To kick myself for allowing myself to be drawn in to SIL competitive parenting ?

(56 Posts)
Inseywinseyupthespout Sun 31-Mar-13 19:31:17

I'm raging with myself .

SIL is a very confident , outgoing scary woman ; she knows when she is right and doesn't give a crap what anyone thinks . She also doesn't give a crap what she says to other people even if its offensive or hurtful .

SIL is a competitive parent - she loves to make you feel like her way is right / best .

My DD2 and her DD1 are the same age - everything from pushchairs to baby milk was discussed during our pregnancies hmm

Apparently her pushchair was better because it parent faced, her choice of milk was better because it was more expensive and "more like breastmilk ..." Any decision I made, she always had a reason why she chose something "better". It irritates the fuck out of me and no matter how hard I try to ignore it , I find myself feeling inadequate and influenced in to "copying" her blush

I'm kicking myself today , as we were talking about saving for our kids etc - she said "my dd is going to be loaded as she will have her savings and will inherit our house ..."

DH and I don't own our own home and never will . I said that our DDs will have their savings , she replied "hopefully you will have enough saved to give them a deposit on their first house . My dd won't need to as she can just sell our house ..."

And I , I shit you not , replied "oh maybe I should look in to buying a house , because my DDs might not have that much .... " WTF blush

Why didn't I just say - "yeah hopefully you won't lose your job and your house ... Fuck off you condescending fuck ...."

WIBU to kick myself ?!

LaQueen Sun 31-Mar-13 20:08:53

Do not engage. Do not try and compete. Because, actually with this sort of person you can't win. They will just move the goal posts. This sort of person delights in wrong-footing people, and making them unsure/uncertain.

Basically, she is feeding off you. So, just smile and nod. Smile and nod. Be totally noncomittal, and just trot out the exact same stock phrase of 'That's nice...that's nice...that's nice...'

So, she can't feed off you, because you're giving her nothing.

MissTweed Sun 31-Mar-13 20:09:25

I grew up in a small rural village that was made up of two social groups...... The people that had always lived their (mainly farming community) / families living in the council/rented properties and the newer influx of the townies (when country living suddenly became fashionable in the 90's.) the kids that had always been there carried on as always.... Money for our parents was a struggle etc but no one had that thing of wanting what everyone else had, holidays were staying in a caravan somewhere, if you wanted money you got a paper round etc etc the other group on the other hand.... Most went to the posh private schools nearby, had every toy growing up, went on luxury holidays, were bought a brand new car at 17 etc etc (although we did all hang out together)

I am now in my 30's and nearly all of the kids that grew up less privileged funded their own way through university, have successful jobs and family lives. The others..... It's crazy the amount of them that are total dossers that still live at home sucking money out of their parents. Quite a few of them went majorly off the rails and got drug problems. They grew up thinking the world owed them something. Sometimes growing up knowing to appreciate things is far better than being given everything on a plate.

Your SIL sounds like a nightmare but I totally understand how you feel when the green eyed monster creeps in. The other thing about the village.... The couples in the big grand houses are always having affairs with each other but put on a show of "look how wonderful our lives are" I believe that if you need to 'show' how wonderful you are by putting others down means that there is something majorly lacking in their own life and they do this to make themselves feel better.smile

Cromwell44 Sun 31-Mar-13 20:13:52

Don't engage with the whole 'what your kids got for Easter@ crap. Don't respond or if you do follow Minieggs advice, tell her what you want her to know.
It's not compulsory to discuss your life with those that make make you feel inadequate, just 'cos they want you to.

ekidna Sun 31-Mar-13 20:14:40

Agree she is feeding off you ...making her issues become yours. Sounds like projective identification in psychobabble terms.... Her putting her shit in your proverbial cupboard.

She could hardly say "I own a house and you don't! Ner ner ne ne ner!" so she used a very tenuous example to remind you of her elevated financial status.

She's your SIL so you probably can't cut her out of your life completely but try to only see her when others are there so you can't get into this one on one competitiveness. Make a mental note to let her do all the talking while you smile and nod and say "Oh how lovely" all the time. Eventually she'll realise this is your stock answer and that you couldn't really give two shits what she does. She'll feel very silly as it sinks in that all her silly showing off has been going in one ear and out the other.

SanityClause Sun 31-Mar-13 20:18:00

Don't worry, OP, their DD won't inherit the house. It will have to be sold to pay for their care home costs. wink

ratspeaker Sun 31-Mar-13 20:19:44

I agree with humphrey

but when saying thats nice keep this clip in mind

there a wee swearie in there so you've been warned
youtube link to bbc series
www.youtube.com/watch?v=JddNDtC-Yrs

MiniEggsJumpedInMyBasket Sun 31-Mar-13 20:20:39

I often wonder the mentality behind people like your SIL, and the woman that I know. All I can think is that they must have very low self esteem and just be willing to say/do anything to make themselves feel superior. I wonder too how they make/keep friends, as I would never be close friends with anyone like that, yet some people seem totally in awe of that type of person.hmm

Re her email - It's Easter. What does she think your DDs got?

Do you really need to go into specifics when you reply? Just say "Enough chocolate to rot their teeth!" and don't ask her what her DD got!

LaQueen Sun 31-Mar-13 20:23:24

Yep, agree with Old. It's very, very important that you just repeat the exact same stock phrases...That's nice...That's lovely...That's nice...That's lovely...That's nice...etc, when you smile and nod.

Because, eventually she'll slowly realise that you're just repeating yourself, because you clearly aren't interested...and (even better) that you actually can't even be arsed to feign interest in her, and are just fobbing her off with a totally bland/disinterested That's nice...That's lovely...

But, because you aren't saying anything remotely rude/offensive, and you're smiling and nodding whilst saying it... she can't really call you on it, else she'll just look like a nit-picking, paranoid twunt - which of course she is.

It'll drive her up the wall, I promise smile

whosiwhatsit Sun 31-Mar-13 20:26:39

You could be really horrible and show her lots of fake sympathy, make her cups of tea and tell her you'll always be there for her if she needs someone to talk to or a shoulder to cry on. When she asks why just say you think she must be feeling unwell as she has been talking a lot lately about her daughter inheriting from her, tell her you can also tell she's under a lot of stress as she seems to be second guessing and worrying about her parenting decisions. Then whenever she mentions something braggy you can just respond with oh, don't worry, I'm,sure everything will turn out fine with a smile full of fake sympathy. It's evil and not a nice way to behave but it's guaranteed to drive her round the bend as the last thing people like this want is to be an object of pity!

Also you both don't know what life will throw at you and your DD's. At the very least it's quite possible that the assets of her home will be spent at some point either as business collateral or to pay for care in her or partner's old age.
Can you widen your circle of friends so that her influence in your life becomes naturally less, and you have other more genuine friends to share the joys of parenthood with ?

HollaAtMeBaby Sun 31-Mar-13 20:31:32

I think ScentedNappyHag has the best solution. grin

doyouwantfrieswiththat Sun 31-Mar-13 20:45:39

I'm not competitive about competitive sils grin but after I miscarried at 12wks mine said 'well I tried everything but this one wanted to stick' shock

I would give her the benefit of the doubt but she's always saying stuff like that.

Now thanks to ratspeaker I can say 'that's nice' while thinking 'fuck off'.

It's a shame because my dcs really like their cousins but I find her hard work.

Fudgemallowdelight Sun 31-Mar-13 21:18:40

"hopefully you will have enough saved to give them a deposit on their first house . My dd won't need to as she can just sell our house ..."

"Oh do you think she will wait until you are dead before she buys a house then?"

HumphreyCobbler Sun 31-Mar-13 21:21:27

bloody hell doyouwantfrieswiththat - what a cow!

Inseywinseyupthespout Sun 31-Mar-13 21:24:35

Some of these responses are great ! grin

I responded to the email just saying "enough chocolate to rot their teeth " and didn't ask about her dd ....

So... She took it upon herself to tell me what she had bought hmm .. So I replied saying "that's nice ..." grin

Roseformeplease Sun 31-Mar-13 21:34:33

My husband has the answer to this (wily Scot) and he competes, but to demean himself. If someone asks him about his new car, he says, "Oh, it's an old banger, yours is a proper car". If asked about Christmas presents he replies, "Usual socks and rubbish, I am sure you got something much, much nicer".

He would reply to your SiL, by saying, "Not much really, I am sure your DD had a far more exciting Easter.

It wrong foots them every time. They suspect sarcasm but, outwardly, you are agreeing that they are better than you. They can only reply by DEFENDING your choices and that really, really hurts.

Give it a go! Works like a charm.

OP - "So... She took it upon herself to tell me what she had bought .. So I replied saying "that's nice ..."

Ha ha! grin

fuzzypicklehead Sun 31-Mar-13 21:46:28

I also enjoy, "Oh, you know us! We'd hate to be too showy/OTT!"

doyouwantfrieswiththat Sun 31-Mar-13 22:16:36

Do I win? Have I got the most competitive sil? I can't wait to tell her...oh bugger.

I agree with people who say you have to be a bit sad inside to behave this way. It's like being related to a dementor.

sherazade Mon 01-Apr-13 09:30:26

If you find it dificult to be assertive around her, whenever she tries to get all competitive and whenever you anticipate that she is going to put you in a corner where you will have start justifying yourself or saying things you are not comfortable with, just smile blankly and nod, smile and nod, smile and nod, and change the subject. This is failsafe. She'll soon learn not to try.

sherazade Mon 01-Apr-13 09:31:57

or what oldbagwnatsnewbag said. Smile and nod, and say something meaningless like 'that's nice'. If you adopt this mantra she'll soon see that you're not impressed and unwlling to engage in this pathetic banter.

IJustWoreMyTrenchcoat Mon 01-Apr-13 11:09:57

She sounds like hard work!

All the value of your SIL's house may go into paying for her care home fees in years to come, your situation may improve dramatically. Unless you are very
wealthy these days I would say there are no guarantees that children will inherit their parent's houses/savings.

RivalSibling Mon 01-Apr-13 12:02:53

Re the Easter eggs - tell her your children got exactly the right number of eggs.

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