To wish I didn't hate my SIL?

(76 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.


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


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.

ThreadWorms Mon 31-Dec-12 10:07:34

mummy that sounds genious! Yes DP finds her quite intolerable but being a bloke he doesn't always notice her more subtle and stealth insults. He gets fed up of me talking about her and gets annoyed with me when I don't want to go round to SIL's etc. I will rope him in anyway grin.

Groovee Mon 31-Dec-12 10:12:35

I could have written this post about 5 years ago. As a result we no longer speak to them. Dh told his brother that he didn't like his wife and well it sort of deteriorated from there.

TBH we don't need them in our lives the way they needed us. And to be honest MIL has shown who she has sided with that I don't tend to have much to do with her either.

But I feel much better without her in my life.

MrsFlibble Mon 31-Dec-12 10:14:19

I have a friend like this, out of our little trio, i moved out first, got engaged first, had a baby first, the other friend, has a long term relationship, and learnt how to drive first.

The third friend, at 28 still lives at home, no boyfriend, doesnt drive, so this leads her to try and boost about what she has, and put what we have down.

Its insecurity, people who pick at others and boost are very insecure, and you should just ignore it.

gimmecakeandcandy Mon 31-Dec-12 10:21:46

Right - this is the ONLY two things you need to do

1. Laugh at her
2. Do a pity face at her

Seriously - these two actions will get right up her tits. Don't ever engage in her tit for tat conversations. Just laugh and do your 'you poor thing! Face. She wants you to bite and engage in tit for tat so don't ever do it! Just laugh and leave her to it. Don't engage in conversations with her. This will PISS her off massively - this is all you need to do. Please try this and you'll see how good it is and come tell us all about it!

CailinDana Mon 31-Dec-12 11:20:09

In reality your SIL is a bore who talks about herself far too much. The fact that she makes you feel bad is your problem because you are putting too much significance on what she says. On some level you believe you are inferior to her, which isn't her fault.

Long term it would be worthwhile to work on your self esteem so that you don't take what others say as insults. Hanging out with her would actually be good training on that front - if over time you can just have a conversation and think "boring!" rather than comparing and competing then you know you're doing well smile

MummytoMog Mon 31-Dec-12 11:21:23

Oh no sad she sounds horrid. Lots of lovely advice from posters here, and I have none, but maybe I am that horrid sister in law sad my OH's brother's GF is beautiful, successful,talented, probably about to be famous, lives in a gorgeous flat that we could never afford near Hampstead Heath, had an unmedicated water birth etcetera. She's also incredibly nice and kind. I find myself turning into a horrid person around her, because I feel so inadequate, but it's not her fault at all, it's mine. I actually try not to talk to her too much because I find myself doing that competitive thing and I hate it sad

Willowme Mon 31-Dec-12 11:30:06

I have a sil like this too thread she tries to compete but even though I know it's just Jealousy it really gets on my nerves, I get the same thing as you when I see her where I can't even look her in the face she annoys me so much!

She's my DH's sister which doesn't help and we had our first DC's
within days of each other. The comparing never ends!

ThreadWorms Mon 31-Dec-12 12:24:37

mummytomog - you can't be my SIL as your SIL is definitely not me. I would be envious too envy.

Sorry to everyone who also have difficult and competitive relatives and friends. I know how draining it all is.

cailin I agree with you regarding the boating. I recognise that this is my problem and that is why I have come here for some advice on dealing with her as I do not enjoy feeling this way and hate myself for it. I really wish I could learn to like her.

However, the boasting aside, she definitely aims to put me down. When comparing our DPs she has said things like 'how do you put up with him, my DP would never do that, he's so much better' etc. She has poked fun at the fact that we have 3 DC saying she would only have a third if it was an accident knowing full well that our youngest was unplanned (but still very much wanted and loved). This probably sounds very childish but this is just a couple of her many, many comments that are designed to make me feel like crap about myself.

ThreadWorms Mon 31-Dec-12 12:27:53

Boating = boasting

ThreadWorms Mon 31-Dec-12 12:30:43

groovee I really hope it doesn't come to that for us. As much as I dislike her I would hate for my feelings towards her to cause rifts within the family. I can see the benefit of never having to deal with her again though wink.

worms you sound lovely and appear as though you have a great sense of humour -

I was eyeing up both brothers the other day and actually I think they're both as ugly as each other

I snorted coffee out of my nose! grin I agree with posters who say that you should fight this with to be worth a try.

You should definatly agree with her mad comments, but you must keep a straight face.

Mirror her comments right back to her.

Yes, yes you are right, your DP wouldn't do that. sad. I bet you are glad you picked the right brother! <bright genuine smile>

She will be confused.

Jux Mon 31-Dec-12 12:58:02

Rope the other sil in - the one you get on with - to play bingo.

Definitely agree with nasty sil on everything. You will find yourself enjoying it, particularly if you can build on it a bit as Stairs has suggested.

thixotropic Mon 31-Dec-12 12:58:56

We'll if she says anything like 'how do you out up with that' then you need the old mn classic 'that was rude, did you mean to be so rude?'

Otherwise, I think as posters have said, it's down to you how you feel. You need to move away from being drawn into competing (my god. They have more money in the account than me) and toward contempt/pity/indifference (how vulgar to discuss money / who gives a Fuck)

Oh. And next time. She compares her dp with yours, you simply must use that line about them both being ugly. Or at the very least say, well thank Fuck you feel like that, I'd have to kill you if you started lusting after my dp. I mean what a seriously fucking odd thing to say....

thixotropic Mon 31-Dec-12 13:00:59

Or just agree of course 'yes your dp is loads better looking, really sexy, can I have his number?'


Anniegetyourgun Mon 31-Dec-12 13:04:50

Practice this phrase in front of the mirror, with associated eyebrow lift: "That's nice, dear". Use it as an answer to EVERYTHING.

tangofan Mon 31-Dec-12 13:16:52

I totally feel for you OP. wine
I could have written that post myself, except my SIL from hell is actually my DH's sister so unfortunately I don't get to grind my axe half as much as I'd like and he tends to play it down and/or think I'm being oversensitive.
I was actually going to post my own AIBU along the lines of "to expect my SIL not to shove her wealthy lifestyle in my face constantly" today but found yours first - and read all the lovely replies(hope you don't mind sharing them!!)
I don't want to hijack your thread so maybe I could pm you at some point? I too have low self esteem and insecurities and I know how much it can wear you down, despite not wanting to let it get to you. I have had to deal with her a lot over xmas(and am seeing her again tonight sad)so I'm really struggling at the moment and it would be good to rant to someone who understands!

ThreadWorms Mon 31-Dec-12 13:23:27

Thank you garam. I've never made anyone snort before <proud>.

I'm also loving these creative ways of dealing with SIL from everyone, so thank you all for that thanks.

I must say I'm feeling better after posting. I have realised for a while that I am letting my feelings towards SIL get out of hand and I am very grateful that I can post here and get some perspective on the situation.

The things that I have posted about seem very petty when written down. She is so far up BIL's arse it's almost comical. She orders him around in an attempt to prove what a good and hands on father he is to their DC. I suppose it's sad in a way as she is in complete denial when he fucks up. He once wrote their car off in a drink driving incident but told everyone that it was due to mechanical failure of the car. It's things like this that grate on me but that is just so pathetic I am embarrassed for myself as it shouldn't make any difference to me.

ThreadWorms Mon 31-Dec-12 13:29:15

tangofan - I have been surprised (and selfishly relieved) that so many others are dealing with people such as my SIL. I am very aware that I cannot voice my feelings towards SIL in RL as I know most people won't understand. I think unless you have dealt with a person like this then it is difficult to understand how much it can get to you.

I have been given some excellent advice that I fully intend to utilise so of course you may share wink. And absolutely, feel free to PM me. We should start a support group grin. Sending encouraging vibes to get you through the day with your SIL and a healthy dose of wine.

I hate confrontation but perhaps when she's in full boasting flow you could throw in a few " and yet you stay so humble(!)" Or "no false modesty here then eh?" and then laugh pleasantly. It would show her that you think she's boasting, hopefully embarrass her into to toning what she says down. She'd have to be pretty aggressive or nasty to really lay into you for it (if she chose that route, just feign ignorance like you meant what you said. She'll know exactly what you meant) most people would just feel a bit embarrassed and say something a bit self deprecating.

Ask her if her shit smells of roses too grin

HeathRobinson Mon 31-Dec-12 13:57:07

You could try going with -

Yes, you're so right
Yes, they're perfect, aren't they?
Yes, he's wonderful, isn't he?
You're absolutely right.

Etc etc. She'll know you're not taking her seriously.

atthewelles Mon 31-Dec-12 13:58:52

My cousin's wife is a bit like that. Always name dropping and showing off and trying to subtly put people down. Most people can't stand her and I have often wondered if she privately feels a bit inadequate and tries to cover it up this way. To be honest, she has nothing special to feel particularly smug about - her life is pretty normal, she had a very ordinary job before she got married and had a couple of children and so on. Yet she always seems to be bragging and preening, it's hard to understand.

ThreadWorms Mon 31-Dec-12 14:40:03

I know this is really mean but when the family gets together we all have a bit if a laugh about some of her more outlandish claims (she's partial to a few porky pies and embellishments). I never used to join in because I felt sorry for her but now I do because it gives us all a chance to vent without causing any real upset to anyone.

She also has a pretty ordinary life but her family has a little bit if money (not majorly wealthy or anything) and she talks about this quite a lot.

Another thing she does if she doesn't feel like she can 'better' you is to claim she's had it harder. I'll give her credit where credit is due, she's very skilful at turning a conversation to suit her intention.

I feel that I definitely have some weapons in my arsenal in dealing with her next time so I am already dreading time spent with her less.

ShipwreckedAndComatose Mon 31-Dec-12 14:46:55

If everyone is joining in at laughing at her outlandish claims then it must mean they have got her number.

forehead Mon 31-Dec-12 14:57:04

She is defo insecure. Knowing this means that you will be able to pity her , which in turn means that you will not allow her behaviour to affect you.
I am a bit suspicious about people who boast and am less likely to envy them.
You will find that the more modest a person is, the happier they are with their life.

ThreadWorms Mon 31-Dec-12 15:20:32

YY, agreed smile.

Posting here has reminded me of a time when I used to hmm inwardly and smile and nod at her boasting all the while letting it go over my head.

I'm not sure why I have started to take what she says to heart more recently but I am determined to regain some control, not let her have anymore of my headspace and see her for what she really is wink.

Willowme Mon 31-Dec-12 15:23:34

My SIL' s way of trying to make me jealous when she can't compete is to use one of her relatives on her husbands side or a woman she knows whos loaded so she tries to tell me stuff about them to make me feel inadequate. She once talked to me about her friends new wooden floor for about ten mins, I couldn't have cared less but she must have thought I was jealous or something. But she also does the whole I've had it tougher thing too, especially regarding our babies births.

It's like your damned if you do and dammed if you don't.

ThreadWorms Mon 31-Dec-12 15:29:27

willowme we could be talking about the same person by the sounds if it. Very weird behaviour.

My SIL was once showing off about her new dining table for a good while. It wasn't until she left that I realised she had been trying to make me jealous as I had mentioned months previously that I would like a new dining table. The conversation was just weird, had no context and didn't make me even slightly jealous since I could get a dining table if I wanted to, just waiting til the DC stop drawing on everything wink.

I could also describe her father's house in great detail right down to how many acres the garden is, despite never having been, as she talks about his massive house all the time. <yawn>

Willowme Mon 31-Dec-12 15:32:32

I think you need to treat this with humour thread, thats what I have resorted to, my DH told sil that we were buying our DS an iPad and a quad for Christmas. She ended up buying one of those really expensive cars that the kids can actually sit in and drive after she had all the presents bought. Of course DH was only joking as our both our DC's are only 18mo. But I dread to think what I'm going to hear about this little car the next time I see her, mil has already tried to make me jealous about it.

You need to try and wind her up if you know it's due to insecurities, ie say your thinking of taking the kids to Disney world, then when you don't say DH couldnt get time off work or some random excuse. You know she'll have spent hours annoying herself about it so who cares if you went or not.

My SIL boasted that the cloth nappies he lent me "never stained that much" when her children used them. My mil (her mil not mum) countered that her children must do "perfect poos" unlike mine. I think of it every time she boasts.
This thread has cheered me up immensely.Must get ready to go and ready to meet her now, with a smile on my face!

ThreadWorms Mon 31-Dec-12 15:39:45

YY willowme I have definitely had a sense if humour failure when dealing with her recently. In fact I'm quite embarrassed that I was sat there with a face like a slapped arse at the last family get together blush.

grin at 'perfect poos poocatcher. That's got to be one of the strangest boasts I've ever heard grin.

One of my favourite moments was when her DF was giving a 'speech' at her DC's naming day and was going on and in and on about how DC had broken the family record for being the biggest baby when another family member piped up with, 'no, such and such weighed more'. Her face was a bloody picture I tell you. I wish I'd taken a photo of that face smile.

JamieandtheMagiTorch Mon 31-Dec-12 15:44:27

She sounds awful, but it's interesting that it's getting to you more now than it used to, and it's well worth thinking about why that is and doing what you can do to not "catch the ball of crap" she is attempting to throw at you. That is, think about why the nonsense she comes out with has an effect on you.

Forgive my presumption, but you sound a lot like me. I work pretty hard to bury any competitive feelings, and find it a very annoying trait in others ( on my mind at the moment as someone close to me is pretty competitive and it's putting me right off ).

Yet there's a part of me that thinks i ought to be more competitive and that suppressing it has made me less successful than i might have been.

Of course the other element in your story is that maybe you are vulnerable to what she says getting to you because your self esteem is not great, either because of longstanding stuff or because you are particularly down at the moment - vey common when you are the parent of a toddler, Ime

Don't know if these ramblings help.....

AfterEightMintyy Mon 31-Dec-12 15:50:20

Oh gracious, we all know people like this don't we? Can you not find it within you to feel sorry for her? She has a tedious personality and you will not be the only person to have noticed, she probably rubs loads of people up the wrong way!

Willowme Mon 31-Dec-12 15:58:22

Loving the strange boasts, my sil 'boasts' that her dd is wearing bigger clothes than DS even though he's taller and heavier. Mil told her last wk to change her dd trousers as they were clearly too big and falling of her I was grin inside.

tangofan Mon 31-Dec-12 16:16:21

Thank you, OP! I love the support group idea grin
There's some great support and ideas on this thread, maybe we could persuade MN to set up a topic for inlaws support in general...
I too feel slightly better after getting some perspective. We all know we should rise above this sort of thing but it can be hard when it's so relentless. It's the utter lack of tact or sensitivity that winds me up, she knows fucking fine well how hard we work at being able to afford just normal things while she can live off her husband's wealth yet thinks nothing of dropping into conversation something about her next holiday/designer shoes/DC's ultra expensive presents...angry
That to me is just wrong. And actually a bit spiteful.

RedToothbrush Mon 31-Dec-12 16:36:02

We took my PIL to a local restaurant for lunch when they visited. Two weeks later they came back as they loved it so much and they've been raving about it ever since.

So BIL and SIL decided they had to compete, so for PIL birthday treat they decided to send them to a nice restaurant at the expense of us, them and DH's sister. DH said yes, ok but let us know how much it was before booking it. They didn't.

We got a nice message over christmas from BIL saying how much PIL enjoyed the meal at this Michelin star restaurant just down the road from where they live. The bill as over £300 and we are expected to our share... we are very pissed off that they spent this much without properly discussing it first.

This has competitiveness been going on for several years now.

Christmas and Birthday Presents from them fall into two categories; the 'deliberately insulting' and 'the what planet do you live?!' on types.

When we got married (we'd been engaged for several years) they made a point of announcing their engagement 5 weeks before our wedding and deliberately did everything possible to get one up on us or have a dig about how were getting married abroad without friends or family. SIL took to looking for wedding dresses saying "ooo these are lovely, they are only £1000". To which I promptly replied, "thats more than our wedding ceremony and venue is costing". That shut her up very quickly.

Our wedding wasn't an bloated overdone show of wealth, and I'm very happy it wasn't. It was stress free and the way we wanted it.

Now every time either of them start their competitive shite, and I have the satisfaction looking at her wedding pictures and the deliberate horror show makeovers she gave her bridesmaids to make her look better in comparison. They have to be seen to be believed; think Abba in drag. Plus we know they are still paying for the wedding.

Its down to petty jealous and insecurities. I can't stand either of them. I dread family occasions and actively avoid as many as i can as its just so painful. Dealing with DH's family is fine in small does and in small numbers without BIL and SIL.

GrendelsMum Mon 31-Dec-12 16:38:52

Gosh, she does sound dull, though some of these boasts are hilarious!

FWIW, I have an in-law who I deal with by making a big fuss of when I see her at family gatherings. I pretend to be ever so interested and ask her all about her life and her house and say how wonderful it sounds (a lot of my job involves being interested in people's long descriptions of themselves, so I am fairly experienced at this). And actually, if I hit her with a massive charm offensive right at the start of a gathering, it does seem to work. She sort of calms down a bit, IYSWIM, and I think it's because she's feeling more secure.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Mon 31-Dec-12 17:01:08

You need to stop feeling bad about not liking her. If you could say to yourself, "well, she's being annoying, but then again, she IS annoying, heigh ho." I think it wouldn't get to you so much.

I would find it awfully weird if the wife of DH's DBro ever made a comment about the relative attractiveness of the brothers. Rest assured, it's odd (as are lots of the other things you've said).

TheCatInTheHairnet Mon 31-Dec-12 17:27:35

Lol at boasting Bingo.

My SIL used to be like this. It got so ridiculous that my MIL once said in front of us both, "I love my sons very much, but when it comes to being a husband, TheCat is the lucky one." My jaw hit the floor and she stormed off in a huff.

Funnily, we get on really well nowadays. I think both of us matured and I stopped caring. Oh yeah, and we live on different continents!! grin

doingtwelvethingsatonce Mon 31-Dec-12 19:43:33

My older sister is like this - very competitive, money is everything. When she goes on and on about how brilliant her life/money/family/whatever is... I just say in a very gushy voice "oh how very NICE for you!" grin She's never quite sure if I'm serious or not.

ThreadWorms Mon 31-Dec-12 21:10:35

Thanks again for the further replies, I'm just catching up with them all as I've been out. Lots more creative ways of dealing with insecure and competitive people. I'll be an expert before long wink.

willowme we have the clothing size competitiveness going in too. She had our DCs standing next to each other recently to compare size hmm. I am only surprised that she hasn't asked to see the growth charts in DC's red books yet.

tango she sounds incredibly insensitive. I cannot imagine rubbing someone's nose in my financial affairs, especially if they were funding things tough as well.

Redtoothbrush that is shocking behaviour! If you want to outdo someone, at least have the decency to pay for it yourself! We will no doubt have the whole wedding competition going on at sine point as we are both engaged. I have already been warned that her rich daddy will be paying for her wedding so it will be a grand affair. I can't wait hmm.

What really gets me is why do they do it??!! I mean I understand the feeling insecure but surely social norms would stop these people from spouting endless crap about themselves. at least have the decency to take it to Facebook where I can block you from my news feed.

This has reminded me of a story one of my friends once told me. She bought her PIL a beautiful canvass with a photo of her DD, PIL's first DGC, for Christmas. Her slightly nutty and childless SIL, not to be outdone, have them a canvass four times bigger with a picture of her cat confused. To make matters worse, it was a real moggy that looked a bit bedraggled. Her parents don't even like cats, they were dog lovers. Anyway, she has a big drama queen strop about them hanging this bloody canvass of her D(Cat) grin.

ThreadWorms Mon 31-Dec-12 21:12:48

Please excuse all the typos - too much wine. I hope it still makes sense confused.

ThreadWorms Mon 31-Dec-12 21:18:01

thecatinthehairnet - my other nice SIL and I were talking about this a while ago. I think a few years ago we were much more tolerant of her as we put a lot of her behaviour down to being young although she is similar in age to ourselves. I think we both hoped that things would improve as she matured and particularly when she became a mother herself but if anything she's actually worse. OTOH I could probably tolerate her better with a few thousand miles of sea seperate big us I'm lying, she would still find a way to get to me. Probably with mega boasty round robin angry.

BoatysTinselSails Mon 31-Dec-12 22:30:24

Well, our visit went surprisingly well, each time she tried to ask about DC and start to express an opinion I asked a question totally unrelated, she gave up after a while wink

Oh goodness, this reminds me of my MIL. Competitive. I have found that the only way to deal with it is to smile, nod and ignore. Just repeat to yourself: smile, nod, ignore. Ask her about herself/plans/what she's been up to, and smile, nod, say "how lovely" etc.

I would also not discuss money. She's got some front asking you how much is in their savings accounts! Practise some replies, "Oh, not much, they've spent it all on their Mummy" or something. If she pushes it, say you can't remember & then change the subject. I would try not to get drawn in to her games. Do you have to see her so much?

TalkativeJim Tue 01-Jan-13 01:05:42

Next time she asks a question designed to kick off a competing session, say in an offhand way something like -

'Oh gawd I don't know, I'm not much of a boaster myself so I never think to hold this information in my head!'

'Gosh I can't remember. I always feel so silly competing about that kind of stuff, always feel as if it makes me look so insecure'

'Ooh I've NO idea (laugh) gosh these conversations crack me up, don't we remind you of that Harry Enfield character - 'considerably richer than yooow'! Haha!'

Jux Tue 01-Jan-13 02:06:01

When she tells you whatever inflated sum her dc's have in their accounts, say "Brilliant! He/she/they and their friends will be able to get really wasted on their 18th."

If you can't think of a suitable reply to a boast, look vague, nod and say "mmm? Oh; how interesting". My friend used to say it to her MIL who was a truly nasty woman, always stopped her in her tracks.

Narrowboat Thu 03-Jan-13 21:19:25

Threadworms - I have the answer. The key is the dining table. You mentioned you wanted a new dining table in passing so she went and bought one.

Choose something fashionable that you inwardly think is pointless/vulgar. Ie a cath kidson handbag/ purple uggs/ gold belt/ hunter wellies / orla kiely changing bag. (just my suggestions - would love purple uggs). Mention in passing to SIL how much you like them and wish you 'could get one/some'. Obv don't choose anything your dp is going to shout 'but you hate those'.

Sit back and see how long it takes her to buy the item. My guess is it won't take long. Then everytime you see her she'll be carrying a token of her need for your attention. It will wave at you and say 'loony, she's a loony'.

Oh go on go on, nothing to lose .........

Jux Fri 04-Jan-13 20:43:51

Oh that's brilliant narrowboat! Perhaps you could start a kitsch thread here to get awesome suggestions of awful vulgar stuff you could mention you really really want.

How about an antique lamppost painted gold to light your garden?

DeWe Fri 04-Jan-13 21:24:27

Good idea Narrowboat! We have a BIL that does that. Funnily enough when we or bh's db get a new car or move he has done the same within a couple of months.

When we got the last car, dh had to go round (bil didn't know what it was)and I suggested he borrowed his managing director's car (Big Mercedes) and implied it was our new one. (MD would have thought this very funny) and I reckon he'd have got a matching one very quickly.

I want a gold antique lamp post in the garden now...

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