To wish I didn't hate my SIL?

(85 Posts)
ThreadWorms Mon 31-Dec-12 00:00:27

I have NCed for this as I don't want to be outed. I also realise that I will probably get flamed for this but here goes...

I really can't stand my SIL, I would even go as far as to say I hate her. Not even for a good reason. It's making life difficult because I never want to go to family events. If I know I will be seeing her I get what I can only describe as a 'fight or flight' reaction. Even the mention of her name makes my stomach knot. I realise this is only serving to make my life miserable and is a pointless waste of energy. So how do I get over it or do I have a point?

She is my DP's brother's DP. I suppose she can be nice but I have stopped noticing her good points because she is so fucking competitive.

Everything she does or has is 'better' than what I have. If she can't be better, she has things so much worse.

According to her, she has the better brother, he is better looking, much nicer, kinder, thoughtful, helpful, etc. Her DC are more advanced, taller, more clever, better behaved, etc. Her house is bigger, nicer, better than ours. She is obsessed with money, and I have an update on how much her DCs have in their savings account every time I see her. It makes me feel inadequate as the balance is several times what I have amassed for my DCs.

She is also very critical of the way I do things. She has a way of sneering at my choices, particularly my parenting choices. But then she can be perfectly lovely in the next breath so then I think I am imagining things.

She just makes me feel so shit about myself. I can't blame her entirely as I suffer from low self esteem and her comments only reinforce my self doubt. I am ashamed to admit that I am jealous of her.

So how do I get over it and stop playing into her competitive games as I invariably can't win anyway? I don't feel the same competitiveness or jealousy with other people, even when they have things or lifestyles I aspire to but then they don't tend to ram it down my throat either. How do I look beyond this and forge a better relationship with my SIL?

perhaps she feels inadequate, maybe she envies you something you have? I find out-niceing these kind of people works well. Agree with her. Bat it back, 'Yes, your house is so lovely, etc' she may start to realise how she sounds and stop competing. Sounds hard to live with, anyway!

CoolaYuleA Mon 31-Dec-12 00:05:53

It actually sounds like she is the one with low self esteem!

She feels the need to try to compete with you - and there will be a reason for that. There is clearly something about you and your relationship that makes her want to make herself feel better....

Sounds like she feels inferior and is trying desperately to make herself feel better. This is her problem, not yours. Instead of feeling shit about yourself, turn it around and ask yourself (unless you're feeling bold) why she feels so shit she has to compete with you....

ShiftyFades Mon 31-Dec-12 00:07:12

You sound like you are describing my mum sad
She's all those things and no one likes her.

The only advice I can offer is: don't let her get to you, focus on your life, ignore hers.
You can't change or control her but you can change how it makes YOU feel. If she's boasting, at best, say "that's nice" or say nothing at all.

People like her (and my mum) feed off attention, just don't give her any. She will hate that lack of attention / control.

((hugs))

ThreadWorms Mon 31-Dec-12 00:14:33

Thanks for the replies. Yes, perhaps she does feel inadequate in some way but she comes across as so confident and self assured. I have thought that maybe she is just very proud and likes to talk about herself iyswim? But then that doesn't take account the fact that she puts me down I a round about way.

I've been dealing with her for years and I was always able to rise above it and just go hmm at some of her boasting but she really upped her game when we both had DC quite close together.

It's got to the point where I can't look her in the face anymore. I tense up in her company feeling like I have to defend myself. It must seem odd to other family members as my manner must totally change when she is around as I clamp up to avoid giving her any 'ammo' with which to compete against.

I really wish I didn't feel like this sad.

ShiftyFades Mon 31-Dec-12 00:22:44

You need to calm down at events, take a deep breath and know that you can't change her but you can stop this shitty feeling she gives you.

I had similar at work, a woman there is just so opinionated, loud and annoying. This year I decided to just nod, smile and walk away once she starts mouthing off. It has taken a while but I now have a kind of inner peace with her. She is still as annoying but I don't let her annoy me.

Not much help in practical terms, but you have to stop her getting to you. It just eats away otherwise.

Really feel for you x

yousmell Mon 31-Dec-12 08:05:38

can you turn what she says into a light non-personal joke?

'I've got 600 pounds in the bank for each of my DC'
'When are they taking their auntie to the ritz'

What ever you do don't disclose how much money you have in the bank for your kids.

carabos Mon 31-Dec-12 08:16:42

Would it help if you stopped thinking of her as your SiL? She isn't your "SiL" in the true sense of the word, she's not a relative, she's just an acquaintance. If you diminish the relationship in your own mind, you may find that you are able to diminish the impact of her remarks.

Push her out to arms length, be polite, distant and uninterested.

EarlyInTheMorning Mon 31-Dec-12 08:23:08

She sounds desperately unhappy and like she's jealous of YOU

nilbyname Mon 31-Dec-12 08:34:03

Bragging=insecurity

My Dbro is obsessed but £ and he will always try and steer the convo around to how much we earn, how much this that or the other costs. I hate it! But he is massively insecure and massively competitive. I have to just let it roll off me.

Why does she get under your skin so much? The money, bigger house etc, it is all just "stuff". It doesn't really matter. Everytime she makes a comment, just shrug her off with a "Oh how lovely for you" and nod. Do not get drawn into it. She will soon desist in chatting about it with you as she wont be getting any responses.

Do you have any common ground? I find when I am chatting to people who annoy me, I end up talking about TV or Food. Both areas are rich in conversation starters and can be quite interesting.

Try and be the bigger person, be thankful for what you have.

OnlyWantsOne Mon 31-Dec-12 08:39:01

Kill her with kindness. Seriously, just be nice ...

I can totally see where you're coming from and why. I have an unavoidable "friend" like this and any contact with her makes me feel horrible, although it's worse for you because you can't just bitch and get people on your side. I take it mil/Bil/dh or any other family members don't notice her boasting?

My sil can be a bit like this, there's a huge age gap between our dc but she still makes comparisons, she went more overdue, she needed less pain relief, her dc threw bigger tantrums, walked earlier, talked earlier, weren't fussy eaters like mine, were eating steak and chips at 2 weeks old etc etc hmm Before Xmas I said my dc weren't getting to sleep til nearly midnight as they were so excited, she was ever so smug, showing off that her dc had been asleep in bed since 9.30pm. Yeah, because they're 17? Not exactly the same as my two under 5... smile and nod. And drink lots of wine.

ThreadWorms Mon 31-Dec-12 09:12:07

Thanks again for further replies. I find it a little amusing that we are both just jealous of one another grin but then how pathetic!

Good question - why does it bother me so much? I suppose because she is feeding into my existing insecurities and confirming my own inadequacies.

I don't wish her any harm or anything like that but I get a sinking feeling whenever I hear about any of her good fortune as I know it will be another stock with which to beat me. I am not accustomed to dealing with people like her, I was raised to believe that you shouldn't be so boastful and talk about yourself too much. I try my best not to let her know she has got under my skin but it's very hard sometimes.

The rest of the family have a similar opinion if her as myself. Particularly DP's sister who I get on very well with and has an amazing lifestyle but I am not at all jealous of as I really like her and she's very modest.

I feel like a horrible person for having these feelings about her.

ThreadWorms Mon 31-Dec-12 09:15:36

Also, I do question whether I am being unfair to her. She definitely does boast a lot but maybe the fact that I hate her has clouded my judgment as it is perfectly possible that she is just sharing her good news and pride in her DC etc. but anything that comes out if her mouth I take as a competitive statement. Urgh, I'm horrible sad.

StephaniePowers Mon 31-Dec-12 09:23:17

I think it bothers you because she has identified you as someone who she can treat in this way. It's the lack of respect. If you look around, you will probably see there are some people she wouldn't dare talk to like that, but she can with you.
This reflects on her, not you, but it feels horrible all the same.

Also, you're sort of in a corner. If you point out how rude she's being, you will rock the boat in a family that isn't yours, and it's completely stressful to feel like dealing with it is way out of your control.

I may or may not have just had a few days with a SIL who stresses me out grin

HollyBerryBush Mon 31-Dec-12 09:30:45

She can only compete with you if you allow her to - don't facilitate the competitiveness.

She has the better looking brother? In her eyes!
Savings accounts? talking about money is just so vulgar
Bigger house? more debt (i assume!)

However if you turn everyone of her "boasts" into a negative - you run the risk of being a sourpuss.

Montybojangles Mon 31-Dec-12 09:36:06

Perhaps look up narcissistic personality disorder. Maybe she's a sufferer. I have a friend like that and it helps to think this is what it is.

ThreadWorms Mon 31-Dec-12 09:36:29

Good point stephanie, I do find her attitude towards me disrespectful. Not so much the boast but the implication that I am not doing things 'right'. Quite hurtful, especially when it comes to being critical of my parents.

You're quite right holly. I am becoming a sourpuss and I loath myself for feeling like this. I am not usually quite so competitive and I don't like this side to my personality.

I was eyeing up both brothers the other day and actually I think they're both as ugly as each other grin. Not that I don't love my DP wink.

BoatysTinselSails Mon 31-Dec-12 09:49:07

I'm visiting DBro and SIL today and I know how you feel! So here have a wine and thanks !
In my case my SIL is a childless, by choice, expert in everything! I know she will tell me exactly what my DC should be doing, nothing they do will be right, my choices in life will be scrutinised. If I'm really lucky she will insult me and DH too! hmm They ring DS2 up to tell him what he should be doing with his life. As a result DS1 and DD don't give them their phone number! grin
She is a Daily Fail judgy pants! angry

crypes Mon 31-Dec-12 09:50:06

If you absolutely loathe her anyway then you haven't much to lose, there's obviously no respect there especially as shes just using the relationship to show off . Get a grip and next time you get that uncomfortable feeling with her tell her outright shes starting to sound like a bitch and to put a sock in it.

ThreadWorms Mon 31-Dec-12 09:52:54

monty - it's interesting that you mention narcissism as I have looked into it and indeed she ticks many of the 'traits' boxes. However I would be disinclined to diagnose someone with narcissism since it sounds like such an extreme condition and apparently difficult to spot.

I suppose things are intensified at the moment as I am finding it tough going with my very headstrong two year old whereas her two year old DC is very placid and I get to hear all about it from SIL.

Boomerwang Mon 31-Dec-12 09:53:43

I think it's more fun if you humour her. When she boasts about cash say 'yup, you're loaded' and move on. If she goes on about her kids say 'they'll be scientists, then' and if she criticises your parenting say 'oh you're right!' and then completely ignore her advice. She'll probably work out what you're doing and moan about it to someone else who will nod and agree.

Meanwhile? You're unaffected.

Go on, try to turn everything she says and does into a joke. Your mood will change drastically!

ThreadWorms Mon 31-Dec-12 09:58:58

Thank you boaty. Wine and flowers gratefully received but save some wine for yourself as it sounds like you may need it for today grin. I can relate to the 'expert' thing. She was very opinionated pre-DC which I was hopeful would change once she became a mother but no, if anything she's worse. Both her DC are younger than ours too.

crypes - you are very right. The only problem is that I am very bad at confrontation and as I only see her at family gatherings it might make things a bit awkward for everyone. Her DP is extremely protective of her too and I don't think he would have any qualms about 'defending' her.

MummytoKatie Mon 31-Dec-12 10:03:01

Time for some boasting bingo! Does your dh also find her equally annoying? If so, before you see her you each have to guess three things that she will boast about. If you guess correctly you have to get the word "bingo" into a sentence. The first to "bingo" is the winner!

It's hilarious - after a while you get so caught up with the game that you start trying to encourage "your" boasts to come out. "So SIL. How's the saving going for the children?"

ThreadWorms Mon 31-Dec-12 10:03:53

Thanks for the advice boomerwang. It's a little out if my comfort zone to 'mock' someone openly but I will give it ago next time.

On another note, I am so surprised that so many posters also have to deal with such competitive people. SIL is the first person I know who is as extreme as this although I do have friends who behave in this way to a lesser degree. Maybe it's that most people I know have the good sense to realise I am not competition worthy grin.

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