someone comes forward. (Our membership is over 3,000, now.) I would move whether I was able to or not. The price of staying is too high. You deserve so much better. Sending love...
We are a family of farmers. If I move, it will be alone. My husband should be retired in the new few years (I hope). So far, I've been just staying out of sight, shopping, visiting friends, etc. I've been doing this for several years now; today, it just seemed too overwhelming. Probably, tomorrow will be better. Thanks for replying - there really is no answer - I just need to be stronger ....
That's one things this site is for...the days when it just seems to be too much and we need support. I'm so sorry you have to deal with all of this and I can see why you have to stick it out. Sending love...
Don't let them get to you. Glad DH stood up for you.
You've been married 40 years? Congratulations! It's time they understand you're not going anywhere. Nothing has changed within your own household; Dh supports you, as do ds'. You have no problems with mil. That makes the issue theirs to contend with, jdtm. I'd take the high road & let them own it.
Jdtm, I'm glad you decided to post. Perhaps being able to discuss this outside of your family will be enough until you can get physical distance from those who are treating you poorly. If you can, concentrate on your immediate family and continue to detach from the rest. Do not give them power over you! Show no weakness or emotion; if you must interact be calm and centered, and do not engage in any deep discussion with them. It sounds like you have come up with strategies already and mostly need a safe, supportive place to vent. We're here!
Thanks for the support. I was feeling especially low yesterday - my sister-in-law "takes" what does not belong to her. She tried to "take" my husband and sons (turn them against me for whatever reason); for sometime I have noticed that she has now "zeroed in" on one of my grandchildren. Her own grandchildren have very little to do with her (as does her children and daughter-in-law). She can be so charming and irresistible and I know she will try (and probably win for a few months or even years) to "turn" our granddaughter against us. She has done this before; when I try to intercept I always lose. I guess I don't know how to fight "unfair". She takes a truth and twists it ever so slightly that I always end up appearing "wrong" - sometimes I even wonder if maybe my memory is incorrect. I just try to "let it be" and continue, but it still hurts (my husband says that ignoring her is the one thing she just can't stand). Luckily, after 40 years in this community, few give much credence to her words. Nonetheless, I wouldn't treat her the way she treats me but "no contact" does seem to work. The other sister-in-law appears to "gloat" in hearing the gossip of my "errors" - so to say. She always makes sure that I'm aware of what I'm missing. It's not what I would wish for. Oh well ....
Start thinking about what you would most enjoy, when you can...and turn your attention toward that. You live in a small community where everyone knows who you are and what you are no matter how the SILs try to take you down. Keep remembering that it is all about then, not you. Give yourself a special treat and imagine some of us there enjoying it with you. :)
First, glad you posted jdtm. I think your DH is right. It sounds like jealousy and since her father is gone now wants brother to take his place and spoil her. She may see you as being her way of being able to get that? She thinks if she runs you off she will have brothers undivided attention like she did her father maybe?
That is in now way a reflection of you, that is totally her. I know you hate that it happened, but I am so glad your DH and sons stood up for you. That is how it should have been in this case. Deep breaths and hang in there.
Married for 40 years , I wouldn't call that making mistakes , I think you are doing very well and I think
that doesn't bode well with SIL .
So stand tall and be proud of your family , and your grandchildren .
Best way to treat bullies , stand up to them an they will back off .
QuoteIt sounds like jealousy and since her father is gone now wants brother to take his place and spoil her.
Pooh - you hit the nail on the head. She not only wants my husband to take her father's place but she also wants his wallet to take her father's wallet's place and me out of the picture. She really believes that a blood relative as a sister counts more than a wife (I guess two failed marriages might have something to do with that thinking). A cousin commented on the "problems" of my husband and his two sisters - she said that in every family, there is one person who always wants the "biggest piece of the pie" My husband's reply - "No, she wants the whole pie".
I know what to do; it's just sad that as members of families age they grow apart because of jealousy and not closer because of tragedies. And Lancaster Lady -
QuoteI think you are doing very well and I think that doesn't bode well with SIL .
you are also correct - my SILs know we are doing well and that is the reason for the jealousy. Any time either sister has asked for help (and many times when they did not), we were there - physically, emotionally and financially. Their lives are not as good as ours - frankly, they chose poor husbands - but that has nothing to do with me.
Why do some people enjoy seeing others in pain? Does it make their pain seem less? No person (when they get to be the age of a grandparent) has not suffered some burden or tragedy in life. And, of course, this is true of us. The saddest part is the old saying "absence makes the heart grow fonder" is not true. What is true is "out of sight; out of mind". And this holds more truth for my husband than for me.
QuoteWhy do some people enjoy seeing others in pain? Does it make their pain seem less? No person (when they get to be the age of a grandparent) has not suffered some burden or tragedy in life. And, of course, this is true of us. The saddest part is the old saying "absence makes the heart grow fonder" is not true. What is true is "out of sight; out of mind". And this holds more truth for my husband than for me.
I've never understood that either. I also don't understand why some people resent other people's happiness?
I think short, sweet texts or calls every so often (no pressure, no expectations, just a "hi, thinking of you") are necessary with some people. When too much time passes it can be awkward to reconnect. Thank goodness for those friends with whom it seems no time at all has passed and we can take up right where we left off!
Oh jdtm, we have a lot to talk about. Do you think your SIL might be struggling with a mental illness?
I ask because my SILs have the same issues with their father/brothers. It is very, very awkward. One of them even tries to get her own mother out of the picture and behaves as if she is the lady of the house with her father. She talks about her parents house and financial situation as if she is husband and wife with her own father.
She has also said things to DH like he should have gotten her a Mothers Day present b/c she raised him. Not true, she was an older sister who played with her younger brother at times.
It is very, very bizarre.
QuoteDo you think your SIL might be struggling with a mental illness?
I have an ex-DIL whom I suspect suffers from BPD (as well as other mental health issues). My SIL reminds me of her but the behaviours are less severe. I have thought that, maybe - there is a history of mental health issues on my husband's side of the family - but I really believe we are dealing with extreme jealousy and entitlement. Of course, having few friends, activities or interests, creates too much time to ruminate and imagine and gossip. I also feel loneliness is a large part of this story; however, she created her situation. But, I have definitely considered some type of mental health issue ...
The therapist told us that BPD sufferers have less issues as time goes on and tend to become calmer as they get older. I have noticed the progression of SIL and MIL and it made sense to me. I haven't seen much progress from MIL but then again, I haven't known her as long and much of her behavior according to DH and others were much worse when he was younger.
I feel for you, jdtm. This kind of person is not easy and they can make mince meat out of you. I tend to keep my distance and not let them define me or my relationships as they like to do.